Pancakes Recipe

Seitan Beats Your Meat is back! And with pancakes, naturally.

pancakes

This pancake recipe is an oldie but a goodie. The original, non-vegan recipe is from an old cookbook my dad and I used to make pancakes every Sunday when I was a kid. Now I make a vegan version most weekends, or on a Friday afternoon when I go to bed the night before with an image in my head of a stack of 20 (21? 22?) pancakes. That sort of thing needs to be made and photographed, stat.

In this recipe, the applesauce replaces the eggs, and the margarine takes care of the melted butter. You could probably replace the margarine with any cooking oil, but melting the margarine in a cast iron pan before mixing it in the batter adds something special. Go easy on the non-dairy milk of your choice to make a thick batter for fluffy pancakes, or thin out the batter with extra milk for thin pancakes that are soft in the middle and crispy on the edges. Add fruit or chocolate chips…go versatility! But first, let’s review the cardinal rules of pancake.

Tips for Perfect Pancakes

Tip #1: Flip your pancakes when they bubble and the bubbles begin to hold their shape. Don’t wait any longer or you’ll run the risk of burning your pancakes.
Tip #2: Lower temperature, longer cooking time. A high temperature will result in browned pancakes on the outside, but they’ll be underdone on the inside. Similarly, if your temperature is too low, the pancakes will take a very long time to cook and turn out pale and gummy.
Tip #3: A cast iron pan makes for tasty, evenly-cooked, and crispy-in-all-the-right-places pancakes! Or you could use a non-stick pan; just don’t tell me.
Tip #4: Sprinkle chocolate chips, blueberries, or any other add-ins on your pancakes before flipping.

vegan-pancakes

Pancakes

Makes 6-8 pancakes, depending on size

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or more white flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon margarine

Instructions

Combine all dry ingredients, stir with a whisk.
Make a well in the middle and add applesauce, vanilla, and soy milk. Stir until almost combined.
Preheat your skillet or cast iron pan at medium heat, rub some margarine on one of the pans and melt the rest in the other. Pour melted margarine into the pancake batter and stir until combined.
Drop by large spoonfuls or pour batter onto the pan and flip when bubbles start to form. Repeat until all the batter is gone.
Serve with a pat of Earth Balance, pure maple syrup, and fruit.

vegan-pancakes-recipe

Checkerboard Cake Tutorial

checkerboard-cake-tutorial

If you’ve ever ventured beyond making basic round or sheet cakes, you may have considered adding a novelty cake pan like a giant cupcake or a checkerboard to your collection. In most cases, these pans are a waste of money and valuable kitchen storage space, and have very limited use (how often are you going to bake a cake shaped like a castle or a specific cartoon character?). Nearly any shape or pattern can be cut or carved out of regular round or sheet cakes, and this checkerboard cake is one of the easiest “patterned” cakes to make.

If you can cut (or let’s be honest, trace) a circle out of cake, you can make a checkerboard cake using round cake pans without any special equipment. I haven’t inspected checkerboard cake pans in the store, but I’m sure they utilize the same technique. Cutting the cake pieces yourself means you can add as many layers as you want and make the checkers any size you want.

Below are the basic instructions for a two-layer, two-color checkerboard cake. Depending on the size of your cake, you could also cut four rings (making more, smaller checkers) using the same technique, make the cake triple or quadruple-layered, or use as many different colors as you want. You’ll want to choose a cake recipe that’s on the sturdier side so you can make clean cuts and prevent breakage when moving the pieces, even leaving the cakes in the oven an extra minute or two. I used the vanilla and chocolate recipes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, adding blue food coloring to the vanilla batter.

how-to-make-a-checkerboard-cake

Then decorate your cake as you would any normal round cake. For this cake, I made a basic buttercream, made the stripe pattern with edible paper, and made little fondant sculptures of our pets.

checkerboard-cake-without-a-pan

And that’s it! This is a low-maintenance way to add something extra to a round cake. I imagine it would work similarly with a sheet cake–just cut rectangle rings instead of circles. Please email me if you want clarification on any of the steps, or want to see a tutorial on another kind of sculpted or patterned cake.

Bacon Butter Pecan Ice Cream

bacon-butter-pecan-ice-cream

Yes, Bacon Butter Pecan Ice Cream. When you eat ice cream, do you often find yourself thinking, “this would be better with bacon”? No? Well, I promise there is a reason for this madness: a vegan bacon zine!

