You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘muffins’ tag.

Ah, remember the hearts? (now why can I never seem to keep from smiling at the thought of little cookie cutters?)

I made them to adorn a roasted eggplant & chestnut bisque (with blood orange and mint), but the trick is that I made them spicy!  It’s pretty simple to do, and I learned a new method for making polenta thanks to Mark Bittman – instead of boiling the water and then adding the cornmeal, you first whisk the cold water with the grain so there’s no lumps at all.  Granted, I’ve never had huge lump problems with polenta, but I do think this was easier.  It even accommodated my using a hand mixer attachment instead of a real whisk because, uh…. it was closer!  It’s SO almost the same thing.
Spicy Ras-el-Hanout Polenta Croutons

1 cup coarse cornmeal
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Ras el Hanout spice
1 tbsp olive oil
– In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cornmeal, salt, spices and water completely.  Then, jack up the heat to boil and as soon as it does boil, reduce the heat to a very low bubble and stir every minute or so until the grain is completely cooked through and the porridge is thick.  It’ll be about 12-15 minutes.  
– Then, whisk in the oil and spread the polenta on a baking sheet lined with greased plastic wrap and refridgerate for at least 2 hours to firm everything up.
– When it’s firm – cut it up!  Cookie cutterized, or into little crouton-cubes, either way.  
– Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat and coat the bottom in olive oil.  Fry them up, about 5 minutes a side, until they’re nicely browned and slightly firm when you poke them.  Top onto salads or soups or just snack on them, they’re really nice.
Mmmm, speaking of cornmeal and how utterly delicious it is, I made some mini fluffy cornbreads from the Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas.  I’ve had this book since I was a little girl, or at least my mother always kept it’s dry-bound oft-used pages up on the bookshelf for as long as I can remember.  Granted it’s chock full of dairy and eggs, but what is viable for a vegan is really lovely, and the cornbread is no exception.

I replaced the egg with some flaxseed and added chopped thai chili and diced red onions, and they came out just barely sweet and nutty tasting!  This isn’t a big-ol sopping up chili with a hunk of hefty corncake kinda cornbread, but light and refined kind of puff of mais-muffin that’ got a crisp crust and is pretty low fat too.  Almost alarmingly charming.  ^.^

Well, Liz has broken out the nerdy google-searched JPEGS of sci-fi references again – and that means of course that it’s time to go back in time!   Woooo-eeeee-oooooooooh.

Back to a time way yonder… the wee beginning of August when I was just as likely to accidentally eat a blob of quinacridone pink as I was to absent-mindedly get soy sauce on my paintings.  Ie; (in simple terms) I was busy!  Meals had to be almost cute in their ease of preparation, with the notable exception of some bento experiments, but I’ll get to those later on….
Avocado kinda saved my life, the patron saint of summer classes, I think.  And while these look humble, and I’m a pure sucker for anything wrapped in a warm corn tortilla (and I mean just about anything) – this was a good and special combo.  Guacamole, corn, & chicken-baked white beans, with big chunks of onion ’cause I roll like that but you could leave them off I’m sure.  Addictive but satisfying.

And then avocado with fritterFAIL (it’s now hash!)

Even better than the tacos?  It has sweet potato this time.

I got a huge bag of white pitas for free because there was a big nasty fly paper stuck to the side and the store couldn’t sell it, so I tasted white flatbread for the first time in forever.  Can I confess that it’s kind of particularly delicious?  At least if you haven’t had it in a while.  Way sweeter than whole wheat, and makes excellent sausage, pepper and onion pizzas.  With big chunks of onion.  Because I roll like that!

Believe it or not, dorayaki are a quick lunch, too!  You just have to really cheat with the anko paste.  And cheater anko paste can be way healthier, too, because you can pull the sugar WAY back.  Basically just mash up some hot cooked adzukis with just enough sugar to make them lip-smacking, and just enough salt to make them more-ish, then make two fairly rich pancakes to sandwich it with.  And put loads of vegetables on the side so you can pretend it’s a sort of balanced meal.  (which okay it probably is, just sucrose heavy.   MMMMMM sucrose.  MMMM dorayaki).

