Search around, let simmer...

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's Christmas!!!

No ellipsis here - there's no space for anything extra when there's such a great season to blog about!

It's been a painful Thanksgiving-Christmas period to work through. Finals, Life, my first job (food service isn't what I envisioned. I should have figured...) But now, as I sit upon my cushy couch, The Bread Bible beside me, lights twinkling, and vegaan eggnog in my stomach ruminating with real food. Wow, life can be comfortable again, I'd nearly forgotten.

Today is a big update or series thereof. My hand at Seitan and its transformation into Bourgegnon, Gingerbread Waffles, Baking galore, and a few good breakfasts. My goodness, the season of eating is that much better when it so starkly contrasts the doldrums of the college cafeteria. It really is a thing to behold - the kitchen in full whir, lights twinkling, a mug of steaming beverage, whatever it may be, in one hand and a good recipe in the other. I missed home.

Following a basic recipe for Seitan from scratch and whipping together a basic stock, I mimicked the Seitan Bourguignon from What The Hell Does A Vegan Eat. It was delicious atop a torn slice of whole-wheat Scali bread.

Seitan: More tender than any meat you'll ever meet.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


They happen. Wednesday my faithful old Kitchen Aid Mixer finally jumped ship when it tumbled from my counter into my waiting hands' ceramic dishes. Needless to say my bread dough was done for, a mixer was in the cards, and I need to look for some replacement vintage Corningware...
Ah well - It was just one of those days.
Thanksgiving day was much more enjoyable!

Anyways, to break in the fruits of this Black Friday - a Kitchen Aid Pro 520 which completely blows me away - I whipped some Spicy Pumpkin bread based on the recipe from The Bread Bible. My goodness, I very much enjoy that book. The whole-grain wild rice-molasses bread I was making and (with much help) remade sans-mixer too came from its glorious pages.
Also a wonderful bread...Sweet, Chewy...
Anyhow, the Pumpkin-Cream Cherry bread came out wonderfully. I added orange zest and a bit of oatmeal as well as a splash of almond extract to make up for the lack of Sherry in my inventory.

It was spice, moist (Thanks to the addition of some plain yogurt to offset the volume of oil called for) and rose very well.
There's no substitute for careful mixing in chemically leavened quick-breads, I always say. I really do, it's a bad habit.

Anyways here it is - if you're ever in the market for a nice spiced quick bread, hit this recipe up. There's never enough Pumpkin in the pie alone this time of year.

One loaf...
Two Bundts...

And a whole-lot of sweet-scented holiday baking...

Enjoy the start to the holiday season! I'm already hitting the Christmas music pretty hard...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Comes!

I love this month. It's the start of Scorpio season for us Children of November; It's the start of the true holiday season; It's home to possibly the single greatest day of eating in America. What's not to love?

I'm afraid until Thanksgiving is actually upon us there will likely be a continued dearth of recipes, reviews, and good things to blog about. Food here is still, well, uninteresting. Our valley cafe on tuesdays is good - today's dishes surrounded Italian, specifically perhaps Milanese, dishes. It was good, bringing fresh bitter-sweet slaw, stewed Chickpeas, and an interesting spaghetti torte, and a Chicken dish to The Foxes.

I miss Italian like mia mamma makes.

In the interim, enjoy these pics - long overdue - from the Goffstown (NH) Pumpkin Festival. I've been meaning to post them with this recipe for Pumpkin Softies - a recurring cookie of mine - since mid October! So sorry about that...

The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! The biggest and greatest in fact!
Punkin Chunkin' on the river!

A great little cafe in town. Check it out if you're in area!

Mmmm... Tremendous amounts of Apple Crisp, Pumpkin Pie, Individually wrapped baked goods. Not to mention the dessert competition tasting table! My god, I love Fall...

