Friday, September 28, 2012

Quinoa and Arugula Salad with Citrus Champagne Vinaigrette

My blog this time is about flavors instead of spices.   I love this salad  because it has all flavors we are familiar with in one bite: bitter(arugula), sweet(canteloupe or honeydew and orange), sour(champagne vinegar and lime), salty(hickory smoke tofurky or smart bacon or tempeh bacon), creamy(soy feta or daiya cheese) and savory/earthy(garbanzos or chickpeas and quinoa). I've been eating a lot of salad and fresh vegetables as summer is still strong in my area.    It  really is an endless summer!    I am sharing this good and refreshing salad.  It's a light meal in itself and I hope you will enjoy it. 

The following are the ingredients I used in the salad:

From top left, clockwise: fresh baby arugula, cooked quinoa, soy feta, cooked chickpeas/garbanzos, sliced red onion, sliced hickory smoke tofurky, and ripe canteloupe 

About the 'cheese':  In this version, I used Soy Feta by Sunergia Foods, about 1/2 a block.  However, you are welcome to substitute it with other white vegan cheese such asi Daiya Mozzarella or omit it.

About the 'the smoky things':  Our favorite smoky seitan is Hickory Smoked Tofurky Deli Slices.  I sliced and separated them thinly.  You are also welcome to replace it with other smoky vegan bacon such as tempeh bacon or smart bacon from LightLife.

About the champagne vinegar and oil (see picture below):  I found Orange Muscat Champagne vinegar at Trader Joe's that was perfect for this salad dressing.  However, you may find other champagne vinegar at a different store.  I also love to use Roasted Walnut Oil (see below).   You may use any other kind of oil such as olive oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil.

Vinaigrette ingredients: roasted walnut oil, orange muscat champagne vinegar (or any other champagne vinegar), fresh orange juice, and fresh lime juice.
Quinoa and Arugula Salad with Citrus Champagne Vinaigrette
Serve 4-6

Salad ingredients:
2 cups cooked quinoa
6 cups arugula
2 cups ripe canteloupe or honeydew, cut in julienne
Note:  use a ripe melon by choosing a white and creamy color skin (avoid the greenish one)
1 cup cooked garbanzo or chickpea beans
1 cup Hickory Smoked Tofurky deli slices or tempeh bacon or smart bacon
1 to 1.5 cup thinly sliced red onions
Note: I prefer to mascerate the red onions in the vinaigrette so they are not too strong or oniony
1/2 block of Soy Feta, crumbled, optional

  1. Combine the ingredients above, except red onions (see below).
  2. Add vinaigrette (recipe below) and crumbled soy feta.  Add more ground black pepper to taste.

Citrus Champagne Vinaigrette ingredients:
3 Tbsp. oil (can be roasted walnut oil, olive oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil)
3-5 Tbsp. Champagne vinegar (I used Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (without seeds and pulps)
1/4 cup fesh lime juice (without seeds and pulps)
1-2 tsp. agave nectar (depending how sweet is the orange juice)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  1. To make the vinaigrette, whisk oil and vinegar together in a small bowl until it is emulsified and creamy.  Vinaigrette usually has the same amount of oil and vinegar but I added more vinegar in my dressing for a low fat version.  I also added more fruit juices.
  2. Add fruit juices and continue whisking.  Taste and add agave nectar.  If the orange juice is pretty sweet, I only add 1 tsp. 
  3. Add salt and ground black pepper.  Combine and whisk some more.  This dressing is supposed to be tangy, sweet, and salty.
  4. I like to soak the thinly slice red onions in this dressing so they are mascerated and becomes soft before I add them to the salad (about 30 minutes).  This way the onions are not too strong.  If you like strong onions flavor, you can skip this step.
Nutrition Facts (without the soy feta)
Serving Size
1 serving (245.1 g)
Amount Per Serving Calories 214
Total Fat 9.1g, Saturated Fat 0.8g, Trans Fat 0.0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 255mg,Total Carbohydrates 28.8g
Dietary Fiber 3.7g, Sugars 8.9g, Protein 6.1g

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Vegan Boston Cream Pie with Orange Rosemary Custard Filling

Boston Cream Pie with Orange Rosemary Custard Filling
I usually don't blog desserts because I don't usually have a sweet tooth and really love salty snacks instead.  However, this time is an exception since tomorrow is someone's birthday and I challenged myself to make Vegan Boston Cream Pie.  The idea came from the cooking show The Chew where Carla Hall made a Boston Cream Pie with Orange Rosemary Custard filling.  I decided to veganize it.

