Monthly Archives: February 2010

Wine and Cheese

How did this vegan spend her Friday night? I think the title says it all.

Earlier that day, Steph and I headed to the store with our Barnivore list of vegan wines, hoping to strike it big. We returned victorious with a bottle of organic (and vegan of course!) Bonterra Muscat–a super sweet dessert wine. The perfect accompaniment to the three wheels of Dr-Cow raw nut cheeses we’d ordered a few days before.

We opted for the Aged Cashew, the Aged Cashew & Crystal Algae, and the Aged Cashew & Brazil Nut cheeses. They cost us a pretty penny (especially with the cold shipping), and we were pretty surprised at how small they were. Yes, they’re extremely rich, and three wheels of cheese was maybe a little decadent for only three of us (Steph, Dawn, and I), but still–for how much money it cost us to obtain these, they were laughably tiny. Probably an inch and a half in diameter?

Anyways, complaining aside, these raw cheeses were something. They have a super complex, earthy, dare I say, moldy, flavor, and went superbly with our sweet wine, TJ’s multigrain crackers, and apple slices.

The cashew and–surprise!–the algae cheeses were definitely our favorites. The brazil nut cheese just tasted too much like…brazil nuts. What did we expect? The algae was a bit tangier than the plain cashew, but both were a nice balance of sharp and mellow. Plus, check out the color of that algae cheese! Hubba hubba.

It was a very enjoyable and sophisticated–for college students at least!–night of booze and eats, although next time we all agreed that we’d hit up Mooifood’s raw vegan nut cheeses in lieu of Dr-Cow’s. Dr-Cow’s was fun to try, but Mooifood is local (LA) and their cheese comes in more flavors (herbs herbs herbs!) and colors. Hopefully theirs will also be cheaper and–crosses fingers–come in a serving size larger than a pillbox. :)

Love Hut, Baby, Love Hut!

So Stephanie and I had a friend date Saturday night at Loving Hut, although it kinda sounds like a better place for an actual date, doesn’t it?

Formerly known as Veggie Era, the restaurant only recently joined the worldwide LH franchise–or should I say the far-reaching empire of the Supreme Master? (You’ll either know what I’m talking about, or you won’t!) Steph and I were afraid the menu would have changed for the worst, but I didn’t notice too many differences. My favorite entrée is still on it–you’ll see!

We started the meal with two appetizers, the first of which were the Tempeh Squares:

I very rarely eat battered ‘n fried foods, but this was the only tempeh on the menu. :) The sweet soy sauce was the perfect accompaniment.

The Veggie Pancake contained tomatoes, cabbage, and onions, but honestly just tasted like potatoes. Still, it was good in that satisfyingly carby kind of way. Probably not an “order again” though.

Steph had the Eggplant Tofu with Basil. I had a bite, and it was good, but I’m not generally a huge fan of eggplant in Asian cuisine. Steph’s an eggplant fiend though. It was full of vibrant colors, that’s for sure!

And behold, one of my favorite faux meat dishes of all time:

Sweet & Spicy Lady: Soy protein chunks and zucchini sautéed with garlic & sweet chili sauce.

I think I’ve posted about this dish before. The texture and flavor of that soy chicken is in-freaking-credible! Crispy and chewy and juicy. Let’s just say, I have trouble ordering anything else whenever I go to Veggie Era…I mean, Loving Hut! Ah! I’ll have to force myself to branch out next time and order something else.

Check Loving Hut’s website to see if there’s a location near you! I think the odds are in your favor. Each one has a different menu, which I find exciting. I can’t wait to try the one in Phoenix next time I’m home.

Deglutenized Peanut Butter Blondies

In Isa and Terry’s newest book, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (which you all own, of course, being the good little vegans that you are), we’re told in the introduction, “So here’s a news flash: any of the cookies in this book can be made gluten-free. Yeah, we said it.”

I’m a contracted student baker for the Motley, Scripps College’s student-run coffeehouse, and given the demand from a few of my gluten-intolerant friends on campus, I decided to put the above statement to the test. Of course, I chose to try it out on the Peanut Butter Blondies because they’re, well, peanut butter blondies.

Guess what? Isa and Terry weren’t lying! All I did was sub in Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Mix, adding in a couple extra tablespoons of flour like the book suggests you do if you’re going the gluten-free route, and I had myself a pan of beautiful, sticky sweet, fudgy peanut butter heaven. I’ve never made these with wheat flour, but I like them enough in their GF form that I don’t really feel the need to test the difference.

