Friday, February 22, 2008

Just Checking In...

I got the job at the bakery. I am now the weekend baker for Sunnyside Up I'm baking vegan and conventional goodies, but what ever-- I'm baking. It's super relaxed... we recycle AND have a compost bin. I can come in whenever... ie the middle of the night or the butt crack of dawn to do the bake (middle of the night for the win!). I shake my butt to whatever hippie dippie music is in the CD player and bake the night away... it's lovely really.

I'm keeping my other job and hoping that my weird hours at Sunnyside Up won't affect me at my retail job. We shall see.

In still other, and psedo-vegan related news. I have an appointment to meet with Ryan Mason of Scapegoat Tattoos (a vegan tattoo shop) for a consultation for my beer theme sleeve. Very excited about that.

Just so I don't leave you hanging without a picture....
Scott, of the Scottie-Boom-Bottie BBQ Tempeh sent me a picture of his successful attempt.
And because my wonderful cat refuses to leave me alone right now, a few of him...
My favorite picture from the road trip to Corvallis from Orlando. Fitzgerald sits like a person because he has no tail. It's adorable.
Incriminating evidence he does, in fact, love his baby sister.
I'll bring my camera tomorrow night and take some pictures of my Sunnyside Up Goodies!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Long Live the SCONE...

We have a new obsession in my house, the scone. My husband never liked scones much, he always thought those dry and crumbly messes served in most chain coffee shops (*cough, starbucks, cough*) were scones... they're not. I think those are better used as door stops...

Anyway, we have this great little tea shop with the best scones and incredible clotted cream just down the street. I was craving these scones, seriously homicidally craving them. Instead of breaking my veganism I decided to make my own scones and clotted cream! I used this eggless scone recipe, subbing Silk Hazelnut creamer for the heavy cream and Earth Balance for the butter. I used chopped hazelnuts I had around the house and drizzled it in dark chocolate ganache. They were incredible, I've made four different batches since (because they're incredibly easy to make) with dried cranberries, dark chocolate chips, and mixtures of them all.

The vegan clotted cream was delish and totally quenched my craving. I merely mixed equal parts Earth Balance with Better Than Cream Cheese, 1/2 as much Soy Creamer, a splash of vanilla, and 1/2 as much confectionary sugar (meaning if I used 2 tablespoons of earth balance, I'd use 1 tablespoon sugar).

In non-sweet related treats my best friend requested a BBQ Tempeh Recipie. He was unfamilar with the wonderful world of Tempeh until his recent trip to Sundance (yes I can brag on him 'cuz he's my bff).

So here is my Scottie-Boom-Bottie BBQ Tempeh recipe:
1 8 oz package Tempeh
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup prepared BBQ Sauce ('cuz I know he wouldn't ever make it from scrach)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Tamiri
3 tablespoons Lemon Juice (the stuff from that little plasic lemon is fine, but fresh is better!)
2 (or more) cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Bring a medium sauce pan of water to a boil.

Wisk all sauce ingredients (everything but the tempeh) together. Taste it. If you want more of something, put it in-- like more BBQ perhaps because we all know (well I know) Scottie is a sauce freak.

Cut the tempeh in half. Then cut the squares into two triangles. When the water has reached a boil put Tempeh in for about 10 minutes.

Drain excess water from Tempeh and place in BBQ Sauce mixture-- coating well. Put Tempeh on a cookie sheet and pour a few tablespoons of sauce over the top. Broil (on high) for 5 minutes. Flip and pour some sauce over the new top. Broil for 5 minutes-- spoon some more sauce on top and give it another 30 seconds to a minute under the broiler.

Serve it with salad or soup. Something like this:

In life related news I just got back from a pre-interview at a local bakery. They seem super interested, and super excited that I had brought cupcakes and scones in when I dropped off my resume. I am nervously awaiting a call and I can't think of much else... eeeek.

So until then, and to waste a bit more time, here I am with Scott, of the Scottie-Boom-Bottie BBQ Tempeh Recipe when we were like 18 and only used the George Forman to make veggie burgers and the like
and now from my wedding after party

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sweets Treats & Picnic Salad Sandwiches!

