29 July 2012

Muffin Kick

"Muffin courier."  That's what I want my next job to be.  The muffins will be so deliciously valuable that I'll have to handcuff my Harry Potter lunchbox to my wrist.  As far as I know, this “breakfast dessert” does not kick back. 


26 July 2012

Change in Plans

Dear ones,
I'm taking a Sabbath, as in *the* Sabbath, according to these principles at Sabbath Manifesto.org.  The only thing I'm not getting behind on this list is the "drink wine" part, and the bread I might eat will of course be vegan and gluten-free.  Longer postage will resume next week.

Q

P.S. Sabbath puts me in the mood for challah.

21 July 2012

Muffins as a Creative Outlet

As Julia Cameron wrote in The Artist’s Way, paraphrasing another artist, when you’re out of the studio for three days, by that third day, you’ll do anything to get back to your art and nobody better stand in your way. I came home from my first week of work on Friday (a yearlong fellowship) and made muffinz. Zucchini muffins.

10 July 2012

Tahinopita II


Zucchini…and tahini.  Oh yesh.  Last year I made a zucchini-tahini cornbread for breakfast.  I mentioned making tahinopita before, and it was a quickbread version.  This is my yeasted tahinopita variation.

Z.3


For lack of a better term, I’m calling this next dish a seed butter.  Since I used mammoth zucchini and summer squash for the cake and pie, I scraped out the seeds because they would have added too much volume.  The internets didn’t have much in the way of a recipe for roasted summer squash seeds.  I sautéed the innards of a giant squash and a giant zucchini in the same pan as I used to saute the zukes for the Z-pie.  Then I Vitamixed them (“to Vitamix” has become a verb in my world, much like “to Google” something is a verb).


Z.2


Since I made my cake and rushed to my cousin’s graduation party, I left it in the pan and frosted it at her house.  It received good reviews from high school seniors!


Z

What do you do with a big zucchini
What do you do with a big zucchini
What do you do with a big zucchini
Fresh from grandma’s garden?

Bake it in a pie until it’s tender
Bake it in a cake for sweet-tooth splendor
Whirl it into mush in a high-speed blender
Holy cats, I’m starving!

Plentiful, prodigious zucchini, meet pie, cake, and pasta sauce or soup base.

Zucchini Pie
Modified from my grandmother’s recipe

Makes one 9-inch pie
Note: Crust and filling can both be assembled separately the night before baking.
Crust:
1 1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup brown rice flour or sticky rice flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons coconut oil, solid

Filling:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion
1 medium zucchini
1 medium summer squash

12.3 ounces silken tofu (firm)
1 small clove garlic
7 leaves fresh basil (or 2 tablespoons of vegan pesto)
1 ½ teaspoons dry or wet mustard
1 ½ teaspoons apple cider or white wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9-inch glass pie plate (if baking right away).

Toast the walnuts in preheating oven, about 8 minutes (or microwave for one minute).  Set aside.

Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat.  Dice onion and slice zucchini and summer squash to desired size (one-inch square flat pieces or smaller, at a minimum).  Sautee onion for about five minutes, until it begins to turn translucent, and then add the vegetables.  Cook on high until zucchini and squash begin to turn translucent.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In food processor, pulse walnuts to break them into pebble-sized bits.  Then add all the other crust ingredients and process until they stick together when pressed.  Press into pie plate and set aside.

Without wiping out food processor, pulse all ingredients from tofu through flaxseed.  In a separate bowl, combine tofu mixture with zucchini mixture.  Pour into piecrust.  Bake on the centre rack for 45 minutes or until the middle is set and doesn’t jiggle.  Cool in partially open oven for 15 minutes then remove and cool on a rack.  Serve room temperature or chilled.  Store in fridge.





Zucchini-Almond Cake (“ZAC”)
Modified from the Martha Stewart EVERYDAY FOOD magazine iPad app, brought to my attention by my fashion-forward aunt.

Cake:
2 cups finely grated zucchini
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon organic sugar

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 cup water

1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup organic granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup King Arthur Flour Ancient Grains Flour Blend
1/4 cup sticky rice flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Frosting:
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 9-inch round cake pan.  Line with parchment or waxed paper, and grease the paper.  If making the almond frosting, toast the almonds in the preheating oven.

Place the grated zucchini in a large sieve or colander over a large bowl and stir in the salt and sugar (salt and sugar are hygroscopic and will pull out excess moisture from the zucchini).

In a large measuring cup, whisk together the flaxseed and water and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Add the oil, sugar, and extracts to the flaxseed mixture and stir.  Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients, mix for a few strokes, and then fold in the zucchini.  Mix until just combined.  Transfer to the pan and bake until the cake has browned on the top, passes the toothpick test (it’s a moist cake, but the toothpick shouldn’t be wet), the top springs back when touched, and the cake has pulled away from the side of the pan, 35-7 minutes. Let cake cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Invert onto a plate and frost when completely cool.


To make the frosting, toast the almonds in the oven for 8 minutes or so, or microwave them for 1 minute.  In a food processor or blender, process the almonds and, as safety allows with the machine running, drizzle in the canola oil, agave, water, and vanilla until the mixture is uniformly combined and begins to clump up.  Frosting can remain at room temperature until the cake is cool enough to frost.








Since I made my cake and rushed to my cousin’s graduation party, I left it in the pan and frosted it at her house.  It received good reviews from high school seniors!

For lack of a better term, I’m calling this next dish a seed butter.  Since I used mammoth zucchini and summer squash for the cake and pie, I scraped out the seeds because they would have added too much volume.  The internets didn’t have much in the way of a recipe for roasted summer squash seeds.  I sautéed the innards of a giant squash and a giant zucchini in the same pan as I used to saute the zukes for the Z-pie.  Then I Vitamixed them (“to Vitamix” has become a verb in my world, much like “to Google” something is a verb).

