Saturday, November 24, 2012

I Love this Soup...Pumpkins Do Not

A couple of weeks ago I was gifted some pumpkin. Not a pumpkin...some pumpkin, as in chopped up pieces of what I assume was a smiley Hallowe'en pumpkin that brought joy to children before being chopped up and ending up in a big ziplock baggie in the back of my fridge.

The nice thing about any type of squash is that this stuff lasts. Squash is the kind of thing you can totally forget about and find one day behind the Vegenaise and pickles as you're rummaging through the fridge, and you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover it because it's still in perfectly usable condition.

Problem is, I've never cooked with pumpkin before. Pumpkin puree, of course. But actual pumpkin parts that didn't come out of a can, no. Easy fix...internet to the rescue!

I googled vegan pumpkin soup, and sorted through a few recipes unenthusiastically until I came across Curry-Laced Pumpkin and Potato Soup from Lisa's Kitchen.

Oh Lisa, you had me at "Curry-Laced."

I had all the ingredients necessary, and was finally won over when I noticed that it was a pureed soup. I LOVE making pureed soups because you don't actually have to put any effort into nicely dicing anything. You can just roughly chop up everything, boil it up in the pot, and then let the blender take care of the rest.

So I chopped everything up...

...boiled it up in the pot...

...and the blender took care of the rest.

Well holy crap that was stupid easy.

Rob the Husband noticed the curry as soon as he walked into the house.

This is a fragrant, savory soup, very convenient to prepare, and it's high on the awesome flavour scale. The curry really pairs wonderfully with the pumpkin and the potato, which provide a lovely creamy texture. I threw in some croutons because I'm crouton obsessed, but it totally doesn't need them.

I'm not usually comfortable going outside of my beloved cookbooks and venturing into the vast world of online recipes, but in this case the gamble paid off. We both very much enjoyed this soup and will most definitely be repeating the recipe. It's super quick, super easy, and super delicious. I'm a fan.

Rob's rating:
4.5 Happy Tongues

My rating:
4 Happy Tongues

You know who's probably not a fan? The pumpkin :(

*found this gem of an image at TheSpookyVegan*

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful for Kind Cupcakes & Pie

The thing about Blogging is that I've discovered I kind of suck at it. Blog posts are supposed to be short & sweet (good reads for people with short attention spans who have a million and twelve other things that they could be looking at on the internet) and frequent (none of these crazy long breaks of several weeks -or in my case months- between posts).

Despite resigning myself to the reality that I suck at it, I find that I really do enjoy it. Kind of like singing. It's totally therapeutic. And having avoided blogging for a few months, I have a greater appreciation for how much I do enjoy it, if for no other reason than because I like talking about kind food, and I like looking at pictures of kind food, and I like preparing kind food, and I like going out and eating kind food and then talking about the kind food I ate. Same goes for kind shoes and kind purses and kind makeup and kind car seats.

Kind stuff is awesome.

Which brings me to my latest kind obsession. For my birthday in September I got a stunning cookbook: Chloe's Kitchen by the incredibly talented and adorable Chloe Coscarelli.

She gained recognition after blowing away the competition on Cupcake Wars with her vegan cupcakes, and has been charming the world with her insanely delicious food and lovable personality ever since. She definitely won me over, as evidenced by my almost daily quality time with her cookbook.

I seriously want to quit my job and just stay home all day and cook and bake stuff out of this book.

Anybody would after trying the recipe that sealed the deal for her on Cupcake Wars...the Ginger Nutmeg Spice Cupcake (Chloe's Kitchen p. 201).

I tried this recipe last month in preparation for Thanksgiving (us crazy Canadians celebrate in October). We spent Thanksgiving with some lovely friends, and I was especially thankful because they were hosting our first totally vegan Thanksgiving :) Not all our friends are vegan of course, but it is especially convenient having Thanksgiving dinner with the ones that are.

I was tasked with bringing dessert, and of course Chloe's cupcakes instantly came to mind as the perfect fall dessert...I mean, how could you go wrong with pumpkin, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, and a Cupcake Wars championship title? really can't.

Unless you're allergic to cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, as is one of my co-workers. Then you could totally go wrong with this recipe. But that's the ONLY time, because this recipe is otherwise seriously perfect in every way imaginable.

The cake itself is moist and the spices come through beautifully, balanced perfectly with the fluffy vanilla bean buttercream. It's super easy to make too...the hardest thing about this recipe is scraping out the vanilla bean. The date caramel is the perfect finishing touch, and is also super easy to make...I just threw all the ingredients in my magic bullet (I did find that the recipe yielded wayyyy more date caramel than I needed). Now I just need to get one of those squeeze bottles for drizzling it on the icing.

I was so thrilled with the results that I gave into my inner fangirl and tweeted the pic to Chef Chloe...and being the sweetheart she is she made my night and re-tweeted me, because she is awesome like that :)

So these cupcakes were definitely a go for Thanksgiving dinner, but to put a festive spin on them I colored my Thanksgiving batch orange (with natural food coloring of course).

And to keep them safe I transported them in my nifty little cupcake transporter, a birthday gift from my bff :)

And because I'm Polish and we're all about overdoing it in the food department, I also made Cosmos Apple Pie from Vegan Pie in the Sky (p. 125) topped with Rad Whip (Vegan Pie in the Sky p. 199) which I paired with Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss Ginger Cookie Caramel ice cream, resulting in the most amazing pie-ice cream combo to ever grace a Thanksgiving table. It was declared (and I quote), "The most incredible apple pie any of us have ever tasted."

Rob's Rating: 
Ginger Nutmeg Spice Cupcakes - 4.5 Happy Tongues
Cosmos Apple Pie - 5 Happy Tongues

My Rating:
Ginger Nutmeg Spice Cupcakes - 5 Happy Tongues
Cosmos Apple Pie - 5 Happy Tongues

Both desserts were absolute perfection in my opinion. I definitely felt the earth shatter and heard the cherubim singing.

It was a pretty perfect end to an incredible kind Thanksgiving dinner of white borscht, millet cakes, breaded Gardein cutlets, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, gnocchi, and veggies.

The table looks so pretty without a big dead bird in the middle.

Indeed, I am thankful for the start of kinder traditions.

And in the spirit of sharing our thankfulness, I'm thankful for my handsome Galahad's first mom, who sent me the above pic, and I'm thankful that she entrusted me with him when she had to find him a new home a few years ago.

And I'm thankful for banned ads, because when something is banned it makes people all the more inclined to watch it.

And I'm thankful for sanctuaries and rescue organizations and wonderful, compassionate people who appreciate the beauty and value and dignity of all sentient beings.

And rainbows. I'm definitely thankful for rainbows.