Tag Archives: raisins

(Cafe) Barcelona Soup and Sandwich

Sandwich and SaladOne of the things I really enjoy about cooking is trying to recreate restaurant meals.  Sometimes I even think that I’ve gotten a recipe just a little bit better than the original – but that’s probably because I believe the best meals are those made and eaten at home.

This quick and easy salad-and-sandwich combination was inspired by a delicious lunch shared with my mom, dad and Kel during a recent trip to Marco Island, Florida.  We cooked most of our meals at our rental house, but found this vegan-friendly restaurant right in the heart of Naples.  The food was simple and very fresh and the company couldn’t be beat.

I eliminated the olive oil in both the sandwich and the salad – they just don’t need it!  And I created a kind of chopped salad for the sandwich filling rather than keeping the ingredients whole.  I thought it would be easier to eat that way (plus you get a bit of everything in every bite), but it turns out, this sandwich is just messy.  Serve it open-faced if you aren’t eating this with family!

One year ago today: Best Friends Forever: Soup & A Sandwich
One year and one day ago today: Earl of Chai: Another Drink from the Slow Cooker

Cafe Barcelona Veggie Sandwich
Serves 2

1 baguette
1 roasted pepper, chopped
2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
6 Spanish olives, chopped
a couple of slices of red onion, chopped
lemon zest
ground black pepper

Cut the baguette in two and then slice each piece in half.  Set aside.

In a bowl, combine the roasted pepper, lettuce, olives, red onion, lemon zest and black pepper.  Divide the mixture between the baguette slices.

Salad and Sandwich collage

Cafe Barcelona Wilted Spinach Salad with Pine Nuts, Apple and Golden Raisins
Serves 2

5 oz. fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 oz. pine nuts
1/2 tart-sweet apple, cored and chopped
splash veggie broth
splash fresh lemon juice

Lightly brown the pine nuts, raisins and apple in a dry skillet.  Stir often to prevent burning.  Add a splash of vegetable broth and put the spinach in the pan, turning to gently wilt it.

Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner and splash the spinach with lemon juice.  Stir and divide the mixture between two plates.

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Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Flatbread Sandwiches w/ Chocolate Cheez & Caramelized Bananas

Plate of Flatbread SandwichesThese flatbreads are based on a recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Flatbreads that I shared earlier this month.  It occurred to me that a cinnamony-sweet version would be just the thing for a brunch, lunch or snack sandwich.  Caramelized bananas came to mind.  And toasted pecans for crunch.  But what would keep the sandwiches together??  A creamy, spreadable, tangy chocolate cheez, of course.

The chocolate cheez recipe is one that I submitted to One Green Planet not too ago.  They graciously published it.  You can read the post and snag the recipe here.  (And thanks to Megan Rascal at SFWeekly for posting about it on the SFoodie Blog!)

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Flatbread Sandwiches w/ Chocolate Cheez & Caramelized Bananas
Serves 2

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Flatbreads
Makes 12 flatbreads

2 1/2 cups whole wheat white flour
1 tsp. salt
4 oz. unsweetened applesauce
1 cup almond milk or water
1/4 cup raisins, soaked in warm water, drained and finely chopped
1 tsp. cinnamon
dash cardamom powder
dash allspice
1 tbsp. maple sugar
3 tbsp. coconut oil, melted

Semi-soft Chocolate Dessert Cheez
several thick slabs

Caramelized Bananas
1 large banana, cut into thick slices
~1/4 cup prune puree (baby food works well)
dash cinnamon
splash orange juice

~2 tbsp. toasted pecans, chopped

Stack of FlatbreadsMake the flatbreads:

In a small bowl, whisk together the applesauce and almond milk/water.  In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt and then add the applesauce mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms.  Add more milk/water if dough seems dry; more flour if it is too wet and sticky.  Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for about 15 minutes.  Place dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the coconut oil, spices, maple sugar and raisins.  Set aside.

Form flatbreads:
Divide dough into 12 equal pieces.  Flatten a piece of dough and roll it out into a very thin disk – about 9″ round.  Keep remaining dough balls covered.  Spread about 1 tsp. of the coconut oil mixture onto the flattened dough and then roll it tightly into a long cylinder.  Coil the cylinder into a tight spiral, gently press and then transfer to a large piece of parchment paper.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and proceed with the remaining dough.

Cook the flatbreads:
Heat a large cast-iron skillet on medium-heat. Tape a large piece of parchment paper onto a work surface and roll out one of the spirals to a 6″ or so round.  The dough will want to curl up and the raisins will want to escape, but persevere.  It helps to roll them out a bit then to let the dough rest before rolling some more.  Plop the round into the skillet and cook until puffy and brown, then flip and cook the other side.  This takes only a few minutes.  Transfer to a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm.  Continue with the remaining spirals.

