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Archive for June, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!!! I’ve had a wonderful day thus far. I slept in, executed Operation Cupcake, awaiting Indian food tonight…wait, did you say Operation Cupcake? Oh yeah, baby! For the first time in a long time, I haven’t had to bake my own birthday cake!! Thank you Sticky Fingers!! For those who aren’t aware, Sticky Fingers is a totally vegan (and they have GF stuff too) bakery in DC. I thought about getting a cake, but I decided…how often am I in DC and get to taste the goodness that is a vegan bakery. So I decided upon cupcakes, a dozen in fact. One may say that a dozen is way too many cupcakes for just two people. I say, HA, you can never have too many cupcakes! Plus, this way I get to taste the many flavors of Sticky Fingers. I purchased (starting clockwise at 7ish o’clock) two Strawberry Creme Vanilla Cake, Chocolate Love with Sprinkles (couldn’t resist the sprinkles), Toasted Almond Creme, Peanut Butter Fudge, Cookies-n-Cake, and S’mores. I purchased in two’s so that way Jo and I could both have individual cuppies of each flavor – sometimes, you just don’t want to share. 😉 I hope she likes my selections…

Sticky Fingers Cuppies

I have this tradition or philosophy (whatever), that no matters whose birthday it is…everyone should celebrate it! So to all Primate readers, I charge you to treat yourself today in honor of my birth! 🙂

Happy Birthday!

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I decided to make a cookie for Jo to take to her buds at work…and since Jo has this wonderful Blueberry-Lime Jam, I thought I’d do thumbprints! The cookie itself is very butter cookie/sugar cookie-esque. It’s got the flakiness of the butter cookie, but all the goodness of a sugar cookie. This recipe, for me, made about 20 cookies (+1 scout cookie), plus a little dough for quality control (naturally). Feel free to double the recipe if you’re looking to serve more peeps.

Ingredients:

1 C all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 stick (4 oz) Earth Balance Vegan Butter, softened if mixing by hand
1/4 C sugar
1 TBSP canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Jam of choice (blueberry, raspberry, cherry, etc)
Optional add-ins: poppy seeds, finely chopped almonds or
other nut

Directions:thumbprint dough

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream the butter with the sugar, until just incorporated – either by hand or with a mixer. Add 1 TBSP canola oil and vanilla extract, stir to mix in.

2. Add in dry ingredients (flour and salt), and stir until just combined.

 

3. Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place 2 inches apart (they will spread a little). Using your pinky finger, or the handle side of a wooden/plastic spoon (the one you used to mix the dough will work fine), make indentions in the rounds. Dip your pinky or handle into flour if it becomes to sticky. Make the indention deep, but don’t poke through the bottom. 😉
thumbprint poke
4. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes (depending on how liz-lovely you like your cookies). Remove and repoke the centers (for this you’ll definitely want to use a handle – too hot for little pinkies). Fill the centers with jam – do not overfill, you won’t use much..maybe about 1/8-1/4 tsp per cookie.
thumbprint fill
5. Return cookies to oven and bake an additional 3-5 minutes, until the edges golden. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Enjoy with a cup of Ceylon or other beverage of choice!

thumbprint

*Note: Store in an airtight container, and these babies will keep for up to 2 weeks – though I don’t think you could resist them for that long.

Happy Baking!

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These tasty farmer’s market – inspired patties can work as a veggie burger, finger food, or accompaniment to any rice or quinoa dish you like.  Make them silver dollar sized for a party appetizer, or the size of a slice of bread for a sandwich maker.  

Ingredients:

Squash_Pancakes

1 C chickpea flour 

1/2 C water

1/2 tsp each turmeric, coriander, cumin, paprika, salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1 medium shredded potato

2 small spring onions

1/2 C chopped chinese cabbage

1/2 C shredded squash

1 hot pepper (optional)

Instructions:

1.  Heat a saute pan over med-high, with enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan.

2.  In a medium bowl, mix the chickpea flour, water, and spices and set aside.

3.  Chop the onions, pepper and cabbage.  Shred the potatoes and squash.  Your Cuisinart will make short work of it!

4.  Mix veggies together is a large bowl.

5.  Stir in the chickpea batter.

6.  Spoon mixture into the pan and cook for 3 minutes, or until browned.  Flip and repeat.

7.  Drain the patties on a towel, since they will be oily.

8.  Serve hot!

Squash_Pancakes2

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inaug. sugar cookies6It’s holiday time again, and that means another menu to inspire your 4th of July festivities. Since I’m spending the fourth in DC..I’m feeling rather patriotic. So here’s a few ideas to help you celebrate our Independence, while simultaneously celebrating your own independence from animal cruelty. There are some obvious choices because of color scheme (blueberry tart), but I’ve also listed some traditional All-American classics like chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Hope this inspires!

