rocket ship go!

March 17, 2008

cooking actual food + “best” oatmeal cookies

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 9:28 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , ,

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.

February 15, 2008

happy valentine’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 9:56 am
Tags: , , , ,

…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.

January 27, 2008

raspberry chocolate chip blondies

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 1:44 am
Tags: , , ,

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!

December 7, 2007

deflated whoopie pies

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 1:51 am
Tags: , , ,

I have been wanting to try this recipe for chocolate whoopie pies with peanut butter filling, from PakuPaku,¬†for many a day, so I finally got around to baking them up to take to my boyfriend, Jesse, and his friends at school. I was disappointed at how much they spread; if they had stayed nice and thick, then the filling would have been piled on thick too, and that would have pleased me more. One problem with me is that, if I think a¬†recipe I made¬†doesn’t measure up, I issue an instant disclaimer to everyone about to eat it and point out its flaws, making them uber noticeable.

However, I decided that this time I would just shut up about these little pies’ misgivings and let everybody just deal with their flatness. And of course, no one cared. They were all too busy with their eyes rolling back in their heads from the awesome flavor and cakey goodness and finger-tinglingly sweet filling. Jesse’s band mate, Sean, said to Jesse, “Best f***ing girlfriend EVER.” And Jesse was like, “I know!” Because he rocks.

I would recommend sticking the cookie sheet(s) full of spooned-out cookie dough in the fridge for about half an hour before baking then; I think that would prevent spreadage.

2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
dash of salt
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. Earth Balance margarine or Spectrum vegetable shortening
1/4 c. applesauce mixed with 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1/2 c. warm water
1/2 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a couple of cookie sheets.
Sift flour, baking soda, cocoa, and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, Earth Balance (or Spectrum, if using), and the applesauce and baking powder mixture. Beat for about 2 minutes on medium, or until nice and creamy. Add to that the milk, water, and vanilla, and then begin adding in the flour mixture. Beat that all together on medium for 2-3 minutes, until it’s smooth and pretty.
Drop the batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto your cookie sheets. You should use a lil’ ice cream scoop if ya got one; I just used a tablespoon measure. The point is to get them as round and smooth on top as possible. Stick the cookie sheets (plus the bowl of extra batter, if there is some) in the fridge for 30 minutes. If you don’t care about intense spreading, skip that and stick the dough in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick in the middle of one comes out clean.
After a few mintutes, remove the cookies from the baking sheet and cool completely before filling with ooey peanut stuff.

1 T. Earth Balance
1/4 c. smooth peanut butter
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
2+ T. non-dairy milk (I know I needed 3 or 4 T.)

With a mixer, cream together the EB and pb. Add the powdered sugar in there and get it going on medium. Add the milk in slowly, stopping to scrape the peanut-butter-sugar cement off the bottom of the bowl every once in a while. Don’t add too much milk! You just want this goo to be spreadable. Really, the flatter your cookies, the more ground it’s gotta cover, so in that case it should be just a bit thinner. If your cookies turn out nice and plump, the frosting should be thicker so it doesn’t flow out the sides. Beat it until it’s¬†lumpless and silky. Spread it over one cooled cookie, not going quite to the edges of the cookie, and top it with another. Alright.

Note: the filling recipe makes JUST ENOUGH, so you’ll want to ration it wisely, especially if your cookies are flat.

(Recipe from here.)

November 14, 2007

snickerdoodles, cafeteria paranoia, and love

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 10:54 pm
Tags: , , ,

At work yesterday, they were baking some generic cookies from a package to sell to customers, and they smelled so good that I totally had to whip up some of my own. The cookies to satisfy my fix¬†were snickerdoodle cookies from the Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk blog. I’ve never had snickerdoodles that were crunchy on the outside because of a sugar coating, but these were, which was a plus. I knew they weren’t going to spread, so I mushed them down with the bottom of a salsa jar, but the mushing made them a bit tough, so you should stick to the original recipe, which advises to only smush slightly. I remember the snickerdoodles of my childhood being¬†flatter, bigger, and more soft, and I think I prefer that familiarity. Nonetheless, these tasted awesome, and everyone who ate¬†some (read: the Progressive Student Alliance, my guinea pigs) loved them.Oh, and I doubled the recipe to feed all my friends; the original turned out a pretty small batch.

2 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
2/3 c. non-hydrogenated vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance), softened
1 1/3 c. sugar
4 T. agave nectar/syrup*
1 T. flax meal*

coating:
1/4 c. sugar
2 T. turbinado sugar*
1 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon, set aside.

In a big bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add the flax and agave and beat a little more. Add the dry mix slowly, combine until just mixed.

In a small bowl (just use the one you combined the dry in), combine the coating ingredients. (If you don’t have any turbinado, don’t worry about it. I don’t think it’s necessary.) Roll the dough into one inch balls and coat them in the sugar mixture.

Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and pat with your hand to flatten them out just a little bit. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow them to cool on the sheet for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. These do dry out pretty quick, so store them in an airtight container.
—————-

So when I was in the cafeteria today, I went to the vegan section. There was a sign which clearly read “VEGAN” and underneath it it said “soy burgers.” Next to the meaty-looking burgers, there were some suspiscious biscuits sprinked with raisins and powdered sugar. I asked a cook (one of the fancy ones with a chef robe) if they were vegan, and he said no. Then I asked about the burgers: no again. Then I asked about the sweet potato fries in between them, of which I had already taken a bite, and he just shrugged and shook his head. How am I supposed to trust anything that the cafeteria tells me or labels as vegan now? Do they even know what vegan is?! I think I’m going to have to switch from baking so much to cooking actual food; I would rather be sure.

But to end this post on a sweet note:
My boyfriend, an aspiring chef,¬†is not a vegetarian, but he’s the closest to one that I’ve ever dated because he doesn’t eat beef or pork. But he is now¬†cooking vegan food and testing out recipes on his parents, so that he can cook for me when I’m home. That is so incredible to me! No one’s ever gone the distance for me like that before; I’m so lucky. ^_^

(* Indicates changes to the recipe. Original recipe here.)

Blog at WordPress.com.