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I essentially made her the cake I secretly hoped someone would make for me someday (but shh, it works here, too).
I made a half recipe of a cake I found online here, sliced it into 4 rectangles and sandwiched them with a full recipe of the Vegan Cupcakes take over the World chocolate mousse recipe, but with a bunch of wasabi and ginger added, yes!
Top it with some pretty kiwis and champagne grapes and white pearls and call it an ideal job. Just about exactly what I was aiming for – it’s elegant and spicy and rich. If I did it again I might add some cashew cream layers, or some strawberry jam, but really it’s perfect just the way it is right here. Roomie even professed to get a wasabi high off the mousse! Ha ha, couldn’t ask for more.
Black Sesame Cake
(from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert (veganized), via Dessert First)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup soy yogurt
3 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil*
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup soymilk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup toasted black sesame seeds
– Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a cake tin and dust flour inside it. Set aside.
– Add the vinegar to the soymilk and set aside to curdle.
– Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
– In a large bowl, beat together the soygurt, sesame oil, vanilla, canola oil, and sugar until it’s smooth and caramell-y, about 2-3 minutes with a whisk.
– Add 1/3 of the flour to the liquid ingredients and stir to combine. Add half the curdled soymilk and stir. Add another 1/3 of the flour (stir), then the rest of the milk (stir), then the last of the flour (stir). Make sure not to overwork the batter, but it should be smooth and pourable.
– Pour into the greased cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is glossy, firm and golden, and a toothpick/knife inserted comes out clean. Let it cool for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack, then let it cool completely before frosting.
* the original recipe called for butter, and you would probably get spectacular results with Earth Balance, I just didn’t have enough this time. Follow the recipe the same, but cream the margarine with the sugar with an electric mixer until it’s really white and fluffy, before adding the other liquid ingredients.
Wasabi Ginger Chocolate Mousse
(adapted from Vegan Cupcakes take over the World)
12 oz. package of medium firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup soy milk
2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1 tbsp wasabi paste (or more ;)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ginger powder
8 oz. chocolate chips (or higher quality chocolate if you’d like)
pinch of salt
– Bring a pot of water to a boil, then gently add your tofu, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 4-5 minutes. Drain carefully and let it cool.
– Once cooled, put the tofu, syrup, wasabi, vanilla and ginger in a blender and blend it until it’s completely smooth.
– Melt the chocolate carefully in the microwave then add it to the blender and whip everything together. Add salt if you like salt (I do), then stash it in the fridge for at least an hour to become firm enough to work with. Ice your cake!
Then for a while I was all in love with med-firm tofu and it’s magical ability to become some luxurious (yet low guilt) salad dressing at a moment’s notice. I played around with a few varieties – I tried the Vegan World Fusion Caesar (yum!), I made a kind of ranch, and my favourite was a curried apricot dressing that was very inspired by something from the Millenium cookbook, although I changed it entirely… I even found the notepad file I wrote the recipe on! So here it is —-
1/4 lb. med-firm tofu
1-2 dried apricots, soaked well and chopped
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/8 tsp cardamom
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp almond butter
1 tsp canola oil
enough water to thin
This is just the shot of the leftovers – stuff put into tupperware doesn’t win any beauty points. But the point of this lunch was that it was a bento-ish kind of meal that randomly came together after I poo-pooed the idea of a peanut butter sandwich and started to boil potatoes. Which I never do, and made me feel festive enough to remember the wasabi tube I had in the fridge, thus wasabi mashed potatoes. So obviously then I had to try those panko & daikon stuffed mushrooms from the Veganomicon. Except… I didn’t feel like firing up the oven for 6 mushrooms so I made them raw and used bulgur wheat instead of bread crumbs, and added some sweet peppers and Sambal Olek for fun.
Wooooaaahhh !!! I just lucked out, it’s the sale of the century and I had enough toonies in my pocket to come home with the goooooold! I don’t know why they were selling all these fantastic teas for $1 a box (haunted? peed on by raccoons? somehow decades old?) but I’m going back tomorrow regardless, because apparently they have MORE. *faints*
Maybe it was due to eating those lucky black eyed peas everyone goes on about. I’ve got no problem with an excuse to them, though, being all mushy and sweet and darned adorable with that little black spot. I found out later that the collards they’re traditionally eaten with in the south symbolize paper money, so I missed out on that part, but do you see those basil leaves? Looks leafy and green to me! I even ate this all on lettuce, I’m probably set on the symbolic moolah front. Oh, and the beans themselves were a vegan version of Jukut Murab – a Balinese salad with coconut, tamarind, chile and lime and very very delicious – it’s going into bean salad rotation and will definitely be gracing the table of a potluck sometime in the future. It’s exotic and wonderful on the tongue and easy and healthy and cheap = win!
