Sunday, September 8, 2013

VeganMoFo Day #8: Cookies and Food Territory Wars

These muffins have nothing to do with today's post.
I just like they way they look.
They are gluten free, organic, vegan apple walnut muffins.
I made them today.
Since it's VeganMoFo, I thought I'd welcome you to today with a photo.
You're welcome.
It's been a bit of a rough day here. As you know, both of us happy vegans are quite territorial about our food. You may also recall aside from my birthday food, I've drastically reduced my sugar intake (among other things) over the last couple of months. As part of my celebratory birthday foods, I purchased a small bottle of mango iced tea. Low sugar, but yes, some sugar. I drank about 1/3 of the bottle, and the rest was stashed in the fridge for "later."  There was to be no "later" for my tea. In the middle of the night, apparently the other happy vegan crept into the kitchen, ate a piece of the tiramisu and drank the rest of my tea. The tiramisu he is more than welcome to, the tea, no way. It was mine. He had his own. This one was mine, and he knew it.

I spent almost the entire day in the kitchen today. At some point, I went for the tea. It was gone. Our fridge is gigantic, sometimes things get lost in there. I looked around but couldn't find it. The thought washed over me that maybe "someone" drank it, but as soon as I thought that, I pushed it aside. Do you remember my post quite a while ago about the tempeh reuben and the iced tea leftovers from my lunch at Sugar Apple that were mine, but eaten by the other happy vegan? How there was practically a world war over that? Pretty much since then, he's been half way decent about not eating my food. Until the tea. My birthday tea.

True to form, as soon as I asked him, he didn't admit it, instead he said "there wasn't much left anyway." This is what he does.... he doesn't say "yes, I drank/ate it." He will say "it was burnt," "there wasn't much left," "it wasn't very good," or any other derogatory comment that comes out on the fly. Never an admission (at first). Always the negative comment.

As I've explained before, when you live and work with your partner, the little things become the big things. Food is big around here. VeganMoFo proves it.

He's still on my "list" at the moment, but I'll have to forgive and forget at some point. He's looking forward to that inevitable moment. Until then, he's keeping a low profile around me.

As far as VeganMoFo goes, I'm baking cookies for tomorrow night's Save-A-Turtle of the Florida Keys meeting.  I'm a member of Save-A-Turtle of the Florida Keys. The group is a grassroots, non-profit organization "staffed" by volunteers who do the beach patrols during turtle season, as well as many other things sea turtle related. The group meets monthly, and for the last few meetings, I've done my best to bring organic vegan sweets or snacks for the Board meeting, and then for the open meeting which follows. This month's meeting is tomorrow, although usually they're they first Monday of every month. Since last Monday was a holiday, the meeting was pushed back til tomorrow. I wanted to make cupcakes, but I haven't had enough free time to do the fancy ones I hoped to try. Instead, I'm going to make a bar cookie. Bar cookies are great because usually the recipes whip up in a jiffy, and it's just one pan.... nothing to decorate (unless you're making something frosted, which I'm not).

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is what are my favorite cookbooks. I've confessed that I'm a cook-book-aholic, but through the volumes I of course have favorites. I've slowly but surely been working my way through Chef Chloe Coscarelli's 2nd book, Chloe's Vegan Desserts. I've written a little bit about her books in past posts. I think Chloe is a great ambassador for vegan food. She's young, vibrant, always smiling, and loves to make sweets. What I like about her books, especially this dessert book, is that for almost all the recipes, there are no special ingredients. It can be overwhelming when first getting your feet wet into the world of vegan cooking and baking. There's so many different cookbooks, so much information on the internet, so many conflicting opinions, and so many recipes that are overly complicated. Just because a recipe has thousands of ingredients, and/or exotic ingredients, doesn't mean it is going to be good. In fact, for newbies, recipes like that can turn people off to vegan cooking and baking.

Anyway, back to the bar cookies.  I'm making Chef Chloe's "beach cookies." A long time ago, somewhere that I cannot recall, I used to buy cookies like this. They were vegan, this I absolutely know. The thing is, the recipe base had vegan "sweetened condensed milk." This is a step I'd have to do myself. This calls for way too much preplanning. This was also many years ago when my life didn't seem to revolve 90% around my kitchen. I guess if I had that recipe today, I wouldn't been intimidated and I probably would take a crack at it. But, since I have Chloe's Vegan Desserts, why do I have to bother making something first before making the actual recipe.

Reading that paragraph, I suppose I have to laugh a little bit. Chef Chloe's beach cookies require vegan graham crackers. Oddly enough, I make my own. I use the recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, make the grahams, then pulverize them in my food processor. After that, I pack them into a container and freeze them for use in recipes. You can buy your own vegan graham crackers. Down here, the offerings are kind of limited for grahams, and for someone like me who uses a decent amount of graham crackers (I do make vegan key lime pies, and make my own crust more often than not, hence the graham crumbs always in my freezer) it makes more sense to make my own. You do not have to make your own, just make sure you use a vegan version of graham crackers, ok? Although I tend to sometimes play around with published recipes, the only thing I changed about Chloe's original published recipe is that I added 2 teaspoons of organic coconut extract.

Here's the beach cookies before baking.
I'll have to add the "after baking" picture later.
Believe it or not, they're still baking as I write!
 See you soon, for VeganMoFo Day #9. I do hope you've been enjoying the posts, and that you're checking out the tons of other fabulous blogs as well. Bake on!

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