a/k/a the plant-based actress
We all have our vices, and sugar and IPA are my two biggest. Since becoming a mother in November, the amount of IPA I drink has drastically declined (hangovers are WAY less fun when you have to take care of someone else). So let’s just say I’ve been overcompensating for the decline of the latter vice with a special gusto of the former. And that’s okay! Until it’s not.
Sometimes you need a dessert reset, for whatever the reason. Maybe you’ve been visiting your favorite bakery a little too much on the regular. Or had a lot of leftover birthday cake that was burning a hole in your freezer. Speaking of freezers you might also have needed to try every single new nut milk based ice cream on the market. Over a nuked brownie. Twice in one night. For a week.
However you’ve been shoveling it in, you’ve been going a tad overboard and are starting to feel sorta yucky. You’ve hit your decadent limit. You know you need to cut back, but a day with no dessert is hardly a day at all. And I’m sorry, dates pulsed with raw rolled oats just aren’t doing the trick. (I’m sorry, I’ve tried! Maybe one day my taste buds will adjust but not right now.)
This is where these cookies come in. Are they super “healthy?”. . . Not exactly. But are they full of white flour and refined sugar? Nope. They are sweetened with maple syrup and made up of wholesome coconut and raw almonds, kissed with vanilla and baked low and slow giving them a texture that’s half (super sweet, like from childhood) granola bar, half cookie. They are every bit as satisfying and delicious as any cookie out there but don’t give you a sugar hangover.
Although they do take awhile with the cooling of the cookies and the chilling of the chocolate dip, they are one bowl and one pot cookies, and worth the extra steps of dipping and drizzling. The chocolate adds heft, texture, and if you go super dark as I do, balances out the sweetness from the coconut and maple syrup.
These genius babies are definitely not my recipe. They come from Angela Liddon of “Oh She Glows” fame. They are from her second cookbook “Oh She Glows Every Day.” Angela tests and re-tests her recipes so there is never a dud, but this one stands out to me because of its health and substantiveness. We’ve made these several times now and underbaked, over-baked, scooped precisely, sloppily hand formed the dough, and every single time they are fantastic.
We do prefer them tightly packed though. Something about biting into dense, chewy coconut is just so satisfying. Shaping them is a bit of a pain but “we” find that it’s well worth it. :)
Chocolate-Dipped Vanilla Bean Macaroons
Recipe by Angela Liddon from “Oh She Glows Every Day”
1 cup raw almonds, ground into a fine meal* (see note)
1½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
½ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt + a pinch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup coconut butter (we used store bought--you can also make your own.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or skip it and add more vanilla extract)
3½ ounces non-dairy dark chocolate, 100% if you want to go superhealthy
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Line a large plate with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the almond meal, shredded coconut, salt, cinnamon, maple syrup, melted coconut butter, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds until thoroughly combined. The dough will be thick and sticky.
With a 2-tablespoon retractable cookie scoop, or some kind of small ramekin or even a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop a ball of dough and pack it in very tightly so that the top is flat.. Release the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. You will likely have to use a spatula and re shape whatever falls apart with your hands. Repeat with the rest of the dough, setting the macaroons about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. You will get 9-12 depending on the size of your shaper.
Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the macaroons are a bit golden around the edges. Watch them closely during the last 5 to 10 minutes.
Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate and coconut oil together over low-medium heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Add a generous pinch of fine sea salt at the end.
Dip the flat base of each cooled macaroon into the chocolate and twirl the macaroon until the base is coated in chocolate. As you dip them, place each macaroon onto the parchment paper-lined plate, upside down, so the chocolate coating is facing upward. Freeze the macaroons for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chocolate has hardened.
Flip each macaroon chocolate-side down and drizzle the remaining chocolate on top (reheat the chocolate until liquid, if necessary). Freeze for 5 to 10 minutes, until the chocolate drizzle is firm.
