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…the veg! blog gave to me

A recipe for Spritz Cookies.

School’s out!  Glee!!!  That not only means that there’s time to cook again, but that there’s time to cook crazy Christmas foods again!  So, without further ado, I present to you my 12 days of Christmas, now with even more how-to photos!  (This  should be more successful for me than VeganMofo, as I don’t have University to interrupt my kitchen freakouts.)

During the last, psychotic week of school, my grandma passed on her mother’s cookie press and icing press.  Now, I have wanted a cookie press since I was old enough to know what they were, but I never thought I’d end up with a beautiful, antique metal one.  So, now that I’ve been freed, and had some time to just spend relaxing, I had to find a recipe for spritz cookies.  For whatever reason, I also decided they had to be peppermint spritz cookies.  The recipe I used was adapted from this blog.

You may notice that this recipe goes against many of my usual baking methods.  First off, it uses white flour.  Following that, it’s loaded with sugar and fat.  However, I make some exceptions for Christmas cooking, as there are some recipes that just aren’t the same without these ingredients.  If you have any awesome spritz recipes that are lower in sugar/fat/white flour, please do share them here!

Peppermint Spritz

3/4 cup vegan-friendly sugar

1 cup Earth Balance margarine

1/2 cup soy yogurt *or substitute

1 tsp peppermint extract, or more to taste

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 handful of frozen or fresh raspberries

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.

1 1/2.) *if you cannot get ahold of soy yogurt, try using this substitution, although be conscious that the above recipe makes more “soy yogurt” than is needed for these cookies.  This substitute is what I used, since Regina either doesn’t seem to have soy yogurt, or when I can find it, it’s gone moldy.  You could also use silken tofu, I bet.

2.) Cream the margarine and sugar until somewhat fluffy.

3.) Beat in the soy yogurt and peppermint extract.

4.) Sift in the flour and salt.  Yes, please do sift your flour, not just throw it in, as these are more delicate baked goods.  Whip with the electric mixer until a fluffy dough forms.

5.) Divide the dough in half.  Warm up the raspberries if they’re frozen.  Place in strainer, strain pulp and juice out, and discard seeds.  Add this raspberry pulp and juice to 1/2 of the dough to make it a light pink colour.

6.) Place dough in cookie press.  Get creative about how you get the two colours in- try rolling them in logs, for example.  Press cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  I lined mine with parchment paper.

7.) Bake for about 10 min, or until lightly browned.  As I made thicker cookies (since I am new at this cookie press thing), it took much longer- perhaps even 20 minutes.

8.) Transfer carefully to wire rack to cool. Caution- these break easily.

9.) Place under tree for Santa, or your cats, to eat.

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Holy lengthy title, Batman!  Bear with me, this post is going to be somewhat longer too, but for convenience’s sake, I’m not going to divide it up.  I’ll try not to go on long-winded rants, and just show off lots of pictures of food.

Oh, and just in case I’m showing this site off tonight to a class at the university, I thought I’d say hi, ECMP 355!!

First on the long list: sushi.  I went to the grocery store, and lo and behold, there were fresh shiitake mushrooms!!!  I have worked with dry before, and while they taste fine, the smell of them makes me nauseous.  However, the smell of the fresh ones was entirely different, and so beautiful!  I opened the bag, and this warm, earthy, rich smell floated up to meet me as I sniffed hesitantly.  The whole time I chopped these, I was drooling.

Shiitake

So, one of the rolls was a combination of crumbled extra firm tofu, sesame seeds, and diced-up fresh shiitake mushrooms, which I cooked together until the mushrooms shrunk, and then added a sauce made of tamari soy, freshly grated ginger, and sesame oil.  I cooked off the sauce, and then used this as a filling.  My other rolls were carrot, lettuce, and bean sprout; and avocado and cucumber.  Served with a side of edamame beans.

Sushi Rolls

Now for the cookies.  Actually no picture, here.  Just an alteration of another Kid’s Company’s Coming recipe into something friendlier/less sugar-laden.  I feel comfortable posting this recipe even though it started from a cookbook because I’ve changed it so much.  Seriously, I did this with half the sugar they called for, and a little bit of dates, and could have probably still have removed more of the sugar, as they were very sweet.  Actually, please go ahead and mess around with the sugar-to-dates ratio, and share how they turn out.  While you’re at it, why not experiment with taking out some of the oil in this recipe too (I left it in this time for a treat), especially if you’re using lots of dates.  I made these to brought these to class (and yes, we still bring cookies to class in university), because if you keep the cookies small, this batch makes lots.

Fiddle Diddles, or Haystacks, Minus the Sugar-Induced Coma

– 1/2 cup Earth Balance Butter Substitute

– 1 cup or less Natural cane sugar (check out this site, this brand is both affordable and vegan, except for the honey products!)

– approx. 1/3 cup chopped dates

– 1/2 cup soy milk or some sorta nut milk (use unsweetened, there’s already enough sugar here)

– 6 tbsp cocoa powder

– 3 cups quick cooking rolled oats (not the instant ones)

– 1 cup medium shredded, unsweetened coconut

– pinch o’ salt

– 1tsp vanilla extract

Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat to melt butter, and to soften the dates so that they can be stirred in.  Mash dates into mixture well.  The book says to bring it to a boil, but I don’t think it’s overly important, here, as long as everything’s melted and blended.

Add everything else, mix well, and drop small rounded spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.  Cool, possibly in the fridge or freezer.  Should make around 40 cookies (I think I had thrity-something, wich isn’t too far off).

Also working out an awesome bread recipe, but that’s gonna have to wait.  It needs a little work.

Finally, we’ve come to my lunch today.  I had no school, so I had time to raid the fridge.  This isn’t the fanciest recipe in the world (like most of my fridge-raid hashes), but it sure did turn out good.  I don’t know what to call it, though.  It’s got some Thai influences, but isn’t really, truly Thai, or even necessarily Asian for that matter.  And if I call it a quesadilla, I’m afraid every person in Mexico may spontaneously shudder (what with the lack of cheese, or cheese substitute).  Anyway, whatever it is, it was mighty tasty, and filled with more coconut!  If you’re feeling special, toast the coconut first, along with some sesame seeds.

Sesame-Coconut Quesadilla-like Thingy

Nikki’s Lunch Thing that’s Kinda Like a Coconut-Sesame Thai Quesadilla

Sorry, I’m going to make you use your best judgement for the quantities, here.

– a tortilla

– sauce ( large spoonful of tahini, some soy sauce, spritz of lime juice, a little rice wine vinegar, and freshly grated ginger, mixed together well.)

– about 1/5 block of extra firm tofu, crumbled

– soy sauce

– handful chopped fresh garlic chives

– grated carrot

– bean sprouts

– a little shredded, unsweetened coconut

(an epic view of the ingredients)

Epic Lunch

Spread sauce on tortilla (use extra for dipping later, if you like, but don’t overdo the sauce inside the tortilla, or you’ll have a mess).  Fry tofu crumbles in nonstick pan (or regular pan with a little oil) until they begin to turn golden, then add a little soy sauce to flavour and add colour.  Cook off soy sauce (should only take a few seconds), and add to one half of the tortilla shell.  Pile on top of that the rest of the ingredients.  Fold over other half of shell, and place on a tray in toaster oven, heating until just warmed and lightly crispy (about five min, I think).  Don’t over-cook, or the sprouts will be iffy, and you’ll burn the shell.  This can be done in a microwave, but results will be sub-par.  In fact, if you have no toaster oven, I recommend wrapping this up and cooking it in a frying pan briefly.  Otherwise, if you’ve folded it in half and toasted it, cut it into quarters before eating.