Monday, December 28, 2015

2015's Xmas cookies

This year's cookies are pretty much the same as last year's--windmills, pandan-flavored spritz from Betty Crocker, cinnamon roll cookies, and the best-ever pfeffernüsse from The Spice Cookbook. I intended to make some halvah cookies too, but couldn't find any halvah on such short notice (I had to do all my baking on the 23rd). I was resigned to only making four kinds of cookies when I noticed, on the page right next to the pfeffernüsse recipe, spiced pecanettes! They're just like Mexican wedding cookies with pecans for the nuts and a very subtle addition of spice. They were a hit with Annie and Rachael, and pretty quick and easy to make.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

long-delayed lemon bar recipe

I first made these low-starch, vegan lemon bars for Rachael's birthday (she had a Harry Potter themed dessert party, which they didn't quite fit into). I wanted to write down the recipe for you all right away, but had trouble with the formatting of my blog post and eventually abandoned the idea. Yesterday's mango sorbet post--done entirely in my phone--turned out so well that I decided to try again. Here goes: 

The crust is an adaptation from this recipe, while the filling is from Veganomicon, one of my favorite cookbooks. 

     3/4C (60g) dessicated coconut (the unsweetened kind in little shreds)
     2 1/4C (185g) almond meal
     pinch of salt
     3T maple syrup
     3T coconut oil

Whiz everyting together in a food processor till it begins to look like dough. Scrape out into a greased 10"x10" pan, press in with your fingers till it's nice and flat with no holes and goes up a little at the sides, then bake for 14-16 minutes at 350F°. Let cool while you make the filling.

     1 1/3C water
     1T agar powder (You can get it from Amazon or in Chinatown. I usually get Telephone Brand or Gold Cup Brand, 99¢/25g) 
     1 1/4C (245g) sugar
     1/8t turmeric
     2/3C lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons, depending on their size and juiciness)
     finely grated zest from two of  the lemons
     3T arrowroot
     1/4 milk of your choice. (In the photo below I used almond milk, while in the one above I used hemp milk. Maybe that's why it's a funny greenish color? 

Boil the water, agar, sugar, and turmeric together till everything's dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients, turn the heat down, and simmer, stirring constantly, till it's nicely thickened--about five minutes. 

Pour the filling over the crust and let cool off for a while till it stops steaming, then put it in the fridge for at least an hour. These keep their texture best when chilled.

Monday, May 4, 2015

yummy, yummy mango sorbet

There are bargain boxes of mangoes at the Viet Wah lately, so Annie and I keep winding up with 14 mangoes to get through in a hurry. An easy way to use up five or six is to make a batch of mango sorbet. Here's my recipe:

To make a little more than a quart, peel, deseed, and roughly chop 1500g ripe mangoes. Thoroughly whiz in your blender along with 150g sugar (white sugar will look prettiest; palm sugar will taste nice but detract from the bright, clear mango orange), the juice of two lines, and a tablespoon of tequila or rum (I've tried it with both and think I like the rum a little better). Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill. Once it's really cold, run it through your ice cream making machine. Transfer to tupperwares to harden up a little in the freezer. So yum!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Xmas cookies

I hadn't planned to make any Xmas cookies this year, other than the obligatory windmills for Rachael, but then Annie texted me this picture of her spritz failure:

I rushed to make some nice tree-shaped spritz from Betty Crocker--only modified by using flax egg and adding green food coloring and pandan extract--so I could show her how it's done.

Buoyed by my success, I decided to make some rose-flavored Strasbourgs from the booklet that came with my cookie press. They were a little trickier, as the dough would not break off from the press unless squirted onto a bare, un-Silpatted cookie sheet. It took me a while to figure this out.

The recipe's very simple: 7 oz oleo, 1.5 oz powdered sugar, 10.5 oz flour, vanilla to taste. I added rose essence and pink coloring, plus water sufficient to get the pink mixed in. Once spritzed onto cold, bare cookie sheets, bake at 400F for about five minutes.

I ended up making a fourth kind of cookie as well, as when I was searching for the windmill link I  saw that in 2010 'cinnamon rolls' had been Rachael's favorite.

