VeganYumYum » breakfast Yup, I'm back. Thu, 08 Nov 2012 23:25:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Black Pepper and Cumin Pickled Carrots Thu, 06 Sep 2012 23:50:42 +0000 Lolo Pickled Carrots with Cumin and Black Pepper

Black pepper and cumin are two things that I can never have enough of.

Pickles, on the other hand, I can usually do with a lot less of. Or, you know, none. None’s fine. Pickles live in the part of my brain labeled yuck.

I was talking to my friend Bill and mentioned my dislike for pickled things. The conversation went a bit like this after my confession:

“Do you like vinegar?”
“Do you like sugar?”
“Do you like salt?”
“Do you like vegetables?”
“Well, then you like all that stuff together. You like pickles.”


It’s sort of embarrassing to be really into food but dislike things that are wildly popular. (We’ve discussed my dislike of garlic previously, but that’s another post. And a lost cause.) Every so often I revisit my blacklist and see if anything on it can be crossed off. Oftentimes I try to overcome my dislikes by forcing myself to try them in new ways until something starts to click.

Cumin and Black Pepper

My conversation with Bill rattled around in my head for a bit and I realized that he’s probably right. I would probably like pickles, provided they were made in a way I liked, with spices I’m fond of. Skip the dill, get rid of the garlic, and maybe, to be safe, start with something that isn’t a cucumber. Baby steps. Pickle therapy.

Fresh CuminNow, a note on spices. Do you have whole spices at home? Are they sort of fresh? I like whole spices, but I am guilty of letting them sit for longer than they should. Think about what’s in your rack right now and be honest — when was the last time you replaced stuff? Did you purchase them from somewhere that has high-turnover, or had they been sitting for months before you brought them home?

If you want to get back on the fresh spice train, and don’t think your local stores have anything worth investing in, find yourself a quality spice store that takes online orders. I have used The Spice House back in my home state of Illinois for years and am always impressed with their stuff.

It’s good to have fresh cumin, but please please please tell me you are using whole peppercorns, in a grinder. If I could only have one whole spice in my house it would absolutely be black pepper. Pre-ground pepper is sad. Fresh, whole peppercorns are amazing. Swoon-worthy. Get some.

Okay, enough yapping. On to the recipe. I was heavily influenced by this post by David Lebovitz during my carrot pickle research, so many thanks to him and his informative post.

Pickled Carrots
For a 1 pint jar

1 Pound Carrots (about 5-6), peeled and chopped as described
1 1/4 Cups Water
1 Cup Vinegar (cider, white wine, etc)
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Tbs Salt
1 Tbs Whole Cumin Seeds
1 Tbs Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Bay Leaves (optional)

Pickling Spices

Mix together your picking spices and set aside. Put a pot of salted water on to boil.


One pound of carrots is roughly equivalent to 5 or 6 large carrots. If you have a choice, pick out fewer large, thick carrots as opposed to more thin carrots. Thicker carrots will be much easier to chop up.

Chopping Carrots

After your carrots are peeled, stand one up in your jar and chop it to 1 or 1 1/2 inches from the rim. Use this piece of a carrot as a template to chop all the carrots down to the correct size.

Chopping Carrots

Once all your carrots are the correct size, chop each piece in half lengthwise to give a nice sturdy base (carrot above, on the left). With a large, sharp chef’s knife (bigger is easier for this task), begin slicing the carrots lengthwise into 1/8 or 1/16 inch thicknesses. You don’t have to go crazy or be a perfectionist. You want them thin enough to take to the picking liquid, but thick enough to retain crunch.

Chopped Carrots

Once all the carrots are chopped, drop them into the boiling water for 1-2 minutes. You do not want to over-cook them, you just want to loosen them up a bit so they can take to the pickling easier.

Drain the carrots well, and add the remaining ingredients to the hot pan. Bring to a simmer and let cook on low for another 2-3 minutes.


Add the blanched carrots to the liquid and let sit until room temperature, or at least cool enough to handle.

Jarring the pickles

With VERY clean hands, load up the pickles into your jar.

Jarring the pickles

Pour the picking liquid and all the spices into the jar.

Place your jar in the fridge. They will be ready to eat in 24 hours, and should keep for a good two weeks. They are great with your favorite vegan cheese and crackers, mixed into salad, with tacos, in sushi, falafel, or on their own.

They are pretty damn good. If I like them, you probably will, too.

By the way, as an experiment, I used a tiny bit of the hot pickling liquid and poured it over freshly sliced cucumbers. That works, too, and they remain crisp. The liquid should work with just about anything you have on hand!

Jarring the pickles

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Slow Rise Pancakes Fri, 03 Jul 2009 00:37:28 +0000 Lolo Slow Rise Pancakes

I thought I needed only one pancake recipe.

Man was I wrong.

Now, I’m not the plan-ahead type. It’s really a challenge for me to prep food for the following day; not only am I lazy, I’m also pretty fickle. My cravings can disappear nearly as quickly they arrive, so planning ahead doesn’t always work out for me.

But I have been making some bread recently, bread that starts off with a wet yeast dough that sits overnight to gain flavor. It’s a handy trick — you get some great flavor from the yeast without needing a sourdough starter handy.

