Monday, July 28, 2008

Humble Food: Lima Beans, Pure and Simple

When time allows, I love intricate cooking. New techniques, new ingredients, multiple layers of preparation - I am fascinated and enchanted by the simultaneously scientific and artistic process of transforming ingredients into something novel and unexpected. Last night, though, I was reminded of a form of magic far easier to overlook - the astounding beauty of pure culinary minimalism.

I've been cooking lima beans quite frequently while Zach's been out of town, largely because they were on sale the week after he left, and, in my enthusiasm, I purchased a generous quantity, forgetting that Zach doesn't like lima beans and that hence their consumption would fall entirely to me. (Hmmm, sounds rather like the 5 pound bag of pinto beans, doesn't it... Maybe I should learn a lesson from these experiences... :-) In this case by "large quantity" I do mean just one pound, rather than five, and the lima beans have actually been a lovely staple during these weeks of cooking and eating solo. Well balanced with fiber and protein, lima beans seem inherently comforting to me - crisp and fresh yet smooth and creamy all at the same time.

While I fixed the limas completely without embellishment on one of my first nights alone, last night I appreciated anew the intensely flavorful, subtle, yet complexly layered tastes that can be achieved with just a bit of toasted sesame oil and some raw nama shoyu soy sauce.

Yes, they are rather brown. They are minimalistic. They're not garnished elaborately, nor did they take more than 5 minutes to prepare. But after a 12 hour shift, or doing something that feels like a 12 hour shift, pure and simple cooking can be one of the best parts of coming home...

Stir-Fried Lima Beans

1 T toasted sesame oil
1/2 lb. frozen lima beans, thawed and lightly steamed - I cook them in the microwave until they are just half-way cooked
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup sliced celery
2 tsp minced garlic
12 oz firm tofu, drained and pressed, and then sliced into strips
approx. 1/3 cup nama shoyu soy sauce (or any kind of soy sauce you prefer and have on hand)
2 cups brown rice, cooked

~ In a large skillet or wok over high heat, saute the lima beans, onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic until just crisp tender, making sure the lima beans are cooked through but not soggy.
~ Add the tofu, and continue to saute until the tofu is heated through and beginning to brown on the edges, and the lima beans have really browned and caramelized.
~ Add the soy sauce to taste, and continue sauteing just until heated through again.
~ Serve atop the brown rice - supper's ready!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sugar High Fridays: Southern Peach-Blueberry Cobbler

Random thoughts come to me at the oddest times. I suppose this would be inherent in their definition of "random," but still, sometimes I even surprise myself with the unrelated directions in which a brain (mine, expressly) can travel. Yesterday, for example, I returned home from my second 12-hour clinical shift in the hospital and was in the midst of pealing off my scrubs when it dawned on me that I'm a southern chef, and I have yet to write a post about peach cobbler. Yes, there I was, standing in the laundry room with one leg in and one leg out of my teal green scrubs, thinking about peaches and biscuit toppings. While exhaustion prevailed and I didn't write the post right then, today I remain convicted that the peach cobbler void on this blog must be filled. Such a travesty must be remedied expeditiously.

Hence, without further adeu, I give you The Best Southern Peach Cobbler. (In my humble opinion. :-)

P.S. As you probably already noticed from the photos, the aforementioned "peach cobbler" has - blueberries? Blueberries make everything better, peach cobbler included... And because of those delightful blueberries, I'm sending this post to Susan of Food Blogga, who so wisely and wonderfully chose berries as the theme for this month's Sugar High Fridays event!)

P.P.S. If you are like Zach and don't fancy peaches, you can substitute apples for the peaches... If you are like my friend Kathleen who isn't enamored with blueberries, you can substitute any kind of berry you do adore... It's a very user-friendly cobbler (and it can be vegan too!)

