Thursday, January 30, 2014

Vegan Flourless Chocolate Torte

This is another great recipe from Terry Romero's Vegan Eats World, made without flour or eggs, only oil for the pan and with the protein of 12 ounces of tofu. Ed still prefers, Chocolate Chipolte - Olive Oil Cake, but I like this even better.  Ms. Romero seasons her Ethopian Chocolate Flourless Torte with 1/2 teaspoon ground Berbere Spice Blend.  Rather than add another packet of spice to my drawer, I used a variation of her Mexican option.*  Not only is this torte very good, it is also very easy to make!
Coat the bottom of an 8-inch spring-form pan with olive oil (or butter if not vegan), line with parchment paper and oil/butter paper. (Romero's recipe calls for "an 8-inch round baking pan with a round of parchment paper...." **)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

 In a food processor blend until ground:

2/3 c almonds or hazelnuts (Romero uses "1/2 cup [pre] ground almonds or hazelnuts")

Then add :

2/3 c bittersweet chocolate chips, melted ***
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
12 oz. extra firm silken tofu (Mori Nu recommended*****)
3/4 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
1 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 t almond extract
2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t chipolte chili powder

Mix until completely blended and smooth, then using a spatula put the batter into the pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 45 minutes or until the top feels firm. Remove to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Unhinge the pan, lift out the torte, remove the parchment paper. Serve either as lifted from pan or per Ms. Romero's recipe, inverted with cocoa powder sifted over the top. Ms. Romero recommends serving slightly warm. using microwave, if necessary, to reheat. I usually sertve at room temperature. Strawberries, raspberries or pomegranates are a nice garnish.

"For best presentation, place the torte on a serving plate that's perfectly flat. Even a slightly curved dinner plate will create a depression in the center of this slender cake." ****

I often serve cake as lifted from the pan, at room temperature topped with a drizzle of melted dark chocolate.

*1 additional t cinnamon [for a total of 2 1/2 t] and 1/2 teaspoon Mexican chile powder, ancho chile powder or cayenne pepper.[I use a bit less cinnamon.]

** If not using a spring-form pan, remove as follows: "Run a knife around the edges of the torte, place a serving dish on top of the pan, and invert the cake pan.  Tap the bottom of the pan a few times to release the torte, lift the pan and peel off the parchment paper." page 341

*** Romero uses semisweet. Her recipe calls for adding melted chocolate after all other ingredients have been mixed and gives  instructions for melting chocolate as follows:  "the easiest and fastest way is to pour the chips into a glass bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute to melt some of the chips. Move the half-melted chips around with a rubber spatula, then return to the microwave for 40 seconds and stir again until all of the chips are melted; if necessary microwave for another 20 to 30 seconds until all of the chips are soft and easy to stir." page 340 (I check more frequently to be sure chocolate does not burn.)

**** Page 340.

***** May 2017:  When I first started making this torte, I always used the Mori Nu silken tofu.  Then I was no longer able to find the Mori Nu in the Whole Foods refrigerated section (with other tofu). I recently discovered that Mori Nu tofu, which is packaged in anaseptic package which does not require refrigeration, is now stocked in the baking section.  Meanwhile,  I  made this several times using Nasoya tofu which comes in a 16 oz, instead of Mori Nu's 12 oz. container.  After dealing a few times with 4 ounces of left over tofu, I revised the recipe to use the full 16 ounces:

7/8 c almonds or hazelnuts
7/8 c bittersweet chocolate chips, melted
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
16 oz.Nasoya silken tofu
1 c sugar
2 T + 2 t cornstarch
1 1/3 t pure vanilla extract
2/3 t almond extract
2 2/3 t ground cinnamon
2/3 t  chipolte chili powder

Cook for 50 minutes and then test center with a toothpick.  Return to oven if necessary until toothpick comes out clean.

