Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Address!

As much as I've loved using Blogger (and it has been a good year and a half), I've decided that this blog needs a both a face lift and a new host. I look forward to seeing you all there!

New address:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dead Computer

So. My computer's dead. I'm typing this from my work laptop, but I can't import any pictures, so the blog's on hiatus until I can figure out a better situation.

When it rains, it pours.

But then it's time to bake!

::edit:: Still waiting for insurance to figure things out with the computer. BUT, on the bright side, when things do get worked out, I have tons of pictures and recipes to post. Give me another week, two at the latest!

::edit edit:: September, 20: Looks like it's just going to be one more week until I have a working computer! By October and VeganMoFo, I should be up and running. I'm also working on switching over to WordPress, so I'll let you know when that's done. Thanks for waiting!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Can Flip, Yes I Can

We all have our cooking hang-ups. You know, those techniques we can't master, those ingredients that we just can't figure out how to cook right (eggplant--do I leave the skin on or off? Seriously.), that vocabulary that all runs together (it's not like we went to cooking school; why aren't definitions attached to every French word??). These hang-ups dictate what we cook or don't cook, what we're willing to bake and what we shy away from. I'm not saying we don't try and try and try again to figure out how to master whatever the bane of the kitchen is, but it's frustrating and, personally, I feel like I fail every time.

Now, brunch/breakfast is my favorite meal. It's also the poet's. So I feel like I need to come up with something tasty and innovative every now and then. And who doesn't love a good pancake?! They're carby and filling and can be made with lots of different twists. So here's where the hang-up comes in: I can't flip a pancake if my life depends on it. Remember that crepe cake? (I can't post a link, it was deleted with my first blog.) I think I had 20something crepes in it. You know how long that took me?? FIVE hours. FIVE HOURS for TWENTYsomething crepes. And that was all because I couldn't flip them. Fail.

Kitten Approved

Well, I'd like to announce that thanks to the twenty-step pancake flipping anxiety program, I think I've mastered my hang-up. I can now flip with confidence! No, really, I just figured out how to flip pancakes. I've been trying for...oh...ten years or so now. Practice makes perfect, I guess. Look at that stack!

So, whatever your food hang-up is, don't give up. Keep flipping. Or grilling. Or sauteeing. Or using that damned eggplant.

VwaV Banana Pancakes

Changes I made:
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chinese Orange Tofu & Vegetables

You can probably tell by now (if you check my blog on any kind of semi-regular basis) that I love to stir fry. All of the world's evils can be corrected with a wok, tofu, vegetables, and some rip-off Chinese sauce. I'm normally pretty boring and make the garlic sauce 5 out of 6 times (it's just that good! and easy!), but I decided to splurge and cook the poet something different for a celebratory "you just got through your first day back to teaching" meal.

Since I'd been grocery shopping at the Dekalb Farmer's Market fairly recently, I had a lovely head of organic bok choi on hand, as well as several blocks of tofu, and mushrooms. I thought about the sauces I love at Green Sprout (can anyone say garlic broccoli?!?! It's so addicting) and remembered a tangy orange sauce they serve on certain dishes. The sauce I made isn't exactly like the one at Green Sprout, but it's pretty heavenly. I'm heavy on the spices, so if you don't like spicy food, I'd definitely cut the crushed red pepper down to 1 tsp or less.

Chinese Orange Tofu & Vegetables

For the sauce:
2/3 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 1/2 tsp crushed red chili peppers
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp powdered ginger

For the stir-fry:
1 16 oz block of extra-firm organic tofu, cut into thin 1x1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1 head of organic bok choi, chopped into 1 inch pieces
8 oz button mushrooms, halved and quartered (depending on size)
vegetable oil for cooking

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

Dry fry the tofu. I divide to tofu into 2 batches to do this. Once cooked to the way you like it, set aside on a plate to add to the stir-fry later.

In a wok, heat up 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil on medium heat. Add the onion, cook for 6-7 minutes or until the onion turns clear and soft. Add the mushrooms and previously cooked tofu. After 3-4 minutes, add the bok choi. Cook everything until tender.

Add the sauce to the wok and cook everything for 1-2 minutes.

Serve over rice.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Avocado Burgers, Or Why Jes Needs a George Foreman Grill

Sheba & Mistoffelees

Sheba and Mistoffelees didn't want to be outdone in cuteness by the kitten. I found them curled up like an old married couple this afternoon (and by "curled," I mean the man is stretched out doing his thing and the lady is tucked in the nook of his stomach--so domestic!).

On to the recipe. Well, the recipe below deserves a better photograph. Like, a good slider would have condiments of sorts, a tomato slice, maybe lettuce--something tasty--but I ate it this way, plain with a crack biscuit. The crack biscuit obviously made up for any lack of anything but burger and biscuit, not gonna lie.

Anarchy Burgers, 2007

I've been toying with this recipe for over a year. Above a picture of the last blog post I made about them on the now erased original Cupcake Punk. (sigh) Last summer I was fortunate enough to have a roommate who owned a George Foreman Grill that she used specifically for veggie burgers and the grill was perfect for my avocado burgers. No matter how juicy and not uberly firm the patty was it would still grill like a nasty Boca Burger. Now I have to fry them, which is insanely less healthy, but still delicious. Maybe more falafelish. I've been thinking about baking them, but haven't gotten to that yet.

For this batch I used chipotles instead of jalepenos. I like the smoky flavor, although the jalepenos* give more a kick to the burgers. You can throw in whatever ingredients you think will shine. The real beauty of these is the ease and the freeze. They take ~10 minutes to make and then you can make individual patties, saranwrap them, throw them in a ziploc bag in the freezer, and then pull one out to cook whenever you're hungry. This is my secret for staying alive in college, actually. One batch makes up to 20 burgers, so that's a steal for the ~ $10 in ingredients or so.

*The Firefox spell check for "jalepenos" results in a first option of "Pentecostals." **giggle**

Avocado Burgers

4 ripe avocados
2 medium on the vine tomatoes, diced
1 can black beans
1 medium onion, minced
2 cups frozen corn (or fresh corn off of the cob)
4-5 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped finely
2 cups bread crumbs
olive oil/vegetable oil for sauteing

In a frying pan, sauté the onion on medium heat for 6-7 minutes until clear and tender. Add the corn and chipotles, sauté until the corn slightly browns on the edges. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the avocado, black beans, and tomatoes. Mash slightly, but you want to leave most of the black beans and tomato dice whole--just make sure the avocado is mashed to a smooth consistency. You're going for a smooth guacamole texture.

