Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Posts Tagged ‘raisins’

POLENTA PORCUPINE PIE

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on April 30, 2014

I’ve only encountered polenta in a savory form, usually served as a side dish. But I often wondered if it would be possible to turn it into a delicious, gluten-free dessert. When a friend invited me for dinner and asked me to bring dessert, she created the perfect opportunity for an experiment.

The texture of polenta was a concern. If polenta is not fully cooked, it can have a rather grainy texture, which would be horrible in a dessert. I also wondered if I could make the dessert sugar-free, since recent studies have revealed health concerns about sugar.

I decided to make a dessert polenta with dried fruits and prepared a simple date paste as the sweetener. As with most kitchen experiments exploring new territory, success often comes after several trials, eliminating this or adding that, or even changing the cooking method or varying the temperature.

Occasionally, magic happens and that first go-around works as if there were a tiny kitchen elf holding my hand and guiding me every step along the process. Amazing! And it looked pretty darned appealing, too!

It was a delicious surprise that also looked enticing enough to bring to a dinner party. When my friend asked what to call this dessert, I hesitated only a moment–and out popped the amusing name. Because of the bounty of fruits, small servings make this dessert go a long way. I actually squeezed 16 servings out of this dessert, but, really, 10 to 12 servings would be more realistic.

Polenta Porcupine copy

POLENTA PORCUPINE PIE

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Fruit Mix

1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely shredded

3/4 cup golden raisins

3/4 cup black raisins

1/3 cup diced dried Turkish apricots

1/4 cup pine nuts

 

Date Paste

2 cups pitted dates, snipped in half and lightly packed

1/2 cup water

 

Polenta

4 cups water

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup coarse whole grain cornmeal

1/2 cup whole almonds

  1. Line a large, shallow mold, about 9 to 11 inches in diameter, or a 2-quart ring mold with plastic wrap large enough to drape over the sides. Set aside.
  2. TO MAKE THE FRUIT MIX, combine the carrots, golden and black raisins, apricots, and pine nuts in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. TO MAKE THE DATE PASTE, put the dates in a food processor. With the machine running, add the water and process until smooth. Stop the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides of the workbowl. Measure 1 cup of the date paste and set it aside for the recipe. Save the remainder for another use.
  4. TO MAKE THE POLENTA, put the water, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and salt in a 4-quart saucepan. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  5. Add the cornmeal and return the mixture to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Add the reserved date paste and mix well with a wooden spoon to incorporate it thoroughly. The mixture will become very thick.
  7. Add the fruit mixture a little at a time, stirring continuously, until well mixed.
  8. Working quickly, spoon the mixture into the prepared mold and spread it to the edges. Let cool completely and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
  9. Before serving, invert the polenta pie onto a large platter and remove the plastic wrap. Poke the tips of the almonds into the top surface, gently pressing them in just enough to secure them.

Note:

Commercially packaged pitted dates, may contain one or two date pits that have evaded the pitting machinery. To avoid damaging the food processor blade, I use a kitchen scissors to snip the dates in half before adding them to the processor. The date paste makes about 1 1/3 cups.

Posted in almonds, Desserts, Nut Desserts, pine nuts, Vegan Desserts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

GLAZED RUTABAGAS & CARROT-RAISIN MUFFINS FOR A DIVINE CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 30, 2012

Sam Houghton, the creative Quantum Vegan blogger, took on a curious challenge the moment she bought a vegetable she didn’t know what to do with. Today’s familiar mantra is “Search and ye shall find,” –the internet, that is, and that’s exactly what Sam did. The result is an innovative, yet easy recipe that makes rutabagas a stand-out side dish for the Canadian Thanksgiving celebration.

Healthy muffins are always a nutritional bonus, but how about muffins that are delicious, chock full of sweet raisins, shredded carrots, chunky walnuts, AND are really healthy! Serve them for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning and enjoy a great start to the festive day.

