Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Harry Potter Cauldron Cakes

First off, I know not everyone out there is a Harry Potter fan and
not everyone is an avid fan as some of us. If you’ve never read the
books, watched the films, or taken part in the wizarding world of
J.K. Rowling, I strongly encourage you to.

It may not change your life, but you may be missing out on some really
good entertainment. What’s all the hype about? It may have just gotten
on your nerves and now you’re ignoring it out of principle. Get over it
and go read the books. Really. Honestly. It’s not high classic literature,
but they are really FUN and undeserving of your contempt.

I am not just saying this because of how much I love swords and
sorcery, or because I was one of those teens those wore capes to the
midnight book releases, or was one of those who finished the last book
in less than 48 hours.

I enjoy fan culture like this because of the sense of camaraderie.
Sure you can go to a rocky horror picture show screening or some other
cult flick and experience the same type of tuned-in energy, but the
whimsy of the whole thing becomes addictive. The HP bug doesn’t turn
off when you leave the theater, it stays with you the whole way home
and the next morning and lingers-- leaving you wanting more!

Cult flicks are tons of fun, all the fans cheer when certain characters
come on or when certain credits roll, but Harry Potter is much more.

I think it also has something to do with how loyal the movies were
to the books and how disappointed I was in the new Star Wars and
Lord of the Rings movies. I’ve given up on comic book films (Scott
Pilgrim excluded). I still enjoy the rebooted films like TRON and
Star Trek etc. But they simply don’t exude the same intoxicating energy
that Harry Potter does.

It is engrossing because of the depth, the detail, and the sheer
extent of character development. For many of us it was also a coming
of age ritual. It was something for us to look forward to each year
and to hide away in when reality got a little low. Hogwarts was a little
escape for each of us and sadly it has come to an end. I was a few years
older than the kids in the books when it first came out, but I was still
growing up while I was reading them. So it truly is the end of an age for
some of us.

Now all the films are out, I plan on going back and rereading the series
(when I get some time-- Eventually). I’ve read the first few books more
than once, but not the later ones. So, I’ve gone a little fuzzy on many of
the details. Besides, it is always fun to go back and try and pick up on
all the little hints when you know what the ending is going to be.

To be honest, the end has left me feeling a little low and really old.
I don’t like waiting for Halloween to costume up. How often to I get to
flaunt my Ravenclaw uniform? For now, I’ll have to bid a fond farewell
to Hogwarts and a turning point in my life-- now I’m coming up to my
quarter-life crisis who knows if anything will catch on like Harry Potter
and steal the hearts of so many muggles... at least in our lifetime!

So lets all raise our butterbeer and pumpkin juice to what was a damn
good, magical decade!

Yes, I saw it opening night-- not the midnight showing, but still...
And of course it was epic! (Surprisingly violent, watch out little ‘uns)

In celebration of Book 7 Part Two, I made some Cauldron Cakes
for your enjoyment. To be honest can’t remember if there was a
description in the books of these or not. So I just made what I thought
Cauldron Cakes sounded like. These are not sweet, so don't expect a
cupcake. They are hearty and look like they were cooked over a cauldron!

Harry Potter Cauldron Cakes

3 cups unbleached wheat flour
3 tbsp powdered sugar
2 3/4 cup non-dairy milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup berry jam
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup raisins, cranberries, cherries or chopped dates

Sift together the dry ingredients.
Mix the oil, jam and curdled non-dairy milk, slowly add to the
dry mix and stir briefly to not over-mix the soda. Add the nuts and
which ever dried fruit you like.

Pour into greased and floured cupcake cups or mini bundt tins.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes at 350•F.

Serve while still warm with powdered sugar and jam.

Try em with some Pumpkin Juice!

Here is also a Vegan version of ButterBeer from PETA2 which sounds
pretty good, except I might add some vanilla vodka or spiced rum
to give it a real kick.

Monday, July 4, 2011

All Hail Kale Salad: Swipe!

Swiper, no swiping!

Those of you that have young siblings as I do or children of your own
might catch that reference. If not, I just swiped or knocked off a dish
from everyone's favorite Veggie Grill.

To be honest, I've never even had the darn thing. Yes, everyone raves
about it, blah blah blah-- but I have a hard time bringing myself to
pay $8-10 for a bowl of kale. I don't care how good it is. If I'm going
to go out to eat and drop dollars in the double digits, it better be
something I can't make at home or have never experienced before.

Its Ok if you can't cook and like to eat out because its the only decent
way to get good food, but you have to at least tell me you're trying to duplicate these things.

What is this All Hale Kale stuff? Apparently it is Kale and Quinoa
marinated in a papaya vinegarette, topped with purple cabbage,
walnuts, carrots, and a roasted corn salsa and chic'n/tempeh (opt).

I basically had everything but the papaya, so I subbed out some OJ for
that baby. Voila. Pretty delish. I didn't do the grilled plant protein,
since we were already eating quinoa and quinoa is high in protein.
Although, we did have some assorted baked sweet potato fries on the
side: orange, purple, and white sweet potato!

FYI: although many people do, there is really no need to remove the
stems from kale. Just cut off the very end and roll the whole leaf with
a rolling pin to tenderize. Crush the stem so it is soft and chewable.
Why waste a perfectly good piece of kale?

All Hail Kale Salad for 4

8 stalks of kale, tenderized and shredded finely
2 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped

1/3 cup orange juice
2 tbsp olive oil or a nut oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp agave
juice from one lemon
1/2 tsp grated ginger
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh corn
1 tomato, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 small clove garlic, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
juice from one lime
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro (opt)

Once the cooked quinoa has cooled, toss it with the kale and add the
dressing. Go ahead and mix the salsa, let it sit to 'age' the flavors.

Once you're ready to chow down arrange the salad on the plate
starting with the marinated kale, salsa, cabbage, carrot then walnuts--
or whatever you like, it's all ending up in the same place anyway!

This is where you go "WHAT? That's it?!" and I smile and laugh manically.

I guess it's the Forth of July... Don't go out and roast dead animals
or burn a forest down with stupid fireworks... please and thankyou.
No, we are not celebrating today. Why? I dunno, should it be a priority?