Horta = Vegetable. Hortamatic = Traditional recipe gone veganized goodness.


January 30, 2010

Snow Soup

Snow soup!

I took the opportunity of our first real snow (heaviest in 10-20 years as I understand) to make something sweet out of it. Mom first introduced snow soup to me as a kid in Seattle, and I was a fan immediately. Anything you can turn into a dessert is a winner nominated by my tooth, the sweet one, unless the creation causes suffering indirectly or directly to another...then it's a bummer.

Fortunately for my tooth, this snow caused no harm, at least the part in my yard. I can't speak to the street part.
For this recipe, I carefully hand-picked the snow from our front yard on the side our dog Syba hadn't peed on earlier.

Ta da!

  • Bowl of snow (fresh)
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 T almond or soy milk
  • Stir.
Tastes just like ... snow soup.

This is part snow soup story, part cautionary tale. In an alarming moment, I discovered an unidentifiable particle in my bowl:

Speck, to the right of spoon. Piece of dirt, tree bark, or....other?

Be careful during the selection process.

January 24, 2010

Cashew Crumble Cheesecake

Caramel-y Cashew Cake

Intros and Inspirations

If cashews could sit, they would sit in thrones. Due to their rounded shape, I'm thinking it's possible, except they wouldn't sit long due to their wide range of culinary applications. Cashew Technology struck again when I realized I could probably make cheesecake out of these. My originality was also struck (down) when a search revealed this has been tried (many times) by (several) others before me.

There are raw cashew cheesecake recipes, cooked, caramel, and many other varieties. The version I put forth to you today is cooked. Whether or not this reminds you of a cheesecake is irrelevant after tasting little triple C – the Tofutti Cream Cheese version is much closer to actual cheesecake – but this recipe has a cheesecake tang as well as a nice balance of taste and texture I think you'll enjoy.

Due to my enthusiastic cashewing these past weeks, I thought I should make sure there are no adverse side effects. Luckily, true to its royal cashewiness, we are delivered nothing but nutrients and heart benefits. In fact, cashews even reportedly have weight LOSS properties.

History of Dish

Once again, ladies and gentleman, I present to you...the Greeks! In summary, a form of cheesecake was served to the Olympian athletes, then spread further by the Romans.

Yield and Pre-heat

Makes one thin cake. Double the recipe to creat a tall version (thicker crust and taller cake). The thinner version has the advantage of feeling good about eating a lot less, even if you ate half of the cake. It's also good when you don't have enough cashews for a full cake, or a Springform pan.

Preparation alert: Soak the cashews overnight or at least 10 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.

Ingredients & Steps

The “Rob forgot to get me graham crackers” Crust

Ironically, when I just asked Rob if any improvements were needed before posting this recipe, he told me I could “experiment with the crust a bit more.” Try using a graham cracker crust, but if you liked a toasted almond flavor this crust is for you.

Blend in a food processor or blender:

  • ¼ cup unsalted uncooked almonds
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut fat

Coconut fat! Also used to make whipping cream for the topping.

Scrape out into bowl then stir in:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon ground flax seed
  • ½ cup oat flour

Spread resulting mixture into pie tin or glass pie dish.


Cook the following over medium-low heat for two minutes, stirring frequently:

  • ¼ cup Earth Balance
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons coconut fat (use the solid part of coconut milk from Thai brand coconut milk cans, chilled)
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add above ingredients to cleaned blender or food processor. To this, add:

  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1 cup of pre-soaked cashews (drained)

Blend until creamy.

Compiling and Baking

Two options:

  1. Spread your filling into the crust. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes. This will produce some brown crispiness atop your filling. If you do not want this, see option two. (I made option 2.)

  2. Bake filling in separate dish for 10 minutes. Stir well, then spread into crust. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool. Chill in refrigerator overnight, or if you're inpatient, throw it in the freezer for 30 minutes, then eat.


If I had the ingredients, I would top this sucker with some homemade coconut whipped cream: http://www.everydaydish.tv/index.php?page=recipe&recipe=157


Experiment and let me know if you find a different version to try. I will try adding a ½ up of creamy peanut butter to the filling next time then drizzling chocolate on top. And of course using graham cracker crust, if Rob buys the crackers.

Feel free to email me at hortamatic@gmail.com with pictures of your versions for posting.

Since this was my first ever attempt at cashew cheesecake, I will certainly post alternate versions of my own as well in the future.


A fourth “C” should be added to this recipe: Caramel. Due to the mingling of Earth Balance and sugar, there is a slight caramel-y overtone. The walnuts and almonds give the crust a toasted flavor, similar to candied nuts.

January 23, 2010

Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits

Intros and Inspirations

When I lived in Seattle, there was this wonderful vegan restaurant called The Globe. The food might have been even more delicious due to the long delay that typically preceded it; I remember sometimes waiting up to an hour as my breakfast became brunch.

It was at The Globe that I first began my appreciation of biscuits* in the form of their deliciously popular Biscuits & Gravy dish I'd wait for every weekend. When something is this delicious, why not try and make it at home? (The following recipe is only biscuits: Biscuits & Gravy will be a separate post someday.)

