Christmas in Texas 2010 [The Best Chocolate Cream Pie]

Christmas eve service

Wow, I actually took a break from blogging. I guess I do like being around family. Ha ha ha.

Well seeing that I have been away for a while, it has been hard to get to blogging knowing there are alot of pictures of fun events and eats. Where to start? Even though I was away for 2 weeks visiting family and very busy, I still enjoyed some cooking and hanging out with friends and family.

One of the first highlights of my trip to Houston was getting together with Joel from Vegan Good Eats. I had missed him on my last trip there and really made a point to finally meet him when I was in town. He is such a great guy with a wonderful personality! We met at Pepper Tree Veggie Cuisine where they offer a vegan buffet that has so many choices! Spring Rolls and lots of veggies. I was very happy to get in my veggies before the Christmas madness began. We shared stories and got to know each other a litle better. It is wonderful to put a face with a blogger you interact with often. Thanks for a great time Joel!

Scandanavian thumbprint cookies

Three days after I arrived I had a little get-together / cookie exchange, but it was more of an excuse to bake and see friends. I had an old high school friend come which was wonderful since I had not seen her in a LONG time. She is learning to cook gluten-free so I decided to make a gluten-free and vegan cookie recipe I had been eyeing from Spunky Coconut's website called Scandanavian Thumbprint Cookies. Mom did not have the tapioca flour it called for so I risked using quinoa flour instead. A few days later I made them again like the original recipe and there really was not much difference. They tasted DANG good. I used up all my mom's strawberry rhubarb preserves she had in her fridge. I have to say that this cookie recipe was pretty popular! Besides my 3 friends that came over, some neighborhood friends stopped by and I could not help watching these non-vegans enjoying this cookie. Score!

The next few days proved busier than ever. My mom needed a lot of help around the house and I had to catch up on some work too. We planned the menu for Christmas Eve dinner and I set to preparing the meal starting the 23rd.

Since I was the only vegan in the family, my mom still wanted to make meat, so she made a meatloaf type meal filled with veggies and hard-boiled eggs, typically made in Mexico.

I pretty much then made all the salads and desserts. Desserts! Yes, my favorite!

I made my Papa Rusa (Russian Potato Salad) and the Green Beans with the Dried-Cherry Vinagrette.

I then prepared the desserts on the 24th and had them ready. We decided to have dinner early since Ryan was in charge of choosing a new church for us to worship on Christmas Eve.

Christmas eve 2010

My sister was in charge of decorating the dinner table. She obviously has a great gift for this. I am glad she got to do this. Every year it is a different combination of colors and decorations.

After we came back from our Christmas Eve service at First Presbyterian, we opened gifts and ate dessert. I served a small slice of each dessert so that we could enjoy.

Upside down Pineapple Gingerbread Cake

I made an Gingerbread Caramel Pineapple Upside Down Cake using the Pear recipe I made back in October. This seriously had to be Ryan's favorite. He remembers the pear dessert and he said he preferred with with pineapples! Just substitute the pears for 6 big slices of pineapple when preparing the dessert.

Chocolate Cream Pie

This Chocolate Cream Pie was a last minute decision. My mom had been asking me to make a pie but since I was short on time I had to figure out a quicker recipe. My mom had purchased 2 gluten-free pie crusts from Whole Foods and she really wanted something special. While I thought, I baked the pie crust in the oven. I then ran across a marvelous recipe from Elana's Pantry.

This was BY FAR the BEST pie recipe I have ever made. It was VERY easy too. Everyone kept on asking if it was vegan and how it tasted gourmet, etc etc. Ryan was even surprised I had prepared it that very morning. It is a decadent dessert but it was worth it. One slice never killed anyone!

Here is my adaption of the recipe. I used a pre-made gluten-free pie crust but feel free to make Elana's gluten-free recipe from the same recipe.

Chocolate Cream Pie

Adapted from Elana's Pantry

Print recipe

serves 12

1 pre-made gluten-free pie crust (from Whole Foods) or pie crust recipe

Chocolate Cream Filling
2 cups So Delicious Original Coconut Milk
pinch celtic sea salt
¼ cup arrowroot powder
½ cup maple syrup
1 Tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cups dark chocolate chips 73% cacao (Whole Foods brand or Ghiradelli)

Bring coconut milk and salt to a boil in a medium pot.

