Thursday, December 20, 2007

Vegan Eggnog Cupcakes

I'm finally done with the semester! Whoever decided that exams could run until the 19th and then slated my last boring general education requirement class on the last exam period of the last day, 4:30 pm on the 19th, is evil. But now I have time to do more things like baking! Ok, or, if I were honest with myself and you all, go dancing, stay up the whole night, and then sleep the day away. I'm loving life.

On Monday, while writing my last paper of the semester (it's amazing how 10 pages seems so short now--I started the paper on Monday and finished it by 9 pm) I decided to play around with the vegan eggnog some more. My general love of cupcakes prevailed and since cookies don't really call for milk, I could only use the eggnog in a more cake-like substance anyway.

Two of my good friends served as taste testers and the review was positive. I think they really taste like eggnog and I love the spiciness coupled with the chocolate ganche. I think they'd pair well with dark chocolate stout cupcakes with peppermint frosting.

Vegan Eggnog Cupcakes

1 cup vegan eggnog
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a small bowl, whisk the apple cider vinegar into the vegan eggnog. Set aside to curdle for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the oil, vanilla, almond extract, and sugar together until combined. Add the vegan eggnog mixture, combine. Add all dry ingredients. Mix until smooth--you don't want lumps.

Pour batter into oiled or lined cupcake tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Makes 6 large cupcakes and 12 mini cupcakes or 9 large cupcakes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ginger Miso Soup

Baby, it's cold outside!

I knew that the 75 degree sunny gorgeous weather wouldn't last, but did it really have to drop from 70 to 20 degrees in one day? My body isn't a fan of that! I don't have central heat in my apartment either, so my cats and I feel the impact even more. Let me tell you, those cats didn't leave my side all night. It was one cozy cuddle party in my bed. (smile)

Last week I made this recipe for Ginger Miso Soup from Kitchen Caravan and fell in love with it. Who doesn't love gingery, noodley, kaley, brothy soup? Exactly. They suggest 2 inches of ginger, but my personal suggestion is 2+ inches of ginger. I can't get enough of the rhizome. Note: ginger is not a root.

I also discovered that this soup made me feel 800 times better while I was sick. Cha-ching! So last night I made it again, because really, it's too cold and I want to be a lot warmer than I am. The recipe is super easy, I didn't even need the recipe the second time, and I'd recommend making this to anyone who is sick, is cold, or wants a soup that feels like chicken noodle but is definitely not chickeny (but is noodley!).

Ginger Miso Soup
from Kitchen Caravan

1 2-inch knob of ginger
6 cups water
2 cups loose shitake mushrooms, cleaned and chopped in half [cp note: I left mine whole]
1 cup kale (about 3 leaves) [cp note: I used green kale]
2 heaping tablespoons white miso paste
1 handful soba noodles (sometimes they come segmented into bunches, you need about one bunch)
½ large carrot, peeled (optional) [cp note: I didn't use this]
1 scallion (optional) [cp note: I didn't use this]

Make the ginger broth by grating the knob of ginger with a cheese grater, and then putting it into a pot with the 6 cups of water. You should have about 2 tablespoons of grated ginger to infuse. [cp note: I used a vegetable peeler to "grate" the ginger since I don't have a grater anymore. It seemed to work just fine.]

Bring the water to a boil and simmer slightly for about 15 minutes. Let it sit for another 15 minutes if you can, but you are welcome to go along at this point.

Bring another pot of water to a boil. Cook the soba noodles for about 6 minutes in the boiling water, drain, and rinse them with cold water. Set the cooked noodles aside.

Drain the infused ginger broth of the grated ginger and bring the liquid to a boil.

Add in the shitake mushrooms and simmer until soft, and then add in the kale and simmer until cooked through. Turn off the heat.

Now, place the miso into a small bowl. Pour in some of the soup water, and soften the miso. Pour everything back into the pot and stir until the miso is well integrated into the soup.

*I suggest letting the soup sit for at least 15 minutes before serving. Honestly, it tastes the best the day after. I'm not sure why, but the ginger flavor seems stronger after sitting.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Eggnog Chocolate Chunk Scones

When it rains, it pours. I wish that statement were in reference to the weather (Georgia desperately needs water), but it's more ab0ut life right now. Needless to say, I wish I hadn't eaten/shared all of these scones by today--I could have used a pick-me-up!

