Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Donut Daze

It was a bash. A birthday bash. Myself celebrating 26 years of life, Lia the roomie moving onto 23 years. Our birthday party theme was "forever young" which entailed ample amounts of refined sugar, cheap toys, and pastel streamers. We all met a new sugar high that night with vegan birthday goodies such as: Dirt N' Worms, Jello Jiggler shots, Salt water taffy, a double-layer apple walnut maple cake, and the cherry on top ... hand-made donuts!

 Lia took it upon herself to bake up these delicious beauties for our party. But these weren't just any party donuts to munch on here and there, oh no, the purpose much more. These donuts hung from string, which hung from a broom, which someone held up while guests raced to finish without using their hands. Covered in chocolate and sprinkles this proved to be quite an entertaining party game I would highly recommend to anyone.

Battle royal - Jared vs. Birthday Girl (I won)

Andrew and Kristina duking it out.
Here's the recipe that Lia found online and veganized it - substituting one banana for the eggs, rice milk, and earth balance.

Old-Fashioned Cake Donut Recipe

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. softened unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. milk
  1. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and sugar with a mixer.
  3. Add the softened butter, vanilla, and milk and mix until well-incorporated.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Do not overmix.
  5. Lightly coat the inside of the donut maker with nonstick cooking spray and fill with batter.
  6. Hold the machine just over the hot oil and lightly press on the lever to release the batter. Then gently release the lever and allow the donut to fall into the pan. **NOTE: we did not have a donut maker - Lia shaped the donuts with her hands, and simply dipped into hot vegetable oil.**
  7. Fry the donut batter in hot vegetable oil, turning halfway through to ensure even browning. Fry approximately one minute per side, although that time can vary depending on how hot the oil is.
  8. Remove golden-brown donuts and allow them to cool on paper towels.
Makes about 1 dozen donuts.
Read more at Suite101: How to Make Homemade Donuts: Old-Fashioned Cake Donut Recipe

There ya have it folks. They are simply delicious. The chocolate ganache was made by melting down about 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips with a tablespoon of earth balance.  Let the donuts cool and then just dip 'em on in.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Early Bird

This morning I awoke from the sun beaming through my east facing window at 7:00 am. Feeling ambitious and wanting to try a new scone recipe, I decided to take advantage of this quiet sunny morning. I came up with cranberry pistachio spelt scones. Quite a mouthful but they have a nice ring yea??
I started with Isa's basic scone recipe from Vegan Brunch, substituting regular flour for spelt flour.
Her recipe is:
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp. acv
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 1/2 cup vegan shortening
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 and spray or line a baking sheet. Mix the milk with the vinegar and set aside to curdle. Mix the dry ingredients and cut in the shortening. Make a well and pour in the milk mixture, oil, and vanilla.  Now, here's what I did to jazz these babies up.
First, I used rice milk instead of almond, and again spelt flour. 
In the dry ingredients I added 1/2 tsp cardamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. 
I added 1 tsp. orange flower water to the wet ingredients.
Folded in one cup dried cranberries and one cup finely chopped pistachios.

The nutty flavor of the spelt is the perfect compliment to the sweetness of the cranberries and salty pistachios.
Sitting in the sun with a cup of Rooibos, crossword, scone, and worm (new cat) was well worth getting out of bed at 7:00 am.

Friday, November 5, 2010

New Endeavours

Its official, the South Philadelphia Vegan Baking Society now has a blog so FOLLOW US!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Constant Falling

Oh how I love love love fall. I can't express it enough, and as the days get shorter, the light a little dimmer, my love for the season gets a little bigger. Gords, leaves, colors, brisk mornings and nights, scarfs, boots, apples, apples, apples. What could be better?? This year I have embraced fall to the fullest. Thus far the activities have included: apple and pumpkin picking, making and canning apple sauce, apple butter, candied pears, all baked goods are pumpkin ginger this, apple cranberry that. I just can't stop. Here's a little photo montage of the best east coast fall ever.

Stephanie K. Visco picking apples in Downingtown.
 so beautiful and delicious

 our harvest
 stuffed pie pumpkins with oatmeal, cranberries, raisins, and apples, with roasted seeds and cherries on the side! YUM!

 Fall dinner includes ... apples arugula salad with tahini lemon garlic dressing, roasted root veggies, spaghetti squash and bbq seitan. 

 my new fave ...

