Category Archives: recipes

Chocolate-Pumpkin Coffee Cake (No Eggs)

So, it’s Beltane. I’m out of eggs. And bread. And company is coming for dinner tonight.
Thank goodness I’m home today. 🙂
 
I mean, okay, yes, technically it’s May First, and even if I’d been doing the Eat From the Larder Challenge this year (I didn’t), it would be fine for me to skip out and get some groceries, it’s cold and rainy and I Don’t Wanna.
 
So I went hunting on The Internet for vegan coffee cakes that I could mess around with, in order to make an easy dessert that I could adapt to feature sour-milk (or kefir, in my case, since I have an over-abundance of the stuff – oh, darn) but that would hold together without any eggs, and without my having to macgyver an egg-substitute out of peanut butter or similar. The below recipe draws heavily on this Chocolate Pecan Cranberry Coffee Cake which, itself, looks really lovely.
Here’s what I came up with, using the above-linked recipe as a starting point:
 
~*~
 
Chocolate-Pumpkin Coffee Cake
 
INGREDIENTS
 
¼ C margarine
1 C pumpkin butter (or other fruit butter)
1 C kefir (you can sub with: sour milk, yoghurt, whey, vegan “milk” with some vinegar in it… whatever’s around)
1 tbsp vanilla
½ C granulated sugar
+
2 C flour
¼ C cocoa
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
+
½ C chocolate chips
½ C dried cranberries
¼ C crumbled walnuts
 
 
DIRECTIONS
 
1) Preheat the oven to 350F
2) Grease a 9″x9″ cake pan
3) Mix the first group of ingredients together in a big bowl
4) Add the second group of ingredients and blend (you can use a fork for this) until smooth
5) Add the third group of ingredients and mix (lightly) until well-distributed[1]
6) Scrap the batter into the cake pan (it will fluff up really fast)
7) Bake for 1 hour OR until it smells done and can pass the fork test[2]
8) Allow to cool (and set) for a few minutes before cutting into squares and serving
 
~*~
 
So there you have it.
I like to make coffee cakes using fruit butter in place of at least some of the sugar. Partly because it makes things slightly less overpoweringly sweet, but mostly because it makes for a velvetier, moister crumb (AKA: helps keep a cake with dried fruit in it from being Too Dry) while also letting me stuff some extra Plant Stuff into our eating. 🙂 Plus it helps act as a binder, which mitigates the No Eggs situation.
 
As a side note, I can’t help smiling a little that the pumpkin butter I made at Samhain is being baked into the cake I’m making on Beltane. Hello, Year Gate, nice to see you again. 🙂
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] It’s May Day, after all – Fair Distribution Of The Tasty Bits! 😀
 
[2] NOTE: When I say “bake for 1 hour”, I mean “That other recipe says ‘bake for 1 hour’, and so this SHOULD work fine, but my cake is still in the oven, so we’ll see if this works”. Thence: Fork Test + Use Your Nose. Always good to have more than one way to tell. But I’m assuming that it will take about an hour.

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Green Tomato Chutney 2016 Recipe

So, I’m about to run out of the house to do laundry, but I wanted to get this down. I finally got around to making my green tomato chutney (after, what, a month of saying I was going to get to it?), and put it in the slow-cooker to do it’s thing while I’m out this afternoon.
The recipe is a little different from last year’s, because I have slightly fewer tomatoes (my mistake – I waited too long, due to having run out of canning jars, and the first batch I harvested went moldy), and slightly different ingredients on hand, and also because my garlic basically dried to the hardness of cashews in the fridge, but here’s what I did:
 
 
Green Tomato Chutney 2016
 
~10 C green cherry tomatoes (halved, if they’re bigger than your thumb-nail)
8 garlic cloves, rough-chopped (very rough… um…)
1 yellow onion, diced
5 apples, diced
 
1 C cider vinegar
1 C kombucha vinegar (yep, I totally trying this out)
3 C white sugar
 
¼ C prepared mustard
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp nutmeg
1 tbsp ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
20 grinds of black pepper
 
 
DIRECTIONS
Put everything in the slow-cooker and set it on “low”. Let it do it’s thing for 24 hours and see where everything is at. If it smells tangy and zippy and tastes good, turn up the heat ’til it’s bubbling. Sterilize some 1C jars, can and process in a boiling water-bath for 10 minutes. Allow to cool (listen for the “plunk” that tells you the jars have sealed properly). Let sit for at least a month before opening to allow everything to get even more flavourfully mixed.
Enjoy!
 