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

2 T cornstarch
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
5 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
6 peaches, cut into 1/2" slices
3 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 rounded T raw sugar
1 cup light vegan margarine or butter
9 oz vanilla soymilk
2 T raw sugar

~ Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a 13X9" baking dish with cooking spray.
~ Whisk the cornstarch into the 1 1/2 cups sugar, then fold in the blueberries and peaches.
~ Pour the blueberries and peaches into the baking dish, and bake for 15 minutes - just until bubbling.
~ Meanwhile, toss together the flour, baking powder, salt, and 6 rounded T sugar.
~ Cut the vegan marg or butter into the flour mixture, using your hands or the food processor, until the flour resembles course meal.
~ Add the milk to the flour mixture, and stir just until a soft dough forms.
~ Scoop the dough in 1/3 cup piles onto the hot fruit mixture. Sprinkle the dough with the remaining 2 T sugar.
~ Bake until golden brown - approx. 25 to 35 minutes. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream or vegan ice cream!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Honey Whole Wheat Pancakes

According to the Oxford English dictionary, a "pancake" is "a thin, flat cake of batter, fried and turned in a pan." (A pancake is apparently also "theatrical make-up consisting of a flat solid layer of compressed powder," but this sounds much less appetizing.) I had to turn to the word "flapjack" for a definition more alligned with the pancakes my mother and grandmother make: "N. America: a soft, thick biscuit." When my mother, a southern girl from the land of very big pancakes, first moved to Israel, she learned to call her breakfast concoction "American pancakes" after one of her Israeli friends peered into the skillet and shouted in shock: "They're puffing up! The pancakes are puffing up! Something's wrong!"

It's no wonder, then, that I grew up with pancakes galore, of all definitions: "pancakes" paper-thin and ethereal, wrapped around fruit and whipped cream, and "pancakes" so thick and fluffy they rose above the sides of the skillet as they cooked.

As per the Oxford English Dictionary I should properly call my grandmother's pancake recipe "flapjacks," but a more apt description would be to point out all the reasons I adore them -their healthful, hearty whole wheat, the dainty and warm touch of honey, and, best of all, the fact that they are devoid of all the guilt of their famous diner-style cousins but still have every bit of the glorious texture and meltingly delightful flavor.

And since we fix these pancakes nearly every Sunday morning (usually with chocolate chips, or even peanut butter, stirred into the batter!), it seemed fitting that I finally share the recipe...

(P.S. When I visited my parents and grandparents at the beginning of the month, can you guess what we had for breakfast?)

Here's my mother, fixing the glorious batch of pancakes for everyone...

and Dad, awaiting pancakes, cup of coffee in hand...

and Emily, one of my college roommates, who joined us for the grand reunion breakfast, with her pancake creation!

(no photos of me with pancakes this time - as sous chef for the day, I was busy slicing plums. :-)

Grandma's Honey Whole Wheat "Pancakes"

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup honey
2 egg whites
1 cup low fat buttermilk
1 T olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
Optional, as desired: 1/2 cup chocolate chips, or 1/2 cup peanut butter, or 1/2 cup pecans, or 1 cup blueberries

~ Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
~ In a second, larger bowl, whisk together the egg whites, buttermilk, and honey until well blended.
~ Pour the flour mixture in to the egg mixture, and stir until just combined.
~ Stir in the olive oil and vanilla, again just until combined. Fold in any of the optional additions, if desired...
~ Heat a large, non-stick skillet, coated with cooking spray, over medium heat. Pour pancake batter onto skillet in individual "pancake" portions about 1/3 cup each. Cook until lightly browned on each side, turning once. Between each batch of pancakes, re-coat the skillet with cooking spray.
~ Serve warm, with your choice of toppings: maple syrup, whipped cream, fresh fruit, honey, molasses, etc, etc... :-)

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Five Pound Bag of Pinto Beans, Part 1

