Friday, May 16, 2014

Vegan Ethiopian Tasties in Book-Form Coming Soon!

I just turned in my final edits to the awesome folks at Book Publishing Company, which means you can expect to see my brand new vegan and Ethiopian cookbook on shelves in late summer!

The book is currently un-named, but I can tell you it'll be around 100 recipes all vegan, palm-free, gluten-free (save for one gluten recipe for those who are soy-free or love Satan), mostly soy-free, but not tasty-free. Nope the tasty will be free flowing throughout.

Spread the word and remember if you miss me, I post everyday over on Instagram. Hi Tim!


Sunday, April 6, 2014

PDX Worldwide Vegan Bakesale Coming Soon

I'm happy to be involved again this year in one of PDX's Worldwide Vegan Bakesales. 

Our sale will be:
Sunday, May 4th 10AM-3PM
Mississippi Marketplace 
(near the Homegrown Smoker and Native Bowl carts at N. Mississippi and N. Skidmore).

More info on our fancy new website, and our Facebook event page. Signup sheet to help bake is here.

I'm really excited about our two beneficiaries this year: Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW, and Russia Freedom Fund

CSNW was founded in 2003 to provide sanctuary for chimpanzees discarded from the entertainment and biomedical testing industries. It has 26 acres and is one of the only US sanctuaries to care for chimps.

Russia Freedom Fund is a U.S. tax deductible vehicle for making financial contributions in support of the LGBT movement in Russia and efforts to combat discrimination and violence there based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This initiative responds to growing concerns about recent state-sponsored discrimination in Russia and expresses solidarity between the international LGBT community and allies, and the Russian LGBT movement.

We can use all sorts of help, but bakers are especially needed. If you can donate kitchen time, this link will direct you to a Google doc signup sheet for more info and specifics.

The last two years running we have brought in about $2400 dollars, and it would be so freakin' cool if we could break $2500 this year. This will only happen if we can get more folks to help us bake (click here for our signup sheet!!). We usually sell out of everything before 3PM. The more we have to sell the more we can donate.

Thanks! Please feel free to print out the PDF linked above (just click on the picture of the flyer) to share around town and with your friends.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Palm Oil No More, and Mocha Teff Brownies

These brownies round out my Ethiopian collection, so I thought it'd be nice to post the recipe here, especially since I feel like I finally broke the crinkly topped xgfx brownie code. The method for making these is a little unconventional, but it's what gives them such a good texture and finish.
I don't really think I need to post this for accountability's sake, but it won't hurt, so here goes: over the last year, I've made a notable effort to reduce our household consumption of palm oil. I just listened to The Vegan Option podcast from September 2013 about Palm Oil and it made me more committed than ever to stop consuming it. 

I'm not sure how long Earth Balance has been around, but I'm guessing I was vegan for at least 12 years before it ever surfaced, and I did just fine without it. Not only that, but nowadays there's coconut oil and excellent palm-free homemade butter recipes (see Miyoko's here and Bryanna's here).

The podcast I linked to is really informative and does address green certified palm, but since I don't need palm, I'm not gonna eat it, and I'll sleep better at night, too.

This new dedicated shift won't be hard for us in the house--I don't bake that often and we don't eat a lot of processed foods, but I think it's going to be really challenging when we go out to eat. And I might find myself surprised at the grocery store, since until now, I haven't checked for it in shampoo and stuff like that.

What do you think about consuming palm? I don't consider myself an expert, but I'm interested in what other folks think, or don't think about the subject.

I'm proud to say that all the recipes in my forthcoming Ethiopian cookbook are palm-freeable.
I've reworked my favorite xgfx brownie recipe and thought it'd be nice to post here--it's sad to say, but I don't think I've posted a recipe in over a year! These are a cross between fudgy and chewy, but not cakey at all, which is an abomination where I'm from. I'm also happy to report these have the ever important crinkly top (thanks to the melted sugar), and are gum-free and won't crumble into your coffee, unless you want them to.

The brownies pictured contain chocolate chips and walnuts, but my favorite are the rocky road, since the marshmallow sorta explode inside and caramelize on top.

Mocha Teff Brownies
Makes 12 brownies
I could never be mistaken for a coffee drinker, but I do love a fudgy, crinkly topped brownie with chewy edges and corners. The coffee in these brownies highlights the cocoa and is my way of offering a nod towards Ethiopia’s ancient coffee tradition.

Teff and chocolate are one of my favorite combinations, and these brownies are perfect for hoarding, or for your next vegan bake-sale. If you’re like me and so ridiculously sensitive to caffeine that one bite will keep you up all night, make sure to use decaffeinated coffee!

