Saturday, March 19, 2011

Oh Sugar!

Oh agave, agave! You are my candy girl. And you've got me wanting you.

Today DanT and I went on a dessert tour of the Lower East Side. This was semi-intentional and semi-unintentional. We intended to go to Cowgirl's Baking, the new vegan bakery in the East Village. We did not intend on going to Lula's Sweet Apothecary, but we were right nearby and we live so far from there that if we are in the neighborhood, we cannot help ourselves.

While at Lula's buying our ice cream (I had a half scoop of peanut butter and jelly and a half scoop of cookies and cream. DanT had cake batter and chocolate soft serve twist. He always gets the soft serve. His ice cream choices are boring but delicious.) I noticed that they had a cute little display of Dun-Well Doughnuts! This is a new vegan doughnut company made here in NYC that has a few drop off spots in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I had forgotten that Lula's was one of their drop off places and that the deliveries happen on Saturdays! I had to get a doughnut! And DanT had to get a doughnut. So we came home with two doughnuts... And a box of baked goods from Cowgirl's Baking.

Taste test!
A chocolate frosted with peanuts, and a coconut frosted with flaked coconut.
Slice them up, DanT!
Please ignore the mess in the back...
So the doughnuts. DanT didn't love the coconut one, because as he says, he doesn't love coconut. Fair. He did love the chocolate frosted doughnut. I loved the doughnut dough. It was very much not a cake doughnut and I appreciate that. Yeasted doughnuts are the only kind I ever ate in my childhood (I think) and I loved them. These are the doughnuts of my childhood. I would kill for a jelly-filled one of these suckers covered in powdered sugar, but these work for now. Dan and Christopher, keep my request in mind!
Look at those magnificent innards!
Next, we opened our box from Cowgirl's Baking to taste test some deliciousness. This was the disaster we found:
These had a long trip home...
Not the best look ever, but smooshed cupcakes still taste like the unsmooshed ones! So I soldiered on and cut them up for testing.
Man, the tart looks big from this vantage point...  

Top row from left to right: French toast, chocolate with peanut butter frosting, and chocolate with mint frosting. Bottom row: Strawberry tart. Duh.

The French toast was delicious. The cupcake was solid enough to be lifted up and not crumble at all and the taste was fab. The frosting was maple-y goodness. I will eat more of that one when I work off this sugar coma. The other two had one major problem... The chocolate cupcake doesn't hold together well! I think it's downfall might be the chocolate chips that it is filled with. But I also loved having those chocolate chips to bite into. I am very conflicted about the chocolate cupcakes. They were moist, however, so if you are smarter then me and bring the plate up to your face while feasting, you might not mind the crumblyness of these cupcakes. On to the frosting. DanT loved the mint. I wasn't so hot on it. It is very green. I know that is a silly comment, but I don't like artificial coloring and it looks really fake. It just didn't do it for me. It was minty, but it didn't hold my attention. That peanut butter frosting, however, I loved. It was dreamy. Light and fluffy and fully of peanut buttery goodness.

The tart. Well, the pastry was salty. I'm sure I was all sugared out at this point, but then you would think I would have appreciated a salty pastry, but this was a bit much. It felt like the pastry's only purpose was to hold the filling in, not to stand out on its own. If I'm going to eat five-million calories of pastry, I would like it to taste worthy of those calories. So I ended up breaking off that outer crust and eating the yummy strawberry innards. But overall, I would say the cupcakes are a better bang for your buck.

I hope you get a chance to support all of these wonderful vegan businesses if you are ever in NYC, oh faithful readers. Catch you as soon as I come out of this sugar coma!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Baking cookies for another bake sale!

Hi all! Sorry for my long absence, but it was my quarter century birthday. I deserved a break! So now I'm 25, slightly older and wiser, and back to blogging. On my actual birthday last Saturday, February 12th, Darwin Animal Doctors had a fundraiser. I had a birthday "Cause" on facebook raising money for DAD, but on a more involved and fun note, I baked for the bake sale the evening before my birthday! Money-wise, my amazing friends and family raised $581! Yeah, they rock. Thanks guys!

For the bake sale I made the ultimate cookies: Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles! If you don't have "Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, you are silly and should buy it right now. But lucky for you, this recipe can be found online! But you should still buy the book for all the other amazing cookie and bar recipes. I can vouch for the "Chocolate Chip Cookies" and the "Lemon Bars". Yum.

Above you can see all the ingredients needed to make these cookies, plus the bunch of wood roses DanT got for me a few years ago. Wood roses never die! See, it's romantic.

Ready to bake!
The final product, plus all the leftover cinnamon sugar.
The only thing I can say about this recipe (which I doubled for the bake sale), is that the cinnamon sugar part of the recipe, which you dip the tops of the cookies in before baking, makes WAY too much. I accidentally spilled about 1/6th of it on my floor (which sucks, by the way) and still had a ton leftover. I recommend cutting that part of the recipe in half.

