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Pumpkin-Pecan-Apple Pie

ppap

I actually started out making an apple pie and a pumpkin pie when I began thinking about how everyone has their favorite kind of pie and how tricky it must be to please everyone in a family where someone wants pumpkin pie, another wants apple pie, and still another prefers pecan pie.  With company coming for dinner, I didn’t want to risk an experiment gone bad, so I made a basic apple pie to hedge my bets, freeing me to make a three layer Thanksgiving pie to (hopefully!) please everyone at the table.  (photo by Elissa Free)

I didn’t actually use a recipe, so I’ve had to reverse-engineer what I did for this post.  But basically, just proceed with your favorite pumpkin pie recipe and then add a couple layers of thinly sliced apples (seasoned for apple pie filling). Cover and bake (I cover it so the apples don’t dry out and to help them cook.  Then uncover and top with some gooey pecan halves (you can coat them in your favorite caramel topping, glaze, or date syrup — I did mine in kind of a hybrid date syrup-glaze combo. And then bake a few more minutes (uncovered) to meld all the flavors and finish browning the crust.

After chilling a couple hours (mainly to set the pumpkin layer) the pie is ready to slice.  When I made it, everyone else seemed to like getting a little bit of each of the three kinds of pie in every bite.  I guess that makes me more of a purist because I preferred eating one layer at a time, to experience the three pies on their own.

Whichever way you decide is best, I hope you enjoy this pie.  Happy ThanksLiving everyone!

 

Pumpkin-Pecan-Apple Pie

1 (9-inch) vegan pie crust

Pumpkin Layer:

1 (15-ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin

1 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Apple Layer:

2 or 3 apples (try Honeycrisp)

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pecan Layer:

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon water

1/4 cup date syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup toasted pecan halves

 

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the crust in a deep-dish pie plate, crimping the edges. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, cornstarch, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir until well mixed. Scrape the pumpkin mixture into the pie crust, and spread it evenly with a rubber spatula. Set aside.

Peel, halve, and core the apples, then cut them into very thin slices (about 1/8-inch thick) and place them in a large bowl.  Add the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and cinnamon, and stir gently to coat the apple slices. Arrange the apple slices on top of the pumpkin filling, layering the apples in a circle, overlapping the slices, beginning at the outer edge and ending at the center of the pie.

Cover the pie loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  While the pie is baking, make the pecan layer.  In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, date syrup, and vanilla, stirring over low heat until smooth and well blended.  Stir in the pecans and coat well until the pecans are glazed with the mixture.  Remove from the heat to cool.

Remove the baked pie from the oven, remove the foil, and beginning at the center, arrange the pecans in a circle on top of the apples.  Return the pie to the oven for 10 to 15 minute or until the crust is nicely browned.  Cool on a rack for about 1 hour, then refrigerate until chilled before serving.

 

Serves 8

 

 

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Vegan Mexico by Jason Wyrick

If you like authentic Mexican flavors, then you’ll LOVE Vegan Mexico, the new book by Jason Wyrick. There’s lots to love about this book, from the warming soups and refreshing salads to the fun dips and hearty sandwiches.  There are also loads of great recipes for Mexican favorites such as tamales, enchiladas, tostadas, tacos, and more. Corn Ice Cream with Candied Pecans, anyone?

As everyone who has cooked from Jason’s previous book, Vegan Tacos, already knows — Jason understands Mexican cuisine and how to get as much flavor as possible out of the ingredients.  With so many great recipes in this book, it was difficult to pick just one for this blog tour of Vegan Mexico. Ultimately I went with the Plantain Chips with Orange Aioli — so easy to make and so much flavor.  (If you’re avoiding oil, try making them in your air fryer!)   I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Keep Vegan Mexico in mind for holiday gift-giving if you have any Mexican food-lovers on your list!

Plantain Chips with Orange Aioli from Vegan Mexico by Jason Wyrick

Plantain Chips with Orange Aioli

Chifles con Crema de Ajo

Makes 3 cups

Plantain chips, which are basically potato chips made with plantains, are common all throughout Central America. They can be found in convenience stores, in markets, and at many roadside stalls, especially in the south of Mexico.  Serve with Crema de Ajo (Orange Aioli). (From Vegan Mexico, copyright © 2016 by Jason Wyrick. Used by permission Vegan Heritage Press.)

Ingredients

  • 6 cups corn or vegetable oil
  • 2 medium green plantains
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile de árbol powder or chile powder of your choice
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup Crema de Ajo (below)

Preparation

In a heavy pot at least 2 inches deep (preferably cast iron), heat the oil to 375°F. While the oil is heating, slice off the ends of the plantains and score the skin lengthwise along both ridges, then peel the plantains.  Cut the plantains diagonally into 1/8-inch thick slices.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the lime zest, salt, and chile de árbol powder and set aside.

