Weekly Wednesday Round-Up – Muffins and Tattoos

Corn muffins with a vegan take on honey butter, agave margarine!

agave butter muffins

Pizza hummus with pita chips
pizza hummus and chips

Pumpkin spice muffins made by my lovely roommate. I’ll be posting the recipe soon!

pumpkin muffinsAnd lastly my new tattoo! Which is in honor of the University of Montevallo’s Purple Side. Our symbol is the cow and also an old tradition used to be to throw Moon Pies at the opposing side. Now I need to veganize some Moon Pies!

cow tattoo

Last Meal (Vegan MoFo #21)

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I decided to end Vegan MoFo with an entire book-based meal. Main dish, sides, drinks, and dessert are all mentioned in the book, so I cooked it all! I’ll miss the challenge this month has been, but it will also be nice to be able to not worrying about blogging five days a week. I’m already planning my theme (*cough* Disney movies *cough*) for next year.
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The genre of vampire fiction has grown rapidly these last few years. But the first vampire series I remember getting truly invested in (before all the Twilight hubub took over)  was Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan. The first book in the series is A Living Nightmare, in which the main character is a young boy, Darren. Darren’s obsession with the supernatural and outlandish prompts him and his friend, Steve, to visit a traveling freak show that has just rolled into town. Due to their encounters at the show, Darren and Steve end up over their heads and thrown from their mundane everyday lives into being involved in the dangerous vampire world. Now Darren must choose between saving Steve’s life and sacrificing his own human future.

In the same vein as Goosebumps, but with much better writing, A Living Nightmare (and the rest of the Cirque Du Freak books) tells a harrowing story involving vampire mythos, a dash of sarcastic humor, and good old fashioned gore. Great for anyone wanting to read a vampire story that does not involve romance or sparkles.

This would be my last meal with them and I wanted it to be special. When I was looking back on it in later years, I wanted to be able to remember us together, at home, a happy family.

Mom cooked my favorite food: chicken, roast potatoes, corn on the cob. Annie and me had freshly squeezed orange juice to drink. Mom and Dad shared a bottle of wine. We had strawberry cheesecake for dessert. Everybody was in a good mood.” – Cirque Du Freak (A Living Nightmare) (paperback) page 225

I won’t tell why (I hate spoilers), but Darren is having his last meal with his family. Because of this it’s a very important dinner and I wanted to make sure I captured that in my last Vegan MoFo meal. For the chicken I used PETA’s cruelty free Chick-fil-a recipe, the potatoes were just thinly sliced and baked with Lawry’s seasoning salt and pepper, and then some fresh corn on the cob. I served it with barbecue sauce and orange juice.

cirque du freak mealThe best part of this meal though was the dessert. I decided to adapt my lemon-berry cheesecake recipe and make it into strawberry cheesecake. I wish I’d done this recipe earlier in the month when strawberries were more in season, but it still turned out well with the mediocre selection that was available.

strawberry cheezcake

Strawberry Cheesecake

Serves 8

Ingredients:

One graham cracker crust (store-bought or home-made)

1 cup silken tofu

2 cups fresh strawberries

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor blend together all the ingredients (except the pie crust) until smooth.

Pour the strawberry mix into the crust, place on a cookie sheet, and bake for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chill for at least 5 hours and then slice and serve! This is also great garnished with strawberry sauce or vegan whipped cream.

Abaratian Pastries (Vegan MoFo #18)

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Abarat by Clive Barker is probably the hardest book that I will have to describe. It’s such a fantastical story that it’s a challenge to just give a short review/synopsis of it. But I will try my best!

The remarkable story of Abarat starts in the most unremarkable of places, Chickentown Minnesota. There lives Candy Quackenbush, a troubled teenager living with her mother, two brothers, and abusive father. After leaving school and venturing into a nearby abandoned field, Candy meets John Mischief, an odd creature with seven extra heads attached to his antlers, all of which have their own personality. She soon learns John and his brothers are from an amazing world called Abarat, but they are in peril due to a bounty hunter sent after them by the Lord Carrion, the Lord of Midnight.

Due to her less than desirable life at home, Candy chooses to enter the Abarat to help John and while there she starts her own adventure. Her journey will take her across the many islands of Abarat, each of which stands for an hour of the day, plus the mysterious 25th hour. While there, she encounters many other creatures more bizarre and far more dangerous than John Mischief.  As Candy struggles to find her place, either safe and boring Chickentown or wonderful and perilous Abarat, she finds out more about herself than she ever thought possible.