MMMMM CHOCOLATE PANCAKES DORAYAKI   

I am feeling the Japanese, can you tell?  This lunch took forever.  Like, all morning to make, no joke.  Worth it in every way, though!  My first onigiri, everybody, and let nobody tell you that it’s just rice in a ball shape, it is so much more than that.  Even if you’ve made them yourself, they still taste all full of the love it took to construct them (the reddened burned hands, the totally occupied stovetop, the swearing at nori seaweed as it refuses to cover them completely). 
The first day I made 3 –
1 triangle filled with avocado (yes again!), tiny cubed cucumber, wasabi, green onion and salt.
The 2nd triangle was filled with tiny cubes of braised sweet potato and shitake mushrooms done in kombu no tsukudani style except without sugar ’cause they’re sweet already.  (SO umami)
And the 3rd piece was mixed up with red beans, sesame seeds and umeboshi vinegar.   yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum yum !

(rounding out my oh-so stylish tupperware is some lightly steamed broccoli sprinkled with shoyu, an Nin Jiom herbal candy, a strawberry lollipop, and some yellow baby carrot pickles I made myself and have been eating like candy from the back of the fridge.).  
It was a terrible blustery sweater-weather day when I took this downtown to eat it before putting in a long night at the studio, but after I got my green tea and an interesting seat to watch people from, and I took the first bite of my first pointy rice-ball…. I couldn’t help but smile like a tyke.  Really!  It’s all worth the effort for that first nori-wrapped bite.

oh yeah, Mr. Wasp thinks rice balls are delicious too.  I have mixed feelings about this one.  Shooo off my meticulous lunch there, little guy, sheesh!

Back on the fast track – the quickest cookies to make are shortbreads, of course.  And an herbal-loving friend had a recent crisis requiring me to spend at least a bit of time baking.  Basic basic shortbread, but with rose oil and black tea leaves.  The tea didn’t impart any flavour I don’t think, but it added a really pleasant crispy texture!

And finally, my favourite – muffins!  Featuring (do you see this coming?)…. avocado!  Yep, avocado replacing almost all the oil, date syrup replacing all the sugar, 50/50 whole wheat & oat flour, with orange juice, cloves, and a scattering of chocolate chips to seal up the deal.  100% eyeballed recipe, but it’s really hard to screw up a muffin, which is why I secretly adore them more than cake maybe.   These ones were surprisingly decadent with their buttery nuggets of green dotted throughout.  Totally a win.

And then I finished my last studio class ever!  Hurray!  
No more turpentine, no more (mounting) hooks, no more security guards’ dirty looks, la la la la la  :)

Wee!  So – I’m here drinking my mint & mushroom tea with large slices of ginger dropped into it because I was a little too brave this afternoon and added some (a lot of) questionable sauerkraut to my hummous wrap.  It was worth it at the time… but now I need the tea.  Yeah, white stuff in a sauerkraut jar is no good… 
Anyway.  More old pictures (I swear I’m getting through them, I do!)  I made crepes!  I made buckwheat versions of Veganomicon crepes, and stuffed them full of Columbian red beans with plantain (from Terry’s Vegan Latina), some broccoli too, and an avocado-corn-cream sauce that is essentially this recipe that I’d had mentally bookmarked since I went vegan in high school.  Seriously that long ago. (*oouuuuuurrrrrgh…. waveof nauseau happening……RIGHT NOWurg*)  XPPP
cough.  ok better.
Anyway.  avocado cream sauce!  I ate in on pasta first, but it’s way more economical to show it here, even if it does look a little like ralf.  tee hee.  I swear it was tasty.

And then I had leftover crepes with sauteed peaches, coarse raw sugar, cranberry jam, and some malted soy drink mixed with enough water to make a sweet cream.  Oh, frugal AND delicious, and even maybe healthy, how ’bout that?  I love dinners that revolve around fructose.

Speaking of which, I made a tiny sweet potato cashew cream pie with a lone spud, because it’s just been so damned cold it seems not very weird to make food like this.  Plus, it has a pumpkin seed crust a la Extraveganza, which in my weird mind makes it kinda summery.  And when you pop it in the freezer and eat slices of it cold like spiced ice cream…… *drooooolz*.  Also gives me a chance to use the tiniest fork ever imaginable that I picked up at a garage sale for specific things just like this.  Fairy pie technique!