Working in 4 batches, fry the plantains for about 1 minute until they are crisp and golden. Transfer them to a paper towel to drain. Once all the batches have been fried, transfer the plantain chips to the bowl with the zest, salt, and chile de árbol powder. Add the lime juice and toss to combine.

 

Crema de Ajo

Makes 1 1/4 cups

Crema de ajo is a fusion of Mediterranean garlic dips, like aioli and toum, with the Yucatecan twist of sour orange juice. You can adjust the garlic up or down as you like.

Ingredients

  • 6 large cloves garlic
  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lime

Preparation

In a blender or food processor, purée the garlic, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, orange juice, and lime juice until smooth.

 

 

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Latkes from Aquafaba by Zsu Dever

Aquafaba by Zsu Dever

Aquafaba (bean water) is an amazing ingredient that can be used instead of egg whites, making it a boon to vegans everywhere, including those who thought lemon meringue pie was a ting of the past!  In Aquafaba, Zsu Dever’s groundbreaking new cookbook, you will find everything you ever wanted to know about using aquafaba, including a meringue primer, tips and tricks, and Zsu’s fabulous recipes, complete with clear instructions and gorgeous photos throughout.

In this book, Zsu shares her recipe for an amazing lemon meringue pie, airy macarons, and light and luscious chocolate mousse,among other confections.  There are also savory recipes for burgers, quiche, and much more, including the deliciously crisp latkes (below).  In addition, Zsu answers the question “What do we do with all the leftover chickpeas?” with an entire chapter filled with fantastic chickpea recipes such as Curried Caribbean Coconut Chickpeas, Korean Dak Galbi, Pulled Chickpea Seitan Roast, and Shiro Wat.

If you’re interested in learning more about transforming the bean liquid you used to through away into amazing sweet and savory delights, you’ll want to own a copy of Aquafaba.  Now here’s that latke recipe….

Latkes from Aquafaba by Zsu DeverLatkes

These latkes are perfectly crisp on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. The added potato starch increases their crispiness, but it is not essential. Some russet potatoes tend to be on the drier side, but to be safe, place them in a lint-free kitchen towel, fold up the edges and give them a good wring to remove excess water. Serve this the traditional way, with nondairy sour cream and applesauce. (From Aquafaba, copyright © 2016 by Zsu Dever. Used by permission.)

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba (see Note)
  • 1/4 cup potato starch, optional
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • High-heat oil, for frying, such as canola or peanut

Peel the potatoes and shred them using either a food processor with the shredding blade or a box grater. Place them on a kitchen towel, fold up the edges, twist the towel around the potatoes, and squeeze out all the water that you can. Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Shred the onion and add it to the potatoes. Add the aquafaba, starch, parsley (if using), salt, baking powder, and black pepper. Mix very well.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add two or three kernels of popping corn and heat the oil until the corn pops; this is an indicator that your oil is hot enough. Remove and discard the popped corn.

Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, place 3 to 4 portions of the potato mixture in the hot oil and cook them until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Do not press down on the latkes. Flip the latkes and continue to cook another 2 minutes. Drain them on paper towels and serve as soon as possible. Make sure to give the potatoes a stir before measuring, and do not crowd the skillet or your latkes will not be crispy.

Makes 14 to 16 latkes

Note: Although aquafaba is best if homemade using the recipe provided in the book, you can use aquafaba from canned chickpeas. Use the organic, low-sodium, canned chickpeas and strain off the liquid into a measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. Note the amount of liquid you acquired, then add it to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Cool the aquafaba completely before using.

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Berry Semifreddo is “So Delicious”

semifreddo-2

When I opened the latest box of tasty treats from the nice folks at So Delicious and saw a container of mixed berry ice cream next to a container of whipped topping, I instantly thought “semifreddo.”

Semifreddo is an ethereal Italian dessert whose name means “half cold” (or semi-frozen). It’s made by combining equal amounts of softened ice cream and whipped cream and then transferring to a mold (or individual molds) and re-freezing.  The resulting confection has a texture that is somewhere between an ice cream and a mousse, but  in my opinion, better than either one.

Since I had just made a batch of fresh blackberry coulis, it was a foregone conclusion that I would make a berry semifreddo topped with the coulis and a spoonful of the leftover whipped topping. (Thanks to Elissa Free for taking the above photo of the Berry Semifreddo.)

