Tag Archives: vegan

VEGAN MERINGUES WHAT

17 Sep

I’m late to this vegan meringue game, compared to vegan bakers, but I think I’m still ahead of the game for, yknow, normal people.  (I kid, I love you vegan bakers!  Strangely I have three good friends and an ex who are vegan and love baking).

If you know someone allergic to eggs, or a vegan, or if you make hummus/use chickpeas ever, you should try making vegan meringues!  This time I just went with normal meringue cookies, next time I might try pavlova or a pie.  I’m so impressed by what the vegan baking community has done with “aquafaba”- the liquid leftover from a can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas/chana (as in chana masala the Indian dish, as I learned from wikipedia).  Look at this crazy list of recipes on the facebook group.  And there’s a website dedicated to aquafaba, with the history of it (basically it was a myth, and then someone did it but way too hard molecular gastronomy-style, and then finally someone was like wait you don’t have to do anything fancy).

It is pretty unbelievable how beaten chickpea liquid looks just like beaten egg whites, stiff peaks and all, with nothing added (I would expect agar or something).  So let’s get to it!

It's a garnanbo!  A Zoganba!  I meant a garnanza!  (Or did I?  Everything gets garbled sometimes... )

It’s a garnanbo! A Zoganba! I meant a garnanza! (Or did I? Everything gets garbled sometimes… )

First, use your can to drain the liquid from the garbanzos.  I used the beans in a crockpot on low with a jar of salsa, a beer, and a pack of chicken thighs all day.  I added some zucchini about half an hour before we ate with tortillas, queso fresco, and spinach (didn’t have lettuce).  Yum.

What if Andre Young is actually a robot series, and this is the 14th iteration of him?  He'd be Dr. Dre N.

What if Andre Young is actually a robot series, and this is the 14th iteration of him? He’d be Dr. Dre N.

I realize I’m in the middle of a blog post and I baked these meringues tonight just so I could have a blog post out on Thursday but oh my gosh I just read a great tweet that you should know about.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>I can't get over Euclid.</p>&mdash; Ric (@ellopickle) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ellopickle/status/644340277361049600″>September 17, 2015</a></blockquote>
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Anyways.  Let’s all calm down.  I laughed so hard at this my husband told me to go to sleep because I’m getting delirious.  That should make a fun post!

Start beating that bean liquid!  It takes approximately FOREEEEEVEEERRR by which I mean 10-15 minutes.  We worked on our new hobby, PANDA magazine, during this time.  (Brag: we’re in the magazine this issue, because we completed last month’s!  It’s really hard!  Great for DASH fans.  Which should be everyone in the relevant cities.  I’ve DASHed in Davis, San Francisco, Chicago, and will in Austin next year.)

How you bean lately?  Oh, same old same old

How you bean lately? Oh, same old same old

How bout you, how you bean?  Oh, things in my life are a little crazy.  I feel like things are getting really mixed up.

How bout you, how you bean? Oh, things in my life are a little crazy. I feel like things are getting really mixed up.

Tell me about it.  I've bean beaten again and again by life.

Tell me about it. I’ve bean beaten again and again by life.

I thought you've bean sort of stiff lately

I thought you’ve bean sort of stiff lately

Bean there, done that is how I feel toward everything nowadays, you know?

Bean there, done that is how I feel toward everything nowadays, you know?

Because I can’t read directions I dumped all my sugar and vanilla in at once.

But you shouldn’t do that!  Add about a tablespoon at a time and beat, so you don’t get any sugar clumps and it mixes smoothly.  Then you won’t have any holes in your meringue like I did.  Mine worked out anyway.

If we said "kapull" instead of "kernel" and "lite" instead of "lew tenant", maybe my friend Thomas (grad student at Temple U) would be meringue

If we said “kapull” instead of “kernel” and “lite” instead of “lew tenant”, maybe my friend Thomas (grad student at Temple U) would be meringue

Bake at a very low temperature for a very long time, and they magically work!

20150916_212550

20150916_222238

Aquafaba meringue cookies, from slate.com

1 can chickpeas

1 tsp vanilla

sugar- 1.3 times as much chickpea liquid you get (so a cup or less)

Drain the chickpea liquid.  Start beating it- I did speed 3 (low) for 4 minutes.  Then medium for 4 minutes, then high for 2 minutes.  It’ll form fairly stiff peaks, if not as good as egg whites pretty darn close.

Preheat oven to 250.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat in the sugar 1 TBSP at a time.  Add the vanilla and beat it in too.  Dollop onto your parchment paper sheets.  Bake for 90 minutes, then turn off oven and crack it.  Let cool to room temperature.

This makes about 36 small meringue cookies.

Homemade flavored salts, or quick wedding favors

13 Apr

Many apologies for delay since last post.  My Yale talk went over great, and I meant to make a Q&A: Grad School post with all the questions the undergraduates asked and my answers, but my amanuensis didn’t take any notes!  Since then I’ve been reading a lot of cool stuff, including this awesome paper by the awesome Matt Clay.  So hopefully I can get that paper into a blog post, as well as some cool math from the SECOND annual Midwest Women In Mathematics Symposium (the first one was last year at UIC, mentioned in that blog post).  But this is not a math post.

I cannot imagine doing this for a wedding of more than 25 people (and really I did favors per household so I only made 14), but if you had helpful friends then knock yourself out.  These are also “fill in the blank” favors or small gifts (housewarming?).  I made four types of flavored salts, which are SUPER EASY and fairly quick if you just let them dry out for a day or two instead of baking them.  They mostly follow the same idea:

Take X amount of salt, and mix thoroughly with Y amount of flavoring using your fingers.  Spread on a baking sheet and let dry in a not-humid room for a day or two.  Package cutely.  Note the lack of equipment, expertise, or active time!

