Pumpkin Pie (with Maple Vanilla Sauce and Maple Spiced Pumpkin Seeds)

I want to apologize for my long absence. Not only have we been having some web server problems, but the shortened days have made it very difficult for me to take pictures, since my sub-par camera means I need the sunlight. Rest assured, I have been eating well, and on the occasion of my birthday, decided it was time to get back in gear.

I made several dishes for a potluck Thanksgiving dinner I attended, including a pumpkin pie with assorted goodies. Having decided that coconut milk would be just right, I was going to improvise my own recipe when someone posted one from The Savvy Vegetarian that was just like what I had in mind, so I went ahead and used that one. Then I roasted the pumpkin seeds (sweetly this time) with the idea that they might make a good topping. The next day, having chilled the pie sufficiently, I considered how nice a whipped topping would be, so I used the leftover tofu and coconut milk to attempt one, but while it would have likely been perfect out of a whip-it (and was quite delicious), it was too thin on its own. I thickened it a bit with some tapioca before deciding to just call it a sauce. It worked wonderfully on the pie as well as on the apple crisp I’d also made.

Yay for experimentation! Click through for the many recipes.

Pumpkin Pie (with Maple Vanilla Sauce and  Maple Spiced Pumpkin Seeds)

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I figured I’d try making ciabatta (ie, Italian slipper bread, as it looks kinda like a man’s slipper) because it’s gotten so trendy in the past few years and there was a recipe in my bread book. The ciabatta process is quite different from other breads. It requires a starter begun the night before and the dough is so wet, it is never actually kneaded. It remains wet and gooey until baking, in fact, but once out of the oven, this was one of the best breads I’ve ever eaten. My roommate and I would have finished both loaves within hours of baking if I hadn’t put my foot down to insist we save some for later.

The important points to keep in mind when making this bread are avoid adding extra flour to the dough and handle it with a very light touch after rising. Extra flour is very tempting because the dough is so hard to work with, but really, don’t do it except for when you need it to shape the loaves. After rising, do not punch down and be very gentle while shaping. Also, you really can’t use too much flour for the shaping process. If you have silicone baking mats (sadly, I do not), this would be a very good time to use them.


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Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

One day last week, I decided I wanted a sandwich, because I like eating sandwiches sometimes. But I had no bread in the house with which to make it, so I went to the market… to buy flour. I’d run out of whole wheat flour, y’see, and I don’t like to use all-white for my sandwiches. I returned home and got things going. During the rise, I ate some peanut butter out of the jar. That evening, a friend of my roommate’s came over and cooked dinner, so by the time the bread was done, I’d been fed. But I did have a very yummy sandwich the next day, anyway. (The final irony was that after I finished baking, I realized that I did, in fact, already have bread in the freezer.)

This was actually my first time baking bread in a loaf pan, and the lesson learned was to grease more thoroughly next time (or acquire a non-stick or silicone pan). I couldn’t find a recipe that sounded just right, so I mixed some up, based largely on the pain ordinaire (fancy-speak for basic bread) in Ultimate Bread. I think I slightly overbaked, but the long process of getting it out of the dang pan may have been a factor there, too. Although I called this whole wheat, like most whole wheat breads, there is still a fair bit of white flour. After a few days, I did what I always do with my sandwich bread and froze the remainder in slices. It toasts up beautifully from the freezer.

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread (sliced)

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Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Beware these cookies: they can be dangerous! Chewy, and delicious, and so rich, it’s hard to eat more than one or two at a time, but as soon as you’re able, you’ll want more. Another gem from Isa at The Post Punk Kitchen, the original calls for too much sugar (as do many of her recipes, but it’s a minor flaw that is easily corrected), but other than that, these cookies are pretty much perfect.

I have no doubt one of the keys in these in particular being so yummy is the really good Dutch process cocoa that my roomie acquired at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport during a layover. While I’m sure you could get yummy results with regular cocoa, it would throw off the acid balance and who knows what might happen.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Grilled Marinated Tofu

Despite being a long-time veg*n and lover of bean curd in many forms, I was never really into marinating it. I’d tried, but it rarely seemed worth the trouble. Until I found this recipe in The Kripalu Cookbook, that is, and my life changed forever. Designed to be served cold, it is indeed delicious out of the fridge on its own or in a salad, but is also wonderful grilled, baked, fried, or just heated in the microwave. Even my self-proclaimed tofu-hating (and non-veg) roommate, who humors me by tasting whatever I cook, surprised us both by going back for seconds the very first time I made it, and, even more shockingly, has since asked me to make it again!

I usually cut the tofu into slices, but cubed it this time to facilitate skewering. It was hands-down the best grilled tofu I’ve ever had.

Grilled Marinated Tofu

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