Saturday, June 25, 2011

Vegan Coconut Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I was introduced to Vegan baking when I tried Sophia Cacciola's chocolate chip cookies during a Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library practice session. Yes, we eat cookies and drink tea during practice! Sophia is the best cookie baker I have come across in a while. I couldn't believe how good these cookies tasted. They were actually better than the traditional egg and butter variety! What I really like is the combination of flours used to create a nice texture and maple syrup for extra sweetness! I made the straight up chocolate chip cookie and they were delicious. Then I decided to utilize some cherries in my fridge and use up some of the surplus of shredded coconut I have as a result of ordering a case instead of one bag online! The cooked cherries with chocolate are divine and the coconut... wow! It helps to keep the cookie together and adds more flavor! So, go on and enjoy these cookies without eggs and butter! You will be pleasantly surprised! I also recently made some Vegan banana muffins. Look out for the post coming soon!

Man-Size Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe is from Party Vegan by Robin Robertson © John Wiley and Sons, 2010.

3/4 cup Earth Balance, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet vegan chocolate chips
1/4C cherries, pitted and chopped
1/4C shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment
paper or silicone mats.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the Earth Balance and both sugars
until light and fluffy. Stir in the non-dairy milk, maple syrup, and
vanilla and mix until smooth.
3. In a separate large bowl, combine both flours, baking soda, baking
powder, and salt and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet
ingredients, stirring well to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips, chopped cherries and shredded coconut.

4. Drop the dough by the heaping tablespoonful (or more) about 2
inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake until slightly
browned around the edges, 15 to 16 minutes. Cool for a few minutes
before transferring to a wire rack to cool. When completely cool,
store in an airtight container.

Makes about 24 large cookies


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiana

Eggplant Parmigiana is one of my all time favorite dishes and has been a staple in my family for generations. I made this eggplant Parmigiana before heading out to San Francisco on one of my many business trips.  The perfect meal before heading away and eating out for 7 days! While in San Francisco I indulge in many different cuisines; 
* Mexican (so many great taquerias!), 
* Thai (homemade by my amazing friend, Sheila Satin of satincrystals), 
* German (suppenkuche), 
* Japanese (kappa), 
* crepes (Honey Honey), 
* sandwiches (rheas
to name a few... Look out for photos on the Nomsense Facebook page (Nomsense facebook) and another blog post about my culinary adventures while on the road!  When I returned from this trip, I still wanted eggplant Parmigiana, so I made this recipe again! I also made a nice vegetable parmagiana with zucchini, black beans and portabella mushrooms!
Vegetable Parmigiana

This is the best eggplant parmigiana I have ever made. It even won kudos from my mother who is not a fan of eggplant anything. That is saying a lot! The most important step is to drain the water out of the eggplant by salting and rinsing. It is rather time consuming, but well worth it! This recipe took me about 2hrs. to make. Also, the traditional method is to fry the eggplant slices in oil. To make this recipe healthier, I baked the eggplant and brushed a little olive oil on the slices while they were baking. I think it added to the flavor.


1 med-lrge eggplant
1-2 eggs
approx. 2C flour
1/4tsp grlic salt
1/4tsp pepper
Favorite tomato sauce
Part-skim mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmeggiano-Reggiano cheese
9X9 Baking pan
Olive oil (use sparingly)


Preheat oven to 350F.
Peel eggplant & cut into ¼” slices.

In your strainer, add layers of eggplant, salt and paper towels. You can also layer the slices on top of cooling racks over a bowl or something that will catch the water droplets.
Let sit for approx 30min. Gently rinse each slice under the faucet on very low pressure. Pat each slice dry with paper towel and set aside. 

Draining the Water Out of the Eggplant Slices

Beat egg(s) and add about 1-2 tbsp of water to loosen up the egg. Prepare flour by adding garlic salt and pepper. Dip each eggplant slice in egg/water mixture followed by flour mixture and place on lightly oiled cookie sheet (1" apart) and in oven. Brush a little olive oil on each slice about 5min. into baking or until they look dry. Bake until slices look golden brown flipping once (re-oil after flipping).

Golden Eggplant Slices

Once all of the slices are done baking, apply a thin layer of sauce (Note: I make a simple sauce with one 28oz can of crushed tomatoes, 1 8oz can of contadina sauce, 1/2 can of tomato paste, approx. 1/4tsp of garlic salt (or 1 minced garlic clove), chopped basil (or dried) and salt and pepper to taste) on the bottom of the 9X9 baking pan followed by a layer of eggplant slices and a layer of mozz cheese. Continue with layering until you have used up all of the eggplant slices. End with a layer of sauce and mozz cheese topped with Parmeggiano-Reggiano and a sprinkle of olive oil.



If you make this recipe and it is not the best eggplant parmigiana that you have ever eaten, I want to know about it!!


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