Sunday, September 19, 2010

French Toast with Warm Fresh Peaches: College Edition

Hey world!

Thought I'd steal something from Dan Brown aka pogobat on YouTube. This morning my floor friend (friend on my floor) and I made brunch. Yesterday we went to the farmers market, which was a gruelling 45 minute walk one way, and I got some peaches, among other things. I'm pretty sure they were organic. I should have asked... whoops. After that I went by myself to Capers, which is just Whole Foods by a different name. No really, it's the same company. I have no idea why they changed the name for this location. Anyways, at Capers I got some spelt flour and bread and a whole bunch of other stuff but I won't bore you with that... well, except for the fact that they had green AND red dandelion greens on for 2 for $3! I'm going to freeze them and put them in soups and possibly salads.

This morning I got my F.F. to get some vanilla soy milk from the caf. She's totally addicted. I think this is a beautiful thing because I've introduced someone who isn't vegan to something vegan and they loved it. She also got me a vanilla chai soy milk, which I heated up after breakfast in a mug with a bit of cinnamon in the microwave and it was SO GOOD... or should I say soy good? ;)

Here's my recipe for french toast, stolen from Chef Chloe's blog. You should be noticing a trend here. Her stuff is just sooo good, though! I want to eat it all the time! If you have an oven/convection oven/toaster oven, you have to make her beach cookies. They are to die for! Also, feel free to substitute whatever fruit is local, in season or just on hand for the peaches.

French Toast with Warm Fresh Peaches
Serves 2

Warm Blueberry Compote (Warm Peach Compote)
2 pints blueberries
(I used 2 peaches, sliced into eighths)
1/3 cup agave or maple syrup
(3 tbsp. brown rice syrup)
½ lemon, juice and zest
(I didn't have any lemon, so...)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
(more like a few shakes! Yummy!)

Cinnamon French Toast
1 loaf French or whole wheat bread
(6 slices bread. The bread I bought was a spelt yeast-free rye bread, and it was pretty much miniature sized.)
2 cups flour
(1/2 cup flour)
2 cups non-dairy milk
(1/2 cup vanilla soy milk)
3 tablespoons maple syrup + extra for dipping
(1-2 tbsp. brown rice syrup)
2 teaspoon vanilla
(approx. 1 tsp vanilla, but maybe less)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
(I used way more, simply because my friend and I both loove cinnamon!)
pinch of sea salt
(I didn't use any)
2 tablespoon canola oil
(I used a tiny bit of coconut oil in the beginning but it didn't even make a difference.)
powdered sugar for sifting
(We didn't use any but if you care about presentation then I would recommend in using it. Ours was sweet enough without this!)

Warm Fresh Peaches
In a microwave safe bowl, combine peaches, brown rice syrup, agave, cinnamon and lemon, if using. Microwave for 2 minutes.
Note: you will want to warm this up again right before serving, so if you would like to save this until you've got your last piece of toast in the rice cooker then feel free to do so. Next time I'm going to wait. =)

Cinnamon French Toast
Plug in your rice cooker and let it heat up while you prepare the french toast batter.
In a bowl combine flour, soy milk, brown rice syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Once the rice cooker has heated up (about 5 minutes), start dipping your bread slice by slice into the batter, and then heat in rice cooker. After about 1-2 minutes, check on your bread and flip with a fork or spatula, if you happen to have one. Cook on the other side until done, and remove to a plate. Repeat until you're out of batter or bread. Serve topped with warm peaches.
Note: french toast always tastes better when it's warm, so either eat it right away while it's hot, or do as I did and reheat it when you are reheating your peaches (when the last piece is in the rice cooker).


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chef Chloe's Avocado Pesto Pasta, and a new cooking adventure

Hello there!

Since I last blogged, I've started college. Because I am no longer living at home, my access to basic kitchen appliances is limited, therefore I am being forced to improvise--not that I don't like being creative in the kitchen; I just prefer my place in front of the stove.

If you wish to live in residency and are under the age of 19 at my university, you are assigned to one of two residencies that both require meal plans. Around the time that I was purchasing my meal plan, I had completely given up on cooking anything in my room. I thought that, at best, I'd be able to have a mini-fridge, but wouldn't have anywhere to buy food to fill it. Assuming that I would be buying meals solely from the dining hall, I selected the Normal meal plan. Now I realize that this was a mistake. The food at the cafeteria, or at least the vegan options, is significantly below par. After two weeks of eating over-salted, over-done vegetables (also non-organic!) and dry rice, I've come to the conclusion that if I want to retain a healthy relationship with food, I'm going to have to start making my own food. Now, judging by the fact that I have a cooking blog, however new, you could say that I'm not exactly heartbroken about this, and I'd have to agree with you. I have almost everything you need. I have a rice cooker, a kettle, a Magic Bullet, a mini-fridge, and a lounge with a microwave to heat up leftovers and a full-size fridge with a freezer for anything that doesn't fit inside my fridge. The only thing missing from my collection? An oven, or a convection oven, since I don't think the university would be too pleased if I brought full-sized appliances into my dorm room.

I'm going to be blogging, hopefully every day, on what I'm eating and how I made it. My friends (new and old) have all told me that I should write a cookbook. I don't think I could do just that, but I think (hope, really) that I can manage a blog.

Today, I cooked for one of my friends on my floor. We had the Avocado Pesto Pasta from Chef Chloe's blog. It was so delicious and easy to make, and she kept thanking me for preparing such a delicious dinner and asking me how I made it. Below is how I did it.

Avocado Pesto Linguine
Serves 6 (I halved the recipe so it made enough for my friend and I with huge servings)
What You Need:
1 pound dried linguini (300 oz. whole wheat fresh linguini)
1 bunch basil leaves (about 2½ ounces) (3 handfuls)
½ cup pine nuts (1/4 cup approximately)
2 ripe avocados, pitted and peeled (1 avocado)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about ½ of a lemon) (I didn't have any lemon... whoops!)
3 cloves garlic (1 super huge clove of garlic that I got from the farmers market today. Seriously, it was the size of two.)
½ cup olive oil (closer to 1/3 cup of olive oil to compensate for the lack of lemon juice.)
Salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Boil 1.5 litres water in a kettle.
2. While water is boiling, put the avocado, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and basil in the Magic Bullet or other food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
3. Once water has finished boiling, put a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of the rice cooker (about 1 tbsp or less) and put in the pasta. Pour water over the pasta until the rice cooker is almost full, and replace lid on rice cooker. You don't need to have your rice cooker on during. If you don't have a rice cooker but you do have a big bowl, you could replace the rice cooker with a big bowl. Let the pasta sit for a few minutes, stirring and taste-testing occasionally until done.
4. Drain the pasta into a colander and then put back into bowl/rice cooker. Stir pesto into pasta. Serve and enjoy!