Orange Olive Oil Pound Cake

Have i ever mentioned how crazy i am about oranges? You should search for “orange” on this blog and you will know what i am talking about,  i once even made a chutney with orange peel 🙂 .That’s how much i love this fruit. This orange olive oil pound cake is the moistest cake i have ever baked. Pound cakes typically have large amounts of butter, this olive oil cake is comparatively healthy without comprising on the taste and texture. I used Ina Garten’s orange pound cake recipe and substituted olive oil for butter and left out the glaze because it is quite sweet as it is. This cake tastes best when eaten the following day, it is very fragrant and the citrus flavor really stands out in each bite. You can substitute lemon, blood orange or even mandarins for orange in this recipe. I am sure it will be still be an outstanding cake to serve along with tea.

orange olive oil cake

Ingredients

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs at room temperature

zest from 3 oranges

1/4 cup+2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup+ 2 tablespoons buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons orange juice

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Cream olive oil and sugar until light and fluffy with an electric mixer.

3. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well.

4. Add orange zest and mix well.

5. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

6. In another bowl, combine orange juice, vanilla and buttermilk.

7. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the sugar/oil mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.

8. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

9. Cool for 10 minutes in pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

10. This cake stores well in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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Vegan Vietnamese Spring Rolls With Peanut Dipping Sauce

We have been having some good weather in Seattle for the past couple of days. I even stepped out without a coat yesterday. This kind of rare good weather day in Seattle calls for something laid-back, easy and at the same time healthy because i want to enjoy the weather and cook something elaborate. These vegan raw spring rolls are right up my alley because they are easy, healthy and guilt-free.

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The first time i made these, i took them to a friend’s house for super bowl along with this no so healthy potato chip spirals. Since then i have been making these for lunch regularly. These are good by themselves, but when you pair it with a peanut dipping sauce or even Sriracha, they are even better.

spring rolls 4

The best thing about these rolls is you can add any veggies of your choice and tofu or any other protein. If you want to go the non-vegan route, shrimps are a good choice along with veggies in these rolls. I got my rice papers from Cost Plus World Market, you can find them in most grocery stores in the Asian food aisle. Working with rice papers may seem difficult initially, but within couple of rolls, you will totally get the hang of it.

spring rolls1

These rolls taste best when eaten immediately. If you plan to serve for a party or take it to a picnic, cover them with a damp paper towel, they will be as good as fresh.

dip

Ingredients for spring rolls

10 rice paper sheets

1 cup shredded cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

10 cilantro leaves, whole

10 mint leaves, whole

1 block extra firm organic tofu, drained and cut into thin strips

1 medium head lettuce

Other optional ingredients

cooked vermicelli rice noodles

red/orange/green pepper

cucumber

Ingredients for dipping sauce

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup hot water

2 tablespoons minced ginger

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon or more red pepper flakes

Method

1. Combine all the vegetables and noodles (if using) in a large bowl. Place tofu, cilantro and mint in separate bowls.

2. To soften the rice papers, fill a pie plate or cake pan with warm water. Place a rice paper in water for 30 seconds. Remove and place on a work surface for 30 seconds.

3. On the bottom third of the sheet, place 1/4 cup of vegetable/noodle mixture. Place few strips of tofu and top with cilantro and mint.

4. Fold the bottom of the paper up and over the vegetable mixture, then fold each side toward the center, rolling gently and as tightly as possible from the bottom until completely rolled.

5. Place the roll on a plate and repeat steps 2-4 till all the ingredients are used up.

6. To make the dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients listed under dipping sauce in a bowl. Season with red pepper flakes.

Potato Chip Spirals

Howdy! Hope you all had fun watching the super bowl last evening. We certainly had a great time with good food and even better company. And the home team won in what was a one-sided game right from the start…go hawks! True to the 12th man spirit, we had plenty of good food, some healthy and some not so healthy like these potato chip spirals. These spirals are definitely a crowd pleaser, who wouldn’t love crunchy potato chips and flaky puff pastry, right? I had a bag of potato chips at home and was toying with the idea of either making a dip to go with the chips or bake something with them. I decided to go with the latter and i found this recipe here. These can be made in less than 5 minutes, minus the baking and thawing time. Therefore a perfect snack for last minute guests or a potluck appetizer. These can be easily veganized by using vegan cream cheese.

potato chip spirals

Ingredients

1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed for 40 minutes

1/4 cup cream cheese, softened

1 bunch green onions, finely chopped

1 cup crushed, lightly salted potato chips or any chips of your choice.

