Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blueberry Coffee Cake Bars

This week for Craig's Kitchen, I baked coffee cake from my newest cookbook purchase, Vegan Brunch. Since I needed to include fruit from the local CSA, I added blueberries, which were delicious addition. I cut the cake up into bars, and walked them over this afternoon (in the rain!) to the church. I hope everyone enjoyed them!

Of course, I doubled the recipe, so I will be motivated to get up in the morning for the rest of the week knowing I have blueberry coffee cake waiting for me. Although, as you can see, most of it has already been devoured... Is wasn't all me, I swear!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

CousCous, Take II

I had previously made Tabbouleh, a middle-eastern couscous dish, and was thrilled to discover that couscous was such a good alternative to rice, requiring much less time and effort. This dish was adapted from a recipe in the Mayo Clinic Cookbook, and is a great late-summer meal that takes advantage of the squashes in season. I made it with my mum, Bev, while preparing to watch the season premiere of Entourage. Good times. Except that Entourage is a little less family friendly then I had realized...Maybe better to watch an alternate premium cable show, such as Big Love or Nurse Jackie.
While I don't exactly have the recipe on hand as I have since moved (again, I know...), it was more or less some variation of the following ingredients:
1 box Couscous
2 small yellow squashes
1 zucchini
1 large tomato
fresh herbs (I think we just used parsley, but anything would really work)
1 fresh lemon, juiced
Parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper and a pinch of sea salt
2 garlic cloves minced
Olive oil (the Spanish kind, see note below)

After the minced garlic is done cooking in the olive oil, add the squash and zucchini, and stir-fry for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Add about a 1/4 cup or a bit more of water, turn down the heat and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Most of the water should be evaporated, but still a little saucy. Add tomatoes, lemon juice, couscous and cheese and salt and pepper and cook all together to incorporate all the elements and warm thoroughly. We served with grilled fish done on the bbq with lemon and dill, as I do eat fish occasionally. It all went together brilliantly.
Note: It is very important to use Spanish olive oil. The primary reason is so that you can make "Spanish CousCous" and talk about how it's Spanish because you used Spanish olive oil. While this makes no sense, and lends no credibility to the authenticity of this dish being considered Spanish, it makes for fun while cooking.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Savory (or Sweet!) Zucchini Biscuits

With a zucchini about past its prime in the fridge, I was all set to make zucchini bread this evening. But, I had a request for zucchini biscuits. Such a biscuit is not too common, but I welcomed the challenge and combined a bunch of biscuit recipes together. The results were so delish and moist, I highly recommend trying these next time you want to pretend to make a healthy biscuit! They are savory, but for those who just can't go without a little sweet in their biscuit, there is an option to add a tiny bit of sweetness before they go into the oven!

Zucchini Biscuits

makes 10-12 biscuits

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 or 2 dashes of cinnamon
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 5 tbs. cold butter of choice (I used earth balance)
  • 1 cup (or a little less) soy milk
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • coconut oil + flaked sea salt for top (if savory)
  • agave nectar + sugar for top (if sweet)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flours, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar together. Cut butter into 1 inch cubes and then cut into dry mixture, using a fork or pasty blender. Add soy milk and stir until it just comes together. Gently fold in zucchini.

On a well floured surface, roll out dough to about a 1/2 inch
thickness and cut our circles about 3 inches in diameter. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Either brush tops with coconut oil and sprinkle salt on top, or brush with agave and sprinkle sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating halfway through, if you have a slanted oven like mine!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Individual Peach Upside-Down Cakes

I have just started baking for Craig's Kitchen, a soup kitchen in my neighborhood that asks people to volunteer every week to make a desert for their Wednesday night dinner. Not only do I think what they are doing is awesome, but I have been having a lot of fun baking for others who could use a yummy desert. In the summer if you are baking you can swing by the church where the kitchen is housed and pick up fruit donated by a local CSA to bake with. Last week I made individual blueberry pies, and this week I made individual upside-down peach cakes. There were two extras so we are going to try them after dinner, just to make sure they are good (as Ina Garten would say)! ;-)

A Refreshing Summer Treat

Giada's basil-infused Italian Lemonade. Perfect for picnics, parties, or lazy afternoons spent with good books!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I'm Excited!

