Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Vegan Spinach/Feta Bureg Recipe! [+VIDEO]

This recipe has been a long time coming! While you can create vegan-friendly bureg/byureg with just spinach or potatoes, the feta/spinach combination has always been my favourite and I wanted to veganize it.

It is an easy recipe for such a delicious outcome, but like traditional bureg, it does require a few steps. I will have the recipe in video format below so you can see it all in action.

Step 1: Feta (my recipe is an adapted version of Chef Skye Michael Conroy's. To see his recipe, visit this link)
What you need:
-1/2 block (7oz) tofu (firm or extra firm)
-1/4 cup melted refined coconut oil (refined eliminates the coconut flavour)
-4 tsp citric acid
-1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
-1 tsp Italian herb mix (optional)
-2 tsp dried mint (optional)
-Pinch of onion powder (optional)
-Sea salt to taste
-Drain all water from your tofu package and wrap the half you will use in a kitchen towel. Place something heavy over it (tray, book, etc.) so all the water is pressed out
-After an hour, crumble the dry tofu in your food processor and add all of the ingredients
-Process until completely smooth (try it to see if it needs more salt/seasonings)
-Cover it well in plastic wrap and place it in a container to refrigerate for at least 6 hours so it hardens

Step 2: Bureg 'Broth'
What you need:
-1 cup dairy-free milk (I used unsweetened homemade almond milk)
-2 heaping TBSP of nutritional yeast
-A few pinches of black salt/kala namak (provides "eggy" flavour the broth traditionally has)
-Blend all ingredients together until well combined

Step 3: Bureg Assembly (my bureg was made in a 8x8 pan, this recipe is for that size)
What you need:
-7 sheets of phyllo/filo
-1 cup spinach
-1/3 cup vegan butter (I used Becel's non-dairy option)
-White & black sesame seeds (about a TBSP for each)
-Coarsely chop your spinach, then add a sprinkle of salt and massage it to wilt it
-Butter your pan thoroughly
-Place your phyllo dough in your pan and coat with the bureg broth x 2
-Place your third phyllo in your pan and generously coat with butter x 2
-For the fifth one, coat it again in broth
-Crumble in your feta and distribute it well. Add your spinach
-Top your spinach/feta mixture with a phyllo and coat it in butter
-Add your final phyllo and coat it in broth
-Use a butter knife to gently tuck in all sides of the bureg
-Pour your remaining broth on top of the assembled bureg
-Cut it before you bake it
-Sprinkle white and black sesame seeds on top
-Bake it for 35-40 minutes at 350F

Enjoy! Mine was really nice and crunchy, but if you prefer yours to be softer, just add more broth. To see the recipe in action, watch the video below:

Friday, March 2, 2018

Vegan Sahleb Recipe! [+Video Recipe]

It's still cold and snowy in Canada, so I decided to warm up my taste-buds with sahleb (sahlab/sahlep), a delicious caffeine-free Middle Eastern drink!

Sahleb is very easy to make from scratch, and although you can buy the powdered ready-to-use version (which is usually vegan), the store-bought options do tend to contain a lot of sugar, making the drink almost painfully sweet. Sahleb has such a delicious flavour, and too much sugar really distracts from that. So make it at home with this simple recipe (or watch it here)!

-Cornstarch (if you can find it, real sahleb is made with the starch of the orchid plant, but as they are endangered, corn starch is regularly used)
-Dairy-free milk (go for a nice thick option to mimic full-fat milk)
-Rose water
-Sugar/sweetener (I used brown sugar in this recipe and the colour was not affected)
-Mastica (optional)
-Cinnamon and ground pistachios (toppings)

-If you are using mastica, pulverize a small piece or grind it. It must be very fine for it to melt properly
-For every cup of vegan milk (I used unsweetened rice milk), add one tbsp of corn starch. If you prefer it very thick, make it a heaping tbsp. So if you are making two cups of sahleb, add 2 tbsp of corn starch
-Combine milk and corn starch in a pot and mix it well (no clumps)
-Put the pot on your stove top and cook it on medium until it thickens--it is very important to keep stirring to make sure the bottom does not burn. It will take about 10-15 minutes for it to thicken
-Add rosewater (I add 2 tsp/per cup)
-Add mastica powder (optional)
-Add sugar/sweetener (to taste)
-Stir very well so the mastica melts, and once you see that the mixture is beginning to boil, turn off the heat, stir, and let it sit for a few minutes
-Serve warm and top with cinnamon and crushed pistachios!

You can also watch it in action right here:

Friday, February 9, 2018

Vegan 'Bone' Broth Recipe!

Hello dear readers! I made this soup about five times already this month so I figured it was time to share the love. You all must remember the bone broth craze of 89 2017, right? Everyone was posting about it and it annoyed me enough that I made my own version, fully vegan and bone-free! It is perfect for the winter time and to boost your immunity! Maybe I will dedicate a video to this recipe--it's just that good.

