Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

So, I've been busy taking finals, writing papers, and graduating from law school.  Now I'm out in Bozeman, Montana, to study for the bar and then start my new job.  With finals now a thing of the past, I can get back to my favorite hobby: making yummy vegan stuff.  I look forward to sharing more recipes as I come up with them.

I actually made these lemon cornmeal cookies before finals started, but I never had time to post the recipe, which somehow made it to my new kitchen in Montana on a 3" square bit of torn paper.  These are lovely, delicate cookies with an interesting texture from the cornmeal.  They also hold their shape quite well, making them particularly well-suited to showing off your best cookie cutters.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Apricot Granola Bars

I am deep into my last finals season ever, so I haven't been baking a lot.  A couple of nights ago, though, close to midnight, I was about to go to bed but felt the overwhelming urge to make something edible instead.  Granola bars are perfect for that: they need to cool all night anyway.  These ones turns out chewy and substantial and yummy.

I don't have time or energy to write much more right now.  All that energy is going into papers.  Enjoy the recipe!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

The day before yesterday was my dog's tenth birthday.  Satine is a wonderful dog, and she loves food.  Sadly, she is on a permanent diet due to her penchant for overeating.  But for her birthday -- her tenth birthday! -- I decided to make her a special treat: homemade, vegan dog biscuits made with human-quality foods.

I actually tried one.  Not bad, though rather bland to my human taste buds.  But dogs don't need all those additives like salt and sugar.  The simple ingredients here are delicious to dogs on their own.

These biscuits are simple to make, wholesome, and -- as you can tell from this series of photos resulting from my attempts to get a shot of Satine with one of her birthday biscuits -- quite tasty to the canine set.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Raw Energy Bars

When I need a quick breakfast or afternoon snack, I regularly turn to Larabars.  They're vegan, raw, and have fewer ingredients than I can count on one hand, with no preservatives and no added sugar.  I love them.  I have wanted to make my own for a while now, to save some money and to be able to experiment with flavors.  I knew that the bars were essentially date-paste mixed with nuts and fruit and stuff, but I've never made raw foods with dates.  I was intimidated.  I thought it would be hard.

It's not.

A few days ago, my friend Abby (also a fan of Larabars) directed me to a wonderful, vegan-friendly cooking blog, Enlightened Cooking, that had a recipe for Lara-type bars.  Excited, I went out and bought same dates and got to experimenting.

I hit the yummy/easy goldmine.  All you need is 10 minutes and a food processor.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Best Pancakes

I get it.  They don't look like much.  But stick with me here.  It is really hard to get a good picture of pancakes -- they're all about the taste, man, not the looks -- especially early in the morning when your humble cook is more interested in scarfing down her creation while it's still hot than fiddling with her camera's settings.

And these pancakes are fantastic.

Most mornings I go for very simple and quick breakfast options -- oatmeal and fruit, granola, a Larabar -- but some days, I really need something special.  Enter the Best Pancakes.  They're light and delicious with a hint of banana and vanilla flavors.  They're easy to make.  They don't sit in your stomach like a rock like so many pancakes do.  Plus, like many of my recipes, this recipe is a template and can be dressed up to fit your mood (tropical pancakes?  chocolate chip pancakes?  blueberry lemon pancakes?  the possibilities are endless!) or just enjoyed with some good, old fashioned maple syrup.  These are special pancakes.  They're the best.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Easiest Dessert Ever: Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Sometimes you need your delicious desserts to be easy.  Really easy.

This weekend I was skiing in Bend, Oregon, with friends for spring break, and I wanted to make them a treat -- a vegan treat to impress all the doubting non-vegetarians in the group.  However, I didn't feel up to standing in the kitchen for too long after a long day of skiing in difficult, fresh snow.

So I turned to the easiest trick in my book: the no-bake, idiot-proof, easy-peasy chocolate peanut butter pie.  What makes this pie extra-easy is that you can cheat on almost every component and actually avoid any real cooking.  However, if you want to take it to the next level, you can make your own graham cracker crust (recipe below), which really is superior to the store bought stuff.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chocolate Chip & Candied Ginger Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies have been a favorite of mine since my mom would made the recipe off the back of the chocolate chip package.  Also, I love how easy and non-fussy drop cookies are.  You don't have to worry about over-mixing like with scones and muffins or under-kneading like with bread.  You just make sure everything is well-smooshed-together, and you're good to go!

Anyway, considering all these factors, I clearly needed to come up with my own dairy and egg free recipe for chocolate chip cookies when I went vegan.

This week, I wanted to make some chocolate chip cookies to bring along on my (last ever!) spring break trip to Bend, Oregon.  But -- as I am wont to do in the kitchen -- I couldn't leave well enough alone.  As I pulled the baking soda out of the cupboard, I noticed a jar of just lovely candied ginger.  I thought about a delicious candy bar I had tried recently -- candied ginger in dark chocolate -- and I couldn't help myself: these cookies were born.  They're moist, chewy, and everything a homemade chocolate chip cookie should be-- with the added spicy-sweet bite of candied ginger.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Molasses Fruit & Nut Granola + Basic Granola Template

I love messing with recipes.  I love tweaking this or substituting that to come up with something new.  Actually, my favorite recipes aren't as much recipes as general guidelines -- templates, if you will, for endless, delicious variations.

The other night, I needed a break from writing a paper, and I decided to make granola.  It being nighttime and me being in my pajamas, I wasn't very inclined to go shopping, so I was limited to what I had in my pantry (which is, admittedly, pretty well stocked given my tendency to procrastinate through late-night baking).  I took my basic granola template and invented this Molasses Fruit & Nut Granola recipe, which turned out very tasty.  I've thrown in my granola template at the end of this post, so you, too, can come up with your own endless granola variations.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Easy Party Food - Rosemary Cashews

My mother, Janet, is the one who veganized this recipe.  Unlike some more stubborn southern cooks, my mom actually attempts to make food that my sister (a vegetarian) and I can eat.  I especially appreciate her effort because at some extended family functions, I have faced a whole buffet of vegetable dishes liberally doused in cream or flavored with chunks of bacon.  Throughout this blog, I plan to showcase some southern family favorites that my mother and I have figured out how to turn into delicious (and healthier!) vegan comfort and party foods.

These cashews are just as appropriate as a snack at a football-watching party as they are as an hors d'oeuvre at a dressy dinner party.  They keep very well in an airtight container, so they can be made ahead of time.  I serve them at room temperature for what I think is the best flavor, but they're tasty warm, too!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Citrus-Macadamia Double Chocolate Cookies

Yesterday afternoon, I was inspired to bake cookies for the freshman class I help teach because it was the second to last class that day.  I started off thinking "chocolate chip cookies," and I probably should have stopped there in the interest of accommodating their teenaged palates.  But, as I am wont to do, I had to get fancy.

The students ended up inhaling the cookies, so the subtle citrus aroma was probably wasted on them.  These do make a tasty and slightly more sophisticated alternative to chocolate chip cookies, though, if you want to impress your grown-up friends.  They're soft and chewy and chocolatey and orangey and kind of addicting.

Obligatory Introductory Post

I don't have time for a blog, as a friend pointed out when I floated via Facebook the idea of blogging my cooking and baking adventures.  But, I responded, there is always time for our passions.

I love vegan baking and cooking.  I love making up my own recipes.  I love turning recipes vegan (and how people usually don't know the difference when they taste my creations).  I love sharing.  Thus, this blog will serve as my virtual recipe book and gratuitous food porn slideshow, a way to share my passions with anyone who cares.

And if no one cares, at least all my recipes will be in one convenient spot.