Monday, February 28, 2011

GF Flourless Chocolate Coconut Cookies

I've never intentionally made anything Gluten Free because for a long time the thought intimidated me. Luckily I found a really easy recipe for my first attempt and I'm pretty excited about it. I saw the recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cookies over at Oh She Glows I knew I had to make them. Saturday was a pretty lazy day for me due to too much tequila consumption the night before, but when I finally got off my butt to make Carob Muffins for the pups I decided I wanted a treat for myself. After overindulging on my homemade Thin Mints last week I wanted to try something a little healthier and much easier to make. Than I remembered I had printed out this recipe the day it was posted!

These cookies leave you feeling much less guilty after inhaling a few than your standard cookie. There is no flour, margarine, oil or a lot of sugar. The fat in the cookies comes from the almond butter but I will take that over a ton of canola oil any day.

The cookies didn't spread out much like the recipe said they would which was fine with me. They came out perfect. When they were cooked on Saturday night the edges were slightly crispy and the insides were soft and chewy. By Sunday they had lost a little crispness but were still excellent. Because of the changes I made to the recipe they taste very similar to a brownie!

Angela adapted her recipe from Wing It Vegan and I adapted mine from hers.

Flourless Chocolate Coconut Brownie Cookies

1 tbs flax meal
3 tbs water
1 cup dried shredded coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup dark cocoa powder
1/8 cup regular cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup almond butter, smooth or chunky
1/4 cup almond milk. Or coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 and line baking sheets with parchement paper.

In small bowl mix flax with water and set aside so it can gel up.

In a large bowl mix together 1/2 cup of coconut and remaning dry ingredients excluding chocolate chips

In a separate bowl mix together all the wet ingredients, including flax/water.

Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix. Fold in chocolate chips and remaining coconut.

Using a regular teaspoon(the eating kind, not the measuring kind) scoop out spoonfuls on the parchement and bake for 13-15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes and transfer to cooling rack. Makes approximately 24 cookies.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Better Than Your Grandma's Chowder

Massachusetts and New England is known for their Chowders(pronounce Chow-Da here in Mass). More specifically the Clam Chowder. All across New England, but mostly in down the coastline, there are Chowder Festivals celebrating the creamy clam filled soup. I was never  a fan of any type of seafood in my pregan days so Clam Chowder has never been something that excited me or made me feel like I needed to create a vegan version. Corn Chowder on the other hand is awesome. What isn't awesome about a huge bowl of corn and potatoes cooked up into a thick and creamy soup? Especially on a snowy New England day.
Outside my bedroom window this morning
I will admit, I have never made a chowder in my life and when I began creating and cooking this recipe the other night, my intentions weren't really to end up with a chowder-like soup. I don't really know what I was expecting but regardless, the results were fantastic. The idea for this soup came about because one of my friends was pretty sick earlier in the week and I wanted to do something nice for him. Normally I would have made a vegetable soup loaded with fresh veggies but not only is he not vegan, he doesn't like most vegetables. I always tease him that the only ones he eats are corn and potatoes and then it hit me, corn and potatoes in a soup! Technically this probably wouldn't be considered a chowder at all because in addition to it being vegan, I didn't use any vegan cream but the creamy buttery flavor is certainly there. To make the soup creamy I pureed half of it in the Vitamix with a little vegan cream cheese and added a corn starch slurry at the end to thicken it up.

My Vegan Corn Chowda

1 medium onion, finely diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 tblspn olive oil

2 bay leaves

4-5 large potatoes, cubed

enough water or vegetable broth to cover potatoes

3 tbslpn Earth Balance or other vegan margarine

1 sprig of fresh thyme

1/2 tblspn fresh rosemary, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups of corn kernels

1 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese

cornstarch slurry - mix a few tblspns of cornstarch with cold water and add to soup and bring to a boil to thick. This is optional, for if you want a thicker soup.

Heat oil in a non-stick pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cook for about 5 minutes, or until onion and garlic are soft.

Add bay leaves and potatoes, cover with water or veg broth until just covered. Bring to a boil.

Once boiling, add margarine, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper and 1 1/2 cups of the corn. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 15 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon take about half of the potatoes and corn and add to Vitamix or food processor with cream cheese and process until smooth. Return to pot.