Of course, I added chocolate chips into the batter and nixed the peanuts on top because that just seemed like a good decision. I suppose you could do both, but I like the simplicity of a topping-less blondie.

Whether you’re going to make these as written, or gluten-free, I don’t care; just know both options are open, and more importantly, make them right now. :)

Hello Rup!

Just because I’m too lazy and homework-overloaded to do a real post today. :)

Granola Love

Welcome to my new self-hosted WordPress blog and happy late Valentine’s Day!

I made a couple batches of granola recently, one from The Candle Café Cookbook and one from 500 Vegan Recipes. Both were totally different kinds of granola, but delicious in their own right. :)

The Candle Café Granola was really interesting in that it used steel cut oats as well as regular rolled ones, which I’ve never done before. Plus, it called for coconut oil and maple syrup–the best fat and the best sweetener! This granola came out super crunchy, with no clumps whatsoever–almost like a cross between granola and muesli.

Unfortunately, I had barely any of the ingredients that it called for, so I subbed sesame seeds and pine nuts for the sunflower seeds and walnuts, dried orange cranberries and candied ginger instead of currants, and extra almonds for the coconut. Now that I think about it, I think my version is better. Much more exotic–it had a really exciting flavor that you couldn’t quite put your finger on!

Then I made a recipe I’ve been dying to try since Celine first posted it at Have Cake, Will Travel: PB&J Granola!

This was a much healthier, more subtly sweet granola made with rolled oats and brown rice flour (or at least I think I used brown rice flour–we forget to label our plastic bags of bulk bin flour sometimes…), with chunks of jam swirled in just before baking. I used strawberry of course! What is UP with those people who only eat grape PB&Js?!

Maybe I underbaked it, but this granola was super soft and chewy. It made GREAT clumps, so if clumpy granola is your thing, then please go buy this book (there are also four or five more phenomenal granola recipes in the book!).

Perfect with bananas and vanilla hemp milk!

The Ultimate Brownies

Um, for all of you who own The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes, Kris is not throwing around the word “best.” In other words, when she calls her recipe for super fudgy brownies “The Ultimate Brownies,” she means it. They are actually what you would want to eat on your ultimate–i.e. last–day on earth.

Yesterday was rainy and dull here in Claremont. I bet a lot of you are scoffing at my complaining about Southern California weather, but I think I can speak for all my fellow Sagehens (yeah, that’s our Pomona mascot…) when I say, we didn’t sign up for this! Anyways, due to said horrible weather, everyone in my suite–including yours truly–was a little grumpy. I decided to bake the most decadent brownies I could find to rectify the situation, and that’s where Kris’ recipe came in!

I used Kris’ peanut butter stripe mixture from her blog as well, and you can see that, I have the same Baker’s Edge brownie pan–so every brownie has at least two edges! I made half without peanut butter though because you never know if some of your friends are brownie purists. Personally, I think the PB only enhances these brownies. :)

I don’t know what kind of magic occurs when you mix the seemingly standard ingredients in this recipe together, but whatever it is, it makes the best brownies you’ve ever tasted. That’s what my best friend Ilana said, and brownies are her favorite food. This girl knows what she’s talking about. Plus, they were this good even when made with whole-wheat flour!

With that perfect flaky top, those lightly caramelized edges, and a texture that’s so chewy and fudgy you can’t even handle it, these brownies are too legit to quit.

If you want to win someone’s affections this Valentine’s Day, I think I’ve just shown you how to do it. And another hint: if I’d had any non-dairy vanilla ice cream, I might now be able to tell you that a brownie sundae would have been the only way to improve upon this perfection. Looks like I’m telling you anyways though–what can I say, I have intuition!

Hummus English Muffin

Breakfast routines can get boring if you let them. So don’t!

Sure Earth Balance, peanut butter, and jam are all great on bread, but don’t restrict yourself to sweet. If bagels can have savory toppings, why not English muffins?

An Ezekiel English muffin topped with creamy hummus, spinach, tomatoes, and red onions really hits the spot in the morning! I’m sure hummus is great on toast and bagels too, but I have yet to have that pleasure!

I made my first mosaic. The centering of the plate isn’t quite consistent, but I like it anyways.

Happy Monday!