Vegan Cooking & A BBQ

After lunch yesterday, I spent my time switching between studying math and an inspired day of vegan cooking.  Why was I inspired?  Well, once of my favorite recipes is a vegan chili (I didn’t make it this way, it just is).  And, since we had a bbq planned last night for folks in the Econ Graduate Department, with a few vegan participants, I wanted to make sure they had ample food to eat.  And thus, my day began.

After having soaked the pinto beans yesterday and overnight in the fridge (I soaked the beans a little longer than normal, because I like the beans to be extra soft for this recipe), I began the madness.

Vegan Chili (makes 6-8 servings)

(Inpsired by Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything)

  • 1 pound (about 2 cups) dry pinto beans
  • 2 small onions, one whole & peeled, one minced
  • 1 cup vegetable stock (I use a vegan vegetable bouillon)
  • 1 fresh chili (I use jalapeno), seeded & minced
  • 1 tsp cumin (ground)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • chopped fresh cilantro

To cook the beans, soak for at least 8-10 hours in 4x the amount of water (so, for 2 cups of beans — 8 cups of water).  Then, boil vigorously for a half hour.  Then, put the whole, peeled onion in, season with salt & pepper, and cover and simmer for 1-2 hours.

While its cooking, mince up the second onion, chili & garlic.

After simmering for 1-2 hours, remove the whole onion and drain the beans.

Return the beans to pot, add the vegetable stock, onions, garlic, chilies & spices (or in other words, everything but cilantro).  Cover and simmer until beans are real tender.

Serve, adding cilantro to taste.

While I was on my vegan chili cooking binge, I decided to tackle my first vegan cookies.  While I have made dairy free cookies many times before, I’ve never made vegan cookies before, as the flax seed egg has always kind of terrified me.  But, since I’m not one to be scared away by a challenge, I dove in.

First things first — making the flax seed egg.

Flax Seed Egg (makes one egg replacement)

  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3 tbsp water

Mix the flax seed egg with the water in small saucepan.  Boil until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat.

Once the flax seed egg is made, then move onto your baking endeavor!  Mine, of course, is the vegan chocolate cookie!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes about 2 dozen)

(Inspired by Vegan Food Suite 101)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick of Earth Balance, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp Diamond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 2 Tb. ground flaxseed, mixed with 6 Tb. water (as described above)
  • 1 bag of Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325.  Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Add the flax seed egg, 2 tbsp almond milk & earth balance.  Mix all the ingredients with your hands.  If the dough is too dry, add another tbsp or two of almond milk, a little bit at a time.  Then add in the chocolate chips.  Once the chocolate chips are dropped in, place the cookie dough, 1 tbsp at a time, about 1 1/2 inches a part on a greased cookie sheet.
Cook at 325 for about 10 minutes, or until the edges start to become golden brown.
Remove from the oven. Allow them to remain on the baking tray for 1 minute before gently removing. They continue to cook during this time, creating a chewy (not crispy) texture.  Enjoy!
I had one right out of the oven.  They’re even more delicious than they look — the bbq attendees thought so too!  I even got a “I will never put down vegan food again” comment after one guy took one & went back for seconds before I revealed to him they were completely devoid of dairy.  I love opening people to world’s they have completely written off.
So after the afternoon full of baking and cooking, I headed up to an apartment patio, where we had our Labor Day bbq.  It was definitely a success — we had incredible turnout.  Peoplewise & Foodwise!
One of the graduate students, made us some wicked good steak kebabs.  The marinade was to die for.  Seriously, SO good.
We also had a wide array of food…
And of course, desserts…
And Jesse brought the ‘star’ of the bbq…
All in all it was a great time — getting to know the people in our class, make new friends and enjoy a gorgeous day.
I want labor day to be every Monday.  I don’t think eating like this could ever get old.
And on that note, I need to get back to my studies!  Time flew this evening while I had a video chat with Mr. K & ate more Cuban Black beans for dinner!  I can’t believe its already 7:30!  Must.Go.Math.
Have a great evening!
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