Add the corn mixture to the avocado mixture bowl, combine. Add the bread crumbs (you may need less or more depending on how moist the mixture is) and mix with a spoon. You may want to use your hands to combine everything together.

Form into individual patties and grill/sauté/freeze them. Serve on buns, biscuits, naan with hummus (my favorite!), however you like!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Crack Biscuits

Miss Dorian Gray on my couch

First off, do I not have the cutest kitten ever? Ever ever?

Now for the best biscuit recipe EVER. I'm going to warn you right now: don't read this post any further unless you're willing to make a commitment. A serious commitment. A commitment to carbs. If you're low-carb, no-carb, anti-everything-that's-good-in-this-world-carb, then stop. (Anyways, I don't know why you'd be reading my blog if you hate carbs...) Just don't say I didn't warn you.

These, these are crack biscuits. I swear there's got to be MSG or crack slipped in them somehow while I'm not looking. Maybe there's some major chemical change while they bake. Maybe, just maybe, the southerners did something right.

The problem is, I can't stop making them. This is my...7th? batch or so in two weeks. Seriously. At first I didn't have self-rising flour, and even though they were super dense and tiny and probably not that good, I kept making them will all-purpose flour until I went to the grocery store to buy flour specifically for these biscuits. I've also used up an entire jar and a half of veganaise on them too.

And why are they so good? Baked in a muffin tin, they get more crispy on more area, leaving a golden satisfying hardness with each bite of the bottom. But on top and in the middle they are so light and so fluffy and so buttery and so satisfying. I'm eating my 3rd one of the morning as I speak. And did I mention they only need three, THREE!, ingredients?

Southern Mayo Biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour
3 tbsp veganaise
1 cup soy milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Spray a muffin tin with oil. Spoon the biscuit batter into the muffin tin so that each cup is half-full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bottoms of the biscuits are golden-brown.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

VwaV Scrambled Tofu & Baking Powder Biscuits

No time for a real post. But coming up, the world's best biscuits EVER. Even better the ones above. If you want the recipes and don't own Vegan with a Vengeance...then you should really buy it. Seriously. That and Veganomicon. Oh, and while you're at it, go vote for Terry & Isa in the VegNews Awards.

Happy Thursday, all!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hoisin Green Beans

The other week when I was out of money and food with only $4 to my name, I popped into the farmer's market that convenes every Tuesday on Emory's campus to see what I could grab for a few bucks. For $3 I grabbed a bunch of green beans from one of the farms, walked home, and then tried to figure out what I could make with green beans and one onion and the staples in my pantry. A stir-fry made sense, so I boiled some rice, sauteed the onion with garlic, added the beans, and then topped with Hoisin sauce mix. It was pretty tasty, and somehow even better the longer it sat in my fridge.

The sauce was pretty good. A bit too salty for my taste, but maybe that's just how hoisin is? I had a bottle in my pantry that I'd picked up from the market a few months ago and this was the first time I used it.

So if you have a few veggies sitting around in your fridge that you need to use up, I would recommend this recipe. It's simple, tasty, and would work with any summer squash, green beans, tofu, broccoli, etc.

Hoisin Green Beans

1 bunch of green beans, cleaned and halved
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
vegetable oil
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
1 Tbsp Oriental sesame oil
1 Tbsp tamari soy sauce

Saute the onion for seven minutes (or until soft) in a large wok with 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the garlic, saute for one or two more minutes. Add the green beans, saute till tender, approx. 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the hoisin sauce, rice wine, seaseme oil, and tamari in a bowl.

When the beans are soft, pour the sauce on top. Saute for one minute.

Serve over rice.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Broccoli Pesto

Sorry it's taken so long! My money situation is finally worked out, which means that I can afford groceries to make tasty things with, which means that I could renew my flickr, which means that I can get back in the swing of things, etc!

Since coming back from vacation in New York, I've been completely broke and living off whatever was left in my fridge and pantry--i.e. lots of pasta with tomato sauce and biscuits. Last week I did manage to buy a bunch of green beans and a giant zucchini at the local farmers market for $4, so I got a little green back into my diet. On the whole though, I've been eating terribly. Pasta, biscuits, and coffee. Not good for 50+ hour work weeks on top of class and homework.

I have to admit, as I was making the blog rounds today, I just realized that my favorite Canadian vegan nominated me for the Brilliante Weblog Premio 2008 award. (smile) In the interest of passing it along, I'd like to give it to Hannah at Bittersweet, Celine at Have Cake Will Travel, Shelly from Musings from the Fishbowl, Lori at Pleasantly Plump Vegan, Leigh at Raspberry Swirl (even though she already has it--double the love!), the vegan world's fave VeggieGirl, and Ashley Nicole at Vegan Invasion. You all inspire me in your cooking and baking!

I'm still working 50 hour weeks, so I'm going to leave you with a super fast and easy broccoli pesto recipe from Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks.

Broccoli Pesto

1 medium head of broccoli (about 3 cups), cut into very small florets
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1 clove of garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 teaspoon + fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

To cook the broccoli, salt the boiling water and add the broccoli. Cook for just twelve seconds. Drain immediately and run cold water over the broccoli to stop the cooking. Reserve a few of the small broccoli trees and puree the rest in a food processor along with the walnuts, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Drizzle in the olive oil while still blending. Taste, adjust with more salt or lemon juice if needed.

Serve over pasta!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Daring Bakers

Strawberry Mirror Cake--July 2007

So it's time I do this for good--I need to resign from the group. I haven't been the best of posters, constantly too busy, too many emergencies, not enough money, and this month is a testament to that. I literally don't have the money to make the cake this month--I spent my last $4 on a big bunch of beans a giant zucchini at the Farmer's Market--I'm working a 50 hour week while still in class (which is creative writing, so there's a lot outside of class to do in addition to the 7 hours every week I have to be outside of my apartment). Anyway, all excuses aside, I need to quit.

Cheesecake Pops--April 2008

It's been a lovely year (this would have been my 1st Daring Bakeversery) and I've truly enjoyed the challenges. The sticky buns were out of this world! The crepe cake was fucking fantastic! The cheesecake pops were uber yum! But sometimes I just need to let something go.

