Sunday, December 30, 2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

things I made for christmas

before during cardamom nut brittle
Fragrant Indian Brittle from epicurious. For some reason that name sounds disgusting to me so I prefer to think of it as Cardamom Nut Brittle. The recipe says to cook the sugar to 350 degrees but everyone in the epicurious comments is complaining about that. The sugar temperature chart I looked at said that 310-320 is good for brittles, so I stopped at about 315 and it was fine. It is really fascinating how sugar changes as it goes through its stages. I want to try making vegan caramels. I don't even like candy that much, but it is so interesting. Anyway, the brittle might be more exciting with some black pepper or cayenne. I used the full amount of cardamom, I don't know what those epicurious commenters were complaining about there, waaah wah too much cardamom. I wish there was some kind of system for epicurious comments where you could tell who has a helpful comment and who is just a bad cook.

chocolate hazelnut biscotti
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti from Veganomicon. Really good but yet again I had to add an extra huge amount of flour. What is wrong with me and my measuring cup???

sugar almonds
Sugared almonds. I burnt the crap out of the first batch of these. The recipe is vague. You have to cook the sugar syrup for quite a while before adding the almonds, otherwise the almonds burn before the coating is done. If I had still had the candy thermometer out on the second batch of these, I could be more helpful right now. At first the sugar syrup boils in big bubbles, and then it starts to be more foamy. I added the almonds at that point, but they were on the verge of burning, so it might have still been a little early. It is very exciting when the sugar seizes up and dries out and then re-melts. It might be better to do in a skillet. And, it would be better to use twice as many almonds. When you pour them out with this ratio, there is a huge glob of goo and it's impossible to get the almonds unclumped. So it's finicky but they're very pretty and tasty at the end.

I feel inordinately guilty whenever I don't love something from Veganomicon. This is the mushroom walnut pate. It looks just like cat food and it is kind of bland. Maybe I didn't add enough salt. But it seems like it needs some porcini mushrooms or something.

ginger pomegranate punch
My mom gave me a punch bowl so I had to make punch. This is ginger pomegranate punch and it is great. There was a massive pomegranate related shortage at the supermarket so I had to use "pomegranate cocktail" instead of pure pomegranate juice but I bet it would be even better with real pomegranate juice.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

merry christmas!

Merry Christmas, blog readers!

Monday, December 24, 2007

christmas eve

Ooooh, look what I got for christmas, a fancy flash. No more artistically blurry indoor photographs! Now I can terrorize everyone with my camera even more and they can whine even more. Waaah, that is so bright, are you the paparazzi, you are burning out our eyeballs, waaaah wah...

oscar likes my grandpa
Oscar likes my grandpa.

a portly dog in a christmas sweater dearly wants some stinky cheese
Also, Oscar is crazy for Limburger cheese.

bow head
My cousin. Isn't the non-blurriness astounding?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

cut outs

Today I decorated christmas cookies with my parents and somehow, probably due to the wine, the family togetherness degenerated into making unflattering cookie depictions of each other.
mom2 me mom me2
That's me with the fangs.
Ah, the holiday season.

Friday, December 21, 2007

ginger cookies

sparkled ginger cookie
I don't know what it is about me and Vegan with a Vengeance, but it seems like my doughs are always way too sticky. It is odd because I measure my flour wrong anyway, by dipping the cup into the bag, instead of by sprinkling it into the cup grain by grain with a teaspoon or however you are supposed to do it, and that's supposed to give you too much flour. Well ANYWAY. I added an extra half cup or so of flour. I like these Sparkled Ginger Cookies a lot, they are not too sweet despite being covered in sugar. But I'm taking them to my lab holiday party and I don't know how they will go over there. They're great with a cup of tea but maybe they won't be good with a big cup of pop. Ick. I don't know how people can drink pop. It's not really like me to fret over the unrefined tastes of my cookie audience. It must be the benevolent spirit of the winter holidays.

I switched to saying "soda" a long time ago but I'm using "pop" here for the authentic Buffalo flavor.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

oscar and yeast

Last night I had a dream that Oscar was being swallowed by a giant snake. I had a little knife and I was trying to decide how I should hack open the snake to get Oscar out. Luckily I was having this dream in the 7 minutes of snooze alarm time so I woke up before I had to do any cutting. I love Oscar. Look at his little tail!

I do not love nutritional yeast. One of my most disgusting memories of my vegan roommate from five years ago was the horrible boxed macaroni-and-yeast he ate all the time. But I thought maybe I was at a level of veganism where I might be able to try again with the pasta/nutritional yeast combo. It is like Level 8 or something. Right above the ability to actually enjoy soy ice cream. Anyway, I would probably like this better if I hadn't tasted the sauce beforehand. Or hadn't smelled it. There is some subtle tone in the smell of nutritional yeast that I cannot handle at all. Anyway, for one bite I would think this was the most delicious thing ever, and then the next bite would make me feel ill. Maybe it's that it looks cheesey and I forget it's not cheese. So, it was a very complex experience which I will attempt again in a year or two. (It's mac daddy from Veganomicon and I fully endorse the recipe, if you like nutritional yeast.)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

crumby cranberry squares

Mmmm. Cranberries. Based on this recipe, except with earth balance instead of butter, and made in a 9x13 pan instead of 7x10 (7x10? wtf?) because otherwise they are too thick. And the baking times reduced a little bit.