So I went a little vegan cookbook crazy on Amazon.com last week and the shipment arrived today! It just so happened that Vegan Brunch came out sooner than expected, and BabyCakes came out around the same time. When it rains vegan cookbooks, it pours, I'm telling you. It POURS!!! Then one thing led to another and my cart was full. All for a really great deal! Although I would prefer to buy local and support the independent bookstores, the discounts Amazon gives are irresistible. Every now and then I have to honor the cookbook hoarder inside of me... my bookshelf is stuffed to the brim and there is no more room, but my cooking and baking days ahead will be happy and fulfilling! Hopefully now that school is almost over I'll be able to delve into these and report back!
Here is a sample of a few recipes I can't wait to try:
Beer-Battered Tofu, Buckwheat Waffles with Red Wine Tarragon Mushroom Gravy, Tofu Benny, Pumpkin Pancakes (duh), Peanut Butter Waffles (!), Pumpkin French Toast (!!!), Pumpkin Bran Muffins, Cashew Ricotta
Just from scanning through a few pages already, it's so cute it makes me want to puke. The photography is AMAZING. This is pretty much THE DREAM BAKERY I have envisioned for myself later on in life. Decor/style/philosophy wise. If I lived in New York, I would work there (edit: apparently there is a girl named Kylie that already works there--my twin! She's mentioned for inventing the "brownie shake". I guess I'll just live vicariously through her). Basically, I'm in love.
Chocolate Shortbread Scones with Caramelized Banana, Apple-Cinnamon Toastie, Mint Icebox Cake, Sweet Paradise Cake
I actually saw this first at the bookstore and was intrigued. It's mainly an entertaining book but it's a really great guide to pairing foods if you need help with that. And each section has suggested seasonal menus. Some of the "menus" include: romantic dinner for two, casual meals for 4-6, holidays, appetizers, etc. There is an ABUNDANCE of great-sounding recipes in here. I can't wait...
Braised Figs with Arugula, Lavender Tea Cookies, Pumpkin Curry, Eggplant and Caramelized Onion "Lasagna", Chai-Spiced Almond Cookies, Beet Bundt Cake, Mushroom Pecan Burgers, Butternut Squash Risotto with Toasted Sage, Tempeh and Eggplant Pot Pies, Butternut Squash Timbales, Sweet Potato Pie, Beet and Sweet Potato Pizza
I must confess I had never made jam before until I made this recipe. Mainly because it's so easy and convenient to just buy pre-made jam at the store. But rose petal jam? How could I not? I found it going through the Eat, Taste, Heal Ayurvedic cookbook (I love this cookbook SO MUCH--it is my Bible!) and had it on my list of things "to-do" for a few weeks now. Well, I finally got around to making it, thanks to a lovely gardening family friend and her enormously beautiful pesticide-free rose garden. Otherwise I probably couldn't have done it.
It's really a heavenly jam, very fragrant and sweet, with a beautiful texture. It's a perfect spring time jam. I'm still trying to come up with ideas for what to use it on/with, other than toast (with maybe some cardamom almond butter?) or crackers and cheese (brie or goat would probably be amazing), but in addition to the recipe for the rose petal jam, there is a rose petal smoothie that incorporates it as well. That's what made me want to make this jam in the first place--just to make that drink. So have at it. It's really easy to make. The hardest part is acquiring the rose petals (preferably from pink roses), and everything else pretty much just takes care of itself in the saucepan! If any of you have food pairing suggestions or ideas please drop me a line!
1 3/4 pounds (28 oz.) fructose (found at health food store)
3/4 cup apple juice or filtered water
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or lime juice
1 tablespoon rose water
1. In a large saucepan, arrange several layers of rose petals and fructose. Pour the water or apple juice over them. Add the lemon juice. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rose water and continue cooking until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Test for doneness by placing a drop on a cold surface. If it forms a globule, it's ready.
2. Immerse resealable glass jam jars in boiling water for 5 minutes to sterilize. Transfer the jam to the jars and store in a cool, dark place.
For this next recipe, I didn't end up using the sandalwood oil (because I don't have any yet) and instead added a lot of stuff on my own aka. "pimping it" to my liking. I thickened it up with a frozen banana, a frozen strawberry popsicle, and a little cinnamon. Add whatever! Experimenting is fun!
There are a lot of reasons why I love my job. I could go on and on for minutes. Maybe an hour. Or two. I definitely have a long list of the gratitude I feel. I love my coworkers. I love (most) of the customers. But I'd have to say, one of the greatest perks of working at a grocery store is FREE FOOD. Expired food. Blemished produce. Opened packages. You name it. Apples with bruises? Just chop off the brown spots -- it's still sweet and crispy. A wilted bunch of basil? I'll make some pesto, thanks. Expired packages of perfectly fine and healthy-looking spinach? I'm set on my salads and greens for the week. IT'S INCREDIBLE. Produce gets picked over all the time for any "imperfections" and I (along with my coworkers) reap all the benefits. I actually scored a carton of wild mushrooms the other day (typically $8) and made a ragout over polenta (I kind of followed this recipe). I often score a lot of eggplant also but most of the time I forget about it in my fridge and before I know it, it's a big blob of purple sliminess at the bottom of my produce bin. Except this time I was able to combat that. It was just one of those things that came to me randomly like a bolt of lightening one day at school and I was thinking to myself, "I know! I'll make baba ghanoush!" So that's how it all happened. I cracked open Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook and put that eggplant to good use. And I also got some freshly baked naan bread from the farmers market earlier that day to eat with it. Ah-maazing. You can pretty much use this for anything. Sandwich spreads, dipping with fresh vegetables, crackers... I'll definitely be making this many more times in the future.
Baba Ganouj ("Ga-NOOSH")
Takes approximately 40 minutes to prepare, yields 4 to 6 servings
a little oil, for the baking sheet
1 medium eggplant (about 7-inches)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sesame tahini
1/2 cup firm plain yogurt (optional)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
black pepper and cayenne, to taste
olive oil for garnish
freshly minced parsley for garnish (and for putting into processor as well, if you'd like)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise, and place face-down on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until very tender. Cool until it's comfortable to handle.
3. Scoop out the eggplant pulp, and discard the skin. Place the pulp in a food processor or blender, and add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, yogurt (if using), cumin, and salt. Puree until smooth.
4. Transfer to an attractive serving dish, cover tightly, and chill. Drizzle the top with a little olive oil and sprinkle with minced parsley just before serving.