I’ve been talking about it and occasionally working on it for years, but I’m now actively making recipes and planning to design and print a bacon-themed zine very soon. If you’ve been following my posts, you may have noticed a the occasional bacon recipe like bacon vodka and Maple Bacon PBR Cupcakes. Since the bacon trend pioneers don’t appear to be calling it quits anytime soon, a bacon zine will still be ever so relevant. Filled with recipes, games, and words, printed on paper, and held together with not two, but three(!!) staples, it’ll be just what you need in your life.

Without further ado, this week’s post features a recipe from the forthcoming zine. If bacon in ice cream is not your thing, you can leave out the bacon and replace the maple syrup with agave or another liquid sweetener for a classic butter pecan ice cream.

This ice cream is smooth, caramel-y, and loaded with flavor and richness. The butter pecans add a punch of flavor on their own, so the bacon is more of an accent. I used chopped Upton’s Bacon Seitan for this recipe because it stays tender after cooking in the butter and sugar syrup (baking with bacon seitan often yields chewier results). I find that coconut cream yields the creamiest vegan ice cream. As I mentioned in my last ice cream post, Thin Mint Ice Cream, you can now buy Trader Joe’s coconut cream in a can without the hassle of separating the fat from a can of coconut milk. It does add a bit of coconut flavor to the ice cream, so try to choose stronger flavors or flavors that complement coconut when using coconut as an ice cream base. The buttery flavor of coconut goes well with the brown sugar and butter pecans.

Bacon Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Makes about 1 ½ pints

Ingredients

¾ cup chopped pecans
⅓ cup chopped vegan bacon
3 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
14 ounces coconut cream
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup almond (or other non-dairy) milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

Toast the pecans in a dry skillet for 2-3 mins until fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the bacon and butter. The pecans will burn quickly, so keep an eye on them.
Transfer to a small bowl, then pour in the maple syrup and sprinkle on the 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Set aside to cool.

Combine coconut cream and brown sugar in the saucepan and cook until sugar is dissolved and starts to bubble, then let boil for 3 minutes. Add milk, vanilla extract, and ⅓ cup of the pecan mixture. Let cool.

Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Put the remainder of the pecan mixture in the freezer for the duration of freezing so it doesn’t bring down the temperature of the ice cream when you add it. Add pecans and bacon in last 5 minutes of freezing.

If you make this recipe (with or without bacon!), let me know how you like it! And I would also love to hear what kind of recipes and content you’d like in a bacon zine, so keep the suggestions coming!

Thin Mint Ice Cream

vegan-thin-mint-ice-cream

Looking for something to do with your leftover* Girl Scout Cookies? The next best thing to eating the cookies in their purest form is making a new dessert featuring the cookies. This Thin Mint Chip Ice Cream, for example.

*And I’m going to assume the only reason you’d have leftovers is because you bought four or five boxes.

A few months ago, my girlfriend came home from a visit to New York with an assortment of Girl Scout Cookies. She filled our cabinets with Lemonades and Thanks-A-Lots and lined the freezer with shiny sleeves of Thin Mints. After eating cookies out of the freezer for a few weeks, I decided to use a sleeve for an ice cream experiment.

Before ordering a case of Girl Scout cookies, do your homework. The veganness of Girl Scout Cookies varies by manufacturer (for Thin Mints especially), and the manufacturer varies by US region. Thin Mints from ABC Bakers are free of animal ingredients, but Thin Mints from Little Brownie Bakers are not veagn. Get the lowdown on the varieties of vegan Girl Scout Cookies from The Laziest Vegans, and the ABC Bakers FAQ.

girl-scout-cookie-ice-cream

I find that using coconut cream as a base for homemade ice creams yields the creamiest texture, even after freezing completely. It does add some coconut flavor to your ice cream, so keep that in mind when choosing flavors for your ice cream, or replace with another high-fat non-dairy milk or cream.

To get the cream from a can of full fat coconut milk by letting it sit at room temperature, undisturbed, for a day, then chilling it for another day. The cream will rise to the top and solidify so you can scoop it out and use it in a recipe. While this is not a complicated process, you do have to plan ahead. Therefore, I was happy to find that Trader Joe’s carries cans of coconut cream! Not to be confused with the sugary liquid used in piña coladas that is also called “coconut cream” and also comes in a can, this coconut cream contains just the cream from coconut milk. Trader Joe’s is the only place I’ve found this, so let me know if you have another source. When in doubt, read labels.

Once the logistics of your cookie and coconut cream acquisition are complete, it’s time for dessert. This refreshing mint green ice cream loaded with cookies and chocolate beats the dairy Thin Mint Ice Cream any day.

