Chocolate and pumpkin and chai, oh my! I'm done for, seriously - this almost-winter-winter-still-winter baking season is going to be deadly for my figure. I blame Isa and Terry and most of all, my new colleague who kindly let me borrow her copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World to look over this weekend. On the back of the book there is a warning: "prepare for Total Cupcake Domination" and it's true - my life will never be the same.
I flipped through the book, just checking things out and I started marking off a few I wanted to try this weekend (tomorrow) and soon came to the realization that although I have been saying for years that I don't like cake...I can't live without this cookbook. I need to make:
Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cupcakes
Chocolate Mint Cupcakes
Banana Split Cupcakes
Toasted Coconut Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream Frosting
Chai Latte Cupcakes
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Icing (cinnamon??? mmmm....)
Apple Cider Cupcakes
Cappuccino Cupcakes with Espresso Creme
I would say that those nine alone are reason enough to hunt down and make this book mine.
And of course, the book is sprinkled throughout with cunning and sarcastic commentary. For example, at the beginning of the book, Isa and Terry provide an A to Z list of reasons to have a cupcake cookbook, including these two gems:
LOVE: Nothing says love like a cupcake does. If you don't bake someone a cupcake then you don't really care about them.
VOLUPTUOUS: Doesn't your butt need a little extra padding? Sure it does.
I will leave it at that. And one last thing: buy this book.
In other news, I put together my menu for the upcoming week so I can shop for it tomorrow before going to another fantastic event in the evening (what a fun weekend!).
1. Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic & Navy Beans (from Veganomicon) I have looked at the recipe a few times, but it looked like a lot of work. Then I saw it on a blog I visit and it just looked too good to not make. So I'm making it this week.
2. French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme (also from Veganomicon) Yes, it's the same one I made just a few weeks ago, but it's really that good. I tried to resist. I failed. I'm sure other people repeat recipes more frequently than monthly.
3. Pasta Della California (also from Veganomicon). It looked fun and I can't have soup for dinner every night.
4. Seitan Chow Fun (from Vegan Express) You didn't think I was leaving poor Nava behind in my Isa-worship, did you?
5. Ginger Cakes with Garlic Vegetables
Tonight we had Savoury Shepherd's Pie from How It All Vegan. It's one of Mister's favorite dinners. More or less anything involving potatoes, especially mashed, will make my husband happy. I guess he's a seitan-and-potatoes kind of guy after all. I made my mashed potatoes in my food processor and it was definitely an interesting experience. I don't know if it was the Yukon Gold potatoes (usually I get red potatoes) or the soymilk or the Earth Balance, or possibly just the food processor, but they were much glue-ier than normal. Or perhaps I've just gotten too used to prepackaged, microwaveable mashed potatoes. They still tasted good and I didn't get any complaints, and there were a few absolutely perfectly creamy and buttery bites.
Other fun bits about dinner: I used up the last of my French green lentils instead of my SuperFresh generic lentils and I believe I could taste a difference. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a big fan of onions. I just hate their texture and despise the way they stay on your breath for what feels like a week. Then there's the whole dehydration thing. Anyway, most of the time, when a recipe calls for onions, I just ignore it. In fact, I've gotten so good at ignoring the word "onion" that I don't even see it in recipes anymore. When I looked closely at this recipe that I've made dozens of times, I saw that it called for an onion (like damn near every vegan/vegetarian recipe seems to) and a little lightbulb ignited over my head.
The same great colleague who brought me a big bag of chocolate mint a few weeks ago brought me a bag of bounty from his garden the other day. It contained:
a wine red hot pepper, and...
So I grabbed the bag, pulled out some very long chives and (after washing them, of course) chopped them up nice and small and added them to the sauteing veggies. It brought a fun and unique taste to a dish I've made so many times before and with NO aftertaste. Color me happy.