Cake Decorating

This past Wednesday I took a cake decorating class at The Brooklyn Kitchen. It was a lot of fun, although I was probably the worst (and messiest by far) person in the class. I learned a lot though! I need to practice my new skills, so I am going to have to create some cake projects for myself... Maybe I can just quit my job and make vegan wedding cakes? Or not. Anyhoo, here are pics of my final creation from the class.

Busy Bee...

I've been a busy lady lately, even though technically I am on summer vacation... I have been cooking a lot, baking for a soup kitchen in my neighborhood once a week, and took a cake decorating class (more on that in a bit). AND I dropped my computer and it died, so I had to buy a new one, which I should have soon... I hope. I know. I'm a genius.

Last night, my fabulous friend Tommy came over for dinner. I made my trademark pizza...

And a flour-less chocolate tart, from my newest cookbook, The Vegan Table.

Pizza was yum, as always, and the chocolate tart was yum but very rich. So rich I didn't even have a second piece, which is unheard of for me! I had so much fun with Tommy, and he brought me beautiful flowers- what a doll! I felt just like Ina Garten with Jeffery out of town!!!

Last Sunday, we made Mushroom Risotto, also from The Vegan Table. I've only attempted to make risotto twice, and both times I have given up and Phil has taken over and stood over the pot stirring constantly for a looong time. It was pretty yummy and filling, and would probably be even more delish on a cold winter day (instead of a miserable muggy summer one!).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Best Pizza Dough Ever!!!

I have been on the look out for a great pizza dough recipe, and I think I have found one! Not only is this dough super easy to make, it tastes as good as the crust you would find in any respectable NYC pizza parlor. The pictures featured are of a "salad pizza" I made last night via the Delicious TV's Totally Vegetarian podcast. Thanks so much to Phil's wonderful mom, Anita, for this recipe!

Pizza Dough (for the food processor or mixer)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tbs. olive oil (plus more to oil the bowl)

Mix yeast with warm water and sugar in a 2 cup measure. Let stand in a warm place for up to 10 mins. With metal blade in place in food processor (or dough hook in mixer), mix flour salt and oil together. With the food processor or mixer running, pour yeast mixture in a steady stream, but only as fast as the flour absorbs it.
Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary. Let processor or mixer run for 40-50 seconds until dough is kneaded, smooth and elastic. It will be sticky!

Transfer dough to a well oiled bowl. Rotate so entire surface is oiled. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise in a warm place (80-85 degrees) until doubled in bulk, about 1-1 1/2 hours. Roll out dough on a floured board. Place on greased pan and top as desired. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until bottom of crust is browned.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Happy (belated) Birthday to this Beautiful Beast!!!

Sammy, how I miss and love you!!!!!!

Ashley, I simply don't know what my family will do without you to watch after this little trouble maker when they travel... Screw grad school, Sam needs a nanny!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tempeh Kabobs

Since this summer I'm staying in a house that does has a BBQ, and I do have access to it (yay!) I thought I would do a variation on the idea of grilled tempeh. Tempeh is one of those secrets of being a vegetarian that for some reason is kept from non-vegeterians. This is frustrating for those who have embraced alternative protein sources, and I have found myself on more then one occasion defending it, and trying to convince meat-eaters that they would really like it. It's less of an acquired taste then tofu, and while I'm personally only in the mood for it ever so often, it's so very good grilled, as Lindsey previously demonstrated.
These kabobs are simple, straightforward, and full of summer. I used zucchini, red and yellow peppers, and one block of tempeh to make about three kabobs. Don't forget to soak the skewers first! (Mine still burned on the grill...not soaked for long enough? Any thoughts?) I brushed on a made-up sauce:
-lemon juice of half a lemon
-1/2 tpbs of Seseme Tahini
-1/2 tpbs Dijon mustard
-splash of tamari
Wisk together. Mostly I made this because when using a BBQ, it feels unnatural not to brush something on whatever you are grilling first. I'm thinking that pretty much anything you wanted to brush on would work...
Chief (my dad) gave me a lesson in being a grill-master, and also let me use his Weber. Thanks C!