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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 #3: Scones!

There’s one good thing about having nagging who demand that I wake up no later than 7:00 ever, even on weekends: A quiet apartment definitely calls for making scones. When Dan and Matilda are asleep I can have the kitchen all to myself to throw together some dough and have it all cleaned up by the time I’m finished with my coffee. I think I love scones more than any other baked good because I can always find ingredients for new combinations within my pantry staples. Dried fruit, frozen fruit, nuts, citrus, they can all usually be found in my kitchen, even before the weekly grocery-store trip.
I’ve tried a lot of different scones over the years, and I think that these almond scones might be the best I’ve ever had. That whole loaded-with-Earth-Balance thing surely doesn’t hurt. The recipe is adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan. It’s the only recipe I’ve tried from the book so far, but it sure has pretty pictures. These are totally fantastic with lemon curd or any kind of sweet jam, since the scones themselves have very little sugar.

Almond Scones

3/4 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1/2 cup blanched almonds
2 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 Tbsp Earth Balance
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
coarse sugar and sliced almonds for top

Preheat oven to 400. Whisk together almond milk and flax seeds and set aside. In a food processor or blender, grind together 1/2 cup blanched almonds and sugar. In a larger bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt, then add almond-sugar mixture. Cut in margarine. Add almond extract to milk mixture, then add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until combined. Fold in chopped almonds, then turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and pat into a round about an inch high. Cut into eight triangles and transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Sprinkle tops of scones with sugar and sliced almonds and bake for about 22 minutes.

I also made mini versions of these scones for an after-slumber-party breakfast and they were a huge hit. And both full size and mini turned out nicely crunchy on the outside and tender and flaky on the inside.

And now for something completely different. Well, you know, as different as one scone can be for another scone. Which probably isn’t that different, actually. These carrot-orange-walnut scones were more cakey than a typical scone, which was actually fine, as the texture made it sort of like eating carrot cake for breakfast, only slightly more socially acceptable.

Carrot-orange-walnut Scones

3/4 cup soy milk
3 Tbsp ground flax seed
2 finely grated carrots, about 1/2 cup
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, minus 3 Tbsp
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
8 Tbsp Earth Balance
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 425. Whisk together soy milk and flax seed and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, then cut in Earth Balance. Add carrots, sugar, and orange zest to milk mixture, then add to dry ingredients. Fold in walnuts. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and pat into a round about an inch high. Cut into eight triangles and transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Bake for about 22 minutes.

Orange glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp orange juice

Mix together sugar and juice until smooth, then drizzle onto cooled scones.

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