For the Batter:
For the Oat Crumb:
I know what you're thinking: 'Who bakes in July??' Me, I do.. every day that I work.. and then some, apparently. It's just that.. where I work there are only a few little vegan treats that I get to make here and there and the bulk of the regular, everyday pastries are 'normal' aka nonvegan. I need to cut coffee cakes every single day and it kind of breaks my heart a little because I love coffee cake and I can never eat any of it! So on my day off, I decided to veganize this beautiful, streusel topped cake of pure joy. Bonus, my giant container of cold brew was ready to be enjoyed. Iced coffee makes baking in the summer heat quasi-acceptable, yes?
So often when I tell people that I bake for a living, the first question is 'you're a vegan baker??' Unfortunately, no, my dear. I have yet to work exclusively for vegans. Work is nonvegan, home baking is vegan fo sho. Usually, the next question is 'what do you use for substitutes?' to which I typically counter with 'darlin, you're gonna need to be more specific than that.' As many of you probably know, milk is mindlessly easy to substitute. There are tons of nondairy milks out there on the market of varying levels of fat content and creaminess (which is so cool and useful +1 for vegans.) Then there's butter. I personally prefer coconut oil in most recipes, but there are plenty of other substitutes for butter as well. The hard part is eggs. That's what everyone is really asking when they inquire about subs. It's also very hard to answer because eggs have a ton of different possible substitutes, but you have to know what works in what you're making. Bananas, applesauce, flax meal, chia seeds.. they all have a place and they all certainly have places where they don't belong. Then sometimes, this is what really confuses people, sometimes you don't need an egg substitute at all and your baked goods will still turn out all right. Science is really my favorite part about baking. This is one of those whacky recipes where you can kiss those egg substitutes goodbye (or, ya know, save them for when you really need them.)
I made this whole coffee cake on a whim and I certainly wasn't going to eat it all (or I had to really try not to.) So, luckily, I have plenty of feedback on this recipe from all the friends I force fed pieces to. Don't worry, once they had a bite it was much less forceful and much more 'why didn't you cut a bigger piece?' My roommate actually had two pieces and said he wouldn't have even known it was vegan! Which is, of course, my favorite compliment. All around, I was totally satisfied with this recipe. I was also really happy with the beauty of this cake. This might be the most pictures I've included in a post, but that's alright cause it deserves it. This cake is a rockstar. I'm gonna let it shine.
I added some rolled oats in the crumb topping because I thought it would be fun. It was, it was a great choice. They make it feel like you aren't just eating little chunks of sugar on top of a fluffy base of sugar. Oats are healthy.. right? Healthy coffee cake. You can go all out and add in some mixed berries or chopped nuts as well and trick your friends into not feeling guilty about eating cake for breakfast! Or you can just not care because we all deserve a little treat once in a while. You're worth it. Make some cold brew, bake in July, eat coffee cake, be happy.
Coffee Cake with Oat Crumb
Happy 4th to my American followers! I know I'm posting this the day of, so you may already have your meal planned for this evening, but these recipes are great for any summer get together! Also, if you're a late planner, like me (I have a party to attend around 3pm and I still don't know what I'm making!) hopefully these recipes will give you some inspiration. So, without further ado, here are some crowd-pleasing summer recipes for you and yours:
Salads & Sides:
Tempeh Brutus Salad (Vegan Caesar Salad)
This salad uses the healthy fat of avocado to make a delicious, creamy dressing and sunflower seeds to make the parmesan. It's yummy, light, and lemony. Quick to throw together and will certainly please your nonvegan friends. Make a big bowl of this one to share!
Thai Inspired Summer Salad (Raw & GF)
This salad uses a mix of fresh fruits and veggies for a light and healthful base. It's then topped with a creamy peanut dressing, chopped peanuts for texture, and hemp seeds for a boost of protein. It's also raw and gluten-free!
Whole Wheat Tortilla Chips & Salsa
Impress your friends by making your own tortilla chips! If going to a larger gathering, be sure to double (or even triple) this recipe. I promise you they will disappear! Included is our very own fresh salsa recipe.
Burgers & Sandwiches:
Teriyaki Black Bean Burgers with Wasabi Aioli
This may not be your standard American burger, but it sure is delicious! This is also one of our most popular recipes. It's tangy and fresh, best when topped with a slice of grilled pineapple.
Lentil Sloppy Js (GF)
These are my go-to for summer barbecues. Even my father was impressed by these (I actually made them last 4th of July!) They are a hit. Your nonveg friends will surely be jealous.
