Tag Archives: nostalgia

vegan fruitcake delight!

15 Dec

I couldn’t resist posting this fruitcake recipe. We never had fruitcake in my family when I was growing up, so I don’t have bad memories of it, but you can’t exist this time of year and not be familiar with the jokes that go along with fruitcake.

This fruitcake, however, is dense, moist and delicious and doesn’t take weeks to cure in the back of you pantry (yuck!). It’s quick and easy and can easily be adapted to meet your fruit cakey preferences (some darker sugar or alcohol, a spike of molasses, etc).

Ah, fruitcake. The butt of many a holiday joke. But no one will give you a hard time about this light cake, studded with dried fruit and nuts. They’ll be too busy stuffing their faces with it. This version is a bit less, um, brilliant than the traditional neon-candied cherries version, but you can feel free to substitute the dried fruit with those familiar favorites if you’d like. The added bonus is that these cakes don’t need to cure, so you don’t have to start working on them in October to enjoy their Yuletide cheer!

1 cup flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 teas. baking powder
1/8 teas. salt
1/3 cup agave
1/2 cup orange juice OR 1/4 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup alcohol (rum or bandy) if going for the boozy taste
2 tbsp. apple sauce
2 tbsp. oil
1 teas. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts of choice
1/2 cup chopped sweet dried fruit of choice (dates, figs, raisins, etc.)
1/2 cup chopped tart dried fruit of choice (apricots, candied orange peel, tart cherries, etc.)
1/3 cup alcohol (same as used in batter) or 1/3 cup apple cider

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease and flour 1 loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans.

In a small bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium sized bowl, combine the agave, orange juice, 1/4 cup alcohol (if using), applesauce, oil and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Add the dry to the wet in batches, until well combined. Add the nuts and dried fruit and mix until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan(s). For mini cakes, bake for 24-28 minutes and for a full loaf for 45-50 minutes, until lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove cake from oven and set on rack. While warm, poke cake randomly with toothpick to create pin holes. Slowly and evenly pour the remaining alcohol or apple cider over the cakes, a little at at time to allow it time to absorb. Let cakes cool in pan for 20 minutes before inverting and let finish cooling on the rack.

Store cakes wrapped up or in a sealed container in fridge.

tomay-to, tomah-to…

16 Nov

Okay, I’m kind of sucking at MoFo. I think November is not as good a month for it, it’s too busy. Plus, I have some news to share soon (no, I’m not pregnant) that has been tying up my time, but that will come.

I love me some tomato soup. It’s my go-to food when I’m feeling sick and there are lots of recipes for tomato soup out there, but a lot of them end up tasting like spaghetti sauce or salsa. Blech.

Elephant’s Deli, in Portland, is a beloved deli and catering place that is famous for their unique tomato soup. They are not famous for their vegan options. Needless to say, the soup is not vegan, but it’s so loved that they are nice enough to share the recipe on their site. Based on its cult status, I couldn’t resist whipping up a veganized batch of it… and it is seriously good. And the mystery ingredient that makes it so intriguing really does give it that je ne sais quoi.

I’m not going to repost their recipe since I already linked to it and didn’t get permissions to do so. All I substituted was plain soy milk for the cream and vegan margarine for the butter, obviously. The soy milk worked well, but I bet soy creamer would be even better. You’d expect it to curdle, especially with orange juice (fresh is a must, it’s so good!), but somehow it works.

What’s your most nostalgic comfort food during the dreary winter months?

happy new year!

1 Jan

Happy New Year!

Did you celebrate the New Year in any special way? Dinner, family, friends? Jim and I were feeling a little under the weather (sadly a New Year’s tradition with one of us, usually) so we laid low and watch reruns of Seinfeld on my laptop. So exciting. 🙂

As cliched as it is, it’s resolution time. Even when you aren’t into resolutions it’s hard not to feel inclined towards the idea of a fresh start. We all have things we’d like to try/do/improve upon and the beginning of a new year (and decade!) seems like a perfect time to reassess and take stock. So here goes:

Beautiful tattoo work by Ximena Quiroz of Skeleton Key Tattoo in Portland

1. 2010 will be the year I truly dedicate to my yoga practice. Some of you may know that I have been a serious budding yogi for some years now, but developing a true home practice and branching into the study of yoga history and theory has been lopsided at best. It has come in fits and spurts and always ends up falling back into asana sandwiched in between the other random things I let get in the way. This year I’m committing to a true, robust practice, integrating yoga into my daily life.

2. Potty-mouth begone!
It may come as a surprise, but I am the owner of a serious potty-mouth. I can even make Jim shake his head and he works at a car dealership. My goal is to tone down the cussin’ to well-placed expletives that accentuate what I’m saying rather than make me look like I have a limited capacity to express myself.