* It was also at the Globe where I learned that not all poetry should be read aloud. Or shared, in general.

History of Dish

According to foodreference.com, the first biscuits were cooked twice (“bis” = twice and “cuit” = cooked in French). They were very hard and called “stone bread” during the time of Louis XIV. Soldiers and sailors at biscuits, then used them as weapons. OK, I made up that very last bit. Britannia has a slight different take on their origins, tracing biscuits to Roman times, claiming the name to be Latin-derived. The same soldiers and sailors ate them, as they would last for many days onboard ships without spoiling.

Yield and Pre-heat

12 biscuits. Pre-heat to 425 degrees farenheit.


  • 2 cups all purpose flour (optional: use whole wheat pastry flour)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup non-hydrogenated shortening (see below)
  • ¾ cup soy milk + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


  • Place the soy milk and vinegar together in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Stir all the dry ingredients together with a fork.
  • Cut in the shortening with a fork, pastry cutter, and/or your fingers, until the mixture is grainy and most of the larger lumps of shortening are gone. Some small lumps remain, which make nice pockets of fat for you later!
  • Add the soy milk mixture and stir in with a fork, then knead together with your hands to make a sticky ball of dough. You should still be able to handle the dough.
  • Flatten 1/3 of a section onto a lightly floured plate, to about ½ inch thick.
  • Cut out biscuit shapes, and place on baking sheet (I used stoneware). For these biscuits, I used my star, flower, and roundish cookie cutters.


Bake at 425 degrees for 8 minutes.

Pre-baked biscuits in fun shapes so you eat more of them.


These are just begging for some Earth Balance melted on top of them.

Mrs. Pac-man biscuit with a bite


Depending on what they are accompanying, you can also make sweet or savory biscuits. To make sweet, add a Tablespoon of sugar and some cinnamon. For savory, add your favorite spices such as oregano or sage.


Fluffy, melty, just-right-crumbly biscuits for any occasion. Especially with greens if you are in the South like I am.

January 8, 2010

Jalapeno Poppers

Intros and Inspirations

Denny's, circa 1980's. Besides ordering these on the night menu of Denny's, I had no idea how to make a popper, let alone a vegan version. Therefore, I used Cashew Cheese Technology1 along with a traditional popper recipe2 and was beyond satisfied with the results. (All that remains from the traditional recipe cited is the breading method and addition of “bacon” bits.)

History of Dish

According to Wikipedia, the origins are unclear but poppers are thought to be 2nd cousins with chile rellenos. Apparently there was a family feud in the 70's and they parted. There is also a note about the label “poppers” being trademarked, so if you see me rename this post to, say, 'pops' or 'moppers' this would be the reason.


Makes 32 poppers.


Advanced preparation alert: Cover the cashews and almonds in ¾ cup water overnight or at least 4 hours. The water will be used in the recipe.


  • ¾ cup raw cashews & ¼ cup raw almonds + remaining water from soaking (initially ¾ cup)
  • ½ cup firm tofu (not silken)
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • ½ T agave or other sweetener
  • 1 T tahini
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ t tumeric
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • Optional: smoked chipotle powder to taste

Added Later!

Main feature:

  • 16 jalapenos, sliced and seeded (see below)
Batter / Breading:

  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk or almond milk
  • 1.5 cups white unbleached flour + 1 t paprika
  • 1.5 cups crushed “Ritz” style crackers3 + 1.5 T garlic granules + ½ t salt (Optional: substitute crackers with actual breadcrumbs)

Blending and Baking Filling

The baking process will make the filling spreadable for slathering on the jalapeno halves. Once the filling is baking, you may proceed to the jalapeno preparation step.

  • Place “Filling” ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a Corningware or similar dish for baking.
  • Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes at 250-300 degrees fahrenheit until thick like cream cheese. Stir well every 10 minutes during this process to circulate the resulting thick portions and crisped browned parts of the mixture.

Example of filling consistency. This recipe makes more filling than pictured above.

Preparing while Waiting for Filling to Bake


  • Cut off top part of jalapeno stem first (about 1/8”). Retain for use in filling.
  • Slice in half lengthwise.
  • Scrape out seeds with small spoon. (Discard or retain for other recipes.)
  • Careful not to squirt juice in your eyeball like I did.
  • Slice up the small bits of jalapeno connected to the stem (but NOT the stem itself) then add to the baked filling.

Artistic display of spoon and knife

Prepare the breading next:

  • Place the flour mixture in a small bowl.
  • Place the soy milk in a separate small bowl.
  • Crush the crackers into fine pieces then stir in garlic granules and salt in another bowl.

Filling and Breading

  • Once the filling has been baked and removed from the oven, adjust the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  • Stir in Bac'uns and previously added chopped-up jalapeno tops to baked filling.
  • Spread filling into jalapeno halves, so that the filling is slightly heaping over and lightly coating the side edges of jalapeno.

  • Dip each jalapeno half into soy milk, then roll into flour mixture. Place on plate or sheet.

A not-quite clockwise presentation of the first dipping process.

