January 31, 2010

Simple foods

Me in my new apron.
To be honest, I prefer simple foods. I would rather have a peach than a piece of peach pie. I don't like extremes of saltiness or sweetness, or heavy flavoring and spicing. But you know, I'm playing at a food blog, and no one wants to read about steamed cauliflower. So although most of what I eat is much simpler than you might think, my blog posts don't always reflect that. I blog about the more interesting or unusual dishes we eat, or restaurant food we've consumed, or vegan items I'm asked to review. But normally, we don't go out of our way to cook fancy gourmet meals or recreate elaborate meat or dairy dishes in vegan form, nor do we regularly use non-dairy cheese other than occasionally on pizza. So you see, our gustatory lives are quite boring.

Daiya cheese pizza with "pepperoni" (tester recipe)
In my last post I included a recipe for a kale soup typical of what we might consider a fine meal. Along with a salad or a crusty loaf of bread or maybe just some rice, that would be it. My husband will eat an apple for dessert, and I might have a small orange or a few dates. I'm telling you this because I've received a number of inquiries from new or aspiring vegans asking how difficult it will be to be vegan, or how expensive it might be. New vegans are more likely to try to recreate familiar foods as they transition to a new way of life. But I don't want anyone to think we depend on fake foods or complicated preparations for our meals. Nope. We love our veggies.

Salted caramel wheat treats. Yum. (tester recipe)
Lately I've been testing recipes for a cookbook being developed by Celine and Joni. The cookbook is about substitutions — vegan for omnivorous. So, you've been seeing lots of, well, substitutions. Some are things I would make anyway, like chickpea salad, and some not so much, like baby back ribz. It's fun to make stuff like this, or to serve it to company, and we've been enjoying our testing a lot. Besides, it's never a bad idea to have a few good seitan recipes on hand. (Seitan was used by Buddhist monks in the 7th century so it's not a weird "new" vegan food.) I usually cut back on the salt used in the recipes because I'm pretty health conscious and excess salt can cause health issues. But also, because I don't eat a lot of processed foods, I've become very sensitive to the intense natural flavors of fruits, vegetables, grains and beans, and it takes very little additional salt or sugar to make things taste perfectly seasoned. I'm not saying we only eat barely seasoned food — sometimes we make things very spicy — but usually our foods are less seasoned than what might be considered average.

Baby back ribz try #2 (tester recipe) Still not sticky and gooey but closer!
I enjoy some very salty things like olives, as an accent to a meal, but if everything is salty, I find it distasteful. It almost burns my tongue. The same is true of very sweet things; they don't taste good to me. When I bake for others, I usually use more sweetener so my baked goods will be more like what other people enjoy. I'm always surprised, when I think I've made something much too sweet, to hear someone say, "I really like this. It's not too sweet." Oh well.

Just so you can see how truly boring our eating can be, here's a soup I made for lunch on Saturday. But really, it was delicious. And so simple. You can flavor it any way you like to suit your own palate.

Simple cauliflower, carrot, potato soup
  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower, cut in large pieces
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut in small dice
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut in small dice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons mellow white miso (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • low sodium vegetable broth
  • fresh ground pepper
  • sliced scallion
  • minced parsley
  • fresh or dried herbs
  1. Place the vegetables and water in a pressure cooker. Bring to pressure and cook 5 minutes. Release pressure.
  2. Use a hand-blender in the pot or add cooked veggies and cooking water to a blender bowl along with miso, onion powder and vinegar, and blend until creamy. Add broth to desired consistency, and blend. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  3. Return to pot and gently reheat if needed. Place in bowls and add a grind of pepper. Add garnishes as desired.
Along with the soup we had leftover polenta which I sautéed in the wok, and a salad, and our adorable granddaughter who was visiting, had tofu fingers. She used the soup as a dip for the tofu, which had been dredged in potato starch and sautéed.

My new cupcake apron up close.

We went to our son and d-i-l's house for dinner Saturday night, and our dil made a delicious Caribbean stew called Island Gumbo from "The Urban Vegan" cookbook. It was just right for a cold, damp winter evening. I brought some cookies and bars culled from the stash that went to the bake sale on Sunday.

Now here's something my husband made all on his own. He's not really into plating, so it's a little hard to see what it is, but it's a stacked portobella mushroom dish he adapted from "Real Food Daily." It had a layer of baked polenta on the bottom, and portobella, carrots, red pepper, onions and a light tomato sauce on the top. It was amazingly delicious.


