Saturday, January 5, 2008
Soup and baked goods
Wednesday night, I made Porcini-Wild Rice Soup from Veganomicon. Comme d'habitude, I substituted 4 stalks of celery for the onion. Since I had it in the pantry, I used a brown rice blend instead of wild rice and dried thyme instead of fresh. The porcinis smelled pretty bad when they were soaking, so I was a bit worried, but I shouldn't have been. This soup has a lovely, mellow flavor that is perfectly comforting and hearty. The leftovers are more of a creamy risotto than a soup, as all the liquid absorbed, but I'm ok with that.
Yesterday morning, knowing that I'd have a crowd of people over later in the day, I baked the Maple Pistachio Cremes and Crumb-Topped Brownies from My Sweet Vegan. Let me tell you, the pistachio creme is divine. Thank goodness I have some left over. I wonder if it'll make an appearance in a sandwich or if I won't be able to resist just eating it with a spoon. It's sweetened with maple syrup, so it's not unhealthy in the sugar department. Side note about making the pistachio creme: It took a long time for the pistachios to form a paste in my food processor (a very nice Cuisinart), so be patient with it and make sure to scrape down the sides often. The cookie part is soft and subtly maple-flavored. I was pleased with the texture, especially because I was a little concerned that they'd be crumbly after cooling. All in all, with the exception of the time it took to make a pistachio paste, this is a quick and easy recipe with delicious results.
The brownies also came together fairly quickly. I do recommend seriously cooling your melted Earth Balance before adding it to the mix. As in, see if you can wait until it's actually cool and not just lukewarm. It tends to re-solidify easily. I had difficulty getting the crumb topping for the brownies to actually form clumps. Instead, I had a very soft paste even after sprinkling in a tiny bit more powdered sugar. I'm not sure what happened, but I simply dropped the paste in small dollops on top of the uncooked brownie batter anyway. The brownies came out fudgy and rich and absolutely delicious. It didn't have the crumb topping, as the paste kind of held the shape of the dollops I'd dropped, but who cares. They taste fantastic and the texture is perfect!
In non-homemade food news, I tried the Berry Almond Luna Bar today and am not a fan. :( It's chewy, tangy, and tastes ok, but it's not what I want out of a Luna Bar, you know? I'm partial to the flavors that have the soy yogurt coating on the bottom and are a little more dense, not the ones that are more like a soft granola bar. So, it's really just a matter of my personal preference and not that they taste horrible. Maybe you're more of a soft granola bar person and you'll love them. :)
I'm planning to attend a vegan Meet-Up event at Madeleine Bistro, a gourmet vegan restaurant in the San Fernando Valley, this afternoon. Let's see if I can remember to take my camera!