Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wreath Cake

This is a cake I made and decorated the cake was cinnamon orange and all the flowers were made out of royal icing! After it set it was transfered to a lovely glass pie plate, sorry no pictures of that. I would like to thank my Wilton instructor Zoe for all the new found skills
I have in decorating yummy stuff!
first a drizzle and some dusting of wilton sparkle

most of the leaves done

the start of the flowers

close up!

yum and done!
ten out of ten family members agree... YUM!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Preparing a Fresh Pumpkin

Canned pumpkin is a quick alternative to fresh but once you have fresh pumpkin the canned stuff just won't cut it. It is easy to prep a pumpkin the oven does most of the work! And here is what you have to do!

1. Cut a pumpkin in half and take out the seeds. You want just the pulp to cook so any of those little stringy things remove as well

2. Place pumpkin on baking sheet and cook at 330 for about 80 minutes, more or less depending on size. You know it is done when you can easily stick a butter knife in to the thickest part.

3. Let it cool it will be very hot and will collect steam under the skin! After the pumpkin is cooled remove the skin by peeling, it will come off very easily. Make sure you get it all off.

4. Either with a hand or stand mixer beat well until smooth and use as you would the canned stuff. So much more tasty!

about half mixed

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tomato Sauce from Scratch

Okay so the only thing I didn't do here is grow the veg, but everything else was done by me and although it is a bit time consuming the results are delicious! And the crock pot does most of the work anyway, about 12 hours of it! This is a big recipe it is meant for a big gathering or to freeze and use when needed. It freezes well and is great for a quick meal!
• 10 pounds of fresh tomatos, I like roma because they have less water content, but feel free to use your favorite type
• 1 red bell pepper minced
• 2 large minced purple onions
• 3 scallions chopped
• 5 to seven cloves of garlic (you can add more or less depending on your love of garlic)
• 3 12 ounce cans of tomato paste
• fresh oregano
• fresh marjorm
• fresh basil
• 1 tbsp sugar
• salt and pepper to taste
Boil water to pour over tomatos to slip the skins, this is the process of removing the skins of the tomato because they become stringy in the sauce. I use my sink and put the hot water over the tomatos and let them sit, you might hear a small pop, but you can tell when they are ready by the skins becoming loose and easy to remove.
tomatoes in water, not ready to be slipped
Next it is time to remove the skins and cut the tomato into quarters removing where the stem was attached as well.

believe it or not this part goes pretty fast!
Remove any excess water by squeezing the tomatoes and place in your crock pot on low. And now it is time to prepare your veg! Mince the onions and pepper press or mince the garlic cut the scallions and mince the fresh herbs.
some of my progress here!
Add everything but the seasoning and the tomato paste to the crock pot.
added (sorry it is dark)
About two hours in add your first can of tomato paste and then the other two about three hours later. Add the herbs and seasoning at about hour nine and do not over salt! Tomatoes love salt and will suck it up fast add a bit then stir well then taste then add more if desired. When you get the flavor you want take an immersion blender and blend to the texture wanted, I like a thicker sauce but some really like the sauce to be thin with no noticeable veg in it.

in the process of blending!
super yum!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Halloween Munchies!

So I had a little party for Halloween and it was all vegan except for the bees wax in some of the chocolate candy I made. The centerpiece of my munchies was the cake. It was a pumpkin walnut pound cake (the skull) and a vanilla walnut cake for the base, with a vegan butter cream frosting!Here are some pictures!

before it was on its base on the table!

yum yum give me some!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I am a total slacker!

I have no excuse on why it has been so long sense I posted but I need to get back into the swing of things! I am going to start posting some pictures and not recipes yet! I have been taking a Wilton cake decorating class with a great teacher Zoe! A link to her Facebook page is here!

And here are some of my fun designs from our classes!
cupcake day: vegan cupcakes with a vegan butter cream frosting!
This was my favorite one!
This was the base for my final cake...

This is my final! It is supposed to look like a Day of the Dead skull

I added a bunch of leaves because they are my favorite thing to make!

Thanks Zoe!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Boiled Peanuts

I am a sucker for these salty treats! What I think I like most about them is experimenting with the recipe, to add a little kick to the traditional boiled peanut recipe! When I was first offered a boiled peanut I was a bit scared, it looked kind of puffy and wet, not what I was used to in the world of peanut consumption! But after trying them I was hooked! The nut inside never become soggy just delicious.
• 3 cups raw peanuts
• 5 cups water
• 1/3 cup kosher salt
• 1 tbsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Add the peanuts to the salted water and bring to a boil then add the pepper stir and reduce heat to low, cook for three to four hours stirring occasionally.
just to a boil and pepper added
after being cooked for about an hour

Taste after three if the nuts are not the correct texture and flavor keep cooking if desired at this point add more cayenne pepper for an extra kick!

finished and yum!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fruit and Yogurt Pie

