Violet-Vanilla Bean Cupcakes.

I bought some dried violets a while back from one of my favorite places, The Spice Station. I knew when I bought them that I wanted to put them into a baked good. I was thinking cake or cupcakes, but wasn’t sure on what other flavors to use or incorporate. I was thinking of vanilla, lemon or perhaps another possible fruit to pair with the violets (berries?). I was having the hardest time figuring out what to make.

Dried Violets from The Spice Station Silverlake.

Then I saw this incredible looking violet liqueur whilst browsing K&L Wine Merchants for the first time, which was a pretty cool booze shop. After reading the bottle, I decided to buy it. I figured it could help with my cake or cupcakes and make me a classy cocktail. Win, win.

After tasting the dried violets and the liqueur, I decided to do a Violet-Vanilla Bean Cupcake. I think lemon would be great as well, and I may make up a batch of those yet to see which are better. For now though, please enjoy this recipe for Violet-Vanilla Bean Cupcakes.

Violet-Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 c cake flour (I like King Arthur brand Unbleached Cake Flour)

3/4 c unbleached cane sugar

1/2 tsp unbleached sea salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp dried violets

1 c water

2 tbsp Earth Balance, melted

2 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp violet liqueur

1 vanilla bean, split down the middle and scraped

Method: Do not use a stand mixer or electric mixer of any type for this recipe. This batter is very delicate (sorry, I hate when recipes have this warning) and over mixing will make your cupcakes or cake tough. The cupcake will turn out denser than the average cupcake, but should not be chewy or tough.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside. In a mixing bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients. For the sake of this recipe, let’s consider the vanilla bean part of the wet ingredients. Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients to make sure they are all incorporated together pretty well. Next, take another mixing bowl and whisk up your wet ingredients including the seeds scarped from inside of the vanilla bean. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and be careful to combine them using as few arm strokes as possible. Having some lumps is definitely okay! Fill your cupcake liners about 3/4 the way full and bake about 20 min or until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcakes comes out clean. I like to do one from the front row too, just to make sure.

Violet-Vanilla Bean Cupcakes.

I decided to do a Violet-Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting for these, but a nice fluffy buttercream would be just as nice.

Violet-Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1/4 c Earth Balance, softened

1/4 c vegan cream cheese, softened (I like Follow Your Heart brand for this)

2 c powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp violet liqueur

Method:

Cream Earthy B and vegan cream cheese together with stand or handheld mixer. Incorporate the powdered sugar, about 1/2 c at a time. Once the sugar is mixed in, add vanilla and violet liqueur. If you’d like the frosting to be a little stiffer, refrigerate it until ready to use. I don’t use a ton of frosting, so I had some extra. Maybe use it for another treat, like vegan dunk-a-roos? (Use Annie’s Bunny Grahams)

Long time, No blog.

It’s been a minute since I posted anything. January turned out to be such a busy and crazy month for me. Anyhow, I am finally getting myself back in the kitchen and going to be making up a storm of treats in the near future. To kick off the treat storm, I decided to make two dozen cupcakes for one of my bestie’s birthing day celebrations. She decided to go with a taco bar, so I decided to go with Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes, dusted with powdered sugar, cinnamon and cocoa as well as Dulce Sin Leche Cupcakes with lots of the sticky icky caramel glaze and topped with the most finely shredded coconut I’ve ever seen. People seemed to enjoy them. I think we were all a little drunk by the time they started being eaten, but that just made them extra delicious, er, muy delicioso.

 

Photos by the amazing Danielle, who also made this crazy, awesome tasting jalapeno/cucumber/vodka drink. You can see it to the left in the photo below. I don’t even like vodka, but the drink was outstanding. Unbelievably cool and fresh, topped off with a nice lil kick. You couldn’t even taste the vodka (that’s my kinda drink) Maybe she’ll do a guest post with the recipe?!?! 😉

Vegan Spaetzle w/ Roasted Heirloom Carrots & Cippolini Onions.

I bought a spaetzle maker ages ago. Did I ever get around to using it? Nah. Yesterday, I was lying in bed sick and watching Food Network. Nice to know that whatever is plaguing me is not affecting my appetite….sigh. Anyhow, Guy Fieri was on and I don’t mean Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives. It was some other old show of his. He had some kind of German theme going on and was making schnitzel, spaetzle and veggies. Well, dude inspired me to finally use my spaetzle maker to make some damn spaetzle. I thought the roasted veggies sounded amazing as well, so I picked up some heirloom carrots and cippolini onions to get the job done. I ended up having a really delicious meal despite my being a sick mess.

Vegan Spaetzle

Vegan Spaetzle.

Ingredients:

1 c corn flour

2 tbsp soy flour

2 c unbleached all purpose flour

4 tbsp Earth Balance, slightly softened

1 1/4 c water or thereabouts

3 tbsp Earth Balance

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

2 tbsp vegan parmesan, optional

Method:

Bring a medium to large size pot of vegetable broth to a boil. While the broth is heating up, make the spaetzle. Combine all of the dry ingredients. Then cut in the Earthy B with a pastry whisk as if you were making any other kind of pastry dough. Then add the water. The dough should be moderately stiff. Now, to make the spaetzle you will need a spaetzle maker or potato ricer to push the dough through. Grab whichever one of those tools you have and begin to push the dough through into the boiling broth. I had to do mine in batches, so don’t overcrowd your pot. The spaetzle are done cooking when they float to the top of your broth. Make sure to take a strainer and remove them, as they are pretty yucky and gummy when overcooked. Add a really small amount of Earthy B or oil to the spaetzle once they are out of the pot to keep them from becoming one large mass.

