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beige plate of yum

19 Nov

This picture is terrible, but it sure hit the spot. It was my lunch today, courtesty of Whole Foods deli. Some sweet potato cakes (made with sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, onions, cranberries and herbs), veggie stuffing and cranberry sauce. Seriously, salty stuffing and cranberry sauce are the only things I need to be happy at Thanksgiving. Keep the pumpkin pie and pass me the casserole dish. kthxbai

For my random drawing of the week, I picked the sneak peek post of cake pictures and the lucky commentor was #10- Jodye! Jodye, I’m going to send you an awesome set of mesh, reusable produce bags for you to fill with deliciousness!

And, as an aside, I’ll put the “news” I was alluding to earlier in the week here. This affects nothing in regards to my blog, except perhaps a serious lack of decent posts for a couple of weeks, but Jim and I are leaving Portland. We’re not going far, we’re moving down to Eugene. When a job opportunity knocks, sometimes you gotta go with it. I’ll miss PDX, but it’s only a 2 hour ride away. Besides, this puts us in the land of YUMM!

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rainy day cheer

18 Nov

I am a big fan of daylight savings so when we go off of it for the winter, it’s hard not to get a little sad. Here in the PacNW, it’s literally pitch black by 5 p.m. We’re in our rainy season, which means that even when it’s not raining we are in for primarily overcast days for several months to come. This isn’t a major complaint, so much as I’m setting the scene.

My dark commute home from work yesterday was accompanied by a torrential downpour. As I barreled alongside the other commuters, whose only goal was to get home in one piece, I began to daydream of a little bite of sunshine. Something bright and cheery to offset all of the heavy, pumpkin-laden treats we’ve been enjoying as of late. When I got home, I started pulling out ingredients only to discover that I had a scant amount of flour lingering in the bottom of the canister. I was in no mood to venture back out into the madness.

Time to improvise! Light and bright and requiring little flour… My mind wandered and landed on the deliciously simple clafoutis. In 100 Best, I have a clafoutis recipe that I love to whip up on a whim, as I always have silken tofu in my fridge and cherries in my freezer. Jim normally hates custardy things, but even he enjoys a slice. I decided to go with some little, single serving clafoutis with some frozen mixed berries.

If you haven’t had clafoutis before, you’re in for a real treat. These little morsels hold up well (great for noshing with one hand and typing with the other!), but remain tender and custard-like. If you’re afraid of baking with tofu, get over it already! You’re missing out! Also, you can make this with brown rice flour instead of the all-purpose and you’ve got clafoutis, gluten-free.

Une Bouchée de Clafoutis*

1 (12.3 oz.) container of firm silken tofu
1/2 cup organic sugar
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk of choice
1 1/2 teas. baking powder
1 teas. vanilla
sprinkle salt
1 cup berries, thawed and drained
powdered sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

In the bowl of a food processor combine the tofu and sugar and blend until mixed. Add the flour, milk, baking powder, vanilla and salt and mix until creamy and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Fill each cup 2/3 of the way with batter. Sprinkle berries on top of each cup; do not mix.

Bake for 20 minutes, until clafoutis are puffy and lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely before loosening with a butter knife and serving. Clafoutis is delicious warm, but will fall apart if you try to take them out too soon, so feel free to reheat in the microwave or toaster oven. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Store leftovers covered, in the fridge.

Makes 12 servings.

*(Josiane, I’m relying on you to tell me if I butchered the title, I haven’t studied French in over 12 years!)

gabbing with the star

11 Nov

So, one of my blogger BBFs and I decided to swap blog space and interview each other. She devised some questions for me to answer, I devised some questions for her, we picked yummy recipes from each other’s blogs. (You can read my interview here.)

Without further ado, let me introduce someone you already know (but certainly want to learn more about) the lovely Celine Steen, author of 500 Vegan Recipes, Vegan Substitutes and Hearty Vegan Meals.

for realz, celine uses that stake to mash potatoes.