Add nutritional yeast and remaining corn. At this point if you want the soup thicker, add the cornstarch slurry and bring back to a boil. Otherwise, cook an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Carob Muffins for Gizmo

If you know me in any way, you probably know that I love Gizmo more than I love most people. If you met her you would understand why. She was a stray so I can only guess as to what mix of breeds she is, how old she is or what her life before me was like before me but what I do know is that is an amazing dog with the greatest personality and a crazzzzzzy underbite. Seriously, her underbite cracks me up every time.Sometimes it is just half of her teeth, sometimes its the whole bottom row. Either way, both are magnificent!

Gizmo came into my life last spring and has had me talking in cheezy baby voices, buying dog clothes and making homemade dog food ever since! She is a spoiled little brat but she is also the best thing that has ever happened to me. A girl I used to work with found her roaming around a park and couldn't find her parents. She asked everyone at and around the park if they knew the dog, nobody did. She also checked the pounds, no micro-chip and nobody looking for her. The girl decided to hold on to the little mystery dog until she could hopefully find her parents. Time passed and the girl was getting ready to move to college, a place she obviously couldn't take an animal, and the dog already living in her parents house didn't like Gizmo so much so she couldn't stay there. Gizmo was headed for the pound. I was volunteering at a no-kill shelter at the time and when I heard the story I immediately told the girl that if I couldn't keep the dog than we could talk to the people at the shelter to see if they could make room for her.

As soon as I met Gizmo I fell in love, but I was trying not to get too excited about taking her because at the time I was still with Jeremy, we lived with his dad and 2 other dogs. I thought they would both say no. I told Jeremy all about Gizmo and what her fate looked like if we didn't adopt her, he is just as much a sucker for an animal, especially a dog, in need as I am so sight unseen he agreed to let me take her home. While Gizmo the mogwai is technically a male, the name is really fitting for our little girl. She looks like a cross between Yoda and a Mogwai and even though she is always wearing pink and purple clothing, people constantly mistake her for a boy. She isn't the most feminine creature. Weighing in at just over 7 lbs she is full of energy, the best cuddler and plays with the family hounds and my brothers pit bull as is she were the same size as them.
Because she is so precious to me I am very careful about what I feed her. She only gets the best and beause she is vegan so I have to make sure she is getting everything she needs nutritionally. Her favorite treats are dehydrated sweet potatoes and pineapple but I also like to make her, and my other dogs, homemade treats. On a recent trip to Whole Foods I found some Vegan Carob Powder and since it is a common ingredient for dog treats I figured I would pick some up. I finally got around to using it and decided to make Carob Muffins from It's A Vegan Dogs Life.

The recipe is really easy to follow but I was a little nervous I had screwed something up when the dough was super sticky. Then I remembered I was baking for dogs, even if I did screw something up, odds are they were still going to eat and love them. It made 24 mini muffins but there are also variations for biscuits, cookies and bagels. They puffed up a lot so even though they are mini muffins, they are still pretty big for Gizmo so I have been splitting them in half for her, but she has been gobbling them up!

Carob Muffins

Carob can burn easily, so check these more often than you normally would.

2 1/3 cups flour

1/3 cup carob powder

1/3 cup wheat germ or additional flour

¼ cup nutritional yeast

½ tsp. baking soda

1 Tbsp. ground flax

1 Tbsp. hulled hemp seed (optional)

1 ¼ cups water

2 Tbsp. natural applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin pans with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, carob powder, wheat germ, nutritional yeast, flax, hemp
seed and baking soda.

Add applesauce and water, mixing well.

Scoop batter into the muffin pans and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool completely before serving.

Store in the fridge.

Makes approximately two dozen mini muffins.

Biscuits- Reduce water by ½ cup and eliminate baking soda. Knead into a stiff dough,
adding ¼ cup of flour at a time until it can be rolled out without sticking to the rolling pin
(add a bit of water if it gets too dry). Roll out onto a floured surface to ¼ inch thickness.
Cut with cookie cutters or knife and bake on a greased cookie sheet until crispy.
Cookies- Add ¼ cup of flour at a time until dough is firm enough to form into balls. Place
dough balls on a greased cookie sheet and press flat with your hand or a fork. Bake until
Bagels- Make the same as the cookies except do not press them flat. Dip your finger in
water and poke a hole in the middle of the dough ball. Flatten slightly to form a bagel
shape. Bake until crispy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homemade Vegan Thin Mint Cookies

Hell. Yes.

