Sunday, August 31, 2008

Daring 1st!

I've decided to join the fun that is the Daring Bakers! I however wasn't excited to see that my first challenge would be....

Coconut Cream "Eclairs"

Eclairs! I've never liked them. I've never eaten a vegan one let alone ever seen a vegan one. But I decided this would be a fun challenge. Like most things in my life I waited until the very last few day of the challenge. But I lucked out. Sorta.

I've decided to join the fun that is the Daring Bakers! I however wasn't excited to see that my first challenge would be Eclairs. I've never liked them. I've never eaten one let alone ever see a vegan one. But I decided this would be a fun challenge.

I used this recipe for the pate a choux but upped the amount of baking powder to I think 1/2 or 1 full teaspoon (eek. i can't find my notes on it). The pastry cream is the vegan pastry cream from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World with Coconut extract added because who doesn't like coconut.

The delicious chocolate ganache was just chocolate chips with a bit of soy milk melted to perfection.

One unfortunate thing about making them into eclairs was the misplacement of my pastry bag. I tried to do the old use a big ziplock bag trick but that ended up in total disaster. So I shaped my blobs of pate a choux into cream puff size instead.

I was nervous when I took them out of the oven because they didn't brown as much as I thought they would and I didn't think they would brown much at all at the same time. I also wasn't sure what the inside would look like when I cut them open. Would there be the hollow inside of this particular pastry? YES there would be, sorta! I was so happily surprised and thankful because I wouldn't have had another opportunity to make them again. One slight mishap was that the bottom of the pastry was a little undercooked and heavy. So the recipe needs some working on.

Thankfully when all put together..choux, coconut pastry cream, choux, ganache, dried tasted and looked fantastic. I actually liked it! I've never liked an eclair. I even brought them over to a friends house and they seemed to go over well. I'm so happy that my first Daring Bakers challenge went well.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

VwaV week continued..

This is what my copy of Vegan with a Vengeance looks like. The cover was falling off for quite sometime then Reno got a hold of it and helped remove the top cover completely. Such a sweet child. I actually found her EATING a book this morning. To continue with VwaV week...

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Blondies

Out of the oven. These were good! At first I thought the blondie part was just O.K. but after letting it sit for a bit and trying it again later in the day I fell in love. What a great recipe. It's also super easy to make. I had them in the oven before 9am on a day Reno decided to sleep in a bit. I love baking first thing in the morning it reminds me of my vegan pastry chef days where I would get up at 5 am to catch a train to NYC and bake cakes, brownies, cupcakes, bars, etc..etc..all day for the restaurants I worked at. I hope I get to do all that again one day for my own bakery or restaurant.

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Blondie

This one was waiting to dive down into my belly and dive it did.

Fresh Corn Fritters

I'm sure you are thinking that I must have gone crazy again like the whole Pesto Picture/Black Bean Post from a few ago. I haven't. My next recipe to try was the Fresh Corn Fritters from the book. I've always wanted to make them and now I had the chance. Except that the fritters didn't want to fritter. It was a glop of batter that didn't want to set or be flipped so it just turned into a sorta scramble. While making it I was curious as to why the recipe didn't have any flour in it. I thought of adding some myself but didn't. Later on in the evening I looked at the recipe again to figure out what I did wrong and saw that flour was indeed suppose to be in the mix. I just completely missed it. That doesn't happen often but it did.

Even with that mishap the taste of the "fritter" was amazing. I probably ate 1/2 of it while waiting for the other part of dinner to finish cooking which was veggies, rice and beans topped in salsa with the fresh corn fritter. Very delicious. I had sister Nicole and friend Rachele over and they both agreed that it was really good.

Make both of these VwaV recipes right away if you've never before.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

bag o' taters

Potato Pancakes (again)

We got back yesterday from a long weekend at my parents in South Jersey. Since they are going to be in Cyprus for 2 weeks my mom gave us a bunch of food that they won't be using some of which included a big bag of red skinned potatoes and some huge ass onions. I was mega tired yesterday so I figured we would just order out and worry about cooking the next day. That was when I realized that my mom gave me everything I needed, veg wise, to make these. So I did. Peter was decadent and ate his with organic apple-apricot sauce. I was gross and ate them with a huge blob of cold organic ketchup!

3 Protein Chili

One very hot day the other day I was sweating and sticky hot so I decided it was a good day to make chili. I must have been cookoo or somthing but it was one of the best chili's I've made in a long time. I used 3 different types of protein: seitan cutlet chopped up, black beans and cashews. My chili's always have cashews in them.

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Blondies

It's Vegan with a Vengeance week over on the ppk forums. I had a VwaV week a year or so ago and made a few dishes I've never done so it's fun to revisit this book and make a few more recipes I've been hankering to make. The first thing I made was the Raspberry Chocolate Chip Blondies. I made them at 8:30 in the morning today so the finished product will be saved for my next post. Here they are before making their way into the oven.

