Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jager Bomb Cupcakes

I have never actually had a Jager Bomb. I'm more of a Bombay Sapphire gin and ginger ale type of gal. But I hear they're all the rage with the kids nowadays. No matter, a friend just sent me this link and I thought it was so awesome, I had to share. If anyone makes these, let me know how they turn out!

From Om Nom Nom...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Spaghetti & Beanballs


Yes, more from Veganomicon. Isa and Terry have brainwashed me, I think. It's the most delicious brainwashing ever, though, so I don't really mind I must say. I have been wanting to try making the Spaghetti and Beanballs recipe for ages. I'm not sure why it took me so long to do it. The recipe makes a ton of these cute little things, so really I think I could get away with either only making half next time or freezing half since it's just me that I'm cooking for.

If you're not familiar with this recipe, it's basiscally like a meatball, but made with mashed up kidney beans instead of meat.


See... I had fun mashing up the beans. It's a good way to get out some agression, that's for sure. So you add a bunch of other stuff to the beans like bread crumbs and wheat gluten and herbs and such and you form them into these cute little balls.


There is an option to either fry them or bake them. I remember reading some threads on the PPK forums and some blog postings about these. Most people seemed to prefer the frying pan method of cooking, so I decided to go with that.


These suckers will absorb insane amounts of oil, so be careful how much you're putting in the pan and definitely use olive oil and not some other not as good for you oil. They also sorta start falling apart about halfway through cooking. I managed to keep a few of them whole, but I had to be really careful about it. To be honest, I actually prefered the smaller broken up pieces because then I had more crispy bits when I put it on top of my spaghetti.


This is definitely yummy and definitely something I'll make again. It was quick and easy, too. If you have kids, I'll betcha they'd had fun helping you mix the stuff together and forming the little balls. It's always fun to play with your food just a little bit. :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Potato Salad to Rule the Universe

We all want things to eat in the summer that are light and filling and that don't require us to do much cooking. Turning on that oven when it's already an inferno in your place is not fun. I've been doing a lot of experimenting with summer salads lately. I have a bit of an aversion to mayonnaise, as I think I've mentioned before, so let me tell you - I was so excited for this potato salad. It's pretty much a tweaked version of a recipe I saw on Jamie Oliver's show. I was a little skeptical at first for some reason. But really... you shouldn't be. It's amazing. I loved this so much that I just ate a bowl of it for lunch one day instead of just using it as an accompaniment to something else. Yes, it's that good.


The original recipe called for creme fraiche. Interestingly enough I find that most commercial vegan sour creams kinda taste like creme fraiche, so it works out nicely. If you have something that you think might work better to replicate that flavor, then by all means, use that instead. Just steer away from using anything that has that sour tang to it.

Potato Salad to Rule the Universe

12 or so small yellow potatoes
3 Tablespoons capers
1 lemon (for juice and zest)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
a handfull of fresh dill, chopped
a few dollops of vegan sour cream

Boil the potatoes in salted water just until they're tender. You don't want them to fall apart. A good test is to stab one or two with a fork until the potato gives easily. Depending on the size of your potatoes, it could be anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes, so do check them every 5 minutes or so. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them and add them to a large bowl.

To the potatoes, add the capers, juice and zest of your lemon, salt and pepper and olive oil while the potatoes are still hot. Stir it up until the potatoes are well coated and then let the bowl sit on the counter until the potatoes are room temperature. Don't put it in the fridge to cool it in a hurry, though. Part of what you want to happen right here is for the flavors to meld together and seep into the potatoes while it's cooling down. Putting this in the cold of the fridge will stop that from happening as well. Be patient, it won't take too long.

Once everything is room temperature, add the dill and the vegan sour cream and stir it up. How much of the sour cream you add is up to you, I think I used about two-thirds of a container and that seemed to work out nicely. Maybe you want more, maybe you want less. It's your potato salad. :)

Eat and enjoy the awesomeness.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Asian Pear & Tempeh Salad with Wasabi Dressing

So you're saying to yourself "Self, it's damn hot today. I want something awesome to eat but I don't want to cook." Well, you're in luck. Go get yourself an asian pear, some tempeh, peas and wasabi powder and then make this. You will become a believer.

I love tempeh. I'm always trying to find new ways to eat it. As it turns out I was bored and flipping through Veganomicon one day and realized I'd somehow missed this recipe. I had all of the ingredients already, having bought some asian pears just that morning at the market. I don't typically like mayonnaise or anything made with it. I'm getting a little better about it as long as I don't add too much. When I make things like this I'm extra glad that I make the effort. I guess I could have made the Silken Mayo Dressing that's also in the book, but I was feeling like instant gratification and didn't feel like fooling with making a second thing. What can I say, it was hot and I was hungry.


I didn't add nearly as much mayo as the recipe calls for. My advice - just add a tiny bit, stir it up and add more to get it to the way you like things. DO make sure to take a tiny taste to make sure you have enough wasabi powder added. The kind I bought wasn't extremely hot and I didn't think to taste the dressing to check. I just sort of had a hint of wasabi flavor which made me wish I had added way more.

I bought some rice crackers and just scooped this up on those to eat it. That seemed better than using Wasa like I normally do for this sort of thing. The flavors are fantastic and go very well together. This tastes fresh and light, but the tempeh will still make it filling without making you feel heavy. A perfect summer lunch recipe. Maybe even good for a picnic or something!

Creamy Asian Pear and Tempeh Salad with Wasabi Dressing from Veganomicon

1 8oz package tempeh, diced
½ cup small, sweet fresh or frozen green peas
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 scallion, sliced very thinly
1 asian pear or other firm, crisp pear, pitted and cut into ½-inch dice (about 2 cups)
1 cup Silken Mayo Dressing (from Veganomicon) or ⅔ cup commercially prepared vegan mayo (like Veganaise) I didn't use nearly this much. Just a few tablespoons was fine for me.
1½-2 teaspoons wasabi powder
2 teaspoons lime juice

In a steamer basket, steam the tempeh for 10 minutes. Add the peas and steam for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the peas are bright green and tender. Remove from the steamer, sprinkle with soy sauce, and toss into a large bowl with the scallion. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Crush the cubes of tempeh a little with your hands and toss in the diced pear.

In a small bowl, whisk together the Silken Mayo Dressing or the mayonnaise, wasabi powder, and lime juice. Taste and adjust the spice level with more wasabi if necessary.

Pour the dressing over the tempeh mixture, stir to combine everything and place in an airtight container. Chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight to allow the flavors to blend.

Makes 4 servings.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cherry-Almond Pie

I am obsessed with cherries lately. It happens every year at this time. The markets are just overflowing with fresh cherries, sometimes there are even a few different kinds to choose from. I'm actually kind of surprised that my skin isn't taking on a bit of a scarlet hue with as many cherries as I've eaten in the last month or so. It occurred to me that maybe I should actually make something out of them if I could resist the urge to eat them all.


I've never made a cherry pie before, so I wasn't really sure how this would turn out. I decided almond would be a nice accent flavor to the cherries, and really.... wow. This turned out amazingly. If you're thinking this seems like way too many cherries to pit, don't worry, you can buy a little cherry pitter for just a few dollars. It'll make fast work of it. Just be sure that you wear an apron or a shirt you don't care about because the cherries will splatter a little when you pit them. Better safe than sorry.

Cherry Almond Pie

2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup cold, non-hydrogenated shortening (like Earth Balance or Spectrum)
1 Tablespoon soy milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
cold water to make ½ cup liquid

¾ cup sugar
4 Tablespoon cornstarch
¾ cup apple juice (cherry or pomegranate juice would also be good!)
1 Tablespoon non-hydrogenated margarine
½ teaspoon almond extract
3-4 cups cherries, pitted and cut in half if they're large (I bought 2 bags of cherries and that was perfect)

2 Tablespoons soymilk
2 Tablespoons sugar
¼ cup sliced almonds

To make the crust, sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut the shortening into smallish pieces and cut into the flour mixture until it resembles course crumbs about the size of peas. Stir together the wet ingredients and add a few tablespoons at a time, mixing with a fork until all of the liquid has been incorporated. Give the dough a quick knead or three, you just want to make sure all the flour has been mixed in, you don't want to actually knead it much.

Divide the dough in half and flatten into discs. Place them in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Once the dough is cold, take one of the discs and roll it out until it's large enough to fit into the bottom of your pie dish. I used a 9" dish, but you can use whatever size you want. Make sure there is a little bit of dough overlapping the edges of the dish so you can make a nice edge after you put the top bits on.

Meanwhile, start making the filling. Stir together the sugar and cornstarch in a large pot. Whisk in the juice and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. If you don't keep stirring while it's heating, you'll get lumps and you don't want that. Boil for 1 minute, remove from heat and then whisk in the margarine and almond extract. You can also add a little bit of red food coloring if you want to make the pie look a bit more exciting. No one has to know. ;) Now fold in the cherries. Pour the filling into the pie dish.

I made a lattice crust for the top. Don't be intimidated if you've never done that before. It's actually super easy. You can always make a flat top crust, but if you do, it's very, very important that you cut holes for steam to escape or you might get a little bit of a cherry explosion in the oven. And that's not good.


Now for the crust topping. Smash up the slivered almonds a little bit. Either by squeezing the bag they come in with your hand or use the back of a spoon after you've put them into a bowl. Mix the soymilk, sugar and almonds in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for about 2 minutes and then immediately brush it onto the top crust of the pie. If you have one of those silicone brush thingies, this is an excellent use for it. The regular pastry brushes don't work as well since the sugar gets very thick. I just used a spoon to spread it around on mine. Just make sure you work fast because the sugar is going to harden quickly as it cools and then you won't be able to spread it any longer.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let the pie cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!


Monday, June 30, 2008

Roasted Eggplant and Spinach Muffuletta Sandwiches

I suck. I know it. I'm trying to get better. I think about blogging every single day, it's just finding the time or energy to actually do it... I do have lots of pictures, though, so hopefully I can get back into the swing of things.

Stupid weather again. It was so cold here for so long. I felt tortured! It seems like every single other person I know was saying that it's one of the hottest summers in years and Vancouver still had the heat on... in June. I know... it's ridiculous. Now it's hot as all get out. Most of us are doing our best to spend a ton of time outside to enjoy the warmth. And living in a city where most apartments don't have air conditioning... not exactly making you want to turn on the oven. I did make some cupcakes last night and even though I waited until later to make them, it still made my already hot apartment into something just short of hellfire. Looks like it's salads and quick meals for me for a while.

I'm trying to throw together some ideas for vegan picnic foods. Any ideas? The idea is to have stuff that omnis will like as well, so nothing with too much nooch. I'd also like to steer clear of things that need forks and spoons just to make the eating easier and so I don't have to realize we can't eat because I've forgotten utensils. That would be very like me to do.


