Pucker-up-baby lemon squares

LemonSquares.jpgMy lemon-loving friend, Michela, continues to inspire me to explore lemon-y desserts. Here’s the latest – the most glorious sweet and tart and lemon-y squares with a delightful shortbread crust. I pretty much followed the recipe exactly from My Darling Vegan except I didn’t use Meyer lemons, just the usual kind, which are much larger.

I didn’t know that Meyers were rather miniature so I ended up with a lot of leftover lemons… and you know what to do when life hands you lemons, right? Tequila time! But I digress.

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Here is My Darling Vegan’s recipe.

My only comments on My Darling Vegan’s recipe are:

1) you need the juice of 1 ½ regular lemons or 5-6 Meyer lemons.

2) you cannot whip this recipe up in a hurry. It’s simple but there’s cooling time needed in between steps.

So get baking! My edits/comments are clearly marked for you.

Shortbread Crust

1/2 cup vegan margarine

1/4 cup granulated sugar  (Make sure it’s vegan – some white sugars are “filtered” white using charred animal bones so check that the brand you’re buying is vegan or go with an unrefined granulated sugar.)

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 cup all-purpose flour

Meyer Lemon Curd

1 package (12 oz) extra firm silken tofu

1/2 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (5-6 lemons) or just lemon juice (1 ½ lemons)

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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To make the crust

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment, beat Use a wooden spoon to cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest together until smooth and creamy. Add the flour and mix until well incorporated.

Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes.

Do not switch the oven off yet.

To make the Lemon Curd

In a food processor combine tofu, lemon juice, zest, and granulated sugar and process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary.

Add the powdered sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla extract and process again until combined.

Pour onto the cooled crust and bake for another 25-30 minutes still at 350F until the lemon curd has set.

Let cool at room temperature for 20 minutes and then place in the refrigerator to cool all the way.

Dust with powdered sugar or candied lemon slices just before serving.

To cut, lift the dessert right out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into slices – should make 12-16 squares

Sweet sesame wings – cauliflower can fly!

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Cauliflower wings are one of those magical vegan cooking tricks that knock my socks off. Today I tried a recipe closely based on one from Jessica in the Kitchen for sticky sesame “wings”. Oh… these are so delicious – sweet, salty, crunchy, spicy (or not if you prefer) and so satisfying.

Put on some music, gather your ingredients and chef-y vibe and just make these. You will be so glad you did.

My version is saucier and has a bit more seasoning than the original but the beauty of cooking from scratch is you can make things just the way you want.

Ingredients

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1 small head cauliflower washed and cut into florets (no stems!). You’ll have about 2 ½ – 3 cups of cauliflower florets. Make sure the cauliflower florets are completely dry before you start battering them.

For the batter and coating

3/4 cup besan or gram flour (a/k/a chickpea flour)

¾ cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

¾ teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional – leave out if you don’t like heat)

1 ½ cups bread crumbs (I used a mix of panko and gluten-free bread crumbs)

For the sweet sesame sauce

½ cup real maple syrup

¼ cup Braggs liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds. You can toast sesame seeds by spreading them on a sheet of tin foil or other small dish or pan and roasting them at 425F for 3-5 minutes. Watch them… they can burn easily. You need to know your oven, and with roasting seeds or nuts, less is always more! You can roast the seeds in your oven while it’s preheating, or use your toaster oven, if you have one (that’s what I do).

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

¾ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder

2 chopped green onions

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Directions

Preheat your oven to 450F. Make sure your oven is completely heated up before you put the cauliflower in.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Put your breadcrumbs in a small bowl.

Combine the besan, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, red pepper flakes and ground pepper in a separate bowl and mix until you have a thin batter.

Now you’re going to work assembly-line style. Dip each cauliflower piece in the batter. Shake off any excess batter and roll the cauliflower in the bread crumbs to coat the piece. Place the piece on the cookie sheet.

Repeat until all of the cauliflower pieces are coated.

Bake for 20-22 minutes.

While the wings are baking, prepare the ingredients for the sauce by whisking all the ingredients together.

Remove the wings from the oven and spoon or brush a small amount of the sauce on each piece. Don’t douse the wings though or they’ll get soggy. If you have leftover sauce, you can spoon it over the wings when you serve them.

Enjoy!

Wasabi, lime and tahini dip

I enjoyed these wings with veggie sticks and a wasabi, lime and tahini dip. I mixed 1/3 cup tahini, the juice of one lime, 2 teaspoons wasabi paste and ½ cup water together.

