Apple Galette!


Okay, okay—I know I just said that I was wearying of baked goods. But how could I let this MoFo pass me by without making some sort of apple pie?! It would be a travesty. It would be a golden opportunity lost. It would be downright un-American.

Having conquered a lattice crust last year, I felt little pressure to go all-out for this pie. Instead, I fell prey to the easy and unaffected charm of a galette. To make a galette, you simply prepare a bottom crust and gently tuck it around a version of pie filling that’s less juicy than usual. It’s a great no-fuss option, especially because it’s meant to look rustic and a bit rough around the edges.

Top-down view of a small piece of galette on a white plate. It has little cut-out stars on top.

I borrowed heavily from this pear galette at RansomCakes, using that recipe for the crust. For the filling, I thinly sliced four Macintosh apples and tossed them with:

  • 2 T vegan sugar (plus a small dash of brown sugar)
  • 2 T spelt flour
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ginger
  • A few dashes nutmeg

I also borrowed the idea of using extra dough to make shapes on top of the galette. Stars aren’t particularly seasonal, but they’re the smallest cookie cutters I have!

To be honest, I wasn’t in love with this—the crust’s texture was a little off; it just wasn’t at allc crispy (S liked it, describing itc as “almost biscuit-y”). And it made a rather small galette, with just six or so small pieces. (That might’ve been my fault; I probably could’ve rolled the dough a bit thinner.) But it was easy and pretty quick to put together, so I’m not complaining!

What’s your favorite pie-type food to make or eat?

Seasonal Fruits Gone Savory: Apple Sage Fauxsage

When I decided on seasonal fruits as my MoFo theme, I wondered whether I’d experience fruit burnout at any point during the month. Would the sight of a single blueberry send waves of nausea crashing through my stomach? Would I dread hearing even a whisper of the word “pumpkin”? Would I begin to revile some of my favorite seasonal staples?! But I refused to let fear deter me. I was wary but determined.

Now, halfway through the month, I can say with cautious optimism that I am not burned out. My determination continues undaunted, and I think I will make it through the month with few lasting ill-effects. However, there’s one unanticipated side effect of all this fruit-eating: I’m a little sick of desserts and baked goods.

I know! I know! Heresy. And it could be worse; it’s not like all my recipes have yielded scores of cookies or cakes or pies. But still. Sometimes a girl needs a break from sugar.

To that end, enter the savory! Yes, friends, you can use seasonal fruits in savory applications. As a person who typically dislikes any creep of sweetness in my savory dishes, I approached this as a personal challenge. How could I incorporate fruit into savory dishes without offending my tastebuds? Well, I started with sausage.

A tin foil packet opened to reveal a thick log of vegan sausage sliced into rounds.

I was never much of a sausage fan when I ate actual meat. We had hot dogs every so often, but that was about the closest my immediately family got to sausage. My extended family on my dad’s side cooked with sausage—mostly chouriço—more frequently, thanks to our Portuguese roots. But sausage in general always squicked me out a bit. The idea of ground-up bits of questionable meat mashed into a solid tube is revolting, and stuffing into a casing is just repellent.

Funnily enough, as a vegan, I love meat-free sausages! Field Roast and Tofurky offer up some mean options; Tofurky’s beer brats are my number-one choice for barbecues. But seitan-based sausages are also really easy (and less expensive) to make yourself. I recently purchased a very large amount of vital wheat gluten from Amazon (it’s way too pricy in brick-and-mortar stores around here) and wanted to start usin’ it, so I hit up 500 Vegan Recipes for inspiration. When I encountered the Apple Sage Fauxsage recipe, I knew it was meant to be. The recipe makes one large sausage, which you bake in the oven for an hour and a half. I delighted in watching it slowly expand and nearly burst its tin-foil packaging.

The result is an intensely tasty sausage that does indeed let the apple flavor shine. Of course, I was worried that the apple flavor would be too sweet. The first bite seemed to confirm my fears, but after a few more chomps I decided I liked it after all. S really enjoyed it as well; it was his first taste of a homemade seitan sausage.

Three-quarter length view of a white plate with three slices of sausage, three small boiled golden potatoes, and a pile of sauerkraut. In the background is a bottle of pumpkin beer.

Charmed with the idea of a German-inspired meal, I followed the suggestion in 500 Vegan Recipes and served up my sliced sausage with steamed potatoes and sauerkraut. What our dinner lacked in color, it made up for in fill-your-belly goodness. A seasonal pumpkin beer rounded out the meal perfectly. ;)

How do you feel about vegan sausages? What’s your favorite way to use seasonal fruits in savory applications?

Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream

A confession: I had an ulterior motive for making the granola I shared yesterday. I wasn’t lying when I said I’d been dreaming of it for weeks, but there was another incentive: ice cream.

Three-quarter view of a small glass bowl filled with four scoops of a light-colored ice cream streaked with blueberry swirls and granola.

