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VeganMoFo #7: Love for Isa

I had the best intentions of blogging the hell out of VeganMoFo. But as always, complications arose. First off, my oven broke, making a recent trip to the farmer’s market a new kind of hell where everywhere I looked I saw beautiful fall vegetables just begging to be roasted. But today, thanks to $180 and a man named Ivan, I’ve got an oven again. After nearly three ovenless weeks, what’s a girl to bake? Cookies! I decided that in between making Matilda’s Halloween costume (my first very amateurish adventure in this kind of frightening arena) and finally getting up another blog post, I’d throw together one of my favorite easy cookie recipes, pumpkin oatmeal cookies from Vegan with a Vengence. They have flax seed, walnuts, molasses, and oats in them, so they’re practically health food, right? Well, except maybe for the white flour, sugar, oil, and chocolate chips. But that’s at least a balance of good and bad, so I’m going with it. I can’t wait to eat some tomorrow, as they are way better the next day, nice and chewy.

And while I’m proving that roughly 82% of my culinary repetoire relies on Ms. Isa Moskowitz, I might as well write about last night’s dinner, seitan chops smothered in apples and ginger. I had to saute the apples, since the oven was not yet fixed, but they turned out great. And even though I think I misread the seitan instructions just a bit (I formed the dough into four chops before boiling, meaning I had very thick chops in the end) and had a bit of trouble getting the breading to stick (that never quite works for me), they turned out great. The inside was so tender, a little like a super dense bread. Maybe due to the altered boiling technique, maybe due to the chickpea flour, but this seitan was very different from any other I’ve made, and I loved it. Spongy yet toothsome. It was a nice balance, as were all the flavors in the dish. I took it easy on the ginger, as I’m just getting over a long-held hatred of the stuff, but it came out totally mellow and warm and wonderful. And really, what’s better than getting to eat apples and cranberries for dinner? It was sort of like eating a totally sophisticated version of my oh-so-high-class childhood favorite, pork chops and applesauce.

VeganMoFo Day 1: It’s Food, Just Really, Really Small

Recently my friend Mary hosted a mini food party. The original idea was just to make a few tiny, maybe complicated, things, but soon the guest list tripled, and we all panicked that there wouldn’t be enough food. Man were we wrong. There was so much food that even the champion eaters among us met their limits (and by “met their limits” I mean “retreated to the backyard in case they had to puke”). There’s something about making food very small that makes you think you can eat at least twice as much of it. But before the coma set in, everything was really delicious. Some of the highlights (desserts first, of course):

Mary’s chocolate-chip cheesecakes


Megan’s mini apple pies with vanilla ice cream, homemade caramel sauce, and peanuts


Mini root beer floats! With mini straws!


Mary’s lemon cheesecakes


Cass’s cinnamon rolls


Cass’s chocolate-chip cookies. Maybe the best chocolate-chip cookies I’ve ever had.


Megan’s mini trifles. Well, mini might be a bit misleading. The glasses may have been small, but it was still a lot of trifle. I don’t know how she makes that vegan whipped cream (it’s sort of half custard, half whipped cream) but it’s incredible.


Lemon and lime curd tartlets, by me. Awhile ago I threatened to make an entire pie out of just Bryanna’s lemon curd and Soyatoo. This was my not-so-pathetic answer to that desire. So sour, so good.


Megan’s mini burgers


Mary’s sushi, delicious as always

Mini tortilla cups filled with guacamole and garnished with mango and cherry tomato. Mine.


Cherry tomatoes stuffed with mixed olive tapenade, by me. These were a pain in the ass, to say the least. The next time I’m browsing through Martha Stewart’s Hor D’oeuvres Handbook and I say, “Ooh, those are cute,” I have to think about the crazy amount of work involved. Cutting the centers out of a couple of pints of cherry tomatoes takes forever. They sure were tasty though.


Mary’s grilled BLTs with basil mayonnaise


Candice’s twice-baked potatoes (really excellent, especially considering Candice had never even eaten a twice-baked potato before)


The leftovers. Yeah, we might’ve made too much food.

Chocolate-dipped Hazelnut Biscotti


Friday was my co-worker Chris’s last day, and since I was losing my vegan ally, I made biscotti. I used the recipe from Veganomicon quite a few times already, but this was a new combination (I still think the orange chocolate chip is my favorite, especially with a cup of Earl Grey tea). I used the basic recipe, subbed hazelnuts for almonds, and omitted the anise (I despise anything that tastes like licorice, and a lot of things taste like licorice. Yuck). I’ve tried the chocolate hazelnut biscotti recipe in the past, but they turned out too soft, so cocoa powder doesn’t seem to mix with biscotti too well. I never think the cookies are going to get crispy enough when they’re still warm; they always seem rather soft and gooey. But they work every time, turning out perfectly crisp. When these were baked and cooled, I melted chocolate chips with a bit of soy milk and one end of the biscotti in it. I had to put them in refrigerator for the chocolate to set, and the cold biscotti in a wamr cup of coffee was a great combination. And they were a hit at the office. Score one for veganism!

Before baking


After first baking


After second baking

Vegan Madeleines

I’ve been thinking about starting this blog–and taking a lot of pictures–for a long time, so it may seem a little odd that my first post is something that didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked it to. But failure is often a big part of vegan cooking. So this is a learning a post. I tried to veganize something I never even tried in a non-vegan state, which is odd, and although the results weren’t as pretty as those perfect little packages at the Starbucks counter, they were tasty. And who can resist those tiny little flecks of vanilla seeds?

Vegan Vanilla Bean Madeleines–first trial

2 Tbsp ground flax seed
6 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp margarine, melted
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 400. Blend flax seed and water in blender until gelatinous. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt, then flax mixture, margarine, and vanilla and mix until combined. Grease madeleine pan and fill each mold 3/4 full. Bake for ten minutes.

I used a mini madeleine pan, because mini=cute, so maybe a larger pan would have resulted in a less crispy cookie. And if you fill the molds too much, the cookies get a strange rim around the edge. This batch came out a little oily and cupcake-like, with an odd, faint taste of popcorn, probably from the spray oil. Next time I’ll definitely take the time to melt some extra marge. But the edges did come out nicely crispy. And despite the popcorny-ness, they were tasty.


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