Hannah’s Potato Salad
PotatoSalad

Ice Cream Trio – Blueberry, Strawberry, and White Chocolate
Chocolate Chip cookies (or if you’re at altitude)
Sugar cookies (colored for the occasion)
Margaritas and/or Lemonade

Various salsas, naturally: Pico de gallo, Roasted corn, Tomatillo

*Don’t forget the chips for the salsas!

blueberry tart5

Happy Fourth of July!

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blueberries&cream3This is an ice cream recipe that I’ve been making for ages…of course, pregan I used heavy cream. But I find it to be even more enjoyable using coconut milk! Putting a scoop of this ice cream with scoops of White Chocolate gelato and Strawberry Fields Forever, and you’ve got a tasty and patriotic dessert! Sprinkle with nuts and/or fresh berries…mmm, delicious! This recipe makes about 1 quart.

Ingredients:

2 C fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries
3/4 C water
2/3 C agave nectar
1 C coconut milk (or about 1 can)
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a small lemon)

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, bring water, nectar, and berries to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for about 1 minute. Remove from heat, set aside (for up to 30 minutes – the longer it steeps the richer the blueberry flavor).
2. Transfer berry mixture to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. Strain into a bowl, unless you want to keep the blueberry skins in there for a little texture. Add in coconut milk and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
3. Transfer to an ice cream maker an freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Move to a container and freeze for at least 1 hour to let it set up. This will stay good in the freezer up to 3 days.blueberries&cream1blueberries&cream2

 

Happy Freezing!

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I was craving something with white chocolate, and I came across a recipe (non-vegan, of course) in my Bittersweet cookbook by Alice Medrich. It’s a cookbook devoted to all things chocolate! So the recipe I stumbled upon was for a chocolate gelato. With the heat outside, and my recent successful experimentation with pastry cream, I decided to take a stab at replacing the eggs with a gum and cornstarch mixture. And to my sweet surprise, it was another success! I think you’ll all be pleased with this one. And to make you feel better for indulging: hemp milk has omega’s, agave nectar keeps the glycemic index low, and without eggs you’ve eliminated the cholesterol! Top with fresh blueberries and raspberries/strawberries and you’ve got a nice ‘healthy’ treat for a Fourth of July party that will knock the sandals off anyone…guaranteed! Ok, maybe ‘healthy’ is a bit of a stretch, even here at the Primate. Also, resist the urge to speed things up by melting the chocolate with the milks – it helps the creaminess if they are melted separately and then added together. Just like any successful partnership, you have to become who you are first before joining forces..am I right?! 🙂

white chocolate chipsIngredients:

1 C coconut milk
1.5 C hemp milk
2 TBSP agave nectar
1/2 tsp xanthum gum
1.5 TBSP cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C vegan white chocolate chips

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, warm the chocolate chips over low heat, stirring occassionally to facilitate melting. This will take less than 5 minutes, so keep an eye so you don’t burn the chocolate.
melted white chocolate 2. In a medium saucepan, warm 1 C coconut milk, 1 C hemp milk, agave nectar, and xanthum gum over medium-low heat, whisking occassionaly until steaming (but not boiling) and smooth – about 8-10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, stir together the last 1/2 C hemp milk with the 1.5 TBSP cornstarch and 1 tsp vanilla extract, set aside.
4. Add cornstarch mixture to the steaming milks, while whisking continually. Continue to steam and whisk for another few minutes until it starts to thicken.
5. Turn off heat and whisk in the melted white chocolate. Transfer to a lidded container, and let cool to room temperature (uncovered), then chill in fridge overnight.
6. The ‘custard’ will be very thick – like a thick creamy pudding.
7. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Mine took about 18 minutes, then at least 30 minutes to an hour in the freezer to set up (ripen). Scoop and enjoy. If not serving immediately, bring out of the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving to let it soften a bit.

whitechoc gelato1

*You are going to fall in love with this ice cream/gelato. Normally, I’ll scrape as much off the ice cream maker paddle..but with this, I couldn’t let any molecule be wasted. I decided to lick it clean like I would with a cake or cookie dough beater – which isn’t as easy with an ice cream paddle than with a mixer paddle. It was like crack…wonderful, white chocolatey, creamy-cold goodness crack! I defy all not to lick the paddle as well…

white chocolate gelato

Happy Freezing!
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Ok, one more shot for drool and giggles…

whitechoc gelato2

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Summer is in full swing, as exemplified by the rising temperatures and the rising hemlines. July, August, these are months that make you wish you lived under the sea where the water is always cool and little crabs orchestrated a calypso band (Little Mermaid reference for those not with me). So what is a young, health-conscious lady (or gent) to do to maintain their inner-cool?