I was a Girl Scout when I was younger, but not for very long, I only made it as far as a Brownie. I don't know why I didn't stay in but I do know that I loved the cookies. You don't need to be a Girl Scout to know that Thin Mints are probably the most popular cookie in their lineup. I can say without a doubt that they were my favorite cookie ever, with Mint Milanos being a very close second. I used to love when coworkers would pimp their little girl's troops by getting you and every other person in the office to buy a box or four. Most people would stock up on their favorites, buying a few boxes and keeping them in the freezer to keep the freshness. And coincidentally, Thin Mints just so happen to be better frozen. Even better are the adorable little girls peddling their goods outside of local grocery stores. How can you resist? You can't. Unless you are a vegan because the cookies aren't. At least the good flavors aren't anyways. There are rumors of a few Girl Scout Cookies being vegan but it's never something I looked into much because I already know the only 2 flavors I like aren't, and frankly, that sucks. Well, sucked...

Fear not fellow vegans, gone are the days of drooling over those boxes of chocolate minty goodness that you know contain animal products, as well as a bunch of other crap because there are tried and true recipes you can make at home! Not only are they homemade AND vegan(which makes them awesome already), they are delicious, they remind me EXACTLY of their non-vegan counterparts and you don't have to worry about things like high fructose corn syrup or possible hydrogenated oils (if those are things you worry about). In addition to all of those pretty sweet(heh) things I just pointed out, they are incredibly easy to make. From the time you start making the cookies to the time you actually get to sit down and enjoy one does take awhile, but that is only because of the cooling and chocolate setting time.

For my first time making them I used the recipe over at Chef Chloe's site. This recipe produces perfect replicas of the cookies we used to love. I will make this recipe again, probably multiple times, but I have a few others floating around as well as one I have been writing down ideas for that I have yet to test out. One day there will be an original Vegan Food Rocks Thin Mint Recipe! I know you are excited. I am too.

I have never used a food processor to make cookie dough, or any other type of dough, I usually stick to my trusty stand mixer but I really didn't want to fuck these up so I went with what Chloe said. I was surprised at how easily and quickly the dough came together. Once it was all mixed up I gave it a few kneads with my hands, the dough kind of reminded me of play dough. A play dough you would want to eat.

I used a measuring spoon to scoop out heaping teaspoonfuls and then smooshed them down into little patties. Once I have my own recipe all worked out it will be more of a rollable dough so you can cut out perfect circles or fun little shapes if that is your kind thing. Because this dough was so malleable, keeping a circle shape was pretty easy and they didn't come out too deformed looking.I ended up with almost 4 dozen!

Of course I had to sample one a few to make sure they were coming out the way I was really hoping. I started getting nervous because the cookies seemed really crispy on the edges and really chewy in the middle. This of course was due to my lack of patience and trying a cookie before letting it cool properly. So I set all the cookies out to cool and headed out to do some shopping with my mom. Fast forward a few hours to when I returned home and got to taste test a few more, my nervousness went away and my excitement really starting growing because they tasted just like the originals!

Now it was time to dip them into the luscious chocolate mint coating. I had no more errands to run so I had to resist temptation to try them before they were ready. I put them in the fridge and walked away. Well, not completely walked away... I didn't sample anymore until they were fully set but I did keep going back to check on them.

While they were chilling out and getting firm in the fridge I started cleaning up. I had a good amount of leftover melted chocolate coating but didn't have anything worthy of its perfection so I was just going to dump it. I know, I know... I was standing over the trash barrel about to scoop it in when a light bulb went off in my head and I realized I could just freeze it and save it for future dipping or to use as shaved or chopped mint chocolate in other baking endeavors! I am so glad I thought of  it before I wasted a single drop. I poured it into a circular cookie cutter on top of parchment paper and held the cutter down with a plate so none of the chocolate could seep out underneath.
Once they were fully set and I finally got to try the finished product I was blown away at how amazing these cookies really are. Everything about them reminds me of days gone by when I would bust open a box and hide them in the freezer from the family my brother or a significant other for fear of them getting inhaled and I would be left with none until next cookie season. Now that I know I can crank out at least 4 dozen in one afternoon I will be more than happy to share my cookies with everyone!
Sometimes I try to avoid giving my brother anything I've made for fear of his snarky vegan comments. No matter how good something is, he often won't admit it, so when I caught him going back repeatedly for more cookies last night he said "These are actually pretty good" which means 'These cookies are delicious and I can't stop stuffing my face.' So half assed compliments from my brother are always more than welcome because I know he won't ever admit he 'loves' something vegan, even if his own sister made it =)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vegan Finds at Shaw's!

