Virtual Vegan Potluck 2014 – Vegan Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Its been more than 18 months since the last potluck and i was pretty excited to sign up when i saw this year’s potluck email from Annie. As always, this is going to be an exciting event featuring several talented vegan bloggers and their drool worthy vegan recipes. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect, with the holidays coming up, there’s going to be  plenty of opportunities to cook and consume some delectable goodies.

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This year i signed up to bring a delicious vegan soup for the potluck party. This curried butternut squash, my friends is a serious crowd-pleaser and perfect for winter.  The addition of coconut milk delivers the same luscious, silky flavors of its creamy version but without butter and cream. Healthy, tasty, fragrant, mildly sweet and spicy, this soup is definitely a keeper. Pair it with a vegan bread/ dinner roll for a wholesome meal.

vegan butternut squash soup

 Ingredients

1 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

2 tablespoons freshly minced ginger

1/2 cup diced onions

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

1.5 teaspoons curry powder

1 small green tart apple, peeled, cored and diced

1 cup low sodium vegetable stock

7 oz light coconut milk

1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 dried bay leaves

juice from 1 lime

Salt

Pepper

 Method

1. Heat oil in a large dutch oven and when oil is hot, add onions and cook for 3 minutes.

2. Add garlic, ginger and continue to cook till onions are soft.

3. Add bay leaves and red pepper flakes and cook for a minute.

4. Add squash, apples, curry powder and salt, cook for 10 minutes.

5. Add stock, cover and bring it to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

6. Add coconut milk and cook for 10 minutes.

7. Remove bay leaves from the soup and using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree until smooth.

8. Add more salt, if needed and a dash of lime juice just before serving.

9. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

 

To go to the previous blog in the potluck line up, please click on the icon below.

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To go to the next blog in the potluck line up, please click on the icon below.

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Eating Out: Top 10 Indian Restaurants in Seattle

Few weeks ago, the folks at Groupon reached out to me asking me if i were interested in contributing to their website. Despite all the crazy things going on around me, i agreed to do it because i am a huge fan of Groupon. What’s not to love about good deals and especially when they are related to food right? For those of you not familiar with Groupon, its a deal-of-the-day website that features discounted gift certificates for local and national companies.

Vegetarian_Curry

If you are looking for some recommendations for good Indian restaurants on the east side of Seattle and want a good deal , make sure to read the complete post here.

 

Eggless Yo-Yo Cookies

Yo-Yo cookies are an Australian favorite made with custard powder and filled with  butter cream. Also known as “melting moments”, these cookies are delicious, buttery and make a fun dessert. Two delicious melt- in- your- mouth cookies are sandwiched with butter cream and these are way less sweet than the American sandwich cookies which makes them a delightful accompaniment to tea or coffee. If you are not in a mood for butter cream filling, nutella or any chocolate based nut butter spread would work just fine. This is a fun way to engage kids in baking and filling their own sandwich cookies, makes for a great rainy day activity too.yo-yo cookies

Ingredients for cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup+1 tablespoon butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup vanilla flavored custard powder or corn starch

Ingredients for filling

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon custard powder or corn starch

 Method

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Stir in the flour and custard powder, mix until it forms a smooth dough.

4. Roll into logs and cut it up into equal sized pieces.

5. Form into balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Gently press tops with a fork.

6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until light golden color and cool the cookies completely.

7. Mix ingredients listed under filling until light and creamy.

8. When the cookies are completely cooked, spread the filling on one cookie and place another on top to make a sandwich.

9. These cookies store well in the refrigerator for up to a week.

 

 

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

It is kind of late for a zucchini recipe but i’m hoping you still have some of your summer loot left for this amazingly moist and delicious bread. I love zucchini in all forms, be it  pastabread or just grilled with a dash of olive oil and sea salt. So imagine my delight when i was given a giant home grown organic zucchini. I sprung into action and baked 4 beautiful loaves of chocolate bread with this giant squash. Thank you Ali for sharing your summer’s bounty.

zuc

This bread is not overly sweet and makes for a great snack or would look beautiful on your brunch table.It freezes well, so make a big batch before the season ends. If you aren’t a chocolate or sweet bread fan, try these savory squash muffins, bet you won’t be disappointed.

chocolate zucchini bread

Ingredients

1.5 cups shredded raw zucchini/courgette

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped (you can use chocolate chips too)

2 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan and set it aside.

2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Fold in the chopped chocolate and set aside.

