Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Vegan Snowstorm Soup

No need to run to the store when it snows. Instead, look in your pantry for new ideas. 

That is how I came up with this vegan, gluten-free Snowstorm Soup! This was made from only items I already had in my kitchen. 

Be creative and have fun! 

Vegan Gluten-Free Snowstorm Soup
By Michelle Maskaly

1 onion, chopped 
1 carrot, sliced and cut in half
2 cloves garlic, sliced 
1 can lentils 
1 can canalini beans
1 small can tomato paste 
4 cups vegetable broth
Several handfuls of fresh baby spinach 
Cooked Gluten free pasta (I use elbow pasta)
Olive oil 

Rinse and drain the beans and lentils and set aside. 

Heat one to two tablespoons olive oil in a soup pot. Add in onions, carrots and garlic. Cover and cook on medium, stirring every few minutes just until they start to soften. 

Add in the vegetable broth, beans, lentils and tomato paste. 

Stir well, cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until beans are tender. 

Add in spinach, cover and cook for another 5-10 minutes. 

Ladle into a bowl and add desired amount of already cooked pasta. (

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Vegan Cheese Bacon Pockets

These are a perfect party appetizer that you can totally customize. Oh, and kids will love them because they are oozing out with cheese and have vegan bacon. 

I used Go Veggie mexican blend and vegan coconut bacon, which I purchased off of Amazon. 

You can also use this technique but instead of doing them two together, roll out the crescents like directed on the package.  

Vegan Cheesy Bacon Pockets 
By Michelle Maskaly

2 packages crescent rolls (or more, as each container makes four) 
1 package Go Veggie shredded Mexican cheese blend (or your favorite shredded vegan cheese)  
1/2 cup vegan coconut bacon 

Preheat oven to the temperature on the crescent package. 

Roll out the crescents in sections of two. Gently press bacon pieces on the dough and then top with cheese. 

Starting at one side roll up and transfer to a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. 

Bake for 11-14 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the crescents are golden. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

I am categorizing crispy roasted chickpeas in the same category as kale chips -- they look, and sound, super easy to make, but it takes a few tries to get them just right. 

So, basically, what I am saying is, do not get discouraged if they do not come out correctly the first time. I have made them for the past two years and have just found a combination I like enough to feel compfortable sharing it with you. 

Remember, every oven is different, and whether it is gas or electric, I truely believe makes them cook differently -- and I should know because I have an electric stove and my dad as a gas one and I have to alter times and temperrature slightly when I cook.

I like to keep these with me as a protein-packed snack especially when I am on the go. I put them in a container and keep them in the car, especially if I know I am going to be hungry later in there will not be many options. 

You can play around with different spices, but right now my favorite is the one I am sharing -- sea salt and paprika with a little bit of aleppo pepper from Penzeys Spices. Don't worry if you cannot find aleppo pepper, just substitute another hot pepper of choice. 

One other tip before I forget! Many cooks will tell you to just double the recipe. I am not one of those. This is for several reasons -- I think they cook better in small batchs where they have room to spread out on the baking sheet, they stay fresher if you are the only one eating them, and the oil/spice ratio just never seems right in a double batch. It may take a little extra work, but if you are making them for a large crowd or family, just make two separate batches. Trust me on this one, as I have made this mistake numerous time. 

Oh, and yes, these are both vegan and gluten free! 

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas
By Michelle Maskaly, The Adirondack Chick 

1 can chickpeas 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika (I use hungarian style sweet) 
1/4 teaspoon aleppo pepper, or other hot spicy pepper (optional) 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Then spread out on papper towels and dry. 

Transfer to a large bowl and add the oilve oil, salt and paprika (and the aleppo pepper if using it).

Mix until well coated. 

Spread out evenly on the parchment paper, and bake for 30-40 minutes or unrtil crispy, but not burnt. 


Monday, January 12, 2015

Dinner at Brown's Brewing in Troy & Breakfast at Peaches in Albany

This weekend was so much fun. Toby, Maddux and I went to visit my friend Jen, and her dog Jenks. We took Maddux and Jenks to the Albany Devils' Pucks N Paws, which was a blast. For us dog-lovers out there, it is nice to be able to take your pet with you on a Saturday night -- especially in the middle of winter, since most places do not allow dogs inside. 

After dropping the dogs off at home, we headed to Brown's Brewing in Troy, N.Y. First, let me say, Jen always picks awesome places to go, and althought she is not a vegetarian, she is always sensitive to my food choices, and scopes out new places, because she also knows I love writing about them. 