Semi-soft Chocolate Dessert CheezMake the cheez:
You can find the recipe for my Semi-soft Chocolate Dessert Cheez by clicking this link to One Green Planet.

Bananas in SkilletMake the caramelized bananas:
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the bananas, prune puree, cinnamon and orange juice.  Let the mixture bubble and the bananas get nice and soft.  Add more orange juice if the bananas start to stick.  Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to assemble the sandwiches.

Assemble the sandwiches:
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Smear copious quantities of chocolate cheez onto one side of two flatbreads.  Divide the bananas between two flatbreads and layer on top of the cheez.  Sprinkle with chopped pecans.  Top the flatbreads with the remaining two flatbreads.  Lightly spray the skillet with cooking oil and gently warm the sandwiches, flipping after a few minutes to toast the other side.  Remove from pan, slice and serve immediately.

Sandwiches, Close up

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Vegan MoFo: Curried Tempeh & Veggie Wraps with Cilantro-Mint-Cashew “Chutney”

Curried Tempeh WrapOne of my favorite “go-to” vegan-meets-non-vegan-for-dinner restaurants is Oasis Cafe in Salt Lake City.  Their menu offers both meat, vegetarian and vegan entrees (clearly marked on the menu) and many other dishes can be altered to exclude meat and dairy.  Kel and I went there the other day for lunch and instead of getting my usual tempeh gyro – which I normally cannot resist – I ordered the curried tofu wrap.  I was delicious, but I kept thinking it could’ve been better.  Not so much better, but more.  As in more flavor.  It was as if they got all of the parts right, but the complete package was lacking something. It became my challenge to try and make a better version at home.  Here, tempeh replaces the tofu and I went with potatoes and cauliflower instead of yellow squash.  I just like ‘em better.  (Kristy, garbonzo beans would be good, too…)

By the way, the list of VVP participants is looking mighty fine!  Check it out here.  To get your name added to the list, visit the home of the Virtual Vegan Potluck and sign up!

Curried Tempeh & Veggie Wraps
Makes 6-8

1 13 oz. can light coconut milk
1 tbsp. white miso
1 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos
1/4 cup vegetable broth
juice of one lime
small nubbin fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
dash turmeric
1 1/2 tbsp. curry powder
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 stalk celery, chopped
pinch ground black pepper

Tempeh & Vegetables:
1 small head cauliflower, chopped into small chunks
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 8 oz. package tempeh, cut into cubes and marinated overnight in sauce
1 large onion, peeled and cut into thick slices

1/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water for ~15 minutes
small nubbin ginger, peeled and grated
1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1/2 bunch fresh mint, stems removed
1/2 cup cashews
4 oz. unsweetened applesauce

6-8 whole wheat pitas or tortillas

Chutney & Sauce

Make the “chutney”
Drain the raisins.  Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and mix until nearly smooth.  Put the chutney in a small bowl and set aside.

Make the curried tempeh/vegetables
In a blender, combine all of the marinade/sauce ingredients and process until smooth.  In a shallow dish, combine about one quarter of the sauce with the cubed tempeh, cover and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, remove the tempeh from the marinade, reserving the marinade still in the dish.  Place the tempeh on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 425F oven, turning occasionally, until browned.

While the tempeh bakes, prepare the vegetables.  Combine the vegetables on a large baking sheet and toss with a few tablespoons of vegetable broth or water.  Bake in a 425F oven, turning occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften.  Remove the pan and stir in a 1/4 cup or so of the marinade/sauce.  Return to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes or so – until the vegetables are very soft.  Remove from the oven and stir in the tempeh.

While the vegetables cook, warm the remaining marinade/sauce in a small saucepan.  When the vegetables are finished cooking and you’ve combined them with the tempeh, pour the remaining warmed sauce over everything and stir to combine.

Assemble the wraps
Spread the “chutney” on the tortillas or inside of the pita breads; divide curry mixture among the wraps, roll up and serve.

The curried tempeh and vegetable mixture also tastes great over steamed brown rice.


Vegan MoFo

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Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread (or The Loaf Formerly Known As The Brick)

Four Slices of Bread on PlateRemember this loaf?  The Brick?  The utter failure?  I was determined to try again – this time remembering the salt and the maple syrup – because I just knew it would be a good loaf of bread if I could concentrate, not try to do five things at once and pay attention to one thing at a time.  You might call it Being Present.  You might call it Living in the Moment.  You might even call it Anti-Multitasking.  Whatever it’s called, I need to figure out how to slow down and do it!  By the way, I turned the original Brick into French toast and, you know, it was really, really delicious.

