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.

Easy Blueberry Sauce

IMG_2946     If you have a bumper crop or windfall of extra blueberries, you could freeze them for smoothies or pies, or you can make this fabulous easy blueberry sauce.  It can be used on pancakes, or vegan ice cream, stirred into vegan cream cheese for bagels, swirled into vegan cheesecake batter, etc.

EASY BLUEBERRY SAUCE

Makes about one pint

INGREDIENTS
2-1/2 Cups fresh blueberries, washed
1/3 Cup plus 3 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
lemon zest from one lemon  (optional)
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
Set aside 1/2 Cup of the blueberries, and the vanilla.  In a blender, add all other ingredients and blend until fairly smooth.  In a small saucepan, stirring often over medium heat, bring blueberry mixture to a boil.  Immediately turn heat down a click or two, and add reserved blueberries.  Cook at a low boil for two minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.  Stir in vanilla, let cool, and chill.  Use or freeze.

Notes:  If you let the raw blended mixture sit around without cooking it, it could clump, maybe from the pectin.  If that happens, you can re-blend or use a potato masher.
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Vegan Brandied Cherry Sauce

cherry sauce     I created this easy and delicious vegan Brandied Cherry Sauce specifically for the Daiya New York Cheezecake I was serving at a small dinner party.  This sauce can easily be made without the alcohol too.  And because we’re using frozen cherries, it can be made in any season.  Also, if you want organic–it’s possible to find frozen organic cherries, while it can be difficult to find fresh organic cherries.  This would also be good on a vegan Black Forest Cake.

BRANDIED CHERRY SAUCE

Makes enough for the top of a cheesecake or black forest cake.

INGREDIENTS
10 oz. bag frozen cherries
1/3 Cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon scant fine sea salt
2 Tablespoons Kirschwasser  (or water)
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
In small saucepan, dry whisk sugar, cornstarch and sea salt.  Add Kirschwasser or water, and stir.  Add cherries and cook over medium heat, stirring often until thickened and bubbly.  Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.  Add extracts and stir to combine.

Note:  It takes 15 or 20 minutes for this to thicken up, so I make this while I’m working near the stove, so I can stir it often.  I used Dekuyper brand Kirschwasser.  If you can find Oregon brand Dark Sweet Cherries in the 15 oz. can, they are a good substitute for frozen cherries, but remember to drain them first, and discard the can liquid.

Coconut Bacon

IMG_0231    This fast, easy and delicious Coconut Bacon recipe takes five minutes to prep for baking.    I adapted this from the wildy-popular recipe by Fettle Vegan.  Of course, you can always buy coconut bacon from Phoney Baloney, but it’s so easy to make your own.  Wherever you get your coconut bacon, it’s great strewn over salads, and chowder, in BLTs, or eaten out of hand.  I plan to try this in an Elvis Sandwich someday.

COCONUT BACON

Makes 2 Cups

INGREDIENTS
2 Cups large flake coconut, unsweetened
1 Tablespoon Liquid Smoke
1 Tablespoon Tamari
1 Tablespoon plus one teaspoon real maple syrup
1 Tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Set coconut aside.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients, whisking or stirring to blend.  Add coconut and fold gently with a wooden spoon or spatula to evenly coat the flakes.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread coconut flakes evenly onto it.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  BE VERY CAREFUL during the last five minutes, checking it several times to make sure it does not burn.  Coconut will crisp up as it cools.  Strew over salads, chowder, use in sandwiches or eat out of hand.  Cool completely and store in fridge for two weeks (I store mine for a month if the flaked coconut is not due to expire soon).

Notes:  Bigger coconut flakes may take longer to cook.   After cooling, if your coconut bacon is not crisp, put it back in the oven for 2 to 5 minutes, checking carefully to prevent burning.
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Vegan Mexican Crema

IMG_2345    This quick vegan Mexican Crema takes 5 minutes to make, and it’s great on plantains and anything else that might call for crema.  You can dress it up with finely-chopped cilantro, or spices, but it’s also really good just like it is.

VEGAN MEXICAN CREMA

INGREDIENTS
1 Cup Tofutti Sour Cream  (the Non-Hydrogenated one in the dark blue container)
1/4 Cup Reduced Fat Vegenaise  (the one with the yellow cap)
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

DIRECTIONS
Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir until well mixed.

Notes:  If you don’t have a fresh lime on hand, you can use bottled lime juice,  such as  Whole Foods 365 Organic Lime,  or  Lakewood Organic Pure Lime.  If you do have a fresh lime, you can add the zest from it as well.

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.

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

For the 4th of July, I made this Summer Berry Cobbler with Vanilla Bean Whipped Creme by Chloe Coscarelli.  The cobbler was good and easy, but really, it’s the Coconut Vanilla Bean Whipped Creme that’s AMAZING.  It’s easy and quick, could be used on a multitude of desserts, and it’s delicious.  Rich but light, it has the faintest hint of lush coconut essence in with the natural vanilla bean.  Chef Chloe was the first vegan to win a Cupcake Wars on the Food Network (Doron Petersan of Sticky Fingers Bakery in D.C. also won a different episode).   Anyway, I actually love the cobbler/crisp posted previously on this site, but Chloe’s cobbler is good in a different way.  Hers has an almost shortbread quality to it, and of course, any seasonal fruits can be mixed and/or substituted.

Vegan Vanilla Bean Whipped Creme

INGREDIENTS
14 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk, chilled. Thai Kitchen or Whole Foods 365 are brands recommended by Chef Chloe.
Seeds from one vanilla bean (slit and scrape the bean)
2/3 Cup powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)

DIRECTIONS
Chill the coconut milk in the fridge for an hour or more. You can also give it a head start by putting it in the freezer for 20 minutes, like I did.
Chill bowl and whisk of stand mixer in the freezer for 30 minutes. I just used a medium-sized mixing bowl and the beaters from my little hand mixer.
Scrape the cream from the top of the coconut milk can, and discard the remaining liquid. Or save it for a curry or something.
Add all ingredients to the chilled bowl and mix with chilled beaters a minute or two until fluffy.
Store in refrigerator.