Bake sale for Haiti

Today there was a vegan bake sale for Haiti and I contributed some baked goods. Yes, genuinely sweet ones! I made Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies, and one of the tester recipes from the cookbook. Instead of just packaging the goodies in plastic baggies like I usually do for bake sales, I made cellophane packages tied with ribbon. They looked very cute if I do say so myself.


Valentine's Day idea
Meredith from Farm Sanctuary asked me to post this, and I'm happy to do so. Sponsoring an animal is a gift of love that fits well with Valentine's Day — or any day.

This Valentine’s Day, open your heart to the rescued animals at Farm Sanctuary. Each of these individuals has a huge capacity for love and a story to share that will fill you with hope and inspiration.
Sponsor an animal for yourself and share your Valentine’s Day spirit with one of the sweet animals at our shelters. Or, give a sponsorship as a gift because there’s no better way to show that someone special in your life how much you care. All of our sanctuary residents depend on sponsors to provide them with nourishing food, safe refuge, veterinary care, and everything else they need for a happy and healthy life.
Sponsors receive an adoption certificate with a color photograph of their adopted friend, an adoption card, an invitation to schedule a VIP tour to meet their sponsored animal, and other benefits depending on the animal selected. Click here to see a list of our sponsorship packages.
In the name of love for all beings, sponsor one of the farm animals below this Valentine’s Day! Or, sponsor them all to receive or share a whole barnyard full of love! You can also make a special one-time gift to the animals.

January 25, 2010

Mushroom-garlic-kale soup etc.

There was a recipe for mushroom and kale soup in a recent issue of Vegetarian Times that sounded so perfect I couldn't wait to make it. I've adapted the recipe to suit my taste and pantry and offer it to you here. Last night we served the soup for a casual company supper. (Recipe at end of post.)

With the soup we had a salad of mixed greens, cucumbers, carrots, celery, grape tomatoes and olives.

And bread made from the basic recipe found in "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day". (When I make this bread I usually change the proportions slightly, and use white whole wheat flour instead of regular whole wheat. I use 6-1/2 cups www flour, 1 cup unbleached white, 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten, 1 tbsp. yeast, 1-1/2 tsp. salt, 2 tbsp. sucanot, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 4 cups warm water.) You can find the complete information and instructions here. A video is available here. (Not all the breads in the book are vegan but they are easily adaptable.)

We also had baby back ribz— a tester recipe for Celine and Joni's upcoming cookbook. They are supposed to be all sticky-gooey with barbecue sauce so I slipped a little on that score but they were still delicious.

Since I'm mentioning tester recipes, here's one for mock tuna salad made with tempeh. It didn't taste like tuna to me but it tasted great!

Above you see a bowl of quinoa soup we were served for dinner by our son and his girlfriend. It's topped with chopped peanuts and avocado, and is a favorite of mine. It's a traditional Ecuadorian food, and you can find a recipe for a very similar soup here. For dessert we had chocolate peanut butter pillows from "Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar" but I was so fixated on eating my cookies that I completely forgot to take a picture. Too bad, because they were gorgeous!

This is try #2 of frito misto. I really liked this version but it's still not perfect. Sigh.

Last but not least, we just couldn't give up on Turnpike Pizza's vegan (Daiya cheese) pizza without giving it another chance. The idea of vegan pizza this close to our house is just too alluring. So we tried again, this time telling them to go light on the cheese and heavy on the mushrooms. The resulting pizza was MUCH better. It had large slices of tomato and much less cheese. For some reason, the crust seemed completely different, too. It was not the soft-pretzel dough of our last experience, but a much chewier, crispier version of pizza. I wonder, if we order again, what our pizza will be like.

Mushroom, kale and garlic soup adapted from Vegetarian Times
  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced fresh mushrooms (I used crimini and white button)
  • 10 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 4 cups low-sodium broth
  • 2 cups mushroom water (from soaking the shiitake mushrooms)
  • 1 large bunch kale, washed and sliced
  • 1 can no-salt cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 green onions, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup brown rice (I used a jasmine, red and black mix)
  1. Cook the rice in 1 cup of water and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in 3 cups of warm water for about 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the soup. (This will give you approximately 2 cups of mushroom water.)
  3. Sauté the fresh mushrooms in a 4 quart soup pot for about 10 minutes or until they start to release their juices.
  4. Add the sliced garlic and cook 1 minute.
  5. Add the vinegar and cook until it is almost evaporated.
  6. Meanwhile, gently squeeze extra water from the dried shiitakes and thinly slice them. Add to the pot and sauté 1 minute.
  7. Add the broth and 2 cups of mushroom soak water, leaving any dark residue behind in the bowl. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Add kale and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes, or until kale is tender.
  9. Add beans and rice. Bring soup to desired temperature for serving.
  10. Stir in green onions and lightly cook them for a minute, or use them as a garnish.
  11. Add salt if needed and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serves 6.


