Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Vegan MoFo 2012, Powerless Against Halloween

Hi all, so sorry to have missed MoFo-ing yesterday; I hope my Halloween party post was able to tide you over.  As you might have heard, the east coast is suffering the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.  It's hard to photograph meals made by flashlight- even though they are pretty inventive given that they're prepared on the basis of what will spoil first, but I did pretty well considering.  I'm sure I'll re-create the better ones eventually; PB&J on crackers I'll leave to your imagination.

In any event, I'm currently at my parents house because they've had their power back for almost a day already and charging my phone in the car was getting awfully expensive (also, it's pretty creepy sitting in the driveway and not going anywhere).  I have other things to do while I'm here- visit, eat warm foods, bask in the artificial light, so this will be brief.  I just wanted to make sure 89 and I properly wished everyone a Happy MoFo Halloween!

For all of you who were affected by Sandy, I hope you recover soon.  Thankfully I fared well, but my neighbors not so much.  On the bright side, no one was hurt and the removal of the tree entertained the whole neighborhood yesterday!


So again, Happy Halloween.  If you live in a town where Halloween has been postponed (seriously; next we're going to postpone Christmas if it's not snowing), remember to mark your candy!

For all of you assuming 89 has been better behaved in light of the storm, think again.  Here she is with her plumage down, shooting me a stinky side-eye.

And looky what happened to her headpiece after she'd sucked on it running from me around the house.  Little did she know I was prepared with plenty of extras!!

Have a great one;

see you next MoFo and, of course, all year until!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Vegan MoFo 2012, Bloody Eyeball Cupcakes and a Halloween Bash

Rule #1 of baking: always have enough ingredients on hand for a do-over.
Rule #2: always hope it doesn't come to that.

My friend was having a Halloween party and I really wanted to contribute something festive.  Since my fellow lychee martini fan always thinks the lychees look like eyeballs, I decided that bloody eyeball cupcakes were in order- made with lychees!

I admittedly got a late start: at about 9pm the prior evening I gathered my ingredients and got to work making VCTOTW lychee cupcakes (p. 122).

When I mixed the wet ingredients with the dry, it seemed disproportionate.  I assumed that I'd miscalculated when doubling the ingredients, so I randomly scientifically added more liquid.  The batter remained thick, but I put them in the oven and hoped for the best.

In case you're wondering, these are not the best.  After cooking for an extra 10 minutes the center still wasn't cooked.  I did try them, but they were indeed undercooked, pasty, and inedible.

Because I clean as I go, I had to re-gather the ingredients and hand wash (I love my dishwasher) all of my bowls, utensils, measuring cups and spoons in order to start over.  Round 2:

I knew I'd measured everything exactly, but the batter was still stiff.  It didn't pour like traditional cupcake batter, but instead had to be scooped in like soft cookie dough.

It would seem that's just the nature of this recipe.

No doubling/no math: this time I'd made the recipe as printed.  I only had so many special Halloween cupcake liners!

Thankfully, they cooked in the expected time.

10:47pm- when my apprentice ceased to be of any help.

Because I needed something substantial to hold my eyeballs, I skipped the recommended coconut glaze and instead made half a batch of buttercream frosting (p. 142) using my leftover coconut milk.

I iced the cakes and then got to work on the eyes.  This is where there was a break in the photography because I really wanted to get done and go to bed.

I used the top half of a lychee for the the eyeball, and a defrosted frozen blueberry for the iris/pupil.  I mixed cranberry sauce with water in the Magic Bullet for the blood (yes, in hindsight cranberry juice would have been more efficient).

Early the next morning I delivered them to the party location, the underground dungeon of doom, where I traded them for two mini-cupcakes as they were being prepared.

The dungeon:

Complete with an impressive vegan spread:

So much delicious food.

Sugar cookies!  Green and orange pumpkins, ghosts and cats.  I only ate about 50 of these.

As seen above, VCTOTW vanilla mini-cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting, festive sprinkles, and a Sweet & Sara marshmallow.

My eyeballs: they turned out spooky enough, but I didn't love the taste of the cakes.  Despite all the sugar, the flax made an unmistakably "healthy" tasting cake.

French bread:

fresh guacamole (good friends don't make friends eat cilantro!!)

AFR baked falafel (p.121-122)

AFR quinoa salad with black beans and toasted cumin seeds (p. 31-32)

Queso, hummus, and chips:

And, last but not least: vampire's blood jello shots!

photo: JD Gut
Besides my bloody eyeballs (the cupcakes, not my actual tired, bloodshot eyes), this was all the work of one busy and generous Willy Wonka, who invited us into his dungeon for an evening of great friends, excellent food, and mediocre horror.  Thanks, JD!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Vegan MoFo 2012, Kitchen Tour- Inspired By Cake Maker to the Stars!

