Friday, January 19, 2007

Fuel, Garbage, & Cupcakes

My dad built this. In Greece, from some books he checked out at the library. Which is pretty cool, considering he was a restaurant owner by trade, not a welder/inventor. Crazy contraption, but it could be our future, no? One per household? I guess we’re all set for alternative fuel, though I’m not sure about shipping this thing over here. Lucky for us daddio has plans for Rob to begin building some of these, here in our back yard. So you know who to call when your tank is on E.

Our first snow in Durham. Something about the garbage piling around our street all covered, like cupcakes under frosting, so nice. Syba likes to smell the white stuff; she’s kind of a party dog so maybe it reminds her of something else, I don’t know.

So these cupcakes were made with the same recipe (see Vasilopita) minus the coin insertion. Due to their cute small size, they only need to be baked for 20 minutes. Also – for half of the batter I added about 2 T of cocoa powder and 1 T soy milk to the mix, producing the chocolate variety seen here.

The frosting:
2 sticks Earth Balance shortening
1 stick Earth Balance spread
about a bag or box of confectioners’ sugar
1 t vanilla OR ½ t almond extract and 2 T cocoa powder

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Vegan Vasilopita & Drinko! (happy new year)



This shot is made all the more dramatic knowing that the after was only moments later than the before shot. We (I) simply could not control our(my)selves in the presence of such good vegan chocolate creamy concoctions. Except for the orange fruit piece, as you may see. Thank you to Rob's sister Jamie.

On New Years Eve I decided to go with some Greek tradition and make a
Vasilopita. Of course it called for six eggs so I had to fix that. It turned out moist and bouncy, but unfortunatley I was in a hurry (to eat it) and didn't take any pictures. Here is some history and the recipe:

"The Vasilopita is a Greek New Year's Bread. It is made in honor of a beautiful act of charity by St. Basil to the poor and needy of his flock. In order to insure that the needy would have money for life's necessities, and knowing that the needy were also proud people, St. Basil had the ladies of his church bake sweet bread with coins baked into them. In this way he could give them money without demeaning them at all. It is therefore traditional to bake a coin into the Vasilopita (St. Basil's Bread). The one who receives the coin is considered to be especially blessed for the year."

“The cake is distributed in accordance to a strict order. First piece is for St Basil, the second for the house, the next for the most senior member of the household down to the youngest member and also including absent members. There may also be a piece of cake for the cattle and a large piece for the poor.”

The vegan in me just loves how the cow is included. We don't have cattle but gave some to our dog, Syba.

Vegan Vlachos Vasilopita

Main stuff:

1 cup earth balance
2 cups white sugar
3 cups all purpose white flour
1 cup warm soymilk
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup blanched slivered almonds
2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Fluffy stuff:

Fluffy stuff deux:

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ cup silk soy vanilla yogurt

1.5 teaspoons baking soda

½ cup orange juice

¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons flour

¼ cup coconut milk

½ cup + 4 Tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10 inch round cake pan.

In a large bowl, cream the earth balance & sugar with a beater. Stir in the flour and mix until the mixture is mealy. In a separate bowl, whisk the fluffy stuff with a fork until fluffy. Slowly mix into the earth balance mix, then add the fluffy stuff deux to the mix too. Mix in the warm soy milk and lemon juice.

Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove and sprinkle the nuts and sugar over the cake. Bake for an additional 20-30 minutes. Remove, and gently cut a small hole in the cake and place a coin in the hole. Cover with sugar. Cool on the rack for 10 minutes before putting onto a plate.

Note: When I made it, it was too much batter for my 6” cake pan so I made cupcakes too.

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the finished cake, due in part to the following game:

Speaking of which, I think we at the BB household had one of the best top 5est New Years ever... one of our favorite people came to visit, and many of our good friends came to hang out, play cards, destroy drinko, and then some stayed later & performed some beyond great music. Thanks to Sequoya, Joy in Red, and Historic Proportion for playing your fine fine songs taking us through the new year.

PS - does anyone know about the tradition of shooting ones' gun off for the new year? Please advise.

PPS - don't worry, we're not armed, just dangerous.

PPPS - I mean "shooting ones' gun off" literally, a real metal gun, not as a metaphor for what you're maybe thinking.