Sunday, February 28, 2010

Going the distance...Cake!

I made a banana bunt cake. 'Cuz that's what I do when I've got really ripe bananas. It's going the distance. Well, the distance from here to work tomorrow. When I make a cake, I make extra little ones in silicone cups so I can have my cake and eat it too.I also made some garden fresh pizzas while I was watching Olympic hockey. The sauce was from the garden. Last summer's garden. Late in the summer I finally borrowed my mom's dehydrator and saved a few pieces of summer. Just what I needed in this wintry weather. The tomatoes were from mom's garden and the eggplant and peppers from my CSA. On the left is some dried tomatoes and on the right cubed and dried eggplant. The tomatoes were in slices, so I cut them up with some kitchen scissors. OK, so the shitake mushrooms weren't from the garden, but next year I'll have to dry some 'schrooms. Red and green bell peppers on the right.This is the sauce on the pizza dough. I added follow your heart Mozzarella because that's the best vegan cheese available in the stores near me. I do enjoy tease and daiya. I ran out of cheese, so I made a roll out of the extra dough. It's trying to sneak into the photo.

Banana Bundt Cake

The wet stuff:
1 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup soft tofu
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp orange extract

The dry stuff:
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder

The banana stuff:
2 cups smashed ripe banana (about 4)
1 cup strong coffee

Preheat oven to 350 and grease bundt pan.

In a medium bowl (or this cool sifter thingy,) mix all the dry stuff together.

In a separate bowl, mix the mashed banana and coffee together.

In a large bowl, beat the oil and sugar until most of the sugar has dissolved. Add tofu and blend thoroughly. Add extracts.

Alternately mix in 1/3 dry mix, then 1/3 banana, and repeat until all incorporated, but don't over-mix.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in pan 10 min, then turn out onto cooling rack.

Once cool, you can eat as is, or make a quick glaze.

Quick glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 TBS soy milk

Blend together with an electric mixer and drizzle over cooled cake.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich...*

Now for some weird Britishish food. Vegemite, Marmite, and Bovril. Honestly, I can't really taste the difference between Vegemite and Marmite, but both are full of b12 goodness. The Bovril is the drink version. It's kind of like Marmite bullion. Surprisingly tasty. Gluten-free toast with "mite." Vegemite on the left; Marmite on the right. The consistency is a little different, and I'm sure there's some subtle taste difference, but I can't tell them apart. It may look like chocolate nutella or something, but I assure you this salty, yeasty topping does not resemble chocolate in taste. The Bread is Ener G gluten free, dairy free bread. It has a shelf life of about 6 months. I would have used it earlier, but I was kind of fascinated to see how long it would last. The special packaging is the "preservative" and you don't have to keep it in the freezer like other gluten free breads I've seen. The packaging got puffier the longer it sat around. For gluten-free bread, this isn't half bad. It tastes a little healthy, but otherwise is good. Here's some snowy photos of my neighborhood.Big tree that decided to lose a few branches in my yard.This is the footbridge I take on my walk to the train. It's much scarier at night when you think the Headless Horseman might be galloping up behind you. I live in Sleepy Hollow, so don't think that couldn't happen. OK, Headless Horseman aside, here's some actual danger. Just past the bridge there was a downed tree fallen on a power line completely blocking the road for anyone downhill from it. I just kind of walked around it to get home. The snow was pretty, but knocked out my cable for a couple of days. Cable is back on now, so I've got to go catch up on some Buffy I DVRed.
Buffy is on Logo -they're at the beginning of season 3. Apparently it's on MTV also. Buffy season 8 volume 6 comic is out next month. Even if comics aren't your medium of choice, if you're a Buffy fan, I highly recommend checking them out. It starts where the show ends. My mom is reading them now.*For anyone who didn't live through the 80's, the title "He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich" is part of the lyrics to "Down Under" by Men at Work. I had no idea what a Vegemite sandwich was until many years later. I once named our corporate volleyball team "Vegemite Slamwich." It won an award.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

PIF gift of awesomeness. Truffles and marmalade and jewelry, oh my!

Vegan blogger friends rock. Amanda of Gemusings sent me a super amazing array of homemade gifts. Chocolate truffles filled various flavors from hazelnut to mint (yes, I ate them all) in a cute decorated wooden box. Orange ginger marmalade which I slathered heavily on some toast. Wicked yummy, I could have eaten it with a spoon. A handmade origami gift box and a very pretty beaded necklace. Oh, and an oh so cute photo of Squirrelly.