I have no idea how many jars of chutney this will make, but I’m guessing about 6-8. Fingers crossed!
 
I’m glad I got around to doing this. Green-tomato chutney is a really great way to get tasty, edible veggies into your system over winter, it adds a lovely tangy flavour to pork, turkey, cheese, and even tuna sandwiches,and it lets me get a second harvest from my cherry tomatoes (some of which are sitting in a bowl, with an apple, ripening indoors) after the season is well and truly done.
Green tomatoes from the garden + onions & apples (both pretty inexpensive, if you buy them, and apples can often be found on urban trees either growing wild, or planted so long ago that the current owners don’t know what to do with all the food that’s suddenly available) make for an inexpensive preserve that let’s you use free bounty and “hard luck harvests” to make something delicious.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Wild Rice Pilaf + Sage Pesto Recipes

So, for the pervy-queer Thanksgiving Potluck, I roasted a turkey (also: my gravy brings all the pervs to the yard, I’m just saying) and made the following vegan dish that is (a) delicious, and (b) does not contain gluten or soy or nuts (though adding walnuts or pecans or even toasted Himalayan Balsam seeds would be an excellent addition) but DOES (c) contain white beans, so it’s definitely not Paleo, but can be made so very, very easily (drop the beans and add a bunch of nuts and/or extra seeds, basically).
 
Wild Rice Pilaf
 
INGREDIENTS:
1 C raw wild rice
4 C water
Pinch salt
+
2 C cooked white kidney beans or other white beans such as Great Northern (I just used 1 tin of same, drained & very well rinsed, but feel free to cook your own)
1/2 C cider vinegar
+
3 C diced butternut squash (I used pre-diced stuff from the store, but you do you)
2-3 sprigs fresh sage, shredded (or used the dried stuff, as you will)
+
2 apples (Cortland recommended, but I used McIntosh and it was just dandy)
1/4 C dried cranberries (sweetened)
1/4 C pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp prepared grainy mustard
1 tsp ground nutmeg (note: if you are going for Super Local, and have these available, you can use dried, ground spice berries in place of the nutmeg. The flavour (in theory – I haven’t tried this yet) is a combination of nutmeg and black pepper and should work well in this dish).
 
 
DIRECTIONS:
 
1) In the bottom of a double boiler combine the wild rice, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Allow to cook for upwards of an hour.
 
2) In the top of the double boiler, while the wild rice is cooking, combine the diced squash and the sage. Allow to steam for 20-30 minutes. Squash should be easily pierced with a fork, but not straight-up falling apart.
 
3) While the squash is steaming and the wild rice is cooking, in a large (1 gallon would make this very easy) bowl or casserole dish combine the cooked white beans and the cider vinegar.
 
4) Core and dice the apples and add to the bean mixture
 
5) Add the dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds and toss it all together like a salad
 
6) Add the cooked squash and sage, as well as the mustard and nutmeg. Toss again then cover with a plate or the lid of the casserole dish.
 
7) When the wild rice is done, add it to the mixture in the large bowl and toss until well-combined. The whole thing should smell gloriously of nutmeg and mustard and apples and all the other good things that are in it.
 
8) Serve hot (ideally) OR chilled.
 
This dish works as both a main and a side.
It goes well with chokecherry chutney and sage pesto (below), too. 😉
 
NOTE: If you want to fancy it up a little:
Leave the squash out (I do still recommend cooking the fresh sage, though) and, instead, bake delecata, sweet-baby, or other miniature squash halves in the oven for an hour while the wild rice is cooking. (When I do this, I splosh a quarter-cup of apple juice into each of the squash cavities so that the flesh is tender and easy to scoop when they’re done). Stuff the squash halves with the wild rice mixture and serve garnished with sprigs of fresh sage. If you wanted to do this as a fancy center-piece dish, I would suggest using something like a cupcake tower to display the stuffed squash halves before plating them at the table.
 
 
Sage Pesto
 
INGREDIENTS:
4C fresh sage
1 C pumpkin seeds
4 cloves garlic
¼ C nutritional yeast
½ C cooked white kidney beans OR cooked green lentils
¼ C apple cider vinegar
Pinch ground ginger
Pinch salt
Grind black pepper
¼ C oil
 
 
DIRECTIONS:
 
1) Pulse the pumpkin seeds in a food processor until they are grainy but well-smashed (this takes waaaaaay less time than making pumpkinseed butter, fyi)
 
2) Add the sage, cooked lentils, garlic, vinegar, salt, and pepper
 
3) Blend until well-combined
 
4) With the motor running, drizzle in the oil
 
5) Spoon into ice-cube trays for freezing (works great) and/or pop some into a half-cup jar for fridge storage (I don’t know how long this will stay fresh, as I keep mine in the freezer to use as-needed, but if you want to serve it with stuffed squash, for example, within a day or two, this is an easy way to do it).
 
