Easy Vegan Caramel

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Caramel brings out the fat kid in me. It makes me want to cover everything in the sticky- sweet substance and lick the remnants off my fingers.

 Most people don’t know that carmel, or caramel, depending on your location, is made from cream, butter and sugar. That’s it. It’s so delicious because it’s made form some of the most addictive food substances on the planet. Mix it with chocolate ala anything dessert with the word “turtle” and my pupils dilate like a junkie on payday.

 

In fact, I often joke that the science to making caramel reminds me of a drug lab, and it can be just as dangerous sometimes. Certain variables will even cause the sugar to crystalize and rise to the top of the sanguine goo, I like to call them caramel crack rocks.

 

It’s very important while making caramel to have a bowl of ice water nearby, as sometimes it like to splatter molten sugar. In which case, dunk it in the ice water! For extra safety try wearing goggles or glasses, just in case. 

 

You must fear the caramel to enjoy the caramel.

 

Also, don’t burn it either. Constantly stir that bad mutha-fu……..

 

Shut Yo Mouth!

 

 

Vegan Caramel Sauce

 

-1 Can of full fat coconut milk, the light stuff does not apply. Refrigerate for 2 hours to make the cream separate to the top, skim off ½ cup cream and disregard the rest of the watery stuff. Make soup with it, make oatmeal with it, and take a bath in it. JUST DON’T PUT IT IN THE CARMEL!

 

-1 cup granulated sugar

 

-1/4 tsp  Himalayan sea salt, or ¾ tsp for salted caramel.  Try using fun infused salts like hickory smoke or chilli sea salt for a fun twist

 

 

Place the sugar and the salt in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Carmel takes patience.

 

I said PATIENCE!

 

Keep stirring until all the clumps have dissolved and the mixture is about 340 degrees. Once it’s dissolved CAREFULLY add the coconut cream 1 OR 2 TABLESPOONS AT A TIME.

 

Keep stirring. If it splatters and hits you, immediately dunk the body part in ice water.

 

Keep stirring. It will start to bubble and will start to solidify, so KEEP STIRRING!

 

Once all the clumps are gone, you got caramel! Transfer to a heat proof container and keep it in the fridge…. If it lasts that long.Image

Keen-on-Quinoa Black Bean Burger

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In the words of Samuel L. Jackson,

 

“MMMMM MMMMM MMMM, that is a tasty burger!”

 

Who doesn’t love a good burger? If you hate burgers, you probably hate kittens and puppies, too.

 

These burgers are low in fat, high in plant protein and have flavor that even and omnivore can enjoy. In fact, I had an entire table of non-vegetarians going gaga over them! They were also very surprise at how good quinoa is for them.

 

Quinoa is an ancient grain rich in complete proteins, and a much healthier alternative to rice.

 Keen on Quinoa Burgers

 

-2 baked sweet potatoes

-1 cup cooked quiona

-1 can drained black beans

-1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

-1 medium onion

-1 T smoked paprika or chipotle

-1 knuckle length chopped ginger

-2 cloves garlic, chopped

-1 T sea salt

-1 T freshly cracked pepper

-1/3 cup oats (blended for coating the patties)

-1 cup oats (quick oats work best)

 

Cook the quinoa and sweet potatoes, chop the sweet potato and set place n blender or food processor. Place all ingredients except the blended oats, in the blender.

 By the way, it’s probably a good idea to grind the oats before you grind up the wet ingredients!

 Blend until it’s just mixed, not liquefied. Favor the “pulse” button to a running blade, as you still want the grainy quinoa and oat texture.

 Once the mixture is done, place in the fridge for 2 hours to let the mixture settle.

 Form into burger size patties and coat generously in the oat mixture.

 Place burgers into a very well oiled pan, I use coconut oil for a delicate flavor (these guys are thirsty, so you may need to re-oil!). I prefer cast iron to create a crispy crust. Cook well on both sides.

 

Serve as you would a burger. Or try it in a lettuce wrap! Perhaps this time you can make it quesadilla style. Maybe just jazz it up with some guacamole, make it your own!

 

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Vegan Coconut Oil Pie Crust

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mother-of-pie_o_248555Coconut oil is really starting to sweep the culinary world off it’s feet now that it’s delicate flavor and abundant health benefits are becoming more widely known.

It’s made by pressing the natural oil from coconut meat and is rich in medium chain link fatty acids. Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.” It’s unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on health. Most of the fatty acids in the diet are so-called long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently.They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

The Lauric Acid in coconut oil can also kill bacteria, fungi and viruses. It’s also shown to help reduce abdominal fat and obesity, studies show that it can help you loose weight and metabolize sugars differently. Let’s see butter do that!

This makes enough for one 9 inch pie, double the recipe for a double crust.

-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour or Bob’s Mill brand gluten free all purpose flour
-1 tablespoon brown sugar or sucanat
-1 tsp himalayan sea salt
-1/2 cup coconut oil at room temperature
-5-8 tbl water

Whisk or sift together the dry ingredients in a bowl, making sure they are fully incorporated. Using your hands, slowly incorporate the coconut oil into the dry ingredients. Use your hands to press the ingredients together until they are about pea sized. Add the water in one table spoon at a time until the dough forms a large ball. Place dough in a covered bowl or wrap in saran wrap.

Place the dough ball in the fridge for one hour to let the gluten (or lack there of depending on your choice of flour) relax.

When it comes time to roll the dough out, let your dough ball stand at room temperature a little longer than normal pie dough, as the coconut oil is much harder when chilled than butter or shortening. This dough is sticky, so be sure to use lots of flour on your rolling pin and line your surface with parchment paper for an easy clean up.

Vegan Gluten-Free Raspberry Brownies

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To me, baking has always been a science. Change a few key ingredients or “variables” and achieve and completely different result. Attending culinary school to learn traditional baking techniques helped me to learn the science of baking. Knowing the traditional science to baking helped me to change around those “variables” to make tasty vegan or gluten free versions of my favorite foods.

My new roommate is allergic to dairy, eggs and gluten, so baking something for everyone has been a challenge. I am proud to announce my first vegan and gluten free recipe that I feel can rival any traditional recipe out there.

Vegan Gluten Free Raspberry Brownies.

-2oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

-1/2 cup brown sugar or sucanat
-1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon almond extract

-1/4 cup teff flour
-1/2 cup rice flour
-3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt

-1 1/2 cup frozen raspberries mixed with 1/4 lukewarm water

Preheat oven to 300 F. Line an 8 inch pan with parchment paper and lightly mist with non-stick cooking spray.

Melt the chocolate in either a double boiler or the microwave. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, vigorously mix together the sweetener and apple sauce. Stir in the extracts and the melted chocolate.

Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix very well until a stiff dough forms. Fold in the raspberries mixed with the water. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. It will be very thick, you’ll probably need to use your hands to evenly spread the batter.

*For a fun twist, sprinkle with shredded unsweetened coconut or a handful of walnuts.