Sift arrowroot powder into the pot, whisk vigorously by hand or with a hand blender for 2 minutes.

Whisk in maple syrup and vanilla.

Remove from heat and let stand for 1 minute.

Add chocolate, stirring vigorously until completely melted.

Chill in refrigerator for ½ hour until cool.

Place in cooled pie crust and serve.


What was your MOST favorite recipe during Christmas?
After this time we spent the last leg of the trip with my in-laws and had a great time watching movies, shopping and enjoying each others company. Hopefully you all had a great Christmas and hope you have a great New Year!


Hickory Cheese Stuffed Prunes with Crumbled Tempeh Bacon and WINNER!

Hickory Cheese Stuffed Prunes with Crumbled Tempeh Bacon

Well, it has been a busy one here in Houston! I have not had much time to sit and write but I kind of knew that was going to happen. I was glad to have a giveaway before the holidays because it is nice to have gifts is it not? I have been some goodies while I have been here like these Hickory Cheese Stuffed Prunes. SO good!

Even though I am a day late sharing who won TFX Non-Stick Kitchen Sheet, I hope you forgive me! Thanks to everyone who entered so if you did not win make sure to check out my shop and buy a TFX Kitchen Sheet for yourself. It is a wonderful product and it helps save paper! Buy Now


Erin said...
I would try my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, as well as your maple chocolate chip cookies!

Congrats Erin!! Email me your full name and address so I can send the company your info and they will get this to you soon! Thanks!

So I know everyone has been on some sort of sugar overload when it comes to all the sweet treat recipes that have been posted so I thought I would share one of the appetizers I created for our Christmas Eve dinner.


I waited to get to Texas to try a new product I really did not have available in Michigan, or at least close to where I live. A Whole Foods in Houston only had one type of Wayfare cheese so I decided to try and work with the Hickory-Smoked Cheddar-Style Spread. Check out the website to see where they sell this priduct near you!

The company uses no fake ingredients in their products. It is mostly made from oats, nutritional yeast, beans, sesame seeds, coconut and olive oil and many more natural ingredients. This is NO Tofutti folks. It is a creamy texture with no aftertaste but with wonderful flavor. Granted, I was only able to taste one flavor.

I created a recipe based on a recipe my Chilean grandmother would make on Christmas. She would wrap prunes with bacon and bake them until perfect. What was a girl to have now?

I bought some tempeh bacon, prunes, and hickory cheese and put them together for a PERFECT appetizer. You can substitute this with dates as well if that is your preference but the prunes are a little softer and make bigger boats for filling with cheese and bacon! A big plus!

Hickory Cheese Stuffed Prunes with Crumbled Tempeh Bacon

Hickory Cheese Stuffed Prunes with Crumbled Tempeh Bacon

Print recipe

25-30 pieces

1 package Newman's Own Dried Prunes
1/2 cup Wayfare Hickory Cheddar
1 package smoky tempeh bacon strips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with TFX Non-stick or w/parchment paper.

On a non-stick grill or skillet add 1 Tbsp olive oil and heat on medium heat. Add the tempeh bacon strips and cook until slightly crispy but not dark brown. (about 7-10 minutes) Make sure to flip strips at mid point.

Set aside strips and cool.

Meanwhile, take each prune and create a small bowl of each prune and fill with 1-2 teaspoons of cheese. Repeat with the rest of prunes.

Crumble tempeh bacon and sprinkle on top of each prune. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool a bit before devouring! Your company will not know it is vegan. My mother and sister both liked it!

I hope you enjoy this!


Cookies and more! TFX Non-Stick Kitchen Sheet Review and Giveaway

Today is a traveling day. As I sit in the airport for over 2 hours, people watching and catching up on tasks, I contemplate the weather and temperature shift I will be experiencing.

The current temperature is 28 degrees and I am mentally preapring myself for 70 degree weather. Yes. This is kind of shocking but Texas seems so volatile when it comes to temperature.

