28 December 2013

Zombie Soup

Most days, I ride my bike to work. After a few months, I figured out something...
Rules for wearing a skirt (of any length) while riding a bike:

1) Don't.
2) Bring safety pins--both to pin up a long skirt before and to fix the inevitable rips afterwards.
3) Lose sense of shame.
4) Wear cute undies because you will flash people.
5) See Rule #1.

Especially because of the cold, I've given up on skirts for a while.

Soup! Because it's cold outside. There's probably 1,001 variations on some vegan, gluten-free, roasted butternut squash curried soup because it is brainlessly easy to prepare. Even a zombie could make it.

26 December 2013

Sourdough Joins the Mile-High Club

Happy Boxing Day!

Because Audrey, Jr demanded sacrifice, the sourdough starter ended up in the traditional Christmas morning breakfast: Mile-High Cinnamon Roll Bread.

Coincidentally, my friend from Colorado enjoys the Mile High Cinnamon Roll bread immensely (the capital Denver is the Mile-High city). He chooses to violate it with cream cheese while I like it with Earth Balance. Whatever floats your boat, man.

I like my green juice from a pilsner glass; some people prefer mason jars. All together, now...

21 December 2013

Happy Solstice!

Happy Solstice!
Wishing you a delightful return of the light on the year's longest night,

Please perform all sacrifices responsibly. :-)

17 December 2013

Starter Start-up: Flatbread

Starter Start-up: Flatbread

It was like having a pet. Or a vampire in hibernation. I had to go home every day at lunch, mix water and teff flour, and feed the starter. Methinks I should name it Audrey, Junior.

14 December 2013

In the Family | Berry Swirl Cheezecake

The snow has me grounded at my grandparents' house after our Army-Navy game party, and I made breakfast/dessert in my cupcake pan which I left here. Since my grandmother bakes frequently, her pans aren't "safe" for me (years of baked-on grease and wheat flour).

Her dessert for our "tailgate" party was the conventional version of cinnamon coffee bars.  Funny story, the last time I wrote about cheesecake, I had just made Chocolate-Covered Katie's Deep-Dish Cinnamon Roll Pie. The 2012 pie turned out tough because I was angry and tight. Tonight I made the pie again in cupcake format. The cupcakes baked up properly puddingy because I am happy and chill. There is substance to Como agua para chocolate!  

12 December 2013

Cooking with Gas | Penne alla Vodka

Cooking with Gas | Penne alla Vodka

Considering how I grew up on this dish, you might wonder why I needed a recipe.

Rules are nice, sometimes. As my high school Honors Biology teacher said, "Rules were meant to be followed."

'Cept when veganising and deglutinising recipes. Then rules are meant to be broken and rebuilt from their component parts into new arrangements. Kind of like proteins/amino acids.

Penne alla Vodka

1 pound GF penne pasta (I used brown rice rotelle and lasagne since I had kind of old boxes of each)

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, grated
dash sea salt
1 cup vodka (my mom used Stolichnaya; I used Luksusowa, a potato vodka, because I'm not taking chances with grain-based alcohol.
1 14- or 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (I went for the 14 but the 28 would be better)
1 16-ounce bag frozen peas, slightly defrosted (optional)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
cayenne to taste (for lack of red pepper flakes)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sautee with a pinch of salt (and maybe a splash of water) until softened and barely translucent, about 7 minutes.  If using a gas stove, remove the pan from the heat and add the vodka.  Bring to a boil and cook on high until bubbly and reduced, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and stir well.  Add the peas and cook until mostly defrosted.  Add the coconut milk and cook for an additional minute. Add the pasta and stir to incorporate and heat through. Turn off the heat and add the spices to your liking.

There's some hommos under there since the dish has very little protein sans cheese. I added the peas because I really wanted fettucini carbonara, but, alas, no liquid smoke nor tempeh to make vegan bacon. Confession: salty, preserved flesh (i.e., prosciutto, smoked salmon, jerky) is the only kind of preparation of animal protein I ever think, "Hmm, I miss that," as a vegan. Probably 'cause my Italian ancestors ate pancetta, et cetera. The smell of pork roll/Taylor ham makes me incredibly nostalgic as my grandparents always have it for special brunches.


Parting shots:
I began a sourdough starter on Monday: teff, water, apple peel, and cabbage leaves. Recipe's from Jennifer Katzinger, Gluten-Free & Vegan Bread.

I made veggie burgers that didn't fall apart! These are spicy black bean, sweet potato, quinoa burgers from What the hell do vegans eat?

The starter grew.