The other morning I woke up at some unfavorable hour craving apple pancakes. Suddenly one part of my brain connected with another and I had it; yeast risen pancakes. It’s not an original idea by any means, I just don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me until now. Not only would yeast risen pancakes have extra flavor added by using a slow-rising batter, but you could omit baking soda and baking powder altogether, creating a cleaner tasting pancake.

I knew they were going to be good, but I had no idea how good.

I mean, I really think these are the best pancakes I’ve ever had. They are most certainly the best pancakes I’ve ever made.

If you can get yourself to stir the simple batter together the night before and toss it in the fridge, I think you’ll thank yourself the next morning for your forethought and dedication to a delicious breakfast. These pancakes won’t let you down.

Slow Rise Pancakes
Makes 8 thick 5″ pancakes

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast (one packet)
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Sugar
1 1/2 Cup Soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)
2 Tbs Oil
1 Ener-g Egg, prepared (1.5 tsp mixed with 2 Tbs water)
1/3 Cup Soymilk, for thinning the next morning, if desired

Whisk all the dry ingredients together until well combined. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the 1/3 cup of soymilk) and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Use batter anytime the next day.

Once you’re ready to make pancakes, remove the batter from the fridge and stir in up to 1/3 cup of soymilk to thin it if needed/desired. Let the batter sit out on the counter for 20-30 minutes. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Spray with spray oil and wipe out the pan.

Using a 1/3 cup measure, begin making pancakes. I added apple slices to the batter before it set:

Apple Slices in yeast pancake

You can add anything you fancy: blueberries, chocolate chips, bananas, strawberries, etc.

Once the top is bubbly and the edges are set, check to make sure the bottom is brown. Flip:

Golden Yeast Pancake

Cook on the other side for another few minutes until browned. Stack pancakes in a low oven to keep warm, serve with earth balance margarine and maple syrup.


Thanks for forgiving me a little break in posting, this quick little recipe is a way for me to get back into the swing of blogging. And also thanks to VegNews for nominating me for the 2009 Veggie Awards! If you’d like to vote for my blog, and have a chance to win some cool prizes, click the banner below. Thanks for your support!

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Perfect Cinnamon Buns Fri, 08 May 2009 19:41:48 +0000 Lolo Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

I adore this recipe.

When I went vegan a little over five years ago, I had a minor panic attack when I realized I’d never eat another Cinnabon again. I remember I used to ask my dad to bring them home from the airport for me when I was little, whenever he had a business trip. The fluffy swirls of dough, the sugary syrup, the cream cheese frosting… I needed to recreate them perfectly, vegan style. And let me tell you, these are a dead ringer for our mall and airport favorites.

Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese FrostingBut it comes at a price. If you’re looking for a healthy, low-fat, calorie conscious treat, I can’t help you today. If you’re looking for a recipe that is guaranteed to win over any vegan doubter, guaranteed to please any Cinnabon lover, guaranteed to send any child into a permanent sugar high; these buns are for you.

There is a lot of sugar and Earth Balance margarine in these. But hey, the recipe makes a ton of rolls, and it takes four hours to make, so they’re really special occasion buns. Embrace the cups (and cups) of sugar and fat, and you will definitely be rewarded with the most perfect cinnamon bun you’ve ever had. Isn’t it worth it, at least once?

I think so.

For those of you who haven’t yet overcome your apprehension about yeast breads, I encourage you to give these a try. I’ve included tons of photos and a video to clarify the process and give you an idea how the dough is supposed to look at every step. They might seem intimidating, but they’re easier than you think!

I think these would be an amazing way to wake up Mom on Sunday, paired with a nice hot cup of coffee. You can make these ahead of time, refrigerating over night before the second rise and popping them in the oven in the morning, or you can freeze them for later. More info on that at the end of the recipe.

Perfect Cinnamon Buns
Makes 12 Large Buns

Yeast Mixture
4 tsp Active Dry Yeast (a little less than 2 packets)
1 tsp Sugar
1 Cup Water, 110º F

1 Cup Soymilk
2/3 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Earth Balance Margarine
2 tsp Salt
2 Ener-g Egg Replacer Eggs, prepared, optional
Yeast Mixture, from above
6 Cups All Purpose Flour, more for kneading

Dough Filling
1/2 Cup Earth Balance Margarine, melted
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
3 Tbs Cinnamon

Pan Sauce
1/2 Cup Earth Balance Margarine, melted
1/3 Cup Sugar

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 Cup Earth Balance
1/3 Cup Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Powdered Sugar

Combine yeast mixture and set aside to proof.

From the dough ingredients, combine the soymilk, sugar, earth balance, salt, and ener-g eggs in a small sauce pan. Heat until earth balance is melted and all the ingredients are well combined, but do not let the mixture get too hot. You should be able to put a finger in it without burning yourself.

The yeast should now be nice and foamy (proofed). Combine it with the warmed liquid you just made; make sure it’s not too hot, or you will kill your yeast.

Proofed Yeast and Liquid Ingredients

Place 4 cups of all purpose flour in a large bowl. Add the warmed wet ingredients.

