Where did the name come from? A silly facebook quiz gave me my "villain name" and I quite liked it. Very simple. I'm actually quite a nice person. Opinionated, but isn't everybody who writes a blog?
I originally thought of creating this blog just to spread a few vegan recipes to my friends and acquaintances. Because of that, I am not inclined to go to great lengths to explain myself to any others who stumble across this site. I am an ordinary woman in my early forties with a respectable job, a beloved spouse and son, and being the only vegan in my family, a desire to share that aspect of myself with others. Why not join a vegan club or pot-luck group or something of that sort? I'm not good at groups of people-the internet is a good place for a shy person to pretend to extroversion.
Yesterday I made chocolate chip cookies for my son and his friends to take on a trip. I don't even bother to mention that they are vegan and nobody notices or complains.
I experiment with cookie recipes often but simple is usually best. The recipe below is inspired by the Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe from How It All Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer.
Chocolate Chip Cookies for the Whole Family
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F (I used convection bake which reduces the temperature to 350)
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 c unrefined sugar
2 c canola oil
1 T vanilla extract
1/4 c non-dairy milk or water
Mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
In a glass measuring cup mix together 6 T ground flax
Add the flax mixture to the large mixing bowl.
In another bowl, combine 4 1/2 c flour (I use whole wheat*)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 c fair trade chocolate chips**
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir until combined.
Cookies can be dripped by a spoon onto the ungreased baking sheets. I roll a small amount of dough in clean hands and press it flat on the baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes and cool slightly (1-2 min.) before removing to cookie racks.
This will make about 36 small/medium cookies. The dough does not spread much while baking so if you want flatter cookies, flatten them before putting them in the oven and use the shorter baking time.
* You can also use part or all unbleached flour, and/or replace 1 cup of flour with oatmeal flour (grind oats in a food processor or blender)
** I only buy fair trade chocolate and coffee. Chocolate that comes from West Africa is likely to have involved abusive child labour practices. My last internet browsing on the subject revealed that Hershey was still buying from farms using child labour. I buy Cocoa Camino products and yes they do cost more. These are my politics. You can research the subject for yourself and make your own decisions.
My Favourite Marinated Tofu
Cooking is a different practice from baking. Baking requires much more precise measurements-it is science. Cooking is art. I have been vegan for about five years (it was a gradual process so I'm not sure exactly how long) and have cooked from recipes and read enough books by now to have confidence in using ingredients that were once unfamiliar to me. My favourite of these is nutritional yeast. The brand made by Red Star is fortified with vitamin B12 which is a more difficult vitamin for vegans to get. (check you milk substitute most soy and rice brands seem to be fortified with it)
Use one block of firm or extra firm tofu and press out the excess moisture:
Remove the tofu from its package and rinse it with clean water.
Wrap the tofu in paper towel (or a clean reusable/washable towel) Place it between two plates and put something heavy such as a mixing bowl filled with dry beans on top. Leave the tofu like this in the fridge for a few hours or overnight if you can. When the tofu is drained, slice it into thin slices (about 1/2cm).
If you are really clever you prepared the marinade while the tofu was being drained.
1/4-1/2 c nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 c Bragg's Liquid soy Seasoning*
optional: 1 garlic clove, minced
Combine these ingredients and place in a dish with the tofu. Let marinate overnight or even a day or two.
Arrange the tofu slices in a large baking pan (I like to line it with parchment paper for quicker cleanup) and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, turning half way through. Each side of the tofu slices will be baked a golden colour.
The tofu is delicious warm, cold in sandwiches and warm or cold in a green salad.
*Bragg's Liguid Soy Seasoning is available in regular grocer stores. It is pure liquid soy protein, with great flavour and no extra sodium like other soy sauces. It is also gluten free.
Finally, I said I wouldn't be able to avoid mentioning books. If you are a new vegetarian or vegan or want to be able to give smart answers to people who question your nutrition on a vegan diet, I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of the book by Vesanto Melina, M.Sc., R.D. and Brenda Davis, R.D. My copy is called Becoming Vegetarian the complete guide to adopting a healthy vegetarian diet
This book also includes vegan options and they have also published a book with the same title but replacing the word vegetarian with the word vegan.
I read my copy cover to cover when I first bought it and still dip into for information at times.