Tag Archives: fooling carnivore

More trickery with the Best Apple Pie EVER

Rule #1 in Operation Carnivore Conversion: Keep the carnisaur’s taste buds and stomach feeling satisfied.

I’ve learned the hard way that if John feels deprived, he goes hunting for steak. So it’s up to me to create dishes that trick his palate and his stomach into thinking that he’s getting a fattening, butter-laden dish when he’s actually getting a healthy meal.

Overlooking dessert is a recipe for disaster that will lead to John falling off the veg wagon, so to make him feel like he’s not missing out on anything, every now and then I create a decadent-tasting (but healthy!) dessert. This is one of his favorites, as well as that of our friends, and I bet it’ll be one of yours as well once you try it. Without a doubt, it’s the best apple pie we’ve ever tried, and best yet, it’s totally vegan but you’d never know it. (Which is perfect for those of us who need to fool the reluctantly converting carnivores in our lives.)

This is a truly different way of making apple pie and the results knocks the socks off of everyone who tastes this pie. When making it for the first time, I thought: “There’s no way this will work out. I’d better have a back-up pie since this looks like it’ll be a disaster.” Much to my surprise, this pie rocked. As for my back-up pie, it was dead to me. So when making this pie for the first time, trust that it’ll all turn out in the end, even though you will severely doubt me while making it.

The Best Apple Pie EVER! (and bonus, it’s totally vegan!)
1/2 cup Earth Balance (or butter if you’re not vegan and you truly can’t live without it in your apple pie) (oh, and Earth Balance is natural “spread” that’s like margarine but unlike margarine, it’s not disgusting or made of flavored plastic)
5 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar (those more daring than I might try using a small amount of agave sweetener in place of the white sugar)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cardamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract (don’t cheap out –  use a high quality extract)
8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
A handful of sugar in the raw (i.e. big crystals of sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make double pie crust (below) and for one of the crusts, cut it into thin strips for a lattice-top.

In a pie tin, lay down the bottom pie crust, place the apples in there and mound them slightly in the center. Lay the crust strips on top to form a lattice. Put the pie in the middle of a big cookie sheet. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the margarine. Stir in flour and cornstarch to make a paste. Add water, the white and brown sugars (but NOT the sugar in the raw) and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to simmer the mixture, stirring well to fully integrate the ingredients.

Working very slowly, carefully drizzle the molten sugar/spice mixture on top of the pie, giving it time to ooze past the lattice and apples to reach the bottom. Drizzle over the entire surface – trust me, it tastes awesome on the lattice crust once baked. Be careful – if you pour too fast, it will just run off the lattice and onto the cookie sheet. You have to give it time to settle into the apples.

Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the sugar crystals atop the lattice crust. Return to the oven. Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden, the filling is bubbling and the apples are soft.

Do not try to serve it while it’s hot since it will be way too runny. Let it cool completely (or maybe until it’s just a tiny bit warm) before serving. Enjoy!

Olive Oil Pie Crust (borrowed from Vegan Pie in the Sky)

Olive oil produces a light flaky crust with a surprisingly neutral taste, plus made with pantry friendly olive oil it’s a fast and convenient all purpose crust ideal for fruit pies. The secret is to freeze the olive oil before hand, so that it become partially solid. This helps the fat to blend into the dough in little pockets, creating the flakiness you crave.
To prepare the olive oil: About an hour before beginning the recipe, place the olive oil in a plastic container; for best results use a thin light container, like the kind used for take out food. Freeze until it’s opaque and congealed but still somewhat soft, like the consistency of slightly melted sorbet. If it’s over-frozen, that’s ok, just let it thaw a bit so that you can work with it.

Best trick: keep your ingredients cold, cold, cold and use your hands as little as possible because they’re so warm. When you divide the dough to roll out your first crust, wrap the other half in plastic and stash it in the fridge while it waits. Then put the parchment paper with your first rolled-out crust in the fridge to wait while you roll out the second. Makes things much flakier in the end!

