12.29.14

The quest for the picture perfect, plant-based appetizer is over! Shake off that fear of feeding a room full of vegans and plan on making this fool-proof vegan blini. Topped with dairy-free creme fraiche and inventive hijiki caviar, even the most die-hard meat-eaters will go crazy for this tasty twist on the classic New Year’s-worthy treat. This recipe is our ticket to a night free of deprivation and full of festive celebration. Developed by none other than the famous Candle Cafe’s team of talented chefs-Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos and Jorge Pineda – for their cookbook Vegan Holiday Cooking, this collection of recipes blends holiday tradition with a sexy, modern style. Make these bold, satisfying vegan blinis to ring in 2015 with health-conscious intentions. Here’s the author with a note on this New Years-ready recipe…

Blini and caviar are a New Year’s tradition, and we love to serve these lovely little pancakes topped with vegan crème fraîche and caviar made with hijiki during cocktail hour. You can make the toppings and the blini batter ahead of time so everything will be ready when it’s time to cook and assemble this dish.

Blini with Crème Fraîche and Hijiki Caviar
serves 8-10

Ingredients:

For the crème fraîche:
2 cups vegan cream cheese
1 cup silken tofu, organic
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp sea salt

For the hijiki caviar:
1/2 cup hijiki or arame sea vegetable
1 Tbsp tamari
1 1/2 tsp grapeseed oil
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp chopped garlic
3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

For the blinis:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer, dissolved in 2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups plain unsweetened soy milk, organic
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread, melted
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 Tbsp safflower oil, plus more as needed

Directions:

To make the crème fraîche, combine the cream cheese, tofu, lemon juice, water, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the hijiki caviar, put the hijiki in a bowl and cover with 4 cups of cold water. Let soak until all the seaweed has expanded and softened, 30 to 40 minutes.

Rinse and drain the hijiki in a colander and let it sit for a few minutes to dry. Blot the excess water with a paper towel. Transfer the hijiki to a cutting board and very finely chop.

Whisk together the tamari, oil, lemon juice, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the chives in a medium bowl and let sit for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Set aside. Add the hijiki and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

To make the blini, combine the flour, baking powder, egg replacer mixture, salt and pepper in a large bowl and stir together. Add the soy milk, vanilla, buttery spread, and quinoa and mix together thoroughly. The batter can be made ahead and will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a day. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the batter to the pan. Cook on each side until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary.

To serve, arrange the blini on a platter. Top them with crème fraîche and hijiki caviar and garnish with the remaining chives.

Reprinted with permission from Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos & Jorge Pineda (Ten Speed Press, © 2014). Photo Credit: Jim Franco.

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