Haiti still needs our help
I can't write a post without encouraging all the generous bloggers out there to make a contribution to help the people of Haiti recover from the horrendous earthquake. Here's a list of trusted places that will put your money to good use. Even a small donation will help.

The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) announces its top-rated list of charities involved in Haitian earthquake relief efforts. AIP, a leading charity watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, identifies the following charities, which are providing aid to the victims that receive an “A” or “B” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency. Contact the organizations below for information of specific relief operations now underway.

January 17, 2010

Weather-weary | raw dinner x 2

On Friday evening I was having a severe "allergic" reaction to the weather. Specifically, that would be a reaction to the unrelenting rain, and the accompanying dark and damp. Day after day after day of RAIN. In an unrelated but strangely ironic connection, even the pipes under the bathroom sink had begun to leak, requiring a visit from a plumber. (A tall, cute plumber with an earring, but that's irrelevant.) My "allergy" took the form of intense agitation. I was irritable, crabby, in a bad mood, and ready to scream. It occurred to me that when we lived in Wisconsin, surrounded by mountains of snow, and freezing cold, I seldom had a problem with the weather. I only seemed to remember the good weather, and dismissed the bad. My family from Philadelphia and Florida would ask me how I could stand so much cold and snow, and I'd reply that it wasn't as bad as it sounded. And it wasn't. At least there was SUN! And it was mostly dry so the snow was powdery. Honestly, I hardly ever minded. But lately I find that I can only remember the bad weather. I can't remember the sun. I'm feeling hostile and irritated. What is happening?

Anyway, Friday night I was too pissed to cook (or be nice to anyone else who might cook) so we went out to dinner. We had a gift card to Chaco Canyon, a restaurant we really like, that we decided to cash in. I needed a large quantity of vegetables, and this seemed like the place to get them. You can eat raw at Chaco, and that's what I decided to do. I had green coconut curry — a large bowl of raw veggies with a Thai influence. It was a lot of green! After I finished, I needed something a little more lighthearted so I had a raw brownie. Okay then. I wished I'd brought the camera — should have but was in too bad a mood when we left the house.

The problem I have with raw food in the winter is it leaves me feeling chilly. As we walked out of the restaurant, my husband was nice and warm and I was still cold — though slightly less angry. I decided that what I needed was some nice warm, freshly popped corn, so we headed home so I could try out a corn-popping method I'd seen in a podcast earlier in the day. We didn't bring our air-popper to Seattle, and I've been unhappy with the microwave experiments I've tried. I popped the corn on the stove in a large stainless mixing bowl, like this. It worked great but I thought it was too oily (it would have been too salty, too, but I only used a scant 1/4 teaspoon), and I felt bad about using all that foil. I think I'm off to Goodwill soon to look for an abandoned air popper.

So, by now you're probably wondering, how did I get the photos without the camera? Did I steal them off the Internet? I considered it but no, I wouldn't do that. The truth is we went back to Chaco last night and used the rest of the gift certificate just so I could illustrate this post. Told you I was losing it. I ordered exactly the same thing figuring that two days of raw food would probably do me good. The coconut curry was even better the second night but the brownie not so much. The first night the brownie was creamy and delicious but the second night it was hard, and made me think I was eating chocolate-flavored solid coconut oil. Not good. It makes me shudder when I think about it.

I made the popcorn again, too, using one tablespoon of oil instead of three, and less than 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I think with less oil you have to pay closer attention so the kernels don't burn, but I liked the result much better. Try it both ways.
(Thank you M.C.!)


Please help

I can't write a post without encouraging all the generous bloggers out there to make a contribution to help the people of Haiti recover from the horrendous earthquake. Here's a list of trusted places that will put your money to good use. Even a small donation will help.
The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) announces its top-rated list of charities involved in Haitian earthquake relief efforts. AIP, a leading charity watchdog that issues letter grade (A+ to F) ratings of nonprofit groups, identifies the following charities, which are providing aid to the victims that receive an “A” or “B” grade based on the portion of their budget going to program services and their fundraising efficiency. Contact the organizations below for information of specific relief operations now underway.

