Kite Hill Cheese: White Alder Mini Review with Stuffed French Toast

To say I was excited to learn that our “local” Whole Foods (it’s an hour away) started carrying Kite Hill cheese would be an understatement. I’ve been a fan of Tal Ronnen since he was the consulting chef for Chrissie Hynde’s VegiTerranean restaurant, which sadly, has closed. Personally, I don’t care for Gardein (Tal Ronnen helped in creating it) for all the reasons that many others are: it’s too “real” for me. However, that is what makes it such a successful gateway food, and I’m sure it has helped to influence some vegan-curious eaters, as well as being an convenient and easy go-to for busy vegans.

So when I heard he was tackling cheese, I was particularly hopeful. If his Gardein was too much like the real thing for me, would his cheese also be a close duplicate? At least as far as this brie-style cheese goes, my answer would be a resounding yes. With a perfect rind, and a delightfully French tasting funk (thanks to the aging of the cheese, I think), this creamy cheese is the ideal bread and spread brie that I remember from the old days.

The cheese is a little pricey ($11.99/6 ounces) at our Whole Foods, so I’d probably save it for special occasions. The homemade version are a fraction of the cost, but for authenticity and old world flavor, it’s totally worth the splurge. Make this decadent and delicious french toast for your sweetie: with it’s creamy and slightly sweet filling, it’s a sure way to show your love.

Stuffed French Toast

 

Brie-Stuffed French Toast

6 (1-inch) slices stale french bread

6 slices White Alder Cheese (or other vegan brie-style cheese)

2 tablespoons natural organic jam of choice

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons nondairy milk

Neutral flavored oil, for cooking

Pure maple syrup, for serving

Using a sharp or serrated knife, cut a pocket in each slice of bread parallel to the cut sides. Do not cut all the way through the bread. Tuck a slice of cheese in the pocket and spread the inside of the pocket with 1 teaspoon jam. Squeeze closed. Continue until all the french toast is stuffed.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in shallow pan. Add the milk and stir together. The batter should be thick and may be lumpy.

Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge each bread slice in the flour mixture, then put into the skillet. Cook for 3 to 5  minutes, until golden brown. Turn over to cook the second side in the same way.  Serve immediately.

Serves 2 to 3

Jammin’ Quinoa Crumb Cake

You can tell when I’m nearing the end of writing recipes for a book. I tend to go in a different direction, and also show up here on the blog again. Celine and I are putting the finishing touches on our protein book, and are eagerly awaiting the release of Vegan Finger Foods. 

Coming soon!

So I’m playing in the kitchen, not always writing the recipes down. Luckily, I did have a pen nearby for this one! Although the cake looks very decadent (and tastes it!), it’s a wholegrain treat with the perfect texture. Just look at that crumb!  For the jam, I used a pomegranate-raspberry blend that added a sweetness and a bit of tang, all made better by the crunchy quinoa streusel on top of it all. I don’t think you could go wrong with any natural, organic jam.  Enjoy a piece for breakfast, or as a the ideal side to a cup of tea in the afternoon.

Jammin’ Quinoa Crumb Cake

 

Jammin’ Quinoa Crumb Cake

Cake

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup quinoa flour

1/4 cup almond meal/flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup plain unsweetened nondairy milk

1/3 cup melted refined coconut oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

2/3 cup natural and organic jam

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

3 packed tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons quinoa

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons melted refined coconut oil

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Whisk together the flours, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size bowl. Stir in the milk, coconut oil, and vanilla until combined. The mixture will be thick. Spread and press it into the baking dish evenly. Spread the jam evenly over the dough.

To make the streusel, combine the flour, sugar, quinoa, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the oil, and stir until mixed. Spread the mixture on top of the jam layer, gently pressing it in. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, the center should not be jiggly. Pull a bit of the paper away from the crust to be sure it is lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting.

Yield: 1 (8-inch) cake

 

“Fried” Ice Cream with Raspberry Sauce

Way back in 2007, I posted a photo of a “fried” ice cream I’d been playing with. Rather than actually being fried, the ice cream is coated in a corn flake mixture. It’s got a sweet, crunchy coating, which is only made better by the luscious raspberry sauce and drizzle of chocolate syrup. This one truly looks fancy pants, and certainly couldn’t be easier. If it’s just too easy for you, make your own ice cream!

As an added bonus, this can be made gluten-free. In fact, that’s the way I’ve been making it since discovering a fantastic ancient grain corn flake. I’m lucky: my ice cream was soft by the time I got home, so I didn’t have to wait to get this into the muffin cups. But if you have some already in the freezer, just take it out and let it soften until it can be scooped easily. To make it soy-free, choose a dairy and soy-free ice cream instead. No matter how you decide to make it, this is the ideal dessert for Valentine’s Day.

