Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: Pancakes and Whipped "Cream"

breakfast

Welcome! To the Last! Day! Of! Mofo! Wheeeeee! I am very much looking forward to going back to my once or twice a week posting, I have to say. Not that I haven't enjoyed spending this time with you all, but holy. It usually takes me a couple days to perfect a blog post, check the recipe, fix up the photos, look for typos, etc. Mofo-vember challenged me to speed that process up. It was a bit daunting, but I'm pleased that I was able to post 27 times this month. Yikes! 27! That's a lot of food.

So, for my last post I wanted to show you this photo of Saturday's breakfast. Those are apple pancakes with a side of tofu bacon. I was super-psyched to try the aforementioned Mimicreme. The texture of this cream was pretty amazing. It was very thick at first (the photo up top shows it after it got a bit melty on my pancakes) and the small box I had made a ton.

testing vegan cream

The taste was pretty good, though I found it a bit too sweet for my taste. I noticed on their website that the company also makes unsweetened cream, so I may try that next time if it arrives at my local healthfood store. As it was, the sweetened version was a bit too much for eating plain on pancakes, but I think it would be really great in a ganache or used in some baked good that would normally require cream. All in all, though, I'm glad it exists. I can see myself buying this if I'm making a fancy dessert for guests and don't want to muck around with homemade vegan whipped cream alternatives.

Well everyone, it's been lovely spending this month with you. For the next month I'll be spending my evenings in front of the sewing machine instead of the computer. Stay tuned, though, for Christmas dinner options, holiday cookies, and so much more.

Happy Mofo, everyone!

J.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: Creamy Tofu Wild Rice Casserole

tofu wild rice casserole

I grew up in the seventies and eighties, a time when canned mushroom soup reigned supreme.

If you ask most people who grew up in that era, they can name at least one dish they ate at the family dinner table involving canned cream of mushroom soup as a main ingredient. I can name two. One of them was a dish of what I think were egg noodles and homemade meatballs, topped with a mushroom soup-based sauce. I remember liking it. But the second dish, I remember loving. It was a chicken, mushroom and wild rice casserole. I loved it so much that, even after I tried to go vegetarian in high school, I would still eat the casserole whenever my mom made it. It was actually good enough for me to ignore the bird parts within. Eventually, though, I became an actual vegetarian and stopped eating any meat at all, no matter how delicious I remembered it being.

I've been trying, on and off, to make a vegan version of the dish for a while. At first I thought I could just veganize my mom's recipe, but that didn't work. There was definitely something lost in the translation. It's hard to find vegan cream of mushroom soup, and when I did find some, it was of the virtuous, organic, healthy variety. All fine and good, but lacking in the intense 1982 taste of the standard non-vegan variety. That, along with the generally bland "no chicken" soup stock and the how-will-this-behave-when-heated? mystery of vegan sour cream made for a disastrous interpretation. Back to the drawing board.

tofu wild rice casserole

What needed to happen, I discovered, was more of an interpretation and less of a copy. I needed to pinpoint what I liked about the dish and work from that, using the kind of ingredients I'd normally cook with.

Success! Success-o-rama, actually. I had the same reaction to this vegan version of the casserole that I used to have when my mom made the chickeny one. I had multiple helpings, and then hoped that there was enough left over for lunch the next day. There was. There was actually enough left over for two lunches, and I found myself standing in front of the fridge holding both containers of it in my hands, wondering if I should bring both for lunch, just in case I wanted two helpings. I didn't. You have to stop somewhere.

So really, you should make this. The recipe may look long, but none of its components are complicated, and it comes together fairly quickly. It is comfort food at its finest. Warming, tasty, creamy, flling. It might even make you feel like a kid again.

yum

Creamy Tofu Wild Rice Casserole

2 cups uncooked rice (a wild rice/brown rice blend works the best)
4 cups vegetable soup stock

1 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, chopped small
1 medium carrot, chopped small
1 stalk of celery, chopped small
2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp dried sage
1 tbsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup cashews, ground finely in a food processor or blender
1/2 block silken tofu (approximately 1/2 cup)
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
tsp of salt
a couple grinds of fresh pepper

1 block firm tofu (approximately 1 pound) cubed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
a few shakes of salt and pepper

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Bring the soup stock to a boil, then add the rice. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Let cook until all liquid is absorbed.

