Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Very Vegan Birthday!

One would never guess it by looking at her, but my mom exited her 50's on February 18th...amazing genes and ne'er a nip or a tuck (so far).

I'm hoping some of that rubs off on me when I'm 60. I did get id'd buying a lotto max ticket on Tuesday, but that's not really flattering when the legal age here is 19. Why don't I ever get id'd in the States? I'd be more flattered passing for 20 than 18. I think the Tuesday incident was more of a reflection of my hair and clothes and lack of put-togetheredness than anything else...maybe at 30 it's time to ditch the Abercrombie hoodies and invest in some respectable Mom jeans.

Because I was going to be busy all weekend with school play stuff, we celebrated my mom's birthday a day early. I had given her The Kind Diet to look through earlier this week so she could choose what she wanted for her birthday dinner:

Thursday 4.0: Moroccan Couscous with Saffron (p. 148) / Caesar Salad (p. 175) *I actually just threw this one in there because, yah, you know* / Barley Casserole (p. 150 )

I ended up needing way way more water for the barley than the 3 cups that the recipe called for...that evaporated within a few minutes. Not sure if that's because I used pot barley instead of hulled barley, but after I burned the bottom of my first batch I got the hang of it. The tahini dressing hardens up a bit in the oven and balances the saltiness of the shoyu in the recipe. I've never cooked with barley and have rarely eaten it, but it is as of yesterday definitely one of my favourite things. The beady texture is awesome...kinda firm but not too firm, and this casserole was just one of those back to basics, hearty, no-frills dishes that did not fail to impress.

On the other hand, the Moroccan couscous was all about the bling.

The couscous was bright and pretty and colourful and very delicate in flavour and texture. Next time I make it I'm going to try using a bit more veggie broth, as I was very generous with the vegetables, and I don't think I had enough broth for the couscous to wasn't quite as sticky or fluffy as it's supposed to be. I am totally in love with butternut squash, and roasted it is perfect in the couscous. It's amazing how many foods you can develop a love affair with when you branch out away from the meat. 

There was no double entendre or innuendo in that at all, was there?

This was absolutely the best smelling Kind Diet dish so far thanks to the saffron. Friggen $12 for like a teaspoon of the stuff, and I used half of it in the recipe. This was my first time cooking with saffron. It is so, so pretty,  a bright pinky orangy hue, and it smells luxurious.

I got quite the saffron lesson from Rob the husband's realtor/chef/computer genius buddy (ima call him DaVinci cuz he's good at everything). DaVinci knows a little too much about it needs to be picked flower by flower or stigma by stigma or something like that and how it's super crazy delicate and and only grows from blooms of the saffron crocus that thrives in the Ayram alusing floating mountains and has been watered for three years and a fortnight by the tears of a fallen angel on the path of redemption.

Yah, it's expensive.

So Rob LOVED the pretty couscous, I LOVED the not quite as pretty barley casserole, and the Caesar salad was, as always, a crowd pleaser.

Mom was almost as happy with the meal as she was with her new MacBook Pro.

So the birthday dinner was thumbs up.

And then came the cupcakes.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Poundcake (p. 188) with Fluffy Raspberry Frosting

I loved this cake the first time I made it, and anticipated it would also be stellar in cupcake form, which it was.

The fluffy raspberry frosting was not an Alicia recipe. I found it posted by a Kind Lifer on Alicia's website, and although it uses a lot of icing sugar, I figured I'd give it a go. The first lick of the spatula was super sugary tasting, which sounds like a stupid thing to say since I'm talking about icing, but maybe it's because I've been totally limiting white sugar to the best of my ability over the last month and my palate is changing. On the lemon poppyseed muffins, however (which aren't super sweet), it works really nicely, and the raspberries in it are delicious.

I made my first vegan cupcakes!! Another milestone and another reason to celebrate.

Happy 60th Mom!

Yah, she totally doesn't read my blog.

Oooh, but maybe she will now that she has her own MacBook!

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