Sticky Buns--September 2007

Don't forget to check out the blogroll to read all about this month's challenge. The Filbert Gateaus with Praline Buttercream look amazing. Everyone rose to the recipe. And I'm going back to working and writing and cooking (and playing with my cats!). Have a beautiful Wednesday and I'll be back Friday with a real recipe!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Carbon-Free Home

I work for an independent book store, A Cappella Books, in Atlanta and, in addition to working in the store, I plan and execute book readings. Today I had the pleasure of finally meeting Stephen & Rebekah Hren, authors of The Carbon-Free Home: 36 Remodeling Projects to Help Kick the Fossil-Fuel Habit. Generally I'm not too psyched about the "green" books out on the market. "Being green" has reached fad magnitude, and even though I appreciate folks wanting to live more sustainably, some of the ideas and projects out there aren't cost-efficient or energy-efficient.

Stephen & Rebekah are two of the most down-to-earth super-friendly people I've met in awhile. I loved chatting with them about projects and how to keep my extremely hot apartment cool in the summer. One idea is to plant a deciduous vine like a grape vine in window boxes on my East-West windows. Using bamboo poles to form a trellis up the window, the vine will block out summer sun and then let in winter sun because the leaves will have fallen. Not only is it a cute idea, it's a cool one! (Pun sooo intended.)

I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in cost and energy efficient DIY earth-friendly retrofitting of their house or apartment. Tons of the ideas are renter-friendly, and I'm totally enamored with the grow your own mushroom or potato barrel ideas. Seriously, in the food section, they tell you how to grow tasty mushrooms (Rebekah said they just harvested shitake mushrooms!), and plant a bucket with potatoes. I'm definitely going to try out the potato bucket idea, since 2nd harvest plants in mid-late August.

If you're interested in buying the book, you can get copies off Amazon or signed copies through A Cappella (scroll down the schedule list and "add to cart;" then specify in an e-mail that you want a signed copy).

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chocolate Chip Carrot Sunrise Muffins

Chocolate belongs in everything. That's why mole was invented. And in baked goods, it's even more of an "of course" type of thing. I had some carrots sitting around in my fridge that I needed to use up before they rotted and for some reason I really wanted a muffin with chocolate in it. Thus the Chocolate Chip Carrot Sunrise Muffins were invented. The recipe probably isn't unique. But it tastes good. And the orange color is so happy!

Nutritional Facts: Carrots are good for you. Chocolate is tasty and has caffeine. Spices are the bomb.

I riffed the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. Changed a few things, kept a few things. It was a good base.

Chocolate Chip Carrot Sunrise Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot (I made my pieces super small and juicy so they incorporated into the mix better)
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin tin with papers.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the carrots, oil, soy milk, vanilla, and sugar. Add the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and chocolate chips. Mix well.

Pour into the muffin papers and bake for 20 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

NYC Recap & Dorian Gray

I'm back! Miss me? So down to the nitty gritty. New York was tasty as ever (as if it couldn't be). I didn't take pictures of what I ate because, well, I just don't do that in restaurants. But here's a list of all the vegan meals I had and where I had them at (minus a Thai place in Park Slope & a place I ate a veggie burger at...can't remember the name either).

Curly's Vegetarian Lunch: Blue Plate Special Vegan Corn Dogs with French Fries, Vegan Sangria Milkshake. I ate the corn dogs last summer with Kyle and have been dreaming of them ever since. Totally worth the trek over the bridge to Manhattan. The sangria milkshake was decidedly pleasant too. Who knew that sangria would work well in a milkshake?! It reminded me of a lassi (the South Indian yogurt drink), but alcoholic. All the better!

Second Helpings: Just a snake of a Mushroom Spring Roll. Very delicious. The cafe isn't vegetarian, but most everything they serve is, and they have vegan baked goods. What's not to like?

The V-Spot: BRUNCH! (my favorite for this trip): Vegan Breakfast Burrito w/ side salad, a side of a Vegan Pancake, and a Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Milkshake. The breakfast burrito was OUT OF THIS WORLD. As was the pancake. David said it was more like a crepe than a pancake. But the cinnamon and other sundry spices in the batter were delish. And the milkshake was amazing too. Noticing a trend yet? David ordered the steak and tofu and that was rockin' as well. I tried it, of course, and the seitan was seasoned perfectly. Plus their coffee has a hint of cinnamon. Yum!

Pizza Plus
: Best vegan pizza I've ever had. We ordered a large wheat crust pie with mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes. The vegan cheese actually melted AND tasted cheesy. Even David, a die-hard cheese-eater thought it was delicious. Plus they have $3 Brooklyn Lagers. Who can resist? I reheated the pizza in the oven for lunch the next day and it tasted just as good. Leftover seal of approval.

Red Bamboo
: This was my last vegan meal in NYC. I had the lunch special of Vegan Chicken Parmesean with a side of Collard Green Spring Roll. The chicken's texture was right-on and the diced tomatoes on top made the meal shine. The parmesean was ok, I guess, I mean, it didn't taste like anything special, but I loved it. I finished off the lunch with a Vegan Chocolate Milkshake.

We drank quite a bit, as can be imagined, and drink prices weren't as scary as I expected. $2 PBRs in Williamsburg, $3 Brooklyn Lagers, $6 Hefeweizen, $3 Stella Artois, etc.

Ok, so in other news, meet Miss Dorian Gray! She's 7 weeks old (I think) and is going to grow into the worlds largest kitty. Ok, maybe not world's largest, but she's got seriously huge back feet and I think she's got maine coon in her. So really, she's going to be big. She never stops purring, is unfazed by the fact that my cats hate her, and she's obsessed with batting my eye lashes (which is a little uncomfortable for me). Basically, she's the bomb.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New York! and Chocolate Pistachio Cream Cheese Danish Bread

Sorry for not posting in awhile. School. That's all I have to say about that.

However! I'm off to NYC for a week to visit friends, eat tasty vegan food, and pine over the fact that I couldn't fly my bike up with me this time. Sigh. At least I'll be hitting up the Siren Festival on Saturday (with the possibility of press/backstage passes...!) If you have any suggestions for food places or things to do, let me know. I've been to New York quite a few times, but always on my bike and with races and such going on, so this trip is really different for me.

I'll leave you for the week with my 2nd Danish Braid. This one I filled with vegan cream cheese, chocolate chips, and pistachios. My mom makes a danish bread type thing with chocolate chips and cream cheese every Christmas, so I thought I'd play around with that. Can anyone say instant amazing? You should. You should also make it. (smile)

I hope you all have a good week! Be back next Wednesday!

Cream Cheese Chocolate Pistachio Danish Braid

1 recipe Danish Bread

1 8 oz Tofutti Cream Cheese
3 tbsp sugar
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

Prepare Danish Bread per linked recipe.

In a bowl, whip the cream cheese and sugar together. Add more sugar if desired. Add chocolate chips and pistachios. Mix.

Fill Danish Braid recipe and bake as instructed.

