Sunday, June 20, 2010

First Father's Day

[Disclaimer: what you are about to view is dense with foodie stimulation. Are you a connoisseur of savory? What about sweet? Either way, this post is filled with it! It may be long, but it is rich with all kinds of decadence. Cravings may result. Don't say I didn't warn you...]

I've been gone for a few days in preparation for this special day. I won't get into the specifics, but basically, this year was a different kind of father's day for me. Since my parents are divorced, usually I spend Mother's Day with my mom and Father's day with my dad respectively. 

However, this year I got to enjoy my first ever Father's Day with my other dad, J. To me, he is more than just my mom's husband or my step-dad; he is one of my best friends, someone I can confide in, and a role model. He has always shown me unconditional love, even when I was unsure of how to return it. Now, though, I am able to fully express my love and spend this Father's Day celebrating how much he truly means to me. 

I am not always able to show all of my feelings to others well, but I definitely try to show them how much they mean to me. For me, that is usually through writing or cooking. Are you good at showing your emotions? How do you express yourself best?

Accordingly, I looked for the perfect treat for me to bake for J. Tonight's special desserts included Fauxstess Cupcakes and Mocha (N)ice Cream.

First off, the Fauxstess Cupcakes are a nod to J's childhood growing up in Brooklyn, New York. Ever since I've known J, he's entertained me with many vivid stories of his life. With a large Italian family and a passport to rival any jet setter (not to mention presidential/White House credentials woo woo), his adventures are nothing short of a Hollywood film. Tonight, though, it was my time to bring back the memories. 

As a young child and a budding photographer, J was always on the move. In need of a quick treat to satisfy his sweet tooth, he would sometimes pick up the infamous Devil Dogs. These babies are a Brooklyn original, selling more there than anywhere else in the world. Here is what they traditionally look like: 

Although mine did not look like this, I did some research and found out that Drake's Devil Dogs are essentially a Hostess Cupcake. Here is a traditional Hostess Cupcake

 Do you see the resemblance now? 

Mine were even complete with "cream" filling. Everyone loved them and said that they were better than the original. Yes, that means I even received confessions in which they admitted their love of Hostess Cupcakes as a child. Well those mystery-ingredient-filled treats got a makeover, and a delicious vegan one at that! What were your favorite childhood treats? Would you eat them now? 

Now onto the second course of dessert. J is an ice cream lover through and through. Before going vegan, I remember many a night spent at the local ice cream place with J, both of us eating scoops of chocolate ice cream and talking about life. He taught me so much, even in such brief and simple moments as these. 

Today, the tradition still runs strong with the Mocha (N)ice Cream I made for him. If there are two foodie things in this world that J loves, they are coffee and chocolate. I'd say both are a daily occurrence. Naturally, I had to combine them to make this treat extra special. 

The base was coconut cream, soy milk, and silken tofu. For a chocolate and coffee variation, I used Green and Black's Expresso Dark Chocolate and added a touch of expresso powder for extra flavor. It was creamy and thick, and my grandmother even described it as leaving her feeling "light" and not "sickened from sweetness". Oh, and it was vegan and organic to boot; score!   

Before I transition to a little recap of the past few days in other eats, I would like to take a little time to honor my grandfather. He passed a way a few months ago but will always remain in my heart. For him and my other grandfather that passed a few years before him, I would like to wish a special Father's Day and say that I love them very much. To honor and remember both of these amazing men, I made sure to smile with all my heart and try to make someone else's day special. 

Speaking of which, I randomly decided to take some Zucchini Bread Muffins with me to yoga (How confusing is that? Was it bread? Or were they muffins? They were muffins just by the way.) After a refrigerator incident which turned my fridge into a freezer, I decided to use up the soggy zucchini by making Zucchini Bread. Although the texture was too messed up to eat by itself, these zucchini were near and dear to my heart because they were locally grown and tasted sa-weeeeet! I'm no food waster so when life gave me lemons, I made Zucchini Bread and Muffins. 

Half of the batch turned into muffins, which I brought to yoga to give to my teacher and the other students. My teacher is vegan (and was extremely ravenous at the time) so she really appreciated the gift. She kept asking me what my "secret ingredient" was and raved to the others about them. (Did I mention that they were low-fat and contained fruit, as well as veggies, too?) They went so quickly that I almost didn't get to snap a pic. Instead, I rushed to take this lame one in the car on the way to the studio. Oh well, at least you get the jist. 

I also used half the batter to make a loaf. I made it for my family to enjoy, and already 3/4 of it is gone. I made it yesterday. Yeah, I think they liked it ;). 

In addition to the zucchini bread I made for my mom and grandmother, I've been playing housewife/home-maker for them quite a bit this week. On Tuesday, I showed you the Asparagus Quiche with Tomatoes and Tarragon I made (pre-bake pictured below). 

Following that, I made them Veganomicon's Lasagna Marinara with Spinach and Mushrooms... 

...and BBQ Black-Eyed Pea-Collard Rolls. They were both a big hit! My grandmother about them so much that her friends even asked for the recipes.

I think I'm slowly showing my grandmother that vegan food can be flavorful and filling.