January 14, 2010

PranhaBar/Boomi Bar

I was recently the lucky recipient of two free products sent to me by Divine Foods. I just love to get free stuff in the mail — especially when it's edible. I received a coconut acai PranaBar and a cashew almond Boomi Bar.

The 1.7 oz. PranaBar contains organic almond butter, organic agave nectar, organic date paste, organic dried coconut, organic almonds, organic raisins, organic puffed amaranth, organic acai dry powder, sea salt. According to the literature I received it is vegan, certified organic, GMO-free, unprocessed, enzyme active, dairy free, gluten free, soy free, hand rolled and sweetened with agave nectar. My bar had 220 calories and 13 grams of fat. It reminded me of a Larabar only I thought the PranaBar tasted better. It seemed fruitier and fresher. PranaBars come in several different flavors but I only received one so can't comment on the others.

The cashew almond Boomi Bar looked really good but because it isn't vegan (it contains honey) I gave it to a willing volunteer to try. It has a similar quality profile to the PranaBar, but fewer ingredients. In fact, the cashew almond bar has only almonds, cashews, honey, dates, crisp rice, amaranth, salt. My volunteer was very much enjoying her bar when her toddler perceived the situation, and enthusiastically required a bite. After being given a taste, she refused to relinquish the bar, and when asked if she would share it, said with a huge grin, "nooooooooooooooooooo." The baby ate the whole thing.


More recipe testing

Since I've been testing recipes for Celine and Joni's upcoming cookbook, I like to torture you all with photos of the results. This is a pasta bake. I just love the sound of that, don't you?


On toast

This is not a recipe but a suggestion. I came upon a small amount of leftover tofu scramble in a pot, and though it wasn't really enough for lunch, it occurred to me that putting it on toast would make it more substantial. I've lately become very fond of putting things - beans specifically - on toast. So very British, I've been told, and also very tasty! (I got the idea from Trinity.) I was especially delighted to find chipotle in adobo generously laced through the scramble. If you make a scramble, try adding chipotle in adobo, and putting the scramble on toast.


Please help

I can't write a post without encouraging all the generous bloggers out there to make a contribution to help the people of Haiti recover from the horrendous earthquake. Here's a list of trusted places that will put your money to good use. Even a small donation will help.

Doctors Without Borders






Would you like to win a VitaMix? Click here.

January 10, 2010

Turnpike Pizza/daiya cheese/tester recipes/frito misto

Turnpike Pizza with a homemade side of broccolini and seitan.
Sometimes things just don't turn out the way you expect. I had good intentions of making frito misto for the second time last night to try to improve my results so I could post a recipe, but I waited too late to start cooking, and lack of sleep caught up with me. "Can't we just get a pizza or something," I moaned, as I tried to picture myself washing, cutting , mixing and cooking. Now, how many times has that happened to you? Be honest.

We could have gotten pizza from Pizza Pi, a known source of vegan-only pizzas, but I wanted to see if the pizza place down the street could actually come through with the vegan pizza they promised when they first opened. He ordered. We waited. He went to pick up the pie.

I took one look at the pizza, covered with a thick layer of melted cheese, and groaned, "This can't be vegan. I'm not eating it."

"But they said it was 100% vegan. They swore it was," said my husband. Then I noticed a spot of flattened, crispy cheese, and remembered Daiya cheese gets like that if over-heated. (The pizza really is made with Daiya.) So I took a bite. This is the pizza that floated before my eyes the day I decided to be vegan — back in the days when I used to order EXTRA cheese. But that was then and this is now. Now, this thick melted layer of cheesy, stretchy richness was just too much ... too much ... too much like CHEESE. It made me feel a little sick. I realized I'd come to prefer my pizza covered in VEGGIES with just a smidgen of "cheese." This pizza had too few veggies and too much cheese. (My son, who got the cold leftovers when he got home from work, thought it was really good.)

And then there was the crust. Turnpike Pizza is promoted as "real New York-style pizza" or at least "real East Coast pizza." It's been an awfully long time since I've had any such thing but the crust brought back memories not of pizza, but of Philadelphia soft pretzels! In fact, it tasted just like a soft pretzel. It was very white and very smooth. Maybe smooth is the wrong word but it wasn't the bubbly, scorched and chewy brick-oven crust of my dreams.

Okay, I realize I may have just described what you consider a fantastic pizza, and if you live in Seattle you might want to rush over to Turnpike Pizza in Green Lake and order one. What do I know.