 

Spicy pickled zucchini slices

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Everyone is humblebragging about their surprisingly massive zucchinis and fauxmoaning on what to do with this summer’s harvest. And we’ve all made suggestions. Now here’s something completely different. I grabbed this recipe from the Bon Appetit website and have been making Szechuan zucchini slices for a few summers.

These zucchini slices are pickled but require no special equipment, no canning savvy and pose no threat of weird botulism spores (real canning freaks me out just a little).

Hot, sweet and salty, these slices will last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge and make a pretty hostess gift.

Watch for these slices to appear in an upcoming blog post accompanying an Asian slaw and  orange-peanut sweet potato burgers.

Note you need to make these slices at least 24 hours before you plan to eat them.

Ingredients

1 zucchini – either green or yellow – washed and sliced into thin coins

2 Tbsp granulated sugar (make sure the brand you buy is vegan*)

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp chili flakes

2 whole pieces star anise

½ cup water

½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar (do NOT use seasoned rice vinegar – it’ll over-flavour and salt the brine).

Directions

Put the sliced zucchini into a 2 cup (500 ml) canning jar. Drop in the star anise and the chili flakes.

Mix the sugar, salt, vinegar and water in a cup or jar until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour this brine over the slices, seal the jar and store in the fridge. Let the slices sit for at least 24 hours before eating. They will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

*What? What’s this about white sugar not being vegan?? Yup. That’s right. Many manufacturers of granulated white sugar filter the product through animal bone char to create snowy white sugar. Ugh. If you don’t want death at your door, check out the manufacturing process for the brand you buy (in Canada, Redpath is a vegan brand). Now you know why vegans with a sweet tooth love their agave, dates and maple syrup so much.

 

 

Orange-peanut sweet potato and rice patties with a side of slaw

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Yesterday I posted photos of pickled zucchini slices. That recipe was all in aid of these – some of the most delicious, satisfying, make-your-belly-happy patties you’ll ever enjoy.

Sweet potato and brown rice serve as a base for a sweet, salty, spicy and peanut-y taste palette that is pure delight.

My version is a riff on a recipe from One Green Planet. I upped the seasonings and got rid of the bun.

I’ve posted three recipes here: the orange-peanut sweet potato and rice patties, the miso sauce you can use both to dress a side of slaw and drizzle on the patties (it also makes a fantastic stir fry sauce), and the slaw ingredients.

Ingredients

For the patties

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 cup cooked brown rice

A flax egg made from 1 ½ Tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 ½ Tbsp water

3 Tbsp orange marmalade

4 ½ Tbsp peanut butter (just peanuts-and-oil peanut butter –none of that stuff with weird ingredients like icing sugar!)

3 Tbsp soya sauce or tamari

2 -3 tsp Sriracha sauce

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

3 Tbsp mixed nuts or peanuts chopped (optional – for garnish)

For the dressing

3 Tbsp white miso

2 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar

2 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp soya sauce or tamari

1 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tsp Sriracha sauce

For the slaw

1 kohlrabi peeled and grated. You will have about 1 ½ cups shredded kohlrabi. If you don’t have or want kohlrabi, use shredded green cabbage or napa cabbage.

1-2 green onions cleaned and sliced

4 radishes sliced

1 rib celery diced

1 carrot grated (optional)

1 small can water chestnuts drained and diced (optional)

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Directions – the patties

Wash and dice the sweet potatoes into evenly sized pieces. You can peel the potatoes if you like, but it’s not necessary. Place the potatoes in a microwaveable dish and microwave for about 3-4 minutes until the pieces are soft. Once the pieces are cool enough to handle, mash them.

Preheat your oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, mix the rice and mashed sweet potatoes. Add the flax egg and use your hands to combine the ingredients.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir or use your hands to combine everything. I find it helpful to microwave the marmalade and peanut butter together for about 15-20 seconds to soften them up for easier mixing.

Form 3 very large or 4 large patties. The patties will be thick. Place them on a greased cookie sheet, or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 20 minutes, then turn the patties over and bake another 15 minutes.

Because these patties are full of complex carbs, I preferred eating them with a dressing and skipped the bun. You could serve them on a bun with the slaw on top.

I sprinkled chopped mixed nuts on top for extra crunch and flavour.

Directions – the dressing

While the patties are baking, mix all the dressing ingredients in a jar or bowl with a lid. Use the dressing to pour over the patties and as the dressing for your slaw.

This dressing also makes a fantastic stir fry sauce.

Directions – the slaw

While the patties are baking, mix all the slaw ingredients together. Mix 2-3 Tbsp of the dressing into the vegetables and toss to combine.