Monthly Archives: September 2011

September Loves

My plans to bake keep getting squashed by so many things. First, it was just the fact that I was too busy, and now it’s because I’ve caught the college plague. You know how that goes, everyone around you is getting sick and you’re all like “Psh, I eat my fruits and vegetables, I’m not gonna get sick.” And then you wake up on Monday with a fever. Oops.

Anyways, because of this I’ve been bedridden for two days, only getting up to go get smoothies and soup from the cafe nearby. I figured while I have some free time to sit in front of my computer (since I already finished a whole season of Mad Men…) it’s about time to compile some of my favorite things from this past month. So here we go…

This music video. It’s so endearing and the little dance breaks are the best.

-This incredible looking pie. It’s so far from vegan, but I’m determined to veganize it at some point.

-I’m obsessed with underwater photography, and this artist in particular. Her photos are so dreamy and stunning.

Pears, apples and maple syrup. A perfect fall combination.

-That Book. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russel. I finally finished it recently and it was so intense, enlightening, beautiful and disturbing all at the same time. I would highly recommend it!

-This song. I saw him live last year at my school and he was incredible, but I just rediscovered it!

These shoes. Too bad I’m too cheap to spend over $20 on shoes. Plus did you know Urban Outfitters gives a lot of money to the Republican Party? Booo…

-Last but not least, it’s mildly embarrassing, but when I’m sick I tend to watch all 6 parts of this. It’s as comforting as eating a big bowl of mashed potatoes 🙂

That’s all for now! As soon as I can walk without getting dizzy, I will have some new recipes for you.

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Banana Peach Spice Bread

Yay we got our oven back! Just in time. I finished a difficult paper for my literature class last night, so baking this bread was the perfect stress release. There is no better way to begin a week than by making some good old-fashioned banana bread…. except this recipe has a twist. I realized I didn’t have enough bananas for the recipe I had planned on using, due to my late night peanut-butter-and-banana snacking, so I decided to mash up an overripe peach instead. Bananas and peaches go together great in smoothies, so why not in bread as well?

Banana Peach Spice Bread

(adapted from Susan’s recipe)

2 large bananas

1 peach, peeled

1 tbsp white vinegar

1/3 cup soy milk

½ cup sugar

2 cups unbleached flour

¾ tsp baking powder

¾ baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp cloves

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray or wipe a 9×5-inch loaf pan with oil.
  2. Mix the soymilk with the vinegar and let it sit until it curdles into vegan “buttermilk”
  3. In a large bowl, mash the bananas and the peach together. Add the “buttermilk” and sugar and stir.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until it is combined.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly in your loaf pan and bake until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean or for about 50 minutes. Cool and eat!
This actually might be one of the best banana bread recipes I’ve made. It’s not only vegan, but super low-fat, which a lot of people are usually skeptical about. However this quick bread will hush up any skepticism. It’s moist, just the right density and full of tummy-warming flavor. Use this to surprise anyone who thinks vegan baking is bland!
On a different note, I know I set out with the intent that I would have new posts on here every other day, but between classes, Fearless and Loathing, work, being in a dance piece and actually trying to have some sort of a social life, I think that’s gonna have to change. Here’s the deal, I can promise at least one new post per week. Depending on my schedule and how often I cook, sometimes it’ll be more, but I think once a week will suffice! I have so many recipes that I can’t wait to make and share with you all, so stay tuned. 🙂
Speaking of staying tuned… does anyone else have to have music when they cook or bake? I know I do. This is a song from my banana bread baking music.

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Filed under Breads and Muffins, Recipes

Toasted Veggie Sandwich and Disaster

Disaster has struck my dorm. Our oven and stove are broken. Now instead of baking lovely treats for everyone, I’m going to actually have to do my homework this weekend. Maybe it’s a sign that I need to adjust my priorities. Hopefully it will be fixed soon though, because I have a long “to-bake” list for you guys. Meanwhile….

