Tag Archives: kittehs

kittehs and cookies!

8 Dec

Animals are supposed to be able to recognize things that are harmful to them and withdraw from the edge of danger. When we see fire, we retreat. When we come across an unknown berry in the woods, we don’t eat it.

Bindhi is apparently not that bright. She is terribly attracted to two big kitteh no-nos- chocolate and coffee. Sigh. At least she looks cute when she’s sniffing cookies or when she wraps her paws around my arm and pulls with all her might to smell my mug.

Recently Leigh paid me a very high compliment, calling my Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie recipe from 100 Best the “perfect chocolate chip cookie”. Aw… That inspired me to whip some up with chocolate chips and pistachios. So good! I love that Trader Joe’s sells preshelled pistachios, it makes life so much easier. (For those who have an interest in the chemistry of baking, notice how the shape of our cookies is different around the edges. I softened my margarine in the microwave and overdid it a but, it ended up slightly liquidy. The cookies where still soft and chewy, but you can see how it affected the shape. Interesting…)

I was going to post a recipe this week for vegan fruitcake (that actually tastes good!) but thought I’d do a little pole and see which recipe you’d like more. What do you think?

how do you cocoa?

2 Dec

Well, slowly but surely we’re getting settled into our new space (hence my absence from the end of MoFo. FAIL). My new kitchen is HUGE, with tons of counter space and natural light, two things I have been sorely lacking for years, so I’m very excited to start churning out holiday goodies in this lovely new space. Of course, my best kitchen helper is right by my side, per the usual.

All I can think of is holiday baking, it makes my heart swoon. What is better than the smell of fresh baked goods, wafting from a warm oven and the eager anticipation of what is to come? I say to heck with the presents and other traditions of Giftmas, gimme the cookies/brownies/pie/cake!

Which brings me to an important issue, near and dear to my heart. Cocoa.

There are two main types of cocoa powder for baking: regular and Dutch-processed. In the picture above, the lighter cocoa on top is standard baking cocoa, while the darker, redder powder on the bottom is Dutch-processed. When I mention Dutch-processed to folks, I am often met with a blank stare, so I thought a little cocoa lesson might be in order.

Dutch-processed cocoa is cocoa that has been alkalized to reduce the acidity of the cocoa. In doing this, the natural slight bitterness (apparent standard in baking cocoa) is reduced, making for a richer chocolate flavor. I personally LOVE Dutch-processed cocoa and use it almost exclusively in my baking because of that flavor. Before discovering Dutch-pressed cocoa, I always used to add melted chocolate to almost every recipe that called for solely cocoa and no other kind of chocolate, because I felt continually let down by the lack of chocolate flavor. With the Dutch-pressed cocoa, my chocolate hound taste buds are far more satisfied (although a generous sprinkle of chocolate chips never hurt anyone). There is a depth of flavor that’s priceless in the finished product.

Technically using Dutch-processed cocoa, being more acid neutral, could require more chemical leavener to compensate (another pinch of baking powder), but I haven’t really noticed any difference swapping between them and leaving the recipe as is.

Dutch-processed cocoa can be harder to find in some areas, but it’s worth looking for. Like anything, the price can fluctuate dramatically (I’ve seen packages range from $3-$20) so check around for the best deal.

*Post amended to state the obvious- please buy fair trade when you can! Yes, it costs more, but you are helping to pay living wages for people who are working for legitimate farms where they are not slaves, but actual employees. The chocolate, coffee and diamond (and tea and bananas and more!) industries are very dark and dirty businesses to be in. Vote with your dollars!

Chocolate chip pistachio cookies and pumpkin cinnamon rolls are in my near future. What holiday baking treats do you see in your baking crystal ball?

kittehs for a cause

11 Nov

Portland peeps-

Love kittehs? Love shopping? Love belly dancing?

This Saturday is the annual Pretty Kitty Bazaar to benefit House of Dreams. Buy some fun things for yourself, your family or your furry kids and participate in the silent auction. Lots of vegan peeps turned out to donate goods for the auction and raffle, so there are loads of great things to be won and purchased!

HOD_Bazaar2009

I bet you never thought kitties could benefit from your love of exotic dancing, huh? Think again! The following Sunday, the 22nd, there will be a benefit cabaret show featuring belly dancing and other assorted gyrating goodness to benefit HOD. Admission is cheap so you can donate some extra bucks and enjoy a great show- come out and show your love!

dinner with my ladies

4 Nov

Cold weather inspires comfort food. Given that my poorly adapted Portland body has been heading to work in 40 degree weather, comforting meals have been calling me.

Behold the classic soup and sammie combo:

100_4938

Tomato soup with a panini-pressed sandwich. The sandwich is on Dave’s bread with one side smeared with a garlicky bean spread and the other with kalamata olive Tofutti cream cheese, with grilled eggplant and zucchini in the middle (from Trader Joe’s).

Here is my soup dilemma- I like really creamy tomato soup and haven’t been able to make it really creamy and not resembling the flavor and consistency of tomato sauce. Recipes/ideas/help?

My ladies like to assist in the dinnertime routine.

bindhibee

Always proper, Bindhi coaches me on my table etiquette.

josie

Josie supervises in a DOT foreman kind of way- gazing out the window and ignoring me, but everything must pass her smell test.