Archive | July, 2008

ah memories: Part II

25 Jul

Remember yesterday when I posted my top five food photos? Remember how I said I always had a hard time remembering numbers? Well…yesterday’s post was a great example of that as I was supposed to list ten of my favourite photos, not five (oops! Thanks Liz!).

So rather than attempt to sort the list out further. Here are my five final favourites: the honourable mentions. Yeah it’s totally lazy and kinda cheating but blame my memory’s hatred of numbers.

The Honourables

1. Vegan with a Vengeance‘s Big Gigantoid Crunchy Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies, 2. Veganomicon‘s Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies, 3. Really Green Smoothie, 4. Valentine’s Day Cupcakes, 5. Vegan with a Vengeance‘s Chocolate Chip Cookies

While we’re on the subject of food photography, yesterday foodbeam (who takes drop-dead gorgeous photos of food by the way) wrote an amazing post on food photography. Check it out! She shares great tips that I will definitely be using to improve my food photography skills.

ah memories

24 Jul

When I saw VeggieGirl’s post on her favourite five make that ten posts the other day, it got me thinking.  What are my five favourite photos I’ve taken since starting this blog?  I started taking pictures of food two years ago with my cybershot, I’ve since upgraded to my rebel and there are a few photos I’m quite proud of.  I am still very much an amateur but taking photos of food has developed to be quite the hobby of mine and most of the photos I take I can even remember shooting them.  What the weather was like, what kind of mood I was in, whatever. I have a weird memory like that, I’m the kind of person who remembers the most mundane things ever, like conversations for example, any conversation.  I’m not sure why but I always remember who told me what, what I told people, and so on. I can’t remember numbers though at all, odd. Anyway…my top five!

5)Cinnamon Rolls

I made these for Father’s Day and they didn’t last long and for good reason, these are hands down the best cinnamon roll recipe ever. This is one of the photos I didn’t take with the Rebel and I think it shows that you don’t need a fancy camera to get a great photo, just great lighting.

Cinnamon Roll

4)Maple-Pecan Sticky Blondies
Oh my god. These were killer. Maple infused blondies with an amazing sticky pecan topping. I need to make these again. What I love most about this shot is how you can actually see the kinda crumbly (good crumbly) texture of the blondies and the sticky-ness of the topping. Needless to say, these were a mess to eat but so very worth it.

Maple Pecan Sticky Blondies

3)Vanilla Soygurt Pound Cake

This was the first photo I took with my 50 mm f/1.8 lens which made me instantly fell in love with it and realize how much the kit lens was utter crap. I love how you can see the wonderful texture of the slice of pound cake and the bright, fun colours are provided by the background that matches well with the kiwi slices.

Vanilla Soygurt Pound Cake

2)Lower Fat Chocolate Bundt Mini Cakes

I made these little cakes on a quiet New Years Eve.  We tried a new Chinese restaurant then I served these with a chocolate sauce.  I remember taking these photos and being really excited because it was the first time I was getting the shots I wanted with the Rebel (it was dark too!  The only light was the kitchen light!).  I also love how vivid the colours and textureness turned out, the stark white-ness of the powdered sugar and the red sheen of the tablecloth.

Lower-Fat Deep Chocolate Bundt Mini-Cakes

1) Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Sandwiches

Now it may be because that these cookies are my favourite cookie of all time that I’ve chosen it as my number one but I think overall, it’s the photo. I love the colours, the red with the white and blue bits in the background and the peanuts artfully placed. It was taken in my bedroom on an overcast day (I know! There was no sun that day and I managed a good picture!) just minutes before I was out the door on my way to a Bob Dylan concert. Oh, and Oprah was on, it was a show on OCD. So I don’t really know how I managed to take a good photo of this with all this going on, I think it was my love for these peanut butter cookies that motivated me. Pure favouritism really.

cookie love

You may have noticed that all of the photos I chose were baked goods.  It’s probably because I’m definitely biased towards the sugary stuff but I think it’s also because I find baked goods a lot easier to photograph.  There’s always leftovers, you don’t have to worry about them getting cold before you get to eat them and let’s face it, cookies are a hella lot more interesting than soup.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie?

22 Jul

I’m sure that all have you by now have read or have heard about David Liette’s article on the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie by now as many of my fellow food bloggers have posted about their experiences with the directions and guidelines given in the article. It’s no secret that I love cookies, especially the classic Chocolate Chip Cookie, so of course I had to give Liette’s take on perfection a trial.

Instead of using the recipe the NYT provides (although it looks really good) I used the recipe I always use, the one that can be found in Vegan with a Vengeance. This time, I subbed a quarter of the sugar for brown sugar then proceeded to follow the three guidelines in the NYT article:

  • Chill the dough for 36 hours
  • Bake ’em big
  • Sprinkle the tops with sea salt

The Pefect Chocolate Chip Cookie?

