Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Apple Pie-Crumb Cake Muffins

The recipe I promised:

Apple Pie-Crumb Cake Muffins

adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan with a Vengeance

For muffins:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup apple cider (if you don't have cider, you can use water instead and increase the total amount of sugar to 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup grated apple
1/2 cup chopped apple (1/4-inch pieces)
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts or almonds

For Topping:
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts

In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients, drizzling on the oil and mixing with your fingers until crumbs form. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease twelve-muffin tin.

In a large bowl, sift all the dry muffin ingredients. Stir in the wet ingredients. Fold in the grated and chopped apple and nuts.

Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full and sprinkle the topping over each muffin. Bake for 22 minutes.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Falafel, samosa, veggies

Today's lunch was rather monochromatic, but still pretty yummy. Premade falafel (from the freezer section) in whole wheat mini pitas, green bell pepper, giant pretzels, a banana, and a homemade apple crumb cake muffin. The muffin is an edited (and dare I say, improved?) version of Isa's recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, which I will hopefully get around to posting in the next few days. If I forget and you're just on the edge of your seat waiting (which I'm sure you all will be) feel free to post a gentle reminder for me.

As Passover draws nearer in my household, though, the food choices continue to get narrower. We basically clear out the entire fridge and as much of the freezer as possible for Passover, so right now we're trying to finish things up. I, of course, am not a big fan of lack of selection, so I went out and picked up a couple samosas and some Indian food for dinner. For those who don't know, a samosa (shown above) is a savory Indian pastry filled with spiced potatoes and peas, wrapped in dough, and usually deep fried. I've made baked ones at home, but they aren't nearly as good as the terrible-for-you fried version. To make up for the unhealthiness of the samosa, I water-sauteed some asparagus and baby carrots with sesame seeds and packed some Cheerios on the side.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Plantains and pretzels

I got off from school today because of the crazy weather so I spent some time cooking. For lunch I made fried plantains, which were just plantains sliced and fried in a little olive oil in a non-stick pan with a little brown sugar.

Later, to make up for my lack of math homework, I made some math oriented pretzels (yea, yea, I'm a big ol' dork) from another easy bread machine recipe. The shapes didn't hold up so well during the whole rising/boiling/baking process, but it was fun anyway.

We've had this recipe for a while. It was photo-copied out of a library book, but I'm not sure which one.

Makes about 8-10 pretzels

2/3 cup water
1 1/4 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1-1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Additionally you will need:
5 cups water
5 teaspoons baking soda
kosher salt or other topping

Add all ingredients from the first ingredient list in order into the bread machine and let it knead and rise in the machine. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Then divide and shape your pretzels. Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes in a warm place.

In a non-aluminum pan bring 5 cups of water and 5 teaspoons of baking soda almost to a boil. Gently place the pretzels into the water and allow to cook for about 30 seconds on each side. Try not to let the water come to a full boil. Remove the pretzels with a slotted spoon and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt or other desired toppings. Bake at 475°F for 10-12 minutes or until brown.

Preboiling and baking (note the shapes, from left to right, top to bottom: pi, random circle, delta x, infinity, sigma, integral sign, and another infinity):

After baking:

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Lasagna and couscous

A backlog of lunches: that means double post for all you lucky readers.

Unlike most of the horror stories I hear about, most of my family is very accepting of my veganism. On Sunday I attended a family party where there was a ton of food that even I could eat. There were Asian noodles, veggie lasagna, rice, salad, fruit salad, sorbet, and all sorts of snacks (chips, cut vegetables, salsa, etc.). In fact, the only non-vegan parts of the meal were ice cream and a cheese lasagna (which wasn't nearly as popular as the vegan lasagna). I brought home some leftovers and had a ready-made lunch of rice, salad, and lasagna for Monday. The lasagna has tomato sauce, broiled eggplant, and tomatoes in layers in between the noodles. I put the bread on top of the rice before I closed my lunch and it all fit perfectly.

For today's lunch I have some couscous with peas and basil. Couscous is great it cooks in just a few minutes and is good cold. Although I pack my lunches at night, I still don't want to spend a ton of time. Couscous is the perfect way to have some real food without laboring for hours. There's also a little more bread, some red bell pepper, two Twizzlers, and some peanuts.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Pasta salad, French bread

Today was a salad day for sure. I cooked up some ziti, then drained it, and mixed it with diced bell pepper and carrots. Seasoned with basil, garlic powder, onion powder, nutritional yeast, pepper, and a little salt. I also have some organic mixed greens with sprouts and fruit, as usual.

The credit for this bread does not go to me, but to my mom. You can take my word, however, that it is delicious.

