this weekend a new friend turned 28 and i made her a vegan spice cake with whiskey frosting, which i HIGHLY recommend if youre looking for a new cake with which to impress. the recipe is here and its not vegan but the substitutions are clear. for eggs i used banana. the frosting was super boozy, just as it should be, and the cake flavorful and moist. i didnt have any candles or anything so i made a weiner dog holding fake candles out of cardboard for decoration. weiner dog!
i just spent the last two weeks work trading in the garden at Aprovecho and a major part of my work day has been harvesting and processing veggies. there were tons of tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, tomatillos, and root veggies, so we dried a bunch of stuff into veggie chips, made zucchini relish, root kimchi, dill pickles, spicy pickled beans, verde sauce from fresh tomatillos, and blackberry jam. the afternoons were so hot it was hard to be in the garden, but easy to sit on the porch and cut and mash veggies so that they could be eaten by the gardeners during the winter months. if youve never tried lacto-fermentation and simple pickling i highly recommend giving it a try, this is the perfect season for cukes, tomatoes, summer squash, all of it!
last weekend my friend at aprovecho scored an old-timey ice cream churn at a yard sale for like 2 bucks and i was super excited to put it to use. i still had a bunch of fresh blackberries around, since theyre so plentiful right now, so i made vegan blackberry ice cream. i didnt use a recipe or else id share it but the ingredients are cashews, coconut milk, agave nectar, vanilla, raisins, water, and of course, blackberries. everything got blended up (the cashews were soaked overnight first) and then tossed into the churn for about half an hour. vegan ice cream can be made out of pretty much anything as long as you get the consistency to that of “thick and creamy”. i also totally love the color, this insane purple that it turned out to have, was all thanks to the blackberries. yum!
this beautiful farm fresh lunch plate is so colorful and well balanced, healthy and tasty its kind of insane. chickpea and roasted carrot salad, quinoa with caramelized onions and tempeh, garden salad with poppyseed dressing, and sauerkraut.
im back at aprovecho for the next few weeks, volunteering in the garden, and i couldnt be happier. ive been on the road for the last month so im so glad to be settled down a bit again, and to have an amazing kitchen to do some work in. The blackberries in this part of oregon are insane right now, so full and ripe and juicy, and theyre around every corner. we went to a lake to go swimming and i picked an entire bucket of them in like half an hour, and made this blackberry upside down cornbread to celebrate. its the gluten free vegan cornbread that i posted a recipe for earlier this summer, but i poured some warm blackberry jam into the skillet first, then ladled the cornbread batter on top, then cooked it normally. the blackberry goo adds the perfect amount of extra sweetness and moisture to the cornbread. i also made a few small jars of blackberry jam with the leftover goo.
im in LA right now doing some gallery work, but last week my pal Michael and i were in portland doing some exploring. while there we stayed with my new friend lettie and she made is this adorable brunch that we ate on her back porch. her roommate is a big gardener so the kale was fresh picked out the back door, and she whipped up these little olive oil breads while chatting with us in the kitchen. with the leftover dough she made a few little griddle cakes that were like yummy salty little pancakes that we put maple syrup on. i love how simple our tiny brunch was, and its just icing on the cake that it was eaten in great company, on a big back porch, with a beagle.
now that ive finished off my amazing delicious pseudo-kimchi experiment im making a batch of straight kraut. before i started making kraut i thought it involved some specialty equipment and lots of fancy knowledge but its such an accessible fermentation process its nuts. if you wanna get into it i highly recommend “wild fermentation” a book and website by the master of wild fermenting, Sandor Elix Katz, but i also recommend even more doing some googlin’ and getting to it. saurkraut is dead simple. just chop up some cabbage, then pound it into a jar or any glass or ceramic vessel. pound it in layers, meaning, dont just fill the jar then try to pound, add a little cabage (and a pinch of salt) pound, then add more, pound, etc. by the top of your vessel, if youve pounded thoroughly, your moisture should cover your solids. you can also weigh your solids down a bit with any type of weight, so they stay submerged. cover with some cloth and leave on your counter for about a week, checking it every now and then to make sure the solids are still covered with juices. and thats it! homemade kraut is infinitely better than store bought cause not only did you make it, but you saved money in the process, and its not pasteurized so its full of good for you gut flora and bacteria.
