Daring Cooks May: The Whole Enchilada!

Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce was found on www.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh.

Things have been really busy in our household this month, and to top it all off, I ended up with a terrible cold last weekend (which Rich ended up catching a few days later, oops!). So making these was a bit rushed, and the post will have to be short and sweet.

The green chile sauce was simple, but it was a bit of a challenge to find tomatillos and Anaheim peppers. In the end, I found tomatillos at one of the Mexican/Latino markets in Kensington Market, but was not able to find Anaheim peppers. I ended up substituting jalapenos, and just used less of them, as jalapenos are actually hotter.

Daring Cooks May: The Whole EnchiladaDaring Cooks May: The Whole Enchilada

As you might have guessed, I converted the recipe to vegan by simply using vegetables in my filling instead of chicken. I chose red bell pepper, mushrooms and onions and seasoned them well with salt and black pepper. Then I tossed in a little Daiya ‘cheddar’ cheese to help hold everything together.

Daring Cooks May: The Whole Enchilada

The tortillas were easy to make gluten-free – I just did corn tortillas as suggested! I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they were to make.

I ended up rolling my enchiladas instead of making stacks, as I just prefer them that way.

And the final product?

Daring Cooks May: The Whole Enchilada

Yum! A totally delicious challenge and I do have some chile sauce left over, which I’ll be sure to use on something this coming weekend.

Want to make this yourself? You can find the recipes on the Fine Cooking Website. Most bags of masa harina have instructions on making corn tortillas on them, but a pretty good one is this one from Bob’s Red Mill. And as always, I recommend heading over to the Daring Kitchen to see what everyone else did with this recipe!

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The Mythical Daiya Cheese

Vegans here in Toronto have been all a flutter (or should I say all a twitter?) about Daiya over the past few months. So what’s Daiya?

The mythical Daiya cheese (vegan)

Daiya is a company that produces two kinds of  vegan ‘cheese’ products that look, smell, melt and taste a lot like cheese. No, really, they do! Even Rich, who has been mostly skeptical of the various ‘cheese’ products I’ve tried over the last year, really likes Daiya ‘cheeses’ and says they taste convincingly like the real thing. Lucky for me and all the other gluten-sensitive folks out there, Daiya’s products are also gluten-free. They’re also free of many other allergens, like soy and nuts.

Up until recently, you could only get Daiya products in some restaurants and at some American health food stores, which purchased the products in large quantities and then repackaged them for resale. That’s how we got our hands on some; Panacea on Bloor just west of Bathurst started purchasing them in late February. They got what they figured would be a six week supply for the store, only to find eager vegans snapped it up so quickly they were out of stock in five days!

The first time we picked it up, we got the Italian Blend, which Daiya has now renamed Mozzarella Style Shreds. We used it to make a pizza, which is of course the most obvious use for it! As you can see from the photos, the pizza turned out great. The product really does melt and really does stretch, much like real cheese. I would also happily use the product in place of mozzarella or other mild cheeses in cooking – it would be delicious in any baked pasta, sprinkled on top of vegetables, or melted into a sandwich.

Gluten-free vegan pizza with Daiya cheese

Daiya cheese - it really melts!

More recently I picked up some of the Cheddar Style Shreds, which I’ve been using in Mexican food (quesadillas and the like). It is also excellent and very cheddar-like. I bet it would be awesome as a topping for nachos!

Fortunately for all the vegans out there, Daiya has now started packaging their product for sale to consumers, and should eventually be available in select grocery stores all over North America.

In Toronto and want some? As mentioned, Panacea has it in stock now. They’re a great vegan shop and well worth heading to anyway – they have a wide selection of vegan and eco-friendly products. But if you’re on the other side of the Don Valley, you can try looking for it at The Big Carrot – Daiya’s website lists them as one of their retailers.

Outside of Toronto? Just try searching for a retailer near you.

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Daring Cooks April – Brunswick Stew

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

What is Brunswick Stew? Well, it’s a very thick, meaty stew (usually with at least some game meat, and often including bacon) popular in the southern United States. This is one challenge recipe I probably never would have made if I wasn’t a member of the Daring Cooks. Since the recipe is very meaty, it’s not something I’d really have thought of making to be honest! However, it did make for a fun challenge to try and veganize, so that’s what I did.

We were given two versions of the recipe to try. The first was the ‘long way’ and involved a lot of ingredients and making your own broth. The second version was a bit more simple, and seemed easier to make vegetarian, so that’s the one that I chose.

I replaced the meat in the recipe with mushrooms and tempeh. I marinated the tempeh with some liquid smoke, wheat-free tamari, a little garlic and some red miso. This was to give it a somewhat smokey flavour, to replace the flavour of the bacon in the original recipe. The mushrooms I used were a mixture of cremini and portobella, to further enhance the flavours of the dish.

Otherwise I made the recipe as written. I included all of the vegetables, herbs and spices and just replaced the meat with my mushrooms and tempeh. I also replaced the butter with vegetable oil.

And the result? Pretty tasty! I probably won’t make it again, as I have a number of really delicious vegan stews that I make over the cold winter months, but I have to admit it was fun to try this out! And as you can see in the picture below, my stew was indeed very thick – my spoon easily stood up in the middle.

