STRAWBERRY CHIA JAM

  This quick-and-easy Strawberry Chia Jam intensifies the strawberry flavor while being healthier than most of the jams on the market.  It’s one of those gorgeously-simple foods.  The texture (as written) is a cross between a jam and a sauce, making it super versatile, but it’s easily made firmer by the addition of another Tablespoon of chia seeds.  I chose to make this jam with strawberries because strawberries already have tiny seeds, but you can choose any fruit you like.  The way I made it, it can be spread on toast, spooned over vegan yogurt or cheesecake, drizzled on oatmeal, stirred into lemonade, dolloped on strawberry shortcake, etc.  I froze some  so I could preserve the flavor of Spring.

STRAWBERRY CHIA JAM

Makes enough to fill two 8-ounce jars and then some

INGREDIENTS
3 Cups chopped fruit
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice  (yes, fresh tastes better)
1/3 Cup organic sugar
1 Tablespoon chia seeds  (or 2 if you want it thicker)

DIRECTIONS
Wash and prepare fruit, cutting away any bad parts, leaves and stems.  Leave berries otherwise whole and add them to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat about 10 minutes, until fruit breaks down and gives off syrupy liquid.  Mash the fruit with a potato masher, or if you don’t have one, the bottom of a canning jar or heavy glass tumbler.  Leave lumps, so it’s rustic and beautiful.  Stir in lemon juice and sugar.  Taste it to make sure it’s to your liking.  Stir in chia seeds.  Let it sit and cool, and try to not to eat it out of the pot.  Use within a week, or freeze.

NOTES:  This recipe is flexible, but these measurements above really hit the spot for us.  If using larger fruit, pit and chop it.  Next time, I’ll add the zest of the lemon.  The health benefits of chia are many–fully digestible and energy-boosting, they were an important food for the Incas centuries ago.  Chia adds antioxidants, fiber, protein, omega-3s and calcium to foods, while not interfering with the flavor of the main ingredient.  While this jam is not sugar-free, the chia seeds make you feel more satiated.  For another chia recipe, try my Chia Fresca.  And if you’re a real health nut, there’s also Chia Breakfast Porridge.  There is also a great Quick Freezer Jam on this site, that uses agar agar as a thickening agent.  Other related recipes include Strawberry Rhubarb Compote.

Vegan Victoria Sponge Cake

img_3091     I made this recipe for Vegan Victoria Sponge Cake three times before it came out right.  On this side of the pond, the winning flour turned out to be Gold Medal Self Rising Flour.   I could see serving this for birthdays, afternoon tea, and other special occasions.  It’s humble but rich and so very English, with its layer of fruit jam and judicious dusting of powdered sugar on top.  Because this is a British recipe, I got out my trusty food scale.  Then I made sure my baking soda was fresh, and stuck with soy milk for these trials.  I also successively reduced the Golden Syrup, with good results.  In future, I’d like to try making it with almond milk and coconut milk.  And there will be a next time because this cake is good, really good.  Take that, Great British Baking Show.

VEGAN VICTORIA SPONGE CAKE RECIPE

Makes one 9-inch cake of two layers

INGREDIENTS
400g self-rising flour, plus extra for dusting
1-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
250g vegan sugar
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Sticks  (for greasing the pans)

115ml safflower oil  (2/3 Cup)
400ml soy milk, plain organic unsweetened  (supposedly 14 oz.)
1 Tablespoon Lyle’s Golden Syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 Tablespoons strawberry jam
5 oz. strawberries, halved or quartered, for decoration  (optional)

for the vegan buttercream
125g Earth Balance Organic Whipped Buttery Spread  (not the baking sticks)
250g powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease well two 9-inch regular cake pans.  Line the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment paper traced and cut to fit.  Flour each pan and tap to shake out any excess.   In a large mixing bowl, dry whisk the flour, baking soda and sugar.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the oil, plant milk, Golden Syrup and vanilla, lifting the whisk to see that all the syrup is dissolved.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and using an electric hand mixer, mix for 2 minutes until thick and creamy.

Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake about 35 minutes until risen and cooked through.  Use a cake tester (such as a skewer) and make sure it comes out clean.  Leave pans to cool on racks for 15 minutes.  Run a butter knife around the inside sides of the pans,  remove cakes from pans and cool completely on racks (an hour or two).