1. At home, what do you use for baking/cooking: US or metric measurements?
I prefer using US for liquid, metric for solids. I channel my inner Meat Loaf and would do anything for love, which to me translates into keeping the amount of dirty dishes to a minimum, something that weighing stuff instead of measuring it helps accomplish.

2. What flavor combination have you reluctantly tried that has pleasantly surprised you?

I actually can’t think of anything that I reluctantly tried, because if it doesn’t appeal – I just won’t try it. Boring and unadventurous maybe, but hey. There are so many flavors out there that I feel it’d be a waste of a perfect meal to just force something unappealing in. By golly.

3. If you were rich and could have all your meals delivered, where would you get your food from?

My mom’s kitchen!

4. How long have you been vegan? What recipes where the big ones you absolutely had to convert immediately?

I went vegan about 6 years ago. I think in the beginning I just went for safe vegweb recipes and the ones found in books, probably How it all Vegan. Then I grew some hair on my chest and became more daring, making stuff from scratch and going from there. Oh now I remember: lasagna was the big thing for me, because my mom’s lasagna was the best, and it also was the first meal Chaz made for me when I came to visit him in the States. The vegan version makes my heart pitter-patter just as much as the other ones did, by the way. (No offense to Chaz or mom.)

5. What has been your worst baking/cooking disaster? Did you eat it anyway?

There’s one of those going on at least once a week over here, because while failure may not be an option, it will laugh in your face and happen to you whether you like it or not. But I almost always refuse to toss stuff out, unless it’s beyond vile. Lessee: I think one time, in my early baking days, I tried to mix some tofutti cheese slices into muffins, which resulted in some gooey, swamp creature worthy type of horror. Fun times! Trash time, in this case. What was I thinking?

6. Surprise! The coolest vegan restaurant in the world is, rightfully, madly in love with you. They decide to create a namesake meal in your honor. What would that meal be?

Will the restaurant wine me and dine me first, to see if we are a perfect match? Flowers would be a nice touch, too.
Even though I clearly have to have desserts or the day didn’t happen, I can’t help but lean toward the one weakness I’ve had all my life: perfect French fries. Crispy outside, tender inside, salty, not too greasy. Oh yeah, that’s the stuff.

7. Nomnomnom… you have been a recipe writing machine. What do you do to balance all of creative craziness so you don’t have a “The Shining” moment?
I drink red rum.
And I also have to work out, work out, work out. Not only does it make room for more food, but it also helps me clear my head from any unnecessary junk.

8. If you could do a cookie swap with any famous vegan, who would it be? What kind of cookies would you make them?
Miss Mo! She’s made of 100% kickassitude, and she also happens to have the same first name as my mom. If I had any cookie icing skills, I’d go for something Whedonesque on a tasty sugar cookie. Maybe a portrait of Riley Finn, or something.

9. When you are spending a long day in the kitchen, what do you listen to/watch to keep yourself pumped?

I’m really into 12 Rounds, Nine Inch Nails and PJ Harvey right now. Angsty music makes for perfectly kneaded bread dough, for real.
As far as the watching bit goes, I just finished the 7th season of Buffy for the [insert crazy number here]th time and am ready to dive right back in. Send help.

10. Are your kitties taste-testers? What is the most unusual thing one of you cats has sampled?
Dear god no. NO! If they taste-test, I inevitably pay for it later. Enough said.

11. Quick! I’m coming over in 1 hour and you’re going to make me lunch. Using just what you have on hand, what’s on the menu?
Cobb salad and crab cakes. And banana bread. And a quesadilla for later, if you’re good.

12. Okay, it’s me (Kris), so something about Trader Joe’s has to come up. What’s your favorite goodie from TJs?

One of them cute cashiers will do just fine. Or if we really are talking about food, it’s tough to choose one: but I really like their “colon blaster” muffins, as Chaz calls them. You know, the ones that are fiber rich and packed with raspberries, blueberries, or mango?