Mixing the Dough

Beat the batter well with a wooden spoon. The dough will be very wet and liquid, much more like a batter than a dough.

Mixing the Dough

Add 2 more cups of flour and mix in partially. It’ll look like a wreck. That’s fine! Turn out the dough onto a large table/kneading surface, scraping out everything in the bowl.


Begin kneading, gently at first. It’s going to take about 8 minutes to get the dough where it needs to be. Add more flour only if the dough starts sticking to the table and there is no more dry flour to be worked into the dough. You want the dough to end up smooth and elastic, and slightly tacky, but not sticky. You should be able to knead it on a bare table without it sticking.

Here is a video of the kneading and cutting process, so you can see the stages the dough goes through.

Cinnamon Buns

Once the dough is ready, place it in an oiled bowl, covered with oiled plastic wrap, to rise for 90 minutes in a warm spot. If you’re lacking a warm spot, turn your oven on low for 1 minute, then turn it off and place the dough in the oven to rise with the door closed. Remember to turn the oven off after one minute, and remember the dough is in there — no preheating for other things! (I’ve made that mistake more than once, it’s never good.)

Once the dough has risen completely, it’ll leave a little dent when you poke it. If it springs back, it needs more time.

Risen Dough

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and press it down (this is part is in the video above). You want it press or roll it out into a 15 x 20 inch rectangle. You can use a roller if you want, but it’s not necessary.

Pour the 1/2 cup of melted earth balance on the dough. Brush it so the dough is covered completely. It’s okay if it pools in some locations.

Mix together the cinnamon and sugar from the dough filling above. Sprinkle it evenly over the dough.

Cinnamon Sugar Filling

Prepare a large baking dish, like a lasagna dish, by pouring in the melted earth balance from the pan sauce ingredients above. Brush the sides of the pan so they are greased.

Melted Earth Balance

Add the sugar, spreading evenly over the bottom of pan. The pan is now ready for the buns.

The following steps are shown in detail in the video above: Roll the dough up gently, starting from one of the short sides. Let it rest on the seem once it’s rolled up completely. Cut 12 rolls with dental floss or sewing thread. Place the rolls in the pan. (Ignore the fact that they are practically floating in earth balance and sugar.)

Cinnamon Buns, pre-baked

Cover the buns and let rise for 45 minutes if you will be baking these immediately. If baking the next day, cover the buns and let rise in the refrigerator overnight. Bake in the morning with no need for more rising. If making the buns for a date in the future, cover the buns and freeze immediately. The day before you are ready to use them, defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then let warm up on the counter the next morning for an hour. In any case, when ready to bake, follow the directions below.

Preheat the oven to 350º F, remembering to remove the rising buns if they are in there!

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes.

Cinnamon Buns, baked

Stir together the frosting ingredients. It takes a bit of elbow grease to mix it together, but resist the urge to add liquid. It will come together, I promise. Whisk until there are no lumps.

Serve the buns warm with frosting. I like to microwave completely cooled buns for 45-60 seconds before eating.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Spring Crêpes Three Ways Wed, 25 Mar 2009 02:33:32 +0000 Lolo Spring Crêpes, Three Ways

Happy Spring, lovelies!

It’s time to break out of our winter food ruts, and I think I have just the thing. Crêpes! They’re light and can be filled with almost anything, but to get your imagination started I’ve created three recipes for you to try.

Now, vegan crepes. They’re not hard once you get the hang of them. The recipe I’m posting here comes from a veganized version of a standard “Eggless Crepe” recipe that’s floating around on the interwebs. I just subbed soymilk and Earth Balance for milk and butter. I also think it needs a little extra water, and I’ll point that out in the recipe below. There is also a really good crêpe recipe in Veganomicon, if you have that cook book, but it calls for chickpea flour. If you have your own favorite recipe, use that! Whatever works for you will work here.

There’s a little video below to get you started if you’re new to crêpes.

The great thing about these is that you can make absolutely everything ahead. They heat up in minutes, so it’s perfect if you’re cooking bunch or lunch for several people who all want different fillings. Simply place the cold crêpe in the pan, put the fillings on top, heat through, and serve. I make extra crêpes and keep them in the fridge for quick meals for the next day or two.

So, the fillings!

Asparagus Hollandaise

Asparagus Hollandaise Crêpe

Asparagus season is here or will be shortly, and this creamy hollandaise-ish sauce is perfect with spring-tender stalks. I just quickly pan-seared them so they’d have lots of flavor without overcooking them. You can check out my guide to buying and prepping asparagus if you like. The sauce has an almond base, so if you have good blender, you should be able to throw it together in minutes. Nutritional yeast is optional, but it does give it a nice pale yellow color and as well as some flavor. If you leave out the yeast, you might want to add a little turmeric for color.

Wild Mushroom and Wilted Frisée

Wild Mushroom and Wilted Frisée Crêpe

I’m a sometimes-mushroom person. Sometimes I love them, other times I eat around them. I find the less-common mushrooms to be the tastiest. I used king trumpet and chanterelle mushrooms in this crêpe, and man were they delicious. Morels are coming in season, and they’d be wonderful, too. You’re welcome to use more standard mushrooms if you want (cremini, portabello, button), but these fancier ‘shrooms were a real treat for me. I paired them with some wilted frisée (also called curly endive or chicory). It’s kind of bitter, but seems to mellow out with a quick sauté. It matches the mushrooms perfectly.