3. I’m going to start working on another cookbook. A full-on, real meals and the whole she-bang cookbook, not just desserts. I do have a focus, but I’d rather not say anything right now. Things are still in the early stages and with this, yoga and my day job, I’m going to be busy and probably very absent from the blog-o-sphere. I will probably turn into one of those twice-a-month bloggers for some time. But I will definitely keep you guys up on the progress, as well as put a shout-out when I’m looking for some testing assistance.

And now, for some food. When I was a kid, I ate a lot of Jell-o products. While it grosses me out to think of eating it now, I have very fond memories. My grandfather would make cherry Jell-o with cans of fruit cocktail suspended in them and boxes of Jell-o pudding and my great-grandma was the queen of fancy multi-layered Jell-o molds.

Recently I was overtaken by a craving for pistachio pudding. I’ve recently become a pistachio eating fool, but this memory of eating a creamy, pistachio flavored food seemed confusing to me. Did my grandpa make pistachio pudding? Does pistachio pudding even exist? It sounded weird. Sure enough, a cruise down the pudding aisle revealed the pistachio pudding does exist and the quest for a homemade version began.

A quick survey of the internet showed that not many folks have bothered to make such a thing at home. Most recipes were cringe-inducing dishes involving packages of pistachio pudding and buckets of Cool-Whip. Blorch. I was on my own.

I almost cried when I tasted it, so creamy and delicious, it was like being punched in the face by nostalgia, but even better than I remembered.

Pistachio Pudding

1/2 cup shelled pistachios, finely ground (I used a coffee grinder that we use exclusively for nuts and seeds and it worked great)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. corn starch
2 cups milk of choice (I used soy for the fat content)
1/4 teas. vanilla

Grind up pistachios and best as possible. You could also try a blender, but I did mine in batches in a coffee grinder. In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch until well blended. Add the ground pistachios and mix. Slowly whisk in milk. Cook pudding on medium/high heat, whisking often, until it comes to a light bowl. Whisking constantly, let lightly boil for about 2 minutes. Lower heat and continue to whisk constantly for 5-8 more minutes, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. If you’re having problems with the pistachios clumping up a bit, you can always blend a little with a handmixer. Remove from heat and add vanilla, mixing well. Transfer to heat resistant bowls. Let cool completely before eating.

Makes four 1/2 cup servings.

eat this, totino’s!

23 Aug

Remember those awful Pizza Rolls commercials? They may still have them now, I don’t know, but I remember watching them when I was a teen. The young boy, bounding home from school with his friends in tow, pondering what they would have for an after school snack. After perusing the kitchen and turning up nothing they open the freezer to find the holy grail- Pizza Rolls! Three cheers and the mom is a hero for keeping her kitchen stocked with such a stellar snack.

Yuck.

While I sympathize with the plight of working mothers (and fathers), there is just no excuse for that junk, veganism or otherwise. Crap, crap, crap. The only thing natural about Pizza Rolls is the cardboard they are packaged in. But, there is something to be said about the allure of pizza-filled dumplings. While these don’t whip us as fast as Pizza Rolls, you could easily make a big batch ahead of time, bake and reheat later in a toaster oven.

These are a little different in that pizza sauce is not baked in them. They are stuffed with a filling and then you dip them in sauce. But dipping just makes them more fun to eat, in my opinion.

Vegan Pizza Rolls

1/2 cup warm water
1/2 teas. sugar
1 package rapid-rise yeast (1/4 oz or 2 1/4 teas.)
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4. teas. salt

1/2 cup vegan pepperoni, chopped
1 cup vegan mozzarella, shredded (I used Teese)
3 tbsp. dried oregano
marinara or pizza sauce for dipping

In a large bowl, combine water and sugar and stir. Add yeast and let sit until foamy, about 3 minutes. In another bowl, combine flour and salt. Add the margarine to the water mixture and then add flour, 1/2 cup at a time until a sticky dough forms. Turn out onto a clean, floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding flour as needed. Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450. I recommend using a pizza stone if you have one. Prepare pepperoni, mozzarella and oregano. Roll out dough into a 18 x 24 inch square and cut into strips about 1 1/4 inch by 3 inches.

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On one side of each strip, place a pinch of each filling component. You need to be able to fold and seal them, so keep that in mind when filling them.

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Roll over the naked side of the strip to cover the filling and pinch to seal. You may need to brush with a little water to get the dough to seal. If they don’t look beautiful now, don’t worry. They will get nice and puffy when they bake.

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Brush or spray with a light coating of olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes in the oven, until lightly browned. You can also bake them for about 9 minutes in a toaster oven at 400 degrees. They will turn out fine, but the bottoms won’t be as crispy. Serve warm with marinara sauce. They reheat beautifully in a toaster oven.

