An interview with Dynise Balcavage, aka the Urban Vegan, author of the new book: Pies and Tarts with Heart. Photos of Frozen Grasshopper Pie, Gingered-Pear Pie and Pumpkin Pie. And now, I am seriously craving pie and humming the song from Waitress… Continue reading
It’s my day on the Whole Grain Vegan Baking Blogtour, and I’m taking the teeniest, tiniest moment away from uh, week-of Vida Vegan Con-hyperdrive duties, before bed to share what I’ve made so far from this intriguing, wholesome book. Let’s be honest, there are a lot lot lot of vegan cookbooks out these days (and well, seemingly every few days), but when Tami and Celine put out a book, you take note.
And when they ask you to join a blogtour, you’re so in. Continue reading
The internet tells me I was supposed to bring a pie into work today. Pi day fail. I do have a chocolate chunk skillet pie sitting on my kitchen table, awaiting a small dinner party this evening. Incidental Pi day success.
Here are a bunch of pies from Vegan Pie in the Sky testing, and a few other friends.
This has been a productive walk down memory lane.
It’s now been one month and one week of fresh young coconut withdrawals, and I’ve finally stopped tearing up as I glance at the $2.99 and up, flown-across-the-globe selections around town. It hasn’t been easy (well, the glaring price helps), but somehow, I keep my wallet in my bag. Recently, I caught myself staring at coconut photos in my Flickr and slowly realized, it’s beyond time I shared some of my winter vacation photos from SE Asia. And being that it’s the day after eat-chocolate-in-bed day, I finally knew where to begin.
Let me explain: during my travels, I attended three very different culinary classes: a vegetarian cooking class at Peace Cafe in Siem Reap, May Kaidee’s Cooking School in Bangkok, and Raw Chocolate Prep by De-Hydraded Modern Living Cuisine. I’ll get to the first two classes eventually, because I really want to tell the tale of my love affair with Cambodian Amok and so on, but for now, let me photo document some raw chocolate creations. The class was taught my friend, the charming Jennifer M. Robertson, who I’d met at Vida Vegan Con back in August. Ah, the VVC connection! Jen showed our class how to make a Thai-spiced chocolate smoothie, a rich chocolate torte with a well-textured coconut macadamia crust, assorted raw chocolate truffles, decadent bite-sized chocolate candies with a “royal” garnish, and be still my heart, young coconut-based dark chocolate ice cream with a candied cardamom-pistachio topping. Nearly everything used was organic, all dishes were prepared from scratch, and generous samples were provided of everything.
First up, a Thai-spiced chocolate smoothie with a base of frozen bananas and fantastic heat from local, organic chili peppers. When you ask a class in Thailand if they want their smoothie “spicy”, the response is going to be enthusiastically positive.
Looking back on this photo, I remind myself to breathe.
Starting the ice cream process
For the tart crust.
Prepared raw macadamia and coconut tart crusts. This simply set for a short period of time before filling.
Raw cacao butter based truffles + green tea powder
Raw lucuma powder – so intriguing!
For the chocolate candies. The gold leaves are of a Buddhist design.
Set & adorned (these are clearly my jet-lagged examples)
Cacao nibs, crushed nuts and candied cardamom-pistachios: all raw toppings for the following treat…
Everything I sampled (damn new cashew allergy!) was so lovely, but the young coconut-based dark chocolate ice cream was tops and one of the most memorable flavors of my vacation.
My decorated tart, with dark chocolate mousse and torn flower petals
Jen takes her classes and retreats around the world. Check out the De-hydrated facebook for regular updates.
Fall’s the best.
I remain broken-hearted that I was too busy to stop by the Portland Nursery for the Apple Tasting for the first time in years and years, so I’ve been consoling myself with autumn’s other BFF: pumpkin. I don’t take a knife to its face anymore, but I will scoop out the insides to get my pie and latte on.
And everything else appropriate.
