Greek Gyros

My husband and I are both big fans of Greek flavors and I made these sort of gyro wraps for dinner the other night. They were a big hit and I’ve since made them again!

The thing that is tricky is that traditional tzaziki isn’t vegan, so I make my own using non-dairy yogurt (it’s really simple).

Then all you need are your preferred fixings and some flatbread, like pitas or naan. We prefer naan because it is really filling and a bit more fluffy than pita, but both work great!

For the meat, I use meatless ground (Gardein has a good one that is frozen).

This recipe is good for dinner for two, but just multiply it to serve more people.

Vegan Gyros

Ingredients:

About 1/4 onion, thinly sliced

1/2 bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 cups lettuce, shredded or chopped

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

7-8 black olives, sliced in half

1 1/2 cup meatless ground

Lamb seasoning to taste (I use the lamb seasoning from Penzey’s, but other Greek seasoning will work)

Olive oil

Naan (make sure it is vegan because a lot of naan contains buttermilk)

Directions:

Toss the lettuce with balsamic vinegar.

Heat pan on medium heat with some olive oil. Add meatless ground and desired lamb/Greek seasoning. Cook until it gets color and is heated through, probably about 6-7 minutes.

Warm naan using the stovetop, oven, or microwave.

Add meatless ground to the naan or pita, then stuff with lettuce, bell pepper, onions, and olives. Top with tzaziki and enjoy!

Tzaziki:

I cup dairy-free yogurt (I use coyo coconut yogurt)

1/2 cucumber, diced

1/4 cup red onion, diced

Squeeze lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

Small bunch dill, chopped

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy!

Hopefully you enjoy this as much as we did! It’s becoming a pretty common dinner in my house because it is really filling and delicious.

3.14

Happy Pi Day! We always celebrate this day in my house with, of course, a pie. It is the perfect occasion for a pie and is made even better by the March timing because some new fruits are starting to come in season (of course the citrus is good this time of year, but in California the berry season is just in its infancy).

I always think that I can’t wait to celebrate pi day with my children one day because we can show them how to find the circumference AND how to make a pie.

This year I went for a strawberry pie and decided to make a sort of pb&j pie by adding peanut butter to the pie crust. It turned out really well and I will definitely be making again!

It gave the serious pb&j vibes I was hoping for, so that is amazing.

The recipe is also quite easy and feel free to add more or less peanut butter to the crust depending on your preference. As a warning, peanut butter does tend to dry out doughs, so you may require more water to have a workable consistency.

PB&J Pie

Crust:

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 Tablespoons peanut butter

6 Tablespoons vegan butter

1/4 cup ice water (this may vary depending on how dry the air is, so just add until dough holds shape)

Directions: In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt and pulse a few times. Add peanut butter and butter, then pulse until the texture of breadcrumbs. Add ice water until dough holds together.

Roll out into thin flat disk, then place in pie dish. Chill.

Once crust has chilled for 30 minutes, dock the dough and blind bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes. This could take more or less time depending on oven and how chilled the dough is, but bake until the edges of the crust are lightly browned.

Filling:

2 pints fresh strawberries (frozen should be fine too)

Juice of one lemon

1 cup sugar

4 Tablespoons corn starch

3/4 cup water

Directions: Remove the leaves from the strawberries and roughly slice and chop. The pieces can remain rather large because they will cook down.

Whisk together the corn starch and water to form a slurry.

Put strawberries into a large pot on high heat with the lemon juice, slurry, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for around 15 minutes, or until thickened. Once the mixture has thickened up a bit, remove from heat and let cool.

Place in container and let the mixture cool/thicken more in the fridge for at least an hour.

Once the pie crust is baked and cooled, add the filling, then place back in the fridge to continue setting for at least a half hour.

Slice and serve! I served this with coconut whipped cream and it turned out really well.

Beartown

I’ve been reading a new book! I went to a really cool local bookstore and found the book Beartown by the author Frederik Backman. I was immediately excited because I read A Man Called Ove by the same author, which I really liked (and highly recommend, though it is a tearjerker).

Beartown has not disappointed! The novel takes place in a small Swedish town that is centered around the local hockey team. The story follows the general manager of the hockey team, his family, the players, and the local residents. Beartown has seen more people and jobs leave, forgotten by the rest of the country.

The book begins with a semblance of hope, but it is cast with a dark shadow. As Beartown pins their dreams to the local hockey team, the lives of those involved are picked apart, good and bad.

I have found the thing I like most about Backman’s writing is that he manages to delve into the emotions of his characters in an almost matter-of-fact way. I don’t know why i enjoy this quality so much, but it seems to strike an emotional chord in me.

I won’t spoil the plot line for you, but I enthusiastically recommend this book and think it is at least as remarkable and expressive as A Man Called Ove, perhaps even more.

Lemon Cookies

These lemon cookies are my husband’s favorite. They use vegan butter to make a shortbread-style cookie and are good, especially for someone who loves lemon desserts.

A friend came to work the other day with these giant, fresh lemons from her family’s lemon tree, so I thought a batch of these cookies sounded like a good idea. Then of course I had to take a picture and share the recipe.

Lemon Cookies

Makes about 20-24 cookies.

