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?

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!

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.

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
Nutritional Yeast
soy milk (though they did have some available, you just had to ask)
salad dressing
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!