Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wafers with Chocolate Filling # Vegan MoFo

I have fond memories of making these wafers with my mom for special occasions and when our Sweet Tooth came calling. The base of this recipe are big wafers which can be purchased at any European grocery store for less than $3.00 a package.

The wafers are accidentally vegan and the ingredients should include nothing more than wheat flour, oil, salt, soy lecithin and ammonium carbonate. If you are not able to find these wafers, then you may be out of luck with going forward with this recipe.

Perhaps the wafers can be substituted with something else, like cookies or the filling can be used for crepes? Hmm...that's an idea.


Wafers with Chocolate Filling
Wafers with Chocolate Filling

1 package of wafers, 5 large wafers per package (6-oz)
1 vegan dark chocolate bar of choice (3.5-oz), broken to pieces or chopped
1.5 cups unsweetened plant milk of choice (I used soy milk)
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup raisins, chopped
1/2 cup nuts or seeds of choice, chopped (I used raw blanched almonds)
1/2 cup vegan butter
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

I was very excited about stumbling upon this particular chocolate while grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. It was perfect for this recipe. 
In a medium pot, add milk and sugar, and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the milk reduces and thickens.

In the meantime, chop the chocolate, raisins and nuts. Now add the vegan butter to the pan and allow few minutes for melting. Now add the chocolate, and cocoa powder and continue stirring until melted and well incorporated. Turn off the heat.

Add vanilla extract, raisins and nuts. Mix well and allow about 10-15 minutes cooling time. The mixture will thicken a bit.

Chocolate filling mixture after 10-15 minutes of cooling. 
To assemble, place a wafer on the counter, large holes facing up to absorb the filling, and spoon about 1/4 cup or so of filling on each wafer. Spread it evenly. Place another wafer on top and continue doing so until all the wafers are used.

Chocolate mixture spread "evenly" on the wafer.
Place something heavy on top of the wafers, and allow about 20 minutes for the wafers to stick together.

I used what I had on hand, mainly a jar of marinara sauce, popcorn, and some cans of beans. 
Once the wafers have dried, cut them to size of choice, and store them in a tight container for 3-4 days.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Apple-Banana Jam # Vegan MoFo

Apple-Banana Jam served on a crumpet. Yum! 
Let me begin by saying that at one point in my life - while in high school - jam was my go-to-food. I ate it for dinner frequently. After high school, we broke-up, only to be reunited again. 

I am very pleased with all the progress Jam has made thus far while spending all this time apart. The progress is reflected on both ends of our relationship. I too have matured and decided that sugar is not all that necessary to make Jam more appealing to me.  

The great thing about Jam is that you can make it quickly, and use any fruit that has been sitting on your counter for a while, brown spots and all. You can use any spices you like instead of what I have suggested. 

Did you know you can tell how young the apple is by looking at its stem? The darker the stem, the older the apple or any fruit or vegetable, for that matter. 
Lastly, this recipe would be great as baby food. Just skip the lemon juice, sugar and pumpkin pie spice, and add shredded carrot for more nutrition. 


Apple-Banana Jam

3 medium/large Fuji apples, peeled and diced
2 small/medium bananas, peeled and sliced
2-3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, depending on preference
1 teaspoon raw cane sugar (optional)
1 cup water, plus additional 1/2 cup if necessary 

Preheat a large non-stick skillet over a medium heat. Add apples, lemon juice and sugar, if using, and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir often.

By now, the apples should have browned a bit. Add bananas, pumpkin spice and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for another 15-20 minutes. You can add the additional 1/2 cup of water if you like the jam consistency to be less chunky.

Turn off the heat and store in a mason jar, in the refrigerator, for up to a week.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Polish Vegetable Stew - Leczo # Vegan MoFo

On Sunday, I spoke to my mom as usual. She mentioned a Polish dish she recently started making called Leczo. Since I have never had it as a kid growing up in Poland, I was intrigued. One hour later, I had all the information I needed to make it.

Apparently, the original version is often made with sausage, but you can use chickpeas or any type of beans instead of vegan sausage.

