Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chai Tea Muffins

This Sunday I'm making deep-dish cornbread pizza using a cornbread crust vegan pizza recipe I've used before and

chai tea muffins
(from Karen W):

They were experimental and modded from the original since I didn't have soy yogurt (I substituted 1 "egg" - use your replacement method of choice - plus about 1/4 c of soymilk). I used vanilla soymilk, if that matters (probably not). The recipe is from here.

Disregard the topping. The "glaze" - which was really supposed to be a frosting but I didn't get enough powdered sugar - came from here.

I replaced the milk with soymilk and the butter with earth balance.

I usually use ground flax seed + soymilk for egg replacer, but this time I used actual egg replacer.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chocolate Chip Meringues

Chocolate Chip Meringues

2 eggs whites
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup miniature chocolate chips (you can add less if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or generously grease.

Beat the egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

As the mixer is running, add the sugar slowly, a few tablespoons at a time. Stir to blend then add the cream of tartar. Gently fold in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon or plastic spatula (or just chuck them in the mixer). Use a tablespoon to drop batter onto the cookie sheet. Place in the oven and leave until lightly browned and crispy outside.

Gooey Good Brownies

Best Brownies:

"These brownies always turn out!"

Original recipe yield 16 brownies



* 1/2 cup butter
* 1 cup white sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 3 tablespoons butter, softened
* 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup confectioners' sugar

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1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
2. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
4. To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Best corn pizza crust

I made pizzas with this gluten-free vegan recipe a few days ago, and it's being used again today, so people must like it...

It's from Bicycling Vegan's Blog: Gluten-Free Pizza Crust.

There are 6 cast-iron skillets at pika, so you'll want to multiply by 6. Also, use the upper bound of the suggested soy milk use.

In case the original post disappears, here is an ugly cut-and-paste:

Tonight's recipe uses a 9" cast iron skillet.


3/4 c corn meal
1/4 c bean flour
1/2 t baking soda
1 t raw sugar
about 1/4 cup frozen or fresh corn
2 sun dried tomatoes, chopped

1 t olive oil
1/2 T flax meal mixed with 1.5 T water (to create 1/2 an egg)
1/2-3/4 c soymilk

Place about 1 T margarine or olive oil in skillet. Now, preheat oven and cast iron skillet to 350 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix. Now add flax-egg, oil and milk. Stir a few times. You want this to be chunky from the corn but also a pretty thin batter that you can pour. So add more or less milk as desired.

Take your heated skillet out of the oven and pour your pizza crust into it. Cook 10 minutes and remove from oven.

Now place sauce, toppings and vegan cheese on the crust. Spray lightly with olive oil and return to oven.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven, cool a few minutes and slice. Serves 2-3 happy people!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Ben Salinas Delight

~1 handful of tofu (note that it's extremely difficult to hold tofu in your hand, so you should probably estimate this. I suppose that you could also freeze the tofu together to make it more manageable, but this blurs the line between a true handful and a five pound block of protein-rich goodness that you just happen to be balancing in your palm)
(on second thought, you should probably just use as much tofu as will fit in your bowl)

~1 large spoonful of peanut butter (actually, two)

~1/2 Banana (I always end up using the other half for lack of anything better to do with it)

Put the tofu and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl and then in a bowl-safe microwave for about a minute. Cut chunks of banana into the mixture and immediately stir in the now-liquified peanut butter.

At this point, you have something that is delicious, but a little too mushy, so you may wish to add an arbitrary number of Fruit Loops or Apple Jacks. Other cereals have been tried with little success, so experiment at your culinary peril. Continue mixing. Lately, I've been adding a quarter dollop of craisins, which burst in your mouth like little mortgage bubbles of flavor.

This recipe serves one and a half (which is usually more than the number of people who will eat it by about a half)

Special thanks to my inspiration, Ben Salinas

Monday, March 9, 2009

brown rice with greens and peas

8 to 10 cups brown rice
6 onions
4 tablespoons minced ginger (or more! never enough ginger!)
3 bags of frozen peas
greens: 2 enormous bunches of rainbow chard (ok, any chard, but rainbow is cooler)
2 bunches of green kale
1 bunch of red kale
~20 cups of spinach (one large plastic box)

olive oil
soy sauce

Cook the brown rice however you like - pika's rice cooker works well. Sautee the onions and minced ginger in olive oil. Mix the onions and rice. Steam all the greens for just a little while, then mix them in as well. Boil the peas, drain them, and add them.

