Strawberry-Rhubarb Key Lime Pie w/ Toasted Coconut Cream.

Saw this pie on one of my very favorite blogs Eat The Love. Irvin’s creations are of endless inspiration and this latest pie was no exception. Since the recipe has both curd filling and a meringue topping it was super egg heavy. Rather than try to veganize the curd, I just decided to go with a curd-like key lime filling that I already knew was super delicious; the Spork sisters key lime coconut bar filling. Since I had learned to make key lime bars in their Hawaiian Luau class, I thought that filling may translate well into a pie filling. And it did. Yay. If you want the deliciousness of the Spork sisters recipe and you either live in LA, or will be visiting this Sumemr, you’re in luck. The girls are doing their Hawaiian Luau class July 21st and 22nd of this year. The key lime coconut bars are part of the class!

I made up the crust called for in Irvin’s recipe. I don’t really care for gold tequila, so I used silver Patron in the crust. Lovely crust recipe for mexican or tropical pies and desserts. I also decided to use the Earth Balance Coconut Spread instead of traditional Earthy B for the crust. It added that ever so subtle touch of coconut that I love. 🙂

I made the strawberry rhubarb topping per Irvin’s instructions and baked on top of the filling.

Last was the meringue topping. I really thought about doing a vegan coconut meringue topping for a long time. I was stuck trying to decide on whether or not I should do meringue or toasted coconut cream. In the end, it was the toasted coconut cream that won. I The pie seemed to have come out really great so far. Meringue is so temperamental that I didn’t want to risk wrecking my pie over the topping. I knew a vegan cream with toasted coconut would also be delicious, so I went for it. It would be nice to see if I could pull off the coconut meringue in the future. Someday!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Key Lime Pie w/ Toasted Coconut Cream.

Chocolate-Avocado Cake.

I decided to make this cake for Mother’s Day.

The Italian side of my family came over for a fresh and light Italian feast. I made all kinds of things; Creamy pasta w/ white beans and asparagus, vegan Caprese salad, Field Roast Sausage & peppers, a vegan version of Giada’s Goat Cheese, Lentil & Brown Rice Rolls, and a big mixed green salad. I also made minted-citrus iced sweet tea. I wish I had a picture of the whole spread, but I was too busy putting everything together.

But….I did manage to photograph the Chocolate-Avocado Cake. If you read the recipe linked to above, you’ll see that this cake calls for a mashed up avocado. I had reservations about making it for my omnivorous family, but I decided to go for it. They have never tasted any of the tofu or other weird things I’ve put in to cakes before, so why not? Glad I decided to take the plunge because the cake was a hit.

I made a hazelnut mousse for the middle layer and the outer layer of frosting was just a chocolate buttercream. I had seen a non-vegan version of the decorations on the cake, which I thought were ridiculous, but also completely adorable. I wanted to recreate that look for my family and the Italian feast. I used frosting coated in chocolate cookie crumbs for the “meatballs”, vanilla buttercream piped for the spaghetti and blood orange jam for the “sauce”.

Lavender Apple Rhubarb Crisp.

Spring has really inspired my treats this year. I worked in my garden the other week and added a bunch of new plants. It makes me so happy just to sit and look at them. Does anyone else feel that way about their garden? Of course you do J Today I went out and bought 4 different varieties of lavender and planted them. They look so cute, so small and innocent. Soon they will be giant lavender plants blowing up with their awesome purple flowers everywhere.

Speaking of lavender, how about a lavender springtime treat? I think it’s in order.

Lavender Apple Rhubarb Crisp

Ingredients:

Topping-

½ c pecan halves, coarsely chopped

1 c unbleached all-purpose flour

½ c unbleached cane sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 stick or 8 tbsp Earth Balance

Filling-

4 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced into ½” slices

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp vanilla

5 rhubarb stalks, cut into ¼” chunks

2 tbsp dried lavender, ground in a spice grinder

¾ c unbleached cane sugar

3 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tsp cinnamon

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil an 8×8 baking dish.

Once the pecans are chopped, set them aside. Combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the Earth Balance with a pastry cutter and mix until it starts to resemble fine crumbs. Set aside.

Place the apples in a mixing bowl and toss with the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the rhubarb and all remaining ingredients. Transfer the fruit to the prepped baking dish. Sprinkle the pecan pieces on top of the fruit. Next, sprinkle the flour and Earth Balance mixture over the nuts. Bake 50-60 minutes. Served warm with a cold scoop of ice cream is the way to enjoy this treat.

