Salted Vanilla Oatmeal Cookies.

 

So, the very minute I saw this post I knew I had to make these. The only bummer was that I didn’t already have some prepared vanilla salt. Who am I?!?! I have homemade vanilla sugar and homemade vanilla extract. And locally made vanilla paste that I buy from The Spice Station (greatest place on Earth). I made these cookies sans proper vanilla salt. I did mix some sea salt together with some vanilla powder though….because my salt needed to be vanilla-y. Needless to say, I found a reason to use a few vanilla beans, these cookies being one, and now have some vanilla salt infusing in the cupboard.

I did make some pretty important (and some not important) but easy edits and substitutions to this recipe. Warning: making this recipe will likely result in over-consumption of cookies. Have some friends over or you will regret them. They taste like the perfect sugar cookie mixed with the perfect oatmeal cookie.

Salted Vanilla Oatmeal Cookie.

Edits:

1. White chocolate: Sometimes this can be a tricky substitution for vegans. For this recipe, I recommend you do not roast your vegan white chocolate. You can use chunks cut up from homemade white chocolate or use white chocolate chips, but don’t heat them. Add them into your stand mixer at the end, when you would normally add regular chocolate chips.

2. Sub out the butter for equal amounts Earth Balance, do not omit any salt.

3. I did not have the cereal called for and I could not find it anywhere. As Irvin suggests, I used rolled oats instead and they worked great.

4.  I used 2 tsp dry Ener-G egg replacer to replace two eggs. Do not mix with water.

5. I reduced the sugar to 1 cup; ½ c white vanilla sugar, ½ c brown sugar

6. I had no vanilla salt on hand, so I mixed some coarse sea salt with vanilla powder. You may also try mixing some coarse salt with some seeds scraped from a vanilla bean. Use the hull to infuse some salt for next time.

Birthday Cake for my Bro + So Much to Love.

Oh my, look at me, I’m MoFoing on time! Yay. No recipe today, but I did just make some kind of amazing Eat the Love cookies last night that are definitely getting their very own post (hopefully tomorrow). Today I wanted to share a couple of things:

First, it was my brother’s 30th on Sunday! Do you know what it means that my brother has turned 30? It means I am almost 30 now too! Eek. Not worried about it yet, but time is trippy and I cannot believe how FAST it goes by. I can’t spend too much time thinking about it or my brain freezes up and I start feeling lots of emotions and start thinking about the universe and all of my unanswerable questions. That ish is cray. That’s all. So for now, let’s just look at cake.

Sorry for the crappy photos. My DSLR died right before I left for the restaurant. So, the iPad and iPhone it was. I made my bro an apple cider cake with the last of my fresh pressed, chemical free cider that I got while apple picking. Apparently the guys  who work on the farm can press cider so fast that it still looks green for a few seconds when it comes out–the brown color is from oxidation.

Rather than fill the cake with frosting, I decided to use homemade apple butter for the center filling. Sometimes I like to switch it up in regard to the filling rather than using frosting. Frosting is so sweet, so sugary, so fatty that personally, I thought it would be refreshing to have something sweet, but healthy in the middle. The family seemed to like it. We had so many people at the table that I served the entire cake–which was splendid so I didn’t end up on the couch eating leftover cake by myself later that night. 🙂

I also wanted to just give a shout out to one of my favorite vegan companies, So Delicious. They are truly the best. I have been using their products for a while now. They make my favorite non-dairy milk, creamer, yogurt and ice cream. One of the things that I love and appreciate about So Delicious coconut milk and almond products is that they are soy free. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some soy. But I consume soy in many other foods like tofu, tempeh, miso etc. So, whenever I can avoid using excess soy, I do because I don’t want to overdo it and develop an intolerance or allergy (like I did with crab/shellfish in my pre-vegan days).

My two favorite milks are the unsweetened almond+ and the unsweetened coconut milk. Both are fabulous for drinking, cereal, baking etc.

     


I also love using their creamer and their yogurts, (both the Greek style & regular are equally great). While I love to use their yogurts for just eating, I also love adding them to baked goods and smoothies.

Also, let me just say that I do not work for So Delicious or Turtle Mountain. I just love what they make and think they’re the best!

CJ’s Pumpkin Ranch & Pumpkin Pie.

 

I’m breaking all kinds of MoFo promises! I didn’t get a chance to post over the weekend because I’ve been too busy pickin’ pears and celebrating birthdays and getting ready to go to Maui this week! Yes. Maui and I are getting together on Friday and hopefully having a nice, slow love affair together with lots of yummy tropical food, beer, beach, surfing, spa day, farm visits and more. I’m SO EXCITED. This is the first vacation I’ve taken in the past 100 years and it could not come soon enough. This entire year has been difficult and stressful in a rainbow of different fashions (thanks for mixing it up, universe) and I just want to turn it around before the end.

