Monday, November 21, 2011

Something I've Missed

I've mentioned before that I don't really miss a lot about my non veg life other than sushi, but once in a while I get a hankering for something that I haven't had in a while and that I used to find scrumptious. Today's craving? Rice crispy squares. Fortunately for me, Vegan Cookie Connoisseur has a simple recipe for these oldies but goodies. And man, they are goodie!

BTW, I'm sure it's equally easy to just replace the marshmallows in the original rice crispy treat with a vegan variety such as Dandies, Sweet & Sara or Ricemallow Creme, but I have the cookbook so I thought I may as well try this one. I also have ricemallow creme that I spied at Whole Foods and will try that later.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Isa is a goddess of the kitchen. Only a goddess could come up with something so freaking delicious as Carrot Cake Pancakes.
With a healthy dose of Earth Balance on top!

For realz. Seen here with what Ian (lovingly?) refers to as 'smoky tempeh breakfast strips' or in the vegan world, is known simply as tempeh bacon. Awesome breakfast. Could it be made any more awesome if instead of earth balance and maple syrup I had whipped up a little cream cheese icing? Perhaps one day we'll find out.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Holiday Baking, Recipe The First

I bought a new cookie cookbook the other day. The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. Full of a billion (okay, 140) recipes that I must try. I think the most important ones to try first are the ones that are a possibility on the holiday baking list, since that's coming up soon and I can't just give away cookies that I haven't tried before. You know, quality control and all that business. Thusly, the first recipe I decided to try was the Snickerdoodle one. Is it weird that I haven't had Snickerdoodles before? Fortunately, it was a friend's birthday, and she is a lover of cinnamon, so I didn't have to eat the whole batch myself (or else I would have) because apparently I like Snickerdoodles. I also really like the word Snickerdoodle.



A couple of notes about this: 1. They didn't flatten themselves out at all, I flattened them out after I rolled them in the cinnamon sugar. 2. I think they needed to be more heavily doused in the cinnamon sugar. Even doing them like to you do the chocolate crinkle cookies - first roll in regular sugar and then in powdered (cinnamon) sugar might do the trick. 3. I think it was too cold in here for the Earth Balance to get the proper consistency when I was creaming it with the sugar. That might help the flattening and should help with the consistency, which was a little doughier than I expected. I'll try them again and see what happens, though they were certainly passable as was.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I actually haven't made brownies in ages, but Ian recently edited and transferred a ton of my food photos from the last year to me so I figure hey, why not make use of 'em.

This brownie recipe is from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. They are second to none in my world of brownies. I can't find the recipe anywhere online but I can tell you what the secret ingredient is: silken tofu. Tofu brownies, people. So fucking delicious. They're dense, moist, have that nommy crust on top that is the mark of a great brownie... well I think I've said it all.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

Ian's running a marathon on Sunday. 42.2km (somewhere around 4hrs) of continuous activity takes a lot of energy, so according to some website thing he found, he has to eat 20 cups of rice or pasta. That seems excessive, but whatever, I'm willing to help if it means making delicious risotto.

And none of this trendy none-rice risotto, either. Barley risotto? What the fuck is that? The Italians would have none of that, I'll tell you what.

 No, it's not pretty. I didn't have daylight. Sorry!

1 pkg dried mixed mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
1 very small onion, finely chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
8oz sliced mushrooms (I had button on hand; this is very delicious with cremini or mixed wild mushrooms too though)
1 1/2 c arborio or carnaroli rice
1/4 - 1/2 c white wine
5 c veg stock
salt and pepper
1 - 2 tbsp Earth Balance

Place the dried mushrooms in a measuring cup; cover with boiling water (about a cup) and let steep for 20 minutes.

Put the stock in a small pan and heat over low heat; keep heated throughout the process.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Toss in the onions and shallots and cook until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, then add the mushrooms. I like the mushrooms to retain their texture so at this point I only cook them for a couple of minutes; if you like super mushy mushrooms you may have wanted to add them when you started with the onions.