Monday, July 7, 2008


It's my first veganersary! Granted, I was not necessarily (ok, at all) completely vegan (for full story see my meme post) last July 7, and I get drunk and eat cheesy food (pun intended), and I love to eat Taria's pastry creations (she's fruitarian but the best pastry chef in Atlanta, so again, humor me), but it's been a good year. I wish I still had my old blog and could trace what I posted a year ago, but I can't. Sad.

I'm forever grateful to Rachael and Kyle and Taria for convincing me through their eating habits that veganism is totally possible--even when one is a pastry chef--and also to you guys, the blog community, for giving me hundreds of new recipes to try out and friendly support over much trial and error.

So, as a thanks and to celebrate, I'll leave you with a tasty breakfast. I know you all know how to make vegan french toast. And I usually make it with applesauce or smooshed bananas. Or sometimes super fancy with challah and vegan ricotta (smile). But with the usual recipe, the bread gets too much liquid in it and stays soggy, even if you fry it till it burns. So I experimented with a bit of vegan yogurt, added spices, fried it, and oh-my-goodness it was just like regular french toast! Crispy fried on the outside, not soggy on the inside, spicy-sweet...yeah, a pretty damn good simple veganersary breakfast.

Much love to you all, you're the best! Here's to another wonderful vegan food-filled year!

Vegan French Toast

1/2 cup vegan vanilla yogurt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ginger

Mix together the yogurt and spices in a shallow, wide dish.

Dip the bread slices into the yogurt and cover both sides with the mixture.

Fry the bread over medium head with a dash of olive oil until brown on both sides.

Serve with maple syrup, powdered sugar, nuts, berries--whatever you feel like!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookies

OH the things you can do with pistachios. Lemee tell ya...

So a couple of weeks ago I was in a pretty major funk. Things on the school front were not looking well (my funding was pulled over an administrative mistake--it's back, thank god), the poet was out of town and we'd had a tiff before he left, and I was not in the mood to face life. So I reverted to my old funk tactics. I checked three 200+ page books out of the library and vowed to stay in bed (it's 90+ degrees outside, ewww) until I read them all. A book a day. But one needs sustenance when huddled in bed with the A/C on high, cats cuddled around legs. You need chocolate chip cookies. It's the only funk food that will suffice.

I riffed off the recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking, which, honestly, I'm not too fond of. But it could remind me of the correct flour and sugar measurements and such. And with pitachios sitting around in my cupboard, well, you can imagine how this recipe turned out. DELICIOUS. It satisfied my craving almost as well as the original eggy chocolate chip cookie recipe I made for years. I've yet to find a vegan chocolate chip cookie that passes muster, but this wasn't too bad.

As a note, I might suggest lessening the sugar to 1/2 and 1/2 with a pinch thrown in or something like that if you use vanilla yogurt like I did. I might also lessened the vanilla a bit. I don't like my cookies super sweet, and these were a bit on the edge of too sweet for me. Other than that, I like using the yogurt as an egg replacer.

Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookies

1 cup Earth Balance
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vanilla soy yogurt
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli semi-sweet--vegan!)
1 cup chopped pistachios

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugars, and vanilla. Add the soy yogurt and mix well.

Beat in the flour, baking soda, and salt in small batches until it forms a dough. You might need to add more flour.

When it is thoroughly combined, add the chocolate chips and pistachios.

Form small balls of dough and place on a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the golden brown you want.

Let them cool as long as you can wait--I suggest not waiting so as to get the perfect combo of hot dough and gooey chocolate chips.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Pistachio Crusted Tofu

Remember Shake n' Bake? That glorious mix of bread crumbs and parmesean and god-knows-what-else-but-it-was-tasty? Yeah, I miss it sometimes. Who knows, maybe there's a by-accident vegan Shake n' Bake out there, but it wouldn't be right without the chicken. Do I miss chicken? No. I just miss the baked crusty deliciousness of what's put on chicken sometimes.

Thank God there's Susan and her blog. If I hadn't stupidly deleted all my original posts on here, you'd realize that I got into blogging (in part) because of her and her recipes. She definitely helped me go vegan. The Pistachio Crusted Tofu is her recipe and it's damn tasty. It's Shake n' Bake meets tofu. It's everything I crave of the good ol' midwestern meat and potatoes that I grew up on. I can't stop raving about it. Plus it was so so so easy. I tweaked the sweet and sour dipping sauce a bit, but other than that, all the praise goes out to Susan.

Pistachio Crusted Tofu (a la SusanV)

14 ounces tofu
2 tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium

1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1/2 cup pistachio nuts
ground pepper -- to taste
2 tablespoons spicy mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce, low sodium
1 tablespoon tofu mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 400F; prepare a baking sheet by either oiling it lightly.

Cut the tofu into 8 1/2-inch slices and dry them lightly with paper towels. Brush both sides of the tofu with the 2 tablespoons soy sauce and set aside to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

While the tofu is marinating, measure out 1 cup of crumbs into a wide, shallow bowl. Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until they are reduced to fine crumbs. Add them to the bread crumbs along with a generous grating of black pepper, and mix well.

In another shallow bowl, combine the mustard, syrup, soy sauce, and mayo.

Dip a slice of tofu into the mustard mixture, lightly coating all sides; then place it into the bread crumbs, sprinkle crumbs over the top and sides, and lightly press them into the tofu. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all slices of tofu.

Put the tofu into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until bread crumbs are golden brown.

Serve with the sauce of your choice, such as the Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce below.

Sweet and Sour Sauce (riffed from SusanV)

3 tablespoons apple butter
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce, low sodium
1/2 teaspoon chili paste

Mix all ingredients together well. Serve over tofu.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Danish Braid Bread

So.... it's been one month since I posted... I needed (kneaded?) the month off. My uber intense French translation class just ended (god knows how the final grade will turn out--but it's over, that's what counts!), I'm finally 100% healthy, and I'm back in the cooking/baking realm again.

This month's Daring Bakers Challenge was picked by Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What's Cookin'? and they picked a decently easy Danish Braid recipe. The only catch is that it takes either one entire day or two days to complete. But the hands-on time was not long at all and the whole recipe was wonderfully simple. And easy to veganize. (smile) It's always a plus when the DB challenge doesn't call for one dozen eggs.

For the dough, I substituted vegan yogurt for the eggs, Earth Balance for the butter, and soymilk for the whole milk. I think my kneading/rolling technique was a bit too intense because the bread isn't as flaky as I'd like, but it's still damn delicious. Kyle, the friend who turned me vegan (in the nicest way possible) is back from Thailand and living on my couch, and he gave the bread 2 thumbs up.