This is one of the most easy and elegant desserts there is.  Plus it’s infinitely versatile — use whatever flavor vegan ice cream or sorbet you want in equal proportion to your favorite vegan whipped cream and top with a complimentary sauce, such as chocolate, caramel, lemon, or berry.  Sprinkle on some nuts, if you like, and top with whipped cream and mint.

That’s all there is to it!

Here’s Simon checking out the So Delicious goodies:

simon-so-del-img_2271-crop

 

 

 

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Cookout with Summer Squash and Corn Bake

burgers on the grill

This hottest summer on record has put a bit of a damper on our al fresco dining — it’s just been too hot to eat outside.  But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been braving the heat for a few minutes to do some grilling! In addition to many meals consisting solely of grilled vegetables, we’ve also enjoyed a few cookouts featuring the new Beyond Burgers from Beyond Meat, thanks to our dear friends Elissa and Bill who generously ferry otherwise impossibly-to-find vegan victuals out to the countryside from the DC area (one of the new places in the country where they are available).  These vegan burgers may appear almost too meat-like for some people, complete with a pink center, thanks to beet juice. They sure do great on the grill!

burger package

We’ve been serving them with all the fixings, including toasted buns, fresh lettuce, tomato, onion, and condiments.

burgers and buns

 

burger fixins

And great side dishes including this wonderful cucumber salad Elissa made with fresh-picked local cukes. (Elissa also took all of these food photos, too!)

cuke salad

We also enjoyed these fries I made with my new air-fryer (perfect for no/low-oil cooking + hot weather!)

air fryer fries

Another favorite dish at these get-together has been my merger of two Southern favorites: corn pudding and summer squash casserole. I call it “Corn and Summer Squash Bake.”

corn and squash bake

Anyone familiar with the original knows that in addition to the goodness of the namesake vegetables, these dishes are traditionally loaded with butter, eggs, milk, and other not-so-great ingredients.  I had an idea to combine what I liked best about both dishes into one delicious bake that has all the flavorful richness of the originals without any of the baggage.  Here’s the recipe:

Corn and Summer Squash Bake

2 cups chopped yellow summer squash

1/2 cup minced onion

Salt and ground black pepper

3 cups frozen yellow corn, thawed, divided

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon ground flax seed + 2 tablespoons warm water

1/4 cup nondairy milk

2 tablespoons minced jarred pimento or roasted red bell pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

1/3 cup shredded vegan cheddar (optional) (I didn’t use any)

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Spread the yellow squash and onion on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Spray lightly with cooking oil spray and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Roast until the vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Lightly oil an 8-inch baking pan and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the cooled squash and onion with 1 cup of the thawed corn kernels. Add the nutritional yeast, cornstarch, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, onion powder, turmeric, paprika, black pepper (to taste), flax mixture, and nondairy milk.  Process until smooth and creamy.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the pimientos, parsley, and remaining corn kernels.  Mix until well combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan, using a spatula to evenly spread it in the pan.  Sprinkle the top with panko and shredded cheddar, if using.  Bake for 30 minutes or until set. Let it cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings

 

I hope you’re enjoying your summer and managing to stay cool!

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Recipe Testing – Closed

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UPDATE:  Due to an overwhelming response (within just 2 hours of posting!) I have been flooded with emails from dozens of volunteers for recipe testing.  As I can only choose a few of you, this call for recipe testers is now CLOSED.  Many thanks to all of you for your interest. 

(P.S. If you’ve sent me an email and don’t hear back from me in the next few days, that means I already have enough testers chosen.  I apologize for not being able to respond to all of you personally.)

~Robin

Wanted: Dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers to test whole-food plant-based recipes between now and September 16th.

If you’re interested, here are some questions to help you decide if it’s right for you:

  • Do you enjoy cooking and cook often?
  • Are you willing test recipes that do not use any oil, salt, or sugar?
  • Are you detail-oriented and good at following recipes?
  • Have you had previous experience testing recipes?
  • Are you willing to provide a critique and photo of each recipe tested?
  • Are you able to test 10 to 15 recipes between now and September 16th?

If you’ve answered “YES” to the above questions and want to help me out with some recipe testing, let me hear from you! Send me an e-mail and tell me why you’d make a good recipe tester. Be sure mention if you’ve tested recipes before and if you can take photos of the recipes you test.

I know there are lots of great recipe testers out there, so let me hear from you no later than Friday, July 22nd. I’m sure it will be a tough decision to choose among so many wonderful cooks. If you’re chosen to be a recipe tester, I’ll e-mail you with the news on or before Monday, July 25th.

I look forward to hearing from you! You can email via the “Contact Robin” page on this website — just click “Contact Me.”

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