Monday, September 13, 2010

something sour this way comes

By way of introduction, I would like to strongly encourage you to read Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, if you have not had the opportunity to do so yet in your life.

Dinner last night was completely unremarkable - I merely reheated the 48 oz of Pasta e Fagioli leftover, moistened with what was left of the Bertolli marinara.  I did buy an almost-fresh loaf of sunflower bread from Essene, initially with the intention of turning it into multi-grain garlic bread, but it was so squishy and soft with perfect bits of crunch from the seeds mixed generously into the body of the bread, so I just sliced it and served it plain.

Tonight, I made Barbecued Black Bean and Tofu Burritos from Vegan on the Cheap.  It cooks up very quickly, so if you make it yourself, be prepared for it to be ready in about 10 minutes from the time you begin cooking.  The barbecue sauce is very flavorful, so it is well-balanced by the relative blandness of the tofu.  I think the tofu will be better next time if I slice it slightly larger and marinate it in something for 5-10 minutes.  I served the beans and tofu in red chile tortillas from Whole Foods, which added a fun twist.

What was really fun, though, was last night's dessert!

Lemony Vanilla Cashew Cookies
yield about 2 dozen cookies

2 cups of flour, lightly spooned and leveled
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
1/2 cup raw agave nectar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbsp coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup raw cashew pieces

Preheat the oven to 350.  Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
With an electric mixer, cream together shortening and agave until thoroughly combined, about 1-2 minutes.  Add lemon juice, coconut milk, and vanilla and mix to combine.  Slight curdling will occur - don't worry.
Add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing well and scraping down the sides in between.  Fold in cashew pieces with a spatula.  Scoop batter by the tablespoon and place on baking sheets.  Pat down lightly with your hand - the cookies will not spread much at all in the oven.
Bake in 350 oven 18-22 minutes, until lightly golden and beginning to darken at the edges.  Cool for a minute or two on the sheets then move to a rack to cool completely.

These cookies grew in my brain when I was trying to figure out a way to capture the taste of my loved-and-lost Clif Nectar bars.  Because the vanilla is subtle yet noticeable, the sensory emphasis remains on the taste of the lemon.  It doesn't strike you all at once, but rather accumulates as you make your way through this tender and chewy cookie.  Although I loved the [four] I had right out of the oven, I believe they were even better after sitting overnight. 

As always, please let me know how it goes if you make these yourself!

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