confab | current reads

books

it’s september.
which means my first love turns
half a century old.
it also means there’s
an extra 25 minutes to my commute
cus schools have started.
mostly it means
that the weather is cooler
i’m thinking about knee high socks
plans are being made for apple picking.
i might put away summer clothes
and bring out the sweaters
i’m also thinking about making soup
but mostly,
i’m snuggling with dw,
possibly with a book in hand.

last month i finished
TWO POINT FIVE BOOKS:
is everyone hanging out without me by mindy kaling
this song will save your life by leila sales
disconnected: an e-short story by jennifer weiner

there were times when i
thought mindy & i should be bffs,
i even tweeted her.
she ignored me.
that’s the other times i thought
we shouldn’t be bffs.
i listened to the other book,
which made me sad,
because it reminded me of high school.
and then i read the short
one while on jury duty.
that’s it.

currently on my kindle slash cloud reader slash audio thing:
allegiant by veronica roth
one more thing by bj novak

currently wait-listed:
interworld by neil gaiman
bossypants by tina fey

currently reading in the car during road trips:
the smokejumper by nicholas evans, which happens to be a repeat,
and one of my favoritest books.

and you lovies,
what are you reading?

peach ginger scones – vegan

Peach Ginger Scones

you can be the ripest,
juiciest peach
in the world,
and there’s still going to be
somebody who hates peaches.
– dita von teese

and that’s all
that’s got to be
said about that.

Peach Ginger Scones

peach ginger scones – vegan
makes 12 scones

*note: bake time is tricky. i’ve baked them for as low as 13 minutes before, and they came out super soft and cake like, and then i baked them upwards of 23 minutes, where they came out dryer and crisper. you can top with a simple glaze after they’ve cooled, or you can go the lazy route and sprinkling these with sugar prior to putting in the oven. it may come out looking super rustic like various spots looking all sugar-clumped, but you know, whatever.

2 cups spelt flour
1 TBL baking powder
3 TBL sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 TBL frozen coconut butter (i put 2 TBL worth of coconut oil in a silicon muffin liner, make 2, and freeze. it makes for much easier extraction. rough chop into smaller pieces)
1 peach, diced into small pieces and frozen, about a cup’s worth
1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped sugared ginger
1 container vegan yogurt (6oz) + 2oz of nondairy milk (or water) mixed to thin (i used almond dream)

preheat oven to 425F.

sift flour, baking powder, salt & sugar into food processor, process for 6 seconds to combine. add in the frozen coconut oil, process for another 12 seconds. transfer mixture to into a big bowl.

add in the thinned out vegan yogurt and mix until dough forms. then add in the peaches and ginger pieces, mixing gently, try not to overmix.

dump it on a clean counter. there is no saying this pretty: it’s a mess. i use a dough scraper to keep things together, form a circle or rectangle and cut into desired shapes. i’ve cut in to triangles and i’ve cut with round biscuit cutters. work quickly, coconut oil has a very low melting point so do what you can to not keep it out too long, or handle with your hands as your body temp will soften/melt the oil.

bake on cookie sheet for 20-23 minutes.

BAM!

Peach Ginger Scones

blueberry swirl muffins – dairy free

Blueberry Swirl Muffins

these muffins.
they’re the personification of
Baked Goodness.
and i’m not a superlative girl,
so forgive me for
doing what some food bloggers
are guilty of:
extolling the virtues
of said food item with
an over abundance of
enthusiasm
and eye roll inducing
saccharine drivel.

instead,
let’s just focus on
how i treat these treats
like they’re both
a breakfast item
AND
dessert.

it’s like starting
and ending
my day correctly,
which,
let’s be honest here,
is the best kind of amazing.
superlatives for the win.