And speaking of inconceivably delicious food being actually very healthy – stuffed zucchini globes, Isa-style definitely qualify. How had I not made these yet? The millet here is basically a delivery device for tomato-y, olive-y, caper-y superflavour, which doesn’t get any further up my alley. I ate the leftover millet rolled up in steamed red cabbage with a squish of lemon, which forgive me, may have been even tastier than the squash, and um… I even put this stuff on crackers. Recommended!
Oh Extraveganza, shall you be in all my posts and will I never mind? Yes. :)
Especially when you offer recipes like pear and cardamom pudding, zomg. I doubled the cardamom and I shouldn’t have done that, because it became somewhat impossible to NOT have perfumed vanilla sweetness for dinner two night in a row. I am considering making more…
Finally, eek, I made saucy asian takeout style food! I can see why people do this now… It’s kind of a Gyudon (japanese beef and rice bowl) made with eggplant, as per Vegan Ronin‘s excellent adaptation, and somewhere between adding a splash of requisite sriracha and licking my bowl clean this was dreamy good eating. Even the rice happened to be purple in aubergine agreement! Goodness, I think now I’m gonna have to make General Tao’s tofu and cross that dish off my lifetime list now that I’m all hooked on sweet thickened sauces. YUM!
Bonus picture >>>>>>>>>>>>>
My favourite salad these days involves green apple and crushed up organic Wheat Thins, which was inspired by fatoush, if you can believe it. The crackers are sweeter than the apples, and with a noochy citrus dressing it’s a perfect snack.
(can you believe I got organic crackers at the dollar store? madness! I’m not complaining though)
I always end up making curry on a whim. Without fail I am on my way to make something else, something usually boring and somehow between the fridge and the stovetop it turns into curry in my brain and I’m always thankful for the switch. I can always eat more red lentils… and I got to try out these unreal curry powders my friend J brought me from India when he went this summer. Why have I not used these all over the place before???? They are crazy good, more on them later. They made an acorn squash, red lentil, coconut, pea and green pepper curry absolutely golden. Actually, pistachio coloured. Who says curry is homely? And cardamom raisin quinoa underneath doesn’t hurt in the pretty department, either.
The south indian blend has — white pepper, chili, mango powder, dagger fool, clove, ginger, mace, citric acid, concoun, cassia, and akarkhora. Badass.
The garam masala is black cumin, black pepper, bay leaves, piper, cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, clove, black cardamom, ginger.
These are seriously aromatic and complex, and for some reason taste different in every curry I add them to. Maybe it’s like that chemical thing where the same perfume smells different on various wrists? Maybe it’s the akarkhora.
Then I made some DAIIIII-FU-KUUUU, yippee! I didn’t realize I was out of red dye for my envisioned green-and-red holiday colours, but I did have a beet, which worked perfectly and the subtle flavour didn’t mess with the beans at all. They are bean paste (anko) filled, which has got to be my favourite stuff ever. I’m still not 100% on the mochi part, I may have found the one food I’m not super crazy for, but they are definitely fun to make. And it was much as Julie in Japan describes: truly they are weird. But I did keep eating it and then later I did really want another one. That strange earlobe jellyness kinda becomes… intriguing? In a way? I must say I can taste the difference in the supple freshness of homemade mochi versus those awful pucks I got over christmas.
Okay, this is actually making my mouth water now, so disregard any blabbing about weirdness. You can also see that I like my anko (I LOVE my anko) chunky, generous in proportion to earlobe-jelly, and only moderately sweet.
J’s (half awake) response was A: “They look like the kind of thing that people eat in cartoons, Liz.” (I nodded). And B: “Hmm… they taste like rice cake.” Which I thought was mighty open-minded for a technicoloured blobby-dessert ambush, and indicative of an awesome generation of eaters. My parents would have certainly gone for the bugspray or something. :)
In response to KingoftheFrogs — what I did for the mochi:
The red and the green both had pretty different textures, since I used more water in the green, but they were both good… it takes some playing around I think.
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water + (if needed) 2-3 tablespoons
food colouring (optional)
(1 cup of anko/red bean paste)
* stir the flour, water, sugar and colouring together in a microwave-safe bowl, adding more water so that it’s smooth (but still pretty thick)
* microwave 2 minutes, then stir it like crazy
* microwave until it inflates, stir like crazy and stretch it and wack it with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth and bouncy.
* turn it onto a tray covered with potato starch (or cornstarch) and roll it into a snake, then cut that snake into 12 equal pieces.
* stretch a piece into a disc, thicker in the middle than at the edges, place 1 tablespoon of anko paste in the middle and wrap it up like a parcel, pinching the seam to join the mochi together. Dust with extra cornstarch, and set it aside, repeat with remaining mochi pieces.
note 1: they freeze pretty much perfectly, so uneaten candy can be squirreled away for later.
note 2: anko is soooo easy to make, it’s just red beans cooked with sugar and a touch of salt. Take cooked adzuki beans, add sugar til it’s sweet enough for you, mash with a spoon and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it’s really thick, like cookie dough. Let it cool completely before using.