Pumpkin Soy Lattes with cinnamon and nutmeg, Rain or Shine Coffee House
Pumpkin-filled, cinnamon crunch donut, Acme Donuts
I’ve given this SE Powell donut shop a hard time in the past, but things have improved with this pumpkin pudding-filled, lemony glazed donut. I say this lovingly, but honestly, the standards for vegan yeasted donuts aren’t that high as it is! And as someone who spent a few years in Boston, they charmed me with their new (to me, at least) slogan.
With the recent release of Terry and Isa’s latest cookbook, no one’s going to object my insistence that it’s the year of the pie, right?
Butternut Pumpkin Coconut Cream with a Bittersweet Chocolate Swirl
Speaking of, seasonal Whiffies remain one of my favorite things about the cart scene.
Pumpkin Creme filled Whiffies
It’s precious and deliciously fried. Like I could resist an inside shot.
The Whiffies’ Menu. Yeah, you see that asterisk.
The only thing better would be pumpkin chocolate chip. I’ll give it some time.
The following slice is from take 1 on a Heartichoke development. Next up, adding the ricotta-factor, a currant swirl and candied carrots.
Spiced Pumpkin Millet Teasecake with a Poppy Walnut Crust
In additional autumnal latte developments, two more spiced pumpkin creations from around town, one surprisingly more lovely than the other:
Pumpkin Spice Soy Latte, Peet’s Coffee and Tea
Pumpkin Spice Latte, Common Grounds Coffee House
It’s like the rest of Portland knew just how I was feeling.
Portland Farmers Market, PSU Park Blocks
In conclusion, I have tried three pumpkin beers so far this season. The first up was the Kennebunkport Pumpkin Ale carried by Trader Joe’s. The verdict? Light, but weak.
Next up, Silver Moon Twisted Gourd Pumpkin Ale, from Bend. Getting closer.
Silver Moon Twisted Gourd Pumpkin Ale; kale in the sink
Southern Tier’s Imperial Pumking Ale, New York
My friend Janessa shared a bottle of this rich pumpkin ale from Southern Tier Brewing Company with me a couple of weeks ago, and this is the reason I have been judging all others so harshly. It was so good I assumed it came from the Northwest!
It costs a pretty penny, around $8-9 for a 22 ounce, but hey – my neighbors, the Beermongers, had it on tap while I was there over the weekend. Now you know what to do next time you’re waiting for a table at Portobello.
In a shocking turn of events, this pie is not from the upcoming Vegan Pie in the Sky cookbook. I repeat, this is not an official, Post Punk Kitchen endorsed pie. This creation was inspired by the recent Portland VegFest, Chicago Soy Dairy’s sweet deal on those sweet little ‘mallows, Julie Hasson’s cream pie demo and perhaps the most mind-blowing aspect of all – was poured into a goddamn, pre-made crust. Testing for Vegan Pie in the Sky helped me conquer my fear of homemade crusts, for sure, but you know, sometimes you just find yourself picking up a graham cracker shell or two when you see them on sale in the ‘natural’ aisle at Grocery Outlet.
Inside the graham cracker shell, the only actual grahamy-element here (because every vegan who’s ever searched knows the pain of finding the mysteriously spotted-every-couple-of-years store-bought, honey-free graham cracker), was a rich chocolate tofu mousse, Vita-Mixed with Mori Nu firm silken tofu, melted semi sweet chocolate chips, a bit of coconut milk, powdered sugar and vanilla extract, based on the Mint Truffle Pie in Julie’s Vegan Diner. To complete the s’moresey scenario, I added broken cinnamon cookies and chopped dandies, along with a layer of dandies on top. It’s recently popped into my head that my kitchen absolutely needs a mini blowtorch, but since I’ve yet to make this ridiculously awesome purchase happen, I broiled the topped pie for 5 minutes. I was quickly happy with the lightly golden color, but freaked out as it rested, as the mallows seemed to harden! No worries, upon arrival to my little happy hour club, my friends and I learned that smush remained, and the pie was a hit, particularly when paired with a microbrew. Classy.