This stuff is lovely-and-delicious as the “sauce” for a pasta dish, mixed into scrambled eggs, spread (lightly) onto a chicken/turkey/roast-pork sandwich, blended into a bean dip/spread, stirred into root-veggies blender soups (rutabaga-cauliflower or carrot-apple would both be amazing with this), or, y’know, used as a condiment/topping/garnish for baked miniature winter squash stuffed with wild rice pilaf.

Chokecherry Chutney / Plum Relish and The Reason for the Season (of the Witch)

Hello!
So, today I ran a canning workshop which, alas, did not have a great turn-out. BUT the lovely thing about running a canning workshop is that either (a) you get a big group and you all geek about canning and you have waaaaay less stuff to cary home than you originally brought OR (b) you get a small group and you all geek about canning and you get to bring home a whole bunch of preserves that you didn’t have to mess up your own kitchen to make. (The ACO, where I ran the thing, has a dish-washer and TWO STOVES. It was great!)
So I’m counting it as a win. 🙂
 
My one co-canner and I nattered about canning (of course), about how satisfying it is, about our respective not-distant-at-all farming ancestors, and about familial and cultural food traditions… and on my way home, I realized: we were talking about what this time of year is about. About the harvest, about getting the family (chosen or origin or both) together, about sharing, about where and whom we come from.
It was really wonderful.
 
Anyway. I had about 5 cups of chokecherry purree put aside for today, so I ended up re-jigging last year’s recipe into something a little more plum-heavy. You can call it Choke Cherry Chutney if you want to, but you could also call it Plum Relish. Either way, it tastes amazing, and I have six jars of it put up in my cupboard. 😉
Enjoy!
 
~*~
 
Chokecherry Chutney 2016 (AKA Plum Relish)
 
Ingredients
30+ blue plums, pitted and diced (leave the skins on, it’s fine)
+
5 C chokecherry puree
1½ C red wine vinegar
+
4 medium onions, diced
+
2 C dried (sweetened) cranberries
+
2 C granulated sugar
2 tbsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
 
 
Directions
 
Well in advance:
Pick chokecherries – you will need 3 litres to start with. This will take anywhere from 2 hours to a couple of days, depending on how abundant the chokecherry trees are being in a given year.
 
Wash the chokecherries, discarding any stems, leaves, and other detritus
 
Simmer chokecherries in a little water, covered, for half an hour, poke at them with a fork occasionally
 
Strain chokecherries & liquid through a sieve (or a food mill, or an apple-sauce strainer, or a colander with very small holes… you get the idea), scraping the sides to make sure you get as much pulp in with the juice as possible (this will take about an hour if you’re using a sieve, it will probably take less time if you’re using a food mill or an apple sauce strainer). The goal here is to remove the pits (which, like all almond-related fruits, have cyanide in them) and get a smooth chokecherry base for your preserve.
 
Day Of:
Wash, pit, and dice the plums
 
Peel and dice the onions
 
Combine all the ingredients in a wide, ideally deep, pot (this stuff will splatter)
 
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent things from sticking to the bottom (leave the lid off the pot, at least a bit, to let the liquid cook down faster)
 
Sterilize a doezen 1C jars + lids and rings – you can do this in a dish-washer, by boiling them in a water bath, or by baking the jars (you still have to boil the lids and rings) in an oven set to 225F for 20 minutes.
 
When the chutney is bubbling and nicely thickened (the liquidy part will sort of glob together a little before dripping off a spoon and/or when you stir the mixture, you’ll be able to see the bottom of the pan for just a second before the mix oozes back in to fill the space), ladle it into your sterilized jars.
 
Cap and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
 
Allow to cool, listening for the “plunk” that tells you they’ve properly sealed.

Tomato-Peach (Nectarine & Apricot, Actually) Salsa 2016

Hey!
 
So today I started my tomato-canning extravaganza. Last year I tried to do it all in one go, and it was an awesome marathon that I did with an awesome friend. This year, I’m doing things a little bit more lightly (and late enough in the tomato year that I can get 20lbs of romas for $10 at the market – woohoo!) and processing one 20lb box per weekend.
 