-While that's happening, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add leek and mushrooms. Let cook until the leeks start to become transparent, then add carrots, celery, sage and thyme. Cover, and let cook until all vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

-In a food processor or blender grind cashews if you haven't already. Then add the silken tofu, nutritional yeast, 3 tbsp olive oil.

-Process until smooth, then slowly add the water. You're shooting for a mixture that has the consistency of cream of mushroom soup. If you need to add more water, go ahead.

-Season with salt and pepper.

-Toss the firm tofu with olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, sage, salt and pepper, then saute over medium-high heat until the tofu starts to brown.

-Mix rice, vegetables, and tofu in a large casserole dish, then add the sauce and mix well until everything is coated.

-Bake, covered, for 25 minutes. If you'd like a crusty, browned top layer, take the lid off and turn the oven to broil for the final five minutes of cooking.

Serves four to six people.

Enjoy!

tofu wild rice casserole

p.s. I think this is even gluten-free! Can someone more versed in gluten-free-ness correct me if I'm wrong?

J.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: Cupcake and Tea

cupcake

I didn't post yesterday because I was too busy eating this gingerbread lemon cupcake (from Auntie Loo's Treats) and drinking tea at Raw Sugar with my friend Lisa while our friend Dave played some music. Back on track tomorrow, I promise.

The cupcake ruled, by the way.

J.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Plastic Potatoes, David Sedaris, Elvis Presley, and "Mimicreme"

Friends, it's late. I spent all day driving (for work) to and from a nursery school in a remote Ontarian town, where one child hit me in the face with a plastic potato and then tried to serve it to me for lunch while I worked:

lunch?

She perhaps thought the cupcake would make me forget about the maiming, but it didn't.

But then, lucky me, the Man of Science took me out for veggie burgers and then dropped me off at A Large Chain Bookstore I Rarely Shop At to see David Sedaris do a reading from his new book. I do love David Sedaris and I'd never seen him before, so that was fantastic. He made me laugh and laugh, which made all the potato-face-smashing and long hours of driving seem more like a distant memory.

All this to say, I have very little to go on about food-wise this evening. But I will give you a preview of some products I just found that I'd like to review:

Elvis is fun. Elvis is Music.

I haven't seen EITHER of these things in Ottawa before, and I am excited to try them out. Especially the fakey whipped cream. I can't wait to make a bunch of pancakes to use as vehicles for that this weekend. It's cold out, after all, which means it's important to eat fatty things.

Good night, Vegan Mofo-ers!

J.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: Vegan Thanksgiving Suggestions for Americans

What holiday involves more comfort food than Thanksgiving, really? We Canadians have already had our Thanksgiving and it was delicious, thanks for asking. But I'm well aware that my American brethren are celebrating this weekend, so I wanted to give you all a bunch of suggestions, just in case you're still wondering what delightful vegan dish you can make so you don't go hungry at an omnivorous family meal. Or maybe you're lucky and you'll be hosting your own meal and will be able to fill the table with great veggie dishes. Either way, these recipes are easy to make (not a single one needs to be basted every hour on the hour!), always tasty, and if you play your cards right you may even have some leftovers to enjoy once the craziness is done.




Happy Thanksgiving, Americans! Have a great long weekend (jealous).

J.




Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: Baked Cinnamon Donuts

baked! not fried!

It was my boss's birthday last Friday, so I wanted to bring something fun for her and my other coworkers to eat on Monday. My boss has mentioned that she's trying not to eat huge quantities of sweets and, as someone who likes to encourage people to eat healthy, I support that. But a very small, mostly organic, baked vegan donut as as birthday treat? Probably not going to do too much damage. At least that is what I was thinking when I decided to make these. Luckily, I was right. She liked the donuts, and so did the rest of my office mates.

vegan donuts for my coworkers

And why wouldn't you like these donuts, I ask you? For they are divine. To make them, I used this recipe posted a million years ago on The Urban Housewife blog which links back to this recipe on Vegan Yum Yum. It worked like a charm. It also allowed me to explain the difference between "moist" as a favorable adjective versus "moist" as an unfavorable adjective to my aforementioned very French administrative assistant, Matthieu. But I digress.