Sam’s lively blog features a host of recipes, product reviews, and book reviews. Her Lifestyle feature offers a glimpse into everything from eating disorders to all manner of vegan living. You can also find Sam on Twitter and Facebook.

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Rutabagas were on sale recently and I decided to buy one, as I am often wont to do with sale vegetables. Of course, once I had it on hand I had no idea what to do with it, and for once my cookbooks didn’t have many suggestions. But it’s the beauty of today’s social media world that you can put out a call for rutabaga recipes on twitter and have half a dozen responses before lunch time. Thanks to cookinvegan, I settled on a maple mustard glaze that sounded amazing.

MAPLE-MUSTARD-GLAZED RUTABAGAS
serves 2 as a side

Ingredients
1 pound rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks

1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. mustard seed
1 tbsp. olive oil

Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a bowl big enough to hold the rutabaga, mix all the glaze ingredients together until well blended.

2) Add the rutabaga pieces and mix until well coated.

3) Spread the rutabaga on a baking sheet, drizzling with any remaining glaze. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring once, until the glaze darkens and the rutabaga is tender.

I wound up making two separate batches of glaze and turning one into a marinade for tempeh a la Veganomicon. I added about 6 tbsp. of water to the glaze to make it a marinade and marinated 1/2 block of tempeh for an hour before panfrying it for about ten minutes. The flavor took really well and some green beans were all we needed to complete the meal!

So now that I know how tasty rutabaga is, I’ll be using it more in the future!

WHEAT-OAT CARROT MUFFINS
Substitutions in baking don’t always work out the way you intend them to. Sometimes you wind up with a total mess, while other times you get a nice surprise. I’d put these muffins somewhere in between. The substitutions I made were out of necessity, and the only complaint I had was that they didn’t rise very much. So they were a success, albeit a bit of a “rustic-looking” success!

The original recipe came off the back of a box of Hogsden Mills hot cereal and called for some of the cereal as a dry ingredient. The rest was pretty simple, and the only non-vegan ingredients were some milk and an egg, so adapting it was a snap. However, I found myself in an interesting position the second time I wanted to make a batch. We were very nearly out of both whole wheat pastry flour and spelt flour, my two go-to flours for muffins; and there wasn’t a whole lot of the dry cereal left, either. The only thing to do was improvise.

I looked around at what we did have and wound up swapping wheat bran for the cereal and oat flour for the regular flour. I also added some raisins, which weren’t included in the original muffin recipe. As usual, I used maple syrup instead of sugar and applesauce instead of oil–both of which I’d tried the first time around and had success with. The result was a dense and tasty muffin that was good with all sorts of different “toppings:” almond butter, sunflower butter, raspberry jelly and even chocolate raspberry peanut butter!

As sort of an added bonus, these are healthy muffins that don’t taste healthy. There’s very little sugar and a lot of whole grains, plus the carrots and raisins. The batter winds up very chunky and can just about support a half a cup of nuts, but I wouldn’t add anything else for fear of them falling apart. Also, if you don’t have any oat flour hanging around, you can make your own by grinding regular oats in a blender (about 1 1/4 cups to make 1 cup of flour).

Wheat Oat Muffin Batter

Wheat Oat Muffins with Carrots & Raisins
Author: Sam
Recipe type: snack
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 35 mins

Serves: 6-12

Ingredients
1 cup wheat bran
1 cup oat flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp maple syrup
½ cup nondairy milk
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 Tbsp water
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts, optional

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease or line a small 12-cup or a large 6-cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine the wheat bran, oat flour, baking powder and baking soda, stirring well to combine.

Add the nondairy milk, maple syrup, flax seed mixture, applesauce and vanilla. Stir until moistened. (Batter will be thick.)

Fold in the carrots, raisins and walnuts (if using). The batter should look chunky and “rustic.”

Divide the batter equally between the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the tops are browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. These don’t rise very much, but they’re tasty and hearty!

Posted in Breakfast Dishes, Canadian Thanksgiving, Holiday Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan for the Holidays, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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