Monday, January 21, 2008

Product Reviews

I don't normally do product reviews but after I lost all the photos from the past two weeks, why not.

First is Ricera. I was excited about a rice yogurt coming to market but it was clearly lacking - a soy, diary and glutten-free yogurt. Unfortunately, this is not the product to eat. It's thin and tastes like chemicals. I consumed about half of the package before my mouth just refused to swallow. You know that feeling when you need to take a pill and it's in your mouth but you just can't swallow it? It was the same thing - terrible. However, I needed the calories so I tossed the spoon and put my head back to get it into my system without touching my favorite taste buds along the way.

I imagine the process to decide when the product was to go to market was something along the lines of, "well it's 100 times better than our first try!"

One thing I will give this product is that the packing uses as little plastic as possible, with a cardboard wrap to make it more sturdy. But that's no reason to buy it. Stay away!

What you should eat, if you're in Portland, is the peanut sauce from Vege Thai. They have this great sweet and lightly spicey peanut sauce they sell by the bottle, which is good because I can drink this stuff by the bottle!

Here's some rice noodles I cooked up with vegetables and smothered with Vege Thai Peanut Sauce. YUM!

Another great product I've found is a smoked salt I am very happy with. I've been tasting for one that's not too heavy or too light. I found this great one at Williams-Sonoma. It's an Oak-Smoked Sea Salt. The thing that's so different about this one is that the oak is actually from old barrels that once contained Chardonnay, or so they say. I don't care if it's true or not because it's the flavor I've been looking for. It's salty, it's smoky and slightly sweet. I can't wait to make some mashed potatoes and sprinkle this on as a finishing salt.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mr. Bolsh Cooks Again!

I updated the Apple Spice Cake recipe to include my working recipe. I think it still needs some work though. I made it again last night and it sank about 1/4 in the middle after the oven. Try it and let me know what you think.

I overheard Mr. Bolsh talking with his grandmother on the phone. She was inquiring why I wasn't washing the dishes and he was. He replied saying that I cook and he does the dishes - if he didn't do the dishes he'd be eating spaghetti every night.

That's right Mr. Bolsh's specialty is spaghetti! Pasta from a bag, sauce from a can and neat-balls from the freezer.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pressure Soups

The past few months have no been very good for photos. I just lost all my wonderful Christmas breakfast post, and a few other awesome dinners I've made - but my photo files became corrupt and I've lost a good chunk of my recent photos. It's terrible. So I've dug up some photos from my busy December where I relied heavily on the pressure cooker for good meals.
The photos below are very simple soups.

Potatoes, corn, onions and soy curls:

Black beans, corn, soy curls, onion and spinach:
Black eye peas, yams, tomatoes, onions and probably soy curls:

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Apple Spice Cake

Last month was pretty intense work-wise, that's why I am just now getting around to posting some recipes. Many people at work really helped me push a project to meet my deadline. Since I don't know any other way to say thanks, I made them a cake.

This is my kind of apple spice cake:

I will get around to posting the recipe later but it's pretty basic - white cake with cinnamon and apple juice. Thickened cider filling with cooked cinnamon apples with a simple glaze. I really should have made it three or four layers tall - my co-workers are cooler than a 2 layer cake.

1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup soy milk

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice, or add a dash of clove and nutmeg for extra spice)

1 cup sugar
1 cup sparkling apple cider (Maybe apple juice/cider)
½ cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract (optional)

2 Apples Watered down citrus juice
1 cup apple cider
2-3 Tablespoons cornstarch

- Preheat the oven to 350┬║.

- Place the apple cider vinegar in the bottom of a liquid measuring cup and fill the cup with soymilk to equal ½ cup. Stir well and set aside.

- In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. - In another mixing bowl whisk together the soymilk mixture, apple cider, sugar, oil and extracts.

- Peel and cut the apples into quarters. Thinly slice to about 1/8"-1/4" thick. Place in a bowl with enough citrus juice to cover the apples. This is to prevent them from browning. I used orange juice. - Add the wet to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth.

- At the bottom of your greased 9" cake pan, place a few apples in a cute pattern. Carefully pour the batter over the apples, making sure they don't move too much.

- Bake for 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and place on a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely before handling

- Filling: boil the remaining apples in 1 cup cider for about 5-10 minutes, until they are cooked, but still firm. Lower the heat.

- In a small bowl scoop out about 1/4 cup of the cider and let cool slightly. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Add more liquid if needed.

- Add the cornstarch mixture back to the pot with the apples and cider and stir constantly until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a thick pudding. Remove from heat and let cool until it's touchable, but still spreadable and use as a filling.

- Stack the cakes and drizzle with a powdered sugar and cinnamon glaze.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Sm'love Pie

This Sm'love pie is awesome. I make it when I'd like to impress non-vegans. This pie was made for a work Holiday Party last month. The awesome thing about my work is there are two other vegans and many vegetarians do I don't need to hide the face that there's tofu in this pie.
This is from Isa an Terry's new cookbook. If you don't already have it, check it.

Sm'love Pie:

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Clean Cookies

November was my team at work's month to clean the office - The Clean Team, if you will. At the end of the month (yes a month ago! I've been busy with work...) we threw a clean party and gave out prizes for cleanest desk, most welcoming, and most inviting.
What other way to make awards than to make cookies?!
These are the cookies I made:

These were great large hand sized cookies, but I cannot yet share the recipe.