13. When you come to present at Vida Vegan next year, where do you absolutely have to eat while in Portland?

As far as food goes, I know that anywhere will be perfect because there hasn’t been a single disappointing restaurant visit when I was there the first time, but the one thing that has been on my mind ever since I left is of the liquid courage persuasion: a Bye & Bye* is first on my to-do list. August can’t be here soon enough.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

*coincidentally (or maybe not), The Bye & Bye is where I met Celine IRL for the first time.

While I was tempted to fill a stockpot with Chocolate PB Syrup and drink it with a straw, I decided to exercise some self restraint. I can never get enough chocolate or pumpkin, so I recently whipped up Celine’s Pumpkin Chocolate Brownie Cake. It’s a super nom-tastic cake you can feel good about eating because Celine is a tasty-treat ninja like that.

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownie Cake

Non-stick cooking spray
1/4 cup (60 ml) plain soymilk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup (60 g) whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup (63 g) all-purpose flour or 1/2 cup (60 g) whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup (67 g) granulated sugar or 1/3 cup (64 g) Sucanat
1/3 cup (73 g) packed light brown sugar or 1/3 cup (64 g) Sucanat
2 tablespoons (10 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (122 g) pumpkin purée
1/4 cup (61 g) unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons (45 ml) canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup (58 g) nondairy semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Lightly coat an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking pan with spray.

Combine vinegar and soymilk in a medium bowl: it will curdle and become like buttermilk. In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugars, cocoa, spices, and salt. Whisk pumpkin purée, applesauce, oil, and vanilla into the buttermilk mixture, until combined.

Fold wet ingredients into dry, being careful not to over mix. Fold in chocolate chips. Place batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan, on a wire rack. Remove from pan after at least 30 minutes. Enjoy at room temperature or cold.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

yee-haw: it’s vegan mofo 2010!

31 Oct

Good morning!

Linus is so excited that it's Vegan MoFo. Seriously, this is his happy face, in his happy place.

I imagine all your feed readers* are looking pretty full right about now. The bestest month of the year is upon us, Vegan MoFo! Horray!

I am in it to win it, I tell you. I am very excited to see what everyone else will be blogging about, gathering ideas for the upcoming holiday feasts and to jump-start my own blogging frequency once again.

Here’s what you can expect to see this month:

-Giveaways! Each week I will be doing giveaways. Here’s the thing- they won’t be announced. Every Friday I will pick a random post from the week and one random commenter from that post will win a prize! Books, goodies from Food Fight, my mind is aflutter with possibilities, so be sure to comment!

-Recipes! Real food recipes, baking recipes and more feature from my Harry Potter series will all surface this month!

-Nutrition! I am working on a whole series of information about nutrition that will not only be informative, but really interesting, too. Promise.

-Videos!
More video segments and some different, fun snippets to liven things up.

Of all the awesome MoFo goodness out there, what are you most looking forward? What blogs are your must-reads during this yummiest of months?

*sidenote- if you subscribe to this blog through a feed, you may need to update. Click here if this pertains to you.

it’s the great pumpkin… harry potter!

26 Oct

I have discovered a new-to-me baking blog, and I’m having a bit of a love affair with it. Joy the Baker is charming and funny, very creative and dabbles in vegan baking from time to time.

As a whole, I rarely use other people’s recipes for baking, but while cruising on her site last weekend, I decided to make her vegan pumpkin bread. And can you believe, I didn’t put walnuts in! Me, avoiding quick bread debris! It wasn’t for lack of trying, alas I was out of walnuts. Plus, I decided to make muffins and add a streusel topping with pumpkin seeds, which trumps walnuts any day. The only other modifications I made was lowering the sugar a bit (to 2 cups sweetener, total) and lowered the oil to 2/3 cup, substituting hemp milk for the other 1/3. The muffins I normally make are lower fat and sugar than these, and they tend to taste like it, too. 😉 Not that it’s a bad thing, I love my muffins, but these were decadent, borderline-cupcake muffins and quite lovely in their own right.

Josie acted as my muffin packaging supervisor. Jumbo muffins, FTW!

