Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tons of Strawberries

Tons may be an exaggeration, but we planted about 50 baby strawberry plants last summer.  My girlfriend diligently fought the evil weeds and the tiny berry plants began to take over the garden.  Now, with hardly any effort on our part, the weeds barely have any room to grow! 

Last year, there weren't many berries and the creatures in the yard got to them before any were ripe enough to eat. This year, we managed to pick more than 15 pounds...even with the inevitable berry carnage committed by critters. Birds loved to take one bite and leave the rest to rot. We had a fat, happy squirrel that would actually eat the green ones. 

What did we do with all those berries?  Well, a couple of pounds are frozen.  I shared some with a co-worker who will trade us blackberries soon.  During the week, we made lots of smoothies and...of course, I started baking.

There was a delicious strawberry rhubarb crisp.  I used the recipe on C'est La Vegan, but want to warn readers that the berries need to be mixed with cornstarch or some thickener before baking.  The flavor was wonderful, but too soupy!

One night, I decided we should have strawberry shortcake.  As a child, I remembered these round yellow sponge cakes my parents would buy.  No idea if they are vegan, but corn bread seemed like a tastier way to go.  I went with the recipe for Sunny Corn Muffins from the ppkblog.  Isa never steers me wrong.  

Half the batter went into a muffin pan and the rest into a donut pan.  Corn-donuts worked out like those sponge cakes and I could pile the berries in the middle and put whipped cream on top.  The muffins looked just as impressive sliced with berry and whipped cream filling.


Side note:  My girlfriend still asks when I am making the corn donuts again.  They were great just plain.  One evening she even mashed up a broken donut into the soupy rhubarb crisp.  I made a face and refused to try it at first.  After much cajoling, I relented and it was surprisingly good. 

The other recipe I tried was Strawberry Bread from The Misfit Baker blog. It has a beautiful color and nice flavor.  It is very mild though so I could see adding some chopped berries to the batter. 

Unfortunately, strawberry season is over.  However, blueberry season is starting up.  We went to the farm and picked almost 10 pounds today.  (Our blueberry bushes aren't producing fruit yet.)  Soon you'll see posts about the blues!

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Jackfruit “Pulled Pork” Sammiches with Pickled Red Onion

I saw the recipe for Jackfruit “Pulled Pork” Sammiches with Pickled Red Onion posted on KeepinItKind.  It is from The Veggie-Lover’s Sriracha Cookbook which was released this July!  I'm always hearing/reading about jackfruit and to be honest, I've been afraid to try it.  These sandwiches looked amazing so I decided to finally give it a go.

Locating jackfruit was my first hurdle.   After a couple of failed attempts, I finally located canned jackfruit at the Indian grocery.   Beware: there are two kinds.  For savory recipes, the young jackfruit in brine is the one that is needed.  The ripe jackfruit in syrup is too sweet.

Making the pickled red onion was pretty simple, however I managed to accidentally use brown sugar instead of regular.  In the end, I really dug the extra flavor from the molasses.

Though I was initially worried about working with the jackfruit, shredding it was simple.   The home made sriracha bbq sauce is spicy on its own, but quite nice balanced with avocado and the sweet pickles.  That means 1/4 cup of sriracha (the lower end of the scale from the recipe) was more than enough for us. 

All in all we loved these the first day.  The next day we made leftovers when a friend was visiting and she thought they were amazing as well.

I'm looking forward to getting the cookbook (and cooking more with jackfruit)!

Jackfruit “Pulled Pork” Sammiches with Pickled Red Onion

Monday, July 01, 2013

Oreo Cookie Pancakes

These crazy pancakes caught my eye when I was browsing vegan recipes on Pinterest.  When I clicked through, I ended up at a blog I hadn't previously encountered entitled Minimalist Baker.   There are a multitude of neat recipes there.  Before I got too distracted, I bookmarked the pancake page.

Now I like Oreos, but my girlfriend loves Oreos.  Obviously, I needed to make these pancakes for her as soon as possible.  Believe it or not, I even managed to keep it a surprise.  Sunday morning, I followed the recipe from Minimalist and made this mildly decadent breakfast. 

I say mildly decadent because it is a small batch, just enough for two people.  In addition, the batter doesn't have much sugar and the cream is coconut based so they aren't cloyingly sweet.  The flavors balance well.  We loved them.

The recipe was a little tricky for a couple of reasons.  First, the dry/wet ratio is off.  Normally pancakes are 1:1 flour/milk.  This recipe was the same, but the 1/4 cup of cocoa powder made the batter too dry.  I slowly added more milk until there was a proper consistency.  Second, be careful multitasking by making batter and the frosting at the same time as the recipe suggests.  When the frosting is close to done, it is easy to over process and the coconut oil starts to melt too much.