I was told there would be punch and pie

Guess what, it’s pie season. The fall time brings out the best in pies. Obviously you can make pies all year long but it seems like some of the best are just associated with the colder weather and of course Thanksgiving. One of my personal favorites is pecan pie. Flavorful and amazing, you can’t go wrong with it. Now I have modified your typical pecan pie just a little to put my spin on it. Not only is it vegan, but I added some extra ingredients that I think it needed. The best part was when I made it, it didn’t come out quite right so to make sure I had it perfect to post, I made another. Now I have two pies at my house and no one is complaining haha. So here it is, my chocolate chip, pumpkin, pecan pie with homemade vegan whipped cream.

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Ingredients:

Crust

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance) cut into 7 or 8 pieces

2 Tbs cane sugar

1/2 ice water

Filling

1/3 cup nondairy milk (unflavored)

3 Tbs cornstarch

3/4 cup cane sugar

1/4 cup homemade brown sugar (1 cup cane sugar to 1 Tbs molasses)

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup agave nectar

1/4 pure maple syrup

1/2 can pumpkin

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup dairy free chocolate chips

Crust

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter and cut it into the dry mix until crumbly. Slowly drizzle in water a little at a time until the mixture sticks together when you squeeze it. Form into a ball and refrigerate for 1 hour.

When crust is done chilling, roll out with a rolling pin on a surface dusted with flour. Carefully place crust into an oiled pie plate and cut off the edges.

Filling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the nondairy milk and cornstarch. It should get foamy after a few minutes. Then add in the sugars, honey, agave, and syrup. Whisk until the sugar crystals break down and the mixture is smooth. Mix in the canned pumpkin. Add in vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix again. Fold in the pecans and chocolate chips.

Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Bake 45-60 minutes or until the filling is bubbling. (Mine ended up baking for a full hour and I also pre-baked my crust for 5 minutes because I like the way crust gets when pre-baked)

Remove from oven and let cool for at least half an hour. Refrigerate for 8 hours before serving. (mine ended up sitting overnight because I baked it late in the day)

Whipped Cream

2 14 oz cans full fat coconut milk or cream

1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs powdered sugar

Place the coconut milk cans along with the mixing bowl and whisk attachment from your electric mixer in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

Working quickly is key here to keep your ingredients from getting warm. Attach your whisk and bowl to your mixer immediately before making your whipped cream.

Puncture the cans and drain the liquid.Once the liquid is drained open the cans and scoop the fat content into your chilled mixing bowl. Whip the coconut fat in high speed for 15-20 seconds. Add the sugar and whip for 20 more seconds starting on low and working up to high speed. Use whipped cream immediately or store in refrigerator for 3-4 hours before use.

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Bon Appetite!

-Chef Drew

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I got two words for you…..Beer Brats!

A few weeks ago we went to our favorite vegan restaurant and their spacial of the day was a bratwurst so of course I had to get it. This got me thinking, as I usually do when I eat there, and I decided I needed to recreate this wonderful meal. After some research and picking the right ingredients I cooked me some awesome beer brats. When we ate meat, one of my favorite meals was a good sausage with pepper and onions or a brat and some kraut. This brought back some amazing memories and I will def be making these again and again and again. The only downfall is for anyone who is gluten free, you will not be able to eat these as they call for vital wheat gluten to act as a binding agent. If you are unfamiliar with this ingredient, it is basically straight powdered gluten. If you are interested in making vegan sausage of any kind, Bob’s Red Mill makes a version of vital wheat gluten and I found it in the baking aisle at Harris Teeter along with the other Bob’s flour products.

