Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mega-Sandwiches. Recipe liberation

I swear that this blog has become a recepticle for me to show off my unhealthy drive to make decadent desserts, and be illiterative. Still, I DO make actual food, like, food you can eat three to five times a day... Sometimes. I feel like I should make a confession here. I am a really really weird eater, or a scavenger, or a weird scavenger eater? I obsessively, impulsively have to try a taste of every thing available. It is a horrble trait i really need to conquer but ohmygoditssohard! So when it comes to cooking I go for quick gratification, or concoctions based on what I have lying around... which is often rather obscure or not at all measured. Withered ginger, the scrapings from a near-empty jar of red curry paste, salvagable scallions. half a zucchini... yeah I can work with that, but doesn't make for a great or photogenic recipe.

Desserts fit really well into my lifestyle because no one turns down a piece of cake, a brownie, or even a scoop of ice cream. I can make them, and disperse it at a leisurely rate over the next several days. Real food, however... is not quite so easy or fun to hand out like say, prescription drugs at an end-of-year college party (is that off-colour?). Sometimes, however, I get inspired, or the leftovers I have lying around line up just right... So I present you with a more asthetically-appealing fridge and pantry cleaner... Actually, this is going to be a poor recipe, because well.. it was a pantry cleaner, so I'm giving estimates, and if you don't have it, you'll have to improvise...

Spicy Fennel Seitan Sausage Muffaletta

1 8-10" round olive loaf, cut into three layers

Varying volumes of spicy faux meat (depends on how thick you like it, oh thats what she said)*

1/2 cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 c olives
2 T garlic
1 Shallot, peeled, coarsely chopped
Olive oil

2-4 C baby spinach (or chopped regular)
2 T Brown Rice vinegar
2 Medium Tomatoes, thinly sliced
Roasted red peppers (or in my pantry-cleaning case, I used a roasted red pepper and carmelized onion relish)

*I used a home made spicy fennel seitan sausage that I have not yet gotten a consistent recipe for, will back link it to this post when I do have it. Millenium's cookbook has a good recipe here.

Toss the spinach with brown rice vinegar, let sit.
In a food processor place the cherry tomatoes, olives, garlic, shallots, and salt/pepper in to taste. Give a glug or two of olive oil. Pulse until it reaches a consistency you like (I enjoy coarsely chopped, but you can make more of a paste).

Thinly slice the "meat," and spread on the bottom slice of the bread. Top with a layer of the tomato-olive relish. Top with half of the spinach, place on baking sheet. On the middle slice of the bread, place a layer of tomatoes, then sausage, then roasted red peppers. Top with remainder of spinach.

OPTIONAL: Place sandwiches under low broiler to wilt spinach (yum).

OK I need to stop procrastinating... Sandwich is pictured with a simple mixed greens and low fat sorta-not-UNhealthy chocolate cookie.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Originally uploaded by vapidchick
Coming up, spicy sausage muffaletta... assuming I survive.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lazy Blogday - Twofers Unrelated - Sunbutter Cookies n' Cream, and Chocolate Mousse Pie

These desserts really do not have a whole lot in common, and both stand up well enough on their own to not have to be sharing a plate... The pie in particular, at least if you get a bite with the crust. I have never had a pie in which the content was so meaningfully enhanced by the crust; in this case a mocha-walnut concoction. The airy filling is grounded in harmony the earthy base.

The sunbutter ice cream, I am not so kind toward. It is delicious and addictive, but also hard and flaky if not allowed to warm up a little, first. I will probably be making it again, and try some new spins on it... Texture aside, at the end of the day its life in my freezer will not be long. Still, if I want something more solid I will be going to my other peanut butter ice cream recipe.

My photographic laziness aside, there is a reason these two gems (one may be a little rougher, but) share a plate. They both offer special considerations toward the sensitive and the allergy-prone. The pie contains no gluten (or dairy ;) ), and the ice cream was made with a peanut-butter allergic friend in mine. So for those times when you don't want to make someone feel like everyone else is eating less well because of their needs, these dishes could please any palette.

Sins for Saints Chocolate Mousse Pie

So this came about because I wanted to make something for the massage workshop I was partaking in over the weekend. I was not feeling amazingly inspired the night before the event, though. So I just figured "meh," and went to bed later than I should have. I woke up, still wanting to make something, and fingered through a cookbook for an idea and saw a mousse. When I first experimented with vegan cooking, a tofu-based strawberry-kiwi chocolate pudding was one of my first recipes... so I ran some math in my head and this is what I got.

It was 7:50 AM. My workshop was at 9. Travel time was half an hour. Time was of the essence, so oven baking was out of the question. I wanted to do an oreo cookie crust, but with only 6 cookies that wasn't happening. So instead the crust was inspired by my experience with raw desserts. It was a total win, even better one of the girls of the group is gluten-intolerant, which I had forgotten. And the mousse.. well.. its just good... The food-making part was done within 25 minutes, and while I could have left the kitchen cleaner, I certainly could have left it worse. I was amazingly happy with it (so was everyone else). Though I am going to say it is absolutely necessary to make sure to get a bit of crust with each bite of mousse. Knowing that, So, onto the tart.

1 and 3/4 c walnuts*
1/4 c cocoa powder**
1/2 t sea salt
2 T maple syrup
1-2 T raw coconut butter
1 t ground coffee

15 oz dark chocolate, chopped***
1 c plus 2 T soy milk
1 T cocoa powder**
3/4 t kuzu starch
20 oz silken tofu
1/4 c maple syrup
2 t vanilla paste (or extract)
1/2 t almond extract

1. To make the crust, place walnuts in a food processor and chop until they are fine crumbs. Add everything else except the coconut oil and mix well. Add enough coconut oil for the crust to stick together. Press into 10" spring form pan and place in fridge to set.

2. To prepare the mousse filling dissolve the kuzu in the 2 T of soymilk. While it dissolves, place the chocolate, cocoa powder, and 1 C of soy milk in a double boiler. Add the dissolved kuzu starch and heat over simmering water, in the double boiler, until melted, stirring occasionally. It should take about 15-20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, place the tofu in a blender bowl or food processor and blend until smooth. Add maple syrup, vanilla, and almond extract and blend again. Either blend with chocolate mixture, or fold in.

4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the springform pan, and chill until set (about 2 hours), or overnight, before serving.

*I used soaked and dehydrated but that is up to you
***I used a blend of Trader Joes Dark Pound Plus and Callebeut Semisweet


Sunbutter Ice Cream

9 oz silken tofu
1 c water
1 c soy milk
1 c sunbutter
1/4 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla
1 T powdered maca (Optional. I like the malty flavor it imparts)
15-20 (or more!) Chocolate Sandwich cookies (I used Joe-O's), broken up just a lil'.

Bring the water to a boil, add sugar and let cook for 5 minutes. Let cool. Blend remaining ingredients (except for the cookies) until smooth. Chill and prepare according to the directions of your ice cream maker. Once mixed, add in the cookies and either stir in by hand or churn until they are just mixed. Pack into container and enjoy now, or later, or now and later.