Monday, August 25, 2008
Ice Cream Cake
Makes one 9" round cake.
Your favorite cake recipe (enough for two 9" round cakes)
Yummy Ice Cream-at least 2 pints (I used Maggy Mudds Freestyle- Tarmack)
Frosting or ganache (3/4 cup soy milk, 12 oz. dark chocolate chips)
Step 1: Bake the cakes, cool and remove from pans.
Step 2: Take the ice cream out of the freezer for a little while to soften a bit.
Step 3: Line one of the clean, cooled cake pans with a couple layers of plastic wrap and spoon the softened ice cream into it, smoothing it down to make an even layer. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap.
Step 4: Freeze the ice cream for a LONG TIME (trust me, 2 hours is not enough). Overnight would be great.
Step 5: Once the cakes are completely cooled, trim the tops to make an even, flat surface. (note: slightly frozen cakes are easier to cut).
Step 6: Place one layer of cake on a cooling rack, lift the plastic wrapped ice cream out of the cake pan, remove the plastic, and place the ice cream layer on top of the cake, taking care to line up the edges. Top with the other cake layer. Put back in the freezer for a while.
Step 7: Make the ganache- Put chocolate chips in a large bowl. In a pan, bring the soy milk just to a boil and then remove from heat. Pour the soy milk over the chocolate, let sit for a few minutes, then whisk gently until all the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
Step 8: Remove the cake from the freezer and set the cake and cooling rack on a sheet pan. Slowly pour the ganache on the top of the cake, smoothing it out with a knife and pushing ganache over the sides. Try to make it as smooth and even as possible, on the sides and top of the cake. (Note- sometimes it helps to apply a smooth, thin layer of ganache over the sides and top of the cake first, let that harden, and then pour the rest of the ganache over the cake as described. This helps seal up the sides and any loose crumbs for a smoother finish.)
Step 9: Put the cake back into the freezer until about a half hour before you're ready to serve it to soften it a bit (or less, depending on how soft the ice cream was to begin with). You can transfer the cake to a nice serving platter at this point if you want.
Step 10: Eat it. Nom, nom, nom.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The cobbler topping in this recipe is a bit denser than some, but that may be due to the addition of ground almonds. I kinda like it that way, though. I also added some almond liquor to the peach filling, but I actually think almond extract would have been a bit more obvious. Oh well, the cobbler's just as good without the almond flavor, so it's no big deal if it's left out. I'm a big fan of fruit desserts, and it's been a while since I've made one, so I was pretty excited that the peaches were finally ready! Enjoy.
Makes one 9 x 13 cobbler
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
About 4 lbs Ripe Peaches (roughly 9 cups sliced peaches)
3/4-1 Cup Sugar (adjust depending on tartness of fruit)
4 Tbl Flour
3/4 Cup Almond Liquor (of 1-2 tsp Almond Extract), optional
Pinch of Salt
2-1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Finely Ground Almonds
4 Tbl Earth Balance Margarine or Veg. Shortening
1/4 Tsp Salt
2 Tbl Sugar
3/4 Cup Soy Milk
Wash, pit and slice the peaches and put into a large saucepan.
Add the flour, sugar, and pinch of salt and toss together until everything is wet and juicy. If using, add the almond liquor and over medium heat, cook for about 10 minutes until the peaches begin to soften and the juices thicken.
Remove from the heat and pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
For the topping:
In a food processor, grind whole, raw almonds until they form a slightly coarse meal.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, almond meal, sugar, salt, and baking soda and mix until well combined. Cut in the cold margarine or shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly. Make a well in the center, and pour in the soymilk. Mix gently with a fork until just combined, then for the dough into a ball with your hands. Be sure not to overwork the dough!
At this point, you can go for a rustic top and just plop little globs of dough on top of the cooked peaches, or you can roll the dough out into a 1/2" slab and use a cookie cutter to cut out cool shapes.
After you've placed the dough on top of the peaches, pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes until the cobbler topping is golden brown and the fruit mixture it bubbly. This is good served warm with ice cream!