The butter block and the apple filling just needed an Earth Balance for butter substitute.

All in all, a fun, easy challenge and a great way to get back into the kitchen and the blog world. I promise to not disappear again for a month!

Danish Braid

Danish Dough

Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup soy milk
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup vanilla soy yogurt
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) Earth Balance
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, cardamom, vanilla extract, yogurt, and orange juice and mix well.

Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges.

When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

Butter Block
Combine Earth Balance and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.

After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Apple Filling

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons Earth Balance

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl.

Melt the Earth Balance in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes.

Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes.

Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet.

After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

Danish Braid

1/2 recipe Danish Dough
2 cups apple filling

Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.

Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.

Spoon the filling to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.
Proofing and Baking

Spray cooking oil onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.

Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

May Daring Bakers Challenge

Mono + Daring Bakers Challenge = oops. I forgot. And I don't have the ingredients in my house. And I'm posting this a day late anyway. I'll have it by the weekend--promise!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Doughnut-Cake-Coffee Cake-Awesomeness

Classes just finished, right? I mean, did I miss something? Oh... yeah... the part about me adding French to my course load so I can get enough semesters in to hopefully get into a good Comparative Literature PhD program next year. Sigh.

And you know what class means? Coffee. Actually, French isn't too bad. I took it back in high school and I'm more interested in translation than conversation, so I'm not stressed at all about it. It should be an easy GPA boost. HOWEVER, my schedule is a bit wonky with scholarship apps (ahhh Fulbright, Marshall, Mitchell, and Bobby Jones... four apps.... ugh...), studying for the GRE, pulling together enough poetry for a good portfolio for MFA programs, reading Deleuze and Beckett for my thesis, and hopefully cracking Being and Time. Did I mention that I'm working part time for two different jobs too?

This. This is why I need coffee. And coffee cake!

I'm in love with Vegan Visitor. It's true. I like the layout, the photography is gorgeous, and the recipes are tasty as hell. If hell were tasty--which I'm not sure it is... Anyways. After reading the post and recipe for the Also Goes With Tea Coffee Cake, I knew I needed to make it. Need is a rather open term for me, but it applies. I swear.

After substituting pecans for walnuts, adding a bit of chocolate, baking in a bundt pan, dusting with powdered sugar--oh my gosh fingerlicking good. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good shot of the layering of the coffee cake. It was eaten a bit too quickly. Oops! The Poet gave it two thumbs, two big toes, and a happy belly up. Personally, I think it tastes like a doughnut, and then a cake, and then coffee cake--all at the same time. It goes great with coffee, tea, soy milk, after dinner, before dinner, whenever. I had to give half of it away. Otherwise I'd eat it all. In a period of two days. Summer--the perfect season for baking induced weight! Right?

Doughnut-Cake-Coffee Cake-Awesomeness

1 c Granulated Sugar
1/2 c Earth Balance Margarine, softened
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 c Soy Vanilla Yogurt
1/2 c Plain Soy Milk
1 tsp baking soda
1 c All Purpose Flour
1/2 c Whole Wheat Flour

For the Topping:
1 c Pecans broken
1 c Vegan Chocolate Chips
1/3 c Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Toss the pecans, chocolate chips, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

Cream the sugar with the margarine, then add the baking powder and continue to mix until fluffy.

In a measuring cup, combine the yogurt, soy milk and baking soda.

Add half of the yogurt mixture to the creamed sugar, then half of the flour, mixing until each is combined, repeating with the remainder.

Lightly spray and dust a bundt pan with flour.

Add half of the cake batter to the pan. Add half of the walnut topping. Finish with the remaining batter, then evenly sprinkle over the last of the topping.

Bake in the center of the oven for 45 - 50 minutes.

Cool completely in the pan before turning it out to a serving plate.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Long Bean & Grape Tomato Salad--for David

I'm back! The beach was good (well, as good as it could get for me). Being bedridden with a view of the Atlantic tide rising and falling every day isn't too bad. Watching flocks of pelicans congregate, honk their voices out, and skim for fish isn't too bad. Having six good friends rally for your health isn't too bad either. And thankfully I am feeling a lot better. My posts should be a bit more regular now that my appetite is back and my throat doesn't object to solid food!

I actually made this recipe awhile ago, but it's never too late to post. I'm blessed with the Your Dekalb Farmers Market which flies in goodies from all across the globe, so Chinese long beans are usually at my disposal. When I saw Smitten Kitchen's Green Bean & Cherry Tomato Salad, I knew I had to make it. Besides, it's so much fun when non-vegan bloggers make delicious vegan food. Of course I didn't have all the right ingredients, but basalmic vinegar is delish (as I'm sure red wine vinegar is). Instead of regular green beans, I used the long beans, but cut them in half in order to fit them in my pot. I also used grape tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes--again, this doesn't seem like much of a stretch.

My friend David was wigging out over finals a few weeks ago (he graduated this semester) and scared to death that he wouldn't pass a class and actually graduate, so he practically locked himself in the library for a week to study for finals and write papers. While I was supposed to be writing papers, feeding poor freaking out college students is way more fun. In order to make a meal out of the salad, I heated up some left over couscous, layered the green bean salad on top, added some fried tofu, and drizzled the extra vinaigrette on top. He thought it was so good that he told me to teach him how to make it before he moved to New York City.

Unfortunately, David is en route to the city right now to start his new life as a paralegal at the District Attorney's Family Violence Unit (sounds like a cheery job, right?), and I never taught him how to make it. At least I can send him the link, right? So here you go David--make this with the fresh veggies I know you'll buy at the Union Square Green Market. And yes, I'm living vicariously through you.

Long Bean and Grape Tomato Salad

1 pound long beans
1 pound grape tomatoes
1 large shallot
2 tablespoons basalmic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Cut off the tips of the beans, cut in half, and parboil them in salted water until tender (4-5 minutes). Drain and immediately spread them out on a towel to cool.

Cut the tomatoes in half.

For the vinaigrette, peel and dice the shallot fine and put it in a bowl with the vinegar and salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Taste and adjust the balance with more vinegar, oil, or slat, as needed.

Toss the cherry tomatoes in with the vinaigrette; this can sit for a while. Do not add the green beans until just before serving or they will discolor from the acid in the vinaigrette.


Sunday, May 11, 2008


Remember this?
Well, I'm off to the beach to recuperate for a few days. I'll let you know how the virgin margaritas and Bloody Mary's go. Actually, I don't think I could sip a Bloody Mary sans vodka...it's worth a shot (badumdum--pun intended). But hey, it should be fun anyway!