I didn't glaze the donuts, like the recipe suggests, but instead rolled them in a mixture of cinnamon and powdered sugar. So good. Words fail me.

vegan cinnamon sugar donuts

Of course, you need a donut pan to make these. I bought one a little while ago and my favourite Ottawa kitchen stuff store, Kitchenalia. At the time I mentally chided myself for buying a single-purpose item I didn't think I'd use much, but I'm so glad my non-practical side won out. Because making your own donuts is really cool. And impressive for those close to you. Now I need to find someone who will be as excited by the baked goods made with the other totally frivolous kitchen item I purchased this year.

J.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food Goes International

lunch

The Man of Science and I went to see the (awesome) new Harry Potter movie on Saturday night. Voldemort combines two of my biggest fears: snakes and really evil men, hence scaring the crap out of me. Anyway, by the time we got home it was midnight and we both felt the need to read for a while to calm ourselves towards sleep. And we still got up at our customarily early hour to go for breakfast. And then I went to run errands because some guys were cleaning our gutters and the dogs were barking at them relentlessly ("There are people! Outside our house! Climbing LADDERS!") and the whole scene was making me crazy. Which meant that by the afternoon I was underfed and over-tired. And because I'm basically a toddler, I got really cranky.

lunch

Until I made lunch. This lunch. Tofu and shitake mushrooms briefly marinated in soy sauce and olive oil, stirfried with three bunches of small bok choy, a bit of lemon juice, sesame seeds, and some grated ginger. This may not be comfort food in the traditional, North American way, but it is certainly comfort food for me. Warm and green and, dare I say, "meaty". I ate the whole bowl.

And then I had a nap.

J.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

peanut butter chocolate chip muffin

Okay, I admit it. I missed a day of Mofo blogging. What can I say, friends? I just got tired of the internet and spent the day sewing instead.

Second admission: I make a lot of muffins.

On this very blog there are have been oatmeal muffins, peanut butter and banana muffins, cornmeal muffins, cranberry oatmeal and bran muffins, and butternut squash muffins. Whew. That's quite a few.

I guess this is because I like portable baked goods that aren't too sweet. Plus I get bored easily so I don't often make the same recipe twice.

Earlier this week I was craving something sweet and desserty, but wanted to bake something that would double as a workday snack. Enter peanut butter chocolate chip muffins. These were really good. I may or may not have eaten the whole batch in two days with very little help.

peanut butter chocolate chip muffin

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 cup regular flour
1/2 cup whole wheat or spelt flour
1/2 cup unrefined sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup smooth, unsweetened peanut butter
1/4 cup vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 6 tbsp water
3/4 cup chocolate chips


HEAT oven to 375ºF.

Lightly oil 12 regular sized muffin cups.

In a large bowl, mix flour, spelt flour, baking powder and salt.

With two knives or a pastry mixer (or with an electric mixer) cut peanut butter and margarine into the flour mixture until everything is crumbly.

Add the vanilla extract to the milk and let it sit there for a minute.

Add milk and flax mixtures to the dry ingredients. Stir it until it's just mixed. It will be lumpy. That's okay.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Sam

Some Notes:

-I've read two blog posts this week by ex-vegetarians writing about how and why they've come around to eating as omnivores again and also read the comments on those posts made by vegetarians and omnivores both supporting and deriding their decisions. Frankly, it makes me want to have a Rally To Restore Food Blog Sanity. Of course, I believe that people should, to borrow a phrase, eat like they give a damn, but what that damn is, is really your own business. No one will die if they aren't right about everything all the time, so there's no need to argue back and forth about these things ad nauseam. Omnivores and vegans alike put people off when they are dramatic and self righteous about what they eat. People are much more likely to listen to you and accept some of your ideas when you have well-formed, flexible, reasonable ideas about why you eat what you eat. I don't normally get internet cranky like this, but come on everyone. Calm the hell down.