Break out your rain boots, adorn your favorite hoodie and repeat after me: it’s officially soup weather.
It seems like only yesterday, but I earned some real Pacific Northwest points with a British Columbian adventure back in May. It was my first ever visit to Canada, at all, and I’m truly an idiot for waiting so long. Not as idiotic as my brother not realizing Canada stretched across the entire United States, but I feel foolish for waiting nearly three decades to cross those country lines. Looking back, my family didn’t take epic road trips, and the party bus from my college in Boston to Montreal seemed just that…a ridiculous party bus. I’ve re-caught the travel bug this past year, have my mind set on Thailand and Laos this winter, and now that I have a Canadian BFF and a little crush on a French Canadian waiter at a certain vegan restaurant in Vancouver (J’espère qu’il la lecture de ce parce que Vancouver est la première VÉGÉTALIEN Prom approche!), I plan on not departing the Amtrak train in Seattle, if you catch my drift.
While I was up north, I spent time in Vancouver, Victoria and on Salt Spring Island. I’ll save more thoughts and photos for the day I may actually post about my adventure up north™ and have the determination to scroll through that many pages on Flickr. My short stay on Salt Spring Island, where Gabrielle, her partner, and the small, sneaky bundle of wonder known as Buhbah, reside, started with a specially prepared vegan dinner at Market Place Cafe. This lovely meal included a rich tomato soup drizzled with olive oil that’s lingered on my mind since the first spoonful. Gabrielle and I were nerding out and talking tomato soup recently, and after hearing her spicy plan and having roasted a ton of cherry tomatoes that were impatiently waiting for their moment, all by their lonesome in my refrigerator, it was time for delayed inspiration.
Something of a recipe tale. To begin, I sautéed minced shallot, a diced red bell pepper and Hungarian wax pepper in a bit of coconut oil, added some fresh black pepper, sea salt, marjoram, cayenne and oregano, and cooked until soft. After deglazing the pan with the last of my Salt Spring Millotage (can you say bonus points?), I added the two pints’ worth of cherry tomatoes I had previously roasted with garlic, extra virgin olive oil & sea salt, along with two cups of vegetable broth, one cup of water, brought this to a boil, and then simmered, covered, for just under an hour. I threw in a handful of fresh basil, since I can’t resist buying basil or tomatoes whenever I see them at the market, carefully pureed the mixture in my Vita-Mix, and transferred to a saucepan. Minutes later, I had my first bowl of those sweet, deep flavors, garnished with additional basil and freshly ground black pepper.
This is admittedly, one of my more rushed, rustic crust jobs that I’ve been rolling out with brown rice flour. Simply because….the bag is sitting on top of my fridge, locally milled and purchased from the farmers market, duh. More importantly, it served as a party pie for a dear friend’s birthday last weekend. This combination of saucey, sweet strawberries and the deep, refined tang of balsamic is almost unreal. Frankly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen a pie consumed this promptly.
The book is due out this October. Berry picking adventures soon.
So, I currently have a few friends who are into no-sugar cleanses. Personally, I think it’s a sensible idea, but it’s become a little too trendy for my tastes and I’ve been busy stockpiling my organic, evaporated cane juice for an important reason: recipe testing for the newest in-progress Post Punk Kitchen cookbook has begun! I’m pretty much resurrecting The Piehole’s delivery service for all my local friends and humming the pie song from Waitress on a creepy, regular basis while wearing my cuter aprons.
I’ve warmed my feet in the syrup waters with two projects so far:
First up, Strawberry Handpies in Puffy Pie Dough
Each handpie is topped with coarse sugar and heart-shaped slits for my friend Millie’s Heartwarming party. Regardless of oozing some of the filling, they’re so freaking cute!!! And they rode a bus!!
Secondly, Sweet Potato Brazil Nut Crunch Pie in a Single Pastry Crust
This was the first pie I’ve sliced and hand-delivered to friends. Go, go magic pie and crust making!
Apple Cashew Creme Crumb is up next!