Daring Cooks April

I just wonder what folks from the southern US will think of my version.

If you’d like to make this yourself, just head on over to The Daring Kitchen and nab the recipe!

Tempeh on Foodista

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Vegan, gluten-free waffles!

It’s been about 9 months since I went gluten-free and almost vegan. In that time, I’ve attempted quite a few waffle recipes, but none of them ever quite worked out. The batter always stuck to the waffle iron too much. I always had it well greased before each waffle was to be made, and I always made sure it was fully cooked before trying to open the waffle iron, but alas, nothing I did ever worked.

A few weeks ago, however, I stumbled on a recipe that actually works! It’s from the same website where I found the bread recipe that I now use (which I will share with you another day, complete with pictures that show it doesn’t fall in the middle like the other recipe I was using). I did modify the recipe a little bit by changing the flours I used and ‘veganizing’ it, but it still worked beautifully.

Gluten free, vegan waffles

These waffles are great. Really crispy, light tasting (but not light, that’s a lot of Earth Balance!) and perfect for pouring tons of maple syrup on. As written, they are just slightly sweet. You may want to increase or decrease the amount of sugar to your personal taste.

Gluten-free, vegan waffles

1/2 cup brown rice flour (white rice would be fine too, but in either case, make sure you get the super finely ground stuff)
1/2 cup tapicoa starch or corn starch
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup soy flour
1/4 cup corn flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Vegan egg replacer (such as Ener-G) for 3 eggs
1/3 cup Earth Balance or other vegan margarine, melted and cooled but not re-solidified
1 1/2 cup milk (soy, almond, rice, etc) at room temperature

Mix together the flours/starches, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the egg replacer until a bit frothy and then add in the milk and melted margarine. Stir until combined. Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and mix until everything is combined.

Use batter on your waffle iron, following manufacturers instructions. Make sure you coat the iron with butter or oil really well before you cook each waffle. For mine I needed about 3/4c of batter and to let the waffle keep cooking until no more steam was coming out of it.

Gluten free, vegan waffles

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Awesome Vegan Lemon Bars

I made these a month ago, right after I’d picked up some lovely Meyer lemons from the grocery store. Meyer lemons are not often available here in Ontario, so when I saw them I knew I had to grab a few, even though I had no idea what I was going to make with them.

A quick poll of my twitter friends yielded a few ideas, but in the end I decided to pull out my copy of Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar and make the Vegan Lemon Bar recipe. Actually, it’s the exact same recipe as in Veganomicon, so if you own that, you’ve got a copy. I’ve also reproduced it here. The only change I made was to make the recipe gluten-free by using a gluten-free flour mixture where the all-purpose flour was. Oh, and I also just mixed everything by hand instead of with a food processor as the original recipe states to do. If you’d rather use a food processor, just pulse together all the crust ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, then continue on with the recipe from there.

By the way, if you’re not familiar with agar agar, you can find it at most natural food stores. I found mine at Qi (Bloor/Christie location), for those of you who are in Toronto.

Vegan, Gluten-free lemon bars

Vegan Lemon Bars

1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (I used Earth Balance)

1 1/3 cups water
3 tablespoons agar agar flakes
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (I needed five lemons for this)
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from two large lemons)
1/4 cup soymilk

Extra powdered or confectioners’ sugar to decorate finished bars

Lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan. You might also want to put some parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, as that helps get the bars out when they’re done, but it’s not strictly necessary. Also, don’t start your oven just yet – the cookie crust layer needs to chill for a bit before you bake it.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together your flours, cornstarch and powdered sugar. Then, using a fork or a pastry cutter (aka pastry blender), incorporate in the margarine, a few tablespoons at a time, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then dump the mixture into your prepared pan and press down firmly to form an even layer, with slightly raised sides to hold in the tasty filling you’re about to make. Put that in the fridge and set a timer for 30 minutes. Once your timer goes off, preheat your oven to 350F and when heated, bake the crust for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned. Set this aside to cool, then start on your filling.

In a medium sauce pan, soak the agar agar in the water for 15 minutes. Leave that to soak while you zest your lemons and squeeze as much juice as you can out of them, or until you have 2/3 cup of juice. Mix the arrowroot powder in with the lemon juice until it is fully dissolved.

When the agar has been soaking 15 minutes, put the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil over high heat. Let it boil for 10 minutes, or until the agar is fully dissolved. Then add in the sugar and turmeric and boil 2-3 minutes until dissolved. Then, lower the heat to medium and add the arrowroot/lemon mixture, then the lemon zest and soy milk. Whisk constantly now until the mixture thickens; it should take about 5 minutes or so. What I found was that I had to make sure the mixture stayed at a good simmer (not boiling!) in order for it to thicken enough, so if you find your mixture is cooling too much, turn up the heat just a bit.

Pour the filling mixture into the crust. Let this cool for 20-30 minutes on your counter, then place the pan in the fridge for at least 3 hours. You want the filling to be set – only slightly jiggly, much like Jello.

To serve, cut into squares and sprinkle each square with powdered sugar. Try not to eat the entire pan in one night (it’s hard, I know!).

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