She actually told me she was shocked by how long it kept her full; it was much longer than with anything else she eats (non-vegan). 

I was glad that I could help my family with their dinners and lunches at work for the week. It really makes me happy to know that my loved ones are properly nourished and taken care of. Oh, and it was quite nice to re-try black-eyed peas. Although I didn't have any of the dish I made (I wanted them to have enough and be able to take it to work for lunch), I had some leftover black eyed peas that I cooked up. Upon sampling them for done-ness, I realized that I actually do like these beans. Now I can go back to saying that I've never met a bean I didn't like. After all, I do love me some legumes. 

And if we're talking about legumes, I have to mention lentils. Very unphotogenic but very delicious. I actually just acquired a taste for lentils straight up. It seems like the more I try food as nature intended it, the more I come to see (and love) the natural flavor of things. What's your favorite food to eat "naked"? 

Another food I love to prepare simply is tofu. Since I had one more serving of tofu to use up, I  decided to just make a simple salad. To prepare my tofu, I cubed it, marinated it quickly in Braggs Liquid Aminos (only for a minute or so; longer marinating will lend a deeper flavor but in a pinch, this works just as well), and baked it in a 375*F oven for about 35-40 minutes, flipping in the middle. 

Unfortunately, my salad really did become a beast and my carrot couldn't fit. After a little demolishing, carrots finally joined the party. 

My, oh my, this is quite the post! If you've made it this far, I should surely congratulate you. I couldn't forget about my oats, though. In my last post, I hinted about subbing flax seed for chia. Kelsey guessed right; I made vegan overnight oats! Here's a little picture of what's to come. 

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! How did you celebrate with your dad (or significant father figure)? What's your favorite thing about him? 

Have a lovely day! 


P.S. Is anyone as excited as I am about the new Larabars? I've been bugging the people at Whole Foods about them for a few months now. On Saturday, I finally asked again and they said they didn't know when they would be in. Now that they've been officially announced, I've have some major ants in my pants. Have you tried the new flavors? If not, which one are you most excited to try? 


  1. omg. ridiculously good looking food. i am overwhelmed.

  2. Thanks for the comment! Expo West was amazing. Basically I was working for a raw food company at the time. They didn't want me at the booth that day, but my boss let me borrow his friend's pass to get in the door. Once inside, I had to give back the pass to my bosses friend. Luckily, I was able to charm a young lad into getting his brother's company to sign me in as one of their employee's who wasn't at the expo. So I pretended to be that person for the day. And my badge said I was a "buyer" so people were shoving products at me in the hopes that I would carry them in my store. haha

  3. What the little cook you've been this last week lady! Sounds like J was really treated to a special day! I also love chocolate and coffee so that sounds like the perfect ice cream to me!

    Okay to answer your first question...I am quite emotional. I try not to be but once you get to know me you realize I am kind of sensitive. Although I am stubborn, I don't like fights, drama, confrontation, etc. so I just get upset. In terms of expressing myself to loved and baking is at the top! I definitely love feeding those I love nourishing foods like you do!

    A favorite childhood treat is really just chocolate covered cherries or nutella on bread.

    I like a lot of naked foods like corn, lentils, grains like brown rice but mostly fruit!

    I celebrated father's day with a meal out on Saturday, waffles for his bfast, and World Cup watching. It is hard to choose a favorite thing about him but maybe his passion and work ethic.

    I CAN'T WAIT for the new laras either but have yet to ask the stores. hopefully soon!

  4. What an amazing jam packed post!!!! You have been quite busy in the kitchen and have made some wonderful recipes!!!!! I am glad to hear you had such a great Father's Day and that your family really enjoyed all of your hard work!!!!!! I too spent the day with my dad -it was a nice weekend. Glad to hear you are doing well - looking forward to new recipes!!!! xoxo aim

  5. "Dense with foodie stimulation" <- I love it! And YES I am ridiculously excited about the new Laras! It's almost sad actually. I heard they come out mid-July! I am so excited for the carrot cake and the cookie dough. Also I want some of your zuchinni bread/muffins! Yummm :)

  6. every time i see what you make i am sooo impressed!

    the cupcakes w/ filling
    the collards that grammie was getting into...way to go!
    and the zuke muffs. I have had fridge issues and ruined produce's awesome when u can salvage it!

    post the recipe one day for your zuke muffs if you ever have time. I am GF though so probably wont work for me but they look awesome!

  7. i wish i had a closer relationship with my father but he never really was one to get close to his kids and bond. he was really great growing up but when we entered teenage years its like he didnt know how to handle us.. or our new personalities which is quite unfortunate. it can be hard to talk with him too but i know he loves me and thats all that matters.

    xoxo <3

    I wish I could cook like you, girl...
    Wish you an amazing week!
    Brazilian XOXO´s,

  9. Oh. My. Gosh. Yeah, you warned us but really?! WOw! Recipes?!??!?! PLEASE?
    Those cupcakes look divine! The zucchini bread muffins, wow! The Nice cream, Quiche, lasagna, beans look fantastical! (<--- is that a word??)
    Please do tell, where did you get the recipe for the cupcakes and zucchini creation???