Tuesday, October 21, 2008

making pumpkin pie

i made pumpkin pie last weekend, for canadian thanksgiving. i also attempted cranberry pecan butter tarts. they were okay. but the pie was pretty damn good. i actually followed the recipe fairly closely, and it turned out fairly great, so maybe i'll try following recipes from now on. :)

i used the pumpkin pie recipe - both crust & filling - from joyofbaking.com. yes, it was a very joyful experience. i even shed a few tears. the crust is a pate brisee, which is a French short crust pastry dough. those who ate the pie made great comments about the crust, it was flaky and yummy. if you'd like to try this pumpkin pie recipe, just follow the link, since it explains the whole process in much better detail than i could attempt. plus i would just feel lame & slightly like a plagiarist if i just copied & pasted the exact recipe.


i could lie and tell you i baked this pizza today. but i will save my lies for more important things. really i made this pizza last week, or maybe even the week before. it's still relevant enough to post, however, because it was good. really good. for homemade pizza, that is. it's funny... most foods taste so much more amazing home baked or homemade, but for some reason pizza is one of those foods that is really hard to make taste as good as it does when it's cheap, fast, greasy. you know, the kind that take off years of your life with all the grease & processed whatever is on it. like Uncle Fatih's pizza on Broadway just off Commercial. (if you live in Vancouver & have not tried Uncle Fatihs - most often pronounced 'uncle fatty's' - you really most definitely have to try it.) i think i've strayed from my point. oh yes, homemade pizza. it wasn't amazing, but it was good. and i made it all from scratch so i think it's worth posting about.

i got the recipe for the crust from Bread & Honey, my favorite food blog currently, & just put on my own toppings. although i just checked the blog again & it seems they got their pizza crust recipe from Vegan Planet, so i guess i technically got the recipe from Vegan Planet. i made my own pizza sauce too, since i had apparently forgotten that i had used my canned pizza sauce already, but it's been too long for me to remember what the heck i did.

the pizza crust was fairly easy, but because it needed to rise for an hour, it's not as easy as take out or freezer pizza. (but better for you). i don't feel like copying the recipe, so if you really want to make it, click on the link i so lovingly created at the beginning of this paragraph.

one thing i really liked about Bread & Honey's pizza blog post was their suggestion of sprinkling cornmeal & ground pepper on the pan before laying the dough on top. it gives the baked crust a really great texture, & looks & tastes good too. their other suggestion was that you can put whatever the heck you want on the pizza (they call it 'everything but the kitchen sink pizza' - clever). i put on sauteed bell peppers, browned ground beef, artichokes, cheddar, parmesan.

i probably won't make pizza very often, but when i do make it again it will definitely be worth it, because it's really 4 meals in one. i shared with my brother, then took pizza for lunch the next day, and the day after. that was definitely worth the bit of time & effort needed to make homemade pizza.

Monday, October 20, 2008

chewy wheat-free vegan chocolate chip cookies

i had a desire to make chocolate chip cookies yesterday. but if i made them just for me, they would end up sitting on the counter for days & i'd eventually throw them out. i seem to have a weird thing about not liking too much of the same thing. or leftovers. so i made my cookies 'andrea friendly,' which is wheat free, dairy free, egg free, yeast free... basically they are vegan. but they are yummy!

i used the base recipe of Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies from RecipeZaar, but i didn't use wheat & i cut the amount of sugar in half.

my recipe:

  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey or molasses)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flax seed
  • 1/2 cup rice milk (or soy milk)
  • 2 cups flour (chickpea flour, rice flour, 1/2 teaspoon guar gum)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet non-dairy chocolate chips/chunks

  • preheat oven: 350 F
  • grind flax seeds in a blender until powdered; add the milk and blend for about 30 seconds more and set aside.
  • in a large bowl, sift together dry stuff: cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt.
  • cream the sugar and oil in a separate large bowl.
  • add the flax/milk mixture to wet stuff and mix well.
  • stir in the vanilla to wet mixture.
  • slowly mix in the dry ingredients.
  • mix in the chocolate chips.
  • roll or spoon out dough into 1" balls and flatten
  • place on a cookie sheet about 1" apart and bake for 10 minutes. (original recipe said ungreased sheet, but i think i would grease my cookie sheet next time)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

kale and potato soup (and biscuits)

i made some pretty fantastic kale & potato soup today. and then i made biscuits for the 3rd time this week. however, i made them without butter, and used coconut oil instead. coconut oil is somewhat pretty much solid at room temp, and has a similar consistency as shortening, so it works pretty well. its just a bit more pricey. it gives a great taste to the biscuits though.

