I’m back!

VeganMoFo2014

I’m blogging again for Vegan MoFo. I’m over on Tumblr for now. I want to see how it goes over there. I really like the micro-blogging format there.

 

So, check it out! My rss feed is at the top of the page, or, check back here, I’ve added it to the sidebar. Let me know what you think!

VeganMoFo Sweet Focaccia

I love focaccia, but have never made it myself. When I heard of sweet focaccia, I decided I had to try it myself. It’s a thin, sweet focaccia topped with fruit. Currently fresh in my yard are peaches and apples. So, I made a ginger peach and a cinnamon apple focaccia.

focaccia on kohlrabiandquince.wordpress.com

 

For the bread itself, I used the sweet focaccia recipe from the cookbook Focaccia by Carol Field.

For the apple topping:

4 cups chopped apples per 12″ focaccia round

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp olive oil (enough to brush the edges of the bread)

To assemble – spread apples over dough. Be sure to drizzle any remaining liquid over the apples. After you pull it from the oven, brush edges of bread with olive oil.

 

For the peach topping:

1 C sliced peaches per 12″ focaccia round

a sprinkle of nutmeg

a sprinkle of ginger

1/8 – 1/4 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of your peaches)

2 tablespoons olive oil

To assemble – brush olive oil over dough. Place peaches in a spiral on dough. Sprinkle nutmeg, ginger, and sugar over top. Once you pull the bread from the oven, brush olive oil over edges of bread.

peach focaccia slice on kohlrabiandquince.wordpress.com

Vegan MoFo: Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday! For my first Thankful Thursday, I want to express my gratitude for the food growers of the country. They’re passionate about what they do, they don’t get nearly enough love and they work harder than most of us could ever imagine. Please, go to your farmers market or your local farm, and thank a grower.

I’m completely spoiled. I live just outside California’s Central Valley, so I have the opportunity to eat local and have a relationship with growers in the area. I try to hit the farmer’s markets as often as I can, I try to visit local farms in the area, and, lucky for us, Fresno State has an amazing farm on campus with a fantastic farm store.

During the long, fruitless winter months, I long for summer produce. It doesn’t matter what the calendar says, summer starts when cherries are in season. From there, I look forward to tomatoes and corn (Fresno State grows the best. It’s not organic, but it is GMO-free). Then summer squash and peppers. I know the end of summer is near with the Fay Elberta peach crop. They signal the beginning of peach season, and my favourite time of year. Around the beginning of August, the Fay Elbertas are available. They’re only around for about a week, and they can be hard to find, but, they are the best peaches on the planet. If you can find some, it’s worth the hunt. Once peach season begins, I have about 6 weeks to gorge myself on locally grown peaches. So far this season, I’ve had 6 different varieties (and still, there are more to be had!). I eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert. One of my favourite desserts is pandowdy. Mostly because halfway through baking, I get to smash the crust into the pie.

Endless Pandowdy

Endless Pandowdy

Tonight, instead of the traditional pie-shaped pandowdy, I made a 9×11 massive pandowdy.

Summer Peach Pandowdy (adapted from my peach pie filling recipe)

4 lbs peaches

3Tbl tapioca starch

1/3 C sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

a shake of nutmeg

Your favourite pie crust (I can’t lie, I was too lazy to make my own tonight. I used a frozen one)

Mix filling ingredients and add to pan. Lay your crust over the filling and bake at 425 for about 20 minutes. Pull the pan out of the oven and turn the oven down to 350. Slice the crust into 1 inch diamonds (like baklava!). Take a spoon and smash (gently) the diamonds into the filling.

Return it to the oven and bake at 350 for 28 minutes.

VeganMoFo Day 4 – The fluffiest pancakes

itssofluffy

Seriously, These are the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever made. Every time you feed your sourdough starter, you’re supposed to throw out all of it except 4oz. I hate to waste it, and have found a handful of great looking recipes for the unfed (or throwaway) starter. Pancakes is one of them.

Stack 'em high

Stack ‘em high

I used the King Arthur Flour Classic Sourdough Waffles or Pancakes recipe. Their recipe calls for buttermilk. I used Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk + apple cider vinegar to make buttermilk. It also calls for 2 eggs. I left them out and added 2tsp of baking powder (in addition to the baking soda). The recipe makes 28 pancakes, so be prepared to feed at least 7 people. Or just be very hungry.

