Monday, May 31, 2010

Pizza Pizzaz Part Six: Chipmunk Pizza

Going through this series we had a list of white pizzas that we wanted
to give a shot. Now I love cashews on pizza (especially with broccoli)
but I wanted to turn up the nuttiness up to eleven.

First I started with adjusting the crust. When adding the flour to my
yeast, sugar, oil, salt, water mix I also tossed in about three tbsps
of flax meal. I like the flecked effect it gives, plus the added
nutritional boost. Monkey-man needs his omega-six!


For the Sauce I mixed up a white wine sauce with a earthbalance roux
base. I thinned it out with soymilk, but any nondairy milk would be
fine. Added some garlic and a dash of nutmeg, just to give it a twist.
Of course salt and pepper and cooked enough to burn off the majority
of the alcohol.



For toppings I went all out, not stopping with cashews. I also threw
on sun flower seeds and toasted Brazil nuts, roasted garlic, diced
tomatoes, and black olives. I considered almonds and peanuts, having
both on hand... but almonds are too sweet and I thought peanuts would
be too overpowering.



Lastly I topped it with a dusting of daiya moz cheese.


Again I baked it at 450F for about 12 minutes until browned.
It was incredibly rich and good with a nice salad or leafy green.

I can think of a few other nuts that might have been good... like
macadamia nuts, walnuts, or pistachios-- go nuts!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pizza Pizzaz Part Five: Rastafarian Pizza

You don't need dreadlocks or any smoke around da house to enjoy
something rasta, you need to just be jammin this pizza!


I wanted to mix it way up. This is an amazing dish to contrast a deep
natural sweetness with a light brush of spice. Yeah, I know I've already
used beans on another pizza in this series, but I had to go back for
one more version.

This time I used a black bean mix instead of the pintos. And here is
the break down of some basic Jamaican Black Beans...


3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, minced
1/4 cup Orange Juice
1 can black beans
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp parsley
1 tsp red chili flakes
salt and pepper

First cook the onions and garlic over medium heat with a few
tablespoons of water until they appear slightly translucent.
Add the black beans and seasonings and continue to cook for
about 10 minutes, but be sure to keep adding water or more
orange juice if it appears that the beans are drying out.

Preheat the oven at 450F and roll out your prepared crust.

On the crust, spread out the black beans evenly. It is important
to make sure they pretty moist because they will lose a lot of
that moisture during the bake in the oven.

I topped with fresh sliced tomatoes, sliced green and yellow
bell peppers, black olives, and bananas. I originally though pineapple
because I wanted to add something sweet. But pineapple is tricky on
pizzas and can be very over powering. So bananas it was. They were
perfect. Soft, sweet, and yellow! Perfect for my colour scheme!




Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the crust starts to turn
gold. I loved assembling it because it looks like a mandala!
Enjoy with some Marley, or be super naughty and pair it
up with some Sublime...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pizza Pizzaz Part Four: Strawberry Fields Forever

Cooking is easy with minds closed, boring foods are all you see.
It's getting hard to be different, but it all works out.
It really matters much to me...

Let me take you down cuz we're going to Strawberry Fields.
I promise it's real. Not thing to get weird about.
Strawberry Fields Forever.




It still strawberry season here in California and I've been
hitting up the local vendors every week now. We've been having a
lot of strawberry smoothies and I've been adding them to my
cereal for weeks now. I plan to make some preserves too, but need
to find all my jars. But somewhere along the way I figured, why
not pizza?

Why not indeed. We put all sorts of sweet stuff on our pizzas right?
Well, some of us do. Pears, pineapple... ok thats all that really
comes to mind right now, but we need to try more sweet stuff. I'm
not saying throw gummi bears on your pizza, but more naturally
sweet stuff.



That's where this pizza comes in.
Its topped with a delicious red sauce, kale (although, I'd sub out
chard instead), grilled strawberries, pecans, and tofu feta.
Seriously, that is it.



We used the Tofu Feta from Jo Stepaniak's The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook.
It was good. Better baked than raw, but tasted a little too much of
miso when you think about it. I'll try the recipe again without so
much miso, while looking around for better recipes that I can incorporate.



Baked at 450F for about 10-15 minutes we served it topped with
balsamic vinegar-- very important! Come on! Get out there and try
something new for god's sake!

Feline Inturptions

I've amended this series to be in parts instead of days because this
week as been so hectic for me, I have not been able to post everyday.
I had a big presentation/paper for a class, but came home to no
internet on Sunday (Still not fixed). So I retreated to campus and
now Monkey-man's place to work.