As I sit here I am planning on some of the things I will get to do while in Houston. Despite not being able to really bake for people this year I am hoping to cook and bake some while at my mom's and in-laws home. It is my love language so I have been thinking of cookie and cupcake recipes to make. Here are a few:

Maple Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almond Snowball Cookies

Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Cherry-Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Raspberry Cupcakes w/ Raspberry Icing
Double Chocolate Cherry Walnut Cookies (GF)
When I realized I wanted to post something today I forgot to introduce you to a great product that I have been enjoying lately. Last month I had the chance to bake with a new product to the US. It has been a popular product in Sweden called TFX Non-Stick Kitchen Sheet.


Instead of using countless yards of parchment paper, this is a reusable non-stick sheet that can work and replace the following items:
  • parchment paper
  • foil
  • silicone baking mats
  • non-stick spray
  • oil and butter
It also works by placing on skillets that are NOT non-stick, by cutting out a section and placing it on your skillet to prevent from sticking. It is also great as an oven liner in case of spills.

If this does not convince you maybe this will:

The TFX is:

Reusable over a 1,000 times
Dishwasher & Mircowave safe
Usable up to 500 F
Can be cut to fit your shape and size needs
Promotes healthy and even cooking
Environmentally friendly - stop using regular parchment paper and foil!
As thin as paper- no storage space needed
Not even bacteria can stick to this non-stick sheet

Why TFX:

Half the price of silicone products - 3 times the application!
Sold in 16 European countries in over 15 years
Already being introduced to Whole Foods Market - they know a great product when they see it!

The company has so generously donated one sheet to give to one of my readers. This is definitely something that would come in handy over the holidays!

Required entry:  1. What is the 1st thing you would bake using this kitchen sheet?

Extra entries: (leave a comment for each)

2. Like TFX Non-Stick on Facebook
3. Like Opera Singer in Kitchen on Facebook
4. Follow Opera Singer in Kitchen on Google Reader
5. Follow on Twitter and tweet following message "Enter to win popular non-stick Kitchen Sheet for #green #eco #sustainable environment. Non-stick spray out the door! http://bit.ly/fDBCeI "

Last day to enter is Sunday, December 19th at midnight, EST and I will announce winner on Monday, December 20th.

If you cannot wait to see if you won, go and purchase one now! They are on sale for $10 so Buy Now !


Creamy Broccoli and Mushroom Bake


Hello on this snowy day! I love the fact that it is sunny today despite the 5-6 inches of snow. Ryan had a nice 8am final so he had to be out in that mess!


Our weekend was successful busy and full of music. After 2 days of rehearsal with Ryan and the orchestra we proved to be ready to perform 2 back-to-back Christmas programs.


When we headed back home we embraced the snow storm we had heard was coming and arrived home with EVERYTHING covered in snow. It looked like people had not even ventured out of their homes. I do not blame them!


In the next few days I will be focusing on meals I have been preparing in the last 2 weeks. Seeing that I will be traveling soon and not really cooking anything fancy, I feel like that would be the best thing.

As you plan for your holiday meals, I really suggest you try this Creamy Broccoli and Mushroom Bake. When Ryan took a bite he said it reminded him of green rice even though the dish is made with Italian rice, orzo. :-) It is amazing how creamy and cheezy this bake almost tastes and it has no dairy!

Eating vegan is not hard it is having to be creative and finding options to warm the tummy. This meal is super easy to prepare and would go perfectly with Christmas dinner.

Amber at Almost Vegan featured the recipe when I ran across it, but I had also seen it in Lauren Ulm's new cookbook Vegan Yum Yum, which is a pretty fantastic cookbook. It has beautiful pictures and EASY recipes.

Anyway, when I read Amber's opinion of the combination of ingredients and flavors I knew I had to try it.


I had a bag of colorful orzo from my Farmer's Market that I had ready to use.


I cut up some broccoli, mushrooms, and onions and garlic and sauteed. If broccoli is not your favorite veggie, try cauliflower or carrots or simply try a different combination.