I have not shopped at a Shaw's in a very very long time. I prefer to go to Whole Foods, Stop & Shop or Roche Bros depending on what I need. The only Shaw's visits I have made in recent years have all ended in dissappointment. They have been grimy, not well stocked and not a good natural section. That all changed last night though! I had to pick up some chickpeas and tomatoes for my Chana Masala last night and Shaw's was the closest grocery store to the train station where my car was parked. Since I only needed those two things I didn't really mind.

I was actually kind of blown away at the vegan finds stocked in the little hick town that I was in. I only wandered around for a few minutes but in those few minutes I picked up some really awesome treats that I haven't seen at Stop & Shop or Roche Bros, the 2 stores I frequent most . Look at this fun stuff I got!
 While I have had everything on the table before, except the Brown Rice Marshmallow Treats, I was super stoked to find them locally. They are usually things I can only get in Boston, with the exception of the Rice Vegan cheese, I can get those at WF. Now, I didn't need any of this stuff but I am the type of person who gets extremely excited over vegan items that I become compelled to purchase them. I did bust out a Marshmallow Treat as soon as I got home and even though they were a little tough to bite and chew they tasted awesome. Think Rice Krispie Treats made out of Cocoa Puffs. Seriously.

The thing I was most excited over though were the Go Max Go Bars. Every vegans favorite candy bar! Keep your eyes peeled for a review on them soon. Maybe I will even do a little giveaway................. =)
I can't wait to go back to this particular Shaw's now and actually take my time perusing the aisle and seeing what other awesome things I can find!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chana Masala with Saffron Scented Rice - The Lazy Way

My experience with Indian food has been very limited thus fur in life but I've yet to be disappointed. On my last trip to what could possibly be the best Indian market in my general area, Shivaa Bazaar, I found some ready to cook spice mix packets. I don't normally use pre-made anything if I can help it and would almost never blog about it. Almost. I prefer to make everything from scratch but because my Indian repoirtore is pretty much nonexistent I decided to pick up a few of the packets to see if they were something I liked and would want to make from scratch in the future. They are also great for those nights when you are too lazy or don't have time to cook.

I have never had Chana Masala before but when I saw the ingredients on the label I was sold. Another selling point was the fact that it A. contained chickpeas and tomatoes and B. I only had to add chickpeas and tomatoes! I had a feeling I wouldn't be let down and as usual my gut was right(though it usually is when it comes to food!) Chana Masala is a very popular dish in Indian cooking and I can see why. The combination of all of the spices give it an extremely savory flavor with the cumin really coming through.

I also made some half assed Saffron scented rice to go with it. I got a jar of it from Santa in my stocking this year and had not used any of it until tonight. I have never cooked with saffron and because it is a pretty expensive spice and not something I would normally buy for myself I have been saving it until I felt a dish really warranted me busting it out. Tonight was that night. I did plan on making it the proper Indian way but the lack of rice, time and energy I had just didn't allow for that to happen. I didn't realize I was out of rice until I was already home and had the saffron threads soaking so I had to use rice from the nearest convenience store, who of course only had shitty Minute Rice. The rice still came out pretty good even though I didn't soak the threads nearly long enough and again, had to use not so great rice.

All in all this lazy night dinner was pretty successful and I am really looking forward to making Chana Masala from scratch as well as proper Indian Saffron Rice.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Buffalo Soy Curl Hot Pockets

So the one week I decided to take off from the Cookbook Challenge has now gone into a second week. I have been beyond lazy lately, but I am back. Still kind of lazy but actually making an effort. Since it is now  halfway through the week I am going to wait until Sunday or Monday to get back on the Challenge Wagon. Just because I haven't actually been cooking anything worth writing about doesn't mean I haven't  been coming up with lots of awesome ideas though. Last night's Hot Pockets were one of them

Yes, Hot Pockets. I decided on this idea on the train after work earlier tonight. Last night I made Buffalo Soy Curl Pizza(the photos came out horrible so there will be no official post on that) and still had a bunch of leftover Buffalo Soy Curls, some Vegan Blue Cheese(see below for recipe) that I made, vegan cheese and pizza sauce. The only thing I didn't have already was dough. I didn't use a yeast based dough last night or tonight but only because I lacked the time and motivation to make one. Last night I used a basic yeast free pizza dough recipe, nothing special. Tonight I decided to change things up a little. To my basic pizza dough recipe I added a tablespoon of Vital Wheat Gluten just for shits and giggles. It actually produced a dough that when cooked was a cross between basic pizza dough and basic pastry crust.