From the cookbook Bread Machine Magic:

Authentic French Bread
Makes one 1 1/2 lb loaf (measurements to make a 1 lb loaf in parentheses)

1 (3/4) cup water
1 1/2 (1) tsp salt
3 (2) cups bread flour
2 1/2 (2 1/2) tsp yeast

Add all ingredients except the cornmeal to the bread machine in order. Select dough setting and start machine. When the dough is done rising in the machine, turn it out onto a floured surface.

For a 1 1/2 lb loaf, shape the dough into either one 12-inch oblong loaf, 1 large round loaf, 2 thin 18-inch thin baguettes, or 8 rolls

For a 1 lb loaf, shape the dough into either one 10-inch oblong loaf, one large loaf, one thing 24-inch baguette, or 6 rolls.

Dust the top(s) with a little flour and rub it in. Place on a cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. With a sharp knife or razor, slash the tops about 1/2 inch deep down the center. On an oblong loaf make 3 slashes, on a round loaf make an "X" or "#". Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for until doubled (around 30-45 minutes).

Place a pan of hot water in the bottom of the oven (this will make the bread have a crispier crust). Preheat the oven to 450°F. Bake the round or oblong loaf about 20 minutes, the baguettes about 15 minutes, and the rolls 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm or cool on a rack.

This bread does go stale quickly so it's best made within a few hours of eating.

If you don't have a bread machine I imagine you could add the warm water into a bowl and then proof the yeast for about 5 minutes. Then add the salt and flour and knead for 10 minutes. Allow to rise until doubled and then follow the above directions.

I've never tried this without a bread machine, but I'm relatively certain that it would work

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sandwich time

A lunch that was pretty quick to throw together today: Boca chick'n patty on whole grain bread. I put the baby spinach leaves on the sandwich at lunch time. Also for lunch were carrots, hummus, salted peanuts, and some terrible jelly beans (I can't remember the brand, but they were horrendous. Really waxy and bad flavors). Kicking alongside are some organic raisins, apple juice, mango, kiwi, grapes, and strawberries

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

One year vegan-iversary

Today marks my one year anniversary of becoming vegan. It's been a little rough at times, but I'm really glad that I took the plunge. For anyone out there who is toying with the idea of going vegan, go for it! Even if you have to take baby steps, I have faith in you.

Yes, I'll admit it takes a lot of self control to say no thanks to free desserts and late night trips for ice cream or pizza, but there's something just so rewarding about it all. More than even helping the animals and the environment (both of which are huge), I get immense self-gratitude from being vegan. I used to have no self control. I couldn't say no to food when it was offered to me and I would eat and eat and eat and just never stop. Even though I can still probably down a 1 lb bag of Twizzlers (and yes, I have done this in the past), I've gained something personally from this whole journey. Somewhere along the way I've realized that I have more control over my life and myself than I ever thought I could.

Now that I've celebrated my veganism, onto a lunch

Leftover homemade pizza (topped with marinara sauce, mushrooms, spinach, bell pepper, nutritional yeast, Morningstar veggie crumbles), 2 hamentaschen, two little boxes of raisins, pretzels, mango, kiwi, and strawberries.

Normally we don't buy the little packages of pretzels, raisins, etc. because they're wasteful and more expensive, but we received a whole bunch of them in gift bags of food for Purim over the weekend, so they'll probably be showing up a bit over the next few days.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Happy Purim!

Happy Purim today to those of you that celebrate. In honor of the holiday I made hamentaschen, a traditional three-cornered cookie.

Most people today fill hamentaschen with jam, pie filling, poppy seeds (yuck!), or chocolate chips, but I didn't have any of those items on hand. What I did have was a wonderfully ripe mango. I decided to explore the unknown and make mango hamentaschen. The results: a success!

I veganized a recipe from The Spice and Spirit of Kosher-Jewish Cooking.

Mix By Hand-Hamentaschen

2 cups flour
2 eggs worth of egg replacer (I used 1T ground flax + 3T water for each egg, and even though it tasted fine, it gave my hamentaschen a spotted, "healthy" look. If you care about this, you might want to try a different egg replacer)
3/8 cup sugar
1 stick margarine, softened
1/2 TBS orange juice
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
Filling of your choice (any thick jam, pie filling, diced cooked fruit thickened with corn/tapioca starch, chocolate chips, etc.)

Mix all ingredients together by hand. You may want to add a little more juice if the dough is too dry to roll. Roll the dough very thing (about 1/8") on a floured surface. Use a round cookie cutter or the rim of a glass to cut circles out of the dough.

Place about 1 tsp of filling in the center of each circle. If you use much more filling than this they will leak when you try to bake them. Fold along the lines shown in the picture below to form a triangle shape. Firmly seal corners.

Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350° for about 20-22 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Before hamentaschen making, though, I needed a good breakfast. That was when I turned to my trusty copy of Vegan with a Vengeance. The banana pancakes were great. They cooked up really well and were delicious and fluffy.

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