Being the holiday season and all (Christmas for me), I have a carton of Silk Nog in my fridge and I'd eyed a vegan eggnog muffin recipe, but I didn't really want to make muffins. Since I'd made date scones before (at the bakery), I figured I could substitute the eggnog for the soy milk, add a few extra spices, and have tasty eggnog chocolate chunk scones.

Vegan Eggnog Chocolate Chunk Scones

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Earth Balance
3-4 oz baking chocolate, chunked
2/3 cup vegan eggnog

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine the the flour, baking powder, sugar and spices in a mixing bowl. Cut the Earth Balance into the dry mix until a coarse crumb forms. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the vegan eggnog. Mix in, then work together with well-floured hands to make a soft dough, then form into a ball. If the dough is too sticky, work in a little more flour.

On a well-floured board, roll the dough out into a 1/2-inch thick round. Place on a floured baking sheet and with a sharp knife, cut into 8 wedges halfway through the dough.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden on top.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Recipe To Come

Rad and Merckx will now model elements of Ginger Miso Soup.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

That Time of the Year Again

It's that time of the year again. Time for parties for hosting, marshmallows for roasting (toasting? Can you roast a marshmallow???), and caroling out in the snow..., no. It's finals week(andahalf). It's time for stress, no sleep, too much coffee (way too much coffee, I'm getting sick of drinking it), too much typing, and the messiest house ever. It's time to eat veggie burgers and chips and salsa and peanut butter on granny smith apples (my favorite snack EVER at the moment). It's time for me to disappear from the blogging world, which I would, except it's such a wonderful place to procrastinate in--goddamnit, I'm tired of wrting about Samuel Beckett and Deleuze and Guattari and becoming-animal.

So what do I make when I have to study, when I have to maintain a high level of caffeine in my body, when I don't have time to make anything? This blog ain't called Cupcake Punk for nothing.

Technically, I made these for my friend who moved back North to Philly today. I've driven the stretch between Atlanta and Philly several times this year and I know how long and boring and trafficy it can be. So I made here a sweet little caffeinated treat to keep her awake and happy. Luckily for me, it does the same thing for studying.

So whether you're driving or studying this holiday season, do yourself a favor. Take a little time, make a little treat, drive safe, study well, and eat chocolate!

Midnight Cakes

For the cupcakes:
1 c soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 c cold strong coffee (I let mine sit for several days in the fridge)
1/3 c vegetable oil
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c cocoa
1 3/4 c flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp instant coffee

For the icing:
1/2 c Earth Balance margarine
3-4 c powdered sugar (more or less, I never measure, just mix till I have the consistency I want)
1/4 c cold strong coffee
2 tsp instant coffee

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix the apple cider vinegar into the soy milk with a whisk. Set aside to curdle for ~10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix the oil, sugar, coffee, and vanilla together until combined. Add the soy milk mixture. Mix well.

Add dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until smooth--no lumps.

Pour batter into a lined or oiled cupcake tin (muffin tin, whatever tin you have). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm to the touch and an inserted knife comes out clean.

For the icing:

With an electric mixer, mix the margarine until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the margarine/sugar clumps together. Slowly add the liquid coffee until the mixture is smooth. Add more sugar to the mix if needed until the consistency is what you want. Add the instant coffee at the end.


Friday, December 7, 2007

Tofu & Broccoli in Garlic Sauce

Remember when you first became a vegetarian or vegan? Or, if you aren't either, just imagine that you are one for a second. You go to a restaurant, order a vegetable infused meal--no meat, eggs, butter, whatever in sight, and you're proud of yourself for finding an acceptable dish on the menu.

