Sometimes my sweet tooth holds too much sway over my dietary choices, directing prolonged focus on the saccharine end of the food spectrum. The winter holidays will surely reconcile my desires to make, gift, and consume copious amounts of sugary confections before inevitably resulting in burnout, with sweets-baking tendencies only to cycle again at the onset of the next wave of celebratory occasions. Naturally, I must deal with the scenario as it arises. In the meantime, I continue to browse countless resources for ways to vary the selection of sugary delights when the time comes to dive into baking mode.
I very recently won a copy (thanks, Sandy!) of Ellen Abraham's Simple Treats cookbook from a giveaway over at Chow Vegan. Simple Treats exclusively features vegan, wheat-free sweets--a timely addition to my holiday baking resource pile. Motivated by a marshmallow craving and inspired by this gorgeous photo, upon receiving my copy of the book, I immediately made a batch of Brown Rice Krispy Treats. They do not actually involve marshmallows (vegan or otherwise)--a blend of syrups acts as the sweet, sticky glue for the rice cereal--but the bars' texture still mimics that of the familiar childhood classic. I did add a touch of vanilla extract after cooking the syrups to soft ball stage, just to reinforce the treats' nostalgia-inducing properties. These bars featured a deep, malty flavor from the barley malt and brown rice syrups. Yielding sweet, chewy, and crispy elements of a typical marshmallow-based bar, albeit with a little less fluff, these treats did not disappoint.
By now, many of you have likely already seen this survey--originally posted by Keri of I Eat Trees as part of her "Your Thoughts Thursday" series--circulating around the Vegan MoFo corner of the blogosphere; many of you have already posted your own responses. I always appreciate reminders to be conscious of my food preferences, including this assessment, so it's time I jump in on the fun. Here I go.
What is one food you thought you’d miss when you went vegan, but don’t?
What is a food or dish you wouldn’t touch as a child, but enjoy now?
I was a very picky eater as a child, so I’m sure almost anything I enjoy now could sufficiently answer this question. But I’ll go with artichokes.
What vegan dish or food you feel like you “should” like, but don’t?
I’m still undecided on tofu-based dessert pies.
What beverage do you consume the most of on any given day?
Hot green tea.
What dish are you “famous” for making or bringing to gatherings?
It’s a toss-up between tofu dishes, sweets, and bread. If I have enough time, sometimes I’ll arrive at a gathering armed with all three.
Do you have any self-imposed food rules (like no food touching on the plate or no nuts in sweets)?
If food is meant to be eaten hot, I prefer to enjoy it that way; likewise for cold food being eaten cold.
What’s one food or dish you tend to eat too much of when you have it in your home?
Bread, i.e. my kryptonite.
What ingredient or food do you prefer to make yourself despite it being widely available prepackaged?
Prepackaged seitan is a little pricey for my taste and is a bit difficult to track down, so I tend to make it myself. I also hesitate to purchase bread, because everything about homemade bread trumps that of its store-bought counterparts.
What ingredient or food is worth spending the extra money to get “the good stuff”?
Dark chocolate and cocoa powder.
Are you much of a snacker? What are your favorite snacks?
Yes, I’m a snacker, although I try not to let my snack habits become excessive. I love pretzels, fresh fruit, and nuts.
What are your favorite vegan pizza toppings?
Spinach, caramelized onions, marinated artichokes, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes.
What is your favorite vegetable? Fruit?
I love leafy greens like spinach, kale, and chard. Persimmons, grapes, and pears are a few of my favorite fruits.
What is the best salad dressing?
I like balsalmic vinaigrettes.
What is your favorite thing to put on toasted bread?
I’ve always been more of a dry toast type of gal, but sometimes I’ll spread a thin layer of nut butter, hummus, anko, or preserves on bread.
What kind of soup do you most often turn to on a chilly day or when you aren’t feeling your best?
Miso soup is a year-round staple, regardless of weather or the state of my health.
What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Frosting flavor?
I have difficulty resisting chocolate cupcakes with ganache. Double chocolate is the way to go.
What is your favorite kind of cookie?
This is a tough one, because my cookie preferences tend to vary with my mood. I tend to prefer soft cookies in general.
What is your most-loved “weeknight meal”?
I like to throw together meals I can eat out of a bowl with chopsticks, usually with a bed of rice. Black beans, tofu, and spinach are typical components of these quick meals.
What is one dish or food you enjoy, but can’t get anyone else in your household to eat?
Nutritional yeast-based macaroni and "cheese."
How long, in total, do you spend in the kitchen on an average day?
I try to make time to spend in the kitchen, so I probably average around two hours there daily.
How many fingers am I holding up? (Just kidding… but the answer is 11. “My name is Inigo Montoya…”)Ah, The Princess Bride. It's so delightfully quotable.