Stay tuned to see what else I make from VwaV!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Vegan 100

I like when things like this pop up when I'm away from home and in the bowels of Southern New Jersey for the weekend.

The talented Hannah of the blog Bittersweet and My Sweet Vegan fame posted the following list of 100 vegan things us vegans should eat at some point in our wonderful lives.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!

1. Natto
2. Green Smoothie (why haven't I made these yet!)
3. Tofu Scramble
4. Haggis
5. Mangosteen
6. Creme brulee
7. Fondue
8. Marmite/Vegemite
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Nachos
12. Authentic soba noodles
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (pomegranate!)
19. Gyoza
20. Vanilla ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries (i don't like fresh berries too much...what?)
23. Ceviche
24. Rice and beans
25. Knish
26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Caviar
29. Baklava (i have a good recipe i need to find)
30. Pate
31. Wasabi peas
32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Mango lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float (i hate root beer)
36. Mulled cider
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Fast food french fries
41. Raw Brownies ( i use to make them for work)
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans
43. Dahl
44. Homemade Soymilk
45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Stroopwafle
47. Samosas
48. Vegetable Sushi
49. Glazed doughnut
50. Seaweed (i've had it and will never again)
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Tofurkey
54. Sheese
55. Cotton candy
56. Gnocchi
57. PiƱa colada
58. Birch beer
59. Scrapple
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Soy curls (these will be in my next Food Fight order)
63. Chickpea cutlets
64. Curry
65. Durian
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake
68. Smoked tofu
69. Fried plantain
70. Mochi
71. Gazpacho
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies
73. Absinthe
74. Corn on the cob
75. Whipped cream, straight from the can
76. Pomegranate
77. Fauxstess Cupcake
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy
79. Jerky
80. Croissants
81. French onion soup
82. Savory crepes
83. Tings
84. A meal at Candle 79
85. Moussaka
86. Sprouted grains or seeds
87. Macaroni and “cheese”
88. Flowers
89. Matzoh ball soup
90. White chocolate
91. Seitan
92. Kimchi
94. Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with chocolate
96. Bagel and Tofutti
97. Potato milk
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Raw cookie dough

So I have about 6 items that I will not try for whatever reasons and about 33 or 35 items I have yet to try. Not bad out of a list of 100.

I'm going to add some of my own items that I think everyone should try:
(vegan versions of course)

*chocolate coconut pudding
*scallion pancakes
*biscuits and gravy
*Scottish meat pies
*butternut-leek-rosemary dumplings

Friday, August 22, 2008

Very green post

Basil-Miso Pesto Rigatoni

So here is the pesto porn that I posted a few post ago where I was talking about Rice + Beans by mistake. I purchased a basil plant that I named Henry at the farmers market 1 month or so ago and it had tripled in size! Since my sister was coming over and the herb was taking up the entire window I decided to prune it a bit and make a big thing of pesto which she and I equally love. I almost always serve pesto with long pasta but decided to use rigatoni this time and was very happy with how it came out. I wasn't sure if the pesto would cover the ins and outs of a tube pasta like rigatoni. I'm very happy to say that they both did their jobs very well. I'm also happy to report that Henry the Basil plant can probably produce at least 2 more rounds of pesto plus some extra uses in tomato sauces!

WW Pasta, Zucchini, Broccoli + Stringbeans
(for Reno)

I made this for Reno the other day. Most of it was thrown on the floor. She also pretended to be tired which she does when she doesn't want to eat what's in front of her. Some actually made it into her mouth and then was spit out. A very small amount made it into her stomach. She wasn't too into it. I was, so I ate some it. It was all really boring and steamed no flavor at all so I don't blame her. The next day I sauteed some more of it in olive oil which helped her eat a teeny bit more than she did the day before. Figuring out what a baby wants to eat has become a full time job for me. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes not so fun. I'm contemplating starting another blog to document what she eats from day to day. Peter doesn't want her to be vegan. I don't want her to be omni so we've gone in between both and she will be raised vegetarian (for now.) When she can make her own decisions she will be allowed to eat whatever she wants within burger king or shit like that. It should all be interesting.

Walking (will be a year old next Sunday!!!)

Reno has been walking for about 2 weeks now. She's been taking a few steps here and there for about 1 month but now it's full on walking. Hardly anymore crawling. It's very exciting and also weird to have her all of a sudden just walk over to you.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tofu Tuesday a Dinner Party a la Mode!

oops!! Peter just asked why I had a picture of Pesto but was writing about Rice and Beans in yesterdays post. It is now fixed with a proper picture. I'll post about the pesto another time.