Hello there! So far this week has been great, considering it's only Tuesday I think that's pretty good odds! I am counting this weekend in the greatness of the week. Ian & I treked over to Sweetpea Bakery (link can be found in my side bar) to taste some of their vegan treats. I had the Chocolate & Coconut Cupcake. It was a beautiful cupcake drizzled with chocolate ganache and sprinkled with a bit of toasted coconut.
Unfortunately it was a good cupcake. I mean this because it was only good, not great-- which frustrated me. There was a nice "milk" chocolate flavor to the frosting-- which is a nice change from the typical dark chocolate found in vegan baked goods. Unfortunately there was little to no coconut flavor. I was expecting a nice mellow nutty flavor to smooth out the chocolate and I was disappointed at the lack of coconut flavor. Ian didn't taste any coconut at all. Hurmph!
Ian ordered a "Chicken" Salad Sandwich, since my Picnic Salad (my version of Chicken or Tuna salad) is one of his favorite sandwhichs of all time. Sweetpea delivered in this department, it was very tasty. Lots of celery-- which Ian loves, and topped with Vegan Mayo and a thick tomato slice. We really enjoyed Sweetpea, the people there were extremely nice and there was a great selection of bagels, bagel schmears, two or three cakes, donuts a few days a week, and a few cupcake varieties, as well as some gluten free treats! It was pretty busy, which was definitely nice to see. Ian and I continued our journey next door at Herbivore and stocked up on animal friendly t-shirts (I got the Praise Seitan Tee), bumper stickers (factory farms are mean & dirty), and I finally got my hands on Yellow Roses Recipes which was printed by Herbivore and is a local PDX blogger- Really good classic tastes, I'm excited to try a few of the recipes soon.This is my Picnic Salad sandwich, it's Chicken Salad without the Chicken, Tuna Salad without the Tuna... Potato Salad without the potato... anyway, it's good and SIMPLE to make. I know this is good because I brought in some for my lunch yesterday to work and a co-worker who is a devote Anti-Vegan (oi vey) offered me money for my lunch! I just gave it to him and chocked it up to saving that chicken that he would have eaten otherwise (sort of the opposite idea of a bully stealing your lunch money!). Here's the recipie, try it out and tell me what you think!

12 oz Tempeh, cubed
1 cup vegetable or vegan chicken broth (I find vegan chicken bouillon cubes at Food Fight! A Portland vegan grocery store and dissolve one cube in one cup water)
Vegan Mayo to taste (about 1/2 a cup)
1 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste

Bring the broth to a slight simmer and add the cubed tempeh. Simmer for about 10 minutes, drain & cool Tempeh (I usually just throw it in the fridge). Mix 1/2 a cup of vegan mayo (more or less depending on how you like your mayo to tempeh ratio) with the dried spices and add the tempeh once its been cooled. Chill for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. We throw it on wheat bread with roasted red peppers and baby spinach!

In other news, I had this great idea recently. Because my job had given me the 13th & 14th off (and Ian & I are not really "Valentines" people) I was going to bake 4 dozen Valentines Day themed cupcakes and drop them by various bakeries, coffee shops, and vegetarian restaurants around town to see if anyone was interested in my baked goods. Of course, right after I bought all the ingredients I get told I now have NO days off this week (yay to part time jobs that don't stay part time!).

I did manage to whip up some cupcakes this morning for Ian's graduate committee meeting, and I will still attempt my original plan! These are Chocolate cupcakes with Raspberry "Buttercream" frosting and Marzipan hearts. They turned out pretty cute in my humble opinion and all 24 of them got eaten in about 10 minutes!

Since I only had the morning off of work, I just used Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World recipes (which I will be happy to post if anyone is interested). One major modification was made from the basic recipe and it is of note because it is a modification I ALWAYS make. Whenever a recipe calls for Canola Oil, I use Safflower Oil. I truely think it gives me a much moister cupcake with a lighter texture then is typical of Vegan cupcake batters. The frosting recipie was a bit too buttery in my opinion and I will play around with it a bit more.

