Monday, January 29, 2007

Sniffles Suck and an Easy-Bake Disaster

Sorry for the lapse in posting last week. Jim passed on his germs and I spent the week congested, sniffling and otherwise feeling sorry for myself. We ate less-than-exciting fare, at least to look at.


What's more fun when you're sick than ice cream? Not much, I'd say. This was a slap-together sundae I made when my throat was sore and it hit the spot. Vanilla soy ice cream with mango sorbet, half a banana, a sprinkling of hemp seeds, walnuts, warm up frozen raspberries and, of course, warm chocolate sauce! Yum. I could go for another right now... if I hadn't eaten all the ice cream already.


Not 2 minutes after I mentioned to Jim that I wanted to make something for dinner involving pasta, spinach and mushrooms I happened upon Ken's recently resurrected blog. His dish du jour on Friday was a lasagna recipe from Susan's blog. Perfect! I tried out brown rice lasagna noodles for this dish. They were good and tasted like regular old lasagna noodles. We enjoyed it with whole wheat bread. I love lasagna because of the leftovers. A whole dish of lasagna can last 2 people quite awhile!


Tonight I wanted to play with a new food item I recently got: black lentils. They are also called beluga lentils because they apparently look like caviar when they are cooked. Having never seen caviar, I'll have to assume that this is true. I had a hard time finding anything about them online and very few recipes, certainly nothing that jumped out at me. So I decided to make a risotto with lentils on top. But then I thought that rather than using pretty nutritionally empty arborio rice, why not use quinoa? I'm always trying to figure out good ways to get quinoa into Jim, so this seemed as good as any.

I also had a delicata squash laying around, so I used it to add a layer of flavor, provide some color and give me the creaminess needed for real risotto. With the squash roasting in the oven, I cooked the black lentils in one pot, 1 cups worth and in another large pot I sauteed a diced onion with a little olive oil. I added 3 cloves of minced garlic and toasted the rinsed quinoa (1 1/2 cups) until lightly toasted, then added 3 cups of water and a bay leaf. While the quinoa and lentils cooked, I removed the skin from the roasted delicatta and mashed it up. Then it got processed it in the food processor with a little water, to make it creamier.

Once the quinoa was done, I removed the bayleaf and added 3 tablespoons of EB to it along with the pureed squash. Adding the sqaush right at the end preserved the savory flavor of the risotto while adding a sweet layer, complimented by the earthiness of the lentils. It was really fun to make, being a new dinner idea and some new ingredients to me, and it was quite tasty. We had it with a salad and some bread.

Now, I'm just a little kid a heart. I love making crafts, playing games and collecting toys as much as the next 7-year-old. So much that when baking nostalgia kicked in, I decided to buy an Easy-Bake Oven.

The EB Oven was one of my favorite toys as a kid, especially because I didn't grow up with a mom who cooked or baked. My mom heated things up and got drive-thru. So this little oven was not only a favorite toy for me, it was a mother stand-in as well. ;)

Veganizing recipes for it was a cinch. The problem, however, was that they are manufactured so poorly that they cannot be serviced because they want you to get a new one instead. So, one small cake in, I have a brownie batter overflow. Thinking we can take it apart and fix it, Jim (a.k.a. "The Man Who Can Fix Anything") busts out his tools. Jim has worked on American, Japanese and European cars and has more tools than the average Joe. But the Easy-Bake Oven isn't meant to be taken apart and has special proprietary screws and parts, so that even my own personal handy man was stumped. We tried to clean it the best we could, but the next night, halfway through a double layer "little cake", as Jim is calling them, it died. 2 days old, a little dried brownie batter and the damn thing died!

But there is always a silver living and in this case there was a great solution: the toaster oven. We discovered that in 6 minutes we can make a double layer little cake using the little pans. This is becoming quite popular with us because the clean up is a breeze, it's fast and it makes just enough, with no tempting leftovers to pick at. Now Jim keeps going on and on about little cakes, so I guess I'll just have to keep making them. :)


Vanilla double layer little cake (they measured about 3 inches across) with a strawberry jam filling and a chocolate ganache icing.


Chocolate double layer little cake with a warm chocolate ganache filling and a drizzled glaze topping. Jim, who is not a chocolate hound like I am, gobbled this up and asked for 4 of them for his birthday. Maybe I'll try making a grown-up sized one instead.

Can I tell you how fun it is to be this big giant playing with little pans? I'm so making Bindhi a birthday cake this summer... they're cat-sized!

22 comments:

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Oh my gosh, you are adorable!

The black lentils are intriguing, I think I saw that at TJ's recently as well, would you use them again? I realize I've never actually cooked lentils, which is ridiculous.

And yeah, I'm still envious you live so close to that amazing baba ganouj..

Anonymous said...

Kris:

Love the tiny cakes, they are oh-so-cute!

