Monday, October 22, 2007

Wherein Daniela eats meat once again.

There was an undeniable craving for roasted chicken that I just could not deny. Therefore, this ends what shall be known as "the vegetarian streak."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Swedish Apple Pie

After the excitement of the first day of school died down, the thing I looked forward to most was apple picking. It was almost magical to me to go into the pristine rows of gnarled trees, Cortlands and Mackintoshes sparkling in the sun like rubies. We had free roam of the orchard, the musty fragrance of fallen leaves mixed with the crisp coolness of fall air, the softness of my favorite sweatshirt, the crunch of the oranges, reds, greens, and yellows of the foliage underfoot.

My mother's pies never really came out too well. The bottom crust was always doughy and I'd gingerly pick out the delicious filling, being careful not to get any of the crust mixed with my bite.

As I grew older, I baked the ubiquitous all-American apple pie. After a day or so, my bottom crust would get soggy, usually causing me to toss the leftover pie in the disposal. The solution? A pie without a bottom crust, is a cinch to put together, and tastes like you're eleven years old and sitting in the orchard. The top is crispy, delicate and tender at the same time. Take care to get it in the oven as soon as you finish spreading the batter on the apples.

Vegan Swedish Apple Pie

2 1/2 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples; I used a blend of Granny Smith and Cortland
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup margarine, melted (such as Earth's Best)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup soy yogurt*
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9-inch glass pie plate with margarine. Toss apples with brown sugar and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup sugar, soy yogurt, and vanilla with the melted margarine. Whip with an electric mixer until the mixture is very aerated and nearly white. Stir together flour, soda and salt. Add all at once to margarine mixture and mix until just combined but with no lumps. Spread mixture over the apples. Bake in preheated oven for 65 minutes, or until golden brown.
*(If you eat eggs and dairy products, you can omit the yogurt and the baking soda and substitute a beaten egg; and use butter in place of margarine for similar results.)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Breakfast Bars (Autumn and Tropical versions)

By now, the entire planet is well aware that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The number one reason for not eating breakfast has something to do with morning time constraints, the snooze button, and the fact that you thought you could stay up all night watching the Gene Simmons Family Values marathon on A&E.

On a lovely Sunday, you could spend 10 minutes whipping these badboys up and you can eat them in the car on your way to work (or rehab, if that's your gig.) They pack a nutritional punch, they're healthy, and they're rather addictive. Though the ingredient list looks daunting, it tends to be of the sort of things that are usually lurking about in your pantry with nothing else better to do. You don't have soy flour? No big. Just leave it out. Don't like pumpkin? Use applesauce. Not a fan of pecans? Use whichever nut you'd like, or leave them out. Hate cranberries? Use raisins. Hate cranberries AND raisins? Use dried apples. I think you get the gist here. These are egg-free, diary-free, and they're full of oaty goodness, which will probably lower your cholesterol. You can thank me later.

Autumn Breakfast Bars

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup oat flour (conveniently made from pulverizing old-fashioned rolled oats in a blender or food processor)
1/3 cup flaxseeds, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant, and pulverized in a blender or food processor.
1/4 cup soy flour
1/2 cup Craisins or raisins or chopped dried apples.
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree; not the pumpkin pie mix (or natural applesauce)
1 medium Granny Smith or Gala apple, cored, peeled, seeded and chopped into small pieces (1/4 inch or so)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375*F. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl, stirring to combine. In a separate bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients along with the apple, dried fruit, and nuts. Stir until the mixture is well combined and spread into a greased 13 x 9 pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cut into squares while the bars are still warm, but do not remove them from the pan until they are completely cool (as they will fall apart if you take them out when still warm.)

Tropical Version: Reduce packed brown sugar to 2 Tbsp. Omit the maple syrup and water, the fresh apple, the pumpkin, the cinnamon, and the Craisins and pecans and substitute with the following:
1 cup canned pineapple tidbits (not crushed pineapple) well-drained and dried (reserve juice)
1 cup reserved pineapple juice from above; add enough water or apple juice to make one cup if you don't have enough.
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup packed sweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup finely chopped dried mango and papaya
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts or cashews
1/4 tsp allspice