Most flavorful: Sriracha salt

This one is a darling of the internet and is straight from the Sriracha cookbook, which I do not own nor think I ever will (we own two or three cookbooks right now: my mom’s 1970s copies of “Joy of Cooking,” a Three-Ingredient Cookbook from my sister-in-law, and possibly his copy of Rachel Ray’s 30-Minute Meals, which he claims is a misnomer).  I did 1 1/2 c salt + 1/4 c + 2 TB Sriracha.

It'd be great to make a robot that could play the music of British progressive rock bands.  It'd be called "Bot-Tull" (Jethro in case people didn't get the reference)

It’d be great to make a robot that could play the music of British progressive rock bands. It’d be called “Bot-Tull” (Jethro in case you didn’t get the reference)

Mix that up with chopsticks until there are just little clumps left, and lay it out for a day or two.  This ends up being pretty chunky, so people recommend beating it (wrap in a towel and hit with a rolling pin) or pulsing it in a food processor, but I am lazy so my guests got chunky Sriracha salt.

Orange you glad I only make bad puns sometimes?

Orange you glad I only make bad puns sometimes?

Prettiest: Rosemary salt

This one is the opposite of the last, in that it’s not all over the internet and the Martha Stewart website I got it off of kept being down.  Other recipes call for a food processor and just pulsing the rosemary to teeny bits, but I actively hate having pieces of rosemary in my food so I went with rosemary scented salt.

You should go lie down, salt, you're looking a little green around the edges

You should go lie down, salt, you’re looking a little green around the edges

You heat up rosemary with salt in a pot (I did 1 1/4 c salt + 4 stick/twigs of rosemary) and stir every minute or two for 10-ish minutes until little pieces of rosemary start falling off and it smells good, then put it in a tupperware and forget about it for a few hours.

Some parts fell off, but I'm at piece with that

Some parts fell off, but I’m at piece with that

Or you’re Martha Stewart and you remember about it after five minutes and cover it.  In any case, pop a lid on that and leave it for a day or three.  It’ll smell SO GOOD when you take off that lid.  For packaging, I popped a teeny piece of fresh rosemary in to each little jar and topped it with salt, discarding the big pieces and leaving in the little cooked parts.

Most unusual: Vanilla salt

I still don’t really know what to do with this one.  I bought a vanilla bean from the store, which I’ve never seen before, and mixed it into a cup of salt using my hands.  You use your fingernails and scrape out the inside from the bean-holder-thing (pod?), and then use your fingers and massage it into the salt.  It smells good!  Then spread it out and let dry like the others.

Best smelling/most versatile: Citrus salt

This is a fun one: take 1 1/4 c of salt, and zest a bunch of citrus over it.  I used two oranges, two lemons, and two limes.

We're naked... is that appeeling to you?  Actually 'fruit porn' is a thing (sometimes it's just food porn, and sometimes it's I don't know what I don't want to click on the links)

We’re naked… is that appeeling to you? Actually ‘fruit porn’ is a thing (sometimes it’s just food porn, and sometimes it’s I don’t know what I don’t want to click on the links)

Use your fingertips to crush the zest into the salt, releasing the yummy smelling oils, and then spread out a baking sheet.

A far better than usual interpretation of "yellow snow"

A far better than usual interpretation of “yellow snow”

I tried to dry this in the oven and hated the results and did it over again- I cooked it too hot and it sucked all the citrus flavor out. Plus you have to pay attention to the oven and who likes to do that?  (Possibly readers of baking blogs, but let’s forget about that…)

Sometimes I just want to yell, "Ogre in da house!" when I'm feeling the opposite of orange.

Sometimes I just want to yell, “Ogre in da house!” when I’m feeling the opposite of orange.

I packaged these in small jars I found on Amazon, but my maid of honor sent me cuter ones which I thought were too small: about two ounces of flavored salt is pretty good.

2014-04-08_08-34-15_232We buy 4 oz jars of flavored salts when we do so (it’s always truffle salt), so half that for a favor sounds perfect to me.  Plus the colored lids precluded the need to label each jar, which would’ve been a pain for ~50 tiny jars.  I threw them in clear favor bags I picked up a Target, along with a printout of a Bible verse/Byrds song, some suggestions on how to use the salts, and a thank-you tag.

2014-04-08_08-34-25_656 2014-04-08_08-34-38_2192014-04-08_09-05-09_289

Total cost:

20 count Favor bags (Target): $2

Ribbon (Target): $3

Printing (Fedex/Kinkos): $5

Salt (Grocery store): $4

Vanilla Bean (Grocery store): $3 (!)

=$17 if you don’t count stuff you’re going to use anyway

2014-04-08_09-05-23_226

Lemons, Limes, Oranges (store): $5? (and then we ate them later, so basically free!)

Bottle of Sriracha (store): $6? (we’ve had this for awhile)

Rosemary (store): $3 (and then we ate some lamb with it!)

=$31 if you count things you will eat

I’ll leave this post with something I thought was ridiculous when I went to Target.  Also, shout out to the amazing Alliance Bakery for the BEAUTIFUL job they did with our cake!  I’ll post pictures of that cake up when I get some.  It was lemon with a mango mousse filling.  Yum!

Why would you buy these?

Why would you buy these?

Candied almonds

10 Nov

These are very fast and quite tasty.  You just throw raw almonds + sugar in a pot, let it boil, and then roast them for awhile.  I messed up a bit and made almond brittle, essentially, but it was still really tasty.

I wonder if Doc and Marty had to carry a lot of stuff with them in a murse or something in that movie... it'd be a bag to the future

I wonder if Doc and Marty had to carry a lot of stuff with them in a murse or something in that movie… it’d be a bag to the future

Measure out the brown sugar, and let it boil in a pot with the salt, cinnamon, and some water.

I see the light!  It's the least important word on the bag!

I see the light! It’s the least important word on the bag!

This view makes the tsp of cinnamon look HUGE.  Good to keep spice in perspective: otherwise you'll just have a messed up privet and who wants that plant?