From now on I make my own thai green curry paste.  Has anyone tried the yellow variety?  I almost did but then I chickened out and returned it for a jar of the classic green, and while it resulted in a slurpily good skillet of hyper-spice, well… I’m still curious about the other variety.  Maybe next time I’ll get the yellow (which boasts coriander and white pepper, yum) and just grind up lots of green chiles into it myself.  I ended up throwing like, 3-4 extra thai peppers into this one anyway, cause I kind of like my thai curries to practically send off sparks into the atmosphere.  Anything less and why bother, I say!

Speaking of skillets — I made the Vcon leek & bean cassoulet finally.  That’s how cold it’s been around here!  It’s mid-June and I’m still checking my bag for extra gloves, just in case… ack.  So on a particularly blustery and charcoal-grey day I decided snap it I’m just gonna make a big old comforting stew and I am SOOOOO glad I did.  It was the perfect antidote to my standard rut of cooking with loads of citrus & spice — the cassoulet is all…. comfy like a big herbal pillow.  And far too easy to pleasantly spoon down while cuddled up in a blanket reading school work things.  Very very nice…
(oh, and peas/leeks/white beans were replaced with corn/extra onion/black&red beans to good effect)
Enough for now?  Probably… there’s red velvet, kittee muffins, cold soba, successful souvlaki rice to come, though.  *phew* 
Oh, what the heck, one more — I made Scotter Muffins, yay!  I don’t remember what variety at all, probably apple and banana and cinnamon swirl.  Gosh, I love muffins, don’t you?  They’re so balanced, like the medium spectrum between the best of all baked goods.  Or maybe I’m just a fan. ^_^b

I don’t particularly feel like sorting my pictures right now, there is just TOO MANY of them.  So, yes, here is the first, what a delight of puffy strawberry muffs in a basket!  Hannah’s recipe is perfect for basic muffins, in fact I memorized it and freestyled a batch of chocolate-raspberry versions later while I was groggy and in my dad’s kitchen at some ungodly hour of the night after breaking in un-announced and he didn’t even know I was in town!  I raided the cupboards (after cleaning the place spotless, of course) and managed to at least find enough basic baking supplies to make them, lurvly brunette muffins, which will have a photo later in this post, because (of course) as I said – completely out of order.  Why not, right?

This is a banana-date scone from Veganomicon.  Somehow I thought it would be more decadent, being from the Vcon, but granted the whole introduction does mention it’s healthy qualities explicitly, so I should have been duly warned.  Don’t you love the background?  This was to fuel some tarot play time with a teatime friend who lets me bake for her (very nice of her).
I love Nigella, it’s no secret to anyone who’s met me (or at least heard her show playing from my bedroom whenever I need some serious calming and indulgence for the soul).  But strangely I’ve made .. well, none of her recipes so far.  That needed to be remedied, which I did with her moroccan-ish eggplant rolls with cinnamon, capers and bulgur … YUM!!  Like what I imagine most of her food to taste like, it is soft, nuanced, silky and doesn’t hit you over the head with electric or sour notes, so ultimately delicious, but I added more lemon. ;)
Pretty grill marks. :)
Ancient photo !!!!!
I made nachos with no nooch in the house.  I canvased the city (briefly) looking for a single serving of nacho chips just so I could have this to satisfy an immediate post-school craving.  It was everything awesome and more.  I made the cheese with cashews, oats, miso and hot chiles and it served the purpose mightily.

This is a pancake I made at my sister’s house, using her mystery bag of mystery organic flour (we believe it was likely spelt), as well as some honey-like natural sugar, lots of coconut, some cashews wedged in there… maple syrup.  Other things.  It was so very very punk, as their larder was BARE and we still managed to have a sizzling merry breakfast on the hob in time for a decent 11 am-ish kind of hour.  I’d just read this book — 

Which was a very anarchic ancient kind of (NON vegetarian) underground poetry/cookbook/highly vague anti-establishment montage of stuff, with many chapters waxing poetic about misty green mornings cooking rashers of bacon and potatoes and I was inspired at least to follow that part of the sentiment.  Much of this book was a little too dated and silly for me, but I liked the non-political jumbo.
As promised, a chocolate-raspberry mini-muff in a cup with Hagan-Daaz raspberry sherbert I found like a special present in my dad’s deep freeze.  Hurray!  Went together like a dream, and though that iced stuff is sweeet, it is definitely top quality and I was definitely proud to call this lunch.


Like cocoa soldiers.  Did you know it took me about 27 minutes and the help of a disgruntled 13-year old to help me find where they had counter-intuitively stashed all their muffin cups?  (for the record: in the highest right invisible spot in the kitchen, behind the curry powder, above the plastic bags).  