I topped them with soy-free Earth Balance and homemade boysenberry syrup. Killer.

A mountain of fluffy pancakes

A mountain of fluffy pancakes

VeganMoFo Mac & Cheese Monday

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Happy VeganMoFo! This year, at Vida Vegan Con, there was a wonderful VeganMoFo workshop run by Kittee, Amey, and Mo. We got a ton of great tips and decided on some daily themes for this year’s VeganMoFo. The themes are:

Mac-and-Cheese Monday – Eat mac and cheese. On Monday. (who needs another excuse?)

TV Tuesday – Eat and Watch, cook a meal featured in your favourite movie or TV show.

Work With it Wednesday – Work with a food you don’t like

Thankful Thursday – Giving to others and focusing on the positive

Freaky Friday – Trade with a fellow blogger for the day.

Retro Saturday – Veganise your favourite retro dishes

Sleepy Sundays – Your favourite breakfast or brunch dishes

I won’t be using all the themes daily, but I do want to try to use all of them at least once this month. Because I’m working during MoFo this year, I’m also not sure if I’ll be able to post daily, but I’m definitely going to shoot for 3x a week.

A list of all the themes from the workshop can be found on this VeganMoFo post. For the blogroll, weekend challenges, daily round-ups, and giveaways, stay tuned to the VeganMoFo homepage. If you’re totally overwhelmed by the number of bloggers, and want to randomly stumble upon some new blogs, try Random MoFo. Happy MoFo-ing, everyone! I can’t wait to see what everyone has cooked up this month!

 

This year, I’m working with bread. Until pretty recently, bread was something that I was totally intimidated by, and there are still some breads out there that I haven’t tackled, so I thought I’d take this month to give them a shot. Besides, who doesn’t want their house to smell like fresh baked bread all month?

 

Over the last week, I’ve been working on my very first, from-scratch, sourdough starter. I’m happy to say, I’ve got a healthy, growing starter in my fridge. Today, I made two loaves of rustic, relatively quick, sourdough bread. Because it was such a fast bread, it isn’t as sour as the traditional sourdough I grew up eating, but, it is a fantastic recipe.

 

I have heard from many people that one of the best resources for all things bread is King Arthur Flour – not only are there some amazing tips on their community, but, they’ve got live chat AND a baking hotline. So, I obsessed over their recipes and tips for the last month before making their “Start Your Own Sourdough Starter” recipe. I was successful (hooray!). 

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Just Fed Sourdough Starter

Today was my first day off since making my starter, so I tackled King Arthur Flour’s Rustic Sourdough. It was so easy. In only 4 hours, I went from this:

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The dough, mid-rise

To this:

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Rustic Sourdough Bread Loaves

This bread is going to be perfect for everything from toast, to sandwiches, to panzanella. Tonight, it was perfect for mac and cheese topping.

For the Sourdough Mac:

1 recipe Dreena Burton’s Vegveeta Cheese Sauce

8oz noodles – I used pipe regate, it’s my favourite for mac & cheese

Mix them up, and top with torn up bits of sliced sourdough. Bake at 350* for 20 minutes, or until your bread starts getting nice and browned.

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Sourdough Mac

Tonight was the first time I ever made Dreena’s Vegveeta dip. It’s awesome. I tasted it raw, before putting it in the saucepan, and again before putting it in the oven, and both times, I thought the tahini was a little strong, but, mixed with the noodles and the sourdough, it was perfect. I think it’s my new favourite mac & cheese sauce.

Vegan Cuts Snack Box Review

Recently, Vegan Cuts offered me a free Snack Box in exchange for a review.

Spoilers: the box is awesome.

A little about the products included:
The Beanfield’s Rice and Bean chips were great. I have had their nacho flavour before, but not the sea salt. I was just as impressed with these as I was the nacho.

The Go Veggie parmesan style cheese is great. I ate it over pasta and pizza. I’m in love.

Next up is a bag of Snapz chips. I got zucchini. The only ingredient was grilled zucchini. And they were good.

There was a bag of The Good Bean cinnamon chickpeas. This was the only one I didn’t like. They were really dry, and I just couldn’t accept the cinnamon and dry chickpea flavour together.

There were TWO cookies in the box – Earnest Eats chocolate mint and Michy’s Vegan Cran Rustica. The Earnest Eats cookie was good. It was just chocolatey and minty enough to calm my cravings for the two. Michy’s cran rustica cookie was amaizng. It was loaded with cranberries and cinnamon. A perfect combination.