Monday, August 4, 2008
I just bought a bottle of it yesterday. I've never used it before, but I've seen it called for in lots of recipes. I don't really understand what it is though, but it sounds cool. Maybe tomorrow night I'll try making the Smokey Miso Tofu on the Vegan Yum Yum site. It looks like a good place to start.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Makes about 4 servings
14 oz. Firm Tofu (not the silken variety), pressed to remove excess liquid
1/2 Medium Yellow Onion
2 Medium Carrots
1 Medium Green or Red Bell Pepper
1 (generous) T Garlic, finely chopped
22 oz Tomato Sauce (1 14 oz can plus a smaller 8 oz can)
2 tsp Ground Cumin
4 tsp Chili Powder
3 T Granulated Sugar
1 T Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Tamari or Soy Sauce
Finely chop the carrots, onion, and bell pepper.
Sautee for another 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tofu is cooked. Add the spices, tamari, balsamic, and red pepper flakes. Sautee for another minute or two.
Add the tomato sauce and cook for about 5 more minutes, until hot and bubbly.
Serve over toasted hamburger buns or crusty french rolls.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
So, along with a bunch of ripe apricots, I also keep finding unnaturally large zucchini in my back yard that I can't seem to keep up with. I'm not sure how they do it, but every time I check my plants there seems to be another gigantoid zucchini hiding under all the huge leaves. Big zucchini aren't really good for too much, but they do make a mean bread!
You obviously don't have to use oversized zucchini for this recipe, but if you do, be sure to cut out and discard the spongy, seedy center part and only use the firm, outer flesh.
This recipe is pretty loosely adapted from the King Arthur Flour Cookbook's Lemon Zucchini Muffins. I substituted half the white flour for whole wheat pastry flour, used flax seeds instead of eggs, and adapted a few other things to make it as a loaf instead of muffins. The last time I made it, I tried using an even larger ratio of whole wheat pastry flour and less sugar, but it tasted too much like wheat bread and not enough like zucchini bread. You can use all white flour if you want, but I like the combo.
Makes 2 loaves.
2 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
3 T. Baking Powder
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 Cup Soy Milk
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
4 T. Finely Ground Flax Seeds mixed with 1/2 Cup Water
2 1/2 Cups Grated Zucchini, packed, excess water squeezed out
1 1/2 Cups Walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 Cup Raisins, optional
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease 2 bread pans with oil or margarine and dust lightly with flour.
In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (except the walnuts) in mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the soy milk, oil, and flax mixture (I grind whole flax seeds in a coffee grinder to make a powder) .
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients. With a wooden spoon, mix until well combined, but don't overmix.
Add the grated zucchini and fold in. Add 1 cup walnut and the raisins, reserving the rest of the walnuts for the tops of the loaves. Spoon the batter evenly into the 2 pans and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts.
Bake on the center rack for about 65 minutes, until the tops are a deep, golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow the bread to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. The cooler the bread, the less likely it will squash down and get dense when you cut it. I actually like the bread best the next day after it's cooled completely!
When I got home, the tree was still loaded, so I decided to make jam. I used a recipe from a cute little cookbook by Alice Waters called Fanny At Chez Panisse. It's written from the perspective of Fanny, Alice's daughter, about growing up in her moms restaurant. All the recipes are pretty simple (not vegan though), and there's cute artwork and stories. Growing up, I made apricot or blackberry jam numerous times with my mom and we always used pectin. This recipe, however, didn't call for any, so I was kinda curious to see how it would turn out.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
This bright green, garlicky spread goes great on freshly toasted crostini, and if you have any ripe cherry tomatoes around, they’re a tasty addition to this easy little appetizer. The spread is also good tossed with some warm pasta and sun-dried tomatoes for a light dinner. Preparing the beans takes a little bit of time, but once that step is done the spread can be whipped up pretty quickly.
Fava Bean Spread:
Makes about 2 ½-3 cups.
2 ½ - 3 lbs Fava Beans, unshelled
1 Scant Tbl Garlic, finely minced
4 Tbl Fresh Lemon Juice
¾ tsp Sea Salt
2 Tbl Fresh Chives, chopped
2/3 Cup Olive Oil
Fresh Ground Pepper
1 long, Sweet French Baguette
Preparing the Beans;
Shell the beans, removing them from the thick pods. Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil and add the shelled fava beans. Return to a low boil and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain the beans and immediately shock in an ice water bath to stop the cooking. At this point, the outer skin covering the beans should look pale and slightly wrinkled. With your thumb nail, pierce the skin and then pop the bean out of the casing into a bowl. Discard the skins and repeat with the remaining beans. What you’re left with is the edible part of fava beans.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Slice the baguette into 1/3-1/2 inch rounds. With a pastry brush, coat each side of the baguette slices lightly with olive oil. Lay out on a baking sheep in a single layer.