I hope everyone has a great Valentines Day full of lots of sweets and sweetie pies (Hey, I'm a newly Wed I'm supposed to be a goober!)Check in soon to see what I'm doing with these little guys...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Comfort Food & Vegan Mini-Malls

Cupcakes, Fried Tofu & Mac & Cheese (vegan of course) comfort food at it's best!

I was waiting to post another blog until I get the html stuff worked out the way I want it but alas, it is taking me too much time to find time for that and I have all these pictures and recipes piling up on my computer.

So cuddle up with something (or someone) fuzzie and enjoy some comfort food at it's best. It's still quite chilly and rainy in Oregon and this dinner washed those winter blues away!

PhotobucketFried Tofu: (I attempted to make the batter for this rather bland, my husband was craving fish & chips so I attempted to recall the catfish breading my grandmother used when she fried catfish.

1 pound tofu, drained & sliced into 16 triangles... like so:

1 cup soy milk combined with 2 tablespoons corn starch (make sure all corn starch is fully dissolved)
1 cup corn meal
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons black pepper
1/4 tablespoon white pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Mix all dry ingredients well.

Heat about a 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle in a bit of soy milk to test if the oil is ready (it will hizz and bubble rapidly). Dip the tofu individually in the soy milk/corn starch mixture. With your other hand move the tofu into the dry ingredients and coat on all sides. Place about 1/2 of the tofu into the oil fry for 2 - 3 minutes on each side. Remove the tofu and bring oil back up to temperature (this should only take a second) before frying the other 1/2 of the tofu. Drain and pat tofu with paper towels!

We served it up with Mac Daddy, The Veganomicon recipe for mac & cheese which I need to play around with a bit (too little tofu in my opinion, too "mustardy" in my husband's opinion, but I think he was just turned off by the color). We still ate every bite and it was great, just not as good as it could be.

For dessert, we had black & white cupcakes with chocolate hazelnut butter cream!

PhotobucketChocolate & Vanilla Marble Cupcakes (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup soy milk
1/2 cup margarine, softened
3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350. add the vinegar to the soy milk and set it aside to curdle (*note i've made lots of vegan cupcakes and I've found that Silk brand soy milk curdles better then Soy Dream or West Soy). sift flour, baking powder and salt in separate bowl.

in another bowl cream margarine & sugar for 3 - 5 minutes until light and fluffy. add the vanilla and almond extracts and cornstarch. mix to combine.

alternately add some of the curdled milk then the flour and mix with a hand mixer for about 15 seconds to incorporated the ingredients well. mix until batter is smooth.

fill a saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. put the cocoa powder in yet another bowl. add 3 tablespoons of the boiled water and whisk until smooth. take one cup of the cupcake batter and stir in the cocoa. mix until all the batter is chocolatey.

fill liners full by alternating the chocolate and vanilla batters. i did mine side by side and did not mix them because i thought it looked cool that way, haha

Photobucketbake 24-26 minutes until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Cream (a modification of VCTOTW's chocolate buttercream)

1/4 cup of Earth Balance Margarine, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons Silk brand hazelnut coffee creamer
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, sifted (I never end up using this much)

cream together margarine and shortening until well combined. add the cocoa powder and incorporate well. add about 1/2 cup of the sugar and the creamer and extract. beat well. add the sugar in 1/2 cup batches, beating well and tasting after every addition. I tend to use much less then the 2 1/2 cups because I like bitter dark chocolate.

I crushed some hazelnuts and spun the cupcake in the hazelnut pieces!

PhotobucketCheck in next week as I will have some pictures from the Vegan Mini-Mall that opened about a month ago in Portland. It combines my favorite tattoo artist (Ryan Mason at Scapegoat), food fight vegan grocery store, herbivore (which has a clothing line and publishes a magazine), and a vegan bakery (sweet pea)! I finally have a weekend off so Ian and I are finally gonna go for a visit!