Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday, June 7, 2013

New Gig!

New ad campaign for Summer 2013. Check out soon to see the ads shot by my husband, Terry! Here are a few photos that may or may not end up in the campaign.

Many thanks to Vance Reusch for giving me and Terry the opportunity to promote your fabulous business!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins with Cardamom Crumb Topping

My husband and I love Indian food. We recently got a bunch of exotic spices from the natural foods store and I felt like whipping up something sweet with the fresh cardamom pods we had sitting in our spice drawer.

These muffins are great because they aren't too sweet and are super moist. If you aren't familiar with cardamom, the best way to describe it is to say it's like a cross between star anise and clove. The aroma reminds me of a hot cup of chai tea. It smells divine, especially when freshly ground, which is what I did for this recipe. If you do buy the whole pods, just smash the shells in a bowl to release the inside seeds and discard the shells. Then grind the seeds in a spice or coffee grinder. About a tablespoon of pods should make about 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom.

Another great thing about this recipe is it doesn't require eggs or an egg substitute; the pumpkin and oil are enough to bind and create a superbly moist muffin. The crumb topping adds another dimension that elevates these muffins to superstardom ;-)

For Topping:
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil

For Muffins:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vanilla soy or almond milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Place paper muffin cups in a 12-muffin pan.

2) Make topping in a small bowl by mixing all ingredients together well. Set aside.

3) In medium bowl, stir together the pumpkin, oil, milk, and brown sugar. Make sure to smash any big sugar lumps. Place a sifter over the bowl and sift the dry ingredients over the wet mixture. Stir just until mixed well.

4) Use a small ice cream scooper to get a uniform amount of batter into each muffin cup, then drizzle with crumb topping. Bake 20 minutes, or until tops just start to crack and look browned.

Makes 12-16 muffins.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Soft Vegan Ginger Spice Cookies with Molasses Icing

If you don't already own the cookbook Vegan With a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, you simply must add it to your collection. The recipe I made below was adapted from her recipe for "Sparkled Ginger Cookies". If you are in one of those moods for a soft cookie that's easy to make, look no further.

You will need:

4 T vegan white sugar
2 C all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 C light brown sugar

3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup hot water
2 T molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or line with parchment paper 2 cookie sheets. Pour the white sugar onto a small plate and set aside.

2) Sift together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt over a bowl. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, soy milk, oil, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring just until well incorporated.

3) Roll dough into 1" balls, place onto cookie sheet about 2" apart. Use a fork dipped into the white sugar to flatten the balls slightly. Bake 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies sit for a couple of minutes after you pull them from the oven before transferring them to a cooling rack.

4) To make the icing, whisk the powdered sugar with the hot water (add more water if it's too dry, but be careful to not make the icing too runny), then whisk in the molasses and vanilla. Use a spoon to drizzle onto cookies.

This recipe makes about 24 cookies.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Vegan Cookbook Review

I know I'm a little late to the party, as this cookbook hit the shelves back in '09, but my husband just got  The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen and we have been having a blast whipping up Tal's masterpieces! His recipes contain no dairy, meat, or eggs but do contain lots of flavor. Any of the recipes in this book would be sure to impress your (meat-eating) guests at the next dinner party. I suggest you don't even mention the "v" word to your guests and they may not notice the delicious meal and dessert they just wolfed down was devoid of animal products.

My husband and I ambitiously made one of the more complicated entrees first, but the work is so worth it. Wow was it delicious! We made the Peppercorn-Encrusted Portobello Fillets with Yellow Tomato Bearnaise Sauce and Mashed Potatoes, as seen below.

Next, we created the Cajun Portobello Sandwich with Avocado and Remoulade, except we used regular Vegenaise instead of the remoulade and didn't have anymore avocado in the house, so we just layered on juicy tomato slices and crisp lettuce and holy moly it was soooooo good! We decided this sandwich needs to be a regular item on our weekly menu. It's not too spicy and the marinade makes the mushrooms so juicy.

Chef Tal proves with The Conscious Cook that dining on vegan food doesn't mean sacrificing flavor or substance. Anyone who thinks vegans only eat salads should check this cookbook out. I wouldn't recommend this cookbook to people who don't enjoy cooking though, as it is mostly geared for those who enjoy the process of actually creating their entire meal. Most of the recipes are more for fine dining, like special occasions, but there are a few for everyday cooking as well.

In his own words, taken from the introduction: "There are no sprouts in this book, or in my refrigerator. I don't like them. I like rich, hearty meals, and I love cooking. I love being in the kitchen, alone or with friends. And this book is for people who feel the same--people who love to cook....if you like hollandaise sauce, rich wine reductions, and meat-like textures, you'll love these recipes."

There is more to the book than recipes, as he also includes interviews with other culinary geniuses, a list of his favorite vegan restaurants in the U.S., and a list of items to stock your kitchen with for the best cooking experience you can have.

My husband and I can't wait to make every recipe in the book. Thanks, Chef Tal!