While cakes are cooling, make the filling.  With the electric hand mixer, beat together the Earth Balance Organic Whipped Buttery Spread, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Store in fridge if not using right away.

Spread the jam evenly over the bottom layer, pushing the jam a bit over the edges (so it will be seen once the cake is assembled).  Spread the buttercream on the underside of the top layer.  Put the top layer onto the bottom layer, so that the jam and buttercream meet.  Holding a sieve up over the cake, dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar.  If the top layer is sliding at all, push 2 or 3 shortened skewers into the cake.

Notes:  You could lighten this up and just use one layer, sliced horizontally in two, and then reduce the frosting.  Many bakers use a food scale for measuring ingredients, as it’s more accurate.  It’s interesting to note that I’m baking at sea level and this recipe worked fine for me anyway.  I notice many of the Victoria Sponges online have only a dusting of powdered sugar on top (no frosting on top), so that’s what I’ve done here.  I like Dickinson’s Preserves, particularly the Pure Cascade Mountain Red Raspberry, and the Pure Pacific Mountain Strawberry.  I found the original recipe had barely enough jam and frosting, so have increased those a bit, and reduced the fat ratio in the buttercream.  For this recipe, you will need two 9″ cake pans, some parchment paper, and a sieve for the powdered-sugar dusting.  I use this method to get cakes out of pans, except I use a baking rack instead of a plate or cardboard, and I don’t use plastic wrap.  Let the cake sit on the rack for an hour at least, to cool completely, before wrapping for the freezer, or icing.  Do NOT try to use the baking sticks for the buttercream, because they are made only for baking.  The Buttery Spread has a nice butter flavor.
img_3097  Fresh strawberries can go in the middle, but it’s optional.  I just wanted the pure jammy preserves.
img_3081  My cake layers came out different sizes, so I just used the shorter layer on the bottom, no worries.

Vegan Raspberry Oat Shortbread

IMG_2593     This Vegan Raspberry Oat Shortbread is buttery, with a light crunch from the oats and almonds, and sweetness from the raspberry jam.  This is more of a delicate shortbread–amazing with tea, or any time.  Other raspberry bars on this site include Ottolenghi Raspberry Oat Bars (thicker and nuttier with a touch of caramel), and plain Raspberry Oat Bars (more of a rustic crumble bar).  Yes, it would seem I have a thing for raspberry bars. . .

VEGAN RASPBERRY OAT SHORTBREAD

Makes:  16 squares

INGREDIENTS
1 Cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon cold vegan butter (Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
3/4 Cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 Cup slivered almonds
1/4 Cup raspberry jam  (I like Dickinson’s Red Raspberry)
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/16th teaspoon almond extract

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Butter an 8-inch baking pan and put it in the fridge.  Mix the jam with the vanilla and almond extracts, stirring until it’s a somewhat smooth consistency, and then leave it out at room temperature.  In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt.  Then add oats and pulse a few times.  Cube the vegan butter and add it, pulsing until the mixture starts to cling together in bits.  Then add almonds and pulse just until incorporated.  The idea is NOT to grind up the almonds–you just want them in pieces throughout the dough.

Set aside 1/2 Cup of the dough.  Press the rest GENTLY but evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Spread the raspberry jam evenly over the dough, leaving at least a 1/4 inch-wide border (in other words, do not spread the jam all the way to the edges).  Sprinkle the reserved dough evenly over the jam.

Bake until the edges are starting to turn golden, about 20-23 minutes.  Within 5-10 minutes, run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen.  You can also make your cuts after about 10 minutes, cutting straight down (do not use a sawing motion).  The end of a thin flat spatula works well for this.  The shortbread will firm as it cools.  Store in fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving.

Notes:  This recipe took me three tries to get right.  I started out adding fresh raspberries but the end result was then too gooey and wet.  I pressed the dough too firmly in the pan and it was hard to cut into squares, and a bit tough.  I also found that for best results, it kind of matters in which order you process the dough ingredients.
IMG_2588  Leave the edges of the dough bare, as the jam will spread on its own.

