rocket ship go!

March 17, 2008

cooking actual food + “best” oatmeal cookies

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 9:28 pm
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In my house, we call savory, main-course dishes “real food” (and the other category consists basically of desserts), and I made some real food last night. I had over at my house my boyfriend plus two of my really good friends Jordan and Dree, who happen to be dating. And since the four of us are awesome friends and have all known each other for quite a while, it was like the coolest funnest double date EVER. If one member of our party was talking to another, it doesn’t matter who it was, the two remaining people could easily have a conversation with each other. No awkward moments here.

We were all hangin’ at my house, and everybody was hungry, and cooking seemed like a good idea. For the past couple of days I had in my head the makings of cooking a nice meal from scratch (I end up a lot of times just snacking around or eating canned beans with boil-in-a-bag rice). But I’m so glad that me and my dear friends got to cook together. A meal that you make from scratch seems a lot more satisfying in your belly after you eat than just just eating some steamed broccoli and beans. While it takes a long time to prepare, you really enjoy what you’re eating because you know how hard you worked on it.

Crispy crunchy stuffed tofu (this stuff rocks, if you don’t want to make the filling, just slice tofu, marinate it, and use the breading and baking technique), simple roasted brussel sprouts, and some brown rice, with a generous helping of Veganomicon nutritional yeast (cheezy) sauce. The cheeze sauce was soooo good, and everything on that plate later got smothered with it. Like I said, this from-scratch meal was really hearty and satisfying and makes me wish that I had a kitchen of my own in Knoxville. ūüė¶

And now for cookies:

This blog claimed to have the recipe for the “best chewy oatmeal raisin cookies ever.” Having all the ingredients with me, I could not refuse. The verdict? They are pretty amazing and taste a lot like the ones my mom used to make, only quite a bit healthier.

1 c. flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 T. margarine (like Earth Balance), at room temperature
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. (packed) light brown sugar
1 T. finely ground flaxseed mixed with 3 T. hot water
1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/3 c. rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 c. raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and set the rack on the lower and upper thirds of the oven. Grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and granulated sugar until smooth. Mix in the brown sugar, then the flax slurry, applesauce, and vanilla.
Stir in the dry ingredients, then the oats and raisins.
Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons 2-inches apart on the baking sheets and use a fork to gently flatten the dough.
Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they “look dull on the surface but are moist and soft”. Rotate baking sheets during baking for even heating.

Don’t overbake ’em! I got it just right, and they were perfect fresh out of the oven, with crispy outsides and soft insides.

March 12, 2008

i <3 teh cakes

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 2:50 pm
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I only have a picture of one of the cakes I made this past weekend (and¬†luckily it’s¬†the more delicious one), but both of them were nice n’ tasty. And making two cakes in one weekend is an amazing thing (one of the many things that made this past weekend grand).

The cake that I do NOT have a pic for is a re-do of chocolate pudding cake, but so much better. I added in the optional 1/2 c. chocolate chips to the batter, and instead of pouring 2 1/2 c. of hot water over the batter before baking, I used fresh coffee. So just imagine the cake in the link above, only blacker and 5 times as intensely chocolate. When I made it before, it was pretty easy to just gobble down cuz it was kinda light. But this cake actually left you feeling full, which desserts rarely do for me (unless I eat an insane portion). Satisfaction, finally! What made it all the more glorious was that a dear friend of mine from high school, Jordan, was in town Friday night, so he and I got together with one of my roommates and whipped this cake up and enjoyed it together, and Jordan and I introduced my roommate Kelley to some of our favorite Nashville muzik. It was loads of fun, and while Jordan and I hung out I lamented missing my bf (who is a friend of his), and he lamented missing his gf Dree (who is one of my best friends). We were feelin’ so nostalgic and reminiscing about our loves, it was great.

Now, the cake I have pictures of, that I made on Saturday night, is *even better* than the chocolate-y pudding cake I just talked about.

The recipes are all from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. It was the golden vanilla cake, filled with some plain ol’ strawberry jam (so good), covered in orange buttercream, and drizzled all over the place with quick melty chocolate ganache. Maybe it was just that the intenseness of the chocolate pudding cake from Friday overwhelmed me, but this this cake was so amazing and fresh tasting, I looooooved it. And all who partook were like, “This is so moist; how do you make it like this without eggs?” I was like, “It’s a special vegan recipe… and lots of oil.” I got to see one of my dear friends on Sunday, and I think she and I devoured most of¬†it together. So nice to hang out with another girl who loves to eat cake as much as me.