Baltimore Style Chickpea Cakes (GF)
Fresh and summery, these chickpea cakes are superb. Loaded with scallion and lemon, they taste like summer in a patty.
Another treat I made last 4th of July. Seriously, you will not be able to tell the difference between this crust and any nonvegan crust. It's flaky and delicious. We topped ours with stars last year for Americana vibes.
In previous posts, I've mentioned that I never enjoyed eating animal products as a kid. I decided to become a vegetarian at a very young age, around 10 years old. However, I did continue eating seafood for a while longer. One of my favorite foods were crab cakes. I loved the bright flavors, lots of lemon, and crunch from the fresh veggies. In my opinion, they were the perfect blend of summer smushed into one delicious patty. For me, recreating that delicious blend was a must.
I chose to use chickpeas as my base because.. well, because I love chickpeas. I also chose them based on color. Since we are going to be adding fresh veggies, I really wanted the colors to stand out. Not to mention, when they are fried or grilled, you get a really lovely brown on the outside. To add texture to these crab cakes, I chose to use grated zucchini. It may not have the most crab-like texture, but I was focused more on flavors in this recipe. For a texture closer to crab cakes, replace the zucchini with roughly chopped artichoke hearts or hearts of palm. Another reason I chose to use zucchini is that it's a whole food and artichoke hearts or hearts of palm are most often found in cans. I'm not a fan of using canned goods too often.
For some crunch, we'll be using finely chopped celery and red bell pepper. I love the crisp, freshness of celery. I know some people hate it for the string-y texture, but chopped up and mixed into a patty like this one or a salad, it's really lovely. The red bell pepper also adds a nice crunch and a bit of sweetness. I've also included a mixture of spices reminiscent of Old Bay seasoning. I find that pre-mixed seasonings such as Old Bay or Cajun seasonings are far too salty. However, if you prefer or have it on hand, feel free to use it to taste. We've also thrown in plenty of scallions and lemon juice.
Finally, I chose to top the chickpea cakes with a scallion aioli. I have yet to perfect my vegan mayo recipe. As you can see in some of the pictures, it began to melt from the heat of the crab cakes. While I work on stabilizing my mayo recipe, I would suggest using your favorite store-bought or homemade vegan mayo and folding in scallions, a bit more lemon juice, and black pepper. Typically, crab cakes are served with mashed potatoes, but I like to keep them light. In my opinion, the mayo is enough of a creamy contrast that the side should be something fresh and simple. The first time I made these, I grilled some corn and asparagus, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. The second time, I opted for a fresh salad. Had I thought of it earlier, I would have done something with celery root and fennel. Here's your opportunity to get creative! I would love to see what you pair these guys with and how you present them. If you instagram, be sure to tag us when you try our recipes using #cookitkind or @cookitkind.
Baltimore Style Chickpea Cakes (Gluten-Free)
Why should Caesar just get to stomp around like a giant while the rest of us try not to get smushed under his big feet? Brutus is just as cute as Caesar, right? Brutus is just as smart as Caesar, people totally like Brutus just as much as they like Caesar..
Many of you have probably realized by now that when I'm trying to emulate a nonvegan dish, I like to give it a different name, while playing off the original name. The very first thing that came to mind when thinking of 'Caesar' was the above Mean Girls quote. So, we're going with Brutus, because people will totally like this salad just as much as they like Caesar salads.
Before I get into this mean, green masterpiece I must explain why I had to stop posting for a bit. I had some issues going on at the place I was working. I was the head cake decorator and both of my assistants left in the same week. I was then left to do the work of three people, every day of the week until we had people trained to replace them. So, not only was I working every day, but I was working extra long hours. I had almost zero time to myself, but.. I have since regained some peace in my life and I'm excited to start cooking real food to share with you again.
The inspiration for this came one night while I was throwing together whatever I had in my fridge to make a quick dinner. I chopped up some tempeh and threw it in a pan and as it was cooking I realized how similar it looked to grilled chicken. That's when it dawned on me to do a Caesar salad. Even as a kid, I never ate much meat, but I was always down with a salad. I know a lot of these recipes when I'm trying to recreate a nonvegan dish, I admit to you that I've probably never even eaten the original dish, but this one I have had. Not only that, but I swear every time my family when out to eat when I was growing up, my mother got chicken Caesar salad. It was kind of funny tossing this salad together because it actually smelled a lot like nonvegan Caesar salad, which has a very distinct smell to me that is tied to the memory of my mom. First, I was entertained by the smell. Then, I tasted this salad.. mm..