But taste-wise, these cookies are amazing!! Seriously, they look pretty (important for bake sale fund-raising!), and taste great. A one-two punch, you could say. They are barely spicy (I go a little light on the chayane), and the spice is more heat on the back end. The first thing you taste is yummy chocolate! Seriously yummy eats. Get that book!

Until next time! (which will be soon, I hope!)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Jerusalem Vegan Highlight

Okay, okay... We got back from Israel a month ago, more or less. I apologize for the delay, but I hope this post (and a few more to come) make up for it!

DanT has my other set of pictures with the photos of the amazing vegan restaurant we went to in Tel Aviv, so I'll have to post about that at a later date. For now I have three photos taken outside of The Ginger Vegetarian Community Center in Jerusalem. We never got a chance to go in, but we walked by it many, many times as it was on our way home to the apartment we rented (on AirBnB. It worked out great!). I regret not getting to meet the people running this fascinating looking place. It is right across the street from the Prime Minister's house! An amazing location in the new city of Jerusalem.

A Chassid (ultra-orthodox) man telling you that god says to go vegan!

Hanging outside of the vegetarian community center was this billboard of sorts. It can read two ways. One says "We love animals, don't eat us" and the other says "we love our lives, don't eat us". One sentence can say both things as the word on the top left hand side, "haiyot", means animals and life. Hebrew is a pretty fascinating language.

Also, I recommend that anyone planning a trip to Jerusalem, email the people at Ginger Vegetarian Community Center and see if there are any events happening. (the site might be mostly in Hebrew, but most Israelis speak very good English) They have a vegan restaurant there! It's called Mahatma Vegan Kitchen. If you go, let me know how the community center was!

Oh, and in case you missed it, there is a kitten sleeping in the bottom of this sheet/sign. See below for a kitten close-up!

So friggin' cute!

Israel has a huge feral cat problem. You see cats everywhere. I have another good cat picture in my Tel Aviv photos which I'll try to get soon! They do have trap-neuter-release programs in Israel, but progress seems to be coming along rather slowly. The cat "problem" has not gotten noticeably better since I've been traveling to Israel over the last 20 years. Thankfully, it rarely gets too cold in most parts of the country, so at least the kitties don't have to worry about keeping warm!

Coming up, a review of Tel Aviv's vegan restaurant mini-chain, Buddha Burgers and the Tel Aviv vegan scene.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Wonderland Bake Sale!

Hello internet visitors!

There is a big event coming up that I need to let you guys know about. So, NYC has a Sea Shepherd chapter and we are having a bake sale!

So, you can see the details above, but I am going to reiterate them here:
When: This Sunday, January 23rd from 12:30 to 5:30
Where: Mooshoes, 78 Orchard Street
Why: To raise funds for Operation No Compromise! To continue fighting the Japanese whale killers!

I'll be one of the volunteers there to help answer your questions, so if you can make it out on Sunday come find me and say hello! I'm baking chocolate chip cookies. Come buy some! It is for a really swell cause. Sea Shepherd is the only group taking direct action to protect our oceans. Besides, who doesn't love whales??

Will you be attending the bake sale? Hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Being Better

Hi everyone! The end of December was a busy one for me, with a trip to Israel (which I'm sure I'll get to in a later post) and holidays, little time was left for much else. But since I returned on the 5th of January I have had some time to think (between the moments of jet lag). And what I've been thinking about is resolutions. It is so cliche, of course, to think about making changes to your life only around the new year, but with everyone else in the world mentioning it how could I not!

But I didn't want to make a stupid resolution that I couldn't keep. And exercising more is a life goal, not a once a year resolution for me. Though I will be trying to take good care of my body this year, I wanted my resolution to be more then that.

I decided on Being Better. It sounds so simple, but for me it can be really hard. Some of you know me personally, but I imagine that 90% or so of my readers do not know me in real life off of the internet. I can be angry and impatient. Humans give me the most trouble, obviously. Perhaps it was nurture over nature, growing up in New York City. Impatience here is a way of life. But my resolution is not to be less impatient, it is to Be Better. What I mean by that is to not let my anger or impatience cause me to react in a way that is wrong or cruel. There is so much injustice in the world, and a vast majority of the injustice is perpetrated on innocent animals who have no voice that sometimes I forget to treat my own species the way I treat all the other species. Kindness, patience, respect, love, open-mindedness. I'm working on showing a bit more of those towards every living being.

This directly correlates to mood, obviously. I am trying to be more positive. I think one will contribute to the other. Positivity will lead to kindness, and vice versa. I'm finally taking that advice that I have been given forever by everyone: Just breathe.

I hope you all see a positive change in me this year, though it will be harder over the internets, obviously! Hopefully I will get to meet some of you in person this year (California readers out there? I'm coming your way for a vacation!!), and you can meet the life-loving girl that I believe I truly am at heart. I'm just going to try to let that girl shine more. I am going to Be Better this year. I believe it will help me make a bigger difference in the world both for human and non-human animals. And myself.

I hope you will join me!