Vegan Sweet Potato, Coconut Milk, & Roasted Chili Ravioli

I found this yummy looking recipe on

Vegan Sweet Potato, Coconut Milk, & Roasted Chili Ravioli

That’s right—ravioli without cheese! You’re skeptical, aren’t you? I understand. (I ♥ cheese too.)

When it comes to vegan cooking and baking, cheese substitution is one of those things that gives me a headache. I’m a bit wary of soy-based alternatives, as they seem over-processed and unnatural in comparison. There are, of course, equally over-processed varieties of “cheese” that freak me out too! (Full disclosure: I did have a bizarre addiction to Tofutti cream cheese a year or so ago, and have been rather reluctant to group it into the Weird Fake Cheese category. But the editor in me demands consistency above all else!) Another interesting alternative that I’ve come across online is blending together nuts, nutritional yeast, and other stuff to make a creamy, cheese-like substitute. This usually involves soaking the nuts overnight, which is far more than I care to go through to make fake cheese. (Also, the vegan community seems to invariably refer to this substance as “nut cheese”—a phrase that is so hilariously gross, I have trouble taking it seriously. Yes, deep down, I’m a 13-year-old boy. :P) So, my very simple solution: make a filling so tasty, it doesn’t need cheese. No headaches here!

Honestly, if you’re too lazy to make ravioli, just make this filling and eat it like mashed potatoes. Seriously—it’s awesome. The combination of sweet potatoes and coconut milk actually changed my feelings toward coconut many years ago. When I was young, coconut was THE grossest. My parents have been using Skin Trip lotion since I was little, and I found the scent revolting. I went to birthday parties fearing that the cake would come out covered in horrible shredded coconut, completely ruining my reason for coming to the party in the first place! But when I started getting into cooking after college, I happened upon a recipe for sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans simmered in coconut milk. For some reason, it intrigued me. I made it, and wow—I could not believe how amazing sweet potatoes and coconut milk tasted together. Add a spicy kick, and it really doesn’t get much better. My boyfriend even declared this to be his favorite of all the ravioli I’ve ever made (and I’ve made a lot)!

Vegan Sweet Potato, Coconut Milk, & Roasted Chili Ravioli

yield: approximately 2 dozen large ravioli


  • 2 cups of semolina flour
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • a little over 1 cup of water
  • a dash of salt


  • 3 small to medium sweet potatoes
  • around 6 oz. of coconut milk
  • 2 chili peppers (I used red serranos)

Preheat the oven to 450°. Rub the peppers with a little bit of olive oil, then place the potatoes and peppers together in the oven. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until the pepper skin begins to blister and blacken. Remove the peppers and place them in a paper bag (an air-tight container also works if you don’t happen to have a paper bag). Close and let peppers rest for at least 10 minutes (they will steam in the bag, making the skins easier to remove). Peel the skin away from the pepper, then remove the seeds from the inside. Mince the pepper and set aside.

While you’re waiting for the potatoes to finish roasting, combine the flours and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour water in the well and stir to combine. Turn out on a floured surface and knead until a smooth dough forms. Divide into two, then cover in plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let rest.

When the sweet potatoes are soft, remove them from the oven. Once they’ve cooled, remove them from their skins and mash in a large bowl. Add the minced pepper and the coconut milk, and stir until well combined.

Roll one round of pasta dough into a rectangular shape on a well-floured surface, until thin but not in danger of tearing (about 1/16 of an inch thick). Place evenly-spaced spoonfuls of filling along the surface of the dough. Roll the second half of the dough out, replicating the size and shape of the first. Brush a little bit of water in between the spoonfuls of filling, then place the second rectangle on top and press to seal.

Cut out ravioli with a sharp knife or a pasta wheel. To make extra-sure they are sealed, press all around the edges with a fork. Freeze any ravioli that you won’t eat immediately.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the ravioli. Cook until they begin to float (this should only take a few minutes). If you like your ravioli a little crispy (I know I do!), heat a little olive oil in a pan, then add the cooked ravioli and pan-fry over medium heat for a few minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Top with a little bit of fresh rosemary and sage if you happen to have it, then serve!


Butternut Squash With Whole Wheat, Wild Rice, & Onion Stuffing




Butternut Squash With Whole Wheat, Wild Rice, & Onion Stuffing

Even those of us who have given up the bird welcome a Thanksgiving dish that has been stuffed. This satisfying dish of butternut squash stuffed with whole grain (or gluten-free) bread, wild rice, and onions makes a handsome centerpiece for the holiday meal. Adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet.

