Who doesn’t love oatmeal cream pies? Soft, chewy, and with more sugar than you probably need in a week. In my pregan days I had made this recipe and figured it couldn’t be that hard to veganize. I use flax in place of eggs because I love the texture and subtle it gives to the cookies, but I know some people just don’t care for the flavor, so I’m sure other replacers would work just as well. They do come out slightly crumbly but once they’re stuck together it’s not an issue, just be gentle until you get to that part. I also increased the cinnamon, but that’s just because oatmeal cookies without a strong taste of cinnamon just seems wrong to me. If you want them slightly more authentic the original recipe called for a mere 1/8 tsp and no nutmeg.

The biggest problem I had with the veganizing was the filling-the original called for marshmallow cream, and while I can get Ricemallow creme locally, the combination of the inconvenience not having any on hand (and  the  30+ minute drive to get some) and the large expense it adds made me think beyond the recipe. I finally decided on a slightly adapted buttercream, raising the shortening to EB ratio and increasing sugar to make completely stable at room temperature.

hooray for blurry cell phone pictures!

hooray for blurry cell phone pictures!

Cookies

  • 1 cup Earth Balance or your favorite vegan margarine at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup  brown sugar (or you could do regular sugar, just add in about an extra tablespoon of molasses with the wet ingredients)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1.5 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of flax seeds mixed with 4 tablespoons hot water and stirred until gloopy
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, depending on your preference
  • a dash of nutmeg, if you wish
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (the original called for quick oats but I’ve used both with good results)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I say “sift” but really, I just whisk it. Yes, I’m a slacker.
  2. Cream Earth Balance and sugars until as fluffy as you can, scraping the bowl as needed. It usually turns a few shades lighter. Add in the molasses, vanilla, and flax mixture and beat until combined.
  3. Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients until just combined. I usually add the flour mixture in two parts to make it easier, but I really don’t think it matters.
  4. Add in the oats and mix until combined. Sometimes this comes out a little too soft, if that happens your cookies will be thin. If you don’t like that (I don’t) try to add in more flour OR (a better option, IMO) let the batter chill in the fridge for a few minutes. I think having the earth balance too soft in step #2 is the real cause of this
  5. Drop by the tablespoon full onto a cookie sheet. I like my nonstick one for this. I also highly suggest using a cookie scoop here, it makes the finished product much prettier and easier to match up as sandwiches.
  6. Bake 8-12 minutes (I know this is a big variance but the size of your cookies and differences in ovens make it impossible to pinpoint a magic time) Basically watch for them to just begin to brown at the edges.
  7. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet. Don’t try to take them off too soon or you will wind up with a big, tasty mess. Cool them completely on wire racks before moving onto filling.

Filling

I’ll be honest-this is more of a guideline than an actual recipe. One of the few things I’ve never used a recipe is frosting. It’s pretty straightforward and hard to mess up. Beat shortening/margarine. Add flavor. Add sugar. Beat. Yum. Sorry I’m not very exact here.

  • about 3-4 tbl non-hydrogenated shortening or palm oil (room temperature)
  • 2-3 tbl Earth Balance or margarine (room temperature)
  • 1-2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • tiny dash of salt
  • lots of powdered sugar
  • a teaspoon or two of barely malt powder if you have it around, if not don’t worry about it.
  • a little milk, as needed.
  1. Cream together shortening and EB and then add salt and vanilla and mix well. I know, most recipes add the vanilla at the end and if that makes you more comfortable, go for it. I just think it’s easier that way. Also add the Barley malt now. And about that sifting I don’t do…it’s not a bad thing with the barley malt, it likes to turn into hard little balls. I like to add it at this step so I can easily pick out any that didn’t dissovle before moving on.
  2. Add powdered sugar about a cup or so at a time, and add a tablespoon or so of milk if you need to. Keep adding sugar until you have a fairly firm frosting and then beat on high until it’s nice and fluffy.