She went up two or three steps, to a stall with a variety of pastries laid out on it. The display looked very similar to something she might have found in the supermarket in Chickentown, only tastier. Turnovers, croissants, sticks of bread rolled in dried fruit and a variety of small cakes. 

She selected three very quickly: two turnovers and one huge scones; and then, greedily, went back for a croissant. Having got herself more than a meal’s worth, she glanced up and down the street, just to check that the vendor wasn’t making his or her return. It seemed she was free and clear.” – Abarat (paperback) page 180

The aforementioned turnovers are what inspired this whole Vegan MoFo theme. As I was sitting there thinking “What do I love that also involves food?” and “Abarat!” was what popped into my head. So for it I made apple cinnamon turnovers. I’m not positive they have apples in the Abarat, but I’m sure there’s something similar.

Abarat apple turnover

Apple turnovers inside

I used the apple filling recipe from VeganBaking, then just stuffed it into vegan crescent roll dough and sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top. These were quite amazing. I had never shredded apples before and I really like how the texture turned out.

Jace Doesn’t Care About Your Mangoes and Tomatoes (Vegan MoFo #17)

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The dish today is based on City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. But since that’s too far into the Mortal Instruments series to avoid spoilers, I’ll be reviewing the first book, City of Bones, today.

Clary Fray is a teenager living in New York with her single mother. She and her quirky best friend Simon spend their free time drinking coffee and listening to lame poetry readings. Things soon begin to change though when Clary witnesses several teenagers with odd markings on their skin “murder” another boy at a night club. The weirdest part of it was that when they stabbed him, he disappeared. Shaken, she tries to forget what she saw.

But soon one of the boys from the club, Jace, seems to be turning up everywhere she is. Despite his terribly sarcastic attitude, Jace decides to take a chance and reveal to Clary that he and his friends are Shadowhunters. Shadowhunters are an ancient race made by the combining of angels and humans. Their goal in life to fight demons and protect the unaware human society, which is exactly what they did in that night club. There are also the neutral Downworlders, which are a hybrid of demon and human (this includes werewolves, vampires, faeries, and warlocks). After learning all these overwhelming things, Clary is just desperate to get home. But she finds that her apartment has been ransacked and her mother is missing. Who would want to take her mother? Why does she suddenly have the Sight to see the Shadowhunters? And why does the name Magnus Bane keep rattling around in her head? Clary must answer all of these things if there’s any hope of seeing her mother alive.

What’s this?”
“That’s a mango.” Simon stared at Jace. Sometimes it really is like Shadowhunters were from an alien planet. 
“I don’t think I’ve seen one of those that wasn’t already cut up,” Jace mused. “I like mangoes.”
Simon grabbed the mango and tossed it into the cart. “Great. What else do you like?”
Jace pondered for a moment. “Tomato soup,” he said finally.
“Tomato soup? You want tomato soup and a mango for dinner?”
Jace shrugged. “I don’t really care about food.” – City of Fallen Angels (paperback) pages 124 and 125

It is so hard to find a recipe involving tomatoes and mangoes that isn’t for mango salsa. After much searching and by taking some creative liberties I came up with (drum roll please)… The ugliest chip dip ever! Seriously, it doesn’t look good, but it tasted great. I used this recipe for tomato-mango soup and added some salt, pepper, and a deseeded jalapeno. It was too thick for me to enjoy as a soup, but it was just right to dip pita chips into. I’m pretty sure even Jace would care about this food.

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Arya’s Vegan Tart (Vegan MoFo #15)

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AGAMEOFTHRONESnewHCEveryone and their mom has been talking about Game of Thrones lately. The HBO show has done a lot to advertise the series and, in my opinion, it’s just as good as the books. But if you want to read the stories, then start off with A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. In the book, each chapter is dedicated to a character and focuses on their actions, thoughts, etc. I like this aspect of it because it seems like everyone gets a fair share of story and no main character is neglected.