Be back later this week!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Yours truly managed to get Mono during finals! Woohoo!

Ok, really, it's not exciting. But it does explain why I kept passing out on my couch when I tried to write papers or study for my one final exam. It also explains why I haven't posted anything on here for awhile. I've hardly been cooking. Let alone writing blog posts about it.

So the first day or two that I was sick (last Friday maybe?) I rummaged around my pantry looking for anything edible. I really wanted to make soup, but I didn't have any soupy items besides lentils, so, even though it's totally off-season, I decided to try another lentil soup recipe. Luckily I had most of the ingredients that the PPK called for, minus the crusty bread, so I mixed up some biscuits to serve it with.

Overall impressions? Not bad--for a winter stew. I mean, it just felt weird eating lentil soup when it was 80 degrees outside. But it helped my throat for a little while, so that's good and all. I have a lot of leftovers, so I might do that pie thing again to get rid of them. Don't get me wrong, I love lentils, but this just isn't my favourite all-time way to eat them in the summer.

French Lentil Soup w/ Tarragon and Thyme

2 cups french lentils
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large white onion, diced medium
1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
A couple of generous dashes fresh black pepper
6 cups veggie broth

Heat olive oil in the soup pot. Add onions and cook about 10 minutes over med-high heat, until onions are browning and even a little burnt. Add the garlic , herbs and spices, saute 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and a little splash of water if necessary and stir to deglaze the pot. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Add salt, 4 cups of veg broth and cover to bring to a boil. Add the lentils and bay leaves and cover again. Simmer about 45 minutes until lentils are almost totally tender. Add 2 more cups of broth, cover and bring to a boil again, about 15 more minutes. If it looks to thin, uncover and simmer for a couple of minutes. If it looks too thick, add a little more water.

Serve over biscuits.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vegan Crab Cakes & Chipotle Tartar Sauce

One of the things I love about finals is procrastination. It normally bites me in the ass, but seriously, it tastes really good. Tonight I should have written a paper on the political animal. Instead I made vegan crab cakes. So worth it.

Jhenn over at Vegan Ronin posted a good looking recipe for crab cakes, and since I had tofu sitting around in my fridge and not much else (I need to go grocery shopping like I need to not bake more stuff), I decided to go for it. But the crab cakes needed something to go with. I picked up my Food & Wine Magazine 2001 Cookbook, flipped through the pages, found a lima bean and mint salad, decided to modify it, and serve both on a toasted baguette slice with tartar sauce (also modified from Food & Wine). Several mods later, I plated a damn tasty meal.

Vegan Crab Cakes & Chipotle Tartar Sauce

For the Crab Cakes:
2 slices of bread (any type)
2 Tbsp soy milk
1 Tbsp vegan mayo
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (copy-cat recipe)
1 lb firm tofu, drained & pressed
salt to taste (no more than 1/4 tsp)

**notes: I did not have any parsley, so I chopped up ~1 tbsp fresh chives. I also didn't have Old Bay, so I used a pinch of everything noted in the copy-cat recipe that I had (again, I left several spices out). The mix and pinch method worked well for me though.

In a mixing bowl, tear up the bread into small pieces. Add the milk to moisten the bread. It will be a little sticky.

Except for the salt, add & mix the remaining ingredients, crumbling the tofu. Now add the salt to taste.

Mix with your hands to make sure the tofu is really crumbled up and everything is all stuck together.

Heat a frying pan on medium heat, with just a little bit of oil.

Form the mix into (about) 10 patties. Pat them with pressure to make sure the air is out, and that they will stick together.

Fry until golden brown (just a few minutes). Be gentle when flipping the patties.

**Notes: I cooked up one or two cakes at a time and saved the remaining mixture in an airtight container. It kept well for the three or four days I had it sitting in my fridge.

For the Lima Bean Salad:
1 10-oz package frozen lima beans
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
**Notes: I used 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar because I didn't have white wine vinegar. It tasted fine.

Cook the beans in a medium saucepan of boiling water until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain.

Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly. Stir in vinegar and oil. Season with salt and pepper.

For the Chipotle Tartar Sauce:
1 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
1 tbsp chipotle pepper
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp tarragon, finely chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning (again, I did the pinch method of the copy-cat recipe)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Keep refrigerated.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daring Bakers Cheesecake Bites

It's been awhile since I managed to successfully complete a Daring Bakers challenge. I tried the yule log back in December, but my gluten-free, vegan version fell apart and I just didn't have the heart to post my mess. But I'm back!

This month's challenge was posed by Elle of Feeding my Enthusiasms and Deborah of Taste and Tell. They found a cute concept recipe based on turning cheesecake into bite-sized pops on a stick (or something like that).

I originally planned on making the recipe as written (all dairy/egg ingredients included), but decided at the last minute to veganize it, because, really, I wanted to eat it too. This might have been a mistake though...I ate waaay more of the cute, little, enticing cheesecake bites than I should have.

Unfortunately I had a few time constraints (I started making the pops on Sunday afternoon for a Sunday night potluck) and couldn't find any lollipop stick things, but the end product (post-multiple-freezes) was delicious, apparently non-vegan tasting, and quickly eaten by my potlucking friends.

As always, go check out the now-plethora of Daring Bakers to see what everyone came up with!

Vegan Cheesecake Bites

For the cheesecake:
2 14 oz package firm silken tofu (NoriMu)
2 8 oz package Tofutti cream cheese
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy milk
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
4 tbsp cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place silken tofu and vegan cream cheese in the food processor. Process for 1 minute, then add sugar. Process until smooth and no sugar granules remain, 3-5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the soy milk and vanilla and almond extracts. Pour mixture into the food processor and process until very smooth. Pour into a foil lined 9" springform pan and bake for an hour and a half.

Allow to cool at room temperature for 2 hours, then refrigerate overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours. (I sliced the cheesecake into squares instead of scooping balls.)

For the chocolate coat:
8 oz vegan chocolate (I use Baker's semi-sweet baking squares)
2-4 Tbsp Earth Balance

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the Earth Balance, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and butter are combined. Stir until completely smooth. (Add more Earth Balance if needed to get a more viscous consistency. I ended up adding a few tablespoons of soymilk because my bites weren't frozen and collapsed in the heat of the chocolate.) Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Quickly dip a fr
ozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I can't believe people eat such cute crabs!

Sorry for the delay in posts--I was tromping around Jekyll Island this past weekend and have been catching up on school work ever since. Let me tell you, eating vegan on a barrier island in south Georgia is hell. If I never eat another mediocre iceberg lettuce salad, I'll be really happy. Really happy.