  • Let jalapenos dry for about 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, prepare a baking sheet by spreading about ¼ cup of olive oil on the sheet for baking (in lieu of deep frying).
  • After the 10 minutes when dry, dip each half in soy milk again, then dredge in "Ritz" breadcrumb mixture. It's OK if some green jalapeno is showing.
  • Set on greased baking sheet, starting filling side up, rolling once to ensure olive oil is lightly coating entire half. Alternative to rolling: use stainless steel spritzer to spray tops of poppers. Place filling side up.


Your oven should already be preheated to 300 degrees F. The 'traditional' recipe calls for deep frying these suckers. Instead, these are baked for 20 minutes, turned once. As with other fried goods, the pops are equally good, and lower in fat, baked with a spritzola of olive oil.

  • Place in preheated oven, then bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove and flip with tongs carefully.
  • Bake for remaining 10 minutes until golden brown.


This is the best part, except you have to wait first until the poppers cool to move them to a plate (or your mouth). Otherwise they will unpop all over the pan.


Feel free to change up the filling by chopping and adding pimentos, olive bits, or other types of peppers.

I also made the filling without the tofu and Agave and it was still good, but not quite as tasty.

Instead of white flour, I used whole wheat the last time I made these = BLECHHHH.


Delicious and addictive: no need for a trip to Denny's. Reports from non-vegans: “I cannot tell this is vegan.” –Non-vegan who is not my mom


1 http://rockinthestove.com/2009/07/13/three-vegan-cheezes-gone-nuts/

2 http://allrecipes.com/recipe/best-ever-jalapeno-poppers/detail.aspx

3 The Whole Foods brand of rounds is good, cheap, and vegan (GCV).

January 4, 2010

Prostate-'Porosis Protectin' Pancakes

Intros and Inspirations

Besides the title that invokes warm delicious food, what might be the inspiration for these protective pancakes? My background in alliteration? Certainly this was not a challenge submitted from any of our readership (hi mom).

Welp, I love pancakes made with Oat Flour, but this morning I realized I was all out. I further love to protect prostates and bones. Did I mention I am not a doctor, nutritionist, naturopath, acupuncturist, or psychic? Read onward, if you dare. Or go here for a more traditional pancake.

History of Dish

1/4/2010. Though I know others have taken blade to oat before me.


About five or six medium protector pancakes. Enough for two people if you are Rob and I.


  • 2/3 cup whole rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/3 cup whole 'raw' almonds
  • 1/3 cup whole raw pumpkin seeds (the green kind in bulk sections)
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 T Canola oil + 1 t baking powder + ½ t baking soda
  • 2/3 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 bananna, mashed


  • Blend the oats, almonds, seeds, and cloves until mealy.
  • In a small dish, stir the Canola and baking powder and soda together with a fork.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, dump in the blended 'flour' mixture.
  • Mix in the Canola mixture.
  • Add the liquid (almond or soy) then stir in the mashed banana.

The mixture will seem very watery initially, but will be soaked up by the flour within a few minutes.


It occurred to me that you could have a very nice raw foodist's breakfast if you just simply eat the mixture without cooking it. Or, as a compromise, you could gently warm it in your sauce pan and add some black strap mollases for a power-punch of iron, calcium, and potassium. But this is Hortamatic, so we'll fry these suckers up, pancake-style.

  • Heat your cast iron or non-stick pan over medium-low heat and add 2 T olive oil.
  • When ready (sizzles with drop of water) add about 1/3 cup of the batter for each pancake.
  • Cook on each side till lightly browned, about 3 minutes.


We added ground up flax seed for extra omega 3s and slathered these with strawberry jam.

Optional: Add some berries or fruit to the mix, or ground walnuts. Adjust liquids/flours.


Bon appetite, prostate and bone density! These are also tasty, and full of protein, so they should be a good start to your day.

January 2, 2010


In what has certainly become a tradition, I failed to capture an adequate photo of my little new year's Vasilopita.

Instead, above, a photo taken by someone who was on her second theme drink (that is, second THEME, not second drink) the Soy Nog White Russian (I capitalize out of respect, not grammatical appropriateness).

The first theme drink was even more classy: Cheer Wine and Whiskey (thank you Laura and Tofu Mama, respectively).

I previously posted the Vasilopita recipe and backstory at my travel and vegan cupcake-searching blog, Binge Cafe, back in '07. You can find it in its entirety here:


The only changes I made to the Vasilopita pictured above was to reduce the orange juice by half and use ground almonds rather than sliced due to not wanting to step into a supermarket to get them on NYE.

Again, due to the themed drinks, there were not a lot of pictures, but I did want to share with you three appetizers brought by guests. The third, a delicious German potato salad (thanks Jana) was not photographed. The fourth, which I'll be posting soon, is a recipe I created for Jalapeno Poppers. Stay tuned!

Bonnie's Spanikopita:

Delicious little nuggets with smoked tofu and creamed Tofutti cheese.

Chef Shirle's Fauxmage almond feta and cashew goat, available at the Wine Authorities!

Happy 2010 everyone.