Thin Mint Chip Ice Cream

Makes about 1 ½ pints

Ingredients

14 ounces coconut cream
¾ cup sugar
1 cup non-dairy milk
2-2 ½ teaspoons peppermint extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Green food coloring (optional)
10 Thin Mints
¼ cup chocolate chips, chopped

Instructions

Combine coconut cream and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and stir in the milk, extracts, and food coloring, if using. Let cool. Keep the chocolate and Thin Mints in the freezer until it’s time to add them to the ice cream so the ice cream maintains its temperature when you add the chocolate and cookies.

Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, adding the Thin Mints and chocolate during the last five minutes of freezing. Serve garnished with extra Thin Mints, and chocolate syrup, if desired. Enjoy!

thin-mint-ice-cream

You may have noticed that Seitan Beats Your Meat took an unexpected hiatus over the past several months. Adding a full-time job to my schedule, moving to Chicago, and living out of boxes for a little while got in the way of creating recipes, doing photoshoots, and hoping to make posts on a regular basis. Now that life has settled down quite a bit and I have a place to live with everything unpacked for the first time in a year, I’ll be back with content (and maybe post some photos of my new kitchen and workspace!). I’ll still focus on quality over quantity, but gaps between posts will be weeks, not months.

I’d also like to announce that I’m vending at Paper Moon Pastry‘s upcoming Vegan Vortex Market in Chicago this Saturday! I will have copies of Cheers to Vegan Sweets, zines, and other fun stuff at my table. The market is a showcase of local vegan businesses, authors, and artists so you’ll find food, dessert, handmade gifts, books, art, and more. All of the details are on the Facebook event. Come on by for lunch and check out the goods!

vegan-vortex-kelly-peloza

I’ll be back very soon with another recipe and post!

Apple Cider Donuts Recipe (and giveaway winner!)

apple-cider-donuts

Now that snow is falling and the weather is shifting from pleasantly crisp to bitter cold in Chicago, I thought I’d give apples one last hurrah before breaking out the peppermint and gingerbread. This recipe from Cheers to Vegan Sweets is classic and unadulterated apple cider goodness. If you’ve ever wished the apple orchard cider donuts were vegan, this recipe is for you.

I don’t mess around with donuts; these cake donuts are fried, not baked. A soft and pillowy donut with a crunchy cinnamon sugar coating can really only be achieved by deep frying. If you’re a little anxious about frying, just remember that your kitchen will smell like a donut shop for several hours after making the donuts.

Apple Cider Donuts

From Cheers to Vegan Sweets
Makes 12 donuts

For the donuts:

2 small apples, chopped into 1⁄2-inch (1.5 cm) pieces
1 cup (235 ml) apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
11⁄2 cups (300 g) sugar
2 tablespoons (25 g) vegan shortening
2 tablespoons (28 g) vegan margarine
1⁄2 cup (115 g) vanilla flavored non-dairy yogurt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract 4 cups (500 g) flour
2 teaspoons (9 g) baking powder 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons (4.5 g) cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:

2 cups (240 g) powdered sugar
1⁄2 cup (120 ml) apple cider, warm 1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 teaspoons (4.5 g) cinnamon
Vegetable oil for frying

To make donuts: Place apples, cider, and cinnamon stick in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 9 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick, and purée the apples, leaving a few chunks, to make 1 cup (245 g) of thick applesauce.
Cream together sugar, shortening, and margarine. Add applesauce, yogurt, and vanilla.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually mix into the wet ingredients.
The dough should be very thick. A sticky dough won’t hold its shape while frying, so if the dough seems watery or sticky, add flour 1⁄4 cup (31 g) at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
Using a spatula, spread dough into a 10 x 14-inch (25.4 x 35.5 cm) rectangle that is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours.
Once the dough is chilled, prepare your deep fryer or large pot with at least 2 inches (5 cm) of vegetable oil and heat to 350°F (180°C). Toss a small piece of dough in the oil. If it bubbles and rises to the top, the oil is ready.
Cut out donuts with a 3-inch (7.5 cm) cookie or donut cutter and make holes in the centers with a smaller cookie cutter or your finger. Fry 2 to 3 donuts at a time for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until golden. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with paper towels or paper bags to catch oil drips.

To make glaze: Stir the powdered sugar with the cider in a small bowl, whisking until it forms a smooth glaze.
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Submerge donuts in the glaze and let the excess drip off, then transfer to cinnamon sugar mixture and coat completely.

