Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Processing and Planning

Another Christmas has come and gone and it seems as though I'm still collecting myself. 
I have a lot of things in the works for Addicted to Veggies, so I'll be taking the rest of the week getting myself organized and motivated for what looks like a very busy and exciting New Year.
I can hardly believe we're looking at 2012!
I hope you've all had a wonderful and restful Holiday season...
See you in the new year!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Smokey Sweet Barbecue Cauliflower Bites

This recipe is dedicated to those of you who come into contact every year with a big crock-pot full of Little Smokies. 
It's a strange American tradition to incorporate those weird tiny sausages into just about every Holiday festivity. Lets be honest here, sweet tangy barbecue flavored food doesn't need a special day, it's good all of the time! Today's recipe pays homage to those of you who aren't in the "Little Smokies Club" but really want to indulge in something just as tasty, and even better - guilt free! 
 I may not be a BBQ pro, but I come from a family of passionate outdoor cookers, and I'd like to think that I have a pretty keen taste for what a good barbecue spice mix should be. With notes of brown sugar, spicy heat, smokiness, salt, and of course the tang. It's gotta be unctuous and comforting, leaving you salivating for more at the same time feeling so satisfied.
In todays recipe I'll be sharing with you a dry Barbecue spice mix and combining it with florets of tenderized Cauliflower. There's a few important steps in this recipe that I urge you to stick with, the result will be something you can take to just about any party, for any event -- Winter Spring Summer or Fall. There's always room for barbecue!
Important Note About This Recipe
About the Sweetener: Most successful Barbecue mixes call for the use of Brown Sugar. In AtV's dry spice mix I use Coconut Crystals (also known as Coconut Palm Sugar). If you're not concerned about this recipe being Raw/Vegan then you can use Brown Sugar, otherwise you won't have any option but to use Coconut Crystals. It's very necessary!
Another thing about Coconut Crystals - depending on the specific brand you may notice that your Coconut Crystals aren't fine granules. This is okay, however if you have access to a spice grinder I recommend grinding your Crystals into a fine grain or powder, or at least sifting them (or stirring through a mesh strainer) to break up the granules evenly.
About the Heat: I've made a mildly spicy barbecue mix, but if you want yours with more heat then by all means, go for it! 
Raw Vegan Little Smokies anyone?
AtV Barbecue Spice Mix
6 Tbsp Coconut Crystals
4 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
2 Tbsp Onion powder
2 tsp Garlic Granules
1 tsp Lemon Pepper
1/4 tsp Chipotle Powder //or// Cayenne 
1 tsp Cacao powder
1/2 tsp dried/crushed Thyme
1/4 tsp Cumin powder
1/4 tsp ground Celery Seed
 1 tsp Salt 
Optional: 1/2 tsp Alder Smoked Sea Salt (so good if you can find it!)
Mix everything together...
Store this Dry Spice Mix in an air tight container, and get ready to put it in just about anything and everything.
Smokey Sweet BBQ Cauliflower Bites
Makes enough for 4 to 5 large sides
Step 1. 
Tenderizing your Cauliflower
In a large mixing bowl combine:
8 cups Cauliflower Florets (roughly 2 medium sized heads)
Add to your bowl of florets:
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
4 Tbsp Grape seed Oil //or// Safflower Oil 
1 tsp Salt
Mix together until your florets have been evenly coated
Transfer your Cauliflower florets into a ziplock baggy and proceed to remove as much of the air from the bag as you can. 
Let your florets marinate in the air tight baggy (in your fridge) for at least 4 hours - overnight is even better. After the marination process you will notice a distinct change in the texture of your florets, as if they've been blanched. 
We're almost done!
Step 2.
Making Tender BBQ Cauliflower Florets
In a large mixing bowl combine:
 ALL of your marinated Cauliflower 
2 additional Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Then add ALL of your AtV Barbecue Spice Mixture:
In this photo I was making a half batch
Mix everything together evenly and transfer your Cauliflower to a parchment lined baking sheet:
Oven Warming Method
You can also do this in a dehydrator if you prefer 
- Set your Oven at it's lowest heat
- Place your Cauliflower into the oven, and leave the oven door cracked open (roughly 5 to 6 inches)
- Let the Cauliflower warm in the oven for 40 minutes to 1 hour, you may want to taste test one or two checking on the texture. It's really up to you when you get to take them out of the oven.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately!
Serving Options:
Plate your BBQ florets on a platter next to some toothpicks
Or you can skewer them before-hand, making them more fingerfood friendly
Serve with a side dish of AtV Sour Cream for dipping
This dish will most certainly make an appearance in future family gatherings of mine, and the barbecue spice mix will be showing up in AtV recipes to come.
Wishing you all a very very Happy Holidays! 
I couldn't be more thankful to have Addicted to Veggies in my life as a way to reach out and connect with all of you. It's truly the highlight of my week, and one of my favorite parts of this Holiday season. 
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting Addicted to Veggies.
I'll see you all next week!
Sarahfae - AtV