And here's my most recent recipe for Pumpkin Spice-Softies:
Makes 2 Dozen

· ½ cup Butter, softened

· ½ cup sugar

o 1/3 cup extra reserved for rolling

· 1/4 cup honey and/or maple syrup

o Puree ¼ cup honey with ¼ cup dates, ¼ cup craisins, 1/3 cup boiling water and incorporate into wet ingredients

· 2/3 cup pumpkin puree

· 1/3 cup molasses, darker the better!

· 1 egg

· 2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour (or white, unbleached)

· ¼ cup oatmeal

· 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

· 2 teaspoons cinnamon

· 2 teaspoons ginger

· 1 teaspoon ground cloves

· ½ teaspoon salt

· Chocolate Chips, Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, Ginger to taste for rolling

Combine Sugar, butter, honey, pumpkin, and egg in a large mixing bowl, combining well. The butter won’t fully incorporate but remain slightly chunky.

Combine extra sugar, extra spices (listed at bottom) and set aside chips for finishing the cookies.

Combine all dry ingredients left and slowly spoon into wet batter, mixing very thoroughly. An electric mixer makes this much easier.

Set aside for 20 minutes or so, or until sufficiently chilled so that the batter can be more or less rolled into walnut-sized balls by hand.

Roll in sugar-spice mixture and set about 1-2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper. Press several chocolate chips into each ball and flatten slightly while on sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes at 350° or until cookies are solid to the touch and crack slightly. They will darken due to the sugar caramelizing, not burning.

A Strong showing but they dodn't last but a few days...
The Sugar-spice coating makes the difference, don't skimp...

Enjoy. I know I do.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's Been a Long Time...

Since I've posted much. Not for lack of tinned in the kitchen. Just last night I even made some whole wheat butterscotch blondies to ship home to the better half. They came out perfectly (I forgot to shoot a pic! Next time...). But life is busy at school. Luckily I'm getting more comfortable in my kitchen but I miss my home's nonetheless.
Anyways, here are a few pics of what ive been up to:
Some decent food from our cafe even! Real tofu once...

The Great Bakery at Rhinebeck, NY: Bread Alone
I loved my lentil patty but this Sweet Potato and Kale Soup was warm and satisfying - Vegan too!
Changing gears, Heres my hand at vegan cookies - mostly because I didn't have eggs. I adapted it from this Post Punk Kitchen recipe
Here are my Petite Apple Pies from the pies I picked a few weeks ago...
Finally, the "real" tofu I had in the midst of culinary depths...

When I get a chance, I'll post my Pumpkin (improved) cookie recipe from my weekend home at a Pumpkin festival in New Hampshire. Enjoy (in advance!)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Early pumpkins? Never...

I miss pumpkin pie, Apple crisp, and maple syrup atop buckwheat pancakes. Nostalgia? Maybe. The coming of fall, my favorite season? Definitely. Whatever the cause all I can think of between tests and college work is Apple picking, Halloween, and thanksgiving. So here's my attempt at impromptu pocket pies. They're not exactly the proper shape or consistency of good pre but they hit the spot as I explore the idea of a shared kitchen...

Mini pies of pumpkin
For the filing I used simple pumpkin puree, an egg, sugar, and cinnamon to taste. The crust was 1 cup flour to 1 tbsp flax meal, pinch of salt, and 1/3 cup sugar.
I learned you need butter in crust more than anything.
Oh well, consistency side my mini press tasted good!

Enjoy the fall yall

Thursday, September 22, 2011

When it rains...

Recipes and baked goods don't necessarily pour forth. As I don't really have the time or kitchen space I once enjoyed, in college reading days have been spent working, in class, or at the gym. I guess when there's so much soft serve to be had, it's the gym and fewer cookies... Anyways I invented impromptu poor college kid cookies I wanted to share- they need work... Oh, and my campus farmer's market too! Enjoy!the

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Too Long...

Kind of like the Daft Punk song... But totally unrelated.
It's been too long since posting to this blog. Life's been wild - in the best sense. Moving into college, visiting New York City for a few days before, and cooking up a storm the day before leaving for it all, I've been going in every direction.
On the subject of college, first off, life is good. I love it here - the food isn't bad but the people are quality. I'll save the food puns; never have I had so much optimism for my future. Life is good and for the taking.

