Archive for the ‘Baking’ Category

Salty-Sweet Oatmeal Cookies



Enlarged to show texture.oatmealcookies

The set-up.

Full disclosure: this is just the “Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies” recipe that comes with a carton of Quaker Oats, only with an egg replacer and non- dairy butter. The taste of childhood….without the animal products.


      • 1 stick Earth Balance (1/2 cup) plus 6 Tbs
      • 3/4 Cups firmly packed brown sugar
      • 1/2 Cups white sugar
      • Egg replacer to equal 2 eggs
      • 2 tsp vanilla
      • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1 tsp baking soda
      • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 3 cups rolled oats 
      • 1 cup raisins


    1. Heat oven to 350°F.
    2. In large bowl, beat Earth Balance and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy.
    3. Add egg replacer and vanilla; beat well.
    4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.
    5. Add oats and raisins; mix well.
    6. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
    7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

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    Picked these Empire apples myself in Hood River.


    Melted earth balance, evenly distributed.IMG_8804First layer-pack it tight.


     Second layer- just pile it on.

    This is from the original French Tarte Tatin recipe,  only with vegan butter.  Don’t be daunted.  This is just an apple pie without seasonings or a top crust, and the only scary part is flipping it over.  But take my word for it, it is not that scary. You peel and cut some apples,  melt the soy butter, dissolve the sugar, pack the apple slices in, add another layer of apples, then cover the skillet with your dough, bake it in the oven and flip.  Easy.  It’s so delicious and simple. You might think that just apples, butter and sugar would be bland, but its rich and delicious.

    IMPORTANT: You need a small cast iron pan for this. It’s possible that another type of oven proof skillet would work, but I’ve never tried that myself.

    Makes 6 servings


    • 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet or ovenproof pan
    • baking sheet
    • 1 sheet (about 8 ounces) frozen puff pastry OR 2 rolled up pie crusts
    • 8 Tbs earth balance
    • 3/4 cup white sugar (brown sugar is fine to use if you don’t have white, or a combo of white and brown.)
    • About 8 sweet firm apples peeled, cored and quartered
    • If you like, you can add a few squeezes of lemon juice at the end before putting the dough on top.


    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees – have your skillet and baking sheet ready

    2. Thaw your dough, then roll it out and refrigerate it.

    3. Put the skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When it melts, sprinkle the sugar over the butter until it dissolves. Remove from heat.

    4. Fit a layer of apples into the skillet, putting the apples into the pan in tight circles. What’s important here is to pack in the apples — because they will shrink as they cook, you want to make sure they are snug in the pan.

    5. When you’ve got a tight single layer, cut the remaining apple quarters in half and strew them over the first layer. This layer can be somewhat mounded, which will give the tart some height.

    6. Put the pan over medium heat and cook — staying close by — until the sugar turns a deep caramel color. You’ll see it bubbling up the sides of the pan, but if you need a clearer view, you can gently push an apple aside. To get the color you want without burning the sugar, you may have to lower the heat after a while. Count on 15 minutes, more or less, to get the color. Transfer the skillet to the baking sheet.

    7. Remove pie crusts or pastry from the fridge and place it over the top of the pan, covering the fruit, loosely tucking in any overhang.

    If using two pie crusts, just put one on top of the other.

    8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is baked through and, if you used puff pastry, puffed.

    9.  Now it’s time to flip it over! Cover the skillet with the large, rimmed serving plate (or pie plate) and, acting quickly and confidently in one smooth flip motion, flip the tart out onto the platter and remove the pan. If any of the apples have stuck to the pan — it happens to the best of us — gently lift them off the pan with an icing spatula and press them gently back onto the tart.

    10.  Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

    The caramelized sugar is hot enough to be dangerous. Let the tart sit for at least 10 minutes before serving, preferably on a windowsill with a chilly breeze wafting in.


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    Cherry Pie

    IMG_8764 IMG_8767
    Fun fact: the taste and fragrance of cherry pie (and cherry Coke,) is actually almond extract, not cherry itself.  So whenever I get the urge to re-live the experience of cherry pie, I take a little whiff of my almond extract from the cupboard. 🙂

    This is not a top secret recipe. It’s just the recipe on the back of the label of  the red, tart Oregon Cherries.  The only change I made was the addition of lemon juice: about half a small lemon, added after the almond extract.