This view makes the tsp of cinnamon look HUGE. Good to keep spice in perspective: otherwise you’ll just have a messed up privet and who wants that plant?

You may worry, but don’t.  It’s a little bit energetic, the boiling, but everything will be okay, just stir in the almonds.

Double double toil and trouble, fire burn and pot of sugar bubble

Double double toil and trouble, fire burn and pot of sugar bubble

OK everyone in the pool!  All (m) in!

OK everyone in the pool! All (m) in!

I just sat here and watched, ranking the almonds.  You could say I was SATuRATING

I just sat here and watched, ranking the almonds. You could say I was SATuRATING

Also I didn’t read the recipe and apparently I was supposed to stir these constantly.  Oh well!  Cook until the liquid is absorbed/evaporated.

If Doc and Marty brought this along, it'd be a hot tub time machine for the almonds.

If Doc and Marty brought this along, it’d be a hot tub time machine for the almonds.

Then dump them out onto a silpat or a sheet of parchment paper (NOT DIRECTLY ON THE BAKING SHEET), and spread those guys out.

This one almond has no equal... because every other one is better.  OOH ROASTED!

This one almond has no equal… because every other one is better. OOH ROASTED!

Bake for 10-15 minutes.  I sprinkled them with salt before throwing them in.

Brittle me this: are almonds all they're cracked up to be?

Brittle me this: are almonds all they’re cracked up to be?

Let that cool (I let them sit out overnight), and then break up the brittle.  If you cooked them long enough and stirred them which I did not, they’ll probably end up looking more like the original blogger’s:

Candied almonds from Barbara Bakes:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt (I like lots of it!)
  • 2 cups almonds

Boil brown sugar, water, cinnamon, salt.  Once boiling, stir in the almonds.  Stir constantly until liquid is evaporated (5-10 minutes).  Spread out onto a baking sheet lined with something (foil, parchment, silpat, anything!), and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Chia energy chews (aka shot bloks)

24 Oct

You guys, I’m not the fittest person in the country, or in the state of Illinois, or in Chicago, or even (literally) in the room in which I am currently sitting.  So I was real proud of myself when I ran a mini-triathlon at the end of the summer.

No blood, some sweat, also no tears.  Just funsies!

No blood, some sweat, also no tears. Just funsies!

I definitely appreciated the little sugar rush from the Clif Shot Bloks that I picked up at the triathlon exhibition fest beforehand.  I’d tried them before at the student gym where Gatorade was giving out their version of these energy chews.  So I thought I’d try to make them myself after some googling.  This used up the end of my chia seeds.  I made that chia seed pudding maybe four or five times in the course of two weeks.  I really really liked it.

I also had to buy a candy thermometer to make these, which was so fun to use.  This was made with all things that were already in my house, since I’d gone to the Asian supermarket the week before and had randomly picked up a packet of agar.  I think plain gelatin would also work; as is these chews are vegan.

Think you're all Whole Foods with my chia seeds, huh?  Well LA-(ingre)DI(ents)-DAH.

Think you’re all Whole Foods with my chia seeds, huh? Well LA-(ingre)DI(ents)-DAH.

First, boil some chia seeds in frozen concentrated OJ- I think you could use any juice, and the recipe I used called for pineapple but OJ was what I had.  I also had to defrost the concentrate for like 5 minutes so I could spoon it out.

I was playing freeze tag with the football player when someone miraculously tagged him!  He was shocked and concentrated really hard to figure out what had happened.  Frozen concentrated OJ (Simpson)

I was playing freeze tag with the football player when someone miraculously tagged him! He was shocked and concentrated really hard to figure out what had happened. Frozen concentrated OJ (Simpson)

2013-10-03_17-26-29_22

I… I feel tears coming on. Something about this just STIRS up my emotions.

You boil those two together until they get thick (really just bring them to a boil, stir a few times, and take it off).  Toss that in the fridge while you do the next part.

Mix together the “electrolyte mix.”  The recipe said to use low-sodium salt (KCl instead of NaCl) but I just used regular salt.  Probably if you’re a super serious athlete you’ll want the potassium over the sodium but I don’t know why.

Great Valentine's Day card idea: You are the electrolyte of my life... I couldn't live without you.

Great Valentine’s Day card idea: You are the electrolyte of my life… I couldn’t live without you.

Open a can of coconut milk, measure out the sugar-honey-water-agar agar/gelatin into a pot.  Put cool water in a stockpot in the sink, but don’t fill it up: maybe 1/2 way or so- you’ll want to put the honey-sugar-water pot into it without spilling cool water into the smaller pot.  Then grease a little loaf pan if you’re doing a half batch like I did, or an 8×8 square baking pan if you’re doing the full batch.  By now the orange-chia should be cooled enough to toss in the coconut milk and stir it:

The coconut flavor really comes out at the end, and it adds that needed fat.  I mean the coconut flavor is quite emPHATic

The coconut flavor really comes out at the end, and it adds that needed fat. I mean the coconut flavor is quite emPHATic

Then comes the fun part: making candy!  Boil that sugar-honey stuff and stir constantly, until the candy thermometer hits 230 (my “230” was under the plastic part so I ended up hitting 250, no biggie).  The recipe says it’ll take 20-25 minutes but it only took me about 5 for the half-sized batch I made.

I thought I couldn't... but I certainly CAN DIrect a candy-making operation

I thought I couldn’t… but I certainly CAN DIrect a candy-making operation

Ther kids are out, time to have some fun with therMOMeter

Ther kids are out, time to have some fun with therMOMeter

Once this hits that temperature, throw the pot into the cool water stockpot (don’t get cold water into your candy), and stir in the OJ mix we set aside earlier until it’s well mixed.

I wonder if cold water baths like this are popular in the former USSR.  Because of the dolls.

I wonder if cold water baths like this are popular in the former USSR. Because of the dolls.

Then pour into your prepared greased pan(s) and throw in the fridge for a few hours.  When cool, cut into squares.

