Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Happy Halloween? The hurricane definitely put a damper on Halloween this year, but we're trying to make the best of it. Nik and I carved our pumpkins before the storm and I think they look pretty good, yeah? It's crazy that another year of VeganMOFO is over and that it is freaking NOVEMBER tomorrow. Crazy-pants! Hope you have a good one!
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Hello! Checking in to say I'm okay. We were with the lucky few that didn't lose power and didn't suffer any damage to our property or to ourselves. We lost internet/cable, but that was no big deal in the grand scheme of things. It got a bit scary last night in the peak of the storm, with the wind and all the sirens and the smell of fire in the air. So many folks without power or shelter today. It was pretty heartbreaking to read the news last night and this morning...
Nik and I took a walk around our neighborhood this afternoon, to survey the damage, and just to get out of the house for a bit. Our area did okay during the storm, save for some fallen trees and some construction zone flooding and lots of debris. Some photos on our walk:
|Tree in the local McCarren Park|
|See those big flood lights standing up? Now the one laying down...|
|Construction site in Williamsburg, Brooklyn|
|This water is not supposed to be here...Construction zone right by the East River in Williamsburg, Brooklyn|
|Vinnie's was open today, so I had a vegan eggplant parm slice.|
Monday, October 29, 2012
Hello! We're starting off this week with a good old-fashioned hurricane! Just kidding, there is nothing good about this. Hurricane Sandy is barreling towards the East Coast at this very moment, and NYC is shut down completely. Seriously, all the subways and busses, the New York Stock Exchange, Grand Central Station, airports, local businesses, everything. They're even shutting down the Holland and Battery tunnels this afternoon. President Obama declared a state of emergency. There was a mandatory evacuation of all Zone A residents, by the waterfronts, last night. I'm in Zone B, and Zone C technically starts across the street, so I think I'll be okay. I'm not sure I have ever seen the city this serious about a storm, and I have to admit it is making me a bit nervous. It's SUPER windy outside and we've seen a little rain. Parts of the city have already started to flood and Sandy hasn't even touched down yet. The big surge is supposed to happen this evening, during high tide (and it's a full moon too!) where a 6-11ft surge of water is expected. So yeah...nervous!
I weather-stress-baked last night and made some apple spice muffins and a loaf of Green Monster bread. Nik and I are just trying to keep busy working today and anxiously looking out the window. Hopefully we don't lose power... Stay safe East Coast friends!
Thursday, October 25, 2012
More kitchen experiments with Artisan Vegan Cheese! This book is so fun, seriously. I have been eyeing the Pub Cheddar with Chives for awhile, and finally took the plunge. For some reason, I had it in my head that this would be like a crock cheese (you know, like they used to make you sell in band, back in grade school, to raise money for new uniforms and whatnot? Did you have to do that too? They gave you a catalog of super-processed cheese logs, ew!) Anyways, this was not a spreadable crock cheese that was bright orange, but instead was a very sliceable and tangy cheese dotted with bites of yummy chives. This was SO good paired with pears or apples. Also pretty excellent cubed up and mixed into a salad. I was pretty into it.
Monday, October 22, 2012
Happy Monday! Lots to do this week, so I'm starting it off on a good note with another tester recipe for Isa's new book. Coconut French Toast for the win! I love french toast so hard, but I'm always way too lazy to make it. Something about dipping stuff in batter before noon usually turns me off. Turns out, this was a super-easy recipe, and I love me some coconut, so it was a definite winner. No recipe this time, but it's worth the wait until the book comes out!
Friday, October 19, 2012
Hooray for Friday! It's been a long week and I'm looking forward to a sunny Autumn weekend. These Chai Spice Snickerdoodles are soo good. They are a tester recipe for Isa's new book coming out, and I love them so much that I have made them twice already. Nom nom nom.
