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!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

chocolate cinnamon bundt cake with mocha icing

this past weekend my mom had her hanukkah party (yes, we had our hanukkah party before hanukkah started and yes we also lit all the candles in the menorah...that's how we roll) and she asked if i wanted to bring dessert. of course! my thought process:
  • make something that can feed about 10 people (and not cookies cause i made cookies for gifts)
  • got any kitchen toys that i have yet to use? yes i do! hi there new bundt pan!
  • make something blog-able (see? i do still think you you poor neglected blog baby)
so i went to my homemade magazine-clipping cookbook and came up with this: chocolate cinnamon bundt cake with mocha icing drizzle. ummm yes please! i made it vegan (obviously) and added applesauce for half of the oil and ended up with a really fantastic cake. it's super moist with a little bit of a chewy crust, kind of like a brownie cake and that is a very good thing! and it has some flavor depth from the cinnamon and espresso to take a little further than just plain old good chocolate cake.

i'm so out of blogging practice that i baked this cake and then totally flaked on taking a pertty picture of it, and because there is no photographic evidence i really don't even have to tell you about the, um, less then perfect removal of cake from pan. despite the brand new nonstick pan and the light coat of oil it was not a seamless flip. in fact, the whole top of the cake decided it was perfectly happy in the pan, thank you. i think this could be due to not letting it cool long enough before flipping (the recipe says 10 minutes...i will advise 20). so i pulled out the top bits, smooshed them back onto the bottom half, tried to tell myself it looked fine, knew it really showed it's smooshed-togetherness and then realized i could just flip it over and make the bottom the top, or the top the top (all this flipping and inverting has me confused!) and no one would be the wiser.

chocolate-cinnamon bundt cake with mocha icing

(probably from bon appetit...)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder, divided
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 6 tablespoons water
1 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup vegan margarine

preheat oven to 350, brush a 12-15 cup nonstick bundt pan with oil.

whisk 1 cup boiling water, cocoa powder, and 2 teaspoons espresso powder.

whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.

using a mixer, beat 2 cups brown sugar with the vegetable oil, applesauce and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. add cornstarch mixture and blend until smooth. beat in half of the flour mixture then the cocoa mixture and then the remaining flour mixture until blended. fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips and pour batter into the bundt pan.

bake about 50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. cool for 20 minutes in the pan then invert onto a cooling rack and cool 15 minutes longer.

meanwhile stir remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons espresso powder and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts. remove from heat and add the margarine and 1/4 cup chocolate chips and stir until melted. drizzle the icing over the cake and let cool then serve!

i didn't use all of the icing....the rest is going on top of ice cream. yum!

happy holidays everyone!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

thanksgiving preview

no, this picture of alfonzo has nothing to do with thanksgiving but i don't have pictures of my thanksgiving food yet and a pictureless post is no fun so i give you alfonzo gazing at the chattahoochee. and it's fall. it works. on we go!

reasons why i am super crazy excited about thanksgiving this year:
1. for the first time in, oh probably 10 years, I DON'T HAVE TO TRAVEL
2. we were able to shop on sunday instead of having to go the day before thanksgiving (though it didn't seem any less crazy)
3. i get to start!

thanksgiving has always been my favorite. a holiday all about spending time with family and friends, cooking a ton an eating? yes please! we always spend thanksgiving in atlanta so this year seems extra special now that we live here. we get to skip the whole travel part and get straight to the good stuff. we went to the farmers market on sunday and loaded up and today i begin my three day cooking extravaganza. i'm psyched.

we're having my dad over for brunch in the morning and then in the evening we'll head over to my mom's house for dinner. obviously i had to go overboard and decided to make 654651 different things. here's what i'm cooking:
for breakfast:
coconut bacon
maaaaaybe white bean/tempeh sausage patties
and diddy will bring fruit cause i guess we need something besides bread products

for dinner:
kris will make amazing hummus (cause that's what he does) for appetizer time
quinoa fritters for appetizer time
these green beans
this cauliflower
rye pumpernickle stuffing
a mushroom/lentil/walnut thing
and pumpkin pie

phew! and of course there will be the usuals like mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce but mama's taking care of those things.

i wrote out a cooking plan for myself and today's agenda is...
1. make bagels (rising as i type. i make so many bagels these days i could do this with my eyes closed)
2. assemble the stuffing (to bake on thursday)
3. make aioli for the fritters
4. make the pumpkin pie to allow for plenty of setting time
5. make the scone dough and freeze it for baking on thursday morning

wednesday is more prep and then thursday is baking and last minute things.

easy peasy.

so that's my thanksgiving plan. what's cooking for you guys?