As part of the continual quest to economize, I resolved to grocery shop minimally while Zach was in Alabama - purchasing only fresh fruits and vegetables, and using our blessedly full pantry as my source for all other, non-perishable items. In other words, I've set about on a journey to summer-clean my pantry. Amidst the depths of the shelves, I discovered a 5 pound bag of pinto beans - that we had brought with us when we moved to our current house an entire year ago. We eat beans and legumes quite frequently (excellent, inexpensive source of protein and fiber, etc), but, while I love the approach of cooking dried beans only, the reality of school and work and not enough hours in the day have lead me to canned beans, which, while a wee bit more expensive than the dried version, are still so economical (it's hard to fuss over something that costs $0.50 for 30 oz.) that I warrant the time saved worth the compromise. Hence, throughout my many days of bean cooking during our year here, the large sac of pinto beans worked its way gradually to the margins of our pantry...

Until a few nights ago, when, I concluded that the pinto beans finally deserved their due. In my enthusiasm, however, I decided to cook The Whole Bag. I soaked them overnight, employing my largest bowl, and, when I went to boil them the next day... The Beans Had Expanded. Why this fact of bean cooking escaped me, I have no idea, because I've spent most of my culinary life cooking dried beans, but somehow I had gotten so carried away that my refrigerator suddenly contained a passel of beans far too large for even my largest stockpot. Half the beans stayed in the fridge, uncooked, and the other half has been comprising the main ingredient of my meals ever since. Yes, all of my meals, because I had overlooked one other important factor - I'm only one, rather small person who doesn't eat very large quantities... and I would probably have to eat 6 full meals a day to even attempt to finish all those beans before Zach comes home.

So, pinto beans and I both will await Zach's return. In the meantime, I've been trying to discover just how many ways one can prepare pinto beans...

(Un)Refried Beans

(On a side note, I've always been baffled by the title of "Refried Beans." No, my comprehension of the word parts "re" and "fried" has not escaped me, I've just never understood why the inherently creamy, smooth, soothing nature of refried beans requires the copious amounts of fat and oil most recipes call for... We fix our refried beans with just a wee bit of olive oil for sauteing the onions, and find the results every bit as luscious and satisfying as one could wish! Here's to happy unrefrying!)

2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked in water overnight, then boiled until soft, and drained
1 T olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 1/2 T chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp oregano
1 to 2 cups water
3 heaping T vegetable bouillon powder, or 4 vegetable bouillon cubes

~ In a large soup pot, saute the onions in the olive oil over medium-high heat until the onions are soft.
~ Stir in the chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne powder, and continue sauteing for 1 minute or so - just until the spices are fragrant.
~ Add the beans, oregano, and 1 to 2 cups water (depending on how thick or thin you like your beans). Stir in the bouillon.
~ Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed to keep the beans from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the beans are very soft - approx. 1 hour. (After an hour or so they will be ready, but they can also simmer quietly and patiently on the stove for at least 3 hours if needed.)
~ Using a potato masher (yep, a potato masher!), smush the beans until most of them are mashed, and the texture is mostly (but not all the way) smooth.

~ Serve warm, either by themselves, or...

- with cheddar cheese or soy cheese, sour cream or soy cream cheese, and salsa

- on top of a salad (as I did for lunch yesterday)

- with taco-spiced ground turkey, beef, or soy crumbles, cheddar cheese or soy cheese, and sauteed peppers and onions (as I did for supper yesterday!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry Salad

Despite my resolve to eat in a balanced, complete way (that does not consist of eating three meals of cold cereal a day) while Zach is in Alabama, I still found myself having a staring contest with the contents of my pantry a few nights ago. I fancied some cauliflower, but I seemed to be unable to progress beyond "cauliflower." It was just me and the cats in the house, I was faced with mountains of homework from my first week back in nursing school, and my goal was to whip up a hearty, one-dish salad of sorts, but my preoccupied brain just wasn't able to gather it's usual enthusiasm for simple, pure cauliflower. I most frequently steam cauliflower and savor it's creamy flavor with just a bit of salt and pepper, but sometimes, even one's cauliflower needs a reawakening...