Assembly

Set half the cookies aside. Or, alternately, if you have mild OCD, pair up each cookie with its closest match and stack them in nice little pairs to save trouble later. Figure out your preferred filling application method-mine is an icing bag with a large round tip, but a knife will get the job done, too. Personally I line the cookies up and squeeze on the frosting all at once, this allows me to use up all the frosting (because who wants to waste that? and make sure they all have an even amount. When you’re done, just put one cookie on top of the other and gently push it down to spread the filling and adhere the cookies. Yum.

The problem with sushi…

October 5, 2009

I used the tempeh recipe from V’Con and the rice and fillings were great, plus I added in some carrots, cucumber, and wasabi (because I only made sushi for the wasabi!) I highly recommend the tempeh recipe, and I think the rice is fairly standard, but I just didn’t love it. I guess maybe it’s because I was never much of a fish/seafood person, but the nori just doesn’t do it for me. I loved the filling, the rice, and the combination of textures but fishiness just kept overpowering everything else. I’ve seen the neat little flavored soy wrappers in the grocery store but I think they’re like a dollar per sheet, far beyond my budget. Maybe next time I should try onigiri, if nothing else it seems like a big fun mess, I’m just not sure how to manage a “filling” of sorts.

Anyway, it was fun to make and surprisingly easy. The only part that didn’t work out so well was the cutting…I guess my knives just weren’t sharp enough, I tried out a few different ones with no luck. Oh, and I even managed to roll a beautiful inside out roll only to have it squish into oblivion when I tried to cut it. Here it is in all its misshapen glory:

If you aren’t overly sensitive to the taste of  “the sea” and you’ve been scared to try your hand at sushi making, I say go for it, it’s easy to make and fun. Then again I’m always up for anything that lets me make a big mess.

Survey

October 3, 2009

This quiz is from Whoa Wren and I thought it would be a fun post for today.

1. Favorite non-dairy milk? Plain Silk,  I really can’t find another that I like the flavor of and is readily available (and affordable!!) nearby.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook? Something from The Urban Vegan, tamales, and plenty of apple desserts. I love fall!

3. Topping of choice for popcorn? Salt and lots of freshly ground pepper

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure? Black bean and pumpkin soup-I think it was a Rachel Ray recipe. I know a lot of people love that flavor combo, but I just couldn’t eat it.

5. Favorite pickled item? Pickles. Yeah, I’m not too adventurous there. I did just check out Wild Fermentation so maybe that will change. I doubt it though.

6. How do you organize your recipes? Organize? That sounds like a great idea, I’ll try it some time!

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal? Some compost, some trash. I need to get a second compost bin/pile started so it can be all compost.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods…what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)? Tofu, self-replenishing cupcakes, and coffee (is that food?)

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood? My granny eating my black eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day when my mom wasn’t looking.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream? Right now Purely Decadent Vanilla Bean. I don’t really eat too much ice cream, though.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance? It’s a tossup between my food processor and my KitchenAid mixer…the food possessor is used more often and for more variety, but I use the mixer for fresh bread…okay, that’s like picking a favorite child.

12. Spice/herb you would die without? Cumin and fresh black pepper.

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time? I have the Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook and a few other veg cookbooks from years ago when I tried vegetarianism for the first time (as an adult) but I never use them anymore. For Omni cookbooks I have a BH&G cookbook from 2000 when my husband (then boyfriend) and I had our first apartment.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly? Seedless black raspberry

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend? Strawberry Tallcakes from VCTOTW

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh? Tofu!!! I love the seitan and temeph, but they just aren’t versatile like tofu.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)? Dinner, just because it’s much less rushed. Unless you count cookies and cupcakes as meals..

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator? Dog treats, lunch boxes, flashlight (hm, how did that get there??)

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking. Blueberries, strawberries, cherries

20. What’s on your grocery list? Some constants are bananas, brown rice, beans, tofu, and soymilk. Beyond that I switch it up.

21. Favorite grocery store? Ingles locally, EarthFare if I feel like driving a little further.

22. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet. I can’t think of anything right now…I guess I would like to find a cheesecake that suits my snobby palate.

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa’s because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3? I really need to get up on my blog reading, there are so many I get overwhelmed and just don’t know where to start. I’m sure that will all change now that I’m figuring out this new fangled blog reader stuff.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
I don’t buy very much candy…I do like keeping Ghirardelli chips on hand for baking “emergencies”

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately? I don’t really do extravagant, I have to keep a pretty tight budget. I guess to me the vegan cheese in my fridge could be considered extravagant in my sad little realm.

