Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes with Passion Fruit Cream Cheese Frosting

Imagine a triple attack on your taste buds… caramelized fruit – rich vanilla – tangy topping… well let me show you how! There is a show on the Food Network channel called The Best Thing I Ever Made. One episode featured Elizabeth Falkner making her favorite treat, Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes with Passion Fruit Frosting. Now I LOVE pineapple upside down cake so I got to thinking how I could recreate this treat but also make it vegan as I had a vegan friend coming over for lunch the next day. The show offered no recipe so I went about making my own. Borrowing my pal Melissa‘s vegan vanilla cupcake recipe was a good start. I also decided to make the frosting a cream cheese based one – because cream cheese makes everything taste better – right? I suppose you could use canned pineapple but I recommend fresh as it has a totally different flavour than the canned. You could un-veganize this buy simply replacing all vegan ingredients with the regular stuff. I’ve had several people now tell me these are the best cupcakes they’ve ever had… I’d say give these a go next time you need to impress!

Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes with Passion Fruit Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

Cupcakes: (makes 12)
1 cup soy or almond milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons real vanilla
1/4 of a fresh pineapple diced into centimeter size pieces
1/2 cup? brown sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with cupcake papers and put pineapple in the bottoms. sprinkle with brown sugar (about a tbsp each).

Mix vinegar and milk and allow to curdle for a few minutes.

Cream oil and sugar in a medium bowl. Add vanilla, cream a bit longer then add milk. Mix all dry ingredients well and add to your wet. Do NOT over mix, just until the lumps are gone.

Fill with batter and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Passion Fruit Frosting
(This recipe is doubled. You can freeze the other half and pull it out when needed for your next batch. Great time saver!)

250 grams cream cheese (use tofuti to be vegan)
1/4 cup vegan butter
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1/4 passion fruit pulp
4+ cups of icing sugar

Cream cheese and butter, add vanilla and the passion fruit pulp. Add in icing sugar, one or two cups at a time until frosting has nice firm peaks. Frost cupcakes after they have cooled and try not to eat two of them!

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Faux Stowe Fruit, Nut and Rosemary Crackers

My friend Brianna sent me a recipe recently (the one below this one). It is reminiscent of Leslie Stowe Raincoast Crisps – but better – and cheaper. This recipe makes 3 loaves. Use one, keep the other two frozen till you need them, or half this recipe and make two smaller loaves. I decided to give it a try however I didn’t have all of her ingredients. I simply substituted what I had in the kitchen and came up with a really nice combination. These are great paired with any kind of cheese or used for dipping. Sorry! Not a whole lot of pictures for this recipe.

Faux Stowe Fruit, Nut and Rosemary Crackers

2 cups flour (wholewheat or white or combo of)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk with 2 tbsp vinegar)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup plump golden raisins
1/2 cup currants
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped pistachios
1/4 cup chopped dates
1 cup chia or flax seeds, coarsely ground
3 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, stir together first four ingredients.
Add buttermilk and honey, stir slightly.
Add rest of ingredients and stir until just blended (it will be quite wet).
Pour batter into three greased bread pans. Fill each pan to about 1.5
to 2 inches deep.
Bake for 45 minutes and let cool on rack.
Freeze for at least an hour or until a loaf is needed.


Thinly slice with a bread knife and lay on a cookie
sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping crackers over halfway through
baking time. Let them cool and then store in airtight container.

OR!!

2 cups flour (wholewheat or white or combo of)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk with 2 tbsp vinegar)
1/2 cup honey
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup flax seeds, coarsely ground
2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
Cooking instructions same as above.

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Filed under Appetizers, Breads, cheese, Cookies, Dips & Spreads, Snacks, Vegetarian

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Strangely I’ve never made a stuffed mushroom before. I saw these organic portobello’s at my local grocer and grabbed them. They stared at me for a few days every time I opened up the fridge with me wondering “what am I going to do with these guys?” I wanted to use them as a meat substitute, served with pasta or rice. Cheese makes everything taste amazing right? Right. So I came up with these guys – and oh boy were they ever GOOD. Sorry the pics aren’t that great this time…


Ingredients:

4 large Porotobello mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped broccoli
1/4 chopped spinach (optional)
1/4– 1/2 cup cream cheese
1 tablespoon of pesto or chopped basil (optional)
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh pepper
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush any dirt off of the mushrooms and pull out the center stem. Brush the inside gills with olive oil and crushed garlic.

In a separate bowl mix finely chopped brocolii and spinach with cream cheese. I also chucked in a leftover tablespoon of pesto. Add breadcrumbs and seasonings and half the mozzarella cheese.

Fill each mushroom with the filling and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake for around 20 minutes or until the cheese on top is bubbling and browning.

Serve with pasta or a nice big salad? Really up to you. I served ours with freshly made spinach pasta with pesto. I could have eaten another one it was so delicious!

