Vegan MoFo

Vegan MoFo Day 31: Nothing I say here won’t sound cheesy

Or noochy, if you’ll forgive the terrible joke. “MoFo was the friends we made along the way” just makes me think of The Good Place. Everything else is a giant cliche? Not that I’m above a cliche.

Anyway, for today, the last day of Vegan MoFo 2019, we’re to reflect and maybe take inspiration from another MoFo’er. I have loved following everyone’s creative contributions over on the ‘gram and in the blogs. Some folks’ commitment to a theme was wildly impressive indeed (Star Wars puns? Dishes found in Adventure Time? Dang), and everyone made at least one thing that’s going to stick in my mind as something I need to revisit and try sometime.

But for today…I attempted something that will never live up to its inspiration, but was nonetheless worth a try: biscuits. Specifically, the biscuits Sarra makes with the obvious skill of someone who’s been making biscuits for a while. So flaky! So much rise! So many reasons to keep a watchful eye on her Instagram for any announcements concerning a biscuit zine she may be writing right now!

Mine, though…

Above: Eh, serviceable. A little flat. Probably a smidge overbaked. Too much salt??

Well, anyway, they worked well enough as the starchy component for a pretty simple dinner: smoky baked tofu, garlic braised kale, and a warm and tangy tomato relish.

Above: Din-din.

Oh, the sauce? The sauce was good. That is a thing I am good at. It’s not a recipe, though. Just, like… half a big red onion, sliced into quarter moons and fried in a bunch of olive oil for a few minutes before adding several (four?) dry-farmed tomatoes, which I’d cut into wedges. That cooked down with a little salt, a spoonful of brown sugar, and, later on, red pepper flakes. After letting the liquid cook down (tomatoes release a LOT of liquid), I left it on low and added some hot sauce and several spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar. Just keep tasting and going with your gut, really. It’s quite good, I think.

Anyway, I don’t usually bother with the blog posting, though I might sometimes when I have more to say than what fits on an Instagram post. Follow me over there if you want to keep up. I’ll follow back most of the time (unless you’re obviously just selling something/content aggregating, or post mostly weird diet shit, or are a private account of someone I don’t know at all). See you for Vegan MoFo 2020!

Vegan MoFo

Vegan MoFo Day 8: Jam & Scones

Today’s prompt got me to make jam from scratch for the first time, because you can’t have scones without jam!

Specifically, boysenberry jam. Fresh from the market. Would Mary Berry approve? I don’t know. But Simon & Garfunkel would be into it.

A photo of Mary Berry holding up a cup of tea and smiling against a background of pink and white roses. Text boxes are superimposed with the quotes: "I prefer boysenberry more than any ordinary jam" and "I'm a Citizens for Boysenberry Jam fan"
Above: I made this in PowerPoint. I am a dork.

I didn’t use a recipe, but consulted the google machine for information on general cooking methodology and sugar-to-fruit ratios (settled on 1:2 by weight). I mashed the berries, I stirred in some sugar, I added a little lemon zest and juice, and I let it simmer for maybe an hour so it reduced. Three pints of fresh berries turned into about two cups of jam. I popped it in the freezer ’cause I can’t be bothered to can.

Above: Freshly-baked mini scones.

For the scones, I relied on this recipe that specified a preference for English-style scones vs. American. My main experiment here was using oat milk that I infused with lemon verbena; I don’t think the flavor really came through unless you ate them plain and were really looking for it, but it smelled lovely.

Above: My babies! My baby scones, smothered with homemade jam and not-so-homemade vegan butter (Miyoko’s), served with iced tea because IT’S SUMMER.

Overall effect was faaaantastic. God, homemade jam? How did I never do this before??? It was easy and delicious???? I’ve already eaten most of it???????

Vegan MoFo

Vegan MoFo Day 5: Unfussy pastry

I thought about trying to learn real pastry stuff–patisserie, puff pastry, choux, something like that–but frankly? I don’t have it in me to do the work. Especially for a special treat. Dinner, maybe. So I had to go look up what the hell counts as “pastry” before concluding that, OK, pie crust is pastry. Good enough for me.

