Tag Archives: coconut

Birthday CAKE!

My personal favorite birthday cake is chocolate and vanilla marble cake with coconut frosting. Being gluten-free and vegan makes this an adventure. We tried Wholesome Chow’s vanilla cake mix, chocolate cake mix (both prepared with vegetable oil and soy milk) and their vanilla frosting mix prepared according to their glaze instructions. with 1/4 tsp coconut extract and some flake coconut sprinkled over the top. We baked it according to the instructions but had to bake it for an additional 30 minutes before it became firm. Not a problem, if you ask me.

I brought it to a gathering with some omnivore/carnist friends and it disappeared. For how easy it was to make and how delicious, I’d recommend it to anyone out there. Also, belated blog happy birthday to co-author Melissa!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Virtual Vegan Potluck: Guava Cheesecake!

Today is a special one because you’re visiting a page that’s part of the Virtual Vegan Potluck! This is the second one that Turning Veganese has been fortunate enough to participate in and it’s a great way to look at lots of vegan food blogs and even some non-vegan blogs that are participating by presenting a vegan dish. I definitely recommend exploring. Use the “go forward” and “go back” buttons at the bottom of the page to participate.

I wanted to be sure that Florida culture came out in my Virtual Vegan Potluck contribution so I decided to include some local flare. Guava pastries are a staple in our Cuban heritage, coconut and lime are ubiquitous in Caribbean cuisine so I wanted to include them in this recipe, and pecans are here to represent the Southern elements in South Florida culture. This is an incredibly easy recipe and shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes to prepare. All you need is a good spring form pan and the ingredients.

First prepare the crust by combining the following in a bowl:

1 cup of medjool dates, soaked overnight in water, drained and blended until smooth

1 cup of shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened

1 cup of crushed pecans

1 cup of almond meal

1/4 tsp of vanilla extract

a pinch of cinnamon

Mix these until uniform, adding extra water if it’s dry. It should be crumbly and a little sticky.

Once you like the texture, moosh it into the bottom of your spring form pan.

Now that you’ve got your crust, we’ve got to make the ‘cheese’cake part. It’s simple too:

1 carton of silken tofu

1 tsp starch (we used arrowroot) dissolved in 1 tbsp of lime juice

7 ounces of guava paste

Put all of that into your blender and blend until smooth. Pour it over the crust and put it into your freezer.

I sprinkled mine with some additional coconut to make it extra pretty. It’ll be ready in 4 hours.

Remove the wall of your spring form pan and serve. It will get gooey as it melts so put your spring form base on a wide plate to catch anything that falls off the edge.

This concludes my part in the Virtual Vegan Potluck event and I hope you’ll visit all the other posts in the chain. If you’re new to Turning Veganese, I hope you’ll visit again. Click on the “go forward” or “go back” button below to see what else the Virtual Vegan Potluck has in store for you!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off to head to the Potluck!

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Lighter Green Thai Curry

Brent and I eat too much delicious food apparently and are trying to figure out more ways to enjoy our favorite foods without packing on the pounds. I decided to make some Thai green curry.

To start, Brent chopped this mountain of vegetables. We put just about everything that we had into this bad boy including

1 head of broccoli, cut into florets

1 lb. of green beans

2 portabella caps, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 onion, sliced

5 scallions, chopped

4 Thai peppers, sliced

a small knob of ginger

1 tin of bamboo shoots, drained

1 13.5 oz. can of light coconut milk

1.5 cups of almond, soy or coconut milk

1 handful of Thai basil (optional)

1 tbsp green curry paste

juice and zest from a lime (save half for wedges to garnish the dish)

1 drop of lemongrass extract or 1 stalk of lemongrass, pounded to release fragrance

olive oil

1 tsp coconut or turbinado sugar (more if you like it sweet)

salt to taste

Check curry pastes carefully. Many contain shrimp paste which is bad for anyone with an allergy and not suitable for vegans. I started by putting the Thai peppers, lemongrass or extract (remove the lemongrass before serving), onion and ginger into the pan with some olive oil.

I sauteed them until the onion started to brown. Then I added the coconut milk, lime zest, sugar and curry paste. I didn’t get as much zestyness as I wanted from the lime so I added some additional lemon zest (2 pinches) when I was adjusting the sweetness and seasonings.

Then we added the broccoli, green beans, and mushrooms and allowed them to steam lightly for 3-4 minutes while mixing them into the sauce. If you’re interested in adding some protein, a 2.5 cups of chickpeas or some pressed cubed tofu would make an excellent addition. I added the scallions, bamboo shoots and bell pepper about 5 minutes later. I squeezed the lime over it and mixed in the Thai basil. and stirred it until I could smell the basil.

We served it over quinoa with white wine. German style white wines compliment this kind of dish well, particularly riesling or gewurztraminer. It was definitely a spicy green curry but much lighter than I’m used to. I mostly tasted vegetables and peppery coconut which isn’t a bad thing. I’d love to hear how you lighten up your favorite dshes.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Minty Banana Colada!

