Archive for October, 2008

Far too long…

Indeed.

It has been far too long since the last time that I’ve made a post. I’ve finally gotten up the strength to stand for a prolonged period of time and make something in the kitchen this morning. I’ve recently been dealing with various infections and ailments… But now I think I’m getting over it, finally.

I quit my job. I did. I know, it sounds crazy. But it really can’t sound more crazy than the fact that I was a Manager, making only $8.5/hr and working close to 60 hrs a week. And now you know why I quit.

I’m going to be moving to TX in two weeks. That’s right, I’m packing up the great gobs of junk that I have strewn around in Savannah and I’ll be moving them all to Austin, Tx. I’m excited and scared at the same time. I’ll be leaving my Hubby here in Savannah for the next 6 months so that he can complete his degree here at SCAD. Sooo.. I’ll be without him for a while.

So I’ve decided that I’ll be taking a break from this blog for just a little bit so that I can get things sorted out. You’d better believe that I have a million things on my list before I get out of Savannah. Besides packing all of my junk up, I need to figure out what kind of arrangement I’m making about my 5 cats, whether I’m going to need a Uhaul or not, who’s driving whom and where are they driving them, how the heck is Zach going to get back in time for class the following Monday, and of course, where am I going to find enough coffee to do this all in two weeks?

Fear not! I will be back and you’d better believe that I’ll have a ton to post. I’ll take pictures, I’ll do a little dance, I might even bake in preparation of the move.. Who knows?

I’m sorry for all of you who are reading my posts regularly.. Pffft.. No I’m not sorry that you’re reading my posts. I’m sorry that I’ll be gone for a while. I promise that I’ll get back into it once I’m not coughing up a lung or moving halfway across the country.

I love you all!! Take care and don’t forget to make some cookies!

October 24, 2008 at 9:55 am 1 comment

Vegan Lemon Strawberry Tartlettes

What happens when you combine a bit of frustration, a handful of hunger and a serious craving for cream?

Lemon Strawberry Tartlettes

Lemon Strawberry Tartlettes

Voila. These are what you get… Well, when you’re talking about a vegan who’s tired of the same old same old. In the last couple days I’ve been craving something baked, something creamy, something decadent and yet light.. and these are what I came up with. Inspired by the fact that my boss keeps on asking me to bake her a pie and my own craving for something other than fruit, I decided to compromise and make a tart with vegan pastry cream.

First I asked myself… do I really want pastry cream if it’s going to be vegan? There’s something so nice and sinful about traditional pastry cream, albeit fattening and probably artery clogging… but something there that just doesn’t feel right when you add the word “vegan” to it. However, the side of me who wants to try things that just sound impossible and weird decided that it was worth the effort to try and make a delicious Vegan cream.

Vegan Pastry Cream

2 c. Soymilk
1/2 c. AP Flour
1/2 c. Cane Sugar
Zest of two Lemons
Juice of two Lemons
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Combine the milk and flour in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly. This is going to thicken up in about 5 minutes just like a Bechamel sauce. Once it thickens up, add the sugar and whisk well to combine. Then, add the rest of the ingredients, cook for another minute and then take it off of the heat. Transfer to a bowl and place saran wrap over the cream, directly on top, to avoid developing a film on the top. This stuff is tasty! And not as artery clogging as the real stuff.

Vegan Pastry Shells

3 1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 c. Safflower Oil
1/2 c. Soymilk
1/2 c. H2O
3 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 1/2 tsp salt

Combine the flour and the oil in a bowl until the flour looks crumbly. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine well. The dough will be dry, but if it’s TOO dry, add some more water to the mix. I probably wound up with about .5 c of flour still in the bowl not incorporated into the large mass of dough.

Roll the dough out to about 1/8th of an inch and use a 3 inch cookie cutter to cut out little circles. Press the circles into a muffin pan, making sure that there’s some dough coming up the sides of the pan. Imagine making itty bitty pie crusts, that is what you’re doing, after all! Bake these in a 425 degree oven for 12 minutes. I got about 28 little crusts and then made myself a galleta as well with the dough.

Delicious!

Delicious!

CONSTRUCTION: After the little crusts are baked, let them cool. When the pastry cream is chilled thoroughly, spoon it into the crusts and decorate with sliced strawberries. I made some of them into stars on the top, some of them had little strawberry petals off to one side and some of them I even decorated with some raw almonds for an extra texture.
I also made a crostada, which is basically a freeform tart. I made a large oval with the leftover dough and then spread the pastry cream over the dough just within an inch of the outside. I arranged the strawberries on the creme and then pinched the edges inwards to make a bit of a crust. Sprinkle the whole thing, even the edges, with some sugar. I baked this whole thing in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Simple and Rustic

Simple and Rustic

Enjoy!

October 13, 2008 at 4:11 pm 2 comments

Robin, you make a mean vegan pancake.

