Sunday, May 23, 2010

Baking Disaster of the Week - Crustless Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Ah, this is a tragic tale indeed. It began many moons ago, back in the fall and really has continued on due to my stubborn tenacity. I first tried to make this at Thanksgiving last year. It looked like doggy pooh (although a friend of mine insists that all pumpkin pie looks like baby pooh), and was really bland tasting as well. But, I was desperate to make this work because I absolutely love pumpkin pie and have missed it for so long so I tried this recipe again determined to make it work!

I would like to point out that if you follow the actual recipe, instead of substituting the heck out of it like I do, I am sure this is a quick and easy recipe to make. Unfortunately this disaster took 4 tries to get it right, and still needs further adjustment, especially with the spices! But at least it has reached the stage now where it is enjoyable and gets many guest compliments.

I got this recipe from the Gluten-Free Goddess. I have tried several of her recipes and I find them easy to adjust and easy to follow, not to mention delicious! Make sure you scroll down to the comments under the recipes to read what problems others encountered with the recipe and what the authors suggestions are, or be inspired by things others attempted with the recipe. I found this very helpful in my case.

I had to make some substitutions to this recipe because it would not work for me how it was written. I am sure there is some chemistry there I don't understand, but mostly I found if you substitute coconut milk for the milk, do not add the oil in the recipe, if you are using honey as the sweetener, or it does not seem to cook, and then it does not really set :s This may be more of an issue due to the fact that I use honey instead of cane sugar. I am beginning to experiment with palm sugar, we will see what it does in this recipe!

I also found the spicing rather bland, I like my pumpkin with more ginger, and I found added lots of fresh minced ginger made it very yummy. The other spices I can't seem to get quite right though...This on will be an ongoing disaster until I am satisfied ;)

If you love pumpkin this is in fact a delicious and easy recipe, so you should definitely give it a try and let me know what you think!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hearty French Lentil Soup

The other night I was feeling too tired after an afternoon of painting sets at the Peterborough Theatre Guild to venture to the grocery store for fresh ingredients and resorted to searching the cupboards for inspiration. My mother in law had recently sent me a care package of a variety of dried grains and legumes. I discovered therein French Lentils...which I had never heard anything about before and had no idea what to do with.

I of course turned to Google for inspiration and stumbled across the Post Punk Kitchen, which has many delicious looking vegan recipes. My diet is not vegan, however due to my many restrictions vegan cooking can help me avoid ingredients like eggs. I found their yummy French Lentil Soup.

My husband I split the prep and cooking duties to make this less time consuming, and we made a only a couple of changes to the ingredients; canned tomatoes with liquid drained instead of fresh, and a leek instead of garlic. Don't be scared of all the steps, it is actually quite simple :) I found it helps to have your spices pre-measured together into a little cup or bowl. And it is much faster and more fun if you have a friend or family member to share in prep work!

Now, I know the words "yummy" and "lentils" may not usually go together for many of you, but I assure you that this was a super tasty and surprisingly hearty soup. And I definitely recommend following the recipe author Isa's suggestion to eat it with a "good crusty bread". Yum!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Baking Disaster of the Week - Carrot Cake Cupcakes

carrot cupcakes
Originally uploaded by Sara Manning
Now that we are finally clear of the holiday season, my spouse has been bugging me to figure out how to make a carrot cake we both could eat. I decided to go for cupcakes rather then a cake as I seem to have good luck with items shaped like muffins. Don't ask, there really is no logic there!

I found a recipe online from Rachel's Recipe Box: The Gluten Free Family called Baby'sFirst Birthday Carrot Cupcakes. I substituted honey for the brown sugar, and fresh lemon juice for the vinegar, using rice milk as the milk substitute. They took forever to cook, I had a lot of difficulty due to the amount of liquid. If I was to press the extra liquid out of the carrot and remembered to drain my freshly crushed pineapple (oops!) then it would cook the way it is supposed to. Even though I messed that up, and the order in which to add some of the ingredients (again, oops, too many distractions!) this recipe tastes really yummy. It does take some time to prepare, but it is definitely work it, and I look forward to improving on it for next time :D

Making carrot cupcakes I had to find icing for them! I tried this online recipe from Elana's Pantry called Coconut Cream Frosting. It was way to sweet for the both of us, but if you like intensely sweet icing with a nice mild flavour then give it a shot. I also had some issues with the texture, likely because I screwed up when I was to add the arrowroot starch, and ending up having to bring it to a boil twice instead of the once it instructed. As soon as I completed blending it, it started separating, so was a little chunky and unpleasant looking, but it did not effect taste or texture once it was in your mouth. I am also wondering if I cut the 1 cup of agave in here down to 1/2 or even 1/4 cup if it would work out better for a non sweet-tooth like me.

I also gave one of my wedding presents a try, heart shaped silicon muffin/cupcake pans. I was pretty pleased with the results. I did oil them very slightly to ease removal, and removal was pretty easy, with only a few getting messed up in my clumsy eagerness to get them out.

I am still on the search for icing which is more like cream cheese icing, but without the dairy, or the cane sugar. Let you know when I find a winner! Feel free to share one of yours :D