One thing that would be great is the Roasted Eggplant and Spinach Muffuletta Sandwich from Veganomicon. I've made these to take to work a few times and let me just say - yum! The recipe says to let the sandwiches sit overnight, but don't do that. You'll end up with soggy bread and then you'll be all grossed out and not want to eat it. The second time I made these I made all of the stuff for the sandwich the night before and just stuck it in the fridge. Then I made the sandwiches in the morning before I left for work. I think it was around 6 hours or so for the flavors to meld together. That was a perfect amount of time. Nothing was soggy and everything was delicious.

Also, that'll make a ton of tapenade so you have some left for dipping crackers or veggies in. I think it would also be a great appetizer type thing for a party. Well, for people that like olives, that is. And for the people that don't... well, more for me. :)

I used garlic stuff olives when I made it instead of buying green olives and pickled garlic. It was easier and faster and I discovered that not only do garlic stuffed olives give you very bad breath, they're quite yummy. I suggest you convince your signifigant other to like them too or else you're going to need to stock up on some mints.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

I know I promised these a good while ago. I've been really distracted by the weather lately. First it was so beautiful it was a crime not to be outside at all times and then as fickle as the weather can be, it changed to yucky. It's been raining for a solid week. Not the normal little spits of rain we usually get in Vancouver, but yucky, hard rain. All day, every day, with not even a tiny break of just sorta cloudy. Well, until yesterday evening. The sun came out, but it was still cold. Dang it. And it's grey and cold again this morning. Sounds like a good weekend to make a pot of soup and hibernate. That's what I plan to do at least.


If it's sunny where you are, or even if you're trying to pretend it is like I am, take advantage of some fresh strawberries and make these cupcakes. You won't be sorry. The actual cupcake isn't as light and fluffy as some. And that's not a bad thing! It's more like something you want to put strawberries and whipped cream on. :) I have a few ideas for ways to jazz these up a bit more, but didn't think of them until after I made them. You could spread a thin layer of strawberry jam on the cupcakes before you frost them. You could even pipe some jam or pureed strawberries into the center of the cupcakes like a filling. Yum. You could also add a bit of lemon or orange zest to the batter. That would really accentuate the sweetness of the strawberries.

I used the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World cooked frosting recipe for these. It's not only my favorite frosting, but it's not really sweet and a bit reminiscent of whipped cream. A perfect topping for these summery yummies.

I pretty much just grabbed a handful of strawberries and cut them up to put into the batter. I can't remember exactly how much I used, so just use as many or as little as you want. I had quite a bit. Don't forget that this will also increase your cupcake yield, so you'll get more than 12.

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

1 cup soymilk (minus 1 Tbsp to counteract the juiciness of your berries)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened (like Earth Balance)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon or orange extract
about 1 cup strawberries chopped into smallish pieces

Preheat your oven to 350F. Do your muffin liner thing or grease your muffin pan. Whisk the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside 5-10 minutes to curdle.

Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Stir it up to combine. In a separate large bowl, cream the margarine and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and lemon extract. Now beat in the soymilk mixture and dry mixture in alternate separate batches just until combined. Don't over-beat or your cupcakes will get tough. You just want it to be combined.

Fold in the chopped strawberries. Fill your cupcake pan cups about 2/3 full. Bake 20 to 22 minutes. Set aside to cool on a wire rack. Make sure they're cool before you frost them!

Old-Fashioned Velvet Icing (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup margarine
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup superfine, castor or powdered sugar

In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the flour and soy milk. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to thicken and has a pudding-like consistency, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and press plastic wrap onto the top of custard to prevent a skin from forming. Allow mixture to cool completely before the next step. (This is very important, as warm pudding will melt the shortening and margarine.) If you're impatient like me, stick the bowl into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to cool it off.

Cream together the shortening, margarine, vanilla and sugar then beat in cold custard. Beat with an electric mixer for 4 to 6 minutes; frosting should become lighter in color and have a very creamy texture, similar to very thick whipped cream.

Frost on cooled cupcakes and place sliced strawberries on top.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Tiramisu Cupcakes

I have been wanting to make the Tiramisu Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for weeks now. First I kept forgetting to buy Kahlua and then I would get busy and think I'd do it later. For some reason I was thinking these were going to be really complicated and take a long time to make. But no! They're just as fast as regular cupcakes, you probably take less than 5 minutes to cut out the centers and add the coffee/Kahlua mixture to the cake parts. So really, you have no more excuses for not making these. They're quite yummy.


I did think that the cream cheese frosting was way too sweet for me. When I make these again, I think I'll only add about half the powdered sugar. I might experiment with adding more of the faux cream cheese to see if I can get more of a less sweet, but still creamy sort of thing like real tiramisu has. I realize these are cupcakes and cupcakes have frosting, but I'm just weird like that.

I'm one of those that scrapes the frosting off of cupcakes so there's only a very thin layer left on top. Unless it's the cooked frosting recipe that's in VCTOTW with the red velvet cupcakes. That one is my favorite. It's so creamy and light and not too sweet. Perfect, but it doesn't really go with every flavor of cupcake.

Coming soon - a recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes. :D

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Soup for All Seasons

Before I say anything else, I have to say that this might just be my favorite soup ever. Yes, ever. I think I liked it even more because I was slightly skeptical about it before I made it. Not that I thought it would be bad, Isa has never led me wrong so far. I just hadn't ever really had a soup that was like this. The closest thing was split pea or lentil soup, which aren't even close at all.

