Vegan Struffoli, The Food Duo Holiday Way

Growing up only half-Italian, I missed out on some traditions. However, one thing I never missed out on was the pastries. Oddly enough, I didn’t know the Italian names for them until I went to Italy many moons ago. Now, being married to Mr. Sicilian Artichoke, I actually learned more about them and started making them myself.

One of my favorites has been “Honey Balls” or “Struffoli.” Every Christmas and Easter, my mom and I would see piles of little round nuggets of fried dough sold in pretty wrapped trays. I always wanted to get them. However, we’d never would. Mom was more into getting cannolis and a pound of Italian assorted cookies.

When I met Artie, I finally got to try Struffoli at Christmas time  years back and fell in love! The sweetness of the honey went well with the light citrus flavor in the dough. Having a bit of a crunch from the dough and candy sprinkles made for a lovely texture.

Celebrating out first vegan Christmas, I had to learn to make my own version of this delicious treat. After trying out a few different recipes, I pulled together some ideas, hit up the liquor stash (not too hard) and went to town. After having Artie play guinea pig and helping me with the deep fryer, he gave his seal of approval.

Now, I feel like a full Italian…well almost!


The Food Duo’s Vegan Struffoli
Source: Artie’s Sicilian Traditions
Serves qs many who can devour a tray

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. egg replacer
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. brandy or cognac
  • Zest of one orange
  • Juice of one orange, divided
  • Oil or shortening for frying
  • 1 c. vegan honey or agave nectar
  • Vegan sprinkles or powdered sugar for decoration
Directions:
  1. Set stand mixer with dough hook. Add flour, baking powder, salt and sugar to bowl and mix on low. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix egg replacer into water untit well blended. Pour mixture into dry ingredients
  3. One at a time, add oil, vinegar, vanilla extract, brandy, orange zest and 1/2 of orange juice into dough mixture. Increase speed to medium to allow all ingredients to combine and dough to form. Dough may be slightly sticky.
  4. When dough is ready, remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Flour hands and knead dough for a minute or 2. Begin pinching off pieces of the dough and rolling into balls about 1/2-in thick
  5. Heat oil or shortening in fryer or saucepan for deep frying. When hot, add balls and fry until golden brown.

    Note: Depending on your fryer, the first batch may take while to cook while subsequent ones will cook quickly. Strongly advise to use the first batch as a test with about 5 pieces of dough

  6. When done, drain fried dough on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Then place on tray or plate.
  7. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 c. orange juice with 1 c. honey/agave nectar. Stir until honey is loose and is mixed well with orange juice. Pour over fried dough and give a quick toss to evenly coat.
  8. Top with sprinkles or powdered sugar.

Lemon Chick’n Scallopperoni – Thanks Gardein!

If you’ve never tried Gardein goodness, you, my friend, are missing out! I’d like to think that Artie and I are Gardeinnoiseurs, having made so many dishes with their products ranging from their Crispy Chickn Tenders to their Stuffed Turk’y in a variety of ways from pasta dishes to salads. Nothing has disappointed. So, weren’t we happy kiddos when Gardein contacted us to ask if we would be willing to come up with some recipes for their products (Thanks Kristen!).

