Saturday, May 28, 2011

Chocolate Marquise on Meringue

This month was my first month participating in the Daring Bakers challenge. This fun group chooses one blogger to host a monthly challenge. That blogger picks a dessert, announces it, then everyone else makes it and adds their own variations. I like it because it inspires me to be more creative and to try making things I would have never thought to make.

The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

A marquise is basically a frozen mousse rolled in cocoa. They also suggested adding a torched meringue and a tequila caramel drizzle. I decided to try the vegan version of the dessert offered. I've been cooking more vegan recently, and honestly, the vegan version looked easier. :-) Ashlae at ladycakes provided the vegan recipes.

I followed her recipes, found here, but added some tequila to the caramel, and cayenne and orange zest to the chocolate.

I loved all of the components that I made (coconut caramel, frozen chocolate pudding, and vegan meringue), but together it was too rich for me. Others who are more into desserts would love it, I'm sure.

I apologize for the awful pictures.  I broke my camera so I had to use the cell phone camera.  It did give me a great excuse to order a new camera.  :-).   It should be here soon, then I'll post lots more recipes!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jam Filled Cupcakes

 Katie, over at Chocolate Covered Katie (my go-to blog for dessert inspiration) asked for a round-up of newly tried vegan desserts. I just had to participate...any excuse to bake!!  I looked through my two new purchases, Veganomicon and Vegan with a Vengeance for inspiration.  These cookbooks are great, by the way.  They are filled with simple, healthy and CHEAP vegan recipes.  Best of all, they have all been delicious so far! But I digress...

I saw this AWESOME looking recipe for "Jelly donut cupcakes" in Veganomicon.  I renamed the recipe "Jam Filled Cupcakes" because when I made them the jam didn't sink into the center like it did for the authors, however, they were still super delicious. 

Best of all? One bowl!!! 

You were supposed to be able to put the jam on top and the cake would rise around it... it happened about half way with mine, but if I remade them I would make a little well for the jam in the center of the cakes. 
A little bit of jam spillage..
All done and delicious!

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Jam Filled Cupcakes
  • 1C Soy Milk
  • 1tsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1Tbs Cornstarch
  • 1 1/2C Flour (all purpose)
  • 3/4tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2tsp Nutmeg, ground
  • 1/2tsp Salt
  • 1/3C Vegetable Oil
  • 3/4C Granulated Sugar
  • 2tsp Vanilla
  • 1/3C Jam
  • Confectioners' Sugar
1. Preheat oven to 3502. Mix soy milk, vinegar and corn starch in a small bowl. Set aside. 3. In a large bowl mix four, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Stir to combine. 4. Fill 12 cupcake liners with the batter. 5. Add a small teaspoon of jam on top of each cupcake. 6. Bake 20 minutes, cool and dust with confectioners' sugar. Enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12 cupcakes

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wisconsin: Foraging and Beer!

I grew up on a small farm in the middle of rural Wisconsin.  Although I didn't appreciate it at the time, I was basically living in a culinary wonderland.  We had fresh farm raised pork, beef, lamb, a giant vegetable garden, and lots of edible wild produce. Well, if only I could go back in time and have a little chat with former self.

Thankfully I still get to enjoy this bounty when I come home to visit.  This time, visiting for my little brother's college graduation (congrats little brother!), I got to sample lots of local beer, fresh picked asparagus, ramps, morel mushrooms, and some fresh eggs from a farm down the street. Oh, my dad made my beer bread recipe with some local Wisconsin beer too!
Morel mushrooms are very delicate in flavor (and delicious!).  In Wisconsin they grow in the spring (April/May) underneath trees of all sorts.  My dad and grandpa have figured out the best places to go hunting for them from years of experience.  In California they sometimes explode in abundance after forest fires.  Most commercially sold morels are picked from the wild and not farmed.  The morel above is the first one I found on my own. :-D
We are lucky enough to have asparagus growing wild around the farm as well.  It grows in the garden and wild along the roads.  
Mmm foraged veggies!  Asparagus from the garden and ramps and morels from the woods.  

Cooked in butter! 

I'm looking forward to doing some foraging in California.  Mr. C's family goes berry picking every year and I'm hoping to weasel my way into their trip.  :-)  Have you ever foraged for anything?  Perhaps there's more stuff around I could look for.....aside from the neighbor's lemons that is ;-) 

Still planning on a home-brew post, Mr. C guest post and a new vegan dessert recipe I'm trying tonight! 

Morel Mushroom on FoodistaMorel Mushroom

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A few of my favorite blogs

Today I just wanted to share a few of my favorite blogs and why I love them.  In no particular order:

Smitten Kitchen
Smitten Kitchen was one of the first food blogs I ever followed.  The photography is gorgeous, the writing is honest and meaningful and all of the recipes I have tried have been amazing.  The recipes include dessert, veggies and meats and range from very complicated to very simple.  A great "all around" blog.

Cookie and Kate
Kate writes about vegetarian cooking.  Her recipes are very hearty, comforting and good for you.  My lab mates and I have tried a couple of her recipes with great success.  A must check out for my vegetarian friends!

Taste and Tell
Deborah at Taste and Tell writes awesome cookbook reviews every month.  She tries out several recipes from each book she reviews to give a good sense of the overall cookbook.  I also love her simplified "take out" recipes among many others.

Oh She Glows 
Angela at Oh She Glows is my go to writer for trying new vegan dishes.  When I decided to start cooking a vegan meal a couple times a week I got most of my recipe ideas from her site.  If you'd like to start cutting down animal consumption occasionally, check out her site! We especially love her barley risotto, creamy avocado pasta and vegan overnight oats.