Vegan Ottolenghi Raspberry Oat Bars

IMG_1971    These vegan Raspberry and Oat Bars by Yotam Ottolenghi have a caramel nut topping,  raspberry filling and rustic oat-pastry base.  You can vary the types of nuts and jam–use what you have on hand.  Although there are a few steps to these, this is an easy recipe,  and you wind up with something rich, decadent and kind of special.  I did add a pinch of salt to the topping, and used Spelt flour instead of all-purpose flour.  There is another excellent Raspberry Oat Bar on this site as well.

VEGAN OTTOLENGHI RASPBERRY OAT BARS

Makes 16 bars

INGREDIENTS
1 Cup spelt flour   (or all-purpose flour,  or whole wheat pastry flour)
scant 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
6 Tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/3 Cup vegan sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 Cup rolled oats

3/4 Cup raspberry jam  (I prefer Dickinson’s brand)

TOPPING
3/4 Cup sliced almonds
3/4 Cup raw pecans,  chop coarsely
1/2 Cup raw hazelnuts, chop coarsely
1/2 Cup raw Brazil nuts, chop coarsely

6 Tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/3 Cup vegan sugar
2 Tablespoons So Delicious Coconut Creamer  (or other plant milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a 9-inch square cake pan with parchment paper each way so the paper comes up each side of the pan to create tabs to lift the bars/slab out of the pan.  This will take two longer sheets of parchment paper.

To make the base.  Dry whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add sugar and dry whisk again.  Add cold vegan butter in small chunks, and cut in with a pastry cutter to form a crumb texture.  Stir in the oats.  Press this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, cool 10-15 minutes.  Stir jam until smooth and then spread the jam over the base crust.

To make the topping.  Place all chopped nuts in a large, heat-resistant bowl and stir  together.  In a small saucepan, heat butter, sugar and plant milk over medium heat.  Stir until sugar has dissolved, and then stir in vanilla.  Pour this mixture over the chopped nuts and stir together.  Pack nut mixture evenly over the jam/base, and return pan to oven to bake for 30 more minutes, until nuts have turned a nice golden brown.  Leave pan to cool on rack.  When it’s fairly cool, chill in fridge (it will firm up in the fridge).  Remove from pan and onto a large cutting board.  Peel away parchment paper and cut into squares.

Notes:  I reduced the butter in the base and in the topping by one Tablespoon each, as written above.  Measure out and then chop the nuts.
IMG_1968

Strawberry Scones

I’d never been a big fan of scones, and now I know it’s because I never had a really good one before.  When I took my Mom to the Cotswolds, I bought us a local Cream Tea, which consists of scones, clotted cream and a pot of tea.  Well, even those scones were not great.  As an aside, this was before I went vegan and the clotted cream was so unappealing, even as a non-vegan.  Since my friend Chris is a fan of scones, I decided to give them a go.  I was after a light, slightly sweet, slightly crumbly scone, and after two tries, found success.  My taste testers, Tim and Josie, told me they’re the best scones they’ve ever had, and I know they’re the best I’ve ever had.  One guiding principle was that Food Scientist Shirley O. Corriher advises making a very wet dough for a light, airy scone.  I also used self-rising flour for its lower protein, to achieve a tender crumb.  I used no equipment, just a pastry cutter.  With this basic recipe, the flavors can always be changed to suit the seasons or taste.
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Strawberry Scones