Prep. Time: 45 minutes

Bake Time: 15-20 minutes (pay close attention because every oven is different and these can easily overtake and dry out)

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups AP flour

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 sticks vegan butter, room temperature

Zest of 2-3 large lemons

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

For the Glaze:

Juice of about 1 lemon

1-2 cup confectioner’s sugar (this depends on how much lemon juice you have and your desired consistency)

Directions:

1. In a medium or large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.

2. Once sugar and butter are smooth, add the zest and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated, then add flour and salt.

3. After all the flour is mixed in, form dough into a flat disk, wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, roll out the chilled dough until about 1/3 inch thick, then cut using a biscuit cutter or other cookie cutter (I use my circle cutter, which is 1 1/2 inches).

5. Place cookies onto parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden on the bottom (the color will show less on the tops of the cookies, so you can always gently lift one and check the bottom).

6. Let cookies cool and top with lemon glaze.

That’s it! These are easy cookies to make and sort of give the vibes of those lemon Girl Scout cookies.

Puff Pastry Tarts with Orange-Lemon Curd

Lemon curd and puff pastry go quite well together. The pastry brings a rich flavor from the fat, as well as a light crispness from the layers. Add in lemon curd and it cuts that richness with a sweet and tart flavor. It brings a textural element as well, contrasting the crisp pastry with a smooth filling.

I used my puff pastry recipe and this lemon curd recipe from the Domestic Gothess, though I replaced half the lemon with orange zest and juice. The lemon curd recipe was pretty good, though I would probably use coconut cream if I make it again because it was definitely missing some depth of flavor that more fat could have provided.

How I made these!

Thaw puff pastry dough

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll out pastry until about 1/3 inch thick. Cut out circles with circle cutter (mine is 1 1/2 inches). Using a sharp knife, score a smaller circle inside, leaving about a half- inch border.

Place on parchment-lined baking sheet, then chill for a few more minutes (this helps firm the fat in the dough so it doesn’t just melt out, but instead steams up and rises the pastry).

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until very golden.

Once cooled, remove the inner circle.

Place lemon curd inside and you’re done! This could easily be topped with some vegan whipped cream.

Hopefully you enjoy this! 🍋🍊🥐

Vegan Puff Pastry

I have always liked to bake and especially enjoy making my own puff pastry. Puff pastry isn’t traditionally vegan (in fact it’s meant to have an exorbitant amount of butter in it). However, it actually translates quite well to a vegan recipe because it just require the substitution of vegan butter.

The “puff” reaction comes from the layers of melting fat producing steam, which causes a rapid rise during baking. This isn’t dependent on the fat being butter, so the same results are produced with vegan puff pastry!

The recipe and technique are both much simpler than many people would have you believe, so if you’re interested in making homemade puff pastry don’t worry about the difficulty!

Vegan Puff Pastry

Servings: varied (depends on what you’re making!)

Prep. Time: 1 hour + 30 min

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1 cup water

1 cup (2 sticks) vegan butter

Directions:

1. Let butter soften until it is able to be shaped. Place between two pieces of parchment paper and pound with a rolling pin until it is a flat square about 1/2 inch thick. Place in fridge while preparing dough.

2. In a stand mixer or medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Then add water and stir with a spoon until it begins to come together. Finish by kneading with your hands a few times (until completely incorporated).

3. Roll dough into a long rectangle, large enough to seal in the butter block. Take butter block from fridge and seal into the dough.

4. Roll out dough, with butter encased, until about 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Fold lengthwise into thirds. Repeat the rolling and folding once more, then wrap and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

5. After 30 minutes, roll and fold dough two more times. Chill for 30 more minutes.

6. Roll and fold dough two last times. There should be a total of 6 “turns” (times rolling and folding) total.

7. If using within the next 24 hours, refrigerate. Otherwise, puff pastry easily keeps wrapped well and frozen for a month.

Hopefully this explanation made sense! I actually made a video here that shows the process, so if this explanation is confusing that may help.

If anyone tries this and has any questions, feel free to ask 🙂

Valentine’s Day Pizza

This post is a little late since Valentine’s Day was last week, but we celebrated by making a homemade heart pizza!

The dough recipe is from a friend of mine and I use it every time I make pizza. Sometimes I make the sauce as well, but this time I tried Cucina Antica La Pizza sauce which was super delicious!

Normally I skip the cheese, but I added vegan mozzarella this time and I have to say I prefer it without. If you eat cheese, however, feel free to add it vegan or otherwise.

Homemade Pizza

Serves: Realistically, 2-3

Time: 1.5-2 hours, including dough rise

Ingredients:

1.5 Tablespoons Yeast

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 cup lukewarm water

2 3/4 cups flour

Pinch salt

2-3 teaspoons olive oil

Pizza sauce (homemade or otherwise)

Desired toppings (such as olives, veggies, cheese, etc.)

Directions:

1. Make the dough. Combine lukewarm water, yeast, and sugar. Stir and let sit until bubbling (a few minutes).

2. Place flour and salt in mixer with yeast mixture. Using the dough hook, mix on low-med until combined. Once combined, oil the sides of the mixing bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise for about an hour or until at least doubled.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out dough and toss/shape to form pizza.

4. Add sauce and toppings, then bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes (until desired doneness)

Hopefully you enjoy this! It can take some trial and error when making homemade pizza, but this dough recipe has always produced great results for me 🍕