1⅓ cups sorghum flour
¼ cup potato starch
¼ cup tapioca starch
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unbleached granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup freshly brewed Ethiopian coffee
⅓ cup teff flour
¾ cup brown sugar, unpacked
⅔ cup fair trade cocoa powder
¼ cup coconut oil (refined or unrefined)
¼ cup organic canola oil
2 tablespoons finely ground flax seed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
⅓ cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line an 8x8-inch glass pan with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, and salt

Put the granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring almost constantly, until the sugar has mostly dissolved, about 6 minutes (don’t let it boil, but small bubbles around the sides of the pan are OK). Transfer the hot sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and rinse out the saucepan.

Combine the coffee and teff flour in the same saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to bubble and thicken. Once the teff mixture has thickened into a smooth, pudding-like texture, continue to cook and stir for another minute. Transfer the teff mixture to the mixing bowl with the sugar and add the coconut and canola oils. Beat until smooth (be careful of splashes, the mixture will be hot), about 1 minute.

Add the brown sugar, cocoa powder, flax seeds, and vanilla to the teff mixture, and beat together until creamy and smooth, about 1½ to 2 minutes.

Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat, scraping the sides down a few times, until you have a smooth, thick batter, about 2 more minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan spreading it evenly into the pan, making sure to get all corners, and smooth the top. Bake for 35 minutes, until the brownies have risen, the top is shiny and set, and the edges and corners are firm.

Cool to room temperature and cut into rectangles.

Rocky Road Brownies
Replace the chocolate chips with 5 ounces of vegan marshmallows.

Mocha Nut Brownies
Add ½ cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts to the batter and stir in along with the chocolate chips.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pictures from my week.

Tempeh salad with celery, apple, green onion, cilantro and a berbere dressing.

I love Instagram 'cuz it's such an easy way to blog and show off pictures! Here's some of the stuff I've been doing this week, I'm wrapping up my manuscript on the 31st!

Roasted chickpeas and soy beans: coriander, berbere, lime, salt, and evoo. MmMm

Leftovers! Very old leftovers. Ha. But still, a very pretty beyayentu (veg platter).
Red lentils, spicy chile relish, peanut butter fitfit (injera bread salad), shimbra alecha (chickpea crackers in a mild sauce), and potato tibs.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Tick tock, I can't stop.

Awaze Potato Tibs
Playing around with a new camera my father in law wasn't using. The light is sorta waning here, I can't wait to play with this in another month. 

Chickpea flour crackers. They're getting thrown into a mild onion sauce. I made em into hearts instead of fish.

Me and Vee Agree.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dalo's Kitchen Food Truck

Beyayenetu: vegan platter includes kay miser, alicha kik, gomen, atkilt with gluten-free injera.
(spicy red lentils, mild split peas, greens, and mixed vegetables)
Dazee and I popped over to the Dalo's Kitchen cart today for lunch. What else would I want to eat for lunch right now? Once I heard they have gluten-free injera at the truck, I really couldn't resist. I think it's the weather.

Aw! It comes wrapped like a wee injera present.
They make the injera, and it's the softest, fluffiest, gluten-free stuff I have ever seen. I have no idea what sort of grain these are made from, but I'm not even sure they have teff in them at all. Deluxe texture, but not much flavor and no tang to speak of.

Lots of food for $5. We split this, and it was enough to fill two of us. 
I found the Dalo's food truck a great deal for cheap, quick, xgfx eats, but super underwhelming. The food was hot and tasted fresh, but I found it really boring and very under seasoned (even with extra salt) and uninspired.

The menu said we were supposed to get split peas (alicha kik), but I swear we got served red lentil alicha instead, which isn't a big deal, except again just sorta boring texture wise. I'll probably give them another go in a few months, but for now I'm sticking with Emame's for all my on the go Ethiopian needs.

Dalo's Kitchen Food Truck
Central Eastside Food Carts
510 SE MLK Boulevard, PDX

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Alfenique, Dahlias, a Winner and more Ethiopian Delights.