Yield:  12 scones

INGREDIENTS
3 Cups self-rising flour  (plus more for bench flour)
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Tablespoon of additional sugar (for sanding/sprinkling)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 Cup (1.5 sticks) Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1.5 Cups dried fruit  (about 10 ounces)
1 Cup vegan buttermilk  (1 Cup plant milk mixed with 1 Tablespoon vinegar)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut butter into half-inch chunks and put in fridge to chill.
Put pastry cutter in fridge.
Mix plant milk and vinegar, stir and set aside to thicken into Buttermilk.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, dry whisk self-rising flour, sugar and salt.
Using a pastry cutter, cut the chilled butter into the flour mixture, until the butter is the size of small peas.
Add dried fruit and toss to coat.
Reserve 2 Tablespoons of the buttermilk on the side (to brush the tops of the scones with).
Pour half of the remaining buttermilk into the dry mixture, and stir to see if a dough will form.
Add some of the remaining buttermilk, little by little, and realize you may not need it all.  Although the dough should be fairly wet.
Transfer dough to a lightly-floured surface and gather together.
Knead dough briefly, about 5 turns in all, adding more bench flour by the spoonful, if needed.  Do not overwork the dough!
Divide dough in half, and form each half into a disc, about one inch tall.
Cut each disc into 6 wedges.  Cut down the middle from top to bottom, and then cut a wide X across the whole.
Transfer scones to parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, spacing about 1 inch apart.
Brush tops of scones with reserved buttermilk, and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tablespoon of sugar.
Chill the scones for about 10-15 minutes (this will help keep them from spreading on the pan, and make them lighter).
Bake until scones are golden brown on top, about 20-25 minutes.
Serve with Earth Balance Organic Buttery Spread.  Or, if you must have the cream, Mimic Creme Healthy Top is better-tasting than clotted cream!
These scones freeze beautifully.

NotesThese take about 20-30 minutes to make, not including baking time.  I used one bag of Trader Joe’s Sweetened Dried Strawberries, which, while not organic, are softer, a bit more rubbery than some of the other dried strawberries.  I cut the berries in half as they were pretty large.  I hydrated my berries in a bit of water, and then made sure to drain them very well before adding to the dry ingredients.  If you don’t drain them, you run the risk of turning your batter pink.  Hydrating the dried fruit is optional, you don’t really need to.  The bench flour is important because you’re working with a wet dough.

 

Vegan Whipping Cream – Healthy Top by Mimic Creme

May 12, 2016.  Please note it seems this product is not currently in production, but they are looking for a processor to get the product available again.  Who knows when this will happen.  The content below is from 2012.  Thank you.

I found this Mimic Crème Healthy Top whipping cream at Whole Foods in Annapolis yesterday for $4.99 per 16-ounce box.  It’s vegan whipping cream made from almonds, cashews, water, coconut oil, etc.  It’s high in fat, so it’s really for special occasions.   You put it in the fridge for 30 minutes and you also chill the mixing bowl and beaters.   To my surprise, within a minute it had whipped up beautifully and had a nice, light taste, not too sweet.  This is the perfect vegan whipped cream to go on top of pumpkin pie and a myriad of other desserts.  Once you whip it up, it’s good for two weeks, another shocker.  It’s dairy free, soy free (for those who care), gluten free, cholesterol free, Non-GMO, vegan and kosher, sheesh.  See more photos below.

Vegan Jam – Quick Freezer Jam

This is my first attempt at jam, so I decided to make a quick, freezer jam.  Like my rhubarb strawberry compote, this is the kind anyone can make and enjoy (or freeze) without the fear of botulism.  This recipe takes three pints of berries, but it makes a lot.   I got five 8-ounce jars out of this simple recipe, with a little left over.  It takes about an hour to make, including washing and slicing the berries, and you do need to be near the stove for about half an hour of that time.  A small price to pay for the sublime experience of this homemade jam.  It looks like rubies and has the saturated taste of sweet strawberries right from the garden.  Make sure to use organic strawberries, because the non-organic strawberries are seriously toxic, high on the Dirty-Dozen list, no joke.  I developed this recipe myself and this is only my second or third time using the agar agar.  Veganomicon has a good cranberry sauce that uses agar agar and making that gave me the inspiration to use it here.  Agar agar comes in various forms and is odorless, colorless and tasteless, and doesn’t harm anyone the way gelatin does.  One tip is that you can often find it WAY cheaper in Asian grocery stores (I have bought packets for around a dollar).  I’ve been told it has an indefinite shelf life, so it’s great to have on hand.

