Friday, March 12, 2010

Vegan Recipes for the Bake Sale for Chile!

Just a reminder that the (Vegan) Bake Sale for Chile takes place tonight! 6:30pm to 10pm, at the Radha Yoga & Eatery on 728 Main Street. Here are my two contenders for the event. It is not my first time baking vegan (previous work experience allowed me the expense of learning to substitute certain ingredients for healthier or more ethical options!).

What is vegan? Vegan is a lifestyle that, for health, religious, or ethical reasons, does not utilize or consume any animal-based, or animal-derived products. That is, no meat or use of products like eggs, dairy milk, honey, nor gelatin. The vegan lifestyle also shuns products like leather, silk, or wool, or even other textiles and products that may be be animal derived.

When I was younger, I used to order home-delivered produce through an organization called Urban Organics. It was a company based in Vancouver who would "surprise" you with a weekly delivery of fresh local produce - sadly, I cannot find them on the web. I believe they were bought out by SPUD?

Along with the weekly delivery came a newsletter with recipes and other tidbits of information, and (once) a book by Tanya Barnard & Sarah Kramer titled, "How It All Vegan!". It is a *really* great vegan resource, and as I worked on different projects and looked for healthy recipes, I turned to it time and time again! My favourite recipe is one that includes rice, beans, and zucchini (SO perfect for a winter night!) It is a wonderful stepping stone if you are looking to transition to veganism, as there tips for vegan substitutions for milk and eggs, and a whole section on other consumables such as beauty and pet products.

While I am not vegan, and not even vegetarian, I can appreciate vegans who make the lifestyle choices to avoid consuming any animal products. And vegans who join together to contribute to a charitable cause like relieving Chilean earthquake victims? Even better!

Here are my two contributions to the night: mini babingka cakes, and brownies.

If you've been following my twitter, you'd have seen that I'm erring on the side of using rice milk exclusively, with only skim milk for a "backup". The beauty of having rice / almond / soy / potato milk in the pantry is that it (aside from tasting yummy!) has a long shelf life. The only dairy milk substitute that I *cannot* stomache is hemp milk. Yes, I know we live in BC and I know it is probably one of the healthiest, "whole" food alternatives, but had too much of it at one time and can not drink it anymore. *shudder*

I used a combination of rice milk, coconut milk, and tofu in this babingka recipe to substitute out the butter, egg, and milk that is sometimes used in this Filipino dessert. I also utilized rice flour to make this product gluten-free; while this affects the texture of the finished product (short texture feeling), it pairs nicely with the coconut. I am pretty pleased with the results as the cakes were moist and had a nice coconut flavour.

Ingredients (makes about 24 mini cakes
1 c white rice flour
1/2 c organic cane juice solids
2 t baking powder
1 c coconut milk
1/4 c tofu (I've used original dessert tofu, although a coconut dessert tofu and a mango-peach flavoured dessert tofu were wonderful substitutions as well!)
1/4 c rice milk

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a medium bowl, sift together the white rice flour, cane juice solids, and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, mash tofu, or blend until no large chunks remain. Mix or blend in the coconut and rice milks.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and mix in the wet ingredients until just mixed. Pour into paper-lined mini muffin tin and bake 12-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cake comes out clean.

You may cool and serve as is, or you may sprinkle with additional cane juice solids and broil or brulee with a blow torch until the cane sugar caramelizes.

The brownies came out a little drier than I had hoped. Next time I'd bake it in a smaller pan for shorter amount of time, and also add some extra chocolate chips for flavour.

2 c all purpose flour
3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 ripe banana
2/3 c organic cane sugar
1 c rice milk
2/3 c vegetable oil
1 t vanilla

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl, mash banana together with the cane sugar. Beat in vanilla, rice milk, and vegetable oil.

Spread into a greased (I greased with vegetable oil) 9x3" pan (I would use an 8x8" or 9x9" pan next time!). Bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Cool and cut with a serrated knife.

This was a well-organized event with many volunteers in a great venue. Radha Yoga and Eatery serves vegan (many raw options) fare four nights a week. All baked goods were vegan and were paid for in donations. About $1500 was raised, and will be matched by a corporate sponsor!

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