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.