Thank goodness for farm trips because they have been helping me keep my sanity this year. I feel so at peace when out on a farm, surrounded by dirt, fruits, veggies, flowers and beauty in general. I could just stay there all day transfixed in admiration, awe and respect. I went pear pickin’ this past weekend, but before that, I went pumpkin pickin’. I found a sweet little farm in Corona that grows all kinds of amazing varieties of heirloom pumpkins for eating and carving. There was a variety that they told me was great for making pies called “Yellow of Paris”. I knew that was one of the pumpkins I needed to have and I spent the better part of our time there searching for the perfect “Yellow of Paris”.

Farm Buddies.

My favorite activity. Photo by Danielle of Look Pretty blog.

I wanted every pumpkin I laid eyes on, but I settled on these:

My Yellow of Paris. 🙂
Mammoth Gold.

The farm had also grown strawberry poppin’ corn, so of course I took home a bunch of that as well. It’s so cool–you can place the whole cob in a brown paper bag and pop in in the microwave or remove the kernels and make it on the stovetop or in a popcorn maker. Love.

 

One of the first things I did when I got home (after making Oktoberfest) was to bust open my “Yellow of Paris” and roast it in the oven. I scooped out the innards and blended it up. It was a bit watery so I had to drain it in a colander for a while. I then proceeded to enjoy the finest pumpkin smoothies. I saved just enough puree to make a pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin is the best!

Riding in Cars with Pie. I brought my pie to share with a friend in Orange County.

 

 

This MoFo = crazy. I will hopefully find time today to write a couple of more posts and to catch up on some of my favorite blogs!

 

Razzles.

Razzles! This has been a bad MoFo week for me. My crazy life is getting in the way of my blog. How dare I?!? I’ll try to add a weekend post to make up for it, but who knows. On a random note, I just picked up the Hot Knives cookbook and it looks pretty smashing. Sorry I haven’t given it a thought until now, but now that I have it, it looks deliciously rad. There are some dishes that include cheese, but that’s easy enough to omit or sub something vegan in its place.

So I don’t have a recipe for you today, but soon though. Here are some things that I’ve made or am working on but aren’t deserving of their own post yet.

That there salad was a vegan version of a meat salad I saw that looked pretty good. I made some “beef style” seitan and marinated it in fresh squeezed orange juice and garlic. The rest of the salad is sort of a hodgepodge of things; garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, Dr. Cow, scallions with a citrus-garlic vinaigrette.

I made this pizza to try out the buffalo mozzarella from The Cheese Issue of VegNews, which I think was taken from Miyoko Schinner’s Artisan Vegan Cheese. I made the cheddar as well, but my cheddar never solidified to a sliceable solid cheese. It remained a spread…..a delicious spread. This cheese went exactly according to plan. I have to say I loved everything about it…..except the taste. The taste wasn’t terrible…but it didn’t taste like mozzarella to me at all. It was missing the salty savory quality mozzarella can have. It had a great, creamy texture though just like traditional mozz and looked great too. I may try to mess with the flavor just a tad to get it to taste a lil more like mozzarella. Underneath the cheese, I made a puree out of corn and garlic to spread on the pie. Topped it with fresh basil and heirloom tomatoes.

 

Then there were these pumpkin cream cheese truffles I made from a recipe posted by Whole Foods. Very unvegan, but I thought a vegan version would be super easy. The inside is a mixture of gingersnap crumbs, graham cracker crumbs, fresh citrus zest, white chocolate, pumpkin and vegan cream cheese. Then they were dipped in melted white chocolate and had more crumbs sprinkled on them. These weren’t bad, but they were so cloyingly sweet I could not handle them. I imagine some people would find these lovely and delicious, but I don’t know, I’m not a candy person I guess. I do enjoy chocolate, but with everything going on with these, they were not my fav. Plus, you have to eat them quick as they will start to melt on your fingers.

I should have written up a recipe for this one. It’s another adaption of a non vegan dish from Sunset Magazine; Chicken Fricassee with parsley root and chanterelles. Fricassee is a French comfort food and I think it refers to a technique of braising meat. I used Gardein for the chicken and made everything else according to recipe, subbing out any dairy for an awesome non-dairy choice. The sauce was a little bit too sweet (primarily made of white wine) so I think I’d tone it down a bit next time. But when you really got a good bite with a piece of everything on your fork, it was pretty delicious.

