Posted by Noelle on November 11th, 2012
Categories: Desserts
Tags: ,,

This crumble is inspired by my trip to Ireland last year. In every little shop, cafe, and restaurant, they proudly display and serve their apple crumbles. They seem to come in several variations, but the one I stumbled on most often was apples paired with blackberries. They were baked in large white fluted quiche dishes and served by the generous slice, topped with sweetened whipped cream. Of course no slice is complete without a pot of strong Irish tea. Can you say heaven? This pays homage to those amazing Irish crumbles. One of the things I noticed is that their crumbs are big, not like what we usually see on our American apple pies...are you drooling yet? So I set out to make a vegan version that would rival any authentic Irish grandma's. Get your tea pot ready, make sure you have some vanilla ice cream in the freezer, and prepare to travel bite-by-bite to Ireland. If you close your eyes, maybe you can imagine the jagged cliffs rising out of the restless blue ocean, the lush green landscape dotted with grazing sheep and goats, and the sweet charming homes with thatched roofs and flowery window boxes. Síochán!

Ingredients:

  • 7 large honeycrisp apples, peeled and cored
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 3/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, I used grade A amber
  • 1 TBS + 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 cups blackberries, I used frozen
  • 2-1/2 cups white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick of Earth Balance vegan butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 + 1/8 cup maple syrup, I used grade A amber

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is preheating, slice the apples in half horizontally, then in 1/3" thick slices vertically and put into a large bowl. Toss with lemon zest and juice. Add the 1/4 cup maple syrup, corn starch, and salt, stirring gently to combine. Next add the blackberries, if using frozen, do not let them thaw before you add them. Again, stirring gently to combine. Pour the mixture into a glass casserole dish. I used a 10.5"w x 1.5"d round quiche dish. Redistribute blackberries by hand if needed so they are evenly distributed. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to push the mixture down to minimize air pockets.

Next, it's time to make the crumble. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cinnamon until thoroughly combined. Add the cubed Earth Balance. Using your fingers, squeeze the flour mixture and the Earth Balance together over and over until everything is well incorporated. Clean your hands then pour the remaining maple syrup onto the flour mixture. Use a spoon to stir and fold in the maple syrup. You should start to get large crumbs. You want to stir until most of the flour mixture is moist and there is not much dry loose flour left. Use your hands to crumble the mixture on top of the apples and blackberries. I like my crumbles on the large side. They will get crisp in the oven and they are wonderful. Fill the top of the apple mixture with all of the crumble mixture. Do not press down, you want the crumbs to be free-form and loose. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes until golden brown. Let cool 15-20 minutes before serving. This gets better the longer it sits. I cover it loosely with aluminum foil and let it sit out on the counter. If you cover it with plastic wrap the crumble will eventually soften. This is best served warm with either vegan whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Makes 8 servings.

Posted by Noelle on November 4th, 2012
Categories: Entrees, Soups & Stews
Tags: ,,,,

Sometimes life pushes our limits. Sometimes just when I think I can't take anything more, it deliberately sets out to prove me wrong. I could choose to be sad, to wallow if you will, to hang my head down and just suffer. And there are times I allow myself to do just that. Mostly though, I do my best to take it all in stride and roll with the punches. I am so fortunate to have such a supportive husband who holds my hand as we weather through life's storms together, a family who is always there for me, and friends who remind me that we all have our battles. Every single one of us, without exception. When I take a minute to remember that, it puts things back into perspective. Food is one of the ultimate ways to not only comfort yourself, but comfort anyone who may need it. It is also an escape. Nothing like diving into a special recipe to forget about life for just a bit. This recipe is perfect. With a little prep work to distract you in the morning, this gets slow-cooked throughout the day, making your house smell divine, and at the end of the day you and your loved ones get to sit down to a piping hot bowl of homemade vegetable soup. Does it get better than that? This also makes a decent amount of soup, so maybe you can deliver a bowl to someone you know who needs comforting, or better yet invite them over. It's the little gestures of kindness that mean so much. Wishing you all comfort when you most need it. Peace 🙂

Vegan Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup

Vegan Crockpot Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 TBS canola or olive oil
  • 2 lbs of frozen mixed soup vegetables, includes corn, carrots, peas, green beans, etc
  • 32 oz vegetable stock or broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 TBS Braggs Liquid Amino Acids
  • 1 TBS red wine or Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/2 tsp salt, more or less depending on your stock
  • fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

In a large nonstick skillet with deep sides, saute the onions, celery, and potatoes in the oil over medium-high heat stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes or until the onion is tender. Add the garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Add the frozen vegetables and put a lid over the skillet, continue cooking another 6-8 minutes until the frozen vegetables are warm. Transfer to a slow cooker and turn on high.

Bring the pan back to the stove and add the stock, water, tomato paste, Braggs, vinegar, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and salt, cooking over medium-high heat. Whisk gently to incorporate the tomato paste. Continue cooking until the mixture is bubbling, about 5-7 minutes. Then add to the vegetables in the slow cooker. Using a silicon or wooden spoon stir in a generous amount of black pepper, I usually add between 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of black pepper. Add the lid and let cook for about 6 hours over high heat, stirring occasionally. Serves 6-8. Please note that you can really use whatever vegetables you have on hand. In the past I have used squash, peppers, cabbage, lima beans, etc. so feel free to improvise.

Vegan Homemade Vegetable Soup

Vegan Crockpot Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup