May 2008

Mono + Daring Bakers Challenge = oops. I forgot. And I don’t have the ingredients in my house. And I’m posting this a day late anyway. I’ll have it by the weekend–promise!

Classes just finished, right? I mean, did I miss something? Oh… yeah… the part about me adding French to my course load so I can get enough semesters in to hopefully get into a good Comparative Literature PhD program next year. Sigh.

And you know what class means? Coffee. Actually, French isn’t too bad. I took it back in high school and I’m more interested in translation than conversation, so I’m not stressed at all about it. It should be an easy GPA boost. HOWEVER, my schedule is a bit wonky with scholarship apps (ahhh Fulbright, Marshall, Mitchell, and Bobby Jones… four apps…. ugh…), studying for the GRE, pulling together enough poetry for a good portfolio for MFA programs, reading Deleuze and Beckett for my thesis, and hopefully cracking Being and Time. Did I mention that I’m working part time for two different jobs too?

This. This is why I need coffee. And coffee cake!

I’m in love with Vegan Visitor. It’s true. I like the layout, the photography is gorgeous, and the recipes are tasty as hell. If hell were tasty–which I’m not sure it is… Anyways. After reading the post and recipe for the Also Goes With Tea Coffee Cake, I knew I needed to make it. Need is a rather open term for me, but it applies. I swear.

After substituting pecans for walnuts, adding a bit of chocolate, baking in a bundt pan, dusting with powdered sugar–oh my gosh fingerlicking good. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good shot of the layering of the coffee cake. It was eaten a bit too quickly. Oops! The Poet gave it two thumbs, two big toes, and a happy belly up. Personally, I think it tastes like a doughnut, and then a cake, and then coffee cake–all at the same time. It goes great with coffee, tea, soy milk, after dinner, before dinner, whenever. I had to give half of it away. Otherwise I’d eat it all. In a period of two days. Summer–the perfect season for baking induced weight! Right?

Doughnut-Cake-Coffee Cake-Awesomeness

1 c Granulated Sugar
1/2 c Earth Balance Margarine, softened
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 c Soy Vanilla Yogurt
1/2 c Plain Soy Milk
1 tsp baking soda
1 c All Purpose Flour
1/2 c Whole Wheat Flour

For the Topping:
1 c Pecans broken
1 c Vegan Chocolate Chips
1/3 c Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Toss the pecans, chocolate chips, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

Cream the sugar with the margarine, then add the baking powder and continue to mix until fluffy.

In a measuring cup, combine the yogurt, soy milk and baking soda.

Add half of the yogurt mixture to the creamed sugar, then half of the flour, mixing until each is combined, repeating with the remainder.

Lightly spray and dust a bundt pan with flour.

Add half of the cake batter to the pan. Add half of the walnut topping. Finish with the remaining batter, then evenly sprinkle over the last of the topping.

Bake in the center of the oven for 45 – 50 minutes.

Cool completely in the pan before turning it out to a serving plate.

I’m back! The beach was good (well, as good as it could get for me). Being bedridden with a view of the Atlantic tide rising and falling every day isn’t too bad. Watching flocks of pelicans congregate, honk their voices out, and skim for fish isn’t too bad. Having six good friends rally for your health isn’t too bad either. And thankfully I am feeling a lot better. My posts should be a bit more regular now that my appetite is back and my throat doesn’t object to solid food!

I actually made this recipe awhile ago, but it’s never too late to post. I’m blessed with the Your Dekalb Farmers Market which flies in goodies from all across the globe, so Chinese long beans are usually at my disposal. When I saw Smitten Kitchen’s Green Bean & Cherry Tomato Salad, I knew I had to make it. Besides, it’s so much fun when non-vegan bloggers make delicious vegan food. Of course I didn’t have all the right ingredients, but basalmic vinegar is delish (as I’m sure red wine vinegar is). Instead of regular green beans, I used the long beans, but cut them in half in order to fit them in my pot. I also used grape tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes–again, this doesn’t seem like much of a stretch.

My friend David was wigging out over finals a few weeks ago (he graduated this semester) and scared to death that he wouldn’t pass a class and actually graduate, so he practically locked himself in the library for a week to study for finals and write papers. While I was supposed to be writing papers, feeding poor freaking out college students is way more fun. In order to make a meal out of the salad, I heated up some left over couscous, layered the green bean salad on top, added some fried tofu, and drizzled the extra vinaigrette on top. He thought it was so good that he told me to teach him how to make it before he moved to New York City.

Unfortunately, David is en route to the city right now to start his new life as a paralegal at the District Attorney’s Family Violence Unit (sounds like a cheery job, right?), and I never taught him how to make it. At least I can send him the link, right? So here you go David–make this with the fresh veggies I know you’ll buy at the Union Square Green Market. And yes, I’m living vicariously through you.

Long Bean and Grape Tomato Salad

1 pound long beans
1 pound grape tomatoes
1 large shallot
2 tablespoons basalmic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Cut off the tips of the beans, cut in half, and parboil them in salted water until tender (4-5 minutes). Drain and immediately spread them out on a towel to cool.

Cut the tomatoes in half.

For the vinaigrette, peel and dice the shallot fine and put it in a bowl with the vinegar and salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Taste and adjust the balance with more vinegar, oil, or slat, as needed.

Toss the cherry tomatoes in with the vinaigrette; this can sit for a while. Do not add the green beans until just before serving or they will discolor from the acid in the vinaigrette.


Remember this?
Well, I’m off to the beach to recuperate for a few days. I’ll let you know how the virgin margaritas and Bloody Mary’s go. Actually, I don’t think I could sip a Bloody Mary sans vodka…it’s worth a shot (badumdum–pun intended). But hey, it should be fun anyway!

Be back later this week!

Yours truly managed to get Mono during finals! Woohoo!

Ok, really, it’s not exciting. But it does explain why I kept passing out on my couch when I tried to write papers or study for my one final exam. It also explains why I haven’t posted anything on here for awhile. I’ve hardly been cooking. Let alone writing blog posts about it.

So the first day or two that I was sick (last Friday maybe?) I rummaged around my pantry looking for anything edible. I really wanted to make soup, but I didn’t have any soupy items besides lentils, so, even though it’s totally off-season, I decided to try another lentil soup recipe. Luckily I had most of the ingredients that the PPK called for, minus the crusty bread, so I mixed up some biscuits to serve it with.

Overall impressions? Not bad–for a winter stew. I mean, it just felt weird eating lentil soup when it was 80 degrees outside. But it helped my throat for a little while, so that’s good and all. I have a lot of leftovers, so I might do that pie thing again to get rid of them. Don’t get me wrong, I love lentils, but this just isn’t my favourite all-time way to eat them in the summer.

French Lentil Soup w/ Tarragon and Thyme

2 cups french lentils
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large white onion, diced medium
1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
A couple of generous dashes fresh black pepper
6 cups veggie broth

Heat olive oil in the soup pot. Add onions and cook about 10 minutes over med-high heat, until onions are browning and even a little burnt. Add the garlic , herbs and spices, saute 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and a little splash of water if necessary and stir to deglaze the pot. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Add salt, 4 cups of veg broth and cover to bring to a boil. Add the lentils and bay leaves and cover again. Simmer about 45 minutes until lentils are almost totally tender. Add 2 more cups of broth, cover and bring to a boil again, about 15 more minutes. If it looks to thin, uncover and simmer for a couple of minutes. If it looks too thick, add a little more water.

Serve over biscuits.