the dawning of the pie

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!

berry picking, subsequently followed by strawberry chocolate swirl cream pie

Blueberry Fields Forever, Sauvie Island


bluebs

I had my first taste of berry picking fulfillment this past weekend with a few friends.  As usual, it was a berry stained dress of a blast. Getting to farms and carrying home pounds of berries is problematic without a car (or ambition to drive), so I am thrilled when it happens. Carpe diem! Carpe bacca!

There are more sensible places to bike or bus to for free blackberries, though they’re not in season yet. We were at Sauvie Island for the varieties of strawberries, including the last of the precious Hoods, blueberries, and a few raspberries.

The first farm we went to, Bella Organics, had some sweet little Hoods left, but their larger Seascapes weren’t at all flavorful. The second farm we hit, Sauvie Island Farms, offered more bounty and entertainment:  we got to ride through the fields on a tractor, pick berries, and pick our own cabbages! I was very content being lost in thought in their blueberry trees for some time.

The next day, I made a strawberry and chocolate swirl cream pie to celebrate the national holiday, friends, berries, and pie.

pie

Strawberry and Chocolate Swirl Cream Pie:

Both layers were sweetened minimally with dark agave and thickened with soft tofu, cornstarch and soaked cashews. The chocolate layer was also made with 70% dark chocolate and some strawberries and just a few blueberries, to deepen the flavor. A strawberry layer was poured down first, and then the mass of chocolate filling, and more strawberry swirled in.  It was baked for 35 minutes at 350F and firmed in the fridge.

Slices were celebrated with Tom Collinses, Katy Perry, Nintendo and Pabst.

Special thanks to the Vita-Mix for pureeing magic, as usual. I made a point to make this up as I went along, so no recipe. It had a teeny amount of that ‘tofu pie’ thing going on, but not enough to piss me off. The pretty swirl distracted me. Next time I make it I’ll add a bit more agave and berries, and who the hell knows, maybe take it cheesecake style.

pie

I saw little kids elsewhere, but no sign of baby eyes here.

yes

Highlight of the week.

farms

Time to pick the berries.

hood

Bella’s check out.

farm check out

Blackberries weren’t what anyone would call ‘ready’ yet, which is extra sad, because I think they’re my favorite berry of the past 20 months. See you guys in a few weeks!

berry

Bluebs at Sauvie Farms

bluebs

Lastly, my new friend, the biggest carrot I’ve ever seen. From Sun Gold Farms at the Portland Farmers Market, purchased earlier that morning:

giant carrot

Potentially hilarious meal presentation to hopefully follow.

Petunia’s Pastries, be still my heart-shaped vegan heart

Mini Marionberry Pies $5.95/each

Last year, I was introduced to Petunia’s Pastries during their premiere Last Thursday on NE Alberta via my friend Michelle Crocodile. I sampled one of their very few vegan offerings at the time, a beautiful Chocolate Hazelnut cupcake. This was before I was aware of my stupid new hazelnut allergy, and I can still look back fondly about that rich & dreamy dessert.

This year, Petunia’s temporarily opened the season at the glorious PSU Market and now most of their case is usually vegan – and gluten-free! They’ve moved to the Sunday King Market and will be starting at the brand new Pioneer Square Market on Mondays next month. I took my first visit to the King’s Market in NE to revisit Petunia’s this past weekend. To my awe-filled delight, everything in the case just happened to be entirely vegan! It was a rainy day, and sweetness overcame gloom.

I picked up the cutest Marionberry pie I have ever seen in my life (and I’ve been looking at a lot of pies lately at The Piehole). Juicy, luscious berry filling with an even sweeter heart-shaped adornment. So juicy you almost make up a song in your head about it.

My friend Lucas documented:

Petunia’s also does custom orders and was recently raved about by former Portland Trailblazer and famous Yelper, Channing Frye, on his blog.The next time you’re at the market for some kale, stop by Petunia’s for a pretty decadent treat! They may a new kid on the block, but they’re certainly a growing, welcome addition to the Portland Vegan-Friendly Bakery Scene, and a new highlight at the farmers markets.

Apple Butterscotch Pie, Diners & American Vegan Kitchen

apple pie, meet the no longer so elusive vegan butterscotch chips. thanks to Tamasin, you’re going to be great friends.

Apple B'scotch

I had a hard time deciding what to make first from Tamisan Noyes’ diner-themed American Vegan Kitchen cookbook.  Rather, I had a hard time getting her amazing-sounding Battered Avocado Wedges out of my head, and as it is, the book’s theme offers so many possibilities!

Diners were a big part of my younger years and the default place to go…after anything. After your sister’s dance recitals, Little League games where my team probably lost, awful school plays, late nights with friends where we’d obsess over the tabletop jukebox over crappy coffee and french fries.  Years later, we’d return and sneak in Silk French Vanilla Creamer and really live it up.  Before that, I probably drank as many vanilla eggcreams as I did water. And frankly, I think my grandparents were part of a try-every-single-diner-in-a-two hour radius association.  I started to count on the NYDiners website and stopped focusing after scrolling by 80…which reminds me that the best facebook group I’ve ever joined just may be The Oconee East Diner Needs More Decorations and American Flags. Just saying.

Back to American Vegan Kitchen – It was seriously difficult getting the Battered Avocado Wedges out of my head. I flipped through the soups and entrees and started leaning towards the Cinnacrunch Muffins, yet my desire for avocado was still there –  though I was trying to not go for such a guilty pleasure. After a cold shower, I realized pie could win this one, and decided on the Apple Butterscotch pie.  I made it this weekend for an Easter-ish gathering at a friend’s and it seemed to be a hit.  I am quite a fan of the bit I tried before I left, and  was told it was all gone later on!

