rants & recipes

Archive for January, 2011

Happy Vegan Pizza Day

Posted by trktos on 29-January-2011

We celebrated Vegan Pizza Day today, with, what else but vegan pizza! We made pizza with tomato sauce, spinach, onions, mushrooms, homemade seitan sausage crumbles, Follow Your Heart Monterray Jack and Daiya Cheddar vegan cheeses.

Delicious and cruelty-free. Happy Vegan Pizza Day! =)

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Vegan S’mores

Posted by trktos on 29-January-2011

I’ve had this bag of Dandies vegan marshmallows for a while and haven’t really known what to do with them so today, I decided “s’mores”.

Review of Dandies – they are pretty good … not as good as those whatever-brand, marketed as vegan but with the fish gelatin but there’s something to be said for not containing gelatinous lumps of fish. Just plain, they were a little heavy, a little grainy but overall, good. They puff up in the microwave, melt and get rather gooey, too. And they have the classic marshmallow flavor.

So, anyway – s’mores … means making graham crackers. I used this recipe, though I halved the cinnamon (really glad I did that) and added about a teaspoon of vanilla. They didn’t turn out to be the best graham crackers I’ve ever had, but they were ok. Next time, I’ll roll thinner and poke more air holes though I definitely prefer the thicker cookie-likeness of these, for s’mores, compared to the brittle store-bought ones (even if I could easily find them without honey).

Starting store-bought  ingredients:

Two mostly-assembled s’mores, ready for the microwave:

Fully-assembled s’more ready for the eating:

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Nothing-Stolen-from-the-Cows Buttermilk Biscuits!

Posted by trktos on 29-January-2011

Who says you have to use butter or milk for delicious buttermilk biscuits? Not me! These biscuits are quick and easy and cruelty-free. Want some jam with that?

Recipe here, though I’ve been leaving out the baking soda because that’s how the recipe is written on the little card in my recipe box. I also double the recipe and make about four huge biscuits. Baking time increases. Today, I baked for about 15 minutes, then brushed some melted margarine on the tops and returned to the oven, baking for additional 2-3 minute increments until golden brown.

Perfectly crunchy edges:

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German Chocolate Cake

Posted by trktos on 23-January-2011

Weird thing, before I became vegan, I was never really crazy about German Chocolate Cake … while I love coconut flavor, I’m not a big fan of dried coconut but lately, I’ve found myself wanting German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan frosting for some odd reason.

A few months ago, there didn’t seem to be that much, out there, for already-veganized coconut-pecan frosting but a few blogs seem to have caught up with my cravings and saved me much experimenting it the kitchen. I don’t know why I didn’t see this post from FatFreeVegan until today … and a few days ago, there was a similar post from Meet the Shannons.

So today, a birthday-observed-cake … I halved the frosting recipe from FatFreeVegan and halved the “Crazy Cake” recipe from the link provided in that post.

My plan was to cook a single layer, cut it in half, and have half of a two layer cake. This cake, however, was really tender. I could probably have let it cook another 5 minutes. Oh yeah, and letting it cool, no doubt, would have helped too. I gave up on that idea, though, and just frosted it as a single layer. This frosting is really thick … if making a double-layer cake, I would double the frosting (which would be a perfect amount for frosting two tops) and not frost the sides. If you want to frost the sides, maybe make 2.5 times this recipe?

German Chocolate Cake

Ingredients, for a single layer cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (180 grams)
  • 1 cup sugar (I used about 170 grams, plus I added maybe 2 tbsp brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa (I used 45 grams – a 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp instant expresso powder
  • 3/8 cup oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 cup water


  1. Grease and parchment a 9″ cake pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients together.
  4. Mix wet ingredients.
  5. Combine wet and dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  6. Spread batter into cake pan.
  7. Bake 30 – 35 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, cool in pan 10 minutes.
  9. Remove to rack to cool completely.

Coconut-Pecan Frosting

Ingredients, enough to frost top of single 9″ layer:

  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1/2 + 1/8 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 1/8 cup water (2 tbsp cornstarch would probably suffice – this is pretty thick.)
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Combine soymilk, coconut milk, sugar and vanilla in a small sauce pan.
  2. Add cornstarch.
  3. Bring to a “boil” … “boil” because even though the original instructions said to boil for one minute, my mixture never really boiled. Luckily, I noticed it was getting thick, on the bottom, and removed the pan in time, to whisk it all back in. (Tilt the pan, so you can see the bottom and whisk constantly.)
  4. Once thickened, turn off  heat and stir in coconut and pecans.

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Mini Pecan Pies and Hot Water Pie Crust

Posted by trktos on 9-January-2011

Since this past Thanksgiving, I’ve been a little miffed over the pecan pie recipe that didn’t set up enough. Sure, we ate the pie (with spoons, in bowls) but it was way too sweet and runny. (And what really annoys me is that recipe had “reliable” in its title! Reliable, my …..) Anyway, so began my mission for the perfect vegan pecan pie recipe. Or more specifically, the perfect RELIABLE pecan pie recipe.