Berry Crêpes

Berry Crêpe au Sucre

I really wanted to use strawberries in this one, but alas, it’s not quite the season for them yet. The ones at my local store looked pretty sad. The raspberries, on the other hand, looked perfect. You can use any berry you like in these, along with a little sugar. The sugar melts a bit, making this crazy-easy dessert really very tasty. If you want, you can put a few tiny chunks of candied ginger in there as well. You don’t need berries at all; my absolute favorite all-time crêpe is a simple crêpe au sucre. Just sugar. Pure and simple.

Basic Crêpes
Makes 8-10

1/2 Cup Soymilk
2/3 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Earth Balance, melted
1 Cup Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Tbs Sugar (sweet crepes only, optional)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract (sweet crepes only, optional)
2 Tbs Water, to thin if needed

Place all the ingredients in a blender or in a bowl. Blend or whisk until smooth. Transfer to a 2 Cup measuring cup (for pouring) and refrigerate for 30 minutes. While the batter is refrigerating, prepare your fillings.

Asparagus Hollandaise
Fills 2-3 Crêpes

1/2 Lb Thin Asparagus, trimmed
1 Tbs Earth Balance
1 Pinch Salt
Black Pepper

Heat a large skillet (I used then cast-iron skillet for all of the fillings) over high heat. Add Earth Balance and asparagus. Cook for a few minutes, until asparagus are bright green, tender-crisp, and are browning in spots. Add salt and pepper, set aside.

Seared Asparagus

Hollandaise Sauce
1/2 Cup Sliced Raw Almonds
1/2 Cup Hot Water
2 Tbs Earth Balance
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast, optional (or 1/4 tsp turmeric for color)
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard, optional

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until extremely smooth.

Wild Mushroom and Wilted Frisée
Fills 2-3 Crêpes

2 Tbs Earth Balance
1 Cup Chopped Chanterelle Mushroms
1 Cup Chopped Trumpet Mushrooms
1/2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Sprig Fresh Rosemary, stem removed
1 Cup Chopped Frisée Greens
1-2 Cloves garlic, minced, optional

Chanterelle and Trumpet MushroomsSlice trumpet mushrooms lengthwise, then lengthwise again.

Add the earth balance to a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add trumpet mushrooms and saute until beginning to brown. Add chanterelles and rosemary. Turn down heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with a pinch of salt and balsamic vinegar. Remove mushrooms from pan.

Add garlic and sweat until tender. Add greens and cook until just wilted, one to two minutes. Remove and set aside with mushrooms.

Sauteed Chanterelle and Trumpet Mushrooms with Rosemary

Berry Crêpes
Fills 2-3 Crêpes

1/2 Pint Raspberries (or other berries)

Berry crêpes are filled while the crêpes are still cooking. Add sugar and berries to the crêpe as soon as it is flipped. See below for more details about cooking the crêpes.

Making Crêpes

So now that you fillings are all prepared, and your crêpe batter has rested and chilled, we’re ready to make crêpes! I’ve made a video that outlines the whole process, but here are a few things you’ll need:

-A non-stick omelet or crêpe pan
-Cooking Spray
-A graduated spatula (the long flat kind you use for frosting cakes), optional

If your batter is too thick when it comes out of the fridge, stir in 2 Tbs of water to loosen it up.

Here’s how:

How to make Crepes from lolo on Vimeo.

Assembling and Serving

So now you have a stack of cooling crêpes and fillings that have gone cold. No worries. You can keep your fillings in a warm oven until you’re ready to serve, or even easier, warm them up with the crêpes at the same time.

When you’re ready to eat, place a crêpe back in a hot skillet (medium heat is fine) and add the fillings you want in the top. Cover the whole thing and wait a few minutes. You want everything to get hot, but you don’t want to cook the crêpe any more than it is. When it’s hot, fold the crêpe in thirds and serve. It should only take 1-2 minutes per crêpe to heat up, so you can make them to order for your friends and family.

Okay! So are you ready to make crêpes? I hope so, because typing the little circumflex is getting really annoying. Making crêpes is much easier than accenting them correctly, I assure you.

Spring Crêpes, Three Ways

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Homemade Apple Butter Tue, 04 Nov 2008 21:43:43 +0000 Lolo Homemade Apple Butter

So basically, my crock pot hates me.

It’s supposed to be one of the easiest appliances to use, right? Everytime I’ve tried to something has gone wrong. Things are either over cooked or undercooked, and definitely not very tasty. I decided I needed to find a recipe that couldn’t possibly fail. When I realized I had 5 pounds of apples, I had my answer.

I found a recipe for crock pot apple butter, and it seemed super easy. Peel and chop the apples, add sugar and spices, let cook overnight. I could do that. My crock pot could do that.