    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 2 regular-sized cans Oregon Red Tart Cherries (if you use the giant can, halve the cherry juice)
    • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    • juice from half a small lemon
    • 1 tablespoon earth balance
    • 2 crusts for a 9-inch pan (I use a store bought vegan one.)


    1. Preheat oven to 400.
    2. Drain the cherries and reserve the juice from one can. (half, if you’re using the big can.)
    3. In a saucepan, stir the cherry juice into the combined mixture of the cornstarch and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened.
    4. Remove from heat. Gently stir in cherries and almond extract. Then add the lemon juice.
    5. Pour filling into pastry lined pie pan. Dot with butter or margarine. Adjust crust, seal and vent.
    6. Bake 30-40 minutes or until crust browns and filling begins to bubble. If necessary, cover edges with aluminum foil during last 15 minutes to prevent over-browning. Cool pie several hours to allow filling to thicken before slicing.

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    One of the best vegan pizza recipes on the planet. Coincidentally, the original, untweaked  recipe came from the cookbook “Vegan Planet”. How apropos.  The scent of the baking pesto and tomato  intoxicates you, and you’ll never miss the cheese as you bite into this mouth-watering dish. Make your own crust or grab a pre-made fresh pizza dough from the store for a faster process.  Top with soy cheese shreds if you wish, but it’s not necessary. The pesto and tomato mixture on its own is delicious, and meant to be the only topping.

     Serves: Depends on the size of your crust. Most store bought fresh doughs make 8 small pieces. This recipe is for your average sized pizza pan.


    • 1 recipe of your favorite homemade pizza dough ( or fresh pizza dough from the store.) Raised and rolled out to a 1/4 inch thick
    • 1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 Tbs Olive Oil, divided
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 1/3 cup raw unsalted pine nuts  (toasted is a nice touch for deeper flavor, if you have time)
    • 1/2 tsp salt (plus more more adding to taste in later stage.)
    • 2 cups packed basil leaves
    • 5 ripe Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced small
    • salt and fresh pepper
    • optional:  a generous amount of your favorite soy cheese. (We love Follow Your Heart mozzarella shreds.)


    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

    2. Put garlic, pine nuts, 1/2 tsp salt, and basil in food processor and grind until fine

    3. Leave processor running and add 1/4 cup olive oil through the feed tube until thoroughly mixed. Get in there with a big spoon and manually stir it so its well combined, then spoon into a big bowl.

    4. Place your rolled dough onto a lightly oiled pizza pan, poke holes throughout the dough with a fork.

    5. Bake dough for 10 minutes

    6. Combine diced tomato with pesto mixture in in your big bowl. Toss gently to combine, then add salt and pepper to taste and mix well. (Do not fail to add more salt at this step, it definitely needs a little extra-1/2 tsp at most.) As you taste, try not to eat it all.

    7. Remove dough from oven, spread tomato/pesto mixture evenly onto dough, leaving a 1/2 inch of the edge bare.

    8. Return to oven for 15 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden

    9. If you’re using soy cheese shreds, take pizza out and sprinkle those on and bake once again until cheese is melted. (About 5 minutes.)  Allow to cool slightly before serving.

    10. If not using cheese shreds, at step #8, bake until crust is fully golden brown.

    11. The final step is to drizzle the last 2 Tbs of olive oil on top of the pizza before serving.

    Prepare to gluttonize.

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    Original recipe modified from Vegetarian Times.

    Note: if you are not strictly vegan, just make this with normal cheese shreds and normal cream cheese and you will have an amazing dish on your hands!!

    Super-Addictive Vegan Lasagna – 10×10 pan

    Makes 8 huge pieces


    • 10×10 pan – or as close as you can get to this size
    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, sliced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1  bag fresh baby spinach
    • 1 12-oz. pkgs. firm tofu, drained
    • 1/2 8-oz. pkg. vegan cream cheese
    • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
    • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
    • salt/pepper to taste


    • 2 jars of your favorite red sauce (I highly recommend Mario Batali Marinara or Tomato/Basil.)
    • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles (don’t worry, they cook in the sauce- no need to pre-boil.If you’re scared, get the no-cook kind.)
    • 2 cups soy grounds (Boca grounds are perfect)
    •  1 package baby bella mushrooms, sliced and roughly cut
    • 1-2 cups shredded soy cheese

    Directions: Requires Food Processor!

