rocket ship go!

December 1, 2007

i feel so lost!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 10:26 pm
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Wait, what? It’s not November anymore? No more Vegan MoFo?! I don’t know what to do with myself! I’ve basically chronicled my first month of veganism through daily (or near-daily) posting on this blog, and now, with absolutley no to-do whatsoever, it’s over. I feel sad, like after an amazing concert is over, or the feeling that you get when you’ve spent the weekend in an awesome city, but it’s Sunday morning, and you have to go back to your real life. Of course, I’ll continue on with veganism and using this blog as a creative outlet… But what about goodbye, Vegan MoFo?

foxy banana puddin’

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 10:11 pm
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I looooooove banana pudding. So much nostalgic value: remembering my Nana making it for me, remembering eating it with friends in North Carolina who love it too, just remembering it being really comforting throughour my childhood. The idea of it makes me feel happy; not particularly crave it, but just think of it very fondly.

And this recipe is everything I could ever want. I got the original recipe from SusanV’s blog. At first I was wary because:
a) vegan vanilla wafers are apparently hard to find, and
b) the pudding in the dessert has no added banana, making it just a regular vanilla pudding, and I’m used to banana pudding-stuff in my… pudding.

But no worries! At the grocery store, I found the exact same vanilla cookies as SusanV uses in her recipe (Earth’s Best Organic alphabet cookies); and after the vanilla pudding has time to chill with the banana slices and cookies that it’s layered with, it takes a creamy banana-vanilla flavor. The result: amazing, comforting, spot-on banana pudding. Oh yes, it is so right. And the bonus of using alphabet cookies is spelling out messages on top of the dessert (I chose my message because I was bringing it to a lunch where some of my favorite ladyfriends would be, so I had to represent). And then you wonder what the cookie layers beneath spell out. And then you feel like you’re eating subliminal messages.


F is for foxy.

1/4 c. cornstarch
3/4 c. sugar
3 cups soymilk or almond milk (rice milk doesn’t work here)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon rum extract (optional, I didn’t use it)

about 5 ounces vanilla cookies
2-3 bananas, sliced
1/2 banana, mashed

Mix the cornstarch and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir in the milk and begin heating on medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and rum extracts (if using).
Line the bottom of a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with vanilla cookies. Cover the cookies with banana slices. Pour about half of the pudding over the bananas. Spread all of the mashed banana over it. Repeat the layers of cookies, sliced banana, and pudding, reserving some of the cookies and placing them on top to decorate, or around the edge of the dish. Refrigerate until completely chilled.
See how easy?

(Original recipe here.)
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My dear friend Kate (a recent vegetarian convert!!!) made a super-tasty lunch today for my other dear friends Philip and Jordan, my boyfriend, and myself.


She set out a fruit plate for us, composed of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries (!), and pineapple. Sometimes simple is very, very good.

Kate’s specialty is Italian food, so she roasted portobella mushroom caps with squash slices, red bell peppers, olive oil, and rosemary. She put it all on multi-grain bread and topped it with a homemade herbed tomato sauce. Also in the picture above we have more fruit, plus Kate’s good salad with red peps, cucumber, sliced portobella, and roasted brussel sprouts, all in a balsamic-olive oil dressing. Isn’t she amazing? She’s always been a great cook, but I’m so proud of her for going veggie!

November 30, 2007

wait for it…

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 8:41 am
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I baked last night, I really did, but what I mad is a surprise present for someone who reads this blog occasionally, so I won’t be able to post about it until Monday. Oh noez! But I can tell you that it’s crispy and delicious and came out pretty well for my first try.

November 28, 2007

apple muffin bites

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 2:27 pm
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Man, what’s up with my pictures? I just don’t feel like any of them have been too gorgeous lately.

Since cookies and little bite-sized things are easy to transport and share, I made these for the PSA meeting tonight. They weren’t too terribly sweet, so I sprinked them with cinnamon sugar.

2 c. unbleached flour (I used 1 1/2 c. whole wheat + 1/2 c. all-purp)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. apples, diced
1/2 c. raisins, soaked in warm water and drained
1 c. rice milk, or other
1 T. ground flax seed + 3 T. warm water (let it sit for a while)
1/2 c. applesauce
3 T. vegetable oil (or applesauce or a combination)
1 t. vanilla extract
cinnamon sugar and ground flax seed for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 12-muffin pan for the former or two cookie sheets for the later.
Sift all the ingredients from flour through sugar together in a bowl and stir to combine. Toss in the apples and raisins and mix it up again.
In a separate bowl, combine your non-dairy milk, flax slurry, applesauce, oil (or more applesauce), and vanilla. Add that to the dry mixture and stir until just combined; don’t overmix it, please.
Spoon batter evenly into the muffin pan, or do like I did and drop the batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto your cookie sheets. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and ground flax seed, if ya wanna. Bake them 14-16 minutes (probably more for full-sized muffins), checking for brown-ness around the edges at the 14-minute mark. Place them on cooling racks (or paper towels) to cool completely. They’re best if they sit around for a while and get moist.
Share with your friends.
Makes 12 muffins or about 45 muffin bites.

