Saturday, May 30, 2009


So I spent some time last night uploading photos to Flickr just to beat the 150mb-a-month quota before May ends. Will blog about some of them in the future but someone beat me to one of my photos!

Just a bit of a back story on the photo: I had a victory lunch with the Mano Amiga Dance-a-thon crew last Monday in The Old Spaghetti House in Market Market, Taguig. Thank God they do not have boring pasta for vegetarians. This is spaghetti with sun dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, and ground cashews. Here's a close up:

Good pasta. Not completely filling as the cashews were more of a condiment like cheese, but still good. The roasted garlic was amazing.

For those who don't know who Erik Marcus is who blogged about it up there -- he's one of the vegan bigwigs in America. Has written books on animal rights, has a podcast (which I listen to regularly), and runs the blog, which covers current events, news, and topics of interest in the vegan world.

Just wanted to share :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Baking for scholarships and vegangelism

Last Saturday was the Mano Amiga Dance-a-thon (more info here and here) and I sponsored vegan cupcakes which were raffled off to lucky dancers, given as prizes to the Dancing King and Queen as well as second placers, and given to the deejays and hosts.

Just some photos to share with some commentary...

Preparation actually started the Monday before, assembling the boxes and sticking on the decor and labels by a one-woman-machine while watching the first season of Dexter. Apparently the tear-free tissue paper Hallmark peddles does not stick with mere double sided tape (don't even try regular scotch tape). Good old white glue's the only thing that could make 'em stick.

boxes ready for their minicupcakes.

I actually took a half day vacation leave from work on the Friday before the big day and spent the afternoon baking and making frosting. Started at 3pm, ended at 3am. No idea why I took so long... Oh I made these for dinner and that ate up a good 1 1/2 hrs. Then I took an 1 1/2 break watching more Dexter...

red wine break between frosting duties.
notice the salad bowl cupcake pedestal from this post.

boring old boxes are turned from these...

into these! combo of red velvet, banoffee, carrot cake, and lemon minicupcakes.

1-dozen minicupcake boxes almost ready.

box of 1 dozen minis.
from left to right: red velvet, banoffee, chai latte, lemon

me with the boxes of 4 minicupcakes, ready to hand out to winners.

The fundraiser was a success, the cupcakes were a success. I have nothing to complain about. There are always opportunities when baking for non-animal rights related fundraisers -- I got to talk to the hosts about veganism AND the cupcake recipients would've been made aware about the word "veganism" and what it means.

For those who went -- thanks for supporting!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

OOTW muffins take 2

So I honestly couldn't get enough of these muffins and I still had a cup of mashed banana in the fridge. Those banana chocolate chip muffins sure are tasty and so easy to make. This time I tried to healthify them.

I forgot to purchase a bag of wholewheat flour from the baking supply store earlier but then I remembered I had a bag of wheat germ in the fridge, which was actually almost a year old BUT smelled perfectly fine. A little googling and I found out that you can sub 1/2 to 1 cup of flour in a recipe with wheat germ (as per HowStuffWorks). For these babies I subbed 3/4 cup flour with wheat germ. Instead of doing 1 cup brown sugar, I tried to lighten their color up by doing 1/2 raw, 1/2 brown.

What makes wheat germ healthy? According to this website, wheat germ is a good source of: folic acid (pregnant women need this!), calcium, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, etc etc. It also has this phytonutrient called L-ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant that lowers cholesterol and promotes heart health.

Maybe I should've altered the baking soda or ratio of wet ingredients or something, because they didn't have perfect dome tops that we all love on muffins. They came out brown and squat, and despite the wheat germ? They were soft!

Hmm. While the old school muffins on the left side look a lot prettier, the hippie muffins on the right are healthier and still taste just a good.

Oh and if you're wondering where you can find cheap wheat germ, try Bake Masters along Sucat. Last year I got 1 kg for P60 ($1.25).

Happy muffin making! Need the recipe? Let me know!

PS These could almost pass as cupcakes -- that's how moist and soft they were. You can top 'em with frosting and eat them for breakfast and (maybe) not feel guilty!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Muffins that are OOTW

Just wanted to share these awesome out-of-this-world muffins that I made yesterday afternoon before heading off to set up for the Mano Amiga Dance-a-thon (more on the cupcakes in a future post).

These are banana chocolate chip muffins from The Joy of Vegan Baking and they are aMAzing.

When I have to bake banoffee cupcakes, I try to buy more overripe bananas than I need for them. People of Manila -- if you're looking for bananas that are overripe and don't have to sit in your kitchen for several days to get to that stage, I highly recommend heading to Rustan's Supermarket where they try to keep their displayed bananas all pretty and immaculately yellow. They usually keep their ugly spotty bananas in the back. Just go up to the weighing scale person and ask for overripe bananas. They sell them super cheap too -- while regular bananas cost P35/kg (or $0.72/kg), overripe bananas cost about P15/kg ($0.32/kg)!! Seriously, and this is Rustan's. Overripe bananas are cheaper in Rustan's than in the palengke. I can only vouch for Rustan's Supermarket in Powerplant though. Not sure about other branches.

