Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fun News, Marshmallows And Chocolate Cream Pie

A while back I mentioned that I was working on a couple of new projects. You already know about the book, so here's the scoop on the other one. For the past few months we have been working feverishly on launching a Membership side to Everyday Dish TV. We're putting the finishing touches on and it should be polished and ready for its big debut within the week.

Becoming a Member will include exclusive access to over 45 new cooking videos and recipes! We cover helpful tips like stocking your vegan pantry to recipes for vegan marshmallows, chorizo sausage links, my rockin' nacho and chedda cheeses and everything in between. New videos will be added monthly for fresh ideas and innovative recipes. The first 20 subscribers to the Membership side will also receive one of our Everyday Dish DVD's free for joining. So definitely stay tuned because you won't want to miss out. You'll love what you're going to see. The recipes on the membership side are some of my very best.

The picture above is a chocolate cream pie with marshmallow meringue topping. Yes, it's true! The recipe is perfected, filmed and ready to share with our members. I'll let you know once we've officially launched.

I have to admit, I'm so thrilled to be able to share the marshmallow and meringue recipes finally! I think I worked on those recipes for almost 8 months, with hundreds of trials and trails of marshmallows along the way. Whew, that was a lot of work. But I knew that it was a code that I had to crack ; )

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Barley Tea

With record breaking temperatures and beautiful blue skies, I have found myself craving iced tea. Now, being a tea fanatic, my mind starts to race to all of the different possibilities. Should I make matcha or jasmine or vanilla rooibos or Earl Gray? And then I remembered my big bag of barley tea. I knew exactly what I needed to brew up.

The first time that I had barley tea was in a Korean restaurant in L.A. It was served iced, and was the perfect thirst quencher. It had a nice light flavor with a hint of roasted smokiness. I was forever hooked after that first sip.

One of the great things about barley tea, besides the great taste, is that it's super inexpensive. You can get a huge bag of the tea (mine came with 52 large tea bags), for about four dollars. Each tea bag will make one quart. Oh, and they're made to steep in cool water too. So all you have to do is toss it in a pitcher of cool water and refrigerate for 30 minutes. No muss, no fuss. I have to believe that there's got to be some health benefits to the tea too. After all, the only ingredient is roasted barley.

I'm sure there are many brands, but this is the one that I bought at our local Asian market. If you're looking for something refreshing and caffeine-free, you might want to give barley tea a try.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Nanaimo Bars And Sarah Kramer

Aren't these Nanaimo bars gorgeous?! They are are every bit as delicious as they look. The recipe is from Sarah Kramer (from her new book Vegan A Go Go), and I'm so excited that she shared it with Everyday Dish. Go check out the video (and recipe) now! You are going to love these bars!

I first had Nanaimo bars in 10th grade when I was living in Vancouver, B.C. My mom was participating in a Fulbright Exchange, and my brother and I were thrilled to go along for the ride. That incredible year in Vancouver was where I first fell in love with Nanaimo bars, the Pacific North West and tea (more about that in another post). I was sad when the year was over, although we went home with lots of memories, photos and a plethora of recipes that I had collected, including several for Nanaimo Bars. Yes, I know that I was only 16, but I was food and recipe obsessed from a very young age; ) Unfortunately none of the recipes were vegan so I am thrilled that Sarah has done the work for us.

Now, go check out that video!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of the recipes that I wanted to create for the new book is a stellar chocolate chip cookie. I know that there are hundreds, if not thousands of recipes already out there, but I needed one with my touch. A chocolate chip signature, if you may. I've always had an immense love for chocolate chip cookies, which goes back long before my first cookbook (125 Best Chocolate Chip Recipes).

Looking back, there was a time in high school that I think was the "pivotal" chocolate chip moment for me. My best friend Jennifer and I would fly to San Francisco regularly to visit her father. One day, Jennifer gave me a peek at her step mother's pantry. What I saw was something to behold. It was all of the makings for chocolate chip cookies. And not just one batch. This pantry was set up so that at any given moment she could bake hundreds of cookies. It was at that exact moment that I knew what my future would be.

I can assure you that my pantry does hold the makings for dozens of batches of these sweet little babies, at any given moment. I buy my semisweet chocolate chips (vegan, of course), in bulk 25 pound boxes. This is no joke, and has actually become something that my kids show off regularly to their friends ("want to see my mom's giant bucket o' chocolate chips?"). That bucket is something to behold.

As you can see, my love for the cookies goes way back. Once, in college, I even did a presentation in class on how to make the "perfect" chocolate chip cookies. I collected recipes for them wherever I went, looking for unusual techniques or interesting additions. I was even known to rate bakeries and restaurants, purely on their chocolate chip cookies.

So my love for the cookies continue, which is why I felt that I had to come up with my own delectable chocolate chip cookie for the book. I mixed and baked dozens and dozens of different variations, until I felt that I had the "one". The cookie gods must have been with me in the kitchen that week, because it worked. I came up with a perfect puffy, soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie. It's also much lower in fat than regular chocolate chip cookies too.

I wish I could share the cookies with you, warm from my oven. Instead the pic will just have to do for the moment. But, in the meantime, I'd love to hear what you think are the best traits of a chocolate chip cookie. Are they flat and crisp? Fat and chewy? Crisp and chewy? Whole grain? Nuts? Lots of chips or just a few?