I had  never been to Browns, but had tasted their beer once at a festival a long lime ago. They had a maple-smoked porter that was out-of-this world. Plus, I had read their food was good, and was excited to try it. 

It did not disappoint. Well, the fact they did not have the maple-smoked porter was disappointing but the food, and the English pale ale I had didn't. First, however, it was packed when we got there. They told us it was an hour wait. We gave them our name and grabbed a beer. Jen says it is always like that, espcially on a Friday or Saturday, so if you go, keep that in mind. 

Lets start with their vegetarian options. It was not hard to find vegetarian choices at all. They have, among other things, a veggie burger, a spicy mac n' cheese and what is basically a vegetable panini, which is what I tried. It was fab! It is listed as having broccoli with mozzarella and fontina cheese, on a grilled rosemary bread. 

When I asked that waitress about it, she said I could actually add any vegetables I wanted. So, I picked peppers, onions and mushrooms with just mozzarella. Since I do not eat cheese that much these days, mozzarella is the one that seems to bother me the least. I also asked for not a lot of cheese.

It was delicious. The bread was crispy, but not burnt and the veggies were pouring out of the sandwich. And, they did not overload it with cheese -- exaclty like I asked. 

My friend had a burger which looked awesome, and if I ever go back I think I am going to try it, but with their veggie patty. I really liked the presentation. 

I am working a little backwards here, because despite jumping right into the dinner, the appetizer we had may have trumped the dinner. Their warm spinach artichoke dip, had a great balance of vegetable, and while it was creamy, it was not overpowering. Plus, there was large leaves of spinach in the dip, which in my book, means they likely use fresh spinach leaves. 

I mean, seriously, look at ther bubbly mozzarella on top! 

Knowing I like cute breakfast places, Jen suggested we go to Peaches. Boy was that place crowded, too. But, it was worth it. 

I love that they serve you tea in a little pot, and they offer real maple syrup as an option. (Yes, it costs more, but if that is what you are used to eating, the fake stuff can ruin a perrfectly good meal) All their breakfast items sounded good, but I finally settled on the wild blueberry pancakes. 


These pancakes were the deal. Seriously. They did not taste like they came out of a box, and were packerd with just the perfect amount of blueberries. Oh, and the way they were cooked -- not mushy around the blueberry, which I always find challenging, and not the least bit dry, because you are trying to make sure said area around the blueberry is not wet. 

I love trying new places. How about you? What weekend food adventures did you have? 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sparkly Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Never pay for fancy chocolate-covered strawberries again. As long as you have a good-melting chocolate, they are super easy to make.

I did these for New Years after seeing a pin on Pinterest for people to buy these. Finding gold sprinkles can be difficult, but I had them from when the Sann Fransciso 49ers were in the Super Bowl. I found them at HomeGoods, which might I add, stores like that are a good when you are looking for unusualy baking, or cooking needs.

Also, I use a trader Joe's dark chocolate that is both vegan and gluten free. I realize not everyone will have one near them, so find a chocolate that works best for you. For me, it is this one, because I can melt it in the microwave with no added anything. Plus, it is vegan and gluten-free. 

The sprinkles were also gluten free, and when I ran it thought my vegan, app it said it was vegan as well. But, be senstive to the colors used to dye the sprinkles, because not all of them are vegan, if that is what you are looking for. 

But, I promise you, these are super easy! 

Sparkly Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries 

What you will need: 

- Fresh strawberries, rinsed and dried well
- melted vegan, gluten-free chocolate (I used Trader Joe's Swiss 72 percent Cocao Dark Chocolate) 
- gold sprinkles

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted. Stir well. 

In a shallow dish add the sprinkles. 

Holding the strawberry by the leaf, dip it chocolate, rotatling it to coat all sides. 

Then, gently place it into the sprinkles. Theeasiest  way to do this is to touch one side into the spinkles, then the other, followed by the two sides not coated. 

Do not rotate it like with the chocolate, because it will get messy. You are just touching it into the sprinkles.

Place on teh parchement paper and place in the fridge overnight to set. Remove shortly before you are ready to serve.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Vegan, Gluten-Free Sage Butternut Squash Gnocchi

As I mentioned in my posts from Christmas, gnocchi is an Italian dish that for some reason, my family never made.

I decided it was time to change that and having two butternut squashes left from my garden, I thought Christmas and New Years would be the perfect time to try it. Plus, there were different people at both events, so I could get differenrt opinions. 

This vegan, gluten-free sage butternut squash gnocchi came good at Christmas, but excellent at New Years, after I had done it at least once. 