Pumpkin pancakes with cranberry ginger syrup ...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Philadelphia .. Part Deux

I'm back! While trekking through the unforgettable and pristine Alaskan wilderness, I've managed to find my way back to the city of brotherly love. Despite much hesitation leaving one of my only true loves (Alaska that is), I came back to a different kind beauty - one full of bicycles, baking, and booze. All of which are very dear to my heart, and a life-style that upon my return, I was happy to be back in.

Things have finally settled back into place and cooking is in full swing. Living with two vegans, the wonderful Andrew and fellow Alaskan Lia, it's non-stop. I've never lived in a house with all vegan housemates before and I must say, it's quite the treat, literally and figuratively.

Fighting a cold for a few days now, tonight I felt I needed some soup. What kind of soup? Ahhh, Creamy Tomato ... and we all know that nothing goes better with Tom Soup than Grilled Cheeze.

Creamy Tomato Soup from Veganomicon Whole Wheat Grilled Cheeze with Daiya 

Also, nothing comforts a cold like cups upon cups of hot tea. Tonight's was a homemade tea from the wonderful Alison Giese served in her homemade mug! This girl knows how to send a care package.

Ali's homemade concoction, Earl Grey Goodness: Earl Grey, lavender, roses, cardamom, and lots and lots of love!

***Baking Update - Andrew and myself have started a side baking business "South Philadelphia Vegan Baking Society" check out our goods at Grindcore House the latest (and may I add greatest ) 100% vegan coffee house. Rad art, comfy couch, friendly atmosphere, sweet treats, great joe and my favorite part (as if it gets better) the array of creamers! Not just soy milk folks, go out on a limb and try coconut creamer, or almond milk, or rice milk ... they have it all.

Stay tuned. This chapter is going to be pretty great, more baking, cooking, and vegan sharing to come!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Holy Moly Guacamole

Disclaimer - this post is not about guacamole.

Quick two second update:
broke up, moved out, Alaska bound.

With that said, I'm sorry for the delay in delicious vegan food, however, life has been throwing me quite the curve balls, and let me just say ... I've been hitting them outta the park!

I'm in a new house, living with another amazing vegan baker and chef - who is also going to be my business partner for our vegan baking company ...... You may recall him from my Cinco de Mayo post - these empanadas are going places - like to the new Grindcore Coffee house in south philly where andrew and myself are going to be selling them along with many other signature gems. Can I get a "whoop, whoop".

Here's a photo recap of the past month of vegan endeavours, which may be the only reason I have stayed sane throughout this hectic period. Here's to hobbies, friends, and deliciously conscious food.


Eclaire from Vegan Treats in Bethlehem. 

Empanadas - our signature dish!

Our table at Punk Rock Flee Market 

Victorian Cup Cakes with cream cheese frosting and fresh berries

Double Apple Bundt Cake

Canning! Tomatoes, basil, garlic, deliciousness.

Sample platter for Grindcore, lemon poppy mini bundts, mexican wedding cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and of coarse, empanadas. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WE got the BEET!

My co-worker Susanna and I are doing another Health Starts Here cooking class tomorrow! Come join us at Callowhill from 6 - 7 pm if you're in the hood to learn amazing recipes for beets! Here's Susanna's webisode of one of the recipes we'll be preparing tomorrow night.
**ps: it's delicious!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stuffed Summer Squash

As of late work has been intense. I know a better blogger and chef wouldn't use that as an excuse, but I am. However, today, I share with you a very special gem ... My First YouTube Cooking Class! As a way to advertise and promote the Healthy Eating Cooking Classes we are doing every Thursday (tonight) from 6 - 7 at Callowhill (they're free!) Susanna my healthy eating partner in crime and I did short little cooking videos. We had one day to film, so they're not perfect, BUT look forward to seeing one every week and come out and cook with us!!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Faux Tuna and Nectarine Salsa

I love when the new issue of Vegetarian Times pops through the mail slot. The beautiful pictures, recipes, tips, are just oh so inspiring. The current issue highlights perfect meals to be enjoyed in this hot summer weather. I found the Sea Salad by Bliss Raw Cafe owner Dee Pissaro and a nectarine salsa the perfect hot weather lunch.  

