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Almond Crema

Did you know you could make a Mexican style crema with almonds?? That’s right, a delicious and smooth crema made without dairy! Most recipes call for cashews, but cashews are pretty expensive, so I stared using almonds instead and loved the result. In fact, I think almonds work better since they are not as sweet as cashews. This almond crema can be drizzled on your enchiladas, tacos, sopes, or pretty much any vegan Mexican dish.

Did you know you could make a Mexican style crema with almonds?? That's right, this delicious and smooth almond crema has no dairy!

The best part of this crema is that it is very versatile. You can add chipotle to it and drizzle it on pasta, or you could add roasted poblano to it and make poblano cream enchiladas. You could even omit the garlic, and add a banana to make an almond banana yogurt.

Did you know you could make a Mexican style crema with almonds?? That's right, this delicious and smooth almond crema has no dairy!

It is super easy to make and you don’t necessarily have to have a high powered blender. (I have a Vitamix , which was a wedding gift, that I love and use almost everyday.) If you do have a high powered  blender, you can be lazy like me and make this crema without peeling or soaking the almonds. If you don’t have a high powered blender you will have to soak the nuts the night before, peel them, then blend them.

Did you know you could make a Mexican style crema with almonds?? That's right, this delicious and smooth almond crema has no dairy!

Mexican crema is much thiner than than sour cream, so if you’re looking for a sour cream recipe simply reduce the amount of liquid in this recipe. The possibilities are endless with this almond crema!

Did you know you could make a Mexican style crema with almonds?? That's right, this delicious and smooth almond crema has no dairy!

The Recipe: Almond Crema

If you have a high powered blender:

  • Add nuts as is, just make sure to blend until the sauce is very smooth.

If you have a regular blender:

  • Soak raw almonds for at least 8 hrs.
  • Peel and blend.
Did you know you could make a Mexican style crema with almonds?? That's right, this delicious and smooth almond crema has no dairy!
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Almond Crema

Did you know you could make a Mexican style crema with almonds?? That's right, this delicious and smooth almond crema has no dairy!
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people (1 1/2 cups)
Author Dora S.

Ingredients

High Powered Blender Crema:

  • ½ cup Almonds raw
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • ¾ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Almond milk unsweetened ( or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon juice fresh

Regular Blender Crema:

  • ½ cup Almonds raw
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • ¼ - ½ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Almond milk unsweetened (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon juice fresh

Preparation

High Powered Blender Crema:

  1. Place the almonds, garlic, water,almond milk, and lemon juice in the blender and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Regular Blender Crema:

  1. Boil water in a small pot and pour over almonds. Let sit overnight at room temperature.
  2. The following day peel the almonds. The skins should pop right off.
  3. Place the almonds, garlic, almond milk, and lemon juice in the blender. Add ¼ cup of water and process until smooth.
  4. If it is too thick, add the remaining ¼ cup of water.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chef's Notes

If you don't mind using oil, use it in place of the almond milk for a smoother sauce.

 

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Vegan Caldo de Res

I didn’t think it was possible, but it is!! You CAN make a vegan caldo de res. Caldo de res or vegan Mexican beef soup is a warm comforting soup of stewed beef, carrots, potatoes, corn, chayote, potatoes, mint, and cilantro. It is served all year, but is especially good in the winter months.

vegan Caldo de res or vegan Mexican beef soup is a warm comforting soup of stewed beef, carrots, potatoes, corn, chayote, potatoes, mint, and cilantro. It is served all year, but is especially good in the winter months.

This vegan version is pretty close to the original, but instead of using beef we are using the Gardein beefless tips (this is not a sponsored post). The beefless tips infuse the vegetable broth with a meaty flavor. I’m usually not a fan of using imitation meat products, because I try to stick to whole foods, but I think the gardein beefless tips work really well with this soup.

vegan Caldo de res or vegan Mexican beef soup is a warm comforting soup of stewed beef, carrots, potatoes, corn, chayote, potatoes, mint, and cilantro. It is served all year, but is especially good in the winter months.

Caldo de res is also known as puchero, or cocido de res. The ingredients vary by region, depending on what state of Mexico you are in you can find caldo de res with garbanzo beans, green beans, and plantain.  Some regions of Mexico use a tomato based broth. The soup itself is not spicy, but when I eat it I like to add a tbsp. of salsa roja to spice it up a bit. Serve it with Mexican rice, warm tortillas, and be sure to add a splash of lime juice to the soup before eating.

vegan Caldo de res or vegan Mexican beef soup is a warm comforting soup of stewed beef, carrots, potatoes, corn, chayote, potatoes, mint, and cilantro. It is served all year, but is especially good in the winter months.