3. In another bowl, beat the eggs and add oil, sugars, vanilla extract and mix till well blended.

4. Fold in the grated zucchini and flour mixture, stirring until just combined.

5. Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

6. Cool bread for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack.

7. Cool completely before slicing. This bread stores well at room temperature for 3 days.

 

Eggless Blueberry Coffee Cake

If you are looking for a simple to make, yet delicious coffee cake recipe, you are in luck my friends. Coffee cakes in America have nothing do with coffee except that it tastes great when had with coffee or tea. I’ve probably eaten my weight in blueberries this summer, the plump, juicy, fresh blueberries are truly irresistible. Surrounded by berry farms in the Pacific Northwest, its hard to stop myself from picking or buying these beauties. If you are looking for a great weekend activity with kids, check out this post from last year on blueberry picking.

blueberry coffee cake

This blueberry coffee cake is a huge crowd pleaser, i took this to a friend’s party and it was an instant hit among adults and kids. I love that this moist, flavorful cake be had even for breakfast or brunch. If you don’t want to use butter, substitute with oil and you have a great vegan version of this cake. Whip up this simple cake on a weekend morning and be assured that you are starting your morning right.

blueberry cake

Ingredients

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

1/4 cup butter softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup yogurt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup blueberries

Ingredients for topping

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoon cold butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9inch baking dish with some oil or butter and set aside.

2. Prepare the topping mixing together the butter, sugar and cinnamon with 2 forks until crumbly and chill until ready to use.

3. Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

4. In a separate bowl, cream together butter, sugar, yogurt and vanilla.

5. Gently fold in the dry ingredients and mix in the blueberries. Do not over mix the batter.

6. Bake  at 350F for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean

Saffron Vanilla Cookies

The more i resolve to blog regularly, the more irregular i become. For those who sent emails to check on me, thank you. I am still here, enjoying the hot Seattle summer, just busy with this and that.  My preschooler has gotten into the habit of wanting to bake something every weekend with me. These saffron vanilla cookies caught my attention on Instagram few weeks ago and I knew this would be great for our weekend baking project.

vanilla saffron cookies

I have never baked with saffron and I can’t believe I haven’t thought of it before. The color, smell, the delicate flavor, what’s not to love about this spice! Saffron infused milk is mixed with other cookie ingredients to bake this delicious goodness. Slightly crispy around the edges, with soft cakey centers, this is totally my kind of cookie. The cookies store well at room temperature for 3 days and then for a week in the refrigerator. I got about 24 cookies for the measurements given below, quite frankly I wish I had made a bigger batch, they were gone in minutes.

vanilla cookies

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground saffron

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 vanilla bean

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

1. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the caviar into a small saucepan.

2. Add vanilla pod, saffron and milk, cook on very low flame until bubbles begin to form at the edges.

3. Remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes. Remove vanilla pod from milk after 10 minutes and set aside.

4. Sift the flour and baking soda into a large bowl.

5. Cream butter  and sugars along with salt with a hand or stand mixer until smooth and fluffy.

6. Combine egg, vanilla-saffron milk and vanilla extract in a separate bowl until well blended.

7. Add the egg mixture slowly to to the butter mixture and mix on medium speed for a minute.

8. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.

9. Transfer the dough to a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. At this stage, you can leave it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

10. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

11. Roll up 1 tablespoon portions of the dough into balls and place on the baking sheet.

12. Bake for 15-16 minutes. Let the cookies cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

 

Vegan Raw Coconut Cream Pie Energy Bites

Home made energy bites or bars are so much more healthier than the store bought ones. You can control what goes in and play around with toppings and its easy on the wallet too. You’d be surprised how many Lara bars you can make at home for less than $10. These coconut cream pie bites is a Lara bar inspired recipe. The nicest thing about these bites are that you can use any kind of nuts and if you want to make it nut free, use sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds and they would still be delicious. A money saving tip on buying nuts, hit the bulk bin section at your local grocery store, sometimes even the organic ones are cheaper than you’d imagine. I coated some of these bites with unsweetened cocoa powder, some in toasted coconut flakes and the coconut flakes got a double thumbs up from everyone who ate them. They make a great mid morning snack or in my case even dessert.

coconut cream pie

Ingredients

1 cup pitted dates

1 cup cashews or pecans or any nut of your choice ( I used toasted pecans)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes or shredded coconut

Method

1. Soak cashews and dates in warm water for at least one hour if you don’t have a powerful blender.

2. Blend all the ingredients until the mixture is well blended and begins to stick together.

3. Transfer the mixture on to a cutting board and use your hands to form a big ball.

3. Using 1 tablespoon measurement, scoop the mixture and roll them into balls. Alternatively, you can cut them into rectangles or squares and wrap individual portions in plastic wrap.

4. Coat the balls with unsweetened cocoa or toasted coconut (optional)

5. The balls store well at room temperature for 2 days and in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.