Serves: 8

  • 4 medium-small butternut squashes (about 1 pound each)
  • 3/4 cup raw wild rice, rinsed
  • 1 1 /2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups firmly packed torn whole wheat bread (use gluten-free bread if you’d like)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • A few sliced fresh sage leaves (or leave whole if small), optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon salt-free mixed season blend (such as Frontier or Mrs. Dash), or to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • Juice of 1 small orange (about 1/4 cup; or omit and just use more vegetable broth)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Wrap the whole squashes in foil. Place on a rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until you can pierce through the narrow part with a knife, with a little resistance. You can do this step ahead of time. Let the squashes cool somewhat, then cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds and their surrounding fibers.

In the meantime, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the wild rice, reduce to a simmer, then cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until golden.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked wild rice with the sautéed onion and the remaining ingredients (whole wheat bread through salt and pepper).

Scoop out the squash pulp, leaving firm shells about 1/2 inch thick. Chop or dice the pulp and stir it into the wild rice mixture. Stuff the squashes, place in foil-lined baking dishes, and cover.

Before serving, place the squashes in a preheated 350 degree F. oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or just until well heated through.

Variation: To add drama to this presentation, try this recipe with other squash varieties. Hubbard squash, delicata, sweet dumpling and golden nugget are just a few of the stuffable edible squashes available.



Sweet Potato Chili

hilary recipe

I discovered this yummy looking recipe by Hilary Larson on the fb page Trying Vegan.

 Bake sweet potato and use for the bottom layer.

The middle is stir fried black beans, Trader Joes soyrizo,spinach and field day organic salsa (with cumin in it).

Then top it off  with a sliced avocado.

 This recipe looks yummy, fast and easy to prepare.


50 Vegan Cheesecake Recipes

50 vegan cheese cake recipes

Author is Veganized.

This recipe book is now available on amazon kindle for free.  If you don’t have a kindle you can download the kindle app for pc or the one for smartphones or both.

My Vegan Dog’s Diet

My Vegan’s Dogs Diet


This is not my doggie but I thought it was a cute picture and perfect for this post.

Many people upon discovering that my dogs are vegan somehow think it is abuse or that my dogs are not eating well.  I can assure everyone that my dogs actually eat better than I do at this time.

The best thing about my dogs being vegan is that we are not hurting any animals and also they are not eating dead dogs or cats under the disguise labeling of meat by-products.  What I feed them is based on studying the labels of commercial dog food

My dogs get fed twice a day.  In the morning they get fed a concoction of yam, white sweet potatoes, sweet peas, carrots, tofurky Italian sausage, Nature’s Recipe vegetarian kibble, olive oil, nutritional yeast and cumin.  I buy organic whenever I can.

sweepotayoesSONY DSCtofurkey Italian sausageNatures-Recipe-Soybean-Meal-Vegetarian-e1392182257498-254x328 Boil

I yam

1 white sweet potatoes

3-4 carrots

Mash all that together and  add

about 3/4 cup or 1/2 can sweet peas

This mixture is enough for 2 days for 3 dogs.

I spoon this into each doggie dish and add a sprinkling of nutritional yeast, some cumin.

I take one tofurky sausage divide into 3’s then chop up each piece and place into doggie bowl.

I mix all of this up and then I add 1 cup of dry veggie kibble into each bowl along with about a teaspoon of olive oil and I mix it up again.

It looks something like this.


When I have not had time to cook the day before I gave them Nature’s Recipe Vegetarian Stew mixed with the sweet peas and the tofurky sausage and about 1 cup of dry kibble per doggie.

natrues recipe can

Now I am not saying this is the best diet in the world.  It is the diet that is working for my doggies at the moment.

I also give them doggie vitamins as well and many healthy treats throughout the day.

Dinner is a different dish but that’s for another post.

