April 30, 2012

Scalloped Potato Casserole

Growing up I loved scalloped potatoes. Everytime my dad would make them, I would be in heaven! I actually had no concept of what was in them until recently, when I tried to make them, and had to ask around, thinking It was cheese, and things. But no, there is no cheese. And they're really easy to make... and I turned them into a casserole!

Scalloped Potato Casserole
2 tbsp vegan margarine
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp rice flour
2 tbsp cold water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk

3 Largish potatoes, sliced thin
1 smallish onion, chopped
1/2 a yellow pepper, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup frozen peas

Preheat the oven to 375.
In a pot, bring your margarine, milk, and spices to a boil.
In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch, rice flour, and cold water. Slowly add to the mixture, whisking until thickened and smooth.
Line the bottom of a casserole dish (Mine wasn't very large, probably has about a 6 cup capacity) with a layer of sliced potatoes. Top with all the mushrooms, and 1/3 of the onions. Pour 1/4 of the sauce on top of it.
Add another layer of potatoes, and the yellow pepper, and 1/3 of the onions. Pour another 1/4 of the sauce.
Add a third layer of potatoes, the peas, and the rest of the onions, and then top with a final layer of potatoes. Pour the rest of the sauce on top of the casserole. Cover.
Bake for 30-45 minutes, until sauce is boiling and the potatoes are cooked through.
I added an optional crust, where you mix together some rice flour, salt, pepper, and margarine, and crumble on top, and then broil for about 5 minutes, until the crust is crispy. This is completely optional.

April 27, 2012

Recovery Food

So I haven't been updating in a while, but trust me, it was for the best.

For those of you who don't know me, you were unaware that a few weeks ago, I contracted a nasty salmonella infection. You might be wondering "Wait a minute, she doesn't eat eggs! How did she get salmonella?" Well, you can get salmonella from lots of things, in my case we've narrowed it down to 2 possibilities: 1, A salad I ate, or 2, from contact with someone infected with it.

I knew I hated salads.

So anyway, I still have not quite recovered, and all I've been eating has been brown rice and peas, not exactly bloggable food by any stretch of the imagination, as brown rice and peas tends to be not very exciting in general.

I decided to mix it up a bit yesterday, and made something equally as safe on the tummy, but with a bit more of a deliciousness factor. So I made some flavored polenta.

Easy Bok Choy and Mushroom Flavored Polenta
1 cup Mushroom Broth (if you don't like mushroom broth, use whatever kind you want)
4 tbsp Cornmeal or dry polenta (these are technically the same thing, just named differently)
a few baby bok choys, chopped up. (Can't find Bok Choy? Spinach is a good alternative)

Mix together the cornmeal and broth. Bring to a boil.
Stir while boiling until it is nice and thick.
Add in the bok choy, and cook until the dark green parts are nice and bright green. (I cooked mine from frozen, so they took a little extra, but it should take under a minute!)
Transfer to bowl and eat! It's that easy. And my stomach didn't reject it!

April 13, 2012

Taking Sponge Toffee to it's Next Logical Conclusion

No big post, just two pictures about what I did with my sponge toffee! Why Han Solo, you might be asking? Because it was the only mold I had that was big enough to make a chocolate bar with, a gift from my cousin Amelia at christmas... also you can see part of the mold didn't quite temper properly, however I figure practice makes perfect!

Basically you melt a chocolate bar, and fill a silicone mold 1/3 of the way. Tap it on the counter to get rid of any bubbles, and stick it in the fridge for about 1 minute. Crumble up some sponge toffee, and top the poured chocolate with it. Cover that with more chocolate, tapping the mold a few time to dispel any bubbles. Stick in the freezer a few minutes until fully set. Pull the sides of the mold to loosen it, and push it out. Then you have a crunchy bar! If you want it to look super pretty, don't forget to Temper it!

Look at the crunchy goodness! Mine looks ragged on the edges because I didn't quite have enough chocolate to reach the top of the mold. It's still pretty good though!

April 12, 2012

Late Night Maple Sponge Toffee

Usually when you make a dessert as a vegan who is also gluten free, you know that you'll probably be substituting all sorts of ingredients so that you can eat it.

Imagine a recipe where not only do you not have to do this, but that also takes about 5 minutes of actual cooking time, is simple, and seems more complicated and decadent than it is?

You have Sponge Toffee my friend.

Maple Sponge Toffee
1 1/4 cup vegan sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 tbsp water
1 tsp maple extract
1 tbsp baking soda
Vegetable Spray

First, a tiny bit of prep work (really easy prep work). Take a container of some kind, it could be a pie pan, or cake pan. I used a plastic rectangular container. It should be largish, but doesn't need to be huge. A regular cake pan would be fine.
Line your container with some parchment paper, and press into shape as best you can. Spray the container with vegetable spray, so the parchment paper is nicely coated.
Alright, now we can begin cooking. In a medium sized sauce pot, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and water. Mix until it's pretty well combined. Turn your stove to medium high heat, and bring to a boil, mixing it sparingly, just to combine it.
Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to medium, and clip on a candy thermometer. (If you don't have a candy thermometer, read the notes at the bottom of the page!)
Once it reaches 300* F, remove from heat. Quickly stir in the maple extract, and then the baking soda. Stir well to break up any chunks.
You have to move  quickly, because it will foam up a LOT. Quickly pour into the oiled container, and shove in the fridge to cool.
Once cool, break apart and eat the divine heck out of it!

Don't have a candy thermometer? No Worries!
Place a cold cup of cold water next to you, and have a spoon at the ready. After about 2 minutes of boiling, take a little bit of the mixture, and drip into the cup. If it forms hard threads that crack when  you take them out and bend them, it's done. If not, keep it boiling, checking every 30 seconds or so, until it reaches this "Hard Crack Stage"

April 10, 2012

My Easter Weekend, Part 1- The Bridal Shower

So this weekend was a pretty exciting one, as I was given a SUPER GREAT bridal shower by my sister.

It began with me arriving the night before with my friend Andrea and Matthew, and seeing some of these decorations:

Pretty cute eh? Those little lanterns were so adorable! She even got the tablecloth you see in the first one to match them! It was very very pretty (I have a great sister!)
Next, she plunked this down in front of me:
Apparently, she stopped at David's Tea on the way to get some iced tea, and they asked why she was dressed so fancy. She replied that she was going to her little sister's bridal shower, and they gave her a bag of this tea to give me FOR FREE. David's Tea is great! (even if they hadn't given me free tea, they have all sorts of great teas!)
So moving on, Krista pulled out all sorts of delicious foodstuffs, including, of course, different types of hummus.
And then my other sister Jolene brought some DIVINE gluten free vegan cupcakes (remind me to get the recipe!) They were awesome.
Look at that thing? I totally had about five of them!
Krista also made some delicious pink lemonade, and my friend Andrea cut up a billion lemon slices to go in it, and it looked super super pretty!
Everything seemed to coordinate beautifully (even my top, which was a total accident, haha)
So tonnes of wonderful people came, and I got lots of wonderful presents, including cookbooks from my childhood friend Meaghan:
I'm pretty excited to try some of these recipes, especially the ones in the gluten free vegan comfort food, which have some of the most fabulous looking recipes for semi junk food that I've ever seen, and as you can see by that little roll in that photo, I love me my comfort food :)
Also, check out these adorable salt and pepper shakers! They're kissing!
The bridal shower was wonderful, and my sister did an AMAZING job! I have the best family and friends, and am incredibly lucky!