The presentation and paper went fine and I was looking forward to a
productive Wednesday... and rest of the week... starting in the ol'
garden. As I was replanting some herbs and stuff I heard some
rustling on the other side of my fence. The neighbors have a huge
holly tree behind their house. Tons of branches have broken off and
fallen atop a pile of old tires. I heard the rustling for a while
and then the mewing started.

"oh no...." I thought, knowing exactly what it was.

So I jumped the fence, knowing full well that my neighbors definitely
wouldn't do anything about it. I gingerly lifted up a few branches,
careful not to poke myself with the holly or uncover any swarms of
black widows... and out crawls a kitten.

I carry her back over and start to clean her up. She obviously has
an upper respiratory infection because her eyes are pretty nasty.
I went and got a bottle and formula as she looks about three weeks
old and not yet weaned. Not skinny and I've seen the Mom around,
but with an infection like this she probably wouldn't last over a
couple days.



After setting it up with some bedding and planning on taking it
to the vet the next day, I get back to gardening.
Rustle, rustle, rustle...
"Crap!"

I jump the fence again and out comes a little black guy.
I reach down to pick him up and look up to see the Mom peering
at me from inside the tire. I start tumbling through a moral
dilemma and then see that this kitten is in much worse shape
than the first. It's eyes are completely stuck shut and look
so bad I fear it may be blind.

So I go ahead and grab him and go to lift up the tire. The Mom
of course takes off, but it reveals another kitten underneath.
There goes my free time...



I cleaned them and set them up in a cage and Thursday Monkey-man
and I take them to the Vet. Who repeats back to me everything I
already knew. (Sigh* If only I could buy kitty medicine over the
counter and not have to pay for all this)
Severe upper respiratory, horrible fleas, infection not in the
lungs yet, and in need of eye drops. So I get the meds and get
home to give them a bath.



The bath alone took three hours as I picked all the fleas off.
One is still not taking to the bottle or drinking out of the dish
like the others. Next I'll try soaking crunchy food. But the
medicine has already made a huge difference. I hope to find them
proper homes or a no-kill shelter in a couple weeks.



Trixie and Pandamonium, my Kitties, are super pissed off and not
having anything to do with them. I'm hoping I don't come home to
a surprise on my bedsheets if you know what I mean. Maybe I can
bring them around with lots of cookies...

Anyone want a kitten?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pizza Pizzaz Part Three: Getting Saucy

I have encountered two spiritual junctures in my life thus far.
The first was when I discovered kitchen witchery and the craft
as a teenager. It strongly affected my creativity, sense of self,
and overall attitude of action.

The second was when I found garlic.
It felt like finding my soul-mate. In my parent's home, garlic is
not allowed. If my Mom smells it she will squirm and squeal and
run to find the huge loud air filter, topped up with tea tree oil.

I remember when I was little and my Mom forced my Dad to agree to
forgo garlic from then on. Since he stopped bringing it home, he
lost the taste for it too. Not entirely. He doesn't hate it, but
its way more powerful tasting.

My first affair with garlic began with the pesto pizza.
The green colour, the penetrating flavour all topped with luscious
tomatoes was too good to be true. Retrospectively, it was way too
much oil to handle. I can't believe how much fat was in those
pizzas I would order at the local joint.

I use a fraction of the oil in my current version of pesto, adding
tomatoes instead. I also use walnuts instead of pine nuts, because
I don't fancy spending $20/lb on them. Nutritional yeast has easily
replaced parmesan hands down-- Way better nutritional value without
the fat and nastiness of cheese.

I still love it topped with a vegan moz cheese and tomatoes. Other
toppings come and go...



I also suggest experimenting with cilantro pesto. Now, I'm not a
huge fan of cilantro and I know it turns alot of people off. Try it
anyway. The cilantro doesn't come through in the same way for some
reason and its dreamy on pizza. Basically, if you haven't experienced
a pesto pizza yet... Do it. Now. Or I'll never forgive you.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pizza Pizzaz Part Two: Twisting the Tostada

When I was a teen the only way I would get to see a decent concert
was to fly to Honolulu from the Big Island. One time when I was on
Oahu to see The Ataris (when they were cool and before the age of
emo) we all hit up California Pizza Kitchen. It was before the
restaurants were really that big, so it was pretty exciting at the
time.

Ok, I'm done dating myself.

When we were there I got a vegetarian tostada pizza that really
kicked butt, but then was struck with the karma of eating cheese
and got a headache. Years down the road I realize that the majority
of my headaches came from eating cheese. Go figure.