This time of year, my love of pumpkin runs wild. I want to bake everything with it, just seeing its brilliant orange color when I open the can (yes, I’m too lazy to make my own pumpkin puree) makes me giddy. With all of my pumpkin baking lately, I had a lone bit sitting in the fridge, waiting to be used… but in what?

I hadn’t planned to make Pumpkin Pasties as part of my Harry Potter food adventure, as it’s already been done, but alas, I read The Sorcerer’s Stone on Sunday and was inspired by Harry’s first trip to Hogwarts.

In addition, I received a frog chocolate mold for Christmas last year, so last night I hopped aboard the Hogwarts Express and got to it!

But wait, what’s a pasty? While not entirely uncommon in the States, this treat is definitely not a household name. Before wardrobe malfunctions, microwaves and Jim Gaffigan, there were pasties, the British/UK ancestor to the Hot Pocket. I say that in jest, of course, because pasties are delicious and Hot Pockets are not only not vegan, but can also cause some unpleasant side effects. Pasties can be sweet or savory and are basically handheld meals or dessert, encased in a flaky pastry crust. They are usually a half circle, but I made mine smaller and circular because I thought it would look cute. For Jim’s sake, I added a bit of glaze, as well.

*Note the chocolate frog in the background! Filled with peanut butter, of course!

1/2 recipe pie crust
3 tbsp. dark sugar
1/2 teas. cornstarch
1/2 teas. cinnamon
1/4 teas. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 recipe pie crust

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Add the spices and mix then add the pumpkin and combine until well incorporated. Roll out the pie crust and cut into 12 rounds, using a biscuit cutter or the mouth of a drinking glass. Scoop the pumpkin filling into the center of 6 of the rounds (I used a cookie scoop and it worked perfectly). Then top with the top crust and seal edges, using water if needed. Cut a tiny hole to vent and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until edges are golden.

Let pasties cool and eat plain or if you or a loved one has a glaze addiction, whip up a little with some maple extract, if you have it, and top each pasty.

the winner is…

24 Sep

Kate! (spatula girl)

Shoot me an email at nomblog {de} gmail {dot} com.

I have a bunch of great noms and more giveaways coming up soon! Stay tuned!

teesy tater tot hotdish

17 Feb

Teese Challenge #1:

In the Midwest there are casserole dishes, but there are not casseroles. There is hotdish. The essential kind of hotdish: tater tot.

Now, I’ll be honest with you- my mother never really cooked and I don’t care for tater tots, so I never dined on the authentic dish before, but I know that it usually goes something like this:

Sauteed onion + ground beef + can of condensed cream of whatever soup + tater tots on top = dinner. Blorch.

But when given the opportunity to play with some Teese recently, I wanted to think outside the box. No pizza, cheesy dip would do, this needed to be creative. Enter Teesy Tator Tot Hotdish.

Teesy Tator Tot Hotdish

Olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teas. dried basil
1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
1/2 cup frozen peas (you must have at least one frozen vegetable in it for it to be a real hotdish)
2 veggie sausages, cut into coins
1 tube creamy cheddar Teese
1/2 cup milk of choice (I used almond)
Tater tots

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease an 8 x 8 or smaller casserole (I used a 5 x7, but 8 x 8 would work too, you could always increase your zucchini and mushrooms a little or add more tots!).

In a pan, heat olive oil. Add onion and garlic and sautee until onions become translucent. Add basil and sautee for another minute. Transfer to a large bowl. In same pan, sautee mushrooms until tender. Drain juice and add to bowl with onions. Add zucchini, peas and veggie sausages to bowl. Add Teese and milk and mix with a whisk or spoon until Teese and milk have incorporated and coat veggie mixture (it might look a little lumpy, but that’s fine). Pour into casserole dish and cover with frozen tots.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until tots are golden and cheesy mixture is bubbling. You may need to put a baking sheet with parchment under the casserole to catch drips. Allow hotdish to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 3-4 servings.

It was darn tasty, dontcha know!