Posts filed under: ‘Vegan‘




Moment of Zen, Green Tea Cupcakes

So its been awhile!!  I should mention first and foremost Aunt Penny is doing well.  It was a little rough to be honest in the beginning but her spirits are high and things are good on the road to recovery.  I saw her last week in the hospital and she said she couldn’t wait to read the blog again soon and was so thankful for everyone’s wishes of good health.  So from Aunt Penny and Me thanks you for stopping in and thinking of her in the last few weeks, and sending all that good energy.

I’m finally starting to fit into a groove at my new job.  This is a pretty big transition for me consider I’d been working full time at my last job almost 9 years.  Its crazy when I think of where the time went?!

I started working at the Performing Arts Center as a college student, when the campus was in fact my home, and given the sheer time committment my job at the PAC required, my emotional investment was great.  I’ve been thinkng of all the great experiences and people I’ve come across in the years I spent there.  The growing I’ve done, both good and difficult.  One of the biggest parts or perks of the job was all the great performances.

Just last year The Performing Arts Center became the set of Black Swan.  Lincoln Center gets top billing of course, but truly every scene in the dressing rooms, backstage, on stage and the rehearsal areas in the film was shot at the Performing Arts Center.  Yes I saw (Academy Award winner!!!!) Natalie Portman, and Mila Kunis around the “dungeon” as all the PAC staff affectionately call the backstage areas where the offices are.  Can’t say I really had much interaction with actors, lets be honest I just took advantage of Craft Food Services, but nonetheless its a cool thing to have been around for.

One of my favorite performances was watching Savion Glover, tap dance, or hoof as its called, the several times he’s taken the stage at the PAC.  It has always been an inspiration to the part of me that spent so many years studying tap dancing as a kid.

I’ve seen groups like The B-52’s, Joshua Bell, Matisyahu, Chuck Berry, The Righteous Brothers, Regina Spector, and the Legend James Brown. And comedians like Kathy Griffin and George Carlin.  I’ve gotten to experiences some world class entertainment!!!

One of my favorite memories is of a young concert pianist by the name of Lang Lang (pronounced Long Long) who has performed many times at the Performing Arts Center.  Lang Lang is kind of a rockstar in his own right.  Hes in his 20’s, wears leather jackets, and pattened leather sneakers when he performs, so I think he’s trying to at least be himself, and both old and young people are always in attendance.  Hes also a total prodigy and a completely rare talent and has been playing since he was 3 years old.  And if you still don’t know who I’m talking about– he was part of the opening ceremony of the summer Olympics last year. OHhhhh that guy…

As time passes and my memories become more rose colored, I will still always recall how just about anything in theater can go wrong at the last minute. Its actually one of the things I liked best about my former job– having to problem solve at the last possible second.  Un/fortunately for me I’m pretty good at finding a remedy for a last minute crisis, and putting out fires and its taxing to say the least– always operating on full throttle but totally rewarding.

On more than one occasion I’ve found myself inside the theatre while Lang Lang was rehearsing.  The first time, I went in for a standard walk through of the theatre a few hours before the show.  I walked across the back of the first balcony as he rehearsed.  I didn’t know if it was Mozart or Beethoven.  But it didn’t matter, I took a couple moments to enjoy my secret concert.

The last night Lang Lang performed there was lots of chaos.  Between ticketing issues, technical issues, and lots of important people in the building, my staff and I were running all over the place.  Just as we were about to open the theatre to begin seating for the show, I stepped inside.  I was one of the few people inside the big Concert Hall.  It seats more then 1300 people.  I quietly moved inside towards the seats, the door shut behind me and all the noise and choas of people waiting to get in became quieter and quieter. As I stepped into the seats the melodic sounds of the solo piano grew.  Lang Lang was warming up, and I was the only person in the audience.

This moment didn’t last for more than a few minutes as my staff began to take their positions at the doors inside, but for a moment, a moment, a brief moment of zen, I sat captive in my last private concert, given by Lang Lang at the Performing Arts Center.

In reverence to the phase of my life that have ended and all the great things I learned, and to all the great things in the future….

Zen Green Tea Cupcakes

"E" for Ella, and Eccentric

This recipe is from my favorite (often referenced) cupcake cookbook: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World! by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero.