And last, but not least, I’d like to announce the winner of the giveaway…Megan Conner! Please email me your mailing address, Megan. Congrats!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Want more pumpkin recipes? Well, you got it!

Every year, my grandma makes a pumpkin cake just like this one on Thanksgiving. I’ve made vegan versions a few times over the years, and I find that a modified version of the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World yields the best results. I double the recipe, leave out the chocolate, and throw some cream cheese frosting on top. Simple! While the pumpkin in autumnal recipes is usually shrouded with a spice blend, the actual pumpkin flavor really stands out in this recipe. Accented with a small amount of cinnamon, this cake shines in its simplicity.

vegan-pumpkin-cake

Like my ugly, warty yellow pumpkin? It rules. Now make this recipe, then eat it for breakfast and dessert everyday.

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 1 9×13-inch cake

Cake recipe adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Ingredients

2 cups canned pumpkin
2⁄3 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

8 ounces (1 tub) vegan cream cheese
2/3 cup margarine
2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Stir together pumpkin, oil, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.
  3. Sift in the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Mix until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into a 9×13-inch baking pan sprayed with cooking spray or coated with oil.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the center of the cake is firm and fully cooked (test with a toothpick, if necessary). Let the cake cool.
  7. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.
  8. Whip together the cream cheese and margarine in a stand mixer or large mixing bowl.
  9. Add 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Add an additional 1/2 cup powdered sugar if the frosting is runny. It should be a little drippy, but not liquid.
  10. Frost the cooled cake. Store in the refrigerator.

I found that the cream cheese frosting is excellent with fruit. Keep that in mind if you have any leftovers!

Do you jump on the pumpkin bandwagon this time of year? If not, is there another ingredient you bring out in the fall?

Cheers to Pumpkin Beer Pancakes

Now that it’s October, you’re probably prepared to face an overabundance of pumpkin-themed posts and photos in your blog readers and on social media. For me, the pumpkin craze is a reminder of the impending doom that is winter, which makes me swear, every year, that I need to move far away from the Midwest ASAP and never experience seasons again. But if there’s one thing I enjoy about fall and winter, it’s snuggling up with a blanket, a fluffy animal, and a hot beverage while reading a book or watching TV. I guess pumpkin fits right in that picture in the form of tea, baked goods, or one of my personal favorites: pancakes.

vegan-pumpkin-pancakes

What makes pumpkin pancakes even better? Adding pumpkin beer to them. I made them for breakfast earlier this week, and have been eating leftovers for the past few days. They taste like pumpkin pie, and the beer adds fluffiness and flavor. The original recipe is from Cheers to Vegan Sweets.

I used Trader Joe’s pumpkin ale this time, but I’m waiting to get my hands on Lakefront Brewery’s Pumpkin Lager from Milwaukee, which I bought every year when I lived there.

Pumpkin Spice Beercakes

Adapted from Cheers to Vegan Sweets

Ingredients

2 cups white flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cornmeal
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces (one bottle) pumpkin beer
1 tablespoon margarine

Instructions

Combine the flours, baking powder, cornmeal, brown sugar, spices, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir together the dry ingredients with a whisk.
Make a well in the middle and add the pumpkin, agave nectar, vanilla, milk, beer, and lemon zest. Mix until just combined.
Preheat your pans at medium heat. Rub some margarine on one of the pans and melt the rest in the other. Pour melted margarine into the pancake batter and stir until combined.
Pour about ¼ cup of batter (or any size you’d like) onto each pan. Flip when bubbles start to form and hold their shape. All pancake batters cook a bit differently, so feel free to check the underside of your pancakes while they cook so you can brown them to your liking. Repeat until all the batter is gone.

pumpkin-beer-pancakes

In other news, Cheers to Vegan Sweets is starting to ship out this week! If you ordered a signed copy from me, or pre-ordered on Amazon, you will be getting your book very soon. There is also an upcoming opportunity to win a copy, and a book party in Chicago next weekend…read on!

Cheers to Vegan Sweets

Want to win a copy of Cheers to Vegan Sweets?

Join me for a Twitter chat through @QuarrySpoonBlog on Tuesday, 10/15 at 1 p.m. EDT. Follow the conversation by searching #spoonchat, and ask all of your cooking and baking questions! The #spoonchat will last one hour and one participant will leave with a brand new copy Cheers to Vegan Sweets*.

*Well, you’ll get it in the mail a few days later.

quarry-spoon

Come to the book party!

