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baking, cooking, and other adventures

Chicky Tuna Salad Sandwiches September 1, 2014

Filed under: Sandwich,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 3:33 pm
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Wow is all I can say!!!!

I whipped up a batch of the Chicky Tuna Salad (page 99-100 in Isa Does it) and it is AWESOME.

I wasn’t able to find kelp or dulse flakes so I used a couple of sheets of Trader Joe’s Wasabi Roasted Seaweed Snack. I crushed up the sheets and it worked out perfectly. I loved the flavor and it is the best substitute of tuna salad. Actually, I think I prefer it over tuna salad.



Vegan Month of Food 2014

Filed under: Vegan — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am



Well not for today, but I do start my Vegan “challenge” of a sorts.  The past few years that I have participated in Vegan Month of Food aka Vegan MoFo I have just tried to cook and post as much Vegan food as possible.  Well it hasn’t worked out very well.  As you see, I am an omnivore so be careful when cruising my blog because if it doesn’t say it is Vegan than it isn’t.  I do have a lot of Vegan content on here though and I do stick to the rules for the month of September for only posting Vegan items. So with that being said let’s get down to business.

Last year I really wanted to go Vegan for the month, but was unable to because I had recently had a baby. I know there are many Vegans who have babies and everything is fine. But because I am an omnivore, if I was going to go Vegan while breastfeeding I wanted to do it correctly and under the supervision of a doctor.  Well being a mother of two little girls, that would just take too much time. So I waited until this year.

For the month of September, I am going Vegan.  WOOT!!!!!

The plan for this past weekend was to prep a bunch of Vegan Burgers, but with the family and falling asleep all the time (Hot Yoga and 5k training have been sucking my energy away) I was unable to.  I did however go shopping with my youngest (1 year old) and picked up all of my non-perishable and some perishable ingredients.  I went thru my collection of Vegan Cookbooks and picked out recipes that I wanted to try. I figured it is also an opportunity to get more veg into my family.

This morning I am making Whole Wheat French Bread (in the bread maker), Chicky Tuna Salad Sandwiches and Bistro Beet Burgers (pages 99 and 82, from Isa Does it). I am also soaking chickpeas for the Falafel Burgers (page 85 in Isa Does it).  I incidentally wasn’t paying attention when I was shopping, being with a 1 year old and all, and I picked up Pita Bread that wasn’t vegan. So, I will be making my own mini pitas this week for the Falafel Burgers.  All of the excess burgers I am freezing after I cook them so that I can have quick meals for lunch and or dinner when I am at work.

I didn’t really have anything crazy for breakfast this morning.  I had a cup of Irish Breakfast Tea while I herded my two girls around and then shoved a vanilla coconut yogurt into my mouth.  I am going to have the Chicky Tuna Salad for lunch and the Bistro Beet Burger for dinner. I am considered not having one of them on bread and incorporating a salad to that meal.  Tomorrow my diet will change a bit because I am started another round of the 21 days fix, but doing it Vegan this time.  It is mainly about portion control and making sure I stick to healthy food groups. Granted that won’t affect what I make because Momma needs some sweets in her life and I like to cook. So I might just have a small portion of something’s and only tastes of others. 

I will be blogging about my experience with going Vegan and how I am feeling each day with going Vegan in an omnivore household.

It should be interesting, so Stay tuned :)


Tuesdays With Dorie: Baking Powder Biscuits August 19, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — pastrybrush @ 3:26 pm

IMG_4710This weeks recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie is the Baking Powder Biscuits which are located on pages 211-212 in Baking With Julia.  Like any biscuit recipe the key is COLD ingredients and light hands aka do not over handle the dough. You want flakes of fat in the dough and you do not want it to melt. So the least amount of time you handle the dough the best.  I ended up making this recipe Vegan because it was VERY easy to do and I am gearing up for Vegan Month of Food (VeganMoFo) in September.  I had some Almond Milk on hand so I just substituted that for the milk and the recipe was already using vegetable shortening.