It turns out peeling and chopping 5 1/2 pounds of apples is kind of a pain in the a…pple. Your hands get all slippery and tired, and you get sticky apple juice everywhere. Then the apples didn’t fit into my crockpot, so I had to puree them all in order to make the most of the space I had. Finally I got everything in the crock pot and turned it on. The recipe said the whole thing would take less than 12 hours. Great!

12 hours later? Not even close to done.

I ended up cooking this apple butter for a full 24 hours. Between prepping, cooking, and canning, the whole project took 26 hours! 26! A lot of that was downtime, but still. My crock pot is cursed.

It was so worth it though. It’s dark, sweet, tangy, silky, and spicy. It is SO GOOD on toast with a little vegan margarine, you have no idea. It’s like concentrated apple pie. I wish you could taste it. Well, actually, you might be able to!

Since I have a lot of this stuff, and it’s such a b…anana to make, I’m going to give away three jars to VeganYumYum readers. Yay!

Win Homemade Organic Apple Butter!

Contest is closed!  Stay tuned for the winners!

Homemade Apple Butter1) Comment!
2) Use a valid email address! (Will not be published!)
3) Win apple butter!

In one week (November 11th at 5 PM), I’ll use a random number generator to pick three numbers, corresponding to the comments here. Those people win a 1/2 pint jar of organic apple butter, complete with fun spreader knife and recipe card. I’ll email you to tell you you’ve won: just reply with a mailing address.

Some general rules: If you don’t leave a valid email address with your comment, I’ll pick another person. If I don’t hear back from you with your mailing address, I’ll pick another person. I’ll ship overseas, so don’t worry, everyone can play!

For those of you who don’t win, here’s the recipe. I used this recipe found I online.

Crock Pot Apple Butter
Makes 4 Pints

5 1/2 lbs Apples, peeled and finely chopped (as many different kinds as you can!)
4 Cups Sugar
2-3 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Sprinkle Nutmeg

Peel and core the apples. Slice finely or puree in a food processor. Add apples and remaining ingredients to your crock pot. Cook on high for 1 hour, then on low for 8-10 hours. Remove lid (or crack it open a bit) and cook on high until a wooden spoon stands upright in it. The apple butter will have reduced by about half to get to this point. Blend if desired.

Fill sterilized jars with simmering apple butter and process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Remove jars and let sit, undisturbed, overnight. Test the seals and refrigerate any jars that have not sealed completely. Fully sealed jars will keep for 18-24 months unopened. Once opened, the apple butter will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator, or indefinitely in the freezer.

Good luck!

Homemade Apple Butter

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Ground Cherry Cupcake Pies Wed, 03 Sep 2008 16:44:04 +0000 Lolo Ground Cherries

Ground cherries. I had absolutely no idea what they were until I saw them at a farmers market here in Boston. When I walked by them I said, “Aww, baby tomatillos!” The sign said “ground cherries” so I asked the woman more about them.  She carefully unwrapped one from it’s papery husk and handed it to me.

Wow, so weird. And so good.

They’re the size of cherry tomatoes. The ripe ones are a pale golden yellow. They have a hint (just a hint) of tomato, but are much sweeter. They smell like fresh strawberries, have the sweetness of grapes, and have a vaguely pineapple flavor. And a little vanilla, too. Weird. But good.

I picked up two little cartons and then let them sit on my counter for four days. I couldn’t figure out what to do with them, and I thought the point would be moot since they were probably spoiled. But nope! They store extremely well in the fridge, and as it turns out, pretty well on your counter top, too.

Ground Cherries

The most traditional way to use them is in pie. I been thinking about a way to make miniature pies in cupcake tins, so here was my chance to try it out. The upshot is that you can use the technique with whatever fruit you can find, should ground cherries not be available.

Ground Cherry Cupcake Pies

Ground Cherry Cupcake Pies
Makes Six

Pate Brisee (pie dough)
1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 Cup Cubed, Chilled Earth Balance Margarine
2 Tbs – 1/4 Cup Ice Water

1 1/3 Cup Ground Cherries, de-husked and washed
1/4 Cup Sugar + 1/2 tsp Flour

Begin by making the pie dough. For a step-by-step, see this recipe.

Line a cupcake tin with cupcake papers. Spray lightly with oil. Place a scant tablespoon of dough into the bottom of each cup. Using a small glass dipped in water (one that has the same diameter of the bottom of the cupcake cup), press the dough to form a bottom crust.

Cupcake Pie Shells

Take small pieces of dough and build up the sides of the cup with dough, making sure the walls aren’t too thick.

Cupcake Pie Shells

At this point, you can use the glass again, dipped in water so it won’t stick, to neaten everything up if you want.

Cupcake Pie Shells

Your finished pie shells should look something like this. Place the shells in the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up.

Cupcake Pie Shells

Preheat the oven to 400º F. Remove the shells from the fridge and fill to the top, slightly overflowing, with ground cherries (or whatever fruit you’re using).

Ground Cherry Cupcake Pies

Add 1/2 to 1 tsp of the sugar/flour mixture to each cup, depending on how sweet you want your pies. 1/2 tsp was sweet enough for me, allowing the flavor of the fruit to show through.  If you’re using something tangier or less sweet, you’ll want more sugar.