After I divided and rolled out the dough and shredded the cheese it was time to assemble. I used a block of Cheddar from Galaxy Nutritional Foods. Normally for something like this I would use Daiya but I was all out. For the first time that I can remember actually using the Galaxy brand I was surprised at how much I like it. Don't eat it raw though, not good.

 I spread a thin layer of sauce on one side of each piece of dough(I don't like a lot of sauce), sprinkled that with some cheese, topped that with some buffalo soy curls with a few extra dashes of Frank's Red Hot and topped that with a little more cheese. Then it was time to fold, bake and consume!

The dough "rectangles" came out pretty rustic looking so when they were folded over they looked more like empanadas or mini calzones but I don't care, I am still calling them Hot Pockets!

They weren't very big but they were pretty damn filling. Delicious too! Vegan Blue Cheese is the perfect companion for these little guys. If you were a blue cheese dressing lover in your pregan days, you will love the recipe, I promise.

Hot Pocket Dough

1 1/2 cup flour
1 tblspn Vital Wheat Gluten
1 tblspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
2 tblspns olive oil
1/2 cup water. A few extra tblspns if needed

*Preheat 450*

1. Mix all dry ingredients in bowl and make a well in the center. 
2. Add remaining ingredients. 
3. Mix until combined into a dough
4. Knead 5-7 minutes until elastic. 
***You can be lazy like me and do steps 3 and 4 right in your stand mixer***
5. Dump dough onto floured surface and knead another minute or two, with your hands this time, to gauge if the dough needs more liquid or flour. 
6. Divide dough into 4 equal portions and roll each out into about an 8x6 rectangle. Don't worry if you can't get a perfect rectangle, mine didn't come close. 
7. Add toppings(whatever you would like) to one side of the dough, fold over, crimp shut with a fork and poke a few holes in the top to allow steam to escape. 
8. Bake about 15 minutes until they start turning golden brown.

Vegan Blue Cheese
1/2 cup crumbled firm tofu
 1 cup Veganaise or other vegan mayo
1/4 tsp tahini
dash of garlic powder
dash of lemon juice(literally just a dash)
dash of apple cider vinegar

1. Mix Veganaise, tahini, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and garlic powder until smooth. 
2. Mix in crumbled tofu. 
3. Serve with your favorite spicy buffalo foods and enjoy!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cookbook Challenge Week 4. VwaV - White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup

Trying to keep up with the Cookbook Challenge, trying to create my own recipes, working, trying to have a social life and getting enough sleep while still getting up before the sun has been extremely difficult the past 2 weeks so I have decided to take the next week off from the challenge. I also don't own the book for Week 5, Eat, Drink and Be Vegan, though I could very well just google some recipes, I have decided a break is in order. In addition to all that, I am now the proud owner of my very first DSLR, my dad bought me a used Nikon D40. I am beyond excited to learn how to use it and see the quality of my photos increase. That being said, I have no idea how to use it so I want to take my time and photograph whatever I am eating but without the (self imposed) pressure of cooking a few meals a night from scratch from a cookbook. I will still be blogging though, it will just be shorter posts with not so detailed recipes. Now, I will leave you with the last  thing I made from Vegan with a Vengeance for Week 4.

When I started this challenge I decided I was only going to use recipes that I had never made before but I cheated. I have made the White Bean and Roasted Garlic Soup before and all week leading up to Thursday I couldn't stop thinking about it. It is such a simple soup to prepare but is so full of flavor and filling I couldn't not make it again. There aren't many ingredients but the combination of them all works in a way I could have never imagined. After I roasted the garlic I sauteed up some onion and threw most of everything else in the pot. After giving it a go in the VitaMix I was left with creamy perfection. I sprinkled the soup with a little more salt and pepper and a few drops of truffle oil for some extra deliciousness. As if the soup wasn't already awesome enough it was even better with a piece of chewy rosemary ciabatta toast dipped in it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cookbook Challenge Week 4. VwaV - Seitan Portobello Stroganoff

I really can't believe it's already Week 4. Halfway through no less! I have been slacking the past week or so, for Week 3 I only made 2 recipes out of the 3 I had planned. But this week is all about Vegan with a Vengeance. This is the first vegan cookbook I owned, my mom gave it to me for Christmas 2 years ago while I was still a vegetarian. As much as I love all of my vegan cookbooks, especially Veganomicon, this one will always be my favorite. I've made some pretty badass dishes from it that I know I will keep going back to because they are just that good.