But when I was baking the cake on Saturday night, I had to share the itty-bitty dorm kitchen with this handful of high people who were baking some cream cheese brownies or something like that and filling up and stumbling around the kitchen. I’m such a control freak, I wanted to be like, “STONERS OUT!” But everything turned out fine and they left about halfway through my time in the kitchen. So no worries, dude.

March 4, 2008

banana choco-chip rolls with pb filling

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 3:17 pm
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…did not turn out quite as¬†I would have expected. After seeing these nanner chip pb rolls, but seeing no recipe posted, I needed sometihing to satisfy me and my then-crazy banana-chocolate-peanut-butter lust, so I modified Celine’s banana coconut rolls, omitting the coconut and pecans, adding chocolate chips, using a peanut butter filling, and hoping for the best. They didn’t cook all the way through, though, so I guess this goes on my long list of things to make again and modify. But maybe then, a recipe!

A plus: making too much filling and having cinnamon-y peanut goo all over the place. Mmmmmm…

February 26, 2008

the elvis

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 4:00 pm
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It’s a banana cupcake with peanut butter frosting, from VCTOTW. And chocolate chips, because I’ve been craving the peanut butter-chocolate-banana combo like none other.

I’m pretty sure I bought the exact kind of pb they said not to in the buttercream recipe. It’s supposed to be smooth and stable;¬†¬†I got¬†the slightly gritty “natural” kind that separates really easy. As a result, the frosting texture is a little off (although¬†the flavor rocks). The majority of¬†the jar of pb¬†I bought is going towards personal consumption, not cupcakes, so I’ll do whatever I want! The flavor of natural pb is so much better: so rich and savory, and it’s gratifying to look at the ingredients and just see “peanuts, salt.” Very minimalist.

February 24, 2008

fig not-ins

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 1:55 pm
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I adore fig newtons, but they’re not vegan (whey that was probably sprinkled in for no reason!), so I haven’t eaten them as of late. When I read that there is actually a recipe for¬†making your own¬†in Vegan with a Vengeance, I scurried to make a copy of it out of my friend Kyle’s book and set to bakin’. It made me remember how very tasty dried figs are.

Unfortunately, there were a couple mishaps. For one, I’m pretty sure I used too many figs, because there was a ton of filling left over,¬†and¬†it didn’t break down and get all mushy like fig newtons should be because the water-fig ratio was off. That means lumpy, chunky, chewy¬†filling. Oh poo.

Secondly, the book said to roll out half the dough, cut it into three strips, then repeat, then use three dough strips to cover the other three (filled) strips. I thought it would be hard to maneuver becuase my dough was so sticky, so I used the technique that Kris used, which was dividing the dough into three portions, rolling them out, then filling one half and folding the other over, and pressing to seal the dough. I don’t think I mastered the technique very well, though, because all the lumpy filling got pushed to one side of the cookies.

The cookie part is definitely awesome on its own, but it’s not what I was going for.

On the bright side, I reduced the fat by subbing the margarine in the recipe¬†with soy yogurt. It still has non-hydrogenated organic shortening in it, which seems pretty essential to hold the chilled dough together and keep it from being too terribly sticky when you’re trying to roll it out. And it makes them brown really nicely. I also used whole wheat pastry flour, but I think the recipe would be best with 100% stone-ground whole wheat or some other coarse flour, just because the whole wheat fig newtons were my faves.

So the recipe needs finessing and takes a bit of time to come together, but I really like the novelty of making my own fig newtons. DIY or die, right?

February 23, 2008

lemon cupcakes

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 12:42 am
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With lemon buttercream, a la Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Sorry for the boring pic, y’all.

The buttercream follows the book to a tee, but the cupcake recipe is the Golden Vanilla Cupcake recipe with 1 T. of lemon zest added. Also, I used 1 T. canola oil and subbed the rest of the fat with soy yogurt.

I went to the co-op and bought¬†lots o’ cupcake supplies, so hopefully more to come…

February 15, 2008

happy valentine’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 9:56 am
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…I guess. I mean, traditionally the day was supposed to commemorate a martyred saint named Valentine, but the day only became associated with romantic love when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote about it in some thing called Parlement of Foules. And if you’ve ever read The Canterbury Tales, you know what a perv Chaucer can be. (Thanks, Wikipedia.)

