Friday, December 12, 2014

Orange Sesame Truffles - Virtual Vegan Potluck 2014

Happy Potluck! Are you stuffed yet? I usually bring an appetizer, but this year I fancied something sweet. I wasn't alone! This year's dessert demographic is daunting - how will I ever manage to try a bit of everything?

My post was originally supposed to be a vegan remake of one of my favorite childhood desserts, Chocolate Lava Cake. I decided to experiment with coconut flour, and discovered that it is highly absorbent, and if you sub it 1:1 for regular flour you will have a cake but you won't be able to eat it.

Instead I concocted a semi-sweet treat that takes some time to chill but very little to make. In keeping with the potluck's Citrus theme, I decided to pair orange with sesame. Combine those two ingredients with cashews, agave, tahini, and a little coconut flour and freeze. 
 Abracadabra! Truffles...

1/2 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked and drained
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup coconut flour
zest of 2 oranges
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
Blend cashews in food processor until fine, then add the agave syrup and the tahini and blend 2 to 3 minutes, until a sticky paste has formed.
Put the cashew mixture in a bowl, then fold in the coconut flour. Cover and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.
When firm, roll small spoonfuls of the truffle dough into balls. Roll the truffles in sesame seeds and orange zest. Keep chilled until just before serving.

Bon appetit!

For more potluck goodies, skip ahead to Wendy's amazing Rocky Road Brownies...

or go back for some of Kyra's scrumptious Lemon Cheesecake!

 A thousand thousand thank-yous to Annie for creating the Virtual Vegan Potluck! Bloggers and vegans around the world are linking up today and sharing their amazing eats. I feel very lucky to have been around since the beginning!

Here is my VVP history:
Ghosts of Potlucks Past... 

November 2013
 Brussels Bruschetta with Empire State Cranberry Sauce

May 2013
Sweet Potato Samosas with Mango Mint Chutney

November 2012

May 2012

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Novembrunch: Coquette's Bistro, Colorado Springs

After brunch in a Denver on Saturday afternoon, I bummed a ride to Colorado Springs for CHAPPO's next performance. I danced again in my silver cowgirl boots, though not as vigorously as I had at the previous night's show. Denver can dance! Colorado Springs is a bit more subdued.

Perhaps there would be more dancing if there were more vegan options for brunch. I crashed at a friend's place after the show and we went out for brunch on Sunday morning at Coquette's Bistro. I had been to Coquette's once before, for a Colorado Springs Vegans meet-up luncheon, and snagged a couple of their vegan cupcakes on my way out. Their cupcakes are bad-ass.

There was only one vegan option on the brunch menu. Normally, I would have felt some mild disappointment, but after a second night of dancing shots of whisky I was utterly ravenous and not of a mind to make decisions. I wanted only three things: 
  1. coffee, dark and bitter
  2. $3 mimosas
  3. vegan brunch

If vegan brunch is a scramble of house made black bean tofu with veggies and roasted carrot purée plus a side of truffle fries, who am I to complain? I will order that vegan brunch and I will eat it. All.

I had some of that roasted carrot purée on my first visit, with the Fried Red Pepper Polenta, with sautéed Swiss chard, mushrooms, onion, tomato and almonds. The carrot purée was the best part of both dishes. The truffle fries were exactly what one expects of truffle - tantalizingly to overpoweringly flavorful. The black bean tofu was more like a bean pancake than tofu, but that's okay. I'm one of those weirdos who actually likes tofu.

Coquette's Bistro is located at 312 N Tejon, Colorado Springs, CO. They are open 9 am - 10 pm on weekends, closed on Mondays, and open 11 am - 10 pm Tuesday through Friday. They have vegan cupcakes.

Vegan Cupcakes!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Novembrunch: Watercourse Foods, Denver

Third time's a charm! I brought some friends of mine to Watercourse Foods for brunch on Saturday, and was pleasantly surprised. 

It was a snowy day and Watercourse was the only veg option within walking distance, so I decided to chance it. I had been to Watercourse a couple of times on my own, and wasn't terribly impressed. I felt the service was superb, but found the food lacked panache. This visit was different.

The place was packed - it was a Saturday at noon - but we were offered cups of coffee while we waited for our table. I happily ordered the 2-for-1 mimosa for $7 and decided to try the Denver Omelette, exclusive to the brunch menu. The omelette was delicious! Though in essence more like a crepe, it was stuffed with grilled veggies and satisfied the appetite of one who stayed up all night dancing.

As I was out with friends, I did not indulge in taking photos of my tasty brunch, but I can share some food porn from my previous visits.

Eden Ridge Cider & The Cuban  (smoky maple tempeh, Swiss, spicy beer mustard & pickles pressed into gluten-free bread) with a side of fries

On my first visit I tried the Cuban, which probably would have been better if I had not ordered it on gluten-free bread. The gluten-free bread is terribly dry, so don't go there. On the day that I finally taste an edible gluten-free-and-vegan slice of bread I will dance for joy. 

Titan IPA & Tofish and Chips (battered tofu and fries served with coleslaw, tartar sauce and malt vinegar)

I had to give Watercourse a second chance, because gluten-free bread is a nearly impossible challenge. Then they started serving vegan fish & chips.  I had never had a vegan version of fish & chips, so I went on purpose to try it. The tofish was yummy and way more than I could eat, but some of my chips were still cold inside. Gadzooks! As a foodie, I could not forgive an undercooked fry...

...but the fries were nice and crispy on my first visit, and Watercourse earned redemption with their winning brunch. I wanted to impress my musician friends from Brooklyn with my knowledge of Denver fare, and Watercourse passed the test. I would go back there again for a kombucha cocktail, but mostly because I love the wall murals by artist Ravi Zupa. I'm actually rather jealous of those murals...they are wonderful. They make me want to draw.