So, just to post a few images of passion and motivation, here are a few shots of my latest (sadly probably for a while) endeavors.

You see, my friends and I decided to hold a formal dinner on the Monday before we all began our treks across the northeast. Personally I took a shot at some new breads, homemade Chard Ravioli, Panna Cotta, and a simple salad. My good friend made a brisket for the carnivores, a great curry soup, accompaniments, and an impressive Tiramisu. Some other desserts made their way in, all good. It was a stressful but enormously enjoyable evening. My how I'll miss my new friends but luckily college has proved quite welcoming. And the salad bar has helped to alleviate the pangs for seitan, tofu, and garden fresh vegetables.

Sadly, all I photographed were my baking efforts, so here those are. The ravioli and panna cotta needed work anyways...
Squishy bread...Mmmmm
A few shots of Olive Oil-Walnut Loaf. What a bread for breakfast...
Sour Rye loaf - great with some olive oil.

Oh and here are a few of the muffins I baked too - Apple ginger. They were strong, but not bad with a spot of jam.
Enjoi! Life always has more to offer than what meets the eye.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tried mornings...

So I wanted to whip up a simple breakfast this past weekend. For whatever reason I thought back to a dish I love of rice, an egg, hamburger, and gravy. Not vegetarian. But aha, oatmeal, eggs, and vegetables are. Clever me, I suddenly thought up this simple recipe while at a concert - don't ask me why, I can't say why the roaring crowd and smooth melody of Guster made me hungry.

Vegetarian "Loco Moco", My Way

Makes 2 servings

1 cup rolled oats, cooked with adequate water

1/2 cup chopped vegetables (Zucchini, Baby Bellas, carrots, whatever you like!)

1 teaspoon Curry Powder; Salt and Pepper to taste

2 large eggs, over easy, sunny side up - just make it a but runny

Mushroom Gravy

1 cup mushrooms, finely sliced and/or diced

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 cup water

1/4 cup whole wheat flower

dash arrowroot powder

lots of fresh sage, chopped, as well as a few dashes of cinnamon, and pepper

2 tbsp soy or tamari sauce

Combine the ingredients for the gravy, stirring (whisking) until it reduces to a suitable gravy-licious consistency. Cook the oatmeal and fold in the spices and veggies when it seems cooked to your liking. Fry the egg.

Plate the egg atop the oatmeal and cover with gravy.

Enjoy - I certainly did when I had it. Feel free to toss in a crab cake, veggie burger - whatever you like. The classic recipe calls for some such thing beneath the egg anyways. (Heres a good example from NPR)

Friday, July 29, 2011


I've been busy. Just got back from Germany - quite a vacation. I must say, it far exceeded my expectations for the European continent. I can't wait to go back; I'm certainly going to need to brush up on my French as German was completely foriegn to me.
A funny thing about the food there - for a region of tremendously fresh and available fruits and vegetables, meat is astoundingly popular and inexpensive. I had known that the region is more interested in organics than vegetarianism, but I hadn't expected to have Spaetzle-five-ways. That said, the food was always very good. Below are a few images of my German gastronomic exploration!

Airline food: Always Order Vegetarian...
The First Supper: Spaetzle with steamed veggies and stewed mushrooms.
Donor Kebap: Vegetarian Style. Thank you cultural fusion...
Vegetarian Sushi at Munich's premier (apparently) vegetarian eatery...
...And their delectable Apple Strudel with vanilla Cream.

Venturing out of Munich we ate in Saltzburg, a small town called Fussen, Ingolsdadt, Innsbruck. It was quite a trip.
One of the many Spaetzles: Gruyere like most. Good, but enough "mac-and-cheese" for a while
Delicious Mushroom Goulash and a Dumpling the size of a softball!
I Tell you, the produce there...