Zucchini and Summer Squash Seed Butter

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups zucchini and summer squash innards, chopped into 2-inch chunks

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the zucchini and squash innards.  Sautee until the pieces  begin to turn translucent and release their vital fluids, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to a blender or food processor and process until liquid.







It smells pretty bland, and it’d be a good base for a soup or pasta sauce.

Zucchini…and tahini.  Oh yesh.  Last year I made a zucchini-tahini cornbread for breakfast.  I mentioned making tahinopita before, and it was a quickbread version.  This is my yeasted tahinopita variation.

Tahinopita II
Modified from Sadowski, Laurie, “Double-Chocolate Hazelnut Bread,” in The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread (Summertown: Book Publishing Company, 2011), 80, and http://shmooedfood.blogspot.com/2006/05/tahinopita.html.

3/4 cup water (or the juice of 1 orange plus enough water to make 3/4 cup of liquid)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

3/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar

1/3 cup tahini
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup sticky rice flour
3/4 cup King Arthur Flour Ancient Grains Flour Blend
2 tablespoons sorghum flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 cup raisins

Grease an 8-inch springform pan with olive oil and set aside.  In a large measuring cup, whisk together the flaxseed and water (and orange juice, if using) and set aside.  In a small measuring cup, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and sugar and set aside until foamy.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, salt, and spices.  Add the tahini and cider vinegar to the flaxseed mixture.  Pour the flaxseed mixture onto the flour mixture, and then add the yeast mixture.  Mix until combined, then fold in the raisins.  Transfer to the pan and let rise in a warm place for 75 minutes or until doubled in size.

About fifteen minutes before the bread is finished rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once the bread has finished rising, bake it for 40-45 minutes until it passes the toothpick test, has browned on top, springs back when touched, and has pulled away from the edge of the pan.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then loosen it from the ring of the springform with a knife.  Remove the pan and cool on a rack.





The jack-o-lantern serrated knife is a apartment-warming gift from my fashion-forward aunt who knows that for me, every day is Halloween (but only one day is my birthday).

Wikimania tomorrow!

06 July 2012

Sacrifice for the Gods of Freedom and Democracy: Cereal Bars


On Tuesday, one of my bestest buds from high school invited me to a Fourth of July party in D.C. and she requested that I bring “some food or drink to placate the gods of freedom and democracy.”  However, I couldn’t use the stove since the gas burners have electric starters.  As with this episode last year, I took the Metro to my brother’s apartment in order to sleep and make cereal bars.


Travelling for Dessert

When I arrived in Alexandria on Monday to cat-sit for my aunt and uncle, I arrived to a hot house and freaked-out cats: no power since Friday’s storms. The apple crisp recipe below is modified from Jon and Robin Robertson’s Vegan Unplugged: A Pantry Cuisine Cookbook and Survival Guide. I purchased the book in March and was saving it to read for a special occasion. Well, cat-sitting without power was special enough!


On Tuesday, one of my bestest buds from high school invited me to a Fourth of July party in D.C. and she requested that I bring “some food or drink to placate the gods of freedom and democracy.”  However, I couldn’t use the stove since the gas burners have electric starters.  As with this episode last year, I took the Metro to my brother’s apartment in order to sleep and make cereal bars.

Brown Rice Peanut Butter Cereal Bars
Modified from Alicia Silverstone, “Crispy Brown Rice Squares,” in The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet (Rodale Books, 2009).

1 1/2 cups brown rice syrup
Pinch sea salt
3/4 cup natural peanut butter (I used Whole Foods fresh-ground peanut butter)
7 cups whole grain brown crisped rice cereal (3 1/2 cups Nature’s Path Gorilla Munch and 3 1/2 cups Koala Crisp)
1/2 cup raisins

Grease a 9*13-inch baking pan or an 8*4-inch loaf pan AND a 9-inch pie plate.
In a large bowl, stir together the cereal and raisins.
In a medium saucepan, stir together the brown rice syrup, salt, and peanut butter.  Bring to a low simmer and cook until the peanut butter is melted, about 5 minutes.  Pour over the cereal and stir until combined.  Transfer to the pan(s).  Press down the tops for an even elevation.  Cover with foil or plastic wrap and cool on a rack or in the refrigerator for at least an hour before cutting.

As someone at the party said, these are “addictive” and were totally worth all the Metro fares involved.

After two and a half days in an 87-degree house, the apples I brought to my aunt and uncle’s house in Alexandria were going south.  That I dropped them on the basement floor while making a pit stop at my grandparents’ house didn’t help their overripe situation either.  Once the power returned midday on Independence Day, on Thursday I used the apples in a crisp.


Apple Crisp
Modified from Jon Robertson and Robin Robertson, “Skillet Peach Crumble,” in Vegan Unplugged: A Pantry Cuisine Cookbook and Survival Guide, (Woodstock: Vegan Heritage Press, 2010), 150.

Fruit:
4 medium apples (I used two Red Delicious and two Granny Smith)
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
1/2 cup water

Topping:
2/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1/4 cup Sucanat
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon chunky natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon canola oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Have an 8*8-inch square glass baking dish at the ready (no need to grease).  Cut the apples into a mix of thin slices and chunks (I left the peel on—fibre’s good for you!).  In a large bowl, toss the apples with the tapioca and transfer into the baking dish.  Pour the water over the apples.  In a large bowl, mix together the topping ingredients until combined.  Sprinkle the topping over the apples.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the water is bubbling, the apples have browned, and the topping is dark and crispy.  Let cool to an edible temperature before digging in.
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