As the weather starts to warm and the markets are starting to fill up with fresh produce, a lot of us are looking for lighter meals than we did all winter. It's probably a good idea, especially if you ate as many cupcakes as comfort food as I probably did in the fall and winter. At this point you might be wondering if I'm having some sort of weird issue with writing this post. Okay... she's talking about soup. Now she's talking about summer and eating lighter... Okay, SaraJane, let's just sit down and look at some pretty cupcake pictures. That's a good girl.

But no! This soup is good no matter what season it is, I tell ya! Vegan with a Vengeance's White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup is fan-freaking-tastic. It's light enough to have by itself as a meal without feeling all thick like you might after eating a heavier stew (or the aforementioned split pea soup or the like). Why not make some and have a cup with a sandwich? I've been addicted to some grilled sandwiches with faux cheese slices, tomatoes, sprouts and avocado. Yum! (put the sprouts and avocado on last, but grill it with the tomatoes already inside, between two vegan cheese slices.)


Another great thing about this soup, that's even better for the busier days of spring and summer? It's fast and very, very easy. If you have an immersion blender, it's even easier and you have only one pot to wash. If you don't have an immersion blender, I highly recommend it. You can get one for around $30. They're fantastic for blending soups, making hummus, pesto, and smoothies without making a big mess like a food processor or blender might.

Also - if you still don't have Vegan with a Vengeance, go out and buy it. It's the best cookbook I've ever owned. Hands down.

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup (from Vegan with a Vengeance)

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
a few dashes of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups great northern or navy beans, drained and rinsed
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
2 heads of garlic, roasted (yes, heads, not cloves)

To roast the garlic: Preheat your oven to 350. Get as much of the papery stuff off the garlic as you can. Set them on a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes before you start getting the rest of the papery stuff off. It comes off easily, but even easier if it's not still really freaking hot.

In a soup pot over medium-high heat, saute the onion with the olive oil for about 5-7 minutes. Add the salt, pepper and fennel and cook for another minute or so. Add the broth, beans, sage and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf and add the roasted garlic. Remove from heat and puree in batches in a food processor or blender, or if you're super awesome like me, use your immersion blender and have less dishes to wash. Add everything back to the pot if you did it the blender/processor way otherwise, it's still in the pot. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine.

Serve garnished with fresh fennel leaves or grated carrots or parsley. Enjoy!

Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Things that are Awesome - Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes are awesome and you should grow some. Seriously, if you've never tried this type of tomato, you are going to be sooo excited come July and August. These tend to be more expensive, but they're only in season for a very short period of time and it's well worth it. Plus, they're cool looking.

So, yeah, it's not time for Heirloom tomatoes to start showing up in the markets just yet. But - if you have a garden or a patio/balcony where you can put a pot and grow some tomatoes, this post is for you. Sadly, I have the opposite of a green thumb, whatever that is (a black thumb?) so I won't be killing any tomato plants this year. But you should! Seriously, do it.

You can get certified organic seeds from Sur La Table. Yeah, I know, it's a chain store, blah, blah, blah, but these seeds are not only organic, but they come from a family farm in California. It says so right here. These guys should be giving me commission on this! I just got excited when I saw this and wished that I could actually grow things. I'm sure someone out there might want to. :D

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Carrot Muffins and Linkage!


Because I can't bear to post without pictures, here are some of yummy Carrot Raisin Muffins from Vegan with a Vengeance. This was the first time I've made these. I don't know why I skipped them for so long. The VWAV muffins are my very favorite muffins to make. Yum! For some reason I expected these muffins to be super sweet like carrot cake, but - they were very nice and breakfasty, not cupcakey at all. The muffins I ate the next day were awesome cut in half, toasted lightly in the toaster oven and smeared with Earth Balance. Sooo good.

And even if you eat like 6 of them in one sitting, you can just tell yourself how great it is that you're eating so many carrots while you're doing it. Because we all know that carrots are good for you. So how can you go wrong?


Now for the getting down to business portion of the program. I need to add some links! Because I am quite forgetful and potentially distracted by shiny objects, give me a comment if you're not in my links and would like to be. :D Or you can just comment to tell me how freaking cute alpacas are. Because they are. Yes they are!!! Stop it. You're wrong. They're cute, so there. I knew you'd see it my way.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


There are so many pictures of my cat, Piper, on the blog. I do have two other cats, so I wanted to show them being cute, too. Whenever I'm cooking, Piper loves to be in the kitchen. She usually sits on the top of the refrigerator and watches me. Sometimes she jumps down and tries to help, too. ;)

The other two pretty much decide to go in the living room and be as cute as possible in hopes that I'll leave the kitchen and give them lots of pets. It's a tried and true cat method. I mean, seriously. How could you resist this?


Or this?


:D And I wanted to share how beautiful Vancouver is in the spring. These pictures are from two weeks ago. If you can imagine, there are actually more trees bursting with blossoms now. It's amazingly beautiful. Even the air smells fragrant in some places.



Check me out. Two posts in one day! :D

Strawberry and Mango Cobbler


Some days I binge on Food Network. I actually really like Food Network Canada better than the programming in the states. Rock on, Canadia! (Yes, I did mean to spell it that way. :P) One of the shows I enjoy the most is Chef at Home. The cool thing about Michael Smith is that he's actually trying to teach people how to combine flavors and how to cook. Even when you look up one of his recipes on the website, he prefaces it with this:

"A recipe is merely words on paper; a guideline, a starting point from which to improvise. It cannot pretend to replace the practiced hand and telling glance of a watchful cook. For that reason feel free to stir your own ideas into this dish. When you cook it once, it becomes yours, so personalize it a bit. Add more of an ingredient you like or less of something you don't like. Try substituting one ingredient for another. Remember words have no flavour, you have to add your own!"