And don't forget the delicious baked goods. This bread came from a wonderful B&B in Schwangau, Austria. The Landhotel Guglupf. I recommend it.
And yes, I'm told the meat and sausages were very good. My dad had several sausages, wiener schnitzel, and other regional delicacies. I'll stick to my vegetables.

Enjoi your own escapes and outtings, wherever they may be.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Have your Veggies and Lasagna too...

I came home from Montreal (had some good food there...) to find my vegetable garden booming. An excess of rainbow chard, bush beans abound, and an enormous blooming yellow squash. Catching up on my food blogs and Huffington Posts, I came across a list of several summer pastas. So I thought to myself "How can I use the jungle I planted outside like this? Lasagna!"
With a box of whole wheat Hogsden Mills lasagna, an abundance of homegrown chard, beans, and herbs I whipped together some nearly vegan lasagna that hit the spot.

All my own stuff! Locavores rejoice...

Nearly Vegan Veggie Lasagna

1 box Hogsden Mills Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles (or your favorite)

1 Bunch Rainbow Chard
Handful Green Beans
1 small Zucchini Sliced thinly
1 tomato sliced thinly
1 small red pepper, sliced
1/2 cup corn kernels (about 1 ear's worth fresh corn kernels, removed)
Tomato Sauce (I made my own, simple enough with tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices, fresh torn basil, and Evoo)
Tofu Ricotta (see below)
Garlic powder, Black Pepper, Spices and Basil to taste
Sprinkling of Mozzarella and Parmesan, if you so desire

Tofu Ricotta from Here
2 Packages Mori Nu Tofu (Or preferred variety - preferably Fat Free)
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/4 cup fresh parsley (and/or basil)
1 head roasted garlic - a few tablespoons jarred diced worked well in a pinch!
a sprinkling of salt
a dash of Nutritional Yeast, if you so wish
Drying the tofu, mash it with a fork and combine with all ingredients above. Set aside.

Colorful inside and out...

Preparing all vegetables, set them aside. Boil the Lasagna noodles per directions and set aside, careful to prevent sticking (I had that problem... I hate sticky noodles). Prepare sauce or use your favorite jarred variety and set aside.
Dice the rainbow (Swiss...) chard and break down the green beans, boiling for several minutes - not too long - and drain. Set aside.

Layer noodles first, covered with ricotta, sauce, vegetables, and a bit of cheese if you like. Repeat layers, alternating or repeating vegetable combinations until you've used your ingredients. Try to use enough noodles - not finding more pasta than filling, but I used too few and it wasn't entirely stable when sliced...
Finish the lasagna with a layer of sauce and grated cheese - perhaps a few basil leaves or some diced scallion as I did (an overabundance in my yard...)

Wonderful with a simple salad...
Bake for an hour at 350, removing the tinfoil covering the bake for the final few moments, or until browned to your liking.

As is said En Montreal: Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

From Le Pain with Love...

I stopped in at a Pain Quotidien about two weeks ago whilst in Rye New York. Wow, it was arguably the most perfect restaurant I can imagine - well when I'm looking for a bistro breakfast at least. Stopping at the Red Lentil last night, I was reminded why It's the best purveyor of vegetarian I imagine to exist.
Anyways, besides the perfectly prepared Steel Cut Oats with berries and Tea I enjoyed (two relatively simple dishes I know, but a step above nonetheless) I sampled a terrific Chia Seed muffin. I've had a bag of Chia Seeds in my cupboard for months, unopened, but I was waiting for a good excuse to use them. Lo and behold, this muffin of whole wheat flour, yogurt, chia seeds, and banana was tremendous.

So here's my attempt at the Chia Seed Muffin but with a carrot cake twist.

