Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cluck Cluck Munch Crunch...

Fluff your feathers and go! Just go. Go to Bakesale Betty’s and order her fried chicken sandwich. It’s a sure pleaser for gourmets and fast-food gurus alike.

Even though the name of the bakery is not clearly labeled, you won’t miss this trendy corner shop located on the edge of Oakland in the town of Temescal.

During peak lunch hour, the line extends down the block and if you take a look around, everyone has got this sandwich in hand (well actually, in mouth). Children, friends, co-workers, and lovers young and wise: gather ‘round!

Pull up an ironing board—yellow, blue, pink, or white! Grab a seat, soak up some sun, and take a nice big bite out of that sandwich. Crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside, surrounded by crisp slaw salad and fresh bread. Spiced to perfection!

The owner often joins the crowds, passing out free cookies and good times. To those with small appetites: be warned—sharing is caring. The strawberry shortcakes are oozing out strawberries and the brownies taste moist and nutty.

Don’t freak out by the long line. The staff moves everyone through in a swift and steady manner. These guys and gals work hard to crank out the incredible chicken sandwich and mouth-watering spread of baked goods.

Now go treat yourself! It’s summertime; soak it all up while you can!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vegan Maple Walnut Muffins with Freshly Grated Nutmeg

It has been two days. I NEED to bake something.
I live in a co-op with about 15 other people. We usually have staples like bulk sugar and flour on hand.
For the past week, however, there have been no eggs or butter in the house.
While sipping some Prairie Passion tea, I was flipping through Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and stumbled upon this recipe.

These were intended to be cupcakes but they came out of the oven with a more muffin-like texture.

The recipe calls for maple extract, but I decided to experiment and instead I added a few drops of almond and chocolate extracts. Be careful, a few drops of almond go a LONG way.

I was supposed to candy the walnuts but rather than bother with the sugaring process, I simply toasted them and folded them into the batter. One of my favorite pastimes is picking out the nuts or the raisins or the olives in bread or baked goods. People tell me, “If you like the nuts so much why don’t you just snack on plain nuts?” No, this won’t do—they just taste so much better when I pick them out!

A fellow co-op resident tasted my “experiment” and gave it two thumbs way up. He said that taste-wise these muffins reminded him pancakes. And he couldn’t believe they were vegan, too!
I like this recipe because it just has on-hand ingredients. No funky margarines or substitutes. Cheers to the good life!

½ cup soymilk (I used Silk Vanilla, mmm)
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (use a microplane to grate)
½ cup maple syrup
1/3 cup oil (canola, preferably but I used olive because it was all the co-op had)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon maple extract (I used a few drops of almond and chocolate instead)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup of chopped and toasted walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350° F and either line a muffin pan with cupcake liners or lightly grease the pan.
2. Whisk together soymilk and vinegar in a large bowl; set aside and allow it to curdle for a few minutes. (This is supposed develop a similar consistency to buttermilk)
3. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg into a separate bowl.
4. Whisk the maple syrup, oil, brown sugar, and extracts into the soymilk mixture.
5. Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients, stirring until smoothe.
6. Fold in chopped nuts.
7. Fill liners 2/3 of the way. Bake for 20-22 minutes.
8. Enjoy! Mmmmm

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Greetings and Hello...

I'm Stephanie.
I currently live in Berkeley, CA.
I decided to start a food blog.
Here I go.

First and foremost, here are 10 fun facts about me:
1. One of my favorite kitchen tools is a “schmoosher” (aka a spatula).
2. I am a flexitarian, which basically means that I will eat anything and everything! (See Wikipedia for a more thorough explanation)
3. I love to sit in a café, people watch, and stir up random conversation.
4. I love to collect vintage hats, listen to “oldies” music, and want to travel back to the time when we sent hand-written letters via snail mail and a Saturday night entailed a trip to the drive-in movie…
5. Figs are my favorite fruit…I could go on and on…the taste, the look, the symbolism…mmm
6. I am fascinated with the body. The way the body functions, moves, reacts, and brings in new life. Wow. Just wow.
7. I love color! My room is like a smoothie of colors from my bed spread and pillows to the walls and curtains. Whenever I eat a meal, having a rainbow of colors on my plate is important.
8. I give my mom a hard time about her kitchen abilities—her usual is dry chicken or take-out from the restaurant down the street. I must say, however, that she can whip up a damn good grilled cheese sandwich; hands down hers is the best I’ve ever had.
9. My ultimate goal in life is to travel the world, taste great food, learn about different cultures, and document my experiences.
10. Sometimes eating with my fingers and literally licking my plate clean makes everything taste just that much better.