Monday, December 7, 2009

Vegan Chewy Chocolate Brownies

My friend over at A Season to Taste has been asking for this recipe. It's taken a while to post it though! I first got it from a cooking workshop we put together at Le Frigo Vert over ten years ago, and the brownies are truly amazing! They are soft, rich and chewy. And very easy!

Vegan Chewy Chocolate Brownies

1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 cup water
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup cocoa
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour*
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts

Stir together the 1/2 cup flour and water in a saucepan over low heat until very thick. I use a whisk initially to stop it going lumpy. Then cool the mixture to room temperature. (This is important!)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. (I've used two 8 x 8 pans with success as well.)

In a large bowl combine the sugar, salt, vanilla, and cocoa. Add the cooled flour/water mixture. Stir together. Add the oil and mix well until smooth and the oil doesn't separate out of the batter. (This can take a while.)

Add the remaining flour, baking powder and chopped nuts. (*For a chewier brownie replace up to 1/2 cup of flour with ground almonds. Highly recommended!) Mix well until all ingredients are blended. The batter will be fairly thick.

Transfer batter to pan(s). Bake 25-35 minutes until firm and a knife inserted into the centre comes out 'clean.'


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Vegetarian Diets Get the Nod from the ADA

The American Dietetic Association has had a positive position on vegetarian diets for well over a decade, possibly longer, with the publication of their position paper in 1997 (Journal of the American Dietetic Association, November 1997, Volume 97, Number 11).

Well, now they've reaffirmed that a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet is "appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes" (Volume 109, Issue 7, Pages 1266-1282) I think the inclusion of "all stages of life" is very important. While most people are now accepting of vegetarian diets for adults, vegetarian--and especially vegan--diets for children and pregnant women are still frequently frowned on.

Another keyword here is 'well-planned'. Simply substituing lettuce, broccoli or rice for the traditional meat on your plate doesn't cut it nutritionally. But well-planned doesn't have to mean complicated. Here are a couple of tips from the folks at Vegetarian Nutrition and the Toronto Vegetarian Association.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Salsa Time!

Well, the weather outside may still be chilly, but I've already got my summer tastebuds on. This simple recipe for homemade salsa takes about 10 minutes to make. Serve it alongside slightly warmed corn tortillas as a dip, or to top off vegetarian burritos or tostadas. It also works really well on top of baked marinated tofu, veggie burgers, or vegetarian meat-style loafs. Or add a couple of cups of cooked chickpeas for tasty light lunch.

Fresh Raw Salsa
1–2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and chopped
2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, diced
spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1/4 cup coriander leaves, chopped
1 avocado, stoned, peeled and diced
juice of 1 lime

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

With your hands, mix together the chillies, tomatoes, onions and coriander in a bowl. Squeeze slightly as you mix.

Add the avocado, lime, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Chill until ready to serve.