Watercourse is 100% vegan comfort food. Their slogan is, "eat the path of least resistance." They serve breakfast all day and are open 11am to 10 pm Monday - Friday and 8 am to 10 pm on weekends. Watercourse Foods is located at 837 E 17th Avenue, Denver, CO 80218.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

City o' City, Denver

I hereby declare NOVEMBRUNCH! November shall henceforth be known as the month of brunch. I had so much fun with my curry theme in September, I decided to rename November. Get ready to munch and brunch!
Chana Masala Waffles and Moscow Mule at City o' City
I went undercover in October to sniff out all the vegan brunches my Metro Area has to offer. The best brunch I've had so far in Denver was served in waffle form at a hip vegetarian bistro called City o' City

206 E 13th Avenue, Denver CO
City o' City has a Waffle of the Week, abbreviated on the menu as W.O.W. An accurate acronym for their fluffy, puffy, gluten-free, enormous vegan waffles! I've ordered them twice, and hungry as I was, couldn't finish on either occasion. On my first visit the waffle of the week was a Horchata Waffle with cinnamon rice pudding and powdered sugar and slivered almonds. For my beverage, I ordered a gingery hot Bhakti Chai. On my second visit, I had a savory Chana Masala Waffle with mint raita that was kind of like a giant deconstructed samosa, some hot black coffee and a Moscow Mule in a copper mug.

Horchata Waffles and Bhakti Chai at City o' City
Besides serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, City o' City also has a full bar. Happy Hour happens twice a day - from 2pm to 6pm and from 11pm to close. Vegans in Denver have lots of options at City, so go for a brunchy drink and try the Waffles of of the Week...or maybe the Chilaquiles...or a pizza or a burger or even an omelette, if you wake up early enough for breakfast. I've been working evenings, so brunch is kinda my thing. Any time is a good time for waffles.
VO = Vegan Option

Friday, October 31, 2014

Bunny Against Animal Cruelty

It's Halloween, and this year I am dressed as a Bunny Against Animal Cruelty  (it's a conceptual costume) and I figured this was the perfect opportunity to share some of my favorite vegan beauty products.

For my birthday, I gifted myself permission to indulge in a little shopping and spend more time feeling pretty. I was totally out of face powder, so I placed an order with Bare Minerals and splurged on some eyeshadow and a liner brush. Herban Luxe mascara and Red Apple lipstick are both essential components of my makeup bag, and I've been drinking these super-healthy detoxifying juices by Tumeric Alive.

Here's a little video so you can see my costume. Hoppy Halloween!

I have two new vegan lipsticks on order from Lippy Girl, so there will be another cosmetics video from me in November

For more on vegan beauty products, check out these posts:

Holiday Sparkle Sans Crueuté
Cruelty Free Beauty for Boys and Girls

Friday, October 17, 2014

Midnight Blogging: Happy Birthday to Me

OMG...if everything I bake comes out as well as this birthday cake, I will have a very good year indeed. It's fluffy and sticky and purely delicious. It's also vegan and gluten-free. Nom nom nom. Coconut Cardamom.

For my birthday dinner, a big bowl of Pineapple Panang Curry. I ate it all, and a bowl of rice.

It was truly a delectable day! Beautiful leaves, blue sky and sunshine. Balloons, birthday cake, Malbec, and presents!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cellular Peptide Cake with Mint Frosting

Let them eat cake! Shall we celebrate the last day of Vegan MoFo 2014 with a Star-Trek inspired confection?

It's Trekkie TV Tuesday once again, and this week's featured future food is a Cellular Peptide Cake (with Mint Frosting). In the Next Generation episode "Phantasms," the crew of the Enterprise become infected with interphasic parasites that feed on cellular peptides. Fortunately, (though perhaps not so much for Counselor Troi) Commander Data is able to detect the parasitic presence before the entire crew loses cellular cohesion and melts into puddles of chemicals. Somehow the creatures sense Data as a threat and try to scare him off with disturbing visions. In the throes of a waking nightmare, Data stabs Counselor Troi, but remains, as ever, unphased.

Scene: [Ten Forward]
(Crusher drinking Riker's brain, the Troi cake, all as before)
DATA: Cake?
PICARD: Oh. Er, thank you. Look at that. Her right shoulder. That is the same place that Data stabbed her.
LAFORGE: In his waking dream he said that there was a mouth on her shoulder.
PICARD: They're both symbols of consumption. Mouth, food. Mister Data, what kind of cake is this?
DATA: It is a cellular peptide cake.
WORF: With mint frosting. 

I don't suspect that many humans would enjoy eating cellular peptides, so I decided to make a Cardamom Coconut Cake instead. Delicious. Especially with mint frosting. This recipe works great for cupcakes, too.

Cellular Peptide Cake with Mint Frosting

  • for the cake
  • 2 1/4 cups oat flour
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups organic sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • for the frosting
  • 3 cups organic powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (solid)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and oil a 9" x 13" rectangular cake pan or two 8" circular pans.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, salt, cardamom, and baking powder together.
  3. Add the almond milk, oil and vanilla and beat well.
  4. Pour batter into oiled & floured cake pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Let cool, and when the edges have pulled away from the sides of the pan, flip onto a serving platter to frost. Lay your plate on top of the cake pan and flip them over together - it's less scary that way. Tap the bottom of the pan a little if you need to.
  6. To make the icing, whizz the coconut oil, almond milk and mint extract together in a food processor. A little at a time, add the powdered sugar until icing is spreadable.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as Lieutenant Worf.