Vida Vegan MoFo, huzzah! I’m lucky this post actually fits with the theme so I have a legitimate excuse to be blogging about Vida Vegan Con two months late (but wait, I posted a huge VVC post only a month late!).
Joni Newman and I did a cooking demo together at the Pearl District Whole Foods called Backyard BBQ with an Indian Twist, as part of the off-site cooking demo series at Vida Vegan Con. Our menu was Kofta Kebabs with Tangy Tahini Dipping Sauce and Rosewater Lemonade Cupcakes. This venue had a fully stocked kitchen with every appliance you could imagine, a full working stove and oven (well the oven didn’t work too terribly well, but whatevs!), and lots of counter space. And if any ingredients were missing…surprise, Whole Foods is downstairs! It was such a great set up and we could focus on the making food instead of running around checking to make sure we had everything prepare.
Joni and I had so much fun cooking together and talking with the people who attended. The demo lasted an extra half hour, at least! That’s unwritten rule #1 of cooking demos: engage the audience by making the demo into a conversation rather than just talking at them. Then it’s entertaining, everyone is involved, and friendship bracelets are exchanged by the end of it all! Joni and I decided we needed to quit our normal lives and roadtrip around the country with a food demo truck feeding vegans and non-vegans everywhere (who wants to buy us a food demo truck?!).
I’m probably laughing about how I can’t figure out how to use this Kitchenaid. I just made jokes about all the stupid shit I accidentally did throughout the demo. It was entertaining! That’s unwritten rule #2 of cooking demos: make people laugh!
Rosewater Lemonade Cupcakes! Well these aren’t the EXACT Rosewater Lemonade Cupcakes from the demo, but they’re not made out of styrofoam and mashed potatoes or anything.
Friday morning before the conference shenanigans began, I had another off-site demo with KATU-TV, where I made Margarita Biscotti from my upcoming project. I decided I was going to become a ring-wearing person by starting out with this plastic apple ring, but it’s the only one I ever wear and I forget most of the time. But here it is!
The segment from KATU:
Yes, you can get vegan baking ingredients at normal grocery stores, and NO, cookies are not healthy!
Again, those are biscotti from a different day, but they’re the real deal! And again again, I’m super tired and it’s time for bed!
I’m suppose I’m fashionably late to starting MoFo on this blog, but here we are!
My theme this year is documenting the cookbook writing process from my 375 square foot apartment (not sure how big the kitchen is, but less than half of that!). I’ll go over recipe writing, recipe failures, photoshoots, organizing recipes, testing, some blurbs on the actual publishing process, and staying sane throughout it all while going to school full time, doing MoFo on my other blog as well, making progress on the book, and having something like a social life. Writing this book is going to be a little trickier. When I wrote the cookie book, I was living with my parents, a dishwasher, and lots of ingredients, and high school is EASY. Now, I obviously don’t have a lot of space or a car, and photography school is difficult and time consuming. When winter rolls around, the last thing I want to do is go on grocery store runs (bus rides) in the freezing cold. There will be lots of yelling of expletives when I realize I don’t have any powdered sugar, or spill something because I put it too close to an edge, which happens all the time! Luckily, I find myself spending the majority of my food money on flour, sugar, Earth Balance, or crazy baking supplies I want to try out. I don’t have the fanciest dinners most of the time because I HATE doing dishes, but I always do them because it would be gross if I didn’t. I don’t mind doing dishes when it’s cleaning up after baking because cake batter washes off bowls and utensils easily, but with food, that shit gets crusted onto pans and takes a lot of scrubbing to not smell like whatever was cooking. Lately, I’m a big fan of roasting vegetables on a sheet of foil (no cleanup!). But I digress.
The theme for the book this time is baked goods inspired by drinks, so when I have extra time at the grocery store, I’ll look through the soda and tea and coffee aisles at all the different drinks and think about how they would translate into a baked good. I’ve been doing the same thing at coffee shops and with drink menus at restaurants. When it comes to the baked goods based on alcohol drinks, sometimes including liquor in the baked good isn’t necessary, but when it is, planning out those recipes is going to be a whole lot easier now since I turned 21 last week. No more asking people to buy me a bottle of wine and then having to think about how to ration it for a batch of cupcakes so I don’t run out and have to wait until the next time I can get a bottle. And I always feel really bad whenever I have to ask people for favors! So what I’m saying is, the tequila can be free flowing during a baking session because I can just go buy more! Actually, not really. I screw up measurements when I’m not drunk so I don’t like to add fuel to the flame. And I’m not huge on drinking. One of the most exciting things about my birthday was “OMG, I could eat vegan bar food on a regular basis now!”