Snickerdoodles might be my favorite cookie. I have very fond memories of my Mom making them for us as a kid. It's essential to get that perfect balance between a soft, chewy middle and crispy, crunchy exterior and edge. So good!
Recipe is up on her blog, so you can make them too!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
It's Calendar time! Three new calendars this year, one with all cats, one with all dogs, and one of my "regular" calendars that I make every year. Two sizes too. My main one is the usual 8"x10" and the Cat and Dog ones are smaller at 5"x8.5". Super-psyched on these! Also, I feel like I have been working on these forevvvverrrrr, which I kinda have, because, um, 36 new illustrations! I'm really happy to be able to finally release them into the wild! Calendars can be found in the shop here and allllll the new prints can be found here.
And the pups!
Nik and I have been wanting to make our own hot sauce for awhile now, and last time we were at the farmer's market, we grabbed one of those big baskets of mixed hot peppers to finally get on it. You can see the assortment of peppers that I had, so this recipe definitely isn't scientific. That is what I like about making homemade condiments though, you can make any sort of adjustments that you want and it will surely still turn out. This turned out a tad too hot for me, but was perfect when I pureed in an apple into half of the batch (Nik isn't a spice-wuss like me, so I kept a super-hot half-batch for him.) My favorite way to eat this so far, is to mix a little in with some Veganaise on a sammich. Mmm...
2 Sweet Peppers
25 Odd hot peppers
6 cloves garlic
1/2 medium red onion
1-2 tsp of salt
1 cup distilled vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 apple (optional)
Directions: Chop and puree! For a sweeter sauce, puree 1 apple with the rest of the ingredients.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
So, I've been on a quest to make homemade soy creamer for my coffee. I make my own soy milk each week, and I don't tend to flavor it all all (mostly because I never drink it straight, it usually just goes in something I'm cooking or baking.) But I do like a little cream in my coffee sometimes and the plain soymilk tends to be a bit thin and not very cream-like. Especially when you compare it to the store-bought creamers, like from Trader Joe's. That is where some homemade soy creamer ideas started to dance around in my head. There aren't too many recipes out there on the interweb for homemade vegan creamers, but one did stand out. I was really excited when I made this one, because hello, foam! The first batch I made, straight from the recipe, I loved the foam, but the taste was too strong from the vanilla extract. Second time I made it, I left the extract out, but my oil/soymilk kept separating in the fridge and in my coffee, so that was no good. And the taste still wasn't quite right.
Plan Two was to try and make a sweetened condensed soymilk. I was a little bit over-ambitious with this one, and got it in my head that it also needed to be pumpkin-flavored, because HELLO PUMPKIN-SEASON! No photo of this, but it was waaaaaaaaay too sweet to ever put in my precious coffee. It was a delicious syrup though that I'm sure you could add over pancakes or something. (I added 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin to the recipe.)
Plan Three was the most obvious and simplest of the bunch. I just took 2 cups of the soymilk, put it in a pan, and boiled it down so there was only 1 cup left. Simple and delicious. I just add a little bit of sugar to my coffe and some of the thickened soymilk and call it a day. It's still not as thick as the store-bought creamer, but it works well and I like that I can control the sweetness level. I might experiment a bit further with almond milk and maybe even reducing it more. (no photo because it looks like a normal cup of coffee, mmmm...)
Monday, October 15, 2012
I'm not a huge pear-lover, but I've been getting so many in my CSA lately, that a pie (or two or three!) needed to happen to take care of them. Along comes Vegan Pie in the Sky to the rescue! I went for the Pear Frangipane Tart, not expecting to super-love it, because of my meh feelings about pears, but I was totally wrong! Turns out pears are delicious when baked! And this pie is like whoaa. Nik feels the same way about pears and we were both really in love with this pie. Isa and Terry are awesome and put the recipe for this up on the PPK, for your own getting-rid-of-pears-pleasure! The custard-y-part of this pie is sooo damn good.
(my little sis got me this ceramic baking dish for Christmas last year and I'm in love with it!)