If you’ll be in Chicago on October 19th, come to a book release party at Upton’s Breakroom at 2pm! Have lunch at the cafe (check out the menu…you can’t go wrong with Chicago-style Italian Seitan sandwich or Bacon Mac!) then come sample some desserts and get your very own autographed copy of Cheers to Vegan Sweets! RSVP on the Facebook event page. See you there!

uptons-breakroom

“Hawaii. The jumping off point.”

blue-hawaiian

Welcome to the final Mad Men Cocktail Friday and the penultimate episode of Mad Men MoFo! We’re taking a trip to Hawaii for today’s cocktails: Blue Hawaiian and Piña Colada.

Mad Men season six opens with Don and Megan’s Hawaiian vacation. Shortly after, Hawaii becomes the inspiration for an ad campaign. While Don’s personal life affects his work in a variety of ways, this time it’s not completely negative or insane. The hotel company rejects the ad, claiming the ad suggests character in the narrative “jumped off” to commit suicide. Creative says that’s what makes it a brilliant ad.

hawaii-the-jumping-off-point

It’s no wonder Hawaii is subtly significant in the Mad Men world and fills even Don with slightly less angst. It’s a self-contained paradisaical escape from their sloppy, sordid lives. Madison Avenue’s utopian antithesis. But it wouldn’t be Mad Men if the booze wasn’t flowing, even in Hawaii.

Blue Hawaiian

Ingredients

1 oz blue Curaçao
1 oz light rum
1 oz cream of coconut
2 oz pineapple juice
1 cup of ice

1 cherry
1 slice of pineapple

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients, except cherry and pineapple, in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Garnish with cherry and pineapple. Add a cocktail umbrella if desired.

Piña Colada

Ingredients

1 1/2 oz light rum
2 oz cream of coconut
2 oz pineapple juice
1 cup crushed ice

1 cherry
1 slice of pineapple

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients, except cherry and pineapple, in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Garnish with cherry and pineapple. Add a cocktail umbrella if desired.
Photo credit: AMC

Photo credit: AMC

Have a lovely weekend, and thank you for following Mad Men MoFo this month! I will be back on Monday with a final post, behind the scenes of Mad Men MoFo.

“I watched the sunrise today. Couldn’t sleep.”

“How was it?”

“Average.”

I decided to turn a room into a camera obscura for this photo (no Photoshop!). A camera obscura is created by letting a small amount of light into a pitch dark vessel through a pinhole. Such vessels include a camera, cardboard box, or in this case, a room with the window completely covered, save for a small hole cut out. The light that enters through the pinhole will project an inverted image of whatever is on the other side of the window (like a house and a tree…not very interesting, but what I had to work with), much like the human eye interprets the world.

candied-starfruit

While the brain automatically flips the images the eye registers so we see the world right side up, a pinhole and a wall don’t have a brain, so we get an inverted image in a camera obscura. After your eyes adjust, the image on the wall will become quite clear, but a camera with a very long exposure will do an even better job of seeing it and will bring out color and detail. Yay, science!

Photo credit: BBC

Photo credit: BBC

So what does this have to do with Mad Men? In the season three episode, ‘Seven Twenty Three’ there is a total eclipse of the sun (you’re welcome!) and it seems to make the characters a little madder. Betty buys a fainting couch, Don drugs himself with secobarbital and alcohol, then gets beaten and robbed by the teenage hitchhikers he picked up, Peggy makes some questionable decisions, and Don is forced to sign a contract with Sterling Cooper. One of the more innocuous scenes is Sally’s third grade class turning cardboard boxes into camera obscurae in order to look at the eclipse.

vegan-moon-pies

With the Space Race underway and the solar eclipse in this episode, I decided to photograph a space-themed dessert in the camera obscura: Vegan Moon Pies and Candied Starfruit. Two graham crackers sandwiched between marshmallow fluff and dipped in chocolate, then garnished with candied starfruit. It’s barely a recipe, but it produces some seriously delicious results. I used peanut butter cookies instead of graham crackers because peanut butter cookies are better than graham crackers.

