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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chocolate-tea-spice-fruit...Cookies

It was a cookie day from the start. I bought some great tea at a small shop in Brookline new Hampshire (Possibly my favorite even before Tea Luxe - a close second).
I wanted to bake some fresh cookies as my supply of Scotchies has just now come to an end.

This recipe comes from The 100 Best vegan Baking Recipes. It's a simple vegan chocolate cookie recipe which I decided to spice up and Whole-Grain(ify).

The cookies are huge (but that's my doing), hearty in texture, complex in flavor - if I may say so: These be not the simple snacks from the back of the Tollhouse Bag.
Try them with a delicious cup of Green, Chai, or Rooibis.

Nooks and Crannays...

Whole-Grain (Vegan) Chocolate Chip Cookies of Glory

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unprocessed wheat bran
1/2 cup sugar (Raw Cane? Certainly)
1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp flax meal
A Healthy dose of ginger - roasted - and some cinnamon
a splash of your favorite loose leaf tea (thank you accidental spills and a need to avoid waste)

1/4 cup soy milk (or whichever you prefer)
1/2 cup butter (vegan, or otherwise) softened
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened, chunky, smooth, cinnamon - you choose!)

1/2 cup chocolate chips (or butterscotch - semisweet or milk chocolates...)
1/2 cup blend of dried fruits - cherries, raisins, Craisins...

Combine each of the dry ingredients. Separately combine each of the wet ingredients and add the fruit. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, adding the chocolate chips and any more milk you might need to ensure a good, thick but moist consistency.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. these will brown up a bit - they're thick and moist so worry not, they shouldn't burn (or reflect any overdoneness)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Boston-Theater District-Teatro!


Well, cheap for me. Having received a gift card for the Columbus Hospitality group back in November I finally found a good occasion to spend it. There are a few restaurants run by the group; I was recommended L'andand in Burlington but wanted to go into Boston for the night instead. To satisfy my need for a relatively wide Vegetarian menu, I ended up taking my better half to Teatro in the Theater District.

It's a nicely sized and well laid out space. Attractively designed and a bit loud, it was still a great space to have a nice long dinner. We split two plates: Robiola due Latti, Sherry Vinegar Sciroppo, Pine Nut Brittle - a sort of Brie which made her happy - and the Eggplant Rollatini, Ricotta, Tomato & Basil - a nice, warm, comforting app to me. They were well sized, not too large, and satisfying to say the least. Flavors balanced nicely in each dish and they stood out well from one another.
We tried different Entrees: I had the Pan Seared Scallops with a Celery Root Puree and a Blood Orange Piccata. The sweet earthiness of the celery root combined with the tartness of the orange sauce really brought out the flavor of the scallops and helped to keep my palate fresh, I suppose. She had the Chatham Haddock, White Clam Sauce, and Rosemary potatoes. She said the clams were a bit tough - I'm not one for clams myself so I couldn't really say - but otherwise she seemed very pleased with the dish.
For desert she tried the Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with caramelized pecans, I the Chocolate Crema. They were fresh, sweet, and a perfect ending to the meal. The panna cotta was light and just sweet enough and the Crema was rich and dark with a great sliver of Biscotti wedged in.

The service was very good; attentive and friendly. I would recommend Teatro to anyone, as the menu is wide, traditional yet adventurous, reasonably priced, and simply delicious.

Oatmeal Anew...Again

There is no single food on this earth I prefer over oatmeal. As I didn't get my fix this morning, I made it for lunch. Next to Oatmeal, my favorite food (or rather variety thereof) is the celebratory type. I miss Thanksgiving and I thought it would work in my oatmeal.
How? Simply.

Tofurkey Oatmeal Bowl
1/2 cup oatmeal, cooked to your liking
a sprinkle of craisins
Herbs and spices to taste (Curry powder, thyme, rosemary, whatever you want really)
3 slices tofurkey (I prefer Yves), diced

bring it all together and you have a delicious Savory Oatmeal in the image (or taste) of a Thanksgiving dinner!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Oats anew...

I just wanted to share a quick, simple recipe.
I love nothing more than sitting down to a hot bowl of Steel Cut oats with fresh fruit on a weekend morning. Well, there are things I like more, but the ritual holds a special place in my heart.
Seeing as I had an influx of steel cut oats this past weekend after breakfast, I decided to put the pears and overripe blueberries in my refrigerator to good use.

Sweet Oatmeal Casserole:
1 cup cooked steel cut oats (or al dente rolled I suppose)
I mixed 1/3 cup wheat bran and 3 tbsp flax meal in while cooking
Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Ginger to your liking
3 egg whites
1 Pear (or similar fruit) sliced into small cubes, skin on!
1/2 cup blueberries
any other fruit you like?

Combine all ingredients in a covered casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until bubbling and beautiful.
Enjoy fresh with fruit, milk, yogurt, or something sweet. It's also great reheated!
Go! Eat! Whole-grain the day!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Triple Birthday...

Cake!
A three-tiered Birthday cake. Insane you say? I didn't think so.

Look at that frosting job! I'm pleased...

Triple-Tier Blackberry Birthday Cake:

With this wonderful recipe for Chocolate Cake - a cake I sampled a few weeks ago - and this White Vanilla cake - which despite its high density tasted great and introduced a vegan touch to the cake - made a heavy but sweet and solid baked good.

Using the chocolate Frosting recipe from the 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes and some violet frosting I happened to have, the exterior came a long way from its earliest stages...


But whats special is wedged in between...

Between those layers of cake goodness is wedged a Blackberry-chocolate spread.
Blackberry Chocolate Filling
With...
12 oz Frozen (local and unsweetened!) blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 large tablespoons of Cornstarch (I used whole wheat rice flower because I couldnt find the starch...)
2 tbsp bittersweet chocolate chips, melted

First unthawing the berries and squeezing their juice lightly, combining the juice with enough water to make 3/4 cup of liquid, proceed to add the sugar, starch/flour, and lemon juice. Whisk in a saucepan on high heat constantly until it begins to thicken and specifically bubble. Set aside and add the berry pulp left over (you may strain the seeds if you like but I just left them in, avoiding only large pieces of pulp...). Melt the chocolate (in the microwave for about 45 seconds or on a double boiler) and combine it with the berry concoction.

Mmmm...Jams.

I spread this between the three layers of cake and carefully set the cake layers atop.

It should be tasted tonight, so wish me luck!