Sea Salad (Mock Tuna Salad) by Dee Pissaro
serves 4

-1 1/2 cups raw sunflower seeds - soaked for 4 + hours
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4  cup chopped celery
-2 tbsp. finely chopped sweet pickles (I substituted the best relish in the world from oak grove farms)
-2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
-2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
-1 1/2 tbsp dulse flakes
-1 tbsp lemon juice

Drain sunflower seeds, and pulse with oil and salt in food processor until chunky paste forms. Transfer to bowl. Stir remaining ingredients into mixture. 

I put this on whole grain sprouted bread with dijon mustard, avocado, and fresh collards from our garden. It was the best sammy I've had in a long time!! 

For the Nectarine salsa I chopped up 4 nectarines, handful of cilantro, juice from one lime, 2 hot peppers from our garden, and half of a red onion. Then I baked a sprouted tortilla for chips. 


Monday, June 21, 2010

Cucumber Gazpacho

Is anything more satisfying on a hot summer day then a nice cold cup of gazpacho? Especially when the right vegetables (cucumber!) and herbs (mint and basil) are used to truly capture the essence of the season.
This gazpacho has absolutely no tomatoes, but instead is extremely simple and uses only cucumber, herbs, and toasted pecans. I learned from chef and author of Lucid Food, Louisa Shafia, that "fat carries flavor", so with that said if you feel that 1/4 cup of toasted pecans isn't enough, go ahead and add more! I think that garnishing each bowl with the pecans and fresh mint would be perfect. 

Cucumber Gazpacho 
serves 2

-2 cucumbers 
-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-juice from half of a large lemon
-handful of chopped fresh basil and mint leaves 
-1/3 cup toasted pecans (some for garnish)
-salt to taste

In a blender, blend the cucumbers (you can peel them and seed them if you wish, but remember all the nutrients are in the seeds! and if you have a high speed blender no one will ever know), balsamic, lemon juice and herbs. While blending, lightly toast your pecans by either toaster oven or broil in the conventional oven for just a couple of minutes. When the gazpacho has reached a nice smooth consistency go ahead and add in 1/4 cup of the pecans and blend for a few more minutes. Taste. I probably added a tsp of salt, but of coarse add more salt or pecans to taste. Garnish with the left over toasted pecans and fresh mint leaves. 


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Simple Sushi

Ahh Sushi. One of my all time favorite "date" dinners. And for a long time I thought that it was just that ... a decadent meal only to be enjoyed once in a while where we spent oodles of cash because only japanese sushi masters were capable of creating these beautiful foreign wraps.

But boy was I wrong. Sushi is wonderfully cheap and simple when you do it yourself, and can still be a great "date" dinner enjoyed in the comfort of your own home with a nice Reed's Ginger Brew on the side.
My sushi roll included: short grain brown rice, cucumber, carrot, avocado, and a really great spicy peanut sauce. Plus, extra bonus, rolling sushi is super fun! I especially enjoyed cutting it; run your knife under hot water and the slices will come out perfect.

Here's the recipe for the Spicy Peanut Sauce I used:

-1 cup shelled peanuts
-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
-2 tbsp Frank's Red Hot
-2 tsp cayenne
-handful of basil (our plants our boooming!)

This adds a nice flavor and kick to the roll.


Saturday, June 12, 2010


I've only had one dream where I drank a beer and stuffed crisp warm french fries in my face and that's as close as I've come to "cheating" on my cleanse. Feels pretty great. This is the first weekend I actually went out and just ordered seltzer and OJ (sans the vodka please :) At the diner we went to this morning there was even an option for quinoa porridge sweetened with agave and fresh fruit ... perfect!
However, the cleanse (no caffeine, alcohol, refined sugars or flours) wouldn't be going so great had I not borrowed "RAWvolution" by Matt Amsden.

This book is rawsome! The recipes are easy, mostly fast (some require the ole' 32 hr dehydrator act) and delicious! The layout is simple and pictures elegant. Big recipe keys are found in the right hand corner of every page that let you know what you're getting yourself into by simple codes as easy as 1, 2, and 3 (1 easy recipe doesn't take a lot of steps and time to 3 multiple steps, and usually requires some drying time) to icons of what tools you'll be using (juicer, high speed blender, dehydrator...). His soups are amazing, and I haven't tried the famous onion bread yet but I can't wait until I do!!