-That said, here are some things I really liked on the internet this week:

1. This movie looks really awesome.
2. This comic made me laugh so hard I stopped producing sound.
3. Also, this video is pretty excellent. I am a big Daily Show fan.
4. This band from my very own city is kind of the band of my dreams. If you go to see them make sure you show up nice and early so you don't end up stuck on the sidewalk in the cold because the bar is already at capacity. Just sayin'.
5. This article about 30 Rock and why it is scientifically better than Sh*t My Dad Says is from a few weeks ago but its awesomeness lingers. (Thanks to Joe Evans III for sending me the link).

J.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: Our Old Friend, Tofu Scramble

tofu scramble

One of the first truly exciting vegan meals I had in a restaurant was in a vegetarian diner in New York City called (I think) The Veg City Diner. It was my first time in New York and one of my bandmates, who was also a vegetarian, took Lesley and I to the diner with the intent of blowing our minds. It worked. We ordered a bunch of different dishes, but one thing I definitely remember was their tofu scramble. I ordered it because the menu said it came with vegan sausages, which I'd never tried before. When the scramble came I was confused. Where were my sausages? Answer? They were IN the scramble. Cue blowing of mind.

My vegan restaurant experiences have come a long way since then (thanks in part to Ottawa's slow growth in the area of vegetarian food... hi Zen Kitchen! We're glad you're here!) but obviously that first exciting meal at the diner stayed with me because I thought of it the whole time I was making this scramble with cut up Tofurky sausages in it for breakfast the other day. It was just as good as I remembered.

J.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: Stuffed Mushrooms and Roasted Broccoli

stuffed portobello

I have to say that up until this point I've liked the idea of vegan stuffed mushrooms better than stuffed mushrooms themselves. They always seem like a good idea but then wind up being kind of underwhelming. Like camping. Or downhill skiing. Or going to a bar on New Years Eve. You get the picture.

However, my friends, I have now seen the light. Not about camping, skiing, or New Years. About mushrooms.

See, last week the Man of Science sent me this link to a New York Times collection of recipes for Thanksgiving. We've already celebrated Thanksgiving here in Canada, but that's really the beauty of vegan Thanksgiving options: they're always in style. Unlike cooking a giant turkey and all the usual side dishes, vegan Thanksgiving-ish dinners can be made quickly and in small quantities. Hence my eagerness to delve into what the New York Times has on offer.

stuffed portobello

The first recipe I tried from their archive was these Harvest Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. They were super easy to make, and really damn delicious. I have to give at least a bit of the credit to my home-grown amana tomatoes, which are some of the nicest tasting tomatoes I've ever grown. As you can see from the photo, they ripen to a pretty orange colour and grow to be pretty big. They also take forever to ripen, which means that we're still eating them, despite the garden being finished for weeks now. Their rich flavour added a lot to the dish. I know that makes me sound like some kind of cheesy, stuffy food writer, but dammit, it's true.

stuffed portobello

We ate these with my New Favourite Sidedish: roasted broccoli. This is stupidly easy to make and you are rewarded with vegetable excellence. Just chop up the broccoli (most of the pieces should be around the same size) and toss it with a few tablespoons of olive oil, some salt and some pepper. Then lay it all out on a baking sheet and cook it at 350 degrees for about half an hour, flipping it around a bit halfway through. I cooked the broccoli at the same time and temperature as the mushrooms and everything came together perfectly.

The mushroom recipe says that the stuffing can be made ahead of time, too, which would super-mega cut down the cooking time. I'm putting these on the list for the as-yet-unexecuted giant dinner party that I've been planning in my head for a while now. Oh yeah.

J.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vegan Mofo: Survey Says!

it's the muppet show! With our very special guest star, your morning tea.

I just sang a song to the Man of Science. It went something like this, "I'm tiiiiiiiired of blogging every daaaaaaaay..." It's going to be a number one hit, I just know it.

Anyway, to address my blog fatigue, I've decided to answer this year's ubiquitous Mofo survey. Read on, friends! More actual food and recipes soon!

Mofo Survey!