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Ingredients:

1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup wet hop beer, flat (I used a Hefeweizen from Olde Hickory because I love my local NC beer and I knew Hefeweizen would give my brats a great flavor)

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2 Tbs olive oil

1/4 tsp liquid smoke

1/4 cup ground dried shitake mushrooms (found these in the grocery store with the dried beans)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp white pepper

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp marjoram

1 tsp sage

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1/4 tsp caraway seeds

1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten

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1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Directions

  1. Finely mash your beans with a fork, then add in your beer, liquid smoke, and the spices, mix well.
  2. in a separate bowl mix together the vital wheat gluten, mushrooms, and nutritional yeast.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Knead for a minute to bring it all together.
  4. Divide into 6 pieces, shape into sausage form, then warp tightly like a tootsie roll in aluminum foil, twisting the ends. (when researching I found people had issues with theirs sticking to the foil when steaming so I put in a layer of parchment paper as well)

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              5. Steam for 40 minutes. After steaming unwrap and grill for a few minutes                     on each side in some earth balance butter.

Serve and enjoy. I used some great homemade mustard and topped with some sauteed onions, red peppers, and mushrooms caramelized in homemade brown sugar and they were absolutely delicious. Served with a side of oil based homemade slaw.

Bon appetite

-Chef Drew

No jokes needed, this meal was killer!

As we gear up for Autumn, there is one food type that I always look forward to cooking and eating…..squash. There is so many different kinds of squash and tons of great ways to cook with them. They are one of my favorites to use during the cold months. We have been talking about doing something with acorn squash for awhile now. When I went grocery shopping last week Trader Joe’s had some great looking ones so I finally picked them up and Melissa found a great recipe for me to use. I am pretty much a fan of stuffing any type of food so when she presented me with this idea I was def on board. This is a great tasting, filling, and of course vegan recipe taken from the food network.

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Quinoa-Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 medium acorn squash

3 Tbs apple cider vinegar

3 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs pure maple syrup

Salt and pepper

1 small onion, chopped

1 cup quinoa

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 cup roasted, salted and shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400

Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. Arrange the halves on a large baking tray flesh side up. (I put parchment paper down first so it does not stick)

Whisk together the vinegar, 2 Tbs oil, and the maple syrup in a cup. Brush the flesh side of the squash halves with some of the mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the squash flesh side down then brush the skin side with the maple mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until the squash is fork tender, about 50-60 minutes. Poke the insides of the squash with a fork and brush generously with more of the maple mixture.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbs of oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and golden brown. Add the quinoa, curry powder, cinnamon, and 1 tsp salt and stir until the spices are toasted, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups water and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until the quinoa is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 20-24 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in the cranberries, remaining maple mixture, half the parsley and half the pistachios.

Stuff the squash halves with the quinoa and sprinkle with the remaining parsley and pistachios. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy

-Chef Drew

I couldn’t find a great egg pun so this one doesn’t have a title

Since becoming vegan I have been on a search to find great breakfasts. Growing up my family always had Sunday brunch and it’s a tradition I carried over into my marriage. When we have the time off together I love getting up and making brunch for Melissa but let’s face it, when you’re used to bacon and eggs, becoming vegan gets a little tricky. This weekend I decided it had been too long and I was gonna make an omelet and have some brunch. I found this great recipe from one of our top go to sites, forks over knives. This is a quick and easy recipe for chickpea omelets and came out delicious and more filling than most meat and dairy breakfasts I’ve ever had. It calls for chickpea flour, which you can buy (Bob’s Red Mill makes a version) or you can do what I did and grind your own. A bag of chickpeas is really cheap and it takes just a few minutes in a high speed blender to make your own flour. A word to the wise though, chickpeas are very hard and blending them is really really loud. My dogs did not like this process. Because it uses flour as the base, these omelets are not very “eggy” but come out more like a pancake texture. Call it whatever you want, it was tasty!

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1 Cup Chickpea flour

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp white pepper

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp baking soda

your favorite omelet veggies (I used mushrooms and green pepper)

Instructions:

1. Combine the chickpea flour, onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper, black pepper, nutritional yeast, and baking soda in a small bowl. Add 1 cup water and stir until the batter is smooth.

2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Pour the batter into the pan, as if making pancakes. Sprinkle your veggies into the batter for each omelet as it cooks. Flip the omelet. When the underside is browned, flip the omelet again, and cook the other side for a minute.

3. Serve your amazing Chickpea Omelet topped with avocado and salsa (or whatever else you like)

For more great recipes check out Forks Over Knives, and my other blog posts.

Bon Appetite!

-Chef Drew