Here's a recipe of his that is just delightful!  I made this egg-less egg salad to make sammies for lunch, but ended up eating half of it as dip with cucumbers right after it finished blending it was that good!

Egg-Less Egg Salad
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
-1 1/2 tsp. turmeric
-2 cloves garlic, peeled
-1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
-1 1/2 cups raw macadamia nuts or cashews
-1/3 cup chopped scallions
-1/3 cup chopped celery
-1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper

In a high-speed blender, combine the water, lemon juice, turmeric, garlic, sea salt, and nuts and blend until smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine the contents of the blender with the scallions, celery, and bell peppers. Mix well and serve. 

Thank you Matt!


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blueberry Walnut Black Bean Burgers (or Pate!)

Got a case of the Monday Blues ... me too! Only my blues are nutritious and delicious.
These burgers are of coarse banging .... but the best part ... if you don't want to take the time to cook them (ya know sometimes 5 extra minutes is just too long) then you have an amazing Dip/Pate. I actually like this recipe better as just a dip ... however ... it's not very eye appealing ... maybe if I lined the top with blueberries??

Blueberry Walnut Black Bean Burgers

-2 pieces sprouted whole grain bread of your choice ...
-1/3 cup blueberries
-1 tbsp. mustard
-1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
-1 tsp. liquid smoke
-2 cloves garlic
-3 tbsp. ground flax seed
-2 cups walnuts - ground
-1 16 oz. can of Black Beans

In a food processor pulse the bread into crumbs, when nice and crumbly remove and put into a mixing bowl.
Place the remaining ingredients sans the black beans and walnuts into the food processor and blend thoroughly. Pour that mixture in with the bread crumbs. Add black beans to the mixture and mash with a potato masher, then one cup at a time mix in the walnuts.
Form into patties and either grill (on tin-foil), bake or pan-fry.
I choose the pan fry method. I cooked each burger for about 5 minutes on each side, until they looked nice and burger-like.

...looks just like burgers!

I didn't even dress them ... just ate them as is... soo good, with a little relish ... all you need.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Home-made Hummus

Hummus - nothing beats it. Especially during these hot summer days.
My "go to" meal has been hummus and tabouli. Such a perfect hot weather duo. Wrapped up in collards and topped with a couple of olives ... heaven.

This meal has also been perfect during my "cleanse" - a sort of detox - nothing too extreme - but for 28 days no processed foods, no alcohol, no caffeine. Today is day 2 and so far so good. I was dealing with a slight head-ache last night and when I woke, but that's it.
Today for breakfast I had a green smoothie with pineapple, kale, banana, ginger, ice, and flax along with a half of avocado.
Lunch was a sprouted whole grain tortilla with home-made red pepper hummus (recipe below - sooo awesome) and the other avocado half, hand-full of cashews, and a weird blueberry dip I was experimenting with ... it tasted like a smoothie. Back to the drawing board for that one.
Dinner was tabouli on greens with some more hummus, and let me tell you - I am stuffed. Drinking my seltzer it feels just great. But don't worry, that is the only meal by meal account you will get :)

On to the Recipes!

So home-made hummus is awesome for a number of reasons -

1. most kitchens have the ingredients stocked, so really the only thing you may have to bust open your wallet for is, say, a red pepper, or a can of chickpeas (.89), and it makes sooo much hummus - a much better value.

2. if you look on the ingredients of packaged hummus some can be tricky and throw in soy or corn oil, even sugar!

3. the nutrition label of processed hummus scares me - the sodium content is usually doubled that of the calories (sodium in a product should never exceed the calories per serving) and even the calories from fat is way over the recommended daily intake (which is 20%). Yes granted beans and olive oil and tahini are fatty, you control the amount of salt and olive oil you put in - the sodium is really what gets me personally ...

4. Why waist the packaging? and resources that go into packaging?

The best way to go is buying dry chickpeas in bulk and then taking it from there - however, with my lack of time I still opt for the can --- oh one day.

Anabell's Reliable Roasted-Red Pepper Hummus

-1 16 oz can chickpeas
-1/2 cup tahini
-1/4 cup water
-juice from 1/2 a lemon
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-2 cloves of garlic
-dash of salt
-1 red pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Put the red pepper on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, until the outside skin is slightly blackened. In the meantime, Bring a small sauce pan to a boil and put in your drained, rinsed chickpeas from the can. Boil for about 3 - 5 minutes, this tenders up the chickpeas and makes for a nice and smooth hummus. In a food processor blend all ingredients. I wait and put the red pepper in until last (only because I'm waiting for it to roast!). When your pepper is done, rinse under cold water and peel off the outside skin and take out the seeds and stem. Throw it in, and ENJOY!!