These chews really will be pourtable.

These chews really will be pourtable.

This was my favorite move in volleyball- I was never a big spiker, and I was pretty bad at bumping.  But ooh boy, I can sure set.

This was my favorite move in volleyball- I was never a big spiker, and I was pretty bad at bumping. But ooh boy, I can sure set.

I like to grab one or two before heading to the gym or in the middle of a long workout.  Also making these yourself is both more fun and more cost-effective than buying.  Some people suggest dusting with cornstarch so they don’t stick together, but once cool they’re totally fine.

2013-10-03_19-13-41_448

Chia energy chews, adapted/mostly copied from Midpack Runner.  I did a half batch of this and got about 18 little chews.

1 cup frozen concentrated orange juice
1/3 cup (2 oz) chia seed
¼ cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda

1½ cup sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 cup honey/brown rice syrup/agave nectar
1 cup water
2 TB powdered agar-agar (kanten)/gelatin

Preparation:

  1. Boil the OJ and chia seeds together, let boil for a minute.  Then put into the fridge.  Grease a 8″x8″ baking dish or two loaf pans (use veggie oil).
  2. Mix the salt and baking soda well, mix with the coconut milk.  Mix this with the OJ-chia once cool.  Also, fill a large stockpot about halfway with cool water.
  3. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a smaller pot and cook over medium heat, stirring, until it hits 230°. I don’t know how to do this without a candy thermometer.
  4. Once the sugar mixture reaches 230°, remove it from the heat and place the saucepan into the big stockpot filled with cool water- don’t get the cool water into the candy!  Stir in the OJ-chia mix.
  5. Pour the gel mix into the greased dish, and let it stand for a few hours (I threw mine into the fridge because why not?)  Cut the gel into 1″ squares, and store in tupperwares.  You can dust with cornstarch if you want, but I didn’t have a problem with stickiness.

Ch-ch-ch-chia! Pudding!

20 Sep

As a little kid, I really really wanted a chia pet.  They were SO COOL.  Who am I kidding; they’re still cool!  You can get one that looks like Obama:

Chia we can believe in

I mean, they’re amazing!  Anyway, I’ve been food-experimenting a lot since moving to this city: we ate paleo-ish for awhile, which explains the gluten free recipes, and a few of my friends went vegan, so I’ve been playing with that, which led me to flaxseed as an egg substitute.  Turns out you can do the exact same egg substitute using chia seeds (yeup, the exact same ones that go on barack obama’s clay head).

I was at my favorite grocery store the other day and saw a box of chia seeds.  I had recently heard of them for this egg thing, and also almond pudding.  Tapioca pudding is another thing from childhood that I coveted and never got (my mom is still very against processed food etc. but we did sometimes get jello/kraft mac because, well, three kids).  Apparently it’s a thing that American grandmas make, based on the comments at allrecipes.  My Vietnamese grandma made me beef wrapped in betel leaves and sticky rice in banana leaves from our backyard.  So a little bit far from the all-American tapioca pudding.  In any case, I heard that chia pudding is sort of like tapioca pudding so of course I decided to make it.

Nutritionally, it'd probably be better to walk in fields of chia rather than gold.  Geez Sting don't you care about your health?

Nutritionally, it’d probably be better to walk in fields of chia rather than gold. Geez Sting don’t you care about your health?

What’s really nice about this pudding is you just need a mason jar (or that’s what I did anyway).  Put all the ingredients in…

Just a touch of Vanilla makes this Nice, Nice.  Baby.

Just a touch of Vanilla makes this Nice, Nice. Baby.

And shake shake shake!

Agitate, joggle, worry... actually, just shake it.  Don't want to scare you off with too much technical JARgon

Agitate, joggle, worry… actually, just shake it. Don’t want to scare you off with too much technical JARgon

Then throw this in the fridge for awhile.  I did it overnight and totally forgot about it, but I ended up with some hard clumps.  I’ll have to experiment more, but I suspect that if you shake it after an hour or two, and then shake it again before you eat it for breakfast/dessert, you’ll have a more uniform texture.

Speaking of texture, this pudding fulfilled all of my wildest dreams.  So that’s an advertisement to try it (I’m making it again right this minute for breakfast tomorrow!)

P1010368

Chia pudding (adapted from detoxinista, which is a site I’ve used before!, and whole foods)

1/3 c chia seeds

1 c milk (I used whole, but I think almond/soy would be great and make this recipe vegan)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 TB maple syrup

Put all ingredients in a mason jar or some other storage container.  Shake.  Refrigerate overnight or for several hours, shaking whenever you happen to open the fridge.  Top with whatever and eat (I like bananas, but coconut, nuts, berries, anything would be great)

PS Look at this HILARIOUS thing I found on the internet when searching for ‘chia pet obama’!  It is SO FUNNY. 

Raw vegan key lime pie, or on failure, part II

4 Aug

My friend pointed out a while back that raw recipes really shouldn’t count as baking.  This surprises me because she was there when I made the turducken and it was 84 degrees outside my house and hotter inside when the oven was on.  You guys, it’s August in Chicago.  I’m not turning on the oven and if I could I would just have gazpacho and salad for all my meals.So!  Key lime pie!  I’ve never made it and I’ve only had it once before.  This is more of an avocado-lime pie (it doesn’t even use the key ingredient of key lime pie).  Whenever I don’t feel like schlepping over to the gym I do a few pilates youtube videos from Cassey Ho, and today two days ago I accidentally clicked on one of her food videos instead of the ab video I wanted.  So I thought I’d try it out, with a few modifications.  Also, since I’m not that experienced with making raw food (the brownies were my first time), I didn’t realize you’re supposed to soak the cashews overnight.  Thank  you, internet, for telling me what I could do instead!