Moon Pies

Ingredients

Graham crackers or cookies
Vegan marshmallows or marshmallow fluff
Chocolate
Vegetable shortening

Instructions

  1. If graham crackers are not circle-shaped, cut them into circles.
  2. Make a sandwich with two crackers and marshmallow fluff. Pop in the freezer for a half hour to make for easier dipping.
  3. Melt chocolate chips, adding 1 tablespoon of vegetable shortening per cup.
  4. Dip sandwiches in chocolate and let set on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Candied Starfruit

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 starfruit

Instructions

  1. Combine sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil around 230°F.
  2. Cut starfruit into thin slices. Add to the saucepan and let boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit in the syrup for 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the starfruit to a parchment-lined baking sheet using a slotted spoon. Let cool.
  4. At this point, you can either dehydrate the slices with a dehydrator, or an oven at its lowest temperature (crack the oven door open, even). Let dehydrate until chewy and free of moisture. Mine took a couple of hours in a 170°F oven with the door cracked open.
Photo credit: AMC

Photo credit: AMC

Don’t look at the eclipse, Betty. Your eyes will melt.

camera-obscura-photo

And a final image inside the camera obscura. While Photoshop probably would have been much easier, it would have been way less fun and magical.

P.S. Today the Vegan MoFo blog is giving away a copy of the yet-to-be-released Cheers to Vegan Sweets. Head on over there to enter!

Cheers to Vegan Sweets

“Sally, go watch TV.”

*Warning: season three spoilers!

vegan-peach-pie

When I was watching Mad Men for the first time. The second time around, I was supposed to pay attention to food, design, and table setting for this project, but alas, I got sucked in and forgot for the greater portion of six seasons. However, there are some scenes that I didn’t need to actively remember because they made quite an impression.

mad-men-peach-pie

One of those scenes is in season three episode four, ‘The Arrangements.’ After Grandpa Gene’s death, the adults are sitting at the dining table, a world away from Sally. When she witnesses a moment of levity, she bursts forth with emotion, exclaiming no one cares that Gene is gone forever, and gets brushed off by Betty. (“Sally, go watch TV.”) Betty snacks on the bruised peaches while the TV pacifies Sally in her ballet outfit. Besides the beautiful and emotive imagery, this scene speaks volumes. While defeated Sally lies on the floor, the adults make no attempt to show her that her claims are wrong, and continue with their sordid, repressed lives.

For me, it evokes Gregory Crewdson*, creator of lush imagery dealing with suburban psychological unrest. His images are not specific to any time period, but there are certainly visual crossovers with Mad Men.

*Sidenote: I attended an artist talk of his where he referred to Mad Men as “the greatest work of sustained art in the past ten years.” See, full circle logic!
mad-men-the-arrangements

Photo credit: AMC

Prior to his passing, Sally became close to Grandpa Gene. He was letting Sally drive his car down the street when he says he’ll buy her peaches that afternoon. Bobby complains that he’s allergic to peaches, but Gene tells him to shut it because his sister wants them. It’s at the A&P buying the peaches where he collapses.

sally-draper-driving

Photo credit: AMC

With this series of events in mind, I decided to make peach pie à la mode as a gesture toward Sally, even though she would be much older now, and also she’s not a real person. Betty probably would probably take it away from her anyway.

peach-pie-vegan

Sweet vanilla bean ice cream and warm peaches offer a short, transient window of time to enjoy the dessert. I styled the photos after the image of the dining room and Sally in her ballet outfit, using dark, moody lighting and sheer fabrics.

mad-men-pie-recipe

Peach Pie

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

Crust:

3 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup margarine
1/4 cup cold vodka or ice water
3 tablespoons ice water

Filling:

8 peaches (5 cups sliced)
Pinch of lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter

Instructions

  1. Make the crust. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl
  2. Cut in shortening and margarine and mix in with your hands until the dough looks like sand.
  3. Add vodka and ice water and mix until a dough forms, adding more water if necessary.
  4. Separate the dough into two portions, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for an hour.
  5. Remove the peach skins by blanching the peaches. Boil a large pot of water, and prepare an ice bath.
  6. Score a small X in the top of each peach. Place all the peaches in the boiling water for 45 seconds, then immediately transfer them to the ice bath. The skins will slip right off.
  7. Slice the peaches and set aside. Wait to make the filling because it will get too liquidy if it sits for too long.
  8. Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out one of the chilled doughs and place in a greased pie plate. Poke with a fork so steam can escape. Pre-bake the crust for 8 minutes. Let cool.
  9. Make the filling. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, sugars, spices, cornstarch, and salt to the peaches and mix until completely combined. Pour into pie crust. Dot with butter.
  10. Make a lattice crust with the other portion of dough. There are people with beautiful kitchens on YouTube who can teach you how to make a lattice crust.
  11. Place completed pie on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Reduce the heat to 375°F and finish baking for 30 minutes.
  13. Let cool, then cut and serve.

vegan-peach-pie-recipe