Super Mommy Recipes
A new blog/new blogger that I recently found.   Kerri writes simple easy to follow recipes with clean, fresh flavors.  If you need something to cook that anyone will enjoy, check out her site!

Chocolate Covered Katie
Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the only dessert blogs I follow.  I'm not really a "dessert" person and I don't like overly sweet foods.  Katie does an awesome job of "healthifying" some very decadent desserts and she's just such a sweetheart.  Check out her blog if you'd like to try some vegan baking. 

There you have it..a few of my favorite blogs!  (I have many other favorites I'll try to share later!)

Coming soon: I'll write about my very first home-brewing experience AND a guest post from Mr. C, because if he can make it, anyone can.  :-p

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Simplest Tomato Sauce

This post is for all of my friends who think that they can't cook because it is a.) too hard or b.) too time consuming.  This tomato sauce recipe results in a sauce that could be served in a restaurant, but it takes no prep time and absolutely no skill!! :-)

I originally found the recipe at Smitten Kitchen, but it has been circulating the web for some time. 

First, get your ingredients: canned tomatoes (the best you can afford, as they make up the taste), a medium yellow onion and butter or vegan margarine--I've used both with great success.

Then, put them in a pot! Simmer for 45 minutes.  You can either pay attention and smash the tomatoes up as you go, or forget about the pot and smash them all up at the end.  Again, I've done it both ways. :-)

Finally, taste and salt, if needed--the butter and tomatoes are often salted, so be careful not to over-salt.   The sauce is then ready to serve.  I've served it with spaghetti and over steamed or roasted vegetables, however, my favorite use was over pan fried polenta.

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Simplest Tomato Sauce
The easiest tomato sauce recipe around.
  • 1 28oz Can Whole Peeled Tomatoes (San Marzano)
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion
  • 5Tbs Butter or Vegan Butter
1. Peel the onion and cut it in half. 2. In a medium pot simmer tomatoes, butter, and halved onion over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally while gently smashing tomatoes. 3. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Smash to desired consistency and serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

This morning I woke up and couldn't help lamenting a very sad looking banana on my counter.  It looked all brown and lonely, sad that all its friends had already been eaten. Fortunately for Mr. Banana (ermm he looked masculine, what can I say...), I saw a really intriguing recipe on one of my new favorite blogs for banana chocolate chip cookies and decided that I had to make it. The blog is Cookie and Kate and I've found lots of recipes I can't wait to try there, so check it out. :-) (Cute puppy pics too). 

In my excitement I didn't realize that I was missing a bunch of ingredients (eggs, real butter, brown sugar), but I took it as an opportunity to try to vegan-ize the recipe and it turned out REALLY great.  If you don't have flaxseeds on hand just look at the original recipe.

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Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
A veganized recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. Adapted from
  • 1C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2Tbsp Vegan Butter (or Butter)
  • 1C Raw Sugar
  • 1Tsp Molasses
  • 1 Banana, mashed
  • 1Tbs Ground Flaxseeds
  • 3Tbs Warm Water
  • 1Tsp Vanilla
  • 2C Oats
  • 1C Chocolate Chips
1. Preheat Oven to 3502. Mix warm water and flaxseeds in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, oats, cinnamon and cayenne in a medium bowl. 4. In a stand mixer (or by hand) cream together butter, sugar and molasses. 5. Add vanilla, mashed banana and flaxseed mixture and beat until combined
6. Gently add dry mixture and mix just until combined. 7. Stir in Chocolate Chips8. Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet for 10 minutes
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 18 cookies

Bananas on FoodistaBananas

Monday, May 2, 2011

Zucchini Bread, Healthified (kinda)

This week I received a bunch of beautiful zucchinis in my CSA box.  Zucchinis remind me of home--they were always overrunning the veggie gardens.  I enjoyed trying to think of ways to use all of them.  I was especially proud to manage to fit one into a dish that a certified zucchini hater (Mr. C) would eat, my gallo pinto!  

After a series of restless nights with some awful dreams (including one where Max (see below, right) was terribly beat up), I really wanted to make some comforting food. 

Well, long story short, I snuck some more zucchinis into Mr. C's diet and made a healthy-ish dessert bread that is really great AND comforting ..and vegan......and easy. :-) 

I might have put some dark chocolate chips in Mr. C's to make it more appealing to the veggie hater.

Hope everyone's dreams are better than mine have been! 

Vegan Zucchini Bread

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Zucchini Bread
My recipe for vegan zucchini bread.
  • 6Tbs Ground Flaxseeds
  • 1/2C +1Tbs Warm Water
  • 1/2C Oil
  • 1/2C Applesauce, unsweetened
  • 2C Raw Sugar
  • 1Tsp Vanilla
  • 3 (medium) Zucchinis, grated
  • 3C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1Tsp Salt
  • 1Tbs Baking Soda
  • 1Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1Tbs Cinnamon
  • 1Tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2Tsp Allspice
  • 1/2-1C Chocolate Chips
1.) Prep: Whisk together flaxseed and water. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 loaf pans. 2.) Mix together all ingredients up to and including the zucchini, until combined. 3.) Mix together the remaining ingredients (except chocolate chips), add in wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips gently and split batter into 2 loaf pans. 4.) Bake at 350F for about 1hr or until a fork comes out clean. Cool and enjoy! (I didnt cool, it was doughy and delicious).
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 Loaves
Zucchini on FoodistaZucchini
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