OK so raw recipes?  You really have to plan them ahead.  This is not my forte, if you couldn’t tell from the way I throw things together for baking.  So this post and pie turned from baking to failure.  I think it’s a sign.  Within a year after I graduated from college, several people and an animal close to me all died (separately), and someone told me that it seemed like the universe was trying to tell me something.  Since then I’ve focused more time on things I love (this blog, the people dear to me, traveling, reading) and less time on other stuff (stressing about how little work I’m getting done in grad school or what I’ll do with my life/future).  Similarly, this is the FIRST TIME I have ever had to throw out something I made because it was so bad.  I think I’m telling me (through my willful negligence of the recipe and thoughtfulness) that I shouldn’t become a raw foodist.  I’m OK with that, given the first sentence in this post.

Previous paragraph aside, I want to emphasize that failure is not a sign that you should give up, but a sign that you should learn.  There’s no way to learn without failure, and since I’m in the business of learning, I’m pretty much destined to fail.  Over and over again.  And in the face of much, much failure, and very few milestones (none for the next few years, and then I’ll suddenly have a dissertation), it will seem easier to quit and switch to something else than keep going.  But this connects back to that other life lesson I had from all the deaths- do what you love.  This is what I love, so I’ll do it, and keep accumulating failures on my path to success.  This is true for anyone who is ambitious, because anyone ambitious should have learning be a major part of their life.

So things I learned from this poison pie:

  • Make sure your avocados are ripe.  Generally I throw avocados in a paper bag with some bread to get them to ripen faster.   Below I’ll tell you how I poisoned us with the avocado.
  • Read your recipe ahead of time.  Apparently you’re supposed to soak cashews overnight for cashew cream.  I asked the internet and did the quick soak method for the cashews (you bring them to a boil, then cover and let them steam for an hour) but I don’t think it turned out as well (also I didn’t wait for the full hour).
  • Follow directions exactly.   I don’t think this can be on my list because I didn’t learn it, in the face of much evidence.  Man I’m like a climate change denialist in this aspect of my life.  Luckily it doesn’t affect anyone but me (and whomever I’m feeding).
  • My blender sucks.  Use the food processor or immersion blender instead.
  • DON’T POISON YOURSELF.  I mean it’s not like we all died or anything because I’m writing this to you.  I cut open the avocados and realized they were not ripe, so I put them in a plastic bag (this was the big problem) and closed it and left it out.  A day later it was full of gases from the avocado respiring, and the fats in the avocado had gone rancid (I think, I’m not sure).  I didn’t notice until much later, after making and tasting the pie.

Crust: Food process all your stuff!  I used walnuts, dates, coconut, and almond.  Then press it into a pie pan.

I was driving my date nuts with talk of my interests.  I don't see what's wrong with cocoa and walls.

I was driving my date nuts with talk of my interests. I don’t see what’s wrong with cocoa and walls.

This is a little crazy: apparently almonds aren't nuts!

This is a little crazy: apparently almonds aren’t nuts!

Of coarse, the internet could've told you that (besides this blog)

Of coarse, the internet could’ve told you that (besides this blog)

And you probably weren't whirr-ied about it anyway.

And you probably weren’t whirr-ied about it anyway.

But if you were, just apply a little pressure and everything will be fine

But if you were, just apply a little pressure and everything will be fine

Then throw that crust in the freezer.  I actually kept my crust after throwing out the rest of the pie because it was so tasty!  And I think this pie would be yummy if you didn’t use rancid, unripe avocados.

Next you take your soaked overnight cashews and drain them.   I meant you throw your cashews in a pot with some water, bring it to a boil, turn off the heat and let it steam for an hour (so cover it and don’t peek!)  Then blend those cashews up into cashew cream.

I'm a pot!  I'm holding cashews!  The kettle is super black right now!

I’m a pot! I’m holding cashews! The kettle is super black right now!

cASHEWS!  (bless you!)

cASHEWS! (bless you!)

Next add your avocado, zest and juice of two limes, and whatever else (I did honey and vanilla).  Blend that up!
If you squeezed lime juice in your eyes you'd probably be temporarily blinded.  Maybe that's the source of the exclamation "blimey!"

If you squeezed lime juice in your eyes you’d probably be temporarily blinded. Maybe that’s the source of the exclamation “blimey!”

If two limes from the same tree grated against each other, would that be incest? (inzest)

If two limes from the same tree grated against each other, would that be incest? (inzest)

Deep into the belly of the beast (The Blender)

Deep into the belly of the beast (The Blender)

If your blender isn’t stupid, you’ll have a beautiful, fluffy lightly green cream filling that you can spread on your crust and chuck in the fridge.  Top with some additional lime and shredded coconut.

Covering up the crust's indecency with some PASTE-ies

Covering up the crust’s indecency with some PASTE-ies

P1000955

But really I think this pie would be great without rancid avocado.  I’ll probably make the non-raw, non-vegan version first, but if I make this again I’ll let you know!

Raw vegan key lime pie (inspired by blogilates)

Crust:

1 c walnuts

1/2 c almonds

1/2 c shredded coconut

8-10 dates (about a cup)

Use a food processor to grind up the nuts, then add the other ingredients and process until fine and crumbly.  Use your clean hands to press into a pie pan, then throw in the freezer.

Filling:

2 avocados

2 limes, zested and juiced

1 c cashews, soaked overnight

1 tsp vanilla

2 TB raw honey

optional: more shredded coconut

First blend or food process the cashews until very fine.  Then add the other ingredients and blend until smooth.  Spread over crust, top with shredded coconut and/or more lime, and chill in freezer.

Raw vegan brownie bites- surprisingly delicious

27 Jul

These kind of taste like those brownie bites you buy in the plastic container from the store.  I spent awhile procrastinating the other day and reading up about the raw diet and blogs by raw foodies.  I find it super interesting though not something I would do myself.  I especially like the way people have ‘hacked’ non-raw foodstuffs out of raw ingredients (is that the correct usage of the word ‘hack’?  It’s a verb, right?)

