October 11th, 2008


Fiendishly good cranberry beans

My foodie coworker, Terry, dropped by my desk the other day to inform me that I had to make this. He was so right. If you don't work with Terry, I'm here to tell you that you need to make this, too. We were taking advantage of the fresh cranberry beans in the farmers' markets right now, but I'm sure it would also be good with pre-cooked dried beans like great northern or romano.

3 cups shelled, fresh cranberry beans
couple tablespoons olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled (chopping optional)
6-8 oz. dry white wine
1/2 tsp. dried or fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. dried or fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
salt to taste

Throw everything but the salt in a pot and add enough water or broth to get the water just to the level of the beans. Cover and simmer until the beans are tender and the liquid is mostly gone, checking the liquid level and stirring occasionally. This took longer than I'd expected, maybe because of the acid in the wine. But your patience will be rewarded. Mash with a potato masher, adding salt to taste. I added more olive oil at this point too, or you could drizzle it on top when you serve it.

I had this with grilled vegetables, but it's savory enough to be a spread for bread or crackers. It is not particularly pretty, so if you want to dress it up a little you could add some fresh parsley at the end. But damn, is it good.

Homemade cream cheese and mustard

Does anyone have a homemade vegan cream cheese recipe like Toffuti Better Than Cream Cheese? I have looked all over for a cream cheese recipe but none of them seem to work. Also does anyone have a recipe for homemade mustard?
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Home Sweet Home - Kudos to sno_bitten

Rosewater Cupcakes, Orange Blossom Water Cupcakes, Banana Bread and Figgy Pudding

I seem to be going through a baking extravaganza of late.

This past summer, I picked up a bottle each of rosewater and orange blossom water just to have on hand. And for a work potluck, I decided to put them to good use. I adapted the Pistachio Rosewater Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World to make pistachio-free rosewater and - separately - orange blossom water cupcakes. The results were fantastic.

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To ice the cupcakes, I made a single recipe of Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting, also from VCTOTW.

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And in time for the winter holiday season, I'm about to make Figgy Pudding. A friend of mine gave me the recipe, which I adapted to make it vegan. I'm not certain where she found it, but I believe it was online somewhere. I'm going to get the necessary ingredients soonish for preparation in early November, which should give the recipe enough time to sit and develop (in the freezer, of course).

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Happy baking!
Home Sweet Home - Kudos to sno_bitten

Pineapple Vanilla Jam Help

This past summer, I traveled to Nice, in the south of France, on my way to visit a friend in northwestern Italy. While in Nice, I spent a day or so in vieux Nice, where I found my way into a shop whose name I can't remember, but which was selling all kinds of wonderful local items, including spices, herbs, mustards, jams, salt grinders, savon de Marseille, etc. I picked up a bunch of items - salt/herb mixtures in test tubes, spicy Dijon mustard, wonderful Marseille soap, a bag of roses used in Moroccan cooking, which were gifts for friends, and a jar of pineapple vanilla jam for myself.

Upon my return to Canada, after giving away the gifts I brought back, I was left my lone jar of jam. And I was more than a little dubious. But I love pineapple and I love vanilla. I opened the jar and I think I was initially a little put off. But eventually, I tried it and it was love. So, so good. All too quickly my little jar of jam was gone.

And now, with fall a daily reality and horrible, horrible winter coming all too soon, I really want to make this jam. Or attempt to make this jam. Which will remind me of summer, being in southern Europe, the Mediterranean Sea and all things I love and cherish.

The only thing is I have no idea how to make jam. And all online searches for this jam have proven dead ends. Would anyone know how to go adapting a jam recipe for this particular ingredient combination? I should add that the vanilla wasn't in extract form, but rather a vanilla pod was in the jar.

PS. I have no means to can.