Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Caramel/Candied Popcorn

 I've decided that this is what I am handing out to the neighbourhood kids this year.  I suppose I will have to offer an alternative to kids I don't know, but for the many wee'uns I do know this is what they're getting.  I have posted a caramel corn recipe before but this one is a bit easier, I think, even though it bakes for longer.  It is also a little more adaptable with the candied version.  This is a Paula Deen recipe that has been (easily) veganized and cut in half.  I certainly don't own a roasting pan that can hold 8 quarts of popcorn.  I guess everything really is bigger in America.

INGREDIENTS
- 2/3 cup popping corn
- 1/2 cup margarine
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (use white sugar for the candied version)
- large pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- food colouring (for candied version)
- food flavouring (optional for candied version)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda

METHOD
1. Pop the popping corn whatever way you like (hot air popper, stove top).  Your yield should be 8 cups of popcorn.  Transfer to a large roasting pan to cool, making sure you remove unpopped kernels.
2. Preheat oven to 200F .
3. Place margarine, sugar, salt, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to bubbling and boil for 5 mins.  If you want to use a candy thermometer, you are aiming for 125F, but just letting it do its thing for 5 mins works as well.
4. If making candied version, add food colouring and flavours and mix well.  Add baking soda and mix well.  Drizzle over popcorn and stir to coat.
5. Bake for 1 hour, gently stirring every 15 mins.
6. Spread on waxed paper or baking parchment to cool.  Break into smaller pieces if needed.


The idea of the candied version is to make coloured and flavoured popcorn according to the event.  I made orange popcorn with some Wilton icing gel.  Red colouring and cinnamon flavour for Valentine's Day.  You get the idea.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Apple Galette


One last Thanksgiving recipe!  I can post this one late because it is really easy, but tastes and looks great.  I started making these in order to use up the extra dough left over from making multiple pies at a time.  So, if you have some dough left over from making pot pies, and still need a dessert, make one of these and top it off with pumpkin ice cream (sans candied pepitas tastes best in this scenario, I think).

INGREDIENTS
- 1/2 recipe pie dough
- 3 large cooking apples (I like Granny Smith for this one)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 tbsp margarine

METHOD
1. Make the dough as per the recipe.  Roll out on a floured surface into a 12-14 inch circle.  Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
2. Peel the apples.  Chop in half, from stem to flower end.  Remove stem and flower ends.  Use a melon baller to carefully remove seeds/cores.  Use a paring knife to thinly slice the apple halves, keeping all the slices together.
3. Place an apple half in the centre of the dough.  Fan slightly.  Place other halves around the centre apple and fan.  Sprinkle lemon juice over the apples.

4. Mix together sugars and spices. Sprinkle over apples.  Dot with margarine. Gather dough up into the centre (trim edges first if you like).

5. Place galette in the fridge for 20-30 mins so the dough can firm up.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees with a rack on the bottom third of the oven.
6. Bake for about 45 mins, until crust is golden and filling is bubbling.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool before eating.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tofu Pot Pie

I post something like this every Thanksgiving.  There is something about the crisp weather and fall colour that makes me want to put vegetables in a crust.  I mean, look at this scenery!
Canadian Thanksgiving is just around the corner so I wanted to post this recipe right away.  I love individual pot pies (as previous posts will attest) and I think this recipe delivers more of a vegan comfort food punch than any of my previous posts. It does make 9 pies, which is great if you are having a bunch of people over for dinner.  You can also freeze unbaked pies and bake them up later as needed as per these directions.

INGREDIENTS
Makes nine 4.5 inch deep dish pies
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 cup chopped white mushrooms
- 1 pkg tofu, small dice
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 tsp poultry spice
- 1/2 tsp sage
- 1/2 tsp rosemary, crushed
- 1 cup plain soy milk
- 1 cup hot water (from cooking veggies above)
- 1 cooking apple, shredded
- 1 cup peas
- salt and pepper to taste

- 2 cups small diced potatoes
- 1 cup small diced carrots
- 1 cup small diced butternut squash
- 1 cup chopped yellow beans

- 1.5 recipe pie dough, minus the sugar
- nine 4.5 inch deep dish aluminum pie plates

METHOD
1. Get a large pot of salted water boiling.
2. Melt margarine in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Saute onion, garlic and celery for 10 mins, until a nice golden brown.  Add mushrooms and fry for another 3 mins.  Add tofu and fry for 2 mins.  Sprinkle flour over and mix/fry for another 2 mins.
3. Add spices, then slowly add soy milk and stir well.  Mixture will thicken.
4. Meanwhile, add potatoes, carrots, squash, and beans to the boiling water.  Boil for about 5 mins, or until potatoes and carrots are slightly tender.  Remove from water (but save the water) and add to tofu mixture.  Slowly mix in 1 cup of the water you used to boil the veggies.  Add shredded apple and peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat.  Let mixture fully cool in the fridge.
5. While mixture is cooling, make your pie dough.  Roll out slightly more than half of the dough (for the bottom crusts) and cut to fit the pie plates your are using.  Make sure to cut a big enough circle to leave you some overhang.  Fill each crust with cooled filling.  Roll out remaining dough for the top crusts and seal as you would any pie.  Poke some vent holes in the top.
6. Place pies in the fridge to cool down and firm up.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with your rack in the bottom 1/3 of the oven.
7. Bake for 45-60 mins, or until filling is bubbling and crust is golden.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pumpkin Ice Cream with Candied Pepitas


Just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving comes this delicious ice cream that is filled with fresh pumpkin, and is lightly sweet and subtly spiced.  The creaminess and smoothness of the ice cream is complemented nicely by the sugary crunch of the candied pepitas.  The recipe for the pepitas comes courtesy of Isa--it is her sugared walnuts recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  Thanks, Isa! The kids were not crazy about the seeds, so you can make it without them if you like.

INGREDIENTS
Pumpkin Ice Cream
- 2 cups diced pumpkin
- 1 cup soy milk
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cloves
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/3 cup soy milk
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Candied Pepitas
- 1 cup raw pepitas
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4.5 tbsp maple syrup
- pinch of salt

METHOD
Ice Cream
1.  Place pumpkin, soy milk, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cover and bring to bubbling.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Remove cinnamon stick and cloves and discard.  Add coconut milk, sugars, and nutmeg.  Blend smooth with an immersion blender, or in a blender.  Return to medium heat, stirring constantly.
3.  Whisk corn starch into the 1/3 cup of soy milk.  When pumpkin mixture is steaming, slowly add cornstarch mixture.  Keep stirring until mixture just begins to bubble.
4. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla.
5. Let completely cool in the fridge, then make as per the directions suited to your ice cream maker.  Fold in the candied pepitas at the last moment, then fully chill in the freezer before serving.

Candied Pepitas
1. Preheat oven to 275.  Lightly grease a piece of parchment paper.
2. Toast pepitas on a baking sheet for 8 mins, stirring the pepitas after 4 mins.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
2. Put sugar, maple sugar, and salt in a saucepan.  Bring to bubbling over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Continue stirring for another 3 to 4 minutes, until thick and a deep amber brown.  Remove from heat and stir in pepitas.
3. Spread pepitas on the prepared parchment.  When cool, separate as best you can into individual seeds.  Place in the freezer until ready to go into the ice cream.