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Warm & Tender Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Cream Sauce

I'm so glad to be feeling better, and the timing couldn't be perfect. I have so much to do!
I'm also excited to be able to share a couple of special recipes with you all before the Holiday weekend kicks off.
My Christmas menu doesn't have any strict guidelines or specific "look", it simply consists of food that I love laced with a bit of decadence. Brussels Sprouts are (in my opinion) the quintessential Holiday food and truly one of my favorite vegetables. However, there's a slight problem --- I've only ever had them cooked. Until last night...
There's a simple technique to "tenderizing" these lovely little Cabbage Buds, with no actual cooking involved you'll be so surprised at how their texture changes as if they've been lightly steamed. 
I could hardly believe it when I took the first bite, before I knew it I was licking my bowl clean and making another batch. Without a doubt these little buggers will be on my Christmas Dinner menu this Monday.
Want to learn how to make Raw Brussels Sprouts taste like Steamed Brussels Sprouts?
You've come to the right place! Follow the directions below and you won't be disappointed...
Warm & Tender Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Cream Sauce
This recipe yields enough for two small sides or one generous serving
Step 1. 
Cleaning & Prep
You'll need 3 cups Whole Brussels Sprouts - which should break down to about 2 cups total
- Slice the stem off of the end of each Sprouts
- Slice each Sprout in half
- Remove the first 1 to 2 leafy layers (I do this only if the our leaves are dirty or bruised)
Once you've finished cleaning your Sprouts, place them into a mixing bowl and add the following:
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
3 Tbsp Oil (I used Grape seed oil, but Olive or Safflower will also work)
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
Mix together evenly, so that your Sprouts are coated well
Place your Sprouts into a ziplock baggy, and remove as much of the air from the baggy as you can. 
Store your Sprouts in the fridge to Marinate/Tenderize. The longer they can stay in the fridge the better. I let mine sit over night.
Step 2.
Warming your Brussels Sprouts and making the Sauce
Remove your Sprouts from the ziplock baggy and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, following the directions noted below:
Oven Warming Method
You can also do this in a dehydrator if you prefer 
- Set your Oven at it's lowest heat 
- Place your Brussels Sprouts into the oven, and leave the oven door cracked open (roughly 5 to 6 inches)
- Let the Brussels Sprouts stay in the oven for 30 minutes
- After the first 30 minute mark toss your Brussels Sprouts with additional:
1 tsp Lemon Juice & 1 tsp Oil (they need this to continue to tenderize)
-Let your Sprouts continue to warm for another 20 to 30 minutes 
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately with Mustard Cream Sauce, garnish with Salt and Pepper to taste
Mustard Cream Sauce
Makes enough for 2 to 3 servings 
In a small bowl combine the following:
4 Tbsp Mustard (your choice, but I recommend creamy verses stone ground)
2 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Date Paste 
1 tsp Onion powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Granules
Salt and Pepper to taste
Mix everything together evenly....
and put it on your Amazingly Tasty Brussels Sprouts!
I've been bouncing around the house all day in excitement over this recipe, and I really hope you love it as much as I do! 
Stay tuned for another special and slightly strange Holiday recipe, coming up tomorrow...

P.S. What are you looking forward to eating this Holiday Season?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

After these messages I'll be right back...

As much as I hate to admit it, I've accepted the fact (just now) that I'm a bit under the weather. Nothing horrible, but enough to kick my butt and make me want to stay in bed for most of the day. 
This afternoon I managed to get up long enough to have a giant green smoothie and a slice of cheezecake - called it lunch - and went back to beddy-bye.
I hate to take most of the week of, since it's my favorite time of the year to eat and share my love of food with you all. My goal is to rest up as much as I can possibly stand it, and be back for a final Holiday recipe. 
I hope you are all having a wonderful week and in good health. 
See you on Friday at the very latest, but hopefully sooner.


