Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Sorry, no posts this week; work is crazy. I'm hoping to do some cooking and baking this weekend. Check in next week. Talk to you soon. Peace.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Vegan Birthday Cake

Friday was my dad's birthday and it seems to be my new thang to make birthday cakes for every one's special day. My older sister's birthday is in June and as she was eating this cake she said, "so, what kind of cake am I going to get for my birthday."
I actually like this new tradition because I've never been seen as the baker/chef in the family and now the tide is beginning to turn in that direction and I think it's great. Yes, this cake is vegan, and yes it's delicious. It's the same cake recipe that I used for the bundt cake a few weeks back, but I got the frosting recipe from the blog Fat Free Vegan under a post titled German Chocolate Birthday Cake. Super simple to make and super delicious.

Now, I'm definitely not vegan and I'm definitely not vegetarian, but I have stopped eating all land based animals and I am making a conscious choice to avoid eggs and dairy where possible. This is still most definitely a journey that I'm just beginning, but I'm enjoying all the different possibilities that the vegetarian and vegan culinary world has to offer. CB will never be vegetarian, but he has adopted the ideal that you should never eat meat (beef, chicken, etc.) unless you know where it came from and that it was treated humanely, as humanely as any animal born and bred for human consumption can possibly be treated. That being said he doesn't eat meat unless we buy it from a local farm and we haven't had the chance to go to the farm in a long long time, so it's been tofu and tempeh entrees for him for a while. Saturday we had the chance to go to the farm, it was going to be a full day so we packed our travel cooler, loaded with ice packs into the car and headed to the farm so he could stock up on meat for a few weeks.

Among his meat purchases was sliced turkey breast for sandwiches, seriously, pounds of it. The reason I mention this is because as we were traveling on the highway back from the farm, a car in front of us hit a wild turkey that was trying to cross the road. All the cars, including ours (CB behind the wheel) swerved manaically around the severely injured turkey so that we wouldn't hit it. Herein lies my great observation and question, why did my husband driving a car, containing a cooler packed with dead turkey meat, break and swerve as to not hit the injured turkey in the road.

All the cars went out of their way to not hit the injured turkey. All these cars containing people who, I'm sure devour turkey on Thanksgiving Day, swerved left and right to avoid killing it. And me, the one who doesn't eat turkey said to my husband, "you should have just run over it and put it out of it's misery." I couldn't stand to see it suffer, rotating around on one leg, its banged and broken wings unable to take flight. It just seemed wrong to me, and backed up my thought that if you wouldn't be able to kill it, you shouldn't eat it.

Vegan German Chocolate Frosting
1 cup plain soymilk
1/3 cup coconut milk (may use lite coconut milk)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup cornstarch mixed with
1/4 cup water until smooth
2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

In a medium saucepan, mix the soymilk, coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla together. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Cook for one minute after it boils. Remove from heat and stir in coconut and pecans.Allow to cool for about 10 minutes (mixture should still be warm) before spreading on cake.

Makes enough for one 2-layer 8-inch cake.

Rating = Damn Good

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Low Fat Lime Cilantro Hummus...Mmm Good

I've heard that people are genetically predisposed to either love cilantro or hate it. I'm not sure the science behind this, or if it's actually true, but if it is, I fall into the "love it" category. I cannot get enough of it, it's one of the herbs that, just a hint of it in a dish is amazing. I prefer more than a hint though, I prefer a fist full.

The weather is actually starting to not suck everyday, the sun is rising earlier and earlier, and going to bed later and later; and it's not ass biting cold outside every minute of every day. Its the time of year when you just feel like you have more time because you have more daylight. I love this time of year. I love summer better, but this time is still pretty damn good. I eat cilantro all year round, but for some reason even in the dead of winter, it reminds me of warm weather.

This hummus is very good, if you are a cilantro lover, please make it, its so much better than any dip you're going to find in the market, and it's vegan, so you can feel all self righteous when you eat it.

