Sunday, March 29, 2009

Salad... Ick?

I have always thought I hated salad. I would eat it sometimes when I was out to dinner, but I never made it at home. However, I recently tried making my own vinaigrette, and now I am throwing together a salad with dinner a couple times a week.

You could make this using a whisk, but using one of my favorite pieces of equipment, an immersion blender (thanks again, Mom!), makes the vinaigrette frothy and creamy.

Here's what you need, this is just a guess of the measurements, it's really a judgment and preference call. It's pretty tangy-tasting, so if that is not your thing use less lemon and garlic.

1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, pressed
Pinch salt
Pinch pepper

Put everything together in a bowl or the handy-dandy cup that comes with your immersion blender. Blend until creamy. Toss together with some mixed baby greens. Perfection!

Lazy Cupcakes

Clearly, I am in desperate need of a better camera.

Anyhoo, this recipe for vegan banana cake is a favorite in my family, and has become my go-to cake when I want to bake something quick for desert on a weeknight. I always keep a couple of bananas in the freezer to make this cake, and I am beginning to think my obsession with it is preventing me from exploring other cake options. Oh well.

So, on Friday night after a long work week I decided to make cupcakes, but did not want a big production. So, I made the banana cake into cupcakes, filling each muffin cup almost to the top. I then baked them for about 25 minutes.

For the top, I melted some semi-sweet chocolate together with some soy creamer to make a ganache. The result looked like a delicious bowl of chocolate soup I could have eaten right then, but I proceeded with my plan and dipped and swirled each cupcake in the ganache.

The whole process took a couple of hours (cupcakes must cool completely before topping) but I only had two dirty bowls to wash! I have no dishwasher, so when I am tired and just want a cupcake, that is the best news ever.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Holy Hamantashen!

Today was one of my most favorite kind of days, a SNOW DAY! Apparently people who work in offices don't get to take snow days, so I had the apartment all to myself. I needed a project. After giving it some thought, I decided to attempt to make hamantashen, delicious three cornered cookies eaten on the Jewish holiday of Purim.

Why hamantashen you may ask? First off, I have never made them before. Second, I know I will be tempted with many a non-vegan hamantashen cookie at school in the week ahead, and I thought it might be a good idea to be armed with my own vegan version. Unfortunately, my beautiful baby-pink Kitchenaid mixer in currently in-transit from Colorado to Brooklyn, so this project proved to be a little more difficult than I had intended.

The dough
recipe is hodge-podged from a few different places, but mostly inspired by a Barefoot Contessa recipe for rugelach I have veganized and used in the past which is so good it's addictive, with a few modifications (mostly because I was running low on some ingredients).

Hodge-Podge Vegan Hamantashen
(makes a dozen cookies)

The Dough
3/4 cups Tofutti Cream Cheese (at room temp)
1/2 cup Earth Balance or any vegan margarine (at room temp)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp.
vanilla extract
5-6 tsp. vanilla soy milk

Cream together tofutti, earth ba
lance and sugar in a mixer (I had to do this in the food processor, which was a bit more tedious but worked). Mix in flour, salt, and vanilla until combined. The dough will be crumbly, so just as you would when making a pie crust, add soy milk one tsp. at a time until it just comes together. Dump onto a floured surface, knead until it sticks together in a large ball, and throw in the fridge or freezer for an hour or so. While it is chilling, you can make the poppy seed filling.

Poppy Seed Filling
1/2 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup soy milk

1/2 tsp. corn starch
2 1/2 tbs. agave nectar
1 tbs. earth
zest of 1/2 lemon

Simmer soy milk and poppy seeds together in a small sauce pot for about 10 minutes. Add cornstarch and earth balance, whisking to prevent as many clumps as possible. Simmer for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and add the lemon zest, and let cool.

Other (and eas
ier) fillings include jellies and jams. In addition to the poppy seed filling, I used some raspberry jam I picked up at the farmer's market last week.

Take dough out of the fridge, and roll out with a rolling pin on a floured surface. Use a cookie cutter or a glass to cut circles a couple of inches wide out. Put a teaspoon of whatever filling you are using in the middle of the circle, and fold three sides up to form a triangle. Pinch the corners closed very tightly (especially if you are using jam) and put on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake in a 350 degree oven
for 20-50 minutes until just brown.

Conclusion: if you are looking for a project to take up half of your day, make hamantashen filled with jam (which I found to be the tastiest anyways). If you are looking for a project to take up all day and drive you slightly crazy, make hamantashen with poppy seed filling.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lunch for tomorrow- DONE.

It's another lazy, chilly, grey, blegh Sunday day in Brooklyn. I didn't really get around to thinking about lunch until about 2:45ish. Whoops.
When I did get hungry enough to get up and do something about it, I made this. It was simple, easy and delish, and I have enough to bring for lunch tomorrow. Nothing makes me happier than having tomorrow's lunch packed early, I feel accomplished, people (or person I know that actually reads this blog, HI OMI!).

This recipe from Smitten Kitchen (not a vegan blog, but lovely all the same) is inspired by one at 'wichcraft, which I had in September and have been hoping to have again. Making it at home was a lot cheaper, and dare I say tastier?

And I used "Lindsay" olives. How many times do I have to tell you people, it's Ey!

It makes me happy to add a new sandwich to my repertoire, I usually stick to pbj, tofutti and avocado, or tofu "egg" salad. I enjoyed this smashed chickpea salad on toasted sprouted whole grain bread (a new favorite, and it packs 5 grams of protein per slice, holla) and it would probably be perfect alongside some of Ashley's tabouli.