Awesomeness. So anyway, I'm watching his show one day and he's making this amazing strawberry and mango cobbler. Holy crap, yum! And then he did something really cool that I had never thought of before. Instead of melting margarine and mixing it in the dough, and instead of cutting in small cold pieces of margarine, he froze the dang stick and grated it in! What a freaking awesome idea. I think this could work for biscuits and other stuff like that. Especially if you don't have a pastry blender or if you get annoyed by trying to use one. I had some Earth Balance sticks that I just stuck in the freezer for whenever I felt like making something like this.

So after scribbling down the recipe (okay, who am I kidding. The OCD part of SaraJane wrote it down neatly in my cooking journal), I was kind of excited about trying this new technique with the EB. I was going to just substitute some of the fruit for others and THEN the market across the street from work put cases of mangos on sale for $7.99. Oh hell, yes. I totally carried that box of mangos home on the bus. Heh. That was kind of funny, I have to admit. Mangos are my all-time favorite food, so I was stoked. After forcing myself to stop eating nothing but mangos for days, I managed to save a few to cut up for this cobbler.

He used frozen fruit on the show. I froze mine and then had to thaw them out to use them. They were so juicy, I sort of had a block of mango in the freezer. Between the freezing and thawing and baking, they sort of liquified. Weird, right? They're still fine and the cobbler still tastes really good, but it looks a little weird. I guess either use frozen or fresh, but don't thaw the frozen ones.


Strawberry and Mango Cobbler

2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
2 cups fresh or frozen mango
1/2 cup cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup margarine, frozen (one stick of Earth Balance is 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup soy milk

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Place fruit into a large bowl and toss well with the flour, sugar and lemon juice. Put the fruit mixture into a baking dish. I used one of those square pyrex ones. It's best if the fruit fills the dish but doesn't rise above the edges. You don't want to get hot bubbly fruit running over the edge of the dish as it cooks.

For the topping, stir together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Grate in the frozen margarine and mix the dough together with either a wooden spoon or your fingers.

Pour in the soy milk and stir until mixture comes together and forms a rough dough. It'll be a bit dry, but that's what you want. Either use a spoon or your fingers and put the dough in pieces over the fruit, covering the entire top evenly.

Bake for 45 minutes.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Things That Are Awesome: Green & Black's Hot Chocolate

I've decided to start a semi-regular thing on my blog. Things that are awesome. Frequently I find gadgets or yummy packaged foods that I think everyone should know about. First up - chocolatey yumminess.


I have a love affair with Green & Black's chocolates. They're all fair trade and organic and almost all of them are vegan. You have seriously never tasted chocolate this amazing. You don't want to chew it, just put little pieces in your mouth and let it melt on your tongue. It's really unfair to yourself to eat it faster than that. Plus, the chocolate lasts a little longer that way because you'll end up eating less each time.

Green & Black's is a UK company and they have some flavors across the pond that we can't get over here. I've actually had a friend of mine from over there send me some because she knew how much I like it. And let me say this, too: I'm not a chocolate fiend. I don't eat chocolate very often, I have to be in the mood for it. I'm more of a salty craving gal. Give me some fries or plain potato chips or Tings over chocolate any day. Unless you're going to offer me some Green & Black's.


Loving Green & Black's the way I do, I was intrigued when I saw that they had hot chocolate. I actually found this the first time in the drug store. Sometimes it pays to walk down an aisle randomly. I never ever buy hot chocolate because I'm rather partial to the way I make it from scratch. It's so easy to do it yourself and hot chocolate mixes always pale in flavor in comparison to homemade. Until now!


Check out what it looks like, too. This is no wimpy powdered mix, this is little tiny pieces of chocolate. You know what else is awesome? If you ever wish you could have hot chocolate when you're not at home, you can use this. Get some of those little single servings thingies of soy milk and keep them at work along with this and you can have a nice afternoon snack.

I actually really like to cut up some Sweet & Sara marshmallows and let them swim around in the chocolateyness. That is a fantastic way to give yourself some dessert after dinner without eating those last 3 cupcakes that are calling your name.


Even Piper wants some!


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Lentil Chili

I know, chili again, so soon? Well, yeah. And this one is even easier than the last one. I've never had chili made with lentils before I tried this recipe. I was a little skeptical at first. I thought it might end up tasting just like lentil soup or something. But no!


I know there are a lot of haters out there when it comes to omni food magazines. I, however, am not one of those people. I've been subscribing to Bon Appetit for over 10 years. Continuously almost, too. And you know what? I've been vegetarian or vegan for the entire time (and then some. ;) ). I've gotten some really great recipes and ideas for different ways to prepare foods that I might not have thought of on my own. I absolutely love food. I love to try some of the trendy flavor groupings and make some really "gourmet" feeling food sometimes. My brain just automatically skips over the stuff that I find gross or just substitutes tofu or seitan in the place of meat in recipes.

But I digress. Why am I yammering on about food magazines? Because that's where I found this lentil chili recipe, that's why! Specifically from Bon Appetit's Green Issue (February 2008). It was even already vegan, I didn't have to substitute a thing. And that's pretty darn cool. (Though I must say, I'm unsure why they felt the need to add the "with Cumin" part to the recipe name. That's kinda weird since most chili has that in the first place.)