Thursday, October 11, 2012
I think it is an art (or luck?) in achieving perfectly crispy homemade sweet potato fries. Too often they turn out kinda soggy (but still delicious,) or dried out, but occasionally I can manage that perfect crisp. I shook these around in some olive oil, salt, pepper, and some tapioca starch (was out of cornstarch) until everything was evenly coated. You have to get that perfect balance of just enough oil and just enough starch, but not too much of either or the results won't be ideal. But yeah, sweet potato fries for the win this time!
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Did you guys see Lazy Smurf's PSA regarding Burritos vs. Tacos? It's kind of the best. Taco taco taco.
This said taco has potatoes, black beans, cheddar Daiya, kale, onions, yellow squash, avocado, and the last of the summer tomatoes *sadface* It had a whole lot of yum going on.
On the non-VeganMOFO-side of things, I'm prepping a massive shop update, most likely for the beginning of next week (but maybe sooner if the weather cooperates and gives me some good photo-taking-light!) Super-excited to release everything. I made three calendars this year, so that means I've been sitting on 36 new illustrations. O_o One is all-cats, one is all-dogs, and one is my normal illustrated calendar that I do every year. Yeah, I'm crazy. Anyways! Calendars and new illustrations to come!
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
I've only made gnocchi one other time before, and it was a miserable soggy failure of sorts. But these! Beautiful little nuggets of yum! I used the recipe for the sweet potato gnocchi from Chloe's Kitchen, but veered off-course from the recipe for the sauce (It was basically a sage + butter sauce, and I couldn't find fresh sage at the farmer's market.) I just added some dry spices and lots of fresh garlic to the melted Earth Balance, and threw in some zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and kale to up the health factor (as healthy as something can be, in a butter sauce!) This was so so good. It made a ton too, so it was a meal for a few days (which also means, garlic breath for days!)
Totally an Autumn meal. It's been chilly for the last few days here and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Seriously, summer-time in NYC is brutal and I am so excited to put on layers and hoodies and stripey socks and drink endless cups of hot tea. Autumn-4-evah.
Monday, October 8, 2012
I've always felt like I have been some kind of a failure when it comes to making my own bread from scratch. The loaves never rise that much in the oven or they just come out super-dense and crumbly or have some other sad problem. Sigh. But these! These are kinda awesome. The Green Monster Bread, from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day, by the ever-lovely lady-duo of Celine and Tami, totally rose and did their thing all proper-like. Woot! I went and made the roll/bagel version, which requires you to boil them quickly in a baking soda/water pot. Love the chewiness and hard exterior that gives it. And Arugula is the best, so I appreciate being able to cram into more of my meals. Hooray for sammiches!
I made mine with white whole wheat and spelt flour, instead of all-purpose flour, hence the more of a Brown Monster Bread hue (2 cups WW and 1 cup spelt).
(Above sammich has a veganaise/hot sauce smear, tomatoes, avocado, and baked tofu for some ultimate yum-lunch.)
Friday, October 5, 2012
Happy Friday! I've never considered myself a fan of bloody mary's, in fact, tomato juice has always been kinda ennhhh to me. Ironically, Nik (the biggest tomato-hater I know) loves the stuff. Anyways. We made this a few weeks ago (using vegan worcestershire sauce), when we had a butt-load of tomatoes from our CSA. Delicious! I'm a believer now! I think the olive juice and fresh tomatoes makes it.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
I found this tutorial recently on how to regrow celery, that totally blew my mind. I mean, whoa! So I naturally had to try it. Mine are still little and cute, but growing more each day. I am not a huge celery-devourer, so this seems ideal for me, being able to just cut off a stalk or two as needed. Go celery, go!
And then I got two kinds of bok choy in my CSA last week, and the end stalks were so pretty that I had to save them and try to regrow them also. (I have no idea if this will actually work!)
Send happy bok choy and celery growing vibes!