Sunday, August 30, 2009

Salad Nicoise

For months now, I've had nicoise salad on my mind. Perhaps it is because of the new movie about Julia Child, perhaps it is because I long to visit France again, or perhaps it is because it i delicious. Traditionally it contains many non-vegan ingredients, but I have found many vegan-friendly recipes that all go above and beyond in their own ways. I'm not a stickler to the traditional ingredients, but by all means be loyal to them as you would like, keeping in mind that improvisation can go miles with this one.
I've made this using both tempeh and tofu. In the end I liked the tofu one better, as it tended to be a little more delicate in flavor and let the vegetables stand out more.

-mixed greens, or a small head of your favorite lettuce
-a generous handful each of green and wax
-about 3/4 pound small new potatoes
-1 large tomato or 1 red pepper
-1 block tofu, pressed and cut into wedges
-1 quarter of a red onion, sliced thinly
-1/2 cup black olives*

-2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
-1 tsp balsamic vinegar
-splash of lemon juice
-1 large shallot, minced
-1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Wash the potatoes and place in a saucepan. Add cold water until submerged in an excess of water (about an inch over the potatoes). Add sea salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer for approximately 22-30 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. In the mean time, baked tofu in an over preheated to 375 on a baking sheet sprayed with oil olive cooking spray. Drizzle tofu with olive oil and add sea salt and ground black pepper. After 15 minutes or when brown, turn tofu wedges over, drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to other side, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until browned.
Wash and trim all other vegetables while tofu and potatoes are cooking. Arrange mixed greens and top with green and wax beans and tomatoes or red pepper. Add black olives as desired. To make vinaigrette, whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl.
When potatoes are done cooking, strain and rinse under cold water. Cut into halves or quarters, and place on greens. Add baked tofu, and drizzle with vinaigrette.
*There are no olives in the one in the picture, as I forgot to get them at the store! No worries, though, I will make this dish again and update the picture, most likely sooner rather than later!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Butter" Cream Roses- not nearly as easy as you would think...

I made a few smaller "practice" cakes to work on my icing technique- I am trying to teach myself how to make butter cream roses (of course mine are vegan...). They are soooo hard! I am determined to master the rose by the time I go back to school in a few weeks, we shall see if that happens. Here's hoping these photos serve as "before" pictures soon... I now understand why people charge hundreds of dollars for cakes!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Birthday Cake!

Here are some pics of the cake I made for my Grandpa Ted's 80th bday! I used the skills I learned in my cake decorating class last month. It didn't turn out exactly as I had hoped (there was a pastry bag mishap), but it was fun to make!

The cake was a basic yellow cake with mocha butter cream frosting, as per Grandpa Ted's request. I wish I could say we had leftovers today, but we don't, it was quickly devoured!
One more victory on my quest to convince the world vegan deserts are every bit as yummy as "regular" ones!

I also made a backup pineapple upside down cake, because I was afraid the bday cake wouldn't feed everyone. Luckily there was enough for everyone, so there wasn't a need for the mushy pineapple cake. Next time I think I will make individual pineapple upside down cakes, they would probably bake more evenly...

Tell your friends! I need to start selling these puppies for money. Just kidding! Kind of...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Vegan Party Cupcakes- Ready for their Close-Up!

48 mini chocolate/chocolate and vanilla-lemon cupcakes, ready for our shin-dig tonight. I tried to be fancy with my new pastry bag skills, but the surface of these little guys was too tiny to do much... I hope I made enough!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Extra batter? No problem!

So, I don't know about you, but I often don't know what to do with extra cake/muffin batter. Either you wait until your first round of cupcakes/muffins are out of the oven and then clean the tin and fill only a few holes and bake again, or you throw it away. Either option is depressing and annoying.

So, this past winter my mother (hi mom!) gave me individual silicone muffin cups. I admit I had not used them until today, when I had some extra cupcake batter to make exactly two extra cupcakes. I filled the individual silicon cups and put them on a baking sheet along with the rest of the cupcakes. Perfect solution!