Saturday, January 20, 2007

What I did with blood oranges...

On my last trip to Trader Joe's, I picked up a bag of blood oranges, just because I thought they looked pretty. I don't normally buy bags of any kind of oranges (except when I am pregnant, but that is a whole 'nother story), but I felt the need to take this particular bag home with me. I am glad I did, as they came in a little handy later in the week. (photo from

It was my younger daughter's 4th birthday on Friday, and all week long I have been baking up a storm. She just started preschool a week ago, and we are the first vegan family to come through this preschool's doors so far, so the administration is really making a huge effort to become educated on the ins and outs of veganism. The receptionist who works at the desk in the front of the school is very interested in how and what we eat, and told me that she was looking forward to trying out some vegan fare, so I decided this would be a good opportunity to make some extra desserts for bring in for my daughter's birthday celebration. The list of yummies included mini fluffy white cupcakes with chocolate frosting, a chocolate raspberry cake, and a plain vanilla cake (last recipe at bottom of link page). I made lots of extra cupcakes so we could stash them in the school's freezer in case of vegan cupcake emergency. Now, when I started to pass out the cupcakes, one of the mom's reached into the container to get one, and the teacher stopped her and said..."just so you know...these are SPECIAL cupcakes. NO dairy, NO eggs." I don't think I have ever seen a person fearfully yank their hand out of a container of cupcakes faster! I wish the teacher hadn't said that, because it made a weird impression on some of the parents, but that mom still took a cupcake (after I quickly explained that they were GOOD! I PROMISE!) and said, yes indeed, they were good. :-) Sorry, no pictures of cupcakes. I figured everyone has had enough of vegan cupcake pictures lately.

On that same day, I brought in a gigantic slab of the raspberry chocolate cake for the receptionist to try, and she was ecstatic! I look forward to hearing how darn good it was! Now, I also meant to bring in some of the vanilla cake as well, but I had issues with that cake. I greased and floured the pans like I always do before filling them with batter, but for some reason, after baking and cooling, this recipe wanted to stick. And boy, did it stick! I tried everything to get those cakes out of their pans...inverting them and smacking the heck out of them, prying them out with knives, leaving them upside down on the cooling rack for hours hoping they would somehow slip out of the pans. NOTHING. I was bummed, but darnit, I perservered. After finally scraping a piece out in semi-decent shape (the ONLY piece that came out in decent shape, mind you), I decided to juice a few of the blood oranges and make a sauce for the cake. I got about 3/4 cup of juice, added it to a sauce pan with a tablespoon or so of maple syrup and a bit of cornstarch, boiled and reduced it down to a nice syrup. Poured on top of this elusive cake, it was fantastic! The cake tasted like a big moist sugar cookie, and the syrup added a fancy sweet touch!After that, I browned up a few pieces of firm baked tofu for lunch today, and decided that it could also use a bit of sprucing up. Once again, back to the blood oranges. This time I used about 1/2 cup of juice, added a few splashes of pomegranate glaze from Trader Joe's and reduced it down to a thin syrup as well. An excellent tart and fun topping to your average tofu! I am on a kick!
Who knows what I will do next...I still have a few oranges left!

I don't know how many of you have heard of Freecycle, but I encourage all of you to check it out and have fun with it. It is a world wide non-profit program where people are getting and giving stuff for free in their towns...and keeping their stuff out of landfills. You can post your old unwanted stuff on their site designated for your area, and people who are interested respond to you, or you can post a desire for something you need/want, and people can contact you if they have that item to give. And it is all free! I have given a ton of stuff away to some great people in the past year or so, and have also gotten some great items as well. One of them is this cabinet:It wasn't in great shape when I picked it up, and it wasn't painted yet either, but it became my project this past fall. I was able to sand it down, give it a decent paint job and add a few new pieces of hardware to it...and now I love it! And it was free, minus the new paint and hardware.

Now, I also got a practically unused Sunbeam bread machine for free a few months ago, and I haven't made anything yet. I was able to download the manual off of Sunbeam's website, but I am curious....what is the easiest vegan bread machine recipe you guys have? I want to start slow and easy, but also healthy and kid-friendly. Any advice?