The land where the story is set, Westeros, has extremely strange seasons. Summers and winters can last for years. Now the end of a long seven-year summer is upon the land and a hard winter is coming. With the winter dangerous creatures will come creeping things from the north (usually kept out by the giant ice Wall), and nobody knows how many years the cold will last.  The story focuses mostly on the Stark family, who are the Lords of Winterfell, located in the far north. After the King’s Hand dies under mysterious circumstances, the King calls upon Lord Eddard Stark to come to the capital (which is located much further south) and become the new Hand. Despite his wife and children’s reservations, Eddard accepts the invitation and brings his two daughters, Sansa and Arya, with him.

With the cold intensifying and the family divided, plus the rumors of betrayal and war on the horizon, the Starks face more trials than ever. Whether any or all of them will survive remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure. Winter is coming.

A passing septon was looking at her askance.”Here’s the best place to find pigeon,” Arya told him as she brushed herself and picked up her fallen stick sword. “They come for the crumbs.” He hurried away.

She tied the pigeon to her belt and started down the street. A man was pushing a load of tarts by on a two-wheeled cart; the smells sang of blueberries and lemons and apricots. Her stomach made a hollow rumbly noise.

Could I have one?” She heard herself say. “A lemon, or… or any kind.”

The pushcart man looked her up and down. Plainly he did not like what he saw. “Three coppers.”

Arya tapped her wooden sword against the side of her boot. “I’ll trade you a fat pigeon,” she said.

“The Others take your pigeon,” the pushcart man said.”  – Game of Thrones (paperback) pages 716-717

I’ve made this tart previously, but I never posted the veganized recipe. It’s based off of the recipe in The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook. Fresh apricots are really hard to find around here, so I used canned fruit. But feel free to use the fresh version if it’s available to you.

Arya’s Apricot Crumb Tart – Veganized

arya's tart

Ingredients:

For crust:

1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup applesauce

1/4 cup mild oil (I used canola)

For crumble topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup margarine, cubed and chilled

For pie filling:

2 15 oz. cans apricots in juice

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons full-fat canned coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons margarine, melted then cooled

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl mix together the crust flour, salt, and sugar. In a smaller bowl mix oil and applesauce. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly. Press into a greased pie pan.

For the crumble topping mix flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the margarine into the flour mixture until crumbly. 

Drain canned apricots and lightly rinse. Cut into small bite-size pieces. Put them into a bowl and combine with brown sugar, cornstarch, coconut milk, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and margarine. Gently mix until the apricots are all coated.

Pour the apricot mixture into the prepared pie crust and them sprinkle the crumble on top.

Bake for 35-50 minutes or until crust and crumble are golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Not So Sharky “Shark Cutlets” (Vegan MoFo #14)

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Storm Thief by Chris Wooding focuses on two young thieves, Moa and Rail, whose story begins in a chaotic city afflicted by storms that rearrange reality. These mysterious “probability storms” cause changes, big or small, and the citizens of Orokos live in fear of them. One of those citizens who knows the reality of that fear is Rail, who lost the use of his lungs during a storm years ago, and now must wear a respirator. He and Moa are, quite literally, partners in crime. They retrieve (aka, steal) items for a crime boss in the ghetto they live in.

While working on one of these missions, Rail and Moa stumble upon a map that holds the key to the mysterious heart of Orokos. With this, they might be disable the ancient machine that causes the probability storms, escape the island without being killed by the sea guardians, or just use it to buy their way out of segregation and the ghetto. Either way, these two face a journey full of hardships and uncertainty.

Inside was a low, circular room, hot and heavy with the scent of aromatic smoke. In the centre was a square bar where cooks took orders from the clientele. Rail ordered each of them a heaping plate of shark cutlets and pumpkin mash. The food arrived with complimentary mugs of cold tuzel, a spicy drink that Moa loved when she could get it.

They took their plates to a small booth and sat opposite each other. Moa attacked the food with an indecent appetite. Rail was forced to eat much more slowly, lifting his respirator between bites. He hated eating in public, but they both needed a rest and a good meal. It had been an exhausting journey.” – Storm Thief (hardback) page 70

I’ve never had shark before, so this was a harder recipe for me to come up with. I’m assuming it’s fishy tasting, but that’s just about all I know. I tried looking up vegetarian/vegan recipes, but to no avail. So the following recipe is probably nothing like shark, but it sure is tasty!

shark cutlets and pumpkin

Tofu Shark Cutlets

Ingredients

3/4 cup yellow onion, minced (about 1 small onion)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 4.5 oz. can of chopped green chiles

1 14 oz. package of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed extremely well, then cubed

1.5 cups of water

1 tablespoon minced ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon seaweed powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

8 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 cup margarine

1.5 tablespoons dried parsley

2 teaspoons salt

Black pepper, to taste

2 cups panko bread crumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large pot add water, ginger, garlic, seaweed, turmeric, chili powder, salt, and cumin. Bring to a boil and then add the tofu cubes. Turn down to medium heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes, then drain and place in a large bowl.