Summer is definitely a time for frosty summery drinks and this is definitely a frosty summer drink. We combined the following in the blender:

1 frozen banana

1 tbsp shredded coconut

1 cup of coconut cream or coconut milk

1 tsp coconut sugar (more or less depending on your taste)

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1.5 cups of ice

1.5 cups almond milk

1/2-1 cup of rum (optional)

Blend this up to creamy perfection. Garnish with more mint. Share with friends!

This is Brent, Christie and Melissa, signing off!

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Put the Lime in the Coconut Rum and Mashed Papaya

Is it just me, or do cocktails taste better in the summertime? Don’t get me wrong: nothing beats a spiced up cocktail on a cold winter night. But yummy cool refreshing fruity cocktails when it’s hot out? Perfection. (An ice cold beer on a hot summer day is also perfection.)

This concoction requires three ingredients:

1-1 1/2 c papaya
1-2 shots Malibu
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and mix it all together. Yes… that’s a lot of Malibu in there. Don’t judge me; I was home for the night. Pour it into a glass over ice and garnish with a lime wedge. If you’re able, take it outside and enjoy it in the nice summer breeze.

Mmmmm…. rum… –Melissa

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Saag with Sweet Potato

Brent and I really love Indian food. We make several versions of Americanized favorites including saag. Typically saag is a spinach based sauce flavored with cilantro, chili and turmeric and usually includes chunks of potato, mushroom, and/or paneer. Paneer is a bland home-made cheese so we use tofu that we’ve marinated in lime juice instead. Today, however, we’re using cubes of sweet potato because we had a random sweet potato floating around the apartment (I just had a funny mental image). We put the following into the blender for a creamy base:

1 box of MoriNu soft silken tofu (If you’ve got a soy allergy, soak 1/2 cup of cashews overnight, drain them and add to your blender. This actually tastes marginally better but adds a lot of fat)

1 thumb sized piece of turmeric or 1 tsp powdered turmeric

5-7 cloves of garlic

a generous pinch of cinnamon

1 onion, diced

1 jalapeño pepper or generous spoon of chili paste

1 tablespoon of coconut sugar

This mixture was blended until creamy. Then I added the following greens in the following order, blending thoroughly between:

1 bunch cilantro (stems and leaves)

1 bunch of Swiss chard or mustard greens

1 bunch of spinach

The cilantro goes in first because the stems need to get cut finely. The stems have a lot of flavor. Swiss chard will make a milder saag, mustard greens will make it spicier. Spinach is just a wondrous vegetable. EAT IT!!! Frozen greens work fine for this recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I transferred the contents of the blender to my big pan and rinsed out the blender with almond milk (use soy if you’ve got a nut allergy) and put the milk into the pan. I started to heat it and added 1 sweet potato cut into bite sized pieces. A carton of water packed tofu or a few handfuls of mushrooms are great veggies to add to your saag.

Heat the saag through and stir frequently until the potato is cooked. It should be thick and make giant messy bubbles if unattended (hence the stirring).

This will take about half an hour. Add water, salt, spices, and pepper as needed. I also use a garam masala spice mix  that an Indian colleague brought me from his home Hyderabad instead of pepper. Cracked black pepper is better for most tastes. It looks like sewage but tastes like awesome!

We served this with quinoa that we prepared in the microwave with several green cardamom pods. I love saag and know it’s not for everyone. It’s very herbal and spicy and is too vegetal for some. That being said, We ate the whole pan and all the quinoa too… I’ve got a blood donation coming up and I need the iron and vitamin K!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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Granola: not just for hippies and hikers anymore!

Food dehydrators aren’t just for apple chips and other dried fruits and veggies. They’re also great for making your own granola. Brent and I have a generic recipe that’s pretty much fool proof.

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup buckwheat groats

1 tbsp flax or sesame seeds (optional)

1 cup dried fruit (we’re using 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1/2 cup goji berries)

1 cup  nuts (we’re using slivered almonds)

1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)

1 tablespoon of carob or cocoa powder (optional)

2-3 tablespoons of  jam (we’re using raspberry)

Combine the following in a large bowl and mix in the jam until the mixture begins to stick together. Spread it out on a drying sheet and dehydrate 4 hours. My dehydrator doesn’t have any heat settings or a timer. If yours does, don’t worry: this is fool proof, remember?

Buckwheat groats add a lovely crunch even if you decide not to add jam and dehydrate the mixture. When we make that instead, we call it museli. It’s got less sugar and is just as delicious. We put museli and granola over soy yogurt, fresh fruit, non-dairy ice cream or with regular cereal. It’s also great by itself as a snack. Buckwheat, oats, nuts and dried fruit are loaded with balanced protein, soluble and insoluble fiber, iron, essential fatty acids, important trace minerals and lots of vitamin C and B vitamins.

 

It’s also versatile: you can add a pinch of cinnamon if you’re so inclined; switch jam for rice nectar or maple syrup; add any fruits you like – apples and bananas are great! Use quinoa flakes instead of rolled oats… okay, now I’m hungry.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Let Them Eat Cake! I’ll Have Fruit Instead.