Nutritional Value of Sweet Potatoes:

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 378 kJ (90 kcal)
Carbohydrates 20.7 g
Starch 7.05 g
Sugars 6.5 g
Dietary fiber 3.3 g
Fat 0.15 g
Protein 2.0 g
Vitamin A equiv. 961 μg (120%)
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.11 mg (10%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.11 mg (9%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 1.5 mg (10%)
Vitamin B6 0.29 mg (22%)
Folate (vit. B9) 6 μg (2%)
Vitamin C 19.6 mg (24%)
Vitamin E 0.71 mg (5%)
Calcium 38 mg (4%)
Iron 0.69 mg (5%)
Magnesium 27 mg (8%)
Manganese 0.5 mg (24%)
Phosphorus 54 mg (8%)
Potassium 475 mg (10%)
Sodium 36 mg (2%)
Zinc 0.32 mg (3%)

Nutritional Value of Sweet Peas

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 339 kJ (81 kcal)
Carbohydrates 14.45 g
Sugars 5.67 g
Dietary fiber 5.1 g
Fat 0.4 g
Protein 5.42 g
Vitamin A equiv. 38 μg (5%)
beta-carotene 449 μg (4%)
lutein and zeaxanthin 2477 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.266 mg (23%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.132 mg (11%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 2.09 mg (14%)
Vitamin B6 0.169 mg (13%)
Folate (vit. B9) 65 μg (16%)
Vitamin C 40 mg (48%)
Vitamin E 0.13 mg (1%)
Vitamin K 24.8 μg (24%)
Calcium 25 mg (3%)
Iron 1.47 mg (11%)
Magnesium 33 mg (9%)
Manganese 0.41 mg (20%)
Phosphorus 108 mg (15%)
Potassium 244 mg (5%)
Sodium 5 mg (0%)
Zinc 1.24 mg (13%)

Natures Recipe Kibble Nutritional Info:


Ground Rice, Soybean Meal, Pearled Barley, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Dehydrated Carrots, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate [Source of Vitamin C], Inositol, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Beta-carotene, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Garlic Oil, Onion Extract, Garlic Powder, Rosemary Extract, Citric Acid (Used as a Preservative).

Guaranteed Analyses
Crude Protein 21.00% min.
Crude Fat 8.00% min.
Crude Fiber 4.40% max.
Moisture 10.00% max.
Iron 100 mg/kg min.
Copper 10 mg/kg min.
Zinc 140 mg/kg min.
Selenium 0.25 mg/kg min.
Vitamin E 100 IU/kg min.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids* 0.60% min.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids* 1.90% min.
Beta-carotene* 2 mg/kg

*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.

Nutritional Statement

Nature’s Recipe® Healthy Skin Vegetarian Recipe dog food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance.


Nature’s Recipe Vegetarian Stew Nutritional Info:


Ground Rice, Soybean Meal, Pearled Barley, Canola Oil (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Dehydrated Carrots, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate [Source of Vitamin C], Inositol, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Beta-carotene, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Iron Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Garlic Oil, Onion Extract, Garlic Powder, Rosemary Extract, Citric Acid (Used as a Preservative).

Guaranteed Analyses
Crude Protein 21.00% min.
Crude Fat 8.00% min.
Crude Fiber 4.40% max.
Moisture 10.00% max.
Iron 100 mg/kg min.
Copper 10 mg/kg min.
Zinc 140 mg/kg min.
Selenium 0.25 mg/kg min.
Vitamin E 100 IU/kg min.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids* 0.60% min.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids* 1.90% min.
Beta-carotene* 2 mg/kg

*Not recognized as an essential nutrient by AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles.

Nutritional Statement

Nature’s Recipe® Healthy Skin Vegetarian Recipe dog food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance.

Tofurkey Italian Sausage Nutritional Info:

Ingredients: Organic tofu (water, organic soybeans, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride), vital wheat gluten, expeller pressed non-genetically engineered canola oil or hi oleic safflower oil, water, soy sauce (water, non-genetically engineered soybeans, wheat, salt, culture), sun dried tomatoes, textured wheat protein, basil, spices, granulated garlic, salt, chili pepper.

Loading or CancelNutrition FactsServing Size 3.5 oz (100g)
Servings Per Package: 4
Calories 270 Calories from Fat 120

%Daily Value

Total Fat 13g


  Saturated Fat 1.5g


  Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg


Sodium 620mg


Total Carbohydrate 12g


  Dietary Fiber 8g


Sugars 2g
Protein 29g
Vitamin A


Vitamin C






*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.




Total Fat

less than 65mg


Saturated Fat

less than 20mg



less than 300mg



less than 2400mg


Total Carbohydrate



Dietary Fiber



Orange & Chocolate Cheesecake

I found this recipe on

It looks so awesome.  I have a thing for chocolate & orange.



