These peanut butter linzer cookies are awfully adorable, if I do say so myself. Most of the time, I tend to prefer unfussy, thick, chewy drop cookies, liberally doled onto the cookie sheet with an ice cream scoop. These are much more demure and petite, rolled out thin, painstakingly stamped into shape, filled and sandwiched. Personally, I like getting handy with a rolling pin once in a while.
I used the peanut butter “Nutter Betters” dough from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, cutting the margarine in half as is my wont. Some cookies are filled with chocolate ganache, some with leftover raspberry buttercream, some with both!
“Linzer” refers to the peek-a-boo cutout shape — usually Linzer cookies are a nutty almond cookie sandwiched with jam, conceptually hailing from Linz, Austria.
from the gluttonous archives of ice-cream-sandwichry:
peach-coconut ice cream, lovingly scooped between two vanilla-macadamia gluten-free cookies. my friends have serious sandwich construction skills.
these were pretty irresistible. the cookies were adapted from the babycakes cookbook, subbing chopped macadamias for chocolate chips (which infuses the cookies with buttery magic) and cutting the oil in half. in HALF! really. and they taste great. i think next time i'll try cutting it even more. because i am not made of money, nor of coconut oil, sadly.
the ice cream was adapted from the vegan scoop. i've noticed that some fruity ice cream recipes instruct you to cook the fruit down with some sugar before blending it into the ice cream base. i'm sure that works well too, but i haven't had the patience, and i rather like the delicate fruity flavor that edges through when you just puree the fruit uncooked. it's less concentrated, maybe, but to me tastes fresher. like the creamiest, most decadent scoop of smoothie.
quick peach ice cream: 1 can coconut milk + enough almond (or other nondairy) milk to equal 3 cups
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 or so medium peaches, chopped (i left the skins on. we do not waste fruit at my house)
1/2 - 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
blend the coconut milk, almond milk, sugar, vanilla, and about 2/3 of the peach chunks in a blender until homogenous. carefully add 1/4 tsp xanthan gum and blend. add it in 1/4 tsp increments, blending thoroughly after each addition, until it is slightly thickened. this stuff is serious, don't add too much or you will provoke its gummy rage.
stick the blender container in the fridge until the contents are cold. place remaining peach chunks on a parchment-lined plate in the freezer.
freeze the ice cream base in your ice cream maker and give thanks to the machines for all they do for us. add the frozen peach chunks at the very end of the freezing process.
if your ice cream maker is the same size as mine, the addition of the lovely bountiful peaches to a full recipe of ice cream may cause some slight overflow. i didn't mind, maybe you don't either. that's just more to lick off the spatula before you settle down with your bowl.
i encountered ethiopian cuisine only after going vegan and i've adored it ever since. what a thrill! so much spice, fermentation, and a delightful variety of legumes. plus it calls upon the eater to practice her manual adroitness and cultivate a nonchalance about the food smeared across her hands and face.
it's DIY or die when it comes to ethiopian food in santa cruz: i lament my distance from beloved rahel but making injera at home is always a fun and high-stakes domestic project. max and i combed through a bunch of injera-making resources on the internet, many of which advise you not to even try because it never works. then we kind of did our own thing, involving our (companion species) sourdough starter and some teff flour.
all appearances to the contrary, this signifies success:
a jar of sand and mud! yesss. we poured off the swill-ish top layer, blended up the remaining batter to eliminate any grittiness, and thinned it to a crepe-like consistency. it cooks on one side only: if all goes well, there is a great deal of happy bubbling and little holes appear, like so:
the injera is the precarious part of the meal prep. the rest involves making spicy, rich, long-simmering vegetable or lentil stews with heavenly aromas. i wish i had enough pots and pans and patience to make 6 or 7; this time i stuck with atakilt wat (cabbage, carrot and potato) and yemisir wat (red lentil stew):
perfection. everything is so tender and spicy-sweet-complex. i used recipes from iwaruna.com: atakilt wat and yemisir wat. followed them pretty faithfully except that i doubled the amount of red lentils in the yemisir wat, and i used a touch of regular canola oil instead of nitter kibbeh—it was still plenty spice-dense. i love pulling 12 different spice jars out of the pantry for one meal!