I used Italian vegan sausage to go along with the Italian seasoning even though it is a Polish dish. What can I say? I like to mix it up a bit. Cheers! 

Polish Vegetable Stew - Leczo. I have purchased the salt and pepper shakers in Krakow, Poland. 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced to half-moon shapes
1 medium bell pepper of choice (I used orange), seeds removed, thinly sliced to half-moon shapes
2 small yellow or green zucchinis, thinly sliced
1 small/medium graffiti eggplant, thinly sliced to half-moon shapes
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 homemade or store bought vegan sausages of choice, sliced
2 cups diced tomatoes in juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

In a large non-stick skillet, sauté the onion and bell pepper in oil, for about 5-6 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables: zucchinis, eggplant and garlic and continue cooking for about 6 more minutes.

Don't be limited by the vegetables mentioned, use any vegetables you like. I was going to use mushrooms in this dish, and then I changed my mind after this picture was taken. 
Add vegan sausages of choice, diced tomatoes and spices. Mix well, cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and serve with bread, pasta or anything you like.

I like to eat Leczo with bread. Today, I am using leftovers as a sandwich filling. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mushroom "Cream Cheese" # Vegan MoFo

Mushroom "Cream Cheese"
Are you, per chance, wondering about the possibility of making Mushroom "Cream Cheese" in the comfort of your kitchen at this very moment? Well friends, this is possible, especially when you have homemade or store bought vegan cream cheese on hand.

I really like Trader Joe's brand. It is affordable, and delicious. This is the company's second, and much improved version of vegan cream cheese. I love it! 
In all honesty, I am not posting a recipe today, but rather, I am making a suggestion on other ways of consuming vegan cream cheese.

Great on a toasted bagel with tomato and pea shoots.
How did I come up with the mushroom idea? Well, in Poland, there are million varieties of cream cheese, including mushroom, dill, tomato...the list goes on. As a former cheese addict, my favorite cream cheese variety was mushroom. I really missed having it, and so here it is.

In this instance, I finely chopped five baby bella mushrooms, sautéed them in a little bit of olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper. While the mushrooms were sautéing, I placed the vegan cream cheese in a bowl, to bring it to room temperature. Use as much "cream cheese" as you are planning on eating. I used about 1/2 cup of "cream cheese" to 4-5 baby bella mushrooms.

Chopped mushrooms
Mix the sautéed mushrooms with softened "cream cheese" and serve. So simple!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sauerkraut and Mushroom Pierogi # Vegan MoFo

Pierogi (dumplings) are a great go-to-meal when traveling through Europe. Most are made with vegan friendly ingredients and range in a variety of fillings such as mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, mushrooms, blueberries and so forth.

While the list of possible fillings is almost infinite, I recommend to use as a filling whatever you have on hand at home. Once you have the dough recipe mastered, use left overs or vegetables, and you have a simple, cheap meal. Isn't life wonderful with pierogis in tow?


Sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi. 
Ingredients (Makes about 30 pierogi)
2.5 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
1 cup hot water (not boiling water)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg (optional)

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dried bolete mushrooms (or dried mushrooms of choice), reconstituted 
1 (31-oz jar) sauerkraut (about 4 cups)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Make the filling a day ahead to make things easier on yourself. If that is not possible, begin making pierogi by preparing the filling first. Boil plenty of water in a tea kettle, place dried mushrooms in a medium bowl, and pour the boiling water over the dried mushrooms. Be sure to cover them completely and set aside for about 15-20 minutes.

Mushrooms, reconstituting in water. 
In the meantime, preheat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add oil and sauerkraut with their juices. Season with salt and pepper and continue sautéing until all the juices have evaporated, for about 10 minutes.

By now, the mushrooms should be ready. Drain and be sure to save the liquid, you will need it to flavor the sauerkraut. Chop the mushrooms into small pieces, I use kitchen scissors for this task, and add them to the sauerkraut. Add about 1/4 cup of mushroom water at a time to the sauerkraut, and continue sautéing for another 15-20 minutes. Keep adding more mushroom water, as needed, to prevent from sticking to the skillet.

