Summer Pie Madness

Why, when it is hot enough to melt off my make-up, do I suddenly have the urge to make pies? It is not to please my boyfriend, who is completely indifferent to most sweet things I try to force on him. Its not to get rid of all the extra fruit I have growing in my non-existent orchard. I guess its just because when I look at a peach or carton of blueberries, I instantly envision bubbling fruit surrounded by a sweet flaky crust and topped with some ice cream. Let's just say I have a one-track mind.

However, I do not have the skills to match it. Check out this disaster of a blueberry pie.

Well, it wasn't so bad. The blueberries were lekker. But the crust was not much to see, mainly because I could not master keeping it flaky in such warm weather. I kept re-rolling it, only to find it harder and harder to put it into the pan without it breaking. And then when I did, of course, it was overrun by out-of-control blueberries, so that it was more like some kind of neglected pandowdy or something.

But for the lovely, and tiny, peach pie you see framing either side of the page, I took the great advice of the lovely Urban Vegan and just basically did not mix the dough AT ALL. Just the tiniest bit. And it turned out so lovely! (Her cookbook is just full of such tips, btw.)

I topped it with some quick cashew cream and the whole thing was just marvelous for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Didn't last much longer than that.) I'm also lusting for some cherry pie, but I really need to find someone who likes sweets more than my boyfriend, because I cannot continue to eat these things all by my lonesome. (Not a good reason to break up with him, but I'll be sure to bring it up in some upcoming fight. "You never eat my pies!" I'll scream...)

Song of the Day: My Bloody Valentine- Strawberry Wine


Sweet Corn Risotto and More

Fresh fig and Peanut-butter toast in the backyard... Ah, America!

I tried to eat absolutely everything I can't get my hands on easily in Europe while staying in DC, and I think I nearly succeeded. Most important was sweet corn and vidalia onions, which were so delicious I could have cried. (Is it weird to like onions as much as I do? What happens to you if you eat too many?) I saw a recipe in the Washington Post for sweet corn risotto, so I decided to give it a whirl for an evening when my friend James came over to cram for the bar exam. (Majorly flashback inducing.)

Basically, you do your typical risotto recipe (which I have published on here so many times its crazy) and then at the very end add in 3 ears worth of corn kernels. Stir until corn kernels are plump, then serve, with green onions on top.

I thought it was good, although with such a light addition to the risotto the broth really shines through, so be sure to use a good quality one. In addition, I thought it might benefit from some heirloom tomatoes added in at the last minute. I served them on the side drenched in balsamic and it went together perfectly.

Another great dinner was my standard fare: rice and beans, cinnamon-baked plantains, and avocados. This time I kicked up the rice by adding some orange juice, but other than that it was the same old rice and beans, and they were delicious as ever.

For the plantains, its the same technique as I made for the chipotle plantain enchiladas, except I tossed them in maple syrup along with the cinnamon, salt and pepper, and paprika. These babies cooked up great in about 45 minutes at 375.

I'm sure my parents won't miss me destroying the kitchen for dinner every night, but it was so fun to eat all my favorites. And now its back to Berlin...

Song of the Day: Squeeze- Tempted


Summertime in the USA

Now this is American summer to me: soy hot dogs, grocery store buns, vidalia onions and ketchup. Oh yeah, and 110 degree weather. I'm back in DC for a wedding, but I intend to squeeze a lot of enjoyment out of my visit, particularly since I missed July 4th. I want to ride bikes with my Dad, talk anarchism and art with my little brother, and see movies and cook with my Mom. And after a whole year of heady, strong, luscious German and Belgian beer... I'm ready for some weak-ass Miller Light and Yuengling. :P

I've also been missing having easy access to a grill in Berlin and decided to have an all-grilled dinner for my first night back.

We made grilled corn, generously bedecked with earth balance, salt and pepper. Also grilled slices of sweet potatoes, marinated in lime juice, maple syrup, and mustard (and a little olive oil) that was brushed on during the grilling. And finally kebabs with a line-up of cherry tomatoes, marinated tempeh, and vidalia onion chunks. It was a great and filling meal- and lord how I've missed sweet corn and vidalia onions! I had no idea.

I intend to do a lot more cooking for the brief time I'm home and catch up on all the southern specialties I've been missing, particularly fresh blueberries and (sigh!) kale. Ahhh. Its good to be back.

