A Tale of Two Scones

On one side we have the Maple-Walnut Scones from Baked…New Frontiers in Baking. These are large, light and fluffy scones intensely flavored with maple.  The general tip to make a great scone is use super-cold butter, break up the butter into small (but not too small) bits, and don’t work the dough too much. These scones are also flavored with natural maple extract, which took me forever to find (found it at Surfas, naturally). This stuff is liquid gold. If you run into it, snatch it up.

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Maple-Walnut Scones

On the other side we have vegan Banana-Date Scones from Veganomicon. Oh, yes, an unfair competition. If butter is the secret to a a great scone, how can one made without butter compare? The vegan scones are made with a combination of all-purpose and whole-wheat pastry flour. They are sweetened with a little bit of brown rice syrup, a bunch of chopped up dates, and mushed bananas.  This really isn’t a side-by-side comparison because they are two completely different recipes and flavor combos. The only similarity is chopped up walnuts.

Vegan Banana-Date Scones

Vegan Banana-Date Scones

The results?

The Baked Maple-Walnut Scones are the scones of the gods. Everything about them was wonderful. The texture, the flavor, the butter. 😛

The vegan Banana-Date Scones tasted wonderful, but they weren’t scones. They had a more cake-like texture. They were moist and chewy, not scone-like at all. P actually liked them a lot. When he tasted one, the first thing he said was “these aren’t scones!”–he is not a big fan of scones–and proceeded to eat two more. We’ve been calling them sconecakes.

Sconecake--See the cakelike texture?

Sconecake--See the cakelike texture?

Banana-Date Sconecakes

Recipe from Veganomicon

Notes: I made these smaller than indicated in the recipe.  I used my 20 ice cream scoop and got 15. Because they were smaller, I baked them for less time. They were done ~30 minutes.

Ingredients

1 dates (8 oz.)
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup bananas, very ripe, mashed
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1/3 cup rice milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly grease two medium-size baking dishes.
  2. FInely chop the dates, place in a small bowl, and sprinkle with 1 T. flour. Toss the dates to thoroughly coat with flour, breaking apart any clumps. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flaxseeds and rice milk. Whisk in the mashed banana, canola oil, and brown rice syrup. In a separate bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir into the banana mixture until the ingredients are just moistened; the dough will be thick yet sticky. Fold in the chopped dates and walnuts.
  4. Lightly oil a 1/2 cup measuring cup and scoop generous half-cupfuls of dough onto a baking sheet, leaving about three inches of space between scones. Gently pat down the tops of the scones and dab with rice milk if desired. Bake for 32-34 minutes, until browned and firm. Transfer from the baking sheets to a cooling rack to complete cooling.

Kugel & Tzimmes

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For this week’s Vegan Tuesday, I made a Spinach Kugel and served it with Sweet Potato-Pear Tzimmes with Pecans and Raisins both recipes out of Veganomicon. Both are Jewish in origin. Unbeknownst to me, Tuesday was also Purim a Jewish holiday. Is this kismet or what? 😛 Okay, from my limited  knowledge neither are the traditional foods of the holiday. Although on the other hand, Purim celebrates the story of Esther who was captured  and ate vegetarian to keep kosher.

Traditionally kugels are noodle casseroles either sweet or savory. Most kugel recipes are full of dairy and eggs. I’m sure traditional kugels are very delicious–I’ve never tasted one. As this was vegan, the recipe uses silken tofu and crushed matzo to bind the noodles and spinach. The casserole is flavored with fresh dill and lemon.

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As for the noodles, I found some in the Jewish section of the grocery store. Because I’m new to vegan cooking/baking and I wasn’t really thinking, I bought a package that said in big letters “EGG” which I didn’t notice until I was getting ready to make this dish. Duh. I ended up using regular made without eggs Italian pasta I had in the pantry.

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Tzimmes is another type of Jewish casserole. It tends to the sweeter side  and is traditionally–although just like a kugel there are a ton of variations–made with fruit and carrots and sweetened with honey and sometimes with meat. As this was vegan, no honey and no meat. This dish is made by roasting sweet potatoes, pears, pecans and raisins flavored with maple syrup, mirin, and cinnamon. Of course, I love anything made with sweet potatoes but the flavor combination was outstanding. This dish was very easy to make and I could see making it for Thanksgiving.

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I also made vegan Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cookies. These are made using canola oil, cocoa powder,  & raspberry preserves. Although the recipe didn’t call for it, I added raspberry extract to up the flavor and topped each with raw sugar. I didn’t really like them, but the husband did (well with vanilla ice cream, he wasn’t getting the vegan theme) and so did the co-workers.