I'm going on a picnic-hike tomorrow with the poet and I made a slurpable feast (he had mouth surgery last week...can't chew anything; now that's a challenge...). Pictures and recipes will, of course, be posted when I return.

Until then, enjoy the beach photos!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Lazy Never Tasted So Good

Thanks for the comments on the flower picture. I'm rarely given flowers and the few times that I have been, the guys have been off the mark (sorry, I'm just not a roses or daisies kind of girl). Happily, this time, he was right on.

The poet brought me this sprig of fresia before we went to see big at the Atlanta Ballet. The evening was marvelous (seriously the best dance performance I've ever seen and probably ever will see), followed by a late dinner at Top Flr (my favourite restraunt in Atlanta, co-owned by my friend Jeff Myers, and the current home of the pastry chef I apprenticed under, Taria Camerino), and a glass or two of a nice shiraz I picked up at the Dekalb Farmers Market (note: cheapest place to buy imported wine and beer in Atlanta). All in all, a rad evening and I thought I'd share the flower with you.

On a different note, who doesn't love stir fry? I mean, seriously, can you admit to not liking it? As you can tell from almost everything I make, if I can cook it in a wok, then I will. So today, with my one day off of class and work, with 800 million papers to write (oh, the end of the semester is so much fun, let me tell you), I needed to eat something that was quick and easy to cook with minimal clean up. I had almost succumbed to pita and hummus...but I figured something with color might be a better option.

Thus, without further ado, I give you sweet and sour stir fry a la Cupcake Punk. And I'm back to my papers pronto.

Sweet & Sour Stir-Fry

2 cups cooked brown rice

olive oil (I mixed olive oil and peanut oil)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 package extra firm organic tofu, cubed
1 large head of broccoli, chopped into florets
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into small strips

1/3 cup brown rice vinegar
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1/3 cup water

Saute the onions and garlic in oil until slightly translucent. Add the tofu and saute it for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to burn the onions and garlic. Add the broccoli and bell pepper and cook until slightly al dente (this took approx. 10 minutes for me).

Meanwhile, combine the rice vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, and soy sauce in a pan over medium heat. Add the cornstarch-water mixture and stir/whisk until smooth and slightly thickened. Add more water if necessary.

Pour the sauce over the veggies and tofu, cook for one minute until everything is covered. Serve over rice.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Romantic Gestures 101

Sometimes flowers take the cake.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Spicy Peanut Noodles

I try really hard to be healthy, I really do, and you'd think eating vegan would make that easier. Oh well. Nature over nurture? (smile).

Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks is one of my blog loves. She cooks some of the most delicious and healthy (and mostly vegetarian) fare I've seen in a long time. It's comfort food, but good for you, and with unexpected twists. And while a noodle salad isn't a real salad (in the green sense of the word), I figured it was time to bite the bullet and make a salad.

I tried, I really did. But there's something about warm noodles, sauteed tofu, and veggies in a peanut sauce that takes me back to happy memories of fake Thai food. If only I had a take-out box to serve it to myself in... gotta work on that.

So below is my take on Heidi's Lazy Day Peanut Noodle Salad. I'm sure the original recipe is tasty, but I'm a fan of mine too.

Spicy Peanut Noodles
riffed from Heidi

1 8 ounce package soba noodles
1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed then cut into 1/2-inch segments
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into short strips
12 ounces extra-firm (organic) tofu, cut into small cubes
1 small bunch of spring onions or scallions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup (brown) rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
drizzle of toasted sesame oil
big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4-1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup peanuts

Big a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the soba noodles per package instructions.In the last minute or so of cooking toss in the asparagus. Drain noodles and asparagus, run under cold water for about a minute to stop cooking, and set aside.

Saute the cubed tofu in a pan until lightly brown. I like the slight crunch and solidity of the tofu this way, although Heidi prefers it cold and cubed (no cooking involved).

Make the peanut sauce by combining the peanut butter, rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and a big pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Thin with hot water - the amount you'll need depends on the original consistency of your peanut butter.

Gently toss the noodles, asparagus, red bell pepper, spring onions, peanuts, and tofu with the sauce. Serve!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Curry Pie

I have a problem. I love curry. I love my wok. I have no idea how to cook for one person.

Before I moved, I had a bunch of mushrooms that were about to go bad. I also had a bag of frozen peas. And, per usual, tons of spices and curry pastes and coconut milk and the like. Logical conclusion--make curry. It was a great idea until I added too much curry paste, setting my mouth on fire (and mind you, I adore super hot and spicy food), attempted to fix the heat with extra coconut milk (a dash of lemon juice did the trick somehow...I've no idea how the chemistry behind that works or if it were a fluke), added chickpeas and some other random odds and ends, and then added cornstarch to thicken it because I had an entire wok full of curry soup. Delicious curry soup, but I wasn't going for soup at this point. And I had an entire wok full of it.

I ate some, pawned some off on friends (not like I was twisting anyone's arm or anything), ate some more, ate some more. Almost a week later--sick of curry. Sick of curry with two tupperware dishes left of it. Crap.

Solution? Let them eat pie. Curry pie. I whipped up some whole wheat vegan puff pastry, rolled it out, lined a pie dish with it, filled it with curry, topped it with puff pastry, and baked it for over an hour. The pastry was thick, so it took forever, but Holy Mary Oh My God the end result was orgasmic. And maybe it was that good simply because I'm a carb fiend and anything in bread is delicious, but damn, I did good.

Moral of the story: whenever you have leftovers that you're sick of, make it into a pie. A pot pie. A shepherd's pie. A puff pastry pie. A whatever pie. It's like a caserole, only classier. Or something. Or maybe just more delicious. (smile)

Below is the original recipe I used for the curry. I added much more curry paste than it called for. You can adjust the amount to taste.

Oh, and let me tell you, taking a good picture of this thing was not easy. Just trust me: it tastes 800x better than it looks.

Curry Pie

For the Curry:
1-2 tbsp oil (I use a mixture of olive oil and vegetable oil)
1 onion, diced
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 lb button mushrooms
1-2 cups frozen green peas
1 cup chickpeas
2 green chiles, seeded (I use Thai chiles)
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp curry paste (I used red, and much more than 1 tbsp: adjust to taste)
1 cup coconut milk
salt to taste
cornstarch, as needed

Clean the mushrooms and remove stalks. Depending on the size, halve or quarter them. Slice the chiles in half, and de-seed them with a spoon. Dice the chiles into small pieces. Dice the onion.

