I’m sure we’ve all been amazed by the idea of the black bean brownie, of which variations abound in food magazines and on many blogs. It’s possible I’m the only one in the vegan community who has never tried them. That’s not to say I haven’t done my fair share of bean experiments, but I think I’ve somehow managed to surpass the all-mighty bean brownie and discovered a new love.
Oops…did I just spoil the surprise?
Yes, that means there are beans in these cookies. What’s not to love about that?
After being captivated by these chocolate black bean power cookies a few days ago, I immediately decided I needed to make my own. In order to create flourless cookies, I incorporated black beans as well as chickpeas to get the soft, fudgy consistency I wanted. I also bought some organic coffee extract during a recent visit to the states, and it makes a wonderful addition here, moving the fudgy chocolate flavour to a whole new level. My husband is currently on a hazelnut coffee kick, so I thought, Why not add some hazelnuts and dark chocolate, too?
A few days ago, when I came home with my share of veggies from my local CSA pick up, the first thing my hubby noticed was the long stalks of rhubarb sticking out of the bag. He completely bypassed the three large bags of salad greens, onions, garlic, potatoes, radish and dill that I was most excited about, and quickly proclaimed that a rhubarb pie was on his wish list.
As much as I love baking, pastry is not really my forte. Or rather, my preference for other, more wholesome desserts often means traditional pie crusts and other pastries are left out of the picture. But with the abundance of rhubarb now in our possession, I couldn’t say no to this rather simple request.
Since hubby is the only one in the house who will be eating said pie, I decided to make individual mini pies so that they could be kept in the freezer and defrosted whenever his rhubarb cravings hit. He loves handheld treats that he can pop right into his mouth, so this seemed like the perfect idea.
Thankfully, I had Isa and Terry‘s latest book Vegan Pie in the Sky to help me get my bearings before delving into my once-a-year, pie-making project. The first section of the book—aptly named “How to create the universe or bake a pie from scratch”—is a must-read for bakers like me who need some back-to-school basics every once in a while. It goes over details about essential ingredients (all vegan, of course), pie-making equipment and, most importantly, step-by-step instructions on how to make the all-mighty homemade pie crust, including a cute diagram showing how to make a lattice top.
We did it again. And by that, I mean another successul instalment of the vegan Treat of the Month Club!
Today, while Lisa was enjoying a much-deserved break in NYC, I headed to the meeting spot in Yorkville to dole out close to 100 sweet treats to the enthusiastic club participants. I loved seeing many familiar faces, as well as many new ones.
Each person received six gluten-free and vegan treats to fill their reusable containers:
- Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes (from a recent blog post)
- Raw Chocolate Chip Lavender Cookies (a test recipe for a dessert eBook we’re working on)
- Raw Hazelnut Brownies with Maple Chocolate Ganache (eBook test recipe)
- Raw Chocolates with mesquite, maple and walnut filling from Matthew Kenney’s Raw Chocolate
- Raw Hello Dolly Bars (eBook test recipe)
- Raw Coconut Raspberry Pops (eBook test recipe)
If you’d like to join us for June, the deadline to sign up is May 31st at midnight—just a few days away! You can sign up for any or all of the months between June and December (2012) using the link below. [Sadly, this offer is expired.]
I’ve been selfishly hanging on to this cookbook for several weeks now, thumbing through the large selection of juices, meals, snacks and desserts, and wistful about trying every recipe that catches my eye. But it’s not just the tantalizing photos and healthful, whole food ingredients that drew me to Eat Raw, Eat Well in the first place. It’s the author himself.
Twenty-nine-year-old Doug McNish is a professional vegan chef with a fierce commitment to health and organics, who has become somewhat of a celebrity in Toronto and beyond. I’ve known Doug for several years and, although he may not even know it, he was the first vegan I ever met. We still joke about how we randomly met on a subway in 2007. His “Vegan” tattoo immediately caught my eye and so I struck up a conversation. It turns out he was on his way to an animal sanctuary for the weekend, and I instantly felt a connection—in a sense, he connected me to a community that I never knew existed.
Since that day, I’ve watched Doug dominate the vegan food scene as a classically trained chef who changed career paths after moving to a plant-based diet, and also become an inspiring, outspoken activist who cares about animals as much as he cares about health. He’s prepared stellar dishes at Urban Herbivore, Live Organic Food Bar and Raw Aura, helped businesses incorporate organic vegan meals in their menu offerings, and shared his knowledge with enthusiastic audiences at food demos, festivals, other cooking events, and on TV.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve enjoyed a number of dishes from his new book:
The Greek kale salad with a zesty lemon avocado dressing and cashew feta cheese will forever be a staple in my house. All of the components can be pulled together quite easily, resulting in a delicious and satisfying meal.
Synonymous with new beginnings and cleansing ourselves of winter’s wrath, the spring season is the ideal time to explore a book like Rawesomely Vegan! by Mike Snyder. This collection of raw vegan recipes, curated by blogger and author Sayward Rebhal, is jam-packed with unique, uber-nutritious meal and snack ideas that bring out the best in our food.
I wouldn’t consider this a beginner’s book. It is meant for those who already know the concept and rewards of raw veganism: that food is never heated above 115F to preserve valuable enzymes and nutrients, and that it’s cruelty-free in every way. This book highlights traditional raw food techniques that often require a little advanced planning. Whether it’s whole, blended, juiced, chopped, infused, fermented, soaked, sprouted, sundried, marinated, frozen or dehydrated, raw vegan food in its many forms is as vital as it was when it was picked from the ground, and the book explores these techniques to help you feel more connected to what you are eating.
The info you learn in Part 1 is intended to help you get your kitchen bearings—because every seasoned raw chef can use some back-to-school basics every once in a while. Here, you’ll find a quick refresher on pantry staples and ways to store and use them, a review of the most important gadgets as well as some pro tricks for how to get by without them, and finally, some strategies for long-term success in living a raw vegan lifestyle.
The real substance of the book is in Part 2, which includes 14 chapters that amount to an all-encompassing arsenal of more than 300 radical recipes for any and every occasion.
You’ll hit the morning running with invigorating starters like silver dollar pancakes, made with almond pulp flour, lucuma powder and banana, that are smothered in unreal maple syrup reminiscent of sweetened date syrup. With a little prep work the night before, you’ll be happy to wake up to this nourishing breakfast treat.