 

Earl Grey Shortbread Hedgehog Cookies with Pixie Tangerine Zest & Citrus Glaze.

Earl Grey is my favorite tea; a distinct black tea with bergamot and citrus. Okay, I am going to make myself a cup after I finish writing this post. I saw this recipe for Earl Grey Shortbread cookies over on Clockwork Lemon. It looked easily veganizable and I had to use the last of my amazing Ojai citrus.

It also turned out that there was a Worldwide Vegan Bakesale event going on right down the street from my house. This bakesale was raising money for the awesome organization Compassion Over Killing. I decided to make up a batch of the above cookies and donate most of them to the bakesale.

I am happy to say they were buttery and delightful. I hope everyone else who got to try them feels the same.

Earl Grey Shortbread Hedgehog Cookies w/ Pixie Tangerine Zest & Citrus Glaze

Veganized from the adapted Martha Stewart recipe found on Clockwork Lemon

Ingredients:

2 c unbleached all purpose flour, minus 1 tbsp

1 tbsp arrowroot

2 tbsp earl grey tea

¼ tsp salt

1 c Earth Balance, room temp

½ c confectioner’s sugar

1 tbsp pixie tangerine zest

Method:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with silpats.

Combine flour, tea and salt. Next, in the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together Earth Balance, sugar, and zest until fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture.

Gather dough into a ball and chill in the fridge until cool enough to roll out. Roll dough out to about ¼” thick and cut into desired shapes. I don’t know, I was feeling hedgehogs! Bake 10-13 min until edges of cookies just start to turn golden.

For the glaze, I juiced my remaining citrus. It was a combo of navel oranges, pixies, gold nugget tangerines, and a Minneola tangelo. The juice was so good!

Anyhow, take  1-2 tbsp of orange, tangerine etc juice and the zest of a pixie or orange or whatever. Add confectioner’s sugar until a glaze of your desired thickness and consistency comes together.

Risotto w/ Leeks and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

Mmm risotto. I’ve posted a lot of recipes for risotto. And, I’m telling you right now…I can’t stop, won’t stop! Haha, hope you enjoy this recipe for this comforting risotto.

Risotto w/ Leeks and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients:

4 c No-Chicken Broth (Imagine Brand, Better than Bouillon, Edward & Sons)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 leeks, white part only, cleaned and sliced cross-wise

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1 ½ c Arborio rice

½ c dry white wine, at room temp.

½ c sun-dried tomatoes, julienned

1 tbsp Earth Balance

salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Method:

Keep your broth warm and nearby for ladling into the risotto.

In a large, heavy bottomed pot or large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook leeks and bell pepper until softened. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the veggies to a bowl and keep warm.

Add the rice to the same pan and stir until each grain has some oil. If you need to add a bit more, go on ahead. Toast rice for a few minutes and add the wine. Stir until completely absorbed.

Add the broth, one cup or ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after adding. Make sure the liquid is totally absorbed before adding the next bit of broth. Never let your rice become dry.

After about 20 min, your rice should be tender and creamy. Add the leek mixture and sun-dried tomatoes. Heat through and remove from heat. Stir in the Earth Balance and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cape Gooseberry Custard Tart.

I saw these cape gooseberries (also known as physalis) at Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago. I’ve seen them a few times, but I have never tried them. They’re typically pretty expensive and I just never got around to trying them. I saw a recipe for a Gooseberry Custard Tart in my new Martha Stewart pie book and well, basically gave me a reason to buy a bunch of cape gooseberries.

Little did I know this variety of gooseberries came wrapped in little papers of sorts, like tomatillos. Then I discovered that’s because the tomatillo and gooseberry are relatives. Cousins or something of the sort. Anyhow, I came home and discovered that my recipe called for green gooseberries and I had purchased these perfectly colored marigold, yellowy -orange little paper wrapped orbs. And did I mention they were sticky?

Being the rogue that I am, I decided to go forward with the wrong berries. I thought we were up to the challenge and we were, oh yes we were!

I don’t really have an exact recipe for you here. I used a basic tart shell recipe, really nothing special– and while I had every intention of making a delightful vanilla custard, I ended up using Wayfare’s Vanilla Pudding flavor as the base. It’s quite sturdy in texture and makes a great base if you need something really quick.  I roasted the gooseberries in sugar until they were tender and delicious. I let them cool and then spooned them atop this tart.