It’s really starting to feel like summer here in Chicago! We had some crazy 80 degree weather at the end of March, but that was a complete freak show, weather-wise. It’s mid-May now, so the warmer weather is a lot more appropriate, and much more springy and refreshing: it’s warm but breezy, and cool in the AM and PM. Perfection. Outdoor Farmers Markets are starting up again in full force, I got to indulge in mangoes during peak mango season, and street festivals will be starting soon. I’m pretty freaking excited!

It was a bit of a letdown this past weekend when the Mother’s Day desserts were brought out and none of them were vegan. I passed on having a slice of marzipan cake, which is my absolute favorite, you guys. However, I made up for it by making myself a fresh treat for dessert this evening:

I started with a handful of pretty strawberries. Hey, they match my nail color!

Then I took a sprig of mint…

I cut up the strawberries and shredded a bit of the mint and mixed it together. But, wait! There’s more! I kept thinking that it was missing something, and the missing ingredient I couldn’t stop thinking about was Cool Whip. I blame Mad Men, which had a Cool Whip bit on last week’s episode. Cool Whip is not cool for strict vegans. So I sprinkled some fresh lemon juice and coconut onto the fruit (I stole the lemon juice idea from Jamie Oliver’s recipe; the coconut was all me).

DELISH! Let them eat cake. I’ll have fruit instead! –Melissa

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Tropical Spring Rolls!

It’s raw night again in the Alldestroyers’ household and tonight we’ll be preparing vegan spring rolls. You’ll need the following:

2 medium zucchini, shredded
5 average sized carrots, shredded
1/2 cup toasted shredded coconut (sweetened is fine)
1 tbsp ponzu sauce
1/2 tsp lime juice (optional)
1/2 tsp flaked red pepper
a pinch of salt
8-10 rice paper sheets (mine are bahn-trang)
greens or spinach, washed and dried

Start by combining all the vegetables (except for the greens), liquids and seasonings in a bowl. Substitute shredded parsnips if you have a coconut allergy. Mix well and set aside.

Add 1 to 2 cups warm water in a deep plate or shallow bowl. Place a rice paper sheet into the water making sure to dampen both sides thoroughly and remove before it loses it’s stiffness.

Take it out and place it on a clean plate. Don’t worry if it’s still stiff; it’ll soften as it absorbs the water.

Place a handful of greens on one end of the paper closest to you. Add 3-4 heaping spoonfulls of filling onto the greens (if it’s particularly wet, let it drain, squeezing it out between your hands – your kids might like this job).

Dry your hands and start rolling the filled end of the sheet away from you using the greens to control the filling, folding in the sides. Rest it on that edge after closing it until you’re ready to eat it.Try not to place them so close that they’re touching because they’ll stick together and might tear when handled.

This takes some practice but it doesn’t really matter what they look like, right? You should end up with some lovely light, nutritions, filling and delicious spring rolls.

We made a dipping sauce out of basically the same ingredients as in our pakora with some minor changes which complemented the coconut in the spring rolls brilliantly. The proportions were about like this:
1/4 cup of tamarind (we used frozen)
2 tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp cinnamon
chili paste to taste

When mango comes into season, we’ll probably make this sauce with pureed mango. I’m monitoring the little baby mango growing on the trees between my train stop and apartment closely. Soon, my friends… very soon.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Coconut Lemon Custard PIE!

I got some Meyer lemons at our local market. Is there anything these crazy Floridians won’t grow?
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Anyways, Meyer lemons look like lemon colored oranges and tastes like a lemon would if it wasn’t acidic… at all. They’re mildly fragrant and delicious. I decided to make them into a lemon coconut pie. This is what I started with:
6 Meyer lemons
1 1/2 cup of shredded coconut (unsweetened)
4 tbsp coconut sugar
1/3 cup of cashews
1 box of silken tofu
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract (optional, if you don’t have coconut sugar)
1 tsp of arrowroot starch
1 tsp of vegetable gelatin
1 pinch of salt
I combined the lemon juice (be careful to exclude seeds and any rind from the mix as it will make the pie bitter… like mine was /sadface) tofu, half the coconut, cashews, vanilla extract, sugar, starch, gelatin and salt.
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I blended them until they were smooth and then poured them into a saucepan and heated it to marry the flavors. While I did this, I adjusted the seasonings. After it was steamy and warm, I poured the mixture into a springform pan over a crust in the style of Melissa’s previous raw cheesecake experiments  using another 1/2 cup of coconut in addition to the nuts and dates.
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I sprinkled the remaining coconut over the top and put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes and them moved it to the refrigerator. The texture was light and smooth.
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I did get a little too much of the rind from the lemons into the custard and it made the end product slightly bitter but it didn’t stop us from devouring most of it.
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The coconut and lemon were complimented beautifully by Melissa’s date crust. WIN!
This is Christie, signing off!
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