Bake the crostini for about 8 minutes, until they just begin to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer the crostini to a plate to stop any further cooking.
In a food processor, add the shelled beans, minced garlic, salt, and about 1/3 cup of olive oil. Process until a coarse spread begins to form. Slowly add the remaining 1/3 cup of olive oil, pulsing the food processor until incorporated. Add the chopped chives, fresh ground pepper to taste, and remaining olive oil and process until a smooth, even paste is formed.
The spread can be served in a bowl with the crostini and other fresh vegetables on the side to dip, or as a more formal appetizer with the crostini topped with fava bean spread, a few cherry tomato halves and some more freshly chopped chives, served on a platter.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
As I mentioned in my last post, I found some great cherries and apricots at the farmers market and decided to make a tart. I also found some locally grows almonds at the market and since almonds are known to pair well with both apricots and cherries, I decided to use them as well. This tart has a sweet, crumbly almond crust topped with almond infused apricots and cherries. There's just enough sugar to sweeten the fruit while still allowing their tartness to come through. It's fairly simple to make and goes great served warm or cold with a big scoop of vanilla 'ice cream.'
Apricot Almond Tart with Sweet Cherries
Makes one 12" tart
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Almond Tart Crust
2 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 Cup Slivered Almonds (not salted)
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
8 Tbs Chilled Vegan Margarine
4 Tbs Ice Water
Apricot Cherry Filling
About 1 1/2 lbs Ripe Apricots
About 1/2 lb Sweet Cherries
3/4-1 Cup Granulated Sugar (more may be needed for extra tart fruit)
1 1/2 Tbs Prepared Almond Paste, mixed with 1 Tbs water to make a slurry
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbs All Purpose Flour
For the crust:
In a food processor, grind the almonds until they form a coarse meal. In a bowl, mix the almonds with the flour, sugar, and salt until well combined.
Cut the chilled margarine into the flour-almond mixture with a pastry blender until a crumbly consistency is achieved. Add the ice water one tablespoon at a time and mix with a fork until the dough is evenly moist.
With you hands, press the dough into the bottom and sides of a 12" tart pan.
For the filling:
Cut the apricots into quarters, removing the pit, and place in a large bowl. Pit and halve the cherries and add to the apricots. Combine the sugar, vanilla, salt, almond extract, and almond slurry then add to the fruit and mix well with your hands. Sprinkle with the flour and mix again. The filling should be getting juicy at this point.
Add the fruit mixture to the tart pan and smooth into an even layer.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees until the juices bubble and thicken and the crust is set. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving. Serve alone or with Vanilla 'Ice Cream.'
I finally went to the Farmers Market today for the first time since moving to San Jose. And while I must admit it's no Santa Cruz Farmers Market, it was still pretty exciting to get a bunch of fresh local produce. Among the things I got were cherries, apricots, almonds, peaches, nectarines, oyster mushrooms, fava beans, Jerusalem Artichokes, Little Gem Lettuce, and strawberries. As I'm typing this, I can smell the Apricot Almond Tart with Sweet Cherries I made baking in the oven. I had full intentions of coming home with Strawberry Shortcake ingredients, but when I saw the apricots, I knew I had to make something with them. Later today I'm going to make a Fava Bean Spread to serve on toasted crostini. I also really want to make something with the Jerusamel Artichokes, but I've never used them before, so I might have to do some research before I dive in. If anyone has any good recipes, let me know!