Turn off the heat, taste for seasoning, and set aside.

This is what the filling looks like. 
Now, make the dough. In a large bowl add 2 cups of flour, salt, oil, nutmeg and water. I microwaved a cup of water for 40 seconds. Mix gently, and add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Knead the dough for about 2 minutes, and set aside for about 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to boil to cook the pierogi. Dust work surface with plenty of flour, divide the dough into 2 parts, and roll out each one to a flat, thin pancake. The dough will be sticky, so have additional flour handy. Use a large cup or cover from a mason jar, like I did, to shape the pierogi.

Gently lift the surrounding dough around the shaped pierogi, and set aside. Add about 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle, fold the ends together, pinch with a fork to seal the pierogi. Do the same with the other half of the dough.

Place the pierogi in the boiling pot of water, about 5-6 at a time, and remove with a slotted spoon as soon as they float on top. This should take a minute or so, do not leave the pierogi boiling once they flow to the top, or they will fall apart.

To serve, pan fry in olive oil, and top with sautéed mushrooms or onion. Traditionally, these are served with sautéed onion.

Do not over-knead the dough or it will be too elastic, and you won't be able to roll it out.

Keep extra flour handy when rolling and shaping pierogi as the dough will be sticky, especially when your kitchen is warm. Use a fork to gently lift the shaped pierogi from the work surface, don't worry about perfection.

Be sure to seal the pierogi well to prevent from filling escaping during cooking. I keep a glass of water and dip my fingers, if necessary, to seal the dough if too dry. Fork is a great tool for sealing too.

Lastly, have a helper handy to make this activity as fun as possible. If a helper is not available, I recommend a glass of wine or beer. If that is not available, recruit a furry friend to keep you company.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Blintzes - Nalesniki # Vegan MoFo

Hi there,

I have decided to re-post this recipe for Vegan MoFo since it is one of the most popular Polish dishes around, in my humble opinion. I hope that you can enjoy it the second time around as much as I did. Click here to view the original post.


Blintzes with Creamy Tofu Filling (Servings: 8 medium sized blintzes)

Blintz Ingredients 
½ cup unflavored almond milk (I used Almond Breeze Original)
½ cup water, plus additional 2 tablespoons if necessary
10 tablespoons of unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup vegan butter, melted

1 16-oz package firm organic tofu (do not press the tofu)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons organic powdered sugar (use less or more depending on sweetness preference)
Dash of salt

Melt the vegan butter in a microwave for about 10-15 seconds. There will be some lumps left, but that’s ok. Mix the vegan butter until all the lumps are gone.

In a large bowl, combine ½ cup water, almond milk, and flour. Add vegan butter and whisk until there are no lumps left. The blintz batter should be thinner than pudding, but thicker than broth. If the blintz batter is too thick, add 2 tablespoons of water gradually.

Preheat a 6-inch non-stick pan over medium heat and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Add 2-3 tablespoons of batter and spread it evenly. Wiggle the pan back and forth in a circular motion until the batter spreads in a thin layer. Cook until the blintz is dry and golden for about 2-3 minutes. Gently flip over with spatula and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Slide over to a large plate and continue making blintzes until all the batter is used. Set aside.

While the blintzes are cooling, make the filling. In a food processor or high-speed blender, add the tofu, lemon zest, almond extract, organic powdered sugar and a dash of salt. Blend until very smooth, for about 4 minutes. Taste the filling to make sure it is sweet enough, if not, add more sugar.

To assemble each blintz, place 2-3 tablespoons of the filling in a line in the center of the blintz. Fold the two opposite sides of the blintz in a shape of cigar. Heat the non-stick skillet used to make the blintzes, and coat it with a non-stick cooking spray. Place two to three blintzes seam-down and fry on each side until crispy for about 4-5 minutes.