There’s more photo backlog, but this is probably browser-crashing enough with all the stuff in this post already, plus this random plate is a nice thematic end to a r-r-r-r-r-andom post.  This was my favourite dinner by SO much last week.  Probably the large luscious chunks of drippy tropical fruit had something to do with it, plus the arcade-style cacaphony of flavours all sharing one oddly harmonious restaurant-square plate.  There’s papaya salsa, asian-dressed cabbage, an eggplant roll that didn’t fit in the container I put in the freezer, and the BEST ASPECT OF ALL — peanut butter and jam on rusks.  Perfection.
ps. I swear I’m not on drugs or even feeling all that strange.  I just rode a mechanical bull, though, (seriously!) and I’m mighty jazzed about that!

So I’ve been busy!  I have photos going back so far I don’t even remember the niceties of what went into the food!  Could be better this way, though… do a nice skim over with some sexy photoage and then I get to go RUN OUTSIDE AND PLAY!!!!  Because it’s so nice out.  It’s been hard to want to do anything else, besides run around the city on luscious errands (“Ummmm… I need a light bulb.  Let’s go on a 3-hour sun-drenched walk!”).  The markets nearby have been getting more fragrant by the day.  Mangoes are getting delicious again.  I’m listening to some pastoral Vashti Bunyan I picked up at a thrift store today and I’m having a hard time remembering the kind of cold that prompts lentil loaf, such as the one pictured above, but hey, it was needed at the time, and it WAS nostalgically yummy.  I’m not sure about the whole vegan Loaf Craze, I think it might be my second one ever, but this one turned out remarkably well.  It was even gluten-free, adapted from this recipe with some amaranth and rosemary added and some other changes I really don’t remember right now.  And it’s an excuse to eat ketchup, as if I wouldn’t eat it off a spoon, anyway. :)

I usually feel funny posting about salads, since it’s like, well, vegetables.  With oil and salt and things.  But this one was like a bomb of happy went off in my mouth, so here it is.  I think there was berries, daikon, carrot, goji, ume vinegar and mirin involved, maybe some tamari.  Good stuff!!  I think this is when I began to taste spring, a little bit.

And if I wasn’t careful, Satchmo was gonna taste my peanut butter banana oat muffins!!  These are soooo perfect if you don’t want anything even remotely evil in a baked good, and I really didn’t at the time.  It’s just every ingredient listed in the title, plus some baking powder, cinnamon, and raisins for sweetness and that’s it.  I mean, admittedly I added some salt and allspice, but that’s still earnest.  And they made perfect desserts for anything, since I made them mini I could celebrate putting my clothes in the dryer with a muffin if I wanted.  Oh yeah!  And gluten free, too!  Like the loaf, completely subconscious on my part, but neat.  Oh, and recipe is from aTxVegan!

Later I made some split pea soup because it’s probably my favourite, this time heavy on red peppers and with quinoa in it as well, which made it a lot lighter and smoother, and better for warmer times.  With my first sundried tomato pesto on rusks beside it.

And I ought to open Vegan Fire & Spice WAY more often, because it’s just crammed full of launching-pads for creative dinners.  I was way too lazy to cook up brown rice one night, so I riffed off the Persian Orange Rice with Pistachios, using couscous and walnuts instead.  Really good!!!  Totally orangey and warmly spiced and great with zataar-spiced vegetables to mix into it (especially zucchinis!)


CHOCOLATE !!

The best dark chocolate I’ve ever had?  Possibly… quite possibly.  My sister got it almost cheap because it broke into two pieces, thus affected the taste irrevocably and rendering it only fit for ruffians such as us to consume.  Ahhhhh broken chocolate… also calorie-free I hear!  And isn’t that aztec-y wheel printed on the back gorgeous?  The coffee beans in it are roasted near to a meltaway powder, and there’s tons of them, and you should go to the Chocomotive site and order some of this and maybe send some to me, or just definitely pick some up if you ever see it broken in a store near you.