“Fried” Ice Cream

“Fried” Ice Cream with Raspberry Sauce

1 quart vanilla (or other) nondairy ice cream (my favorite for this is So Delicious Vanilla)

1 cup vegan corn flakes

2 tablespoons coconut crystals (see note)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 (6 ounce) packages fresh raspberries, more for garnish if desired

1 to 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, to taste

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

Vegan chocolate syrup, for serving

Line 8 cups of a muffin tin with plastic wrap. Scoop the ice cream evenly into the 8 cups and place another piece of plastic wrap on top. Using your hands, press the ice cream to compact it into the cup and remove any open spaces. Freeze for 1 hour or longer.

Put the corn flakes in a large ziplock-style plastic bag. Using a rolling pin, crush the flakes into small pieces. Add the sugar and cinnamon, and shake to combine. Take one ice cream disk at a time and warm it very slightly with your hands. You only want a minimal of melting, but enough for the cereal mixture to adhere. Roll each disk in the crumbs, pressing them into the ice cream to cover them completely. Return the ice cream to the plastic-lined muffin tin and cover well with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer. The ice cream can be frozen like this for up to 2 weeks.

Put the raspberries in a small saucepan and add 1 tablespoon maple syrup. If the raspberries aren’t very sweet, add the remaining maple syrup to taste. Whisk the orange juice and cornstarch together in small bowl. Pour into the raspberries and cook over medium-low heat. Cook and stir until the berries are broken down and the mixture is thick. Let cool before using. The sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

To serve, spread about 3 tablespoons of raspberry sauce on each plate. Top with an ice cream disk and drizzle with chocolate syrup. If desired, add a few raspberries for garnish.

Yield: 8 servings (enough for a couple to celebrate Valentine’s Day 4 times!)

Recipe Note: When Celine and I were working on Whole Grain Vegan Baking, we worked with coconut sugar a lot. For some reason, it’s sweeter before it is baked or cooked. That makes it the perfect sweetener here, but feel free to use any dry sweetener of your choice.

Raisin Cinnamon Round (Hold Your Hats! A Recipe!)

I’ve been slacking a bit in posting recipes lately. When we’re getting close to wrapping up a book, my focus tends to shift and my blog gets put on the back burner. But to make up for it, here is a new recipe. This delectable bread makes a large loaf, which can be topped with a glaze, or not. Your choice. Give it a try!

Raisin Cinnamon Round

Made mostly from sprouted whole wheat flour, this loaf is wonderfully tender and light. A slice is the perfect partner to a cup of tea, or try it toasted for a breakfast treat. Sprouted wheat flour is becoming more widely available and is worth seeking out. The nutritional profile boasts more protein and vitamins than whole wheat flour, as well as a lower glycemic index and easier digestibility.

To make a drizzle for the round, whisk together 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and 2 to 3 teaspoons soy milk. Drizzle over the cooled loaf.

Raisin Cinnamon Round

1 1/2 cups soy milk, divided

4 tablespoons pure maple syrup, divided

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup ground flax seed

3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups sprouted wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup raisins

Gently warm 1/4 cup of soy milk to lukewarm. Place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 1 tablespoon maple syrup and the yeast. Stir and let sit until bubbly, about 5 minutes. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the remaining 1 1/4 cup soy milk, remaining 3 tablespoons maple syrup, flax seed, oil, and vanilla.

Add the flours and salt to the mixing bowl, along with the liquid ingredients. Knead on low for 8 minutes. The dough will be wet and should clear the sides of the bowl, but probably not the bottom of the bowl. Add additional flour a tablespoon at a time if needed. The dough will be soft. Add the raisins and knead on low until they are incorporated. Sprinkle a large bowl with flour. Gather the dough into a ball and transfer to the bowl. Sprinkle the top with a little flour. With a swirling motion, “round” the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Place a large, deep, covered casserole pot in the oven. (I use an 8-inch Le Creuset style pot.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. When the dough has risen, carefully remove the pot from the oven. Sprinkle the pot with a small amount of flour. Round the dough again (using the bowl) and transfer (smooth-side up) to the pot. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the cover, and continue to bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with your knuckles. Let cool on a rack.

Yield: 1 large round

Grills Gone Vegan Winner! Thanksgiving Feast!

Congratulations go to Sandy Zimmer. Random.org shined it’s light on you! Please send me your mailing address, and I’ll get Grills Gone Vegan  in the mail to you. With so few entrants, I am sorry I couldn’t send a copy to all of you! Remember, you can use the book year-round, so maybe pick up a copy to get that summer feel when you are digging out of the next snowstorm.

With the year winding down, I thought I’d post one of our two Thanksgiving feasts. This one happened to be at Deagan’s and was wonderfully traditional.

 

Thanksgiving Feast at Deagan’s

 

Green Bean Casserole (side dish)

 

Spice Cake (topped with apples)

Please, somebody, tell me where this year has gone! Wishing everyone the best in 2014!