Add a few dashes of soy sauce (a few tablespoons) for saltiness. Mix carefully. Serve hot.

corn and avocado salad

7 bags of frozen corn
5 red peppers
1 package (or ~1 cup) of fresh oregano
10 avocados

olive oil
red wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar works in a pinch)
lemon or lime juice
Tabasco sauce or cayenne
black pepper

Not only are the ingredients flexible and approximate, the directions are too!

Boil the corn. Chop the peppers. Chop the oregano. Mix together in a large bowl. Add cumin - enough to turn the corn slightly brown. Add oil and vinegar, and then add lemon or lime juice on top of that. At pika I typically use very little oil - maybe 1/4 cup. More vinegar, maybe 1/2 cup. Lemon juice until it's as sour as you want. Cut in the avocado once you've added the lemon juice, so it doesn't discolor. Then add the cayenne, salt, and pepper. (If you add the salt or cayenne before the lemon juice, you'll find that the perceived saltiness and spiciness are changed by the acid.)

Serve warm or cold. Keeps for days.

Copper Pennies (carrots)

This is the easiest dish in the world to make, and almost everybody likes it.

Chop carrots very thin. This is very easy if you use the thinnest slicing attachment in the food processor. For pika I typically cook up to 8 pounds of carrots.

Mix carrots with a little olive oil in a very large wok. Drizzle honey over the carrots. Cook them for a very long time, mixing once in a while, so they slowly caramelize. Careful not to burn them. It's best to have some kind of cover so they can steam a bit... there is no cover large enough for the wok, but even tin foil helps.

At the end, add salt to taste. Serve hot.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Potato Soup (Vichyssoise)

REAL vichyssoise is a chilled soup, but I think I like it better hot. The original soup has a lot of butter and heavy cream, so I've made some not-insignificant changes in veganizing it, but it still tastes good!

-around13 pounds of potatoes (very small ones, if possible)
-enough water or vegetable stock (you can use Rapunzel vegan bullion cubes if you're on a tight budget) to boil the potatoes in (this can vary a lot)
-vegan butter (around 1/2 cup)
-around 10 leeks
-around 5 cups soy creamer, soy milk thickened with flour, heavy cream, or other creamy-textured liquid
-3 large sweet onions
-salt and pepper to taste
-vinegar (I think balsamic is nicest)

Wash the potatoes and chop them in to 1-inch cubes. Carefully clean the leeks (they always have lots of mud inside). Chop them, and throw away the toughest outer green leaves, but try to use the tender inner green leaves (no point in ONLY using the white part). Melt the butter in a skillet and sautee the leeks until they are soft, but not browning. Meanwhile, chop the onions. Then put the sauteed leeks in your soup pot and add the water/stock, potatoes and onion. Boil until the potatoes are cooked. Then add the soy creamer, soy milk, or heavy cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then blend the soup in a blender until it is completely smooth (it'll still have chunks of potato skin, though). Last, add vinegar to taste. Garnish with any green herb.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dr. Marsha Kardon's Basil Pesto (V*)

This is my favorite basil pesto (non-vegan ones included). It's not too hard to make, but it's sometimes hard to find enough basil. Whole foods often has large bouquets of basil which are fairly cheap, and Harvest sometimes has large quantities.

Serves: 1 pika


12 cups of fresh basil leaves (about 7 large basil plants, or around 6-8 Whole Foods bouquets of basil.)
1/3 c fresh rosemary (replace with an extra 2 c parsely if rosemary is too expensive)
1 cup fresh flat parsely
24 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cup pine nuts
3 cups walnuts
1 cup nutritional yeast (try the vitamins section of Whole Foods - should be there if it isn't in bulk)
1/3 c lemon juice or more
3 cups olive oil
2 Tbsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients except oil in food processor

Run processor until finely chopped, adding all the oil as you chop it.

I recommend mixing the pesto with about 10 pounds of penne rigate pasta. It's also great on
whole-grain pizza crust or as a spread.