What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?
Milk. Not to drink a glass of it or anything, but I didn't think I could find a good replacement for it in my tea.

What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?
My tastes haven't actually changed a whole lot as far as foods I didn't like but now do. I certainly eat a lot of things I never tried as a kid. But I remember not liking brussels sprouts, and I'm mostly okay with them now.

What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?
Fake cheese. I eat it every once in a while, but I'm not as excited about as other people.

What beverage do you consume the most of on any given day?
Tea. Earl Grey in the morning, green tea in the afternoon, and chamomile in the evening.

What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?
I don't think there's one thing in particular, but I am known for bringing food everywhere, especially desserts.

IMG_4425

Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?
I don't like to eat stuff that's blatantly out of season, like asparagus in the winter or strawberries in the fall. I also never eat bananas raw, ever. They make me want to gag. Also, never ever ever put any citrus rind of any kind in my food or I will puke all over you.

What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?
Any potato product, but especially chips. I love them. Sweets and chocolate, too. I had a big bag of Skittles in here a while ago and that was a mega-problem.

birthday brunch

What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?
Bread. I don't always do it, but I always want to. Granola for sure. Also soup stock, though I've been lazily buying it lately, just because it's easier to store tiny cubes of it than large quarts of it.

What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?
Real vanilla beans. Local and/or organic vegetables.

Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?
I am a champion snacker. I like celery or apple spread with peanut butter, cereal, the aforementioned chips, nuts, fruit, and toast. But not all a once.

What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?
Mushrooms and olives.

What is your favorite vegetable? Fruit?
I like broccoli, chard, beets, celery, and garlic. Also Fuji apples, tangerines, and peaches.

stripey beets

What is the best salad dressing?
Tahini lemon anything.

What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?
Smushed avocado with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?
Either an Asian noodle soup or a pureed squash and ginger soup.

What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?
I really like the pumpkin and cinnamon cupcakes from Auntie Loo's Treats here in Ottawa. But those are seasonal and a good chocolate peanut butter cupcake is a friend all year round.

What is your favorite kind of cookie?
Ginger molasses, no contest.

What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?
Soup and sandwiches. Quick to make, there's always leftovers, and there are so many different ways to do it.

IMG_4219

What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?
The Man of Science will pretty much eat anything, but he's not too hot on sweets, so I have to take those to my office to share when I get in a baking mood.

How long, in total, do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?
Usually half an hour in the morning and anywhere between 1-3 hours in the evening. On weekends if I'm baking or having people over to eat I can sometimes be in there all day. Not that I mind.

J.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: Man of Soup

soup

Have I ever told you that Tuesday is the Man of Science's night to make dinner? Well it is. Although I enjoy being Queen of the Kitchen, I do relish this once a week night off, especially since he cooks things that are often different from the things that I cook. He also decides what to cook during the day and shops for ingredients on his way home from work, which often means things are in keeping with the weather, or our moods, or what we have been craving/talking about/reading about. For example, tonight he made a spicy noodle soup because I've been feeling a bit under the weather and he thought the soup would help. He's nice like that.

soup

The soup wasn't super spicy, which is the way I like it. It was very flavourful and warming and it didn't take him very long to make. He used this recipe from the mighty internet and, from what I can tell, followed it very faithfully. There's even leftovers for lunch tomorrow, which is good because if I'm still feeling yucky, I'm going to stay home and rest. Blargh.

J.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

smashed chicpeas

I had a bad day today and arrived home in a slightly foul mood. Grrrr. However, such things are usually cured by making dinner. Not anything complicated, mind you. Why invite frustration? No, nights like tonight call for something easy and delicious.

This chickpea sandwich filling is something that I don't make nearly often enough. The recipe came to me via Smitten Kitchen and it is easily my favourite sandwich filling and it is not complicated to make at all. The ingredients are the kinds of things that I usually have on hand in the kitchen, but the result is greater than the sum of its parts.

onions!