proper baking requires proper bondage binding. gluten is my binding pal, now and (hopefully) forever, but it's fun to flirt with alternatives once in a while...especially when the end result is this:
hey, let's gild the lily!
gluten-free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies originally from mitten machen, via vegan eat & treats 2010 holiday cookbooklette! these are unmissable. delicate and slightly crumbly, rich and sweet, and held together with gads of peanut butter = PERFECT. sorry gluten—don't call us, we'll call you.
my only change to the recipe: instead of 1/2 cup margarine, i used 1/4 cup peanut oil. to make them, ahem, low...er fat. just a little bit. and then i served it with unctuous coconut milk ice cream, thus blowing the mind of everyone present.
exquisite vegan vanilla ice cream, adapted from the vegan scoop
ingredients: 1 can full-fat coconut milk (about 2 cups) 1 cup nondairy milk of some kind (i used So Delicious coconut milk beverage) 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder 3/4 cup sugar about 1-2 inches vanilla bean, or 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
directions: in a medium saucepan, combine the can of coconut milk and additional cup of milk, 3 cups total. remove about 1/4 cup of milk, mix it in a small bowl with the arrowroot powder, and set aside.
cut open the vanilla bean and scrape out the precious treasure within; add to the saucepan of coconut milk. add sugar to saucepan, stir to dissolve, and bring to a boil over low heat. once it begins to boil, remove from heat and stir in the arrowroot mixture. it will thicken up a bit. if you are using vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean, add it now. refrigerate ice cream base until cold, then freeze in your delightful ice cream maker or use liquid nitrogen or your cold cold heart? just freeze it somehow.
here's a spate of foodstuffs that have kept me going in the last few months:
gorgeous pizza: focaccia crust, roasted homegrown green zebra tomato puree (from the freezer—much obliged to myself circa september 2010 for thinking of me), fresh spinach leaves, kalamata olives, chopped onion, a drizzle of olive oil. i especially like this photo because of the shocked visage of the little garlic pot—so expressive.
sourdough ciabatta? yeah, i conquered that with my own four hands (okay, two of them were max's). check out those holes!
when you have freshly baked ciabatta rolls in your apartment, you make a sandwich.
a perfect sandwich is about as perfect as perfect gets. perfect sandwich: homemade ciabatta roll, dijon mustard, sliced avocado, baked marinated tofu, crispy dry-fried kale strips.
more luxury: heaps of tender homemade noodles (rolled and cut by our glorious little hand crank pasta machine), topped with crispy kale (washed and dried as thoroughly as possible, cut into strips, then briefly dry roasted in the oven at around 200 F—like quick no-oil kale chips) and sautéed seasoned tempeh cubes, all drizzled generously with toasted walnut oil and sprinkled with coarse salt. this dish is such a reward to ourselves, it's totally worth the effort.
oh no! i've really been neglectful because these raviolis—my customary birthday supper—date back to december. naturally, the meal was preceded by rollerskating and subsequent cocktails by candlelight (the rain darkened the bar, but failed to dampen our spirits).
homemade hand-cut ravioli with roasted butternut squash filling and a buttery-kale-walnut sauce...growing old is really not so bad when you have a dear someone to cook exquisite birthday meals for you.
i'm very fond of parcels. it's a rare joy, receiving a package in the mail: there's something so loving about the gesture of wrapping something up and sending it across space and time to someone you miss. the receiving is an event in itself that imprints itself on my (admittedly sentimental) memory. and many of the packages i remember have involved food — like the shoebox full of vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies sent by my mom during my freshman year of college, which i excitedly shared with everyone i knew (i even remember leaving a cookie perched on the doorknob of an elder vegan cutie that i admired from afar — my college years being marked by an immoderate amount of admiring from afar).
it might seem silly to link parcel post to samosas. but my special affection for wrapped-up foods is just another mode of my affection for packages. dumpling-type foods require some serious time, attention, and manual labor, and i love them for it. this kind of meal prep takes work — carefully tucking filling into wrapper, folding and sealing up each dumpling like a little letter. the result is a kind of package to yourself and your dinner guests — a parcel from the you-of-meal-prep-time-past to the you-of-the-meal-time-future!