(Original recipe here.)

November 27, 2007

pumpkin cornmeal cookies

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 5:50 pm
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Sorry for the lack of postage, flipping out over life has been getting in the way.

These cookies are adapted from this recipe for pumpkin oatmeal cookies, but I used cornmeal instead of oatmeal. One meal for another, right? It gives the cookies an intersting texture: very different from oatmeal cookies, but I like it. The cornmeal adds a distinct kind of chewiness to the mix. I also added cloves equal to the amount of nutmeg in the recipe, because it’s not autumn without cloves.

They’re nice n’ moist the next day, when you give them time to sit. Oh, and I made these with a gluten-free baking mix, so they’re completely GF.

November 25, 2007

snobby joe(s) with polenta

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 2:15 am
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It’s 1 AM. I’m gonna get today’s post over with.

Here you have the Snobby Joes filling from Veganomicon (coincidentally, this is one of the free recipes offered on the PPK website, hmm…) atop some plain, salted polenta. I feel like I can’t really call this snobby joes (plural), because it’s just the filling, no individual sandwiches involved. Right.

I would definitely recommend this recipe. Low fat, gluten free, and really high in protein, fiber, and iron (thanks to the lentils), this dish has a lot to be snobby about. Of course, you should ignore all the afore-mentioned wholesomeness and eat it because it’s thick and spicy and tastes so good. It has a notable 3 tablespoons of chili powder in it, and while I never thought chili powder to have that much heat, the large amount of it in the joes definitely gives the recipe a smokiness and subtle spiciness that lingers in the back of your throat. I think I also loved it because, paired with polenta, it makes my ideal comfort food: thick, mushy, spicy, and filling. I would also suggest drinking a glass of soy nog after you finish eating this, that would make everything better. If you have lentils, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and oregano somewhere in your kitchen, chances are you have the rest of the stuff to make this dish. (Psst! I used molasses instead of maple syrup, and it worked great!) You should totally go make some.

I also made some tasty chocolate chocolate chip cookies (gluten-free) before I went to see friends, but the pictures were ugly so I’ll spare you.

November 24, 2007

success! (finally)

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 12:25 pm
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Isn’t it freaking gorgeous?! I oiled and cocoa’d the pans, and then I cut out rounds of aluminum foil and put them in the bottom of the cake pans, so I could have perfect rounds. And no cake-falling, either, because I used an actual already-vegan recipe, the one for red velvet cake from Paku Paku. I did veganize the frosting recipe from one I found on the Martha Stewart website. I loved the results– smooth and fluffy, and it tastes just like the commercial stuff that comes from a little plastic can, but defintely no high fructose corn syrup or trans fat.

Happiness is a big, beautiful, homemade vegan cake. Seriously, that’s the way it is in my book.

cake:
1/2 c. vegan margerine (like Earth Balance), softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 egg replacers (I used 2 T. flax meal + 6 T. warm water)
1 c. minus 1 T. non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
2 T. vinegar (I used half apple cider and half balsamic)
1 T. red food coloring
1 t. vanilla extract*
1 t. almond extract*
1 t. salt
2 1/2 c. unbleached flour (scoop and level method**)
1/4 c. cocoa
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon*

Preheat oven to 350F. Oil and dust with cocoa (and line with aluminum foil or parchment paper, if you like) two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans.
Beat Earth Balance and sugar together until combined. Add in egg replacement and beat until creamy.
In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, combine milk, vinegar, food coloring, and the extracts. Set aside to let it curdle.
In a large-ish bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and soda, and the cinnamon. Gradually beat this mixture into the EB-sugar mixture, alternating with the curdled liquid ingredients, until all is well blended and smooth.
Evenly pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 45 minutes, checking for doneness at the 30-minute mark with a toothpick. (Mine only took 33 minutes, but my oven may be too hot.)
Let the cakes cool in their pans for ten minutes, then carefully invert onto racks to cool completely. Frost with the following amazing vanilla buttercream recipe:

1/2 c. vegan margerine (like Earth Balance), softened
1 t. vanilla
dash of salt
4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 c. non-dairy milk (rice again for me)

Place first 3 ingredients in your mixing bowl. Slowly beat in powdered sugar, alternating with the milk until you have a very fluffy, smooth buttercream. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl occasionally. Add more milk if necesarry, but only in very small increments until the desired texture is achieved. Spread in between the layers of, on top of and around the sides of your cake. The great thing about this frosting is that it spreads easily at room temp but also keeps it shape without having to be refrigerated. Yessss!