Serve with fruit preserves or fruit sauce. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle maple syrup on top.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Stuffed Cabbage - Golabki # Vegan MoFo

My month in Polish food theme in relation to Vegan MoFo would not be complete without including a stuffed cabbage recipe, also known as golabki. Typically, the filling includes non-vegan ingredients, but not this time my friends.

Before you begin, I recommend that you cook rice and lentils a day ahead, to make things easier on yourself. This recipe is simple, however it has many steps and I don't want you to be tired when you are done cooking. Cheers!

1 head medium/large cabbage, parboiled, tough stems trimmed

2 cups cooked brown rice (or grain of choice)
2 cups cooked red lentils
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon marjoram
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce (optional)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (I used more than a pinch, about 1/4 teaspoon)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste

1 (28-oz can) crushed tomatoes or jar of marinara sauce of choice

Cook the rice and the lentils, seperately, first or a day ahead. 

Parboil the cabbage in a large pot of water. Remove the leaves as they fall off or soften. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Run under cold water and place on a plate. Trim the thick membrane of each leaf. Like this.

Now prepare the filling. In a large bowl, combine cooked rice and lentils, tomato paste, vegan worcestershire sauce, if using, as well as all the spices. Mix well and taste for seasonings.

Preheat oven to 350 F. To assemble, place 2-3 tablespoons of filling on the cabbage leaf. Like this.

Cabbage leaf with 2-3 tablespoon of filling. 
Roll leaf up and over the filling like an envelope. Continue to roll until all leaves and stuffing are gone.

Ready for sauce! 
Coat a large baking pan with about 2 tablespoons of crushed tomatoes or marinara sauce. Place any unused cabbage leaves on the bottom of the large baking pan. Now place stuffed cabbage, seam down, next to each other, and top with the remaining sauce. You can chop and add carrots, potatoes or mushrooms on top, to bake along with the stuffed cabbage. I often add bay leaves for additional flavor.

Ready for the oven. 
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1.5 hours in the oven. Be sure to check the stuffed cabbage halfway through to make sure there is enough liquid. Add water if necessary to prevent the stuffed cabbage from drying out.

Remove the foil, and cook uncovered about 20 minutes before the stuffed cabbage is done. Serve with mashed potatoes or a piece of crusty bread.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Polish Sandwich Spread - Paprykarz # Vegan MoFo

Back in my junior high school days, in Poland, I used to bring a sandwich with Paprykarz (fish paste with rice, tomato paste, oil and spices) to school frequently. Although my mom thought the idea of polluting the air for other students with fish breath was rude, I demanded to have this sandwich available to me at all times. Needless to say, my demands have changed. I want it VEGAN!

Paprykasz is a staple to students of all ages. When all else fails - example: lack of money due to a desperate need to purchase toilet paper instead of food - you could always buy a can of this paste. It is the Ramen alternative if you will. Paprykarz is a student's best friend. Now it is an animal's best friend too. 


Paprikarz sandwich with sliced avocado. 
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or oil of choice), plus additional if desired
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 small carrots, peeled and shredded
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cooked brown or white rice (I used brown rice)
1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained, rinsed and mashed
1 (6-oz can) tomato paste (about 5 tablespoons)
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon or to taste red pepper flakes (optional)
1-2 tablespoons kelp granules (optional)
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (regular paprika may be substituted)

Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack. 

Cook the rice first in water or vegetable broth. While the rice is cooking, sauté the onion, bell pepper, and carrots in 1 tablespoon of oil, over a medium heat, for about 10 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Add a splash of water if necessary to prevent from sticking to the pan.

Combine with tomato paste, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes. Cook for another minute or two. Turn off the heat, and transfer the vegetables to a medium bowl. Add mashed chickpeas (use food processor or a high-speed blender for a finer paste consistency), cooked rice, and kelp granules, if using. The kelp granules add a fishy like flavor to the dish. Use 1 tablespoon at at time as you might not need the entire amount. At this point, you can add another tablespoon of oil for flavor, but it is not necessary.

Serve on bread of choice or crackers.