Six Minute Vegan Chocolate Cake (V*) with Chocolate-Raspberry Sauce (V*)

This is an awesome chocolate cake recipe that takes very little prep time (theoretically 6 min, usually more like 10-15 min) and produces very little mess. Great as an afterthought for a pika dinner. This is taken pretty directly from "Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home", but the raspberry sauce is my own creation.

Serves: 1 pika


  • 4 1/2 c unbleached white flour
  • 1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 T baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 3 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 3 c cold water or brewed coffee
  • 2 T pure vanilla extract
  • 6 T vinegar
  • 1/3 c cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 T corn starch
  • Frozen raspberries (the more the better! Other berries will do, but raspberries are the best!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and sugar into one of those giant 16" round baking pans (ungreased).

In a liquid measuring cup, mix together the oil, water or coffee, and vanilla.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the baking pan and mix the batter with a fork or a small whisk until smooth (don't overwhip it, or it'll get tough).

Add the vinegar and stir quickly.
There will be pale swirls in the batter where the baking soda and vinegar are reacting.
Stir just until the vinegar in evenly distributed throughout the batter, but not too long, or you'll lose the rising effect of the reaction (don't stir for more than 30 sec)

Immediately bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Make the raspberry sauce while the cake bakes:

Fill a large pot partway full of water, and put it on the heat

Float a smaller pot in the water.

Pour the baking cocoa, sugar, and corn starch into the inner pot, then add water until it is a somewhat runny sauce (remember that it will get about twice as thick when it cools).

Alternately add water and starch until you have the consistency you want.

Throw in the raspberries.

When the cake is done, set it aside to cool a bit.

Serve with the sauce!

Crazy Brian's Crazy Veggie Burgers (V*)

Serves: 1 pika (with some leftovers)

(all amounts are approximate - I measured with the venerable "squint, pour, and mix" method, then tried to remember amounts later)
  • 6 15 oz cans of black beans
  • 4 cups mushrooms (whatever kind you want - I used half crimini and half portobello)
  • 6 medium onions
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 2 cups pine nuts
  • 4 cups fine breadcrumbs
  • 3 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • salt
  • pepper


Coarsely chop the onions, garlic, broccoli, and mushrooms (size is unimportant -they're getting pureed later on)

Stir fry the onions and garlic in olive oil in the big wok

When the onions are starting to get tender, add the broccoli

When the broccoli is starting to get tender, add the mushrooms

When everything is nicely cooked (but not too cooked - they're gonna get fried real soon), mix in the beans (drain them first), cornmeal, yeast, pine nuts, and about half of the breadcrumbs.

Put the whole shebang in the food processor and puree until quite smooth (you can probably do it in 2 food processor loads).
Tip: Put stuff in and let it chop for a good 1-2 minutes - it'll look like it isn't doing anything at first, but as it gets smoother, it'll start mixing itself.

Move the burger paste to a bowl.

Mix in salt generously (taste it as you mix it in - it goes from somewhat bland to savory and tasty with the addition of some salt)

Add black pepper to taste.

Mix in more bread crumbs until it is quite stiff and thick - it should easily retain its shape when put a glob of it on a surface.

Add more cornmeal if you want a grittier taste.

Get three or four flat skillets on the range, cover generously with canola oil - put on medium/high heat.

Start frying! Put down globs of burger paste on the pans, flatten them gently, wait until they're nice and dark brown, then flip and repeat. Make sure to keep a good puddle of oil in the skillets as the burgers soak it up.

I found that the burgers turned out much better when they were small - 5" or less in diameter. The large ones were less evenly cooked, and tended to fall apart (they were still tasty though).

I liked the burgers best when they were almost black on both sides, but not quite black - very darkly browned. The cornmeal is yummy when it almost burns.

Serve hot on buns w/ lettuce and tomato and other burger toppings!

Ideas for future experimentation:
(these ain't called crazy burgers for nothin'):
  • Add rice to the blend - could be good. Cooked brown rice could probably replace (or supplement) the mushrooms if necessary. Could also be served with rice.
  • Try other kinds of beans?
  • Try more mushrooms, less beans - that probably would make it more meaty
  • Add more veggies - green peppers, parseley, carrots, etc
  • Some corn starch or WW flour might help the burgers retain a burgery shape more easily
  • More pine nuts!