Genetically Engineered Salmon? No, Thank You!

21 Jan

I don’t know how I missed this sad piece of news when it apparently was released in December last year. To keep my comment short: The thought of any “engineered” animal makes me feel very upset and uncomfortable.

What do you think? IS GE Salmon a reasonable idea or should the process of bringing us this “Frankenfish” be stopped? (If you lean toward the latter, please go here to let the FDA know!)

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Bake & Make: Cake Pops

20 Jan

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Fact: Having a party or gathering of any kind is a great excuse to bake, cook and be creative.  

Ever since Christmas I have been in a “baking & making mood,” but as I spent the Holiday’s recovering from a cold, I now felt like it was time to throw a party and get some baking going. After going back and forth between mini filo-dough cups with different fillings or mini brownies, I suddenly got my mind set on a whole different concept: Cake Pops.

I have eaten a Cake Pop once, and remember biting in to the chocolate covered lollipop expecting a light cake batter, but getting hit with a rich, moist filling, tasting more like a truffle than a cake. Needles to say, it was a positive surprise, and the thought of Cake Pops has stayed in the back of my mind ever since. So when planning a sweet bite-sized snack, easy to eat at a party, Cake Pops suddenly sounded like the perfect idea: Fun and playful, but with a rich, sophisticated taste.

Browsing the internet for inspiration I noticed that many people made their cake pops from box-cake batter or even doughnut-holes, but I had my mind set on baking, and for me this means starting from scratch. I decide to go with two flavors: Chocolate Peanut Butter and Lemon Blueberry, and to make them vegan, knowing that two of our vegan friends would be coming over.

So for the past two days I spent a few hours in our kitchen, transforming it into a Cake Pop factory – pumping out over 50 cake-balls.

Yes, it was a messy and long process, and yes, my cakes turned out to give me way more pops than I had planned. But I am very happy with the outcome and for the most part, I had fun! Here is a quick overview of the process:

1. Make (or buy) any cake you want to make into pops. Let the cake cool and crumble it to a fine, even, crumble.

2. Mix in your glazing of choice, or anything really that makes the cake-crumble turn into a moist sticky dough (I used peanut butter and banana for the chocolate cake, and vegan cashew “sour-cream” for the lemon-blueberry cake).

3. Shape into small balls. The size of a regular lollipop is good. If you make the balls too big, it will be to heavy to stay on a stick.

4. Cover and refrigerate  for a few hours or overnight. You can also freeze them for one hour if you need to quicken the process. this stage is crucial as the balls must be cold and hard in order to stay on a stick when you coat them.

5. (Next day or a few hours later). Melt chocolate for the coating. I prefer making a double boiler by putting a metal bowl on top of a pot with a little bit of boiling water, but using the microwave works too. I also recommend adding some coconut oil into the chocolate to keep it smoother and give it a nice shine (and it tastes good too!).

6. Dip the tip of a stick in the melted chocolate (I used wooden sticks meant for BBQing…I’m sure you can find real lollipop sticks too if you want to go all out). Put a cake-ball on the stick and dip it in the chocolate. I used a spoon to help pouring chocolate over the ball. Let excess chocolate drip of (patience, patience…). Make sure the whole ball is covered. If you leave cracks, there is risk that the cake-dough starts leaking out of the coating.

7. Set your lollipop aside to dry standing in a glass, or make a “pop stand” out of any empty carton box, poking holes in it to keep your pops standing straight. I used an old cereal box.

8. Keep on dipping and dripping. You can melt different kinds of chocolate to do “paintings” on the pops, or decorate with sprinkles. Let your imagination go wild!

9. The coating will harden in room temperature, but quicker in the fridge. Then you can store your pops in the fridge in a plastic bag or box until ready to be eaten. Enjoy and take a deep breath – you are done! Or well, you are ready to tackle the chocolate-y mess in your kitchen…

Final Words:

Cake Pops – Well, mine turned out tastier and better looking that I had dared to hope for. When I “veganize” recipes they sometimes lack in flavor or texture, so in this situation cake-pops were great: The cake got smashed into a gooey dough, into which I could add more texture and sweetness (like banana to the chocolate cake). The result was moist, rich pops – tasting more like truffles – just like that first cake pop I had. Even my non-vegan friends (who can be skeptical towards anything vegan) seemed to like them.
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So yes, the baking and making was quite a tedious process, and maybe not something you want to do every day. But for a special occasion, or when your “bake crave” hits, Cake Pops can be a fun project. And when it comes to the crowd-pleaser-factor: who doesn’t like a truffle on a stick? 

