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VeganMoFo Day 2: Matilda’s Birthday Cake(s)


Last weekend was Matilda’s thirteenth birthday. Scary, I know. And not only do I now live with a teenager, I experienced my first slumber party since I was a teenager. Sure there was a lot of giggling, but hey, I got to make cake! And hummus. And pizza. And since we’re apparently now mini food fetishists, we had mini Bundt cakes. I used the French vanilla cupcake recipe from have cake, will travel but replaced the chocolate extract with almond extract. Holy crap are those things good. They were super moist but not wet and crisped up nicely on the outside. They were a hit with a room full of omnis, which is also a plus. But since plain vanilla cakes aren’t thirteenth-birthday-level festive, they were filled with lemon curd (yeah, I might be obsessed) and drizzled with a lemon glaze and garnished with fresh strawberries. The final pic with the glaze was a little, uh, gross, but the finished cakes were sure tasty.


And because every vegan loves hummus, here’s some roasted-garlic hummus, lots of parsley. Posting this pic might just be an excuse to show off the super cute Eva Zeisel dish, though.

Broiled Tofu and Beets with Lemon-dill Yogurt Sauce


A friend of mine is on an extreme elimination diet and is seemingly eating nothing but beets, greens, brown rice, and quinoa. OK, it’s not quite that extreme, but almost. Two words: no salt. But he has inspired me to finally cook beets. I’ve eaten beets plenty, but usually on a salad, where someone else had to deal with the pink hands. Seeing Martha Stewart prepare beets while wearing latex gloves scared me off. But I finally dove in, and it wasn’t bad. The mess rinses off no problem. And beets are delicious, especially with this yogurt sauce. The sauce was maybe a touch too sweet, so next time I’ll reduce, or maybe leave out, the maple syrup (and maybe increase the lemon). But all in all a winning combination. And the sauce was great with the kale too.

Broiled Tofu and Beets with Lemon-dill Yogurt Sauce

1 lb. extra-firm tofu, sliced into eight pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 bunch small beets, cut into even chunks
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup

Press tofu for at least ten minutes to remove excess moisture. Whisk together olive oil and soy sauce and dip tofu pieces in the mixture. Drizzle olive oil and maple syrup over beets, season with salt and pepper, and toss. Place tofu and beets on foil-lined baking sheet and place in broiler. I set my broiler and high and cooked for nearly twenty minutes, tossing the beets every once in a while and turning tofu halfway through. But keep on eye on it, as broilers can vary a lot.

Lemon-dill Yogurt Sauce

1/2 cup plain soy yogurt (I used Silk)
2 Tbsp chopped dill
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp chopped shallot
1 tsp maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with tofu and beets.

Lemon-Pine-Nut Scones with Vegan Lemon Curd


The way I see it, vegan scones usually have one of two problems: 1) They’re so dry you fear losing a tooth every time you bite into them, or 2) they’re too moist and fluffy, resembling flat muffins more than scones. I always used to use a recipe from Everyday Food magazine, which was touted as lower fat and didn’t use any eggs. But these always fell on the too-fluffy side, although if I put enough cranberries or blueberries in them I didn’t so much care. But this time I wanted nice, semi-dry, flaky scones. This lemon-pine-nut version isn’t quite there, they were a little too floury and fluffy, but with some tweaking I think they’ll get there. And they don’t have two sticks of butter like so many of the recipes I consulted.

Lemon-Pine-Nut Scones

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
6 Tbsp margarine
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup soy milk, plus more for brushing tops of scones
1/4 cup pine nuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together flours, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in margarine with a pastry cutter until it is in small sandy pieces. Mix in lemon juice and soy milk, turn out onto clean work surface, and pat into a round about 1-1 1/2 inches high. Use a bench scraper or other semi-sharp straight edge to cut dough into eight triangles. Brush each scone with soy milk and sprinkle with sugar (I use the vegan sugar carried at Whole Foods, which is nice and coarse and makes for a crunchy top, much like sanding sugar; finer-grained sugar will create more of a crust on top). Transfer to a baking sheet lined with Silpat or parchment and bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool (the scones will be a bit tender when they’re warm but will get crunchier as they cool).

Oh, and about that lemon curd. It is forking incredible. I used a recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan, which I’ve been eying forever. I should’ve made it the night before so it could have time to cool and thicken, but it was still delicious as a sort of sauce on the scones. But once it did cool, it was so thick and gelatinous. It’s the lemon curd I’ve dreamt about ever since the Chicago Diner so cruelly decided to make their wonderful lemon coconut cake special-order only. Maybe soon I’ll make a lemon-curd pie, which would satisfy my urge to eat the stuff with a spoon but wouldn’t feel so pathetic.

Cook’s Illustrated Recipes

Last weekend I got the new issue of Cook’s Illustrated in the mail. The few issues I’ve received so far haven’t much excited me; lots of tips on searing roasts and other useless things, plus a lot of stuff I already know. But this latest issue was actually pretty good. So good in fact, that I made two of the recipes soon after reading through them for the first time. The first was lemon artichoke hummus. I’ve made hummus countless times, and I’ve always loved it that way it was, which was somewhat on the chunky side. But this turned out super smooth, like restaurant hummus, only with tons more flavor. The complexities were lost when I put it on a sandwich the next day, but it was the perfect dipping hummus, especially with baked pita chips.

The next day I made spring vegetable risotto, which was also fantastic. (Unfortunately the pictures didn’t turn out as well.) It had leeks, peas, asparagus, and lemon juice and was topped with gremolata with parsley, mint, and lemon zest, which added so much flavor to the dish. This may be my favorite risotto, but I think I just love risotto in general. Something about all that stirring makes it seem very special.

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