While the veggies are cooking, the creamy mixture is prepared and then the creamy sauce, orzo, and veggies are mixed together and placed in a 9x9 glass dish.


Breadcrumbs are sprinkled on top along with some paprika and baked for 30 minutes. This is probably the best comfort food I had had in a while! I cannot wait to make it again. You will not be disappointed!


Creamy Broccoli and Mushroom Bake

from Lauren Ulm's Vegan Yum Yum cookbook

print recipe

serves 6

For the casserole:
1 cup orzo pasta (dry)
1 large stalk broccoli, stem peeled, stem and florets chopped
1 cup mushrooms (any kind), cleaned
½ medium onion, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ tsp paprika (optional)
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

For the sauce:
1 cup almond or coconut milk, or non-dairy milk
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ cup raw cashews, soaked 6 hours ( I did not soak and just used Vitamix)
2 Tbsp arrowroot (or cornstarch)
2 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine
2 Tbsp Coconut Aminos (Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce)
2 Tbsp tahini paste
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, peeled

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and thoroughly grease a 9x9-inch (or similar sized) baking dish. Cook the orzo in boiling water for about 9 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, pulse the broccoli, mushrooms, and onion in a food processor until chopped into small pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5-7 minutes. When done, remove from the heat.

While the veggies are cooking, combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth.

Add the drained orzo to the vegetables, then pour on the entire batch of sauce.

Stir thoroughly to combine.

Transfer the mixture to the greased baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly across the top, then drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika, salt, and pepper as desired.

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes to brown the top slightly.

Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Cookies {Gluten-free}

Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Cookies

It is officially cold and snowy and wintery.

Did I say I was excited for winter and snow?

I think I did. And I regret it.

Everytime I step outside, even if I am all bundled up, I still feel the cold wind.

I do not exactly dislike Michigan it is that I thought I was mentally prepared for it. Ha!

I looked at the weather in Texas and realized it is a balmy 75 degrees. Such a change from the 19 degrees here. Yes, I heard you shiver!

Before we packed up for our concert week, I decided to make a new cookie recipe. I had mentioned to some that I had been wanting chocolate peppermint in a cookie form. I wanted them gluten-free too.

I took a chance and started with a base recipe and added ingredients from there.

The end result was a even mix of flavors with a few crunches of candy cane followed by delicious bites of dark chocolate morsels. YUM!

I am definitely liking gluten-free baking. It creates a nice soft cookie and perfect with each bite. This would go great with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Cookies

Chocolate Chip Candy Cane Cookies {Gluten-free}

print recipe

makes 2 dozen

¾ to 1 cup agave nectar
½ cup Earth Balance margarine, at room temperature
2 flax seed “eggs” ( 2 Tbsp flax seed meal + 6 Tbsp warm water)
1 ½ teaspoons peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 candy canes, semi-grounded in coffee grinder
1 cup dark chocolate chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix the flax seed meal and warm water and set aside for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl add softened Earth Balance and agave nectar and mix well by hand. Add the extracts and the flax seed egg and blend well.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix flour into wet ingredients and blend well until all ingredients have come together.

Add semi-ground candy canes and chocolate chips and mix well.

Add 2 Tbsp of batter onto baking sheet 2 inches apart and bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

Place on a rack to cool for 5 minutes before devouring.


Persimmon Ginger Smoothie

Persimmon Ginger Smoothie 2

I said I was not going to make smoothies because of the cold weather.

I lied.

These ripe Hachiya persimmons were calling out to me asking me to use them in another fun way.

Blend me!  Puree me!  Sqeeze me! ---Yes, my fruit calls out to me. :-)

I am very low on my persimmons and I have to use them before I leave on vacation. Well, I might freeze the freeze the rest for a special occasion.

Fun story. I have a friend who emails me and lets me know that she purchases two beautiful pieces of fruit but is quite unaware of its name and how it is used. She places them on her window sill and looks at them for a few days.

She decides to visit my blog after not having been by for several months, and what does she see? Recipes for persimmons and for her mystery fruit. She now knows how she can use them! I thought it was a wonderful story.

Don'y be afraid to buy a new fruit or vegetable at the store. Someone out there has created something with it already.