Don't be fooled by the minimal ingredients. I almost added a few more things as I was cooking, but then I was glad I didn't. I think the simplicity of the ingredients is what makes the flavors really shine.

Lentil Chili with Cumin and Green Onions

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (add more to make it hotter)
4 cups (or more) water
1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed (I used green ones)
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp chopped green onions

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano leaves, and cayenne pepper; stir for 30 seconds. Add the 4 cups of water, lentils, and tomato puree. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam from the surface. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, adding more water by 1/4 cupfuls as needed if dry, about 30 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup green onions. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the chili among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with remaining green onions and serve.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Apples - Two Ways!

I'm a huge fan of baked apple desserts. Sometimes I just cut up some apples, sprinkle them with cinnamon and stick them in the oven just like that. Sorta ghetto-style baked apples.


I have been loving the Apple Galettes from Veganomicon. I've made them bunches of times, though I didn't make them into hearts. Sorta little cracked-out ovals, actually. But they taste yummy! I tried using some different jam flavors one time even. The apricot is the best, plum jam is also pretty damn good. It adds a different bent to the flavor, which is nice if you want to make the same thing, but jazz it up a little bit. Did I mention they're really easy to make? Pretty quick, too.


Speaking of easy things that are yummy... I made a fantastic apple crisp last week. They had these huge local apples at the market, so I bought a ton of them for baking. Apple crisps are great because you don't have to deal with making any dough like pies and cobblers. The topping doesn't really get solidified until you bake it, so it's easy to spread it over the entire top of your apples. And - like you'd expect, the topping is crisp! It's a nice compliment to the softness of the apples.

Some things I want to mention about the apple part of the recipe in case you're wanting to substitute or just put naked apples under the topping: The flour has a cool purpose. I swear! I only just discovered this, so I wanted to make sure to share it. If you toss your fruit with flour before using it for a pie or cobbler or whatever, it'll start to mix with the fruit juices as it cooks. Suddenly you have a nice thick sauce hanging out. It's awesome - try it!

Apple Crisp of Awesomeness

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar or demerra sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
6 Tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine, like Earth Balance
1/3 cup rolled oats (not the instant kind)
1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional
4 large granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Get a pie dish or one of those square baking dishes, lightly grease the bottom and sides. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Cut in the margarine with a pastry blender or a fork until the mixture is clumpy and there are pea-sized lumps. Stir in the rolled oats and pecans. Set that aside while you deal with the apples.

In a large bowl, stir together the apples and 1 Tablespoon flour until all of the apples are lightly coated. Put the apples into the baking dish. Now drizzle the lemon juice over the apples. Pour on the topping, trying to get it evenly over all of the apples. Don't worry that it's still pretty loose, it's supposed to be like that.

Bake for 35 minutes. Make sure to let it cool for 5-10 minutes after it comes out of the oven. You want the sauce and topping to set a little and cool off a bit. Serve this with some Soyatoo or soy ice cream if you want. Enjoy!


Friday, March 14, 2008

I've Been Tagged!

I know, I know. I'm a bad blogger. Things have been a little crazy inside my head lately, but I should be able to get back to a normal cycle of posting two or three times a week now. I have a ton of pictures and recipes in my arsenal ready to post. Some of the stuff I've been waiting to talk about. I got 3 new cookbooks in the past few months and I really wanted to review each one. The problem is that I've found some recipes that either came out terribly or I just don't like the results. I really want to like these particular cookbooks and I don't want to say anything bad, so I'm going to try another recipe or two from each of them before any reviews. So then maybe it won't be so bad if there are 3 recipes I made and I liked 2 of them.

Now here is a picture of a blueberry muffin from last weekend. (Recipe from Yellow Rose Recipes.)


So, Vegan Mother tagged me. I've never been tagged before, I feel so special! Not that I really have anything all that exciting to say, but here we go:

Here's how it works...I tell you 5 things about myself, then tag 5 other people via their blog. Sounds fun, right?? Here goes:

1. I have a pretty cool job - I'm a texture and shading artist for 3D animated films.
2. I didn't start college until I was 23. (though I'm into the next decade now. ;) )
3. 3 cats have me. They're all rescues, though they continually rescue me every day.
4. I'm from the US, but I live in Canada right now.
5. I am the walrus. Koo koo ka choo

I am tagging....

Bazu - Where's the Revolution
Kittee - Cake Maker to the Stars
Lindy Loo - Yeah, That "Vegan" Shit
Melisser - The Urban Housewife
Dynise - The Urban Vegan

Link to your tagger and post these rules.
Share 5 facts about yourself.
Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Here's the part where I tell you all about the chili, then give you some variations, then some pictures followed by a recipe. So, yeah.

For Christmas this year, I gave my friend Roman a coupon book full of things like coupons for cupcakes, coffees, drinks out and stuff like that. I also included two coupons for cooking lessons. For one of them he wanted to learn how to make chili. So, I modified my favorite chili recipe a little bit and made it super easy to prepare. Roman isn't much of one for cooking, so even if you feel like boiling water is hard for you, you can totally do this. Though, really, most chilis are quite easy to make in the first place. The good thing about this chili is that it has a bunch of veggies in it. If you have kids or friends that think they don't like vegetables, I betcha they'll eat this and love it. And then you've shoved some much needed vitamins in their picky little faces. So there. Take that you annoying picky food people!

Now for some variations! Obviously you can add more stuff if you want. I suggest adding some chopped up jalapeno peppers. Another fun thing would be to add half black beans and half kidney beans instead of all kidney beans. Instead of adding red wine, add some beer! The dark beers are great in chili.

