Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Cookies reheated and reused!

For all of my fellow chocolate lovers, here are two recipes discovered by chance and now used regularly to fulfill even the biggest enthusiast's needs while easily covering dessert for a dinner party.  The top photo is of cookies made from half a batch of thawed thin mint patties that I ran out of chocolate to cover and so slipped into the freezer for another day.  It occurred to me on a particularly non-descript day that these had been sitting in the freezer for over a week and needed to be used soon.  On my way home I picked up a package of Oreos (surprisingly vegan!), some baking dark chocolate chips, drizzled the thin mint patties with melted chocolate, crushed Oreos, re-drizzled some leftover chocolate, and the Oreo Chocolate Truffle was born!  It sounds much more impressive when told like that, than the mere fifteen minutes it actually cost me but the product was simple, gratifying, and served well with the unexpected company that week.

The second recipe is one I have had for over a year but seldom used.  So when I suddenly decided to cook dinner for friends tonight and hurriedly rushed through my database of desserts, this was the easiest thing to whip up on short notice, using mostly ingredients I already possessed.  Usually this one turns out perfectly but tonight, it ended in a chocolate-pecan like soup, surrounded by a well baked crust.  Whether it was the humidity, the egg replacer I used, or not enough corn syrup, the dessert turned out great anyway when we poured the servings into individual bowls and mashed it up a bit into a chocolaty, pecan crumble.  Turns out the filling is so good on its own that you really can't do too much to mess it up; soup or not I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The "Mean Reds"

As Audrey Hepburn a la Holly Golightly once put it, some days you get so low that the blues are replaced with the reds and all you can do is go to Tiffany's.  Since I don't have time for a visit to Tiffany's, my solution is a bottle of brilliantly colored nail polish, my new favorite candle, and a good edition of Vogue.  It's easy to get swept up in the everyday pressures of life, school, and the social world but as a few of my friends at Stiletto for Beginners and La Rue Neuve have recently written, it's all about perspective and trying to stay positive.  Here's to today not being Monday, being one day closer to St. Patrick's Day, an endless supply of coffee, bottles of bright red nail polish, and of course, to Tiffany's.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Veganism Continued

Happy Friday!  My foray into the vegan diet has gone well thus far and I am excited to continue my exploration throughout the weekend.  I'll save you the run down on exactly what i've been eating but here are a few of my favorite recipes and ones I intend to try, vegan style, over the weekend.  See you on Monday!

My new favorite Grilled avocado, tomato, and basil sandwich: 7 Grain bread, tomato, avocado, fresh basil, and a bit of thyme, garlic, and pepper, with a drizzling of olive oil.

Pancake recipe from the Repressed Pastry Chef.  You can substitue soy milk for buttermilk (even substituting regular milk tastes fine in place of buttermilk), maple syrup instead of sugar, and bananas (1 mashed to one egg).

Instead of buying Oreos (vegan!) I decided to be adventurous and make this homemade Thin Mint recipe from the blog Baking Bites.  Unfortunately you can't substitute with maple syrup for this one, you'll have to stick to granulated sugar, but you can still substitute the eggs with bananas, the butter with margarine, the milk with soy, and as long as the chocolate is 60% or above, it should be vegan friendly.  If the consistency is too thin because of the margarine substitution, add more cornstarch to thicken the batter without changing the flavor.  Good luck and happy baking!

Ps. Most of these recipes call for white
flour and since it is not strictly anti-
vegan, I am going to use up the massive
amount I have left before trying more
pro-vegan alternatives.  If you are
looking to try an alternative however,
I have been recommended whole wheat
pastry flour in a smaller quantity than
white flour.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Vegan Update #1

Refried Bean and avocado quesadilla; my new favorite!
(This one includes soy cheese, which I have not had time
to explore yet.  If you do not feel like experimenting, the
dish will taste fine cheese free)
I have officially been vegan for two days now and thus far all is well!  Tomorrow will be my first distance run on this diet so we will see how my energy holds up.

As for what I have been eating the past two days, I will give you a short run down.
Monday: Breakfast: 7 grain toast with honey and a banana, Lunch: cous cous with lentils and grilled red peppers, Snack: Soy peppermint mocha from Starbucks, 1/2 piece 7 grain bread and tomato and olive hummus, mixed nuts with raisins, Dinner: Refried bean, salsa, and fresh basil quesadilla.
Tuesday: Breakfast: 7 grain toast with honey and a banana, Lunch: Peanut butter sandwich (the avocados for today weren't ripe yet), Snack: Soy peppermint mocha from Starbucks, large raw fruit, nut, and oat Nakd bar, Dinner: Refried bean, 1/2 avocado, salsa, and fresh basil quesadilla, radishes and tomato and olive hummus.

Throughout the past two days I have stayed full and energized.  I have yet to miss any of the foods I gave up and I can't believe that I can eat so much and still be well under my normal calorie count.  Respectively I don't need to eat as much because I always feel full!

Everyone has been very supportive and I have received both tons of recipes and some strange misconceptions about Veganism.  Fact: many vegans consider honey to be outside the vegan regimen, as well as anything sealed with tallow, beeswax, or made with gelatin, as those are derived from animal byproducts in minimal amounts.  This is however open to personal interpretation.  Things people reported as vegan but actually aren't: black coffee and processed food.  I have also been finishing the Veganist by Kathy Freston and though I do not share her adamant stand on cruelty to animals or religious reasons for Veganism, I have found all of the aspects important to vegansim fascinating and informative.

There are so many things to take in and so much to discuss.  Leave your thoughts and comments and I will keep you posted on my progress!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Free Form Banana Chocolate Chip Cappuccino Muffins (Phew!)

Today was filled with some pretty big issues needing to be tackled so to unwind I did my usual and baked.  It is amazing how far a good glass of wine and some kitchen time will go.  The Repressed Pastry Chef has a banana chocolate chip cappuccino muffin recipe I have been dying to try and luckily I had most of the ingredients at home.  The 'free form,' bit is because I did not have a muffin tin.  If this happens, you can double up on the paper muffin cups and place them close together for baking.  They will take a few more minutes though as the bottoms take longer to bake when they are that close together.  Regardless, they turned out perfectly and as any good recipe, are even better the next day!

Red wine, my apron, some cocoa powder,
and of course, Vogue; the perfect recipe
for de-stressing.

The final product: free form muffins!