Store in a closed jar, in the refrigerator, for up to a week. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Potato Babka - Kartoflak # Vegan MoFo

Dear Vegan MoFo,

I wanted to let you know I have not given up on you yet. I really wanted to though. I am still determined to post five blog entries each week, during the month of September. However, last week, I crumbled under the pressure and posted four blog entries instead. Mea culpa

I wanted you to hear this from me rather than another blogger. I think this Potato Babka recipe will inspire forgiveness in your eyes. Plus, I have decided to adopt another feline friend from a shelter. His name is Othello. Beware of his cuteness. 


Vegan Kitty Patrol (VKP)

What is Potato Babka? It is a delicious potato pie made with simple ingredients. 
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or oil of choice) for sautéing, plus additional, see below
2 small onions, divided
1 (10-oz package) cremini mushrooms, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
13-15 medium size potatoes, peeled and grated (not shredded)
3-4 tablespoons potato flour (regular flour may be substituted)
1/3 cup grapeseed oil (or oil of choice)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste, about 2 teaspoons

I had two more slices after this picture was taken.

In a medium non-stick skillet, sauté one small, finely chopped onion and mushrooms, in 1 tablespoon of oil, for about 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 375 F. While the onion, and mushrooms are sautéing, grate the potatoes and the remaining onion in a food processor or use a manual grater. Transfer the grated potatoes and onion to a mesh drainer in efforts to remove the excess liquid, for about 3 minutes.

In a separate, medium size bowl, combine the drained potato-onion mixture with the sautéed mushroom-onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Taste if necessary for salt. I did!

Add potato flour and mix well. Combine with oil and bake in an oiled 8-inch pie pan for 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on crispiness preference. Serve with vegan sour cream, mushroom gravy or soy sauce.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Sorrel Soup # Vegan MoFo

Sorrel Soup. Typically, it is served with sliced boiled egg. Avocado would be great in this instance. I ran out!
This week is passing by with a speed of a race car, leaving traces of uncertainty, awakening, and doubt. It is my second week of final year of graduate school and my first week of a new internship. There is a lot of beginnings and experiencing new things. I feel out of sorts.

One of my classes involves having a blog (another one) and playing a video game (I am not a gamer!) with my fellow classmates. While I was completely aware of these requirements when registering for this class, I still signed up for it. What does that mean? Aside from welcoming voluntary feelings of discomfort (in this instance), I think trying out new things is a good thing.

Life is about struggles and pushing yourself forward no matter what the obstacle. If you are not feeling anything, then you are not living. Let's start living, shall we? How about we begin with making this soup? There should be minimal frustration involved in this process.

The soup is quick and easy to make when you have a jar of sorrel leaves on hand. The only ingredients listed on the jar should be sorrel leaves, water, salt and some type of acid, such as lemon juice. Some have egg yolks in them, so watch out for that.

If you are not able to find sorrel leaves in a jar, you can use fresh leaves instead. See note below. Cheers!

Sorrel leaves can be found in European grocery stores. 
1 (11.28-oz) jar sorrel leaves*
1 tablespoon vegan butter or oil of choice
1 medium size onion, finely chopped
4 medium size carrots, peeled and chopped or shredded
1 bay leaf
3-4 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon dill weed
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 to 3/4 cup unflavored plant milk of choice

Sauté the onion in butter or oil in a large soup pot for about 5-6 minutes. Add carrots, sorrel leaves with all the liquid, bay leaf, potatoes, pepper, dill weed, and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 15-20 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender.

Turn off the heat, add the milk and serve.

Don't have access to a European grocery store? No worries. Use 1 pound of fresh sorrel leaves in this recipe instead. Since the preserved sorrel leaves already have salt, and acid added, using fresh leaves will require further seasoning. When adding fresh sorrel leaves to the soup, be sure to season it with salt. Once the soup is ready, turn off the heat, add 1-2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and then add the milk.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fried Beet Salad # Vegan MoFo

Beet, the root vegetable is the king and queen of all vegetables in Poland. It is very fitting to include a beet recipe in My month in Polish food theme, in this instance, today.