Okay, before I kick off the recipe, please consider submitting one of your blog posts to VeganBloggersUnite!  Lidia is looking for content for this great resource – a place where vegan bloggers can meet and greet and let other like-minded eaters and readers know about their blogs.  It’s easy!  Find a blog post for which you are particularly proud (recipe, opinion, ramblings – whatever!) and follow the simple instructions here.  It takes like five seconds!  I want to thank Lidia for putting together this cool blog and for giving me the space to share some of my posts.

Let’s do this bread thing:

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
Makes 1 loaf, about 16 slices

1 1/4 cup unsweetened, plain soy milk, warm
Dough Rising, Loaf1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 1/4 tsp. dry active
2 tbsp. prune puree
2 tsp. salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
~2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup raisins

2-3 tbsp. prune puree
3 tbsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup Demerara sugar

In a large bowl, combine the soy milk, maple syrup, orange juice and yeast, and stir to combine.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture looks foamy.  Now add the prune puree, salt and the 2 cups of whole wheat flour.  When that’s all nice and combined, stir in the raisins and one cup of the AP flour – adding more as necessary to get a soft dough together.  Lightly flour the counter and knead, adding flour if you need to, to keep dough from clogging up your fingers.  Knead for about 10 minutes and you should have a lovely, soft, elastic dough.

Lightly oil another large bowl and place the dough inside.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for an hour or so, or until the dough has doubled in size.  Meanwhile, prepare the filling by combining all of the ingredients.  Set aside.  Oil a 9″ x 4″ loaf pan.

When the dough has risen, punch down and then dump it out on a lightly floured surface.  Roll to a 10″ x 12″ rectangle and gently spread with the filling mixture.  I leave a little space along the short ends for rolling.  Speaking of which, once you’ve spread the filling over the dough, roll the dough (from the short side) and carefully place the loaf into the prepared pan.  Spritz dough with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another hour or so.  Dough should be about 1 1/2″ inches above the pan rim.

When the dough is nearing the end of its rise, preheat the oven to 375F.  Place the loaf in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Carefully remove the loaf from the pan and tap the bottom of the loaf.  If it sounds hollow, the loaf is done.  If it still sounds a little squishy, put the loaf back in the oven – directly on the rack so the bottom browns up nicely.  Check on the loaf every 5 minutes or so until you are satisfied that it’s thoroughly and deliciously baked.

Allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing.  No really.  If you cut it too soon, it will tear, sag and pull.  But it’ll still taste fantastic, so who am I to tell you what to do?

Sliced Loaf w/ Bread Knife

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Small Kitchen Tragedies

Pecans, Burned

Don't let this happen to you.

I should have stayed out of the kitchen on Sunday.  The peanut butter-banana-wheat germ pancakes came out just right, sure, but it was downhill from there.  I had been looking forward to a morning of baking; I’d already set everything out on the counter that I needed to make a loaf of whole wheat cinnamon raisin swirl bread.  Whole wheat biscuits for lunch were to follow.

I warmed the soy milk, added the yeast and let the mixture sit for a few minutes to bubble.  Then I added in the flour and kneaded – gosh it was a nice dough – and then in went the raisins and a few more minutes of kneading.  When I had a nice, smooth ball of dough it hit me: I’d completely forgotten to add in the salt and the 1/4 cup of maple syrup.  Both ingredients were sitting there on the counter.  Right in front of me.  Never mind.  Shake it off.  How bad could it be?  What did I think baking was anyway – - chemistry?!  I plopped the dough in an oiled bowl and set it aside to rise.  After it had doubled (rather quickly, I thought), I rolled it out and spread the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top, then rolled it up and put it in a loaf pan, setting it aside for its second rise.

While the bread dough was doing its thing, I started to mix the biscuit dough together.  I had the brilliant idea to added chopped pecans to the mix and I had those toasting on the stove.  I finished mixing the dough and I carefully patted it out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet when…wait.  Who the h*ll is burning corn husks?!  Oh no.  Not again.  I realized I’d forgotten about the pecans.  Not only had the pecans not made it into the biscuits, they’d been burnt to a crisp.

Meanwhile, I’d turned the oven on to preheat to 475F, the temperature needed for the biscuits, but when I looked over at the cinnamon raisin loaf, it had risen a couple of inches over the rim of the loaf pan.  I knew I had to get it into the oven immediately, but the temperature needed to be at 375F.  I turned down the oven, slid in the loaf pan and thought, what the heck, throw in the biscuits as well.

After about ten minutes, I checked on the bread and biscuits.  The loaf that had risen so loftily had suddenly dropped like a souffle seconds after the oven door slams.  And it looked as if someone had rested an elbow on one side of the loaf.  The biscuits looked pale and wimpy.  I rotated the biscuits up to the top rack, cranked the heat up to 475F and crossed my fingers.  When the biscuits had browned up, I removed them, turned down the oven temperature and moved the loaf pan back up to the top rack, trying not to look at it.  Too depressing.  In another 10 minutes, the bread was…done.  Or maybe I was just done with the bread.