One of the most more-ish non-bake desserts ever.  The key to the success of this dessert is good quality chocolate, and to refrigerate it overnight.  It’s an impressively delicious masterpiece – easy to make, and won’t disappoint.  Great to serve to non-vegans who won’t believe such decadence and deliciousness is even possible.  Moist and smooth in the mouth with it’s wonderfully contrasting texture at the base, although the base is surprisingly moist, and almost slightly cake-ish in texture, and a little moist too.  It’s child-friendly, and you will make this again and again.  Let me know how it goes and Enjoy !


¾ cup sultanas

½ cup roasted hazelnuts

½ cup dates

a dash of maple or agave syrup

¼ cup desiccated/shredded coconut

1½ Tbsp flaxseeds

1½ Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil

the zest of an orange


120g (4¼ oz) dark vegan chocolate (heat using bain marie method) and add a pinch of salt to this

3 to 4 drops concentrated essence of orange

1 349g (12½ oz) pack non-GMO firm silken tofu (I use Mori-Nu – available in the US from here, and in the UK from here)

agave or maple syrup to taste

extra shredded coconut for the topping


  1. Place the sultanas and dates in a saucepan with a little water, and stew for around 20 minutes, then drain and set aside until cool.
  2. Next, place the nuts in your food processor and process until very small.  Then add the remaining ingredients, and process for a few seconds – you should be left with a very thick and sticky consistency.
  3. In a pre-greased container (I used one 7” diameter by 1” deep) press the crust mixture  to mould it at the base and sides of the dish, and place in the fridge for half an hour.


  1. Place the tofu in your food processor, and process until smooth. Then add the remaining ingredients, except for the shredded coconut, process until rich and smooth, and taste for sweetness.
  2. Now spoon or pour the cream into the crust.  Then add the coconut to garnish, and refrigerate overnight – don’t compromise this if possible, otherwise make in the morning to serve in the evening, but trust me, it behaves much better for cutting and texture when served and eaten the next day.
  3. Enjoy !


All recipes and content © Miriam Sorrell 2010




Every vegan should have a Yonanas in it’s kitchen.

I saw this gizmo at Bed, Bath and Beyond  for $49.99 and just had to have it (plus I had a $20.00 off coupon).

It’s an awesome little machine that’s easy to use and clean up and makes soft-serve like “ice cream” out of frozen fruit.

The following is the product description from the manufacturer.

“Yonanas turns frozen fruit and other flavorings
into a delicious, healthy soft-serve treat. The unit combines frozen bananas and any additional fruit or chocolate and instantly churns the ingredients to produce a treat with the texture of frozen yogurt or soft-serve ice cream, but without the additional fat, sugar, or preservatives. The chute easily accepts berries, sliced mango, or cantaloupe along with frozen banana, and the integrated spinning blade mashes and incorporates the fruit into a silky-smooth confection with the texture of soft-serve ice cream or yogurt. The chute, plunger, and blade are dishwasher safe.”

I have found all of the above to be true.  It’s the frozen banana that gives it the smooth creamy texture.  I have been making strawberry/banana and strawberry/banana/mango.  And I like to add vanilla and cinnamon (not frozen).

Yonanas banana strawberry

Picture from

You can also freeze peanut butter and chocolate chips as well.  Even alcohol can be frozen.  Basically any ingredient you want to use just needs to be frozen.

Although the bananas in the picture with the product are pretty yellow bananas you actually need to freeze the speckled bananas.  Apparently these are riper and sweeter.


Clean up is easy and there is usually a bit of fruit that doesn’t come down the chute so it’s usually a good idea to take apart and scoop out the remaining fruit.


                  picture from

The product also comes with a little recipe book but you are only limited by your own imagination.

The end results are fun, tasty, healthy dessert treats that are cruelty free.

Have fun and enjoy!!!!

What flavors would you create?