We can’t very well be eating whole pecan test pies, all the time, though. So I purchased two mini pie plates – these nice, cute little aluminum ones from Amazon. One of these pie pans is roughly 1/4 of a 10″ deep dish pie. (Roughly means I used the mini pie pan to fill up the 10″ with water and it took four times to fill the larger pan. ) This proved fairly accurate, as I halved a pie recipe to make two mini pies. I attempted to use three-quarters recipe for pie crust, for the two minis, and that was a little too much crust. Next attempt, I’ll make two-thirds pie crust.

“Next attempt” – yes, my pecan pie isn’t perfect yet (though, no doubt, it IS reliable). The problem came from faulty math on my part – halving 1/2 cup, apparently, too difficult a task for this software engineer. (However, the result was pretty close to those little commercial pecan pies, that you can just hand-hold and eat. With a little more sugar, the below recipe would be pretty good, if that is the result you wanted. Let the extra-firm version cool completely – they were rather puffy when I took them out of the oven but “fell” and were more pie-like, once they cooled. And no, I didn’t let them cool before having a taste!)

This pie crust is pretty awesome. It reminds me of crust you’d get in more commercial products, which doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best pie crust out there, but what I like about it – no rolling! I just pressed it into the pans – a circle, patted out, for the bottom and then log-shaped pieces for the sides. Flattening with my fingers, and the pieces joined together perfectly. It’s pretty high in oil, so it came out of both the greased pie pans and an ungreased glass bowl (a small 1-cup bowl for a little “tart” because I had too much crust dough) perfectly! No knives or loosening, just turned the pans over and the pies came right out. (Ha you can do that with a pie that set up too much!)

Pictures to come, next attempt!

Whole Pecan Pie Recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 3/4 cup light or dark corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ener-g eggs, prepared
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick baking mix

Ingredients for half a pie, with my mistakes, for extra-firm version:

  • 1 cups pecans, chopped
  • 3/8 cup soy milk
  • 3/8 cup light or dark corn syrup
  • 3/8 cup brown sugar (if I bake this extra-firm version again, I’ll use 1/2 cup brown sugar)
  • 1 generous tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2  ener-g eggs, prepared
  • generous 1/3 cup Bisquick baking mix (probably close to 6 tbsp)

Ingredients for next attempt, more traditional filling consistency, hopefully:

  • 1 cups pecans, chopped
  • 3/8 cup soy milk
  • 3/8 cup light or dark corn syrup
  • 3/8 cup brown sugar
  • 1 generous tsp vanilla
  • 1  1/2 ener-g eggs, prepared
  • 3 tbsp Bisquick


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have unbaked pie shell(s) ready.
  2. Line pie shell(s) with pecans.
  3. Mix all remaining ingredients in blender or food processor until combined. Pour into shell(s).
  4. Bake 50-55 minutes or until pie tests done. (I think I baked the mini pies about 40 minutes.)

Whole Hot Water Pie Crust Recipe (from this recipe.)


  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 6 tbsp shortening (yes, it was listed twice – I think this should have been margarine.)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 tbsp non-dairy milk
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients for 3/4 recipe, with my changes:

  • 3/8 cup shortening (55 grams shortening, 25 grams coconut oil … next time, 40 grams each)
  • 4 1/2 tbsp margarine (65 grams)
  • 3 tbsp hot water
  • 1 1/2 tsp non-dairy milk
  • 1 2/3  cups all purpose flour (200 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for 2/3 pie crust recipe:

  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 3 tbsp + 2 tsp margarine
  • 2 1/2 tbsp hot water
  • 2 tsp non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Combine dry ingredients.
  2. Heat water.
  3. Add hot water to fat and non-dairy milk. Stir until creamy and not (too) lumpy.
  4. Combine wet and dry mix, form a dough.
  5. Chill in the freezer for few minutes, until dough in more workable.
  6. Pat and flatten into pie pan. (I return formed shells to freezer while I mix pie ingredients.)

Take Two … still not there yet …

Tried two more mini pies this weekend.

  • 2/3 crust recipe ingredient amounts:
  • 35 grams coconut oil
  • 35 grams shortenting
  • 25 grams vegan margarine
  • 3 tbsp hot water (which actually wasn’t hot enough so water+fat melted in microwave)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch sugar
  • 175 grams flour (I had to sprinkle on some more, so 190 grams is probably closer)

Crust was good.

Pie was still attempting to be a muffin … the filling separated into the bisquick-set part and, at the bottom, filling with more liquid consistency.

Take three, planned for next weekend:

1 mini pie, so half the crust recipe, half the pie recipe.

Notes for the filling recipe:

  • 1/2 ener-g (2 tsp ener-g + 1 tbsp water)
  • 2 tsp Bisquick
  • 1 tsp pectin, dissolved in heated 3 tbsp soymilk

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