No shocker.  Remember what I said about apple pie and butterscotch chips?  They’re just so cute together!

Apple Butterscotch Pie from American Vegan Kitchen

Apple Butterscotch Pie

FYI: Vegan Butterscotch Chips are sold at Price Chopper supermarkets in the New England area..  So, they’re really margarine-sugar-chemical chips.  One I’m saying is…buy them! Or be really nice to your friends who are around these stores.  I heart my friends who share them.

And I bet if I ask my friends to come over to share Battered Avocado Wedges, they totally would. Hint hint.

Candy Cane Layer Cake Construction

Frankly, I’ve made prettier cakes, but I think this one is the awesomest.  Toot toot!

candy cane layer cake

It had been too long since I’d made a complete layer cake.  I was out of practice, but having a blast with every step involved, surely on a high from inhaling peppermint candy dust.

There’s nothing like a homemade cake, and I am so proud of this very, very homemade creation.  I was set on taking a holiday layer cake to an Xmas Gathering, and inspired by the internet and my friend Esme (the Vegan Propamanda), Candy Cane Layer Cake was born.  Three layers, because two are boring to look at.

Construction: There were two chocolate mint layers, one light vanilla mint, vanilla peppermint buttercream and crushed peppermint candy and dusted cocoa powder as garnish.  I minted it up with Trader Joe’s organic peppermint extract and a fair share of the last of my precious supply of Vitasoy Chocolate Peppermint Soymilk, as well as So Delicious coconut milk.  The cake layers were based on the recipes for basic chocolate and vanilla cupcakes in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.  Each recipe makes one cake layer’s worth.  The frosting is a double batch of the Fluffy Buttercream, plus peppermint extract.

Not so pretty…but pretty awesome.

candy cane layer cake

Attacked at the Xmas Party:

new 013

I’m pretty sure there are still leftovers and children in dangerous, yet refreshing sugar comas.

awesome of the week


exhibit a: maple glazed yeasted donut with fake bacon. vegan! vegan! vegan!

source: Sweetpea Baking Co.

Sweetpea did this.

This Homer Simpson-style dreamboat was coated in my favorite flavor (okay, one of my primary favorites) and topped with a piece of vegan bacon!  Katie Jane mentioned the realistic bacon was from Food Fight! next door.

ala Voodoo Doughnuts’ Bacon Maple bars.

ala after this Fakin’ Fest organizer’s heart and stomach.  Plus, it had that whole fresh donut delicious thing going on. I never seem to luck out with very fresh yeasted donuts at the downtown Voodoo.

exhibit b: soy latte

source: Coffeehouse-Five in NE Portland

coffeehouse-five

I was blown away by this quiet coffeeshop’s soy latte months ago. I found myself between buses recently and seized an opportunity to re-awaken via soy latte. They have magical baristas, beans (Coava) and/or soymilk, I swear. The drink was so creamy, you could think it was just barely above room temperature, but, of course, it was just that well done.  And magical.

Ode to Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar Testing

Behold, Irish Whiskey Cremes


I hope you can handle this oncoming sweet food porn extravaganza. I hope you like cookies.
It’s time to collect the photos and memories of the past two years’ worth of recipe testing for the latest Post Punk Kitchen authors classic: Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowtiz and Terry Hope Romero.

Testing for this book happened along with testing for Vegan Brunch, and I’m currently testing for Isa’s current project, a weight loss cookbook! Go figure, after cupcakes and cookies.
I adored recipe testing once again for these ladies, and bombarding everyone I know with cookies during the process. Check out the cute tester photos in the back! Not mine, I totally missed the thread on this possibility, or you would have seen one of my cats sniffing a cookie…
~
White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Biscotti

~
Once again, the Irish Whiskey Cremes


Linzertorte Thumbprints
These are near and dear to me and Evan.
Also, a catalyst in my-possibly-being-allergic-to-hazelnuts-worries…
~
Key Lime Shortbread


Chocolate Chip Cookies (with vegan white chocolate chips)

Off on a journey!
City Girl Snickerdoodles, Sweet Wine Sesame Biscuits and
Espresso Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Cowboy Cookies

NYC Black and White

Milanos

More Milanos – just like the real thing, baby.

Sweet Wine Sesame Biscuits – unique as heck! and delicious!

Mintleaf Chocolate Icebox Cookies (admittedly kinda flat on my first go!)

Fucking Chick-O-Stick Cookies – based on VCIYCJ Chocolate Chip

City Girl Snickerdoodles, ready for the holidays
(this was probably taken in the spring, naturally)

Citrus Glitters

More biscotti

Deluxe Brownie Action

Chocolate Chip and Mocha Mamas

Citrus Glitters

Espresso Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

Roasted Almond Cookies with Fleur de Sel – swoon.

 

Sweet Potato Blondies

Bold

Lazy Samoans

Girl Scout induced heaven, but not creepy.

Irish Whiskey Cremes, unfrosted, and Citrus Glitters

Espresso Fudge Brownies

Citrus Glitters! They won’t stop. Clearly a favorite.

Plate of VCIYCJ cookies from a benefit dinner

Nutty Wedding Cookies, powdered sugar station

Cowboy Cookies

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Fudgey Oatmeal Cookies

And look, it’s Terry! With an adorable apron working on a cookie photo shoot for the book.

I don’t think I can pick a favorite. Or favorites.
The Citrus Glitters, Irish Whiskey Cremes, Milanos and Cranberry White Chocolate Biscotti stick out in my mind – but then there’s the Black & White! I grew up with those cookies!
In short, if you like cookies of the vegan persuasion, you should get this book.

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