If you know us, you know we’re not simple. We definitely go to task to create a recipe that we would be sure to use ourselves over and over again. We like to play with our food and put together some unique combos. We also like to make full use of what we have in our fridge and cabinets. With that said, the opportunity to develop a recipe for Gardein is awesome.
One of our favorite products by Gardein is the Chick’n Scallopini. They are perfect for any dish replacing chicken breasts. With 4 fillets per pack, you easily have a meal for the entire family. Taking a pack of the scallopini, I decided to make a “chicken” dish inspired by pasta carbonara meets chicken scallopini. Using vegan pepperoni, onions, peppers and some lemon, I tried to put together something that had a bit of a kick yet was mild on the palate (Here, I go, trying to be fancy). The end result turned into what Artie and I now have called “Lemon Chick’n Scallopperoni” served over rice with a side of steamed asparagus. 
Lemon Chick’n Scallopperoni
Source: Mac Acting Like an Executive Chef
Serves 4
Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp.
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 pkg Gardein Chick’n Scallopini 
  • 8-10 slices of vegan pepperoni, finely chopped
  • Juice of one lemon, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. vegan butter/margarine
  • 1/2 c. soy creamer
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon slices for garnish, optional
Directions:
  1. In a small saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. of oil. When hot, add onions and saute until onions begin to sweat, then add pepper slices. Lower heat and cook for about 10 minutes or until pepper slices are tender. Set aside when done
  2. While onions and peppers are cooking, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a separate large saucepan. When hot, add garlic and saute until browned
  3. Add chick’n to pan, squeeze in half of the lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes. Turn over and a cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from saucepan
  4. Add chopped pepperoni, vegan butter, soy creamer, remaining lemon juice, salt and pepper to pan, and stir well until well combined, bringing to quick boil. Lower heat and return chick’n back to pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes
  5. On top of rice or pasta, add peppers and onions, then top with the chick’n. Drizzle leftover cream sauce. Garnish with lemon slices

The Evriholder Microwave Chip Crisper, aka the Best $5.99 Ever Spent

Potatoes, papas, pommes de terre, spuds or taters. Whatever you call them, we just love them! Potatoes come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. You can fry them, mash them, put them in a hash or pancake. One of the best way to enjoy them is simply in a chip.
While watching a kitchen show on a home shopping channel, I was impressed with a crisper sheet that you put in the microwave. However, the nearly $30.00 price tag was not attractive enough to make the call or click to buy. Since Mac had a Groupon for her favorite kitchen store, Chef Central in Hartsdale, which needed to be redeemed, we made a trip to see if we could find something similar to what was on TV.
After getting some friendly advice from a store associate, we were pointed to the Evriholder Microwave Chip Crisper. He said that the crisper worked better than many of the expensive ones on the market. Chips would be ready in 5-6 minutes. Plus, there was no oil needed. 
With a price tag of a mere $5.99, Mac was reluctant, thinking it would be of “infomercial” quality, being a 4-piece set of hard plastic with a mandolin-like blade as part of the orange lid. However, I was daring and trusted Mr. Store Associate. Boy, was he right! Plain ole slices of Russett potatoes turned into perfectly cooked chips that were light and didn’t need any seasoning at all. 
Since our first round with the crisper, we began playing with actual seasoning, like garlic salt and cayenne. Both were great. Soon, we are going to try this out with sweet potatoes and even apples. I think you can this crisper for even more than like. What about turnip chips, banana chips, etc. etc. The possibilities are endless. 
Seriously, this was the best $5.99 we spent in 2011!

The Food Duo’s Vegan Moments of 2011

Yeah yeah yeah! We haven’t posted in a while and we’re already on the 3rd day of 2012. But we’d like to take this moment to review our greatest hits over the last year. So let’s get the countdown started!

10. Attending cool events like Cupcakefest, Green Holiday Festival 2011 and Vegan Shop Up
9. Momma Macaroon savoring her first ever veggie burger – a Skyscraper from BDJ – GO MOM!
8. Adopting Victoria via the “Adopt-a-Turkey Project” from Farm Sanctuary to celebrate our first vegan Thanksgiving/Thanksliving
7. Visiting Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary with Ava Avocado
6. Countless introductions to doughnuts, cupcakes, cookies, chocolate and ice cream! All vegan! Oh my!
5. Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks!
4. The VITAMIX!
3. Meeting awesome fellow vegans online and offline. It’s great to be a part of this community!
2. The newest member of our family, Mozzer the Duke of Periwinkle!

..and the #1 Vegan Moment of 2011 goes to…(drum roll please)

 Upgrading from vegetarian to VEGAN on 1/2/11!

Happy Holidaze!

MerryChristmasHappyHannukahHappyKwanzaaMerryWhateverYouCelebrateorDont!

We’re so sorry! We haven’t posted in WEEKS! Things have been a blur since Thanksgiving, being so busy! Oddly enough, we have a bunch of recipes and photos to share with you. Artie and I will work to get some posts over the next few days.

Share with you soon,
Macaroonie-roo!