Saturday, December 20, 2008

Travels and Anniversary

Mr. Bolsh and I had our 1 year wedding anniversary last July, but due to an unpleasant day before our anniversary we never celebrated. Since we've both been busy with our jobs, and other activities finding a weekend when it was just the two of us has been difficult.
We finally made time to celebrate after my recent trip from Vietnam. I made a very wintery meal for a summer celebration but it was enjoyed.

Golden Chestnut Soup from The Vegan Lunchbox and roasted brussel sprouts:

This chestnut soup was so delicious. Hearty, nutty, and sweet while still being savory. The recipe calls to roast the chestnuts for 20 minutes, but I found this to be too long and dried out, and even exploded a few chestnuts.

Last week I was in Vietnam for work. I had a good chance to try fruit I had never had before. I even got to try the dreaded durian fruit. The fruit that is known to be banned from some countries because the smell is cross between sewage and rotting raspberries. Lucky for me, or unluckily, the fruit was not in season so it was not as ripe/stinky as it normally is. I didn't find it to be too unpleasant. The smell was strong, but it was the texture that bothered me the most. It looked like a steamed rollover dessert. The texture was puply, not juicey, somewhat mealy like a soft apple, but not sweet. I didn't hate it so I would like to try it again when it is ripe.

At the market I did get to pick up some fruit I'd never had. All of it great. The red one is a plum, the red and green one a milk fruit and the one with black spots is Soursop/custard apple.

To share one other thing I really enjoyed from my trip to Siagon, beside the food, was the Reunifaction Palace. This building was so beautiful to eyes. I encourage all others who love great modern architecture to visit the building if they ever have the chance.


But back to food - Since the Bolsh family date night ended up falling on the first real snow day in Portland, we celebrated by making christmas cookies:

We used my favorite sugar cookie recipe. Then we frosted them using the following recipe:

Hard Cookie Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 - 4 tablespoons of soymilk or water (you'll have to play to get the right consistency)
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or your favorite.
Assorted food coloring

1. In a small bowl, stir together sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
2. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.


6" of snow has made for difficult weather to return to after 10 days in 89 degrees in Siagon.

Because of my spuratic posting, this will probably be the last of my year.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Happy Birthday Nana

My Nana would have turned 82 last Saturdau. I was planning to visit her, but she's no longer around to visit.
In celebration of her life I made this cake:


Three layers of chocolate cake, two layers each. Chocolate raspberry filling between each layer. A raspberry buttercream and thick chocolately ganache all over the top. I love how it looks like it's melting.

And this cake:



















This was a chocolate, chocolate, chocolate cake.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fueled by Popcorn: The Zine

It's now available to two locations!

If you're in Portland you can purchase my zine at Herbivore, or from me directly for $3.
Or, you can purchase it online from Small World Buttons for $3 plus shipping. And from Small World Buttons Etsy Site. (Buy some coffee while you're there. I recommend the half-caf.)

Webly, from the Website Stumptown Vegans, has released her first in a series of cook zines, this one is 22 pages and features popcorn! It is named after her food blog Fueled by Popcorn

Webly tells the story of her favorite snack from how a kernel evolves into a puffed white ball with just the right amount of heat and what to do with it once it gets there! She provides valuable information on the different types of corn, oils, cooking methods, salts, spices how to use them to their fullest, and even how to store popped corn. All this before giving you 15 popcorn recipes!

The recipes range from simple to complex and some include mixing spices to create mouthwatering snacks that are not just for movie watching. Some examples are Webly's favorite, the savory Sundried Tomato or the caramel-corn-like recipes like the irresistible French Toast Popcorn. Pick up her zine today and start snacking!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fueled By Popcorn - The Zine

Stay tuned for information about the zine with 15 popcorn recipes.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Grillin'

I have been grilling up a storm since May. Below are some photographic evidence of my skills, or lack there of.

Cous cous, broccoli, tofu, and garlic:
Tofu and Cauliflower:
Tofu and Greens:

Green Beans and Avocados:

I was inspired by a show on the food channel. They had a bunch of not-ripe-enough avocados and decided to grill them with lemon, olive oil, and garlic. I gave it a try and stuffed them with a carrot, bell pepper salad. It was okay, but not as good as I was expecting. It was a good way to use up unripe avocados.
Tofu and Brocolli:
Onions, Zucchini, eggplant, tofu:
Tofu and Greens:

I have some pineapple, corn, and zucchini waiting to be grilled this week.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are so many chocolate chip cookie recipes out there and I've found there are two kinds: dense and not so dense. I think most vegan chocolate chip cookies I came across a dense cookie. I love this kind of cookie, like my chocolate, chocolate cookie recipe that is almost like a brownie. But sometimes I prefer a lighter cookie.

While going through Nana's recipes I came across the, "Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie" recipe. There was a newspaper clipping about the history of the cookie at the Toll House Inn on the east coast in the 1930's. The baker was making chocolate cookies and mistakenly used the wrong chocolate which did not melt into the cookie as it should have - it just stayed their in chunks in the vanilla batter - thus one of the most famous cookies was born.