So, after I steamed the cauliflower, I stirred in some curry spices... and some chickpeas for protein and extra fiber... then added some raisins. I had a bounty of lovely romaine lettuce on hand, so I put the tender leaves to work as a base for my quickly concocted cauliflower curry, and finally gilded the whole ensemble with a perfectly ripe sliced peach, and a good dollop of fat free yogurt! I was still slightly distracted throughout the creation of the dish, and it wasn't until I'd settled comfortably at my desk with the aforementioned plate of salad and curry, pulled out my notes, and took the first bite, that the cauliflower suddenly had my full attention...

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry Salad

3 cups cauliflower florets
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup raisins
2 T minced onion
1 T of your favorite curry spices (I used coriander, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves)
Romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
2 peaches, sliced
Plain fat free yogurt OR soy yogurt

~ Steam the cauliflower until just crisp-tender.
~ In a dry, nonstick skillet, cook the chickpeas, cauliflower, raisins, onion, and curry spices over until just heated through, stirring occasionally.
~ To serve, place a nice pile of romaine leaves on a plate, and top with the cauliflower mixture, a sliced peach, and a generous spoonful of yogurt or soy yogurt! Simple!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Moon Rock Cupcakes!

Cupcake batter + neon food coloring + kids = one huge fun adventure (and one huge mess! :-)

When one of my classmates invited me to join her family for grocery shopping, cooking, and dinner (I know a friend knows me well when they invite me to grocery shop and cook, knowing full well that I could think of no better way to spend an afternoon in good company...), I decided to show up as a sort of chef a la Mary Poppins, toting a large shoulder bag from which I produced 2 pounds of flour, some raw sugar, my favorite recipe for vanilla cupcakes, and bottles of neon food coloring!

During the course of the afternoon, flour went one way, sugar went another, an egg landed on the floor, and I was continuously delighted with the enthusiasm of my two young co-bakers. They mixed, measured, helped me calculate how to double the recipe, and, perhaps most importantly, blended neon-colored batter with all the nimble dexterity of an abstract painter... The pure colors were dramatic in their own right, but by far the greatest success was a blend of all the colors, which, surprisingly, didn't turn out black, as I'd predicted, but rather a deep, vibrant blue! As soon as I pulled the first batch from the oven, my classmate's two kids instantly chorused: "They look like moon rocks!"

Having no authority on moon rocks myself, I gladly trusted their opinion... and was thankful to have spent an evening in the company of such uplifting creativity.

In a child's eyes, a cupcake can become the moon...

Moon Rock Cupcakes

3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup light vegan margarine or butter
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups raw sugar
4 eggs
1 cup reduced fat milk or soymilk
1 tsp vanilla
Any and all colors of food coloring
Whipped cream or your favorite frosting

~ Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line approx. 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
~ In a large bowl, cream the vegan marg (or butter) and applesauce until smooth.
~ Add the sugar, and beat until fluffy.
~ Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
~ Add the flour alternatly with the milk, beginning and ending with flour, stirring until just combined after each addition and pouring in the vanilla with the final milk addition.
~ Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tins, filling the tins a generous 3/4 full.
~ Bake for 20 to 25 minutes - until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
~ Serve warm or cool, topped with whipped cream or frosting!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Humble Food: Barley and Lima Beans

The last time Zach was out of town, I simply ate cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This makes for very bad "cooking for one" habits, I know, but I am blessed to have become so used to cooking for the two of us, or, better still, cooking together for the two of us or a dinner party we're hosting, that my cooking habits from the days when I did live alone seemed very distant and vague. My other, more reasonable justification for such an unvaried diet were my daily 13-hour shifts at work, which saw me skipping lunch and coming home so exhausted that I barely had the appetite even for cereal. Regardless, over the course of those 8 days, I lost more weight than was prudent, and resolved not to repeat the scenario.

At the moment, I find myself facing the situation again. Zach is fulfilling an Air Force military training obligation, and will be away from home for some time longer - 22 more days, to be exact. I miss him desperately, especially at times like now, in the evening, just after supper, when the house is very quiet and large and empty, and I am endlessly wishing he was here.

