BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked


32 Comments

Shameless Self-Promotion

Temporarily overshadowed by the frozen delight that was my ice cream feature in the most recent issue of VegNews magazine, I completely failed to mention the other delicious recipes I contributed photos for. How such stellar recipes could slip my mind, I can’t begin to explain!

Do you have tons of excess summer produce rolling around on your counter? Try pickling them! These approachable formulas from Jesse Miner are quick and easy, with novel flavor combinations to boot. Can you say “Spicy Indian Cauliflower Pickles”? Golden-hued, warmly spiced, and invigoratingly tangy, they were easily my favorite of the three.

Fans of Gena Hamshaw likely not only know about her Raw Energy Bars, but have already made and devoured them. For everyone else, consider this your extra push: With only two ingredients, you really can’t get a more wholesome sweet snack.

Speaking of VegNews, their annual Veggie Awards have just opened as of yesterday. Nominated in three categories, I would like to think that there’s a decent chance of at least one of them pulling through, but I’m up against some seriously stiff competition. The best names in Veganism are all there, so I’m seriously going to need all the help I can get! Cast your vote today, and I’d be forever grateful if you could check the ballots for me under the following options:

Favorite Cookbook Author
Favorite Blog (BitterSweet)
Favorite VegNews Column (My Sweet Vegan)

Now I won’t stoop to such desperate measures as bribery… But do keep your eyes peeled for some fun and delicious giveaways soon to come to the blog!


29 Comments

We All Scream…

…For National Ice Cream Month! Did you know that since 1984, thanks to Ronald Reagan, July has been officially designated as National Ice Cream Month? Clearly there’s no better time than the present to share my latest VegNews magazine article, found in the fresh July/August issue, which just so happens to be a feature on vegan ice cream recipes that go way beyond just chocolate and vanilla. Craving a decadent frozen dessert to keep the summer heat at bay? Imagine Hot Chocolate Ice Cream, with a rich dark chocolate base littered throughout with bouncy vegan marshmallows, or Raspberry-Mint Truffle Ice Cream, a refreshing combination of fresh berries and herbs, with whole semi-sweet chocolate truffles to amp up the indulgence-factor. Don’t forget what might actually be the easiest ice cream ever churned up, the Purple Cow Ice Cream.

Inspired by the traditional soda shop float made with grape soda and vanilla ice cream, I like to play a bit of role reversal and switch it up by creating a grape ice cream, with only two ingredients (three if you count salt.) Serve in a tall glass with thoroughly chilled cream soda for the full complement of tastes and textures.

Purple Cow Ice Cream

1 3/4 Cups Plain Non-Dairy Milk
3/4 Cup (1/2 of a 12-Ounce Can) Frozen 100% Concord Grape Juice Concentrate, Thawed
Pinch Salt

This is the best ice cream for beginners, as it literally could not be any easier to prepare. Just whisk everything together thoroughly in a medium-sized bowl until homogeneous, and chill for at least 30 minutes. Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and transfer to an air-tight container before stashing in the freezer. Let rest in the freezer for at least 3 hours before serving, until solid enough to scoop.

Catch the rest of the recipes mentioned above in VegNews magazine, and don’t forget, this is just another sweet sample spoonful of what’s to come in my forthcoming ice cream cookbook!

Printable Recipe


56 Comments

Reunited and It Tastes So Good!

Nine years is a long time to go without a childhood favorite. Comfort food that evokes the warmest, coziest memories, even if it did come out of a blue box and was composed of more chemicals than you might find in the average chemistry set. Something about that simple amalgamation of noodles and cheese-product sauce managed to reach the farthest corners of my young brain, imprinting a deep appreciation for the day-glow orange noodles. Sure, I’ve since had numerous non-dairy renditions, some even quite good and worthy of recommendation, but none were quite right. Some unidentifiable piece of the puzzle remained lost, that “perfect” mac and cheese just beyond my reach.

Every vegan and their mother and best friend has a unique formula for creating their ideal mac, so it was one of those things I simply didn’t pursue. There were enough recipes that came close enough; why keep picking on something so close?

But then, there was the mac that changed everything. Assigned by VegNews to shoot their signature macaroni and cheese, as formulated by Allison Samson of Allison’s Gourmet, it was admittedly the first time I had ever made or eaten an oven-baked casserole version of the classic dish. That first bite was just short of transcendent- And even more so if you consider that fact that the original recipe included absolutely no nutritional yeast. A potato-based sauce, standing in for rich, cheesy-creamy-goodness? You bet.

And thus, my macaroni quest began.

Drawn back to my memories of simple stove-top mac, my first adaptation was to lose the casserole dish and bread crumbs. Feel free to add both back into the equation, as I was definitely impressed by how much those crispy edges added to the mix; it’s merely a matter of personal preference.

Naturally, I couldn’t keep away from the nooch, what with it’s delicious umami notes and undeniably “cheesy” essence.

Rich, but not unctuous or artery-clogging, this is perhaps as close to perfection as I’ve tasted in nine years or more. Creamy, very saucy (who hasn’t wished those boxes made about twice as much sauce?), bright but natural orange in hue, this is the mac I’ve been craving all along. That long awaited reunion tasted even better than I had hoped!

