Wednesday, February 27, 2008

PB&J, Ginger-Chocolate, and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip with Cinnamon Icing Cupcakes

Made cupcakes for office's "Happy Designated Mid-Month Birthday Lunchbreak" party. Both of the other vegans at work were born in February, so I had to come through, plus my baking was subsidized by the petty cash box. Oh, I *have* come a long way baby, I have. Now, why do you ask?

The trio in all their glory: PB&J are the Fluffy White Cupcakes from Schmooed Food that always seem to come out perfectly topped with VCTOTW peanut butter frosting, which, if made correctly (use the mixer for the correct amount of time people) comes out super awesome. They are also filled with organic raspberry jam of course. Also pictured are the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Icing from Vegan Cupcakes take over the World. I had been skeptical that these would be muffin-y, but behold, very cake-y and the extreme cinnamon goo on top was a nice compliment. Finally we have Ginger-Chocolate Cupcakes which are just the basic chocolate recipe from VCTOTW with a ginger infused ganache topped with chopped crystallized ginger. They look very classy-like but are quite simple to pull off.

Here is a shot of the PB&J cakes sliced open. Look at the cute little "v" I made by scooping cones out of the cake tops, filling the holes with jam and re-inserting the cake bit. It was um, so intentional...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sushi, cupcakes and dip: the belated birthday post

My birthday was um, a month ago. I had an awesome party and ate awesome food. Much thanks to Roommate for help making sushi (which is usually more fun to make when you don't also have to clean your apartment the same day). Here is the spread:

Peanut avocado rolls.

And mango, cilantro and red pepper rolls. I also made butternut squash and shitake rolls and spicy chickpea rolls (chickpeas mashed with vegenaise, sriracha and tamari).

A sesame-peanut dip from The Native Foods Cookbook with rice crackers and fresh veggies.

Awesome vanilla cupcakes from the Vegan Lunchbox blog topped with berry jam and fresh sliced strawberry.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wheeler's Black Label I-Don't-Care-What-You-Call-It-It's-Freaking-Delicious: A Bitchin' Vegan Kitchen Review

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of test-driving some of the infamous Wheeler's Black Label Vegan Ice Cream. I had talked to Wheeler on the phone myself beforehand about some generous samples that had sadly gone missing in the mail (get your own frozen non-dairy desserts FedEx carriers!) and about the then roiling mini-controversy that erupted on his blog (now cleared, and the product over there remains Very, Very Vegan of course). I found him to be such a nice and convincing guy that I left my cozy apartment and trekked into Manhattan on a day so cold I doubted the very existence of the pants on my butt... to go sample ice cream!

All this is to say that the odds were not all in favor of this scrappy little product in the face of my lazy food journalism. Yet when I finally arrived at the super packed East Village art gallery Little Cakes to wrap my icicle-hands around some of the goods, all I could muster in the way of accolades was...


I honestly don't recall exactly which flavors I sampled - I'm not sure I was ever told or ever asked. But there was some peanut butter-y-ness, some chocolate chips, some cinnamon, I think I recall some coconut and I know I definitely remember seriously surprising quantities of booze per bite. In general, the flavors were intense, the mix-ins were generous, though not overwhelming, and the various notes worked together in perfect harmony; a 1 + 1 = 3 sort of situation. One memorable"experimental" batch which included fancy tequila, black pepper and earl grey was frankly mind-blowing despite being consumed on the frigid walk back to the F train. Even if my memory has faded a bit and some details are blurry around the edges, I do know this; Wheeler's Ice Cream had far and away the best texture of all the vegan frozen desserts I have tried--which is to say, many. Since this smooth, thick, consistent texture is the most elusive quality in vegan ice creams, I feel pretty confident that you could pass this stuff off as its evil dairy counterpart. Though with such a remarkably better nutrional profile and inspired attention to flavor, who the hell needs to?

Lucky for me Wheeler's will be live and local in Brooklyn this weekend for an Oscar party with wunderkind guest star Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet and My Sweet Vegan fame. Check it out.

Also, please, please, please out Wheeler's website and blog for photos that do the ice cream more justice than my sad, sad little dixie cup snapshot above. *Drool.*