I’ve made many different versions of green tea cupcakes and these take the cake (pun intended).  They are always super moist and fluffy.  And I think Oscar winner Natalie Portman would also appreciate the lack of diary and eggs.

You will need:

1/2 c soy yogurt

2/3 c rice milk ( I’ve used regular yogurt and buttermilk if you aren’t concerned about keeping these cruelty free)

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/3 c canola oil

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/4 c all purposed (unbleached) flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3-4 tsp matcha green tea powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 c granulated sugar

Green tea powder can be a little hard to find. I’ve found it near the cafe section of Whole Foods.  Its what they use to make those yummy green tea fraps at Starbucks.  Its a little pricey, but let me mention its about $10 for a few ounces.  I’ve been to culinary fairs and festivals where its sold at $100 for a few ounces!!! So if you find yourself shopping online, don’t break the bank.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a separate bowl mix wet ingredients (obviously sugar doesn’t count this time) whisk soy milk and yogurt, vanilla, oil and almond extract until smooth. Sift in flour, baking soda and powder, matcha green tea powder, salt and sugar.  I recommend using only 3 tsp of matcha powder, unless you really love the flavor. Its great in more mild amounts, too much?? taste like sea weed if you ask me. Mix until smooth.

Fill lined baking pans 2/3 full. Bake for 18 min
utes approximately or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.

Vegan Cupcake Take Over the World recommends a Matcha Green Tea Glaze, but this time around I flavored a couple cups of Swiss Merignue ButterCream with a tsp of Rose Water, and 1/2 tsp of blackberry extract I found at specialty culinary store.  A little burgundy food coloring made for a beautiful and exquisite flavor profile.

3 comments March 7, 2011

BRUNCH: Chocolate Stout Waffles

Heres another chocolate recipe for Valentine’s Day…

When I was in college we called the trip to the dining hall on the weekends the “brunch bus.”  Even though we walked, albeit a mere couple of hundred feet to the dining hall there we at least a dozen of us who all met and made the walk together to share breakfast in varying states of soberity. Generally there were rounds of obnoxious and comical phone calls from room to room rousing all our friend to wake up for the Brunch bus.

Had these been on the menu back in my college days we probably would have gotten up a little earlier for breakfast.

Chocolate Stout Waffles

This recipe was inspire by my friend Chrissy who mentioned a vegan recipe for these waffles is available in the book Vegan Brunch, by the same ladies who did Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  I haven’t seen the original recipe so I snooped around the internet and finally just figured I try my own and see how it came out.

1 1/3 c all purpose flour

1/3  cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 c sugar

1 c buttermilk ( 1 c milk, 1 tsp vinegar)

3 eggs

3/4 cup +1 tbsp chocolate stout

1/4 c canola oil

1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients: flour, soda, salt, and cocoa.  Whisk eggs, oil, buttermilk, stout, and vanilla and pour into dry ingredients.

Heat waffle iron, and grease with canola oil, either spraying, or brushing oil on iron with a pastry brush. Pour 1/2c mixture into iron.  Close iron and cook.

I garnished these with homemade whipped cream, strawberries, and maple syrup.  Most folks tend to prefer chocolate syrup which is also lovely.

If you want to make these vegan, first I’d say get Vegan Brunch and use that recipe, other wise, use soymilk instead of the buttermilk, and omit the eggs.  I actually forgot to put eggs in so the first couple waffles I made were egg free. They were slightly heavier, not in a bad way, just dense– more brownie like and didn’t fall out of the waffle iron when they were done.  Still very good.  Adding the eggs made the mixture a little runnier but the waffles lighter and crispier.

2 comments February 13, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

In time for Valentines Day these are a great homemade, but really easy to make confection for someone you are sweet on. But first, I want to mention the event I made these for and my favortie, absolute favorite organization: VDay.

When I was in college studying theatre and wondering “What the hell am I gonna do after I graduate?!?!” I auditioned for a play,  and got the chance to be on stage in a neighboring college’s production of The Vagina Monologues.  I was also studying Solo Performance Art and quickly learned about the controversial play’s author Eve Ensler.  I ended up doing a presentation on Eve and her work.  I was astounded how she choose to use her piece to help others.  To this day I don’t think any other playwright has written the rights to their work in such a giving and original way.