Carrot Cake Chia Muffins
  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour (Whole Grain)
  • 1 tsp Arrowroot Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 very ripe Banana, diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt, sans-lipide si vous plait!
  • 2 eggs (feel free to omit one of the yolks)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 1 cup water
  • about one cup grated, dried carrots
  • 1-2 tsp diced (grated fresh!) ginger (I used pickled; it's what I have...)
  • 1-2 tsp chopped fresh sage
Grate the carrots in a large bowl, combine with sage and fresh ginger. Press with a paper towel and remove liquid. Set Aside.
Combine Flours, Baking Soda and Powder, Arrowroot, Salt, Cinnamon, and Garam Masala as well as some of the ginger powder in a bowl. Whisk to combine briefly and set aside.
Combine Sugar, Eggs, Oil, and Yogurt, vigorously whisking for a minute or two until the mixture is relatively frothy. Add in vanilla and Chia seeds (these should have been mixed with the cup of water prior to adding), whisking again, briefly.

That's some good batter...

Preheat your oven to 350 and get a muffin tin (or loaf pan I suppose) ready for baking.
Add the carrot mixture to the wet mixture, mixing lightly. Now's the hard part of all muffins - mixing. Add the wet carrot mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing to as to just combine - aim for 10 mixes.
Add the mixture to your bakeware of choice, about 16 minutes, or until toothpicks come out slightly moist, but not gooey.
Set aside to cool.
Not the best pic, but they taste so good...
The were not nearly as dense and chewy as those from Le Pain but they certainly got the carrot cake-y flavor I was looking for. I'd try more ginger - Fresh Ginger - and more sage next time.


So I made a quick Baked Brie for myh better half on the day of her graduation party. There was more than enough delicious food but I wanted to make her something special. She loves her brie.
It was simple to whip up a batch of whole wheat crust and pour a bit of homemade Cranberry Chutney atop the wheel. So says I: "I should bake bread to go with this!"

Using my favorite baking cookbook, the Bread Bible, I made the Bread with Three Chocolates. I thought it would complement the sweetness of the cheese and cranberry chutney well, and it did.

Love that Chocolate Flecking...

Now I'd like to make a nice french toast out of the stuff, but that will just have to wait. It's a mildly sweet bread - very traditional bread in texture, but with a mild chocolate flavor and a wonderfully dark color.
Bread and Earth Balance FTW!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pillows of Sugary...

Also known as Marshmallows, these little rectangular sponges of egg white, sugar, and Xantham Gum fill a very special place in my heart. It's been a while since I've had a good marshmallow. Yes, I can and do eat Kosher marshmallows (i.e. the fish-Gelatin bound variety) but some of my friends are stricter vegetarians than I and thus I have set out to devise a toast-able, spongy, satisfying vegetarian Marshmallow.

I found a few recipes: Here was an ebook of a number of unusually prepared foods focusing on textures. I didn't however use that recipe; instead I found one (listed below) which provided measurements in metric weights, so I used this converter to get simple volumes.

So here's my first go at
Vegetarian (Not Vegan) Marshmallows

4 (+/-) Tbsp hot water
Pinch of Cream of Tartar
1.33 Cups Granulated Sugar
11.66 or so Tbsp Light Corn Syrup (it's 3/4 cup or so, but that's about how much I used)
1/2 vanilla bean BUT I just used 1tsp vanilla extract as it's what I have on hand
3 egg whites
1/2 tbsp Xanthan Gum

Taking this recipe from Adventures of A Gluten Free Mom...

Ground Xanthan Gum with a tablespoon of sugar, set aside

Heat water, cream of tartar, remaining sugar, corn syrup and vanilla bean to 120° C. (248° F.) or until its bubbling and rising dangerously on the stove ( ;-) )

Meanwhile, whisk egg whites, about 2 minutes, until forming peaks

Continue whipping the egg whites at slow speed while slowly adding the hot syrup mixture to the egg whites.

After adding the hot syrup to the egg whites and while still whipping, sprinkle the xanthan gum/sugar mixture to the egg white/syrup mixture.

Turn speed up and continue whipping 2 – 3 minutes until the marshmallow pulls away from the sides.