Store leftover macaroons in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Freeze for up to 1 month.
*I grind them in my Vitamix for a little less than 1 minute.
PACCHERI ALA VODKA and GARLICKY GREENS
Ala Vodka Sauce
Basic Tomato Sauce
2 Tsp Olive Oil
5 (Heads-jk!) Cloves Garlic (more or less to your desire)
½ Med Red Onion
1 28oz. Can of Organic Whole/Chopped/Crushed Tomatoes
Dash of Cinnamon
1 Cup Fresh Basil and Oregano, combined (this to taste too)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Slice/chop/dice/mince the garlic, shallots and onions the way you want them in your sauce (we like it chunky but you can also make it smooth by mincing).
Place olive oil in the pot on medium heat and toss in the garlic, shallots and onion. Sprinkle a little salt on them. Cook a few minutes stirring often until translucent.
Add the tomatoes and let the sauce simmer as long as you like stirring occasionally (basically until it reaches your desired color and thickness - we like it a rich thick dark red color). Turn the heat down and scrape the bottom if it begins to stick.
While the sauce cooks, add a dash of cinnamon and the basil and oregano.
Salt and Pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Almond Milk (or other non-dairy milk, homemade (best) or store bought (fine), unsweetened)*
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Add the oil to a pot on the stove and heat it at medium to high heat.
As the oil heats, add the flour to the pan whisking vigorously.
Brown the flour in the oil for a bit, while whisking pretty vigorously, turn down the heat a bit if it seems like it is going to burn (if it burns just start over - you haven’t spent much time yet).
Pour the almond milk and continue to whisk and allow the sauce to gradually thicken.
You will usually get to the right thickness after it has reached boiling point and boiled for a few minutes. If not just keep cooking and stirring until you get the desired thickness - this is a forgiving recipe (keep in mind that the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools).
Turn off the heat and add salt and black pepper to taste.
If you double the bechamel recipe, the flour must always be one less than the oil. Ex.-5 Tbsp of olive oil to 4 Tbsp of flour.
We like to make our own almond milk - 1c. almonds, 1q. water, blender and a nut milk bag (easy to find instructions/recipes on line...but you can use any unsweetened non-dairy milk you like.
Add the Tomato Sauce to the Bechamel until it is your desired color!
Paccheri is my new fave - but rigatoni, fusilli (both shapes), penne, farfalle, etc….all work here.
Cook to the instructions on the bag, drain and add it to the sauce - leave pretty al dente as it will cook more in the sauce.
Greens (Broccoli Rabe and Mustards are my favs … the bitter ones work best here)
Tons of sliced garlic cloves (I use a whole head - not kidding)
Steam (blanch) the greens. We use a colander/strainer and a large pot with a lid and an inch or two of water in it. Note: They don’t need to be fully cooked...they will cook more in the pan.
Add a little oil (we use just enough so they don’t stick) to a large saute pan, turn heat to medium and toss in the sliced garlic. Cook/brown for a few minutes stirring pretty constantly as it will burn and get too bitter.
Toss in your greens and turn the heat up to medium high and stir them with the garlic until they are green and coated and cooked to your liking (a few minutes is all this takes).
Salt to taste.
SERVE IT ALL STEAMING HOT!
Luscious Vegan Slaw
6 cups white cabbage sliced very thin
3 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cups carrots shredded
½ cup finely diced red onion
1-2 cups silken (soft) tofu
2 Tbsp maple syrup (or raw honey)
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup tahini
2 Tbsp tamari
¼ cup grape seed oil
1 tsp garlic powder
A few pinches of cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
To Make: Add all ingredients to the vegetables and stir until combined. Add more silken tofu if the mixture seems dry. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more salt if it needs pop, and more maple syrup if it needs to be a little sweeter. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving so the flavors meld and the cabbage softens. It makes a LOT of slaw, which will last covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. Enjoy!
