Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blackberry Soda

There is nothing like the fresh flavor of homemade soda! We usually have a pretty big stash of frozen berries, and the berry syrup to make this soda is easy-peasy - just the ticket on a hot summer day. You could also use the syrup for pancakes, waffles or homemade snow cones. The recipe and video are up on Everyday Dish. Feel free to substitute another berry for the blackberries, depending on what you have.

If you're into bubbly water or homemade soda, check out this toy. I love it, love that you can reuse the bottles so they don't wind up in landfills, and that it works out to 18 cents a liter. Not bad, and so much fun!

Anyways, check out the recipe for a fun and delicious treat.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Instant Clearjel

It's here! My new favorite thickener for cooking. I love this stuff, because unlike cornstarch, arrowroot or tapioca starch, you don't have to cook it. It's instant! When it comes to thickening puddings, sauces, making vegan cheeze, ice cream, homemade vegan mayo, freezer jam, soy yogurt and a million other things, this stuff is the bomb baby. Really. I've also heard that you can add 1 tsp. ICJ per cup of flour to cookie batters, resulting in softer, chewier and thicker, bakery-style cookies.

We've added it to the marketplace on the Everyday Dish site. The link is here. We'll hopefully be adding a few more, hard-to-find (yet-o-so-cool) ingredients soon. I've also been working on recipes using the Instant Clearjel, which we'll be filming shortly. That way you'll have an aresnal of recipes, and wonder how you ever lived without this stuff.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


What to do when the neighbor's trees are overflowing with apples? Make applesauce! I am a fruit picking fiend, and go completely crazy when someone offers me fresh fruit off their trees.

After the blackberry upset last week (the owner of the property next door to us cut down all of our shared blackberry vines, just as thousands of gorgeous, wild organic blackberries were ready for picking). I begged and pleated, as he sat atop a rented backhoe, explaining that it was already done (why he waited until they were ripe for the picking, I'll never know). So the blackberry jam and scones and cakes and pies that I had been planning, were definitely not going to happen. I needed a new plan. A new fruit. Something else that was ripe and ready for picking.

The answer was actually much closer than I imagined. The man siting on top of the backhoe, feeling a little sorry for my berry loss, suggested that I come and pick apples from his yard which were ready for picking. I was so taken with the ripe, juicy blackberries that I hadn't even noticed all of his apple trees, hanging low with fruit. Perfect, tiny little apples.

I quickly grabbed my husband and some buckets and we went apple picking. I'm not sure how many pounds we picked, but let's just say that there were many. I couldn't stop picking. And so, that was how we spent our evening. Picking, peeling, chopping and cooking. And, let me just say, that it was some of the best applesauce I've ever had.

Although I don't have an exact recipe to share, it was easy-peasy to make. We filled the pressure cooker two thirds of the way full with chopped, peeled apples. I added a bit of apple cider and some ground cinnamon and allspice to the mix. I cooked it under high pressure for 5 minutes (yes, only 5 minutes!), and let the pressure release naturally. These happened to be very, very tart apples, so I also added a little brown sugar to taste, a little more spice and that was it! If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can cook it in a regular pot, although it will take quite a bit longer. You can also make it in a slow cooker, and let it go overnight until the apples are nice and soft.

Here's a few pics from our applesauce adventure:

I'd better pick more apples soon, because I think apple pies are on the menu next.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blackberry Cobbler

We have a new episode of our Everyday Dish cooking show up, and this time it's blackberry cobbler. The recipe is super-simple to make and is perfect for fresh summer berries. Check out the video here.

The recipe for the cobbler is from my new pie book (The Complete Book Of Pies), which should be hitting book stores in the next few weeks. I love this recipe, which is a different style of cobbler. Instead of topping the fruit with biscuit dough, you fill your baking dish with a sweet batter, and top it with lots of fresh berries. When it bakes, the fruit falls to the bottom and the cake bakes up on top. What you get is a fabulous combo of pie and cake, all together in one dessert. It's really delicious, and can be thrown together in minutes (unless, of course, you have to pick the berries first).

Now, a little bit about my new book. This pie book was the longest and largest project I have done to date. Start to finish it was close to 3 years. That's a long time, and lots of things change in a three year period. When I started the book, I was vegetarian, not vegan, although I was certainly going in that direction. I just wasn't sure how I could be vegan while I was working on recipe projects that called for dairy and eggs. This was something that I struggled with for quite some time. What I eventually did was to finish the recipes which called for dairy and eggs first, and then develop all of the other recipes to be vegan (or vegan-friendly as they are titled in the book). This way I could be vegan and develop vegan recipes. It worked out to be a beautiful decision, and I have never looked back.

So, although the book is not vegan, it has 97 vegan-friendly recipes. The recipes are not only delicious, but pretty easy to make as well. I worked really hard to help demystify the art of pie making, and make it fun, easy and approachable. To say that I made hundreds of pies during the three years would be an understatement. I think the number may be closer to a thousand. I baked pies night and day for almost three years.

Now, here's the part that I'm hoping people will understand. My publisher decided that he wanted a few meat pie recipes in the book. I know! I really can't go into it too much, but regardless of my personal feelings on the matter (and I have many) there are 10 non-veg recipes in the book. The recipes came from another cookbook author, and were not written (or tested) by me. I really hope that everyone will understand that this was not my decision or choice, and not hold it against the book. I worked so hard on this book, and am really proud of it. I think that I accomplished what I set out to do, which is simplifying the process of pie making in a modern and fun way.

Life is definitely a journey, and it's exciting for me to be able to continue to work on the projects that are so close to my heart, like our Everyday Dish cooking show, The Cancer Project and now writing vegan cookbooks.

So, what are you waiting for? Get over to Everyday Dish and make that cobbler!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Soymilk, Part 2

I've been playing around with soymilk recipes again, and had to share this one. It was really good! A combo of soaked soybeans, jasmine rice and rolled oats. A delicious and creamy milk!

One of the reasons that I've been experimenting is because I've been playing around with a fun new machine. It's the brand-new Soy Quick 930P, which has been redesigned without a filter cup. I love it! It's really easy to clean and makes fantastic non-dairy milks. This machine also makes exceptional rice and grain milks too. In fact, we love it so much, that we now carry it on the market page at Everyday Dish.

I'll keep experimenting, and if anyone is interested in a recipe I would be happy to share. It's so fun to be able to make healthy milks at home, for a fraction of the cost of store bought. Plus you can customize them any way you please, which is always a benefit in my book. I also love that there's no packaging to throw away. I simply re-fill my glass jars with the homemade milk and I'm ready to go.

I'd love to hear what everyone is cooking up in their kitchens this summer.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Dave's Killer Bread

If you haven't tried the utterly delicious and uber-famous Dave's Killer Bread from Portland, Oregon, then this is your chance. Dave has again shared one of his amazing recipes with us for Everyday Dish, and this time it's for a 100% whole wheat bread that's out-of-this-world delicious! We're talking soft, tender, nutty, slightly sweet bread that is just as awesome on a sandwich as it is toasted and slathered with a little Earth Balance. Please, please give this recipe a try! This is whole grain bread at it's finest.

On a different note, I have been having some computer problems this past week, so I haven't been able to blog as much as I had hoped to. It's actually giving me more time in the kitchen (imagine that?!) to finish up the marshmallow recipes, which I am happy to say are just about complete. Whew! A couple more recipes to test, a quick how-to-video to film and we are ready to go! Here's hoping for a speedy computer recovery!