-1 TBSP miso (I used the light beige kind)
-Homemade vegetable broth (two ice cubes worth) OR 2 heaping tsp of a store-bought kind (low sodium!)
-3-5 garlic cloves
-Big chunk of ginger (there's no such thing as too much ginger in this soup)
-4-5 bay leaves
-1 TBSP ground black pepper
-3 tsp hot red pepper flakes
-3 tsp turmeric
-3 TBSP dried mint (don't skimp on this!)
-Juice of 1-2 lemons
-2 TBSP sesame seeds
-Nutritional yeast (optional, but really tasty)
-Optional: vegetables (broccoli, spinach, celery, green onions) to make it more filling

-Heat up a lot of water in your kettle. Add the miso to a pot and pour just 1 cup of water over it and stir until it dissolves.
-Put the heat on low-medium and stir in the veggie broth until it dissolves.
-Grate your ginger in and either grate your garlic cloves or crush them and toss them in. Make sure to stir!
-Add all of the water and add the bay leaves, both kinds of pepper, and turmeric. Keep the heat low and close the lid, allowing everything to just cook together. If you're going to add veggies (I tend to add frozen broccoli and chopped spinach, add them now)
-After about 10 minutes, add the mint, stir well, turn off the heat and close the lid for another 10 minutes.
-When ready to enjoy, add nutritional yeast to your bowl first, pour the soup on top so it melts it and then add sesame seeds on top for a nice little crunch (and calcium!). Squeeze in some fresh lemon, give it a good stir and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Updated: Chocolate Covered Dates Recipe! [+VIDEO]

Hello once again! I am updating my original recipe for Chocolate Covered Dates (the photos are so bad) and including a video now as well!

I still agree with my original post that dates--and medjool dates in particular--look/feel like well-fed bugs but they taste so good so I can never resist. Anyway, on to the recipe:

What you need:
-About 30-35 medjool dates (more if you use a smaller kind)
-150g dark chocolate (you can use dark chocolate chips, a bar, baker's chocolate or homemade)
-1 cup of halved walnuts or pecans (optional, for the "stuffing")
-3/4 cup ground coconut flakes 
-3/4 cup ground pistachio (can swap this & coconut for any other topping* you prefer!)
-1 tsp sea salt

-Get our your playlist ready cause your hands will be sticky for a while. Pit your dates and if you are going to stuff them, do it now to be efficient.
-Double boil your chocolate.
-Set up your date-rolling station by lining a tray or large flat plate with parchment paper. Using either your hands or a shish kebab wooden skewer, dip the dates in the chocolate, scrap them on the side of the pan to remove any excess chocolate, and then simply roll them in the toppings.
-Once you've coated all dates, put the tray or plate in the fridge for at least 15 minutes so the chocolate hardens.
-Ready, addictive & delicious! I make a lot and keep it in the freezer :)

You can watch it all in action here:

*Some other topping ideas: ground hazelnuts, sesame seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, etc.!

Monday, January 22, 2018

St. Sarkis/Սուրբ Սարգիս Special: Aghablit & Marshmallow Halva [VEGAN!]

Hello everyone! I am featuring a video dedicated to a few traditional recipes associated with St. Sarkis/Սուրբ Սարգիս Day, which falls on Saturday January 27 this year. Presenting aghablit and marshmallow halva:
I give a summary about the traditions associated with each recipe--and how they are meant to make you dream about your future spouse--here:
Below are the recipes with detailed instructions:

Aghablit (Salty Wafers/Cookies)
-1 1/4 cup flour
-1/2 cup water
-1 heaping tbsp salt (meant to make you thirsty!)
-Preheat oven to 350F
-In a bowl, combine flour and salt and stir. Gradually add in water until you get a dough formed (you may not need the full 1/2 cup) 
-Place dough on flat surface and flatten it with hands or a rolling pin
-Using cookie cutters, cut into the dough and place the cookies on a baking tray lined with parchment paper
-Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown

Marshmallow Halva
-3/4 - 1 cup sugar
-1/3 cup water
-1 tbsp lemon
-2 tsp rose water
-250g vegan marshmallows (I went with Dandies brand) or natef
-1 cup walnuts, halved
-2-3 cups sesame seeds (won't use them all but need a good amount to properly coat halva)
-Place sesame seeds in fridge to cool
-Combine water and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil
-Once the mixture boils, reduce heat to low/medium
-Add in lemon juice
-A few minutes later, add in rose water
-Once mixture becomes golden in colour, add in marshamallows
-Stir until completely smooth (it will smell incredible at this point!)
-Pour chilled sesame seeds in a tray
-While mixture is hot, pour scoops (aim to make them flat & circular) on top of the sesame seeds
-Place walnut halves in the middle of each scoop
-Let them cool for about 45 seconds to 1 minute (will be much easier to roll/handle them)
-Fold one side over, then the other!

