Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sweet things and salsa

I've been cooking up carby, sweet stuff in the past few days, mostly because we've been clearing leftovers out of the fridge again for our "real" meals. So Thursday night I decided to make this gingerbread from the Post Punk Kitchen. However, I wanted to make a single pan of gingerbread rather than cupcakes, so I just baked it in an 8-inch square pan for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and it worked fine. Besides that, I made the following modifications to the recipe: I used brown rice syrup instead of maple syrup, and I reduced the amount from 1/2 to 1/3 of a cup. I used blackstrap molasses instead of light molasses. I went light on the oil, probably using closer to 1/3 of a cup. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white flour. And finally, instead of making the icing in the recipe, I used some leftover icing from the Lemon Gem Cupcakes in VWaV.

This is the best gingerbread I've ever made. The chunks of crystallized ginger really added a lot of flavor, and they added a nice amount of sweetness. Overall, the gingerbread is not very sweet but the icing is, so the contrast is nice. Next time, I may just make a lemon glaze to pour on top--which I've done before with other recipes, and it's great because the glaze just seeps down into the gingerbread and makes the whole thing moist and lemony.

This reminds me--I have an awesome gingerbread cookie recipe that I want to try to make vegan soon. I was wondering, for those of you who veganize cookie recipes, what is the best replacement for butter in a cut-out cookie recipe? I would hesitate to just use Earth Balance in place of the butter, because it probably doesn't act the same way in a recipe. Any input is appreciated!

This morning I made Dreena's Fantastic French Toast from Vive! (p. 23), and the name says it all--this really was the best vegan French toast I've ever had! The custard that you dip the bread in really did get thick and it stuck to the bread like the traditional egg mixture does. I have to say, I was a little skeptical at first because the tofu did not get smooth when I blended the custard mixture, and I was afraid that the chunkiness of it would not work. But when I cooked it in the pan, it cooked just right and looked just right. And tasted just right. I made her Blueberry Maple Syrup (p. 20) to accompany the French toast, and the only thing I did differently was to add a little bit of cornstarch to the blueberries to thicken them up before I added the syrup (since I was using frozen berries, they were very watery once I cooked them down in the pan). Mmmm!

After church tomorrow we are going to have a fellowship lunch. I've been afraid of fellowship lunches ever since we became vegan, because with the type of food that usually shows up (keep in mind, I'm in the Bible belt here) I can't imagine there would be any point in even asking if anything is vegan. But we had a week's warning this time, and so tomorrow we are going prepared. It's going to be a "baked potato bar" (how funny!) and we were all asked to bring toppings for baked potatoes. What is my favorite vegan baked potato topping?

Salsa! So today I mixed up some quick black bean salsa. I think it came out pretty well, if I may say so.

Black Bean Salsa

1 can chopped green chilies, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked corn kernels
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup green bell pepper, finely minced
1/4 cup red onion, finely minced
2 teaspoons granulated garlic (alternatively, 1-2 cloves minced fresh garlic)
2 teaspoons chipotle paste
Juice of 1 lime

Place everything in a bowl and stir to combine. Chill for several hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.

It's a good medium salsa--didn't want to go too hot if I was going to be sharing it with a bunch of people. It's very juicy and delicious, and I can't wait to take it tomorrow! What do you all like to put on baked potatoes?

Don't worry, I have been eating balanced meals lately, despite the evidence to the contrary that you've seen on my blog. Yesterday I went to the dining hall on campus where hubby works and had lunch with him--all kinds of nice vegetables, some beans and brown rice and guacamole, all made it to my plate, and a little spoonful of VEGAN sweet potato soufflé as a sweet ending!


Candi said...

Laura, you are a pro! Your foods look amazing! you change recipes around and they turn out awesome! I love the gingerbread one! I've never made it vegan, but I can't wait!! Looks great with the lemon icing! :P

The blueberry maple syrup is making me hungry. Lol! Your french toast looks great. Thanks for the tips too, like how the tofu didn't look right until you cooked it. I always get nervous in the middle of recipes when it just looks wrong! Yours came out great!