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies:
2 1/4 Cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup soft butter (margarine)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs (I used powdered Energy egg replacer)
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup nuts (I left these out)

Combine flour, soda, and salt.
Beat butter, both sugars, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the egg substitute and beat once more. Slowly add the flour mixture until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto baking sheets.
Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 9-11 minutes, or until golden brown.


This is a fail-prove recipe.

Peanut Butter Swirls:
Since I cannot follow a recipe to save my life I did alter this recipe beyond veganizing it - I added peanut butter. I spread peanut butter across a piece of parchment paper and put it in the freezer for a few hours until it was hard. I took it out and quickly broken it up into little pieces. Since peanut butter defreezes quickly you need to work quickly to stir the little chunks into the batter before scooping the batter on the cookie sheet.
Cook as normal and enjoy the little bites of peanut butter goodness.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Italian Teese Appetizers

In looking through Nana's recipes I was inspired this morning and thought of a great use for Teese. For once I found a use for vegan cheese that may be difficult to recreate with real cheese.
Italian Teese Appetizers:
1/2" round of the Teese tube
6-8 basil leaves
1/4 tomato sliced very thinly

Place the Teese round on parchment paper and melt in the microwave, or broiler, until completely melted and it is spread out. Make sure the Teese is spread evenly. Let it rest for 1-2, just enough for the Teese to firm up.
Cut square edges to the sheet of Teese.
Layer thinly slices tomatoes and basil leaves.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and carefully roll up, and poke with a toothpick about every inch.
Garnish with basil or oregano.
Chill before serving to ensure stability.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Death by Chocolate

My Nana died this morning, unexpectantly. While I rarely share much of my personal life on this blog, this is important. Some of my first memories of food were when I was with Nana.
Nana loved food and loved to bake. Her love of food was forefront in her warm hugs. She had this soft, cuddly body - when you hugged her it was like hugging a big, pink marshmellow. You just sank into her and knew you were safe in her arms.
One of my first memories with food was with Nana. We use to eat kiwi together. She's bounce me on her knee and we'd talk and eat that funny green fruit with black dots.
She always had perfect bananas. We'd call them, "Nana's Bananas." No banana eaten at her house was ever too green or too brown. They were always perfect.
We'd bake. Cookies. Cakes. Brownies. Pies. Anything sweet. I've always had a sweet tooth and being the great grandmother she was, she'd always encourage it.
Nana would send me articles from her local central Texas newspaper on vegetarinism, or recipes that were vegan, or easily could be. She'd send me recipes for yeast free breads, cook from vegan cook books. She was so excited when she found her mom's "wacky cake" recipe to send to me. I think her's was called, "no egg or milk cake."

She understood my vegetarianism. When I went vegan she sat me down to talk about it. I was afraid it was going to be a scolding, but it wasn't. She said when she was in nursing school she learn how milk isn't that great for the body and how one doesn't really need meat. She didn't understand not eating eggs. I explained how veganism is about animals and equality and she just hugged me and said she was so proud of me for being compassionate.

But the point of this post is about Nana's love for chocolate. I didn't really come to love chocolate until I became vegan. I'd find vegan chocolates for her we could share. This September I was planning on visiting her for her birthday and making some handmade chocolates, but it was too late to even tell her about my plans. I never should have waited to tell her or ask all the questions I still have about her life. It happened without warning.
In my grieving today I decided to make a triple chocolate truffle in honor of my Nana who loved me no matter what and who I loved so dearly. Though she didn't die by chocolate, the name is catchy.

This is for you Nana. I love you and you will be missed.ingredients: cashews, chocolate syrup, maple syrup, chocolate chips, vanilla, a chocolate bar I found in the refrigerator, and probably a few tears.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Burrito Cake!

Before I tell you about the physical Burrito Cake, let me tell you the full story.

At my birthday party a few months ago my sister saw my Betty Crocker Bake 'N Fill cake pans and decided I would make her a savory cake for her birthday - a burrito cake. Since I have had great success other times using the Bake 'N Fill, but in a sweet way:

Chocolate Bomb:

Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Cake:

We started scheming the design of the burrito cake. Cornbread, beans, rice, avocado, and tofu sour cream "frosting." The end result was different than we planned, but super tasty!

I scrapped the corn bread bottom and went with a tortilla, salsa, and cheese layered bottom, similar to an enchilada.
Next, the beans and rice. I made a mixture of beans and rice with soyrizo for the outside dome. I added some corn starch to help the form. Then I filled the divit in the middle with refried beans and soy cheese.
I didn't have much luck turning it over! Since it was hot, it separated more than I wanted it to. See the pan in the background?
Nothing a little guacamole won't fix, right? I thought of this as the crumb coat, in normal frosting terms. By this point, it really started to settle and push outward. While I was hoping it wouldn't fall off the counter, two little dogs at my feet were.
Then the tofu sour cream. It's hard to frost something that's so bumpy.
Toppings of fake cheese stars and jalape├▒os.
The garnish make it complete! We have burrito cake!
Time to cut the cake! Doesn't it look like something from super mario brothers?
Inside:

It really wasn't that pretty, but it sure tasted good. And it was better than my husband's "burrito soup."
If this isn't evidence of my ability to take on cooking challenges I don't know what is!