Cover the back of a cookie sheet with a sheet of plastic wrap. Add the rest of the pie dough, and cover with a second sheet. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to 1/4-1/8″ thick. Using a glass that has a slightly larger diameter than the openings of the cupcake cups, stamp out six pie crust tops. Place this in the freezer for a few minutes, or into the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

Pie Tops

Once chilled, you should be able to easily peel out the tops and place them over your pies. Pinch the edges down, slash a X in the top with a sharp knife, and sprinkle with sugar. You can do other types of tops, such as lattice work, if desired.

Ground Cherry Cupcake Pies

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for several minutes before gently removing them from the cupcake tin to cook completely.

Ground Cherry Cupcake Pie

Ground cherry cupcake pies!

Again, you can use any fruit you like, but if you ever see ground cherries, definitely try them. They’re also sometimes called cape gooseberries (though some people say it’s a different fruit in the same family), husk tomatoes (which usually refer to tomatillos…), goldenberries, and a host of other names. Whatever they’re called, they should be small, sweet, and surprising. Make a jam, dip them in chocolate, add them to salsa, or eat them raw.


Okay!  Seems like a lot of people find these growing nearby their homes. PLEASE don’t eat them unless you’re SURE they are okay to eat.  Wikipedia lists over 35 different plants in the Physalis genus.  That’s a lot!  So there’s no guarantee the species that is growing near you is this same species I’ve written about.  Please be careful!!  Even if they are safe to eat, they might not taste the same.

If the people that live around you don’t tend to eat the fruits of the bushes you see, there might be a very good reason why.  Wild foraging can be dangerous, so please eat only ground cherries that you find at markets that have a reputation for, well, selling non-poisonous food.  Ha!

Ground Cherries

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Individual Blueberry Grunts Fri, 01 Aug 2008 01:22:00 +0000 Lolo Individual Blueberry Grunt

Yeah, I’d never heard of a blueberry grunt, either. Until I became friends with Sandy. Every since we became friends, I couldn’t use the word “blueberry” without her saying “Mmmm, blueberry grunt…” eyes half-closed and smiling. I knew it was one of her favorite desserts, but I couldn’t bring myself to make something called a grunt.

Until, that is, I had four cups freshly picked blueberries.

A grunt is in the cobbler family, and it’s a traditional East Coast maritime dessert. It’s perfect for people who might want something like a pie, but are too lazy make an actual pie. So that means it’s perfect for me!

Grunts out of the oven

Blueberry is a popular flavor for grunts, but I imagine you can use pretty much any berry or fruit. They’re a great way to use up bountiful–but fleeting–summer fruit. The most common way to make a grunt is to boil berries with water, sugar, and lemon juice, then add biscuit dough to the top, cover with a tight lid, and steam. It’s a one-pan, stove-top operation. I chose to bake mine because I had these ridiculously cute gratin dishes that I’d been dying to use for a blog post. I’ll give directions for both methods of cooking.

Recipes for grunts are all pretty standard, I adapted and veganized this simple recipe.

Individual Blueberry Grunts

Blueberry Grunts
Makes four individual grunts, or one large

Blueberry Filling
Four Cups Fresh Blueberries (or frozen)
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 tsp Each Cinnamon and Nutmeg, optional (I left them out)

Simple Biscuits
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine, or veg. shortening
3/4-1 Cup Soymilk

Add all of the ingredients for the blueberry filling into a large skillet.  If you’re going to be making one large grunt and steaming the biscuits, make sure this skillet has a tight fitting lid. If you’re going to be baking the grunt, preheat the oven to 400º F.

Blueberry Filling

Boil the berries for 10-15 minutes until the mixture has thickened a little.

Blueberry Filling

Meanwhile, combine all the dry ingredients for the biscuits. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the margarine/shortening into the dry ingredients. If you’re berries aren’t done yet, go ahead and stick the dry mixture in the fridge or freezer to keep the margarine cold until you’re ready for it.

When the berries are ready, add the soymilk to the dry mixture to form a soft biscuit dough. The consistency is pretty forgiving, a slightly too-soft or too-firm dough won’t make a difference in the final product. As long as it holds together, but is soft enough to break apart into clumps, you’re good to go. Don’t over-mix the dough, or the biscuits will be tough. But you knew that!

Grunt Biscuit Dough

For one large, steamed grunt:
Break the biscuit dough up into small, bite-sized pieces.  Place the pieces on top of the hot, still-cooking berries, spread evenly across the top.  Cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid, reduce the heat slightly, and steam for 15 minutes without peeking.  The biscuits should be puffed up and cooked all the way through.  Serve warm.

For one large baked grunt:
Follow the instructions for a steamed grunt, but place in the oven to bake at 400º F (without a lid) for 20 minutes.  You can sand the biscuits sugar before baking if you like! Serve warm.

For individual baked grunts:
Transfer berry mixture to individual ramekins or gratin dishes, filling only half-full.  Add biscuit mixture on top.  Sand with sugar and place all the grunts on a baking sheet (this will help you take them out of the oven with burning yourself).  Bake for 20 minutes, serve warm.