Because I’m aiming to make things I haven’t made before, I wanted to do a galette. I might’ve made one before; I don’t really remember. I didn’t make this particular crust recipe before or this particular combination of fillings. And a bonus: it is super easy and forgiving.

Above: Rolled out crust, filled with peaches and raspberries, ready to galette it.

I made one recipe of a double crust (I will probably use the other half for another prompt, sshhh) from Vegan Pie in the Sky using half whole wheat pastry flour and half all purpose. It came together really fast in the food processor because I like a useful shortcut, okay? Then I brought it to my partner’s mom’s house to assemble, bake, and enjoy.

Above: Edges folded over the peach slices. Ah well.

Filled with fresh peaches from her tree and raspberries I picked up at the farmers’ market, it came together super easy. After consulting a few recipes and guides, I tossed the fruit with a little sugar, salt, lemon zest (also her tree), and cornstarch, then arranged it on top of the rolled out crust. The edges were folded over a bit haphazardly, then sprayed with a little olive oil and sprinkled with sugar.

Above: How the FFFFFFUCK did this turn out so nice?

Baked at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for maybe 35 minutes (started checking around 20), long enough for the crust to get a lovely golden shade and the fruit to bubble.

Above: Like…how.

It’s a slight thing, but perfect. Even the bottom was well cooked.

Above: Sliced and served with vanilla ice cream.

Also, not super sweet! I don’t like too-sweet desserts; this had a nice balance of tart and sweet.

Vegan MoFo

Vegan MoFo Day 4: Lil’ cakes

I have a fondness for carrot cake, despite rarely eating it and possibly never making it. (It might’ve been my parents’ wedding cake?) But I don’t NEED, like, a whole fucking layer cake in my house, especially when I’m cramming in a whole bunch of baking lately. The solution? Cupcakes.

I know. NOVEL.

Above: Cake batter in progress, next to the recipe from Super Fun Times.

I used Isa’s recipe from Super Fun Times, halved and poured into eight liners. Also I got to use some rainbow carrots for funsies. (I went with three little orange ones and one big white one. I figured more vibrant colors would get lost in the bake.)

Above: Cupcakes. Toothpick clean.

If you’re playing along at home, the bake time for these was about 35 minutes.

Above: Cream cheese frosting. Mmm.

Then: frosting. Because an “amazing cake” usually has some kind of extra sugary goodness, right? This was a thing of Kite Hill cream cheese, a little bit of Miyoko’s butter, vanilla extract, some powdered sugar (about a cup?), and lemon zest. It got really loose from the beating, so I chilled it before using.

Above: Icing tips and fancy decorating are not my fucking jam, okay? What a waste.

I was going to be all fancy, but I have like one icing tip and it fucking sucks. I am not good at this shit. So I just put it on with a butter knife and tried to give it some homey looking soft peaks. And oh yeah, a little extra decor.

Above: Lazy purple carrot rosettes. Eh? Eh??

Sure, I could’ve candied them or something, but I don’t care. They’re pretty enough.

Above: Decorated carrot cake cupcakes. Cuuute, right?

Oh, and tasty enough. Honestly a more important criterion.

Above: Delicious caloric intake.
Vegan MoFo

Vegan MoFo Day 3: ‘C’ is for Cookie

I love cookies. I have baked a LOT of cookies. Complicated ones, weird one, simple ones, soft ones, crispy ones–all kinds of cookies. But I was hoping to try something different this Vegan MoFo–at least, try a recipe I haven’t used before. And I was in the mood for peanut butter cookies.

Above: NuttZo, a nut/seed butter blend gifted to us by my partner’s mom to try. So many nuts and seeds!

