Saturday, January 31, 2009

When All Else Fails, Read the Directions!!!

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

"Traditionally, tuiles are thin, crisp almond cookies that are gently molded over a rolling pin or arched form while they are still warm. Once set, their shape resembles the curved French roofing tiles for which they're named."

I was fascinated by the suggestion that you make a stencil template and then use a spatula to spread the dough over the template.  Kind of like a reverse cookie cutter.  I had nedver done it before...and I have to say, I don't really look forward to doing it again in the near future because I totally suck at it.  For my first attempt, I cut out a palm tree template using a piece of cardboard.  This was no easy feat, there are a lot of tricky angles.

As I peered into the oven to watch them bake, my heart sank....I was horrified to see they had melted into blobs of liquid.  I had never seen cookies do that before.  And then it hit me.  I forgot to add the flour.  I was completely stunned.  I had already tossed my cardboard template in the garbage I had to re-think what shape I was going to do. 

So I thought, okay, my daughter is turning 1 this month, I'll make them shaped like the number 1!!  However, this time around, my batter was so thick it stuck to the template and the dough barely touched the cookie sheet.  By this time I was getting really frustrated at the fact that I must be the only person who can't make these cookies and how could I screw it up not once, but twice.

Attempt number three is far less glorious than my original intention, but it worked.  Simple rectangles left to cool on wooden rolling pin.  At least I had to pair it with something about guava-strawberry mousse?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Taco Soup, Omega Crunch, and Dark Chocolate Dreams

I have really wanted to blog for the past couple of weeks but taking care of a very sick little Gordita took precedence.   There were many  meals of store bought soups or cereal & almond milk which didn't seem blogworthy anyway.  Baby girl is on the mend now, so here's a roundup of some of the more interesting things I've been eating lately.  
First up, I made a batch of Nava Atlas' Taco Soup as seen in VegNews Magazine.  I followed the recipe EXACTLY, yet somehow my soup looks nothing like the VegNews photo.  It was good, I loved the spiciness of the cumin and chili powder combined with (my favorite) cilantro but I ended up adding some fresh ground sea salt which wasn't called for in the recipe.  When I think of tacos, I'm thinking salty & spicy.


Here's my uber quick breakfast of organic bananas, strawberries and tangerines, with some Omega Crunch roasted maple shelled flax.  Super Yum!

And, saving the best for last - PPK banana bread (I subbed 1/2 cup agave nectar instead of the 1 cup of sugar called for in the recipe) slathered in sinfully delicious chocolate peanut butter!  Yes, Dark Chocolate Dreams from Peanut Butter & Co lives up to its name and does not disappoint.  Ohhhh...I think I'm in love!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Brown Basmati Rice Pilaf and Crispy Tofu with Orange Ginger Sauce.

The snow has turned to torrential rain here and now there's flood warnings because the storm drains are covered in snow banks and there's nowhere for the water to go.  One report is predicting up to 80mm (3.5 inches) of rain between today and tomorrow.  My yoga studio is closed due to flooding.  I hope their lovely hardwood floors are not ruined!
The snow on our roof was so heavy it ripped the gutter off as it slid to the ground and now we can't open our back door because there's a snow bank and a broken gutter blocking it.  Hmm I wonder why summer is my favorite season...
Well, at least the weather isn't affecting my kitchen and I can still cook ;)  Here's something I've make a couple of times in the past week because it's easy and tastes good:  Brown Basmati rice pilaf and crispy tofu with orange ginger sauce.

Brown Basmati Rice Pilaf
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup brown Basmati rice
1 small or 1/2 medum/large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 tsp dried dill
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
salt & pepper to taste

In a medium sized pot, saute onion, celery and rice in olive oil until onions become translucent.  Add broth/water and bring to a boil.  Add dill.   Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer on low for 45 minutes.  Once the rice is finished cooking, stir in nutritional yeast, salt & pepper.
The orange ginger sauce I used came from a bottle.  Not very creative, but like I said, it was easy :)  To make the crispy tofu, slice it into strips and pan fry it in a bit of olive oil and a splash of Braggs (soy sauce) for 5-7 minutes on each side.  Top with orange ginger sauce and enjoy!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Happy New Year & Polenta Discs

Happy New Year to you!  We've had some ridiculous amounts of snow here in Vancouver, British Columbia, which has made for some cozy nights at home with movies and noochy popcorn.  So far this week I've seen the Incredible Hulk, The Dark Knight, and a foreign film called Mongol.

With the coming of the new year I thought it would be a good time to make some changes to the color scheme of my blog and lighten it up a bit.  I hope you like the new look :)

Recently I bought a tube of organic polenta  and then forgot about it.  Well, actually I thought about it, but since it wasn't where I normally would keep it, I figured I never actually bought it.  That is, until I came across it yesterday when I was looking for something else.  Luckily it was a recent purchase and was nowhere near the expiry date.  It was a nice surprise, and I immediately knew what I wanted to make with it...Polenta Discs!

I sliced the polenta into little discs and then sauteed them in a bit of olive oil for about 5-7 minutes on each side, or when they start to turn golden brown.  Then I topped it with some Guaca-Salsa and accompanied it with marinated tofu.