The Recipe: Vegan Caldo de Res

  • Sauté the beefless tips while they are still frozen.
  • Instead of veg stock you can use Better Than Bouillon No Beef Base
  • Instead of beefless tips use shitake mushrooms instead.
  • Don’t simmer the beefless tips in the soup, because it changes the texture. Add them in before serving,
  • Enjoy!
Caldo de res or vegan Mexican beef soup is a warm comforting soup of stewed beef, carrots, potatoes, corn, chayote, potatoes, mint, and cilantro. It is served all year, but is especially good in the winter months.
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Vegan Caldo de Res

Vegan caldo de res (vegan Mexican beef soup) is a warm comforting soup of no-beef, carrots, potatoes, corn, chayote, potatoes, mint, and cilantro. It is served all year, but is especially good in the winter months.
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
221 kcal
Author Dora S.

Ingredients

  • 1 pack (9 oz.) Gardein Beefless tips
  • 1 cup Diced onions, yellow (1/2 onion)
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 10 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 3 sprigs Mint
  • 3 sprigs Cilantro
  • 1 ear Corn, cut into 1 inch rounds
  • 1 ½ cups Diced russet potato (1 medium potato)
  • 1 cup Diced carrots (1 lg. Carrot)
  • 2 cups Large diced cabbage (1/4 head of cabbage)
  • 1 ¼ cups Diced chayote (1 chayote)
  • 1 ¼ cups Diced zucchini (1 zucchini)
  • 1 lime Cut into quarters

Preparation

  1. Set a large pot to medium-high heat (if necessary add a little bit of oil). Sear the beefless tips for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pot and set aside.
  2. Add onion and ¼ cup of vegetable stock to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Cook onion for 4-5 minutes or until tender and translucent.
  3. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  4. Pour in vegetable stock and add the mint and cilantro.
  5. Bring to slow simmer and add the corn, carrots, and potatoes.
  6. Simmer for 6 minutes and then add the chayote, zucchini, and cabbage.
  7. Simmer for 8- 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Cut the beefless tips in half, and add about 1/3 cup to each bowl. Pour soup on top and serve.
  9. Serve with lime wedges and warm tortillas.

Chef's Notes

Sauté the beefless tips while they are still frozen. Instead of veg stock you can use no beef better than bouillon. I add the “beef” at the end, because if you simmer it in the soup it changes the texture. If you don’t have access to beefless tips use shiitake mushrooms instead.

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Vegan Day of the Dead Bread

Who knew death could be so colorful? Purple and orange tissue paper banners line altars decorated with marigold petals, colorful sugar skulls, and a bounty of fruit and vegetables. This is a celebration of life and triumph over death, the intermingling of the religious beliefs of the indigenous people of Mexico and the faith of the Spaniards that conquered them. The Day of the Dead is not only a holiday that honors those who have left us, but it is believed that on that special day the souls of the dead return to visit the living. Both the indigenous people and the Church of the Spaniards believed that death was not an end, but only a passageway to another life. That is why this is a joyous occasion, a homecoming festival, and at the same time a way to mock death and the power it holds over our bodies.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

Before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores, the Aztecs held rituals for the dead during the summer months in a joint celebration with the first days of harvest. The dead were traditionally buried with rich offering of ceramics, personal objects, and food. The offerings where meant to assist them in their journey to the afterlife. After the arrival of the Catholic missionaries their traditions and beliefs were merged with those of the indigenous people, and the festivities were moved to coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day, Nov 1st and Nov 2nd.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

 

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

The festivities have evolved over the years and differ from region to region. Some of the most popular ones include altars in honor of loved ones who have passed, preparing the dead’s favorite foods, and gathering at the cemetery to decorate a loved one’s grave, share a meal and reminiscence. My favorite tradition is the elaboration of the altars. The symbolism incorporated into the altars is so rich and meaningful that it truly honors the dead, those we keep in our hearts, but somehow with the passing of time fade in our memories.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

Every altar has several key symbols which are:

water– as an offering to the soul to quench their thirst in their long journey

salt– as a symbol of purification and to preserve the body so it will not wither

fire– to represent the light of the faith and guide the spirits in their journey

incense– to elevate our prayers to God in heaven

flowers– marigolds, their color represents the radiance of sunlight and life

bread– as a symbol of the body of Christ, usually round loaves with topped with “bones” and known as pan de muerto

a picture of the person who the altar is dedicated to

religious images– to symbolize God as an intermediary between the living and the dead

the favorite foods and drinks of the departed– to delight the souls who will be visiting (the most common being Mexican hot chocolate, tequila, atole, mole, tortillas and rice

candy skulls– the indigenous held the skull as symbol of death being a part of life

tissue paper banners– purple to symbolize christian mourning and orange to symbolize Aztec mourning

fruits and vegetables– an offering from the earth

personal objects of the person being honored– to accompany them on their journey back

a dog– to protect and guide the spirits.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

