Friday, December 26, 2014

We built a gingerbread house!

Despite the fact that this was made from a kit, this was a good amount of work. I don't know if we'll commit to making others in the future, but Kara and I had fun with this one. Now, if anyone has any suggestions as far as what to do with many panels of icing- and candy-coated gingerbread, I'm all ears.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Filed under, "Disappeared too quickly to be photographed"

I followed this recipe for Chinese Barbecued Pork from Epicurious and we — as a family — are in love. My only substitution was to use rice wine in place of the sherry/white wine. I also had to pilfer some 5 Spice from Bruce, as I was having difficulty finding it in our usual store. I was sure Bruce had provided me with a hand-ground blend; I'm definitely going to have to pick some of this stuff up. I tried it on some leftover pork cutlet first and found the marinade didn't permeate well. For this week's dinners, however, I used pork shoulder and found that the fat content made the pork incredibly juicy and moist, with most of the fat rendering out in the pan. At high enough heat, there's a pleasant smokiness, too.
F*** yeah, vegan cinnamon buns!

Based on Minimalist Baker's Easy Cinnamon Rolls recipe. Substitutions for my version are soy milk in place of almond milk, Fleischmann's Vegan Margarine in place of the vegan butter (this time, any way, I was all out of Earth Balance) and brown sugar in place of the granulated sugar in the cinnamon spread.I made a simple icing from icing sugar, soy milk and vanilla and poured it over top.

These were great! Vegan butter would've definitely worked better for the filling, but otherwise I can't complain. I will undoubtedly make them again.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

...and, not to be outdone...

I've been making this salad in regular rotation since last weekend, when I had to figure out a way to use up leftover salad greens and a nearly-overripe pear. This contains mixed baby greens, chopped avocado, pear chunks, pitted and chopped dates and pumpkin seeds. The vinaigrette is made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard. I kind of love this salad.
Kara's bento box

Kara's lunch and snack for tomorrow, as made by Matt!

Counterclockwise from the upper-left corner: deli ham, cucumber slices, a cut-up cheesestring, grapes, pineapple slices, animal crackers, a cut-up apple cereal bar and a cut-up chocolate and caramel granola bar.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

...and it's happy to see you...

This was Kara's homemade pizza from last night.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

If the butcher gives you a half-pound of ground pork instead of ground beef...

It turns out that my go-to pizza dough recipe makes a fantastic ciabatta that's good for two sandwiches. Also: you can quickly make an individual serving size carrot slaw by using a vegetable peeler to peel strips off a carrot. Lastly, you can cut the strong pork flavour of an all-pork patty by making a carrot slaw that uses rice vinegar, ginger, sesame oil and a bit of soy sauce. Not a bad way to turn a potential lunch disaster into something to look forward to, self.

Jul 13/14 update: now with picture!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Oh, home-grilled meat, how I've missed thee

You are looking at a plate of beef deckle point, marinated in a tried, true and most-beloved beef marinade, then charcoal fire-grilled.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

6 Ingredient Refined-Sugar-Free, Banana-Free, Nut-Free Vegan Ice Cream

  • 16 medium-to-large dates, soaked and drained well
  • the flesh from one ripe avocado
  • 1 can of full-fat coconut milk plus just the coconut cream from another can (I use Thai Express brand because it doesn't contain sulphites, which my body hates)
  • ⅔ cup cocoa powder
  • about 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • about ½ tsp. salt

Blend the dates and avocado well in a blender/food processor. Add the coconut milk/cream and cocoa powder, blend further. Add salt and vanilla to taste, blend until you have a smooth slurry not unlike melted ice cream. Pour into ice cream maker and work mixture until its consistency is at least as firm as soft-serve ice cream. Scrape mixture into freezer-safe container and enjoy your stash of simple, homemade, delicious ice cream.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Feast your eyes...

...whilst I feast mah belleh.

So, I recently made up a batch of what I was hoping would be date-sweetened (refined sugar free!) caramels, but had to add enough water to get everything to blend smoothly that I ended up with a very yummy salted caramel sauce. It made for a yummy, guilt-free, after-dinner spoonful of deliciousness, but wasn't quite what I was looking for.

Then last night, it occurred to me that I could make caramel tarts! This morning, I prepped my go-to pie crust recipe, with whole wheat flour and made a batch of the caramel sauce. I blind-baked (I've been using dried beans as my pie weights for years) 6 small tart shells and added the caramel to them once they had cooled fully, then crumbled a bit of fleur de sel on them.

