Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vegan Crumb Cake

Once and a while you come across a recipe that is so full proof, you could execute it backwards, with your eyes closed, and it would still work. That is true of the following crumb cake recipe. I found it on an amazing blog called Vegan Yum Yum, a blog dedicated to veganism. I am not a vegan, but I do enjoy cooking both vegan and vegetarian. When I bake, I use alternative flours, sweeteners and fats so I put my own spin on the recipe.
The recipe was adapted and "veganized" from Cooks Illustrated magazine by blogger Lauren Ulm. I made some changes to her adaptation; Her recipe called for AP flour and I used Whole Wheat Pastry flour. Lauren used granulated white sugar, and I used Sucanat (an unrefined sugar that has the molasses in it as well as other minerals that are stripped out when processing it into white sugar). Lauren used canola oil, and I used Almond oil. Lastly, Lauren used cornstarch mixed with water, and I used potato starch. Besides the oil and the potato starch/water mixture, the other liquid in the mix was soy milk, mixed with a small amount of lemon juice, and a small amount of vanilla.
What I love about this recipe is that you don't have to use a mixer as the fat in both the crumb and the cake is liquid (melted Earth Balance for the topping, and Almond oil for the cake), so, no creaming is necessary. I like to use Almond oil in baked goods. It has a pleasant flavor and is mainly monounsaturated (over over 70%) and polyunsaturated (~17%).

Secondly, you cover the pan with foil and then lift the foil out when the cake is done, so there is limited clean up. Lastly, the cake bakes relatively quickly, so from start to finish, you're looking at about an hour's time, not too bad :)
The recipe is broken down into 2 parts, the cake and the crumb. The crumb is a delicious, thick and crumbly topping made of melted Earth Balance vegetable oil spread, sugar, flour, cinnamon and pinch of salt. I'm all about the crumb, and in fact, it is so substantial in this recipe, the crumb layer is just as big, if not bigger, than the cake layer! Delicious. Here's some pics:
Here is the crumb mix:
The cake batter in the pan:
With the crumb topping, ready for oven:
Enjoy :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Asian Salmon Quinoa Patties

I made some beautiful Asian inspired salmon quinoa burgers (or cakes, or patties, whatever you'd like to call them). When I cooked for a client this past week, I roasted a nice looking piece of wild pink salmon. I had some quinoa made already, and so I combined it with the salmon, along with Asian flavors such as ginger, tamari, sesame, scallions and cilantro.

My oil of choice for this project was Rice Bran oil, an oil high in antioxidants (Oryzanol and Tocotrienols). It has a slightly nutty but not overpowering flavor, and it has a high smoke point. I used it to saute the ginger, scallions and garlic until softened, before adding them to the salmon and quinoa. I also used it to cook the patties.

To bind the patties I used an egg and some quinoa flour.
The patties browned up nicely.
The patties were very hearty and 2 of them made a delicious and filling lunch.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 resolution

Ok, I've been a bad blogger!!! I had all intentions of blogging 09 away, however, life got in the way in a big way. The grand finale was a move into a new community, new home, new school for my best boy and a new (bigger more functional) kitchen.
So, I have no excuses now, as I settle in to my new home and kitchen.
I'll start 2010 off with the Squid and Scallop stew that I made for dinner last night on NYE. We stayed home with the kids (ages 7 and 5), and drank Sofia (Francis Ford Coppola's Blanc du Blanc sparkling wine).

I started with a saute of garlic and onions.
The squid was cleaned already, so all I needed to do was give it a quick rinse and slice the bodies into rings. I added the squid to the pan and deglazed with fresh squeezed orange juice, clementine juice and a 2002 Hop Kiln Gewurztraminer. I also added S+P, smoked paprika and organic strained tomatoes. The strained tomatoes were by Bionature and came in a glass bottle, 24oz, no salt added. They made a wonderful, silky sauce. Also in the mix were pit-less Picholine and Nicoise olives. To counter the saltiness, I added a squeeze of Agave syrup. I put in a couple bay leaves and some parsley stems for herbal undertones.
After bringing the squid up to the boil, I reduced the heat and covered and let it simmer for close to 40 minutes. The thought behind squid is, it gets cooked for either a short period of time, like a quick grill, or for a long period of time, like a braise in a stew.
After 40 minutes I checked on the squid and it was nice and tender, ready for the scallops. I added in the scallops, another round of fresh squeezed clementine juice and let the scallops cook for just a few minutes.
Once the scallops were cooked through, I added the zest of 1 orange and 1 clementine, a big bunch of chopped parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice and a readjustment of S+P.

It was a delicious way to finish up 2009. We ate it with a salad of baby romaine, sliced baby corn, chopped tamari almonds and a mild feta cheese, with a fresh clementine vinaigrette, as well as a crusty ciabbata. I can't resist a chance to add in a shot of my sous chef, Louise :)
Happy 2010!