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Berry Semifreddo is “So Delicious”

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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:

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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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Chilled Glass Noodles with Snow Peas

 

glass noodles 100 best

I just realized it’s been over a month since my last post — I guess I must be really busy or having a lot of fun.  Actually, it’s been a little of both.  During these hot summer days I’ve been favoring chilled make-ahead meals that I can get ready in the morning.  It’s great to have a satisfying meal ready to eat at the end of the day.

One of my favorites is this recipe for Chilled Glass Noodles with Snow Peas and Baked Tofu.  The recipe is from my latest book, 100 Best Vegan Recipes. (Thanks to Zsu Dever for the photo.)

This light but satisfying salad should be prepared at least 30 minutes ahead of time for the best flavor. Made from mung bean flour, glass noodles are also called cellophane noodles, bean thread noodles, and harusame. You can make your own marinated baked tofu or buy it ready-made at well-stocked supermarkets and natural foods stores. Look for one marinated with Thai or Asian flavors for best results. If you’re not a fan of tofu, leave it out and add cooked shelled edamame instead. (You can also sub other veggies for the sno peas — it’s great with lightly steamed broccoli!)

Here’s the recipe.  I hope you enjoy it!

 

CHILLED GLASS NOODLES WITH SNOW PEAS AND BAKED TOFU

This recipe is from 100 Best Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson (c) 2016.

4 ounces glass noodles

1 (8-ounce) package marinated baked tofu, cut into 1/2-inch dice (or 1 1/2 cups cooked shelled edamame)

1 1/2 cups snow peas, trimmed and diagonally cut into 1-inch pieces (lightly blanched, if desired)

1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced

1 carrot, grated

1/4 cup minced scallions

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, crushed or chopped

3 tablespoons dark (toasted) sesame oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

 

  1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the noodles and remove from the heat. Let the noodles soak in the hot water until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and rinse under cold water. Cut the noodles into thirds and place them in a large bowl. Add the tofu, snow peas, cucumber, carrot, scallions, cilantro, and peanuts. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sesame oil, lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and sugar, stirring to blend well. Add the dressing to the salad and toss gently to combine. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to chill before serving.

 

 

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Mac and Cheesy Lucy Schaeffer

Today’s recipe is for my quickest and easiest mac and cheese — it’s the one I make when I don’t want to dirty the blender or turn on the oven or use a ton of ingredients.  Even though the recipe calls for two pots, I confess that I usually make it in just one pot (allowing the macaroni and broccoli to sit in the colander after draining while I make the sauce in the same pot and then add them back in).  I’ll share the recipe in a minute, but first, let’s get to the business at hand: announcing the two winners of the spectacular two-book giveaway!

One copy of Esther the Wonder Pig + one copy of Baconish with go to: Stephanie, who loves plant-based bacon on a BLT with avocado!

AND …. to double the pleasure of this great two-book giveaway, a second set of these two books will go to: Jennifer — who loves her plant-based bacon on Loaded Potato Soup!

Congrats to Stephanie and Jennifer — please contact me ASAP with your mailing addresses and I’ll see that the books get out to you both pronto. Thank you to all who entered the giveaway — I hope you get ahold of both of these books — I highly recommend them!

Now, how about some Stovetop Brocolli Mac and Cheesy???

 

STOVETOP BROCCOLI MAC AND CHEESY

Serves 4

This quick and easy cheesy mac is made on top of the stove, so there’s no need to heat up the oven. However, if you don’t plan to serve it right away, you can always put it in a casserole dish and keep it warm in a low oven. This recipe is from 100 Best Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson © 2016. Photo (c) Lucy Schaeffer.

 

12 ounces elbow macaroni or other bite-sized pasta

4 cups small broccoli florets

3/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups plain unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

  1. Cook the macaroni in a pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until it is al dente. During the last 2 or 3 minutes of the cooking time, add the broccoli to the pasta and cook until it is almost tender.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the nutritional yeast and flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Slowly add the almond milk, stirring until smooth. Add the soy sauce, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue stirring until smooth and thickened.
  3. When the pasta and broccoli are cooked, drain and return to the pot. Add the reserved sauce and stir until well mixed. Serve hot.

 

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I haven’t done a giveaway in a while and this one is very special.  It’s a two book giveaway (to one lucky person) to win a copy of Esther the Wonder Pig: Changing the World One Heart at a Time, the long-awaited story of the eponymous Internet sensation and animal ambassador, as told by Esther’s dads, the men who love and care for her, Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter.

PLUS… you’ll also win a copy of Baconish: Sultry and Smoky Plant-Based Recipes from BLTs to Bacon Mac & Cheese by Leinana Two Moons, an amazing new cookbook featuring recipes for plant-based bacon made from mushrooms, carrots, eggplant, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, seitan, and coconut, along with loads of delicious recipes that use them such as Pasta Carbonara, Cauliflower Bacon Gratin, and Maple-Bacon Doughnuts.  Best of all, Baconish is “Esther-approved!”

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If, like so many of us, you’ve been captivated by Esther and her winning smile, you’ll love reading the touching, funny, and inspiring story of Esther and her dads.  I love Esther and the way she has captured the hearts of so many fans.  She does a great job in showing people how funny, smart, and deserving of respect pigs (and all animals) are.  My hope is that thanks to Esther, more people will stop eating animals as they make the connection between the wonderful sentient beings and the food on their plate.

And as many of us already know, you can enjoy the salty, smoky crispy taste of bacon without the cruelty inherent in animal products and the recipes in Baconish show how to do it deliciously.

Would you like to own a copy of Esther the Wonder Pig AND Baconish?  Just leave a comment at the end of this post telling me your favorite way to enjoy plant-based bacon (mine is in a BLT with avocado!) and you’ll be entered in the giveaway.  BOTH books go to ONE lucky winner.  The giveaway ends on Wednesday, June 8th at midnight.  The winner will be announced on Thursday, June 9th.

While you wait to see if you’ve won, why not make a batch of tasty roasted chickpea bacon from Baconish? It makes a great snack or salad topper!

chickpeabacon CROPWEB

Roasted Chickpea Bacon

Makes 1 1/4 cups

Move over, hummus! There’s a much more glamorous chickpea dish in town. Here, the humble chickpea shows the world how it can transform into a smoky, salty, crunchy, utterly addictive delight, with just a hint of sweetness from brown sugar. These are perfect for topping salads, soups, adding to sandwich wraps, or just munching straight from the bowl. In fact, you might find yourself making double batches just to keep plenty of these snacks on hand.

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons tamari

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon smoked salt

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Using paper towels or a clean dishcloth, pat the chickpeas as dry as possible. The drier they are, the crunchier they will get. If there are any loose skins, pick those out and discard them. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of the oil, tamari, and liquid smoke. Add the chickpeas and toss until they are evenly coated.

Transfer the chickpeas to the baking sheet and arrange them in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, take them out to stir, and then bake another 10 minutes or until the chickpeas are dark brown and crunchy.

In another medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, brown sugar, and smoked salt. Add the warm chickpeas and toss until evenly coated. Serve warm or at room temperature. These will last a couple of days in an airtight container stored at room temperature but will lose their crunch, so it’s best to eat these immediately.

Recipe from Baconish by Leinana Two Moons © 2016 published by Vegan Heritage Press. Used with permission.

 

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