Anyway, let’s throw this together real fast.  I’m going to Turkey and Greece with my two best friends from college this afternoon (as of me writing this, so I’m probably in Turkey/Greece as of you reading this), and I still need to finish packing.  Luckily, this post will be short and making these brownie bites takes maybe 90 seconds.  More if you’re like me and had trouble opening the package of dates.

I wonder if the raw food diet is popular in North Carolina.  Probably not, despite the capitol's name.

I wonder if the raw food diet is popular in North Carolina. Probably not, despite the capitol’s name.

Also I did this because it is HOT IN CHICAGO and I didn’t want to turn on an oven.  Brownies are totally baked goods and hence this fits in this blog.

Food processors are wonderful!  Pulse your pecans til they’re real fine:

What if you named your bag of pecans "mickey"?  Then you could sing: Oh mickey you so fine, you so fine you blow my mind hey mickey!

What if you named your bag of pecans “mickey”? Then you could sing: Oh mickey you so fine, you so fine you blow my mind hey mickey!

Next add your dates.  I had trouble measuring out a “cup” of dates but I think 10-12 is the right number.  Don’t forget to de-pit them!

I pity da fool who hasn't tried dates

I pity da fool who hasn’t tried dates

Man mickey is pretty fly.  Check out all of his dates!

Man mickey is pretty fly. Check out all of his dates!

Pulse that until it’s gloopy (maybe 40 seconds).  I paused before that and looked and it wasn’t gloopy yet (you want the dates to be crushed enough that the mixture sticks to itself).

They're great candidates: these dates are known for their can-do attitude and stick-to-ittiveness.

They’re great candidates: these dates are known for their can-do attitude and stick-to-ittiveness.

Now add your cocoa powder, shredded coconut, salt, and sweetener if you’re using it.  This happened the last time I wanted to make chocolate cake: realized that I have no cocoa powder at home (d’oh) so I used hot chocolate mix and didn’t add sweetener.  It’s probably not actually raw since I used the mix and it’s been processed, but close enough.  It’s like when I made those “vegan” cookies and used butter (but I did not feed them to any vegans).  These brownie bites did not get fed to any raw foodists.

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Yo dog I heard you were making brownies. I dig it. Whirred. (it sounds like word get it get it???)

This gets pulsed for another 30 seconds, until it smells and looks chocolatey brown.  Then scoop them out by tablespoons, dip them in cocoa powder, and toss ’em in the fridge.  They’re pretty crumbly/hard to handle so you could also put them in the fridge for an hour first and then shape them.  It worked out OK and they were a hit at the dinner party!

Sorry no close up, but here’s a picture of me with my new haircut.

IMG_8283

Recipe from The Rawtarian:

1 c pecans

1 c dates

5 TB cocoa powder

4 TB shredded coconut

2 TB honey (I didn’t use this because of the cocoa powder thing.  Also my coconut was sweetened whoops)

1/4 tsp sea salt

 

Process pecans until crumbly.  Add dates, and process until sticky.  Then add everything else and process for awhile, until chocolatey.  Scoop with a tablespoon, roll in cocoa powder or powdered sugar, and put on a plate in the fridge for an hour.  

This made something like 16 brownie bites, which I ended up cutting in half because they were so rich.  The website says it makes six small servings, which makes me think vegans eat a LOT.

Gluten-free vegan three-ingredient peanut butter cookies

18 Jul

I had a gluten-free friend visiting Chicago for a few days last week, and my roommate actually went vegan (vs. her vegetarian/sort of veganism before).  I also came home from a two week trip to France and was itching to bake, but had very few things in the pantry.  BUT I did have these things:

  • Peanut butter (I love the natural Jif stuff, but you can use whatever you want, chunky or smooth)
  • White sugar
  • Flaxseed (You can also use an egg if you aren’t vegan)
These cookies won't make you slim, but the photo is real shady

These cookies won’t make you slim, but the photo is real shady

The recipe for this is just about the easiest.  It’s one of very very few recipes that I’ve completely memorized, and it takes maybe 5 minutes to put together.  That’s a lie because it takes a few minutes for the flax gel to set, but if you have an egg it takes 5 minutes, with flaxseed maybe 7.

So mix your flaxseed gel, 1 TB flaxseed to 2 TB warm water, and let it sit.

I'm running out of puns.  I need to start being systematic and stop being so FLAXadaisical about these captions

I’m running out of puns. I need to start being systematic and stop being so FLAXadaisical about these captions

Then mix your peanut butter, sugar, and flaxseed in a bowl.

These cookies will be really POURtable

These cookies will be really POURtable

A one-bowl recipe?  Sign me up!  (I realize I used two bowls but you don’t need to).

I wish I could have Anthony Ray over to help me back sometime.  Then his stage name would make even more sense.

I wish I could have Anthony Ray over to help me back sometime. Then his stage name would make even more sense.

Scoop by tablespoons onto your silpat (I love these!), and flatten them with a fork to get that peanut-butter cookie-criss cross shape.  Sprinkle with extra sugar, and/or if you want, press a chocolate chip into the top (still with the non-vegan chocolate chips so roommate didn’t eat those).

Baking is so, so baller.

Baking is so, so baller.

These cookies definitely make a good imPRESSion

These cookies definitely make a good imPRESSion

Bake at 350 for however long you want, until it smells good.  My first batch were in for 8 minutes, and then I started washing dishes and cleaning the house and I forgot about the second batch which was in for maybe 16?  18?  and they were still delicious.

You kids have it so good nowadays.  Back in my day, I had to walk upchill both ways to cool off my cookies, none of this wire-rack gadgetry.

You kids have it so good nowadays. Back in my day, I had to walk upchill both ways to cool off my cookies, none of this wire-rack gadgetry.