The amazing Kittee from Cake Maker to the Stars did a great post (ok, they're all great) that revolved around a tour of her fabulous kitchen.  She encouraged others to do the same, and I've really been enjoying each of them; it's nice to see where all of your favorite bloggers whip up their masterpieces.  So, my turn; it's only fair that I reciprocate.

The main view.  It photographs better at night, but then you can't see the stained glass in the windows.

The other side- same photographic issue.

The last and most boring side (yes, it just works out that there are 3 sides, not four; it's that small).

So, let's start from the top.  I have an awesome light that has fan blades nestled inside.

They only come out when the fan is on; otherwise you'd never suspect.

All sneaky like.

note: best not to use when cooking on the stovetop
I have floor to ceiling cabinets, but the ones on the very top aren't full.  That's okay since I'm on the short side, but it's still nice to know that there's extra storage available- even though it's ideally intended for unused pretty things.  I like to use pretty things (mostly*), which forces me to regularly climb on the counter.

But, leave it to a good friend to spy your jello mold hanging out there!

My counters are probably my favorite part of the whole kitchen.  They're quartz, so the pattern is evenly distributed with a few sparkly bits strewn about.  I use the fact that it's relatively busy to justify the fact that I clean it constantly; there could be a spill that I'm just not seeing.

This is my fruit wagon.  I generally keep bananas in it, but 89 likes them more than I do.

Speaking of 89, her cookies reside in my two favorite jars: Snoopy and Strawberry Shortcake.

I'm not a collector by any means; in fact, I don't particularly like the idea of buying things just for the sake of having them.  I simply like these because they're from when I was a kid.  I still have my glasses in regular rotation too: Peanuts, Strawberry Shortcake, and Muppets!

On the contrary, this is my favorite non-use* decorative towel.  It was a huge splurge from Anthropologie and I hide it whenever company comes over because I don't want them to assume it's usable.  Yes, that means that I basically just look at it.

But, I do use towels- lots of them, in fact.  This is a cute one I use all the time!

It's hard to talk about my kitchen without referencing the saga of how it came into existence.  I bought my house two years ago, and it was renovated for 11 months before I moved in.  In addition to the general malaise of having your house under construction, it's no fun when contractors buck your every suggestion- but that's what happened.  And that was just during the interviewing process!  But, I digress.  VM essentially masterminded the layout of my whole kitchen and it wound up coming together beautifully and with efficient design.  Not the least of which, my dropped counter that accomodates this huge window (one contractor suggested I seal up the window instead) and serves as a great area for prep, buffet-style serving, and a seat when you're having a morning bowl of eat and run cereal.

Small, but mighty: I have a mini-stove and dishwasher because the size of my kitchen could have only accomodated one regulation size without the other and it was a toss-up.  I kid!  My tiny stove also makes an awesome toaster so I don't have to have another appliance.

those are my potato skins cooking!
Of course, my toaster tongs.

And the oven thermometer is essential.

Part of my kitchen re-design included moving my refrigerator into the kitchen.  Yes, you heard right.  It originally resided in flux between the living room and kitchen- in a small alcove directly across from my side door that sits three steps down.  You know, so you could fall and only minorly hurt yourself while peering into the fridge.  That space is much better utilized by this awesome pantry that my dad built (and keeps stocked with Fruity Pebbles when prompted).  When the doors are closed you'd never know there were so many goodies lurking inside.

It's amazing how much shelf space one small dog requires.
The standard contents of the fridge in question.

My condiments are more impressive.

But not as exciting as my pantry hot sauce collection and back-stock.

Kinda boring, my freezer if filled mostly with flour,

rice, and compost.

But there is also drawer filled with Daiya!  I like to stock up when it's on sale.  It freezes incredibly well and defrosts quickly in the fridge.  You never know when there might be a grilled cheese emergency.

Can't forget the fun stuff, the decoration:

my favorite magnet
another good one
everyone else's favorite (from here)
message stickers and artwork
For a small kitchen, there are a lot of cabinets; my stuff has plenty of room to spread out!  Some highlights:

pots, pans, dutch oven & danish dough whisk, as well as various cool bowls and corningware I stole from VM
My illustrious Magic Bullet gets its own cabinet.

As does my hand-mixer, passed down from VM!

And then there are the drawers- filled with various, organized miscellany.  I won't bore you.

But this you'll like: my cookbooks!  While technically not in my kitchen, they visit frequently.

Finally, my most used items: my Tupperware cups, also from when I was a kid.  I drink a lot of water and there's always one of these floating around the house.

that small klean kanteen is 89's because she likes to be just like me
Since my kitchen is small, there's only an eat-in area for one.

Yep; lucky dog.  Lucky me.

Well, we started at the top and made our way to the bottom- my floor.  The dark pattern you see is actually metal within the tile.  It looks awesome, even if it is a bit chilly during the colder months.

Thank you for visiting my kitchen and happy MoFo!