Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Peanut Butter Caramel Apples

This is a late entry, but I'm sure I can be forgiven - last week was midterms and a Halloween party, so I was busy and exhausted! I know it's not a meal or a big recipe, but I made The PPK's peanut butter caramel apples on Sunday night.

They were very easy to make, since the coating only took about 5 minutes to whip together. I just acquired a nut chopper from my grandparents and used it for the peanuts. The caramel doesn't taste like caramel, but it is delicious, creamy, and nutty, so I'm happy! I am going to make another batch this week, with crushed peanuts, chopped chocolate, and chopped Dandies. I might even make a batch for work.... :D

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Image Problem

I derped and deleted some photos from my Photobucket, because I thought I had rehosted them at Imgur. I'll fix them tonight when I get home!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The PPK's Scalloped Potatoes and Eggplant Bacon

As promised, here's the end of the weekend roundup. On Sunday evening Tom and I got to work making the Post Punk Kitchen's scalloped potatoes and eggplant bacon!

Guys and gals, I'm not going to jerk you around. This thing was AMAZING. It was seriously delish. It was also my very first cashew-based recipe, and I am officially a convert to the cult of cashew cream sauces. Holy cow!

As far as process goes the preparation was not too bad. The most annoying part was making the bacon, since it requires fiddling around with baking trays every few minutes. For whatever reason my bacon didn't crisp up at all, not even the very thin slices. I got very nervous about this as I went on assembling the casserole because Tom invited one of our friends over, and another of my omni roommates was around and hungry. The pressure was on for this untried recipe to perform...

Oddly enough, the proportions of ingredients seemed to be off for me. I ended up using only two potatoes, and didn't have quite as much sauce as I would have liked  - I suspect my proportional oddity is due to using a deeper, shorter casserole dish rather than a more shallow dish.

Fortunately my limp bacon didn't taste any different after being tucked into a dish! All agreed that it was very tasty, and having this success really helped restore my confidence after the nightmarish pumpkin pie. Comments included, "I really can't believe this is vegan, it's so rich." These potatoes and eggplant were so good I didn't even snap a picture until we were halfway done! At least I got to take the one serving of leftovers to work for lunch today.... :>

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Disaster, and Half a Weekend Recap

My pumpkin pie from last week was an absolute flop - it defined flop, it was so awful. I could tell before I even baked it that it would be subpar; it didn't set up, it tasted weird, and it's ultimately my fault for Frankensteining several recipes together. I learned my lesson.

This weekend was fortunately full of much more successful recipes!

These spiced flax balls from Healthful Pursuit are easy, nutritious, and great for taking along to class. I brought three today for my post-work snack. The spices are marvelous with the nuts and dates, and they are very healthy, especially for workouts.

I made Swell's coconut milk scones with apricots, and they are quite good. Next time I'll use currants and a full 1/2 cup of sugar to sweeten them up a bit more, but the "healthy" taste is great for a toothsome morning snack with melted Earth Balance, coffee or cocoa. It also gave me a great excuse to plug in the toaster oven, since microwaving pastries makes me sad. :(

I had to use up some spinach on Saturday evening, so I pan-fried butter beans, spinach, and chopped garlic with EVOO, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary, and garlic Tabasco sauce. Yum! I'm trying to eat much less bread and the thick, bready texture of butter beans is delicious. I tossed the leftover beans in a tofu scramble the next morning, but I like it better with just spinach and garlic.

Stay tuned for more updates, because Sunday night's dinner and drinks were AMAZING!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin mania!

Hooray, finally a place to put all my cooking adventures! I've agreed to do a 52-week cooking challenge, where each week I make a completely new recipe - preferably a meal, or at least several smaller items. I'm going to crunch the last two weeks together since all the new dishes I've made have been with PUMPKIN! In fact, I'm cooking up a pie as I type this. But first, the previous....

I made this pumpkin ravioli with mushroom sauce from BitterSweet, a wonderful blog! I had never made ravioli before so it was very exciting. We bought Dynasty brand wonton wrappers from the local asian grocery, since the wrappers at my regular grocery and at Whole Foods contained eggs. My raviolis were not quite as pretty, since I messed around with several methods of folding my square wonton wrappers before settling on folding them diagonally to create triangular raviolis. I also added Tofutti cream cheese to the filling, as one commenter suggested, but I was shocked to realize I didn't have any sage! Bummer, but not terrible.

I was rather nervous about the sauce because neither Tom (my boyfriend) nor I actually like mushrooms. However, I want to move out of my comfort zones with food so I gave it a whirl. Right before I was about to start chopping Tom reminded me that I could chop with a food processor, which made things go so much faster. Overall we enjoyed the sauce but next time I would actually puree the mushrooms, since I didn't like the chunkiness of it.

Overall it was very delicious and I'm so happy to know that I can make my own ravioli now! They've always been my favorite type of pasta. In fact, since making this complete dish I've whipped up a couple more batches of just ravioli to eat with olive oil, salt, and pepper - totally scrumptious and simple. What can I say? I've always had a taste for simple foods.

On the 100% successful front, I've made this incredible chocolate chip pumpkin bread from Little House on the Vegan Prairie TWICE now! I whipped it together as a gift for my family, and they loved it so much I made another loaf for us. It's very much like cake - crumbly, moist, and soft. I had hopes of toasting it but instead I would slice off a piece, heat it in the microwave for about twenty seconds, and then spread Earth Balance on it. MMMM. Like savory, pumpkin-y, spicy cake. This one is set to be a seasonal staple!

Right now I'm waiting for my very first pumpkin pie to finish baking. I made it from an actual sugar pumpkin, which was cut up, steamed, and pureed. However, I ended up Frankensteining several recipes together, relying on my admittedly poor judgment to pick the correct ingredients - the pie has a normal crust, but the filling contains MimicCream (god I hope it isn't horrible), blackstrap molasses, spices, sugar, pumpkin, and flax eggs. I'm mostly worried about the flax and the MimicCream...but I'm gonna stop putting my pie down before it's even out of the oven! We'll see how it turns out.... Even if it's awful, at least I'll have some delicious roasted pumpkin seeds!