August 30, 2010 § Leave a Comment
…excellent complements to a flatbread we found recently. The pesto is a combination of the following, pulsed in a cuisinart: Walnuts, Basil, Spinach, Parmesan cheese, Salt and Pepper, Lemon juice, Olive oil
For the bruschetta, the ingredients are simply tossed: Roma tomatoes diced into small squares, Basil, finely chopped, Balsamic Vinegar, Olive oil, Salt and Pepper
All quantities are to individual taste.
August 26, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Lactovegetarians are getting the shaft during this cupcakery phenomenon, but a rare few are offering eggless options. Cups in La Jolla is one of those and offers both a vegan (such as Vanilla Bean, Strawberry Tea Cup, Great Pumpkin, Cookies n’ Cream, and Chocolate Cheesecake) and gluten free option everyday. We stopped in today and had the Peachy Keen cups, which were dense with a crunchy exterior and syrupy peach fruit filling. The buttercream was just perfect: soft, fluffy, and not too sweet.
Cups is a good coffee shop alternative and a great option for catering a celebratory event, but I wouldn’t make a trip just for the cupcakes if you’re comfortable enough in the kitchen to whip up a quick batch from a Duncan Hines box. The cupcakes are good, but not amazing (although, I’ll need to try the Strawberry Tea Cup, Pumpkin and Chocolate Cheesecake to support this claim; I’m def. going back!!). Try stopping in on weekdays to take advantage of the two for one specials. The cupcakery offers free wifi and turns into a lounge after dark. Cups is located on Girard Ave. and is open from 10am-10pm.
August 22, 2010 § Leave a Comment
This is a very easy Saturday breakfast to throw together (I employ a major shortcut on the hash). French toast was one of my favorite items, breakfast or otherwise, back when I ate eggs. Now, you can find a great vegan version at Herbivore in SF. Trying that dish sparked my interest in finding a recipe so that I could have it at home all the time! After doing a bit of research I came up with the following. The homemade hash along w. a side of fruit rounds out the meal to make it a nice sit-down weekend breakfast to enjoy w. the paper and a slow cup of tea. This breakfast recipe serves two people.
Vegan french toast:
-4 slices of sourdough bread
-1.5 cups of vanilla soy milk
-2 tbsp all purpose flour
-1 tsp sugar
-pinch of cinnamon
Mix the soy milk, sugar, cinnamon and flour in a bowl wide enough for soaking the bread. Lay the bread flat in the liquid mixture. Soak both sides. Cook in an oiled non-stick frying pan on medium heat until both sides are golden brown.
-2 cups frozen round hashbrowns thawed
-1.5 tbsps finely chopped white onion
-1/2 tsp minced green chile
-1 clove minced garlic
-1 roma tomato chopped into small cubes
-1 tsp finely chopped cilantro
-salt and pepper to taste
In an oiled frying pan cook the garlic, green chile and onion on medium heat until lightly brown. Add the thawed hashbrown rounds. Break up the hashbrowns. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped tomato. Stir for two-three minutes. Add cilantro then serve.
August 19, 2010 § Leave a Comment
I’ve been waiting for so long to make these, along w. homemade ice cream, but that’s another day. The cake recipe used is not from scratch, but it’s a great time-saving and lowfat trick. So, here it is:
1 package of Butter flavored or sponge- cake mix
1 can or 330ml of carbonated soda (I use pomegranate soda, but it doesn’t matter what you use, the flavor doesn’t make it thru)
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
For the creme I used this recipe for vegan buttercream frosting
Beat the ingredients until they form a smooth batter. Add the batter to the well oiled baking pan and bake in 350 degree oven for 18-22 minutes. Make three injections on the bottom side of the cakes with the creme (you can make an injection device easily by filling a ziploc bag w. creme and cutting off a corner tip).
August 16, 2010 § Leave a Comment
1. Cream-cheese + spinach ravioli in sizzling butter, topped w. deep fried garlic chips (pictured above). This is a homemade dish, and the sizzling butter came about by accident. The mix of hot butter, crispy garlic chips, cream cheese and spinach puts me to sleep happy.
Over the course of blogging, I’ll attempt to bring you the others, although they’re scattered around the world. This weekend we tried a shortcut w. the ravioli. It’s usually made from scratch, but in an attempt to adapt the making of the dish to an intense work schedule we used won ton wrappers bought at the local Chinese grocery store in place of the pasta. The stuffing is simply half a standard block of cream cheese mixed with about a cup of packed thawed frozen spinach w. the water removed, seasoned. Add salt and pepper to taste along w. a minced garlic/onion sautee. If you have green onion and basil you can toss that in as well, finely chopped. This should make about 15 boiled raviolis. The sizzling butter is exactly what it sounds like. We slice two cloves of garlic into chips and melt w. butter in a tiny pot until the block of butter melts away and becomes foamy.
August 13, 2010 § 1 Comment
My mother is an amazing cook. She improvises and always does her own thing, and when it comes to Asian food, the products are top-notch. She’s been cooking since she could hold a spoon, and has stories of making coconut ice cream on the living room floor of her childhood flat in Bombay. I’ve been looking for a way to capture my mom’s talent for future reference in some kind of compilation, and this blog is an attempt at that, but is mostly about me finding my own way in the kitchen. So, we’ve decided to write an e-book to focus on her specialty of Asian Vegan food with influences from India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and China. We’ll spend the next couple of years testing the recipes, narrowing down the list, etc… and will blog updates along the way. We’re excited to work on this project together, and I am particularly excited about making some of the more complicated Asian dishes like spring rolls and curries easy to understand w. commentary on ingredients and loads of how-to pictures (what I believe most cookbooks are missing!!!).
