Friday, July 13, 2007
So I think the sun and the humidity have finally been getting to me. Last week, in the midst of a heat snap, I became convinced that I needed to bake. Repeatedly. At one point, I caught myself sweating in the kitchen in front of a hot oven. Irrational? Perhaps, but then again the ends could be said to have justified the means...
For movie night at Trac's house (we watched "Who Killed the Electric Car," an absolute must-see that will leave you intrigued, frustrated, optimistic, and angry at the same time) I decided to bake the simple vanilla and agave nectar cupcakes from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World." I had seen these on Textual Bulldog's blog and had had them on the brain since. When I tested one, however, I thought they tasted too plain, so I topped them with a quick chocolate ganache and sprinkles.
However, the next day, I tasted one of the cupcakes that I had left plain and guess what? After a day of resting, these cupcakes develop such a lovely flavor and texture. It tasted like an old-fashioned honey cake- dense, sweet, and floral. If you make the agave cupcakes, definitely experiment with leaving some of them plain- you'll thank yourself the next day!
The next day, I felt the need to bake- again. Cupcakes- again. This time, I took the basic chocolate cupcakes from VCTOTW, substituted coconut milk for the oil and added orange zest.
Speaking of orange zest, I keep a stash of dried organic zest like you see in the picture above in my pantry for times when I don't have fresh oranges on hand. (As you know, if you are going to use any citrus zest, it's essential that it be organic, because conventionally grown citrus fruits have large amounts of pesticide residue on their skins that can not be removed by simple washing.) I buy this zest from my local health food store, and pulverize the amount I need in a coffee grinder, it adds great flavor to muffins and breads.
The coconut milk gave the cupcakes a glossy finish and a subtle flavor. However, I couldn't decide how to decorate these cupcakes until a day later when I made the Boston Creme Pie. I simply used the leftover ganache and custard to make a fancy-schmancy pattern on top.
Ok, enough of the oven. (Even a crazy person such as myself has her limits!) I finally did something season-appropriate in the form of... ice cream. Am I the only person that's been falling in love with all of Emilie's mouth-watering ice cream creations over at the Conscious Kitchen??
After much drooling, I decided to ignore the small fact that I don't have an ice cream maker and make my own ice cream against all odds. I used my Magic Bullet to blend together some frozen mixed berries with some coconut milk and a dab of agave nectar. I then froze the mixture, taking it out to stir every 10-15 minutes for a couple of hours. The result was delicious, although I'm sure an ice cream maker would have yielded a smoother texture.
Never mind that, though, because for the past week at least, common logic had no place in my mind or my kitchen!