Looking back though, it was a good pizza. And I especially liked
it because of how unusual it was. I love going out and trying things
that haven't dawned on me to make at home.

So, during my pizza making adventures I decided to pick my memories
and try to replicate it. First thing to go was their crappy lettuce.
I will never understand what the appeal of iceburg lettuce is to
people. Oh yeah, its cheap.

Next I used pinto beans instead of black and baked it with the
cheese, whereas they just throw it on cold. I used the chedder daiya,
but Follow My Heart pepperjack would be good too.

First you mash about a cup or more of beans with some garlic, 1 tbsp
chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, and a dash of cayenne. Roll the prepared
crust out nice and thin and spread the bean mash on top. Sprinkle
with cheese.



If you're using a pizza stone like we have here, make sure you
preheat it in the oven first at 500F and then turn it down to
450F when you actually bake your pizza.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the crust starts to brown nicely.
Before baked, prep your toppings.




Think of what you like on your tostadas... We had lettuce, salsa,
and corn tortillas. Then you're going to top it with some ranch
dressing.

Combine a couple tablespoons of veganaise and mustard, thinned out
with a little bit of non-dairy milk. Add garlic powder, onion powder,
a squirt of lemon juice, salt, pepper, and some italian seasonings.



Slice your pizza and top accordingly. Consensus? Awesome.
CPK, kiss mah butt.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pizza Pizzaz Part One: El Diablo

Today is 'day-one' of my pizza week series!
This is exciting! I've been reading a lot of ideas and suggestions
for special toppings and have will have a hard time cutting it down
to seven. But I'm gonna start off with something really simple.

Granted this may be comprised of mostly left-overs, but let me tell
you that left-overs can make a damn good pizza. That is where I start
this series. I think we all need to open our minds a little and
start experimenting with pizza more. Is anyone else tired of the
plain 'cheese' pizza with basil and tomatoes? Ok, it is pretty good
I grant you, but I want something different. And I rarely make the
same thing twice. I want something out there, something that will
take me by surprise. Something with pizazz, pizza pizazz.

So last night we had tacos and I had made a neo-traditional spicy tvp
taco filling. It then got thrown in with some tomatoes, jalapenos,
fresh spinach, purple onions, all topped with the chedder daiya cheese.



The spice gets pumped from ground chili from our mexican market.
Not the typical chili powder that you get from vons, etc. Plus a
splash of cayenne. If you like, use habeneros instead of jalapenos
or sprinkle the whole thing with some tabasco/hot sauce.



The daiya cooled it down a little, but only so much.
The thin crust compliments the whole dish, without weighing it
down with breadiness. We had to keep it a little mild in the
long run though, 'cause I don't think Monkey-man can take the
heat-- I like my food to make me sweat!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mushy-roomie-rooms

Not sure if I've ever mentioned my distaste for mushrooms, but...
I have a weird sort of gag reflex with them. I think I like them,
but every time I try to eat them the texture and the taste hit
me in such a weird way that I start to gag like I'm gonna puke.

I hated mushrooms a lot when I was a kid. The smell of them
cooking puts me off so much. My parents used to try and sneak
them to me in food by telling me they were olives, which I would
eat by the bucket full. I can taste mushrooms from a mile away,
there is no hiding them from me!

Yet, since I learned to cook and such it has become kind of the
last stand with foods. I got over a lot of things I thought I
did not like. I still get a little put off by too much cilantro,
onions, or celery. I still don't like baby corn.

The thing is I want to like mushrooms.
So I continue to eat them when I feel like pushing it in order to
get over this. Someday I will. I got over my coconut allergy,
which in turn probably saved my life. Maybe someday mushrooms
will do the same. Now the reflex is no bad, just a little gag.

On the other hand, Monkey-man Loves mushy-roomie-rooms.
So for our outing day to Knotts, I made portobello sandwiches.

Grill for about a half hour with a basting mixture of white
wine, red wine vinegar, italian seasoning, braggs, olive oil,
garlic powder, black pepper, and sea salt. (Keep covered)

I added some slices of zucchini and a little water to keep it
from sticking. Also, make sure to spoon some of the basting
liquid into the cup of the mushroom as well.

After cooking I sliced the mushrooms thinner to even distributed
across the bread. We had made whole-wheat bread with millet the
night before, so it was perfect.

To cut down on the mushroom taste, I usually make hummus. It is
my way of easing in to enjoying the flavor without being overwhelmed.
(Ha ha, I can't believe I'm writing about enjoying food and
gagging in the same post, but really I love portobello burgers!!)
Instead of hummus, I made a spicy black bean spread, added
some veganaise and tomatoes to the sandwiches and we were
ready to go.


