Monday, October 30, 2006

Your Basic Chocolate Cupcake with Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting

Cookbook * Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
Recipe * Your Basic Chocolate Cupcake with Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting
Yumm or Yuck? * Yumm

I need to find some neighbors with a healthy cupcake appetite. Not, mind you, because these cupcakes are bad, but rather because they are so damn good I'm destined to eat the whole batch. This is the universal problem with baking sweets, right? Back to the cupcakes. These are awesome, no words do them justice. Fluffy and tasty with creamy icing that holds up for piping. They put a smile on my face, my husband's face, and my dog's face...well, she didin't get to have any, but its the thought that counts, I mean she was Wonder Woman for a day so she can't complain. Annatto seed extract gives the icing a nice orange Halloween color, even though it doesn't ring true in the photo. "Vegan cupcake world domination?" I think so!

Kudos to the PPK gang for catapulting "vegan cupcake" into the foodie lexicon and for creating a cookbook with a user guide. Cookbook developers note - Every cookbook should have a practical user guide.I can't tell you how much I appreciate the front material on dos and don'ts and even a section to help you trouble shoot problem cupcakes - you know the ones :) On their recommendation, I purchased an oven thermometer for my average cookbook tester oven and even invested in a cheap, shiny, aluminum cupcake pan the better to bake with my dear. The only thing holding me back is patience and restraint..."I will not eat the icing before I ice the cupcakes, I will not eat the cupcakes before they are iced, I will not ice the cupcakes until they are cool....repeat...I will not.."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Chocolate Biscotti

Cookbook * The Artful Vegan: The Millennium Restaurant
Recipe * Chocolate Biscotti
Yumm or Yuck? * Yumm

Would you think less or more of me if I told you I ate the entire batch of biscotti by myself? These are perhaps the best biscotti I've ever made vegan or not - maybe its the cocoa nibs, maybe its the chocolate chunks or the walnuts, or maybe its the Jack Daniels Whiskey that makes them so addictive. The dough is much gooeyer than normal biscotti dough and requires a great deal of patience to form into a log before baking, but its totally worth it!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cornmeal-Crusted Tempeh

Cookbook * The Candle Cafe Cookbook
Recipe * Cornmeal-Crusted Tempeh
Yumm or Yuck? * Yumm

A standard on our dinner table, these little nuggets are first marinated in a maple syrup and shoyu sauce then battered and fried. They make a great introduction to tempeh and pot luck friends rave about them. We like to double the marinade - if you do this make sure to keep the cut of the tempeh thick enough so the extra marinade isn't overpowering. Serve as part of an Asian themed meal or with good old American sides, this will hit the spot! Oh, and if you are ever in NYC do stop by Candle Cafe - their seitan skewers should be on my top 5 things to try before you die! Although the recipe is featured in their cookbook, its just not the same.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mango Coconut Bread Pudding

Cookbook * Vegan Planet
Recipe * Mango Coconut Bread Pudding
Yumm or Yuck? * Yumm

Its mango season - finally. Mango season in Hawaii is marked by neighbors sharing Mango chutney (its a secret recipe of course), self-serve mango stands in front yards, and the smell of overripe mangos fallen onto sidewalks. Hawaii mango season was the inspiration to try this recipe and I've made it at least a dozen times since. Its really tasty comfort food and a hit with everyone - regardless of food afilliation. Celebrate your own mango season with this perfectly simple and yummy pudding.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pecan Pie

Cookbook * Millennium Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine
Recipe * Pecan Pie (filling only)
Yumm or Yuck? * Yuck

This was my first attempt at a vegan pecan pie, which made its failure that much more of a bummer. The filling was dry, crumbly, and a bit too salty and not nearly sweet enough. Think a pecan praline of sorts in a pie shell. I used a frozen pie shell, so I can't comment on the cookbook's pie crust recipe. I might try Real Food Daily's recipe next. Or, maybe I'll just tinker around with my Mema's pecan pie recipe - according to Southern tradition, pecan pie isn't pecan pie without Karo syrup anyway.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Bean Salsa In Radicchio Leaves

Cookbook * Incredibly Delicious: The Vegan Paradigm Cookbook
Recipe * Bean Salsa In Radicchio Leaves
Yumm or Yuck? * Yumm

One of the best things about following a plant based diet has been discovering my love for bean salads. I used to only have them as a side dish at a picnic or potluck a few times a year, but now I'd happily have one every week - and there are so many different bean salads one could probably make a different one each week! I like this one because it adds a tomato sauce and vinegar twist and it uses pintos where most bean salads rely on black beans. This one is called a salsa, but I eat it like a salad. It would be great served as an appetizer with radicchio leaves, but the market didn't have any on hand, so I tried cabbage leaves. Although it looks nice in the pic, the cabbage leaves really don't work well - I'll be sure to use radicchio next time.