Corn Waffles

Here in Ohio, corn season is in full swing. I start buying corn way before it is at it’s super sweet peak, just because I don’t want to miss the very first ears that exceed my expectations. Of course, that means we eat a lot of so-so corn in anticipation. But now is the time that the sweetest of the sweet corn is hitting the markets here. Once  we’ve eaten our fill straight from the cobs, or if we have leftovers, I turn to corn salads, fried corn and now… these incredible waffles. Sweetened with the corn itself, the waffles are light with a delightful texture thanks to the corn meal and the corn kernels.

Corn Waffles

 

Corn Waffles

2 cups corn kernels, cut from cooked cobs, divided

3/4 cup vegan milk

1 tablespoon Sucanat

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons corn meal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Nonstick cooking spray

Vegan butter and pure maple syrup, for serving

Combine 1 cup of corn, the milk, sucanat, oil, and vanilla in a blender. Process until smooth.

Whisk the flour, corn meal, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size bowl. Whisk in the blended mixture, but don’t worry about any lumps. Add the remaining cup of corn, and a splash more of milk if the mixture is too thick.

Heat a waffle iron. Spray the iron with nonstick spray, then cook the waffles according to manufacturer’s directions. For a small iron, use 1/2 cup batter per waffle.

Yield: 3 (7-inch)  waffles

One more thing: Don’t miss our Win This Quilt! event happening on Facebook.  You can stay warm and cozy, and help animals at the same time. Good luck!

Maple-Fermented Blueberries

Here in Ohio, our peach season is nonexistent this year. All the blossoms froze. Peaches are my very favorite fruit, so I’ve had to look for other fruits to console me. These fermented blueberries are helping.  I’ve also been on a fermenting kick, and these have to be the simplest project to date, and also one of the most successful. The idea for them came from a fermentation group on facebook, but they used honey. Maple syrup is a natural stand-in for vegans, and proved to be an incredibly tasty one.

 

Maple Fermented Blueberries

This is really more of a technique than a recipe, especially when you see that it’s so easy it can’t even be considered a recipe! I used a quart jar and a scant 2 pints of organic blueberries. The key is to leave about 1/4 of the top of the jar empty, because the berries will plump a bit. Pour maple syrup (I prefer grade B) over about the bottom 1/3 of the berries. For me, this was about 1/4 cup, but let your eyes be your judge. Put the top on the jar and turn the jar over to coat all the berries with syrup. You can also roll the jar in your hands to be sure they are covered. Put the jar on the counter and cover it with a towel. Twice a day, turn the jar to coat the berries again. Eventually, the berries will begin to ferment and create juice that mixes with the syrup and nearly covers the blueberries. Start tasting the berries after the second or third day. You’re looking for a slight pop, a sweet tang, and some gorgeous foam. With temperatures in the mid 70s, my berries took 5 days. When they are fermented to your taste, store them in the refrigerator.

French Toaste with Maple Fermented Berries

These have an incredible gourmet taste and are wonderful over french toast, waffles, pancakes, ice cream, you name it! If you’d like, you can add a split vanilla bean , a piece of cinnamon stick, or probably even a couple sprigs of an herb. We prefer the straight taste of the fermented berries. The syrup acts as a preservative, but if you see any signs of mold, discard the project and start again. While I haven’t tried this with any other fruit, it seems it should work with all berries and stone fruit. If you give it a try, let me know what you think!

Speaking of ice cream…. did you see the last post? Enter!

Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches [Review and Contest]

Even though we are winding our way through August, it’s never the wrong time for ice cream. As a kid, I remember some families just having ice cream in the summer. We had ice cream year-round, and in the summer we had homemade ice cream! We had an old White Mountain crank ice cream maker that brought everybody in the neighborhood to our yard. Anybody who cranked would get some ice cream. That ice cream maker made school easier for me, too. When we had to give instructional speeches (horrifying!), it was the ice cream maker to the rescue. Neighbor kids would borrow it for their speech years, too.

We still enjoy ice cream, and homemade is still the best. When the publisher offered me a review copy of Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches, I jumped on it.  This nifty little book from Kris Holochek Peters focuses on the sandwich aspect… and sandwiches are near and dear to my heart, too. Although the book is on the slim side, it’s packed with variety. To start, Kris uses three ice cream bases throughout (soy, cashew, and coconut), which take on the creative flavors wonderfully. I know I’ve said it before, but I always go for the most basic recipe first. If you can do a good vanilla ice cream, my guess is you can do a good flavored ice cream. The Vanilla Soy Ice cream is paired with Classic Chocolate Cookies, and that’s where I started. I made these when it was hot earlier this summer and the melty photos weren’t very appetizing. The photo below is from the book, but I’ll bet mine (the simplest ones in the middle) tasted just as amazing as they look here. The chocolate cookies were soft and almost brownie-like, while the ice cream was sweetened just right.

Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches  From Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches Courtesy of Ulysses Press/Judi Swinks Photography

Next up was the Spiced Nut Ice Cream. I added peaches to this batch, which was a splurge because all the peaches in NE Ohio froze this year. Our peaches are now coming from the South and are a bit pricy. But as peach has always been my favorite, I had to give it a go. This recipe has a cashew-base  and was rich and felt very high fat, in a great way. We liked the ice cream so much, that it didn’t make it into sandwiches. Had it stuck around long enough, it would have been sandwiched between the Oat Crumble Cookies.

The book starts with a brief section on the basics, including ingredients and tools, then opens up to the recipes. The recipes range from traditional  to curious (Mouthful O’Midwest) to must makes (Root Beer Float Sandwiches and Tiramisu Sandwiches), all of which look tempting. The book is versatile, if you decide you have a preference for a certain base, stick to it and just adapt the flavoring components. The opportunities to mix and match the cookies and ice creams seems endless, too.

The bottom line: This is a fun and flavorful book.

The publisher has generously offered a book to one lucky reader. US shipping only.

Update: The winner is Aimee from New Hampshire! Thanks to all for entering. (Rafflecopter removed.)

Secret Ingredient Gazpacho

Thanks to the Cleveland Culinary Launch Kitchen, food-focused small businesses are booming in Cleveland. Each week, new products are hitting the streets, all fueled by passionate cooks. CCLK is home to businesses offering luscious small batch jams,  hand-shaped bagels, and even the best popsicles you’ll ever eat. One of our favorite recent finds has to be the sauerkraut from Cleveland Kraut.  It’s so good that I’ve been finding new ways to add it to our meals in unexpected ways, such as this Secret Ingredient Gazpacho.

For us, gazpacho is a summer staple. We devour it for lunch on it’s own, or pair it with a sandwich such as tempeh salad pockets or cucumber cream cheese sandwiches. As a kid, the only tomato-ey food that I’d eat was ketchup. How things have changed! These days, I can’t get enough of tomatoes.

Cleveland Kraut usually features 4 kinds of kraut: Classic Caraway,  Sweet Red, Curry, and our favorite, the Gnar Gnar. We like them all, but the garlic, sriracha, hot peppers, and leeks take the Gnar Gnar to an otherworldly wonderful. It’s the perfect choice to pack a punch to this gazpacho. For a quick and flavorful dinner, grill a field roast sausage, pop it in the bun, pile on the kraut, and douse it with barbecue sauce. We pick up our kraut at the North Union Farmer’s Market at Shaker Square.  Note that the kraut sometimes sells out, so you might want to make it your first stop at the market. We do.

The photo shows the Classic Caraway, as the Gnar Gnar is always the first one we run out of. Any sauerkraut will work in this, but finding locally made, organic kraut is sure to be worth any extra effort. Your tastebuds will thank you.

 

Secret Ingredient Gazpacho

Secret Ingredient Gazpacho

If you hadn’t just read the earlier part of this post, I’m willing to guess you’d never know what the secret ingredient is! Try it on your own family or friends and see if they can tell what brings instant umami to this quick and easy gazpacho.

1 (32-ounce) jar organic tomato juice

1 cup minced onion

3/4 cup minced, peeled cucumber

1 stalk celery, minced

1 (15-ounce can) fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1/2 cup drained sauerkraut, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke, or to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour for the flavors to meld. Taste and adjust the seasonings when serving.

Yield: 4 servings

Smoked Tofu Salad and Smoked Tofu and Mac Salad

It’s that time of year. The time when I hate to turn on the stove or oven. This tasty and unique tofu salad let’s you keep cool! Originally written for Grills Gone Vegan, the recipe got cut due to space.

Serve this cool and creamy salad  with a side of your favorite gazpacho for a very refreshing meal. Check back for my Surprise Ingredient Gazpacho recipe coming soon!

Smoked Tofu and Mac Salad

Smoked Tofu Salad

Quick and easy, this dish can be made in minutes, and still delivers on taste. Celery and radish give it a satisfying crunch, while the harissa and ume plum vinegar work wonders with the smoked tofu.  Try the variation below for a heartier version.

16 ounces smoked tofu, chopped
1/4 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons minced celery
1 tablespoon minced radish
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons vegan mayonniase
2 tablespoons prepared harissa
2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. The salad may be served on top of green, in wraps or buns, or even in crisp iceberg lettuce leaves.

Yield: 4 servings

Variation:

Smoked Tofu and Mac Salad

Make the tofu salad above, then take it to a whole other level with this variation.

1 cup dry elbow macaroni
1 to 2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
4 cups mixed salad greens
4 cups chopped romaine
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 cup cherry tomato halves

Cook the macaroni in a pot of salted boiling water for 7 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water and drain again. Add the macaroni to the Smoked Tofu Salad, along with one tablespoon of the mayonnaise. Add another tablespoon of mayonnaise, if desired. Stir together.

In a large bowl, combine the salad greens  and the romaine. Divide evenly on plates. Top each plate with one cup of the tofu mixture. Arrange the peppers and tomatoes around the macaroni tofu salad.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings