Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Pressure Canner Chili

This is part two of my pressure canning recipe series (for more explanation of the canning process, see Part One). The recipe is Isa's Meat Beany Chili supersized to make seven large jars. Having chili in the pantry is great for those days when you want a chili dog, or a quick lunch for the kids.

Makes seven 1 quart/litre jars
- 1.5 cups dry black beans
- 1.5 cups dry red kidney beans

- 1/4 cup oil
- 4 cups chopped onion
- 3 cups chopped green pepper
- 3/4 cup chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup chili powder
- 1/4 cup oregano
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 cups brown lentils
- 1 48oz can tomato juice
- 2 28oz cans chopped tomatoes, with juice
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup sugar

1. Soak beans overnight in plenty of water. Drain and rinse the next day.
2. Get all of your canning apparatus ready (canner, jars, lids).
3. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion, green pepper, and garlic for 5-7 mins, or until translucent. Add spices and salt and sauté for a minute, until fragrant.
4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Increase heat to med-hi and bring to bubbling, stirring regularly.
5. Transfer chili to sterilised jars, making sure each one has the same ratio of solid to liquid. Put on the lids and tighten the rings finger tight.
6. Process in the pressure canner at 10lbs of pressure for 75 mins. Remove from heat and let pressure drop to zero. Remove jars from the canner and let completely cool.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Strawberry Tart

Full disclosure: I have posted this recipe, more or less, before. But this is the version without so much rat in it.

A friend surprised me today by dropping off a basket of freshly picked strawberries, and if a pie/tart is what you are after then I think this is the perfect way to enjoy strawberries in their prime. The only thing new this time around is the tart shell (I have posted a tart shell recipe before). I don't buy vegan cream cheese on a regular basis so I hope the use of aquafaba makes this recipe more accessible. I think it made for a better shell as well--crisp and durable, yet tender and so very delicious.

Tart Shell (makes a 9" shell)
- 1 1/4 cup (200g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (60g) icing sugar
- pinch of salt (or 1/4 tsp is using salt-free margarine)
- 1/2 cup (125g) cold vegan butter (or margarine, or half margarine and half vegetable shortening)
- 2 tbsp aquafaba
- 1 tbsp light coconut milk

1. Whisk together flour, icing sugar, and salt. Cut in fat with a pastry cutter.
2. Whisk together aquafaba and coconut milk, then add to flour mixture. Use a fork/your hands to bring together into ball.
3. Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for an hour.
4. Roll out dough on a floured surface into a circle large enough to overhang the sides of your tart pan. Trim any excess along the outside bottom of the pan, then fold the overhang to the inside the pan. Press the dough smoothly and evenly into the pan.
5. Place in the freezer for 30 mins. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
6. Blind bake the shell: line the shell with heavy duty aluminum foil. Fill with dried beans or baking weights. Bake for 15 mins (or until shell looks dry when you peel back the foil), then remove the beans and foil.
7. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 8-10 mins, or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool.

- 6 cups fresh whole strawberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water

1. Mash enough of the berries to measure 1 cup. Place remaining berries in a large bowl.
2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch, then gradually whisk in water and then crushed berries.
3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.
4. Cool for 10 mins, then pour over berries and gently turn to coat. Transfer to cooled tart shell and chill at least 3 hours or until set.

Terrible picture but great idea: a creamy topping is the perfect addition. This is rad whip from Vegan Pie in the Sky

Friday, July 3, 2015

Chocolate Chip and Walnut Cookies

Most of my forays into aquafaba have been failures, but these are a smashing success. I don't know why the magic bean juice acts just like an egg in this recipe and not in others, but it does. These are thin and crispy and yet still chewy--exactly like a chocolate chip cookie should be. The recipe is adapted from The Essentials of Baking.