Kel tells me that The Brick tastes pretty darn good.  I’m not sure I trust him, however.  I’ll probably give it a taste once I get over my disgust with the way it looks.  The biscuits came out just fine – flaky, tender and with a nice crust.  It would have been even better if they’d had pecans in them…Some days just go this way and all one can do is get back into the kitchen to try again.

(On a happy note, both the utterly divine tinykitchenstories and the ridiculously readable Meizac’s Blog bestowed Versatile Blogger Awards on An Unrefined Vegan – thusly helping to alleviate some of my baking pain and suffering.  Thank you, fine ladies!)

Brick Loaf, Sliced in Half

Amazingly, the chain saw was not required to cut The Brick.

Loaf of Brick Bread

Not a reflection in the fun-house mirror, just another Brick in the wall.

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Inspired-by-Trader-Joe’s Trail Mix Cookies

Trail Mix Cookie with Soy MilkWhile in northern California recently, I was happy to discover that there was a Trader Joe’s only a few blocks from my hotel.  It was the perfect place to load up on essentials and goodies while in vegan-uncertain territory.  I picked up a loaf of bread, some whole grain pita chips, a bottle of zinc tablets (I was sure I was going to get sick after two legs on planes surrounded by sniffling and sneezing) and two bags of vegan cookies.  My non-vegan friend at first turned up her nose at my cookies, but in a moment of weakness when she found herself without a post-dinner sweet, she ate one of my TJ chocolate chip cookies.  And then another.  After that I was tempted to lock the cookies in the hotel safe.

A few days after we both returned home, I received a text message from her asking if those cookies I’d gotten came from Trader Joe’s, cuz she was going to go get some.  Yes!  A tiny vegan triumph.  The other kind of cookies I bought were “trail mix” cookies – oatmeal, raisins, sunflower seeds and peanuts.  They were so good, I knew I had to try and recreate them at home – - if only because Oklahomans have not yet been graced with a Trader Joe’s of their own.

Trader Joe’s, this is my heartfelt plea for you to open stores in Tulsa and Oklahoma City!  Or just Tulsa.  Or just Oklahoma City.  Whatever works.   If Whole Foods could be convinced that Oklahoma isn’t some cow town backwater subsisting solely on beef jerky, ribs and deep-fried okra, then certainly Trader Joe’s can make it here!

Trail Mix Cookies
Makes ~2 dozen

2 cups rye flakes
1 cup oat flour
Trader Joe's Trail Mix Cookies in Bag1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. powdered stevia
2 tbsp. flaxseed meal + 3 tbsp. water (whisk together then set aside for a few minutes)
2 tbsp. vegan butter
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup prune puree
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup golden raisins
2/3 cups unsalted dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Preheat the oven to 350F and line to baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse the rye flakes a few times – just to chop them up a little.  In a large bowl, stir together the rye flakes, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and powdered stevia.  Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the “butter” and the maple sugar.  Then stir in the maple syrup, prune puree and vanilla extract.  Stir in the raisins, peanuts and sunflower seeds.  If desired, let dough chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.  Drop batter by the tablespoon onto sheets and gently press dough to flatten.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, switching pans halfway through for even baking.

Let cookies rest on pans for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

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Sweet and Spicy Tomato Chutney

Tomato Chutney in BowlThis is one of those recipes that needs long, slow cooking – perfect for a chilly fall or winter day when being in a warm kitchen sounds like heaven and the thought of going outside is too harsh to contemplate.  The ingredients come together quickly so most of the work is done on the stove top, with only the occasional stir when you remember to lift your nose from your book and your mug of tea.  And when the chutney is done, it offers additional warmth – via curry powder, chili powder and garlic – to your stomach.  It’s just the right complement for a rich curry or alongside some other fragrant, complex dish.

Sweet and Spicy Tomato Chutney
Makes a lot!

4 pounds of ripe tomatoes
1″ piece of ginger, peeled and cut into pieces
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup maple sugar (or to taste)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 onions, diced
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 medium-sized apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 tsp. chile powder
1 tbsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the tomatoes.  Remove and drain when you see the skins start to split and peel.  When tomatoes are cool, remove skins, cut into chunks (removing any tough core parts).  Place in the bowl of a food processor.  You may have to do the tomatoes in batches depending on the size of your processor.  Add the garlic and ginger and process until smooth.

Place tomato mixture into a large saucepan and add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.  Bring to a low boil, then turn down the heat to low and simmer for several hours, or until the desired (thick!) consistency is reached.

(The original recipe came from Allrecipes.com.  I reduced the amount of sugar by 1/2 – and instead of brown, I used maple sugar.  I also switched up the type of vinegar and increased the amount of raisins and added the apple.  I like a chunky chutney!)

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