Anyway, so if you have extra overripe mashed banana lying around, please try these muffins. These are really easy to make and they went well with the omnivores. Frankly I am not a fan of muffins but I am a huge fan of anything with bananas. I've had some bad experience with coffeeshop-bought muffins that are always too hard and dry and bland. But these, man oh man, these were perfectly moist with the perfect crumb. Chewy exterior, tender interior. Not too sweet, even with the chocolate chips. I can almost see myself eating them for breakfast, if only they were made with wholewheat (these ones weren't).

In the spirit of trying to make these healthier (haha) I made them with brown sugar, hence their amber-brown hue.

I'm wondering if these are any good made with some instant coffee mixed into the batter. Hmmmm...

And I still have extra mashed banana lying around...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Win vegan cupcakes for free

Do you live in Manila and are you free this Saturday night? Want a chance at scarfing down free cupcakes AND put poor kids through school?

Join the Mano Amiga Dance-a-thon (MAD)! I'm helping Mano Amiga Pilipinas, a school committed to providing quality international education to underprivileged children, raise scholarship funds. You know how education these days is expensive, and Filipino families in the CD socio-economic classes can't afford to put their kids in good schools, and public schools aren't exactly the best...

By dancing (or attempting to dance) for 6 hours and getting pledges from donors to pay you to dance, help Mano Amiga change the lives of underprivileged Filipino kids!

Learn more about Mano Amiga Pilipinas and the Mano Amiga Dance-a-thon (MAD) here.

Visit the MAD Facebook event page here.

Oh and, how do you get free cupcakes? We're raffling off several miniboxes of minicupcakes! More on my vegan baking business here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Homemade pizza #2 + a sort of media mention

Arghhh, so my one-blog-a-week resolution just went out the window about 3 weeks ago. I don't really have much of an excuse, just that things have been crazy-busy with work and baking.

Oh! Some news-ish. My baking business got mentioned in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a major daily in my neck of the woods. You can check it out here. It's tiny, the article is essentially a list of websites that can help you be more eco-friendly, in the spirit of celebrating Earth Day last April 25. Kitchen Revolution is "eco-friendly" because it's vegan and I don't use parchment paper and disposable frosting bags. Wheee!

Anyway, on to real food. I've ranted in the past about the suckiness of pizzeria-pizza. My feelings have not altered, except maybe they've been a lot more strongly opposed to lazy vegetarian pizzas pizzerias try to sell to us lowly vegetarians. It's like we are afterthoughts! Pizzerias, you know who you are.

I love my aunt / tita Colette because she always tries to accomodate my and my brother's veganism when it comes to food for family reunions or dinners at her home. She invited me and my brothers to an impromptu pizza night last Friday and again, we made pretty awesome homemade vegan pizza which pwns any pizzeria pizza any day.

This time I used mini wholewheat tortillas, which are great because [a] they're wholegrain and [b] they're so tiny you can stuff yourself with 2-3 pizzas and not feel guilty. They crisp up nicely despite the overload of toppings -- I believe the trick is to be sparing with the tomato sauce.

My tita made a thick tomato sauce out of tomato paste, garlic, onions, and basil which tasted surprisingly sweet -- tomato paste is usual sour. It was quite thick, I had to use a spatula to spread it on the tortilla.

Toppings include: leftover roasted vegetables (zucchini and broccoli), roasted eggplant, mushrooms, slivered onion, chopped garlic, sliced green peppers, Italian herbed tofu, and toasted pine nuts. Out of the oven, I added torn arugula leaves, parsley, and chili-infused olive oil. May I just say, pine nuts on pizza are aMAzing. Try it please.

I swear, best pizza ever, nevermind a wholewheat tortilla isn't a traditional pizza crust.

I've got 2 recipes to share: the Italian herbed tofu and the chili-infused olive oil. I employed a version of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Italian marinated tofu from Vegan with a Vengeance. The chili-infused olive oil, I winged it :) Seriously, please don't waste your money on store bought infused oils when you can simply make your own.

Italian herbed tofu

1 block of 350g firm tofu
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar (may use regular)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 cloves of smashed garlic
1-2 tsp each: dried basil, marjoram, and rosemary

oil for frying
brown sugar

Drain tofu and wrap in a dish towel, lumpia style. Place something heavy on top, such as a huge can of tomatoes or a marble mortar and pestle. Let press for 15-30 min.

Meanwhile, make the marinade: mix the other ingredients together in a glass / ceramic bowl or measuring cup.

Slice the drained tofu thinly, like 1/4-1/8 inch in width. Make it thin like how you would slice cheese. This will help crisp up the tofu. Place the sliced tofu in a container and cover with the marinade. Best if you marinade the tofu overnight, but since last Friday was impromptu pizza dinner, I marinaded it for about 15 minutes.

Heat some oil (3-4 tbsp if I recall correctly) in a skillet on medium heat. Fry the tofu slices until crisp on both sides. I drizzle a bit of the marinade and sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on both sides in between flipping -- it makes the tofu all yummy and caramelized. That's it!

Chili-infused olive oil

Place 1/3 cup olive oil in a cold saucepan. Add in about 2 tbsp dried chili flakes. You may add chopped garlic as well (as much as you want). Heat the pan on the lowest heat setting, until you see bubbles appear on the oil's surface. Do not raise the heat! The point is to let the oil draw out the chili's and garlic's flavors, not the fry them.

You can store your infused oil in a bottle in room temperature. Drizzle this lovely oil on anything and everything.

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