Archive for March, 2011

I usually get random baking ideas right before I go to bed, or at about 2:07 am when I wake up because of our extraordinarily loud neighbors and can’t go back to sleep.

Lately I’ve been on this sweet potato kick for some reason. I use it in a vegan cheese sauce recipe quite often. The other day I made sweet potato gnocchi – sucks up A LOT more flour than normal potatoes, just a word of caution. And then of course you have sweet potato fries, which are really good with some toasted coconut.

Well I had a hankerin – I’m from the south, I can say that – for waffles the other day. I actually just wanted to bake something I think as I caught the never-ending cold going around PDX and had been out of commission for over a week. Anyway… Typically I use some old bananas in my waffles, but sometimes you just don’t feel like a naner. So, as usual, right as we’re going to bed my mind starts whirling with ideas, and what could be better than sweet potato waffles? With brandy soaked cranberries of course. And some walnuts. I know, I know… Genius!

Some friendly advice, PAM is your friend here. I was fresh out of non-stick cooking spray. These little buggers did NOT want to come out of the waffle iron. I had to pry them out with a fork, while demolishing them simultaneously. The ones in the picture were the only ones I could salvage. So, if you’re out of PAM, or SUE or BOB or whatever you call it, butter the damn thing. And maybe use some flour (gf) too.

Sweet Potaffles (vegan & gluten-free)

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • brandy
  • 1 medium sweet potato (the orange kind, otherwise known as yams)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts

Put the cranberries in a small bowl and pour just enough brandy to cover them. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes.

Peel the sweet potato and chop it into small pieces, the smaller the pieces the quicker it’ll cook. Toss them in a pan, cover with water and boil until soft – about 15 minutes.

Roughly chop the walnuts.

  • 1 & 1/2 cups soy milk (or other dairy-free milk)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Whisk the milk and vinegar together and set aside to curdle.

  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 T ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum*
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

Blend your dry ingredients together.

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegan margarine, melted (I used Smart Balance light)
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp maple extract
  • 1/2 tsp molasses

This is where you should start heating up your waffle iron.

The sweet potato should be done by now as well. Drain the water and toss it in a large mixing bowl. Mash it well with a fork or use an immersion blender to puree. I recommend the latter. Add all the wet ingredients, including the milk mixture, and mix it well until thoroughly blended – I used a hand blender. Add in the dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in the walnuts and cranberries, including the brandy.

Pour the batter into your PAM sprayed waffle iron and wait impatiently until the little light goes out again. Remove. Cover with maple syrup. Enjoy.

These were probably the best waffles I’ve made in a very long time. Nice and crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside. My husband gave me this weird look when I told him I was making sweet potato waffles, but he changed his mind after taking a bite. They were quite tasty, and he had no idea they were gluten-free until I told him.

*On the xanthan gum, I just became privy to the fact that some of this stuff is made from whey, so if you’re a strict vegan be sure to check on that. I think you can use guar gum instead, but I’ve never used it so I have no advice there.

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Next Saturday, April 2nd, at Ristretto Roasters on N Williams and Barista on NW 13th there will be a bake sale to help the people of Japan. It’s not limited to professional bakers so all of you who piddle around with yummy goodies at home (like me) can contribute!! More information can be found at Portland Food and Drink. What will you make???

Email pdxbakesale@gmail.com to sign up! And if you can’t bake you can always buy!

Here’s the direct website for Bakesale for Japan.

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Supposedly that means Happy St. Patrick’s Day. =)

Lovely day for a Guinness!

The 9,000 year lease that Arthur Guinness signed, for like 40 lbs a year.

A history of Guinness bottles.

That’s a lot of Guinness.


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The problem with baking and only having a two person household is the fact that there are only two people to eat all that yummy stuff that comes out of the oven. That may not seem like a problem to some people. To me, it’s a wee bit scary. So any time there is a group event or people are coming over, I jump at the chance to make something that I’ve been putting off for fear of calorie overload.

The other night my husband comes home from watching football (aka soccer) and tells me he invited a couple of people over for pizza. I immediately, almost as if on instinct, give him this half-felt, sideways glare like, “Oh really…” Then I smile. It’s pizza, I got this! I’m always frightened when I think about entertaining people for dinner because none of my friends are veggies, “What will I fix?’ And then there’s the minor detail of not having a dining table… But pizza is easy because everyone can have exactly what they want, and eat it anywhere.

My mind then went straight to the fun part, dessert! Initially I thought about making this caramel filled snickerdoodle cupcake I’d been thinking about, but my continual obsession with procrastinating by mindlessly staring at FoodGawker popped an idea into my head. Dessert pizza! My original version had Nutella in it, but the melting didn’t go according to plan so we ended up with chocolate ganache instead, but I wouldn’t complain.