Once the spaetzle have cooled a bit, heat the 3 tbsp Earthy B over medium heat in a saute pan or skillet. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute. Add the spaetzle and saute for a minute or two. Add parsley, salt, pepper, and parmesan if using and remove from heat. Spaetzle is now ready to serve 🙂

Roasted Heirloom Carrots and Cippolini Onions

Roasted Heirloom Carrots & Cippolini Onions.

Ingredients:

1 bunch heirloom carrots, the smaller, the better–green tops removed

about 1/2 lb cippolini onions, skins removed

1/4 white wine

1/4 c vegetable stock

2 tbsp Earthy B, melted

salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place carrots (whole) on a baking sheet. Add the onions. If some of your cippolinis are big, cut them in half. Add remaining ingredients except for the parsley. Roast veggies in the oven for about 30 minutes or until tender. Serve beside your spaetzle and begin feasting.

Oyster Mushroom Po Boys & White Chocolate Raspberry Sage Tart.

Can I take a minute to talk about how much I love Alicia C. Simpson? Her books, Quick & Easy Vegan Comfort Food and Quick & Easy Vegan Celebrations are definitely both in my top 10 favorite cookbooks. Every recipe I’ve ever made of Alicia’s is always completely delicious and satisfying. She sort of inspired yesterday’s post about the weird lobster and yummy grits. My grits were actually an adaption of her grits recipe. There is a great recipe for lobster mushrooms and cheeze grits in Q&E Vegan Celebrations if you’re looking to recreate yesterday’s post; only better, because mushrooms are way better than that fake lobster. Anyhow, I’m really into Q&E Vegan Celebrations lately, mostly the Mardi Gras section. That chapter is chocked full of really irresistible southern recipes and I want them all in my mouth right now.

I decided to make the Fried “Oysters” and then make the “Oyster” Po Boy Sandwich, which both consist of deliciously crispy oyster mushrooms. The breading/dredging mixture is even gluten free! Rather than make the Ancho Tarter Sauce paired with the sandwich in the book, I stuck with the Cajun Spiced Horseradish dip/spread that is meant to accompany the fried oyster on their own. The fried oyster mushrooms were delicious on their own and were equally as good in a po boy sandwich. The cajun spices are so wonderfully aromatic that you get a lot of yummy spicy smells every time you go to take a bite.

Oyster Mushroom Po Boy.

After having eaten this delicious sandwich, I thought it was about time to remake the White Chocolate Raspberry Sage Tart, from Manifest Vegan. I had made this tart for a picnic back in July, but unfortunately it was so hot the day I went to serve it that it melted in the sun. The crust became soggy, the filling was warm and all around I was very displeased with it, mostly because of the heat, not the actual recipe. I also found that I made the raspberry topping much too tart and the sage also got lost. Some people who were at my picnic said they enjoyed the tart regardless of everything I thought was wrong with it, but I have been really wanting to make it again proper.

So, after deciding on the edits I was going to make, I went ahead and came up with a winner this time. I used an entirely different topping/jam recipe, fruit sweetened rather than with sugar, and opted to add my sage in fresh, after the jam had cooled. I used my own homemade white chocolate and cashews as called for the filling and left the crust recipe as is. I am happy to report that I’m really happy with how it turned out this time. The filling was cold and creamy and very lightly sweet, the chocolatey crust was perfect and the topping came out just as I imagined. It’s still raspberry and has that hint of tartness, but comes back sweet and the sage is there, but ever so subtle. LOVE. And gluten free! I’m not sensitive to gluten, but I love incorporating gluten free foods and meals into my diet. Variety is awesome. 🙂

“Lobster” & Cheddar Grits.

By far, the weirdest thing I have eaten since becoming vegan was this completely bizarre vegan lobster.

Vegan Lobster. Wtf.

It was made basically out of soy and starch, but when I saw it, I felt like I had to try it. After all, I am a fan of those crazy vegan shrimp… I decided that the best way to cook this was with Earth Balance, paprika, garlic, parsley and some other spices. I served it on top of some cheddar grits to a couple of friends. The verdict? We all thought the lobster tasted okay, but was pretty terrible, texturally speaking. It was overly firm and chewy, nothing like the texture of lobster. In the future, I’ll stick with lobster mushrooms as a lobster substitute, which is fine by me; they look and taste amazing and are a lot healthier than the soy beast pictured above. The grits on the other hand, were outrageously delicious. I like to use a mix of veggie stock and non-dairy milk (organic rice milk this time) to cook the grits. I also added a handful of shredded vegan cheddar.

"Lobster" & Cheeze Grits.

Happy New Year.

Hey. Happy New Year.

Now that that’s out of the way, I can’t believe that I did a post of broccoli and cheddar and forgot to talk about quiche. What….was I thinking…..As soon as I realized this terrible mistake, I immediately made a Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche. I used the filling recipe for the broccoli quiche in Vegan Brunch, but added some shredded cheddar style Daiya. How much to add is up to you. I used a crust recipe from the amazing Spork Sisters. I love their quiche crust recipe because it is relatively low fat compared to other crust recipes. Most recipes will basically have you make pie dough, with two whole sticks of Earth Balance etc. The Spork recipe just has a small bit of oil and a couple of other secret ingredients that make it delicious.