Oven Baked Potato Chips
2 or 3 large russet potatoes, washed
Grape seed (or some kind of high-heat, neutral-flavored) oil
To Make: Pre-heat oven to 400. Slice potatoes into approximately 1/8th inch thick. A mandolin makes this a snap. Watch your fingers! Put potato slices into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 Tbsp oil (less if using fewer potatoes) and a large pinch of salt, and toss until evenly coated. Spread out onto two baking sheets lined with parchment. If you want all your chips to be uniformly crispy, do not overlap. If you don’t mind some soft and some crispy chips, feel free to let them overlap. Put in oven and set timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes check to see if potatoes are getting browned and need to be flipped. If they still look soft, set timer for another 5-7 minutes. If not, flip, and switch top and bottom racks. Set timer for another 10-20 minutes depending on how quickly the potatoes are cooking. If they are going slow, turn oven up to 450, but keep an eye on them. When some (or all) of your chips are curled and crispy, they are done! Serve with an extra sprinkle of salt if needed. Enjoy!
Decadent Vegan Tempeh Ruebens
Ingredients for the Tempeh:
1 package (8 ounces) tempeh
½ cup vegetable broth
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp vegan worcestershire
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked paprika ½ tsp garlic powder
1 drop of liquid smoke
For the Fixings:
4 slices rye bread
Vegan butter for spreading on bread
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup sauerkraut
½ cup vegan mayo
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp relish
To Make: Combine all wet ingredients for the tempeh in a shallow bowl or dish. Cut tempeh in ½ lengthwise and then cut each slice into 4 thin slices and add to marinade. Let sit for 30 minutes. Heat 1 or 2 (depending on size) large skillets over medium heat, and add the oil. Add the tempeh and cook about 5 minutes on each side, or until browned on both sides. Add the marinade to the skillet(s) and let it reduce. This will take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Turn up heat if it’s going very slowly, and keep an eye out that it doesn’t burn.
Meanwhile, combine mayo, ketchup and relish in a small bowl to make the russian dressing.
Butter the four slices of bread generously.
When marinade is done cooking off the tempeh, assemble sandwiches. Place two slices of bread butter side down in a skillet on low/medium heat. Smother bread generously with russian dressing, then pile on all of the sauerkraut, then add tempeh, top tempeh with a tab more dressing, and top with the other slice of bread. Cook each side for about 4-6 minutes, until each side is golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside. Transfer to a cutting board, cut in ½ and eat immediately. Enjoy!
Warm Bread Salad with Tomatoes
adapted from I Heart NY by Daniel Humm & Will Guidara
1/4 c. olive oil
6 cloves of garlic crushed but left whole
5 c. torn baguette or other yummy bread
1 c. sliced (1/4 inch) red onion
5 c. of roughly chopped heirloom tomatoes
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 bunch of fresh basil torn
1/4 c. capers
1/2 c. oil cured black olives
Salt & ground black pepper
Small basil leaves for garnish
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the torn bread to the pan and saute until golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low, add the red onion and saute for 1 minute, and then add 1/2 the tomatoes. Add the vinegar and remove from the heat. Add the basil, capers, olives and remaining tomatoes and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with basil leaves.
Grilled Summer Veggies (squash and eggplant)
Slice (1/2 inch thick - this is prettier) or cube the veggies (1 inch). Coat a grill pan (or the veggies) with a small amount of oil and put the grill pan over a flame on medium-high heat. Watch them pretty closely. When you peek underneath and see the black char lines at the shade you like, flip the veggies and watch them until they look done - peeking as needed. For the oven roasted veggies - coat the pan with a pretty light layer of oil. Lay the vegetables on the sheet - don't overlap. Brush other side with a light coating of oil- they don't have to be completely coated. Roast at 400 degrees. Check them after 12-15 minutes and flip them when they are starting to brown on the bottom. Check them in 8-10 minutes after the first turn. You can flip them more than once if you want them more brown.