This year's bounty, but next year's is gonna be all about the googly eyes.
I follow the recipe on Mexican Sugar, but substitute Ener-G Egg Replacer for the meringue in both the sugar skulls and the royal icing.
I bet you think I've been so busy, I haven't been prepping for our annual Dia de los Muertos celebration. No-no-no! There's always room for a bit of sugar skull action. While perusing the lovely #sugarskull on Instagram the other night, I also learned a new word--alfeñique, which is the art of sugar skulls (and other creations). If you like such things, there are so many gorgeous pictures to be seen. Specifically check out anything related to Alfeñique Feria, which is an annual sugar skull convention that takes place from mid October until Dia de los Muertos (November 2nd) every year in Toluca, Mexico. I want to go soooooOOOo badly. Seriously, go look and also check out #alfeñiqueferia for the latest and greatest.

Also, please help me congratulate Strength and Sunshine, who won Dynise's amazing Pie and Tarts with Heart. Thanks to all of you who participated in the giveaway.

The dahlias are still kickin'!
While you've been doing this and that, I'm still knee deep in Ethiopian delights. Here's one of the dishes I made today--Ye'atakilt Kai Wot (carrots, potatoes and cauliflower in a spicy tomato gravy). I also made some KILLER lasagna roll-ups. If you're good I'll post a picture on my IG tomorrow. They're made of an Ethiopian soft cheese similar to ricotta, which I mixed with Ethiopian kale and carrots and rolled up in lasagna noodles. Then smothered the whole shebang in a berbere marinara sauce. Thank you Italy, for trying to invade Ethiopia, you left some good stuff behind.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gimme all the Pies 'n' Tarts with Heart: Book Tour 'n' Giveaway.

Our Dia de los Muertos preparations are underway, and according to our manual, Sweet Potato Pie is a good match for blue skeletons.
I made pie today, which is sorta exciting around here, since I never make pie. I barely  have patience for pie crust at my best, and xgfx pie crust is super seriously annoying. The exciting factor is two-fold, because not only did I pie up this place, I made sweet potato pie, which I've never made before. I'm not sure I've ever even tasted it before today, even with living in NOLA for so long. Maybe it's because I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie (which for the record it tastes nothing like--hooray!), but more likely because Dazee loves the pie, and especially he loves fruit pie, so if'n I'm dealing with pie crust, you can be sure some strawberries, apples, cherries or something similar is going in.

I felt like sweet potato pie, and since I was gifted a beautiful new copy of Dynise Balcavage's Pies and Tarts with Heart, and since there was a xgfx nut crust recipe in there that I didn't have to change a single thing to, and since it didn't involve dough. Done deal. OK, OK I added candied ginger and cinnamon to the crust, but I add them to all my desserts, so it wasn't any extra work.

The pie is setting up in the fridge just now as I write this post, but we ate some anyway. Actually, the batter was so good, I was tempted to just turn it into a no-bake cream pie and call it a day, but I baked it anyway. I'm trying to follow directions and all that.

Besides the nut crust, PTH offers two other xgfx crusts. One is a cookie crumb recipe (you need to find your own xgfx cookie recipe or purchase some) and the other uses a xgfx flour blend. I chose the nut crust for its simplicity, and I'm glad I did. It's my new favorite pie crust, and I'll be going back to it from now on. The only other nut crusts I know about are full of dates and aren't meant to be baked. This one held up great in the oven without burning, for over an hour of baking. It works and it's easy.

Post a comment to win if you live in the US.!
Quarry Books has offered one of my US readers a chance to win their own free copy, so if you're interested in getting all pied and tarted up, please leave a comment on this post by midnight PST a week from today (Wed. October 23rd). Please leave an easy way for me to contact you, and I'll pick a random comment to win.

One of my favorite things about this pie book are the giant full-color photos throughout. Most, if not all, of the recipes are represented in really vibrant and well modeled pictures. It's a good book to take to bed, especially if dessert makes you sleepy.

I'm reluctant to call this post a review, since I've only made one recipe, but I'm sorta OK with leaving it as a mini-review (especially since the pie and crust I made today were winners). You can see more pictures from PTH from my friends Amey and Joni, who also participated in this book tour. Did I mention this post is a stop on the official book tour? Fancy time, folks.

  • Title:  Pies and Tarts with Heart
  • Author Dynise Balcavage
  • Blog Urban Vegan
  • Publisher:  Quarry Books
  • Photos: Lots and lots of georgeous color photos
  • Focus:  Vegan Pies and Tarts
  • 5 Recipes to Intrigue: Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie, Maple-Laced Caramel-Walnut Pie, "Yo, Rocky!" Road Tart, Aloo-Palak Pie (with a mashed potato crust!) and the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie
  • XGFXness:  Most of the pie fillings are xgfx with 3 xgfx crust options, so lots of options.