Meanwhile, boil water in a large pot and add potatoes. Boil for about 15 minutes, or until soft then drain. In a pan saute the onion in oil until they are golden brown and fragrant. Add the onions and canned chiles to the bowl with tofu. Gently mix everything together.

Put cooked potatoes in a bowl and mash with margarine, parsley, salt, and black pepper.

On a non-stick surface, place 1/4 cup of the potato mixture. Pat it out into a circle (about the size of a veggie burger) then place 1 to 2 tablespoons of the tofu mixture in the middle. Put another 1/4 cup of potato on top, and pat into a covered mound (similar in size to a small fist).

Roll in bread crumbs and place on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the potato mixture and tofu.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

shark cutlets inside

Pumpkin Mash

Based on a recipe by Steamy Kitchen

Ingredients:

2 medium russet potatoes, cubed

1/2 cup plain pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon margarine

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoon original soymilk

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Boil a pot of water and add the potatoes. Boil for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain potatoes and coarsely mash with the remaining ingredients. Then transfer to a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

ESSENTIAL Biscuits (Vegan MoFo #8)

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5-27-2010-lord-sunday-by-garth-nixSince Lord Sunday (the book which inspired the below recipe), is the last book of seven in the Keys to the Kingdom series, I’ll be reviewing the first book, Mister Monday by Garth Nix, to avoid spoilers.

Keys to the Kingdom is a series about Arthur Penhaligon, a twelve year old boy who through a seemingly random accident is chosen to become the Rightful Heir of the House (the center of the universe). Controlling the House are the corrupt Morrow Days, who are each afflicted by one of the deadly sins. The Morrow Days are: Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday, Lady Friday, Superior Saturday, and Lord Sunday.

Arthur soon learns that the Architect (creator of the House and “secondary realms”) left a Will which was unfulfilled. Not long afterwards, a mysterious virus begins sweeping through his town in the secondary realm. Knowing that this is the work of the Morrow Days, Arthur must go into the House to search for a cure. There he learns that to save his town, and the House itself, he must defeat the Morrow Days and release the imprisoned pieces of the Will . Through his journey, Arthur meets Suzy Turquoise Blue, a clever and capable girl who, along with all the other “Piper’s children”, was drawn to the House by the Pied Piper. Suzy holds a current piece of the Will, which has manifested itself as a talking frog. With his two odd allies in tow, Arthur must work to defeat the torpid Mister Monday and stop the spreading virus before it’s too late.

” “Have a biscuit, General,” said one of the children, reaching into the barrel, which was stuffed to the brim with biscuits. Since neither Denizens nor Piper’s children needed to eat, but liked to do so anyway, it was surprising that the barrel was marked ESSENTIAL GOODS FOR EVACUATION.

Suzy took the raisin-filled biscuit with glee and, between mouthfuls, introduced everyone.” – Lord Sunday (hardcover) page 145

I’ve never actually had a sweet biscuit (only savory), but these were amaaaazing.

raisin biscuit

Essential Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits

Based on a recipe from Food.com

Ingredients

1 cup raisins

1 cup water

2 cups soymilk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 cups self rising flour, or 4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons baking powder mixed together

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup shortening

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar

3 and 1/2 teaspoons soymilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Set oven to 400 degrees.

Boil water and pour over raisins, then cover and set aside. Mix the 2 cups of soymilk with lemon juice, set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Cut shortening into the flour mixture (either using a fork or pastry blender) until crumbly and fine.

Mix in soymilk and drained raisins, then stir in cinnamon.

With a large greased spoon dollop out the biscuit dough onto a greased baking sheet.

Bake for 10-15 minutes.

While the biscuits cool, mix together the powdered sugar with vanilla and 3 and 1/2 teaspoons of soymilk until a glaze is formed. Drizzle over cooled biscuits and let sit until the glaze hardens.