We had our lunch break in the parking lot and I shared my
crust with these awesome little guys!



Monday, May 10, 2010

Green with Envy

From my endless reading of foodie lit, cookbooks, and online food
postings I've been reading more and more about the holy green
smoothie. Now I'm a little green to this pure green smoothie fad,
but I'm no stranger to adding veggies to my fruity blends.

I must admit that I am the ultimate smoothie master. I conquered
the secret recipes of jamba juice and have gotten people addicted
to my concoctions.

I talked to my Mom on the phone a couple days ago and she said that
my little brother was begging everyone to make him smoothie like I
used to do for him all the time. My Mom told him that she didn't
know how to make a good smoothie and he told her that it's easy,
"you just have to put bananas in the blender".

I was putting some veggies in with the fruit when I was on a
liquid diet last year after getting all four of my wisdom teeth
surgically extracted in one go. Don't worry, I'm still a wise guy.
I remember drinking gallons of smoothies and a lot of carrot soup.
For some reason, none of my smoothies never had even a slight
green tint. I guess I wasn't adding enough X.

So I gave it another whirl.

First shot....

4 leaves of kale, 2 bananas, a handful of ice cubes and about 6
strawberries- thinned out with some OJ


Second shot...

4 leaves of kale, 2 bananas, a handful of ice cubes and 1 small
mango- again thinned out with OJ.


The second was definitely more 'green' tasting. I like almost always
using bananas because it helps retain that thickness and prevents
a lot of the separation that you get in some smoothies. If you're
at all adverse to eating your greens this really is a great trick.
The colour may be a bit... unusual, but you really cannot taste
the veg at all. It tastes pretty much like a really bitchin' fruit
smoothie.


Now they do look pretty similar, but the second was a much richer
green and probably could have been blended longer. That is one thing
to remember! Blend longer than you think you should or else you'll
get a little bit of stringy fiber. We were in a hurry this morning
though, like the usual Monday morning rush.

My only qualm was that I should have frozen the bananas, mango and
berries beforehand, that way I wouldn't have had to add the ice.
For me, a smoothie being cold is essential. Warm smoothies make
me wanna hurl.

Ideally, I'd like to keep up having a smoothie, preferably green if
I can mix it up enough to not get bored, every morning as a new
routine. My next try is going to include avocado, so stay tuned.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Churro Chips

This has not been the best week for me. I had two midterms (neither of
which I did very well on) and I got sick. Tuesday night after my first
exam, I came down with a massive fever, freaked my boyfriend out, and
still have the symptoms of some sort of sinus infection...

Needless to say, my Cinco De Mayo was not very fun. I had planned on
making margaritas and some spicy tacos, but my body was having none
of that. Wanting something even a little celebratory, I had a sudden
idea.

At the same time that I had been craving doughnuts, I had also been
craving churros. Now I don't think I've had a churro for a good 12
years (probably at disneyland of all places). Now I know that
churros are incredibly difficult to make, but all that oil can just
get nasty.

My solution? No dough/batter, no vats of oil, no stress.

Cha Cha Cha Churro Chips



6 corn tortillas
1/4 cup raw sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
dash sea salt

a few tablespoons vegetable oil

Grill the tortillas on a small pan with as little oil as you can
without having the tortillas become dry. The oil will make the
sugar and spice stick when its done.

Put the sugar, cinnamon and salt onto a plate. Flap the tortilla
down on the sugar straight off the pan. Flip and Transfer to a
warm oven, until they are all cooked.

Cut into pie shapes and serve!
Honest to goodness, tastes just like a churro!
And that's what I've got for a very late cinco de mayo, folks.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

There are vegan donuts in heaven



Last week for Bake me up LA even/Vegan Bake Sale Day- I decided
my twisted, fatty cravings had gone long enough. I could wait no
longer for another vegan donut.

I am no stranger to making my own donuts. My Dad would make them
when we were little and I made them a few times as a teenager,
but you all know they are pretty scarce for vegans.

The first vegan donut I had was at Voo Doo Donuts in Portland.
Amazing place and one of my all time favorites. Glad I actually
don't live there because I would be a stone or two heavier.

You may not believe me, but I don't make a lot of sweet stuff.
Generally bake sales are my big excuse to splurge on the vegan
sugar-crack attack. I'll get to the point. I made vegan donuts.
They were awesome. They were tiny. They were perfect. I want more.

Mini Vegan Unicorn Donuts

Named for the pink frosting, rainbow sprinkles and I'm convinced
that that is where the hole originated- the unicorn's horn!