so, samosas. with coconut-cilantro chutney. these are gluten-free: a spicy mash of potatoes and peas folded into tapioca-rice paper wrappers — the kind used for spring/summer rolls — brushed with peanut oil, and baked until nicely browned and crispy. this method is a stroke of genius from kittee and it worked wonderfully. there is a very helpful video, along with the recipes, here at everyday dish.
some chana masala with your samosas? yes please! and brown basmati rice. oh, and mango lassi to drink. it was a gluten-free vegan indian banquet!
chana masala = redolently spiced chickpeas, simmered in a rich tomato broth. recipe, again from kittee, here. kittee knows her stuff!
the mango lassi is a blend of canned mango chunks, soy milk, a pinch of cardamom powder, and fresh lemon juice. super cool, refreshing, and creamy. even better after stirring in a shot of dark rum. definitely something to revisit in summertime kind of any damn day of the year.
peppermint milkshake with gluten-free double chocolate cookie. rather than mourning this melty substance as failed ice cream, we salvaged it as milkshake—perhaps its true calling all along. those humanities grad students, always thinking on their feet. the cookies are a delicious repeat, from the babycakes cookbook.
ain't nothing sweeter than a peach pie in january. this is due to the wonders of canning, and also the wonders of a thoughtful foodie friend who graciously shared a jar of her peach windfall with me, back in summertime.
max made this crust and it was perfect. first time latticework, too. j'adore.
served with ginger cashew milk ice cream. recipe adapted from the vegan scoop. the homemade cashew milk made for an amazingly creamy, rich, and voluptuous ice cream. i used 1/2 cup cashews to 2 cups water, then supplemented with another cup of boxed almond milk. 1/2 cup of nuts for a whole batch of ice cream indicates to me that this cashew ice cream is neither as fatty nor as expensive as one might think...reason enough for me to make it often and eat it avidly.
a spectacular anniversary meal at millennium earlier this fall had already breached the boundaries of my mushroom-phobia. the salad had big, unmistakable chunks of lobster mushroom, but it was somehow...good, with a firmly spongy texture and delicate flavor. well, i knew if there were ever a circumstance in which i'd eat a mushroom and like it, it would be a luxurious dinner at millennium.
max often laments my mushroom-aversion so yesterday i let myself be drawn into an experiment. we were seeking an appropriate sauce to accompany a batch of homemade pasta rolled and cut in our delightful new kitchen toy. flipping through the millennium cookbook—a super-sweet birthday present from dear ms. vegan eats & treats!—it seemed only right to suggest fennel, dill and mushroom cream sauce. project!
the shrooms in question were chanterelles—or, pleasingly, die Pfifferlinge (in german). apparently i like only expensive mushrooms. there was also a broth made from reconstituted dried porcini, the smell of which both attracted and repelled me: delicious hovering on the verge of obscene.
making pasta is fun for the whole family. gertie preferred the slightly-too-small box as meal-prep supervision headquarters.
but she seemed dismayed to find that the linguine was not destined for feline amusement.
i'm not going to pretend that this didn't require considerable more time, effort, and expense than a bag of store-bought spaghetti, BUT the results are incomparably satisfying and delicious.
the sauce is fresh fennel, garlic, chanterelle, sherry, porcini mushroom broth, lemon, cashew cream, black pepper and dill—so smooth, complex, and luscious, even with our simplified version of the recipe. the noodles are, of course, perfectly tender and flavorful.
so we were thinking of making an apple pie, a pumpkin pie, and a pecan pie. for 4 people, that seemed a touch excessive...although the real reason that didn't happen has more to do with my single pie pan than it does with any notions of dessert propriety.
instead we made an apple pie. and pumpkin ice cream, which is more or less pumpkin pie filling, only cold. and pecan pie truffles, which are more or less pecan pie filling, only dipped in chocolate. so the triple-pie dream, minus a lot of crust redundancy, trickled its way down into reality.
how does a motley crew of arugula-eating hippie liberal academics manage to bake an apple pie this wholesome? it's like we're real americans!
thanksgiving dessert madness. MADNESS. the homemade pumpkin ice cream is coconut- and almond-milk based and seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. recipe from the vegan scoop. the pecan pie truffles have already colonized my heart and soul. the recipe, by the accomplished hannah kaminsky, was part of the (excellent) new york times online vegetarian thanksgiving feature. so sticky, rich, gooey and boozy, i think this might be the way to stealthily veganize america.