I have full intention of making this again with green gooseberries (if and when they should appear) and perhaps I will come back with a homemade custard recipe and a proper veganization of this interesting dessert.

 

Blood Orange & Strawberry Fry Pies w/ Rosemary Crust.

Hello glorious blog reading and blog writing friends!

I probably shouldn’t post when I’ve had so much beer and wine (yes, both) and by “so much” I naturally mean one beer and one glass of wine. BUT….I plan to have more! Maybe one more. I don’t know. So, basically I’m finally (at 27) understanding why people need to either come home and have a drink after work or, drink on the weekends….or weekdays, whatev, I don’t judge. Although I love beer and consider myself an amateur connoisseur of such things, in actuality, I don’t really drink very much….especially with the idea of being drunk.

I don’t want to talk too much about my job, but for those who may not know, I am a self-employed dogwalker & petsitter (and very occasional babysitter). You may be thinking, oh snap!!! That’s the best job ever! And… it is in so many ways. But sometimes it’s a lot of pressure. It’s always a lot of responsibility. It’s sometimes stress….so much stress. When you care about people and animals as much as I do….sometimes it can be hard. I don’t know how many people out there are reading my blog, but I bet some of you are are thinking, that’s my job too!! Alas! Such is working….I have my ups and downs, like everyone. I am in need of a vacation, but in reality, I will probably not take a real one until Summer or Fall.

Okay enough about that shit. Oh snap, I  cursed, but seriously, onto a post with a recipe!!!

My latest veganization. I saw these fry pies on Eat the Love and instantly fell in love. Lucky for me I had just enough blood oranges left over from my Ojai trip and had coincidentally gotten some fresh organic strawberries. I love when desserts just fall into place. And into your mouth. I can always manage to cut some fresh rosemary from the garden (so easy to grow), so these came right together for me. I was never about frying them; first, I am nervous to fry in general because I know how unhealthy it is and also has the potential to drench me in a warm yucky nausea….ugh. Since I fry things so rarely, I’m no expert. Needless to say I did the best that I could and they were a success. My testers enjoyed them and so did I.

Blood Orange & Strawberry Fry Pies w/ Rosemary Crust

Adapted from Eat the Love

Recipe requires ADVANCED PREPARTION

Ingredients:

Crust:

2 c flour

½ c non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening

2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

½ tsp sea salt

½ c non dairy milk mixed with:

½ tsp apple cider vinegar

Filling:

2 blood oranges, as much skin and pith removed as possible, sliced into thin segments

1 c unbleached cane sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

about ½ lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

¼ c plus 2 tbsp arrowroot

A few cups of safflower oil to fry-

Method:

Take your blood orange slices and place them in a bowl with the sugar. Mix it around and refrigerate overnight/8 hours.

After the oranges have sat overnight, add the arrowroot, vanilla and salt. Mix until arrowroot dissolves. Pour mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium high heat. Be careful not to burn the mixture or overcook. Cook until it starts to look translucent. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the strawberries.

To make the dough, combine flour, rosemary, and salt in a mixing bowl and stir. Cut in the shortening using a pastry cutter until the mixture starts to form crumbs. Start adding your vegan buttermilk mixture (non-dairy milk plus apple cider vinegar). Add a few tbsp at a time until the dough comes together.

To assemble, divide the dough into about 6 pieces. Flatten out dough into 4-5 inch disks and place a tbsp of filling inside. Add more if you think it needs more, but be careful not to overfill. Fold your dough over and use a fork to seal the edges closed. If your edges are not sealing, add just a touch of liquid.

Pour oil into medium sauté pan. Heat oil to about 350°F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, test your oil by sticking the bottom of a wooden spoon into the hot oil (tip courtesy of the Spork Sisters). If bubbles start to form around the base of the tool, the oil is ready for frying.  Alternatively, you can reserve a small scrap of dough and do a test fry as well. Never let the oil smoke. If your oil smokes, remove your pan from the heat, wipe out the burnt oil and start again.

When the oil is ready, use tongs and a spatula to place the first pie into the oil. You can use your spatula to help some oil onto the side facing upward, so that it cooks a bit while the other side is cooking. After a minute or two, flip your pie over and fry the other side. This should only take a few minutes per pie. They will turn golden brown and crispy when they’re done—Fry one pie at a time and place cooked pies on a plate lined with paper towels. Safflower oil tends to lend a less greasy quality to fried foods, so I like it for that reason.

Irvin added a glaze to these once cooked, but I thought they were sinful enough as is. 😉