Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vegan Coconut Matcha Swirl Pound Cake

This is my last week of Orthodox fasting from bleeding animal products, but this year I'm feeling really good and not missing my favorite dairy products (CHEESE) too badly. I really haven't felt any "struggle" fasting, in fact I feel pretty awesome. I want to keep this up and keep feeling great, however, will take a short break to help husband eat large wheel of recently purchased brie.

This pound cake came together like flow. It's texture was a tad crumbly, but the crumbs squeeze together effortlessly. The important part is that it was moist and very rich tasting.

Have you noticed swirl pound cake recipes use a stingy amount for the swirl/best part (half a cup or less!), I used more like a cup because swirl is like having more charms in your lucky. 

This cake baked up beautiful! Coconut and mactha are a match made in heaven. Perfume-y tea and tropical coconut, this does it for me! I love the basic recipe of this pound cake too just think of all the combinations - rhubarb vanilla bean, pandan coconut, almond and rose, marionberry and hazelnut...shall I continue? Happy green spring to you!

Vegan Coconut Matcha Swirl Pound Cake

2 cup AP flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
3/4 cup sugar (used unrefined sugar)
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup coconut milk ( used So Delicious brand)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup veganaise
2 tablespoons matcha powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.
In a large bowl beat coconut oil (slightly warm if your house in cold!) with sugar and vanilla until smooth. 
Take turns incorporating coconut milk, veganaise, flour mixture and coconut flakes.
Scoop out about 1/2 - 1 cup of batter and mix in matcha powder.
Pour non-matcha batter into a vegan-greased baking vessel then plop matcha batter on top to swirl to heart's content.
Sprinkle with more sugar if you want!
Bake for 50 minutes.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Carrot Top Hummus

The hummus spring is in full effect and we're getting teased with a peppering of 70+ degree days in the Pacific Northwest. The farmers market is back in full effect (minus the fruit) and everyone is out in their fabulous pale-faced selves. The first signs of spring make me think of beautiful carrots (and bunnies) - like these ones, in their almost natural picmonkey-skewed state. But the true pee-ees duh ree-sist-tahnse proved to be the tops - clearly begging to be made into hummus! What do carrot tops taste like? Vegas? Luxor? Self-deprecation? No! More like a fresh herbal tasting green that is perfect for a Springtime hummus.

Carrot Top Hummus

1 bunch of carrot tops
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chickpeas (or 1 16 oz can, liquor reserved)
1 tablespoon tahini

Blend All ingredients save for the chickpeas together in either a blender or food processor until smooth. Add in chickpeas and blend down until it reaches your desired consistency. Serve with carrots and enjoy the Spring!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Super Lemon Hummus

Who remembers Super Lemons? Where I grew up, we loved them so much I was even on a soccer team named after the ultra sour candy. We didn't eat chocolate or Jolly Ranchers, nope-- we ate Super Lemons, often times hoarded away in that ultra secret JanSport backpack pocket inside a pocket. 

What happened to Super Lemons? I have no idea. I became too distracted by more adult-like activities; drinking mochas from Coffee Society and lunching on sushi at Miyake's. Cupertino lifestyle of the 90s! Then I left my hometown for good and forgot hard about that sour candy I was so obsessed with. 

Fast forward three moves to Portland (3rd times a charm, right?). It's dead winter in the Pacific Northwest, meaning no sign of fruit until the 'barbs come out early Spring. I splurge on citrus to make it through these dark months (ok ok, it's a HELL of a lot better than Philly winters). This time around, it was a mix of pink lemons, sweet meyer lemons and Eureka lemons. The first thing I do of course is make hummus using as much lemon as possible. When I think it's too much, I can't help myself I add another squeeze of sunshine. 

Super lemon hummus

1 pink lemon
1 meyer lemon
1 eureka lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tsp sea salt
1 can of chick peas, liquor reserved
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Zest and juice all lemons into a food processor, saving about 1 tsp for later. Add garlic, salt, tahini, and olive oil and whirl briefly until blended. Add chick peas and blend until smooth, adding bean liquor to thin down to your liking OR more lemon juice. Scrap out into a bowl, drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle remaining lemon zest. Taste the sunshine!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

PDX Pretzel Throw Down: Girasole Pizza

Not the best of pretzel photography, but I could not let this stop me from adding Girasole's wood-fired pretzel to the Throw Down. It's always a good day when you find a pretzel in a non-pretzel serving location. This time it was a pizzeria in St. Johns. These pretzels are clearly made by hand by people who make pizza on the reg - hence the hand-crafted unique shapes.  They're boiled, salted and fired in the oven along with the wonderful pizzas Girasole pumps out. The pretzels come with a BOWL of warm white cheddar-jalapeno cheese dipping sauce, which is how dips should be served anyway. Just to give you a perspective, the bowl of cheese is the same size as the pretzel. This makes me happy considering the only other joint in town that does this is my favorite

Husband and friends BeckyBeau and myself enjoyed the first one so much we ordered a second.
Girasole's rendition of the pretzel does not include lye or mustard - it's about soft, pillowy dough, a chewy crust, some salt and glorious tangy-creamy cheese sauce. And how can you say no to that?

Girasole Pizza
8438 N Lombard
Portland, OR

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Indian Tzatziki

I was once tricked by an Indian friend into attending an Indian single mixers night. I walked in the room introducing myself as Anya from Punjab. People actually believed this Greek and it turned out to be an incredibly fun night. It was probably this night that inspired the tzatziki. 

I've never experimented cooking anything Indian at home since 1) I had friends who had Indian moms and 2) It's overwhelming too many moving parts gathering up all the spices, roasting and toasting them, milling them and simmering for hours. My way out is adding spices like turmeric and curry to foods and pretending. So, I did it again, but this was so successful and easy I had to share. 

I found Poona Kheera cucumbers in Portland at the Portland State Farmers market - an Indian cucumber - crisp and juicy with a hint of Asian pear. It was a last of the season affair, but I'm sure these will be back when the sun comes back. In the meantime, it might be interesting to try a Persian cucumber and a bit of Asian pear. 

There is nothing magical about this tzatziki - I just put a twist on the original by using this super crispy cuke, adding good curry powder and cilantro instead of dill. Homemade naan was swapped for pita and voila, a whole new Friday night appetizer happened. 

Here is the basic recipe but feel free to add more/less curry according to taste.

Indian Tzatziki

1 cup Fage yogurt (full fat or 2%)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced or passed through garlic press
2 tsp cilantro, chopped finely
2 tsp curry powder
1 large Poona Kheera (if you can't find, try subbing a Persian cucumber and 1 quarter of an Asian pear), grated, strained in colander

Squeeze cucumber to insure excess liquid is removed. Stir all ingredients together. Taste to adjust seasoning and salt. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve with naan.