Fried Tofu with Peanut and Coconut Sauce

It appears I have a coconut theme going on.  
I found this recipe on
Fried Tofu with Peanut and Coconut Sauce (Satay Sauce)



You’ll need:
(Makes 3-4 servings)
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
1 or 2 large red chillies (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 packet firm tofu, drained
1 large yellow bell pepper
4-6 tbsp peanut butter
1.5 cups coconut milk
1 cup vegetable stock
Juice of 1 lime (plus lime wedges for garnish)
Soy sauce (make sure its GF if you are)
Large handful of fresh cilantro (coriander)
Small bunch of scallions
Sunflower oil

Heat enough oil to shallow fry the tofu in a wok, over a high heat. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and fry for around 10-15 minutes, stirring a few times to ensure all sides are covered. Drain the fried tofu and set aside on some kitchen roll
While the tofu is cooking, dice the onion and garlic, slice the chilli, grate the ginger and combine, reserving a few chilli slices for garnish
Slice the pepper into 1-inch squares
Remove any excess oil from the pan – you can reuse this, but be sure to let it cool in a mug or bowl before returning it to the bottle
Add the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger and fry over a medium heat until fragrant
Add the pepper and fry for a minute or two, before tossing through with peanut butter until it melts
Add the coconut milk, stock, and lime juice, bring to a gentle boil before lowering the heat and allow to reduce for 5 minutes
Add the fried tofu and simmer for another 10 minutes
Roughly chop the cilantro, and add to the sauce before turning off the heat
Season with soy sauce and additional lime juice to taste
Serve with steamed rice, garnishing with scallions, chilli slices and wedges of lime

The zesty lime cuts through the creamy flavours of the peanut and coconut, whilst the chilli adds a little spicy note to the whole dish.

[Ed’s note: In the picture, it’s served on top of lime and ginger quinoa with mustard greens, for a slightly lighter meal! Both are absolutely delicious.]

The frying of the tofu; first gives it wonderful crispy texture, followed by a firm-chewiness when it absorbs the sauce. The texture further improves if you’ve previously defrosted the tofu from frozen. You can use this method for many tofu and sauce dishes – I’ve seen it convert the most ardent of tofu-haters! However, if you’re trying to limit the fat in this dish, you could simply add in the tofu fresh and drained.


Vegan Vanilla Birthday Cake



I found this recipe on

Yield: One 3 layer 6-inch cake


For the Cake:

  • 2 cups (240 ml) non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 2 cups (250 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 170 grams) non-hydrognated margerine (I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) non-hydrogented shortening (I used Spectrum Organics)
  • 3 1/2 cups (440 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) non-dairy milk or creamer


For the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Grease and line 3 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk and vinegar. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract, and whisk together until the mixture becomes frothy.
  5. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk together until the flour mixture disappears.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the 3 pans (I used a kitchen scale to do this) and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Cool the pans on wire racks for about 15 minutes. Then turn the cakes out of the pans onto the wire racks and cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:

  1. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and shortening together on medium high speed (or medium if using a stand mixer) for about 2-3 minutes, until light and creamy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine.
  3. Turn the mixer up to medium high and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and salt and beat to combine.
  5. Add the non-dairy milk in one tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.

To Assemble the Cake:

  1. Place one layer of the cake on a 6-inch cake board.
  2. Place about 1/2 cup of frosting on top, and use an offset spatula to spread evenly over the first layer.
  3. Place the second layer on top of the first and do the same with the frosting.
  4. Place the third layer on top, and put a large dollop of frosting on the top of the cake.
  5. Using an offset spatula, work your way around the sides until the entire cake is covered with a thin layer of frosting. I find that a turntable is helpful during this process. Let the crumb coat set in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  6. Once the crumb coat has set, spread a thicker layer of frosting on the top and sides of the crumb coat to create a smooth finish. Use the leftover frosting to pipe onto the cake and top with sprinkles.