*This is a traditional heavy Cake Doughnut recipe! Not puffy!!*

Ingredients

2 cups flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons lightly flavored oil
1/2 cup non-dairy milk, soy/almond/hemp would be best
1 tbsp flax seed whisked with 3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Oil for frying

Mix flour, sugar, salt, powder, nutmeg. Add the oil and mix until
it appears crumbly. Add the 'milk', vanilla and flax.

Adding a little extra flour, turn out on to a clean counter-top
and finish mixing by a quick knead. Roll out to a 1/2 inch
thickness and cut out into desired shape/size.

I used a shot glass and the cap off my vanilla bottle to make tiny
donuts and donut holes. The idea was to cut how much I was eating
and to make them more appealing for the bake sale. Donut cutters
are pretty easy to find at any of your typical kitchen shops.
I used to use two different sized biscuit cutters.

You can also roll the dough out into thin ropes and twist together
to make tiger-tails. Cut them into large circles if you're going
to fill them with jelly or into large bars if you want to make
bar donuts.

Ease gently into 375F oil. Use a thermometer if you have one
because it is easy to have your oil to hot and you will end up
with even heavier, breadier donuts than a cake. My first batch
was cooked too hot, so I got out my candy thermometer and the
next batch came out perfect.





The nice ones got sent to the sale and the heavier ones got to
stay home for us! Hee hee, I honestly didn't mean to do that!

Cook on each side for a few minutes, turn and pull out with a
large mesh frying spoon, tongs or (if you're really good with
them) wooden chopsticks.

Dip in your favorite frosting....
Add some sprinkles....






Or roll in some cinnamon and sugar! (be quick about it though)
If you let them rest and cool the sugar and spice will not stick.





The next morning we had the left-overs with some coffee and fruit
for breakfast. Oh my god, I knew as soon as I posted this I would
want to make more. Thankfully, they are easy enough to make your-
self and enjoy, but require enough work to not make everyday!
Just maybe every other day...



Monday, May 3, 2010

Find me on Facebook!

This weekend I finally got my booty in gear and uploaded heaps of
photos to facebook and made my fan page public. I will be posting
important links, new recipes, and cool news keeping me on track to
work more on the cookbook and illustrations.

This is also to generate some energy to get my tester site up and
running. Its nearly there! Just let me get through this week of midterms.

If you're on facebook, please become a fan!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Clover Tea for You and Me

Recently my cousin got a huge haul of stuff from a household she knew
that was foreclosed upon. Sad, I know. However, the people ditched
and left everything in the house. It was all under someone else's
credit as well. I started to feel bad about the situation and seeing
how people are really suffering in this recession, but that about as
far as my empathy ran. Mainly because I heard they left their horse
as well. They could have at least notified a shelter or someone, but
they just abandoned the horse there like he was a piece of furniture.

Thankfully, the horse is ok now from what I've heard and living with
a new family. Besides that I got a score out of the whole situation.
Most of the stuff was brought to my cousin and she picked out what
she wanted. Super cool and thinking of me she brought home a brand
new bread maker and a whole paloozal of organic herbs/flowers.

Saving the bread machine story for next time, I wanted to talk about
the jars of flowers, herbs, and seeds I got. They are pretty huge.
Off the top of my head there are flax seeds, fenugreek, licorice,
peppermint, echinacea, red clover leaf/flower, and... fennel.
There is more but I can't remember all of them. I'm not too fond of
licorice or fennel so I'm not sure how I'll be using those.
Any suggestions are welcome of course!



But the other day I mixed up some red clover leaf and peppermint
and made some tea. I don't know why I waited so long. I guess I am
a little too hooked on my black tea and coffee. It is a little too
flowery for me at first, but it quickly grew on me.



I know peppermint tea is good for stomach aches and is helps if
you drank the water in mexico and got the runs! Also, I've heard that
peppermint is a great natural way to prevent gallstones. This is
good for me because they run in my family like crazy and being
vegan will only help me deny genetics for so long!

I really want to make a bath with the peppermint or a face wash
because I've heard its great for your skin.

As far as red clover leaf goes, I was reading that the isolated
isoflavones are similar to those in estrogen and can help relieve
PMS symptoms. I'll go with that!

I love the colour too!


I added just a tiny tiny bit of agave to take off some of the
'grassy'(?) taste. I'm just waiting for it to get a bit warmer...
because I LOVE making sun tea in the summer!

Next I think I'm going to infuse this red clover tea with some
lemonade. To me, it sounds like a match well made.