Rye Revolution?

16 Jan

ImageThis article dropped into my inbox today. I love rye bead, but find it hard to spend 5 dollars on a pack of bread that in my mind still is a “cheap everyday food.” But who knows, maybe a rye-revolution will actually happen, leading to a price-drop? (One can always dream).

Kale

10 Jan

An old favorite of mine, Kale, has made a comeback into my kitchen.

When I first moved to New York I fell in love with this leafy green after I randomly picked it up at the Farmers Market. Unfamiliar with this giant bunch of curly leafs (Kale’s downside – it takes up half of your refrigerator), I mostly just munched on it raw, as a replacement for lettuce. Maybe not the most flavorful way to enjoy it, but I was satisfied and felt like I did my vegetarian body a great favor. Filled with vitamins, iron and quite a surprising amount of protein, Kale is definitely a real “King of Vegetables” worth adding to your meal every now and then.

But as plain raw Kale can lead to a quite bitter experience of endless chewing, I recommend steaming and seasoning it for a tasty side-dish, chopping it fine and mixing it into a salad, or adding it to a stir-fry or soup. 

Right now a big bunch of Kale is waiting in my kitchen to be taken care of, and I will share the recipe for my personal Kale-favorite of the moment with you once it’s all cooked and eaten!

How to eat an 8 + 1 course meal and still feel Great

1 Oct


Zenkichi – Definitely worth a visit! Amazing simple and clean flavors.

Oh and right now, enjoying a great meal comes with an extra “feel good bonus:”

Until October 7th, Zenkichi is gathering donations to the Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund. Donate $20 for a $40 dining certificate to use at Zenkichi or the bar next door, Akariba. Not a bad deal!
 

Finnish School Lunch at MoMA

28 Sep

And I’m not joking.

An exhibition, “The Best School in the World: Seven Finnish Examples from the 21st Century,” will be taking place here in New York of all places beginning October 1st. And as part of the exhibition Cafe 2 at MoMA will serve up “Finnish School Lunch” for $18. There’s a certain irony in the fact that this lunch price is nearly 20 bucks, when the whole “thing” about the school lunches in Finland is that all students eat for free… But I do have to say that I’m extremely curious to know what dishes will be chosen to represent our basic school lunch.

Finnish School Lunch as I remember it.
“Pyttipanna” – one of my favorites back in my carnivore days… (picture taken from wikipedia)

The only thing (I think) I can be sure of to see on the menu is the classic “Näkkileipä,” served as a side with every meal in I believe every school, except on those luxurious few days when you got actual soft bread. In my school there was also a certain trend going on for a while to only eat a few slices of näkkileipä with some margarine and a glass of water. So much for being grateful for the free meals…

Besides this hard bread I honestly think it is hard to pick just one typical school lunch. Boiled potatoes and a meat sauce maybe?

I actually enjoyed quite a few dishes, with oatmeal as my definite favorite! And during the days I still ate meat, “pyttipanna” (hash?) was quite awesome too.

Oatmeal and hash. My favorite food?

Well, I can proudly say that my pallet has grown a bit more sophisticated since those days. And in my defense I can always point to the fact that this was just school lunch. Free school lunch. For every single student in the country before entering higher education. When you think about it that way, oatmeal and hash sounds pretty good, no?

Care-Package à la äiti

25 Sep

Finland might not have the most creative or interesting food-culture, but they do have some of my favorite chocolate and xylitol gum (gum actually beneficial for your teeth, different from the aspartame sweetened American versions…more on this in another post!)

Luckily for me, my dear äiti (mom) is a real chocoholic, and when you receive a package from her on the mail you will Always find a nice selection of goodies. The real purpose of today’s package: Send me my new credit card. The content of the package: six chocolate bars, 2 bags of gum and xylitol mints. Oh, and the credit card…