Low Fat Lime Cilantro Hummus
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas drained and rinsed
6 tbs water
juice of one lime
zest of one lime
1/2 bunch cilantro chopped
2 tbs tahini
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 small garlic clove minced

1.Process the chickpeas, water, lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, tahini, 2 tsp of the oil, salt and garlic together in the food processor until very smooth, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

2. Transfer the hummus to a serving bowl; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the flavors meld, about 30 minutes. (The hummus covered can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to temperature and season with additional lemon juice, salt, and cayenne as needed before serving.) To serve, make a well in the center of the hummus, drizzle with remaining teaspoon of olive oil in the well.

Per 1/4 Cup Serving: Call 100; Fat 5g; Sat Fat .5g; Chol 0mg; Carb 10g; Protein 4g; Fiber 3g; Sodium 320mg

Rating = So Damn Good

Monday, April 14, 2008

Swordfish Tacos with Lime and Cilantro

Well, Saturday was just beautiful during the day, bright, sunny, warm. It all went to crap later in the day when there was thunder, lightning, downpours, but the afternoon hours were fabulous. I wanted something for lunch that reminded me of summer and eating outside on the deck. I had some swordfish in the freezer, and I had a few bunches of cilantro that I had purchased at Haymarket on Friday. I googled, "swordfish, cilantro" and came across this recipe, Swordfish Tacos with Lime and Cilantro, perfect.

The recipe, although long and with multiple parts really wasn't that time consuming to put together, and the tacos were great. This would be a wonderful dish for a taco or burrito buffet during a cookout or game watch. And cilantro just smacks of summer. I love it.

Rating = So Damn Good

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Earthy Crunchy ... Granola

It is appropriate that the morning after I made this granola, as I walked home from the gym at 6:30 in the morning, I was passed by a wild "freeking" turkey. I have never in my 10 years living in the city come a cross a wild turkey, never mind a wild turkey sauntering up my street, and then stopping dead in its tracks on a four lane street, causing all kinds of ruckus with the cars coming in either direction. In the City, there are a lot of people walking around at 6:30 in the morning, especially because I live down the street from the hospitals at Longwood, so a lot of people are walking to the hospital for the 7 o'clock shift change. All of us, stopped dead in our tracks and beheld the sheer randomness of having a wild turkey join our commutes, in the middle of the City no less. Chris was still at the gym when I left, and about 5 minutes after I got home he walked in and said "did you see the wild turkey", apparently the turkey had found his way to the sidewalk and was just meandering down the sidewalk when Chris left the gym. Very random this brush with nature. It reminds me of something cool that happened in VT this weekend. I decided to do a yoga class that I downloaded to my ipod at home instead of going to the Yoga Loft, and as I was coming into an upward dog position I looked out the sliding glass door and there were two beautiful deer in my back yard, and they stayed there for most of the class, which was about an hour and a half long. Very Cool.

There is a little restaurant in VT called the Easy Street Cafe, and they have the best granola ever, and I buy it there a lot. Every time I buy it I say to myself "I can make this, why do I keep buying it?" So this week I didn't buy it, I made it, and if I do say so myself, it's pretty damn good. I started with a recipe that was posted on and then added to it with what I had in the cupboards. This is what came from it.

Earthy Crunchy Granola
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup flax seed
1/8 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried banana chips (crushed)
2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 Tbs. flavorless oil, such as vegetable or canola
1 Tbs water

Adjust oven rack to middle position, and heat oven to 275 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch metal pan with cooking spray, then set aside. Mix everything except nuts and dried fruit together in a bowl. Bring syrup, oil, water and any flavorings and spices to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Drizzle over oat mixture, and stir to combine. Pour mixture onto prepared pan. Working a handful at a time, squeeze cereal to form small clumps. Bake for 30 minutes. Stir in dried fruit and nuts. Continue to bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool.

