Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don't think chocolate chip cookies need a lot of introduction. They're round, they're perfect, they're chocolatey. I'm a chewy cookie kind of girl, and I recently discovered the secret that adding a bit of cornstarch to your cookies keeps them soft and amazing.

I also discovered that I don't think there's a saturation point for too many chocolate chips in a cookie. It's just not possible. When the cookies harden and cool, so does the chocolate and that keeps it together. Handy for when you're only using cookies as a vehicle to get chocolate into your mouth.

Another cookie tip to keep in mind is that if you prefer softer cookies take them out when they look just barely cooked. The edges can be crisped up and a little brown, but if the middles look a bit doughy it's perfect. They continue to cook once they're out of the oven, so doing this keeps them from becoming to crispy.

Putting the cookie dough in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes before baking helps keep cookies from spreading too much, and relaxes the gluten a little keeping your cookies soft. It's not essential though if you're impatient.

I used spelt flour which resulted in a slighty denser, almost nutty tasting cookie. You can use whatever flour you like though.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup vegan butter
1 cup sucanat
1 egg replacer(I used 1 tablespoon chia seeds and 3 tablespoons water, mixed and left to sit for 5 minutes)
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 tsps cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup chocolate chips

With a hand mixer cream the vegan butter for a minute or two til smooth, then add in the sugar.

Cream together til smooth, add in the egg replacer, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.

Mix into the butter mixture til smooth. Add in chocolate chips.

Place in tablespoons onto cookie sheets, place in the fridge(if you're doing that step) for 30 minutes.

Set oven to 350, bake cookies for 10-12 minutes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Roasted Portobello Sandwiches

I've found that like seasons, I go through food phases. Right now I'm in a sandwich phase. A big one. A breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I'd-marry-a-sandwich if I could phase. I think I like them because you can make them as complicated or as simple as you like and they still taste good. There's enough variables to keep things interesting, and they go really good with soup(my other current winter food obsession).

Anything with the word portobello involved is probably something I want to eat, and when I saw portobellos at the grocery store as big as my face I knew what I had to do. Huge portobello mushrooms remind me of last summer when we'd have BBQs at midnight on Mondays just because we could. We'd go to Loblaws and find the biggest shrooms there, then coat them in olive oil and steak seasoning and BBQ them into deliciousness. Then I'd usually douse them in hot sauce which sounds strange but is weirdly delicious. Anything that reminds me of summer right now is okay with me!

I threw some roasted zucchini on there as well, cause the more roasted veg the happier I am. Avocado is super tasty in this as well, and maybe onions if you like those sort of things.

Roasted Portobello Sandwiches

1 ciabatta bun
1 Portobello(the biggest you can find)
Half a zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise
1 tsp and 2 tsps olive oil
salt and pepper
dried parsley
1/4 avocado sliced
handful of greens

Preheat oven to 400, destem the portobello and lay it gill side up in a pan. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dried parsley. Roast for 15 mins, or until soft(depending on the size of your mushroom).

Place zucchini in a pan, drizzle with 2 tsps olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley. Toss to coat and roast for 15, or until soft. Top with greens, mushroom, zucchini, and avocado and serve!

Slice bun in half and place under broiler for a minute, then cover one slice with hummus.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Copycat Protein Bars

My plans for blogging while travelling failed miserably, but I'm back now! In Australia and New  Zealand it's pretty slim pickings for vegans, but most of the places we stayed had kitchens. I mostly ended up just making simple stir fries most of the time with things I found at the grocery store, which doesn't necessarily make for the most exciting blogging.

It made me realize how many things I have in my life that I really don't need. Living out of a suitcase for 2 months will do that to a girl I guess. I loved Australia so much that I decided to move there. It's warm, there's beaches,  and the people are the nicest I've met anywhere. It was a pretty easy sell! I think  as a photographer(or any kind of artist I guess) you need to live where you're inspired, and I guess it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to find that in Toronto.

I also realized that in life you really can do absolutely anything you want, and go anywhere you want, the only thing that stops you from doing those things is yourself. Your excuses, and fears, and maybe a like for being comfortable where you are. I think the opportunities to push yourself and do things that scare you a little (or a lot) are the most rewarding, so I've decided to do more of them in 2013. Find bigger things that scare me, and try to do them to the best of my ability.

Anyhow back to food, while I was in New Zealand, I came across these super tasty protein bars from a brand called One Square Meal. The ingredient list wasn't the best(too many processed things for this girl), but I think when travelling(as a vegan) you sometimes have to stretch yourself ways you wouldn't ordinarily. I've been dreaming about them ever since I got back though, and since I've been hibernating due to the cold I've had lots of time to try to recreate them.

Copycat OSM Bars

2 cups quick cooking oats
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup agave
1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
1/3 cup hemp seeds
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon

In a bowl stir together oats, hemp seeds, cinnamon, salt and protein powder. In another bowl mix coconut oil, agave, chocolate chips. Mix the wet into the dry, and pour into a 9x12 pan lined with parchment paper. Press down firmly with your hands or a spatula, let set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Makes 8.