There was Japanese rice bread with some desiccated defrosted brown rice and the ever-popular blue cornmeal.

There was snow.
The starter kept growing!

This Pyrex plate blew when I attempted to make a water bath to bake some sourdough bread.

After the intrepid first batch of bread sat overnight in the fridge, then for most of the day on top of the fridge, I baked it in a sparkling clean oven with a proper water bath.

Sounds like crust to me. Smells like popcorn because of the toasted polenta/grits around it. I haven't had sourdough in...three or four years now. Don't think I had it much when I became vegan since I ate mostly spelt, kamut, and weird ancient grains breads due to the whims of my favourite bakery in Montclair. I have high expectations!

Saturday's post will be cheesecake, and not *that* kind of cheesecake!

06 December 2013

Cooking with Gas | Maple Bourbon Donuts

Part II of Cooking with Gas, a series on recipes featuring hard liquor.

If there's half a cup of water to replace 2 eggs, and the recipe is supposed to have alcohol, then that half cup of water is going to be alcohol. 'Nuff said. Had I been pulled over while driving to an appointment with The Local Massage Therapist in Arlington, I probably would've registered above acceptable blood alcohol content after having a maple bourbon donut this morning. Not that I was driving recklessly--these donuts are just particularly alcoholic. The glaze contains a teaspoon of whiskey and the donuts taste like alcohol, most definitely. They're good that way. The people who know these things keep telling me the GF alcohol I find is milder than the conventional types. I guess that's good for me since extremes (salt, sweet, etc.) do a number on me. It was too late last night to figure out an alternate glaze that didn't involve sugar, but I have ideas and 2/3 of a bottle of Queen Jennie sorghum whiskey with which to experiment. Queen Jennie is named after a bootlegger, and a distillery called Old Sugar makes it in Wisconsin. I had to special order it, after visitng and calling several liquor stores in the DMV region, and a bottle ran me $50. The list of distributors on the Old Sugar website is not accurate.

Maple Bourbon Doughnuts
Modified from King Arthur Flour

1/2 cup GF whiskey
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1 cup King Arthur Flour Ancient Grains GF flour blend
1 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup arrowroot
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup vegan margarine, softened (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup (Grade B preferred)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a mini-donut pan and another muffin tin (I used 4 wells of a "Twinkie" or cream canoe pan).

In a small measuring cup, mix the whiskey and flax and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift then whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, leavening, and salt.

In another large, high-sided, bowl, beat the margarine and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the maple syrup and vanilla. As always, beat the shit out of it.  Beat in the flax and whiskey. Stir in the dry ingredients in three additions. Transfer to the pans (fill wells 3/4 full if you don't want Cthulhu donuts). Bake for 15 minutes (mini donuts) to 17 minutes (cream canoes) or until they pass the toothpick test, have browned a little, and spring back to the touch. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool.

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon bourbon whiskey

Combine all glaze ingredients in a wide, shallow bowl.  Dredge warm donuts in glaze and set on a rack to dry.  Store in the 'fridge or the cold trunk of your vehicle.

Parting Shots

Maryland is #2. Fucking A.

Sums up my year.

Yes, becoming vegan is the only reason my total cholesterol dropped from 193 (age 19) to 169 (age 21) in two years. Lower cholesterol is another reason veganism OR A MORE PLANT-BASED DIET rocks. There is no need to go "whole hog" if your body just doesn't function well without animal products. Just don't be an ass about your stats.

Green smoothies are where it's at: pear, kale, ginger.

Fogged up the window while working out.

Crazy post-workout wrap: brown rice tortilla, red cabbage, coconut yoghurt, coconut peanut butter, beet-kraut slaw, and I think that's it. Very tasty with ginger tea.

Some ass-kicking vegan cheezecake. First time I've made berry cheezecake: raspberry swirled with blueberry. The crust is graham crackers and almonds. Recipe will be on the blog next week.

05 December 2013

Detour | Another Beer Bread Variation

Cooking with Gas, Part 1B

This series is about cooking with hard liquor. The vodka quinoa muffins were the first post. This recipe is related by virtue of being alcohol. I used the last of the crappy (for this beer cannot be mentioned without being ridiculed) Redbridge I bought in April that sat in a cooler behind the Abbey for several months in a loaf of beer bread about a week ago. Then I fed the bread to my coworkers and GF friend. Talk about curse reversing...or dispersing. They all said it was dry, and I do not wonder why (besides the obvious, that teff is a very thirsty flour) . Dead hypotheses' dessicated limbs, to use a little William James terminology, break under the weight of live friends.

CryptiQue will keep these things in their crypts.

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