Of the zillions of PBC (sure, let’s abbreviate) recipes out there, there was at least one I hadn’t made before: the one in Vegan for Everybody, the America’s Test Kitchen vegan cookbook that is upsettingly good. But being me, I had to fuck with it. It calls for creamy peanut butter; I used this NuttZo stuff I had yet to try. (I was a little worried about the chia and flax seeds messing with the texture, but it was OK.) It calls for corn syrup; mine leaked out all over a cupboard like six months ago and I wasn’t keen to replace it, so I just used agave. Also I used whole wheat pastry flour. That usually works fine as a sub for my purposes. I’m sure a purist could tell the difference.

Above: Cookie dough scooped and pressed with a fork, waiting for the oven.

Oh. It also says to press with a glass and sprinkle with crushed peanuts. I like that, but since (a) no peanuts in this nut butter and (b) I just LIKE the forking cross-hatch thing, I went my own way.

Above: Baked and cooling.

Verdict: Yes.

Food Blog

Emily C. on Instagram: “Celebrating makeup Thanksgiving/birthdays/general winter holidays today with a nice vegetarian tapas menu, everything homemade…”

Tapas menu:

Main course:

Dessert (inspired by Briony’s vegan showstopper from GBBO!)

  • Chocolate hazelnut cake and ganache (I added instant coffee to both the cake and the icing)
  • Candied hazelnuts (subbed coconut oil for the butter & skipped cinnamon)

  • Raspberry preserves filling (storebought); fresh and freeze-dried raspberries to decorate

Emily C. on Instagram: “Celebrating makeup Thanksgiving/birthdays/general winter holidays today with a nice vegetarian tapas menu, everything homemade…”

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 26: NO SOGGY BOTTOM on My Ice Cream Roll

What’s not to like about The Great British Bake-Off (known as The Great British Baking Show on this side of the Atlantic)? It seemingly exists in a world where the biggest worry a person can have is “Will these people like the thing I made?” They’re surrounded by generally well-meaning fellow home bakers in a pretty tent in the middle of an impeccably maintained countryside estate and doing something they love. Jesus, if fucking only.

I don’t generally do spectacle desserts. Who am I trying to impress, really? The Internet? Who cares?! I’d rather bake a fruit crisp or apples, something humble, that’s simpler, healthier, and just as tasty as an elaborate but finicky pastry or artfully decorated cake. But I do love the IDEA of fancypants desserts! So I thought about something that’s been on GBBO that’s close enough to my wheelhouse to make, and ended up with the ice cream roll.

Now, if I wanted to be really Bake-Offish about it, I would’ve made the ice cream and the jam from scratch, and I certainly could’ve, but it would require a much bigger investment in time and ingredients than I wanted to make for a dessert I don’t really have a reason to be making outside of this blog. It was worthwhile, however, to read up on baking a veganized fatless sponge.

Man, that is a DIFFERENT cake batter, but it worked! Whipping aquafaba full of air for leavening and carefully folding in the flour to avoid deflating it is quite the feat. Not hard, exactly, but not cooking 101 either. It turned out rather beautifully. I doubled the recipe (linked above) and baked it in a smallish shallow baking sheet (about 9” x 13” x 1”), let it cool completely, then smeared an entire jar of raspberry jam on the inside. Next I scooped about half or two-thirds of a pint of Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss, dark chocolate flavor, and used some plastic wrap to help me roll it up into a tight roll, wrap it up, and stick it in the freezer to firm up.

A key part of any “showstopper,” of course, is the decoration. Being me, I didn’t want to do anything too complicated, but I figured a chocolate drizzle, some toasted almonds, and fresh raspberries would liven it right up.

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 18: I Don’t Have a Cute Title for Double Chocolate Biscotti With Pistachios

I was going to make chocolate cupcakes, but I forgot to chill the coconut milk I intended to use for the icing, and I simply didn’t feel like making cupcakes. So I used the Kitchen Sink Chocolate Biscotti recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and mixed in chocolate chips and shelled pistachios. I know. Cool story, huh?


Food Blog None Vegan MoFo

Putting one giant zucchini to good use… Savory zucchini bread and pureed zucchini brownies.