Method

1. Unfold the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet lightly to remove the fold marks.

2. Spread the cream cheese on the pastry sheet to within 1/2 inch of the edge.

3. Sprinkle the onions and chips.

4. Starting at a short side, roll up like a jelly roll and place it on a baking sheet. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 375F.

6. Cut the roll crosswise into 20 slices and bake for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Virtual Vegan Potluck 2013- Vegan Baked Golden Beets Fritters

It’s that time of the year again folks. Virtual Vegan Potluck, a semi-annual event is taking place today. This is going to be exciting with over 146 vegan and vegan-friendly participants from all over the world showcasing their talent and that means plenty of drool worthy food, new recipes to bookmark, new blogs to follow and make new friends. I am excited and i hope you are too. This time the featured ingredient is beets and interestingly i used beets in my recipe for the May potluck too.

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This year i signed up for appetizers and wanted to make an Indian recipe with golden beets. Pakoras or fritters is a popular Indian appetizer/snack usually served with masala chai. Anyone who’s eaten buffet lunch at an Indian restaurant would have definitely tasted pakoras with green chutney. The most commonly used vegetables to make pakoras are onions, potatoes and plantains, it is also possible to make delicious pakoras with cauliflower, spinach and beets or a combination of these vegetables.

golden beets pakora

You could use red beets, but golden merges with chickpea flour and other spices and creates a beautiful color which is absolutely gorgeous. Try a combination of both red and gold for a colorful platter.

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Whats even more interesting about this recipe is that these golden beauties are not deep-fried but still taste delicious. With just 2 tablespoons of oil, these baked fritters are as good as their deep-fried counterparts. The key is to make sure the insides are cooked well. My fritters were perfectly cooked within 20 minutes, oven temperatures may vary, so be sure to check. Or to ensure fully cooked insides, you can make them flat, by slightly pressing between your palms. Despite using beets, the fritters were not too sweet. If you want to taste the natural sweetness of beets, reduce the amount of spices. These golden beets fritters are crisp on the outside and slightly soft on the inside, making it a perfect snack to be served with a delicious dip.

beets pakora

Ingredients

1 cup grated golden beets

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons chickpea flour

2 tablespoons rice flour

1 tablespoon corn flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1 teaspoon red chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

1/4 teaspoon powdered asafetida

1 one inch piece ginger, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt

Method

1. Preheat oven to 500 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper brushed with a tablespoon of oil and set aside.

2.Place all the ingredients except oil in a large bowl and mix well. The juice from beets will be sufficient to make the batter, if needed sprinkle very little water. The batter should not be too runny.

3. Scoop out 1 teaspoon of batter and place on the baking sheet. Repeat till the batter is finished, leaving enough space between the pakoras.

4. Brush tops of pakoras with remaining oil.

5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, flip and bake on the other side for another 10 minutes or until golden and crunchy.

6. Serve hot with green chutney and tea.

Special thanks to Annie for making this happen again. Annie, i cant tell you how much i admire your coordination skills. It takes me at least 20 emails to get 4 girlfriends of mine to plan a movie night , you’ve made it look so effortless with 100+bloggers. With that said, i am ready for my fuzzy slippers and pot of tea to visit other blogs and visually satisfy my belly. I hope you will do the same:)

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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The Oxbow Box Project- Roasted Carrots Sandwich

If you are one of those for whom sandwiches always mean grilled cheese, you are going to love this post. Now you have a great excuse to eat grilled cheese and call it healthy too. Do you remember the bunch of farm fresh, organic carrots from my oxbow box and the pesto with those beautiful carrot tops? That lovely pesto triggered the idea for this simple yet outrageously tasty sandwich. Roasting carrots in oven is new to me and i am completely smitten with the simple process and flavorful results. Make sure to buy slender, fresh, organic carrots from your local farmer’s markets, they definitely make the roasting easier and tastier. Vegans, as much as we all don’t like store-bought vegan cheese, this one time, make an exception and try it on this sandwich. Pair it with this finger lickin’ good tomato soup and parsnip fries for a satisfying lunch.