Makes 18-24 cookies
- 1 1/4 cups (200g) all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted margarine/butter)
- 1/2 cup (125g) margarine or butter
- 1/2 cup (105g) packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp (90g) white sugar
- 3 tbsp chickpea aquafaba
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (or maple extract)
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking pans with parchment paper. 
1. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
2. Cream together margarine/butter with sugars in a medium bowl. Mix in aquafaba and extract. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
3. Mix in chocolate chips and walnuts.
4. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter on to the prepared baking sheets. Flatten a bit with your fingers.
5. Bake in batches until golden. Smaller cookies will bake in 10-13 minutes, larger cookies in 12-15 minutes. I like to bake for 10 mins, then give the pan a quick rap in the counter to flatten the cookies, the return the pan to the oven to finish baking.
6. Let cool on the pan for 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack until cool.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pressure Canned Beans

This is the first post in a series of three on pressure canning. Pressure canners are relatively inexpensive (around $130) and can save you money in the long run by providing an economical way to can vegetables, beans, and other low-acid foods. Also, you don't have to worry about BPA in cans, and you can control the amount of salt that goes into the canned foods. 

This first instalment is canned beans--a convenient staple for any pantry. 

- 8 to 10oz dried beans per 1 litre/1 quart jar (see note below)
- boiling water
- canning jars with lids and rings
- pressure canner (I use a dial gauge canner)

1. Rinse then soak beans in plenty of water overnight. My canner holds 7 jars, so I soak at least 3.5 lbs of beans. Or, follow the directions on the bad for quick soaking. I prefer the overnight soak. No need to do all one kind of bean--the picture above shows chickpeas, pinto beans, and black beans getting ready for the canner. 
2. On canning day, sterilise your jars. Get the water to boiling in your pressure canner--follow the directions that came with your canner. Keep your rings and lids in hot but not boiling (82 C) water.

3. Drain beans, rinse, then add 16 to 20oz of beans per sterilised jar (see note below).

4. Fill the jars with boiling water, leaving 1" headspace.
5. Place lids on jars, then tighten rings finger tight. I have found that finger tight is pretty darn tight. It's as tight as you can get the ring on without using the palm of your hand. If your lid is too loose, liquid will seep out of jar during processing. 
6. Place jars into the pressure canner. Close and seal the lid.

7. Bring to boiling. Let the water boil for a good 10 mins--the steam should be shooting out of the vent pipe with gusto.

8. Place the pressure regulator over the vent pipe. Bring the pressure up to 11 lbs. This takes a little finesse. Lower heat will give you lower pressure, so when the gauge reaches 8 lbs I turn the heat down from high to med-lo so that it reaches 11 but does not blow past it. You will need to fiddle a bit to find out what heat keeps the pressure at a constant 11 lbs.
9. Process the jars for 90 minutes. If the pressure drops below 11 you will need to get it back up to 11 and start the timer again. 
10. When done, remove the canner from the heat. Allow it to cool and the pressure to go to zero. 

11. Remove the canner lid and remove the jars, being careful not to tilt the jars or touch the lids. Allow to fully cool, then check to make sure all the lids have sealed. 

NOTE: Aquafaba is all the rage these days. 20oz of beans per jar comes out of the canner looking like the pic above. After the beans have cooled, the aquafaba gets more viscous. I use if for mayonnaise (delicious!). If you want a thinner aquafaba, use 16oz to 18oz of soaked beans per litre/quart jar. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Creamy Beans on Toast

We are having an actual spring this year--regular rain and cool nights. It's days like these that make me seek out something warm, hearty and comforting. Best to enjoy this dish before it gets too hot. 

- 1/4 cup margarine, or oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp tarragon
- 2 cups diced cremini mushrooms
- 1 tbsp light tamari or soy sauce
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2.5 to 3 cups warm vegetable stock
- 1 19oz can mixed beans, rinsed and drained (about 2 cups)
- 2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
- salt and pepper to taste

- toast

1. Heat margarine or oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions for 5-7 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. 
2. Add the tarragon and the mushrooms with a pinch of salt. Sauté for 3-5 mins, or until the mushrooms begin to soften. Add tamari and cook for another 5 mins. The mushrooms should be soft.
3. Add flour and mix well. Cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly. 
4. Stream in 1.5 cups of the stock, stirring constantly so that the sauce remains smooth.
5. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. (NOTE: I do this because my kids are picky about pieces of mushroom. You can blend just half of the mixture.)
6. Return the blended mixture to the pan, add the remaining stock, the beans, and the peas. Bring to bubbling, stirring constantly. 
7. Serve over thick slices of toasted hearty bread.