The two treats I was most wary of were the Ultima Replenisher (grape flavour) and the Macro Life Macro Greens packets. They both contain stevia and I’m really don’t like stevia. I was pleasantly surprised by both. I put the Macro Greens into a peach smoothie and really couldn’t taste the stevia at all. I put the Ultima in a glass of water. It was okay. The stevia wasn’t as pronounced as I expected it to be and I may have enjoyed it more if it wasn’t grape flavoured.

There was a great packet of Salba Chia seeds. I put them into oatmeal one morning (one of my favorite ways to enjoy chia seeds).

I’m most addicted to the Fanicful Fox’s peanut butter lip balm. It reminds me of peanut butter cereal or Reeses Pieces peanut butter. I want it on my lips at all times.

In the bottom of the box, there were coupons for Go Veggie! non-dairy cheeses, and Califia Almond Milk. I’ve never seen the almond milk before, and can’t wait to try it.

If you’re interested in getting a Snack Box of your own, visit the Vegan Cuts Snack Box page. It’s only $19.95 a month (which includes shipping!). The boxes are sent out on the 22 of the month, and mine arrived only a few days later.

Coconutty Vegan Rice Crispy Treats

imageJust after Easter, I bought a huge bag of Sweet & Sara toasted coconut marshmallows. Since then, I’ve been eating one or two occasionally. From the minute I saw them, I knew I wanted to make rice crispy treats with them. I haven’t had them in years. Until now. I finally bought some brown rice crisp cereal (Whole Foods brand is vegan).

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

2 heaping cups toasted coconut marshmallows

4 cups brown rice cereal

Melt coconut oil and marshmallows in a medium pot. The marshmallow melt kind of funny – definitely not like non-vegan ‘mallows. Once the oil and ‘mallows are mixed together, add cereal. Press into 8×8 greased pan. Let cool and enjoy.

My Current Food Obsession

Lately, I’ve been craving salads like crazy (I imagine his has something to do with all the junk food and comfort food I’ve been eating since late summer). So, inspired by a photo I saw on Pinterest, I made a week’s worth of salads in mason jars.

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They’re so easy to make and I love having something to grab on my way out the door in the morning. It makes a great time-saver if you make them ahead of time.

The concept is simple: put your dressing on bottom and top with your salad toppings and then, your greens. When you want to eat it, just dump it into a bowl and enjoy. I have a bowl that folds flat that is perfect for carrying to work (from The Pampered Chef!).

The salads keep for a solid 5 days without getting soggy.

The top jar is (bottom to top):
Salsa, avocado, black beans, and spinach.

The next photo is:
(Front) Orange dressing, mandarin orange slices, sunflower seeds, and spinach.
(Back) spicy tahini dressing, cucumber, radish, sunflower seeds, spinach.

Bottom photo:
Avocado, creamy mustard vinaigrette, cucumber, cranberries, sunflower seeds, spinach.

Originally posted on Jessica Bo Bessica:

I started this blog way back in August in hopes that I would actively update it with my various projects, adventures, and ramblings. But after one half-hearted entry about a trip to San Diego, I pooped out. I blog for a living, so sometimes it’s understandably hard for me to come home and blog some more.

But a news story this week lit a fire under my blog writing butt. A story about my dear city, Fresno.

You may have heard that Forbes has declared Fresno the “Dirtiest City In America.” I read the article and my brain almost immediately exploded with frustrations:

1. Fresno actually has a lot of good things going for it!

Compared to other California wonders, the Central Valley may seem insignificant and lame. I get that. We’re not trendy like “the City” or exciting like Los Angeles. But then again the same goes…

View original 751 more words

Thankful

I am thankful for one of the most amazing people I have ever known – my grandmother. From her, I get my snark, my (dry, and sometimes seemingly non-existant) sense of humour, my passion for animals, my love of baking, and even my occasional outbursts of cynicism.

I learned the basics of swimming in her pool, she helped foster my love of reading and my creativity, she taught me how to make koulourakia (my favourite cookie!), and, for the last 27 years, she has inspired me to be a stronger, better person.

She lost her battle with cancer on Sunday, and I am going to miss her so, so much.

Gramma. On her way to chemo. 2011. In my Warrior Dash hat.

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