roasted carrots sandwich

Ingredients

8 slender organic carrots

4 slices of bread

1/2 cup shaved cheese (i used pepperjack)

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

salt

pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

carrot greens pesto 

Method

1. Preheat oven to 450F.

2. Place carrots on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper.

3. Bake for 20 minutes.

4. Spread one side of each slice of bread with a thin layer of unsalted butter.

5. Spread the other side with pesto.

6. Place 4 roasted carrots (whole or cut) on the pesto side and finish with a layer of cheese.

7. Place the other slice of bread, with the pesto side on top of the carrots.

8. Place the sandwich in a panini press or a pan on stovetop and grill on each side for 3-5 minutes, until browned.

9. Repeat with the other 2 slices of bread.

The Oxbow Box Project- Vegan Baked Parsnip Fries With Citriburst Finger Lime-Ginger Aioli

Parsnip is a root vegetable closely related to carrots and celery. They are almost like white carrots and contain a generous amount of potassium, folate and vitamin C.  They have a fragrant herbal complexity and taste better than carrots in my opinion. Roasting caramelizes the outside and turns the inside creamy making it a perfect candidate for fries.

parsnip

This baked, healthy version of fries puts any deep fried version to shame. I promise no will even notice the difference. Parsnips can be used in place of carrots and potatoes in any recipe. They do turn black if cut and exposed to air just like potatoes, so best to prep them just before your are ready to bake them. I have used good old salt and pepper for seasoning. You can try adding minced garlic or rosemary for a fragrant variation.

parsnip fries

Now lets talk about aioli, shall we? Traditionally creamy, smooth, yummy aioli is made of garlic, lemon, olive oil and eggs. Some even call it the garlicky mayonnaise. Now vegans and those who cant eat eggs, don’t have to feel left behind. This yogurt aioli is as good or even better than any non vegan version.  I made this aioli with store bought soy yogurt, you can try making this with Catherine’s home made vegan yogurt from here or use plain Greek yogurt for a non vegan version . The finger lime vesicles burst into tangy flavor in every bite and ginger adds a mild spicy kick to this aioli. This dip stores well for couple of days in the refrigerator. With the holiday season coming up, if you are looking for simple vegan starters, you definitely have to bookmark this one.

finger lime ginger aioli

Ingredients for fries

5 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch strips

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients for finger-lime ginger aioli

1 cup vegan yogurt

zest and citrus caviar from 2 finger limes

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 one-inch piece ginger, minced

1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped

2 teaspoons olive oil

salt

freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Mix parsnips and oil and place them on a parchment sheet lined baking sheet.

3. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and toss well to coat.

4. Bake for 15 minutes, turn and roast other side for 10-15 minutes.

5. To make the aioli, place yogurt, lime zest, minced ginger, oil, garlic and dill in a bowl and stir to combine.

6. Season with salt and pepper, stir.

7. Add citrus caviar and give it a quick stir.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Larabars

I am not a huge fan of energy bars available in the market. Most of them contain a list of ingredients which runs into several paragraphs and most often they contain some form of sugar syrup and that is questionable. But if i have to make an exception and stock some in my car or purse for a quick snack, then my choice would definitely be LARABARS. They are made with unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices and each bar contains no more than nine ingredients. What i like about them more is that it is incredibly easy to make them at home.

lara bars

These pumpkin pie bars have a rich festive taste and a small square makes a great mid-morning snack. If you are looking for a last minute home made Halloween treat, this is perfect for you. While you may not be the most popular person if you distribute these tomorrow to the ghouls and goblins in your neighborhood, especially if you are competing with the snickers and starburst neighbors, i am sure you will feel good that you have shared a healthy treat. These delicious bars store well in the refrigerator for several days. I like to roll them into balls and bars, individually wrap them in plastic wrap so they remain fresh longer. Happy Halloween!

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Ingredients

3/4 cup dates, pitted

1/4 cup raisins

1 cup raw cashews

2 tablespoons almond butter

1 tablespoon pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or use a mix of powdered cloves, nutmeg and ginger)

Method

1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of your food processor.

2. Pulse until they come together, scraping the sides often. Make sure it doesn’t become a fine paste.

3. Transfer the mixture on to a cutting board and use your hands to shape it into a rectangle.

4. Cut the rectangle into bars or roll them into balls.

5. Coat them with unsweetened shredded coconut or drizzle some chocolate for a variation.