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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
Just 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).
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.
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.
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.
Avocado, creamy mustard vinaigrette, cucumber, cranberries, sunflower seeds, spinach.
Every year, our pepper plants are more prolific than we expect, and every year, we plant way too many of them. My absolute favourite way to use up excess peppers is in pepper jelly. I especially love to put it on top of a bagel & Better Than Cream Cheese. I also love to just dip crackers into it. Or spread it on crackers… whichever.
This recipe makes a lot. 12 half pint jars. Actually, I think I got 12 4oz jars and 7 half pint (8oz) jars. You’re going to want to make at least this much. Trust me.
The beautiful thing about jelly is that if you don’t have the means to water bath your jars. You can still do it. Once you’ve put the hot jelly into the warm, sanitized jars, make sure your lids are on tight, and flip them upside down. Let them stay that way 24 hours. They seal almost every time.
2C chopped green bell pepper
2/3C chopped jalapeno
4 chopped habenero peppers
3C apple cider vinegar
2 boxes Sure Jell pectin (yes, it’s Kraft brand, and they’re terrible for any number of reasons, but, it’s all I can find locally. If you choose not to use it, you’re going to need 3.5 oz dry pectin)
Pulse your peppers in a food processor until finely minced (just leave them chopped if you’d rather have big chunks of peppers in your jelly, or do half and half, it’s up to you)
Combine peppers, sugar, and vinegar in a large pot. Bring to a rolling boil (It took me a good 15 minutes, but, I’m at a high elevation. I’m willing to bet, if you live near sea-level, it’ll only take 5-10 minutes)
Stir in pectin.
Add to jars, leaving about a 1/2 inch head room.
If you’re using a water bath, process for 13 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes in bath before removing. Let sit 24 hours before storing.
So, after pickling all those peaches last week, you’ve still got a tree full of peaches. What do you do?
Make pie, of course!
This filling is great for pies, or, if you’re feeling too lazy to make a pie crust, make a crumble.
1 quart is perfect for 1 pie or crumble/crisp
You’ll need (per quart):
3/4C brown sugar
1/4C lemon juice
2T tapioca pearls (not quick-cooking, because you’re canning it for later use, regular is just fine)
shake of salt
Combine ingredients. Pour into prepared quart jars. Process 15 minutes.