Testing recipes for Celine and Joni
We've been testing some really delicious recipes lately. Above you see BBQ beans that my son and I loved. My husband liked them but was, in my opinion, unaccountably less enthusiastic than I. Believe me, they were great.

Everyone, including unsuspecting company, loved these. They look like ordinary potato wedges but they're not. They're special and addictive. Amazing and fabulous.

Above you see the BBQ beans, the wedgies and a side of kale. Ever since I read about beans on toast at Haiku Tofu I'd been wanting some, and the BBQ beans were just perfect atop a slice of toasted sourdough. I think I'll keep to myself the number of times I enjoyed this combo.

This is an excellent lentil and quinoa salad. It surprised me by being much more delicious than I imagined.

Oh my. I love kale and eat it a lot, but this was amazing. Buy the cookbook when it comes out just for this smoky dish!

These muffins had both carrots and sweet potato. My granddaughter gobbled hers up.


New version of an old favorite

We love the sweet chili lime tofu with collards recipe from "Vegan Yum Yum" but when my husband proposed making it the other night I said I'd had tofu for lunch, and didn't want to eat soy again. He was disappointed until I suggested making it with chickpeas, instead. It was just as great with the beans, and served over rice.

Here's my first frito misto effort - not quite good enough to post the recipe. The cauliflower crust was a little too grainy, and the sauce too tomato-y. When I added the sauce to the cauliflower, the grainy quality disappeared and the the cauliflower tasted really good - but not good enough. I'll try again tonight.


Spam attack (the electronic variety)

I've decided to add a word recognition step to leaving comments because I recently encountered some objectionable spam. Someone using the name Disa left a large number of links to porn sites on a number of my posts. The links were in Chinese characters so I used Google translator to translate the phrases. I apologize to anyone who may have followed the links to pornographic pages before I saw and removed them. I hope this won't discourage anyone from leaving comments - I love reading your thoughts.


You can enter a comment to win a copy of "Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World" at Vegan Family Style.

January 05, 2010

What we did (and ate) on our winter vacation ... part 2 / apple cake

Whenever we're in the Fort Lauderdale area, we always dine at the internationally known vegan restaurant, Sublime. In the past I've noted that Sublime tries very hard to appeal to non-vegetarians by simulating familiar meat-and-chicken-based dishes instead of focusing on the creative use of fresh vegetables, but as the only veg restaurant for miles around, I can understand their position. They've managed to be successful as a vegan restaurant in a steak and seafood world. And I really liked their new menu, which seemed to have more veggie-centered choices.

Sublime is a beautiful and calming space with very good food, and the waitstaff is friendly and helpful. Dining there is always enjoyable, and our latest visit was no exception, though we started the evening with a slight mishap. My sister-in-law had postcards (which were expiring the next day) offering $10 off two entrées, and we planned to use them to defray the high cost of eating at Sublime. As we arrived, my brother realized that he'd forgotten to bring the coupons. We went back and forth about whether to mention this to our server, but when the restaurant owner came to our table to greet us, we told her about the oversight. At first she seemed very pleased that her postcard had pulled us into the restaurant, and appeared to be considering what to do. Then she chirped, "I guess you'll just have to come back again tomorrow," and quickly took off. Oh well. It wouldn't have cost her very much to create a little seasonal good will but I guess we all make our choices.

For starters we shared an order of frito misto, shown at the top of the page. This is crispy cauliflower with sweet chili sauce, and it's addictively good. I've tried to duplicate this at home in the past and was very successful, but unfortunately I didn't write down the recipe so I'll have to try again.

For my entrée I chose the portobella stack with sautéed greens and mashed cauliflower. I'm a sucker for portobella dishes and, besides, this entrée came with the most vegetables. The smallish mushroom came layered with spinach, tomato, thinly sliced potato and a brown sauce. It was really good.

My husband chose a salad and the "four sides" entrée option, and he picked barbecued tofu, asparagus, coleslaw and mashed cauliflower. He enjoyed his dinner.

My brother and s-i-l shared a caesar salad and a "steak" sandwich with oven sweet potato fries. The salad came with several small pieces of fried artichoke hearts, which I thought was very clever. I think all four of us enjoyed this year's visit to Sublime (except for the coupon mishap) and will return again when we're back in the area. The food is organic and vegan, and all profits go towards animal welfare.

After dinner, we visited a street in Pompano Beach where every house on both sides of the street participates in extreme Christmas decorating excess. The pictures really don't do justice to the mind-boggling display of light and color.