I discovered the fact that the stove was broken midway through preparing to make a grilled veggie sandwich. I was about to completely give up after waiting 10 minutes for the pan to heat up and just go with boring old peanut butter and jelly, but then I had an idea. I could toast/roast the veggies instead. The result was still delicious.

Basically I drizzled sliced eggplant and tomato with olive oil and sprinkled them with oregano and rosemary and baked them at 400° in the toaster oven for about 15 minutes (until the eggplant was soft). I toasted two slices of bread (I used plain old wheat, but I wish I had some better bread like ciabatta so it didn’t get so soggy) and then spread a layer of spinach and artichoke hummus, topped it with fresh basil and finally added the veggies. Perfect for a quick and healthy dinner before I ran off to serve pizza for 5 hours!

Haven’t you ever noticed that the best sandwiches are always the messiest to eat? It’s a fact.

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Filed under Lunch and Dinner, Recipes

Apple Brown Sugar Tart

I have to be honest… I’ve been holding out on you guys. I made this recipe weeks ago but I didn’t have my cookbooks for a while (slow shipping…) so I couldn’t type it up! So here it finally is, a delicious fall twist on a regular fruit tart.

What’s funny is I actually set out to make a normal peach tart with plain pastry custard. Then I thought to myself “I wonder what would happen if I made custard with brown sugar instead of plain sugar…” and then I noticed “Those peaches are actually nectarines. And they’re moldy. Gross.” Luckily there were some lovely apples sitting at the bottom of our fridge, and voila, the apple brown sugar tart was born. Sometimes it’s great when things don’t quite go as planned. Like ending up at a dance party when you really should be studying ancient Greek palaces… but that’s another story.

Apple Brown Sugar Tart (crust and custard recipes adapted from The Joy of Vegan Baking)

Brown Sugar Custard:

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp flour

4 tbsp cornstarch

1/4 cup water

1 1/3 cups soy milk

2 tsp vanilla

1. In a medium bowl, beat together sugar, flour, cornstarch and water quickly for about 2 minutes, or until it’s creamy.

2. Bring the milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Pour 1/3 cup of the milk into the sugar mixture and combine. Add the sugar and milk back to the saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. It starts to thicken right away.

3. Cook until it begins to bubble, whisk super hard for 30 seconds then remove from the heat. Add in vanilla.

4. Transfer to a bowl and let cool in the fridge while you prepare the crust and apples.

No-Bake Pecan Crust:

2 cups raw pecans

3/4 cup pitted dates

1/4 tsp salt

1. Grind nuts in a food processor until they make a course meal.

2. Add dates and salt and process until thoroughly combined. Press into a lightly oiled 9-inch pie pan.

Baked Apple Topping:

2 medium apples

1 tbsp maple syrup

1. Slice the apples and mix them with the maple syrup.

2. Place them on a baking sheet and bake in an oven or toaster oven for about 20 minutes, or until soft.

Assembly:

Pour custard into the pecan crust and spread evenly. Arrange baked apple slices on top and sprinkle with 1 tsp cinnamon and a little powdered sugar. Either place in the fridge to chill, or serve immediately.

It’s amazing how well the flavors of this tart complement each other. At first I was a little weirded out by the brownish, wiggly custard, but once it all comes together- the crumbly crust, crunchy apples and creamy custard (yesss alliteration, my poetry professor would be proud)- it works perfectly. Eat this on a lovely fall day and enjoy!

Good to the last crumb…

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Filed under Pie and Tarts, Recipes

Warm Tomato and Peach Salad

One pattern you might notice on this blog is that I use a lot of the same ingredients, but do different things with them. Yes, I’m cheap. I make ingredients last as long as they possibly can, so I apologize for the repetition but also I think it’s good to find new ways of mixing together similar foods! Like having tomatoes in 3 different posts so far…

This past weekend I went to the Oberlin Farmer’s Market and got some yummy fresh veggies. Here’s what I bought:

Now to be honest, I don’t really know what to do with an eggplant- I’ve never cooked with one before, but I thought I might as well try! Any suggestions?