26. Ingredients you are scared to work with? I’m really not afraid of working with anything…I’m a big dork so I get excited about working with new things.

I’m really enjoying reading all the great posts, but wow! Every time I open Bloglines I have over 100 feeds–I was behind today so I’m at 286 unread, but I’m determined to make it through. I’m new to the whole commenting/following/blogging thing but I’m loving it! There is such a great sense of community and so much delicious looking food out there it’s like heaven!


VeganMoFo Post#2

October 3, 2009

I’m still kind of nervous about this whole blogging thing,  I am iffy about everything from my not so great camera, my inability to make up my own recipes and my lack of time to write up brilliant posts.  Then I realized– this doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m not trying to get fame or notoriety-I just want to share my love of the wonderful world of food that has opened up to me. I think that’s why this month is such a great time to start blogging-starting in MoFo pretty much forces me to jump right in and go. If I didn’t have a deadline of sorts I would probably put it off and make excuses about how busy I am or how that picture is a little off.

Just to give myself some direction for the days when I am in need of inspiration I reorganized  my pantry and cabinets and made a list of things that really need to be used up. Some are foods I love and just forget about (quinoa, masa harina) and others, I’m at a loss for what to do with (coconut flour) so hopefully at the end of the month I will have used each of  these at least once!

  • masa harina ( love it but all the good stuff seems so time consuming!)
  • panella
  • barely malt powder (for something other than twinkies or bread)
  • glutinous rice flour
  • spring roll wrappers
  • nori
  • thin rice noodles
  • quinoa
  • wheat berries (I just thought sprouted wheat berry bread would be great…didn’t turn out so awesome for me)
  • black rice
  • coconut flour
  • hot chili oil
  • coconut extract (somehow I have three full bottles…)
  • unhulled and black sesame seeds (I always forget about these)
  • dried black eyed peas
  • pistachio pudding
  • barley

If you have any good ideas or favorite recipes with these, let me know!!

Already a Day Behind…

October 2, 2009

Well, at least I started this post yesterday…I guess I’ll have to double post today to make up for it. Maybe this month will help me get over my ridiculous tendency to procrastinate on everything. I’m just going to pretend this went up yesterday because I’m really too lazy to change it all to past tense.

I can’t think of a better way to start off VeganMoFo! My husband’s job has an employee store that sells items from their warehouse that have somehow wound up with a damaged case. It’s primarily grocery, but he’s found all sorts of goodies in past, everything from nifty kitchen supplies–I have a variety of great rubber spatulas that cost like a buck a piece–to Tom’s of Maine goods for less than $2. Well, last night he found Purely Decadent Coconut Milk Ice Cream for $1.50 per pint!! So I’m now the proud owner of 3 or 4 chocolates and 3 vanillas. I love ice cream but don’t really eat a ton of it so that should last me for months. And I’m sure since it’s MoFo and all I’ll really need to search to find some yummy baked goods to go along with my stock. Mmmm apple crisp…

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

He also took some  Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles to share and  had requests from two people for their own personal batches. From his description they basically gobbled them down as if they were spicy, chocolatey crack, which is pretty much what they are. I’ve spent the last few months telling myself that I would NOT buy Isa’s cookie book when it comes out but thanks to these and the seven layer cookies plus the fact it’s released three days before my birthday (tell me that’s NOT a sign!) I feel my resolve weakening…maybe I can pretend I’ll start exercising if I get it. Does Wii bowling count as exercise? I’ll just say yeah on that one.

I’m not really sure how this experiment will work out but I have to admit I was pretty sad about missing out on the last two MoFo’s so I thought why be self-conscious and shy about it when I can just jump in-no excuses! I’m really excited about participating this year and hopefully keeping this up once October has passed. I truly love vegan cooking, there’s nothing more exciting than new ingredients and new recipes (well, besides new cookbooks or other kitchen goodies) so if nothing else I can ramble on about how much I love nooch or cardamom.