Thanks Amanda!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Easy Tofu Rancheros

Mmm Mexcellent. I like a good savory breakfast/brunch item. These tofu rancheros fit the bill nicely.

Tofu Rancheros for one

1 TBS corn oil (or annatto oil for a nice mexicany color)
2 TBS onion
1 green chili (I used canned)
1/4 block tofu (the bridge tofu pressed overnight in the super awesome tofu Xpress*)
1 tsp adobo seasoning
1/4 tsp black salt
1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 cup salsa (I used Zukay mild salsa viva)

2 corn tortillas

In a small skillet (cast iron if you've got it), saute onion and chili in a little corn oil until softened. Add the adobo seasoning. Add broken up pieces of tofu and add black salt and turmeric. Cook about 5 minutes until tofu is warmed. While tofu is cooking toast 2 corn tortillas to get warm and just a little crispy. Move tofu mixture to one side of the pan and add salsa to the other. Heat salsa for 2-3 minutes to warm and reduce any excess liquid.

Place warmed tortillas on a plate and top with tofu mixture, then pour on heated salsa. Enjoy with a little chipotle vegenaise (1/2 canned chipotle chopped and mixed with 2 TBS Vegenaise) or tofutti sour cream.


*Just so you know, I don't get awesome free stuff from any of the vendors I'm pimping on my blog. It's just an honest appraisal of the products I've found, purchased, and use. I obviously like cooking gadgets and I grocery shop as a hobby. If anyone wants to send me some free stuff to review I'm all for it.

I did get some POM juice last year, and I noted that they sent it to me. And Frito Lay sent me a coupon, but that's because I sent them a message that I was really happy they made vegan Doritos. I don't think they're reading my vegan blog.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Weird Japanese food - "Pickled Eggplant ith Mustard Paste" and the tofu Xpress

I picked up some "Pickled Eggplant ith Mustard Paste" in the prepared food section of my local Japanese market Nijya. Yeah, I know it's "with" but the packaging said "ith" and I think typos in food translations are funny. Not that I could begin to say this in Japanese...there's a ka ra shi in there but the rest of it, I have no idea. A quick google search tells me that karashi is the mustard and the dish is called karashinasu, but anyway, this pickled eggplant in mustard sauce is decidedly weird. However, weird didn't stop me from eating it. For some reason I was in the mood for mustard. There was plenty of sauce, so it gave that burning sinus sensation similar to a wasabi high. Although it looks like its probably meant to be one of those cold side dish items, I threw it on top of some sushi rice to cut the mustard. I'm also pressing some tofu in my new Tofu Xpress. This gadget is totally cool. It helps to have good tofu. This is the bridge tofu which I adore and is made in Connecticut.
The photo is right after I put the tofu in. It'll be about half the size in about an hour and more like a quarter the size if I leave it overnight. Then I just break it up and add it to a little peanut oil in a small cast iron skillet, add a dash or so of soy sauce, and some hot chili oil. Sometimes I add a little sake to the pan to deglaze if the little tofu bits starts to stick to the bottom. Serve over hot sushi rice.

The tofu express may seem like an indulgence when you can just pile stuff on top of tofu to squeeze out the water for free. But..if you've ever had a cast iron skillet come crashing down unexpectedly off your tower-of-heavy-objects-style free tofu press, you'll be glad all you have to do it turn the little knob on this little spring loaded gadget. It fits in the fridge easily so you can leave over night or all day to have pressed tofu ready when you want it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Perfect cup of cocoa

What goes with snow? Cocoa!
Who needs prepackaged cocoa mix when it's so easy to make a super rich chocolaty cup of cocoa from a few standard baking ingredients.

1. Take out your favorite mug and fill it with milk (soy, almond, whatever you've got.)
2. Take out a saucepan and turn heat to med-low.
3. Take a heaping spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder and add it to the pan.
4. Pour a small amount of the milk from the mug and whisk it together with the cocoa powder adding a little at a time until it is dissolved, then add the rest of the milk.
5. Add about a teaspoon of sugar to taste. You don't need too much sugar; you'll get more chocolate flavor if it's less sweet.
6. Continue whisking a bit to whip in some air until it is hot and bubbly.
7. Pour hot cocoa back into your mug, and top with some marshmallows (I used the rest of the Dandies)
8. Relax, watch the weather channel, and hope for a snow day.

Of course if you embrace newfangled technology, you could do this easily in the microwave, too, but it won't get you as warm and toasty as standing over the stove whisking your perfect cocoa.