Sprinkle a pan or baking sheet (Personally I used a 9x9 pan and the mallows are about 1 to 1.5 in deep) generously with cornstarch (or a mixture of Arrowroot Powder and confectioners’ sugar as I did) then add marshmallow mixture and spread out.

Top marshmallow with the starch from the undercoating on the bottom).

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to set in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Maybe I'll just use a spoon...Nothing wrong with that.

Step 2

The mallows just didn't solidify like I'd hoped, but after rolling in more of the starchy coating I used before, they jsut might cut it as roasters.

They aren't round but cylinders are just the new square

Enjoy them toasted over a roaring fire, beside a dark chocolate bar and (for gods sake, fully whole grain) Graham cracker. That's what I'm planning on at least.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Vegetales en crisp...

I haven't been writing much lately, I know. Between graduation (Seniors!!!) and the beautiful June days spent moving bark mulch and stone, things have been busy. Last week I tossed together some tasty Huevos Rancheros with red cabbage, kale, egg whites, and portabello strips. I was pleased myself but there's always room for improvement.

I have been in a pizza-eating mood lately, however. It's not the sort of pizza you might get from your pizza shop down the street I look for - more like the sort of thing you might get from Flatbreads or the American Flatbread company (I can only vouch for the former, I must note - it's a wonderful small chain you should try sometime).

Well My favorite market, Whole Foods, had these crusts called Top This. With my George Foreman electric grill, a whole wheat crust about 1/8 inch thick, a thick homemade red sauce, all topped with mozzarella and Feta Cheeses layered with sliced squashes, mushrooms, and grilled eggplant it was a thing to behold.

Look at those veggies! At least half an inch deep...

Yes, I should have held off on so many ingredients and the sheer volume of sauce I poured atop, but I love my veggies!
The crust was crispy - should have been more so - chewy, and hardy enough to support the weighty toppings I tossed on.
So next time you want a pizza but don't have time to make a good sourdough starter - sourdough crust just makes a better pizza - try Top This.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Like it Hot...

And it refuses to stop raining or to warm above sixty degrees in scenic suburban New England. With luck, it will be nice for my soon-to-occur graduation and other senior revelries.

To warmyself up and try to find some faith in the misery of this northern climate of ours, I finally made a curry that's been on my mind for days. I know, I know, I forgot to take a good pic, but it wasn't perfect as far as dishes go, so if and when I get it sorted out, I will be sure to provide a tantalizing snapshot or two.

Taking from the recipe on 101 Cookbooks I simplified the recipe and used the variety of coconut milk sold in cartons - it's so much healthier and thinner than the canned variety it seemed a simple replacement to me. Whisking the spices and simmering milk, I added zucchini, cubed extra-firm tofu, asparagus, raisins, peppers, and a few diced chunks of eggplant which I had previously roasted with Garam Masala.
The broth was too thin and not sweet enough, so that's where I intend to perfect this healthier-alternative to classic curry, but a wholesome dish served over brown rice, it hit the spot.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I revisited my sourdough this afternoon and I must say it was a new level of baking in my book. I mentioned the starter I had prepared for pancakes over the weekend and it was well soured by this afternoon. Building on my last attempt at Sourdough - good but not perfect - and a desire to make great buns for some veggie burgers (the craving came from a recent post on Happy Healthy Life). Adding a quarter cup of wheat bran that I had soaked and a quarter cup of Buckwheat and Graham flours each and as always, a heaping tablespoon of gluten per cup of flour, this loaf (and its several satellite buns) were soft, chewy, airy, and flavorful.

Perfectly proportioned and substantial enough to house plenty o' vegetable goodness
Again, I'm reminded why I love the Bread Bible so much - Marist College, expect plenty of bread while I'm with you!

That's a Sandwich Bun...

The key, I believe, to my loaves' success was the microbial playgrounds that were a very sour starter and perhaps overly-active yeast mixture, in association with the wet towels I kept hot atop both the loaf and buns.
I Wish I had taken this from the side - it rose higher than I could have hoped!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easter Mor'n...

