Thursday, August 30, 2012

fig and walnut bread

surprise! ummmm hi. still out there? three things:

1. just because the blog is dead for six months doesn't mean it's dead for life.
2. let's keep in mind that not everything gets to be beautiful but that doesn't mean that such less than gorgeous creations are any less delicious.
3. since my last post blogspot changed their layout and picture posting dealy and i don't like it. can i not make the pictures whatever size i want anymore? only s,m,l,xl? hmph.

ok, so, fig walnut bread! we have a customer at work who so kindly brought us a big container of figs from her fig tree. we gobbled them up and they were delicious. then she came back a couple of days later and brought us TWO big containers of figs from her uncle's fig tree. we had a bit of a fig overload situation so i decided to bring some home and bake something. figs are one of those things where i feel like when it is not fig season i stumble upon a bunch of fig recipes that i want to make and then when the time comes and i stumble upon some figs the recipes are no where to be found. so this time with figs in hand i just did a quick search to see what i could find online and i decided on a fig walnut bread recipe. it was simple and i had all the ingredients so i was sold. some things that i liked about the recipe:

1. it uses olive oil. i realize that when a recipe calls for canola oil i could switch it out with olive whenever i feel like it but i never think to do that so i appreciate when a recipe tells me to do so. i think it adds a little something more in the flavor department and it's a little better in the nutrition department, even though the latter is probably not true.
2. the recipe called for sherry but i used brandy which made me happy cause we have a decanter of brandy and nobody here is drinking brandy.


i love the way this bread turned out! the figs got all soft and gooey and were like squishy bites of fig newton innards. does that sound bad? i mean it in a most delicious way! i made three mini loafs and left some at home and brought some to work and it all got eaten up fastfastfast. i mentioned their ugliness up top and you probably noticed in the picture, i'm not sure who the culprit is but something caused my loaves to sink in the middle. then the first two didn't come out of their loaf pans intact so they had ugly tops and ugly bottoms. oh well.

quick side note of self promotion before i go on with the recipe. what have i been doing with myself since i have been so busy neglecting the yumcoast? i started a little vegan baking business called morsels! i sell to a cute little tea shop in decatur called CozeeTeas, it's small scale but it's a lot of fun for me and everytime i go there and give her baked goods and she gives me money i'm kinda shocked and amazed. it's a good feeling. anyway, unfortunately this bread was too ugly to share with the public but i'm working on some figgy scones so hopefully they will make an appearance over there shortly. so! if anyone is in the area please stop by for some tea and treats.

alright, recipe time. i just tweaked it for vegan-ness and accidentally overlooked, but would have intentionally overlooked had i seen it in the first place, the part at the end that said "wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill overnight or up to 4 days before serving." no need, that's just dumb.

fig walnut bread
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped ripe figs
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x5 loaf pan or a few small ones. place figs in a bowl and pour brandy over them and let macerate for about 15 minutes.

in a bowl, combine oil and sugar and whisk to combine. once the figs are done macerating add the liquid from that bowl to the oil/sugar mixture along with the cider vinegar and whisk until thick and smooth.

in a separate bowl combine flour, walnuts, baking soda, spices and salt. add to the oil/sugar bowl and stir until evenly mixed. fold in the figs. scrape batter into loaf pans and bake about 75 minutes for a large loaf, 50 minutes for small loaves. cook until the top is firm and a tester comes out clean. let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes before removing from pan. eat as soon as you'd like.