VEGAN FREEZER JAM – Quick Strawberry Jam

INGREDIENTS
3 pints organic strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 Cup organic sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon agar agar flakes or kanten

DIRECTIONS
Place a small plate and some metal teaspoons in the freezer (you will use these to test your jam).    In a small cup, combine agar agar flakes with lemon juice.
In a large pot, combine all ingredients over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Bring heat up to a low boil and cook, stirring often, until jam has thickened, about another 20-30 minutes.    Stir in a figure-eight pattern about every minute.
The berries will get glossier looking and feel a bit thicker, you will see the change if you pay attention.    Once you feel it’s ready, put a little on one of your frozen spoons and place that spoon back in the freezer for two minutes.  Go back and tilt the frozen spoon of jam and if the jam on the spoon is thickened and not running thinly, your jam is done.  It will continue to thicken as it cools.    Cover and refrigerate.    Put your jam into individual canning jars (I like 8 ounce jars).    Refrigerate up to three weeks, or freeze up to one year.  There is also a great Strawberry Chia Jam on this site, that is even quicker to make.

Vegan Raspberry Oat Bars

These vegan Raspberry Oat Bars are delicious and easy.  Elegant enough for high tea, but (wrapped in wax paper and eaten out of hand) rustic enough for a picnic.  The flavor reminds me of the beautiful raspberry cookies we had in Amsterdam.   On this site, there is also a vegan version of the Ottolenghi Raspberry Oat Bars.

VEGAN RASPBERRY OAT BARS

INGREDIENTS
(for crust and crumb)
1.5 Cups flour (any combination of all-purpose, whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat)
3/4 Cup brown sugar
1.25 Cups rolled oats (and/or granola)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1.5 sticks Earth Balance Buttery Sticks

3/4 Cup seedless raspberry jam  (Dickinsons’s brand has great flavor.)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place vegan butter out to soften a bit.  Line an 8-9 inch square baking pan each way with parchment paper extending up the sides of the pan (this will help you lift the bars out onto a flat surface for cutting).   Or just generously grease the pan and place it in the fridge.

In a medium bowl, dry whisk all dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients to butter, and use pastry cutter to incorporate until there is no powdery texture left.  Reserve 1.25 Cups scant of the crumbles/dough and put aside.  Press remaining dough gently into the pan with the back of a spoon, or your fingers.  Bake for 12 minutes, remove from oven and set pan on rack to cool for 7 minutes.

With a spoon, spread jam on warm crust.  Crumble the remaining crust mixture on top of the jam.  Bake 15 minutes more.  Remove from oven and cool pan on rack.  Chill and cut into squares.

Notes:  I used Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.  You can substitute in a cup of granola for the oats.  And/or mix 2-3 Tablespoons of sweetened flake coconut into the jam before spreading.  You can also add 1/16th teaspoon of almond extract to the jam, if you want to gild the lily.

Asparagus in Vinaigrette

My husband used to complain that asparagus was stringy, but this recipe converted him into a liker of asparagus.  This vegan asparagus dish travels well and is great for the buffet table or picnics or barbecues, because it can sit out for several hours, and just tastes better as it sits.  I adapted this from the “French Dressing or Sauce Vinaigrette” from my 1975 Joy of Cooking.  While many prefer thin spears, I’ll often choose thicker spears if given a choice.  I peel the spears with a potato peeler, something also recommended in my old Joy of Cooking, for thicker or older spears.  I peel the spears regardless of thickness, however, because it improves the texture so much.  My old Joy of Cooking recommends using this dressing on canned white asparagus tips (it was the ’70s, after all), but I’ve never tried doing that.

ASPARAGUS IN FRENCH VINAIGRETTE

INGREDIENTS
a bunch of asparagus
one lemon (go for organic because you’re also using the peel)
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper (or ground black pepper)
One teaspoon Dijon or grainy mustard from a jar (or ½ tsp dry mustard)
¼ Cup extra-virgin olive oil (I’m a fanatic for first cold press too)

DIRECTIONS
Set water to boil with a bit of salt.   Trim ends off asparagus and discard the ends.
Rinse the stalks.   Peel asparagus stalks with a potato peeler, but do not peel the tops.  I usually stop peeling an inch or so short of (below) the tops.
If stalks are too long, trim them so they’ll easily fit in pot, but also cook the trimmings.

Peel or grate the zest off the lemon, into a small bowl.   Squeeze all the lemon juice into the same bowl (hopefully, you’ll wind up with close to ¼ cup of juice).   Add the salt, pepper, mustard and olive oil to the lemon juice, and whisk until emulsified.