Personally, I prefer not to use the store-bought crumbles, but to make is easier, that's what this recipe has. Instead, why not try using some tvp or better yet - bulgur! If you use either of those, you'll want to change the way you're making the chili a little bit. Heat up some of the tomato juice until almost boiling and pour it over the tvp or bulgur. Stir, cover it and let it sit for around 10 minutes. At this point it should have soaked up most of the liquid and you'll probably have to add more. Go ahead and add this to the rest of the stuff and then you can judge better how much more liquid you'll want to add. When I make chili like this, I typically buy a large bottle of V8 and just keep adding it until it's about the consistency that I like.


Very Veggie Vegan Chili

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 bell pepper, chopped (any color is fine, but I like to use green ones)
1 teaspoon basil, dried
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
dash cayenne (add more if you like it hotter)
salt & pepper to taste
2 cans chopped tomatoes, fire roasted if you can find them (or around 3 cups fresh)
3 cups tomato juice (I like to use V8 or something similar for more veggie power!)
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 - 1/2 cup red wine, optional
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 package soy crumbles

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and saute for another 5 minutes or so. Add the bell pepper, spices and wine and saute for another 3 minutes.

Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato paste and crumbles. Stir, raise the heat a bit and bring just to a boil. Now turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes, covered and stirring occasionally. You might need to add more tomato juice to thin out the chili a little bit, that's totally fine. Add as much as you need to get the consistency that you like.

Top your chili off with some soy cheese, crackers, tortilla chips, cilantro - whatever! Just enjoy it. :D

Monday, February 4, 2008

Yay Soup!

I haven't made any chili yet. I got a ton of great recipe suggestions, though. I should have mentioned that I don't want to use any meat substitutes (so no crumbles!). Sometimes I don't mind using that stuff, but lately I've been trying to steer clear of that sort of thing. I don't mind seitan and tempeh, though. Also, I have a weird aversion to chili that has corn in it. For some reason a ton of people want to put corn in their chili. I don't quite get it. I don't mind having some cornbread with your chili, but no corn inside, thank you very much.


I did, however, make the French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme from Veganomicon. Yum! I love lentil soup and for some reason I've never tried to make it myself. I haven't a clue why. I had some fresh thyme hanging out in the fridge, so I used that instead of the dry. I couldn't find any fresh tarragon or I would have used that fresh as well. Otherwise, the only thing I changed was to use a can of diced tomatoes (drained) instead of fresh tomatoes. There aren't any good tomatoes this time of year so I wasn't even going to try. Plus, using the can was much faster and I didn't end up with little tomato peels swimming in my soup. If you can get those yummy fire-roasted ones, totally use those instead of the regular. The flavor they add is freaking incredible. Their awesomeness will take you by surprise. Or, well, maybe not because I just told you how awesome they are. But, still...

I did love this soup, it was perfect for what I was wanting at the time. And it was fast and easy to make. I do think it could have stood to simmer for another 15-20 minutes, though. My lentils weren't quite as soft as I was hoping they'd be at the end of things. They weren't unedible or anything, but I like my lentils to be soft like the canned ones are.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I've been trying not to neglect the recipes in cookbooks that aren't brand new. Veganomicon swooped in and took all of my attention. There are just so many awesome things to make! And even though I've made at least half (if not more) of the recipes in Vegan with a Vengeance, there are still some that I've been wanting to try. Recipes like these samosas! Potato-Edamame Samosas to be exact.


I didn't use edamame, though. I didn't have any and I did have some frozen peas just chilling out in the freezer. (Get it... chilling out? See, it's funny because...) I also had some mango chutney that I'd bought and needed to use so I didn't make my own. That's okay, though. I think I would have regretted it if I had. Not that I think it would have tasted bad or anything. Just these samosas were a hell of a lot of work. It took me like 3 hours to make them. I was exhausted by the time I put them in the oven.

I did find them utterly delicious. It's a nice alternative to fried samosas. And hey - they heat up rather nicely if you want to eat them for lunch the next day! Just beware of the nuclear potato heat in the center if you microwave them. Cut them in half first or something.


Make these when you have some time on the weekend, definitely not on a work night or when you're pressed for time. They're quite yummy, just time consuming.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Orange Pudding Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

Vegan cupcakes take over the world. Again.

I hadn't made any pudding filled cupcakes before, so I admit I was a little intimidated by that. I have no idea why. It's not like the pudding would leap out of the cupcake and start calling me a stupidhead or something if I was screwing things up. Though, that surely would have made the whole cupcake creation much more amusing if they started to berate me as I made them.


I love citrus flavored baked goods, so I have no idea why it took me so long to make these. The cupcakes themselves are so light and fresh tasting. Not too sweet, and not fakey fruity. Pretty awesome. I might even make the cupcakes mini-style for a yummy breakfast treat sometime, actually. They'd even be great for afternoon tea if you're into that sort of thing.

The pudding center is also not too sweet. It's actually just lightly sweetened, which is perfect for being the innerds of these cupcakes, but not really something you'd eat in a bowl on its own. You pretty much just stick your finger into the top of each cupcake to make a hole and then jam your pastry bag right about there, squeeze and bam!, your cupcake is full of pudding. Top them off with a light spreading of orange marmalade and then some chocolate ganache... perfect.

Nakies! This is right after I filled the cupcakes with pudding.