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Now, there's a reason why a lot of families only make tamales a few times a year, and when they do, it's in huge batches. This is because tamales take FOREVER to make! Don't attempt this recipe unless you have a large chunk of time to devote to it. If you do, though, it's totally worth it and everyone will be very impressed. I am by no means an expert tamal maker so I spent a lot of time looking up different masa recipes. They all seemed a little different but the one I finally came up with with was an adaptation of this recipe, which I tweaked a bit to fit my needs. There's a lot of variation out there, so I encourage you to experiment a bit. Have fun!
makes about 30-40 tamales
Corn Husks (soaked in water for at least 3 hours)
Masa (cornmeal dough)
9 Cups Warm Vegetable Stock
2 Cups Non-Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening
12 Cups Dry Masa Flour (I used El Mexicano brand Masa Casera)
1-2 Tbs Salt (more of less depending on saltiness of veg. stock)
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Cumin Powder
2 Large Yellow Onions, chopped
4 Medium Green Bell Peppers
5 Medium Carrots, grated
5 Medium Zucchini
4-6 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
2 Jalepeno Peppers, finely chopped, seeds removed
2 tsp Cumin Powder
3 tsp Salt
4 Tbs Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Fresh Ground Pepper
2 15 oz Cans Black Beans (or the home cooked equivalent)
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 tsp Cumin
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbs Vegetable Oil
For the Masa:
Heat the stock until warm, but not hot. In a large bowl, mix the Masa flour, 1 Tbs salt, baking powder, and cumin until well combined. Add the vegetable stock 1 cup at a time, and with your hands (this is the fun part) mix it together until a soft dough is formed. It should be about the consistency of cookie dough. If the dough seems too dry, add more stock, too wet, more masa flour. Taste and add the remaining 1 Tbs salt if needed. In an electric mixer* fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the shortening for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the masa mixture to the shortening 1 cup at a time, beating and once it is all added, beat for about 5 minutes more until a soft paste is formed. The first time I made the tamales, the masa was too wet, which is probably why they didn't work right. If the dough seems too wet, add more dry masa flour. *If you don't have a really large mixing bowl, the masa can be made in 2 batches.
For the Filling:
Quarter the bell peppers, remove the seeds and membrane and cut into 1/4" slices. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and then into 1/4" half circles. Chop the onions, first 4-6 garlic cloves, and jalepenos, grate the carrots, and set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, and then add all the chopped vegetables, garlic, and jalepenos.
Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then add the cumin, salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. Continue cooking for about 10 more minutes, stirring, until all the vegetables are cooked thoroughly. Add the fresh chopped cilantro, stir, and then remove from the heat.
In a hot pan, sautée the remaining garlic until just beginning to brown. Drain the beans, reserving some of the liquid in case the beans get too dry. Add the beans to the garlic, and mash with a potato masher while continuing to cook. Leave the beans a little bit chunky. Add 1 tsp of cumin and salt and pepper to taste (don't be shy with the salt!). Cook about 3 minutes longer, stirring. If the beans are to thick, add a bit of reserved liquid. Mix the beans in with the sautéed vegetables.The Assembly:
Remove the husks from the soaking water and squeeze out any excess.
With the back of a spoon or rubber spatula, spread a 1/4" layer of masa over the upper half to 2/3rds of a corn husk. Repeat with the remaining husks and dough until all the masa is used up, stacking the masa filled husks on a cookie sheet.
Next, add a couple spoonfuls of filling to the center of the masa. Fold the sides of the husks around the filling and then fold the bottom of the husk w/o masa on it up towards the top. At this point you can tie a narrow strip of husk around the tamal or leave it how it is. Fill the remaining hulks, fold, and set aside.
Fill the bottom of the tamalera or other large pot with water until just below the steaming tray. Carefully stack the tamales upright in the steamer, with the open end pointing up and the folded end on the bottom until all the tamales are in the pot. If you have a lot, it's ok to stack the tamales on top of each other. If you have additional corn husks that didn't get filled, you can line the edges of the pot with them, and cover the top of the tamales with a few layers. I totally forgot to do this, but apparently it improves the flavor of the tamales and allows you to pour extra water in the steamer during cooking without getting the tamales wet. (see here for further info)
Put the tamalera on the stove and cover with a lid. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to medium. Steam the tamales for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, making sure that the water doesn't evaporate completely. Add more hot water as needed. After about 1 1/2 hour, take one tamal out of the pot with tongs and set aside for about 5 minutes. Open the tamal to see if the masa is cooked. When ready, the masa should peel away cleanly from the husk and not be wet of sticky anymore. If it's not ready, continue cooking and test another tamal 10-15 minutes later. Once the tamales are cooked, turn off the heat and let sit for about 10 minutes before eating. Tamales can be served with Salsa Verde and soy sour cream.
Tamales store well in the freezer if you have leftovers. Wrap the cooled tamales tightly in plastic wrap then in foil.