As temperatures rise, we are all warned of the risk on the elderly and athletes about heat stroke and heat stress, but obviously this can affect anyone of any age. Heat stress occurs if physical activity during heat and humidity upsets the body’s fluid balance. The body must maintain it’s ability to dissipate heat through perspiration, and as air temperature and humidity increase, the body’s ability to do this is lowered. No to mention that higher temperatures result in a higher core temperature as the body absorbs heat from the sun.

The mildest form of heat-related illness is swelling. Blood pooling in the hands and feet occur when the blood vessels dilate in response to the heat. Another symptom is heat cramps, painful spasms of the skeletal muscles in the arms, legs, and abdomen. Heat syncope, or fainting, occurs with prolonged standing or upon sudden rising from a seated position. If too much sodium is removed from the body via sweat/perspiration, cramps occur. All of these are warning signs of heat exhaustion (so take heed of these symptoms and listen to your body). Heat exhaustion occurs is a person experiences excessive sweating in a hot, humid environment, and fluids become depleted. Profuse sweating can occur even after the person is moved to a cooler location, and there may be several hours to several days of appetite loss, chills, dizziness, hypotension, racing pulse, muscular weakness, nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances.

One herbal remedy to help milder cases of heat stress include bitter orange tea (Citrus aurantium), which helps maintain electrolyte balance. Avoid sport’s drinks which are loaded with sugar and actually place additional fluid stress on the body. Bitter orange tea (aka Bergamot orange, otherwise known as Earl Grey or Bergamot tea) can also help prevent heat stress in those individuals who suffer from hypertension. Drink the tea whenever heat stress is a possibility – if you can find the herb itself, though it’s more common to find it in capsule form at your local hippie-mart. And my personal favorite, cayenne powder. Now, the recommendation is to dissolve 1/2 tsp in 1 C boiling water, then take 1 TBSP of the mixture with 1 C hot water – drink slowly. Not everyone may find this enjoyable, so spicy food is acceptable too. This relieves headache and fever, and induces gustatory sweating. Of course, chili peppers only increase perspiration if it is hot outside, but have no effect on perspiration if it is cold out. Ergo, eating a spicy meal in Texas in July causes greater perspiration, but the same meal consumed in Alaska in January will have no effect on perspiration.

It’s important to sip cool, slightly salty liquids if you experience symptoms of heat stress. Do not try to force down large quantities of liquid. You also want to lie down in a shaded place, preferably with your feet elevated higher than your head.
You also want to drink plenty of fluids before work or exercise in heat, not to mention during and after. Before exercise, the amount of sodium can be obtained through consumption of salty foods – though this doesn’t mean greasy fries or potato chips, think lightly salted roasted veg and rice or add a some salt to a fruit smoothie. One teaspoon of salt added to one quart of water supplies enough sodium to avoid cramps.

Some medications can increase susceptibility to heat stress, such as alcohol, amphetamines, antidepressants, seizure meds, illicit drugs, allergy medication, and others. So check with your doctor if you are on any medication to find out if you are susceptible based on your medication.

*Of note: If the core temperature reaches 105°F (40.5°C) or more, this is considered heat stroke and is a medical emergency. At this point, internal production of heat exceeds the heat-relieving capacity of perspiration, and sweating ceases. Disorientation, irregular heartbeat, and seizures may occur, and there is an increased risk of heat attack and stroke. Heat stroke is more common in older individuals who stay indoors in buildings without air conditioning during heat waves, but is more severe if it is caused by athletic activity in extreme heat. If symptoms of heat stroke occur, seek immediate medical attention.

Happy Summer!
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Okay mango haters, this is the smoothie for you (and you know who you are). All the benefits of the mango, none of the flavor. Of course, for the mango lovers in the house, you can increase the mango to taste some of it – plus it’ll increase the creaminess of the smoothie with more mango. This smoothie is a great energy boost, immunity boost, healthy skin boost, not to mention watermelon being a great cleanser for the body’s digestive system. Other nutrients in this delicious smoothie include beta-carotene, biotin, folic acid, vitamins B5, C and E, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and sulphur. watermelon quarterIf you leave the watermelon seeds in, and blend them up along with everything else, you’re also helping your body to some zinc – while giving the smoothie a very subtle nuttiness. This recipe makes about 500mL (2C), just enough for you and the pooch (or your sweetie). But don’t stray too far, the pooch will need to go out sooner than normal after this smoothie 😉 .