So for this series of MoFo, I thought I’d start out with a tour of my kitchen and baking supplies. I have two cabinets in my Barbie Dream Kitchen devoted to baking and cake decorating. I lucked out with this apartment since most studio apartments don’t have full kitchens, but mine has a kitchen area and dining space, which is important.
This is my kitchen table. Normally, I don’t sit at it for meals (that dining space was super important, huh?), in favor of the couch by my computer. But I do like to change up the table settings a lot because it’s really fun for me to find new plates, teapots, antiques, and stuff like that, then create a display. I’m also dealing with still life in the domestic space for my art photography work (which never sees the light of the internet) right now, so I’ve been creating new spaces and set ups in my kitchen a lot.
This is the kitchen area. The apartment building was built in the 1930s and it hasn’t changed since then. I even have an functioning icebox which I don’t use because I, uh, have a refrigerator. The icebox is the cabinet below the sink and to the right. It’s used to store bags of flour right now. The glass cabinets in the pillars are used to store my spice collection, mugs/cups/plates (which regrettably have the essence of curry now from being under the spice drawer. Looking to change that set up), teas, and cake decorating stuff in the other glass cabinet.
Microwave, Rishi Teas (local!): Chocolate Chai, Black Tea, Blueberry Rooibos.
Sugar and flour, coffee maker, more tea (and in the cabinet below), basil/cardamom/orange ginger/vanilla bean infused sugars made by my friend Stephanie, Emergen-C from earlier this month when I got strep twice, and wine and chocolate because I’m a fancy gal.
Cake decorating cabinet. L-R, then top-bottom: India Tree sprinkles, Wilton Sugar Pearls (no confectioner’s glaze!), lustre dust, Wilton Food Coloring, a paintbrush, cupcake liners, cookie sticks and cocktail umbrellas, pastry bags, candles, apple cake toppers, Satin Ice fondant, balloons, cookie icing, gummy stars (yummy candy from Whole Foods, but I’ve used them on top of cupcakes), pepper mill (don’t ask), licorice scotty dogs from Trader Joe’s, squeeze bottle, pre-cut 8″ circle cake parchment, mostly broken food processor, mini cake pans, cake bottom things, and dinosaur cake/cookie boxes. I have a really random, kinda small collection and always looking for more stuff.
My oven. That tape measure reads 19 inches across.
KitchenAid, which I just got a couple months ago as a generous gift from my friend Jess who had an extra one!
I present you with the grossest sink ever. I clean it everyday but it still looks gross no matter what.
This is my recipe bulletin board. All the recipes written on the paper slips are color coded by type of dessert with the thumbtacks. There’s an “ideas” section, “recipes in testing” section, and completed recipes are denoted by the side of the paper the thumbtack is on. And a Vegan Milwaukee sticker on the weird circle-y thing on the wall.
I used to have a bunch of zines lined up on that ledge, but they kept falling onto the stove and that was not good because the pilot light is REALLY hot all the time. The last zine standing is Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk, issue 2.
My baking cabinet. There’s lots of random stuff in there such as three kinds of rosewater, lavender buds, matcha, cacao nibs, cola extract, ice cream extract (I can’t get that bottle open!), agar, pomegranate molasses, pink salt…
Grains, spices (maybe I’ll move the rest of my spices into here!), sauces, nooch
Beans, canned goods, breakfast-y food, snacks
Refrigerator exterior, complete with a card signed from my landlady’s cats
Ted Leo ticket stub and magnetic letters
Top of the fridge. Glasses, plates, some zines (the rest fell off)
Inside of the fridge. You caught me on a day far away from my last grocery shopping trip. And I don’t normally have a giant box with a white chocolate biscoff cheesecake in my fridge made by Jess, but a girl can dream.
Veggie bin, chocolate bin including truffles from Canary Confectionery
Milks, grape soda from when I made grape soda cupcakes (which will be in one of these upcoming posts!). I also bought root beer and cream soda that day for cakes, which will also be a MoFo post.
Pots n pans
So, I hope you enjoyed this look into my kitchen. It’s nothing fancy by any means, but it’s where I’ve been baking and photographing for the past year almost. I even made deep fried yeasted donuts in here. Kitchen space shouldn’t be a limitation!