Each year (to this day) Eve allows college and community organizers to perform The Vagina Monologues, free of royalties. Proceeds from the performances are donated to a local organization who help to end violence against women and girls.  I soon decided that it was odd the the super progressive, funky, eclectic and very eccentric college I attended didn’t do their own annual production of TVM.  So the following year I produced and directed the first of 2 VDay events during my college career.  Currently there are 1500 schools across the country who participate, raising millions for non profits in their communities.  4,000 events will take place this year around the world, and VDay has evolved too.  Organizers can present many plays and films including The Vagina Monologues, A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and  a Prayer, Any One of Us, and films: What I Want my Words to Do to You, and Until the Violence Stops.  There are book clubs for young girls, and teach-ins for the issues that VDay spotlights each year: Haiti being this years spotlight Campaign. There are V groups for men too, because violence doesn’t just affect women. VDay involves many amazing women and men who are all committed to ending violence and they use art to spread this transformative message.

Ever been on a stage? I’m sure you can attest to a metamorphosis feeling of being an actor, storyteller, or having seen a great piece that really changed your life. One of my favorite plays I’ve ever seen, is aptly called Metamorphoses— a pool of water instead of stage? A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  And thats theatre– art really.  My story with VDay doesn’t really end.  I made a brief but powerful connection to one of the Campaign Directors at the West End Theatre the year I first produce The Vagina Monologues, the next year I was interning and amoungst all the volunteering I still do for VDay whenever I can, and especially when they need a theatre nerd backstage.  And that Campaign Director, Shael well I was there when she went into labor for her daughter Aela, and every year I make her birthday cake.  Its our thing.  And its always been my excuse to show a little V-girl what cool lady’s can do for the people who are special to them. 

I hope to make the world a great place one cake at time, and VDay, aside from being all over my professional resume has been at the heart of how I want the world to be: happy, safe, amazing, accepting of everyone, for everyone.  When violence is no longer perpetrated against women and girls– we are all ladies and gents safe, happy, accepting, progressing. We’re better. Better People, Better Friends, better family, better lovers, better artists. GOOD.  If you want to get involved: be in a play, become or wake up that activist in you, reach out, open up, raise funds for a good cause, get educated, educate, become apart of a heart beat, a backbone of people who want the world to be a better place, be an artist, inspire, lead, be an example to the next generation of people, make the world better for your own kids, then go to VDay.org. You’ll find a performance or film screening near you and organizers always need help, so reach out and jump in. Make a donation if you want.

On to a really easy recipe just in time for VDay.  Save the cash on store bought chocolates and make these for your sweetie.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles:

Start with a package a Nestle’s mini morsels.

Omit the eggs and levening agents. Walnuts are optional, and you are good to go.

Combine 3/4 c sugar, 3/4c  brown sugar, 1c  butter and 1 tsp vanilla

Add 2 1/4c flour and 1 tsp salt.

Its like a fluffy cloud of buttery sugar!

Fold in chips.

and you are ready to start scooping.

I recommend a cookie scooper, although my plastic one broke after a batch of these.  I think a more heavy duty metal scooper is best and they come in all shapes and sizes. 

Of course try to get these as uniform as possible, scooping and rolling the truffles in your hands. Chill in the refridgerator for about an hour or longer before you dip in chocolate.

In a double boiler or microwave gently heat 1 c (more if you need) semisweet chocolate chips. I recommend adding 2 tbsp butter or shortening to thin the chocolate for a really thin consistency.  Use a plastic fork with the 2 middle tines removed. Dip chilled truffles and allow to set on wax paper.

I like to finish these off by placing them in mini cupcake cups or candy cups for display.

Of course you can doctor these but using vegan butter and chocolate.  I haven’t seen mini vegan chocolate chips, but chopping up your chocolate always works.

2 comments February 8, 2011

Vote for Chrissy TOO

Its time again to place you vote (EVERY SINGLE DAY…3 times a day if you vote from work, home and a fancy cell phone) for my friend Chrissy.  She has made it to the top 20 of the contest, and now the second part of the contest has begun.  Don’t know who this fabulous gal is? Look below and you’ll get a 90 second snippet into just what she is all about.