I highly recommend doing what is suggested in the original recipe post, which involves adding a slice of roasted red pepper to the sandwiches. Tonight I also added vegan mayonnaise and some very ripe avocado slices. It helped too that we happened to have a loaf of my favourite bread, the Kamut loaf from Grainfields Bakery. Fantastic!

sandwich of champions

I'd like to point out that we are exactly half way through Vegan Mofo! Anyone else feeling a bit exhausted? I think I can make it! We all can! Go vegans!

J.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: Vegan Oatmeal Muffins

Breakfast

Not quite as exciting as the aforementioned cookies, but much more breakfast-appropriate, these oatmeal muffins were the other baked goods that I brought to my Montreal hosts. Bringing vegan muffins when you're going to stay somewhere allows you to not only gift your hosts with good food, but also ensures that they don't have to worry about what to feed you for breakfast. It's a win-win.

This is my standard vegan muffin recipe. You can tart it up with fruit or nuts or chocolate chips if you want, but I like them plain. Especially when spread with a bit of margarine and jam. Or some smooth peanut butter. But not butter AND peanut butter because only a crazy person would do that.

Vegan Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup of rolled oats
1 cup of soy milk "soured" with 1 tsp vinegar
1 cup flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 cup of oil
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease 12 regular sized muffin cups (or fill them with paper liners.)

Combine oats and soured soymilk and leave it alone for a minute.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into another bowl.

Add the oil, sugar, flax mixture, and vanilla extract to the oatmeal mixture.

Stir wet ingredients into dry, using a wooden spoon. Don't over-mix it.

(Here's where you'd fold in whatever extras you want to add.)

Fill your muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes.

Enjoy as the sun comes up over pretty downtown Montreal. Or pretty wherever you are.

montreal in the morning

Here's a quote from Jesse, one of my hosts: "I left three muffins out for us to have for breakfast tomorrow. But no cookies. Because cookies are not for breakfast. Unless neither of you are looking."

J.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vegan Mofo: Uh oh

Expozine

This is what I did today: sold, traded, and talked about books and zines all day in a room with a million people, some of whom were great friends of mine who I don't get to see often enough.

This is what I ate today: two oatmeal muffins, one apple, two cups of tea, two samosas, one strip of seitan jerky, assorted dried figs, some cashews.

Not exactly exciting Mofo material, but I'm too stubborn to skip a post. Back to the food soon, I promise!

me at Expozine

J.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: Chocolate Cookies

more cookies

I am rushing, rushing, rushing to get myself ready for my trip to Montreal tonight. Also rushing to get dinner cooked so I can have a nice meal with the Man of Science before I take off and leave him with only the pets for company. But I wanted to keep up the Mofo by posting this photo of the cookies I made to give as thank you gifts to the friends who are driving me to Montreal and the friends who are putting me up when I get there. Hooray for good people! And good cookies!

These are the double chocolate walnut cookies from Veganomicon. Another never-fail recipe. As you can see I omitted the chopped walnuts and went instead for pecan halves on the tops. It think it makes them look all dressed up. Highly recommended if you're looking for an easy, amazingly chocolaty treat.

J.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: Biscuits and Gravy (and "Bacon" and Kale)

more breakfast

Well, good morning.

We have the day off work today because it is Remembrance Day in Canada. This means I've put off everything I needed to do this week until today thinking, well, I'll have plenty of time on Thursday to copy zines/sew/clean the house/make vegan fish and chips/read that book/pack for Montreal/work on that article. You can imagine how relaxing this day is shaping up to be.

But nothing gets done unless breakfast gets eaten, so I got up early to make us something delicious. What you see here is a plate of Herbed Drop Biscuits (from Vegan Brunch), tofu bacon (from my own recipe, except baked, not fried), oven home fries, pan-fried kale, and some miso gravy from this never-fail recipe that I use all the time. Vegan breakfast, for the win.

drop biscuits

I'd never made these biscuits before and I have to say I was phenomenally impressed. I've had some pretty horrible biscuit baking disasters in the past, so I was not getting my hopes up for these. However, once again, Isa Chandra Moskovitz rules. I am always delighted by how well her recipes work out. She's the queen of vegan cooking for a reason.

yum

As I alluded to in my list of things to do today, I am going to Montreal tomorrow to table at Expozine with my non-food related writing projects. If you are in Montreal, do come to say hi! And if you wanted to bring me a snack, that would probably be cool, too. I am going to try my level best to keep up the Mofo daily blogging, even with all of the traveling and tabling and friend visiting. Who am I to back away from a challenge?