like usual, i don't really follow recipes well unless i'm baking, but i will still attempt to explain how i made the soup. into a large pot i threw in some celery stalks, some onion, some herbs (dill, parsley, rosemary), salt, peppercorns, chopped potatoes (around 5 medium sized). i covered the veggies in water and boiled it, then simmered for a long time. in another pot, i steamed the chopped up kale (i took the leaves off the stems) with some salt & dill. i did it separate so that i could puree the stock while leaving the kale leaves intact for texture. while waiting, i made these biscuits. after some amount of time had passed, i pureed the stock in a blender with some coconut milk and put it back in the large pot. then i added the kale & the water it was steaming/boiling in. i tasted the soup, added some more salt (if you are overly concerned about your sodium intake, this is where you wouldn't add more salt), added some more coconut milk, and let it simmer a bit longer before dishing out and eating.

oh yeah and my sister made a pumpkin tart for herself for dessert (she's selfish that way).

Monday, October 6, 2008

i spent all evening in the kitchen

i spent almost my whole evening in the kitchen. it was a cold, rainy evening & i bought chicken thighs (non-medicated ones, in fact) for the sole intent & purpose of making chicken noodle soup. you'll notice that i only took a picture of the soup PRE cooking. it looks prettier before all the veggies turn brown. but luckily it tastes better after its all cooked. i'm not one for raw chicken broth. not very appealing. chicken soup alone isn't filling, however, so i made more biscuits. the ones i blogged about yesterday. then, while i was waiting for other family members to come home & dine with me, i made some humous. but i added sundried tomotoes to it, which is quite tasty.

i don't have a recipe for the soup or the humous, though. the soup is pretty easy, but it changes every single time. the basics are: chicken (either raw, or the carcus of a roasted chicken... mmm carcus...), veggies (like celery, carrot, onion), herbs (dill, thyme, rosemary, parsley...), salt, pepper, water. boil it; simmer it; strain it; pick the chicken off the bones. and cook up some noodles to go with. egg noodles are great, but if you can't do wheat, or want to try something different, rice noodles are also fantastic. the kind that you find in the asian section of the grocery store.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


i made biscuits for 'the open house' today, (we meet weekly for potluck & discussion) and apparently they were pretty good. the recipe is my mom's, and her food is always amazing, but i substituted a couple things so i wasn't sure how they'd turn out. i made them with a combination of chickpea, rice & kamut flour (& guar gum to compensate for the lack of gluten...) instead of wheat flour, and with rice milk instead of regular milk. however, feel free to use whatever kind of flour or milk you want.

"plain baking powder biscuits"
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening (or butter)
  • 3/4 cup milk
Heat the oven to 450 F (225 C).
Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder.
Blend in the shortening until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. You can either use a pastry cutter, or beat it, or use your hands. Stir in the milk only until the flour is all moistened, but DO NOT beat. You can either use a spoon or your hands. I like using my hands.
Knead the dough about 10 times on a floured surface. Roll or pat until about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Cut out shapes & put on a baking sheet - either greased or with parchment paper.
Bake 10-12 minutes.

Best eaten when warm & with honey-butter. (honey-butter is just honey & butter whipped together. probably a 1/2 to 1/2 ratio, but its up to taste)

* T = tablespoon
* t = teaspoon

Friday, October 3, 2008


figs have always been a mysterious fruit to me... captivating and absolutely beautiful. thus, you can imagine my excitement to try one. as i bit into my first taste of fig, i felt like i'd been stood up. they were slightly bland and almost tasted 'off,' like they should have been sweet like honey, but instead they.. well, they weren't sweet like honey. i wouldn't even use the word 'sweet' to describe them. however, my let-down was all forgiven after i took some photos of them. really.. who cares what they taste like when they look so gorgeous?