Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Creamy Chocolate Truffles for your Valentine

This past week I was invited to be on our local TV's morning news show to demonstrate some of my vegan and healthier chocolate recipes just in time for Valentine's Day. It was an absolute joy to do it, I had so much fun! I had prepared two recipes just in case we had time, but we didn't - 3 minutes goes by REALLY  fast! The first recipe I demonstrated was a Dark Chocolate Coconut Tart with a chocolate date nut crust. However we ran out of time on the show for my truffles, but they are SO good I have to post them so that people can make them! These truffles are creamy, sweet and richly chocolate-y but they are also healthier and will give you a quick dose of energy for whatever your Valentine's evening may hold :)

The recipe is simple and easy. Once you have formed your truffles, I encourage you to get creative with how you decorate these little gems. In the picture above I have used coconut, chopped almonds, shaved chocolate, and melted chocolate sprinkled with sea salt (my favorite). The variety will make them visually appealing as well as incredibly delectable. Make these for your sweetie (if you don't eat them all first) on Valentines Day and you will feel indulged yet healthy and energetic. Gone are the days of feeling weighed down and like you need to brush your teeth and run five miles to burn off your treat, this treat will leave you feeling loved and loving from the inside out.

Simply Healthy Chocolate Truffles
angelfood vegan treats

10 medjool dates, pitted and quartered
1/3 cup almond butter
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
1 tablespoon coconut flour 
2 1/2 tablespoons coconut cream ** see note below
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
Melted vegan semi-sweet chocolate, toasted coconut, chocolate shavings, chopped nuts or other toppings of your choice to roll/dip truffles in.

Put dates in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add in almond butter and continue processing for 1-2 minutes until well blended. Add in cocoa powder, coconut flour. coconut cream, vanilla, sea salt, and process for another 1-2 minutes until very well blended and smooth. 

Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for four hours or overnight. 

Use a melon baller to scoop out truffle mixture and use your hands to roll into balls. Then roll in coconut flakes, chopped nuts, or any other preferred topping to decorate the truffle. Or for added decadence, melt 1/2 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate and use a toothpick to dip the truffle in the melted chocolate. 
Refrigerate and serve chilled.

** I recommend using Trader Joe's canned coconut cream (not milk) or you can buy a can of full fat Coconut milk then put it in the refrigerator without shaking it for a couple hours. Take it out and open it from the top and the coconut cream will have risen to the top. Scoop it out and measure out what you need for the recipe.

Makes 12-14 truffles

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Enchilada Casserole with Pumpkin Sauce

Happy New Year! This is the first post of the new year, and I am so looking forward to many great things to come in 2013. 2012 was a great year. Actually the best of my life so far because it was the year I gave birth to my daughter, who has changed my life dramatically, and for the better. I am so hopeful for many great things in 2013, including the growth of my business, Angelfood. My mind is brimming with ideas of things that I would like to do with the business and I am looking forward to getting to work on those things!
For now however, I would like to share a happy warming recipe for a winter meal. This is an enchilada casserole that is made with a spicy and simple pumpkin sauce in lieu of the traditional red enchilada sauce. This was inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe that a non-vegan friend of mine told me about in which Martha Stewart used a pumpkin sauce for enchiladas. I thought that was intriguing and I have gone on to use that sauce more than once. It is very nice, and I use it here without any modifications.
Instead of rolling up enchiladas I felt more like making a casserole this time, and I loved the way it came out. You build it like you would a lasagna only using traditional enchilada ingredients.
I cut my tortillas with a pizza cutter to make strips and then loosely use the end pieces to make sure there are no holes. I then build the casserole layer by layer of sauteed veggies and black beans until I have this lovely creation:

You can easily use any vegetables you have on hand, or tofu/tempeh/seitan in addition to black beans as the protein. It's definitely fun to get creative with your fillings. This is one warm and cozy dish that is filling but also very healthy and chock full of fiber, protein and micro-nutrients, while being low in fat (even lower if you omit the Daiya cheese). 

Enchilada Casserole with Pumpkin Sauce

For the sauce:
Can be viewed via the original recipe by Martha Stewart, here (just ignore the part about chicken-it's waaaayy better veggie!)

1 can (15 oz) organic pumpkin puree or 15 oz freshly roasted pumpkin
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 jalapeno, seeded
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the vegetable filling:
1 T grapeseed oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen ok)
1 small package white or crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 zucchini (can use 1 cup chopped broccoli here when zucchini is out of season) quartered and sliced crosswise
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
sea salt and pepper to taste

For the black bean layer:
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 can or 1 1/2 cups  organic black beans, drained
1/4 cup canned mild green chiles
1 can organic fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 package corn tortillas

To top the casserole:
1 small can sliced black olives
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Daiya cheddar or pepperjack vegan cheese, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

To make the sauce: 
Add the pumpkin, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, water, salt and pepper to a blender and blend on high until thoroughly combined about one minute. Set aside.

To make the veggie layer:
Heat the grapeseed oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, corn, mushrooms, and zucchini. Saute over medium high heat for approximately five minutes until vegetables start to soften. Add chili powder, cumin, coriander, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook for approximately 2 minutes more until vegetables are cooked, but not overdone as they will continue to cook when the casserole is baked. Remove from pan and set aside.

Using the same pan:
Add onions, black beans, chiles, and tomatoes. Cook for 5-7 minutes until onions have softened and the mixture is heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary.

To assemble:
Slice your tortillas into 2" strips using a pizza cutter. Using a casserole dish, spread a thin layer of the pumpkin sauce on the bottom of the dish. Cover the bottom of the dish with the tortilla strips. Next, spread half of the veggie mixture evenly over the tortilla layer. Then add another layer of tortilla strips covering the veggie mixture. Next add the black bean mixture followed by another layer of tortilla strips. Next add the other half of the veggie mixture followed by a final layer of tortilla strips. Cover the top of the casserole in pumpkin sauce well. Top that with the olives, scallions, and Daiya cheese if desired. You will have leftover sauce. It freezes well for next time :)

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes until the top is gently browned and the casserole is heated through. 

Serves 6-8.