The results?  Some damn good cookies.  These were soft, chewy (crispy edges though!  just like the article described!) with ooey-gooey chocolate and the sea salt?  Amazing!  Who would have thought that such a simple addition could take an already delicious cookie to a new height of delicious-ness?  I’d love to know what sort of cookies would have been resulted in if I had have tracked down those chocolate disks but the Ghiradelli chips I used were awesome anyway.  I’m also interested in trying the NYT recipe, vegan-style of course, instead of the VWAV recipe and see how they compare.  I’m also quite proud (and surprised) of myself that I let the cookie dough sit in the fridge for 36 whole hours and not eat any of it.  Ah, the things we do for perfection.

there will be s’mores

18 Jul

When my sister and I went vegetarian about four or so years ago, there was really only one thing we found ourselves longing for. When we were kids, our favourite after school snack was the S’more. Not a very labour intensive method was used, we just placed a marshmallow on a graham cracker, threw some chocolate chips on top and nuked in the microwave for a few seconds then-the best part-smooshing the melty chocolate and puffy marshmallow with another graham cracker.

Enter Sweet & Sara. The genius company behind the vegan marshmallow. I recently placed an order on vegan essentials and yesterday a box arrived for my at doorstep. These are what were nestled inside:

there will be s'mores

I was reallllly excited to try these and they did not disappoint, these were better than any marshmallow I’ve ever had in my life. These are some gourmet marshmallows, fluffy with a delectable hints of vanilla (and not that cheap vanilla taste. The good kind). I was a bit sceptical that these would not hold up for a s’more though…would they puff like a marshmallow should? Or would they fail miserably as so many vegan cheeses do? My province currently has a ban on any open fire (it’s really dry here, my neighbour’s well ran dry the other day) so I had to pass on any attempt to recreate the authentic campfire treat and take the microwave route. No matter, the s’more I made was just as I remembered, with gooey melty chocolate and marshmallow nestled between crunchy homemade graham crackers.

Sweet & Sara offer there own take on the vegan s’more which I ordered along with my marshmallows to sample.

peanut butter s'more

I tried the Peanut Butter S’more and it was really good. It reminded more of a moon pie (or whatever they’re called) rather than a s’more though and I don’t know if I’d purchase one again. I prefer my homemade s’mores, they’re a lot cheaper to make too!  All in all, I love these products and am kind wishing I had have splurged on the Coconut variety they also offer but oh well, I think that my summer is kind complete anyway with my vegan vanilla marshmallows.

sweet & sara's smores

Maple Walnut Cookies

11 Jul

I should have made these last week. Maple is a fitting flavour to enjoy for Canada Day but whatever, I’m not regretting my decision to make Strawberry Shortcake.  Last night, I was craving cookies but was out of chocolate chips, peanut butter, oatmeal…all my usual ingredients that go in to a cookie.  But I had maple syrup (what good Canadian girl doesn’t?) and remembered a recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance that I’ve been meaning to bake since I got the book two years ago-Maple Walnut Cookies

Maple Walnut Cookie with Creamy Maple Frosting

I nixed most of the walnuts, (because well, I was getting low on walnuts) instead I just topped them with a walnut halve after drizzling them with Creamy Maple Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  They turned out delicious, soft and chewy cookies with lots of maple flavour and the frosting was unbelievable, it was so thick and easy to work with.  I never have that much luck with frostings.  Ever.  I’m definitely trying out the maple cupcakes that accompany the frosting recipe one day.  Maybe for a more fitting time, the next time Canada needs celebrating?

Happy Canada Day!

1 Jul

It’s nearing the end of my five day vacation and today (day 4) I finally got to soak in a bit of sunshine.  I seriously think I’m cursed sometimes as days 1, 2 and 3 were all overcast and rainy.  Oh well, I have one more break in August so *hopefully* I’ll be enjoying sunny bliss then.  Anyways, Happy Birthday Canada!  The big 1-4-1!  Awz, you’re growing up so fast.

How did I celebrate?  By eating of course!  The other day my mom and I spied a roadside fruit stand (definitely one of my favourite sights of summer) and purchased a flat of strawberries.  That’s a lot of strawberries.  I think after this weekend I’m all strawberried out.  We ended up freezing a lot of them (yay smoothies!) and today I used them in a special Canada Day Dessert.  But first, here’s what I made from breakfast this morning:

Canada Day Brunch

Waffles! I used the recipe I always use and as usual they went over very well with my family.

I wasn’t sure what to make for dessert. I was playing with the idea of baking a cake but then after the arrival of the flat of strawberries I knew exactly what to make. It has been a tradition to have Strawberry Shortcake on Canada Day in my family for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure why, could it be that the red and white colouring is a demonstration of national pride? Or is it that strawberries are always conveinently in season and my family just really really loves these sweet little berries? It’s probably the latter but whatever the reason, I made Strawberry Shortcake today.

Strawberry Shortcake

This turned out to be one of my most proudest accomplishments in the kitchen. The one you see in the photo above wasn’t the most prettiest one (I always serve everyone else first then I photograph mine and it takes awhile sometimes so the whipped topping got a little melty) so this probably just sounds silly but whatever I’m damn proud of the presentation of this dessert. So how did I do it? First I baked up my favourite biscuit recipe (make these biscuits, you will thank me), mashed up 2 pints (maybe pints? you know, the little baskets) of berries with a little bit of sugar and made a coconut cream whipped topping (chill a can of coconut, scoop off the cream that formed at the top then whip it with a couple tablespoons of icing sugar). Then to put it all together, I just split a biscuit, scooped some of the strawberry mixture over one half then some of the whipped topping, place the other half over it all (strawberry sandwich!), spoon more strawberry filling on top, then whipped topping and finish with a single whole strawberry on top.  There, a simple yet totally fancy dessert fit for only the most awesome country in the world (ha! just kidding.  kinda).