Easy Oat Milk


Oat milk is a quick and delicious dairy alternative. If you’ve been in a modern day coffee shop lately, it’s one of the most popular milk alternatives for its versatility, viscosity and ability to froth in a latté. Not to mention it’s about the most sustainable choice. With a few patry staples, you can whip up this milk alternative faster than a run to the store.

oatmilk

OAT MILK

1 Cup Water
3 Cup Quick Organic Oats
2 Medjool Dates, pitted
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

 

Combine the ingredients in a blender and combine on high power until smooth.

Transfer through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Do not push or squeeze to force the liquid through. Store refrigerated in a tight lidded jar for 3 days –  or up to one week.
Shake lightly before using.

 

If you’re looking for a cookie to go with your milk, try one of these:

Greatest Grampa Cookies

Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

Molasses Cookie Whoopie Pies

 

Heirloom Tomato Soup



My wonderful father in-law, one of the two lovely in-laws who’ve inspired this blog, also inspired my garden this year. For Christmas, I was presented with the most thorough catalog of seeds I’ve seen in some time. With not enough space to go pumpkin crazy, I opted for rewarding tomatoes. Six varieties to be precise and would you think that would stop my seed gift? No way, he even planted, sprouted and babied these specimens until they were ready to head to earth.

With a late start to the summer and a bit of a back problem, these little babies soon grew into towering providers. Eight feet of unstretchable plant has blossomed into hoards of tomatoes that now, so close to the first of fall, have finally begun to ripen; all at once.

With the more than occasional rain and cooler nights, I’ve summoned my three year old farm hand, who has no trouble crouching, to help with the over abundant harvest.

The soup, I could handle. It was pretty simple and very delicious.

CREAMLESS CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, diced
3 Cloves Garlic, minced, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
2 Lbs Assorted Heirloom Tomatoes, I used Black From Tula, Snow White Cherry, Roma & Riesentraube, diced (or one large 300z can)
1 Bay Leaf
1 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
1 Slice of Bread, crusts removed, torn
3/4 teaspoon Salt, more or less, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, optional, to taste
Fresh Basil, chopped, optional for garnish

Heat the oil in a large pot.
Dice and add the onion, minced garlic and bay leaf.
Sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent but not browned.
Add diced tomatoes and cook for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened, released their juices and lost their skins.
Stir in the sugar, bread and broth, then bring the soup to a boil then reduce it to a simmer.
Once the bread is soft and begins to break down, remove the bay leaf.
Using a hand immersion blender, mix the soup until smooth.
In batches if necessary, pass the soup through a mesh strainer and return to a cleaned pot.
Reheat as necessary.
Add salt, and pepper if desired. Seasoning to taste.
Garnish with fresh basil.

Serves 4

March Daring Bakers – Perfect Vegan Party Cake


There’s something wonderful about the Daring Baker group that I’d recently joined.
Well, a few things actually. For starters, it’s a great community of super talented baker/bloggers. With currently over 600 members, it’s a fabulous place to have a question about baking. It’s also great to discover all these new and wonderful recipes, getting me to completely read a recipe over like a little school girl.

I was delighted to have cake as the challenge for this month (it’s my birthday month). Of course, Morven of Food Art and Random Thoughts did not choose just any cake. This one is perfect, Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake.

I left the challenge to the end of the month for one reason and naturally opted to bake my own birthday cake this year. With a small houseful of friends and family, I decided to bake two versions. When I joined the Bakers, I’d sworn to stick to the rules, which means sticking to the original recipes, so I’ve posted the true version over on my Food+Photography blog.

However, for you and my vegan house guests, I baked up this version. Although intimidated by the pillowy bowls of whipped egg whites, I tried my darnedest to stick to the essence of the original. Only lacking the meringue buttercream, side by side, this version got fairly close to the original – and if I dare to say it: A Practically Perfect <birthday> Cake. Yum.

