Vegan Cornbread!

It’s chili season, and it’s my personal belief that chili is incomplete without cornbread! I was recently emailed by someone asking about vegan cornbread, one that isn’t too sweet or dry. I quite like this recipe — it never fails and is a hit everywhere I take it. When it comes to cornbread, I like using flax seed gel or “eggs”, as it gives the bread a slightly nutty flavor, which pairs well with the corn.

When it comes to flax seed and egg conversion:
One egg = 1 Tablespoon ground flax in 3 Tablespoons hot water. Whisk and let sit for a couple minutes to form a gel.

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Homemade chili atop homemade cornbread; is there a better combination? (Okay, maybe cake and ice cream.)

Vegan Metal Brunch — A Success!

The vegan black metal brunch I attended on Sunday was a huge success! It was a potluck, and everything I had was awesome. I love eating other people’s dishes — I get so sick of my own. I’ve been trying out new recipes here and there — I’m kind of a picky eater these days. I don’t want too much gluten, or anything too heavy, but I get bored real fast with salads. I have been enjoying the vegan blog Olives for Dinner, I make her crab cakes almost weekly! It’s fun to play with ingredients and tastes I normally wouldn’t think to put together myself. There were jackfruit tacos at the brunch, which reminded me that I am very much looking forward to trying out this recipe.

photo-1Here we have, clockwise from the top: a “beef” slider with homemade queso, a bbq jackfruit taco with coleslaw, gluten-free biscuits with gluten-free country gravy, avocado-tomatillo sauce, which goes with the pumpkin black bean empanda that is covered by my southern-style greens.

The point of this post, without getting too long winded, is that I used a combination of garfava flour and Trader Joe’s gluten-free all purpose mix with fantastic results. I made my biscuits, using half TJ’s mix and half garfava flour and they came out great. I wanted to try them without corn flour, as it’s such a common allergen for people. I also did this for the zucchini bread recipe I liked so much last week. It was a risk, as I turned it into an apple-blueberrry coffee cake, and gluten-free at that! Seriously, just sub 1.5 cups garfava flour and 1.5 cups TJ’s gluten-free mix to the 3 cups of flour it calls for, and viola! No one could even tell it was gluten-free! The only thing was that, and I always forget this, gluten-free baked goods tend to bake faster than their regular flour counterparts. So instead of taking 50 – 55 minutes, the bake time was closer to 40 minutes. Oh yes, I also added 3/4 tsp xanthan gum.

You can tell when cakes are done one, or all, of three ways:
They start to pull away from the sides of the pan.
When you stick a toothpick in the middle, it comes out clean.
When you lightly press down on the top of it, it springs right back up.

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My new not-so-secret weapons for gluten-free baking! I like the TJ’s mix because not only does it have rice flour in it, but a couple heavier starches. I think they help with binding, but I’m not totally sure. When I looked at the package though, I didn’t think the mix was enough — I had an instinct it needed to be cut with garfava flour, which I’m glad I followed!

I’ll write out the recipe for the coffee cake in another post, coming soon! I am so proud of the results!

Vegan Zucchini Bread!

It’s fall, which means squash is on everybody’s mind. I’m not a big fan of pumpkin (blasphemous, I know, I know) but I am a huge fan of zucchini! Last night I randomly got the urge to make zucchini bread. It’d been years! I remember it was something my mom would always make, as opposed to pumpkin flavored things. I guess the disdain runs in the family, haha.

Now, I’m sure there is a plethora of vegan recipes out there, but I like to take “regular” recipes and veganize them. Sometimes I find vegan recipes call for a lot of unnecessary and expensive ingredients. So, I took this recipe and made it my own.

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I will apologize now for my photography skills. I am not a photographer. I am a blogger, and a food-maker, but food photography is not my forte. 

I veganized this recipe by using melted coconut oil instead of butter (although vegetable oil would have sufficed as well), flax seed instead of eggs and brown rice syrup instead of sugar. I only used the brown rice syrup because I had a bottle left over from some VegNews recipe-testing I had done that I wanted to use up. White sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar or brown sugar would’ve ¬†been fine as well.

Now, the recipe called for two eggs, which I used flax seed for. I like to use flax seeds as an egg substitute in heartier, bread-like baked goods. I don’t like nuts in my cookies, for instance, but if you do, flax seeds would give them a subtle nutty flavor, as opposed to good ol’ egg replacer.

Flax seed “eggs” or gel:
1 Tablespoon ground flax
3 Tablespoons hot water

Whisk together until a gel forms and let sit for a few minutes. Because the recipe called for two eggs, I doubled that conversion.

The zucchini bread was a huge hit with both my friend Britney and my roommate Dan. Because I bake for a living, and am constantly surrounded by sweets and flour, I don’t really consume them at home. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this bread — it was lightly sweet and very moist, without being too dense. I made the mistake of cutting a piece when it was hot, which made that spot a little gummy, but once it cooled completely, any gumminess went away.

I also made a streusel topping for it, which I made from memory but you can easily find online. I used vegetable shortening, flour, both brown and cane sugar, plus cinnamon. It topped the bread off very nicely!

EDIT: Now that my mom has commented on my blog, I come to find out she does like pumpkin; it’s pumpkin pie she dislikes (in her words — hates). She also reminded me that we put chocolate chips in everything, so of course I was going to put chocolate chips in this bread last night, BUT I FORGOT!