Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011 with Isa's Chocolate Berry Creme Tart

The featured post up over at at the Post Punk Kitchen for the last two weeks or so is the Berry Creme Tart With Cocoa Olive Oil Crust and I have been drooling over the damn thing since it was posted on the 2nd. But I needed an excuse, and I'm really not that into Valentines Day, in fact, the only thing you can count on from me during the holiday is to wear a shirt that has "fuck hallmark" stenciled on it. I also don't have a tart pan, but when I was invited to a pie party (in which I had to bring a pie) the party and the pan became the excuse I needed.

So I walked my happy ass down to the market and into my most favorite kitchenware store where purchases are far and few between, and picked out an 11" tart pan. Oh, the joy that filled my heart at the prospect of not having to make a tart in a pie pan. Plus, I found little heart shaped sprinkles for a whopping 50% off, so you know those went into the bag.

Isa's recipe was easy to follow and worked like a charm (though, because I was making an 11" tart instead of tartlettes, I upped the Agar Agar powder to 1 Tbs. I also used dutch cocoa powder and the crust was a much richer, dark chocolate). It takes a fair amount of time, and maybe the swirl in the tart isn't as clean as it could be, but it's worth the commitment, and the result is a smooth and creamy berry filling with a rich crust. bar far one of the best things that I have made, dessert-wise, in a long long time. Thanks PPK, for always being totally brilliant and trustworthy.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatball Amore

In 1987 a TV special by the name of Frog aired. In my fuzzy brain, Fred Savage starred in what I thought was a full length movie involving frogs falling from the sky over a first kiss while "That's Amore" played in the background. Well, fortunately, someone threw the whole 50 minutes of it up on youtube, and I discovered I was wrong about everything except for the kiss and the song. Oh, there's frogs alright, but not falling from the sky, and there's definitely no Fred Savage. That's ok, I've got Little Monsters and Wizard to get my Fred Savage fix.  

Then, in 1991, when I was in 4th grade,our school performed a "Musical Olympics," in which pairs of students had to dress up in a country's traditional garb and sing the national anthem. Leave it to my father to convince me Italy's national anthem was "That's Amore," resulting in me to making a complete idiot of myself on the first day of rehearsal when I insisted I knew the whole song and broke into "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie..." A rendition that ruined my social status and my classmates eardrums for years to come, but that's ok, 'cause I got to rock a pink shawl, some plastic flowers in my hair, and a kick ass floral apron.

That's about the extent of my history with the 1950's classic. Well, accept that insist on singing it every time I make spaghetti and meatballs (which isn't that often) but I did get a chance to make them last weekend, and what meatballs they were! So throw a red gingham table cloth on your kitchen table, stick some carnations in a vase, put on some accordion music, light some candles, and serve your sweetie a very Americanized vegan version of an Italian classic.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tropical Icey Pops!

I've been on a cooking hiatus lately. This tends to happen when my wife goes a traveling (which she tends to do on a regular basis, fighting the good fight for equality and all) and I tend to get lazy about the whole cooking (and shopping) thing and end up living on rice and beans or lentils for a few weeks. Lindsey returned just in time for our kitchen to get torn up (on the bright side, I now have new granite counter tops. yay!!!) and during the shuffle of the last week I have misplaced my card reader. So, while i have spaghetti and vegan meatball total awesomeness to share, as well a soup featuring my newest favorite vegetable: choy sum, they will all have to wait until I find the damn card reader. Sigh.

But don't fret! In the meantime I wanted to share an awesome product find I stumbled upon yesterday at my favorite northwest Asian market. First of all, I love Uwajimaya: the store is a vegan's dream come true. There's about 20 different kinds of water packed tofu, the best selection of fresh vegetables I have come across at any supermarket in the Seattle area, and a bazillion treats waiting to be found. Ok, that's a hyperbole, but I do love constantly finding treats made with agar agar instead of gelatin.

So, what is my treat of the day? An icey creamy frozen treat called Smooze. Apparently they also sell it at whole foods, so if you don't live near any awesome Asian supermarkets, you could try there... At any rate, Smooze is basically a push pop made of fruit juice, coconut milk, and pectin. They come in 4 flavors: mango, guava, pineapple and passion fruit, which are not only refreshing, but makes one feel like they are sitting on a beach in Hawaii. Plus, they are packaged in those paper triangle type push pop packages that you have to cut open, and those make me feel like I'm a little kid again. All in all, it's a pretty good find.