Oh yes.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to use some of my credit card points to purchase an ice cream maker. I’d been waffling about the purchase for a while, trying to decide whether it would utterly annihilate any aspirations of minimalism I had. I mean, it’s a small appliance with a single purpose! (Fine, three purposes if you could making sorbet and frozen yogurt separately!) It’s another THING I’d own and have to make space for and cart around with me when I move! How could I justify it?!

But then I realized I was trapped myself in a self-imposed definition of minimalism. My minimalism can be whatever I want it to be, as long as it works for me. Maybe it’s a cop-out, but I don’t want to feel restricted by my lifestyle. I also realized that whatever teensy amount of anxiety I might feel about owning another THING would be wholly trumped by the sheer joy I’d experience from being able to make my own delicious vegan ice cream. This freaking ice cream maker is not just going to make ice cream—it’s going to make me happy. It sounds materialistic, but c’mon—doesn’t a sweet frozen treat just make you wanna smile?

So now I own an ice cream maker. :) Its inaugural batch was this Blueberry Crumble Ice Cream recipe I stumbled upon recently. Coincidentally, Shannon over at Killer Bunnies, Inc. also made this ice cream for MoFo! Her theme is straight-up ice cream, so I’ve been getting inspiration for future frozen treat-making from her posts.

Oh, and the ice cream itself? Yeah, it’s about as good as it looks. It’s not terribly creamy, but it compensates with a medley of flavors and textures that make every spoonful taste a little different.

I think I’m gonna like owning an ice cream maker.

Top-down view of the same bowl of ice cream.

Do you own an ice cream maker or similar one-purpose appliance? How do you feel about it? What’s your favorite vegan ice cream flavor?

 

 

Blueberry Pecan Granola

You know what’s surprisingly difficult to find at my local grocery stores? Quality vegan granola. They’re all too sugary or use honey or include milk chocolate. And the good ones are damn expensive! Yuck. Happily, it’s pretty easy to work up a batch of homemade, inexpensive granola to your taste; the most challenging part is deciding on which add-ins to include!

I’ve wanted to use my beloved dried wild blueberries in granola since I first conceived of my MoFo theme. This weekend, I finally did it! I created a blueberry granola lightly kissed with maple syrup and cinnamon and full of nutty crunch. It’s absolutely delicious, if I do say so myself. ;)

Top-down view of a small glass bowl filled with granola, dotted with pecans, sunflower seeds, and dried wild blueberries.

Blueberry Pecan Granola
Makes 2 1/2 cups, give or take

2 C rolled oats
1/4 C ground flax
Heaping 1/3 C raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 C chopped pecans
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
A few dashes nutmeg
1/4 C + 1 T melted coconut oil
1/4 C + 1 T pure maple syrup
1 t vanilla extract
Heaping 1/3 C dried wild blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and line a flat baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flax, pecans, sunflower seeds, and spices. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. (Warning: The resulting liquid will smell like heaven in a bowl. Resist the urge to go at it with a spoon!)

Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir to coat. Pour the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and add the dried blueberries, stirring to combine. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the oats are golden. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes.

(Full disclosure: I originally made this with just 1/4 C coconut oil, but it didn’t create as many granola clumps as I wanted. So I’m increasing the measurement by an additional tablespoon—if you try it, let me know how it works out!)

3/4 view of a baking pan lined with parchment and covered with a thin layer of granola, sans blueberries.

Ready to hit the oven.

Check back in tomorrow to see how I used this granola—it’s gonna be good!

What’s your favorite kind of granola? How do you eat it?

MoFo Monday: Hot Pumpkin Mug


A confession: The recipe I made for this week’s MoFo Monday isn’t actually from a blogger who’s participating in VeganMoFo this year. I knowww. However, Kathy Patalsky from Healthy. Happy. Life. is a rockstar vegan blogger and cookbook author who just so happened to post a recipe that I desperately wanted to try. I’d actually planned to make Angela’s crazy-amazing Apple Pie Chia Seed Breakfast Parfait, buttt I didn’t realize that Costco closes at 6:00 on Sundays, and that’s where I was planning to stock up on chia seeds (rather than pay out the nose at Whole Foods). Oops. Next week?

Anyway, I quickly changed plans last night and decided to make Kathy’s Hot Pumpkin Mug this morning instead. Basically, Kathy stripped out the caffeine that you typically find in a hot pumpkin beverage and let the pumpkin shine. It’s a creamy, spicy, frothy drink that’ll warm your belly and fill you up.

Three-quarter view of a small green-blue mug filled with a light orange foam dusted with cinnamon.

My pumpkin drink wasn’t nearly as orange as Kathy’s, even though I cheated and added some turmeric for color. And I didn’t have time this morning to make coconut whipped cream. But it was still absolutely lovely! S is sitting at his computer right now, drinking it and making satisfied Mmm sounds. :)

What’s your favorite warm beverage? What’s your favorite pumpkin beverage?