The risotto sounds delicious, also!

Hope you are feeling better soon.

Jennifer

bazu said...

I love the little cakes! I too am a big fan of my toaster oven, and now I'm intrigued by getting into the world of miniature baking. Can't wait to see the cat-sized one!

joyce said...

Bad news about palm oil, another thing to avoid

www.nytimes.com/2007/01/31/business/worldbusiness/31biofuel.html?pagewanted=all

joyce said...

oops it hid part of the url, let me try to break it up:
www.nytimes.com/2007/01/31/
business/worldbusiness
/31biofuel.html?pagewanted=all

Basically says clearing land for, growing the palms, fertilizing them, and then cutting them down is trashing the environment big time.

laura jesser said...

Oh, those little cakes are amazing! What else? The sundae looks killer (WOW) and the black lentils with quinoa risotto sound great. I've seen black lentils before and I would like to try them soon...

Melissa said...

Did you use a certain recipe for your cakes??
I got an Easy Bake when I was in high school from a friend as a joke. But I'd totally open it up to get the little dishes to use in my toaster oven. Mini cakes would be great!

Ruthie said...

Kris,

I love the risotto description! Very creative. It is a good multipurpose method for making grains. Thanks :)

PS The cakes are cute! I think Russell and Jim must come from the same evolutionary branch of Men Who Can Fix Anything.

scottishvegan said...

Those "little cakes" are so cute!
I bought black lentils a little while ago and also struggled to find any recipes to use them in. I ended up throwing some in to chili. It turned out pretty good, although a little dark and murky. The remainder are languishing in the cupboard in the hope that I can find a better recipe for them...

erica said...

OH man, my mom wouldn't ever let me have an easy bake oven, they were too expensive. And now I wouldn't let myself have one, but I am seriously wanting a dehydrator instead (evil grin :)

Anonymous said...

Kris,

I can't believe that I just found this blog!! It's great! And you have great links.

I always wanted an Easy Bake oven but now I'm glad my mother never spent the money. She would have freaked if it broke after 2 uses.

Again, great blog!

Diane A.

Veg-a-Nut said...

I wonder if you can buy replacment pans in the toy section of the store. Those cakes look the perfect size for my family. We are all on weight watchers. I am going to look at the store today.

I have seen the black lentils but didn't know how to make them. Your idea looks good.

Vivacious Vegan said...

Those tiny cakes are the perfect size. Plus, they'd be great for a dinner party. I wonder if EB just sells the pans?

madeinalaska said...

ahhh cute little cakes!
My honey brought me back a can of black lentils from trader joes once, I think I just used them in a recipe that called for brown lentils.. I thought they were good. Kinda works out well, because my little ones don't like brown lentils.

Gluten FreeVegan said...

This is a great site...will be trying those tiny cakes (with a bit of conversion on my part)!

Hope you feel better soon!

Lisa

Nikki said...

I loved my Easy Bake oven! I think I still have it in my dad's basement somewhere.

Linda said...

that lasagna looks so yummy!

Anonymous said...

i heard on the radio this morning that they were recalling a bunch of easy bake ovens sold recently. not sure of the reason but it may be something for you to look into!

Anonymous said...

Almost 1 million Hasbro Easy-Bake Ovens recalled

About 985,000 Easy-Bake Ovens sold since last May have been recalled because children can get their hands or fingers caught in the oven's opening, which poses an entrapment or burn hazard.

The ovens are manufactured by Easy-Bake, a division of Pawtucket-based Hasbro Inc. The company has received 29 reports of children getting their fingers or hands caught in the product, including five reports of burns.

The recalled plastic ovens are purple and pink. They resemble a kitchen stove with four burners on top and a front-loading oven. "Easy Bake" is printed on the front of the electric toy, while "Hasbro" and model number 65805 are stamped into the plastic on the back. The recall does not include Easy-Bake Ovens sold before May 2006. Toys "R" Us, Wal-Mart, Target, KB Toys and other retailers nationwide sold the toy from May 2006 through February 2007.

For a free retrofit kit, call the company at 800-601-8418. For more information, visit http://www.easybake.com or http://www.cpsc.gov .

Ruthie said...

Kris --

Thank you so much for your comment!! :) If you are serious about being eachothers cheerleaders, email me at veganruthie at yahoo :)

Ruthie

Johanna3 said...

my daughther got one this christmas, my neighbord give it to her . who can i make some mix so she can use it please let me know it!

hope you feel better!

Melanie said...

WOW that is so neat! I am seriously going to do that. I've even added a toaster oven to my amazon list, since next month is my b-day and the family will be looking there for ideas. ;)

my kids are going to love that, resurrecting the EZ Bake idea only with something that doesn't flake out so easily. oh, btw, nice to 'meet' you. i'm enjoying your blog and your food photography is great. very inspiring! ~melanie