What's your design inspiration? My muse is often one of my favorite things...yummy, delicious foods! So when Spoonflower, the lovely print-on-demand fabric company, posted the weekly competition was about PIES I knew I was up for entering!
Just last fall I discovered a wonderful recipe on Kathy Patalsky's "Healthy. Happy. Life." blog (http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com). It's her Vegan Caramel Apple Pie and it is delicious! I've made it several times, including her recipe for crust (which melts in your mouth!) My favorite way to make the apple pie is with about half the apples WITH peel on (getting those good nutrients) and about half peeled. The pie pictured here used some tart green apples and I hadn't made my caramel sauce yet. Check out Kathy's recipe here
and dig in to warm, sweet, cinnamon and ginger-infused soft apples in a flakey, buttery crust.
So when it came to creating a design for pies...well, I knew apple was my pie of choice and I get a big sense of satisfaction from making this pie from scratch. From rolling out the crust to peeling the apples, this process is a good activity to share with my kids and when it's done, it's just that much sweeter to eat!
Progress takes lots of experimentation and the courage to fail. And actual failing. That's a necessary step in the move towards the great stuff.
At least this is what I tell myself as I look at my banana bread.
Okay. So it didn't turn out anything like I had hoped. I saw this recipe online for a Paleo diet inspired banana bread and I was intrigued. I liked that the bread did not use sweeteners and regular flour. Coconut flour or almond flour instead. I'm trying to get away from using too much flour and sugar. And the pictures were lovely. Dense, perfect slices of warm banana bread goodness. I salivated. My bananas were ready as I attempted to veganize the recipe. Instead of 4 eggs I used half applesauce and half Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer. Maybe that was my error? And they said instead of melted butter you could use Coconut oil. That could be it? Sigh. I don't really know. All I know is I looked in the oven when it was almost all baked and the loaf was high and golden and grand and I was feeling a little giddy.
Then 5 minutes later the timer went off and it looked something like this.
Oh. Well it still smelled good. When it cooled enough to try it my husband declared it tasted like nothing really, maybe a plantain. He made himself a smoothie for desert instead. I tried it and decided it was more like warm baked banana pudding. It was okay.
Of course that was once I drizzled it with honey and added soy vanilla ice cream on top. THEN it was okay, but go heavy on the honey. And heavy on the soy ice cream.
It has been 2 years...exactly 2 years today...since our great friend Bryan died unexpectedly. It is Memorial Day today and the anniversary of his death and it feels like I can finally talk about it without crying. Typically we would have had him and Susan and the girls over for a holiday bbq and we would have swam in the pool and drank celebratory amounts of beer and wine. The grill would be going and he would have arrived with a cooler full of food and drink, probably brats and who knows what else. Bryan could make anything and everything funny and a rousing culinary event. The kids would be making lots of noise and the dogs would be barking as the kids jumped in the water and squirted them with mega-blaster squirt guns. General merriment would be the order of the day.
That was our regular routine. How fitting Bryan should exit this world, staking his memorial claim, on a weekend known for BBQs and relaxing with friends. We all know what Memorial Day is really- paying tribute in memorial to those who have served our country, those who have died to protect the very life we have here. For me, Memorial Day will always also be about remembering our dear friend. We miss him greatly. So in the very spirit of all that is Bryan, today we cook and enjoy each others company. And spend time with the kids. And splash in the pool. And drink mimosas. And eat good food!
We were lucky to have Susan here today with the kids. And I believe Bryan would have loved brunch. We had tacos inspired by Rick Bayless' Chorizo Potato taco recipe and fruit salad and bagels with cream cheese, lox and tomatoes. I started with Rick's recipe and veganized it and added some other touches. It was yummy! Also, Rick Bayless makes tomatillo and avocado salsa from scratch and I use a jar of organic tomatillo salsa from Sprouts. It's the lazy way but, hey, it's the holiday and the mimosa's and pool are calling...
Vegan Chorizo Potato Tacos:
Vegan Chorizo from Trader Joe's (fantastic! You would not know it is soy- tastes amazing)
2 large sweet onions
One package frozen hash browns (I use Trader Joe's 20oz. frozen bag)
zucchini (how every many you like, I roast a tray of about 6 small-medium sized ones at a time)
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Sour cream if desired (I use vegan sour cream- Follow Your Heart or Toffuti)
First I roast the zucchini. Cut them into quarters the long way then about 1/2 to 3/4 inch chunks. Mix with some olive oil. Spread on a pan, sprinkle on some garlic powder and sea salt if you like and roast at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes.
While the zucchini cook I start one pan with a little olive oil and slices of sweet onion. Saute the onion. As the onion browns and gets more dry, add a little water to help it cook and soften. I keep this onion separate as a topping for the tacos.
In another large skillet, brown the other onion which you've chopped/diced into small pieces. As the onion softens, add the soy chorizo (without the casing) and mix. Once heated, remove the chorizo and onion mixture and add a little more olive oil to the pan. Add the frozen hash browns and cook till they are browning and cooked through. Add the chorizo mixture back into the pan with the hash browns and mix together. This is your taco filling.
For tacos, let people layer in as they like. We make them with the potato/chorizo mixture on one side of the tortilla, add roasted zucchini, sauteed onions, tomatillo salsa, avocado and cilantro. Fold the tortilla over (like a hard shell taco looks). Add sour cream if you like.
I've been working at incorporating more raw vegetable dishes into our diet. This was the latest experiment and it is simple and quite tasty! The sesame oil gives the salad a wonderful flavor and it's crunchy, colorful and fresh. The cabbage also lasts well for a number of days in the refrigerator.
Simple Asian Cabbage Slaw
Green cabbage, about 1/2 a head, sliced into thin strips or grated.
Shaved carrots (I used the precut bagged ones from Trader Joes), about 1/2 to 1 cup
Sugar Snap Peas, 1/2 cup cut diagonally into small slices
Sesame seeds, shake in to desired amount
2 TB Sesame Oil
3 TB Rice Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
Shop Robin's Designs
© Robin Pickens Inc. All rights reserved. No images may be reproduced without permission.