Song of the Day: Tom Petty- American Girl


We all scream...

Did anyone else read the NY Times article about mad-scientist ice cream maven Jake Godby today? I was just reading along, admiring some of the bizarro flavor combinations and absorbing a little of the science behind ice cream making. And then, BAM!
Godby’s willingness to be disliked — and to do so by creating such übertraif as Elvis (the Fat Years), which is banana ice cream with bacon peanut brittle — has indeed created conflict. It started with the vegan collective Vegansaurus, which defines itself as a “definitive/arbitrary” guide to “eating/living” vegan in the Bay Area. Vegansaurus did praise Godby’s sorbets. “Humphry Slocombe has some damn delicious vegan creations,” a reviewer posted on the Web site. “We tried the Carrot Mango. That was THE BEST. It was all super creamy and smooth and carrot and mango?! Who knew!?” But the liver and pork flavors set the vegans off. “This is the place with foie gras ice cream.. . . And that is super duper [expletive] disgusting. I mean, it’s the grossest. . . . Everyone should write Humphry Slocombe and ask nicely for it to be taken off the menu because again, THE GROSSEST. HOWEVER. I will say that dairy is also THE GROSSEST.”

Then, Godby started getting some (we don't learn if its one or many) phone calls, ostensibly from angry vegans, unhappy with his ill-conceived foie gras confection. (Despite the fact that Vegansaurus explicitly instructs to be nice, so its possible these are other disenchanted ice-cream fans). He then fights back in his own, super mature way;
Godby, quiet but not a pushover, responded in his medium of choice: symbolic food. He began leaving meat products around Rainbow Grocery Cooperative, a worker-owned vegetarian store.

So, because he gets a bad review on a much loved vegan website, then a phone call in the middle of the night, he fights back against people who have probably never heard of his fucking ice cream by leaving meat all over a store? Like its not enough to make and sell foie gras ice cream, you have to fight back against a minority culture that objects to it? And the Times author sees this as him exhibiting some kind of bravery, demonstrating that he is "not a pushover"?

The article goes on to mention that now he is being twitter stalked by someone mocking his products, who they once again assume to be Vegansaurus. The Times tracks down the twitter bomber, however, finding it be not a vegan (not even a vegetarian, oh my!) but a rather twisted individual who creates harassing fake accounts to "let off steam" and express his closet fan-dom.

The article ends with a discussion of foie gras vodka and an admiring and sympathetic view of this total creep who meat-bombs organic markets. I'm not surprised that this douchebag is threatened by vegans, like many a douche before him who cannot abide by someone objecting to his gourmet tastes (Bourdain, anyone?). What I don't appreciate is the Times profiling someone who hates his customers, hates animals, and hates anyone who criticizes him, and then come out on the other end admiring his gumption. I guess that foie gras ice cream must be really tasty.

I'll Take a Scoop of Prosciutto, Please."

UPDATE: Vegansaurus! responds! (awesomely)


Random Foodage

Its been a busy couple of weeks here in Berlin. Between writing my dissertation, working (or mostly watching work get done) on our new apartment, and watching Germany's AMAZING ascent in the World Cup, there hasn't been a lot of time for more than delicious vegan currywurst from Vegetarian Diner at Goerlitzer Park. However, I did manage to make my Chipotle Plantain Enchiladas once more, this time relying on 3 tbs. of chipotle powder (still delicious) and to pump out some much needed bagels.

Although bagels are becoming more common at specialty stores in Berlin, I still love my Vegan Brunch recipe the most. This time I topped them with a mix of sesame and poppy seeds along with a little paprika. Perfect with avocados and tomatoes for a lunch at the library. :)

Another library lunch winner? Making a variety of leftover-producing little dishes that compliment eachother. I made a quickie beet salad- with chunks of roasted red beets and fresh grapefruit in a dressing made with grapefruit juice and agave nectar. Then, I made a broccoli salad with toasted sesame seeds, reduced orange juice, a little soy sauce, fresh ginger and sesame oil. (Toasted sesame seeds are so tasty! Like popcorn... except miniscule.) And then finally I made a huge batch of red lentils and rice with caramelized onions from V'Con. This was great, but I should have upped the onion content, because that's really where the magic comes from.

And now, back to work!

Song of the Day: The Mary Onettes- Lost