P1000463

Recipe (from various sources on the internet, once)

1 c peanut butter (pick your fave)

1 c white sugar

1 TB flaxseed OR 1 egg

optional: splash of vanilla, chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix 1 TB flaxseed with 2 TB warm water and let sit for a few minutes until thickened.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheets.

Press with a fork to flatten (these won’t flatten otherwise and then middle will be far less cooked)

Bake 6-18 minutes, your preference.  Let cool on sheets for a little bit before transferring to wire racks, if you do that.

HEALTHIEST vegan chocolate chip cranberry cookies

30 Jun

I was feeling sort of heavy and rained on yesterday (we had a DELICIOUS apple fritter from glazed and infused at lunch) and I felt like a) baking (b/c of rain) and b) something healthy (because of heavy).  So I wrangled up my ingredients and took an extremely loose interpretation of a recipe I found on the internet for these incredible cookies.  I love them, partly because there’s only 1/4 c of brown sugar in them.  I think you could sub anything for the flour, especially coconut flour (use 1 c instead of 1.5) or whole wheat + oat bran.

If I dance around and put everything on the counter in a rhythm, it's like everything is going to the kitchen sync

If I dance around and put everything on the counter in a rhythm, it’s like everything is going to the kitchen sync

So what did I do for “healthy” cookies?  I threw in an avocado and a banana instead of butter/oil and more sugar.

First, your flax gel- as usual, 1 TB ground flaxseed to 2 TB water, let set.

I'm imagining a vegan cooking show counterpart to the star of Argo, Ben Afflax

I’m imagining a vegan cooking show counterpart to the star of Argo, Ben Afflax

Most cookie recipes start with creaming the butter and sugar together.  So for us, we’re going to use a fork and mash the avocado and banana together, and add a little bit of brown sugar (really not that necessary, could sub half as much maple syrup or honey).

2013-06-12_20-43-21_927

This is Avocado-ive of earlier scenes involving mashing things

This is Avocado-ive of earlier scenes involving mashing things

You want to mash until there’s no big chunks: some little chunks are fine.  Don’t forget your splash of vanilla.  You can wait a few more minutes and do the dry before mixing in the flax gel, or just do it now.  No big deal!

For the dry, whisk together your oats, flour, ground flax seed, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice (yum!).  I never include salt in cookies, oh well.  Often recipes say sift together, I don’t have a sifter, but for anyone who does, you just mix the other things and then stir in the oats.

I am such a spice girl

All you need is positivity…I am such a spice girl

Then mix those dry ingredients in with your wet.

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ACTION SHOT!  My brother's giving me a camera for my birthday because I'm so frustrated with this phone.

ACTION SHOT! My brother’s giving me a camera for my birthday because I’m so frustrated with this phone.

Since ‘one banana’ and ‘half a large avocado’ are variable measures, this batter will be somewhere between perfect and very very wet.  So just add in more flour a tablespoon at a time until it feels like wet cookie batter (I ended up using just under a cup and a quarter).  Then put in all your goodies: I did more cranberries, fewer chocolate chips because I ran out, and a bunch of walnuts.

These goodies are driving me up the wall/nuts!

These goodies are driving me up the wall/nuts!

These babies don’t spread out much so you can easily fit a dozen tablespoon scoops of cookie on a sheet.  Partway through cooking (or before you put em in the oven) use a fork to flatten them a bit.

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Speaking of would-be celebrity chef names, how great would Cookeane be? I guess maybe they exist, just somewhere only they know

You can’t really tell when they’re done- just until it smells really good in your kitchen!  I took about 13 minutes and checked at 9.

2013-06-12_22-36-30_624 2013-06-12_21-37-03_349

Vegan cranberry chocolate chip cookies (adapted very loosely from this recipe on allrecipes)

Ingredients:

1 medium banana

1 large avocado (you won’t use all of it)

3 TB ground flaxseed, divided

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 c brown sugar

1 1/2 c flour (or any substitute)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 c oats

1/2 c dried cranberries

1/2 c chocolate chips

1/2 c walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix 1 TB flaxseed with 2 TB warm water, set aside.

Mash entire banana with slices of avocado until you have about 1 cup (I used 3/4 of a medium avocado).

Mix in the brown sugar, flaxseed mix, and vanilla.

Separately, mix 1 c flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and oats.

Add wet ingredients to dry, mix.  If too wet (likely) add flour 1 TB at a time until it seems like wet cookie dough (but not pancake batter/muffin batter).

Mix in chocolate chips, cranberries, walnuts, whatever else you want (sunflower seeds?)

Drop by tablespoonfuls on cookie sheet, slightly flatten with a fork, and bake for 9-14 minutes or until it smells good and edges are lightly browned.

“vegan” pumpkin cinnamon rolls

23 Jun

A couple years ago, I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals.  It didn’t have too much effect on my life at the time (I was dating a vegan and in Vietnamese culture you eat vegan after a family member dies for awhile anyways), but it’s echoed since then in the form of my friend Edward , who became vegan after reading it during a visit to me.  A few months after that, I visited him in Seattle and made these bomb cinnamon rolls.  They’re just incredible, you can’t tell they’re vegan, and sometimes when people find out they’re completely incredulous.  But you have to make them while watching TV/doing laundry/blogging because they take about THREE HOURS (maybe 20-30 minutes of active time).

The story was to explain why I sometimes do vegan baking.  My math big brother is also vegan, so I sometimes bring in baked goods and he can have them.  These cinnamon rolls are the first vegan thing I ever baked.

That said, I failed this time because I didn’t have any Earth Balance in my house, and my roommate shops at Costco so it’s hard to justify buying it when we have something like five pounds of butter sitting in the freezer.

It's around 3:14 but it's not pumpkin pi time... it's pumpkin cinnamon roll time!

It’s around 3:14 but it’s not pumpkin pi time… it’s pumpkin cinnamon roll time!