Add 1-2 tbsp oil to the pan, add the onion, chiles, and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion is clear. Add the mushrooms and cook 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown.

Add the spices, peas, chickpeas, coconut milk, and curry paste, and reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender.

If there is too much liquid, add cornstarch a teaspoon at a time, stir the mixture, and allow it to thicken until you reach the desired consistency.

For the Puff Pastry (from dr. stonielove's bewildered beast):
Note: I doubled the recipe for the top and the bottom, but I did have leftover dough
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup soy margarine
2 cups cold water
2 tsp salt

Mix the flour and salt with cubed margarine to create cornmeal like texture. Create a well in the middle and slowly incorporate to form a dough.

Rest the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge (DO NOT KNEAD!). After 30 minutes, take out the dough from the fridge.

Flour the surface of a board, a roller, and the dough. Seperate teh dough into two balls. Roll the each ball into a rectangular with a ratio of 1x3. Fold the it twice to make a square. Repeat it at least 5 times with each ball of dough.

Final Assembly:
Preheat the oven to 350.

Roll out each portion of dough into a layer for the crust bottom and top. My thickness was about 1/8". Line a pie pan with the dough and fill to brim with curry. Place the other rolled out portion of dough on top to form a top crust. Poke holes or a design in the crust to allow for expansion (you don't really want the pie to explode, trust me).

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the crust is light brown.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I'm not dead...

... but you have to wait for more posts until I have internet at my new place. That's right...I moved, again. I need to stop doing this. Long story not worth typing, but I'll be back sometime this weekend hopefully! And I have recipes waiting for you too! Hurrah!

See you in a few days!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

21 & 5

So it's my birthday today. It's also the anniversary of the "War on Terror." Almost one quarter of my life aligns with this "war." Whatever your political persuasion may be, it's definitely worth thinking about peace. And check out all the bloggers on the March 19 Blogswarm while you're at it.

It's hard to claim chocolate as anti-war; thousands gallons of oil are used to produce and ship it around the world and it's such a bourgeois item. BUT food is community. Food brings people together. Food defines relationships. Food brings peace. Imagine Iraqis and Americans and Africans and Europeans sitting down to a meal together. Somewhere, in between the shared culture of nourishment, positive conversation occurs, opinions are challenged, expanded.

I made this cake last Thursday for my family's get-together dinner for my birthday. My family is composed of die-hard omnivores (heavy on the meat & potatoes) and conservative political philosophy. The act of us sitting down to a vegan meal and talking peaceably amongst ourselves is almost unheard of. We do not agree about food, politics, religion...pretty much everything. But I would like to think that the cake contributed to an enjoyable night over all.

And yes, I made my own birthday cake. But really, I got to make what I wanted! Chocolate cookie crust with a mocha cheesecake layer, topped with super dark chocolate mousse, piped with cream cheese frosting. All vegan. I don't have any cross section pictures because I ate it too fast. It was that good. And easy, all things considered.

Eat peace--try a vegan diet for a day, if you aren't a vegan, eat locally grown produce or meat so that you don't waste oil in the shipping process. Dine for peace--engage the ones you eat with in meaningful, constructive conversation. Create peace--think about the energy you are pouring into the food you cook or bake. It's feeding others or yourself; be positive, reap the peaceful results!

And goddamnit George Bush, fuck your war.

Ridiculous Uber Chocolate Thing
each recipe modified or taken from different sources including but not limited to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and the internet

For the Chocolate Crumb Crust:
12 chocolate graham crackers, crumbled
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3-4 tbsp chocolate soy milk

Crumbled the graham crackers into a bowl. Drizzle the vegetable oil on top, stir to cover cracker crumbs. Drizzle the soy milk into the crumb mixture and combine with your hands. Pat the mixture into an 8" springform pan.

For the Mocha Cheesecake:
2 ounces unsweetened baker's chocolate
12 oz soy cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 12 oz package cups silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
1/2 cup chocolate soy milk
1/3 cup double-strength coffee
2 tsp vanilla extrac

Melt the chocolate in the top part of a double boiler.

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, beat together the cream cheese and the sugar until light. Add 1 cup of the tofu, beating thoroughly.

Add the remaining tofu and the soy milk to cheese, sugar and tofu mixture. Pour the melted chocolate slowly into the cheese mixture and add the coffee and vanilla. Mix to blend ingredients thoroughly.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake for about 45 minutes, or until edges of the cake are puffed up slightly. Cool in the oven with the door cracked open, then cool to room temperature.


For the Chocolate Mousse:
1 12 oz package extra-fim silken tofu (Mori-Nu)
1/2 cup chocolate soy milk
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz semisweet chocolate (I combined 4 oz unsweet with 8 oz semisweet)

Crumble the tofu into a blender. Add the soy milk, agave, and vanilla. Puree until completely smooth.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips. Once melted, remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the chocolate to the tofu and blend until combined.

Pour the mousse on top of the chilled cheesecake. Chill for one hour (or until the mousse sets/hardens) before decorating or serving.

For the Cream Cheese Icing:
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup Earth Balance
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Cream the cream cheese and Earth Balance with a mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the frosting is the consistency you want. Add the vanilla.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hostel Bread

Everyone is ok--some friends ended up with trees on their houses, one lost all her trees in her yard, one is banned from his loft until the insurance company decides what to do, but everyone is alive and well. It stormed again yesterday afternoon, but no tornadoes (just hail and too much rain), and now it's sunny and 64 degrees. Go figure.

But sometimes you just need bread to make the storms go away. That's my philosophy at least.

Hostel Bread

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2.25 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup wheat flour
1-3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon Sweet Basil
1 tablespoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Sage

Put warm water in a large bowl, and add sugar, stir until dissolved. Add the yeast next, and wait a few minutes for the yeast to dissolve. (The yeast feeds on the sugar, thus the bread must be made in this order.

Next, stir in one cup of wheat flour and one cup of bread flour. The wheat adds the nutrition to your bread, the bread flour makes it easier to knead. Add your butter at this time as well, and all the spices. Mix all this together, adding more flour as needed. The mixture should be somewhat stretchy, and not stick to your hands.

Transfer the bread dough to a greased, covered bowl, and put in a warm place. We usually use the same bowl as was used to mix the bread, just removing the dough, greasing the bowl, and returning its contents. Let rise for one hour, then punch down and transfer to a greased bread pan. Let rise for another hour, and put in an oven preheated to 450. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for another 30 minutes, remove from the oven, and let sit for 20 minutes before cutting to serve.