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Best Vegan Vegetarian Spring Rolls Ever

Everybody knows that a good Canadian house party happens in the kitchen. The filling for these easy spring rolls can be made ahead of time and then rolled and fried up fresh for surrounding friends when it’s time for food. It’s fun to watch these being made… a mini cooking show in your kitchen.

I made these the other day for my pal Melissa and her husband Jason. I’d never made spring rolls before but needed something to compliment my vegan Pho. I scoured the Internets for a recipe, but couldn’t find one that worked. So I decided to combine around 4 recipes (less the meat) and came up with this tasty little roll. I’m not even joking when I say I think these are the best rolls I have ever had. My sister came over today to have me show her how to make them. I had fried up a few the other night at Christmas dinner for an appy and Trin was found hiding in the kitchen eating them. “SOOO GOOD – RIGHT!?” Be sure to get the proper wrappers if you are going vegan. You don’t want egg roll wrappers. BTW this will make around 15 rolls…

Best Vegan Vegetarian Spring Rolls Ever

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons mushroom sauce (vegetarian oyster sauce)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional)
1/2 bag of dried Shiitake mushrooms chopped
1 cup bean threads
1 medium carrot shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ginger finely grated
1/2 cup scallions or green onion minced
Fresh cracked pepper
24 pack of spring roll wrappers
2 tablespoons of flour
corn or canola oil for frying

Submerge the dry mushrooms in water and soak for 2 hours. Squeeze out the water and remove stems and slice the mushrooms thin. Keep a little bit of the water for cooking later.

Soak the bean thread noodles for around 10 minutes in room temperature water until soft. Remove them from water and cut them into a 2 – 3 inch length.

In a medium size frying pan on medium low heat add a few tablespoons of oil. Add minced garlic, saute for a a minute and then add the ginger. Continue to cook for a few minutes on low heat. Turn heat up to to medium and add chopped mushrooms, mushroom sauce, soy sauce and a little fresh pepper and cook for around 5 minutes. Add some of the reserved mushroom water if it starts getting dry.

Remove from the heat and combine with the noodles, sesame oil, shredded carrots and diced scallions.

Set aside and prepare your wrappers. Mix 2 tablespoons of flour with enough water to form a paste – runny like white glue. Carefully peel off a few of the spring roll wrappers and lay them out. Apply flour glue as shown.

Add around 2 tablespoons of filling. Wrap up tightly as show and set on a plate covered with a damp towel.

Heat oil to 350-365°F. You should have 1.5 inches of oil in your pot (you don’t want it crazy hot, popping and splashing. If you put a drop of water in the pot it should sizzle around it). I use a smaller pot and do them in small batches to save on the oil.

Continuously turn in the beginning to be sure they don’t stick to the pot. They take around 4 to 5 minutes to cook.

Remove from pot and place on an old paper bag or cookie cooling rack to drain off the oil (don’t use paper towel as it will make them soggy). They stay pretty hot for a long time!

These are great dipped in Thai sweet chili sauce or plum sauce. Up to you! Also wrapping them in a fresh piece of salad with some basil or cilantro – YUM.

I tried freezing them (and they did OK) but if you plan to, flash freeze them. Place on a cookie sheet apart from each other, and after they have frozen then wrap well in cellophane to freeze.

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Italian Sausage, Swiss Chard & Bean Soup

It be COLD outside here in Vancouver BC! What is better than some warm soup with crusty bread after a long day of work and/or child rearing? A TV show I discovered on a weird Italian channel we have has given me some inspiration to create a new soup flavour. Lidia’s Family Table is one of my new favorite cooking shows. She’s not annoying to watch and I’ve learned a lot about food and new ways to look at certain ingredients. I took her Savory Potato Broth and then made my own additions for this soup. The broth is easy to make and gives a great base for anything you’d like to add to it. She uses this broth as a base for several of her own soups. You can make the large amount that she does and freeze the other half for later.

Ingredients:

One bunch red or green Swiss Chard
1 can Cannellini or Navy beans, rinsed
2 spicy Italian sausages
8 cups of Savory Potato Broth
1/2 lemon juiced
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
day old baguette for garnish
fresh chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Squeeze Italian sausages out of their casings into a frying pan in little balls and fry up until cooked.

Heat broth and add the can of rinsed beans and cooked sausage. Taste and season again. It may need more salt.

Chop up the Swiss chard (remove long stems) and stir into the soup. Add lemon juice, this will brighten it up a bit. Cook for around 25 to 30 minutes or until chard is soft and no longer crunchy.

Slice bread up into thin slices, brush with olive oil. Scrub each piece with a chunk of garlic (cut in half) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Chop up the ends of the baguette into crouton size and toss them in a little oil and salt and pepper. Place in a 425 degree oven for around 8 to 10 minutes or until crispy.

