Thursday, March 2, 2017

#175 The Case of Chocolate Cupcakes

My vegan cupcakes puff up in the oven because of a chemical reaction the same as in kids' volcano science projects.
 
1-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cacao
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, measured in liquid form
1 tablespoon instant decaffeinated coffee granules
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
vegan frosting
sprinkles
 
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
 
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with baking cups.
 
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cacao, baking soda, salt and sugar.
 
In another bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, instant coffee granules, coconut milk, water and vanilla.
 
Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined.
 
With a spatula, quickly stir in the vinegar until incorporated.
 
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups (about 1/3 cup per cupcake).
 
Bake until the tops spring back when lightly touched, about 18 min.
 
Cool them for 5 min. in the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
 
Pipe frosting onto the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles.
 
Serves 12.
 
Becki
 
PS Baking soda and vinegar, baby!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

#174 The Case of Saturday Morning Scramble

1 lb medium tofu, drained and squeezed
2-1/4 teaspoons Scramble Seasoning (see below)
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
2 small handfuls fresh spinach
1/4 cup vegan mozzarella, cubed
salt
pepper

Crumble the tofu into a bowl and combine well with the Scramble Seasoning.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the mushrooms and the tofu.

Add the roasted red peppers and continue to sauté.

When the scramble is hot enough, toss in the spinach and the vegan mozzarella.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Plate when the spinach is mostly wilted and the cheese is soft. 

Serves 2 but multiplies and divides well.

Scramble Seasoning

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric

Measure all the ingredients into a sieve over a bowl and stir, forcing the seasoning through into the bowl beneath.

Stir again then store in an airtight container in your cupboard.

Makes enough for 8 lbs of tofu or 16 servings.

Becki

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

#173 The Case of Gina's Family Tree

https://get.google.com/albumarchive/117883044276387660805/album/AF1QipOUKLehy0mFXvOKMmv3dyc9F2_cYrYrHA7GTyM_/AF1QipMHaF6_I0xpeS5wWw04yme0NzKcgGVDLMcTEZnU
(Click on picture to enlarge.)
A cheat sheet for A PURSE TO DIE FOR and A KILLER NECKLACE, the first two books in our Fashionation with Mystery series.

Becki

Friday, December 2, 2016

#172 The Case of Sparkly Christmas Greetings and Gifts!

Want to send an e-greeting that's much more than a card? A PURSE TO DIE FOR and/or A KILLER NECKLACE in the form of gift e-books can include a personal message and they cost only 99¢ each (US) from December 1-15. Here's the Amazon link: http://ow.ly/zlpp306qii8.

Or be that superstar gifter, who gives A PURSE TO DIE FOR and A KILLER NECKLACE, on sale at Smashwords:
(Use coupon code YU36M for A PURSE TO DIE FOR)
http://ow.ly/z3KkQ
(Use coupon code MJ65L for A KILLER NECKLACE) http://ow.ly/UxpLF.

What the heck, gift yourself at Kobo (
http://ow.ly/Zy4G301BCeC) or Google Play (http://ow.ly/9tkW306GuIQ).

Becki

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

#171 The Case of Chocolate Mint Smoothie

Mint is a cheerful, invigorating flavour, isn't it?
 
Chocolate, on the other hand, is an acquired taste. [Straight face.]
 
I get plenty of fresh mint sprigs from my friend Kathleen. I have to assume that it's the zucchini of fresh herbs because she's always saying, "Here, have some mint!"
 
Chocolate Mint Smoothie
 
1/2 banana
1 tablespoon fresh, slightly-compressed-between-your-fingers mint leaves
1/2 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons Sunwarrior raw vegan protein powder
1 tablespoon cacao
1 tablespoon raw agave syrup
8 ice cubes


Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender, in the order given, and blend.

Serves 1.

Becki

PS This also works with 1/2 tablespoon dried mint in the place of fresh mint!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

#170 The Case of Simple as Boiling an Egg

Well, if it's so damn simple, why have I been doing it wrong for so many years?

Wrong may be a bit harsh. My eggs have always been hard-boiled just like I like them, with no ring around the yolk, which would be as much a sign of confusion in the kitchen as ring around the collar is of disorientation in the laundry room.

What I really mean by wrong is that a Becki Green hard-boiled egg, up until now, has often been difficult to peel.

Sometimes, in fact, a nightmare to peel, despite the fact that I'm a natural communicator and I tried everything I know to bring my eggs out of their shells.

I tapped them lightly on their bottoms before shelling them, a trick from my mother. She also passed down advice from her father, my grandfather, whose eggs apparently always, extremely annoyingly, came out pristine. "Roll them on the counter firmly with the palm of your hand before you start."

Nevertheless, my results were inconsistent. Sometimes the shell would slide off in practically one piece and leave me holding a glistening orb of goodness. Sometimes it felt like I was trying to chisel old, dried, cracked paint off a window frame and removing too much of the actual wood in the process. Frankly, I decided it depended on the egg.

Do you want to know the secret I just learned?

Throw out everything you've been taught about starting eggs in cold water, then bringing them to a boil over medium heat, then turning down the heat and simmering until they're done.

Gently lower your eggs into boiling water.

On high. Full boil. Like lobsters.

I recommend using a slotted spoon.

Egg are less fragile than you think.

Rarely, an egg will crack and some egg white will seep out into the water but you'll make up for the loss when you peel, in egg white as well as in patience.

I have yet to witness an actual explosion—urban myth.

Leave the eggs in the water on high for 12 min. Then drain them and transfer them to an ice-water bath.

After a half-hour of this ice-bath preceded by boiling torture session, your eggs will practically jump out of their shells.

Not surprising.

Why did it take me so long to get this?

Becki

PS Wanna use your boiled egg experiments in a recipe? Try Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches! 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

#169 The Case of Refrigerator Staple—Cashew Cheese

Open my restored retro fridge. Isn't it darling? My friends think I'm crazy 'cause it's not even frost-free but I'm a designer so I'm allowed to seem cuckoo even though I'm nowhere near totally out of my mind. Reclaiming this Kelvinator kept a huge hunk of metal out of landfill.
 
Keeping with the environmental theme, two separate appliance repair guys assured me my retro fridge is more energy-efficient than a new energy-saver model. More insulation. Less gizmos.
 
Now, on a middle shelf, you'll find a container of Cashew Cheese. Take it out and lift the lid. See the sheet of plastic wrap pressed right down on the surface of the "cheese"? That's how I protect it, like I do Guacamole, because air affects its delicate ivory colour. If you take this extra precaution, Cashew Cheese will stay luscious for weeks in your fridge.
 
Check out what Cashew Cheese looks like on top of my Spaghetti in a Beet Pesto Sauce.
 
And here's the recipe in case you want to keep some Cashew Cheese handy in your own fridge.
 
Cashew Cheese
 
1/2 bulb garlic
drizzle of olive oil plus 1/2 tablespoon
1 cup raw cashews, soaked uncovered in plenty of water for at least 4 hours then drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 teaspoons vinegar
 
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
 
Slice the top off the 1/2 bulb of garlic to expose each clove. Place upright on foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap. Roast for 45 min. Let cool.
 
Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves (leaving out the papery skins) into a blender with the 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and vinegar. Blend until smooth.
 
Serves 4.
 
Becki
 
PS Cheese please!