Perfect for a lunch or snack :) 

Getting ready for tabouli! Above is red onion, cucumber, tomato, dill, cilantro, basil, and lemon juice... just missing the bulgar! YUM!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bad Blogger

I apologize for the delays in posts. 
Do I have an excuse ... yes. 

I was in Costa Rica! 

Rain-forests, sloths, monkeys, surfing (it's harder than it looks) and the never ending meal of rice and beans (most of the time ... don't even get me started on "sachipapas")

Quick news ...
before I left I made some more cupcakes for Mazag Cafe, and some "cock-cakes": cupcakes + cocktails for my dear friends graduation party. 

Now that I'm back I will let you know on June 1st, I am starting a 28 day cleanse ( no refined or processed foods, no alcohol, no caffeine, plus the usual no meat no dairy of coarse ....). I'm excited but I know that it will be very challenging! My co-workers at Whole Foods are teaming up with me and we're going to all set our own bar. 

Do any readers want to join?? It doesn't have to be all of the above, but maybe just refined sugars? or flours? I'll be more than happy to provide recipes, support, and give you a link to the blog that we'll be using for our Whole Food team members. 

Almond cupcakes with chocolate ganache and coconut topping

The cockcakes - Black and Tan on left ='s chocolate stout cake with coffee icing and ganache and Mojito on right ='s rum lime cupcake with mint icing and candied ginger!

All the cakes (from front to back): Mojito, Black and Tan, Strawberry Daquiri, Pina-Colada! 

Giant Avocado Stand in Costa Rica. SOO good!

Typical Breakfast - Rice and beans, fixings, and fruit shake!

Thanks for reading!!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Tis the Season

The season is spring, the taste is spring rolls.
They're fresh, crisp, light - put together with some awesome peanut sauce - and you've got a meal baby. Zip. Zap. Zop.

Philly Spring Rolls

-rice papers (found in your local asian market)
-shredded carrots
-thai basil
-sesame oil
-bean sprouts

There's usually directions on rice papers, but on the ones we picked up there wasn't. No big deal. There super easy. Just heat up some water, dip the paper in for about 5-10 seconds, lay on a plate, fill with the ingredients and bam.
I like to saute the tofu with garlic and sesame oil.

Peanut Dipping Sauce
-1 can coconut milk
-1/2 cup peanut butter
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-dash of cayenne (if you're into it ....)

Blend all together! (Go Go Vita-mix)


Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Vegan Fiesta

Yesterday, as you may all know, was the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. In honor of our mexican friends victorious battle against the french in 1862, my good friend Andrew and I got down and dirty with Terry Hope Romero's new book, Viva Vegan.

Andrew, another amazing vegan chef/baker, recently just bought Terry's new book and has been raving about it ever since. So, naturally, after looking over it at brief hang-out sessions, it was time to see what all the hype was about!

We decided to make her rendition of empanadas with delicious red seitan, shitake mushrooms, olives, and raisins. To go with this we made some killa five-layer vegan dip, and margarita cup-cakes to finish the night off!

pre-cooking, a margarita on the roof! 

Vegan Cupcakes to follow .... from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Up close and personal... btw, these were soooo delicious! 

The empanada dough, the recipe said to chill it over night or at least 4 hours, us not having looked at the recipe in advanced thought an hour would suffice ... and that it did!! 

The Filling = red seitan, shitake mushrooms, potatoes, onion, garlic, paprika, liquid smoke, cayenne, oregano, salt, and raisins, and olives. YUM!!!! 

The Magic happening!! Here's Andrew and myself filling and folding ... 

Pinching with a fork for that perfect look.... 

Right before going into the oven, brushed with silk creamer

Fresh out of the oven, crisp and delicious

Inside view!

The spread: Vegan 5-layer dip = (from bottom up) refried black beans, tofutti sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and daiya cheddar cheese. Empanadas and cupcakes! WHOO HOO

Andrew, my partner in crime and one of my favorite philadelphian's.