Today, I did a little over 2L salsa (with another 4L(?) crushed tomatoes cooking down on the stove as we speak). I used last year’s Very Easy Crushed Tomatoes starting point and adapted the salsa recipe for what I had available.

Tomato-Peach Salsa

Start with ~2L Very Easy Crushed Tomatoes (or what I had in my 1-gallon pot after I’d cooked everything down to the point where it was thick, but not too-much-so).
Dice 1 small-medium yellow cooking onion and rough-chop 4 large cloves of garlic.
Pit and dice six ripe nectarines (you end up with about 3C of diced fruit – I went with nectarines because leaving the skin is much less bother).
Using scissors, snip 3 mild dried chili peppers (I used dried New Mexico chilies, but you could also dice up ~4 fresh jalapenos if you wanted to)
Crush up half a cup of dried tomatoes (which I had left-over from last year, and which will help to make the salsa nice and chunky)
Dice 8 dried apricots so that they’re nice and small (if you have LOTS of nectarines, feel free to skip this and add another cup of fresh fruit, but I wanted to keep some for fresh-eating + see above re: adding dried stuff will help things to thicken and be Nice And Chunky)
Add everything to the crushed tomatoes and mix until well incorporated
Add to the mixture: 1.5 tbsp dried cilantro, 1.5 tbsp dried basil, and 0.5 tbsp dried red chili flakes
Cook down (over low heat, otherwise it will totally scorch to the bottom of the pot) until the mixture has thickened up nicely
While the salsa thickens, sterilize some pint jars. I used a water-bath this year
Into each pint jar, add: 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 dried very-hot chili pepper (I used dried Arbol chilies, but you could use fresh Thai/Bird chilies if you wanted to)
Pour/ladel salsa into hot, sterilized jars
Cap and process in a boiling water bath for 15-20 minutes
Pull the jars out of the bath and let them cool (listen for the that tells you they’ve sealed properly)
 
Makes 4.5 PINTS or a little over 2L. I probably could have stretched this to 5 pints if I’d added another diced nectarine, another half-cup of crumbled dried tomatoes, and another (small) onion, but c’est la vie.
 
 
~*~
 
And there you have it.
I use my salsa for dipping chips (duh), but I also use it in place of diced tomatoes when I want to do a nice, thick ragu – add some curry powder & cinnamon/nutmeg + left-over meat and/or tinned beans and serve it over rice.
 
Enjoy!

Cauldron of Plenty – Red Velvet Morning Glory Breakfast Muffins

Okay. So I started volunteering at a local Food Centre[1] just last week, because I like to cook/bake, and I like to feed people, and because I like the way this place has a “waste not, want not; use what you’ve got” attitude, and is totally comfortable with people (me) experimenting with their largely-donated larder in order to make things work.
One thing that I’m learning is how to cook in Very Large Batches, because they make stuff like granola, soup, and chili by the vat.
 
Today I made (up) a muffin recipe that resulted in about six dozen average-size muffins and was stuffed full of fruits, veggies, and seeds. It started out as a morning glory muffins recipe, but I didn’t know where the raw carrots were (yet), so I went hunting in the freezer for apples blueberries and stuff, and wound up finding a bag of frozen, pre-cooked, diced beets. There was cocoa in the cupboard. It just sort of (re-) wrote itself from there.
 
 
~*~
 
Red Velvet Morning Glory Muffins (makes ~6 dozen)
INGREDIENTS
 
5C mashed, cooked beets
4C grated carrots
2C mashed, frozen bananas (alternatives: 2C fruit butter; 2C mashed, steamed pumpkin – though they won’t be as sweet if you use pumpkin in place of banana)
1C apple sauce
+
3 C oil
½ C molasses
½ C maple syrup
¼ C vanilla extract (I use the fake stuff)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
+
8 C flour (I used polished wheat / all-purpose, but whole-wheat-pastry, or your favourite 1:1 GF mix would presumably work just fine, too)
2 C rolled oats (or rolled quinoa, or maybe even corn meal or cooked amaranth)
4 C brown sugar
1 C cocoa
2 tbsp each: ginger, cinnamon, cloves
3 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
+
2 ½ C shredded coconut (untested alternatives: shredded hazelnuts, possibly Himalayan Balsam seeds, too)
2 C pumpkin seeds
2 C dried cranberries (or raisins, or dried cherries, you get the idea)
 