Tofu + Seitan Marsala w. Stringbeans + Pine nut's

I had my lovely friends Dave and Michelle over for dinner the other night. I had NO IDEA what to make for them especially after I had a few ideas and then asked if either of them liked mustard or capers. Turned out neither of them did so I had to scratch those ideas. Think, think, think, think.....Marsala. I knew Dave like mushrooms and I'm pretty sure I've seen him order Marsala at restaurants. Michele I'm not too sure about since I haven't eaten with her that much. It turned out I made the right decision.

The Marsala is based on the recipe from Joanna's book Yellow Rose Recipes. I suggest you all through a party and make it. It was very easy and very delicious. I used tofu and seitan because I figured if someone didn't like tofu they might like seitan and vice versa. I ended up serving it over pasta. I wanted to serve the Marsala over mashed potatoes but I was short on ingredients. Namely potatoes.

A BIG serving bowl of Marsala

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

I finally caved and purchased My Sweet Vegan. What a beautiful book. This was the first recipe I've tried from it. I figured it would be the perfect ending to my dinner party especially since it was so easy to make and I was able to make it the day before. I especially liked how easy the dough was to roll out for the crust. I can't wait to try more of these recipes.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie a la Mode

Warmed in the oven and topped off with Purely Decadents Coconut Milk Ice Cream Vanilla Bean!!! I was so happy to finally see these coconut milk based ice creams at my Whole Foods. Whenever I make ice cream at home it's always coconut milk based. It's nice to be able to buy some now without having to set up my machine, which is something I really should do before the summer is over.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Farmers Market Haul

The Haul

I am in love with our local Farmers Market. Every Saturday (most of them) we are trying to get to the Walnut Street Farmers Market in Montclair. I'm always blown away by the selection of delicious and local fruits and veggies. They even have an organic stand that has some of the most delicious broccoli and kale I've ever tasted. Last week I grabbed a few big handfuls of string beans and 2 of the largest jalapenos I've ever seen and was shocked when the woman told me it was $1.25. It really can't get better than that! Especially since I LOVE string beans!!

Our latest haul:

red pepper
zucchini (they were the best I've ever eaten)
string beans
sugar plums

Sunday, August 17, 2008

2 recents..

BBQ Baked Seitan w. Sauteed Potatoes + Broccoli w. Garlic

The seitan = super easy. Slice, douse in your favorite BBQ Sauce and bake in the oven until nice and sticky. Its one of those dishes that would do well if you accidentally forgot about it for about 20 + minutes or so. I just love sticky BBQ.

The real star of that dinner though was the side dish. I originally was going to cook 2 separate sides: potatoes and then broccoli w. garlic. While the potatoes were sauteing I decided that I didn't want to use another pot so I tossed the broccoli and garlic in with them. It turned into taste heaven. So stupidly simple and so delicious. Ms. Reno even enjoyed the leftovers the next day for lunch. She is definitely wasn't swapped at the hospital if she is a lover of potatoes.

Rice + Beans

They are so happy together, rice and beans. To us they are the perfect food. I got super huge jalapenos at the local farmers market for super crazy cheap and all I could think about was rice and beans. Its become quite the dinner staple for us recently like it has at times in the past. 2-3 times a week. I use to add a weekly "special guest star" to each week's worth of rice and beans like raw diced zucchini, cherry tomatoes, carrots..etc. It was fun and it made it different each time. I might have to start thinking of new "guests" for me beans.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Stupid Olympics and business trips and mini vacations and....

Sauteed Seitan and Portobello Wrap w. Chipotle Mayo

So I've been M.I.A. for a bit. Peters went away for business so I went to my parents with Reno for a few days so I wasn't spending my b-day alone (yikes! I'm 32!!) By the time we returned the Olympics started and that has been taking up most of my pm time especially since it's Swimming time and as a ex-competitive swimmer I can't get enough of watching other people swim. I just want to dive into the pool with them.

I've still been cooking though. Most of it just easy favorites but some of it new like the wrap above. I can't tell you how good the seitan was with sauteed portobello's and onions and lots of garlic. Holy Goodness! I wish I was eating it right this very second. I'm in fact eating a Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie!!! More on that in a later post after I serve it to people.

Biscuits and Gravy

I'm not southern at all. I have no southern roots, nothing. But I love me some biscuits and gravy. I love them so. Both recipes are from the book Yellow Rose Recipes the biscuits are on page 17 Buttermilk Biscuits and the gravy is on page 83 Almond Milk Gravy. I didn't have any almond milk so I just used soy instead. I usually don't use store bought meaty things but purchased some Gimme Lean Sausage for the gravy. It's not bad stuff. I don't think I could eat it plain without a sauce but it's nice to know it's available if I need it in a pinch.