Monday, February 13, 2012

a seafood feast

our dinner last night was pretty strange, it was a seafood feast...of sorts. i suppose it all started to take shape last month when we were in asheville for a little weekend getaway. we were browsing through (what we thought was a cute independent health food store but ended up being) whole foods and saw frozen vegan calamari*.
um. wait. whaaaaaaaaaaat??? we didn't buy it but when we got back kris saw it at sevananda and bought a box because, whaaaaaaaaaaaat!? i mean, we had to see what it was all about. so that's been sitting in our freezer for a couple of weeks.

then another strange seafood thing happened. i got the latest bon appetit and saw a recipe for "poor man's" shrimp cocktail which is really just cauliflower that you do some stuff to and then it turns into shrimp cocktail. i was intrigued and had to try it out. and kris remembered we had that calamari and so our vegan seafood feast was born.

now i never did like seafood or shellfish or anything of the sort but i wasn't too worried that our cauliflower and calamari asain mountain yams would elicit the same reaction from me. they didn't. but they were tasty in their own way! the cauliflower was just like nicely seasoned, lemony cauliflower. the calamari didn't have a lot of taste on it's own, it was really just like fried chewiness. what brought this whole meal to seafood land was kris's cocktail sauce. he thought cocktail sauce was just ketchup and worchestire sauce. i had no clue. turns out it's ketchup and horseradish but he worked some magic and mixed up a yummy cocktail sauce worchestire sauce and all. so that's the story of our vegan seafood feast. we rounded it out with some chard, not chard pretending to be salmon or anything nuts like that, just good ol' sauteed chard**.

if you wanna get in on the cauliflower, here's the recipe. it couldn't be easier. and if you close your eyes and think of shrimp cocktail you just might just fool yourself for a quickquick second. also note that this recipe is 2 heads of cauliflower so you might want to cut it in half.

  • 1 cup dry crab boil seasoning (i used old bay)
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 yellow onions, quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 lemons, halved crosswise
  • 2 1-pound heads of cauliflower, cored, trimmed into 2" florets
  • cocktail sauce

  • combine crab boil, salt, onions, garlic, and 6 quarts water in a large pot. squeeze juice from lemons into pot and add lemon halves. set pot over high heat and bring liquid to a boil. cook for 10 minutes to let flavors meld. using a slotted spoon, remove onions, garlic, and lemons from broth; discard. return liquid to a rolling boil.

  • add cauliflower; turn off heat, cover pot tightly, and let stand until cauliflower is crisp-tender, 5–10 minutes. drain; spread out cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely.

  • arrange room-temperature or chilled cauliflower on a platter with cocktail sauce for dipping.


*check that link...their website is pretty awesome.
**kris read that chard is a mood booster so i think everyone should add a bit more chard to their diet.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

fun with a new grain...amaranth!

first of all, am i the only one who thinks amberlamps everytime i hear amaranth? probably. that's ok, moving on...

i've noticed that amaranth is popping up all over the place lately, i guess it's the new quinoa. high in protein and amino acids and all kinds of good things. when i saw a big container of it at the farmer's market for $2.51 i figured it was time to give it a go. and then a few weeks after buying it when i decided it was time to really give it a in actually cook it...i couldn't recall where exactly "everywhere" was that i had read about/seen amaranth recipes. so i decided to just use it like good ol' quinoa and make an amaranth bowl. i looked to the internet for cooking instructions and hoped for the best. i really couldn't go that wrong but having never eaten/cooked/seen cooked amaranth i really didn't know what i was going for when i kept checking it in the pot every few minutes. in the end it came out kind of like polenta but with a bit more texture, like polenta and (surprise!) quinoa. i thought it kinda sorta looked like caviar which made me kinda sorta want to do some sort of vegan caviar something or other (but that's as far as i got with that thought).

so how do you cook amaranth? well the internet told me to combine a cup with 2 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt in a pot, bring it to a boil then cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes. so i did. and it worked. and when it looks like polenta it's probably done but taste just to make sure and add more water if you need to keep cooking it longer.

kris grilled some eggplant and i made our new favorite greens (tahini chard from vegan soul kitchen) and we plopped them on top of a scoop of amaranth and sprinkled some toasted almonds on it and it was fantastic! one thing i especially liked is that i feel like the amaranth had a bit of a toasty flavor to it, kind of like quinoa does when you toast it before you cook it, except that i didn't toast this before i cooked it. same delicious result without the step that i always forget with quinoa. woohoo!