Add the rice and cook, stirring, until it's all coated in oil and cooked a little bit, about 5 minutes. Add the wine; I free poured cause that's how I roll but I estimate it was about 1/2 c or less. Stir until it's absorbed. At this point pull the rehydrated mushrooms out of their liquid and give'em a little squeeze. Chop them up and toss them into the pan. Add about half of the liquid and stir continuously until it's absorbed. Add the other half and repeat. Then start ladling in the broth in about half cup increments. At this point, I add broth, give it a good stir, and then leave the room and do something else for a couple of minutes. If you're a mother hen you can just stand and keep stirring, but I find it pretty unnecessary unless your pan is too hot.

When you've used up all the broth, turn off the heat and add the Earth Balance and salt and pepper to taste. Done!

ps Ian ran the marathon in 4:02. That's his new PB (personal best, duh) by 8 whole minutes!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cupcake Challenge 1.0!

First, here's a Crimson Velveteen cupcake I made from VCTOTW for a staff meeting the other day.

Pretty wrappers!

Cheerio in the background!

They were a hit. I need to pick up some chocolate extract next time I'm at Golda's, since according to the recipe the flavour will be elevated to supreme deliciousness with it, but I forgot last time I was there so just added a little more vanilla and almond instead. I frosted regular cupcake type swirls and then decided to branch out to roses with my trusty 1m frosting tip. Seriously, that thing has been the best $1.99 (if it was even that much!) purchase ever. I think I just keep making cupcakes so I can use it.

Speaking of just making cupcakes. If you don't know, I work for a lovely soap company called Lush which makes really delightful bath, body, hair and skin things for the masses. Every year at Christmas they come out with a huge collection of wonderful limited edition treats, mostly bath stuff, though for the past couple of years they've done lip tints, a facial cleanser, and a lip scrub as well. Anyhoo, I thought I'd have a good time and turn some of these superb items into cupcakes.

Abombinaball: Super cute abominable snowman shaped bomb which smells of vanilla and mint. I'm in love with this guy. I'm thinking either a vanilla bean cupcake with mint buttercream frosting or else just trying to make both components amazingly vanilla minty. I'll be tinting the icing light blue, natch. Perhaps some nice blue and gold sugar crystals on the edge? I'll be thinking about how to make this a boozy frosting too. That would be double bonus points.

Gingerbread House: exactly what it sounds like. I could even make it look identical to the bubble bar really easily! How adorable would that be.

Snow Fairy:If I can find gelatin-free swedish berries (which, I'm pretty sure actually do exist?) this sweet fragrance would make some lovely, yummy cupcakes. Not to mention the fact that they'd be beautiful and hot pink. Double whammy of awesome.

There are a lot of citrus scented things out this Christmas, too, and I will contemplate them but I'm not a super huge fan of orange flavour cupcakes. If only there were more lemon things! Darn it all.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween Cupcakes!

I would say this post is going to be boring, but of course nothing with cupcakes can ever be boring.

I bought some fun eyeball cupcake liners and just made some plain mini vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting that I tinted orange with gel food colouring. This is also the first time I've use the gel food colouring and let me tell you, what a delightful treat! The colour is super pure so you need only a tiny bit to get vibrant frosting. It's much less messy than those darn little elf hat topped liquid colours too.

Unfortunately, my frosting wasn't soft enough for the sprinkles to stick, so there are 5 sprinkles on 1 cupcake and approximately a million sprinkles on the kitchen table.



Terrifyingly adorable!

In retrospect, it would have been funny to hold two cupcakes with the big eyes showing so they look like they were looking at you with their creepy eyes. Oh well. Next year. Happy late Halloween!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wood ear mushrooms!

Exotic ingredient spotted: dried wood ear mushrooms at Whole Foods! Something twigged in my mind when I saw them and I couldn't quite remember what it was, so naturally I bought them and took them home and leafed through Veganomicon. Sure enough, there's a recipe for a hot n sour soup with wood ear mushroom and napa cabbage.

I haven't had hot n sour soup since going veg almost two years ago, so this was a particularly fortuitous find. I didn't know how much to buy - they're ridiculously light! - so it turns out I have enough left to make another pot.

Anyway, the soup is amazing even if not exactly what I remember. I think it was just a consistency thing - this soup isn't the super thick almost gelatin-y soup I had come to expect. The flavour was perfect though and the chewiness of the wood ears was divine.

Something I rarely do: use the white bowls. Thought the colour of the soup should be shown!