August 11, 2010 § Leave a Comment
This is what I did with the leftover ‘tuna’ (above) for a quick afternoon lunch in between dissertation writing: whipped up a creamy tomato sauce using marinara from a can, mixed in a spoonful of sour cream and added the ‘tuna’. I think the only way to work tuna into a creamy tomato sauce is with the fake stuff. Can’t imagine the real thing with any kind of cream. A vegetarian advantage I guess. Nevertheless, I would suggest using a soy chicken in place of the ‘tuna’. This was so easy, cook time start to finish was about 7-10 minutes.
August 10, 2010 § 1 Comment
Our veggie group started doing themed cooking nights, where we meet and cook a multi-course dinner from scratch (w. the exception of dessert), all around an ethnic theme. This weekend our friends hosted E. Asian night by the beach! At the gathering I got the chance to meet a great vegan pastry chef from Australia. He has a lot of awesome ideas about food and blogging and photography, so it was great spending the evening with him and our other friends.
2nd course – Tempura Veggies (Broccoli, Avocado, Red Bell Peppers, and Green Beans) w. peanut sauce
3rd course – Sushi (the pink stuff in the sushi rolls is a vegan ‘tuna’ that we found at an Asian grocery store)
4th course – Cherry Chocolate Chip Vegan ice cream from TJoe’s
August 7, 2010 § Leave a Comment
We’re a bit obsessed with bananas here, and this past weekend bought way too many. So as they’re ripening faster than we can eat them, we decided to bake them in a cake. My mom is a great improviser in the kitchen, and it doesn’t always translate well in the oven. But, these banana cake loaves were excellent. This recipe is very easy to make, based on her much loved walnut cake –the recipe of which is written down nowhere, except maybe tattooed on the inside of her brain somewhere– and follows below.
Banana Nut Loaf
makes 4 small loaves
4 small ripe bananas (or 3 large ripe bananas)
2 tbsps melted butter
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 & 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas. Add all the wet ingredients (butter, milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sugar), and mix well with a large fork until smooth. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt). Continue mixing the batter until smooth. Fold in the walnuts. Pour the batter into four 6×4 (or two 9×5 pans) loaf pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.
August 4, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Berries are a nice byproduct of the summer. And baking with berries is a great way to get a small serving of fruit while indulging your sweet tooth. Blueberries were especially abundant at the farmers market last week so we stocked up and made blueberry pie cupcakes and blueberry scones. Here is the recipe for the scones we used, amalgamated from a few recipes found online.
recipe fills one large baking sheet
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsbps sugar (save about 1/2 tsp to sprinkle over the scones just before baking)
2 tsps good quality maple syrup
4 tbsps chilled butter cut into small cubes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 + 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
Sift the dry ingredients into a cuisinart basin (be sure to use the plastic blade specifically for baking). Add the chilled butter cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand (as pictured).
Pour the contents into a large, wide bowl. Dig a well in the center of the mixture and add the sour cream and milk. Fold in the coarse flour/butter mixture to just incorporate the wet ingredients. To this add the blueberries. Be sure not to overwork the dough as you handle it.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape until it is about an even 3/4 inch thick all around. The dough doesn’t rise much during the baking process, so if you prefer thicker scones shape your dough accordingly. Sprinkle sugar on top, then cut your dough (example pictured) and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden.
August 1, 2010 § 2 Comments
Whole wheat cous cous is one of my favorite ingredients. It serves the function of a grain while being a healthy source of fiber. A typical serving of whole wheat cous cous has about 25% of your daily recommended fiber, or about 7g according to the Trader Joe’s brand. Compare that to a medium apple at 5g! Unlike whole wheat pasta, whole wheat cous cous is so small in size that it doesn’t drive a bland punch in your meal. A great way to try cous cous is with this improvised recipe, inspired by my obsession with all things potato cakes!
Whole Wheat Cous Cous Potato Cakes
makes about 5 medium hamburger patty sized cakes
cook time: about 20 minutes
For the cous cous:
1/2 cup whole wheat cous cous
2/3 cup of water
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1 tsp vegetable oil
For the rest:
2 medium sized red skinned potatoes
2tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
minced green chile to the extent that you feel you can handle it
1 tbsp milk
a few pinches of salt and pepper
Boil the potato until soft and tender. I like to leave the skin on, but that’s completely up to you. Much of the nutrients in a potato are released during the cooking process if you remove the skin. In addition, the skin contains its own set of nutrients.
To cook the cous cous, fill a small bowl with 1/2 cup of dry whole wheat cous cous. Add the frozen spinach, along with 1 tsp of vegetable oil and a pinch of salt for taste. To this, add 2/3 cup boiling water and cover right away. Let this sit for about 5 minutes.
In a larger bowl, mash the potato. Add 1 tbsp of milk, and mash until the milk is incorporated. This should soften up the mixture a bit. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Then add the steam cooked cous cous, along with the chopped green onion, cilantro and green chile. With clean hands, thoroughly incorporate the ingredients in the bowl. It should look like the picture to the right when it’s done.
Heat 2 tbsps of vegetable oil in a pan on low-medium heat until hot. Roll the mixture into small balls in your hands and then press to make round discs. Then pan fry until both sides are golden brown. They can be served as a snack topped with guacamole, sour cream and salsa, or add a side of seasoned black beans to make a full, hearty meal.