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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).
 

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Crisp!

25 Mar

Crisp!

I made this for dessert on Easter Sunday, my family loves crisps but my mom dislikes oats in crisps (say what??). I couldn’t find the traditional recipe that has served our family for years (all of my mom’s cookbooks got lost during kitchen renovations!) so a little searching led me to this recipe, which admittedly calls for oats but a little omitting and subbing led to the crisp similar to the one my family has loved.

Apple Crisp
Serves 5-6

4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup Earth Balance Margarine, softened

1. Place apples in a lightly greased 8 or 9 inch square baking dish (I actually used a pie plate and it worked fine).
2. Combine all brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.
3. Cut in the margarine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (the mixture will be somewhat dry).
4. Sprinkle the crumble mixture atop the apples.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 375F for 35 minutes.
6. Serve with your favourite soy ice cream!*

*I served it with So Good’s Creamy Vanilla soy ice cream which was my first time trying So Good’s ice cream. Really Good! By sadly, someone took my carton out of the freezer, placing it on top of the refridgerator, forgetting about it for the rest of the day. When I arrived home, it was well melted. I’m sure it will be fine though, the texture will be off I imagine.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake. Or Pie. Or Pah.

20 Jan

(The title comes from a discussion with my sister.  I frequently converse with her about what I’m baking via MSN Messenger and I was telling her about this Cookie Pie which I suppose is really more of a cake but whatever and she said that she can’t say pie without a Southern accent ever since we watched Waitress a few weeks ago.)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

 I have had a cookie cake once before in my life.  It was years ago, I was probably six.  But I still remember how awesome it was and have always meant to try another one.  So I finally baked one this evening.  I used Kittee’s Blondie Recipe using a container of soy yogurt for the egg replacer and leaving out the nuts (not that I have anything against them, I live with people who do).  I threw the dough into a greased 9 inch round cake pan and baked it for 40 minutes (next time I’d bake it for a bit longer, it was a tad underbaked not that it was a bad thing though.  I like gooey).  It was fantastic!  This is a most wonderful cookie recipe (I also ate more than a fair share of the dough) and the Cookie Cake was the delightful, chewy wonder that has been stuck to my memory for all these years.

Chocolate Cuteness

1 Jan

I made the Lower-Fat Deep Chocolate Bundt Cake from Veganomicon in mini cake pans last night for New Year Eve’s dessert (I don’t drink so I have to indulge in some way for the occasion, right?).  I served each cake with a chocolate sauce (the Quick Melty Ganache from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World thinned with soymilk a lot) which took it to a whole new level of decadence and made it oh so gourmet looking (I am so on my way to restaurant stardom).  It was loved as well and requested to be made again (“Next time make a caramel sauce to go with it…and ice cream…and more chocolate drizzle…and cherries…no! strawberries!”). 

Mmm…chocolate, could there be a more perfect way to ring in 2008?

Happy Thanksgiving!

9 Oct

Yup, up here in Canada, we celebrate our Thanksgiving early.  Although this past sunday, I wasn’t quite able to cook everything I wished to as I worked that day.  I was able to cook a few things.

So, on the menu was an assortment of my mom’s vegetables that are traditional to any important meal in my family-mashed potatoes, mashed turnip (although on Martha the other day I discovered that what my family calls turnip is actually rutabaga), carrots and my mom’s awesome preserved beets.  While the rest of my family dined on turkey :-(, my sister and I enjoyed the vegetables, especially the mashed potatoes with Dreena’s Think ‘n’ Rich Gravy drizzled over them.  The gravy is in her latest book, Eat, Drink & be Vegan and it was delicious!  Best gravy I’ve ever had.  My sister is all set to make a vegetarian Poutine with it and I must say, I’m interested in attempting a vegan version.  I made this gravy in a rush as soon as I got home from work and managed to get gravy all over my book.  My book does smell rather good now, though.

I’m always (if anyone else tried to take this role from me, I’d probably get very upset) in charge of dessert and this year I made pumpkin pie (my mom’s favourite ever) and my first attempt at an apple pie.  I used Bryanna’s Pumpkin Pie which I always use because it’s like the most perfect pumpkin pie ever. As I said, it has my mom’s approval. I used this pie crust recipe, it’s so easy and turns out wonderfully flaky.

Ok, speaking of pie crusts…I have the worst luck when it comes to pie crusts, particullary the rolling out of the dough.  So, for the apple pie, I decided to try, once again, a new recipe that hopefully would not fail me.  I veganized a Martha Stewart recipe using EB shortening and well…it failed.  It was the most finicky crust ever!  I was so frustrated and my mom eventually had to help me and between the two of us we managed to get into the freaking pie plate.  It seemed to be baking beautifully in the oven, but after I took it out of the oven, it just collapsed!  What the hell?!  Pies can collapse??  Anyway, it ended up tasting delicious but I’m not going through that again.  I need your help!  Recommend me a never fail roll-out pie crust!  I will conquer pies by Christmas.

So that was my Thanksgiving.  Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!  (And, Americans, I look foward to seeing what you’ll be cooking up this November!)

Strawberry Blackout Cake

27 Aug

My sister’s leaving for university in the next few days so a going away/early birthday cake was needed.

It was simply a variation on the Raspberry Blackout Cake from Vegan with a Vengeance.  It was delicious!  I decorated it with fresh strawberries (no pic of the cake with the berries because the lighting was horrible last night) and filled it with strawberry jam.  This was actually my first experience with a ganache frosting and I was impressed.  It was so simple and the results were very pretty.

I’m going to miss you, sis!

Testing and the Heartwood Bakery

21 Jun

 Alright, first up is another Vegan Yum Yum test dish, Pineapple Baked Tofu with a Coconut Reduction sauce.  This was so good, possibly my fave dish so far (though it’s hard to choose!) and oh. my. god. the sauce!  I may be in love with it.

 Yesterday, I went to one of my favourite restaurants here in Halifax, the Heartwood Bakery on Quinpool Road.  The food here is not only delicious, it is also very healthy-even the desserts!  Not only does it mainly feature vegan dishes but also offers a lot for people with food allergies/intolerances. I had a sesame kamut pasta dish that was realllly good but sadly I did not get a picture of it.  But I did get a picture of dessert, a Chocolate Cashew “Cheese”cake, which was heavenly.  The picture’s not the greatest, I need to work on my picture taking skills in public.