Well they weren't ideal, so I'll keep at it, but I whipped together a batch of Chelsea Buns with Blueberry filling for easter breakfast last weekend (and today, some much better but more normal sourdough cakes). I got my inspiration from Seitan is my Motor and followed the recipe from my cookbook Low Fat, which has quite a selection of baked goods and many good pescetarian-friendly ideas.

Me being me, I decided to combine Buckwheat, Light Whole Wheat, and Gluten for my flour mixture and consequently the buns were very dense. That said, they were still very good warm but I would have liked lighter rolls and suspect that next time I'll be forced to succumb to a less healthy rendition of the recipe.
All that jam... I love jam...

When they're perfect, I'll put up the recipe. But until then, let me say that Sourdough Pancakes are terrific and it's a shame I didn't make those last weekend.
C'est la vie! I do like food however it comes...

Friday, April 22, 2011


It was delicious and I can't wait to eat more of it. It was Passover dinner at a friend's home. I'm not religious in the slightest; a born-again agnostic with little more knowledge of the Jewish faith than what I've gathered from the yearly family friends' Hanukkah party. When I was invited I decided I'd undertake the development of a recipe I found on NPR's Kitchen Window Blog, Matzo Pie. I made the asparagus-leek pie subbing mashed sweet potatoes with the cottage cheese for those with lactose allergies. It was good and everyone seemed to like it. That's not what this post is about however.

Pies and casseroles...

This post is about the terrific cuisine which is Jewish (and or Kosher) cooking. I had never had haroseth. I had never eaten Mazto Ball soup (which, by the way, is my new long-sought alternative to Chicken Noodle). I had never had Gefilte Fish which brings me back to the wonderful fish cakes my mum used to make when I was much younger. Combined with a wide selection of vegetables, a wonderful greens pie/quiche, and Kugel made for arguably the best meal of a religious celebration enjoyed in some time. Desert was great too, with a chocolate torte with just a tint of orange liqueur or something similar, delicious nut cake, and a great biscotti-like bread a friend of mine needs to share his recipe for.

I really didn't expect to like it this much...
I'm thinking Kimchee, Gefilte Fish, and goat cheese toasted; call me mad...

I guess I just wanted to say that I loved the food of Passover but even more so that I am truly grateful that my friends would invite me over for such an experience - beyond the dinner. It's an unusual thing when I can say that I see the good in religion but I really feel like I saw a new side of Judaism this passover. What little I learned showed me a renewed importance of perseverance and community. It's a wonderful thing to share a meal with friends...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nouveau Gateaux...

It was my mum's birthday and the two requests she made were to make dinner and a birthday cake. The former, a precarious undertaking, the latter more enjoyable.
Dinner was molasses and cornmeal coated salmon, pan seared and finished in parchment, baked. The cake, small, vanilla, layered with raspberries and a lightly sweet-tart lemon buttercream. Despite terrible difficulties in baking at first (Cake Mk. 1 was quickly thrown away) the finished product came out terrifically, if I might say so.

Hidden in the frosting is a great light-yellow speckling

The cake itself came from Joy the Baker's Vanilla Cupcake recipe and the frosting from memory and 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes. It was:
  • about 2 cups confectioners Sugar
  • 8 tbsp butter, softened (unsalted)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 lemon's zest
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tbsp milk
There was about 1/4 yield left over, some people enjoy that solo, but you can scale the recipe if need be, apparently, depending on your cake's proportions.

I simply studded the cake batter with some raspberries and sliced it in half, making 2 thin layers, spreading a healthy dose of frosting beneath and atop a dense layer of fresh raspberries. Further frosting the outside, I finished it off with a few fresh raspberries.

Dense but that really isn't always a bad thing... This is not a "boxed" cake after all!

It was dense, sweet but not too much so, tartly refreshing from bite to bite, and brought each of the cakes many flavors together wonderfully. Best of all, it was liked as a birthday gift (thank you baked goods for making shopping less stressful).