Monday, December 1, 2014

Vegan Pecan Pie (with chocolate chips and whisky)

I wanted to make an egg-free Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving this year.  So, I took my previous recipe, combined it with a vegan recipe I found online ( and came up with this.  I also added a little whisky to this version.

Pie Dough
  • 1¼ c flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 7.5 Tbsp vegan butter, chilled
  • 3-5 Tbsp ice water

  • 2 c pecan halves
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chips
  • 10 whole wheat crackers, crumbled
  • ½ c water
  • 2 ½ Tbsp canola oil
  • 1¼ c sugar
  • ¼ c agave syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp bourbon (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp applesauce or pumpkin puree
  • 3 Tbsp corn or tapioca starch


Pie Crust
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour and salt.
  • Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until pea-sized.
  • Sprinkle with 3 Tbsp ice water and stir until dough comes together in a ball, adding more ice water as needed.
  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface or between wax paper
  • Transfer to 9" pie plate; trim and shape edges as desired.
  • Prick crust with a fork and fill with pie weights; bake for 5 minutes.
  • Remove pie plate from oven and set aside.

  • Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
  • Roast pecans for about 15 minutes.  Don’t burn them.
  • Turn off heat and let pecans cool
  • When cool, take ½ the pecans and chop up
  • In a small bowl, stir together crackers and water.
  • Let water absorb, then put mixture in a food processor with oil, sugar, agave nectar, vanilla, applesauce or pumpkin puree, and starch.
  • Process until mixture is relatively smooth.
  • Pour mixture into saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • When mixture boils, lower heat slightly and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring to make sure nothing burns to the bottom of the pan.
  • Fold in pecans and chocolate chips , bourbon, and let chocolate melt
  • Remove pie weights from crust, then pour filling into crust.

Bake for 45-50 minutes.
Let cool before serving

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chickpea and eggplant stew

My favorite Lebanese restaurant serves something like this and calls it Moussaka.  It looks nothing like the Greek Moussaka that most people are familiar with.

2 eggplants
1 1/2 cups dried chick pea
2 small cans tomato paste
2 tablespoons garam masala
4 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Cut eggplant in 1/2.  Brush all sides with olive oil.  Bake at 400 until soft - about 45 mintues.  When cool, dice the eggplant.

Cook the chickpeas.

Heat olive oil in large sauce pan.  Add garlic and eggplant and saute for a few minutes.  Add tomato paste, water, garam masala, salt to taste.  Simmer at least 20 minutes.

Serve warm on basmati rice and optional tahini sauce.

Tahini sauce
1 cup tahini
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 lemons juiced and zest.
Water to thin to desired consistency
salt to taste

Whisk together all ingredients.

Schwarze Grutze

I love the Rote Grutze - red berry dessert that is made in Germany and the Nordic countries.  This weekend, I had a huge pile of blackberries, so I made a similar dessert.  I don't have exact measurements.

Fresh blackberries (about 9 cups)
Sugar (about 3 cups)
Polenta (about 1 1/2 cups quick cooking italian polenta)
Whipped Cream (optional)

Take your freshly picked blackberries, and process through a food mill to get rid of seeds.  Heat the juice slowly and add sugar to taste.  When mixture boils add polenta slowly, until it is the consistency you want.

Spoon into dessert cups.  Chill.  Serve with whipped cream.  It is a delicious summer treat!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pecan Chocolate Pie

Based on a recipe I found on AllRecipes - I substituted agave nectar for corn syrup and added more pecans. This was a big hit over the holidays.

1 unbaked pie crust
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted margarine
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup water
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup pecan halves
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375
Beat eggs, sugar, salt, margarine, nectar and water. Stir in pecans and chocolate. Pour mixture into pie shell. Bake until set about 40-50 minutes. Cool before serving.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hot Spinach Salad

I recipe was inspired by the wonderful Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 thinly sliced red onion
1 package smoked flavored tofu - diced(e.g.
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional).
Salt to taste
Bowl of fresh washed spinach leaves for salad

Heat medium sized pan - add olive oil, and then quickly add onions. Cook onions until translucent. Add tofu and cook until warm. Add vinegar, mustard, and salt. Mix together and toss into spinach.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Vegetarian Jiaozi

We just got back from a trip to China, where we found a great Jiaozi restaurant in Beijing. Their vegetarian dumplings inspired me to try some at home. Here are a couple that tasted yummy!

Fillings for Jiaozi (Chinese dumplings).

Green Veggie Filling:
1 bunch spinach: rinsed, large stems removed
1/2 bunch cilantro: rinsed, large stems removed
1/2 bunch water cress: rinsed, large stems removed
1 handful of chives finely chopped.
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
salt to taste

Chop spinach, cilantro, water cress briefly in a food processor, in small batches. Add chopped chives and salt. Let sit for a few minutes. Using a strainer, squeeze water out of greens. Add sesame oil and mix in.

Mushroom Filling:
1 lb crimini mushrooms, cleaned
12 lb fresh shitake mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced.
3 cloves garlic, minced.
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Cooking sherry
Salt to taste

Chop crimini mushrooms in food processor. Saute in oil with sherry, garlic, and salt. When mostly cooked and water evaporated, add shitake and more cooking sherry as required. Cook until shitake is just tender. Cool filling before making dumplings.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Iron Aki's Birthday Bash

For my birthday I asked all the guests to bring an ingredient that I would make into a dish. I made 11 dishes that night. They are:
1. Edamame, cucumber, wakame salad
2. Hummous
3. Lichen, eggplant, seitan, stir-fry
4. Squash, tamarind, cocunut curry served on top of quinoa
5. Roast veggies with beets, carrots, rosemary, onions
6. Cauliflower tofu stir fry
7. Miayaki, shitake, sugar peas stir-fry
8. Fruit salad with mint, papaya, pomegranate syrup, flowers
9. Tomatillo mango salsa
10. Braised beans with roasted peppers, onions, tomato paste
11. Pressed salad with colabri, apple, red peppers, onions

Bev: Edamame
Dad and Mom: Lichen, Seitan, Eggplant
Sven: Rosemary (he cut from our garden)
Erik: Fresh Tamarind
John and Coral: Cooked Kidney Beans
Bob: Broccoli, Arugula, Cherry Toms, Basil, Colabri
Steve: Beets, Sweet Peppers, Carrots, Onions, Hot Peppers, Cucumber
Michi: Cauliflower
Jackie: Tomatillos, Hot Smoked Paprika (yum!)
Peter: Mango, Papaya
Carl: Eggplant, Miayaki
Kathleen and Robin: Pomegranate Syrup
Laura: Flowers, Anaheim peppers
John and Molly: Peppers, Cabbage
Trisha: Cooked Quinoa

It was a blast!