Zaq's Snacks :D

Adventures in vegan baking

VeganMofo 24: The first step is admitting you have a problem
sweedish chef
I can't lie: I spent like half an hour last night trying to figure out a way to justify eating raspberry jam with a spoon. Then, this morning, I had a stroke of genius:


Being Canadian, I have always been a very strict maple syrup girl. I basically only buy REAL maple syrup despite being a poor student so I am honestly pretty sure that I have never had pancakes without maple syrup in my entire life.

It was a risky venture but it worked out: panjamcakes were delicious.

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1 cup soymilk
1/3 cup water
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat a pan to high heat. If it's nonstick, you're good; otherwise, add a bit of "butter" or oil to prevent sticking.

Combine the dry ingredients; whisk together the wet in a seperate bowl until well-combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk.

Ladle out batter to make pancakes of whatever size your heart desires; cook until the surface is entirely full of bubbles, then flip to cook the other side.

Consume with either loads of maple syrup or jam!!

VeganMofo 23: Birthday Cake yaaay
sweedish chef
Yesterday was my mom's birthday :) I called her like a good girl, and we're going out for lunch tomorrow. But obviously birthdays require birthday cakes so BAM here is a birthday cake.

cake ahoy!

A lot of people ask me how to make frosting so here ya go:

Basic (non)Buttercream Frosting
4 cups icing sugar
1 cup "butter"
1 tbsp shortening*
1 tsp vanilla
2-4 tbsp soymilk

Cream the sugar with the fat. Blend in the vanilla, then add 2 tbsp soymilk. Add more moisture as necessary to achieve desired texture.

To make chocolate BC, I melt two squares of (unsweetened) baker's chocolate.

* Adding shortening to frosting is kind of a cardinal sin to me. Shortening-based icing is DISGUSTING; however, I find that a very small amount won't affect the flavour but it will make a big difference in spreadability for vegan icing. You can leave it out if you want and it will probably all work out ok because we're talking about icing here, not brain surgery.

VeganMofo 22: Awesome Shoppin'
sweedish chef
I (and every other vegan ever) often get asked why the heck vegans and vegetarians want to eat fake meats. On some level, the question makes a lot of sense: I mean, many people give up meat because they find it morally unacceptable, so it's hard to understand that this visceral reaction might be completely unrelated to the taste of meat. Although some vegans find the taste and texture of meat disgusting, I have to admit that I liked meat just fine until the day I stopped eating it.

In addition to simply liking the taste of meat, it's also important to remember that many current vegans and vegetarian grew up omni. Heck, when I was a kid, one of my favourite sandwiches was liverwurst and pickles (I am proud to report that hummus and cucumber makes an amazing substitute). Sometimes, when seitan just doesn't cut it, the easiest way for me to get a taste of the food I grew up eating is to use a commercial meat substitute.

I don't generally use a lot of commercial veganized foods, but it is comforting to know they're there. Market Organics is the first place I ever saw EB. I was but a young, wide-eyed vegetarian at the time; I already owned Vegan With a Vengance and Veganomicon and was seriously considering becoming vegan. I remember wandering around Market Organics for the first time, staring with joy at all of the products I had only ever heard about: tempeh and EB and Tofutti and Sheese and Vegenaise!! I was in heaven! Knowing that I could pick up all kinds of useful alternative foods just a 20-minute walk from work made the choice to become vegan a lot easier.

Being vegan shouldn't be difficult. It should be rewarding and simple. Awesome stores like Market Organics just make life a bit easier :)

VeganMofo 21: Scientists may be MoFoers but are generally not mofos
sweedish chef
So, I'm a scientist. A chemist. A natural products chemist. That means that my prof travels the world and collects plants with proposed activity (ex. "drink a tea made from this plant if you have diabetes!"). We grind 'em up and try to find out what chemicals the plant makes, then try to figure out which, if any, could be responsible for the bioloigcal effects. It is totally rockin' research and it gives me licence to be a bit of a hippie which is kind of unusual in my department.