Lazy Sunday II

Just like I did last Sunday, today I’ll take a breather and answer some of the official MoFo blogging prompts. (I know, yesterday was nothing if not a breather… but a girl’s gotta rest up on the weekends!) So far today I’ve fed and walked Moria, had breakfast (tea, a grapefruit, and toast), and finished reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane (if you like Neil Gaiman at all, read it!). I’m currently trying to decide whether I’ll bother showering today, and soon I’ll mosey over to the kitchen to start prepping some food for the week. If I can work in some knitting later, this will be pretty darn close to my perfect lazy Sunday.

Anyway, enough about my slothdom. On to the questions!

What’s the best vegan meal you’ve ever eaten?

Here’s the thing. I am horrible—horrible!—at choosing a favorite anything. While I do have strong feelings about many topics (feminism, not texting while driving, the repellent nature of stray hairs), I’m often hard-pressed to choose favorites, especially when put on the spot. And with this question in particular, well, I’m lucky to have eaten many scrumptious vegan meals.

But.

One particular meal stands out.

A tall phyllo crust stuffed with ground nuts and lentils sitting on a sweet potato mash and surrounded by a pool of dark brown gravy.

Just over a year ago, between shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, S and I had dinner at Henderson’s, and the Nut Roll blew. my. mind. so much so that I still remember it every so often with a little sigh. You can read about the details here. Bottom line? It might very well be the best vegan meal I’ve had. My mouth is watering just remembering it.

But a meal is about more than just the food. It’s about the circumstances in which you ate it and the people with whom you shared it. I shared this meal with my steadfast, sweet S during a truly wonderful vacation together in a city (and country) I just adored. It would be difficult to top that. :)

What was your first vegan cookbook?

This one’s easier to answer! I received Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan with a Vengeance for Christmas in 2008. I’d been vegetarian for a while and, after slowly realizing that being vegetarian didn’t quite hold with my ethics, wanted to explore veganism. These cookbooks helped me feel comfortable cooking and eating vegan. I treasured them, thumbing through them over and over, learning about new-to-me ingredients, and delighting in my vegan enlightenment. I still cook from them.

Talk about your favorite place to buy vegetables.

My favorite place to buy vegetables is at the west-side Willy Street Co-op at around 8:00 PM, when the store is mostly empty and I can have the aisles nearly to myself. I feel like I ought to say the farmers’ market, but honestly? Crowds make me nervous, and my experiences with farmers’ markets are never fully positive because they are invariably crowded. Not so my beloved co-op. Plus, it always has a good selection of local vegetables and includes info about their sources on its price cards.

Alas—I now live exactly 696 miles from my beloved co-op, and I’ve yet to find a worthy replacement. We can walk to a Giant in five minutes, but their produce is your typical big-box grocery store fair. Trader Joe’s is a seven-minute drive away, and they do stock a small amount of local fruit and veg, but the selection varies and is not often organic. Whole Foods is about a 15-minute drive away, but it’s not cheekily called “Whole Paycheck” for nothin’! So, all that’s to say that I’m still searching for a new favorite place to get my veggie fix. I think I’ll participate in a CSA next year, because I’ve had very good luck with them in the past… and there are no crowds. ;)

What variety!

What’re your answers to any/all of these questions? What are you doing on this Sunday?

In Which I Try to Link Empanadas with My MoFo Theme

Happy Saturday! If you think this post is going up much later in the day than any of my other MoFo posts have, well… you’re absolutely right. Truth be told, I don’t have anything particularly fruity to blog about today! We desperately need to hit up the grocery store: there’s no almond milk in the fridge and my fruit supplies are running low. Plus, we spent much of today in DC at the Corcoran, gettin’ our culture on. All that art* wore me out; I slept through most of the metro ride home. I’m still waiting for my second wind!

So… where will the seasonal fruit come into this post, you ask? Oh, don’t worry. I’m about to make an extremely tenuous connection.

After leaving the Corcoran, we were hungry. Not wanting to drop a huge chunk of change on lunch, we’d looked up cheaper options in the area, and Julia’s Empanadas popped up in my search as a venue that offers a rotating vegan option. There are four locations in DC, one of which is a 15-minute walk from the Corcoran and decently close to the Dupont Circle metro. Sold! Today, their veg option featured spinach, white beans, onions, and a few other assorted veggies. Neither S nor I could really discern a distinct and overriding flavor, but we detected a hint of curry. But that’s not to say they were bland! Instead, they were richly flavorful and warming on a slightly chilly September day. S and I each got one but ended up returning for a third to share.

Top-down view of a half-eaten empanada in my hot little hands.

Check out my beloved Mat & Nat bag in the corner!

But I don’t want to overpraise the empanadas’ innards at the expense of their… outards…? Hm. Invented words aside, the empanada dough was slightly sweet, with a flavor of its own that comes from butternut squash, which is—botanically speaking—a fruit. BAM. Themed!

What did you do today? What’s your favorite empanada filling?

*More specifically, the war photos exhibit. Wow. Incredibly moving and not for the faint of heart or stomach. Highly recommended if you’re in the area!