If you’re new to baking cakes and whatnot, please do go to Paku Paku. The author, Kittee, has a whole cake-baking tutorial that is gold to bakers everywhere.

(* Indicates change from original recipe.)
(** I always use Celine’s scoop-and-level method when baking, with great results. You use a spoon or small cup to scoop flour into your measuring cup, and then you level it off with a knife. Yay for fluffy, light baked stuff!)
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The cake was to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday (it was on Monday), so he made us an awesome pasta dinner last night:


It’s whole wheat fettucine with this delicious raw sauce (pesto) of tomatoes, garlic, capers, mint, basil, parsley, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. The oil was really well emulsified into the pesto, so the sauce was ultra-creamy. The recipe is from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen, a really awesome cookbook that I happen to have. Mmmm, the pesto was sooo good! Especially since it was made with love and all.

November 22, 2007

thanksgiving

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 10:15 pm
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I had so much energy last night, I couldn’t stop cooking! It started with sweet potato casserole:


Here it is, pre-topping and pre-baked. My mom made a non-vegan sweet potato casserole, and she set aside some plain boiled taters for me to make my own version, which I adapted from this recipe at Get Sconed. What a great recipe! I 1/6’d it to make a portion for my little ceramic pan, and I added a bit more sugar to the potatoes and replaced some of the Earth Balance with rice milk. The finished result, all smooth and creamy with a rich cinnamon-nutmeg topping, made for some serious comfort food.


I also made a vegetable casserole with a chili polenta topping (looks a lot like sweet potatoes, right?) Here it is pre-baked. The recipe was originally a “Three Sisters Casserole”, but I made so many substitutions that it’s hardly the same recipe at all. I found the polenta to be slightly bland, but even so, I realized that I LOVE polenta and want to start cooking with it more often. So cheap, so simple, very quick, and gluten-free, too.

One important note: I’ve made this particular recipe before, and it calls for you to prepare the polenta in a huge double boiler for 40+ minutes. When I made it for the first time, I tried that technique, with little success. This time around, I read up on polenta from a free recipe on the Herbivore website. I used the process described there, and the polenta thickened up like a dream, in far less that 40 minutes. Here’s a basic outline:

4.5 c. water
1.5 c. cornmeal
1 t. salt
your favorite herbs (I think some dried basil and other Italian herbs would be great)

Heat the water in a large saucepan till it’s hot but not yet boiling. Add other ingredients and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Turn down the heat to simmer and keep on whisking for about 5 minutes. A good way to see if it’s done is to take a glob of it on the tip of a spoon and set it aside. When the glob cools, if it’s nice and thick and basically solid, you’re good to go. This makes a pretty big amount of polenta. If you’re gonna save some for later, you should probably add some liquid before reheating to keep it from drying out.


I also made a chocolate cake with cherry filling and a little cherry sauce (recipe converted from the back of a box of Hershey’s cocoa powder). The cake was very gooey and rich and pretty delish all around, but the cake sunk somewhat in the middle, so I’m not going to copy the recipe here. Let’s just say I enjoyed it several times over the course of the day.


Clockwise from top right: a standard salad, jellified cranberry sauce (mm, high fructose corn syrup), sweet potato casserole, and the polenta-veggie casserole. (Diet Pepsi pictured is NOT mine!!!)

November 20, 2007

um

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 11:29 pm
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I got nothin’ for tonight’s Vegan MoFo post. Except this appley non-alcoholic malt beverage from the Middle Eastern market. The Sudanese people who sold it to me are really nice.

November 19, 2007

screw you, cake pan.

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Rachel @ 6:40 pm
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You can go jump off a cliff. I don’t care if you’re adorable and shaped like a heart, or were only 79 cents at the AmVets thrift store.

I meticulously oil all your little crevices (uh, sick) and lovingly dust you with cocoa powder, but you insist on crumbling and sticking and being a humongous jerk to me. I turn down the oven temperature by 25 degrees to accommodate your hot coppery-ness, yet you still burn the crap out of whatever I make.

I guess turning this cake upside-down and slathering it in icing makes it presentable enough for a potluck tonight, but this is unacceptable. Your selfish, crumble-inducing ways are giving people a bad impression of vegan cake, which is the last thing I want because it’s my favorite food. And also, you are forcing me to give in to the Wilton empire if I ever want to make successful heart-shaped cakes. Why are you doing this to me?

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