Oh, and here is a picture of one of the grossest and most completely awful things I made this week....Vegan Hushpuppies. Egads, these were disgusting!I googled for a basic hushpuppie recipe, and used a few that I found as a template for my disastrous creation. A normal recipe consists of corn meal and flour, onion, milk, egg and salt, all fried up in oil. I read that some people substitute beer for the milk, so I did, and I also used Ener-G in place of the egg. Oh. My. Goodness, they were bitter, vile and foul. Does anyone have a decent recipe for hushpuppies????

i googled 'vegan hush puppies' and found a few recipes.
From The Dirty South vegan cookbook:
3 cups corn meal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups soy milk
1/2 cup water
1 minced onion, or some minced green onions

Mix dry ingredients together, then add all other ingredients. Form into one inch cakes and fry in oil until brown.
Refrigerating the dough for awhile makes it easier to handle
Cool, thanks, guys! I did google vegan hushpuppies as well, and kind of used those recipes in conjunction with others I found....I will try that recipe from The Dirty South cookbook! :-)
i love that cabinet. I've been a big GIVER on freecycle lately--we're moving again, and I'd rather just give it away than take it :LOL:
But I did get a new kitten on freecycle--go check her out at my blog ::))
I've never had a hushpuppie, vegan or otherwise. sorry I can't help.

THAT CABINET IS THE BOMB!!!!!!! :) I love how your stuff looks on it!!! Perfecto. Your style is super. :-) and FREE. Diva. All I can say.

Sorry your hush puppies sucked. I love hush puppies. I remember when I because vegetarian they were like the only thing that kept me going back to Long John Silvers. I also hate it when I make food that is just completely inedible.

I love blood oranges. I had my first one in a market in Italy when I went during high school, because they were not yet common in the U.S. (o.k. it was only like 6 years ago!!) but my parents said "When you go to Italy, you *have* to eat blood oranges and gelato." I did, and will always associate the two things with Italy. Even though I don't eat gelato any more and the blood oranges I can get now are shipped from who knows how many thousands of miles to arrive in Montana. :)
Sorry, no help for the hush puppies. I had to comment on the great looking cabinet. I love furniture fixer uppers that turn into great peices like that. However, being a fellow foodie I couldn't not notice the wonderful food you have been cooking. Great activism work, raspberry chocolate... yum!
Those blood oranges are beautiful! I'm glad you took them home with you, too.
I was going to give you the hush puppy recipe from "The Dirty South Vegan Cookbook" but someone already did, so I second that.
I love the cool and fun things I create when I am trying a new food. I have never had hushpuppies before, though. sorry they didn't turn out.
Hi Brooke--wow, what was that teacher thinking? I really hate it when people do that, like they're expecting the food to be bad.

I love your cabinet! We never have things that good on our Freecycle. I've given some stuff away (including an exercise machine that I probably should have kept) but never found anything I wanted on it. You painted the cabinet so beautifully. (And I have the same plate, on the top right.) :-)
I want to eat tofu like that!
Blood oranges--what great uses--esp on the cake. Your huish puppies look great-I can't imagine they were that bad! I would eat them all up.
I just came back to comment on the teacher and the parent. That story has really stuck with me and annoyed me- I hate when people think that vegan food is somehow different and scary. Why aren't more people afraid of dairy and eggs? What did they think would be in your cupcakes? Seaweed and blackbeans and veggie burgers? AUGH!
I'm terrible at vegan-izing recipes but I commend you for trying nonetheless.
Oh yum! I love love LOVE blood oranges, so I loved your post.

What is up with people being so freaked out by vegan food...especially dessert?? I think they probably just lack experience with it and have been brainwashed by the powers that be. It sounds like your goodies went over pretty well, though, so good for you!

Freecycle sounds pretty awesome. I had heard about it awhile back and forgotten about it, but I will definitely check out the website again. Thanks!
Wow, those tofu pieces look good as does everything else...even the hushpuppies. LOL! I think it's great you posted the pretty picture accompanied by how they really turned out. Sorry it didn't work out. Ooooh, that teacher comment kind of PO'd me, too. Special? Okay...yeah, better as in better for you than artery clogging butter, eggs, and milk.
all looks great, specially the desserts :)
All that food looks amazing. Wow. And nice cabinet there. Gorgeous!
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]