For the Cookbook Challenge I decided to step out of my comfort zone of tried and true recipes and try some new stuff(except the seitan, I've made that before.) Technically I made 3 recipes from the book on Sunday but 2 went together for a meal and the other was just dessert so I am still planning on making at least one more good meal and maybe another dessert by weeks end.

I decided to make Seitan Portobello Stroganoff with homemade seitan, homemade pasta and Coconut Heaven Cupcakes. I definitely had my work cut out for me. I spent the entire day in the kitchen!

Let's start with the pasta...

I haven't busted out my pasta machine in a few years so I figured no better time than now to dust it off and crank out some sheets of fresh fettuccine to go with the Stroganoff. I forgot how easy it actually is and now that I've been reminded I can see more fresh pasta in my cooking future. Probably only on weekends though, it is easy but a little time consuming. The results are so much more worth your time than the $1 you spend on a package of dried shit at the grocery store. It cooks almost instantly, it has a fresh taste and you can customize the dough however you want by adding different flours, seasonings, oils or even pureed greens. I kept it simple for this recipe just in case my pasta making skills had disappeared. Luckily they are still here! I am really looking forward to trying out some different flavor and flour combinations to create the perfect pasta but in the meantime I will give you the recipe I used.

Fresh Vegan Pasta

1 2/3 cup flour - I used AP
2/3 cup water
1/2 tspn salt
1 tspn garlic powder
1 tblspn truffle oil (or olive oil if thats what you have)

On the counter or in your mixing bowl(I took the lazy Kitchenaid route) Dump the flour, salt and garlic powder into a little mountain.

Using your finger make a well in the middle, like a volcano.

Pour the water and oil into the well and using a wooden spoon or your dough hook mix until it comes together to form a dough.

Dump onto floured surface and using your hands(don't forget to flour them too!) knead for about 5 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky.

Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes, I cover it in saran wrap for this step.

Once rested divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Taking the first section using your hands roughly make the dough into a rectangle shape and start running through your pasta machine on the thickest setting 2-3 times.

Repeat with every setting going down to thin out the dough. Dust with flour as needed.

At this point the pasta sheet should be very long. I cut it in half or thirds(depending on the length I would like my noodles to be) and then run each shorter sheet through the pasta cutter.

Put on a drying rack, hang on a broom or door for at least 30 minutes before cooking. If you are going to store them, dry them out for longer and seal in a bag with as much air removed as possible. You can also freeze the noodles prior to cooking.

When ready to cook, bring water to a boil and submerge noodles. Once the water comes back to a boil and the noodles float to the top, they are done. This will vary from 30 seconds to 3 minutes depending on thickness and freshness of the pasta.

Now onto the Seitan Portobello Stroganoff. If you are a PPKer reading this, than I know I am not the only one who is chuckling at the word "stroganoff.' I've never had any type of stroganoff before this one(are there different kinds?) so I didn't know what to expect, except deliciousness of course! I got what I expected, and more. It looks like something a mean old cafeteria lady who reeks of cigarettes would plop onto your plate in school, or maybe even prison. Don't let the looks fool you into thinking it will be as unappetizing as it looks. This dish is packing some serious flavor on so many levels. It is so hearty and savory with a nice little kick at the end from the dijon mustard. I promise you, make this recipe and you will love it.

Last but definitely not least, let's talk about the Coconut Heaven Cupcakes. Using the word 'heaven' in the title is no joke. These cupcakes really are like dying and going to heaven(if you believe in that sort of thing). If you are a cupcake lover and especially a coconut lover, these babies are for you! Coconut cupcake with coconut frosting, hell yes. There is something about shredded coconut that gets me every time, I just can't say no. I only shared these cupcakes with a few people but heard only awesome things that these are going to become a standard cupcake for me. I have recently started using vanilla bean paste in place of vanilla extract in my baked goods and have noticed  huge difference in flavor. The biggest difference though was in these cupcakes, the vanilla and coconut flavors were totally balanced so neither one was too overpowering. Although it is much more expensive, the level of flavor it adds is worth the extra money for the paste. All those little black specks you see in the frosting in the picture below isn't a screw up, or pepper or any other weird shit, it's actually the vanilla!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ding Ding Ding, We Have some Winners!!

There are 3 different winners, each winning their own bag of Soy Curls! Congratulations to Momo, Brandy and Sara!!!!!!!!! I will be contacting everyone to get their addresses and will be shipping Thursday or Friday. I hope you enjoy them!