I haven't had cereal for supper once, though. In fact, I was rather proud of myself for even aesthetically plating my simple, soothing supper of barley and lima beans last night... One of those "so straightforward it's not even quite a recipe" dishes, it was every bit as nourishing and hearty as it was unfussy. So, whether you live on your own, as I once did, or occasionally find yourself on your own and missing someone, as I am right now, or simply find yourself in a Very Big Hurry, this is for you... Because I've been there. And you still need to cook supper.

Barley and Lima Beans

1 cup dry pearled barley
3 cups vegetable broth
2 T vegetable bouillon powder
2 cups lima beans
2 tsp vegan margarine OR 2 T parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

~ In a saucepan or rice cooker, stir together the barley, broth, and bouillon powder, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed.
~ Meanwhile, steam the lima beans on the stove-top or in the microwave (I microwave mine - super fast steaming!)
~ Stir the vegan margarine or Parmesan cheese into the lima beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
~ When the barley is cooked, scoop a serving into a bowl and pack firmly. Upend the bowl over a plate to create a barley mound on the plate.
~ Scoop up a serving of lima beans, and scatter across the barley! Ta da!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

No Croutons Required: Cilantro Infused Eggplant

Eggplant is much like any one of my unintelligible grammar school drawings that I still, to this day, remember my mother faithfully posting on the refrigerator - there has to be deep love in one's heart for it to be declared beautiful. Even I, with a true, lifelong, deep and abiding love for eggplant, have to admit that it's not the most aesthetic of vegetables - just as I sincerely hope that my mother sensed, somewhere deep in her brain, that my vague sketches of ponies were not even remotely Picasso-esque.

But I still do adore eggplant. My fondness for eggplant began somewhere around the impressionable age of 4 or 5, when, on occasion, my mother would head off to an evening meeting or whatnot and leave my father and I to our own defenses. At the time my mother did all of the household's cooking, yet also firmly believed that my father was capable of "figuring out something" for supper if the need arose. Invariably, the same pattern would occur: my father would set me on the counter to 'supervise,' produce several enormous, purple globes from the fridge, and fry eggplant for us. French fries or any other fried indulgence still pales in comparison to my recollections of those crispy, tender, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, big, circular rounds of eggplant.

So while eggplants are indisputably most beautiful in their sensuously purple uncooked state, I still see the cooked, mushy-gray version with the adoring eyes of that child sitting on the counter, cooking eggplants with Dad so many years ago.

Beauty comes in many forms, does it not?

I'm sending this post to one of my very favorite food blog events: No Croutons Required! Created by Holler of Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen, this fabulous monthly event is an endless source of vegetarian soup and salad inspiration. Since this month's theme is favorite herbs, I just had to submit a recipe that is a double favorite - it's filled with cilantro, my current favorite herb (yes, I confess, my herb allegiances change regularly, just as my favorite books and cookbooks do as well...), and it's our Absolute Favorite Eggplant Recipe Of All Time. I first assembled the recipe years ago, back when I was working some boring job by day and catering by night, and I liked the recipe so much that I actually had the presence of mind to recreate it, carefully noting the components. Over the years it lapsed into the back of a notebook, until I fixed it for Zach on a whim a few months ago, and since then it has become a regular fixture in our house... One might even call it our "house" eggplant (can one have a "house eggplant?").

Cilantro and Spice Infused Sauteed Eggplant Salad

½ cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 large eggplants, diced
½ cup honey
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp curry powder
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and black pepper to taste
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped

~ Soak the eggplant in salted water for 5-10 minutes, then drain and dry.
~ Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
~ Add the onion and sauté over high heat for 2-3 minutes.
~ Add the eggplant and cook until lightly browned (4-5 minutes), stirring occasionally.
~ Reduce the heat to low, and add the honey, wine vinegar, cumin, curry, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Cover and continue to cook until eggplant is tender yet still moist - approx. 1/2 hour.
~ Remove the dish from the heat, add the cilantro and combine, and add any additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, perhaps with some pita to help scoop up the flavorful sauce...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Returning to Cakes, Plain and Fancy