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup olive oil, partially frozen (see above note)
4 to 8 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Working quickly, add the olive oil by the tablespoonful, cutting it into the flour with your fingers or a pastry cutter, until the flour appears pebbly.

In a cup mix together 4 tablespoons of the ice water with the apple cider vinegar. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the water and vinegar mixture and using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula stir into the dough, adding more water a tablespoon at a time until it holds together to form a soft ball. Take care not to over-knead the dough.

Divide dough in two, press into each disk about an inch thick and place each piece between two 14 inch long pieces of waxed paper. Use a rolling pin to roll each piece into a circle about 1/4 inch thick. For a more even, uniform circle of dough roll the pin one or two strokes outward away from you, turn the dough a few degrees and roll a few times again and repeat. Repeat with other half of dough. Refrigerate rolled dough wrapped in waxed paper until ready to use.

The secret to fooling the carnivore: Mexican Mole-style Chili

I tried the up-front approach to turn John into a vegetarian, but that failed miserably. (But I must admit that when I attempted to serve him quinoa, the look of horror on his face was pretty entertaining.)   So I’ve had to resort to trickery.  I’ve learned that the key to fooling a carnivore and his stomach is to serve incredibly hearty, filling, flavorful meals.

My friend Rhonda sent me the following Chili Al Mole recipe, which is a truly delicious Mexican mole-style chili that’s rich, satisfying and has some secret ingredients (cinnamon and cocoa) that open like a flower in your mouth. I strongly recommend serving this chili with a nice cornbread crumbled on top since it adds just a hint of sweetness and an interesting texture that truly completes this filling meal. And as it happens, I also have a fantastic recipe for a deeeelicious vegan cornbread that’s accented with honey and sage.

This meal is a little more involved than my typical 30-minute or less dinners, but I think it’s worth it. The look of ecstasy on John’s face definitely makes it worth it for me, as does the fact that this is a “whine-free” dinner – hurray! I hope you like it!

Rhonda’s Chili Al Mole (from Vegan with a Vengeance)-

Olive oil – 1-2 tbsp

Onion – 1 large, chopped

Jalapeno – 1 small, minced < only if you like heat in your chili >

Red bell pepper – 1 large, chopped

Garlic – 3 big cloves, smashed

Chopped / diced tomatoes – 3 cups of fresh diced tomatoes, or 2 cans diced <when I use canned, I like using Muir Glen chopped fire-roasted tomatoes with chipotle, which adds a lot of flavor>

Molasses – 3 Tbsp

Pinto beans – 1 (14-ounce) can, drained

Black beans – 1 (14 ounce) can, drained

Vegetable broth – 2 1/2 cups

Cocoa powder – 3 Tbsp

Chile powder – 2 Tbsp

Cinnamon – 1 tsp

Cumin – 1/2 tsp

Preheat a large pot (at least six quarts) over medium-high heat; add and heat the olive oil. Add the onions and peppers and sauté for two minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for 8 minutes, until onions are soft. Add the chili powder, cinnamon, and cumin, stirring constantly for another minute. Add the tomatoes, cocoa powder, and molasses. Stir to blend, then add the beans and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Allow to sit at least 20 minutes before serving.

While it’s sitting, prepare cornbread – this adds so much to the chili, it’s crazy.

Honey-Sage Cornbread:

This is a vegan cornbread recipe adapted from one I found on food.com (which apparently was created by an 11-year-old – impressive!)  It’s quite good, especially with my little additions of honey and sage. It’s simply divine on the Chili Al Mole.

2 tbsp ground flax seed

6 tbsp water

1 cup flour

1 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

2 tsp fresh sage, finely chopped

4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup soy milk

1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 8 inch baking dish with oil.

Bring water to boil in a saucepan. Add the ground flax seed, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the ground flax seed in the water for 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt until well combined. Add the ground flax mixture to the bowl, along with soy milk, honey, sage and oil. Beat until just smooth. Pour into baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and continue cooling for an additional 10 minutes before serving.