    1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic in oil until golden. Add spinach, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer this mixture to food processor. Add tofu, cream cheese, basil, and nutritional yeast, and purée until mixture is thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Taste it, it is heavenly.

    2. Brown grounds and mushrooms in pan on stove until fully cooked. (To save time, take care of this while the spinach mixture is cooking.)

    3. Spread a thin layer of sauce on bottom of 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Cover with one layer of uncooked noodles, then spread an even layer of of filling, a good sprinkle of the grounds/mushroom mix, and ladle on another one-quarter of sauce.

    4. Repeat layering of noodles, ricotta, grounds mixture. Keep layering, then finish with final layer of noodles and remaining sauce. Sprinkle top with soy shreds. Any remaining sauce should go around the edges and any bare areas.

    5. Cover lasagna with foil, and bake 30 minutes, or until bubbling hot. Uncover, and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, or until noodles are tender and topping is melted. Remove from oven, and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

    6. Enjoy this epic meal.  You will not be disappointed.

    Pictured above is a small portion of the exploding Himalayan Blackberry bushes right outside our apartment window.  They are delicious and juicy, but I let the birds have them this year.

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    Cornbread Muffins


    $6 spent, makes 12 small or 6 large

    I like cornbread in muffin shapes, though you could easily plop this batter into a pan to enjoy in squares.  This recipe is moist, savory and with a slight sage and onion flavor, (though not too onion-y for breakfast.)  Enjoy.

    Tip: If you have a supply of cornbread pancake/waffle mix lying around, you can use that in place of the cornmeal and flour.  Works just as well and you can skip the baking powder and soda.  Just keep adding the mix until the batter isn’t runny.

    • 1 cup soymilk
    • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 1 regular sized can of cream-style corn
    • ⅓ cup canola or vegetable oil
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder or finely chopped scallions
    • 1 cup cornmeal
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
    • 2-3 Tbs nutritional yeast (for a cheesy flavor)
    • 1 Tsp Sage (Or more if you want it to be more savory)
    • dash or two of turmeric (for color)
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • ½ tsp. baking soda

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat  muffin pan with cooking spray or olive oil

    2. Combine soy milk and vinegar. Let stand 5 minutes to let the soy milk curdle. Whisk in canned  corn, oil, and onion powder (or scallions); then set aside.

    3. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, then add the wet ingredients. Mix well.

    4. Pour batter into pan, and bake 40 minutes, or until edges brown a little.


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    Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie




    I knew it was summer when someone at work offered up their abundance of rhubarb stalks to the entire office in a big paper bag, With black Sharpie letters stating “Garden-Fresh!- Take Some!”.  I gluttonously grabbed half the stash – and felt a little guilty.  A nice co-worker walked in to top off his coffee and I asked him: whose garden did this rhubarb come from?  He had no idea.  I decided that if I ever found out, I’d share a slice of pie with them.  Because the stalks were destined for pie.

    This is one of my favorite pies. It cost me 3 dollars because I made the crumb crust from scratch, and bought the strawberries from the farmers market.

    • 3 cups rhubarb, sliced 1/2 inch thick
    • 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
    • 2/3 cups brown  sugar
    • 2 tablespoons corn starch dissolved in 1 Tbs warm water
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (you can use orange juice in a bind!)
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 2 ready made or homemade pie crusts (i was going to do a solid top, but it fell apart, so I crumbled it into a crumb top. It happens.)
    1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
    2. Combine all of the ingredients (except pie crust) together in a large mixing bowl.
    3. Add filling to the prepared pie shell and top with the other pie crust (whole or crumbled,).
    4. If using a solid top, poke a few holes in it to let steam escape.
    5. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 F. Lower heat to 350
    6. Bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, filling should be bubbling and the top should be golden.
    7. Remove and cool for about 30 minutes before serving.


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