Disclaimer:  Dynise Balcavage is my friend (in real life even!), and I received a free review copy of Pies and Tarts with Heart from Quarry Books. However, no compensation or gift was exchanged for this review, and the fierce opinion posted here is my own.

Monday, September 30, 2013

I Fleetly Flee, I Fly.

Ye'dinnich be Keysir Selata
I wasn't sure I was gonna be able to keep up with MoFo '13, but here we are at the end of the month, and this is my 20th post. If you're anxious about missing me, I'll still be posting my daily on good ol' Instagram, and'll pop in here with weekly show 'n' tell posts to keep you up to date, but this daily shindig is going bubbye.

The picture above was delicious. It was a cold potato salad with pickled beets and onion in a lime vinaigrette, and I ate that gorgeous hot pink bowl of spuds mostly by myself. Never with the beet regrets.

I have learned so much researching for this book. Up above, you see a kai wot, which simply means red stew by way of spicy berbere powder. It's okra stewed in a yummy spicy gravy with white bean sausage dumplings (I'm going with dumplings over balls these days--gotta seem professional).

Thanks for your company and comments this month, and thanks to those who checked in to make sure I hadn't smothered under a giant pile of turmeric or berbere.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Sews Before Bros - Freaky Friday

Hello and welcome to Freaky Friday! I'm Erika from Sews Before Bros and I am thrilled to have a guest spot on Kittee's amazeadorable blog. 

For my little sojourn over to Cake Maker to the Stars, I decided to make nacho lasagna! Not only is this xgfx, it's highly customizeable and easy to make. The basic components you need are corn tortillas, refried beans, and vegan cheeze.

Start Layering!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and start layering your ingredients in a casserole dish, starting with a bottom layer of tortilla. I found that cutting a tortilla in half and placing the straight edge along the edge of the casserole dish helped me fill the corners and leave no spaces uncovered.

In addition to refried beans and Follow Your Heart cheddar, I threw in some sliced olives and some crumbled marinated tofu. Once you've got a good two or three layers going, top with some additional cheese and throw it in the oven. After baking for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and let it cool about 10 minutes before serving. Alternately, refrigerate it overnight so the layers cut and photograph nicely!

There are a lot of delicious things to serve with this: queso, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, cilantro, green onions... I could go on and on. I'll leave it up to your good judgment what you want on your nacho lasagna. 

Nacho lasagna- now it can be YOUR lasagna. And with that, I bid you an apology, and adieu. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tikil Me.

That's Ye'tikil Gomen Betimatim at the top --stewed cabbage with ginger, garlic and fresh tomatoes. Clockwise from the cabbage: Ye'misir Wot (spicy red lentils), awaze tibs (tempeh sauteed with a berbere bbq sauce, onions and fresh rosemary) and Ye'bakela Allecha (white beans in a mild turmeric sauce). Whew!
A week or so ago, I wrote about a few Ethiopian dishes I'd made recently including Ye'tikil Gomen. If you frequent Ethiopian restaurants, you know and have eaten this dish (it's on every menu). It's basically stewed cabbage and there's all sorts of room for interpretation on how to prepare it. For instance, I have eaten ye'tikil gomen where the cabbage is stewed with tomatoes, as in the photo above, but more commonly, I've seen and eaten ye'tikil gomen where the cabbage is cooked with tender bites of carrot.

I decided I needed both versions, and the one I made today really tasted good and made me happy. I played on the sweetness of the carrot and added a touch of clove and cardamom, which really shine through the cabbage. If you ever cook with ground cloves, a little goes a looOOOong way. I only used 1/8 teaspoon in this recipe, and I'd be hard-pressed to use more than that in anything, 'cuz otherwise it gets cloying.

Ye'tikil Gomen Becarot -- stewed cabbage with carrot, onion, ground cloves and cardamom in a seasoned oil.
A very few small changes, and I've ended up with two dishes that are quite different.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shpicy Senig Karia.

Shpicy Stuffed Jalapenos.
Senig Karia are stuffed raw jalapenos. I've never had any before, but I thought I'd play around with these a bit to see what I could come up with. The first thing I wanted to do, but stopped myself from doing, was roasting the shit out of these peppers. Instead, I bucked my intuition and tried to stay true to the zillions of menus I've been reading online. Raw they stayed.

Most often, it seems, the jalapenos are stuffed with a raw onion mince, but that seemed way too intense for me and my humble palate. Instead, I opted for something a bit more mellow--a homemade soft cheese filling seasoned with baked kale chips, salt and berbere.

They were pretty good, except for the raw jalapeno part. Color me a wussy.