I did, however, know what to do with tomato and basil. My favorite food, before I went vegan was a Caprese salad: tomato, basil and mozzarella. Now that I’m vegan I decided to put a new spin on this basic idea. Remember that fresh peach I had a picture of a little while ago? Yep, that’s what I added. You may be thinking, “tomatoes and peaches? what kind of a combination is that?” Well, let me tell you, it was amazing. This salad is so easy to put together and could be served as a side dish or a light lunch (or lunch and dinner, like I did).

Warm Tomato and Peach Salad 

serves 2

2 large tomatoes, sliced

2 large peaches, peeled and sliced

1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra

1/3 cup packed, chopped fresh basil

salt and pepper to taste

1. Place the peach and tomato slices on a tray and drizzle with the extra olive oil. Broil them in a toaster oven (or real oven) for about 20 minutes.

2. Take them out of the oven, and then mix them in a medium bowl with the 1 tbsp of olive oil and basil. Season it to taste and eat!

Super easy, super delicious.

Check out my super awesome wolf-eye knife.

I suppose you could make this salad cold too, but it was really good warm. Especially on rainy cold days.

Enjoy!

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Double Chocolate Cookies

Well my class schedule is now official and I couldn’t be more excited about what I’m taking. Lots of literature, dance and art- what could be better? It will be incredibly busy… but I’ll figure out a way to handle it. In fact, you know what the best way to handle stress is? Bake cookies. Especially chocolate cookies. Take my word for it, it’s incredibly therapeutic.

My friend and I were just going to make plain chocolate chip cookies, but when we found cocoa powder in the pantry, we decided the more chocolate the better. They ended up delicious and had a great, crumbly-on-the-outside and chewy-on-the-inside texture.

Double Chocolate Cookies (adapted from here):

makes about 2 dozen

2 cups unbleached flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

big handful of vegan chocolate chips

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350°

2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. In a medium bowl, combine sugar and oil. Then add the vanilla and water.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined (you may need to add a little extra water if dough is too dry).

5. Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place them on an un-greased cookie sheet. Flatten them down a little- they don’t spread much.

6. Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Take them out when they’re still a little soft, as they will harden as they cool.

The weather here has been gross and rainy, but these cookies make the perfect rainy day snack.

Also, while I eat cookies and start studying and everything, I have been revisiting this song and the whole album it’s on. It’s one of my favorites! My friend and I listened to it as we baked these 🙂

Oh and just so my readers know… I’m still not super happy with the theme of my blog. So if stuff keeps changing I apologize and promise I will be content soon!

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Filed under Cookies, Recipes

Escaping Cafeteria Food

It’s not that bad, really. Sometimes you walk out with a plate of great food- an awesome salad from the salad bar, a yummy vegetable soup- but honestly, most of the time being vegan, what I get in the Stevenson dining hall is mush. Mush that gives me a stomach ache. So after less than a week of eating there already, my friend and I decided it was time to take action and make our own dinner with fresh ingredients.

We basically mixed together we had on hand and maybe what we came up with also looked a little mushy… but I promise you, it was delicious and super easy.

Chickpea, Zucchini and Cherry Tomato Sauté

1 cup cooked grain of your choice (we used Trader Joe’s Three Grains Blend)

1 can chickpeas, drained

1/2 large zucchini, sliced and cut into half-slivers

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cloves garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat up the olive oil in a large pan, then add chickpeas and tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes start to shrivel and the chickpeas start to brown a little.

2. Add the zucchini and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve over grains and add salt and pepper to taste.

This dish is so simple for any college student to whip up, and it’s so much better than what you get in dining halls. Sorry for the not-so-great lighting in these… unfortunately our kitchen is plagued with florescent lights only. College life.

Cooking buddies are the best. We actually made a little something for dessert too… but that recipe will come later. Time for me to rush off to class!

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Filed under Lunch and Dinner, Recipes