Saturday, February 28, 2009

Avocado Ice Cream & Chocolate Valentino Cake

Whew, this month flew right by.  It's already time to post February's Daring Baker's Challenge.  Rules being what they are, we're required to paste word-for-word the following sentence:
The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.
The flourless cake that was chosen involved 5 eggs, so there were a lot of choices out there to make it vegan.  I chose to use silken tofu instead, which turned out all right, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what the other vegan daring bakers did.  For the ice cream, I decided to make vanilla ice cream with a twist ~ soy-free, almost sugar-free vanilla ice cream featuring...avocado!  It may sound a bit strange, but it tastes great and it has a gorgeous green colour.  I used my favorite agave nectar instead of sugar, so that's why I say "almost" sugar-free.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sweet Potato Vermicelli and Tofu Sheets

I made some fantastic finds at a local asian market recently.  Among them, sweet potato vermicelli and tofu sheets!  I had never seen either of them before and I was excited to try something new.  So I bought them even though I had no idea what I would do with them. 

A few days later I was ready to give the tofu sheets a try.  When I opened up the package I saw that it was thinner than I anticipated; the sheets are so thin you can see through them.  So I didn't think frying it would be a good idea.  And baking it might dry it out and make it I decided I would make a sort of veggie wrap and steam it.

 While the sweet potato vermicelli was boiling I sauteed some peas, broccoli and red pepper in Braggs soy liquid.  When everything was cooked I placed the ingredients on a sheet of tofu and rolled it up, and then placed it in my steamer pot for 5 minutes.

Here's the end result, served with orange ginger sauce and sprinkled with scallions:


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Rollin, Rollin, Rollin

I love me some sushi rolls.  So I thought I'd share the love for those who don't know how to make yummy rolls, which are quite easy to make and can be filled with endless combinations of vegan goodies.  I'm no sushi wizard and I'm sure there's more than one way to do this, so I'd love to know what works for other people. please feel free to let me know how you make yours :)

First, cook the sushi rice as directed, and add a dash of rice vinegar if desired.  I prefer mine without.  While it's cooking, prepare what you're going to use for fillings (for example: sliced avocado, baked sweet potatoes/yams, fried tofu, sliced cucumber, julienned carrots, green beans)

Once the rice is cooked, let it cool for a few minutes.  I find it easier to work with when it's warm but not too hot.  It's pretty much impossible with cold rice.  Lay out a sheet of roasted nori on a bamboo mat.

 Scoop a spoonful of rice onto the nori and spread it out, flattening it as you go.  You could use your hands here but the rice is really sticky!

Leave the very top edge bare as you'll need it to hold the roll together.  Moisten the top edge with a bit of water.  More rice = a thicker roll, less rice = a thinner roll.  Make sure you go all the way to the sides or you'll end up with the slices on the ends being hollow and not pretty.

Put your veggies or whatever your're filling it with on top of the rice in a horizontal line.  You can put them in the middle or at the very bottom edge.  It's going to get rolled up so it doesn't really matter, as long as it's not at the very top.

Roll up the nori using the bamboo mat and add a bit of pressure - you want the roll to be tight, but you don't want to squeeze it so hard that the veggies are forced out of the edges.  Don't get carried away and roll up the mat into the roll.  When I was living in the Dominican Republic I couldn't find bamboo mats and I made the rolls just fine without it.  You're pretty much guaranteed to find them at any asian market.

Once you've got it all rolled up, the top edge that you moisted with water will seal it and you'll have a round nice log, provided you didn't flatten it with the bamboo mat.  If it does seem a bit flat you can use the mat to help mold it back into a rounder shape.

Using a SHARP knife, slice the roll.  You can get 6 to 8 pieces depending on how big you want them.

 Alternatively, you can make rolls with the rice on the outside.  This is a bit more tricky, but with the help of some plastic wrap it isn't too hard.  You don't have to use plastic wrap but the rice is really sticky and for me it always gets stuck to the bamboo mat and all over my fingers.

And finally, you're ready to dip it in some soy sauce or Braggs or whatever you like, and enjoy :)


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Celebrating Gordita's first birthday!

We recently celebrated Gordita's first birthday by throwing a little birthday bash.  I made a vegan luncheon for our family and close friends and Gordita had a great time being the focus of so much attention. 
I baked two cakes: a vanilla-banana cake of my own creation, with white vanilla frosting, and a chocolate cake from La Dolce Vegan called Wolffie's Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Fudgey Frosting - both cakes were very well received. 

I wanted to make a few dishes with a Caribbean twist, in honour of Gordita's Caribbean heritage, so I made maki (sushi) with avocado and fried plantain banana, a tropical fruit platter, and mango berry iced tea.  We also had latin music and reggae playing in the background.
Other treats included mock tuna maki, mock tuna roll-ups (I'm so in love with Happy Herbivore's recipe!), tofu stix with peanut sauce, almond  butter & strawberry jam rollups, Ian's Alpha tots, spring rolls, and a big platter of fresh organic veggies.
 Feliz cumpleaƱo Gordita!