Bartender Choice: Pineapple-Carrot Sunshine Muffins

Bartender Choice: Pineapple-Carrot Sunshine Muffins

This is a V’con recipe since I did not have the soy berry that the recipe called 24, which I must admit since I am a professional bartender. I used dairy Vanilla yoghurt, and kept everything according to recipe. So we will call them “almost-Vegan Sunshine muffins”.

My boyfriend asked that I make half, so these were half pineapple/raisin, and half sunshine glory that was full-on. Amusingly enough, at the end I think that I did, he might have had more of the carrot kinds according to how old do you have to be to bartend.

As the writers warned these do not split into muffin tops that are enormous, they stay flat, and the muffin cups can fill. .as I did. (I was not going to undermine my muffin size in the title of caution!) I would tend to believe that’s user error rather than a mistake in their recipe, although they did wind up a gooey on the inside. Next time I will probably keep them in the oven for a couple of minutes before mixing the alcohol and beer.

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A Little Southern Flair

A Little Southern Flair

I was running on a theme yesterday, and I think I did pretty well considering it was all improv. I used the V’con recipe for skillet cornbread since I’ve been wanting to make the jalapeno variation since I bought the book.

As luck would have it (and since making the cornbread at all was a spur of the moment decision) I didn’t have any jalapenos. I did however have onion, and some red chili flakes, so I decided to rock that combination instead.

The recipe said to scatter the onions/pepper over the top of the cornbread, which I did, and although it made it very pretty, for optimal taste benefit I think I’ll mix them into the batter next time.

The cornbread on the whole was a little dry, I think mixing some soy yogurt into the batter next time will alleviate that problem…or perhaps simply adding a bit more soy milk than I did this time around.

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A side

A side

Last night’s dinner was a conglomeration of leftovers and such, but I did make one very simple, yet incredibly delicious side.

Dump a bunch of baby carrots into a pot, drizzle generously with maple syrup (The real kind, from VERMONT…if yours is named after or is in the shape of someones Aunt or Madame, throw it out…go back to the grocery store…and get the real stuff) The good stuff has a grade…if yours doesn’t, it isn’t the right stuff.

OK…now that we’re over my little maple syrup rant, on to the meat (excuse the totally irrelevant metaphor). Cover the carrots and syrup with a generous splash of orange juice, and then fill with water until carrots are just covered. Simmer on stove until a fork can be easily inserted into a carrot. Most, although not ALL of the liquid will reduce away.

Added bonus? The leftover liquid is AMAZING soaked into the remaining cornbread I had from the night before.

I did more cooking today and took pictures, but I don’t have the energy to post about it right now, so expect an Asian inspired tofu/noodle dish coming to this blog near you!

As promised

As promised

Here it is … jump it. I have noticed that skipping is not the most photogenic food on Earth, especially when made with Soba buckwheat noodles that are dark beige/brown to begin with.

I must confess that I am pretty sure they had been buckwheat … they looked and tasted this real way, but unless we understand Chinese stat, we will not be competent to read the ingredients around the second package probably when I use All of them. I like to shop in the Asian market, but the packaging can be a bit confusing sometimes.

The first (and most of the essential step) of the formula, is to mix the water out of the tofu. We wrapped this soft paper towel, then left the block under a cast iron pan for about half an hour. Once done soaking, I started with some angles of tofu, cutting the entire stop from “extra firm” in the triangles after which to put it in the miso icing.

The particular glacis consisted of: white miso, mirin, sugar, soy spices, garlic clove, ginger powder, and lime juice. I put all the tofu in a frying pan then, lying flat, more poured the remaining varnish on top. I let it cook for about 7 minutes, pushing down with the spatula, upside down then. After eliminating the tofu, we deglazed the frying pan with some mirin, tossed into carrots then, broccoli, onion, mushrooms and mung coffee beans. We add tandoori masala to this combination, and once done, put everything on soba noodles with a Nice squirt of oil/red pepper color.

We were not a big fan of noodles … Buckwheat is thought by me the flavor was a bit sharp. I had also assumed the remaining glaze of the tofu would incorporate enough salt into the meal, but in the end an extra squirt of me Laman sauce or Braggs (depending on the flavor preference) was added to each dish.

Tofu was the shining star of the dish though. It was really delicious, and just cooked. I would definitely like to again use the glaze, although what makes it a little different at every good time is the most exciting part of the kitchen …

Hash Browns

Hash Browns

I’ve been wanting to make these ever since I first saw them at Vegan Yum Yum.

I used the simplest recipe possible…grating 5 potatoes, mincing an onion into them, and giving the entire heap a good grind of salt and pepper. I squeezed as much liquid as possible out of the heap, and set to frying.

For the first serving, I used PAM and the hash was the perfect crispy consistency, but the color wasn’t exactly the golden/brown hue I was going for. The potatoes were pretty pale with brown freckles throughout. After that, I decided to try out olive oil in the skillet instead. This gave me the perfect color, but no matter how long I left the potatoes in there, with the exception of the edges, they never got very crispy. Worse still, when eating, I discovered they were squishy in the middle and a bit greasy tasting.

Does anyone know what method works best for that perfectly crispy, golden potato dream I’m going for? I’d love any help…

These were still delicious though…especially with my favorite breakfast dipping sauce: ketchup mixed with Frank’s Xtreme Hot.

Golden Beat Dessert Lasagna

Golden Beat Dessert Lasagna

So when I saw this over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs, I knew that it was something I had to do.  After all, I can never ignore a challenge, and the Iron-Chef Fan in me loves the idea of having a specific ingredient I need to invent for…although I was kind of concerned, because beets generally aren’t my favorite.

I decided to go with golden beets, since their flavor is much milder and less offensive to my palette…in addition to which, they don’t turn my entire kitchen magenta.  Always a plus.

Since this is the SWEET or Savory challenge, I went desert this time around, creating a golden beat dessert lasagna that I was pretty happy with, although I must admit I only went there because my favorite golden beet applications doesn’t photograph well. (Running it through the juicer with a green apple, hunk of ginger and a couple carrots.)

This will probably be even better in another month or two when all the summer fruit is cheap and at the height of ripeness, but in the meantime, I made do with some pretty good pineapple, mango and strawberries.

Ingredients

  • 2 Golden beats, sliced into think circles using a mandolin
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, skimmed off the water.
  • 1 mango in a small dice
  • 3-4 large strawberries diced
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, diced
  • 4-6 mint leaves, Chopped finely
  • 1 tbs coconut rum
  • Agave Nectar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Arrange beet slices on a glass casserole dish and drizzle Agave nectar on top of each. to coat. Bake for 12 minutes and remove to cool a bit.
  2. Create a fruit salad with the diced mango, pineapple and strawberries, mint, and rum. Toss and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so the flavors can meld. In the meantime, combine coconut milk with a bit of agave to taste, and wisk together. This isn’t going to reach the texture of whipped cream, but it should thicken a bit, especially if you chill it.
  3. Assemble! I used three overlapping circles of beet as my base, a couple spoonfuls of fruits salad and one of coconut cream on top of that, more beets, and a second layer of each.

My original thought was to sprinkle the beets with raw sugar and have them crisp up almost like the top of a creme brulee in the oven, but with the switch to agave that didn’t quite happen.  It may have if I’d left them in longer, but I was afraid of having the whole affair turn black and ashen…which was my result the time I attempted to make oven-baked beet chips.

Ooops.  Maybe it’s good I stuck with the agave and 12 minutes in the oven.