Yay!  I am predictable like this, in that it’s a wrap sandwich, but check it out, this one’s special.  I had the stroke of genius to mix in a whole buttload of fine-chopped scallion into my usual roti and it worked.  SO.  Well.  The tofu mix wasn’t half-bad besides, and maybe I’ve just been craving dijon really madly lately, but this was really good.  If you haven’t tried green beans in a sandwich before, you’re missing out, too!  Lightly steamed, rinsed cold, loaded along with zukes, sweet pickled onions, more dijon and grated carrot = win!  I even remember what I did with this one …
French-ish Tofu Salad 
makes enough for 2 generous sammiches
1/2 lb. firm tofu – herbed is nice
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3-4 tbsp mayo
1 tsp coarse ground dijon mustard
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp tarragon
salt and fresh black pepper to taste
– in a bowl, mush up the tofu with your hands (squish squish) until it’s mushy like ricotta.  Mix in the remaining ingredients, adjusting to your own taste, then stuff into breadish things and nom.
Scallion Flatbread 
makes two 10″ breads
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 all-purpose flour
2 tsp hazelnut oil
a good pinch of salt
1/4 cup fine-chopped scallion
6-8 tbsp warm water (it will really depend)
– In a large bowl mix together the flours, oil, salt, and scallion.  Slowly splash in the water and mix until a dough is formed.  Knead it for a minute or two – it should be a wet dough, but if it gets too wet (and it might due to onion moisture), just add a bit more flour and keep going.  When it’s slightly elastic, pop it back into the bowl and cover it with a towel.  Let that sit for a few minutes while you heat up a heavy iron skillet over medium heat.  Take out the dough and divide in two balls, dip them in flour and roll them flat (I usually get a 10″ circle), then cook in the dry skillet about 2 minutes each side, until brown spots appear and it smells toasty.  Instant lunch!

You know what? I like when muffins sink in the middle. It kinda makes you want to lean your head in right up to the pan and wonder… is it berry? Is it chocolate? Some other wondrous dark goo from the deep of the muffin? Okay, in this case I’ll fess that it’s blueberry, and I think you can even see the lavender flowers under it’s chewy crust. I totally bombed making these muffins correctly; they had sunken middles, gooey middles, “over-done” edges, and the aforementioned mysterious depths – BUT I called them blondies and just let the yummy work itself out. Actually these are fantastic, my baking skills notwithstanding. (lemon blueberry lavender muffins from Extraveganza, for the record)

I’ve also been greatly enjoying an open can of coconut milk. Why didn’t anyone tell me coconut milk was made of bliss? Man… it made teaching my little brother how to make tofu very very easy. And honestly, I think he may be better at it than I am! Those tofus in that thai coconut curry are succulent tofus – properly breaded and evenly browned. And I know that I’m not alone in considering the ability to make bean curd taste awesome is a necessary life skill to anyone, vegan or otherwise. I kinda felt like I had the ‘good sister’ hat firmly on.

Sorry I have to interrupt with an entry into the Liz Holding Food gallery.

MUFFIN VISION! SEE THROUGH!

I am horribly amused. :)

Entry number #2 in the gallery: Vietnamese spring rolls, which I’ve decided to live off of from now on.

Mostly because I can’t imagine anything that sits better in my stomach. I haven’t figured out why a handful of lettuce and noodles is so gosh darned filling, but there you go. It also could be that they’re a thinly veiled excuse to eat loads of peanut sauce, which might be indeed why they are so filling. But seriously… favourite food ever? Rolls are close.

Reality though? This is what I eat every day. Practically these days. Hummus and salad, basically. And can you even believe I’d never made tabouli before, ever? I’m a VEGAN, I’m not sure how that’s at all possible, but I managed to make it taste right, or better than right, because I put raisins and toasted walnuts on top and bulgur > couscous in my mind.

All right. I am obviously scattered today! I could blame the light food! I could blame Valentine’s day! I might be in love. But that’s another story! :D

I came home to this sight the other day. It was kind of funny, actually – I’d just trudged home through a blizzard with visions of hot stew in my head and what do I find but the storm decided to join me in my kitchen!

Ha, it was okay. I managed not to step in any of the puddles and was very very thankful for the crockpot stew I had put on the night before. Yeah, I actually used my crockpot! *shock* my mom would be proud. I had actually been so busy that I acted the great cliche and took it down off the highest shelf I have to put some veganomicon cholent-style ingredients together the night before.

I’m actually not sure if I’m sold on the tarragon + caraway thing… but it was warm and hearty and perfect at the time. (ie: full of potatoes). I added tabasco and corn, too.

