Back in the Swing of Things

I really, really miss Panama, but it feels good to be back in my normal routine, especially with regards to my eating.  I wasted no time this week getting back into the kitchen 🙂 The other night Dad and I made a really fantastic, light, summery dinner, using lots of ingredients from our garden (which is flourishing, and on which I will make a separate post soon!).  Dad made a recipe from the New York Times online, Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula.  He used our garden basil in the recipe and substituted our garden Swiss chard for the arugula.  Ohhh it was so delicious, and unfortunately I have no pic 😦  But I do have a picture of the other *vegan* component of the meal (there were also pork ribs, which I obviously had no reason to take a picture of…), Mediterranean-Style Cashew-Cucumber Dip from Veganomicon.  I served this with homemade pita chips (my own creation: whole-wheat pitas brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and paprika, and baked at 325 for about 20 minutes).


A Platter of Goodness


Dipping!!

I used our garden cucumbers for this recipe and did my best to de-seed them.  The result was a delicious creamy dip that can be described as a cross between tzatziki sauce and hummus.  It was reeeeeally good and even Mom was raving about it (she is a good sport about trying my vegan concoctions, but usually feels lukewarm about them). 

Also on Friday morning I baked, partially because I owed J some cookies as payment for a favor he did me, and partially because I was spending the weekend at E’s and didn’t want to arrive empty-handed 🙂  So I made two of my favorites, both by Dreena Burton: Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies (I made my mint version) from Vive Le Vegan, and Chocolate Chunk Spice Cookies from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan.  They all turned out REALLY good (if I do say so myself!) and every last one has long-since been eaten.  I have to put in my two cents regarding the Spice Cookies, and say that I think that using freshly grated/ground spices is the key to making these cookies outstanding.  I used freshly grated nutmeg and ground whole cloves to use in the recipe…it is definitely worthwhile!


Beauties


Close-up (Minty Chocolate Chip cookies)


Close-up (Spice Cookies)

Mmmmm now I want to go make some more…

Will post the garden update tomorrow!

A.’s Cookies in the Baking!!

Baking is probably my favorite thing to do, and the thing which seems to have the lowest rate of failure in my experience.

Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton

I have made these probably a dozen times since becoming vegan, before I even knew who Dreena was or owned any of her books!  I found this recipe initially on the Internet.  The batch pictured were some of the best cookies I have ever had, let alone baked myself (not to brag or anything…)  I made these at E’s house and used regular molasses instead of blackstrap, white flour instead of my usual wheat, and also substituted 2 tbsp. of Trader Joe’s Mint Cocoa for the sugar in the recipe.  The results were “better than Toll House” according to Mom.  🙂

You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate Cookies from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan by Dreena Burton

Unless you are allergic to peanut butter or to chocolate, you are crazy if you don’t like these cookies.  They are out of this world.  I’ve made them twice.  My first batch is pictured.  My second batch was better if I recall correctly…maybe a little more moist?  Either way, these are awesome and would be my recipe of choice if I were baking to impress non-vegans :b

Chocolate Chunk Spice Cookies (aka “BlackOut Cookies” if you are in-the-know) from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan

Oh, how I love these.  I will make them again and again, and definitely at Christmas time.

Pineapple Lemon Bars from Vive Le Vegan

I made these as a special request for my daddy on Father’s Day.  They are pretty good, but I liked them best fresh out of the oven when they were a little melty.  I think heating leftovers before eating would improve them.  I like the ground oat crust and would definitely use it again when inventing my own recipes.

Coconut Lime Cookies from Vive Le Vegan (not pictured)

I made these for J’s girlfriend’s graduation party and to be perfectly honest they got eaten before I could take a picture.  They were pretty good on their own, but I thought they didn’t taste lime-y enough, so I added a lime-flavored icing.  Combine 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar with 2 tbsp. of freshly squeezed lime juice, spoon into a Ziploc bag, snip the corner, and use as a decorating bag.  With the icing, they were great.