Every year we make an altar in our home to a loved one lost. It is our own special way of introducing our deceased loved ones to our children. We talk about the things that they liked to eat, do, and why they are important to us. On November 2nd we say a prayer for them, and keep hoping for the day we will be reunited in the afterlife. For years now, we have also been attending the Day of the Dead Festival in Oceanside, CA. The festival takes place in the Mission San Luis Rey. There are a variety of traditional foods such as tamales, tacos, tortas, aguas frescas, and pan de muerto. There is also face painting, sugar skull decorating, and regional dances. However, the highlight of the festival is the showcase of the altars, some representing various Mexican states and built by whole communities and families.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

Out of all the wonderful Mexican traditions, the Day of the Dead might be the one that still holds firm to its pre-Hispanic roots. The loved ones lost, who we cannot see or hear, make themselves present in our homes, share our food, and partake in the rejoicing of life and the conquest of death.

Sources:

Los Dias de Los Muertos, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian and National Museum of American History, 2010

Simbolismos en el altar del Dia de los Muertos, Tanatologa Aida Maria Castro Morales, 2007 (http://www.slideshare.net/internatoni/simbolismos-en-el-altar-del-da-de-muertos)

The Recipe: Vegan Day of the Dead Bread (Pan de Muerto)

This recipe might be better than the non-vegan version, according to my husband. I have substituted the eggs with potatoes, resulting in a moist, soft, and sweet bread. It is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate or coffee.

pan-de-muerto2

Bake at 350F for 40- 45 minutes. Brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar.

pan de muerto

 

pan de muerto
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Vegan Day of the Dead Bread

Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 day 45 minutes
Servings 4 loaves
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 1 pack (.75 oz) Active dry yeast
  • ½ cup (3.5 oz) Almond milk, room temperature, 3.5 oz
  • 3 1/3 cup (17.5 oz) Bread flour
  • ¾ cup (5.5 oz) Sugar, granulated
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Orange zest
  • ¼ cup Orange juice
  • ¾ cup (6 oz.) Potato, Yukon gold, cooked, mashed
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp. (4 ¼ oz.) Vegan butter room temperature, cut into 1 inch pieces,

Topping

  • 2 tbsp. Vegan butter, melted
  • ½ cup Sugar, granulated

Preparation

  1. In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the almond milk and add 2 tbsp. of the flour. Whisk to incorporate and let rest in a warm place for 20 min.
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  2. In the bowl of a mixer, with the dough hook, combine the dry ingredients: the rest of the flour, salt, sugar, and orange zest. Mix.
    pan-de-muerto2
  3. Add the wet ingredients: the orange juice, mashed potato, and yeast-flour mixture. Mix on low until the dough begins to incorporate.
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  4. Add the ½ cup + 1 tbsp. of softened butter little by little and increase speed to medium. Mix for 15 min. until the dough has come off the sides of the bowl and is stretchy but not sticky.
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  5. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with a towel and let rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough and fold the side over unto each other and flip. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
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  6. The next day take the dough from the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place (70-75F) until the dough comes to room temperature, about an hour.
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  7. Take a piece of dough, weighing about 3 oz., and set aside. Divide the remaining dough into four pieces. Roll them tightly into rounds and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment. Press down on the rounds lightly.
  8. Use the reserved dough to make 4 small balls the size of a quarter and set aside. Use the remaining dough to roll out eight strips long enough to cover the rounds. Place two strips on top of each round forming an x, use your fingers to press lightly on the strips to form knobs, they should resemble bones. Repeat the process with the rest of the rounds.
  9. Cover with a towel and let rise for 1 ½ hrs. in a warm place (70- 75F) or until double in size.
    pan-de-muerto2
  10. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350F. Place the small balls in the center of the rounds with a little bit of water. Bake for 20-30 min. until the rounds have become a rich brown color. Cover with foil and bake for 10 to 15 min. more, until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 190F. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.
  11. While the bread is still warm melt 2 tbsp. of butter and brush the bread with it. Sprinkle evenly with sugar.
  12. Let bread completely cool before eating.

Chef's Notes

My favorite vegan butter is Earth Balance. This recipe is a combination of my dad’s recipe and Fanny Gerson’s method for Pan de Muerto in My Sweet Mexico.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.

This vegan Day of the Dead bread (Pan de Muerto) is moist, airy, has a hint of orange zest, and is perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.