I generally find it easy to reconcile my job with being vegan, but sometimes I feel like an intruder in both camps: I'm a vegan who overhears plenty of conversations about "grr crazy hippies!!1" and a scientist who overhears conversations about "rargh Western medicine!". I haven't yet decided which is more annoying overall because I guess they both hurt my brain in different ways, but today, the one that is bothering me more is the general mistrust of Western medicine.Read more...Collapse )

VeganMofo 20: Let he without sin cast the first scone
sweedish chef
I got an interesting request today. One of my old coworkers dropped by to say hi, and she asked me for all the pumpkin recipes that I could muster. We then had a pumpkin-filled conversation that left me really, really wanting pumpkin scones so I came home and made scones. It's like a dream come true!

Pumpking Scones (that is not a typo.. these are truly kings among scones)

2 cups AP flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspooncinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold EB

1/3 cup soymilk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk to mix. Cut in the EB using a pastry cutter or two knives until you have small chunks of fat distributed evenly throughout the mixture.
In a seperate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined; knead gently until the dough forms a loose ball that can hold its shape. Add a splash of soymilk or a bit of flour if necessary to acheive the proper texture.
Spread the dough into a circle and cut into 8 even wedges and transfer to the baking sheet. Bake for ~ 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

They are the cashews of the scone world!

VeganMofo 19: There's Hummus Among Us!
sweedish chef
I have a serious garlic problem. Very serious. I can't lie: from time to time I get an insatiable urge to eat a raw clove of garlic. I think I get my addiction from my grandfather; he ate garlic like a mofo and he made the best garlicy pickles EVER. I haven't learned to make pickles yet (despite bothering my Polish friend relentlessly during cucumber season), but usually making unbeleivably garlicy hummus satisfies my garlic craving.

I guess this wouldn't be a vegan blog without a hummus recipe so here goes nothin'. This is a low fat recipe because regular hummus can be a bit much in the quantities I tend to consume it in. Also, since it is almost Halloween I guess it is good to note that I typically add so much garlic to my hummus that I have never even been attacked by a vampire even a single time!!

Vampire-Slayin' Hummus
1 (28oz) can of chickpeas
1/2 tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
2-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
~ 4 tbsp water
pepper and paprika to taste

In a food processor (or a MAGIC BULLET if you are cool like me) combine the whole, peeled garlic cloves with the tahini, lemon juice, sesame oil, and olive oil, then whip to combine. When the garlic has been well-pulverized, add half of the chickpeas, the salt, and 2 tbsp of water, then whip until smooth. Add the remaining chickpeas and blend; add water as necessary to allow the chickpeas to blend. Spice to taste.

VeganMofo 18: Sunday with Seitan
sweedish chef
One of my VeganMofo resolutions was to actually USE the cookbooks that I've acquired over the years. I tend to either cook lazy meals that don't require recipes (like curries) or else I remake recipes I've liked over and over. When I come home at 9pm on a Thursday night and I'm out of fresh veggies, I usually don't feel like busting out every pot and pan and cookbook that I own. The result is that I don't cook outside my box very often.

To remedy this problem, today I made Veganomicon Seitanic Red and White Bean Jambalaya.

I think a lot of people are sort of weirded out by seitan. The first few times I ever made it, it had the texture and appearance of a mushy brain. It did taste good, but overall, I found it too unappealing and labour-intensive for regular use.. until I discovered a recipe on The PPK for the seitan-o'-greatness. I regularly make a modestly modified version this seitan; it freezes great, and I've fed it to ravenous carnivores at a cottage (under the codename of "snausages") to potitive reviews.

Holy Seitan
1.5 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp allspice

3/4 cups water
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 finely diced yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 325°.

In a large mixing bowl mix dry ingredients. Mix the liquid ingredients in a smaller bowl and whisk well.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well, then knead for a minute or two until you can see strings of gluten beginning to form.