Friday, November 7, 2014

a soup not to Annie's liking

I used to make this soup for Annie and Rachael a lot--it was quick and easy and, I thought, pretty tasty--till Annie confessed that she didn't really like it. I stopped making it for about twenty years, but remembered it when I got lots of rutabagas  and parsnips in my vegetable box. I needed to use up some veg to make room in the fridge so I made a big pot of greens and another big pot of this soup. It was just as I remembered it, and I couldn't imagine why Annie didn't like it as well as I did! I think it, along with a nice, vinegary salad and some wholemeal bread, would be an ideal easy meal for this time of year. 

Root Soup
These ingredients are all mere suggestions except for the crucial potato. Use what you have on hand that sounds good to you. 
Two each: potatoes, carrots, peeled rutabagas, parsnips; all cleaned, trimmed, and roughly chopped
Onions, leeks, garlic to taste; prepared as above
Salt (plenty), pepper, nutritional yeast 
Butter or margarine for serving

Put everything except the butter in a big soup pan, add water to not quite cover, bring to the boil, then put on the lid and let simmer for about twenty minutes, till everything's very tender. If you have an imersion blender, use that to purée the soup; otherwise you can do it in batches in your regular blender or just mash it with a potato masher.

Serve with a knob of butter or margarine. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

a Quick 'n' EZ lunch

Long ago , I read in an English salad cookbook at Value Village that your children will like your coleslaw better if you add curry powder and grapes to it.  I didn't buy the book, but tried the tip out when I got home and it was a success--Rachael gobbled up my improved coleslaw!

I've been getting some nice cabbages lately, and had the above in mind when I made the following, very tasty, coleslaw. It's not grape season now, of course, so I used raisins instead. Celery would be nice in it, too, if you want to make it more Waldorfy. This recipe serves one as a solitary lunch, more if you're having it with company and serving other things in addition.

1/4 medium cabbage, finely sliced (or grated if you prefer soft salad to crunchy)
big handful raisins (or about 1C halved grapes)
big handful walnuts, very roughly chopped
1 apple, cored, cut into 1/8ths, and sliced
1 1/2T Veganaise
1T apple cider vinegar
2t agave nectar
big pinch salt
rounded teaspoon curry powder

Mix everything together.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

three green things

Here are three green things I've made lately, all of which I liked well enough to note down here so that I won't forget about them in the future. Maybe one of them will even interest some of my readers!

First, roasted cabbage. An easy and tasty way to fix cabbage if you've already got your oven going for something else. That stuff that looks like cat food is walnut-miso sauce.

Cut your cabbage into eight to twelve wedges, depending on its size--cut out some of the core if it seems too thick--and arrange them on a silpat-or-tin-foil-lined cookie sheet. Brush the cut surfaces with your choice of oil, then turn them over and grease the other side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a hottish oven (400-475°F, depending on the requirements of whatever else you're cooking) for 10-15 minutes per side (it will vary according to the heat of the oven and the size of the cabbage wedges). Meanwhile, make your sauce: in either a suribachi or a small food processor, crush a large handful of walnuts, then mix in about a tablespoon of miso (I used brown rice miso) and a little less of rice vinegar.

This was a Paula Wolfert recipe from the Chronicle. I had all the ingredients on hand except the parsley and I thought it would be a good use for my young kale, red dandelion leaves, and baby bok choy. I didn't make it exactly as directed--I cut my leaves up more coarsely, didn't add enough olive oil to make the dish the consistency of creamed spinach, and substituted extra cilantro for the missing parsley--but it still turned out very well. Even with the preponderance of dandelion, the lemoniness ensured that it was not too bitter.

Finally, I made fir and cedar vodkas. They're only a day old, so it'll be a week or so before I can try them out in a drink. Firtinis or cedarlets? The fir vodka--on the left--is certainly less pretty than the cedar vodka, isn't it?

If you should want to try this out for yourself, know that yews are the only toxic gymnosperms. Some taste nicer than others, of course, so that would be your main criterion. Spruce or juniper might be nice, and you could throw in a little rosemary even though it's actually a mint.