It has become apparent to all of my friends and family over the past few years that I'm, like, really, really into cooking and baking. During Rosie's bachelorette party weekend at the beach, I was hurrying to get out of my apartment in Pittsburgh after work and rush over to Ocean City, NJ, but I still managed to grab, like, some peanut oil, soy sauce, Ener-G Egg replacer, corn starch, bouillion cubes, and rice, figuring I could cook up a simple Asian-style stir fry if I just went to the store and bought some tofu and veggies.
I had also made and brought zucchini muffins using zucchini from my own garden before they committed suicide.
So, anyway, Rosie was kind enough to ask me if I would want to make cookies for the wedding. Something Autumn-themed and sophisticated. Two-hundred and fifty (250) of them!!!!
Now, I'm not caterer. I've never cooked professionally, and never made a really high volume of anything. But I thought, you know, why not? And I started to experiment with recipes.
The first one I tried was Autumn Clouds Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies from from The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur.
|Nothing like taking pictures in your dark kitchen in the evening, huh?|
Then I got to really thinking about what sort of thing I wanted to make. It should taste like maple syrup, I thought. And be kind of crunchy. In my mind, I imagined the kind of crispy and crumbly almond cookies you could buy at Chinese restaurants, except with a really strong maple flavor. I looked through all of my books and finally discovered this description in Veganomicon of Terry's Favorite Almond Cookies: "These crisp cookies are inspired by the kind one might find in their local Chinatown; flat, crunchy, with a distinctive almond aroma but without the obvious texture of chopped almonds." Yeah, OK, now we're talking!
What's more, the recipe contains brown rice syrup, which a bit of Google-sleuthing easily allowed me to replace with maple syrup. Then I went online and bought two pricy but critical things: grade B maple syrup (better and stronger than grade A) and pure maple extract.
I changed the recipe only slightly to make these into almond-maple cookies. Took out a teaspoon of almond extract, added a teaspoon of maple. Used 3 tablespoons of maple syrup and 1/2 tablespoon more almond milk instead of the brown rice syrup. Presto! Almond-maple cookies.
In other news, I just watched Forks Over Knives for the first time and isn't it funny how you can realize you're so close but not doing well enough? I made fun of not using oil a bit before, but I think I'm going to give not using oil a real try. And... I'm going to... cut down on... my nut-eating...and...my baking. But I don't wanna! I mean, I'll do my best to eat more whole foods meals. I've already got the whole plant-based diet thing down, so that's cool. I really was not expecting this movie to end up changing how I ate. I was all, "Yeah, plant-based, cool, I know." It's that whole foods part that I need to really improve upon.
Maybe I'll actually pick up a raw cookbook. I cannot believe I just typed that. But. That blogger at Almost Vegan released a raw cookbook not too long ago, and her blog is, like, real awesome & junk. I'll get it as soon as I've got the cookbook-buying spirit. In the meantime, I think I should try some more Happy Herbivore recipes because she's all about the oil-free, whole foods way of cooking.
And, in other other news, the mourning doves took off today...
Seems like only yesterday, they looked like this: