14 April 2012

Spring Cleaning the Freezer

On to the cleaning.  I went home this weekend and cleaned out the corner of the freezer in which I have been accumulating various vegan and GF bits and bobs (i.e., the effects of the sentiment, "let’s double the recipe so I can not cook five days a week").  Mainly I had dessert detritus which would take a while to consume individually.

So I made a tiramisu/trifle thing.  Nota bene: I would not recommend imitating this exact recipe.

I layered cookies from December, unfrosted black-and-white cookies from June, “special dessert” brownies my mom made for me in November (no, not that kind of special brownies), quinoa-apricot bread from February, and really bad chocolate cupcakes we made in June, topped with almond-coconut cookies my mom made in June.

Chocolate Cryogenic Strata

Step one: make chocolate mousse.

6 dates, soaked in 3/4 cup water (use more dates if you want a sweeter mousse)
8 ounces firm silken tofu (leftover from coconut macaroons)
16 ounces pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup cocoa
dash cayenne (optional)
dash coriander (really optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Agave or maple syrup to adjust for sweetness

Pop it all in the blender and blend until uniformly chocolaty.  Taste and adjust for sweetness accordingly.

Since what I was going to cover with this mousse was super-sweet, I didn’t add anything and kept the mousse pumpkin-y.

Our blender is retro because it's legitimately old.

Step two: cover the bottom of a large glass (nonreactive), lidded container with about 1/4 of the mousse.

I was going to do three layers of baked goods, so I figured I’d do four layers of mousse.

Step three: nuke the frozen cookies for a minute to soften them up.

Those are Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies, Peanut Blossoms with Espresso Chocolate, and Melty Mints.

Just for fun:
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Modified from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, 89.

3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
3 tablespoons nondairy milk (I used almond)
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/3 cups brown rice flour
1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose GF Baking Flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (or Dutch process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two baking sheets with parchment.  Mix topping ingredients on a plate and set aside.  Mix wet.  In a separate bowl, whisk together dry.  Add wet to dry.  The dough can be set aside and refrigerated here until ready to use if you have other things to do (such as writing papers).  Using a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop, measure out cookies and drop into topping, coating one side only.  Drop sugar-side-up onto sheets.  Flatten with a fork to desired thickness.  Bake 10-12 minutes, until they crack on top.  Cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Step four: arrange the cookies and cover with another 1/4 of the mousse.

Step five: slice frozen cupcakes in half.

Dunk in tea or coffee and layer.  I made some cherry-chamomile tea since chamomile tea is the antithesis of espresso.  Maybe I should call this anti-tiramisu.  Top with another 1/4 of mousse.

Step six: slice frozen brownie dessert. 

Arrange brownies and quinoa bread squares.  Top with the rest of the mousse.

Step seven: crumble lacy almond-coconut cookies on top. 

Chill for at least six hours or overnight before serving.

Aw yeah.  Bowl of reinvented desserts for dessert.  This is dessert efficiency.  You would think I would have learned my lesson; I cleared a space in the freezer at home and I gave away a bunch of sweets from my freezer at school.  This weekend, my mom and I made orange cupcakes with orange pudding filling and chocolate ganache.  Two dozen of them, since, you know, I need to take some back to school. 

Actually, I do need to take a few back to school since on Monday the religion department is celebrating the thesis due date with sparkling cider and cupcakes.  Doubtless the cupcakes will be from one of the local purveyors, and they will not be VGF.  Thusly I will bring one for me and enjoy the fellowship of my major-mates while eating a “safe” cupcake (I’d share, but I think another choice of cupcake would be overkill).

I ate my first grilled meal of the season: marinated tofu with grilled zucchini, broccoli, and pineapple.

Two tastes I’m looking forward to during grilling season: cedar plank salmon and onions in beer.  Yeah, you read that right.  When my parents cook salmon on a cedar plank, my tofu or tempeh becomes cedar-scented, nom nom nom.  While bratwurst is out of the question (do I want to know what goes into a Johnsonville brat?  No.), I enjoy onions cooked in beer on the grill (white onions + can of beer braised in foil pan on one side of the grill).  Makes a good veggie burger topping.  Our local liquor store sells Redbridge, Anheuser-Busch’s VGF beer, which means this dish will happen while I’m at home this summer.

On Friday, though it’s not OK for Pesach, I modified VGF challah from this recipe.  I don’t think I let the bread rise long enough since it’s a bit dense.   Additionally, I’m not satisfied with the flour blend I used since I threw in some random chickpea flour blend that’s been sitting in the fridge since June.  The bread’s not super-sweet, but it really has no distinct taste, which means the chickpea flour strong-arms the other flours out of the taste profile.  I didn’t shape it since the dough seemed fragile, but it’s a work-in-progress.

While musing about cookbooks and cooking blog…I don’t consciously write this blog for beginning cooks, but if you have questions, please comment or email and I’ll do my best to explain.

ALSO, this is a big one: most GF recipes can be converted to glutinous ones by substituting an equal amount of glutinous flour for the total amount of flours in a GF recipe.  The liquid may have to be reduced a little for glutinous flours.

I think that’s about it.  Congrats to my cousin on choosing her top choice university!

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