This morning, back to the fruit calling me, I combined my very ripe Hachiya persimmons and blended it with coconut milk to make this creamy thick smoothie. 

I already have someone who has made it too! Try it soon, try it NOW, make it.

Persimmon Ginger Smoothie

makes two servings or 1 large 12 ounce smoothie

print recipe

‎2 very ripe Hachiya persimmons, seeded and peel discarded
3/4 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup ice
2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1 Tbsp agave nectar, or to taste
1 Tablespoon flax seed oil (optional)
1 scoop protein powder (optional)
2 cups fresh spinach (option) for a green smoothie

Slowly scoop out persimmon flesh from fruit into a bowl. Using your hands, remove the black seeds from the fruit if you see any. DOES NOT taste good, even with a high-powered blender.

Place fruit in blender and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend well and sip slowly. Very creamy and smooth.


Please visit my Facebook Discussions Page and add your favorite vegan cookie recipe. I would like to try other people's favorites.

If not on Facebook, please leave me a link with your fav recipe. Thanks!


Empanadas al Horno (Chilean Turnovers or Meat Pies)

open empanada

I should be making soups.

It is a nippy 23-27 degrees cold here. Can you believe I am still getting up at 6am for my morning workouts? Yes, since it has started getting busy in the evenings I need my morning workouts most of all.

You know what I have not been able to do? Green Smoothies have fallen short in my kitchen. I have all the good intention of making them but then I think of something warm going down so I make a regular breakfast. Ryan enjoys oatmeal and I have my protein breakfast with tofu scrambles or omelettes, I just need to make sure to add sauteed veggies.

I notice that one of the hardest things to do during the winter is to eat well. Even though I have produce at home, baking and cooking my normal fare has not been as consistent. I look forward to January where the pace has calmed down a bit.

How are you doing eating healthy during the winter evenings?

Calabaza en pilocillo

Last night I spent making pumpkin sauce / butter from leftover pumpkins so that I could give them as Christmas gifts. Yes, how much more time do I have? Not much. I knew for a fact that baking cookies this year was going to be out of the question but I at least wanted to get something done.

It was wonderful smelling the blend of pumpkin with brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, oranges, and more wafting through the house. I went to bed happy. In fact I think the smell lulled me to sleep. :-)

One of my favorite meals I used to eat at my Chilean grandmother's home were Empanadas, or otherwise known as savory meat pies. These were such a special meal served and was usually prepared during the holidays or for special occasions. This is similar to the Mexican tradition when dealing with tamales.

Empanadas are usually the ideal comfort food. It is a flaky buttery crust with a savory and delicious filling. It is ideal Latin comfort food.

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Le Creuset


I know now that you are reading MEAT pies, but I had been saving a package of Upton's Naturals Ground Beef-style Seitan just for a special occasion. I felt that I had a chance to create a Chilean specialty into a vegan delicacy. I think that my grandmother would be slapping me on the side of the head just knowing I do not eat anymore, but she would be happy that I created something so close to what she used to make.

vegan pino

The key to the flavors for this Chilean empanadas is the pino, which is a seasoned filling with added fillings like raisins, hard-boiled eggs and black olives. What an interesting combination but SO delicious!

Pino en masa

Another important factor is the dough. The dough has to be flaky, becasue with each bite you have a perfectly baked crust with some seasoned seitan and raisins and black olives. Obviously I was going to have to leave out the hard-boiled eggs, but I knew that the lack of the eggs would not alter the flavors of the empanadas.

Ryan thought the flake crust was perfect and the filling flavorful. The recipe is a keeper and it will be something I will pass onto our future kids.

What recipes were made often by your mother or grandmother but NEVER taught to you? Have you recreated it?

plated empanadas

Empanadas al Horno

makes 10-12

veganized and adapted from The South American Table

print recipe

Masa (Dough)
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup Earth Balance, cut in pieces
1/4 cup all-vegetable shortening (Spectrum)
3/4 cup warm almond milk (or non-dairy milk)

In a food processor, put the flour, salt, and baking powder and with a fitted steel blade pulse for 5 seconds.