So says Zach. I think, though, he’s a little biased since I’m going to be marrying him in the next year… Just a hunch that he might say stuff like that even if it’s not good. I do, however, think that he was telling the truth. I tried a bite to make sure that they were tasty, and oh, were they! All I can say is that I can’t wait to make these for my mom when I get back to Texas.

Vegan Strawberry Pancakes

Vegan Strawberry Pancakes

Vegan Strawberry Pancakes

1/2c Whole Wheat flour
1/2c AP flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/8 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 c Soymilk (If you want these to be non-vegan, just use regular milk!)
2 tbsp Safflower oil (or any vegetable oil)
1c Pureed strawberries (I used frozen strawberries and they worked just fine!)
1/4 tsp Strawberry Flavoring.. this is VERY optional. The pancakes were great without them, I just tried it for the last few to see if it made a difference. They were better with it, but didn’t miss out without it.

This is really easy, I’m tellin’ yah!

Preheat your skillet to medium heat. While it’s heating up, mix all the ingredients together until they’re smooth. Once you have everything together, spoon it onto the skillet in whatever fashion you choose. I like to use a #30 IceCream disher to get the same size and portion for every pancake. You can use whatever you wish. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side and serve with your favorite syrup!

Delicioso!

Delicioso!

Enjoy.

I want to make these every morning. They’re so darn easy! I hop you guys try this one out. This is a keeper.

October 7, 2008 at 9:32 am 2 comments

Doughnuts by request

A couple of days ago, a woman who comes in regularly to Panera mentioned doughnuts. I told her that I would figure out a recipe for Whole Wheat dougnuts, since she’s diabetic and needs to pay attention to the types of carbs she’s putting in her body. I dutifully went to work and here they are.

Whole Wheat Baked Vegan Doughnuts Version 1.0:

3/4 cups warm soy milk
1/2 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 tbsp Canola Oil
1/3 c Honey or Agave Syrup for vegans.
½ Banana, pureed.
3/4 c AP Flour
2 c Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Salt

Bloom the yeast in 1/4c of the soy milk. Make sure that this liquid is warm, but NOT HOT. Heat will kill the yeast and prevent your dough from. Let this sit for 5 minutes. Combine this with the Canola Oil and honey/agave as well as the remaining ½ c of Soy Milk. Next, work in the banana, flour and cinnamon until just incorporated. Knead this dough for 5 minutes by hand. I love to knead my dough , but this is not one of those doughs that you’ll want to knead forever. If your dough is too dry, add some milk; too wet, add some flour. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Let it rise for an hour or until it’s doubled in size.

Punch the dough down and roll to ½ inch thick. Cut into circles.. I use a drinking glass. Transfer the doughnuts to a lined cookie sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

Dip into butter and then powdered sugar. Or maybe an herb? Lavender anyone? I like to dip mine in honey and enjoy.

I also filled some of mine with sugar-free blackberry jam. So yummy with the whole wheat dough!

Makes 1 dozen doughnuts, approx.

Assorted toppings and fillings

If you don’t want these babies to be vegan, replace the soy milk with regular milk, the canola oil with butter and the banana with 1 egg. Follow the directions the same way and you’ve got yourself a non-vegan version.

Enjoy!

October 6, 2008 at 11:35 am 8 comments

Is that even possible?

Baking without the use of eggs? Is that even possible? Well, The Post Punk Kitchen says that it is. Here, I’ll list a ton of resources that I’ll be looking at to figure out how to make my recipes vegan in the next couple of weeks. Hopefully, it’ll help you out, too

Vegan Baking Resources

What does a vegan eat?
Savvy Vegetarian teaches you how to substitute for eggs, milk, and butter.
VegFamily.com gives you ten tips on how to bake vegan.
Post Punk Kitchen Helps with egg, milk and butter substitutions.

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Vegan Baking Recipe Collections

From FatFree Vegan Kitchen: Breakfast and Breads OR Desserts and Fruits.
VeganYumYum’s Favorite Vegan Recipes
Veg Web: Breads, Desserts or Raw Foods, which I’ll be checking out a lot of!
About.com lists Vegan Cookie Recipes
Here is a phenomenal list of Vegan Cookies from Squidoo

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Vegan Baking Blogs

Vegan Cupcakes
Have Cake Will Travel
A Vegan Ice Cream Paradise
Vegan Cookies
FatFree Vegan Kitchen

Want to see some delicious Vegan Baked Goods?? CLICK HERE. oMIGOShh..

Hope this helps some of you! I’ll be updating this list and adding a page to list all the Vegan resources that I find.

Happy Baking, Folks!

October 4, 2008 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Cakeoff Results

Choco Cookies

Choco Cookies

I know I promised to get these to you guys by yesterday, but a few things popped up. I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. I went to the doctor yesterday and found out that I have to go through a battery of tests to figure out what’s goin’ on in my body. Sounds like fun, right? Right. I’ll keep you all updated let you know that I’m not going to die. Don’t worry. I AM, however, changing my diet around.