Here’s what my individual grunts looked like before baking:

Grunts before baking

These are great just as they are, but you can also serve them with some ice cream if you want. I invited Sandy over to try them, and she said that not only were they delicious, but they “taste exactly like a non-vegan grunt.” So if you’re looking for a simple, but elegant dessert to use up summer berries, I highly recommend this one.

I won’t blame you if you call it a cobbler, though.

Individual Blueberry Grunts

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Crumb Cake Thu, 19 Jun 2008 22:12:02 +0000 Lolo Crumb Cake

I’ve been looking for the perfect vegan crumb topping for a while now. Before today, my crumb toppings had always been sort of soggy, sort of greasy; more crummy than crumby. I wasn’t sure how to fix the problem.

About a month ago, I subscribed to Cook’s Illustrated. My mother used to get a subscription years ago that I loved, and but it’s taken me this long to finally get my own. Along with the magazine, they sent me their new cookbook The Best of America’s Test Kitchen: Best Recipes and Reviews 2008, and in it is a recipe for crumb cake. I read a little closer, and saw a technique for crumbs that I’d never tried before. I ran into the kitchen to try it out, and oh my, it worked! Perfect crumbs!

This is a veganized version of the recipe found in The Best Of. It’s easy to throw together with few simple ingredients (no specialty egg replacers), making it perfect for a weekend treat or a quick dessert or teatime cake for guests.

Crumb Cake

Crumb Cake
Serves 9 (8×8″ cake)

Crumb Topping
8 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine, melted
2/3 Cup Granulate Sugar*
1 tsp Molasses
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
1 Pinch Salt
1 3/4 Cup Flour (cake flour or all-purpose)

*The original recipe calls for 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/3 cup brown sugar.  I was out of brown sugar, so I used only granulated sugar with added molasses.  Afterall, that’s how brown sugar is made commercially–they simply add molasses back into the sugar after processing.

1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Canola Oil, or 6 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine, softened
1/3 Cup Soymilk + 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 Tbs Cornstarch mixed with 1/4 Cup Water
1-2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Powdered Sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Whisk the still-warm melted earth balance with the sugar, molasses, cinnamon and salt.  Mix in the flour with a spoon, or your hands, until a thick dough forms, similar to the texture of cookie dough.  Let sit to cool for about 10 minutes.  It should be ready when after you’ve put together the batter for the cake.

Before making the crumbs

Line an 8×8 pan with aluminum foil (two sheets in a cross formation, leaving excess draped over the edges to help you remove the cake later).  Spray with vegetable oil.  Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add oil, soymilk mixture, cornstarch mixture and vanilla extract.  Whisk until smooth, but do not overmix.

Add the batter to the lined pan.  Begin to break apart the crumb mixture into smaller, pea sized pieces.  You want to take chunks from the bowl and gently break off the crumbs, like so:

Making the crumbs

Cover the batter evenly with all the crumb mixture. It will seem like a lot! When I thought I had enough, I wasn’t even half-way through the mixture. Use it all, as the cake will expand and the crumb mixture is tasty. After all, this is crumb cake. Don’t be shy!

Crumbing the cake
Crumb cake has a lot of crumbs!

Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350ºF, or until the crumbs are slightly browned and a toothpick in the center of the cake comes out clean. Use the toothpick to push over a crumb or two in the middle an make sure the top doesn’t look gooey (I went the whole 50 minutes).  Grab the aluminum foil and gently lift the cake out to cool for 20-30 minutes on a cooling rack. Give it a nice dusting of powdered sugar, slice and serve.

Crumb Cake, dusting

Wrap up any leftovers in plastic wrap. If there are any leftovers!

Crumb Cake

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Lemon Maple Scones with Vegan Clotted Cream Thu, 20 Mar 2008 21:37:58 +0000 Lolo Lemon Maple Scones with Vegan Clotted Cream

American scones are different than British scones. Up until today, when I pictured a scone in my head, it was triangular, fairly large, dry, crumbly and sweet. And tasty.

Imagine my surprise when I did a google image search and saw photo after photo of things that looked like biscuits. After some research (thank you wikipedia), I realized that British scones are indeed different than their American counterparts. They’re less sweet, smaller, and fluffier–and indeed fairly similar to the US biscuit. I had to make some. And I had to eat them with clotted cream.

Lemon Maple Scones with Vegan Clotted CreamNow, I’ve never had clotted cream. Despite the fact that it’s definitely not vegan, it’s made with unpasteurized milk which is simply unavailable in most areas–it’s actually illegal in 25 states. From what I’ve read, clotted cream is slightly sweet, has a light tang, and is at least 55% fat. It’s usually served on scones for cream tea (tea served with scones, clotted cream and jam), so I decided that I needed to make a vegan version. Like, immediately.

Usually scones are served with strawberry jam. I decided to go with fresh, organic blueberries because I had them on hand, but any fresh berry or your favorite jam will be perfect for these. They’re really quick to throw together, so it really is a nice thing to make fresh for afternoon tea or a nice weekend breakfast. They’re best served warm, but I hear you can freeze them if needed.

These scones are very lightly flavored. I love the combination of lemon and maple, but since I was trying to emulate British scones, the flavoring is delicate. They’re good on their own, but spectacular with the clotted cream and berries. Does the vegan clotted cream tase anything like the real stuff? I have no idea, but my best guess is no. But even if it’s not the same, it’s really, really tasty.

