Sunday, December 9, 2012

Key Lime Chia Bread

Growing up, we had a Key lime tree in our backyard, as Floridians do. Let me tell you, that tree was the source of a lot of my mom's famous Key lime pies. (Hers is the best. Don't listen to anyone who tells you differently.) We lost that tree during the citrus canker scare (the government cut it down, though it was perfectly healthy), and I've been sad about it ever since. Yes, I know you can get a bottle of Key lime juice at Publix, but it's just not same.

Of course, even if we still had the tree, I've yet to find a soy-free vegan Key lime pie recipe that works for me. So when I found my beloved limes on sale at the farmer's market 15 for $1, I had to come up with another way to use them. And here it is! This revamp of a classic lemon-poppyseed bread has a lighter, brighter flavor with Key limes, and the chia adds a tasty dose of Omega-3.

Key Lime Chia Bread

1 ½ cups organic pastry flour
1 cup organic sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ cup Key lime juice (about 6-10 Key limes) *
1 tbsp Key lime zest *
½ cup water
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp chia seeds

Preheat oven to 350°. Spoon flour into the measuring cup, then pour into mixing bowl. Mix in sugar and baking soda. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add liquid ingredients. Add the vinegar last and stir the wet and dry ingredients together. It may sizzle or foam a bit as the acids (lime juice and vinegar) blend with the base (baking soda). Stir in the chia seeds.

Spray an 8 inch loaf pan with baking spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes, or until it springs back when pressed.

*If you do not have fresh Key limes, substitute bottled Key lime juice and use the zest of a lemon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Creamy spinach dip

I was in a bit of a bind. I really wanted to make a spinach dip for a friend's wedding shower, but it had to be (1) vegan, because that's how I roll, (2) soy-free, because no one wants to see me go all She-Hulk from the weird reaction I have to soy, and (3) nut-free, because the bride-to-be has nut allergies. How do you make something vegan that's creamy without either soy or nuts? There are three keys: artichokes, tahini, and a good food processor!

This dip was not only wonderfully creamy, but it really captured the flavor of a traditional spinach dip. If I didn't tell them, I don't think anyone would've known it was dairy-free.

Creamy Spinach Dip

2 (15 oz) cans quartered artichoke hearts
1/2 to 3/4 cup vegan mayo (to desired creaminess)
1/4 cup tahini
1 tsp onion powder
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain
1 can diced water chestnuts

In a food processor, blend artichoke hearts, mayo, tahini and onion powder until smooth and creamy. Add water chestnuts and spinach and pulse until well combined.

I served the dip on carrot chips for a gluten-free option, and also in little tortilla chip scoops topped with a little shredded carrot for the more traditional hor d'oeurvre feel.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

'Save the Tuna' Salad

There are a million versions of chickpea-based mock tuna salad out there on the interweb. This one is my personal variation.

Save the Tuna Salad

2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas
3 stalks celery, diced fine
1/4 cup red onion, diced fine
3 tbsp vegan mayo
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp granulated dulse
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
2 tbsp relish (optional)

Take chickpeas and mash with a fork or pulse in a food processor until there are no whole beans left (be careful not to turn into a paste - it should be a little chunky). Move to a mixing bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients. (If dry, add more mayo or mustard. For a more oceany taste, add a bit more dulse.)

For hors d'oeuvres, I omitted the relish and instead served a dollop of the salad on a dill & sea salt flavored Trisket, topped with half a grape tomato.