The recipe is suppose to make 14 two-inch biscuits.  Well I like a BIG biscuit so it only made 6 for me.  They turned out great. I ended up splitting them in half and loading them up with a vegan chicken patty for my very own version of a chicken biscuit.  They were very yummy.


Tuesdays With Dorie: Poppy Seed Torte August 5, 2014

Filed under: Baking,Baking With Julia,Cake,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 11:17 am
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IMG_4688 IMG_4692This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is the Poppy Seed Torte which is located on pages 258-260 in Baking With Julia.  The contributing baker for the recipe is Markus Farbinger.  I actually went online and watched the PBS episode of Julia and Markus making this recipe and it was very helpful.

The recipe was actually pretty simple to make, it just required a few extra steps: grinding poppy seeds, cake crumbs, and peeling and poaching apricots.  I figured I would not have any problems with the recipe. Little did I know that my apricots refused to have themselves peeling. I boiled them for the 10 seconds, a little bit longer, and A LOT longer and still it was hit or miss.  Some would only peel halfway and most would not peel at all. Because some of the apricots cooked longer than they were suppose to I ended up just soaking them in the Ginger-Vanilla Syrup instead of cooking them longer.

After the apricot peeling fiasco, everything went very smoothly.  The final product of the torte looked just like the picture.  The final test was the taste and it was actually very good. It had a slight lemony flavor from the juice/zest and I also used a left over lemon cake for the crumbs.


Tuesdays With Dorie: Vanilla Pound Cake July 15, 2014

Filed under: Baking,Baking With Julia,Cake,Pound Cake,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 2:38 pm
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This weeks recipe for Tuesdays With Dorie is the Vanilla Pound Cake which is located on pages 251-252 in Baking With Julia.  I was looking at the recipe it looked pretty straight forward and reminded me of the Pound Cake recipe my Mom and Nanny make.  I decided to compare those two recipes and only noticed a few differences.

My family’s recipes has

1) No baking powder.

2) 1 cup more sugar

3) 1 tsp more vanilla extract (total of 1 Tbsp)

4) 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (in addition to the 2 sticks of butter)

5) 2 more eggs

I guess the most notable different with regard to taste was sweetness and texture.  Of course with one cup less sugar this pound cake wouldn’t be as sweet, which I did actually mind.  It was the texture of the cake.  It was good, but when comparing the two I would prefer my family’s recipe because it yields a moister cake.  Which of course it would with the addition of vegetable oil. I have done the recipe with apple sauce instead of the oil and it turned out just as moist. I have also left it completely out of the recipe a few times and the cake turned out good just not really moist. Because the recipe doesn’t call for baking powder it yields a denser cake, but you are using sifting the dry ingredients and the creaming of the butter and sugar together instead of chemical leveners.

So in the end, it is a good recipe, but a bit too dry for my taste.  I will probably just stick with my family’s recipe and modify flavorings for the type of cake I want.

Vanilla Pound Cake

The cake looks WAY darker than it really was. I was using natural sunlight coming in from the skylight.


Tuesdays WIth Dorie: Tropical Napoleons and Scallop and Pesto Purses May 20, 2014

Huh, I just wrote half of my entry and I saw WordPress auto saving and then some thing went wrong when I tried to add a picture and now my original post is nowhere to be seen.  Not very happy that I am spending my time trying to write this again, but I guess it happens.  It is really annoying since this is my only time to write when my youngest is taking a nap and my oldest is actually being quite.

Lets try this again.

This week I am going to be writing about last times recipe, Scallop and Pesto Purses, and this weeks recipe, Tropical Napoleons.  As usual, I made the Scallops on time but life and procrastination got in the way.

Now it is time to play catch-up.