We're going pretty hard in the lemon with this salad. Of course, there is lemon in the dressing, but I also chose to season my tempeh with some lemon zest and fresh cracked pepper. I cut my block into bite size pieces, then tossed with in olive oil with a bit of lemon juice, the zest, pepper, sea salt, and paprika. It smelled delicious. I let that marinade for a bit before cooking it. When I made this salad, I roasted my tempeh in the oven as I was already preheating it for the croutons. I wouldn't suggest doing this, I think the tempeh browns much more evenly in a pan and it also retains more moisture. In fact, since it is summer, if you don't want to turn your oven on at all, you can also brown your croutons in a pan.
I have to say, my favorite aspect of this salad was definitely the 'parmesan' seed cheez. I knew I wanted to avoid cashews, so I opted for sunflower seeds as my base. I threw in some hemp seeds because they have a much softer texture, nutritional yeast for the cheesy flavor, garlic and sea salt, and then a bit of olive oil to help it all clump together nicely. I put it all in my food processor, tasted a bit of it, and was overcome with joy. Seriously, this stuff tastes so amazing.. expect some tomato pies with parmesan topping in the future, because I basically want to put this on everything now. Delicious.
As for the bed of this salad, I chose to use a large head of romaine, but I also added a small bunch of chopped kale for a boost of vitamins. While I think it added a lot to the salad in terms of nutritional value and flavor, the kale is optional. If it's easier to stick with romaine, feel free! This salad will surely please your nonvegan friends. It can be served as a main dish or a side and it's the perfect guest at a dinner party with friends.
Tempeh Brutus Salad
Spring is finally here and I already have a huge list of potential post ideas waiting for the moment I'm finally able to get my hands on fresh, in-season produce. I'm thrilled that I get to spend my spring and summer living in a city that has farmer's markets.. basically all the time. You should be excited too because this means I'll be wandering around bins of produce just brainstorming about food to share.
I may be jumping the gun a bit on my produce selection for this recipe, but I had some mixed berries in my freezer that weren't getting much use. Typically, I would throw a few in my oatmeal in the morning, but lately I've been leaving for work a bit earlier and haven't had time to make a good breakfast. Because of the warm weather, I've decided to start walking to work. I had been taking the subway all winter, but now I have a 3 mile walk (that's 6 miles a day!) and it takes a little bit more time to do that than to hop on the subway. My need for a grab-and-go type of breakfast was the inspiration for this one.
Keep in mind that these are supposed to be 'Oatmeal To-Go.' They aren't going to be crunchy like a granola bar and they aren't very sweet. The idea is to have a healthy, portable breakfast option that you can make yourself using whole ingredients as opposed to the sodium- and preservative-filled options available to be purchased. The recipe is similar to how I would make my oatmeal in the morning. I always add flax meal and chia seeds for the nutritional benefits, but here, they work as a binder to hold the bars together. I also use hemp seeds in my oatmeal for the protein. They are not included in this recipe, but if you want to up the protein in these bars, feel free to add some! All around they are pretty customizable. If you want a bit more crunch, go ahead and add some chopped nuts. (I would suggest pecans) Or if you want them a little sweeter, add a bit of brown sugar.
Mixed Berry Oatmeal-To-Go Bars
Currently, I have about one million things to be excited about and another million things to be stressed out about. We're going to stick to the positives and call that being 'balanced' rather than 'roller-coaster-of-emotions-ranging-from-euphoria-to-insanity.' One thing to be happy about is the return of the sun. It's spring, it's warm, I'm happy, I can walk to work (3 miles each way, holla!) and drink cold-brewed coffee by the gallon. Unfortunately, in the world of cake decorating, the arrival of spring also means one huge stressor: wedding season. It isn't here yet, but it's coming. Soon enough, I will be a gumpaste flower machine.
Before I become a zombie, though, I've decided to play around with some recipes that I have been meaning to try for a while now. First up is this seriously delicious Buffalo Tempeh Pizza. I've seen this pizza done countless ways, using chickpeas, cauliflower, and seitan and I just don't love any of those versions. Chickpeas and seitan are great in theory, because they provide a protein element, but I don't think they're winners. I tried this recipe with chickpeas and they don't really take on the buffalo flavor. I found it a little bland, so I scrapped that idea. I never attempted seitan because it seems like serious carb overkill to put wheat gluten on a crust of wheat. Cauliflower seemed like it would be alright, but I wanted something a little chewier..