Since my boyfriend lives far away, I made chocolate peppermint roll-out cookies (based on Kittee’s recipe, but with 1/2 t. peppermint extract), decorated them with peppermint icing and cacao nibs, wrapped ’em up and shipped ’em out. Hope he likes them.

February 10, 2008

OCF dinner

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 1:20 am
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I made dinner for all my people in the OCF on Thursday. I made mini polenta pizzas and a fruit salad, but I have no pictures of them. The pizzas were from Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen, and they were delicious (and gluten-free! Always a plus), even if they required a lot more baking time than the recipe stated. I should have made more, though: I only made a double batch (which is technically meant to serve four). I know my poor friends must have been hungry when they got back home, because I sure was! Note to self: amass more filling casserole recipes. The fruit salad was made in the style I learned from my mom:

*fresh fruit (I nicked what was sitting in the cafeteria: apples, oranges, and bananas)
*lemon juice (I actually asked the people in the back for a lemon, and they gave me one! Ask and you shall receive.)
*agave nectar (my mom uses honey)
*generous dashes of cinnamon

I love it so much; it tastes like home.

I did get pictures of the gingerbread cookies that I made for OCF. The recipe is really great: if you don’t overbake them, they’re nice and soft, and the spicing is just perfect. I made an orange icing to go with them: 1 c. powdered sugar, 1 t. orange zest, and just enough orange juice to make it gooey enough to pipe from a plastic baggy.

1/3 c. canola oil
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. plain soymilk

2 c. whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour (or a mix of both)
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

spice blend:
1/2 t. each ground nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon
1 1/2 t. ground ginger

In a large bowl beat together oil and sugar for about 3 minutes. Add molasses and soymilk. The molasses and soymilk won’t really blend with the oil but that’s ok.
In a sepearte bowl, sift together all the other ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches. Mix together with a firm spoon or spatula until well combined. You should have a pretty stiff dough. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour or up to 3 days in advance. (If you chill longer than an hour you may want to let it sit for 10 minutes to loosen up a bit before proceeding).

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease your cookie sheets.
On a floured surface roll you dough out to a little less than 1/4 inch thick. You can do this in 2 batches if you don’t have the space. Cut out your shapes with your cookie cutters and gently place on cookie sheets. Bake for 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and let them cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet then move to a cooling rack. Wait until they are completely cool before icing.

February 6, 2008

brown sugar peach muffins

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 1:18 am
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I have recently fallen in love with brown sugar. I used them to make raspberry choco chip blondies recently, wondering if it would add anything to the dessert, and it so freakin’ did. It reminded me of the chocolate chip cookies my mom used to make, becuase she always used brown sugar in them. I haven’t used it much lately, because I’ve just been sticking to organic evaporated cane juice. But I recently bought some organic brown sugar, and it’s like the taste of home in your mouth.

That’s why I was really enthusiastic about making this recipe from Vegan YumYum: any recipe capitolizing on the glory of brown sugar is a winner with me. However, they only have 1/2 c. of brown sugar in them (as well as some sprinkled on top), so the presence was pretty faint. I like them though. They’re not real sweet (depending on how much sugar you sprinkle on top), kind of the level of a sweet corn muffin, and reminiscent of a pancakes. I like pancakes.

2 c. flour (used white whole wheat)
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Cup + 2 Tb. soymilk
1 Tbs lemon juice (I used orange juice)
1/3 c. oil (I used 1 T. then added applesauce to equal 1/3 c.)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 – 2/3 C. peaches, chopped (fresh, canned, or frozen)

Line your muffin tin with 12 muffin cups. Sift the dry ingredients together.
Whisk the wet ingredients together until incorporated and thickened. Add wet to dry and gently fold the until the flour is moistened and there are no dry spots. Add the chopped peaches and fold in gently.
Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way. Sprinkle with extra brown sugar, and add extra peach pieces on top if desired. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. The centers should also bounce back when pressed lightly.

It says the recipe yields enough batter to make 12 muffins, but I definitely had more than that. Enough for 12 regular muffins, plus…

THE MOTHER MUFFIN

The little one looks so scared!

January 27, 2008

raspberry chocolate chip blondies

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 1:44 am
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From Vegan with a Vengeance.

Me and mah BF’s 6-month anniversary was yesterday (and, coincidentally, my 3-month veganniversary as well). Since I knew the day was fast approaching, I borrowed VwaV from my fellow vegan at school, Kyle, and cooked these up. I love the presentation, with raspberry jam peeking through the top layer, and the chewy softness is great.

Happy anniversary!

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