All vacations must come to an end, so on New Year's Eve we left for the airport at 7:30 a.m. We were conscious of potentially increased security measures following the underwear-explosives incident on the airliner from Amsterdam. I packed very carefully, trying to minimize the chances of having myself or my luggage searched. Security was surprisingly fast and easy in spite of the fact I totally forgot to remove and display my one quart plastic zip-bag of personal explosives. No one called me out or even removed my empty stainless steel water bottle from my backpack pocket to shake it. This seemed rather slack considering the scrutiny I've encountered in the past.

Anyway, we got home in time to have a New Year's Eve dinner with our son, d-i-l, granddaughter and their friends. My daughter-in-law cooked a meal entirely from The Urban Vegan cookbook and it was delicious. Above you can see my plate with chickpea paprikash and spaetzle, snap peas in garlic and olive oil, and salad greens with croutons.

For a brunch at our kids' house on Sunday I made black-eyed-pea salsa (Texas caviar) from this recipe except I cooked the beans from scratch, and used parsley instead of cilantro to accommodate my favorite cilantro-hater.

No slivered almonds on or in my cake (cake #2)

I also made an apple cake from Bryanna Clark Grogan's wonderful blog but with several alterations — I always have to tinker. I'll give you the excellent original recipe (with permission), and then a second recipe with my changes. I ran out of sugar when I made it the first time so used cinnamon and a little agave for the topping, but that results in a pale-looking (but still delicious) cake. Sugar works much better. I also added dried cranberries with the apples, and no almonds on top due to my dislike for nuts in cake. The cake was delicious but tasted too sweet for my warped taste buds so I revised it a bit when I made it the second time. It still tastes sweet to me but everyone else loves it so I think I'll leave it alone for now.

Original recipe:
makes 1/ 9x13" cake

Dry mix
  • 1 and 3/4 cups wholewheat pastry flour PLUS 1/4 c. oat bran
  • OR 2 cups wholewheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 cups chopped apples (I don't peel them if they are organic)
Wet mix
  • 1/3 cup smooth unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 Tbs. oil
  • 1 cup unbleached organic granulated sugar
  • 7/8 cup nondairy milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup slivered, blanched almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13" cake pan.
  1. Whisk together the dry mix ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in the apples.
  3. In a blender, blend the wet mix ingredients until smooth.
  4. Mix the Wet Mix into dry mix, stirring as briefly as possible.
  5. Spread into prepared pan.
  6. Mix the topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the cake. Bake 35 minutes. Test for doneness.
  7. Cool on a rack and serve right out of the pan, cut into squares.

Apple-cranberry cake (adapted from Bryanna's rustic apple-almond cake)
This cake is so easy and delicious — wonderfully soft and moist — it's destined to become a new favorite at our house!

Dry mix
  • 2 cups white wholewheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp spice mix* (or cinnamon) see note below
  • 2+ cups apple, chopped into 1/2" pieces (Don't peel if organic) (I used two med.-lg. apples)
  • 1 cup whole cranberries (mine were frozen), each berry cut in half or 1/2 cup dried
Wet mix
  • 1/3 cup smooth unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 Tbs. oil
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup unbleached organic granulated sugar (evaporated cane juice) If using dried cranberries, the cake is very sweet. If you like cake less sweet, use 1/2 cup.
  • 7/8 cup nondairy milk or amazake (Amazake gives great texture.)
  • 1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 1 tsp. spice mix* (or cinnamon) see note below
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13" cake pan.
  1. Whisk together the dry mix ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in the apples and cranberries.
  3. In a blender, blend the wet mix ingredients until smooth. (I just beat them with a spoon.)
  4. Fold the wet mix into dry mix, stirring as briefly as possible. The batter will be very thick.
  5. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  6. Mix the topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Sprinkle half the topping evenly over the cake. Swirl in gently with a knife. (Don't knock yourself out with the swirling; the batter is too thick for real swirling.)
  7. Sprinkle on the rest of the topping.
  8. Bake 35 minutes. Test for doneness.
  9. Cool on a rack and serve from the pan, cut into squares.
Note: *I used speculoos spice mix from Seitan is my motor (except mine has allspice instead of cloves, and extra coriander) to flavor the cake. (to make a batch: 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground allspice, 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp. ground coriander, 1/8 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg) Follow this link to find out more. I had previously mixed a lot to keep handy with my other spices so it was right there waiting for me when I made the cake.