Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Banana Cream Pie

leaves and flours vegan Banana Cream Pie

So this pie might not be seasonably appropriate. But this fall has also not been seasonably appropriate. The weather has been all over the place. I never know whether I am going to be searching for a jacket or wishing I had worn shorts by the time I leave the house in the mornings. I feel like this fall has slipped past me quicker than most. Greg and I just went apple picking last weekend. Only to find that the majority of the apples were totally gone. I salvaged a few Granny Smith's from the ground to make into applesauce, but there was little plucking from the tree action. I haven't even watched any Halloween movies yet, which is totally unacceptable. Last year we had cable, so all I had to to do was turn on ABC family at any point I was home and I could watch the Addams Family and Hocus Pocus and Corpse Bride at a whim. This year we have cut it off, and I can't find them anywhere. I have spent a fair amount of time browsing local shops that sell older movies, but I think I am going to have to cave & buy them online so that this tragedy doesn't happen again next Halloween. I have made hundreds of little chocolate bats & black cats and ghost cookies. There's 500 spiderweb cupcakes just waiting to be eaten at the bakery. A few weeks ago I bought a ton of candy and hid it away so my sugar cravings wouldn't annihilate it. Last night I finally picked up a little bowl to put it all in. And resisted to buy a miniature cauldron, because I am running out of space for such things. I'm ready to see all the tiny witches and goblins and super heroes tomorrow, but I'm not ready to let Halloween go yet.

leaves and flours vegan Banana Cream Pie leaves and flours vegan Banana Cream Pie leaves and flours vegan Banana Cream Pie
Banana Cream Pie

one 9" pie shell (I used a shortbread cookie crust)
3 bananas (2 sliced & 1 pureed)
3 cups almond milk
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbl Bird's Custard Powder
1 tbl cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
vegan whipped cream of choice (I love the cartons of Soyatoo!)

Place the banana slices along the bottom of your pie shell. I prefer to have a ton of sliced bananas, but if you don't then you might be able to get away with only one sliced banana. In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup of the milk with the custard powder and cornstarch. In a medium sauce pan bring to a boil the remaining almond milk and sugar. Once boiling stir in the contents of the small bowl and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and fold in one pureed banana and the vanilla extract. Immediately pour into pie shell. Allow to cool at room temperature for fifteen minutes before refrigerating for at least two hours. The pie will develop the banana flavor further overnight. Top with whipped cream and slice.

leaves and flours vegan Banana Cream Pie

Maybe I made this pie because I'm not ready to let summer go yet either. It feels like time just keeps going faster and faster and no matter how little I sleep or how much coffee I drink, I can't quite keep up with it all. I'm ready to dig my heels into the ground and pull things to a halt. Just for a little while. I need some time to clean my bathroom and organize the kitchen without missing out on all the terrific things happening around me. I feel like I have always been pretty good at time management, but now I'm trying to figure out ways to use my time even better. Listening to podcasts and books on tape while I commute. Paying bills and writing blog posts while I am watching tv. Making larger dinners so that I have leftovers to save a little cooking time. Hopefully it adds up and I feel a little less cramped for time soon.

leaves and flours vegan Banana Cream Pie

Do you have any magical tips for enjoying the present but still staying incredibly productive?! Are you doing anything terrific for Halloween? I didn't come up with a costume this year, because it didn't even cross my mind until it was too late. I saw a terrific Scully & Mulder. I think it's my favorite costume so far.
Today it feels like fall finally. It's cool but not freezing. It rained this morning, and there's leaves blowing around the streets. I am going to bake another pie (pumpkin this time, I get it it's fall!) and make a giant batch of soup with some broccoli that I picked at Larriland Farms earlier in the week. I've got a kettle warming up on the stove to make another pot of tea. I feel a little too stressed for it to be a day off, but it's ok. Everything will get done eventually.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

East Coast Ice Cream Roundup

leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan

The best ice cream that I have ever had is the pumpkin sundae from Franklin Fountain. I mentioned it last year, and will definitely be heading back to eat it once more now that it's October again. When we went a few weeks ago, it wasn't quite pumpkin time so I got a cone of their only non-dairy non-vanilla ice cream available, local blueberry. It was pretty good, but definitely no pumpkin sundae. Aside from ice cream cones & sundaes, Franklin Fountain also offers a variety of sodas all made from hand crafted syrups. We tried the lavender and the raspberry, and they were both awesome.
If it's not pumpkin season, I would also suggest heading to Little Baby's! They have ice cream sandwiches that are always stellar. All of their cookies are vegan, and they always have several interesting flavors available. I have gotten molasses peanut chew ice cream with sugar cookies & speculoos ice cream with snickerdoodle cookies. There's always the most interesting flavor selection, like thai peanut and coconut chai. Both store fronts are also super cute, so it's worth the venture to one of their shops.

leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan

FoMu also took me by surprise in Boston. I heard how good it was, but never really believe all the hype until I can try something for myself. I went to both the Allston and the Jamaica Plain shops. Both are overwhelmingly adorable. Maybe it's just because I have a thing for store fronts because I have a bunch of ideas in my head?! The flavor list was also overwhelming. While Little Baby's has lots of interesting flavors, there are only a handful of vegan ones. It's so terrific to walk into a shop and be able to select any ice cream flavor you want from a board. I tried both the rocky road and then I got a banoffee/ peanut butter mud pie double scoop. Coming the banoffee and peanut butter was a totally brilliant move on my part, and I highly recommend it if you are a fan of this flavor combination!
Probably my favorite thing about the shops was the giant case full of pints of ice cream, just waiting for you to take them home. I have never really seen such a thing. It was pure magic. You can also get donuts from Sabertooth Bakery at FoMu! Donut sundae anyone?!

leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan

Everyone and their mother knows about Lula's Sweet Apothecary. While the business was closed for a bit and is now open under a new name that I haven't heard yet, it's still in the same spot with the same recipes and definitely just as good as always. The shop wasn't open when I was in town, but I was able to get a scoop of my favorite flavor, Dream Cone, at Sustainable NYC down the street!
There's obviously all sorts of other places to get vegan ice cream on the East Coast. I didn't even consider all the places with soft serve like Vegan Treats and B2 in Philly. There's really too many to list. But these are a few of my favorites. Are you an ice cream fanatic too?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Everything But The Kitchen Sink

leaves and flours vegan compost cookies

When I veganized the Momofuku compost cookies for MoFo last month, Greg went a little crazy over them. He really wanted another batch so it was the first thing I baked in October. I kept them fairly similar to the first round, but I added a generous splash of sprinkles because we both are obsessed. As I was making the cookie dough, Greg actually took a swig of sprinkles right out of the jar?!

leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan

I don't often take a whole lot of pictures during the recipe creation process because our kitchen is a little bit dark and doesn't lend well to my use of natural light. I am a wee bit terrified of using lamps and light boxes and what not. I haven't seem to have quite grasped the hang of it, even by the most generous of standards. However as I was making the almond ricotta for the cannoli I created, the kitchen sink where I was peeling almonds and pondering my future was so beautifully lit. A rare and lovely moment indeed. This is also where I wash dishes and look out into my neighbor's yard to see their Bernese puppy, Alice, running around. Remind me to bake them Christmas cookies so I have another chance to pet her for a few minutes?!

leaves and flours vegan sticky fingers donuts

I will always be a donut fan. DunWell is still top notch in my book, but Sticky Fingers recently started making donuts on Tuesday & Thursdays. Luckily a few of my days off lined up with their production schedule last month. The ones on the photo were some of my favorites: tiramisu, boston cream, & peanut butter chocolate. I keep hoping that they will start making them daily, because it's so hard to get there on weekday mornings. It's still nice to know we finally have the option available in DC. Now we just really need an all vegan ice cream shop.

leaves and flours vegan veggie galaxy dessert case

In the summer, Greg and I made a quick trip to Boston. I had never been, and really loved the city. Aside from FoMu, which I will devote more time to discussing on this little blog soon, my favorite spot was Veggie Galaxy! The stuffed french toast was my JAM. I will always be a breakfast person, first and foremost. It is the best meal of the day. But I am also a sucker for sweets, and Veggie Galaxy's dessert case was five star. The lemon meringue stole the show for me. It was tart and bright, the meringue sweet and marshmallowy. I heard a rumor that it was made from pea protein, and my interest is certainly peaked. I will have to look more into that soon. Speaking of lemon meringue, Hannah of Bittersweet just released her third cookbookEasy As Vegan Pie! As the biggest pie fan, I couldn't be more excited. Her lemon meringue looks as perfect as Veggie Galaxy's, and it will be the first recipe I attempt. The cannoli pie will be a close second (maybe simultaneously). What can I say, I like what I like?!

leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan leaves and flours vegan

These were cherry pistachio muffins my housemate Carrie made. They were so good. She couldn't find shelled pistachios at the nearby store, so shelled them all by hand to make the batch of muffins. That's dedication. These were delicious. They had a perfect crumb and the right hint of sweet and salt and tartness. I can't stop thinking about them. Eating a baked good someone else made is really bliss. I could get to use to it. Also, I don't know why I have never made spumoni flavored things before?!

leaves and flours vegan

This last snip-it is a wee bit embarrassing. I really hope that other people's desktops looked like this by the end of MoFo. I am normally so organized and keep all the clutter to a minimum, but with all the constant baking and photographing and writing, all of these pictures just ended up all over the place! I really have to fix it soon.
What is going on with everyone else? I have a busy week coming up, but am looking forward to apple & pumpkin pickin' this weekend and watching Halloween movies with a few friends. I can't believe how quickly this month is already going.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Kerfluffles Marshmallows

leaves and flours vegan Kerfluffles Marshmallows

Over the summer I mentioned how excited I was that Kerfluffles was creating vegan marshmallows. I was happy to test their some of their initial batches (you can read about that here), and I couldn't have been more pleased when some new flavors arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. I was going to blog about it then, but I was knee deep in Vegan MoFo and didn't want to tease you will all the delicious flavors before they were actually available for sale!

leaves and flours vegan Kerfluffles Marshmallows

The pictures you see here are only of the chai tea and cookies n' cream marshmallows, not necessarily because that was all I had (I got to try all the flavors), but because these were the flavors that had enough left to photograph after Greg and I finished our initial taste testing. We might have some problems with our sugar consumption? Greg's favorite was mint chip, but mine was a tie between banana bread & cinnamon roll (what can I say, I like cinnamon?!). They were all great. I don't even like chai tea, and I still ate a handful of the chai marshmallows happily because they were done so well. The french vanilla is the perfect marshmallow for s'mores & rice crispy treats. And I can attest to their meltability & perfect gooeyness in both of those! The cookies n' cream is the only vegan marshmallow that contains gluten, but if you aren't sensitive to wheat than you have to give it a chance.
You should head over to Kerfluffles and try the vegan flavor sampler! You should also read about how their little business got started. It's a super inspiring story, and they are sort of a Kickstarter legend. They stand by their principles in avoiding artificial dyes, chemical extracts, and strive to source organic ingredients. I know that they do it all from scratch, because I may have gotten a Snapchat or two of piles of lemon zest and marshmallow fluff being whipped to perfection.

leaves and flours vegan Kerfluffles Marshmallows

Also I was not paid to endorse Kerfluffles in any way. I did get some free marshmallows for my input on their process, but I am saying all these great things because I genuinely love their sweets. And Jenna.