If you're looking for a butter tart experience, this isn't anywhere near as rich as those, but they are very delicious in their own right. Although they're fairly time-consuming to make, I thought this was a worthwhile experiment, as I now have a more decadent sugar-free dessert in my arsenal.

Edit: for improved readability

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fast, easy dinner

Stir-fried veggies over steamed brown rice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Vegan Sugar Cookies

Well, around here we are just about fed up with gloomy weather, so we decided to brighten things up with a batch of sugar cookies with rainbow sprinkles! We used the Vegan Sugar Cookie recipe posted by Sheri Silver at I erroneously only used ½ cup each of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour and added too much water, so our dough was wetter than it ought to have been. As a result, we had to chill thoroughly and work quickly. Still, these turned out well. I think this might make it into the regular rotation.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Homemade (Ritz copycat) crackers

I had an inexplicable craving for Ritz crackers yesterday, but can't actually bring myself to buy a package of Ritz crackers. Notably, this is because I get heart palpitations any time I eat anything containing HFCS — including products which don't openly list it as an ingredient, but use the term "glucose/fructose" instead. So it was on to the internet to try to discover a recipe for Ritz-like crackers. Multiple hits predominantly led me to Cupcake Project's Homemade Ritz Crackers recipe, which the author claims is "spot on" in terms of taste.

I made up a dairy-free batch of the dough here, omitting the vegetable oil and using a full ½ cup of vegan margarine as the fat component. I also broke from the technique described and treated this more like a proper pastry, attempting to work in the fat using the fat-handling technique I started using after seeing Anna Olson do it. I used ice water. I tried to work the dough as Anna Olson does: folding it to get it to come together. I tried to keep the dough-handling to a minimum to try not to develop the gluten too much. I gave it a half-hour of resting time. Despite all this, the dough was still noticeably more overworked than my usual pie crust recipe; I suspect the addition of baking powder causes that.

I rolled the dough as thin as I could, still trying not to overwork it. I got it very thin. Coupled with the fact that it clearly has more gluten development than my usual pie crust, this meant that it didn't cut well at all. Still, I baked off a small batch and am pleased to report that they do taste exactly like Ritz Crackers. One small caveat: these are not to be underbaked. The ones which weren't fully crispy had an unsettlingly soft texture. They taste exactly like their crunchier brethren, but are alarmingly unlike the texture one would expect.

I'd like to experiment with using coconut oil in these for future experiments, as I think that will probably improve the crispiness and flavour, but I'll happily munch on these in the meantime.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Most successful batch of doughnuts yet

It's these recipes for the doughnuts and the glaze again, but I didn't bother with the overnight proofing in the fridge. The flavour didn't develop as nicely but otherwise these turned out amazingly well. They're not too doughy, not too oily, with a lightly crispy outside and lofty inside.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

That's right. Egg-free egg bread.

As blogged about previously, this eggless version of Betty Crocker's Rich Egg Bread recipe uses a 2:1 ratio of white bread flour to multigrain bread flour, 1 Tbsp sugar, and 1 Tbsp fresh-ground flax seed in 3 Tbsp of water in place of the egg. The crust was almost exactly perfect, and I suspect the only reason it wasn't as fantastic as it could have been is that I wasn't being meticulous about coating the pre-baked loaf in oil/melted shortening.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Adapted Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I made Martha Stewart's Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies way back in late 2011. With Kara and I in the dying throes of yet another cold, we've been staying indoors a lot this week and I thought today would be a good opportunity to veganize the recipe.

First off, I halved the ingredients, because I wasn't willing to be saddled with approximately 30 cookies if I didn't like the results. I estimated the 1 ¼ cups of all purpose flour, used Earth Balance margarine in place of the butter, substituted the brown sugar with the coconut sugar I had on-hand, and used 1 Tbsp of ground flax seed in 2 Tbsp of water (it was supposed to be 3 Tbsp -- oops!) for the egg. As with the Vegan Blondies recipe I recently developed, the addition of flax seed turned out well. I think these cookies turned out slightly more caramel-like than the egg-based chocolate chip cookies I've made, which is a welcome addition. This recipe's a keeper!

Jan 26/14 Update: I made up a batch yesterday with the recommended ratio of water to ground flax seed and prefer the earlier version.