I love beets! The idea of starting Beet! The Awesome Root Vegetable fan club crossed my mind a few times. However, I have decided to take my passion for beets elsewhere. I mean...who has time for answering fan email/mail about beets, right?

Although, I will make an exception, and answer any remarks regarding this recipe in the comment section below.

Go beets!

Fried Beet Salad! Painted birds love it too. 
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 medium size beets, boiled, peeled and shredded
1 small onion, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly ground sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon raw cane sugar
1-2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fresh dill for garnish

Place unpeeled beets in a medium pot with plenty of water: enough to submerge the beets completely. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and cook until fork tender, for about 25-30 minutes. Set aside on a plate to cool off.

While the beets are cooling, chop the onion, and sauté it in oil, using a non-stick skillet, for 5-6 minutes.

By now, the beets should be ready to handle, peel the skin and shred the beets in a food processor or use a manual grater. Add shredded beets, pepper, salt, and sugar to the onion. Mix well and continue sautéing the beets with the onion for another 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add lemon juice and garnish with fresh dill. Serve as an appetizer or a side dish.

To make a nice presentation, place the beet salad in a small tea cup coated with non-stick cooking spray. Flip it over on the presentation plate, garnish with dill and serve.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rhubarb Compote # Vegan MoFo

My month in Polish food theme in relation to Vegan MoFo continues with Rhubarb Compote. Compote is a fruit drink that can be consumed both hot and cold. It is also easy to make. See recipe below.

As much as I would like to talk to you in further detail about compote, there is someone else on my mind today. He is handsome, strong and feisty and goes by many names. Mainly: Maximus, Max, and Poodle.

Six years ago, somewhere in Queens, NY, I was walking to the train to go to work, and noticed a scraggly looking cat with a limp.

The before picture of Max. 
I immediately picked him up, hitched a ride with a stranger - 20 minute walk home with a stray cat did not seem like a good idea - and that was that.

After Max recuperated, I wanted to find a permanent home for him, but Max had some issues. Mainly, he did not allow anyone to cut his nails, loved to sing at night, and had a biting problem. 

Once upon a time at the vet's office, he was labeled aggressive. Even the vet tech had difficulty with Max in spite of wearing a face protective mask and long mittens. Well, if someone looked like Jason Voorhees during a check-up, I would have my defenses up too.

Max has tried out a few wonderful homes in the past, but permanent home was not in the cards for him. Always a bridesmaid, never the bride. Well, today after years of searching for his new family, it looks like he won the lottery. Max has been accepted by a loving couple who have lots of friends for him to play with. Let's hope Max behaves. While I am happy for Max, I miss him completely, and maybe shed a tear or two for this little bugger.

Handsome boy!
Have a great life Max. Now, let's make some Rhubarb Compote.

Rhubarb Compote
Ingredients (Makes about 1.5 liters)
4 large rhubarbs, washed, leaves removed and cut to 1-inch pieces
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries/strawberries, defrosted
6 cups water
5 tablespoons vegan vanilla sugar (or more depending on preference)*

In a medium pot, combine rhubarb, berries, water and sugar. You can peel the rhubarb if you wish. I like to use unpeeled rhubarb because it adds nice color to the compote in addition to the berries.

Rhubarb and strawberries prior to adding sugar and water. 
Bring to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Once the compote has cooled a bit, taste for sweetness, and add more sugar if necessary. I like mine not too sweet.

The compote is great served warm or chilled in the refrigerator. Try it in cocktails!

To make vanilla sugar, mix vegan sugar of choice (example: raw cane sugar) with 1-2 vanilla beans. Be sure to slice the vanilla bean lengthwise first. Add the seeds and the sliced vanilla bean to the sugar and mix well. Place in a tight jar for two weeks for the vanilla sugar to fully develop its flavor.

If you are in a hurry, use regular vegan sugar in this recipe along with 1 vanilla bean, sliced.

Cheers to you Max!