Boston Cream Pie is not a pie but it is a round cake, filled with vanilla custard, and topped with chocolate ganache.  This Boston Cream Pie is not an original one.  It is one with a twist.   Instead of a vanilla cake, I made an orange flavor cake.  I also add orange flavoring to the chocolate ganache frosting.  I was especially intrigued with the idea of  'Orange Rosemary Custard' filling.  Is it going to be good?  I just got to try it. It was delicious!  DH LOVES this cake (he is the one with a sweet tooth).  He was surprised about the rosemary adding a unique flavor to the cake.  He said, "It's just a hint of rosemary!"  It really makes this cake unique and elegant.

To make the custard filling I used Bird's Imported English Dessert Mix and then add Tofutti Better than Sour Cream to make it more creamy.  I also used triple sec such as Cointreau orange liqueur, orange flavor extract, and fresh orange peels for the citrus flavoring.  Fresh rosemary is very strong and 1 sprig of it was enough to permeate the custard filling.

Ingredients used to make custard and ganache (top left, clockwise):  Bird's Imported English Dessert Mix, fresh orange, Tofutti Better than Sour Cream, Fresh Rosemary sprigs, Orange Extract, triple sec (Cointreau), vegan chocolate chips.
Vegan Boston Cream Pie with Orange Rosemary Custard Filling
Serve 12

Vegan Orange Genoise Cake
Makes 3 layers of 9-inch cakes
I made Bryanna's Vegan Lemon Genoise Cake.  I followed the 1 1/2 recipe to make 3 layers of 9-inch cake (although the original recipe: 2 layers, should be fine, too).  I changed the flavor to  orange by adding fresh grated orange rind of a large orange  instead of the lemon rind.  I used white vinegar instead of lemon juice.   I also used orange extract instead of  the lemon extract.

Vegan Orange Rosemary Custard Filling
Makes about 3 cups

2 1/2 cups soy milk
1/2 cup soy creamer
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 - 4 slices fresh orange rinds, each 3-inches long
5 Tbsp. sugar

2 pkgs/sachets  Bird's Imported English Dessert Mix

1/2 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream

Additional flavoring:
1 Tbsp. grated orange rinds
1 tsp. orange flavor extract
2 Tbsp. triple sec liqueur
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium pot (without the sour cream and Imported English Dessert Mix).
  2. Heat until milk started to boil and sugar is dissolved.  Turn down heat to simmer and let it simmered for 10 minutes.
  3. Use a strainer, strain the flavored hot milk to remove the rosemary and rinds.  Let it cool.
  4. Combine Bird's Dessert Mix and the flavored cooled milk.  Heat and stir until pudding is thickened.  Let it boil for 2-3 minutes.  Take it off heat. Let it cool in the fridge.
  5. Add the additional flavoring: orange rinds, extract, and liqueur.
  6. Add sour cream and combine well.  You may use a hand mixer to mix it really well and creamy.  Set it aside in the fridge until it is time to assemble the cake.

Assembling the cake:
  1. Put a layer of genoise cake on a cake stand.
  2. Add 1/2 of vegan orange rosemary custard filling. Spread it evenly.
  3. Add another layer of genoise cake. Then add the other half of the custard filling and spread it evenly.
  4. Add the final layer of genoise cake.  Set it aside in the fridge for at least half an hour before frosting.

Orange Flavored Chocolate Ganache

11-12 oz good quality vegan chocolate chips
6-7 Tbsp. soy creamer
2 Tbsp. triple sec liqueur
2 tsp. orange flavor extract
Optional: grated orange rinds ( 1 tsp.)

  1. Just before the cake is ready to be frosted (after cake was assembled and sat in the fridge), in a double boiler, melt chocolate.
  2. Start to add 1 tablespoon at a time of soy creamer and alternate with liqueur and orange extract until chocolate becomes a pourable sauce.
  3. Pour chocolate ganache onto assembled cake and spread it evenly on top and sides of the cake.
Store assembled and frosted cake in the fridge until serving time.