J.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vegan Mofo Wordless Wednesday: Breakfast!

breakfast

Our house is pretty cold in the mornings, so lately I've been all over the oatmeal as soon as I get up. This morning's bowl had pecans, agave nectar, coconut, and almond milk added to it. Plus a side of Fuji apple (the king of the apple world, as far as I'm concerned) with almond-cashew butter. It kept me full for the entire morning, which is all I can ask from a breakfast, really.

J.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vegan Mofo Book Review Part One: The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur

starts with c

The very nice people at Skyhorse Publishing sent me a message a few weeks ago asking if I wanted to review a couple of their latest, vegany books. Did I ever! I wrote back and said, "Yes!" Then they said, "Whoops, sorry, you can't because you live in Canada." Curses. But then they sent me the books anyway! Hooray! Not sure why that happened, but I'm not going to look a gift cookbook in the mouth.

The first book I cracked open was The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur by Kelly Peloza.



This book is really, really pretty. And packed full of more than 140 cookie recipes. Which is amazing. I like to have books like this in my collection because I tend to bake on a whim. The more recipes to choose from, the more likely I am to have the ingredients on hand to make something delicious. Plus the pictures (and there are a lot of them, which makes me happy) make everything look fantastic. I pretty much whipped out my baking supplies immediately.

The recipe I chose to make is called "Lemon's Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies". She explains in the recipe's introduction that there is no lemon in the cookies, rather they are named after a friend of hers whose name is Lemon. Which made me think of Liz Lemon. Which is always good.

Skyhorse Publishing has given me permission to reprint the recipe here, so I'll do that first and then follow up with my own review!

cookie

Lemon's Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies (from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur by Kelly Peloza)

1 cup flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp orange juice
3 tbsp soy milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and brown sugar in a large bowl, then create a well in the centre.

Melt the chocolate chips.

Pour the oil, chocolate chips, vanilla, almond extract, orange juice, and soymilk into the well, then mix the dough until completely combined. If it is crumbly, add a splash or so of soy milk.

Take 2-teaspoon portions of dough, roll them into balls, then roll in powdered sugar and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, let sit on the tray for a minute, then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

cookie

Mistakes I Made:

1. The recipe says to use only two teaspoons of dough for each cookie and predicts that this will give you almost 3 dozen cookies. I forged ahead without measuring my dough and put too much dough down per cookie. They tasted fine, but I ended up with only a dozen and a half all told.

2. I tapped off a portion of the powdered sugar before I put the cookies on the cookie sheets. I'd never made cookies that needed to be covered in powdered sugar before and I didn't know that you have to really cake it on before baking. My cookies, as you can see, don't look quite as powdered as the ones in the cookbook picture.

Other Thoughts:

I immediately balked when I saw how much sugar was in this recipe. That is a whole lot of sugar! Plus the powdered sugar and the melted chocolate chips, which have sugar in them already. So I ended up only being able to eat one of these because I saw a hypoglycemic coma in my future once the sugar buzz wore off. Perhaps this is the reason why the recipe says to make relatively small cookies. So you can eat one or two and not be overwhelmed with sweetness.

I also had a little problem with the dough not coming together immediately and I definitely had to add those extra splashes of soy milk that she mentions in the recipe.

However! The flavour of these cookies is amazing. All that rich chocolate, plus the almond extract and the orange juice makes for a very tasty cookie. I brought my batch to work and they were eaten up quickly. "They taste like Christmas," said my boss. Good to know.

The other great thing about this recipe was the texture of the cookies. They were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside which is always my preference. All in all, something I'd certainly make again, maybe I'd mess around with the recipe a bit and cut the brown sugar quantity in half. My American friends always tell me that Canadians don't like things sweet enough, so I may just be showing my roots by being so sugar sensitive.

I hope to make and review a few more recipes from this cookbook before the month is through, so stay tuned!

J.