This is a great summer pie, it is easy it keeps well and it is light! The only problem I have found with it is that you have to really drain the yogurt to make it more like a custard constancy.
• 9 full graham cracker sheets
• 3 tbsp vegan butter
• 32 ounces of vanilla or plain soy yogurt
• 2 plums sliced
• 1 peach sliced
• 1 strawberry sliced
• 7 or so blackberries

The yogurt:
Drain in cheese cloth over night in the refrigerator. The yogurt will loose its water and become much thicker and this is the base of your pie!
The crust:
In a food processor grind the crackers up to a very fine consistency,
crackers processed
melt butter and mix with the crackers. Press into a pie plate, and bake at 300 for 9 to 11 minutes. Let chill.
fresh out of the oven!
The pie: Place yogurt in the crust do not blend to much keep it as stiff as possible. Arrange sliced fruit in any pattern you please!

Ready to enjoy!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cherry-Gooseberry Pie

The season on Gooseberries is so short you need to grab them when you see them. They freeze well but are not commercially grown it is always in my experience a local independent farmer what brings them to market. A good Gooseberry is tart and firm, they make a great counterpoint to a sweet fruit like a Cherry! This particular pie is one of my all time favorites because of all the wonderful flavors in it. I am a fan of the tartness of the Gooseberries if you want a sweeter pie add more sugar or sweetener of your choice. This pie crust is an old family recipe made vegan by me commercially prepared pie crusts are available for people that don't have the time to make their own but I promise mine is much more tasty so try your hand at it and let me know what you think!

Pie Crust Ingredients:
• 2 1/2 cups of unbleached flower
• 3/4 cup cold vegan butter
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 9 tbsp ice water

Before you start chill everything even the dry ingredients. I use my kitchenaid mixer for this recipe but you can do it by hand or use a food processor as well. Mix all dry ingredients together until well mixed. Add a small amount of the butter about a tablespoon mix until there are lumps in the dough then add another tablespoon until butter is all mixed in. The dough should be lumpy. Then add the ice water one tablespoon at a time until water is all added. Dough should be cold and a bit tacky. Do not over work the dough, it will get very gummy. After dough is mixed place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes but up to an hour if you are not pressed for time. Remove dough and place on a floured surface to roll with rolling pin, its best to dust the rolling pin as well. Roll to about 1/3 inch thick place in bottom of your 9' pie pan.
the crust rolled out

• 1 1/2 quarts cherries pitted (there are gadgets that stone your cherries for you in all the kitchen stores, but I am a fan of a large paper clip sanitized, and bent into an S, these are the easiest for me to work with, and take up a lot less room than a big cherry stoner)
• 1 quart gooseberries
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 3 tbsp flour (as a binding agent)
these cherries are pitted!
gooseberries added

Mix sugar and vanilla together well, add the cherries and gooseberries, mix well. Place in large pot on low heat for about 10 minutes, this will release the juices in some of the fruit, add the flour and stir well, be careful not to break any of the fruit. Place in pie dish over rolled out dough.
ready for the oven!
For lattice work cut remaining dough in 1/2' strips and weave over top of pie. The leaf pattern in the middle was done by eye using left over dough, not necessary but pretty! Bake at 400 for about an hour or until berries are soft when poked and crust is a golden color.

Done and yum!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Vegan Bon Bons

So it is officially hot and what better way to combat the hot weather with Bon Bons! A traditional Bon Bon is made of ice cream and chocolate and most of the time pretty high in fat. Well these little beauties are full of potassium and not as much fat!
• 4 ripe bananas
• 1/2 tsp vanilla
• 2 cups dark chocolate chips or chunks
• 2 tbsp agave nectar
In a double bolier start melting one cup of chocolate. To prepare the bananas blend in blender until smooth along with the vanilla and agave nectar then add the chocolate that has been melted, blend until an even color is reached. Freeze this mixture for two or more hours.
frozen mixture

Then with a either a spoon or melon baller make either full round or half rounds. You have to work quick you don't want the mixture to melt in your hands! Then place in the freezer again this time for 30 minutes or longer. Double boil the other cup of chocolate. Remove from heat and drop the rounds in the chocolate, I find it is best to use a fork to get an even coating and not to much clumping. The chocolate will make a hard shell around the mixture and they are ready to enjoy!
Refreshing and Yummy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Seitan Jerky

This is a quick easy snack that keeps well in an air tight container. It is highly modifiable so if you like spicy go for it, I am going with more of a savory flavor with a little kick. The only rule is don't over cook the strips because they get to crunchy and hard and no one likes hard jerky!
• 12 ounces seitan sliced thinly but evenly
• 1/2 cup tamari
• 1/3 cup water
• 2 tbsp ketchup
• 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 1 tsp mustard powder
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1/2 tsp pepper
• 1/2 tsp honey
Slice seitan thin and even so there is less of a chance of burning parts of it, and set aside.
Then mix the wet ingredients together and whisk, add the dry ingredients, as seen below,
Then add the seitan, and mix well, I use my hands to get full coverage, but have a towel handy because the mix is a little sticky. Let the seitan marinade for at least 20 minutes
seitan marinading