Add the shortening and Earth Balance and process ntil the mixture looks like coarse meal, about 15 seconds.

While the machine is running, pour the milk through the feed tube in a steady stream and process until the dough almost comes together into a ball. Remove from bowl and knewad a few times and let rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare pino or the seitan filling.

Roll dough into a long log and cut dough into 10-12 pieces.

Relleno (Filling)
8 ounce package Upton's Nautrals Ground Beef-style Seitan
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder

12 pitted black olives
1/4 cup seedless black raisin, soaked for 5 minutes and drained

Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan and saute' onions for 5-7 minutes until transparent. Add seitan and garlic and cook for 5 more minutes. add seasonings and cook for 3 more minutes. Add vegetable broth and simmer until liquid almost evaporates (5 minutes). Add arrowroot powder to seitan mixture and cook until mixture thickens.

Take one piece of dough and roll into a 6-inch circle. Add 1-1 1/2 Tablespoons of seitan filling. Add a few raisins and one black olive.

Pino en masa

Take one side of the dough and bring to the front side of dough to enclose the filling sealing the ends and folding the excess dough and sealing upwards.

Before the oven

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

"Egg" wash over the empanadas. 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder w/ 2 Tablespoons water. Mix well and brush over the tops of each empanada.

Bake for 20 minutes and remove from oven and turn each empanada over and baking on the opposite side for 5 minutes. This is will brown the tops a little.

Eat slightly warm and serve with Pebre or my grandma's secret chimichurri sauce. Enjoy!!


Persimmon Ginger Crumb Coffee Cake

Persimmon Ginger Crumb Coffee Cake

I am so sad to see this weekend fly away so fast! Luckily I finished more than half our Christmas cards and placed thm in the mail! When I started looking at our calandar I realized that I barely have much time before I head to Texas to visit my family.

The next 10 days are filled with recitals and concerts for the holiday season. This not only means being busy but it also means being away from home too! I took advantage of cooking so nice warm meals this weekend knowing that leftovers were probably going to be the best thing for our busy schedules.

What about workouts? Well, I went to Zumba on Saturday despite the fact that my favorite instructor was going to be gone. I am sorry but once I get used to an instructor it is hard to have others teach you especially if they are not better than your own instructor. It seems like everyone is wanting to become a Zumba instructor but that means instructors having previously taught aerobics or other technique THINK that this is what Zumba is about.

I need to vent folks. If someone does not know how to move their hips or what a specific dance is, DON"T pretend to KNOW it. You look silly. I was embarassed for the last instructor only because Zumba was being taught like it was NOT Zumba. So there. This is the end of my venting. Looks like I am going to have to get my dose of REAL Zumba while I am in Houston.

This past weekend I worked on a fantastic recipe. I recently partnered with Specialty Produce which is a company that supplies fresh produce. The lovely folks sent me some wonderful produce to try out and to create recipes. How fun is that? I received some great apples I have not tasted before and some kaffir limes. I immediately decided to use my persimmons because I have been on that kick.

Specialty Produce has added my Tropical Persimmon Muffins to their persimmon page of info and it is wonderful to see people coming to visit your site when a certain fruit is in-season. People left and right are trying to figure out what to do with these beauties. Before this year, I hardly knew what to do with them.

Tomorrow I will feature a Persimmon Smoothie, so stay tuned!

On Friday evening I set my heart on making a crumb coffeecake. I checked out different recipes online and made sure mine was unique especially since it had to be vegan.

I decided to combine candied ginger with Fuyu persimmons, so I chopped these items up and cooked them in some Earth Balance and added some lemon and orange juice along with some spices.

Now I know that normally one would use all-purpose flour for a crumb coffeecake but I wanted mine to be healthy so I used whole wheat / white flour. I was happy that I did because the flavors were perfect.

This Persimmon Ginger Crumb Coffeecake is very moist and wonderful. I gave most of it away to folks at the gym or to friends from church and the feedback was wonderful. They all agreed that while the cake was moist, that it was a very delicious and unique cake. Score!