Makes, approximately 30 rolls.

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Now that’s what I call an after school snack!

not-mystery not-meat and a recipe

29 Apr

There is food being cooked! I haven’t had much to post lately because, frankly, we’ve been eating terribly boring food. But I’ve been trying to mix it up a little bit, plus bring back some classics.

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Ooh, surprise, surprise, quinoa! I never could have guessed! Well, I never said it would be thrilling. 🙂 I will admit to being a quinoa addict as of late and the 4 lb bag of organic quinoa I picked up at Costco last week for $8 is going to keep the love alive. I sauteed some chickpeas and mixed them with 1 1/2 smashed heads of roasted garlic. Some snap peas and sweet potato on the side and I called it a meal.

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This may not look like much, but wow have these sandwiches been hitting the spot! Tofurky slices with mustard, baby greens and pickles on Dave’s Killer Bread… yum! We haven’t been keeping bread in the house for the past few months because we normally only use it for toast and in the winter we default to oatmeal mode, but I just can’t say no to a loaf of Dave’s. Sometimes revisiting those nostalgic foods really satisfies and this is one of them.

A week ago I went to work in a short sleeved shirt, with no jacket, and we took the duvet off our bed, foolishly thinking spring is here. Today it was 45 and raining, much like the past week. With my spring cheer hiding underneath the bed, I fell back into some fall comfort food.

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Real Food Daily tempeh meatloaf with mashed potatoes and some broccolini. I loved the ingredients in the meatloaf (tempeh, a little gluten, miso, fresh veggies) but I’m just not a meatloaf kind of gal, even in vegan form. Jim LOVES meatloaf and was deliriously happy to come home to this dinner. I haven’t heard that much lip-smacking come out of the boy in awhile. I wasn’t too big on the texture, it reminded me of stuffing, although the flavor was awesome. Next time I may add a little more gluten to make the texture firmer and a splash of liquid smoke.

I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, from observers and tasters, on the French Toast Muffins from my upcoming cookbook. And I have to admit, they are one of my favorites, so I wanted to give a sneak peek and share the recipe with you. Not having handheld French toast is no way to live.

French Toast Muffins- 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes

French Toast Muffins- 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes



French Toast Muffins

Prep time before baking: 20 minutes

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teas. baking powder
1/8 teas. salt
1 teas. cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. yogurt (equivalent to 1- 6 oz. container of soy yogurt)
1 1/2 teas. maple extract
1/2 teas. vanilla
cinnamon and powered sugar to dust tops of muffins

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease with margarine or oil, or line with paper liners, 6 jumbo or 12 regular sized muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl, mix together the milk, oil, yogurt, maple extract and vanilla to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 2 batches until just mixed.

Fill each muffin tin to just just below full. Bake for 18-20 minutes for regular sized muffins or 25-30 for jumbo muffins until lightly golden and a tooth pick comes out clean. Remove muffins from oven and let cool completely before removing from tin. Sift powdered sugar and cinnamon on top of each muffin. Store leftover muffins covered at room temperature.

Yields: 12 regular sized or 6 jumbo muffins

*For extra maple goodness, combine 1 tbsp. of maple syrup with 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar and glaze the tops of the muffins with the maple topping before sifting on the cinnamon and powdered sugar.

With some fresh, spring berries on the side and washed down with a big glass of almond milk- now that’s what I call breakfast! Yum!

ham tube is dead to me

12 Apr

So, a couple of Easters ago, I glazed a ham tube from Food Fight. The company that made said ham tube went out of business and there is a new tube in town. I was so excited to glaze it up for Easter… and it was just sad, really.

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First off, I should have been weary, what with it being a giant rectangle instead of the traditional tube. It was stringy, soft and spongy and had a off taste naturally. Thankfully our impromptu mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, asparagus, dinner rolls and pickled beets saved the day and made up for the ham tube that wasn’t.

The holidays always make me nostalgic, even the ones we don’t really celebrate. Easter always makes me thinking of growing up with my grandparents. In honor of my Pappy, I made some fruit gel cocktail with some strawberry gel mix I picked up at Food Fight recently.

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I’ve always wondered how foods would really taste if we didn’t have an emotional connection to them. I love the way fruit cocktail grapes taste, with their skins so soft and etched. Would I really like them under other circumstances?

A random dinner from earlier this week:

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Whole wheat pasta with a randomly assembled creamy carrot and ginger sauce with chickpeas and some garlic brussels. If you can get over the fact that the sauce looks a bit like it was, um, recycled it was actually quite good.

I added some more pictures from the new book to my flickr account, so be sure to check out the nomminess!

More food soon!