Tag Archives: summer

i’m melting…

15 Aug

It’s very hot in Portland. Meaning in the 90s. Most folks here don’t have air conditioning, so it can get pretty miserable. We are fortunate enough to live in a house that sits north-south on the lot with few side windows, meaning that we get virtually no direct sunlight in the lower level of our home, keeping it relatively cool; this is the only time of year this factoid is beneficial.

But, I’m not complaining. The PacNW has been getting ripped off from having a full summer, with lots of weather in the 70’s, so I’m soaking it up. The clouds and drizzle will rejoin us soon enough, so in the meantime I’m enjoying the ice cream maker I purchased on clearance last fall.

I adapted this recipe from a local food publication called Edible Portland. This was my first try at using MimicCream, as I’ve just used soy milk in the past for ice cream. I would probably try it with soy creamer next time as the texture of the MimicCream is nice, but there is a definitely a discernible trace of nut flavor, even with all of the plum flavor. Not a bad thing, per se, but I’d like to try it without.

That said, we’re still really enjoying this cool, tasty treat plus I was able to use a variety of local plums. An ice cream maker is a totally unnecessary and indulgent toy and takes up a lot of space, but when you want to make something random like this, it’s sure nice to have one!

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from the teaches of peaches…

10 Aug

Summer fruit is at its peak and I am here to give you a reason to fire up your oven and make your house toasty- because this cake is amazing. This is the first recipe I’m sharing from my upcoming cake book.

Inspired by my BFF Amy’s love of summer fruit and inappropriate taste in music, along with the flavors of the famous Peach Melba, this cake is incredibly impressive for minimal effort. The peach cake is tender and delicious and becomes intoxicating when paired with the raspberry creme topping.

Amy’s “Huh What” Peach Cake

Raspberry Creme:
1 12 oz. package firm aseptic tofu
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teas. vanilla

Peach Cake:
3-4 ripe but firm peaches, pitted and sliced into 3/4-1 inch segments
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. cold margarine
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teas. baking powder
1/4 teas. salt
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup milk
1 teas. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Grease well and flour an 8 inch cake round and line the bottom with parchment. If you do not use parchment, be sure to grease the bottom really well or use a springform pan to ensure the peaches will release.

To make the Raspberry Creme: In a food processor or blender, combine the tofu, raspberries, sugar and vanilla. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a separate container and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

In the bottom of the prepared baking pan, sprinkle the 2 tbsp of sugar and chop and scatter the 2 tbsp of margarine. Arrange the peach slices in a single solid circle, covering the bottom of the pan.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, cream together the applesauce and brown sugar. Add the oil, milk and vanilla and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just incorporated.

Spread the batter over the peach mixture, being careful not to disturb the peaches. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until cake is browned and a toothpick comes out cleanish (because of the peaches, it will not be completely clean).

Remove cake from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before loosening edge and inverting onto serving platter. Let sit for a few moments as peaches release and carefully remove the cake pan. Serve cake warm with Raspberry Cream. Store leftover cake covered in the fridge.

Ranger Peach

soup in juneuary

2 Jun

A few weeks ago, we Portlanders were prematurely visited by summer. It was warm and sunny and glorious. Now our days are dark, we are experiencing biblical rain and we have lapsed back into muddy winter weather.

I have tasted the fruits of summer and I am not a happy camper.

Alas, given that I have no choice in the matter, I guess I’ll just have to adapt. And continue eating soup.

Curried Carrot Soup

This soup is invigorating, satisfying and a delight to sniff. To smell, I mean. Lovely as it is, I would not recommend ingesting this soup through the nose.

2 tbsp. olive oil
small onion, diced
1/2 teas. salt
1/2 inch ginger, minced
2 lbs. carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp. curry powder
5 cups water
1/8-1/4 teas. cayenne, to taste (remember, the heat will increase as it sits and the flavor sets up, so it’s best to start small and increase in tinny, little increments)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (can use low fat, if desired)
1 teas. cinnamon

raisins to garnish

In a large stockpot, heat oil. Add onion and saute for about 2 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add salt ginger and continue sauteing until onions and ginger are soft and fragrant. Add curry powder and stir to coat onion/ginger mixture. Add carrots, water and cayenne. Bring mixture to a low boil than lower temperature and simmer mixture with a lid, stirring often, until carrots are tender and break apart easily with a fork, about 25 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, or in batches in a standing blender, puree soup mixture. Return to stockpot, if using standing blender, and add coconut milk and cinnamon. Mix to combine and let coconut milk heat through. Serve soup with raisins for a delicious flavor contrast.

Serves 5-6.

very berry american summer

23 Jul

It’s hot.

It’s very hot.

I’m not going to complain, though. Our weather has volleyed between 65 degree highs and 95 degrees highs, rather bipolar. And when it was cooler, I was very loudly unhappy about it not feeling like summer. Something out there must have heard me, because here we are.

The heat has some benefits, though, one of which being ripe fruit. My canning kick has continued… and continued… and I’m onto my ninth variety of jam! I’m going to try to take a break until fall, when I’ll start in on the butters (apple butter, pear butter and pumpkin butter). So far, one of the funnest parts of making jam has been gathering the fruit, meaning field trips to pick it.