The recipe for the week of May 6th was Scallop and Pesto Purses which is located on page 435 in Baking With Julia.  I almost missed doing this recipe, but I happened to be at the grocery store picking up ingredients so that I could make tea marinated shrimp. I proceeded to call Mike to get him to give me the run down on the recipe so that I could get everything that I needed. The entire time I was repeating the additional items that I needed to pick up, but the frozen food distracted me. Well lets be honest, the frozen desserts and ICE CREAM distracted me and I ended up not picking up the Phyllo and missed the scallions earlier in my trip. 


I realized all of this when I got home, so I set out to wing it.  I had some puff pastry and homemade pesto in the freezer.  The initial ideas was the make purses with the puff pastry and fill them with the scallop, pesto and parmesan cheese. Well that idea got slightly changed when I realized how big the scallops were.  They were HUGE, incidentally I only bought 4 because they were expensive. I ended up making pockets instead of purses.  I baked them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes until the pastry puffed and browned. We ended up having this for dinner along with the tea marinated shrimp.  It was the perfect amount of food.  I am pretty sure we had some vegetables too, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was.

ImageThis weeks Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was Tropical Napoleons, which is located on pages 393-394 in Baking With Julia.  I also made some slight modifications to the recipe so that I didn’t have to make a trip to the grocery store. We use fresh Strawberries that we had picked up at the Farmers Market, instead of a mix. I used shredded sweetened coconut instead of flaked. Finally, I didn’t have any heavy cream in the house, but I did have cans of coconut milk.  I remembered in all of the vegan baking that I have done that I had come across a recipe for Vegan Whipped Cream using chilled coconut milk.  The key to the whipped cream is to make sure you are NOT using lite coconut milk, then you place the can in the refrigerator for 6 hours or more.  You do this so that the milk separates, and you spoon out the solids (coconut cream) that rises to the top.  Take the coconut cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, and just beat it together like you would normally when making whipped cream. It ends up whipping to a medium soft peak, and can be used immediately in a recipe. It does firm up a little more after it is refrigerated, so I placed my in the fridge until I was ready to use it.

For the wafers/meringues in the recipe, I only made 1/3 of a recipe because I was afraid it would take too long to make a whole recipe worth and I didn’t have the time.  Hindsight, I should have made a full recipe because my 3 year old LOVED them and kept trying to steal them as snacks while I was making everything. She was actually looking for them this morning and then asked me if I ate them all. Surprisingly, I didn’t and they were just on top of the fridge where she couldn’t see them.  The Napoleons tasted very good and they are a nice light dessert for the summer.





Tuesdays With Dorie: Cantuccini April 29, 2014

This month I haven’t been posting very much but I did make the recipe for the week of April 15th, but as usual I just didn’t have time to post.  While I type this up, I am about to punch my computer in the face because the spacebar doesn’t want to work so I keep having to push it more than once.

Funny thing is I can hear it click every time I hit it but it doesn’t register the action.


Okay, back to Tuesdays With Dorie and Baking with Julia.  The recipe for the week of April 15th was for Cantuccini, which is essentially a biscotti made with almonds.  Which is located on pages 113-114 in Baking With Julia.  I love recipes that are simple, especially when I have all of the ingredients. Best thing about this recipe is that there is no added fat with regard to butter or oil. Great biscotti recipe for those days when you realize that you just ran out of butter.  Which surprisingly didn’t happen to me this time, but I was out of one important ingredient, ALMONDS. I usually have all types of different nuts hanging out in my freezer and I had almonds just not nearly enough.  However, I did have plenty of hazelnuts and just substituted them in for the almonds. I didn’t peel or toast them or anything, just straight up raw hazelnuts from the freezer.

This recipe was especially appreciated because of how quick everything came together.  Mike took Emma outside to play and I was able to mix the dough up, form the logs, and put them in the oven, in less than 20 minutes.  Which was ideal since I was also watching Maureen, 11 months old, crawl around the kitchen and living room.  She was actually really well behaved and didn’t try to play with the dog food or the dog’s water :) The biscotti turned out fantastic, slightly sweet with the perfect amount of crunch. They are especially good with coffee and just as good with tea.Image



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