Serve soup with a few croutons, fresh grated Parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley. SO good!

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Filed under Meats, Soup

Vegetarian TVP Beefy ‘Meatballs’

My friend Anne Marie and her little man Emmet were coming over today to hang out as their floors are being replaced in their home. I thought it might be nice to send my vegetarian friend home with some dinner as I’m sure her and husband Rick will be more inclined to move their furniture back in then cook a healthy meal. I scoured the internets to find a vegetarian ‘meatball’ that had a beefy flavour. I found one and decided to give them a try. They come from the blog A Vegan For Dinner  and due to her daunting request to reference her I thought it was in my best interest! ;) “But this recipe is so fab, if I ever find out you stole it and didn’t give me credit, I will so figure out where you live and sign you up for weird sexual newsletters and/or incontinence catalogs through the mail. That’s a promise.”

These would be great with a simple tomato sauce over spaghetti or sweet and sour sauce over rice as she references. Anything with an asterix * beside it means I’ve either changed her recipe or made an addition to it. I’m hoping she won’t mind!?


Vegetarian TVP Beefy ‘Meatballs’

In a small bowl, mix:
1 cup hot water
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoon soya sauce
2 tablespoon vegan beef bouillon
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon thyme
*1/2 teaspoon oregano
*1/2 teaspoon basil
*1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
*1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)

*Saute in olive oil till translucent: (I couldn’t help but add a little fresh onion and garlic)
1/2 minced onion
2 cloves garlic crushed

Then Stir In:
3/4 cup TVP crumbles
Allow to sit until cool. *I reheated liquid in microwave before adding TVP.

Vegans: Mix 1 Tbsp ground flax *or chia seeds with 3 Tbsp water. Beat with a fork, then lit sit until it begins to gel. Set aside.
*Vegetarians: Wisk up one egg.

In a large bowl, mix:
2 tablespoon cornmeal
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoon flour
3 tablespoon vital wheat gluten flour

When TVP mixture is cool, stir it into the dry ingredients along with flax/or egg and water/TVP mixture. Mix well and knead dough into a solid ball. *Let this rest for around 5 minutes and allow the gluten fibers to form and relax.

Shape into 32 “meatballs” and fry in oil until brown. Alternately, you can bake on an oiled pan at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. *I divided the dough into 4. Then each of those into 8 small balls. I placed the salt shaker in the picture so you can see how small they are. I also forgot to add the chili flakes so i sprinkled them on the balls after putting them on the cookie sheet for baking.

Use as you would any other meatball, like spaghetti or sweet and sour sauce. Do not allow the meatballs to sit in the sauce for an extended period of time; add close to the end of the cooking period, just long enough to heat thoroughly. *I grated a ton of mozzarella and fresh chopped Italian parsley on mine. I seriously couldn’t tell it was not meat. Great recipe Tracy!!

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Filed under Meats, Vegan, Vegetarian

Sweet n’ Spicy Roasted Salsa

A recent  trip to Austin Texas made me revisit my love of homemade salsa. I have a good standby roasted salsa recipe that my friends love, but why not expand my repertoire? At 8am I sat on my pal Mia’s couch and chomped on chips and a salsa i found in their fridge (yes I eat chips and salsa for breakfast). It was super tasty for store bought salsa and upon looking at the ingredients I saw carrots! Carrots in salsa?? Back home now in rainy Vancouver Canada I decided to try and recreate the flavour for you all to enjoy. So here we go!

Sweet n’ Spicy Roasted Salsa

Ingredients:

1 corn cob
1 jalapeno pepper
3 hot skinny peppers (see pictures, no idea what they are called)
4 cloves garlic
1 large onion
1/2 a large carrot sliced (see pic)
5 to 6 tomatoes (have an extra fresh one to add if it gets too spicy)
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 lime juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder


Heat oven to broil. Place onion (peeled and cut in half) carrots chopped (see pic) and tomatoes on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle a little bit of olive oil on the carrots… Check on them every 5 minutes and turn them over to get them nice and burnt and roasted. Carrots will be done first – remove them when they look roasted.


Roast corn, garlic (leave skin on) and all of the peppers on a grill or in a frying pan (poke each pepper with a knife or they will explode while cooking). Peppers and garlic will be done before the corn, just set them aside when they are cooked.

When tomatoes and onions are all roasted and toasty put them into your food processor along with the carrots, peppers, garlic, lime juice and spices. Pulse till mixed well, but not super smooth. You want some texture.

Add spices and corn that you have chopped off the cob and the cilantro. Briefly pulse for a few seconds.

And that’s it! My favorite chips are Tostitos Multigrain. They are a little sweet and perfectly salty.

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Filed under Appetizers, Dips & Spreads, Vegan, Vegetarian