Friday, December 16, 2011

White Chocolate Cheezecake with Blackberry Marble

If they asked me, I could write a book...about how awesome this Cheezecake is. 
I'd most likely sing about it too. 
Originally this was a part of my Thanksgiving dessert menu. I made it on a whim without any recipe, and at the first taste I knew I was on to something amazing. Let me preface this with the fact that I rarely eat chocolate, but when I do it's usually white -- which is hard to find as a vegan product, so naturally I don't each chocolate very often these days. But I do have a very discriminating palate, and I wasn't going to settle for an "average" cheezecake. Just to prove this, the following is quote from my awesome taste-tester (and friend), Rachel of One Pretty Thing:
"Holy crap, you nailed the white chocolate! This is awesome!!"
Making this recipe was a true labor of love, and I'm so happy to be able to finally share it as a Holiday gift from me to all of you. 
Important Notes About this Recipe
About the Agave: 
Something I don't use very often in my kitchen is Agave, but where this specific Cheezecake is concerned you absolutely positively need to use it. I recommend Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Raw Blue Agave. I've actually taken the time to contact Wholesome Sweeteners, inquiring to whether or not their product is truly raw. They were gracious enough to respond to my email, confirming that they do not heat their Organic Raw Blue Agave above 118 degrees.

If you'd rather not use Agave then see the recipe for my other liquid sweetener suggestions.
About the Cashews: 
You're going to need to soak 2 cups of Cashews - which will amount to 2.5 cups total soaked Cashews. Some of the Cashews will be going into your blackberry mixture, and the rest will go into your Cheezecake. Other than soaking Cashews you don't have a whole lot of beforehand prep to worry about.
Raw Vegan White Chocolate Cheezecake with Blackberry Marble
I've noted the entire process of making this Cheezecake in the following steps, I recommend making it in the same order as I've noted for a streamlined process, of course if you would rather use blueberries or even strawberries then go for it!
This makes enough for one large, 8'' or 9'' Cheezecake. 
In the following steps you'll see that I've sized it down to five 4.5'' cheezecakes, the perfect size for a 2 person edible gift.
Step 1. 
The Crust
In your Processor grind up the following:
1 c Pecans
1 c Almonds
Add to your ground nuts:
2 heaping Tbsp Date Paste //or// 3 Dates soaked in warm water until very soft, and pits removed
1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
2 pinches Salt
Pulse/Grind together until the date paste is evenly distributed and you have a lumped up ball of crust.
Assemble your Crust(s):
Into a springform pan transfer your crust and press down with your fingers until the crust evenly covers the bottom and sides of the pan. 
If you're making mini-cheezecakes (like I was when I made this recipe) then proceed to line 5 to 6 small ramekins with either parchment paper or plastic wrap. Evenly distribute your crust into each ramekin, and press down until the crust lines the bottom and sides of your ramekin:
Now that your crust is ready you can move on..
Step 2.
Blackberry Sauce - for Marbling
In a food Processor combine the following ingredients:
1 c Blackberries (or other sweet berry of choice)
1/2 c soaked Cashews (see About Recipe Portion for info on Cashews)
4 Tbsp Agave//or//Grade B Maple Syrup//or//Raw Organic Honey
Puree for ONE minute, until thick and creamy!
Transfer your Blackberry puree into a small bowl and set aside. 
Don't place it in the fridge as it will thicken and won't marble as well - move in to the next step to finish your amazing cheezecake!
You may have more Blackberry sauce than you need or want to use in the Cheezecake. Stick it in your freezer for another time, or mix it into a smoothie!
Step 3.
Making your White Chocolate Cheezecake batter and Assembling Everything
Into your food processor combine the following:
1 c Macadamia Nuts
Grind your Mac nuts to a paste...
Add to your ground Macadamia nuts, into your food processor:
2 c soaked Cashews
1.5 c peeled/shredded Zucchini 
1/2 c Agave//or//Grade B Maple Syrup//or//Raw Organic Honey
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Salt
Puree everything together for 3 minutes...
Now for the MOST important part. 
Leave everything in your food processor... and proceed to melt some Cacao Butter:
This recipe calls for: 
1/4 c plus 3 Tbsp MELTED Cacao Butter
I can't tell you exactly how much that is in ounces, but a big chunk of Cacao Butter should do just fine. If you over-shoot just let your melted Cacao butter sit until it's cooled and become solid again. Place it in an air tight container and use it another time.
Melt it on a very verrrrry low heat...
Measure out:
1/4 c plus 3 Tbsp of melted cacao butter
 Add it to your Food Processor
Puree for 2 more Minutes:
All Done! 
Nothing left to do from here aside from assembling...
Remember those crusts from Step 1?
Fill them up with White chocolate Cheezecake batter:
Dollop in a couple spoonfuls of the Blackberry/Cashew Puree from Step 2.
Use a butter-knife to swirl it around (I'm really not the best at marbling)
Cover it up and place it in the freezer to speed up the "setting" process. Let it sit in the freezer for a couple of hours. 
If you'd rather let it "set" in your fridge then I recommend leaving it for at least 4 hours if not longer.
If you're making mini-cheezecakes using ramekins like I did, then this is what it'll look like after it's finished "setting":
Texture? Check.
 Flavor? Check.
Seconds? Double check.
Happy Holidays, and Happy weekend too!