Vegan Stove Top-Style Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from Allison River Samson’s VegNews Macaroni and Cheese

1 Cup Peeled and Diced Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/4 Cup Shredded or Finely Diced Carrot
1/2 Cup Chopped Yellow Onion
1 Clove Garlic, Thinly Sliced
1 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Raw Cashews
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
1/4 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/8 Teaspoon Tumeric (Optional, for Color)
3/4 – 1 Cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
1/3 Cup Neutral-Flavored Oil, Such as Canola or Rice Bran

1 Pound Pasta, Cooked*

*I’m rather fond of tiny spirals or twists here, but elbows are more traditional. Any shape you’ve got, other than long spaghetti, pretty much works though.

Place the cut potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic in a small sauce pan, and pour in the water. Set over medium heat on the stove, and bring to a boil. Once the water reaches a vigorous boil, cover the pot, turn down the heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are extremely tender.

Meanwhile, prep the other ingredients to speed things along. Place the cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, mustard, lemon juice, paprika, and tumeric (if using) in your blender. A high-speed blender is recommended for the best results, but you can also use an ordinary machine as long as you have patience. Give these ingredients a light pulse just to begin breaking down the cashews slightly.

When the vegetables on the stove are fully cooked and ready, pour them into your blender along with all of the cooking water. Add in 3/4 cup of the non-dairy milk, and turn on the blender to its highest setting. Thoroughly puree the mixture, until completely smooth and lump-free. If you’re using a blender that isn’t so hearty, this could take 6 – 10 minutes. With the motor still running, slowly drizzle in the oil, to allow it to properly emulsify. Check the consistency; if you like your sauce a bit thinner blend in the remaining 1/4 of non-dairy milk.

Pour the sauce over your cooked noodles, and serve immediately.

Makes 6 – 8 Servings

Printable Recipe


22 Comments

All the News That’s Fit to Veg

No longer hot off the presses but still just as pertinent, I’m only just flipping through to the final pages of the May/June 2011 issue of VegNews. So thickly layered with juicy tidbits about vegan weddings, travels, and newsworthy items, along with the usual enticement of new recipes, this is not one to rush through. If you did, you would risk missing such ideal summer party nibbles as the Sardinian-Inspired Crostini:

Or perhaps that spicy little Asian-fusion number, the Korean Tacos with Pear-Cilantro Slaw:

Which I can testify, are every bit as distinctively delicious as they look.

In light of the recent VegNews stock photo scandal, I feel that it’s necessary for me to clarify a few things here. I for one am glad that issue was brought to light, because things will only get better from here. Mistakes were made, acknowledged, and hopefully corrected. Moving forward, VegNews has pledged to use only vegan photos, and always accurate photos for the recipes published, so it sounds like a win-win situation if there ever was one. Better yet, you can rest assured that many of those recipe photos, such as those above, will be coming from my kitchen and my camera, so you can feel confident that you’re getting the real deal- no bull.

And of course, you can still expect my column every other issue, so prepare yourself for a serious sugar rush in the upcoming July/August issue… It’s gonna be a scream!


26 Comments

Read/Eat All About It!

Have you received the March/April edition of VegNews Magazine yet? Well, you’ve got a lot to look forward to- After a brief hiatus, my column is back! Don’t miss my recipe for Tea Cake Sandwiches, perfect for dessert and tea parties alike. The brown sugar sponge cake especially turned out to be a runaway success, and has become my go-to dacquoise for all sorts of plated desserts, layer cakes, and everything in between. In this case, just add a layer of vanilla creme, ripe strawberries, and a few leaves of fresh mint, and you have yourself a sweet sandwich worth coveting.

I also had the pleasure of photographing Jesse Miner’s BBQ Lentil and Mushroom Tacos in this issue as well. Let me tell you, these things are crazy good! I have a serious distaste for all barbecue sauce in general, so that’s really saying a lot.

Lest I leave you without a recipe, don’t miss out on the Peanut Butter Ginger Muffins I shared with Leela at The Kitchn! Shockingly, I actually forgot to get a photo of these beauties, so you’ll just have to hop on over and checkout Leela’s lovely images. Now get to it, there’s plenty of food to make!


39 Comments

Hungry for the Holidays

As much as I want to tell myself that Thanksgiving is still months away, and I still become alarmed when the subject of Christmas comes up, the truth is that I’ve actually had a head start on the holidays. In fact, all things considered, I’ve already eaten more than one Thanksgiving dinner! No, it wasn’t because I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving, but because I was tasked with the weighty duty of preparing and photographing a number of dishes for the VegNews Holiday E-Cookbook. Come mid October, I had quite the harvest feast on my hands; all vegan, all incredibly delicious, and all to myself. Open up this handy guide to holiday cooking and you can expect to find mains, desserts, and everything in between, such as…

Pumpkin Seed Battered “Chicken” with Cranberry Cabernet Sauce

Seitan Roulade with Oyster Mushroom Stuffing

Dark Forest Trifle with Coconut Custard

Plus many more, of course.  Additionally, you can find my White Gingerbread recipe in the dessert section as well, in case you missed it two years ago! Just having that lovely loaf baking away in the oven, filling your whole house with the scent of sweet spices, is sure to get you in a festive mood.

So, do you have the menu for your grand vegan thanksgiving banquet planned out yet?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,461 other followers