Alex likes baking… (and quinoa)

December 20, 2010 at 5:42 am 1 comment

…a little too much? No, there’s no such thing. I was a little surprised, though, when I was looking through all my pictures and realized that they were almost entirely baked goods. Not a bad thing, but I guess I’m definitely more of a baker than an all-around cook! Gotta love carbs…

Here’s an overview of what I’ve done since the summer, mostly during the past few weeks of break:

Just a little early for Christmas...

For Thanksgiving, I made a chocolate-pistachio yule log, or buche de noel (en Français) – like a jelly roll sponge cake, but filled with a pistachio-cream filling instead of jelly, and with the most absurdly fudgy frosting ever. Major Bonus: the recipe makes extra frosting. Oh, darn. I made sandwich cookies to send to my friend Issa at college, and still had some leftover!

Anadama bread

There’s not one exact story to this New England bread, but it goes something like this: a fisherman didn’t like the bread his wife made for him, or one day she forgot to make it. He decided to take matters into his own hands, and so one/that day, he said, “Anna, damn her!” and threw cornmeal at her while she was making it/added flour to his morning porridge and ended up with bread. The happy ending: the bread was so delicious that she kept making it and the recipe became famous, known as “Anna, damn her!” –> Anadama.

Anyways, the moral of MY story is that it’s delicious. Maybe not for those who prefer fluffier bread, but the (blackstrap, in my case) molasses and cornmeal that make this bread hearty also give it a nice crunch and complex flavor. I highly recommend it.

Noodle kugel: my mom’s favorite Jewish comfort food. Basic, delicious, memory-evoking, and best served with a hearty side of childhood stories.

Theoretically, this is an updated version of a pastry from Winsconsin called kringle, but danish devotees might strike it/me down, since the “updating” of this recipe removes all the labor of folding and folding and folding the pastry. It is traditional, though, in that it was two kinds of unsweetened pastry, covered with a very sweet topping. What you need to know is that it’s buttery, custard, and flaky, with plenty of pecans, caramel, and icing.

Homemade wonton are so great. My dad is Chinese, and although I know no non-food-related Cantonese, he did impress upon me the greatness of noodles. Since I went vegetarian a few years ago, though, I haven’t eaten wonton, since they’re usually filled with pork and shrimp – and, somehow, it has taken me this long to figure out that I could make my own wonton. Om nom nom, tofu wonton.

Rarely do I bake plain old chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies. They’re great, but I always have to compulsively add nuts, fruit, chocolate, and oats. Hence, (vegan!) pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cranberry pecan cookies.

These didn’t need any embellishment, though. The Post Punk Kitchen‘s divine vegan gingerbread recipe is so good. Now I just have to dig out the shaped cookie cutters.

I went to visit my lovely roommate Rachel in southern California, and she took me to an awesome farmer’s market. We bought avocado and cotton blossom honey, fresh macadamias, dried strawberries and nectarines, Thai guavas, pears, and these amazing raspberries.

See, I do cook real food! I helped my mom make this potluck dish: quinoa salad. You could put anything in, but our recipe from Veganomicon used black beans, cilantro, green onions, mango, and bell peppers.

I would put quinoa into baked goods, too, of course. Vegan almond-quinoa muffins – a little dense because I let them cool in the pan too long, but delicious and very healthy. Which means I can have more than one for breakfast, right?

And there you go! Being home in December is great because the holidays give me lots of excuses to bake and try all the new recipes that I have longingly gathered while at school, procrastinating by drooling over food blogs and bookmarking everything. This week is going to be great – cookies galore!

Yule Log: recipe to come soon, from Beatrice Ojakangas’ Great Holiday Baking Book.

Anadama bread recipe from King Arthur Flour. Their website has lots of great bread recipes.

Noodle kugel: egg noodles, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and cottage cheese. Email me or leave a comment if you want the recipe!

Kringle recipe from King Arthur Flour.

Wonton: simple! Just lay the wrappers flat, place a heaping teaspoon-ish int he center, dab edges with egg, and press edges together. You could probably just wet the edges, too; I forgot the egg on some and I think they stayed together.

Vegan pumpkin oatmeal cookies (I changed the add-ins, obviously) and vegan gingerbread, courtesy of the Post-Punk Kitchen.

Quinoa salad and almond-quinoa muffins are also vegan, from the Post Punk Kitchen’s book Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. SUCH a good cookbook, and I’m not even vegan.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

3.141593 Catch up time!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Ada Lai  |  December 20, 2010 at 6:51 am

    wow – everything looks as good in the photos as they were delicious! Thanks for featuring my noodle kugel – I am so honored! And to everyone else – the kringle was absolutely amazing. Not only delicious, but a true work of pastry “art”. Everyone who saw it and tasted it at the potluck thought it was from a professional bakery…the yule log was totally and absolutely sinful! …and..Veganomicon rocks!


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