First, mix your yeast with your hot water.  It’s a packet to a tablespoon, and it smells awful, and you need to do it asap to give the yeast time to do their thang.  Then turn on your oven.  Basically to whatever temperature- I did 350 because it’s the default.  The point is to heat up the oven, and then after a few minutes you turn it off so you have a “warm place free from drafts” for your dough to rise in.

While you’re waiting for your yeast to chitchat and the oven to warm up, you can prep the rest of your ingredients/workplace.  Mix up the pumpkin, melted margarine (oops), sugar (only a heaping tablespoon!), and soy milk.  That’ll mix with your yeast in a few minutes.  Meanwhile, clean your countertop or table, then sprinkle a bunch of flour all over it.  Put 3/4 cup of flour in a bowl nearby with a tablespoon.

The skeptical Canadian was always suspicious of canned pumpkin.  "You say that's pure, eh?"

The skeptical Canadian was always suspicious of canned pumpkin. “You say that’s pure, eh?”

There's no plaid at this prep school, but there are lots of flour prints

There’s no plaid at this prep school, but there are lots of flour prints

Sift together the flour and spices and salt (I skipped this because I was using salted butter) (Also I skipped this step because I don’t sift things).  Point being, measure out your stuff.

By now you can turn off your oven, hopefully it’s around 150 in there.  Crack it open while you mix your wet ingredients with the yeast, then add the dry.

Pumpkin puree, there ain't no mountain high enough to keep me from gettin to you, babe.  Even if that mountain is covered in spices.

Pumpkin puree, there ain’t no mountain high enough to keep me from gettin to you, babe. Even if that mountain is covered in spices.

I just used a fork- you’ll get very sticky dough.  Just keep mixing it until it’s smooth.  Then it’s KNEADING TIME.  Throw that dough onto your floured surface, and start tossing flour on it a tablespoon at a time.  Knead, knead, turn, flour, knead, knead, turn, etc. for about ten minutes.  Honestly I’m awful at kneading so I won’t tell you how to do it, just try.

I'm just such a commitmentphobe- I hate being kneady.

I’m just such a commitmentphobe- I hate being kneady.

It’ll be a beautiful soft ball, a little sticky but not nearly as much as you started, and if you poke it it’ll gently bounce back slowly.

It's so beautiful, I might start crying.  Even BALLing.

It’s so beautiful, I might start crying. Even BALLing.

Throw it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a towel, and chuck it in your heated-then slightly cooled oven.  Close that up and let sit for an hour, or until it’s doubled in size.  I was productive played a lot of Candy Crush during that time.

After that hour, pull it out, punch it down, cover, and re-flour your surface.  Clean up all your bowls etc. and prepare the filling while you let it sit.

If we crossed Hansel and Gretel with a scandalous show about vampires, could we call it Struesel Blood?

If we crossed Hansel and Gretel with a scandalous show about vampires, could we call it Struesel Blood?

Filling is a standard streusel- I suggest doubling the recipe.  Sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and cut in chilled pieces of margarine until it looks like coarse crumbs, or in my case, until you’re sick of cutting it up.

Now you can uncover your dough, throw it on your floured surface, and roll it out.  You really won’t need extra flour because it’s already oiled so it won’t stick to your rolling pin.

It doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but this version of pinball is way older than that newfangled version the kids are playing in them arcades nowadays

It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but this version of pinball is way older than that newfangled version the kids are playing in them arcades nowadays.

Roll it out to a giant rectangle- it’ll be pretty thin (like 1/4 inch) but it’s pretty easy to make a rectangle.  Then sprinkle your filling all over it, and start rolling it up tight, from the long edge.

2013-06-05_18-37-46_756

Though a rolling stone gathers no moss, a rolling pastry gathers lots of filling.

Then pinch the ends and seam to keep in the filling, and cut it up- I do cut in half, then cut each half in thirds, and then those in half to make 12 “even” sized pieces.

If you cut me, I will bleed deliciousness. So be careful to not lose too much filling on these.

If you cut me, I will bleed deliciousness. So be careful to not lose too much filling on these.

Now tuck them all in an oiled 9″ dish (circle or square) and cover it.  Let sit for about half an hour.

2013-06-05_18-40-59_602

It's ALLLLLIIIIIIIVE

It’s ALLLLLIIIIIIIVE

Actual bake time, for all that waiting, is happily quite short: 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  Top it with a quick icing, made by mixing lots of powdered sugar, a little vanilla, and some warm water:

Time to cop a powder(ed sugar)

Time to cop a powder(ed sugar)

As with Chicago, all lines lead to the gLoop

As with Chicago, all lines lead to the gLoop

Cool, drizzle, and eat!

2013-06-05_19-47-24_997

Recipe from Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk, just slightly modified:

Combine:

1 package yeast

1/4 c warm water

Turn on your oven.  Let the yeast sit for 5-10 minutes while you mix:

3/4 c pumpkin

1/4 c soy milk

1/4 c melted margarine

1 heaping TB sugar

And sift together:

2 1/2 c flour

1/4 tsp each nutmeg, ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Turn off your oven.  Mix the yeast, the wet ingredients, and the dry ingredients until smooth.  On a floured surface, knead the dough for ten minutes, adding

3/4 c flour

a tablespoon at a time, until soft and slightly sticky.  Put into an oiled bowl, cover, and leave in the oven for 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Pull it out of the oven, punch down, cover, and let sit for another five minutes.

Combine:

6 TB each white sugar, brown sugar

4 TB flour

1 TB cinnamon

in a bowl.  Cut in:

4 TB chilled margarine

until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Roll out your dough to a 9″ by 12″ rectangle.  Cover with the filling, then roll up tightly from the long end.  Pinch to seal seam and ends, cut into 12 1″ pieces, and place into a greased 9″ baking dish.  Cover and let rise for half an hour or until doubled in size.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Mix:

3/4 c powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 TB hot water

with a fork- you’ll get a thick, drizzle-able mixture (add more water if you can’t drizzle).  Drizzle over your cinnamon rolls.  Delicious!

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