Still on the fence?  Well if you tune in to my kitchen escapades on a semi regular basis, and enjoy what you see then you owe a swift click (in the way of a vote) to Chrissy.  Aside from being one of my dearest friends and roommates all through out college, and trust me I’m not easy to live with, Chrissy was a super supportive friend when I first started baking as more than just a hobby.  Once upon time she sent me a lovely little birthday care package with a lovely cupcake cook book that turn my baking reperatoire on its head.  Needing a place to catalog all my ideas, Chrissy was the one to scream from the roof tops that I needed a blog, just like her.

So here is one more Apple inspired recipe.  Apple Carrot Dumplings.  But before you go rearranging your Thanksgiving menu, I should state these are for four legged dinner guest.  After all as you’ve seen a vote for Chrissy is a vote for Puppies, Cookies, and Love.

Apple Carrot Dumplings From Baking For Your Dog by Ingebrog Pils

1 apple

1 carrot

5 oz spelt flour

5 oz coarse rolled oats

2 eggs

3 tbsp molasses

water and flour as reqired

Finely grate apple and carrot. I peeled the apple with my peeler and then threw both the skins and the apple into the bowl. Combine with other ingredients. If necessary add water and/ or flour to get a smooth texture.

I found I didn’t need any water or flour and just mixed and mashed with my hands.

Preheat over to 350 F degrees, and line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Using a Tablespoon scoop dumplings and place on sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes, then turn off oven and allow dumplings to dry inside as heat reduces.  Store in a paper or linen bag.  Dumplings keep for approximately 3 weeks.

So heres the deal: I promised if she got in the top twenty that I’d do a little give give give away.  Heres what I have to offer:

Wilton Ruffled Cupcake Liners

Rose Piping Kit

and

Duff’s Cake Tattoos

So comment everyday after you vote and get a couple of friends to vote too!! (just comment so I can see). The first 4 will get the goods. VOTE here!!!

Also to come a lovely give away of Cake Eccentric Eccentrique Chic Aprons!!!

5 comments November 22, 2010

Valentine’s Day

I celebrated Valentine’s Day  like anyone else might, with a bone crushing Hockey game!  Nothing like a bunch big angry men slaming into each other to symbolize a day of love, but enough about me.

Valentines Day is actually one of my favorite holidays because it is the celebratory day of one of my favorite organziations VDay.  VDay has been doing alot of work over the last 12 years to make the world a better place, especially for women and girls. I applaud their work and have tried to volunteer time or donate funds when I can.   I think Valentines Day is just the appropriate day to spread love so why not try to do so by giving time and or money to those who need it?

That brings me to my dear friends Chrissy and Nathan.   They spent February 14th running a marathon!!  NO SMALL FEAT, thats for sure!  Chrissy and Nathan were really dedicated to their cause of completing the 26.2 mile  race around the Austin city limits. (And they both managed to finish in under 4 hours!!)  They trained hard for months completing 20 mile hilly courses in their East Texas neighborhood all in preparation  for a race that can really do a number on you if you aren’t ready.  To give themselves some added inspiration while on the grueling course this past V-Day, Chrissy and Nathan asked their friends to donate to their favorite charity Doctor’s without borders.   They both said it really helped knowing that they’d helped raise money for an important cause all while accomplishing a big personal goal.

www.VDay.org

www.DoctorsWithoutBorders.org

So though I might have spent an enjoyable V-Day drinking beer and screaming when Sean Avery sunk in a top shelf penalty shot I did try and donate to the Chrissy and Nathan’s training regimen …with calories!  Adaquate caloric intake is essential when training for a feat of this nature and Chrissy and Nathan are also vegan which in my opinion is another challenge at least from my humble baker’s prespective.  So I sent my friends a large box of Vegan Cookies to keep their spirits and their calories high in anticipation of a mighty race!

 

Vegan Chocolate Chips from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

These Cookies were so awesome you’d never know that they don’t contain butter.  I had to save a couple for myself before sealing up the package and sending it off.