Persimmon Ginger Crumb Coffee Cake

Persimmon Ginger Crumb Coffee Cake

veganized and adapted from Emeril Lagasse's recipe

print recipe

12-14 servings (using a 9x13 pan)

1 1/2 cups So Delicious coconut milk
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Butter / sugar mixture
1 cup coconut crystals, maple sugar, date sugar, or agave nectar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 stick (1/2 cup) Earth Balance, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 flax eggs (3 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 9 Tbsp warm water) (set aside for 5 minutes)

Dry ingredients
3 1/2 cups whole wheat / white flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

Wet ingredients
3 cups Fuyu persimmons (about 6) peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup candied ginger, minced and chopped
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon dried orange peel
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup whole wheat / white flour
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) Earth Balance, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup candied ginger, minced and chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 cup brown sugar (or coconut crystals or maple sugar)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 9 by 2-inch rectangle pan.





In a medium-size saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter on medium heat. Add all the wet ingredients to the pan. Saute' the mixture for 5 minutes, or until softened.  Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the 1 stick of Earth Balance, the coconut sugar, and maple syrup with an electric mixer. (from the butter / sugar mixture). Add the vanilla extract. Add the flax eggs and beat well.

Into a medium-size mixing bowl, sift all the dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture, buttermilk, and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat with the electric mixer until everything is incorporated.

In another medium-size mixing bowl, combine the crumble ingredients (except the minced ginger and walnuts) and using a pastry cutter process until it resemble wet sand. You can also use the food processor too. Add the minced ginger and walnuts and mix well)

Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Spread the persimmon mixture over the batter.


Drop heaping spoonfuls of the remaining batter over the persimmon mixture, about 1-inch apart. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the surface. Put the cake pan on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.


Cut into slices and serve warm. Great at room temperature too!


Sweet Potato & Porcini Mushroom Latkes with Chive Sauce


So excited for the weekend to be here because it means I can catch up on EVERYTHING! My list is piling up with To-Do items for my Saturday so here is to a stress-free weekend, right?

This week was stress-free, but that is because this week FLEW by! I probably focused on certain things too much or the fact it gets darker sooner is messing with me!

This week I worked on Latkes two nights in a row. I had never made them and ever since I receivedmy issue of Bon Appetit in the mail, I had been eyeing several recipes for these traditional potato pancakes.

Latkes are a traditional Jewish dish often served during Hanukkah but I had really never had them before. That even suprises me! These are really easy to make and is perfect with a large green salad.

Since I used a non-stick skillet, I really tried not using tons of oil. I used coconut oil and quickly cooked the latkes on each side with no issues. After pan-frying these, I placed them on a cookie sheet and in the oven to continue baking. Make sure not to leave them in too long or else they will dry up.  Enjoy!


Sweet Potato & Porcini Mushroom Latkes

adapted from Bon Appetit

Print recipe

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 cups chopped onions, divided
2 flax "egg" (2 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 6 Tbsp warm water)
1/4 cup potato flour (or any tyoe of flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Coconut oil (for frying)


Chive sauce
1 cup Silk plain yogurt (or Tofutti sour cream)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon white pepper, ground
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Greens and Mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 small garlic cloves, pressed
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
3 cups (packed) baby greens

Combine porcini and boiling water in bowl. Soak until soft, about 15 minutes. Strain, pressing out all liquid. Chop porcini.

Blend raw potatoes and 1/2 cup onions in processor until finely ground and some liquid forms. Add mixture to a bowl and using 2-3 paper towels, drain excess liquid from potatoes, letting thw liquid soak into the paper. Discard paper.

Add 1 1/2 cups onions and next 4 ingredients. Stir until batter becomes moist. Add porcini.

Pour enough oil into heavy large skillet to coat bottom; heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop potato mixture into skillet by scant 1/4 cupfuls. Flatten into 2 1/2-inch rounds. Cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to large baking sheet. do ahead Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 400°F oven until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Salad and chive cream
Stir nondairy yogurt, chives, and 2 Tablespoons vinegar in small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and all mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons vinegar; toss. Season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if desired.

Overlap latkes on plates. Mound greens alongside; top with mushrooms. Serve with chive sauce.
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