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ferry building tofu sandwich

first off, why are sandwiches so hard to photograph? hmph.

anyway! what you see above is my most favorite sandwich. perhaps i've mentioned it before but it doesn't hurt to discuss again. in san francisco i would often (as often as i could) walk to the ferry building for lunch for this sandwich from frog hollow farm. and it felt like a special treat every time. what you have is braised tofu and baby gem lettuce sandwiched between two slices of acme bread - one spread with mashed avocado and the other with frog hollow's peach chutney giving this baby the perfect balance of sweet and savory. it was also a perfectly sized sandwich which i appreciate. the $8 price certainly doesn't make this suitable for daily consumption but it's worth every penny. naturally, my last lunch in san francisco was this well as a bit of scream sorbet (don't even get me started...just look it up and find it if you can) since it was farmer's market day and i was saying farewell. on that last trip i also picked up a jar of the peach chutney to carry across the country so i could recreate the amazingness upon arrival. well that day finally came and i must say i was not disappointed! i could close my eyes an imagine i was sitting by the bay feasting on the real deal.

frog hollow farm braised tofu sandwich...ATL style!
ok, so it's a sandwich not a science. roughly, here's whatcha gotta do. get your hands on some peach chutney (frog hollow if you can). marinate some tofu slabs in a mixture of soy sauce, cider vinegar, olive oil and crushed garlic. let it sit for as long as you like then pan fry it. mash up an avocado. get some good looking lettuce. smack it all together and enjoy. oh you will enjoy.

a side note, we bought a stalk of brussels sprouts to grill for a side. this is fitting because i often longed to buy one of these stalks while i was at the farmers market on my sandwich outing but i never bought one. i don't know...i guess i had reservations about being the girl on the train at rush hour with a gigantic stalk of brussels sprouts. glad we finally got one though, it was pretty fun snapping them all off. plus it's pretty.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

sometimes we are really fancy...

last week kris and i celebrated out two year wedding anniversary with a fancy pants dinner at woodfire grill. top chef fans may know that woodfire is kevin's (from season 6) restaurant. i know he's super bacon dude but please recall he also won the natalie portman vegan challenge. when i called to make a reservation i mentioned that we are vegetarian and vegan and they said thanks for the notice, no problem! and is it a special occasion? well since you asked....

i was blown away by food and dining experience. we opted for the vegetarian and vegan 5 course tasting menu and our waitress was so sweet she took notes on all of our dishes, typed out our customized menus and mailed them to us. we ordered a bottle of wine that the sommalier suggested - Gamay Joulienas - it had something to do with beaujolais and it was incredible. it tasted like strawberries in the best way. then we started in with our 5 courses plus and amuse and taste of a shot of soup. it was all delicious but i think my favorite was my second course which was a super flavorful pumpkin mushroom dish. you can see the descriptions on the picture of my menu (or maybe you can't...), the only thing is it has the regular dessert (kris said it was yummy yummy!) my dessert was strawberry rhubarb sorbet with cocoa nibs and sun dried cherries (i think).

as if you can't tell i was really impressed with my vegan creations from woodfire. they are by no means a vegetarian/vegan restaurant and i really feel like they put some thought and love into our dishes and didn't just throw some random vegetables together and call it a day. i remember reading one vegan food writer say that the best vegan meal he ever ate was at the french laundry and i kind of felt like this was our french laundry experience (unless we one day get really really fancy and make it there...). great atmosphere and delicious vegan food where you might not expect it.

we're still working on finding our go-to spots here in atlanta but i think it's safe to say that we have found our special occasion spot. thanks, woodfire!