Sweet Potato Curry – A Recipe

My last post proclaimed my love for tacos. This post is going to demonstrate my love for curry. Admittedly, I have no idea how to create an authentic curry. I always stray from recipes and go by instinct instead. It would be fun to take a class from a curry making professional, but until then, I shall settle with what Tim and I consider curry. It makes our tummies happy and that’s really what matters most, right?

Sunday night was cool and rainy – a perfect night for curry! We whipped up a sweet potato curry and served it with brown rice. I did my best to write down the recipe so I could share it with you!

Sweet Potato Curry
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 small shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small stalk lemongrass, minced
1″ knob of ginger, finely chopped
2  large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons good quality yellow curry paste (or red)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup brown sugar (organic if you have it)
Splash of tamari sauce
1 large avocado, diced
1/3 cup roasted cashews
Water as needed

Directions:

1. Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger. Saute for 2 minutes, or until aromatic.
2. Add the sweet potatoes and stir well. Now add the chickpeas and stir again. If the mixture starts sticking to the bottom of your pan, stir in 1-2 tablespoons of water.
3. Scoot the potatoes and chickpeas to one side of the skillet and stir in the curry paste and curry powder. Move the paste and spice around for a few seconds to toast. Stir the potatoes and chickpeas into the mixture and saute for a few minutes.
4. Pour in the coconut milk, splash of tamari, and brown sugar. Stir well to incorporate. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer the curry for 25-30 minutes. The mixture will thicken as it cooks.
5. Check to make sure the potatoes are tender and then add the avocado and cashews to the skillet. Stir everything together and let the curry simmer for a few more minutes. Season to taste.
6. Remove from heat and serve with brown rice or the grain of your choice.

Enjoy!!

Double Chocolate Crispy Treats!

Since it is the weekend, I thought it might be nice to share a yummy recipe for Double Chocolate Crispy Treats! I created these after Tim brought home two bags of Dandies from Portland’s VegFest at the end of September. If you are looking for a switch-up from traditional rice crispy treats, you should make this recipe! They are gluten-free, vegan, chocolatey, and super simple. While these don’t look like they were made with cocoa crispy cereal from the photograph, I can assure you, they are definitely double chocolate!

Double Chocolate Crispy Treats

2 Tablespoons coconut oil, softened
1 10-ounce package vegan marshmallows, such as Dandies
5 cups cocoa crispy cereal (I used Nature’s Path Koala Krisp)
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Lightly grease a 9″ x 12″ baking pan and set aside.
2. In a large pot, melt coconut oil over medium heat.
3. Increase heat to medium-high and add in marshmallows. Stir constantly with a heat-proof spatula until mixture is melted and smooth.
4. Pour in cereal, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.
5. Stir in chocolate chips. Working quickly, try to evenly distribute them throughout the mixture.
6. Dump the mixture into prepared pan. Press down firmly with a bench scraper or a piece of parchment paper. You want to make the mixture an even thickness. Keep the top smooth. You won’t use the entire pan unless you like very thin treats. I kept mine just over 1″ thick.
7. Allow treats to cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting into squares.

Makes 9 large treats

Enjoy!

Pistachio Lime Cookies

I seriously considered not baking cookies this holiday season because my sugar intake has been creeping closer (and closer) to the over-the-limit line. But, since I am a serious cookie muncher, withholding treats would inevitably lead to unpleasant moods. Nobody wants to spend time with a cookie deprived Amy. Trust me.

The recipe I am sharing today was one of my submissions for the VegNews 2011 Holiday Cookie Contest. I didn’t win (congratulations to those who did – I can’t wait to bake up the prized recipes!) but these cookies still deserve some love. While they may look like tropical cookies from the ingredient list, these Pistachio Lime Cookies are just as festive as any other holiday-themed cookie, especially with their green-flecked interior and sparkly, sugar dusted exterior.

Pistachio Lime Cookies

1/2 cup non-dairy butter, softened
1/2 cup unrefined granulated sugar
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon lime extract*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, finely ground
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unrefined granulated sugar, for coating cookies

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer), cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add in milk, extracts, and lime zest. Beat until well mixed.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, pistachios, coconut, baking powder, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated. Transfer cookie dough to the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour before proceeding with the recipe.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
4. Using a small cookie scoop (or two spoons), drop dough onto prepared cookie sheet. Place the 2 tablespoons of sugar on a plate and gently flatten the top of each dough ball in the sugar. Bake cookies for 8-9 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

*If you cannot find lime extract, I am sure that a tablespoon of lime juice would work nicely. Or, turn  these into Pistachio Lemon Cookies by replacing the lime extract and lime zest with lemon extract and lemon zest!