Blueberry Swirl Muffins

Blueberry Swirl Muffins – dairy free
adapted from Honestly Yum, who adapted it from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

makes ~16 muffins

Ingredients
2 cups blueberries​, divided​
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil, warm/liquid
1 container (6oz) plain vegan yogurt, i used almond dream
1/4 cup almond milk
zest & juice of 1 lemon

Streusel Topping
1 1/2 TBL sugar
1 1/2 TBL brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 TBL warm ​coconut oil

in a small bowl make the streusel topping by combining everything and mix evenly. set aside.
in a small sauce pan reduce 1 cup of blueberries, mashing with a fork and stirring. you want the berries to break down, the sauce to be thick. strain through a sieve if you’re not keen on the skin/pulp. set aside and cool to room temp.
line muffin tin with silicone/paper liners.

preheat oven 425F.

in a mixing bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and salt. in another bowl whisk eggs + sugar until thick and then add in the coconut oil, yogurt, almond milk and lemon juice. now combine the liquid to dry ingredients, with the remaining blueberries. throw in an extra handful if you’re feeling sassy. (i felt sassy). the mixture will be all sorts of fug, but try not to overmix.

fill muffin cups a little over 3/4 way up, these will expand/rise. (HonestyYum filled it up all the way but i didn’t want any overfilling accidents and having to clean it up. that would’ve been a superlative pain in the ass.) spoon about a teaspoon, more or less, of the reduced blueberry sauce on top of each muffin. use a toothpick or some stick-like kitchen tool and swirl the sauce into the batter. finally, top with streusel topping, amount at your discretion.

i was able to eek out 16 muffins with just enough sauce & steusel.

bake 17 minutes​

remove from oven, allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove from pans to cool completely.

will keep for a week, covered, in fridge.

BAM!

Blueberry Swirl Muffins

other blueberry recipes:
blueberry clafoutis
blueberry jam danishes
blueberry breakfast cookies
blueberry pie smoothie

around 1 year ago:
vietnamese pickled carrots + daikon
vietnamese vermicelli bowl

blueberry pie smoothie – vegan

Blueberry Pie Smoothie

now that the summer
is beginning its wind down
— the days being cooler
— the nights dipping into the 60s
and i can’t decide if the
AC should be kept on or turned off,
we’re finally getting our groove on
with smoothies
and we’re gonna shut the shop down
in a few short weeks
because i don’t want to start
the day freezing my ass off.
figures, right?
it’s a lush time
of ripe peaches
precious leftover blueberries
i’m already lamenting about autumn
and we still have a good 2 months till then!
i’ll shut up now.

last week we picked up running again.
my goals remain the same:
– run safely, no injuries for this girl.
– finish. it may not be pretty but get it done.
after our first run
dw introduced me to a new juice/vegan/hippy/smoothie joint
it is now my new jam
and this smoothie was inspired by them.
(i will admit
that i’m pretty sure i’m negating my run
by consuming their smoothies
but i don’t care.)

Blueberry Pie Smoothie

blueberry pie smoothie
makes 4 cups, serves 2-4, depending on how generous or stingy you are

note: i didn’t exactly measure everything. it’s all about consistency, how thick or thin you like it. the first time i made this, i used kefir milk (which, btw, is 99% lactose free and i’m able to consume it without wanting to die. WIN!) and for this post, i kept it all vegan. if you don’t have a blueberry pie hanging around, make with fresh blueberries + honey granola or an oatmeal cookie.

2 slices of blueberry pie
1 container of vegan yogurt (6oz), i used Stoneyfield’s O’Soy Yogurt in vanilla
1 cup vegan milk (more or less…), i used almond milk
handful of ice, optional

if you plan this ahead well, make almond milk ice cubes.

in a vitamix, put in the pie slices and vegan milk. whiz until well blended. add the yogurt and whiz some more.

at this point, it’s ready for consumption. it might be thick so you could eat it with a spoon.

you can thin out with more milk (or water). i like to add ice cubes. dw typically doesn’t drink his smoothie until about an hour after i’ve made it, when he’s sitting at his desk at work so the ice keeps it cool and thins it out a little.

either way, it’s delicious. i like the idea of having dessert for breakfast and having the entire day to burn it off.

