Where have you been

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Very Vegan Thanksgiving

Though I am not a vegan, I did have a vegan Thankgiving, sharing a feast with some friends in Maryland. The menu included a tofu-stuffing casserole with gravy, mashed potatoes, homemade rolls, green beans. It was all too delicious.

I came away with a recipe for vegan Crock "Cheez"--an imitation cheese that is lower in fat than regular cheese. I made up a batch and it's positively addictive. I love a lunch of cheese and whole grain crackers, with some fruit or raw vegetables. But the fat in cheese makes it not the best item to eat. This crock cheez is savory, low in fat and a wonderful lunch or appetizer.

1 tofu extra firm, 8 oz (about 2/3 a 14 ounce block.)
5 tbsp nutritional yeast,
2 tbsp tahini
1-1/2 tbsp miso
1 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp salt,
1/2 tsp paprika (I used smoked Spanish paprika from Penzey's)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard,
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
blend til smooth. I used a stick blender in the cup attachment; food processor or a suribachi is good.
Let sit an hour in the fridge to develop the flavor.

If you insist on that orange stuff, you could put in some natural carotene food color.

I warn you that this stuff will disappear; even non-veggie people will scoop it up.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Knitting a Chullo

I'm making Knitpicks' Chullo (Andean) hat. It goes pretty fast once you've done the earflaps.

In progress, up to the first two small band patterns. I am now on the big bands of the llamas. Not hard. Very nice yarn.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The rain on the plain stays mainly to be a pain

Rain. rain. more rain.....it's November. Usually October is the rainy month.

This is a painting of alliums for Ebsqart's flower-of-the-month

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Cake

Fruit cakes were made as quick energy snacks for travelers in colonial times (think of them as early versions of granola bars or energy bars, neither of which I like to eat, even in emergencies.)

This is a modern version from the Cullinary Institute, featuring dried fruits, lots of whisky (all you'll get today--the bars and liquor stores close on Election Day to prevent giving drinks to buy votes, yes this kind of ACORN stuff happened in the past.)

Enjoy, and have a free cup of coffee at Starbucks with it, perhaps--as they are handing out coffee for free in honor of the election.

Election Day cake
Makes 1 large cake

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups dried fruit (cranberries, golden raisins, blueberries--even cherries)
1/2 cup American whisky
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1 package (3/4 ounce) rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
Butter (for the pan)
All-purpose flour (for the pan)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs
1 cup confectioners' sugar

1. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar with the cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the dried fruit, sugar mixture, and whisky; set aside.
3. In a another bowl, combine the warm water and milk. Stir in the yeast and 1 cup of whole-wheat flour. Sprinkle the remaining whole-wheat flour on top. Set aside for 30 minutes or until the yeast breaks through the surface of the flour.
4. Butter an 8-inch tube pan and dust it with flour, tapping out the excess.
5. In a bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon; set aside.
6. Set a strainer over a bowl. Drain the fruit mixture; reserve the syrup for the glaze.
7. In an electric mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment, if you have one) beat the butter with the remaining 1 cup of granulated sugar until light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.
8. With the mixer set on low speed, beat the yeast mixture into the batter followed by the flour and spice mixture. The batter will be stiff.
9. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. With a large metal spoon, stir in the drained fruit. Transfer the batter to the pan. Set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
10. Set the oven at 350 degrees.
11. For the glaze: In a medium bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons of the syrup from the fruit. Stir until smooth; set aside.
12. Transfer the cake to the oven. Bake the cake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
13. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack. When cool, lightly brush with the reserved syrup. Top with the glaze. Culinary Institute of America

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Day of Rest

Sadly, Sunday was not as beautiful as Friday or Saturday (70 degrees, sunny, beautiful fall leaves. I swear November is one of the prettiest months here.) Clouds, damp and a bit of drizzle. But I got a day of rest. No painting, however.

I made oatmeal cookies, a roast chicken, with rice and cabbage for dinner. Somehow, we were very hungry all day even with a big brunch of potatoes, onions and sausage and poached egg.

Recipe for the cookies:

1.5 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup butter (yes, butter. You are eating cookies, not health food.)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cup whole SPELT flour (can use whole wheat but spelt give this a special taste)
tsp pie spices or just cinnamon
1 extra large egg
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup raisins
(if you like, you can add dry cranberries, dry cherries and or nuts.)
Cream butter and sugar, add egg.
Sift dry ingredients, alternate with milk.
Batter is a stiff but not dry mix.
Drop by big spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet, bake for approx 20 min at 350 deg. F.