Lemon Maple Scones with Clotted Cream
Makes 12-15 2″ Scones

2 Cups All- Purpose Flour
2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
Zest of 1 Lemon
1/3 Cup Earth Balance Margarine
3 Tbs Maple Syrup (or regular sugar)
1/2 Cup Soymilk
2 Tbs Lemon Juice

Clotted Cream
4 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine
4 Tbs Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
2 Tbs Powdered Sugar

Whisk the ingredients for the clotted cream together. It takes some elbow grease, but it will soon be a thick, smooth cream. Let it sit out to soften a little if needed to ease mixing. Set aside at room temperature; refrigerating will make the cream stiffer.

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl (flour through zest). Mix the wet ingredients together (syrup, soymilk and lemon juice). Using a pastry cutter or a fork, blend the Earth Balance into the dry ingredients until there are no chunks of margarine left and the mixture looks like damp sand.

Pour in the wet ingredients and mix with your hands to form a soft dough. Only mix until just combined, adding more flour if the mixture is too wet. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and roll out to a slab 3/4″ thick. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass with about a 2″ diameter, cut out your scones. Press the scraps of dough together, roll out again, and continue cutting scones until you’ve used up your dough.

Cutting Scones

Transfer scones to a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper, or a non-stick mat. Brush the tops with a mixture of soymilk, powdered sugar and lemon juice.

Soymilk Wash for Scones

Bake at 400º F for 12-15 minutes. If the scones aren’t lightly brown after 15 minutes, transfer to the broiler for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully, to brown the tops if desired. Remove to a cooling rack.

While still warm, split and slather each side with clotted cream. Add berries or jam to the top and serve with your favorite tea.

Lemon Maple Scones with Vegan Clotted Cream

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Easy Weekend Pancakes Sat, 23 Feb 2008 19:39:51 +0000 Lolo Tall Stack

*Recipe updated - I accidentally left out the sugar and oil

I usually think about making pancakes sometime during the weekend, but I rarely get around to it. I don’t always want to break out my whisk and bowls and create a lot of dishes that I’ll have to clean up later. Last night, I had an idea.What if I made the batter the night before, in my blender? One container for mixing. I could store the blender jar right in the refrigerator over night, and pour my pancakes from the blender directly into the pan the next morning.

Was it as easy as I hoped? Yes. Yes it was.


I used spelt flour, because once I realized it wasn’t scary at all, I figured it’d be perfect for pancakes. And it is. However, feel free to use regular flour for these, they’ll be just as good without the spelt.

Silver Dollar pancakes are the best, in my personal opinion. They’re just like regular pancakes, but they’re small, about three inches in diameter. They’re tiny enough to roll up and eat in one bite. They cook quickly, they’re easy to flip, easy to eat, and very easy on the eyes. If you’ve never made them before, give them a shot; you’ll never go back to big ones again.

Easy Weekend Pancakes
Makes about 25 Silver Dollar Pancakes, enough for two people

1 1/2 Cup Soymilk
1 Tbs Sugar
2 Tbs Oil
1 Cup Spelt (or all-purpose*) Flour
1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Extract (any flavor, I used orange, but vanilla is a no-brainer)
1-2 Tbs water, to thin batter if needed

*If using only all-purpose flour for this recipe, you may need to add more liquid. Regular flour absorbs more moisture than spelt.

Add soymilk to your blender. Add remaining ingredients except the water and blend for a few seconds until combined. Scrape down any dry flour stuck to the side of the jar and blend again. Place the top on the blender and refrigerate overnight. You can also use the batter immediately.

In the morning, place the blender back on the base and add 1-2 Tbs of water, blend to mix. This re-thins the batter that had thickened overnight.

Pouring BatterPreheat oven to 200º F, or the lowest setting, and put an oven-safe plate on the middle rack. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. Pour the batter directly into the center of the UNgreased heated pan. I like silver dollar sized pancakes, 2 1/2 to 3″ in diameter, but you can make any size you want. This batter should create fairly thin pancakes.

After a few minutes of cooking, you’ll see the bubbles form and set on the uncooked side of the pancake. The batter will start to set, and it will change color from white to dull yellow. This is when you should flip. If your pancake isn’t brown by this time, turn your heat up. If it is overly brown, your heat is too high.While cooking the pancakes, place the finished ones directly into the oven on the plate. Stack the pancakes as you go. This will keep the whole stack warm while you’re cooking them.

Keeping them warm

While the pancakes are cooking, feel free to add blueberries, chocolate chips, or anything else you can imagine. Serve with vegan margarine (Earth Balance) and maple syrup.

Silver Dollar Pancakes

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Martha Stewart Show taping went great. It was a lot of fun, and everyone who works on the show was really wonderful and talented. Martha was a lot of fun to work with, and I’m really glad to have had such a wonderful experience at her studio. I’ll post more info and a clip of the segment after it’s aired on Monday, so check back here in a couple of days. In the meantime, I’m going to spend the weekend relaxing and eating more pancakes!

Silver Dollar Pancakes

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