And then….and then there were these Cornflake Marshmallow cookies adapted from the infamous Momofuku Milk Bar recipe. Non vegans love that Momofuku! Some of the concoctions such as the “Compost Cookie” sound a little too over the top for me, but this cornflake marshmallow cookie sounded intriguing. I thought a vegan version would just come right together. Cookies are usually one of the easiest things to make vegan, but these were interesting. First, I did do a couple of edits to the original recipe…The recipe calls for you to sweeten the cornflakes and bake them–I wanted to skip this because cornflakes (organic Trader Joe’s cornflakes that is) are so dang sweet already. This was a mistake because, in retrospect, the flakes need to be baked to get them extra crispy and to keep them crunchy. My flakes didn’t get soggy in my cookie, but some were crunchy and some were chewy. I also need to mess with the ratios on this one a bit. The original recipe instructs you to pretty much find the fattiest, richest butter ever and well, you know, I used Earth Balance. I could try a mix of Earthy B and coconut oil in the future…there’s always shortening too, but I generally like to keep that stuff out of my cookies. In the end, these were still delicious, but they need tweaking to get them where every cookie-loving vegan would want them.

Alright bloglings, I am off now. If I have time later tonight, I will write up some posts for tomorrow and Sunday. I have a Strawberry-Habanero pie that need its picture taken….and a pumpkin pie made of fresh heirloom pumpkin–that I picked myself of course. I do have lots to post, so let’s hope I get ‘er done!

 

 

 

 

Apple Sour Cream Pie.

This MoFo has started to get the best of me. I am le tired! But so many posts left to do. What really helps me is writing my posts in advance and then just pasting them here when I’m ready. I never think recipe writing is lengthy until I actually sit down to do it. Enough of that. I took the last of my apples from apple picking and made them into pie and German apple cake. You’ve seen the apple cake, but now for the pie. I saw a sour cream pie over on Eat the Love that I really wanted to make, but haven’t gotten around to it. It’s blueberry-rhubarb which sounds incredible, but blueberries are over and I didn’t freeze any. I may still use frozen….those frozen organic wild blueberries a Whole Foods are actually quite delicious. Okay, apples, I’m talking apples. Apples and vegan sour cream. A relatively gross sounding combination which turns out to be crazy delicious all in your face.

Apple Sour Cream Pie

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Oktoberfest.

 

Oktoberfest; as good as any other reason to have people over for beer and a German style feast. My new apt can only house so many, but it was a good turn out and the friends seemed to enjoy the spread. Sorry for the shit photos. It’s pretty amazing I remembered to take photos because when I’m cooking for others I typically forget.

Vegan Currywurst: Veggie Beer Brats in Homemade Currywurst Sauce (aka curry-tomato sauce)

Homemade Soft Pretzels….they were so puffy. I also put out various mustards for dipping.

 

German Potato Salad w/ Tempeh Bacon. Nice and blurry. Chives were from my porch garden. Represent.

 

White Asparagus w/ Hollandaise. One of the grosser looking photos I think! BUT….it wasn’t so bad. 😉

Dessert x2. German Chocolate Cake and German Apple Cake….which look a little silly when next to one another…

Prost!

 

 

 

Pear-Bourbon Gingerbread Handpies.

I’m so busy! Forgot to MoFo on Friday, so here is a Sunday post. I should be back to regular posting tomorrow. 🙂

It’s that time again. Time for another Eat the Love creation done vegan style! I have wanted to make this recipe for a while and was hoping to pick my own organic pears this season to try this recipe out with. Unfortunately, all of the u-pick farms I know that grow pears pretty much had tiny crops or no crops at all because of frost. Sad face. Hopefully they’ll all be back in full swing next year. After I was forced to buy pears that I did not pick myself, I got into this recipe.

My vegan version of the crust went awry somewhere. Wonderfully, wonderfully arwy. I mixed all of the ingredients my usual way. Subbed out the butter, omitted the salt and omitted the egg. My dough mixture was SUPER dry. It didn’t have enough moisture in it, I’m guessing because I didn’t replace the egg with anything and it was needed for moisture. Eggs have so many different purposes in traditional baked goods. They bind, they build they add moisture and textural elements. Sometimes when I’m not entirely sure what their purpose in a recipe is, I can goof it up. With things like meringue and chiffon cake, the purpose is obvious, but with other things I spend a few minutes thinking….now why is that in there? Anyhow, fast forward to my dry ass dough. I went straight to my fridge and grabbed the nearest non-dairy milk and started adding it in while my stand mixer was running. My dough came right together after that, but was super soft. It never did get very firm in the while I refrigerated it, but I was still able to work with it.

I then made the filling, which was super easy. I did leave a few chunks of pear in the filling though because what can I say? I like it chunky. So, I baked these thinking that there was a chance the crust could melt or just be wrong in some way….but MY GOD. The mouthgasm…..was….ridiculous. The crust was soft and delicate, but the outside has a crispy, delicate crunch to it—almost like the top of a reaaaalllly good brownie. It was amazing. I don’t know—Irvin’s formulas are so good that even when you mess them up a little you still have something completely and utterly delightful.

I’m referring to these as hand pies rather than toaster pastries as there is not a chance in hell that the things I made would have held up in a toaster.