I’ll be back soon with some fun giveaways, so don’t stray too far!

National Brownie Day!

Did you know that today is National Brownie Day? To celebrate this incredible holiday, I am going to share my recipe for Peppermint Crunch Brownies. Make these and dunk them in a mug of hot chocolate, I dare you!

These brownies are perfect for the holidays. They are dense, fudgy, chocolaty, and topped with crunchy candy cane pieces. What’s not to like? You could bake up a batch to give to people you love if you feel like sharing!

Peppermint Crunch Brownies

Makes 9 large or 16 small brownies

1/2 cup non-dairy butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips (please use organic, fair trade chocolate)
1/2 cup pureed silken tofu
1  cup organic unrefined sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (whole wheat pastry flour works well too)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
5 full size vegan peppermint candy canes, crushed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking pan. Set aside.
2. Melt non-dairy butter and chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double boiler. Whisk until well blended. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and whisk in pureed tofu, sugar, and extracts.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add to chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Batter will be stiff.
4. Spread batter into prepared pan and top with candy cane pieces, pressing them gently into the batter. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until just beginning to set in the center. Immediately transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours. Do not skip this step – it is essential to ensuring the brownies set up properly and become extra fudgy. Trust me!
5. Once chilled, slice into squares and devour with friends!

Enjoy!

Rustic Pumpkin Seed Bread

Well, the rainy season has officially arrived. This was the scene on my street last week:

And this is the scene on my street this week (intentionally out of focus to emphasize the extreme dreariness):

I won’t complain. I spent several hours in my kitchen yesterday baking bread, mixing granola, and formulating cookie recipes to feed the hungry treat monster who lives with me. Not too long ago I mentioned that I had a wonderful bread recipe to share and after testing it once more yesterday, I am finally ready to post about it – Rustic Pumpkin Seed Bread:

[This is, admittedly, an older photo of the same bread. I was too lazy to photograph my finished loaf yesterday - or, uh, too busy devouring thick slices spread with homemade strawberry jam!]

This loaf is really simple to make because you don’t need a bread pan. You just shape the dough into a round (or oval) and bake it on a cookie sheet. It’s rustic because of  whole grains, pumpkin seeds, and the addition of molasses. The end result is a crusty exterior and a soft, chewy interior with pumpkin seeds flecked throughout. Thanks to the molasses and pumpkin seeds, you get a nice dose of iron! Try it with your favorite bowl of soup for the perfect dreary day meal.

*If your home is colder this time of year, try turning your oven on at the lowest setting for a minute or two. Turn off the oven and let your dough rise inside for the perfect draft-free, cozy environment!

Rustic Pumpkin Seed Bread

Makes 1 loaf

1 cup warm water
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
Additional pumpkin seeds for sprinkling, if desired (about 1/4 cup)

  1. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together 1 cup water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside until frothy, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large mixing bowl if you plan to knead by hand) stir together flours, salt, oat bran, and pumpkin seeds.
  3. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir in the additional 1 cup of water, oil, and molasses.
  4. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until a dough comes together. When it gets too difficult to stir, knead it with the dough hook on medium speed (or by hand on a well floured surface) for about 6-10 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky, but easy enough to handle.
  5. Oil the bowl you mixed the dough in, shape the dough into a ball, and turn to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl and set in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1- 1.5 hours.
  6. Once the dough has risen, line a cookie sheet with parchment and dust generously with cornmeal. Punch the dough down, and shape into a round or oval loaf. Press the additional pumpkin seeds onto the top of the loaf (or roll the entire loaf in a variety of seeds for more texture). Place the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes – 1 hour.
  7. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees once the dough has doubled in size (make sure to take out your dough if it is rising in there!).
  8. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes or until it is dark golden on top and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy your rustic bread with a nice bowl of piping hot soup, like this Potato Rosemary Soup from Vegan Soul Kitchen!