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 c white sugar

2/3 c canola oil

1/4 c unsweetened almond milk or your choice of non dairy milk

1 tsp tapioca flour (sometimes called tapioca starch, I substituted 1 tsp cornstarch, as I couldn’t find tapioca flour)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 c all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 c chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Combine sugars, oil, milk, and tapioca flour with a fork.  Mix with vigor for about 2 minutes! As the authors of this awesome book mention “there is a chemical reaction when the sugar and oil collide, so its important that you don’t get lazy..”  The mixture should look like thick carmel when you are done.

Add 1 cup of flour, baking soda and salt and mix well.  Add the remaining flour and fold in chips.  Scoop dough into balls.  I suggest 1.5″ in diameter.  Flatten slightly when placing on cookie sheet.  I lined my cookie sheet with parchment paper.  If you don’t have parchment make sure you grease the cookie sheet.

**Parchment is great at limiting the messiness of baking and you can use one piece of parchment batch after batch in the oven.  Replace with a fresh sheet when the paper starts to look brown.  By the way I don’t recommend using wax paper in place of parchment, unless you want you cookies to taste like crayons…

1 comment February 18, 2010

Staging a Coup (Deux)

Just a quick little FYI, should you be inspired to bake a vegan cupcake, or fully indulge and purchase Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World or far better you already have the cookbook and its binding its beat because you bake your face off!! …

Beware these gals haven’t quite had their say with dessert.

Its coming….

 

Order your copy in advance (and save $5.) here.

 

Add a comment August 14, 2009

Staging a Coup

VEGAN CUPCAKES TAKE OVER THE WORLD!

By Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

This. Is. My. Favorite. Cookbook. EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DSCN0314

I kind of thought it was a joke 2 years ago when I got it for my birthday.  My vegan friend Chrissy with her insatiable sweet tooth and not-so-hidden agenda: to make me a cruelty free baker.  She also sent me a super awesome retro apron– Chrissy makes great birthday packages…

Now, years later, there is a large rubber band that holds the book together and you can see the various stickies.  Its become such a staple,  its a rare day that I bake cake that isn’t vegan. Thats right this book kicks the poor unknowing bum of every Joy-of-Cooking-Martha-Stewart-Paula-Dean-Betty-Crocker dessert cook book you can find me.  So if in fact Vegan cupcakes were to stage a coup…I’m on their side.

Picture fall 08 083

TOP 5 Reasons this Book is Righteous:

1. AWESOME!! Every recipe I’ve tried has come out AWESOME.  There are 75 recipes–including ganache, different glazes, frostings, let alone tons of cake.  And you’d never know it was vegan if the cat wasn’t let out of the bag.

2. FO’ REAL! These recipes aren’t  just a bunch of “replace the egg with applesauce” kinds of lists.  Each cupcake was built from the ground up with super culinary prowess.  Yes its possible to reinvent the cake, and no it doesn’t need eggs or butter.  (psst!!  Soymilk is cheaper than eggs and butter–so its economical too!!)

3. CAKE IS NOT PREDJUDICE. Vegan isn’t just for the strict vegetarians. Vegan baking is ideal for those who are lactose intolerant, have egg allergies-(its more common that you think) and this book offers some low-fat, low-sugar, and gluten-free varieties as well.  In short this book proves EVERYONE can have cake and eat it too.

4. COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES. This book will expand you’re culinary palate.  Green tea matcha powder, non- hydrogenated shortening, rosewater, chocolate extract…Most of these were not on my radar till this book came along.  Who knows what kind of great inspriration you’ll find using these flavorings!

5. PI? Every recipe works out  to exactly 12 cupcakes–How did they do it??

Recipes to try in no particular order:

  • Hazelnut Creme Cupcakes.  Sooo good its unholy.
  • Mucho Margarita Si! Its made with Tequila!
  • Chocolate Stout. Tell any beer-enjoying gent you make cupcakes with Guiness in them, and he’ll be your main squeeze in no time…Just ask my boyfriend.
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Chip is so good I want to dress up like one for Halloween.
  • Apple Cider makes you wish Summer were over.

I could go on but I’d just continue to steal the thunder of this book.  Get at any major bookseller or click here

3 comments August 12, 2009

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