Aquafabulous!: 100+ Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafaba (Bean Water)

After a year of hard work, my cookbook has been published!

Aquafabulous!

Yup, my cookbook, Aquafabulous!: 100+ Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafaba is now in bookstores! You can also order it from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com and Chapters-Indigo.

The book has 125 recipes featuring Aquafaba, and here’s a little taste:

Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpeas

Kale Caesar with Roasted Chickpeas

Photography:Tango Photography
Food styling: Éric Régimbald
Prop styling: Véronique Gagnon-Lalanne

 Coconut French Toast

Vegan Coconut French Toast

Photography:Tango Photography
Food styling: Éric Régimbald
Prop styling: Véronique Gagnon-Lalanne

Sushi Salad

Vegan sushi salad

Photography:Tango Photography
Food styling: Éric Régimbald
Prop styling: Véronique Gagnon-Lalanne

Banoffee Pie in a Jar

Banoffee Pie in a jar

Photography:Tango Photography
Food styling: Éric Régimbald
Prop styling: Véronique Gagnon-Lalanne

Vegan Macarons

Vegan Macarons

Photography:Tango Photography
Food styling: Éric Régimbald
Prop styling: Véronique Gagnon-Lalanne

Aquafaba literally means bean water — the water that’s drained off neutral-colored beans like chickpeas, white beans and cannellini beans.

Vegans have had limited choices when it came to baked goods. The existing substitutes did not have the chemical properties of eggs which made them integral for binding and leavening. But now there is the perfect substitute, and it’s aquafaba. And it’s blown open the world of vegan baking.

This collection of recipes, however, is not only for vegans. It is great for anyone who has an allergy to dairy and eggs. It’s proof that you can go egg-free and still enjoy delicious recipes. You will never miss eggs again. The general rule of thumb is 3 tbsp of aquafaba equals one egg. The protein in aquafaba, when mixed with some sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar, perfectly simulates egg whites. Neutral in taste, you don’t have to worry about your dishes tasting beany.

All your breakfast and brunch favorites are here–from omelettes, French Toast and pancakes to scones and crepes. You’ll enjoy satisfying and sumptuous Vegan Shepherds Pie, Vegan Mac and Cheese or for lunch or dinner. And you can once again enjoy Alfredo Sauce over your pasta. And the meringue desserts are not to be missed — Fruit Pavlova and Sweet Potato Pie to Lemon Meringue Pie. Chocolate Chip Cookies, S’mores Bars, Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Ice Cream are perfect for those children’s birthday parties where allergies are now a prevailing concern.

Now you no longer have to live without the culinary wonders that eggs and egg whites produce. All you need to do is open up a can of chickpeas, drain the water and you’re ready to go.

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My Mom’s Date Squares

About a year ago, I came into possession of my mom’s recipe box. Now, I lost my mom to cancer 12 years ago, so this is somewhat of a treasure to me.

Not just because these are recipes I remember her making (and me loving), but also because many of them are in her handwriting. The cards are frayed and stained and obviously well-used.

I previously shared an accidentally vegan recipe I found in this box of my mom’s recipes called Wacky Cake, but today I want to share another one.

My mom had a few favourite desserts. She loved rice pudding, and classic cookies like peanut butter and chocolate chip. But she also made killer date squares.

Date Squares

She didn’t call them date squares, though, she called them Matrimony or Matrimono Bars.

Nobody seems to quite know the exact origins or history of this recipe, except that it probably originated in Canada, quite possibly Newfoundland, and is maybe Scottish in its heritage (because of the oats?). Today everyone just calls them Date Squares. But I’m curious about where the “matrimony” connection comes in? Were they served at weddings? Do the layers have some kind of symbolic significance of two people coming together to be one? No idea, though the name seems to be regional in its origin and my mom was born on, and grew up in, the Prairies.

But here is the card in my mom’s writing….errrr typing? One thing you’ll notice is there are no directions. This is pretty typical of most of her recipes. She made these so many times, she didn’t need to be reminded of how to make them, just the quantities of ingredients. I have included the directions below.

Mom's date squares recipe card

You’ll notice that this recipe is also accidentally vegan.

By the way, when I made these and distributed them amongst my neighbours for taste-testing, they were pronounced the best date squares they’d ever had, so… thanks, mom.

My Mom’s Date Squares

Ingredients

  • 1 cup margarine/vegan butter/regular butter (if you’re not vegan)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Method

  1. Grease a square 8″ or 9″ cake pan well, or line with parchment, and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar and 1 teaspoon each of salt and baking soda.
  3. Melt the butter and pour it over the dry ingredients. Toss just until combined. Dump about half of the mixture into the pan and press it down to make an even layer.
  4. In a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat, place the dates, water, and remaining baking soda and salt and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the dates are softened. Mash them up a bunch with the back of a spoon to make them a bit smoother. Pour this date mixture overtop of your base layer in the pan.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the date layer and press it down lightly.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Why We Love Pandemic Baking So Much

Like many of you, I have been baking a lot in the past few months. Maybe unlike you, one reason why was a new cookbook I’m working on, but that wasn’t the only reason.

I’m sure you, like me, as you scroll through your Facebook and your Instagram feeds, see pic after pic of your friends pandemic baking. Sourdough. Banana Bread. Cookies.

Banana Bread

For sure, a great deal of this is just because we’re home more. And maybe bored. So might as well bake something?

Baking, in all its ways, brings comfort. There’s something satisfying about getting your hands in dough, and then there’s the fantastic smells that emanate from the kitchen. And finally, you get to eat it. Warm, steaming bread, soft on the inside, crispy on the outside. It’s a sensual feast. It brings comfort in the form of carbs, sense memories of sitting at our mother’s or our grandmother’s tables. A time when life wasn’t so complicated, and just leaving the house could potentially kill you.

Pandemic baking also involves an element of care. Sourdough especially has been popular during the pandemic, because it’s kind of like a child or a pet. And if you don’t have a child or a pet, sourdough is a great place to pour your nurturing energy into.

I’m going to float another possible hypothesis. That pandemic baking is about getting things done. It’s an easily achievable goal.

Date Squares

If you haven’t read it yet, there’s a great article going around called Your ‘Surge Capacity’ Is Depleted — It’s Why You Feel Awful. It’s an interesting article, and you should definitely read it, but there’s one part of the article that particularly stood out to me, and that’s the concept of ambiguous loss.

The author interviews Dr Pauline Boss, who talks about this weird sense of loss and grief we are all experiencing right now… but not from anything specific. Just…. stuff.

“It’s harder for high achievers,” she says. “The more accustomed you are to solving problems, to getting things done, to having a routine, the harder it will be on you because none of that is possible right now. You get feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, and those aren’t good.”

Yeah. So this is me. I’m the get shit done girl. And now, all of a sudden, everything is changed. Shit is no longer getting done, or if it is, it’s taking a whole lot longer than it used to.

“Our culture is very solution-oriented, which is a good way of thinking for many things,” she says. “It’s partly responsible for getting a man on the moon and a rover on Mars and all the things we’ve done in this country that are wonderful. But it’s a very destructive way of thinking when you’re faced with a problem that has no solution, at least for a while.”

Sourdough. Sourdough is the answer my friends. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s defined. It maybe takes you a couple of days, but you set out to make a loaf of bread, and two days later, there it is, crunching under your knife as you cut into it. In a world that feels out of control, in my kitchen, I have all the control. I am the master of all purpose flour.

And that tiny moment of feeling like I’m in control again, even if it’s just for a short while, feels great. It’s the one thing I can control in the chaos.

And then I get to eat it.

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