February, 2012

  1. Clermont, FL

    February 26, 2012 by Angie

    Our dear friends Contessa got married!  Congratulations!  We cannot wait for married double dates yesssss!

    We traveled (albeit not very far) to Clermont, FL to be a part of their wedding.  We’d never been to Clermont and found it to be quite hilly by Florida standards.

    Their ceremony was in a family friend’s lovely backyard on a lake.  They did a great job of decorating.  I loved all the candles.

    View of the wedding house

    Tessa walking down the aisle with her Mom, Mindy.

    The beautiful bride!  God, I love that dress!

    This is Robbie groomsmanning!

    Robgeleen & Contessa on their wedding day.  We’re so happy for you guys!

    I made some vegan treats for their wonderfully decadent dessert buffet: Your Basic Chocolate Cupcakes with Rich Chocolate Ganache Topping from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies adapted from Veganomicon.

    Awesome dessert buffet!  You can see my cupcakes at the top of the cupcake tower and one of the adorable flower girls snatching up a cookie.

    Cupcakes in their new cupcake carrier

     You can’t mess with this.  Serious cupcake carrying right here.


  2. oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

    February 24, 2012 by Angie

    Our dear friends, Contessa, are getting married tomorrow! I made a double batch of these Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies to add to their dessert buffet. These are the cookies that got me interested in vegan baking. They’re delicious and always a hit. I also made a double batch for our vegan guests at our wedding last year.

    Adapted from the Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies recipe in Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s book Veganomican.

    Ingredients

    1/2 c canola or safflower oil
    1/3 c maple syrup
    1/3 c unsweetened soy milk
    3/4 c light brown sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2 1/3 c whole wheat flour
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    2 tsps ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 c instant oats
    3/4 to 1 c Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Directions

    Beat the oil, maple syrup, soy milk, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth.

    Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Using a hand mixer, beat just until a dough begins to form. Use a spoon to fold in the oats and chocolate chips.

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and oil two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

    Make tablespoon-sized balls out of the dough. Space them apart on the prepared baking sheets.

    Flatten the cookies a little bit with the palms of your hands.

    Bake for 7 minutes. Take the baking sheets out and rotate them so that the sheet on the upper rack is now on the lower rack. Bake another 7-9 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned. The cookies spread some but not on the scale of most cookies.

    Let the cookies cool on their baking sheets for about 2 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


  3. cashew butter blossoms

    February 23, 2012 by Angie

    For Week 8 of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking: Candy Decoration, I tried a new recipe – cashew butter blossoms.  These are not vegan on account of the Hershey Kisses (which contain milk) but, they could be made vegan by substituting a vegan chocolate like a few Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.

    Cashew Butter Blossoms

    Adapted from the New York Times.

    Yield: 2 dozen medium cookies

    Ingredients

    1 c whole wheat flour
    3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 c Earth Balance
    1/2 c cashew butter
    1 tbs soy milk
    1/2 c sugar (plus a little more for rolling)
    1/2 c light brown sugar
    1 tbs tapioca flour + 3 tbs water (as a replacement for 1 egg)
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    24 Hershey Kisses, unwrapped
    vegetable oil to grease/parchment paper to line the baking sheets

    Directions

    1.  Take a half cup stick of Earth Balance out of the fridge now to get it to room temperature.  In a small bowl, mix together the tapioca flour and water to create an “egg”.  Set aside.

    2.  In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, and baking soda.

    3.  In a large bowl, cream the Earth Balance, cashew butter, soy milk, and sugars together with a hand mixer.  Beat in the tapioca “egg” and vanilla extract.

    4.  Add the flour mixture slowly in batches and beat until well blended.

    5.  Prepare the cookie sheet(s) by lining with parchment paper or lightly greasing with vegetable oil.

    6.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

    7.  Roll the dough into one inch balls.  Roll the balls on a plate of sugar to cover.

    8.  Place the dough balls onto the cookie sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart.  Bake for about 7-9 minutes.  While the cookies are baking, unwrap 24 Hershey Kisses.  If you are using two baking sheets, take them out and rotate them so the one on the lower rack is now on the top.  Bake another 7-9 minutes.  You want the cookies to be mostly done before the next step so that the chocolate doesn’t burn.

    9.  Once the blossoms are puffy and slightly browned, remove them from the oven and place an unwrapped Hershey Kiss in the center of each cookie.  Press the Kiss down so that the dough cracks a little.  Continue to bake for 3-4 more minutes or until the cookies are golden brown and the Kisses are a little melty.

    10.  Let the cashew butter blossoms cool completely on a wire rack.

    Note: If you use a real egg or Ener-G Egg Replacer, you can omit the 1/4 tsp baking powder.  I added it because the tapioca flour doesn’t have as much leavening power as a real egg or Egg Replacer.

    These are quite fantastic!  I really, really, really like these cookies.  The tips of the Hershey Kisses burned a little but I couldn’t taste it at all.  They are soft like snickerdoodles and the melty chocolate kiss makes it a real treat!


  4. Miami, FL

    February 22, 2012 by Angie

    It may seem silly to blog about going to Miami since we go there a lot and Cute Husband lived there for most of his life.  I promise you though that this time is noteworthy because we took the TRAIN there.  It was so cool!  You can hang out and eat and drink and move around freely while someone else handles the driving.

    Boarding the train

    Robbie is ready to go!

    Finishing up A Game of Thrones

    We had a lot of space – much more than on an airplane.  There was a diner car where we got some drinks (for a 700% markup).

    Blurry forward-facing camera phone photo

    Welcome to Miami

    My mother-in-law’s eggplant parmesan – a major highlight of the trip


  5. blackened tofu

    February 16, 2012 by Angie

    Blackened tofu is one of Cute Husband’s absolute favorites.  I follow Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe from Appetite for Reduction (a very fine vegan cookbook).  The spice mixture is so amazing that I’m tempted to mix up a giant batch to keep handy in a Tupperware so I can blacken ALL THE THINGS.