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Recipes

Spicy Asian Stir-Fry with Whole-Wheat Linguine & Vegan Sunshine Muffins

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Most of the time, the food I make for Vegan Tuesdays has been some sort of whole grain with some sort of legume or bean or something all mixed up. I wanted to make something slightly different so when I saw this recipe in this month’s Vegetarian Times, I knew I had to make it.

Okay, the decision was not that easy because I almost made Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango from Veganomicon. I am still going to make the quinoa salad, I have the mango {it’s my second mango for this salad, my first one went bad before I could use it}.

The stir-fry was easy to throw together and like all stir-fries required a bit of prep. It’s chock full of veggies and it’s only 330 calories for a 2 cup serving. How cool is that? I cooked with bok choy for the first time.

Spicy Asian Stir-Fry with Whole-Wheat Linguine

Adapted from Vegetarian Times, March 2009
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat linguine
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small bok choy, chopped {I used leaves and all}
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/3 cup of snow peas, halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced {the original recipe said to use half, but what do you do with the other half?}
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriratcha {always a good thing}
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  1. Cook pasta according to directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid, drain, and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in wok over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is golden, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add the veggies, stir-frying for five minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in hoisin and sriratcha. Stir in linguine and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Add more if stir-fry seems dry. Serve and garnish each serving with chopped peanuts. Enjoy!

Makes 4,  two-cup servings.

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For something a little sweet, I made Carrot-Pineapple Sunshine Muffins from Veganomicon. You can find the recipe HERE. These muffins are made with whole-wheat pastry flour, ground flax seed, and brown sugar. They are full of shredded carrots, crushed pineapple, and raisins. For liquid, a little bit of canola oil and some pineapple juice. They are spiced with ground ginger and cinnamon. All-in-all, these muffins are very tasty and moist and sound like they should be healthy, but probably are just a healthy-sounding sweet breakfast treat.

I’m falling in love with vegan baking. It’s so easy and quick and the results are outstanding. I’m going to try out some vegan chocolate-raspberry cookies next so  be on the look out for those soon.

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The Sweeter {Vegan} Side

The wonderful thing about vegan baking is that you don’t have to wait for ingredients to come to room temperature. With no eggs or butter, I can bake at a moment’s notice. That’s what happened this week. I wanted something sweet to eat on my Vegan Tuesday.

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As I flipped through Veganomicon looking for something to satisfy my sweet tooth, I happened upon a recipe for Jelly Doughnut Cupcakes. The recipe was easy and straightforward. I had all the ingredients on-hand and didn’t have to wait for them to get to proper temperature. 😛

imgp3622These were very moist and delicious. The tops get nice and crispy like a doughnut and the center has the surprise of jelly. You can find the recipe here.

I also made Tamarind Lentils from Veganomicon and served them with brown rice, broccoli, and a whole-wheat. pita. I love tamarind, so it was a no-brainer that I was going to make it when I saw it in the cookbook. The end result is a sweet and spicy satisfying dish. You can find the recipe here.

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Gone Native

For this week’s Vegan Tuesday, I had to go to Palm Desert for a meeting and had a new challenge to eat out for both lunch and dinner. Although, I cheated a bit for lunch. We went to Native Foods, a great mini-chain of vegan restaurants in the Los Angeles area. If your in the area, check them out. I love their menu. I wish there was one closer to where I live.

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I had the Ensalada Azteca, which has: chopped tomato, cucumber, onion, jicama, avocado, quinoa, romaine, currants, pepitas, and a mango-lime vinaigrette.

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My friend, A, had the Scorpion Burger: a blackened tempeh patty with chipotle sauce.

Dinner was a bit more difficult. I went to Armando’s, a conventional Mexican food restaurant. I had a side of vegetarian black beans, a side a rice, corn tortillas, and salsa.

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Instead of bailing out on cooking vegan completely this week, I did make something vegan: the Lemon Bars, from Veganomicon. It was my first time cooking with agar, a gelatin substitute made from seaweed, and it was also my first time making lemon bars (vegan or not).

It was a little complicated because the recipe called for agar flakes and all I could find at the health food store was agar powder. The recipe calls for dissolving 3 tablespoons of the flakes in 1 1/3 cups of water, but reading the bottle of powder it says 2 tablespoons per pint of water. I guestimated the amount of powder to use as 1 tbsp plus a little bit more.

I used meyer lemons I bought at the farmers’ market and whole-wheat pastry flour for the crust. These were very, very delicious. YUM!

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