Rating = So Damn Good

Monday, April 07, 2008

Vegan Orange Chocolate Chip Scones

So, these are by far the best vegan scones I have made to date. I know that they came from the Vegan With A Vengeance cookbook, but I found it online so I don't mind posting it, although I'm temped to not post it just so all you lurkers will leave me comments instead of just taking the recipes and leaving and not even giving me a "how do you do". I was so pleased that so many of you took the time to comment and ask for the last recipe so don't be a stranger, leave a comment when you visit.
It was a crappy overcast day up in VT on Saturday, but CB realizing it would probably be his last day to ski decided to go to the mountain anyway for a half day of skiing. The tickets were reduced price due to the deluge of rain that came on Friday and the crappy ski conditions so he just figured it was worth it to try and get in one more day of skiing before we took the ski rack off the car and prepared for the "wet" season up in VT.
I dropped him off at the mountain at 9:00 and picked him up at 1:00, he said the skiing was good, but he was a little lonely, not too many skiers took advantage of the reduced lift ticket, except for one guy who we now call Mr. Carrot. Chris was seated on the chair lift next to a man, who didn't want to make small talk, because he was busy rifling through the myriad of pockets on his ski jacket. He looked in the side pocket, front pocket, air vent zippers and finally found what he was looking for, a big, long orange carrot wrapped in saran wrap and placed in his inside pocket. CB had never seen a carrot wielding skier on the lift before, and found it odd that of all the snacks that skiers may want, like say, a power bar for energy, this man methodically washed, peeled and wrapped up a carrot and placed it in his inside pocket before he left for the mountain. He didn't say anything he just chopped on his carrot the whole way up the mountain. CB's only thought was, "isn't that carrot cold."
To each his own I suppose.
Try these scones. They are really good and you won't miss any of the animal products that usually go into scones.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp baking powder (that's a lot...but that's what it says)
1/4 cup sugar (plus an extra tsp for sprinkling on top)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soy cream (rice or soy milk is an ok replacement, but the cream really works better)
3/4 rice or soy milk plus 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add the oil, soy cream, and milk with vinegar. Mix until just combined; the dough should be clumpy and not sticky. Even if there is still a light dusting of flour, that's okay. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto the greased cookie sheet and pat the tops just a little bit to round them out; sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes until slightly browned on the bottom and firm on the top. Berry Scones: Fold in 1 1/2 cups fresh berries.
Orange Chocolate Chip Scones: Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract to the liquid ingredients, add another 2 Tbsp sugar, fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips. Add the zest of one orange.
Maple Walnut: Add 2 tsp of maple extract to the liquid ingredients, add 2 Tbsp of sugar, fold in 1 1/2 cups of walnuts.
Rating = So Damn Good

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Vegan Lower Fat Deep Chocolate Bundt Cake

When I was younger I thought I would be one of those women who would take age as it came, grow old gracefully, let the sands of time drift as they may. I am not one of those women. I don't know whose crack pipe I was smoking out of when I thought this, because I am scared shitless of looking old. I had a dermatologist appointment this morning, because of my (crazy Irish, albino) lilly white skin, I need to have a doctor check it every year for skin cancer. It not a big deal, except the whole stripping naked thing, and then the whole process where the old man looks at your naked skin through a magnifying glass, cellulite at 1000x it's actual size...purty!
While I was there I thought that I would ask him a few questions that have been on my mind lately about my skin.

"Do you think that all the running I do will cause the skin on my face to sag and create saddle bags that hang from my face and I'll look like Droopy Dog?"
- No

"I think my face has aged more than two years in the past two years, should I be worried?"
- No, you're just looking at your skin more closely, I don't think that we need to discuss "age management" with you for at least another 3 years.
"Three years - God, I thought you were going to say 7 or something like that, 3, I must look like shit!"
(doctor looks up and smiles)

"What about this purple line on my face, I just noticed this, what is this?"
- It's a vein, you're fair skinned, veins will start to show because your skin is so light, if it becomes a problem we can laser it out for (get this) short money. No problem.

I left the doctor thankful for the fact that I don't have skin cancer, but maybe even more thankful that in the future I will be able to fix my face for "short money" should I decide to take corrective action against time and gravity.

Well, chocolate cake sounds good right about now doesn't. Oh, smooth transition on that one JB.
As I mentioned before, CB's mom bought me the Veganomicon cookbook for my birthday last month and this is the first recipe that I made out of it and it was FANFUCKINGTASTIC. It tasted like real honest to god, full fat, animal product filled chocolate cake, without all the guilt. I'm not going to post the recipe because the book is so new and I want you to want to buy it, but if you leave a comment with your email I will send it to you. It should be in your recipe box, it's so good. How Good Is It?

Rating = So God Damn Good