Now, imagine that you're at a take-out Chinese place. Your favourite Chinese take-out place where no one speaks English...well, very little at least. You order your favourite dish--garlic broccoli. You eat this dish for almost a year believing that it's vegetarian. Then, months and months later after your initial order of the supposedly vegetarian dish, you walk home from campus, are famished and sick of leftovers, have a crown of broccoli and a thing of tofu and cupboards full of spices and sauces and you go to the internet to pull up a Chinese garlic sauce recipe and--


Garlic sauce isn't vegan. Or vegetarian. It calls for oyster sauce. Now, do you think that you're local Chinese take-out place doesn't use oyster sauce in their garlic sauce? Probably not. Why not? It's cheap, easy, and what every normal recipe calls for. So what the hell am I supposed to eat at a Chinese restaurant now???

Tofu & Broccoli in Garlic Sauce

1 pound of extra-firm tofu
1 crown of broccoli
1 c brown rice
1/4 vegetable oil (I used a combination of peanut and sesame oils)
2 c vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c soy sauce
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

For the rice:
Bring 1 cup of brown rice and 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Add water as needed until the rice is well cooked. Be careful not to burn (i.e. add water when necessary until rice is cooked).

For the sauce:
Bring the vegeble broth to a boil. Add the garlic, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper and sugar, stirring to combine well.

For the stir-fry:
Slice the tofu length-wise. Press dry between paper towels. This may take 15-30 minutes. Cut the broccoli into florets.

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet.

Add the tofu to the wok first, allow to brown on both sides. (Be sure to not let the oil get too hot or else it will pop up into your face and burn you--not a pleasant experience, trust me.) Add the broccoli, cooking just long enough until the florets are tender.

Turn down the heat. Add the sauce. Mix in the cornstarch, constantly stirring until the sauce thickens (5-8 minutes).

Serve over rice.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Southern Biscuits & Gravy

I'm taking a Southern literature class right now--"The Rough South"--and last night while reading my last novel for the course, My Drowning by Jim Gimsley, I began to crave biscuits and gravy. This isn't the first time. Over the course of this semester, thanks to all of the lovely biscuit filled southern lit I've been reading, I've made approximately 10 different biscuit or gravy recipes. I have a serious problem. But after the word biscuit is used twenty times in two chapters, one has to make biscuits--even if it's 11 pm. Even if one should be sleeping. Even if one hates Southern food. My god, this is a comfort food thing...well, even though my family never made biscuits and gravy.

I was hungry, watching the fire, wishing for something to eat. We would have biscuits soon, I could smell them, but I never ate fast enough to fill my stomach, and afterward there was never anything left over. So I huddled in Mama's lap and watched the fire and felt the hollow fist in my belly.

The smell of biscuits filled the house, drawing my brothers, Carl Jr., Otis, and Joe Robbie, slouched like dogs along the walls. The smell awakened Daddy, who shuffled from teh bedroom pulling a flannel shirt over his thin shoulders.

He spooned sugar into his coffee and said nothing. When nothing but biscuit appeared to eat, he stared into the top of the table. He chewed the biscuit as if he were grazing in a pasture.

I got half a biscuit. The sensation of warm bread in the stomach made me happy, and I was allowed to eat in Mama's lap. We were eating, all of us. We crowded near the fireplace. No one talked.
-My Drowning, Jim Grimsley

Biscuits & Gravy

For the biscuits:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup soy milk
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

For the gravy:
1/4 of an onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used a mix of olive and canola oil)
1 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 tsp sage
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
5 or 6 white mushrooms

Preheat oven to 450.

To make the biscuits, mix the soy milk and vinegar in a seperate bowl and allow it to sit for 10 minutes until fermented. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the margarine into pea sized pieces (in the flour) with a pastry cutter or fork. Add liquid ingredients and mix with a fork until it just starts to come together.

Push the dough into a ball, knead just once or twice and roll out to 1/2 thick slab. Cut into circles or squares, place on cookie sheet and bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes. (note: instead of rolling out the biscuits and cutting them, I used a spoon to drop irregular balls of dough onto the cookie sheet and then baked the free-form biscuits.)

To make the gravy, saute the onions and garlic in the vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and stir until a paste forms. Slowly incorporate the water, constantly stirring, until a thick but liquid gravy is formed. Add the salt, pepper, and sage. Allow the liquid to boil for 3 or 4 minutes.

While the liquid is thickening, saute the mushrooms in 1 Tbsp of olive oil until slightly cooked. Add the mushrooms to the gravy as soon as the gravy has thickened.