Boil asparagus until spears are easily penetrated with a knife; for about 5 minutes for normal/thin stalks, or up to 10 minutes for thickest stalks.   Immediately rinse stalks under cold water, and drain well.   When asparagus is well drained, place it into a non-metal dish with sides.   Whisk vinaigrette again and pour over the asparagus.   Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Bring out at least 30 minutes before serving to give the oil a chance to liquefy fully.  If you can, tip the container back and forth a little to mix and redistribute the vinaigrette.

Notes:  You can make this the day before, if necessary, and it’s good at room temperature for a couple of hours.

A close-up view of the peeled and  trimmed spears.  I could not find thick organic asparagus this time.

Light lemon Bundt Cake from The Joy of Vegan Baking

According to the cookbook, The Joy of Vegan Baking, this recipe was slightly adapted by Colleen Patrick Goudreau from The Millenium Cookbook.  This cake is good, if not sensational.  It is indeed a light cake, possibly perfect for a high tea or ladies’ luncheon.  It was easy to throw together except that I had to run to the store to buy Lemon Extract.  Once again, a reasonably-priced bag of organic lemons from Whole foods came in handy.  This is a slightly petite cake, and yields approximately 8 slices, depending upon your Bundt pan.  I have a very cheap Bundt pan, which is actually not a real Bundt pan, but something I picked up at Wal-Mart or the grocery store years ago.  It’s like paper thin aluminum or something, although it does have an enameled interior.  I sprayed the inside of the pan very well with cooking spray that has flour in it (Giant brand).  Here are my observations about this recipe.  The lemony flavor of this cake is not strong, so you really do need that Lemon Extract after all.  The Lemon Sauce (a separate-but-simple recipe from the same cookbook) is recommended here or the cake would be too plain.  Although, in a pinch, you could just dust this cake with some powdered sugar.  Lars and I agree that what would be really good is that common white icing glaze that tops many a lemon pound cake; something that would drip prettily down, but also stick to the cake.  This would consist of about two cups of confectioners sugar with a few tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, and maybe some zest too.  You see, the Lemon Sauce quickly slides right off the cake, like water off a duck’s back.   It is elegant to have the slice of cake sit in a lemony pool of syrup, but this only wets the very bottom of the slice, and the icing glaze would really complete it.  I just had a thought that if you are glazing the cake, you could poke holes in the warm cake, drizzle on the Lemon Sauce and then cover up the holes with the glaze.  Ok, I’ll quit now.  My last comment is that in my electric, non-convection oven, I did have to bake the cake for the entire 45 minutes.  See more photos below.  Lars loves fruity desserts and really did like this.  He said, “It tastes just like any normal cake.”  And I replied, “Look Ma, no eggs.”  Happy Mother’s Day!

Here is the Lemon Syrup, slid right off the cake.  You can see where a thin bit of glaze on top would have just enhanced
it.

You can see how the cake is starting
to pull away from the pan here.  Once cooled completely, the cake fell right out of the pan!

Vegan Herbed Cream Cheese Spread

This is a takeoff of a Daniel Boulud recipe.  A simple, elegant little spread for crackers and I was thinking it would be fabulous on tiny cucumber sandwiches, such as for a formal tea.  You could fancy it up for canapes; spread it on crostini, the possibilities are many.  You can make this a  day ahead, and it tastes even better the next day.  At Thanksgiving in Maryland, we still have lots of herbs in the garden; flat-leaf parsley and chives among them, so it’s a nice thing to do!

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Vegan Herbed Cream Cheese Spread

INGREDIENTS
8 oz. container of Tofutti cream cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
3 tsp fresh chives, minced finely
2 tsp flat-leaf parsley, minced finely
1/2 tsp fresh French tarragon, minced finely (optional)
1 T olive oil
3 tsp Sherry or sherry vinegar

DIRECTIONS
Bring vegan cream cheese almost to room temperature.
Mix all.
Spray a round cereal bowl or other small round bowl with olive oil.
Pack cream cheese mixture into this bowl.
Cover and chill for a few hours.
Remove from fridge, run knife around edge and upturn onto a plate.
Smooth surface of cream cheese with back of a spoon.
Garnish with a sprig of the flat-leaf parsley or a chive or two.
Surround cream cheese with crackers.
Enjoy!