Earlier than that (or later? oh I don’t remember. sometime!) I made vcon lemon & pea risotto with roasted red peppers.

I don’t know why people complain about leftover risotto! I actually thought this was tastiest cold out of the fridge, slurped up like cold lemony pudding. I’m weird, yes. I tried Risotto al Salto too, to try it (basically fried up like a fritter), which was fine. But nothing on the ice-cold stuff!

I posted about hoecakes before, so there isn’t much to say about the big yellow thing on the plate – except maybe to amend my recipe to stress than fine cornmeal should be used in a hoecake. This one was coarse which did NOT work anywhere near as well, but ah you learn. The interesting bit, at least to me, is that grayish dip-like blob in the corner. It was very tasty! It’s black bean & orange dip from ED&BV, and it’s a little sweeter than a regular b.bean dip and really great on wraps and things.

In the midst of being busy I made some muffins to take to school. I wonder why I decided to make jammy muffins to put in my bag? Ha ha, anyway, they’re hearty jam-dot muffins from Fran Costigan’s second book. They’re okay… I like that there’s lots of toasted oats and sesame in them, and my mom’s homemade plum jelly. A wee bit heavy, but I subbed some stuff so it could have been my bad.

Over christmas my dad bought me some veggie burgers for christmas eve Burger Night (woohoo!), which happened to be Amy’s California Burgers. They’re soooooo good! They don’t taste a blessed thing like fakey meatstuff, but they DO taste like toasted bulger and mushrooms and loads of other great all-natural things. I had some on buns, and some on salad with tahini dressing and both ways were awesome. I had the last one today though, and I don’t know what to do because I never buy pre-packaged food for myself but I think I’ve fallen in love!

And finally… we call this an economic birthday, or a belated one, or whatever. It’s a full moon tonight and though it’s neither of these boys’ birthdays (although it’s close), it’s definitely always a good time for a chocolate jalapeno cake with ganache topping and strawberries inside. Yeah, I know!! It’s another Extraveganza cake recipe and holy schlamoli, it’s SO tender and delicious and soft peppery perfect, I tried a whole bunch of it that stuck to the cake tin. ^_^;

Word to the wise: the recipe mentions nothing about de-panning this cake, and in fact implies that it shouldn‘t be, I think, at least when you read the icing recipe along with it. I did anyway and it was a total headache cause it was so fluffy and sticky (and criminally delicious. did I mention that?), but I think it came through the operation 97% intact. Minus the chunks I ate. (I’m starting to think that being able to fix cake disasters is as useful as baking one that tastes good… :P)

Anyone else notice how the stuff on top kinda looks like a crab? Not planned! But I like it.

Once upon a time there was an more innocent time in my life where I had no ethical qualms about eating as much Habitant pea soup as my little tummy desired. It was creamy, and dreamy, and came in gigantic tins and sometimes I ate it cold right out of the fridge, sometimes heated up to make it extra silky, and usually with loads of black pepper. It was pretty good stuff, even though it didn’t take me long to scan the ingredients list once becoming vegan and there the shocking news was that even the “vegetarian” version had a whole bunch of lard in it! Super gross!! But I love that stuff, so I’ve been trying here and there to recreate it. The trick is to think simple and this is the closest I’ve come so far, this may have even been better! :O

(Oh, and it’s certainly that time of the season. I’m not the only one to sing the peas praises!)

On the soup front we’ve still been raring to go this week. After split pea came that rich, gravy-like black bean soup from the Veganomicon that I love so much. Pretty much made identically as before, but with a bit of red pepper added this time. That veg gets itself invited to anything that needs some ruby sparkle and a bite of sweet! Definitely a welcome addition here, and it’s cheap and healthy yet luxurious soups like this that make me feel like a queen that should have made a double batch because aaaaaaaaaah it’s soooooo goooooooooooooood.

For Hallowe’en this year I could not sleep on the eve of the Hallow’s Eve, so I made pudding at three in the morning. Have I mentioned that I adore the excuse to cook at all hours of the night when I have the place to myself? Lovely fun to make a big recipe of extra almondy pudding with a layer of toasted oats and almond crust surprise hiding at the bottom! I don’t think I’ll go the “crust” route with my pudding again, somehow gritty isn’t something I enjoyed on the tongue, but if you eat the creamy first and then the almost macaroon-like cookie bottom, well, that was pretty nice. We conveniently forgot to mention to the guys that there were seven of these in the fridge, and have been diving into pud at our leisure.