Recently, I’ve been following the South Beach Diet, eating less Carbs and more protein. This is proving to actually be to my detriment. I’ve decided that I’m going to start a Raw Foods diet. —HOLD IT. Don’t think that I’m crazy. I know that it’s harsh and it’s strict, but it is going to help out a couple of things in my life.

  • No. 1: I’ll be able to lose the extra weight I’m carrying around (which will help with my medical problems)\
  • No. 2: It’s an easy diet to follow, easy rules…
  • No. 3: It’ll help regulate my blood sugar (Also helping out with my medical problems)
  • No. 4: It’s closer to the way that I want to be eating than anything else. I want to be eating a very natural, simple diet, and this seems like the way to go for now. I’m sure that I’m probably going to end up eating Vegan at one point, but for now, I’m going to push it all the way and see how my body reacts. May not be the wisest choice, but I’ve always testes boundaries in order to find out where they lie.

So what’s going to happen to my baking style? I’m going to be baking strictly vegan from now on. When I bake, I’ll be testing my foods, so I won’t be COMPLETELY Raw Foodist, but I’ll be mostly. I still want to know whether what I’m making tastes good or feels good to me, and if it’s Vegan, then all the better! I would love to adapt cookie traditional cookie recipes into Vegan cookie recipes. And it has been my dream to someday own a bakery with health in mind. Imagine it: Herbal Teas, Coffees, vegan cakes, cookies and breads… It is my dream.

Enough of that. I just wanted to write about it so that it was concrete. As soon as I run out of my “dead” food (meats, eggs, dairy and cooked fruits and veggies) I’ll be buying and eating all raw foods. I’m already pretty good friend’s with my Produce section, but I imagine I might just grow a tad bit closer in the next couple of weeks. Wish me luck! I’ll give you all updates on how the diet is going, how it tastes and how my weight loss is going along. This is going to be tough!

ONTO THE CAKEOFF RESULTS!

This week I decided to find out if chocolate cookies had to be fattening in order to be tasty. The two recipes can be found here.

Cookies going head-to-head

Cookies going head-to-head

Chocolate Dream cookies (on the left) VS. Chunky Chocolate cookies (on the right)

…and the winner is….

Okay, hold on a second. There’s a tie! Why? Well, here are the results:

When the cookies were warm, fresh out of the oven, the vote was clearly with the Chocolate Dream cookies. These cookies were light, and crunchy, but chewy in the middle. There were tons of melty, delicious chocolate chunks in it and it tasted like… well, like a dream! The Chunky Chocolate cookies were okay. They were fluffy and light, cakey and moist. A good cookie, but not like a dream. So logic would tell you that the Dream was the winner. Not so fast!…

After refrigerating these cookies, the vote tipped WAY into Chunky’s favor. When they’re cold, these cookes are chewy, moist and.. Dare I say: Dreamy. Believe it. They taste WONDERFUL when cold. The dream cookies after being chilled were dry, crunchy and still pretty good, but not nearly as tasty as the Chunky.

So which one was the healthy one? The Chunky. And it held it’s own quite well, I think. However, straight out of the oven, (which is how most of my cookies are eaten cause they usually taste too darn good to get cooled off!) the dream cookie is still oh-so-good. I’ll be making these cookies again, hopefully… if I can figure out how to make ’em vegan!

October 3, 2008 at 12:00 am 1 comment

Chocolate Triple Threat

Beet?! What?  No. I hate beets, and this does NOT taste like beet. I hate beet. I do. You’re lying. You are lying… right?

No.

I’m not. There’s beets in that cupcake.

Chocolate Beet Cuppies

Chocolate Beet Cuppies

Yet another Birthday Cupcake creation. Jeez.. How many people were born in September? I’m glad (and sad) that this month is ending tomorrow.

Who here’s an October baby?

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Chocolate whipped cream

2 cups beet puree (about 3 large beets)
1 cup of unsalted butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoons of salt

Ganache:
2/3c Heavy Cream
2/3c Chocolate

Whipped Cream:
2/3c Heavy Cream
1/2c Melted Chocolate
2 tbsp Granulated Sugar

Mix together the butter, sugars, eggs, water and beet puree. Stir well until combined. Next, add the dry ingredients. Mix it until there are no lumps. Fill cupcake papers halfway, or just use a #30 disher to do the job… That gadget is my best friend. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2/3c of heavy cream to boiling. Pour over 2/3c of your favorite chocolate. Stir well until combined and chill this mixture.

AND whip 2/3c heavy cream until light and fluffy. Stir in the sugar. Melt 1/2c Chocolate and stir into the whipped cream.

Construction:
Fill the cupcakes each with about a teaspoon of ganache and chill for an hour, or until the ganache is chilled, set and firm. Then, spread the whipped cream over the top. Decorate as you will. I put chopped up chocolate and some white chocolate drizzle over it… Yummy!

Triple Threat Cupcake

Triple Threat Cupcake

(In an elephant cup. Cause elephants like chocolate too…  I think. )

October 1, 2008 at 12:00 am 1 comment