Cafe van Zoen

The ongoing adventures of Keven and Piet in Portland, Oregon.


Bread, Bran, Tamales...oh my!


Last night and today has been a cooking frenzy for me. I really should be studying and getting caught up on reading, but apparently the kitchen calls! I started out last night making my first ever tamales! So yummy! Piet and I are going to a Cinco De Mayo party on Wednesday, and I shuttered at the thought of mounds of delicious food covered in cheese. I really wanted an alternative to eat guilt and bloat free. So I went out on a limb and made vegan tamales which will be served with Tofutti Better than Sour Cream.See this recipe and others after the cut below.

Next was Bran Muffins. This only came about when cruising the Winco bulk (our favorite place in the world) and discovered whole wheat bran, so I snatched some up. This recipe of course uses apple sauce in place of eggs and since they are on the healthy side, I decided to top them with a sprinkle of Sugar in the Raw mixed with cinnamon.

And last is another loaf of my French Bread. It is the newest addition to my bread repertoire and the most simple. I think everyone was getting sick of my rosemary olive oil haha.

Recipes and a note about veganism and me below.

After long hibernation, Keven the "vegan" is making a partial comeback. I was never vegan for issues regarding animal cureltly (to put it lightly) as I believe even meat eaters can make the right choices by purchasing locally farmed grass fed meat, and you don't need to be vegan to take a stand against the horrors of our meat industry. With that said, I would rather be a regular person who for the most part choses to have a "vegan" diet, but I love eating delicious food other people make me regardless of what is in it, and I love trying new things.

Piet and I already do not purchase or cook meat (except on a very rare occasion I surprise him with bacon), i've turned him onto the delicious wonders of Almond Milk, so we no longer have to buy milk for his tea or cereal, I cook most my meals with whole foods and tons of olive oil, I NEVER use butter, and I almost always substitute apple sauce in my baking for eggs (makes for some amazing corn bread!). So, it's not a huge stretch for us to take it to the next level and make an intentional decision to be healthier people. I feel better when I cook and eat in a way that does not involve animal products, but that doesn't mean we can eat the delicious grass fed, locally raised steak Andy cooks up on the BBQ or have a peiece of Grandmas pie just because it has butter in it.....mmm these bran muffins are good and getting crumbs all over my keyboard....ok now for recipes.

Vegan Tamales


6 cups water or vegetable broth 1 cup corn oil 2 tsp salt 1 tsp baking powder 1 bag corn husks (you can buy these at Fred Meyer or Winco) 6 cups Maseca corn masa mix for tamales (also at the above stores) 2 cans black beans (approx 4 cups) 1 chopped onion 16 cloves roasted garlic, chopped (could substitute with garlic powder) 2 tablespoons olive oil Optional : Trader Joe's tofu Chorizo.

First thing is to roast the garlic if you are going the long route. Here are some good instructions on how to do that.

Soak corn huks in warm water for 10 - 20 minutes so the individual husks come apart easily.

In a large mixing bowl combine corn mesa mix, water/veg broth, baking powder, corn oil and salt. Mix well and set aside.

To make the filling sate chopped onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 10 min or until soft and translucent. Combine with black beans in blender. Here you can experiment with other spices or I threw a splash of worcestershire sauce and white wine vinegar. Pure until smooth.

Spread open individual corn husks and spread a good amount of mesa mix onto each one, leaving about 1/2 inch on either side. Then put a spoonful of the filling in the middle, and sprinkle some tofu chorizo in there as well if you like. Fold the small end of the husk up and then fold the sides in so they overlap and you surround the filling with the mesa mix on the inside.

Stand them up open side up, in a large pot with a steamer inside and steam covered for about 2 hours. Check on them every 20 min or so to replenish water if needed.

Bran Muffins


2 1/2 cup wheat bran 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 1 cup brown or white sugar 2 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 3/4 cup apple sauce 1 cup almond or soy milk 1/3 cup canola oil

Mix bran, flour, sugar , baking soda and salt in large mixing bowl.

Combine oil, milk and apple sauce in small bowl. Whisk until frothy. Slowly add to dry mixture until all combined, but don't mix too much. Distribute evenly into muffin cups and you can add sugar and cinnamon or sliced almonds to the top of each.

Bake in muffin tin at 400 for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

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