My friend Sandy and I recently went blueberry picking, which was quite fun and scenic.

blueberry bunch

I picked about 13 lbs. for jam and freezing. Well, and eating too, of course.

blueberry bucket

After filling our buckets with blueberries, we moved onto marionberries.

blue- marion berries

We met a cute little friend along the way. He was about the size of a half-dollar.

froggie

This little guy was living the good life at the large, bountiful farm we were picking at, hanging out in the shade on a very hot, bright day. Smart little dude…

Later that weekend, while raspberry picking with Amy and our trusty sidekicks, Jim and Tim, we came across these hornets. I think they were sleeping in, which was fine by me.

hornets

After making loads more jam as well as freezing bags of berries, I decided to do something I don’t really do very often, which is bake with fruit. Sure, I toss handfuls of frozen berries into muffins, but rarely do I bake something where fruit is the centerpiece. I just love it so much on it’s own, I don’t normally see any reason to mess with it.

plum berry pan

This particular recipe called for plums and blueberries. I veganized it using vanilla soy yogurt for the eggs.

plumberrycake2

I love upside down cakes because they are such a lovely surprise. For this cake, I used spelt flour, which is my new grain addiction.

After it cooled, I flipped it over. Notice the classy texture from the bottom of my springform pan. Nice…

plumcake

The hard thing about upside down cakes is determining when they are done. I baked this cake for 10 minutes longer than the recipe said and it was still underdone in the middle. It certainly didn’t keep us from eating it, though.

plum cakeslice

With all this canning and baking, however, I’m not doing a very good job of keeping our house cool. Jim and I always have the option of prancing around in our skivvies. There are other people who are not so lucky.

linus1

Here is Linus, trying to catch a breeze below the dining room window.

bindhi1

Bindhi assumed the “dead bug” position under the ceiling fan. Hey, we do what we can, right?

episode 3 and a request

9 Jul

Well, here she is: Episode 3 of the nom! nom! nom! cooking show. Enjoy this very classic and summery recipe.

Vichyssoise
This soup’s origins are debated, but it’s creamy and addictive flavor is undeniably good. You can always use onions in place of the shallot.

1 tbsp. margarine
3 medium leeks, washed and finely chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 teas. salt
4 cups veggie broth
1 cup soy milk or creamer (other non-dairy will work, but may separate)
black pepper and spring onions to garnish

In a stockpot, melt margarine over medium heat. Add leeks and shallot and sautee until translucent. Add potatoes and veggie broth and mix to combine. Simmer with lid on until potatoes are tender and break apart easily with a fork. Add soy milk and stir.

You can puree this soup in several different ways. Reserving much of the liquid, you can puree it in your food processor and then whisk in the liquid. You can also use a blender or an immersion blender directly in the pot. Transfer blended soup into a heat resistant bowl, cover, and put in fridge to chill. Serve soup with fresh cracked pepper and spring onions to garnish.

IMG_0742

The wonderful, poetic and talented Mr. Peter Mulvey gave us permission to use his lovely song “Lila Blue” in this video. He’s truly one of the best songwriter’s I’ve ever heard and he puts on a hell of show (easy on the eyes, too). Check him out if you like what you heard. Listen to his acoustic version of “Shirt” off of his latest album to have your mind blown.

Okay, and now for my request. I have two, actually. For this show, I want to have more interaction between us. So, first off, if you have a recipe, baking or cooking, that you would like to see veganized on the show, please send it to me at nomblog {at} gmail {dot} com. If you have a picture of it to include, that would be excellent. If it seems promising, I’ll give it a go.

My second request is questions. I’d like to incorporate a Q&A segment. Have a question about vegan baking? Cooking? Food chemistry or history? The meaning of life? I could bore you for hours on end about linguistics or music. 😉 Let me know what’s on your mind, email you questions to the above address and I will sort through them and select questions for upcoming shows.

Don’t forget about the jam giveaway! Be sure to comment by Friday at 2 pm PST to be entered!

fruits and little labor

2 Jul

The Foodie Fights results are not up yet, but I will update when they come in.

Jim and I are working on a bunch of stuff for the cooking show. We’ve got some exciting plans up our sleeves, so expect a new episode in a few days and some surprises this summer.

Well, summer is truly here. It’s supposed to hit 95 today and I’ve got produce coming out of my ears! Between the farmer’s market, stores and friends, I can barely keep up with the bounties of summer. If you’ve managed to avoid eating well and getting in shape before summer rolled out, there is no time like the present. Plus, it couldn’t be easier when the weather is great and fresh food is abundant.

My lovely friend, Sandy, gave us some goodies from her garden, including these beautiful flowers.

flowers

With some fresh lettuce from her garden and berries from the farmer’s market, we made an awesome salad including walnuts, chickpeas, mandarin oranges and a raspberry vinagrette.

raspbsalad

Sandy also gave us some basil and arugula, which I turned into a yummy pesto.

pesto

I cooked up some tricolored shell pasta and sauteed some veggies- asparagus, zucchini (leftover from the challenge), bell pepper, Walla Walla onion, garlic and chickpeas. Yummy…

pesto skillet

Tossed together with the pasta and pesto, this made a wonderful dinner after a long workout. Plus, leftovers never hurt. I also had some leftover raw crackers from Blossoming Lotus, which topped off our dishes perfectly.

pestopasta

Paired with our new nightly ritual- a Vita-Mix smoothie. This one was kind of sickly colorwise, but tasted great. It included a whole apple (including the core), strawberries, kale, spinach, Very Green powder, raspberries and almond milk. Yum! I’m really loving having Edgar around. We’ve gotten into the habit of having smaller dinners and giant smoothies- perfect for warm summer nights. Or post-workout I throw in a big scoop of hemp protien powder and call it good. All hail the Vita-Mix!

pestowithsmoothie

I’m on a new nut kick with pistachios. So underutilized are these delicious nuts! They cannot simply be confined to holiday nut bowls. They are so fragrant and beautiful. I am working on a bundt recipe some ground up pistacios in it. I tossed in some fresh raspberries for good measure.

pistaciobundt

It was pretty darn good, but still needs some tweaking.

pistachioslice

Have a Happy 4th and I’ll be back with episode three of the cooking show early next week!