Some things to remember when making this: 

- Start out with the recommended two cups of flour, but add it one at a time. Depending on the size of the squash, you may need more or less. Be flexible.

- Speaking of flour, the type you use may make a different. I perrsonally like to use King Arthur's gluten-free flour. Use something that has a lighter consistency. 

- It seemed to come better using the whipping attachment on my kitchen aid, and then kneading in the flour with my hands instead of when I used the mixer. Much more fluffier.

- The longer it sits in rthe freezer, the better. The ones I made the next day came better than making it and then immediately cooking them. After they are frozen store leftover in an airtight freezer bag.

- Play around with the amount of cinnamon. You just want it to add a hint of sweetness, but not overpower the dish. 

- Try this receipe a few times before giving up. Gnocchi, from my experience and talking with others, can be temperamental.    

Vegan Gluten-Free Sage Butternut Squash Gnocchi
By Michelle Maskaly, The Adirondack Chick 

1 medium to small butternut squash
2 cups gluten-free flour (I use King Arthur) 
2-4 tablespoons fresh chopped sage (depending on how strong you want the flavor)
Sea salt
ground cinnamon
2 cloves of garlic, chopped   
olive oil 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and place cut-side down in a baking dish. Fill with about an inch of water and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the squash is super soft. 

 Remove from the oven and carefully flip them over and scrape out the insides into a mixing bowl. Be very carefuly, because it will be very, very hot! 

Once it is fully cool, (this can take an hour or so) beat either with a hand mixer or with the whipping beater on a kitchen aid. This helps make the gnocchi be fluffier. After it is beat well, transfer to a wider bowl that you can get your hands into easily. 

Gently fold in the chopped sage, add a pinch or two of salt and cinnamon. Start adding in the flour one cup at a time, and using your hands, mix until the dough starts to become forming and is no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. 

Dust parchment paper with gluten-free flour. Using your hands, divide up the dough and form into smaller balls and then roll out between your hands. When it gets longer than your hands, place on the parcement paper and roll out into a long snake-like shape. Using a knife, cut the long rolls into pieces no bigger than an inch. 

Place the cut gnocchi on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Continue this process until the dough is finished. To get the traditional lines on the pasta, gently press the back of a fork on each piece. Place in the freezer overnight. 

To cook, boil a large pot of water and drop in the desired amount of gnocchi. Cook 15-18 minutes or until they float to the top and are soft. Note: just because they float the top, it does not mean they are done. I usually check for firmness by taking one out and testing it. 

When there are a few minuters left, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil and the chopped garlic in a pan. When the gnocchi is done, transfer to the pan, and cook just until slightly brown. Be very careful not to overcook, or burn them, because they will lose their fluffiness. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Creamy Vegan Warm Artichoke and Kale Dip

I cannot tell you the number of times I have tried to make a warm dip, such as spinach, and have failed. And, that was when I was just a vegetarian. 

So, when I decided to try doing a vegan one, I was sure it was going to be a disaster. This one, however, came out amazing, and was surprisingly super easy to make, which is what I was looking for. 

First, there are few modifications, you can make, because, as you know, I am all about customizing something to fit particular tastes. If you want it more chunky, add more artichokes and kale. It will just be a little less creamier. Also, I liked it a little spicer and salty, so I added a more sea salt and fresh cracked pepper afterwards. 

Finally, and I know this might be weird, but I liked individual portions reheated in the microwave the day after I cooked it.  It gave everything time to soak in all the flavors.

You can make this ahead of time, or fresh. So, it is pretty versatile. 

Creamy Vegan Warm Artichoke and Kale Dip 
by Michelle Maskaly, The Adirondack Chick 

3/4 cup raw cashews 
3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage) 
1, 8.5 ounce can artichoke hearts (drained) 
1 container Daiya cream cheese 
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 cups chopped kale
juice of one lemon
sea salt
fresh cracked pepper

Soak the cashew for several hours, or ideally overnight. Rinse and drain.

In a food processor, combine the cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process until the cashews are mostly smooth. Add in the cream cheese and process until creamy.

In a small bowl, combine the kale with a little bit of water. Cover and microwave for about 20 seconds just until it starts to wilt. Remember you just want to soften it, not cook it. 

Add the artichokes and kale to the food processor. Pulsate lightly until the artichokes are just broken apart, but are still chunky. 

Pour into a greased (I used coconut oil) baking dish. Add additional fresh cracked pepper over the top. (You can also add some nutritional yeast, which will give it a slightly gloden color). At this point you can also cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to two days, or, when ready, cook in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until bubbly. 

Serve warm with tortilla chips, and or/pita bread. 

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