I’m blowing the dust off this blog again. In the past it’s been periodically resurrected for VeganMoFo, but it’s time for introspection and rejuvenation. More to come.

VeganMoFo Day Five – Chocolate Jam Thumbprints

Monday’s neglected appliance was my stand mixer.


With the weather cooling down, I’m more inclined to bake. I had a jar of blueberry preserves to finish off, and Kelly Peloza’s Chocolate Jam Thumbprints was the ideal use. Chocolate and blueberries? Yes, please!

Chocolate Jam Thumbprints

  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons jam, your choice

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the oil, sugar, soy milk, and extracts.
Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and stir until completely mixed. Add a bit more flour if the dough looks wet.

Shape into tablespoon-sized balls and place on a lightly oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet (do not flatten) and bake for 9 minutes.

Remove from oven and using your thumb, press into each cookie, making a thumbprint. Put about 1/2 teaspoon jam on each cookie. Return to the oven and bake for 3 more minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool and enjoy!


Mine look a little funny because I was listening to some Doctor Who reviews on SF Debris and neglected to put in the baking powder I had put on the counter and subsequently hid behind the sugar jar.

ImageServed with a tofu sandwich (vegan mayo, bacon bits, thinly sliced tofu, and lettuce).

VeganMoFo Day Four – The Looming Butternut

Today is a simple, midweek dinner. That butternut mentioned in yesterday’s post is going to end up haunting me. Apropos. I had already planned on making Miso-Butternut Squash Soup from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons. I recommend the book, but this particular recipe is here on the author’s website.

I sautéed the pretty chard with a little garlic and put in some sliced kalamata olives.

Add some lentils and we’re all set for dinner. The squash used for the soup? I already had that and had deemed it too little for most dishes I was thinking of making. In the meantime, this one waits.

Why did I bring a squash into the bathroom for a very awkward self portrait?

VeganMoFo Day Three – Woman About Town

My dad dropped by and we went to the Lunch Room food cart… for lunch. It’s already one of my favorite places to go for food in Ann Arbor and today was no exception! I had the Aloo Yoop Fall Harvest Stew (coconut milk curry stew with yukon gold and sweet potatoes, chick peas, yellow onions, peas, and brown rice), which was just lovely to have outside with a little chill in the air. It has just the right amount of curry spice for me.

It’s a bit overcast today, so the warm saffron color isn’t as apparent as it was in person. My dad had the Washington Street Wrap (a hummus wrap with roasted red pepper, cucumber, baby lettuce, tomato & red onion). He had never had hummus before, nor limeade, which was the drink he chose.

I went for their Boston cooler. I just love the flavor combination of ginger ale with coconut ice cream.

Dad asked if there was anything else to do while we were downtown, so we were off to the farmers’ market in Kerrytown. He got some bread; I got kale, chard, beets, and a monster butternut squash. We joked about buckling it into the back of his car as we were packing up…

Couldn’t resist. I weighed it when I got home. It’s 9 pounds, 7¾ ounces.

VeganMoFo Day Two (Belated) – Barley Bean Salad

My pressure cookers got a real workout yesterday putting dinner together. Didn’t get the chance to post this on time.

Barley Bean Salad

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 3 cups cooked garbanzo beans (~2 cans)
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1½-2 Romaine hearts, chopped (I used a head and a heart1)
  • Creamy Dijon Dressing (Vegan on the Cheap)

Soak cashews while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Prepare barley either in a pressure cooker (cooked for 20 minutes with 3 cups of water or vegetable broth) or on the stove (simmered for 40-45 minutes in 2½-3 cups of water or vegetable broth).

Combine everything but the dressing in a large bowl. Blend the dressing ingredients and then mix into salad.

Served with Polenta with Dried Mushrooms and Olives from Great Vegetarian Cooking Under Pressure.

1Great. Now I’ve got various songs by the Head and the Heart stuck in my head. If only Pandora would stop suggesting Mumford & Sons when I listen to anything indie folky…

VeganMoFo Day One – Vegetable Cleaver

Monday’s entries will highlight a neglected kitchen tool. There are currently seven knives on my rack:

Each tends to have a specific function in my kitchen; the smaller santoku knives if a recipe calls for a clove or two of garlic, chef’s knife to chiffonade greens, etc. By far the one that gets the least attention is my vegetable cleaver (AKA Chinese chef’s knife).

Autumn is when it gets to shine because there are few things as satisfying as burying it into a butternut squash or a particularly large yam. It’s also fantastic for whacking shallots or garlic any time of year. The large, flat blade comes in handy for transporting chopped food from a cutting board to a pot or for using the front or top edge to simply push things off the board. Claude ran off with one of the yams from my bag, but the cleaver made short work of it after I retrieved it and washed it off.

I made Hottie Black-Eyed Peas & Greens and Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples from Appetite for Reduction:

Click the image to go to Isa’s entry on the two, because I can’t photograph squishy dishes like this to save my life. I need a camera. The mashed sweet potato dish came out really well. The only apples I had in my house were Honeycrisp, so I limited the ingredients to three: apples, sweet potatoes, and ginger to take advantage of their wonderful flavor.

BBQ Jackfruit Cupcakes

I’ll be in Chicago during part of the week of Thanksgiving, which has all sorts of awesome places to go. This year, I’ll get to visit the Bleeding Heart Bakery and thanks to a groupon, be on an insane sugar rush. The establishment first came to my attention during the working title brouhaha of the cookbook associated with the bakery. Who You Callin’ Cupcake? had many interesting looking recipes, but there was one in there that I just knew I had to veganize for MoFo: BBQ Pulled Pork Cupcakes. This was going to be a piece of cake.

It started with this pulled jackfruit sandwich recipe via Chow Vegan.

Foreground: Jackfruit slathered in barbecue sauce, ready to be cooked. Background: As you can see, no Pandora this time. Yep, getting my recommended daily allowance of The Daily Show.

I cooked that for two hours, just to make sure it was nice and tender. Then the fruit got shredded and, when necessary, squished with forks:


While I thought cornbread would make the most sense, I deferred to the original recipe and used the Basic Vanilla Cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa and Terry.

Ready to go in the oven. The batter tasted disconcertingly reminiscent of marshmallow fluff.

While they were baking, I shredded the remainder of the jackfruit. The part I found most daunting looking it over was the frosting. The original called for 2 cups of butter and a stand mixer. I cut that down to about 1/3 cup butter (Earth Balance) whipped with 1 tablespoon maple syrup and just spread it over the top of the cupcakes in a thin layer. Spread the reserved jackfruit on top and ta-da:

So, how did it taste? Surprisingly good. I barely noticed the jackfruit that had been folded into the batter, but the corn complimented the sweet cupcake well. The jackfruit I did notice made for a fun, tangy contrast. Even the meager amount of butter seemed gratuitous; a drizzle of maple syrup would have been fine.

Verdict: Initially off-putting and time consuming, but tasty. I likely wouldn’t do it again unless it was for an unconventional potluck.