You can watch it all in action here! Sweet dreams 💕💕💕

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Updated Vospov Kufteh/Ոսպով Քիւֆթէ (Red Lentil Patties) Recipe! [+Video]

Today I am sharing the recipe for one of my favourite dishes: Vospov Kufteh/Ոսպով Քիւֆթէ! It is vegan-by-default and is so flavourful, filling & easy on the eyes, too! It would be paired really well with a nice tomato/cucumber salad!

-Some dishes are served best fresh, I know. While vospov kufteh is great the day of, it only gets better the next day. So if you have an event you want to have it ready for, do it the day or night before for the best results!
-For both the red lentils and the bulgur, make sure to buy the smallest size possible!

What you need:
-2 cups red lentils
-1.5 cups fine bulgur
-1 large white onion, chopped
-1/3 cup olive oil
-1 TBSP cumin
-1 TBSP paprika
-2-3 TBSP hot pepper paste
-1 bunch spring onions (approx 2/3 cup once chopped)
-1/2 punch parsley (approx 2/3 cup once chopped)
-1 TBSP salt
-5 cups water
-1 TBSP red hot pepper (optional, garnish)

-Heat up 5 cups of water, keeping a kettle with hot water ready in case more is needed
-Add salt and stir
-Rinse the lentils very well in a strainer
-Add them to pot, bring to a boil
-Remove the foam that arises and reduce heat to medium, keeping the pot uncovered
-Cook for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally
-While the lentils are boiling, cook your white onion with the oil, until browned
-Once the lentils are cooked and "creamy," turn off heat and let them cool
-Rinse the bulgur, drain all excess water and let it sit to soften (if there is water leftover it will interfere when you mix it with the lentils)
-Finely chop up your spring onions and parsley, setting some aside to use for garnish
-Once lentils have cooled, add them to your greens and mix well
-Add the cumin, paprika and pepper paste, and mix in well
-Add bulgur in gradually and let the mixture sit for a bit so the bulgur softens completely
-Shape your mixture into kuftehs, burgers, or simply put it into a container
-Garnish with extra spring onion, parsley and pepper and enjoy!

You can watch it all in action right here:
Make sure to SUBSCRIBE to my baby channel! 💖💜💚
You can also follow me on Instagram!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Review of Coffee Flour [+Vegan Christmas Cookie Recipe!]

Hello everyone! Christmas may have come and gone, but you can never have too many holiday-themed cookies during this time of year--and Armenian Christmas is still coming up!

I have made Isa Chandra Moskowitz's recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies twice so far, and both times it was absolutely delicious and exactly what I wanted in a double-chocolate chip cookie. I was looking for an excuse to make them again since I generally don't like baking, so when kindly sent me a bag of coffee flour to try out, I decided it was a good enough reason to experiment.
I loved the packaging
I had never heard of coffee flour before, and the website explains it as follows:
"Coffee flour is a food with a mission. Every year, billions of pounds of coffee fruit are discarded as a byproduct of coffee production. Instead of leaving the fruit to rot as waste, coffee flour was created to convert the leftover fruit into a tasty, nutritious flour that can be used for baking, cooking and making beverages."
In baking, it is recommended to substitute about 10-25% of the flour in a recipe with coffee flour, especially the first time to get a feel for the taste. Another reason I was excited to use this product was for the nutritional profile, which I think is a great thing to add into recipes using white flour:
"A one-tablespoon serving of coffee flour contains only 34 calories, yet packs a whole lot of nutrition! This small serving provides over five grams of dietary fiber, including soluble and insoluble fiber to support digestion. Coffee flour is extremely rich in potassium and iron. Depending on the serving size, it can also supplement your diet with a good source of protein and antioxidants. Plus, coffee flour is sodium-free, fat-free, gluten-free, paleo and vegan-friendly. Coffee flour has all your dietary bases covered!"
Sounded good to me! The smell and taste were definitely not what I expected and it tasted like dried red cherries to me on its own rather than coffee. Because the powder is quite dark, I thought it would be a great fit for the Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe since it's all going to look chocolate-y in the end anyway.
While I was 100% inspired by the original recipe, I made a few tweaks to it so I'm noting the changes below in bold:

What you need:
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar (original calls for 2)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon whole flax seeds
1/2 cup soymilk (unsweetened)
1&2/3 cup flour 
1/3 cup coffee flour
3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
2-3 teaspoons peppermint extract (optional but super festive)

Other than the above tweaks, I followed the recipe & directions, which you can find here. Then, I used Christmas-themed cookie cutters for some cute shapes! After baking, it looked like this:
I sprinkled a few of the trees with some powdered sugar for an extra Christmas-y touch and voila! I tried one right away after it cooled and it was so delicious, and I couldn't even taste anything extra other than the peppermint oil. They were a huge hit with my family--especially my nephew, and the only difference I really noted was that they were a little bit more dense than the original, but in a good, filling way. I plan to keep using coffee flour in my chocolate-based baking for an extra kick of fibre, and also in my smoothies!

To learn more about it or order it for yourself, visit this link. Happy baking! :)