 
DIRECTIONS
 
Preheat the oven to 350F
Blend the wet ingredients together in an absolutely massive bowl
Add the dry ingredients
Add the dried fruit and seeds and such
Mix everything together until well-blended
Spoon into VERY well-greased muffin pans (I was using that spray-on-oil stuff with non-stick pans, but usually I use paper muffin liners and don’t worry about greasing things at all)
Bake at 350 for ~35 minutes. Use your nose and the fork test starting at the half-hour mark, or earlier if need be[1]
Let the muffins stand for a minute or two to cool (slightly) and get set
Pop them out of their trays, one at a time (or not), and let them stand on a wire rack (you will need 2 very, VERY big wire racks for this) until they cool completely.
Serve and enjoy.
 
~*~
 
 
So there you go.
 
This recipe is, handily, vegan and takes about 2 hours to mix and bake the entire batch. It can definitely be halved, or even quartered, if the amounts are really daunting, but if you have an event – whether that’s a bakesale, a large planning meeting, or a pot-luck breakfast – where you need a LOT of baked goods that taste good and can still at least pass for “healthy”? This is the way to go.
I haven’t tried freezing them but, as far as I can tell, muffins tend to do pretty well if you freeze them for long-term storage, so if you wanted to (and have the space), you could throw this together of a quiet morning and have a breakfast go-to that you could pull out, half-a-dozen at a time, for ages.
 
Give them a shot, if you’re so inclined.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] I baked most of these at the same time, in the same oven, so the top rack’s muffins were “just done” when the bottom rack’s muffins were definitely starting to get crispy. Nobody will be mad at you if you bake them 2-dozen at a time, rather than all at once, and you stand a better chance of not burning things, so.

#Recipe: Peanut-Butter Pecan Chocolate Chip Muffins (with sour milk & cooked amaranth)

So I had half a gallon of milk go off on me in the fridge the other day. Not something I was expecting, but not the end of the world. Usually, when this happens, there’s only about a litre to work with, and I usually just turn it into pancakes (which is where the other 4-5C are probably going to go, honestly, tomorrow morning) but I was on my own today and wanted to bake something, so I decided to make muffins.
 
Turns out I’m also out of eggs.
 
This is also not the end of the world. Add extra levener (baking powder, for example), use a solid fat rather than a liquid one, and add a few tablespoons of nut/seed butter for the sticky-protein that makes a binder when you’re baking.
 
Both of the recipes that I based today’s offering on called for leftover oatmeal. I’m not really a poridge person, so I don’t tend to have leftover oatmeal lying around, but I decided to use cooked amaranth (cooked in some of the sour milk, no less) instead, since it also firms up as a it cools.
 
The end result (only a few minutes out of the oven, while still warm) is cakey & rich-feeling, but not too sweet. The amaranth (once baked) adds a nice crunch, too.
 
Here you go. 😀
 
 
~*~
 
Peanut-Butter Pecan Chocolate Chip Muffins
 
INGREDIENTS
 
3C flour
¾ C brown sugar
¼ C cocoa
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
 
½ C peanut butter (use half if you want to add 1 egg to the recipe)
½ C margarine (use half if you want to add 1 egg to the recipe)
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 C cooked amaranth (cook in further sour milk)
 
1 C sour milk
 
½ pecans
½ C chocolate chips
 
 
DIRECTIONS
 
Cook 1C raw amaranth in 2C sour milk (or water, if you don’t have tonnes of sour milk lying around – you can also use left-over cooked oatmeal for this if you want, though I haven’t tried that route).
 
Mix the dry ingredients together in a big bowl.
 
Mix the peanut-butter, margarine, vanilla, and vinegar together in a 2C measuring cup
 
Spoon the peanut-butter mixture into the middle of the dry ingredients.
 
Pour the hot, cooked amaranth over the peanut-butter mixture (this will get it to melt a little)
 
Mix everything together lightly
 
Add 1C sour milk to the mixture
 
Mix everything together until it’s smooth and there aren’t any streaks of flour in it
 
Add the pecans and chocolate chips and mix in lightly
 
Scoop by the heaping spoonful into muffin cups (I use paper liners, but you do you)
 
Bake at 400F for 20 minutes
 
Allow to cool at least a little before diving in.
Makes ~24 muffins (I got 23, but ymmv).
 
 
~*~
 
I’m thoroughly enjoying these goodies (I’ve had three, in the space of about half a hour, just so you know) and will have to remember to leave room for turkey wings and sunchokes and similar (to be cooked around 7pm for a late dinner).
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.