BAM!

Blueberry Pie Smoothie

other blueberry recipes:
blueberry clafoutis
blueberry jam danishes
blueberry breakfast cookies

one year ago today:
homemade goldfish crackers!

homemade bánh cướn chay – vegan rolled cake

Bánh Cuốn Chay

today marks 100 days
since gpa’s passing
as is tradition
dw & i went to temple on sunday

the 100 days milestone
is actually a celebration,
signifying the end of tears,
though mourning is up to 3 years.

from my limited knowledge
a vegetarian diet is typical
during the mourning period
i could be spreading rumors
i’m likely spreading rumors

either way,
i finally figured out
how to make bánh cướn,
meaning rolled cake,
and i veganized it
making a mushroom filling
and a spicy soy sauce to dress it

Bánh Cuốn Chay

homemade bánh cướn chay
adapted from luke nguyen

makes about 18 rolled cakes

note: i’ve tried the steam method, years ago, and my gpa laughed at my attempt. it convinced me that this is the kind of dish that is so much easier to purchase already made. however, i’m a stubborn fool. i made this about a month ago, with fairly good results. i used a huge ass heavy bottom pan that was difficult to handle so the crepe came out thicker than i liked. this 2nd time around i bought a 7 1/2″ non-stick pan which was much lighter and easier to maneuver with. the key is to pour the batter when the pan is hot and immediately lid. if you get into a rhythm, good for you, the process is quite pleasant, despite the tender fingertips. also: exact measurements for the filling and sauce are kinda lacking cus i was working on the fly. sorry about that.

spicy garlicy soy sauce – gluten free

1/2 cup gluten free soy sauce, i use tamari
1/4 cup water
2 generous TBL rice vinegar
2-3 tsp sugar
2 tsp fried garlic OR 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 red chili, chopped finely, optional

mix everything together in a jar. this is a taste preference, add more of less of each ingredient and adjust according to taste.

filling
1 container of mushrooms (i used baby bella, though any will do), chopped
3 pieces of dried wood ear mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water, chopped
1 small white onion, diced
5-6 strands of chive blossoms, diced
salt/pepper to taste

in saute pan heat up some olive oil, just enough to coat the bottom. when hot add in the diced white onion and saute until fragrant. season with salt. allow the onions to get translucent. next add in the mushrooms and saute until the mixture has reduced a smidge, season with salt/pepper. i let it go for about 5 minutes on med-high heat. take pan off heat, add in about half the diced chive blossoms and mix. put mixture in bowl, set aside.

batter
200 g rice flour
60 g tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
600ml (approx. 2 1/2 cups) cold water
oil – veg or canola

add above ingredients in bowl, whisk until combined.

in the pan that you’re gonna use, drizzle some oil to coat the pan. i use a clean rag or paper towl to spread the oil evenly around the pan. the temp is around med-high.

pour a small ladleful of the batter (aim for 2-3 TBL), rotating the pan to cover the base with a thin layer of the batter. immediately cover with lid and allow to cook for about 30 seconds.

have a prepared well-oiled tray/cutting board/plate ready.

remove lid and flip the noodle sheet onto the oiled surface. set aside the pan on a cool burner (though if you’re working with a partner, you can keep on cranking out the sheets)

scoop a TBL or so of the mushroom filling on the sheet, fold the top over, fold the 2nd sides in and then fold top side again to shape a roll.

repeat process until everything is used up, make sure the pan is well oiled between takes. sometimes there’s more filling than the there’s batter, or vice versa. it happens.

top with fried scallions and fried garlic, garnish with the rest of the diced chive blossoms and dress with spicy soy sauce.

additional accompaniments: sliced cucumbers, cilantro, mint, lightly steamed bean sprouts.

BAM!

Bánh Cuốn Chay

my other vietnamese dishes:
vermicelli noodles (bún thịt nướng)
chicken noodle soup – phở gà
pickled carrots & daikon
beef stew – bò kho