Salsa!! I want to dive into that bowl. Nice photo!! It will be great on the potatoes!

One of my favorites on potatoes is nutritional yeast. I just looove it too much!!! Lol. I was to try your salsa though! It looks so colorful and healthy!

Midwest Vegan said...

That gingerbread looks awesome!

I always use the Earth Balance sticks in veganizing my cookies that call for butter and they seem to work pretty well.

I'm a purist when it comes to baked potatoes - I like lots of Earth Balance and chopped chives or green onions.

EatPeacePlease said...

Earth Balance is great for baking. I hear the sticks are even better though. Or, ask Dreena.

All your food looks great. I'm glad to hear it was the best gingerbread you've ever had. That salsa almost looks like my chili!

Everything looks great.

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

Mmmmm, homemade salsa (yours looks and sounds amazing!) is my fav topping for baked potatoes, too....and broccoli. preferrably both of 'em at the same time. yum!

Urban Vegan said...

Your sweet things look sweet. You ARE a pro.

You potatoe fixin' is a great idea--I never thought of putting Mexican toppings on a baked potato. I'll bet you won over your entire cogregation with that yummy concotion.

bazu said...

Wow... I'm staring at that phrase "VEGAN sweet potato souffle" wow. I wish I could have some! What an advanced dining hall!
I agree that Earth Balance sticks seem to act more buttery (solid) than the stuff in the tub, I think you might start out with them and see if your cookies come out right.
And I would go for your potato topping over cheese or sour cream or bacon or whatever any day!

KleoPatra said...

Laura, how was the fellowship lunch? I am so glad you had potatoes there this time, and your salsa must have been a big hit. It looks GORGEOUS, really! I would love to have that on some rice or some pasta or with some tortilla chips as well as on a potato.

The gingerbread cake looks so good! Way to use the crystalized ginger too! Wow, how cool that looks. The icing must be... well, the icing on the cake, literally and figuratively.

That French toast also appears to be just amazing, and i do like that plate it's on. I have never had "real" French toast but i would probably love this so much! And that blueberry maple syrup on top takes my breath away, with all those big honkin' berries in there! YUMMY!

Carrie™ said...

I made gingerbread a while back but haven't blogged about it yet. I took my mom's recipe and made it vegan. It turned out perfect! Icing from the lemon gem cupcakes would be sooo good. I have some leftover that I put in the freezer. I don't know if it will OK, but I figure you buy cakes frozen with icing on them and it seems fine. We'll find out I guess.
I haven't tried making vegan french toast. Since you had such great success with Dreena's recipe (not like that's a surprise) I should give it a whirl.
As for the spuds, I like marg, salt & pepper and chives. Salsa sound good though. I should try it. Great post Laura!

Emmy said...

Just found your blog today :) The gingerbread looks fab. Thanks for the heads up about the french toast. It looks yummy. I'm deifnitely going to have to try that recipe. I haven't had great results with vegan french toast in the past.

Nikki said...

I want gingerbread now! Actually, I think I want everything you make. :)

laura jesser said...

Thanks for all your nice comments! The lunch went really well, and all that was left afterwards was one spoonful of salsa (which didn't make it home...)

Carrie, the icing should be fine out of the freezer--it worked for me anyway!

Gaia said...

Laura, you are a pro !
I will follow your variations for the gingerbread, definitely !
I love that you cut this and that out of it and it is exactly the ingredients I would play with !
So thank you, I am printing that now and addind it to the book !

And I could have that whole bowl of salsa, with or without a potato ! LOL

Vicki said...

i use earth balance sticks all the time & they are perfect for baking. oh my gooodness -- the gingerbread looks & sound AHmazing! i like your modifications.

Candi said...

Hi again! I had to revisit your gingerbread photo and dream. Lol!!