I’m not totally greedy, though, and ended up releasing 11 of 12 of these VwaV perfect pumpkin muffins out into the wild to get devoured by costumed friends. It was almost funny how the conversation went every time, though:

Me: here, do want a pumpkin muffin?
Them: ehhhh. nah, is okay.
Me: they are like cake!
Them: all right then (*pause for chewing*) WOW THESE ARE GOOD.

hahaha. fools that they do not know the wonder of gourd cake! Oh, yeah, and actually I made them with a Calabaza squash, which was remarkably smooth and sweet, and just a bit floral – worked beautifully here.

Finally, I am back onto my mission to finish the Vcon. One needs a past-time challenge, right? Eased back into the crusade with a quicky little baby bok shoy with crispy shallots recipe (read: onions, we is poor), enjoyed with my new obsession, black forbidden sticky rice, pineapple pieces and some goji berries for that painterly touch on the dinner plate. Delicious!

In honour of all the genetically designed dogs out there, and mostly because I wanted to bake with cranberries, I present my entry for Urban Vegan’s designer muffin challenge — Chocolate Cranberry Kamutflake Muffins! With a hint of orange and cinnamon for the season, and a bit of delicate crunch from the flakes, I do think I’ve done okay here… I draw the line at encouraging vanity pets – but I couldn’t resist throwing some of my own namesake kamut into a baked good for the fun of it. So good!

Kamut’s Chocolate Cranberry Kamutflake Muffins (makes 6)

1/3 cup unbleached white flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup rolled kamutflakes
2 tbsp margarine
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup sugar (I might use 1/4 cup next time)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp orange extract or 1 tsp orange zest (optional)
2 tbsp silken tofu
2 tbsp soymilk
1 cup cranberries
1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate bar pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 6-hole muffin pan (and I actually recommend using liners for these guys, which I didn’t do this time, but will next time).
2. Sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda in a large bowl. Add the kamutflakes and give it a stir.
3. Cream together the margarine, applesauce and sugar until smooth. Add the extracts, tofu and soymilk, then pour all the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. Fold in the cranberries and chocolate.
4. Bake for 30 minutes or so (I’m actually not 100% on the time, and my oven is weird), or until the middles are firm when pressed and the tops are golden brown. Pop out when they’re cool and enjoy!

I kinda wanna dive in that cranberry right there. :D

Curiously enough, I have a habit when drinking to RUN NOT WALK to the kitchen and see if I can’t whip up something edible with blurry vision. And I usually can! Maybe it’s the challenge… and it’s certainly better than singing off-key, I should think.

My most classic preparation is some sort of seitan barfood after stumbling home. I guess 3 am and soused isn’t the best time to attempt to recreate a vegan hotdog, but I tried! It wasn’t hotdogg-y, but it was delicious, even if J was passed out like a rock by the time I set down a warm fresh chapati with a seitan-dog and all the fixins in front of him. (It made a perfect breakfast the next day, though!)

A week or two later some crepes were made, and turned out more perfectly than any sobre pancake I’ve ever attempted. The Vcon recipe is lightning-fast, delicious, and got rave vegetarian reviews (“these are even better than the kind with eggs! more flavourful and chewy!”). I did add a bit of extra oat flour, too, which gave them a nice homey touch.

Yum jam! Strawberry, blueberry, merlot, sour cherry, plus caramel sauce, cinnamon and fresh peaches.

And then last night (we all get off work on wednesday. we call it “fake saturday”), some whiskey prompted a mini-muffin adventure. What kind? Uhhhh…. banana! With blueberries! (we are also blueberry fiends, oh my yes). Use a recipe? Bah! That takes time and reading. Better to just throw some whole wheat pastry flour in a bowl with some ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, soymilk, brown rice syrup, oil and vanilla. And they TOTALLY turned out. Not too sweet, loaded with berries and banana, and perfect for munching on while playing with plastic dinosaurs and discussing 37 ways the world is an unfathomably weird place. Rarr brontasaurus rex!

There were even 3 (oops, I ate one – 2) left over the next day!

Smashed Vegan’s Warning: please please please do not attempt to drink and bake at home, unless you’re of legal age and are prepared to find a huge mess waiting for you in the morning. I don’t want to be a bad influence… :o

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