The first time I had tempeh, I hated it. I mean I really hated it. I avoided buying or eating dishes that contained tempeh because I was so turned off by it the first time. Then, while out to eat, I wound up ordering a dish that contained tempeh without even realizing it. I loved it.. like a lot. So I bought some and played around and put it in so many things you would think I would be sick of it by now and start to hate it again. Well, nope! I just love it even more and I have two packages of tempeh in my fridge right now. I would say I have a tempeh problem, but it's not really a problem to love a food that is so delicious and versatile and good for you. Nope, not a problem at all.
Tempeh was the perfect answer to my 'what to buffalo' question for a multitude of reasons. It provides a protein element, it has the chewy texture I was looking for, and it's a blank canvas waiting to absorb whatever sauce you put on it. I'm really glad I stopped hating on tempeh.
To add depth, I sauteed my buffalo tempeh with red pepper, onion, and garlic. I also topped my pizza with some slices of celery after baking to add a crisp, fresh taste in contrast to the heat of the sauce and creaminess of the ranch. Lastly, I included an optional base sauce in the notes for the recipe. I find that most buffalo pizzas simply use the hot sauce to coat the pizza. I made this pizza twice and the first time I did just that, but I found it a little dry. This could be because sauce is my favorite part of a pizza, I like my pizzas very saucy. So this is up to personal preference.
Now the ranch, I was very proud of. I like to make everything from scratch. (I actually made the pizza crust from scratch as well, but it's not perfected so I won't be including the recipe) Of course, you could go out and purchase some Veganaise and add parsley, dill, and chives, but that's not as fun, or rewarding. (But seriously, you can do that if making the ranch from scratch isn't your thing) I used coconut milk because it's the creamiest dang thing in the world. Threw it in a blender with some fresh herbs, lemon, fresh ground pepper, and chia seeds to thicken. Then, you set it in the fridge and wait for it to thicken up and you've got some vegan ranch. I was never on the whole ranch bandwagon. Some people put it on everything which.. I just find makes everything taste like ranch, it doesn't enhance wait your eating. However, this ranch I really enjoy. First of all, it balances out the heat of the pizza. Also, it takes one trillion times better than anything you'd buy at the store thanks to the fresh herbs and lemon juice. I mean, really, why does anyone buy anything from a bottle.. It was so good, I was dipping my crust in it.
Buffalo Tempeh Pizza with Homemade Ranch
If making the ranch from scratch is not your forte, you can use about a cup of your favorite vegan-mayo and add to it the lemon, herbs, and seasonings to taste.
For the pizza crust, I do not currently have a recipe that is perfected to share with you. Once I do, I will make a separate post and link back to it. There are plenty of vegan pizza recipes out there, but for convenience, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Wegmans all carry vegan crusts. If you don't have access to any of those stores, Pillsbury has a pizza crust that is 'accidentally' vegan.
For the sauce on the pizza, I find that most people simply use additional hot sauce. I, personally, find that a little dry and prefer a pizza with more sauce, so I like to use a bit of tomato paste mixed with hot sauce. If you like a saucy pizza, I would recommend doing this for yours.
Good morning, followers! I've decided to try something new on the website and I hope that's okay with you guys. In addition to recipe posts, I will be starting some vegan 'lifestyle' posts. These will include some reviews on books, cookbooks, eateries, etc. as well as some tips for becoming vegan, staying vegan, and a smattering of other subjects.
As some of you may already know, I am based out of Philadelphia. Philly is a great place to be a vegan! Not only do most restaurants have vegan options, but there are also plenty of all-vegan eateries. This is partially what inspired me to start these lifestyle posts. I'm eating all this delicious vegan food and I want to share it with you guys. First on my list is one of the spots I was most anticipated to try when I first moved to the city: Vegan Commissary.
As a baker, it's rare that I make anything more than coffee and oatmeal for breakfast. I don't want to get up any earlier than I already need to. It's also very rare that I will have a weekend morning off, which are, of course, made for elaborate breakfasts. On an occasion, I will give myself a little treat, a little Monday brunch. Typically, I would make pancakes because they're so easy to veganize, but I was feeling adventurous and wanted to try something a little harder, requiring a bit more thought and creativity: French Toast.
Making something vegan that is typically almost entirely made of eggs can be a challenge. To make things a bit easier for my first attempt, I chose to do a banana French toast. This really helped thicken the dipping mixture. Also, bananas are amazing so why not! Throw some walnuts in there (or just top it with peanut butter) and you're golden. Absolutely golden. You're a golden brown slice of delicious vegan french toast.
Key things to remember when making French toast: You want to let the bread really soak up all that deliciousness and you also want to use a generous amount of oil for frying. Not like drowning in oil, but you definitely want it to be there. I prefer using coconut oil because I tell myself I'm healthy.