Form into a log, wrap tightly in foil, twisting ends. Bake for 90 minutes OR roll into smaller logs and bake for 35-60 minutes; when I make "snausages" I make 12 mini rolls that take about 35 minutes to cook; I generally make two large logs and bake for just over an hour.

When done baking, unwrap and leave out to cool all the way, then wrap it foil or plastic and refrigerate. Slice to use as desired.

This spicy, firmer cousin of normal seitan worked great in Isa's jumbalaya. This dish turned out so savoury and spicy and delicious :)

VeganMofo 17: Who made YOUR dinner?
sweedish chef
As a relatively new vegan, I am still discovering vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants in my area. A few months ago, a friend introduced me to Perfection-Satisfaction-Promise, a tiny restaurant just off of the main University of Ottawa campus. PSP was the first vegetarian restaurant I had ever been to, and I can still remember sitting in rapt joy, reading over a menu that had MULTIPLE VEGAN OFFERINGS!!! I had forgotten the freedom of walking into a restaurant and having the freedom to read over the entire menu and choose whatever I felt like rather than trying to find something that I could make easy substitutions to. I was in heaven until I was checking over its reviews on HappyCow and made the surprising discovery that it is staffed by followers of Sri Chinmoy - arguably a cult. When I told my coworker about my discovery, she was as surprised as I had been. In her own research about Sri Chinmoy, she found Cartwheels in a Sari, the autobiography of Jayanti Tamm who was born early into Sri Chinmoy's rise to fame and was declared as the "chosen one."

I love autobiographies, and I devoured this book. Tamm recounts that the followers of Sri Chinmoy are subjected to extreme manipulation and scrutiny, with even close friends and family members reporting one another to the guru for "unsoulful" behaviour. Most of the members, at least those based in New York where the guru himself lived, worked in one of three situations: either directly for the guru as bodyguards, assitants, or full-time admirers; in guru-approved organizations, such as the UN, generally with the larger goal of legitimizing Sri Chinmoy; or in businesses essentially owned by the group, such as health food stores and vegetarian restaurants. Chinmoy's direct employees and those who work in guru-owned businesses tended to work extremely long hours for less than minimum wage; all members were expected to gift huge portions of their income to fund the group.

Chinmoy died of a heart attack in 2007. It's unclear to me whether his adherents still work with the same fervor they did during Tamm's time in the group. However, the evidence in Tamm's book is enough to make me uncomfortable about patronizing PSP, and I do beleive that adherents of Sri Chinmoy are victims of a cult.

A huge part of my choice to become a vegan was tied to the choice to stop ignoring where my food was coming from. Obviously, that incorperates the idea of what my food actually is, but I also feel that I should consider who my food is coming from. This means buying local food, but also patronizing businesses that treat their employees with basic dignity. I was really disappointed to give up PSP, because man, their food is DELICIOUS, but I can't justify patronizing them any more than I can justify eating bacon because it makes my taste buds happy.

VeganMofo 16: Today, I am the mofo
sweedish chef
Ok, here is the situation: I worked for 14 hours today and it is Friday so I am out of food. I ate popcorn with Earth Balance for dinner. One of the cats is currently digging through my purse. Enjoy this video while wondering how anyone can eat seafood.

I am going to bed :)

VeganMofo 15: Pumpkin bread
sweedish chef
I was going to wait until the weekend to do some more baking but my friend had kind of a crappy day so I hope that some pumpkin bread will ensure that tomorrow is a better day :)

Cold weather + half of an enormous can of pumpkin = Isa's pumpkin spice bread.

I followed one commenter's suggestion and used chopped, microwaved apple rather than apple butter, and it seems to have turned out really well! Also, the use of applesauce/ apple butter / a chopped up apple means that this is a low-fat recipe which is probably a good thing for the week after Thanksgiving.


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