Friday, February 5, 2010

First Week of February Granola

I tried to make granola a few nights ago. By memory. But I forgot an important ingredient. Well, I remembered it when I woke up the next morning. And I didn't measure out the other ingredients as I should have. And I think I added an extra cup of oats (Jacqui was helping me).

4-5 cups whole oats
1 cup whole flax seeds
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
ground cinnamon
ground nutmeg
ground allspice
lemon zest
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 cup chopped pecans
(blackberry photo. not in focus. please forgive.)

What's missing? The vanilla!!

Still tastes good. :) I think I underdosed on the oil though -- at least in connection with the (extra cup of) oats because the granola, while yummily coated, did not stick together.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jacqui's Birthday!!

For Jacqui's birthday last week, I made vanilla cupcakes in pink and red silicone heart molds and topped them with chocolate peanut butter frosting. Both recipes came from The Joy of Vegan Baking, an excellent cookbook that I regularly read, if not use. The cake was soft and springy, and not too sweet. The frosting was a little decadent, and a little like Reese's pieces in spreadable, vegan form.

Surprisingly, the recipes turned out well (other than my overfilled and overflowing cupcake molds) considering my lack of measuring spoons and cups. The recipe, which claimed to make 10-12 cupcakes, made 16 (and could have made more if I hadn't overfilled those 16).

Jacqui and Fiona decorated the cupcakes with vegan sprinkles that I bought some time ago from I wish I had gotten some photos of them decorating, but I was busy frosting to keep up with their sprinkling, and didn't get any action shots.

Granola a la Rita

I can't remember which day I made the granola anymore. I do remember that it was a big hit. It was early in the week...

I worked off of Rita's recipe that she shared with me when we visited her and Carlos a few weeks ago in Philly. I made a few adjustments to reflect the ingredients/lack thereof at the house.

~4 cups whole oats
~1 1/2 cups mixed nuts, chopped
~1 cup brown whole flax seeds
~1/2 tsp sea salt (might have been 1 tsp)
~1 tsp ground cinnamon
~1/4 cup organic canola oil
~1/2 cup molasses
~1/2 cup light brown sugar
~1 tsp vanilla
~3 cups dried cranberries and pineapple
NB: all the measurements are approximations because the house was lacking in measuring spoons and cups. I used mugs for the cups and spoons for the teaspoons.

What to do
Preheat the oven to 300 F.

In a big bowl, mix the oats and flax seeds. Chop the nuts and add them too.

On the stove, heat up a large pan, then add the oil, molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla. (The brown sugar was hard as a rock, so I had to cook it with the liquid stuff.) Cook for a few minutes on medium-high heat, until the kitchen fills with the aroma of molasses and everyone surrounds you asking what you are making.

Add the liquid ingredients to the oats and flax, and mix well. Spread into the brownie pan I found, and stick in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove and stir the granola around. Put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Chop the pineapple and mix the cranberries and pineapple together.

When the second twenty minutes are over, remove the pan from the oven and turn it off. Let it cool for maybe five minutes, then stir in the dried fruit. As the granola cools, make sure to break up any large pieces. And hope that there's still some left in an hour!

Mild Lentil Tomato Stew

It was Saturday, still in Vermont on vacation. Andy/Toly was planning a big, fancy non-vegan dinner for the group. So I needed a big, fancy vegan dinner for me and Jacqui. And lunch. It was morning, and I had to decide what to make for the rest of the day (morning meal was a delicious tofu scramble of tofu, tumeric, sweet potato, broccoli, onion, garlic, shallots, and olive oil).

Enter the red lentils, which Dave and Andy/Toly scored on Friday after searching several stores (who knew red lentils would be that hard to find in Vermont?). Enter the diced tomatoes I had bought earlier in the week (intended for a chili that was never made).

My stew might not have been big or fancy, but it was yummy, and brightly colored. Jacqui and I had it for lunch and again for dinner on Saturday. As with all the meals prepared in Stowe, I was limited in the spices that were available (what was at the house and what I had bought), so feel free to change them up if you make this stew yourself.

olive oil
2 cups (1 lb) red lentils (red lentils are really orange)
1 red onion, diced (red onions are really purple)
3 cloves garlic, diced (white garlic is really white)
4 large organic carrots, peeled and diced (carrots were orange this time around)
1 28-oz can organic diced fire roasted tomatoes (plus juices)
1 14-oz can organic garbanzos
ground cinnamon
ground tumeric
4 bay leaves
whole coriander
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

What to do
After dicing the onion, garlic, and carrots, heat up a stew pot up on med-high heat (or high if you are using an electric stove, as I was, that only heats on high) and add the olive oil when warm. When the olive oil is warm, add the onion, garlic, and carrots, and saute until the onions are translucent.

Add the lentils, garbanzos, and enough water to cover. The amount of water you add with make this stew more or less soupy, so go with what you like. (If I had vegetable bouillon, and not the MSG-laden crap that was in the house's pantry, I would have used it here.)

Add the tomatoes, and season with ground cinnamon (in the pantry) and ground tumeric (I bought it to make tofu scramble). Use as much or as little as you'd like. Feel free to replace the ground cinnamon with one or two cinnamon sticks, if you have those around. Add the bay leaves (brought from home) and some whole coriander (because that's what is in the spice pantry). Again, if you have ground coriander, that would work too. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a low boil and cook for at least twenty minutes -- the lentils should be soft. You can cook it longer, it will become more stew-like. Check the water content as you cook and make sure it doesn't get too solid. Also, check to make sure that nothing burns (the pot I was using had a very thin bottom, and the heat had to be on high to cook, so I had to be extra vigilant in my stirring).

You can eat this alone, or with some couscous or pasta or rice, or anything else for that matter. It's a very mild, delicately spiced stew that is pretty filling. Adrianna even ate some. Yum yum.