Thursday, May 30, 2013

Homemade Vegan Butter with Radishes and Toast (Lecithin, Soy, Nut, Gluten and Dairy Free) + the Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

The realization that one can make homemade vegan butter is jaw-dropping. No more plastic tubs. No more unpronounceable ingredients. The future is no longer bleak... Exaggeration? Possibly. I'm prone to dramatization. But we're talking truths here. Vegan Butter - although a bit of an oxymoron - is possible and attainable in your own home. And for dairy-free and vegans everywhere, that is a brighter future.

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Most recipes for vegan butter use a lecithin and a gum. I'm sensitive to gums so I tend to avoid those and I wanted to use things I already have in my pantry (and if you've made my coconut milk cheddar, you will too). I've had vegan butter on my To-Do List for quite some time but I didn't get the gumption until I read the Books for Broads March & April book pick:

This radish toast recipe was inspired by  A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg. She blogs over at Orangette. Her beautiful stories and witty food humor were incredibly enjoyable. Although not dairy or gluten free, the recipes were elegantly simple, mouth-watering, and inspiring. And that's ultimately what I look for in any book - Inspiration. Parisian romance is a plus.

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Homemade Vegan Butter (nut, lecithin, gum, soy dairy, and gluten free)
1 cup coconut oil *
3 tsp agar agar powder (avilable on amazon)
1/2 cup coconut milk (plain and unsweetened - almond also works well)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

3 TB grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp salt

*If you don't like the coconut oil taste use Refined Organic Coconut Oil which doesn't have the coconut-y flavor that extra virgin or unrefined does.

1. Put coconut oil and agar agar powder on medium heat in small saucepan until it starts to have a rolling boil. Remove from heat and let cool five minutes.
2. Meanwhile add apple cider vinegar to coconut milk.
3. Pour all ingredients in a food processor or vita mix. Blend two minutes or until completely incorporated. Put in fridge (or freezer for quick solidity).

To make the Radish Toasts:
Vegan Butter (Recipe above)
Black Pepper or Favorite Flaky Sea Salt
2 Bunches of Radishes
Gluten-free Toast (I used Udi's Gluten-Free Whole Grain Bread) but it would also be delicious on one of my favorite recipes from the talented Sarah Britton from My New Roots - this sprouted and leaven-free life-changing loaf.

Toast bread slices, top with butter, radish slices, and flaky sea salt or cracked black pepper.


Question of the Day: What do you plan to do with your vegan butter?

*Just a note, I've not attempted baking with this vegan butter but as soon as I do, I will let you all know how it turns out!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Vegan Mother's Day Brunch (dairy, gluten and egg free)

To mothers everywhere....
We appreciate you.
We love you.
We cherish you.
We adore you.
Treasure you.

And we want you to have a wonderful, relaxing day where you know we appreciate all those times you swiped our dirty noses, woke with us in the middle of the night, filled our bellies with hearty, nutritious foods (and we appreciate those nights where you broke down and let us eat hot dog mac & cheese), and most of all, we appreciate you encouraged our hearts.

YOU are special.
YOU are unique.

And we want to take this day to celebrate you, MOM!

And this Mother's Day celebrate Mom with an easy yet nutritious and tasty lunch.

What's on the menu, you ask?
Sparkling Lemon Hibiscus Tea
Quinoa and Arugula Salad with Roasted Lemon and Asparagus
and Vegan Lemon Mousse with Vanilla and Cardamom

Most of the prep can be done ahead so Mother's Day can be relaxing and easy. Great for mothers with toddlers who want something special but not a lot of time.



Sparkling Lemon Hibiscus Tea
1/3 heaping cup Hibiscus petals (I buy from Mountain Rose Herbs)
2 cups water
Sparkling Water or Lemon Sparkling Water (I used Pellegrino)
Limoncello *for virgin version, use notes below

*Juice of 2 Lemons with 2 Tb agave

1. Boil water and hibiscus petals then simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool.
2. Fill glasses with 2 parts sparkling water, 2 parts strained hibiscus infusion, and 1 part limoncello

Quinoa and Arugula Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Lemon (serves 2)

1 cup pre-cooked quinoa
1/2 cup pecans (or other nuts/seeds)
2-3 organic lemons, sliced 1/4"-1/3" thick
1 lb asparagus
Handful of craisins and goji berries
Dress with extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and red pepper and salt

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Toss asparagus with oil and spread out with lemon slices on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Add pecans and bake another 3 minutes.
3. Layer plates with arugula, quinoa, pecans, asparagus, lemons, and dried craisins and goji berries. Sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and red pepper (or black).

*Steps 1 & 2 can be done ahead of time and are delicious served cold if prepping beforehand.


I just love cardamom and I think it really makes this mousse have a little more pizzazz. If unfamiliar with this spice, try using the seeds from three pods. Cardamom and vanilla bean pods are available to order from Mountain Rose Herbs.
This mousse also happens to dole out a nice size of protein, making it all the more appealing as a dessert... or maybe for breakfast by itself.
Vegan Lemon Mousse with Vanilla and Cardamom (serves 2-4)
14 oz package extra firm tofu
Juice of 2 Lemons
Gratings of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup agave nectar
4 cardamom pods *  (available from Mountain Rose Herbs)
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (I purchase my vanilla from amazon)
Assorted Fruit of Choice
2 TB tapioca starch
*If you don't have cardamom pods or don't like them, it still tastes delicious without.
1. Crush cardamom pods with flat blade of knife. In mortar and pestle, crush the seeds from pods.
2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend til smooth.
3. Refridgerate until ready to serve. Serve with fresh fruit like sliced banana, strawberries, and mango.
I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day! What are your plans for this weekend?

I buy my herbs from     Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c
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