Unlock the True Potential of Vegetables


fermented vegetables


  • By Kaare Melby Organic Consumers Association, January 23, 2014

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s All About Organics page and our Organic Transitions page. Want to boost your immune system, increase the nutrient content in your food, improve your mental health and detox your body? Fermented vegetables are for you! Fermentation is the process that occurs when the natural bacteria in a vegetable break down the food’s complex elements into more digestible forms. When fermentation occurs, vegetables become easier to digest, allowing your body to work less, while reaping more benefits. And those benefits include higher levels of available nutrients, and live cultures of pro-biotic bacteria (kind of like the good stuff in yogurt). These pro-biotic bacteria can improve your digestion, boost your immune system, improve your mental health, and detox your body. Worried that fermenting is risky? No need! Fermented veggies are actually safer than raw vegetables, because the fermentation process actually kills off any unwanted or dangerous bacteria that may exist on the food prior to fermentation. According to the USDA, there has “never been a single case of food poisoning reported from fermented vegetables.” Fermented foods have been around for eons. Fermentation is an ancient art that pre-dates writing and agriculture.  It’s often considered to be the practice that first ushered our ancient relatives from the natural world, into a culturally driven world. In fact, the word ‘culture’ is another word for fermentation. Sandor Katz, who has written several books on the subject, calls it “a health regimen, a gourmet art, a multicultural adventure, a form of activism, and a spiritual path, all rolled into one.” And the good news is that it’s a simple process that even the most novice cook can accomplish.   To get started, you’ll want to choose vegetables that are fresh, local, and organic, as your ferment will be only as good as the ingredients you start with. You can ferment any vegetable, but some work better than others. It’s best if you experiment and find a mix of vegetables that you enjoy. Here at the OCA office, we like to mix as many fresh organic veggies together as possible. Not only does this create a variety of textures and flavors, but it also creates a wider variety of beneficial bacteria in the end product. If you are looking for a good place to start, cabbage is easy to process, and makes a great ferment. Raddishes, carrots, turnips, apples and beets also make good ferments. The fermentation process creates a wonderful flavor that is often refered to as “sour.” But you can add more or different flavors in any way you want. Onions and garlic are great additions, and you can use fresh or dry herbs, and spices, too. The best approach is to experiment until you discover what combination of flavors you like most. Here’s how to get started. What you need •    Fresh vegetables •    A knife or grater •    A glass or ceramic jar for fermentation (quart sized, wide-mouth canning jars work well) •    A smaller jar that fits inside the fermentation jar (small jelly jars work great) •    Salt •    Clean water •    A clean towel •    Rubber band to fit over the mouth of the fermentation jar •    Herbs and spices (optional) What to do • Chop/shred/grate vegetables, salting lightly as you go. You want to get all of the vegetables as uniform in size as possible. This way, they ferment at the same rate. Vegetables like carrots and radishes do well grated, while it’s best to slice up that cabbage or onion. As you chop or grate the vegetables, add small pinches of salt. But not too much—fermentation only needs a little. Try tasting as you go. The vegetables should taste only slightly salty. • Mix the veggies well. You want to make sure that the salt is spread out evenly throughout all the vegetables. Taste the veggies, and add more salt to taste if needed. If you are going to add any herbs or spices, add them now. • Let the vegetables sit for 5 to 10 minutes. As they sit the salt will start to draw the liquid out of the vegetables. • Squeeze the vegetables to release their juices. Take handfuls of vegetables and squeeze as hard as you can, keeping the juice that comes out. You want to get as much juice out of them as possible. • Tightly pack the vegetables into the fermenting jar and cover with collected juice. As you fill the jar with the vegetables, be sure to pack them down tightly to the bottom of the jar. This will help release more juice, and remove any air bubbles that get stuck in the vegetables. Add any remaining juice once the jar is filled. Be sure there is enough liquid to completely cover the vegetables. If you need to, use a mixture of salt and water to bring the juice level up over the vegetables. You don’t need too much salt for the water, just enough to make it taste like seawater. • Fill the smaller jar with salt water, then place it on top of the vegetables in the fermenting jar. The purpose of the second jar is to hold the vegetables under the liquid in the jar. This will help the fermentation process by preventing “scum” from forming on the top of the ferment.   • Cover the fermenting jar with a clean towel, and secure it with the rubber band. Using a towel to cover the jar ensures that gases can escape, without letting any dirt or bugs get in. • Let it ferment! Put the jar in an easily accessible area, and keep an eye on it. In about 24 hours you will begin to see air bubbles in the vegetables. This is how you know it’s working. After a few days, the ferment will start to smell sour. Taste it at every stage. This will help you determine how fermented you like your vegetables. Some people like “young” ferments that have only fermented a few days, while others like “mature” ferments that have been fermenting for months. If there is a white layer of “scum” that forms just scrape it off. It’s ok if you don’t get it all. When you like the flavor, remove the towel and smaller jar, put a lid on the fermentation jar and put it in your refrigerator. When the ferment cools down, the fermentation process rapidly slows, and you will be able to enjoy your fermented foods for several weeks or longer. That’s it! Now you know the secret to unlocking the true potential of your vegetables. To learn more, check out Sandor Katz’s book “Wild Fermentation,”  available through Chelsea Green Publishing. Good luck and happy fermenting! Kaare Melby is social media coordinator for the Organic Consumers Association.