Banana Walnut French Toast
I have never had pulled pork anything. Never. Not once. I may not know what pork actually tastes like, but I can tell you that these tacos taste great, pork-like or not. Pretty spicy, a little sweet, nicely balanced with a crunchy slaw.. I was pretty happy with the result. They were well-received, not just from my mouth, but from a friend as well. These tacos do require a few ingredients you may not have on hand, but they make up for that by being incredibly easy to execute. You will not only feel like a master of Asian-Mexican fusion, but you will also impress whoever you serve these to. Even if it's just your own stomach.
Our 'pork' is jackfruit. Jackfruit is a fruit found primarily in South Asian cuisine. They will not be easy to find in a typical grocery store, so if you can, go to an Asian market or check with a 'non-traditional' grocer. Luckily for me, I live just a few blocks from Asian markets, so it was pretty easy for me to find. They are massive, so I prefer to buy them in cans instead of trying to lug one of those crazy fruits home. One day, I will make the attempt and make some fresh jackfruit, but for now, the cans will do. When buying the cans, though, you need to make sure they are in water rather than syrup. Canned jackfruit also has less flavor than fresh. While this is a negative if you want to try jackfruit on it's own, it is very positive for these tacos. It gives us a mostly blank canvas to work on.
For the barbecue sauce, we are also using an ingredient that may not be very easy to find, but this one has a substitute. To make Korean barbecue sauce, you should be used Korean fermented hot pepper paste, which is called gochujang. If you can find it, I would highly recommend sticking with it. However, if you can't, a combination of sriracha and tomato paste is an acceptable substitute. If you don't have that on hand.. well, I don't really know how to help you.. in any aspect of your life, to be quite honest. Who doesn't love sriracha?
To help cool down the heat of the barbecue sauce and to add a little crunch, we're going to top these tacos with a lightly pickled slaw. I chose to use nappa cabbage, snow peas, scallions, and some sesame seeds. I also added the juice of a lime to cut down the heat in the sauce. Feel free to experiment with the slaw a bit, maybe add some julienned cucumbers or daikon.
Now, of course, because I have never had pork, I made these for a friend who does eat meat. His commentary? They tasted great, the sauce was delicious, and they looked very realistic. However, he said that the texture was not the same as normal pulled pork. I have seen some other recipes for 'pulled jackfruit' that bake it in the oven after cooking. Apparently, this helps with the texture, making it more pork-like. Since this wasn't an issue for me and, honestly, since I don't even know what texture I would be looking for, I didn't bake mine. Either way, you should make these tacos asap. After all, it is Tuesday!
Korean BBQ Pulled Fruit Tacos
As I type this, I am preparing myself for the impending blizzard that is supposed to happen tonight. I have some movies picked out on Netflix, my coziest sweater on, and Bane has been getting my bed warm for me all day. In a bit, I'll get started on some snow cooking or baking. I am not a fan of snow or cold, so the best way I deal with a snowstorm is so get in the kitchen and keep my hands warm. If you have the same mindset, or if you could just use a delicious treat after your snow-ventures, get those ovens pre-heated because these cookies are perfect for the occasion.
I made these cookies a few different times this winter in an attempt to perfect the recipe. One night, I was on my way home from a friend's house who lives outside the city. I took the train and, on my return, I noticed (read: smelled) there was a Cinnabon in the station. The scent of warm cinnamon baked goods haunted me on my walk back to my apartment and, once there, I decided I needed something cinnamon-y. When I was baking artisan breads, I also prepared the pastries, which included cinnamon rolls. I perfected the art of tightly rolling and cutting cinnamon rolls, so that wasn't a problem. I didn't have any yeast. So it dawned on me.. I could probably make something similar, but in cookie form. They won't be the soft, pillowy deliciousness that is a warm cinnamon bun, but a nice, slightly crisp sugar cookie instead. Well, it fulfilled my cinnamon craving the first go, but there was still some work to be done before I considered the recipe 'blog-worthy.'
I had put off the recipe testing for a bit, until my roommate told me he had a dinner party to attend. The party was hosted by vegans, and asked if I could bake something for him to bring. Of course, I was delighted to test a new recipe on strangers and fellow vegans, so I agreed. I decided to give this recipe another go and they turned out great. He came home and told me that everyone loved them, there wasn't a single cookie left on the plate. I took that as a victory, mission accomplished. So now, I bring this vegan-dinner-party-approved recipe to all of you. Enjoy!
Cinnamon Roll Cookies
My name is Ellen Jane and I spend my free time doing vegan experiments in my kitchen so you don't have to. Take a look around.