If you make these, don't skip the marmalade part. Trust me, it's part of what makes these awesome. If you're making these for a party or a gift, keep in mind that the ganache should be put on just before you serve them. It won't make it taste weird or anything if you let it sit for a while, but it won't be as pretty. And really, if you're going to all of the trouble to make these, you want them to be as adorable as possible before people start to shove them in their mouths.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ani's Raw Food Kitchen

I've been wanting to try integrating more raw food into my diet, but it's a bit frustrating. It seems that to do raw food properly, you need to spend hundreds of dollars on dehydrators and high-speed blenders and juicers. I think that can really put people off. I now have two raw food cookbooks and both of them need a VitaMix or Blendtec for almost every single recipe in the book. That is disheartening. I think I am going to start saving up to buy one, but I can't really justify spending a few hundred dollars on an appliance just because I think that maybe I'll like eating raw. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I will like it. I tried to eat mostly raw during the last cleanse that I did and I felt fantastic.


The first book I bought was Ani's Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo. I already posted the Coconut Breakfast Cakes, which I really loved. I was trying to make things that didn't need crazy ingredients of expensive appliances. This book is interesting. I really wanted to make some of the recipes, and some just didn't sound so good. I was a bit put off by the massive amounts of pictures of the author throughout the book. There weren't many pictures of the actual food and I definitely think they could have replaced the vanity pictures with actual food pictures. The thing is - the pictures aren't even good ones. They're badly photographed and Ani Phyo looks like she's posing very precisely for every single one of them. It just sort of left a bad taste in my mouth. (no pun intended) I was also a bit annoyed that she feels the need to call things "mylk", "cheeze" and "kream". She explains at one point that this is to make sure that people know that there's not actual dairy in anything, but it just looks like chatspeak to me and that's something I really have a low tolerance for.

I think there is a major problem with some of the recipes, too. Quite a few of them call for almonds or cashews or some other nut. In the beginning of the book, there's a very quick reference that all of the nuts need to be soaked overnight and she's assuming you're going to do that before you make any of the recipes. The problem is that this information is hidden within a bunch of other stuff in the very wordy first section of the book. I don't necessarily think that everyone who buys a cookbook reads all of that. The recipes could have seriously benefited from the addition of the simple directions to soak the nuts as not to confuse people. She also doesn't really make a point that the blender you use should be a high-speed blender and not a regular household type. Yes, I know better, but what about the tons of other people that are going to buy this as their first time delving into the world of raw food who may not know?

The second thing I made from this book is something that I made in the early fall and just forgot to post. This almond yogurt really doesn't work with just a regular blender, which is all that I had. I mean, yeah, you can try it and it'll be okay, but it won't be smooth in any way. I had some cherries that I had frozen from the summer, so I added a generous handful of those to add a bit of flavor. Also, this recipe was in the "Soups and Sauces" section of the book, which I find weird.


Raw Cherry-Almond Yogurt Originally published in Ani's Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo

1 cup almonds
1 cup water, as needed
juice of 1/2 lemon, about 1 Tablespoon
1/2 cup fresh cherries (this is my addition, not in the original recipe)

Blend almonds and lemon juice on high to mix well in blender. Gradually add only as much water as needed to create a yogurt consistency. Add cherries and blend again until there aren't any large cherry chunks.

To serve, use immediately or ferment.

To ferment, pour yogurt into a glass bowl or jar and cover with hemp or cheesecloth to allow the transfer of air. Set your jar in a warm place and allow it to heat up to about 90° to 100° F. You can test the temperatureby sticking your finger in. It should be slightly warm to the touch. Let it sit for about 8 to 10 hours, then taste for tartness. You may need to leave it a couple more hours and taste again; repeat until it begins to taste tart.

You can also take the easy way by adding 1/2 teaspoon of probiotic powder into the blender with the yogurt. The heat from the blending helps the probiotic turn the cream into instant yogurt.

This will keep for three to four days in the fridge, and will continue to get more and more tart over time. You can use a couple tablespoons of overly tart yogurt in your next batch to help start the fermentation process.

Makes 4 servings.

Raw Cherry-Almond Yogurt with Buckwheat Crispies, Coconut and Strawberries

I also tried to make the Buckwheat Crispies, but you really need a dehydrator. Turning the oven on the lowest setting for hours just doesn't work. Mine came out really chewy and definitely not crispy and dried like I think they're supposed to be. This was my attempt to see if I could make some of the raw stuff without buying the expensive appliances. The answer is not really.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I've been in a bit of a food funk lately. I just can't decide what to make. Nothing is jumping out at me and looking all exciting. I've been really into casseroles and stuff like that lately. I've made the Leek and Bean Cassoulet from Veganomicon a few times, not to mention the fantastic Chickpea Broccoli Casserole. Also, a great standard.

I feel like I want to make chili. The problem is that none of the recipes I currently have really get me all hot and bothered. My favorite chili recipe is the one from the original Moosewood cookbook, but that book's in storage. So, I want to try something new. Does anyone have any favorites they'd like to share? I want something that's got beans and would be totally appropriate to crumble crackers into. I think I have this memory of chili from childhood that I'm desperately craving all of a sudden. Please, share! I'm wanting to make a few different kinds in the next few months.

Since I'm asking for recipes and not sharing them, I'll tease you guys with some pictures of the Smlove Pie from Veganomicon. If you're not familiar with the recipe, it's a chocolate mousse pie with peanut butter caramel, maple-candied pecans and a chocolate drizzle. It's amazing, and you can totally freeze it if you can't eat all of it in a few days. It's hella rich, though, so make sure to keep that in mind when cutting the pieces.