Ingredients:watermelon crush smoothie

1/4 of a small watermelon (mine was about 8” long)
1/2 C frozen mango
1/2 C frozen raspberries

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

watermelon crush smoothie2

Happy Blending!
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FilledCuppieXsectionThere are few things that are amazing enough to blow my top off these days, but I have to say…this past weekend, I created this pastry cream that got me pretty ecstatic! It’s been a while since I’ve created something that has wowed me as much as this pastry cream did (well, there was another thing this weekend that topped even this pastry cream, but that’ll be a post for a later date…hehe). Normally, I simply love the things I make, but this goes beyond love..beyond excitement… Let’s just say, when I tasted it…I giggled with glee and danced a little jig – yes, a jig while giggling. To an outside observer, I might have looked a bit like I lost a few more marbles. There are other recipes out there for vegan pastry creams, and I’m sure they’re delicious. The major difference with this recipe: this one has absolutely no tofu in it! So all you out there, who detest tofu like we do here at the Primate, you can now have a pastry cream to fill cupcakes, donuts, to use as a thick and creamy “whipped cream” substitute to top ice cream sundaes, or just to fill your mouth straight from the bowl or pastry bag…ah, good times! This recipe makes enough to fill 12 standard cupcakes, plus extra..I bet I could’ve filled at least another half dozen. So let’s say, enough to fill about 18 cupcakes. Because it’s something that I may not be able to describe properly with text, I’m going to give you large pics to help guide you!

Ingredients:

1/2 C coconut milk

1.5 TBSP agar agar flakes

4 tsp cornstarch + 1 TBSP hemp milk

1 stick (4 oz) Earth Balance vegan butter, softened about 10 min at room temperature

1/3 C + 1 TBSP granulated sugar

pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 TBSP hemp milk

Directions:

1. Add agar flakes to coconut milk, set aside for 10 minutes. (It’ll be lumpy and kind of gross looking, that’s okay).

CM and agar2. Pour 1/3 C of the coconut milk/agar mix into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and continue to cook until agar begins to dissolve, about 10 minutes.

3. Whisk cornstarch + 1 TBSP hemp milk into the remaining coconut milk/agar, add to the saucepan, stirring constantly. After about 1 minute, the mixture will thicken intensely (and somewhat grossly). Remove from heat and set aside. (This is the part where it looks really unappealing, but don’t worry…just tell yourself, ‘goop is good’)

MeltedAgarGoop4. Cut butter into small cubes and place in a blender or food processor. Add sugar, salt, and cooked cornstarch/agar goop. Blend until creamy. Add 1 TBSP hemp milk and vanilla, scrape down sides, and blend again. Transfer to a covered container and chill to firm up – at least 45 minutes. (I used a blender, but I think next time I’ll go with the food processor simply for ease of getting every last molecule out of it. If you chill overnight, you’ll have to let it sit at room temp for about 5 minutes to let it become more squeezable again).

PastryCreamInBlenderPastryCream5. Fill piping bag and fill cupcakes, donuts, etc. I used a chopstick to poke a hole and shimmy out some space inside the cupcake. But beware the overfill…

FilledCupcakeBewareOverfill

…Though no big stress if you do overfill…all mistakes can be covered up with a little buttercream frosting! 😉

FrostedCupcakes

Happy Baking!
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GFSnickerdoodleI didn’t think it could be done, but the geniuses at Liz Lovely have outdone themselves with the Gluten-free collection of cookies. I recently ordered the GF Snickerdoodles from the glorious Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe. Since the Snickerdudes are my favorite – running neck and neck with the Ginger Snapdragons – I thought I’d give the GF version a try. Though I don’t require such a status for my baked goods, I do like to try and be gluten-free when possible. I must say, these GF cookies are as equally delicious as the standard variety. To me, they seem to have a slightly more ‘crumb’ aspect to them (in a good way) and would serve nicely as a base or crumbled topping for an ice cream sundae. Naturally, they are absolutely smashing alone… it’s hard to improve upon perfection..that’s right, perfection! They don’t have as half-baked texture (again, not in a bad way and it’s only slight) as the regular cookies – more of a 2/3-bake 😉 . They are truly worthy of the ‘Liz Lovely’ traditional description: wicked soft, magically delicious, supremely addicting, and now gluten-free! Thank you Liz & Dan for enabling my cookie-addiction once again!!!! Oh yeah, and I’m determined now Dan to get ‘Liz Lovely’ added as a baked-goods adjective to the parlance of our times!

Happy Shopping!

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