Archive | June, 2008

Chunky Monkey Brownies

14 Jun

One of my favourite past-times is flicking through magazines.  My favourites are often in the range of home design and cooking, as I’ll always find inspiration from what colour I should paint the bedroom (we’re in the pre-renovation stages, I’m so excited!) or to what to cook for supper.  One of my favourite publications is one that is popular with vegans, Veg News, is always full of recipes that I mean to try (and do try, like that delicious Mac ‘n’ Cheeze I made not too long ago). In the May + June issue there was a column on dessert featuring a recipe for Chunky Monkey Brownies which instantly captured my attention.

Chunky Monkey Bars

These bars, albeit have an almost too-cutesy name, are chock full chocolate, banana chips, cashews (except not mine, I used walnuts instead) and coconut, lots of crunch layered on a thin yet fudgy and satisfying brownie. After taking these babies out of the oven I was a little sceptical as they appeared to have sunken a tiny bit but after waiting for them to cool, I sampled one and was not disappointed. These were everything I could hope for in a dessert bar, rich, chocolatey but with their addition of tropical goodness, they have a lot more depth than your average square. These have to be shared so since this issue’s supply is dwindling on the store shelves, I’m going to post the recipe for all those who were not able to read this article (maybe you don’t have access or maybe you haven’t given Veg News a try yet, why not? I think this recipe would push you do so).

Chunky Monkey Bars

Chunky Monkey Brownies by Beverly Lynn Bennet
Originally published in the May + June 2008 issue of Veg News

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup safflower oil [I used canola]
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
4 tsp arrowroot
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup dried banana chips, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup chocolate chips, coarsely chopped
2 tbs dried coconut, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-inch square pan [I used an 8 inch) and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, oil, water and vanilla. Sift in flour, cocoa powder, arrowroot, baking powder and salt. Stir well to combine.

3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Evenly scatter banana chips, chocolate chips, cashews and coconut over top and press gently with hands into the batter.

4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until set in the centre. Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting into nine squares.
1/4 cup cashews, coarsely chopped [I used walnuts]

Chunky Monkey Bars

Quiche!

13 Jun

I have never had a quiche before. From my knowledge of it, I know it’s some traditional egg pie thing that’s often served at brunch. Yeah. So after becoming vegan, I had no desire to make a vegan version. But when Isa posted about her recent potluck experience, sharing a photo of this delicious looking Classic Broccoli Quiche, I decided I had to give this quiche thing a try.

Classic Broccoli Quiche

Using Celine’s super awesome Pie Crust recipe (I used Whole Wheat Pastry flour and it turned out wonderful), I whipped this up yesterday afternoon to have for supper (I don’t really do savoury in the morning). It tasted delicious with its creamy texture and its delectable aroma. It also made a wonderful lunch today at room temperature, the flavours really shone through after they had more time to settle in.

So I am now a Quiche convert, and can’t wait to give this recipe another try with an array of variations (smoked tofu perhaps? mushrooms? fresh herbs?).

The Garden 2008 Post!

12 Jun

I owe you all a major update, don’t I?  I know I promised that I would be updating frequently once my vacation started but lo and behold two months have already went by since I’ve been off and the number of posts haven’t really increased…sorry!  I’ll make it up to you by showing you photos of what I’ve been up to lately.

Garden of 2008!

This year I didn’t let the fact that our backyard may soon become a renovation site discourage me from gardening.  I instead decided to try my hands at container gardening and so far the results have been promising.

Arugula
This is my Arugula plant, it’s been growing quite well. I’m not sure if I even like arugula. I tend to do that when picking up seeds or seedlings at the garden centre, buy plants that I’ve never tried before, it’s probably not the most intelligent thing to do but whatever, it’s pretty and green. I do know that once this plant has reached its picking stage, it will be going into the Pasta Della California from Veganomicon.

Chocolate Mint!
This is another plant I wasn’t sure about but once I gave it a whiff, I knew I had to grab it. Chocolate Mint! It smells like a Peppermint Patty (although some will argue with you and claim it smells like licorice but they’re wrong) and I’ve heard it makes a wonderful tea. I also plan to make a sea-salt-body scrub thing with it (look at me thinking ahead and being all practical).

Lemon Balm!
This is the one plant that I am not growing in a container, my Lemon Balm plant. Or should I say one of many lemon balm plants. I bought a tiny lemon balm years ago and despite the fact I neglect, shun and ignore it, this plant is everywhere in my yard. There are so many of these things and the most pathetic thing about its population surge? I’ve never used it for anything. Not once. Maybe I’ll try it brewed as a herbal tea this summer. If anyone has any ideas for its use, let me know!

Spring Onions!
These are the only plants I started from seed weeks ago that sprouted. Spring Onions. Actually, that’s a lie, my chives also sprouted, I just didn’t take a photo of them because they look the same as Spring Onions do. They’re a little bit bigger now and growing in a bigger container.

Tomato Plant!
This is my Tomato Plant. I used to grow tomatoes years ago and every fall I’d have bags and bags of green/yellow/red tomatoes that I’d be pawning off on my neighbours (I don’t think they minded). I only have one plant this year so I don’t think I’ll have that large of a surplus but I’m excited to have fresh tomatoes again.

Ok, on to the flowers!

Lilac!
Lilac! We actually had two lilac trees but Benji destroyed one. He doesn’t like gardening, he’s afraid of bugs. Why he had to take it out on that poor lilac tree, I’ll never know.

hanging basket
Hanging Basket (can I just pause and say how much I love this hanging basket? It’s so pretty, sure beats those plastic ones all to hell) of Begonias and Myrtles.

can't remember what this is called...
I can’t remember what these flowers are but take a look at this urn! I’ve been wanting an urn ever since I saw one in a Martha Stewart Living Autumn issue. I want to put whatever it was that was in it in that issue I saw (corn husks? squash? I can’t remember but whatever it was I remember liking it).

I hope you enjoyed the tour! I hope to expand the garden, every time I go to the garden centre, I don’t leave empty handed. I really want to try growing kale. And beets. Beets look really pretty in a container. And swiss chard…and strawberries…