    Blackened tofu and asparagus: a low carb treat

    Fish stick-shaped blackened tofu under the broiler.

    Also great with zucchini fritters!

     


  6. shortbread cookies

    February 15, 2012 by Angie

    The challenge this week for Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking is Valentine’s Day or Love. I bought a pastry mat and rolling pin a couple of months ago and hadn’t really used them yet so I figured it was time to try some sort of roll-out cookie. I made heart-shaped shortbread cookies for my valentine. We think they’re tasty on their own but you can put a dollop of jam on one and squish another on top to make a more decadent shortbread cookie sandwich.

    I followed this recipe from Joy of Baking.com but used Earth Balance to make it vegan.  I also skipped the heart-shaped window cutout and the white chocolate.  For the cookies we chose to sandwich, we used a bit of the low-sugar strawberry jam I had left over from making the Strawberry Jam Swirl Crumbcake last week.


  7. sloppy lentils

    February 11, 2012 by Angie

    I love my slow cooker.  This sloppy lentils dish is a staple at our house.  The recipe is from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson with some changes.  Leaving this to cook all day in the slow cooker creates rich flavors and perfectly soft lentils.  I like to eat this in a bowl topped with a slice of Swiss cheese.  It’s also great on a whole wheat bun for the full vegetarian Sloppy Joe experience.

    Ingredients
    1 tbs olive oil
    1 tsp garlic, minced
    1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    1 tbsp chili powder
    1.5 c dry lentils, picked over & rinsed
    3/4 of a container of Pomi brand chopped tomatoes (the kind in the box; about 20 oz of any brand of chopped tomatoes will work)
    2 c water
    2 tbs reduced-sodium soy sauce
    1 tbs Dijon mustard
    sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

    Instructions

    1. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the minced garlic, diced onion, and bell pepper for about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and cook for a minute more. Take the pan off the heat and set it aside while you add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker.

    2. After rinsing and picking over the lentils, put the lentils and all remaining ingredients into the slow cooker. Add the onion and bell pepper mixture. Stir to combine all of the ingredients.


    3. Put the lid on the slow cooker and turn it on the low setting. Let it cook on low for 6-8 hours. I have left it as long as 10.5 hours but it is good to stir it a few times if you are home, especially if your slow cooker runs hot.

    Here it is after seven hours of slow cooking.  We usually let it cook a little longer but we had someplace to be so we ate it and it was as good as ever.

    Cute Husband had a piece of toast with his.  He builds a solitary toast Stonehenge to keep it from getting soggy with condensation.


  8. strawberry jam swirl crumbcake

    February 11, 2012 by Angie

    The topic for Week 6 of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Baking Challenge is elegant.  I’m not sure if it meets the criteria, but I think this crumbcake is on the fancy side with its swirl of strawberry jam and crumbly, brown sugar and cinnamon topping.

    I followed Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe.  I can’t recommend her website, the Post Punk Kitchen, enough.  It’s overflowing with amazing vegan recipes.  The only change I made to this was the jam.  I used a low-sugar strawberry jam instead of raspberry jam and didn’t use the full 3/4 cup.

     

    It was a hit with our friends!


  9. creamy sweet potato soup

    February 10, 2012 by Angie

    I got a new kitchen toy! Cute Husband bought me an immersion blender as an early Valentine’s Day gift. Don’t judge him! I requested it, I swear.

    I needed a new creamy soup recipe so I could try it out. I modeled this creamy sweet potato soup after this recipe I had bookmarked back before I was a member of the immersion blender-owning elite. It was a success! The immersion blender works great and is so much easier than schlepping the entire pot of soup over to a blender in batches. It’s easy to clean too.

    2 tbsp vegetable oil
    1 cup onion, chopped
    1 cup carrots, chopped
    4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
    1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
    1 tsp red curry paste
    1 quart low-sodium vegetable stock
    1/2 cup light coconut milk
    1 tsp garam masala
    1 tsp curry powder
    2 tsp fresh lemon juice
    sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

    Heat the vegetable oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the chopped carrots and sweet potato and sauté for 5 minutes more.

    Stir in the ginger and curry paste and sauté for 5 minutes.

    Stir in the vegetable stock, light coconut milk, garam masala, and curry powder. Bring it to a boil. Put the lid on the stock pot, turn heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are very soft.

    Turn off the burner.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the stock pot until no vegetable chunks remain.

    Stir in the fresh lemon juice.  Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

    Best library buddy came over for dinner and gave this creamy soup her seal of approval. I think it’s quite delicious too. We enjoyed our soup with some toast and adult beverages.

    Hopslam, toast, and creamy sweet potato soup.


  10. caprese salad and zucchini spaghetti

    February 10, 2012 by Angie

    For dinner Wednesday night, I wanted to use up some left over ingredients from the pizzas we made last week.  I used the leftover part-skim mozzarella, tomatoes on the vine, and fresh basil to make a caprese salad appetizer.  I assembled the salad then drizzled about 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs balsamic vinegar on top.

    Robbie made “regular” linguini noodles for himself but, in an effort to kick it low-carb (as “the kids” say), I made zucchini spaghetti for me.  I followed this recipe from the New York Times’ Health section then covered it in garlicky tomato sauce.  It’s a very simple recipe.  Just use a peeler to trim off long, thin pieces of zucchini.  Stop when you get to the seeds and core.  I used one zucchini since I only needed one serving.  Sauté it in a little olive oil, sprinkle some salt and freshly ground pepper, and serve covered with your favorite tomato sauce.

    Delicious and quick!