Reviewed 10/1/2017

Saturday, January 4, 2014

An Awesome Gift --- Tomato Powder

The card read "I think each jar has the equivalent of 75 Juliette tomatoes in it.  I absolutely LOVE this stuff and put it on everything.  Finally dried enough tomatoes this year to make some for you guys :-) (YOU BETTER LIKE IT!!)" and the label on one side of the jar reads, "Add it to: pasta, popcorn, cream cheese, pesto, salsa, soup, salad dressing, baked potatoes. JUST USE IT!!"

What an awesome gift from my niece, Leigh. It was hard to imagine 75 tomatoes packed in this small 2 1/2" diameter by 3" high jar until I opened the jar and got a whiff of the aroma --- wow! Started with the pasta suggestion. I mixed some delicate pasta with finely chopped garlic and olive oil that had been mixed together a few hours earlier.  I then tossed in some slivered basil, tossed again and topped with a dusting of the tomato powder. Great dinner! Thank you Leigh!

This homegrown, homemade product is private stock.  Sorry no links to the farmstand :-(

A few weeks later I used this a a topping for Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta tossed with Vegan Cream Sauce. Also very good :-)

Reviewed 9/21/2017

Friday, January 3, 2014

Beet, Apple and Toasted Hazelnut Salad with Horseradish Cream

When we were in Portland last week we had an excellent dinner at Tabla Mediterranean Bistro.  Alex and I started with a delicious
"Beet and Apple  celery root, hazelnuts, horseradish cream, arugula" salad.

This is a simple variation of Beet Salad with "Horseradish Panna Cotta", basically apples, beets, and hazelnuts with a horseradish cream.  I did not use any celery root and served the beets and apples on a bed of baby winter greens.

Make the horseradish cream:  whip together in a small blender until very smooth:

4 T "cream" *
1 1/2 T [fresh]  horseradish ** (adjust quantity to taste and hotness of horseradish)

2 medium beets, peeled, cooked until tender, then cooled and sliced
2 small apples, quartered, seeded, and thinly sliced
~ 24 roasted hazelnuts

Add the horse radish cream to the beets, apples and nuts and toss gently.

Divide among 4 salad plates:

Arugula or winter greens

Top with the beet and apple mixture.

* First try I used low fat plain yogurt.  It was good but would be much better with 4 T heavy cream, softly whipped or 4 T sour cream. Tried it with real cream and the horseradish seemed too muted, then the porch lights went on....

**  Think what made the Tabla salad so special was fresh horseradish!  Next time....  Yes!  Fresh horseradish, finely grated really gives this salad a special zip.

Reviewed 6/18/2017

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Savory Baked Tofu

Happy New Year!  I now have my own copy of Terry Romero's "Vegan Eats World"  and can finish what I started several months ago. Finishing a long over due project is always a good way to start a new year. Here is the recipe for Savory Baked Tofu as called for in the Green Curry recipe I posted in July.
If using super-firm tofu (a great, fairly new product), pressing is not necessary.  If using extra-firm tofu press for 20 minutes to one hour. Slice tofu in half, then slice each half again. Then again, slice each piece in half resulting in a total of eight pieces of tofu.  Place the pieces on a dishtowel laid on a counter or cutting board, cover with the same or an additional dishtowel. Place weight(s) on top to squeeze out excess moisture. I use  brick covered with aluminum foil, heavy cans/cutting boards work too.
20 minutes prior to baking the tofu, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  
Combine in a 9 x 13 pan:

3 T soy sauce
2 T canola or vegetable oil
1 T agave nectar or maple syrup [I use syrup]
2 t lemon juice
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t ground cayenne pepper

Place the tofu in a single layer in the marinade and turn until each side is well coated with the marinade.  Bake for 20 minutes, then remove pan from the oven and flip each piece of tofu.  Bake for an additional 20 to 24 minutes or until almost all of the marinade is absorbed and the tofu is browned.  Try keep most of  extra marinade under tofu pieces. (Pan looks awful, but after a short soak it cleaned easily.)
Ms. Romero notes, "...these lightly seasoned cutlets slide into sandwiches and, when diced, into stir fries, stews and even salads.  ...stored in a tightly covered container it can last 10 days or more." * One-half a recipe is called for in her "It's Easy Being Green Curry" (photo left).

* Page 50

Reviewed 7/11/2017