Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Menu Planning

It's the time of the season for cooking.

Thanksgiving is upon us and we're doing it at our house this year. And I'm in charge of the cooking. The family is still undecided about whether or not my mother will make some turkey parts for the two people who will actually eat it, but there definitely won't be a whole bird on the table and that counts for something. Also, my whole family goes vegan for the day after Thanksgiving, so I'm cooking for that too. And the day before Thanksgiving is my grandmother's birthday, so I'm also making her cake.

I've decided to post my planned menus for the next few days, in order to keep myself from giving up on anything. And so if I completely destroy any of the recipes, I won't be able to deny it.

Apricot Glazed Almond Cake based on a recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Thanksgiving Dinner
Note: I was told we don't need soup, salad, gravy or rolls, so they're not missing because I'm lazy.
Grilled Asparagus
Harvest Vegetable Medley from last fall's Vegetarian Times
Chestnut Apple Stuffing from last fall's Vegetarian Times
Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes from Yellow Rose Recipes
Poppyseed Pull-Apart Rolls from Isa's upcoming book, Vegan Brunch
Polenta Seitan from a recipe that will hopefully be posted on Parsnip Parsimony soon, with seasoning suggestions from The I-40 Kitchen
Sweet Potato Pear Tzimmes with Pecans & Raisins from Veganomicon
My friend Sarah's gravy
My mother's Cranapple Crumble, which I made into mini pies for last winter's challenge
My friend Sarah's pumpkin pie
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Icing based on a recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
And something I'm pretty certain I'm going to screw up, so I won't talk about it yet.

Friday Brunch
Pesto Scrambled Tofu with Grape Tomatoes
Paprika Rosemary Potatoes
Raised Waffles with Baked Cinnamon Apples all from Isa's upcoming book, Vegan Brunch

Friday Dinner
Caesar Salad with Roasted Garlic Croutons
Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits both from Veganomicon
Leftovers and fresh fruit for dessert

And if I have nothing else to do, I think I'm going to attempt home made English Muffins on Sunday. One more thing from Isa's amazing book of amazingness (AKA Vegan Brunch).

Happy holidays!

Monday, November 17, 2008


It's been a while. My only excuse is that I'm lazy. That, and most of what I've made over the past couple of months hasn't been all that photogenic. How can one possibly read a post without pictures in it, right? Over the weekend, I was actually rebuked by a friend for slacking off on this whole blog thing, so here I am.

So what's been cooking lately? Good question. I barely remember.

I've tested some more recipes for Isa Chandra Moskowitz's upcoming book, Vegan Brunch, and they pretty much rule. Hopped on and off the raw bandwagon a few times (currently dangling off the side). Baked some brownies. And some blondies. And some brandy fruit cake stuff. And some cookies. In short: lots of baking happened.

That there is a Lemon Poppyseed muffin from the aforementioned brunch book. I don't usually like lemon baked goods, but these muffins are great. They're both sweet and lemony and the crumb is perfect and I love them. While this may not be saying much, these are probably the best muffins I've ever made. My mother went so far as to say they're the best things I've ever made. Seriously good stuff.

I baked for Election Day. I decided to be non-partisan and just go with a patriotic red, white and blue...ish. Red and white came from the Raspberry Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars from Vegan With a Vengeance and the blue came from the Veganomicon Fudgy Wudgy Blueberry Brownies. Yes. I know. They're brown, not blue, but they have "blue" in the name and they're tasty and one of the many things we've all learned from this election is that color does not limit what one can do or be.

Also, I think I've said this before, but I love those blondies SO. DAMN. MUCH. I've made them with different berries and they're always great. It pains me to share them. Really.

(OK, not really. The fun part of baking is the sharing.)

Close up shots of the brownies just looked like a load of brown (not so appetizing), so here are the blondies in all their chocolate raspberry glory.:

And then there's this: Sticky Spiked Double-Apple Cake with a Brown Sugar-Brandy Sauce. It's kind of ridiculous.

Baked in honor of my friend passing the bar (actually, Little Miss Genius Pants has now passed not one but two bars).

It was really easy to veganize. I used one tablespoon ground flax seeds dissolved in three tablespoons water and 1/4 cup applesauce to replace the eggs and MimicCreme for the heavy cream in the sauce. The recipe made me kind of nervous. When it said "Add the eggs and beat on medium speed until thickened and pale" I got jumpy. What if flax and apple sauce won't make it thicken and pale? What if I end up with a thin, dark mess of grossness? No worries, though, it totally worked. The cake was really interesting to make because it was more like a pan full of batter covered fruit and nuts than a batter with some fruit in it. It was cool to see how it all expanded as it baked and turned into a cake, not a mess. I didn't think I would like this much because I'm not a fan of brandy, but I was wrong. Some of it bakes off and the fruit and nuts overpower the alcohol enough for it to be tasty goodness.

I think that's all for now. Thanksgiving is coming and I'm in charge this year, so all of my food-related thought is going into that at the moment. I will report back on that before January, I swear.