Much like Red Velvet Cake, coconut cake is a southern institution - so much so that I've already posted about Miss Sharon's famous coconut sheet cake, lusciously dripping with coconut syrup. Reviewing said post, however, which occurred back in the early days of my blog when I was both the writer and sole reader of my posts, I realized I had applied the title "Of Plain and Fancy Cakes..." without further explanation! You see, old cookbooks had a beautifully peaceful way of categorizing all manner of cakes under the two simple headings of "plain cakes" and "fancy cakes." And since I adore old cookbooks and recipes (especially really really old, 18th century recipes!), I often nostalgically long for the days when only two primary "kinds" of cakes existed, as I try to decide between the complexities of, say, espresso mocha chip pound cake and raspberry lemon chiffon with coconut mousse...

A traditional southern coconut cake is definitely a "fancy cake." Bedecked with clouds of curling coconut shavings, light, fluffy icing, and as many layers as you can manage, coconut cake is the cake for An Occasion...

such as Mr. Alden's birthday... Zach and I stayed in Louisiana a day later than planned, ostensibly to avoid a traffic pile-up, but really it was all an excuse to bake Mr. Alden's favorite cake for his birthday weekend. Alas, this was during the period of time when I thought my camera was lost and gone forever, so I am bereft of coconut cake photos... but instead I have two recipes for y'all!

After feting with merriment and coconut cake, you may find yourself longing for, well, a 'plain cake...' One with hearty, healthful oatmeal, smooth and luscious raspberries, and the earthy notes of cinnamon... The amazing Strawberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars created by Kevin of Closet Cooking, who always awes me with his culinary artwork, inspired me to create a cake that incorporated all the summertime delights of a fruit cobbler...

but first...

Classic Southern Coconut Cake

3 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup butter or light vegan margarine, softened
2 cups raw sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted
Approx. 2 cups sweetened coconut
Vanilla Frosting

~ Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9" round cake pans.
~ Toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
~ Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until the butter is fluffy.
~ Gradually add the sugar to the butter, beating until well combined.
~ Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
~ Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beating just until combined after each addition, beginning and ending with flour.
~ Stir in the vanilla.
~ Fold in the unsweetened coconut.
~ Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
~ Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until combined.
~ Pour into the prepared cake pans, and bake for 20 minutes - until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
~ Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out of the pans to cool the rest of the way on the wire racks.
~ Using dental floss (yep, dental floss!), slice each of the two cakes in half to create 4 layers. Spread vanilla frosting and a generous handful of sweetened coconut between each layer. Finish by frosting the top and sides, then coating the top and sides with the remaining coconut!

and now for...

Raspberry Cobbler Cake
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups raw sugar
1/2 cup light vegan margarine or butter
1/2 cup applesauce
2 eggs
1 T vanilla
3 1/2 cups rolled oats, divided
1 1/2 cup all-fruit raspberry jam

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 11X9" baking pan with cooking spray.
~ Whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
~ Cream the raw sugar, vegan margarine, and applesauce together until well combined.
~ Beat in the eggs and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.
~ Fold in the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
~ Stir in 2 1/2 cups oats.
~ Spread 2/3 of the batter into the baking pan.
~ Top the batter with the raspberry jam, smoothing with a spoon.
~ Stir the remaining cup of oats into the remaining batter, and drop by rounded tablespoons on top of the raspberry jam.
~ Bake for 28 min - until golden. Cool, then slice and serve... preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

On the Road Again...

As y'all have probably guessed from my quiet absence from posting (apologies!), I'm out of town again... I'm much further north this time, visiting my grandparents in their retirement home apartment and catching up with friends from college days. I return home tomorrow, though, and I have so much to write about I can hardly resist giving hints about what's coming up next! But that would spoil the fun... ;-)

(psssst... Coconut cake... shhhhh...)