My last week at Aprovecho is almost over and im already mourning the loss of the amazing food :( Our chef here, tegra, is so inspired (and inspiring) her meals are so healthy but also delicious and beautiful, i need to definitely start cooking with more color, and more raw garlic! the last pic is of this incredible tempeh barley warm salad that ill post the recipe for later this summer (hopefully).
every thursday in Cottage Grove, the nearest town to Aprovecho, theres a really cool gathering called “bread club”. its a small farmers market inside a used book store, where local farmers and hobbyists sell hand made soap, fresh veggies, baked goods, candies, basically anything that they like making at home from local goods. what started it all of was a local man who made REALLY GOOD bread, thus the name bread club, and now its the communities main weekly social event. the bread has become so popular that the original bread guy only comes with 80 loaves once a month, so a friend and i went down to town to snag ourselves some legendary loaves. they were ofcourse, completely amazing, but what im more into is the “blackmarket” community supported goods sales system that has been born by the bread. i love that this small community of back-to-the-land-ers, permaculturists, farmers and artisans have developed this cool market. yay for bread club.
yesterday was my last cooking day at Aprovecho so in order to make it extra special i busted out some pickled garlic scapes for the occasion. garlic scapes are a super seasonal little delicacy that are the young buds of a garlic plant. in order for your garlic to fully develop you need to harvest the flowers so that the plant will focus its energy on producing the bulbs instead. last month we harvested a ton of garlic scapes here, so my friend and i pickled some. they can be a bit firm if you pick them kind of late so those were good for pickling, which softened them. it also softened the intense raw garlic taste which was great, very mild. i love pickling, especially obscure edibles!
this weekend aprovecho was part of a garden tour during which my friend and our awesome chef Tegra put on a farinata bake sale to raise money for her upcoming trip to a rally in New York for Freethehikers.org. the weather was amazing so we spent the morning chopping veggies and fresh herbs while firing up the outdoor new cobb oven and painting cute signs, and over 150 dollars was raised throughout the day. i love farinata… its so damn diverse and was perfect for this, since it cooks quickly and is supposed to be cooked in a high temp pizza oven, which is what our new cobb oven does best, plus its something you can eat while standing around and chatting, or being led on a garden tour. afterwards a bunch of us went to a river to go swimming and jump off rocks and pick wild cherries. best saturday ever.
sometimes cakes are made to be super fancy works of delicious impressive art, and sometimes cakes are made to just be eaten, irregardless of aesthetics. this is one of those cakes. it was baked in an ugly deep stained casserole dish, then had chocolate frosting and raspberries dribbled all over its top. getting a slice out of the casserole dish was a matter of destroying all semblance of beauty, and you can see i had a hard time getting the darn thing onto my plate without leaving a choco-trail. but man was it good! the raspberries on top and in the frosting were fresh picked from the garden the afternoon before, and the cake was made as a celebration of the unity of chocolate and raspberry, and what a celebration it was.
another week here at Aprovecho has flown by and i wanted to post some more of our beautiful lunches. from top to bottom, theres soft taco day, with fresh corn tortillas and garden greens on top, raw garlic barley tempeh salad with tri-bean pate and fresh baked sourdough bread, and three salad plate with a warm pear fennel cabbage salad, a kale garbanzo bean salad, and a fresh garden salad, with a heap of my homemade saurkraut on top. fresh vegan summer lunches rule.
omg, i just found these pictures on my computer and cant believe i never posted them. even though right now im in “healthy food land” i figured i have to post these nuggs. this winter i made a ton of vegan snickers (recipe here) and i used the leftover “nougat” and some vegan butter cookies to make a second round of mini delicious candy bars, that were modeled after the glory that is Twix bars. the main ingredient to these were great little vegan shortbread cookies that i then laid on top of the leftover nougat, freezed, then dipped in dark chocolate.
i think the shortbread parts were so cute, i even went out of the way to poke little indentations in each one, like in a real twix. i cant find the recipe i used anymore but if you just googled “vegan shortbread” youd find tons of options.
i made about three dozen mini twix bars which we mostly ate fresh from the freezer, cause the choco coating was pretty melty. i love making my own candy, since its so hard to find decent vegan candy bars, and especially ones that arent full of crappy cheap ingredients and preservatives. go make some candybars!
im so happy that today my kimchi/kraut ripened to perfection! about 10 days ago we had a DIY fermentation class here at aprovecho and we made mead, sourdough starter, ginger beer, pickled beets and lots and lots of kimchi/kraut. i call it that because its not really traditional kimchi, as its missing the spice paste and the fish oil (eew) so its more like kimchi inspired kraut. its got ginger, garlic, some chives, red pepper flakes and cabbage. its quite simply made, all the ingredients got jumbled together, stuffed in a jar with a sprinkling of salt, and pounded alot (the pounding releases all the juices from the cabbage). Once the liquid covers the solids, youre done and you can just cover it with some cloth and leave it out till you like the taste. if youre going to eat it quite quickly you dont need to worry about any traditional pickling sanitation stuff, just stick it in the fridge when its reached a place where you like the taste and itll last atleast a week without spoiling. mine for sure wont last a week, im gonna eat it too soon!