Cook at 200 for 20 to 25 minutes, you want the strips to be stiff but not crunchy!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Banana Almond Breakfast Bread

I got this idea from a friend who can't stand bananas but will eat them in bread! I decided to make a breakfast bread. You might be asking why is this is a breakfast bread well technically I guess it is not but it is got four bananas in it and about 2/3 cup of almonds, which is a lot of protein. It is also low in sugar so I think it's a perfect for breakfast!
• 2 cups unbleached flour
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/4 cup canola oil
• 1/2 cup water
• 4 ripe bananas
• 1 tsp vinalla extract
• 2/3 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry ingredients together with electric mixer or stand mixer. As seen below.
dry ingredients only
Then add the oil and water one at a time mix well, add the bananas next followed by the vanilla mix well. Finally add the almonds and mix lightly you don't want the almonds to get to mashed up.
almonds added but not mixed yet
Place in one loaf pan that has been sprayed or lightly greased.
ready for the oven!
Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out and is clean. Below is the finished loaf just out of the oven!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

I recently had a mass marketed lemonade and thought it tasted super nasty, but at the same time I really wanted a lemonade, so I decided to try my hand at making my own! Through some research I realized the way to go is to use simple syrup not just sugar alone it mixes better and I think has a better flavor. There are different types of simple syrup I used the two to one ratio which is called the rock candy mixture. And to be honest squeezing lemons seems to be a great arm exercise, so it's a win win!
• the juice of 10 lemons about 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice
• 2 cups sugar
• 6 cups water
• ice cubes
• lemon wedges for garnish
Squeeze those lemons don't be shy when squeezing you can get a lot of juice out of them, and the skins are great for compost!
lemon juice only
Next take a medium sauce pan and put the sugar and one cup of water in whisk and put on medium heat, you want this mixture to come just below boiling. It will not look clear because all the sugar has not disolved but don't let it boil, after a while it will crystalize to the pan if it is allowed to boil. Whisk into the lemon juice.
sugar whisked in
Next add the remaining water about 1 1/2 cups at a time and whisk well.
water added
Finally add ice cubes to a glass and pour over, makes about four tall glasses add a lemon wedge for garnish and some fun straws!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan

I am a total sucker for Italian food! First of all there are tons of vegetarian options and second it is so tasty! Eggplant parmesan is simple to make and delicious to eat. I make it a couple different ways, the way I am showcasing today is frying the eggplant you can also slice it very thin and cook it raw within the dish but that is for another day!
• 1 medium eggplant sliced in half inch rounds
• 1 large tomato sliced in about half inch rounds
• 12 oz mozzarella cheese (if you are going vegan I recommend the Follow Your Heart brand)
• 16 to 20 oz tomato sauce
• 3/4 cup bread crumbs
• 3 tbsp corn starch dissolved in
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 sprig of fresh basil
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 tsp oregano
• 1 tsp sage
• 1 tsp pepper
• kosher salt
• olive oil
• Parmesan cheese for the top
Pre heat oven to 375. Place eggplant on a large cookie sheet and sprinkle a bit of salt on the top, let set for about 20 minutes and then wash the salt off. This will take some of the liquid content out of the eggplant and give it a better texture when cooked. Then dip the eggplant rounds in the corn starch and water mixture followed by dipping it in a bowl with the bread crumbs, oregano and sage, the two bowl system is needed here for sure. Next mince the garlic and place in large skillet with about 3 tbsp olive oil (you might have to add more after you turn the eggplant) after the garlic is cooking down nicely start adding the covered eggplant rounds as seen below.
half done!
The will have to be fried on each side this will take about 4 minutes per side, you should be able to easily slide a fork into them when they are cooked. Be watchful of this you don't want them to burn! Next let the rest on a paper towel, this will remove any excess oil.
eggplant drying
Then its time to stack! I like to use a loaf pan because I like a tall stack and I am only cooking for two you can experiment with other dishes but this is the one I prefer. Start with about 1/2 cup of sauce of the bottom, then add a layer of eggplant, a little overlap is fine but you want this to be one layer.
Then add a layer of cheese, then tomato, then this time about 1 cup sauce then eggplant then cheese then tomato... you get the point right
almost finished stacking!
Keep stacking until you run out of pan or ingredients! Sprinkle the top with parmesan and fresh basil! Add a little more sauce then you think you need to the sides, a lot of it will dissipate during cooking. Cook at 375 for about 40 minutes, you want your cheese to be slightly browned! After taking out of the oven let set for at least 10 minutes! Sorry I don't have a final picture it doesn't last to long around our house!
ready for the oven!