I also finally got my camera outside in some sunlight (yes, there was sunlight in Portland last weekend) so I took a few more pics than normal as many of them were actually turning out ok – but I guess we’ll let FoodGawker be the judge of that (they reject all my pics).

Dessert Pizza (vegan, can be made gluten-free)

  • 1 tub of strawberries, sliced
  • Cream cheese frosting, recipe here
  • Brownie batter
  • Chocolate ganache

I used the brownie recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, but any brownie recipe would likely do. Also in this book is a gluten-free flour mixture that will allow you to make this, or any other brownie or cookie, gluten-free. There is also an adaption of that mixture on this post (if you don’t have the book).

Bake the brownie on a large, round pizza sheet. Mine has holes in it so I laid a piece of baking parchment on it. It took a bit of finessing to get the batter spread out and round, but my little red silicon spatula did a nice job. Bake as directed and let it cool before applying the icing. If you’re impatient, stick it in the fridge.

While the brownie is in the oven, make the ganache. It’s just 3 tablespoons of non-dairy milk and 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. Barely scald the milk, remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips until melted. Set aside to cool. If it doesn’t set enough, stick it in the fridge for a couple of minutes, but not too long or you’ll be heating it up again.

Next, slice the strawberries and make the frosting while the brownie is cooling. When the brownie is cool, apply the frosting with an icing knife and then lay the strawberries on the pizza. I went in a circular direction starting from the outside. To drizzle the ganache on I used a pastry bag. It came out a little quicker than I expected but I think it’s way better than it would have been if I had free-handed it.

This was really tasty and actually pretty damn easy. I’m thinking there are going to be more dessert pizzas in our future.

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When I first started perusing pistachio ice cream recipes for ideas I noticed several people were using pistachio paste. “Really? That seems like cheating to me.” Well, after shelling 16 oz of pistachios, I understand. My fingernails were all frayed like I had been bowling. Not to mention it took like 30 or 45 minutes. And technically I needed even more pistachios but luckily, for my fingers, I didn’t have any.

I’ve been wanting to make pistachio ice cream for a while now. I had some in Puerto Vallarta last year while we were on vacation and it was soooo good. But have you seen the price tag on pistachios? Yikes! We happened to score some cheap pistachios at the Grocery Outlet store however. I seriously doubt they were organic, but sometimes you just gotta do what you just gotta do.

The handful of recipes I looked at online called for cooking the mixture before freezing, but they all used eggs in their ice cream. Reason # 164 while being vegan rocks: tofu doesn’t need to be cooked! Yay. These recipes also called for 2 total cups of pistachios, I only had 1. They also called for like 6 egg yolks, 3 cups of heavy cream and 2 cups of milk. I’m not sure what that translates to in tofu and coconut milk but I’m guessing a wee bit more than what I made. Because 1 cup of nuts was enough. 1 and 1/2 would have been better probably, but I’m not missing the other half cup. This stuff was so good I had trouble putting the lid on the tub after transferring it from the ice cream maker. The spoon kept sneaking up to my mouth.

So, here it is.

Pistachio Ice Cream (vegan and gluten-free)

  • 16 oz unsalted pistachios, about 1 cup shelled
  • Half a block of Mori-Nu extra firm silken tofu (it’s non-GMO!)
  • 1 cup light canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup soy or almond milk
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 shot rum (helps it from turning into a concrete brick in the freezer)

Take 3/4 cup of the shelled pistachios and grind them in the your blender or food processor. I actually used a small coffee grinder so I wouldn’t have to scrape them out of the blender before putting the other ingredients in (nuts tend to clump in the bottom otherwise). Put all the ingredients into your blender, pistachios last or in the middle, and puree until very smooth. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and wait patiently.

While you’re patiently waiting, take the remaining 1/4 cup of pistachios and coarsely chop them. Add them to the ice cream mixture towards the end of freezing.

So, you’ll notice there are some brown flecks in my ice cream. You know that flaky skin-like substance that’s on peanuts in the shell? It’s on pistachios as well. Perhaps you already know this, I didn’t think about it. Well, it’s not the easiest to remove. Maybe if you buy pre-shelled pistachios you won’t have the brown fleck issue… but if you, don’t worry, it doesn’t affect the taste.

One last tip, the word “salted” is usually written fairly largely on the bag. Check for it. If your brain skipped while purchasing, like me, and you happened to buy salted pistachios, just rinse them.

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