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

My good friend Jess gave me a great book for my birthday: Martha Stewart's Cookies. This book is great because it has almost 200 cookie recipes! My favorite thing about this book is the table of contents, instead of listing all the cookies it shows a full color picture of every cookie with the name and page number under the image. This is the perfect way to search for a cookie!

I've had this goal of making one cookie a week, but since we haven't had earth balance in the house and I've been beyond busy, I haven't made much.

I did make these wonderful crackle cookies.
These are basic chocolate cookies, rolled in powered sugar, then baked as normal.
I enjoyed these cookies and I would make them again when I am trying to impress because they are just so pretty. Everyone in the office enjoyed these and I was told to tell anyone who wanted to make these not to wear black while trying to sneak eating these. The powered sugar will leave little specs on your shirt.
I should note that this recipe was not vegan, I veganized it with a powered egg replacer.
*Because I fear Martha Stewart I will not post the recipe. Sorry. Borrow the book from your local library, or just take your favorite chocolate cookie recipe and roll it in powder sugar before baking.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Alaska by Sea

Two months?! I've disappeared for two months?! Good for me. Work has been intense, then I took a much needed vacation.

I went on my first trip with my family in 12 years. We went on an Alaskan Cruise. We had a wonderful time, the cruise line, Royal Caribbean was not as accommodating as our last trip on Carnival, but there was much more vegetarian food.
You may be thinking that doesn't make sense! Carnival had a menu created for all 7 days - breakfast, lunch, and dinner - all vegan. Royal Caribbean told us they accommodated vegetarians and had Indian vegetarian food on the ship. I sent three emails inquiring and did not hear back. I was unhappy and was expecting the worse. RC's approach was to veganize the vegetarian meals. It was great that there were always two vegetarian meals on the menu every night. The annoying thing was that since they were veganizing them, my diet was left to their idea of veganism. I only got sick once.

With that said, I give you the food they served us:

Chilled Roasted Peach Soup:
It didn't taste roasted. It was more like a smoothie.

Chilled Pear Soup with Cranberries:
The cranberries were too hard to enjoy.Roasted Pepper Hummus:
I like how it looked like a bug.Pasta with marinara:
We had pasta the first night and I really enjoyed the sauce. The last night we had pasta again, but because the noodles were overcooked, I didn't enjoy it as much.
Fried Tofu:
I really wish people who don't know how to cook tofu stop serving it as if they do know how to cook it. It just makes tofu look bad. I am still trying to figure out if this dish was better or worse than the tofu on the last cruise.Eggplant without cheese:
This was one of those dishes I don't think they thought it though. I am sure they dipped the eggplant in egg before breading it. ugh. The balasmic glaze was very nice.
Indonesian Peanut:

Some Indian Dish:
The nice thing about having Indian dinners on the ship is that Indian cooking contains many spices so at least we had some flavor. They told us this dish would be good for us, but really, it had paneer cheese in it. Yuk!

Vegetables:
One awesome thing they did was to bring us a big plate of steamed vegetables every evening. Some evenings when the meal wasn't that great I could just load up on veggies and secretly cover them with the nutritional yeast I brought.

Desserts:
The fresh fruit was always good. So good in fact that many people around us asked for fresh fruit with their meals!




Every dinner we ate in the main dining area. For breakfast and lunch we ate at the buffets. We learned last time and brought some of our own items:
Tofurky slices
fake cheese slices
Toffuti cream cheese
Vegenaise
Nutritional Yeast
soy milk (though they did have some available, you just had to ask)
salad dressing
cookies
Lunch at the buffet - sandwich with fake cheese and meat and toppings from the buffet. Some of the Indian food look suspicious and they didn't know if it was made with ghee, butter or something else.
Breakfast buffet: cereal and bagel with fake cream cheese. Also a big side of fruit.
There was a cafe onboard called the SeaView and they had a great vegetarian sandwich with half an avocado and lots of sprouts.
The only way the sandwich was better was with VegenaiseOverall, they were great to us and we didn't starve. I would just recommend Carnival over Royal Caribbean to assure you're eating vegan food.

As for the trip...
We saw Hubbard and Turner Glaciers. Beautiful!
We hiked a lot:
Alaska looks a lot like Oregon.

I did find vegan food in Skagway!:
At the brewry they had a dish called the Tree Hugger. It was grilled veggies with olives on top. We enjoyed it.

I found a veggie dog at a cupcake shop in Skagway! I was so surprised I had to buy it, though I wasn't hungry. I also picked up some interesting items like pickled kelp and spruce tip syrup.

Also, we did good gambling:

Soon I hope to be posting all the food we've grilled on our new grill. Also, some popcorn recipes!