VEGAN LEMONY WHITE PARTY CAKE

2 1/4 Cups Cake & Pastry Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup Margarine or Butter
Zest of One Large Lemon, about 1 Tablespoon
1 3/4 Cups Soy Milk, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon Pure Lemon Extract
1 Tablespoon Vinegar

Measure and leave the soy milk to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Prepare two 9″ round or 8″ square pans by lining the bottom with fitted parchment or wax paper, lightly spraying then dusting with flour.
Sift the flour, baking powder, soda and set aside.
Rub the lemon zest with the sugar until evenly distributed and fragrant.
If using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment and cream the margarine with the zested sugar until well blended; about 3 minutes.
Add the lemon extract and combine along with 1/3 of the flour mixture.
With the motor running, add half of the soy milk, followed by another 1/3 of the flour.
Once the flour has absorbed add the remaining soy milk and mix well.
Add the vinegar and the last of the flour, beating until smooth.
Halve the batter and pour into prepared pans.
Bake for 30 minutes. Check with a cake tester or a toothpick for doneness.
Cool slightly then invert onto a rack to cool completely before icing.

CREAMY LEMON ICING

2 Cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted
3 Tablespoons Margarine
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the sugar with the margarine and lemon juice.
Once it has come together, then add the vanilla to incorporate.
Continue to blend on med-high speed until light and creamy.

Putting It All Together

You will need, 1 jar of the preserve of your choice, I went with strawberry for this one, gently heated and strained to remove seeds.

Line the edge of your cake plate with strips of wax or parchment paper.
With a long serrated knife, slice the the cakes through the middle horizontally and lay one layer in the center of your cake plate over the waxed paper.
Using either a pastry brush or a butter knife, evenly spread 1/3 of the jam over the top of the sliced cake, carefully toward the edge.
Top with another layer and repeat with another 1/3 of the jam.
Add another layer and finish with the remaining jam and last cake layer.
Dollop the prepared icing in the center of the top of the cake and using a spatula, evenly spread the icing over the top and sides of the cake.
Decorate to your liking with fresh berries, candied lemon peel or sugared pansies.

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup


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VEGAN CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP

2 Tbsp oil
1 Onion diced (red if you can)
3 Cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 C Dried porcini or shitake mushrooms
4 C Sliced mushrooms – white, porcini, portabello, shitaki approx. 2 medium portabellos and 6 cremini. (the earthier the mushroom the richer the flavor)
3T Cognac (optional)
1 Potato (peeled and cubed)
2T Flour
1 Sprig of fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp Salt
¼ tsp Freshly ground black pepper
2T Large leaf parsley (finely chopped)
10 C Water
1 C Soy milk
2T Arrowroot powder

Method

In a large bowl cover the dried mushrooms with 6 cups of boiling water. Allow the mushrooms to re-hydrate for at least 20 minutes. Strain the mushrooms with cheesecloth or a clean tea towel to reserve the liquid. Set the mushrooms and the liquid aside.

Prepare the onion and garlic and heat the oil in a large stock pot. Sauté the onions and garlic until they are soft and translucent (about 2 minutes), add the cognac and cook the alcohol down for about 1 minute. Add the raw mushrooms and in batches if necessary not to overcrowd the pot for about another 2 minutes. Listen for a persistent sizzle, stirring occasionally to cook evenly.
Add the re-hydrated mushrooms, salt, pepper and rosemary.
Toss the mushrooms with the flour, stir to coat.
Add the reserved liquid from the mushrooms and the remaining 4 cups of water, scraping any “bits” from the bottom of the pan. Add the potatoes and bring the soup to a rolling simmer for about 30 minutes.

Once the potato is soft, remove and discard the rosemary sprig and reserve about 1 cup of the mushrooms, stir in chopped parsley and set aside.

Purée the soup using a immersion blender or in batches with a food processor.
Dissolve the arrowroot powder in the cold soy milk and drizzle mixture into the hot soup.
Adjust seasoning.

Serve garnished with reserved mushrooms and brushed garlic crustini.