Sunday, April 25, 2010

Onward we march

Here we go, another week another Saturday filled with experimental vegan cooking. This past Saturday was particularly productive. By 7am I was out of bed by my own accord. I've always thought sleeping in on a Saturday is a waste of precious free time, unless of course "sleeping in" is actually laying in bed relaxing. Relaxing and sleeping in are two completely different occupations in my book.

By 8 I was dressed and had cleaned a few rooms, paid bills and started making breakfast (steel cut oats - my weekend favorite). By 9 I had enjoyed breakfast, cleaned the kitchen and was in route to the farmers market. From 9 to about 11am I was lost in foodie heaven somewhere between the farmers market, the new HyVee and Clovers, with a quick swing by work to pick up my gym bag I left on Friday.

By the time I got home I was in that agonizing crossroads where you're starving but nothing sounds good to eat, until I remembered that I had impulse-bought a box of frosted mini wheats, my second favorite breakfast cereal, earlier that week. If you're wondering, my first-favorite cereal is cocoa puffs, but since I have a hard time calling this "breakfast" cereal (it's more like puffed dessert-in-a-box) I can't justify buying it more than once every 3 years or so. This means I won't see cocoa puffs in my pantry again until sometime in early 2012 or so. But I digress...

I had spent all morning on the hunt for ingredients for this weekend's feast. I took a small hiatus to visit some friends, Abby and Garrett, and see their new puppy - Titan, a very cute lab/chow mix, and finally, finally watch The Hangover. But by the time I came home it was apron on and sleeves up.

First up, I got an Indian dish called Palak Daal started. The best way to describe it would be a Indian-flavored lentil stew with chopped spinach and tomato. I got this recipe off a favorite site of mine - I highly recommend checking it out. While that was simmering away I switched into baking mode. I had spent a good chunk of my Friday looking for a vegan peanut butter cookie recipe, and the hunt came down to two recipes. One that was also from 101cookbooks and another from a great cookbook called Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by the same authors of Veganomicon, which Emily had sent me via email after asking her for some help (Emily's a much better baker than I am). In the end I chose the latter because it seemed like a much heartier cookie. It's chuck-a-buck full of oats, which was what I was in the mood for this weekend.

So here we are Sunday with the reviews. The Palak Daal was a let down. I've enjoyed several different Indian dishes in the past, and this one wasn't terrible, just not something you really want seconds of. I will give it one plus - it does fill me up. And for those keeping tabs, it's a great source of, what? Protein! I'll be working on the leftovers all week and am hoping to find a way to tweak it into savory submission.

Now the cookies...oh the cookies. The cookies fulfilled every meaning of the word scrumptious. They aren't your traditional criss-cross peanut butter cookie, but they are a chewy, oaty, peanut buttery delight. Definitely the kind of cookie that would pair well with a cold glass of milk whether it's cow, soy or almond. I've posted the original recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar below but I made a few adjustments to my version. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of AP, almond extract instead of vanilla and instead of rolling the cookies in nuts I used chunky peanut butter. I have a thought on switching out the brown sugar for maple syrup next time. So if anyone happens to try these and make that switch, please let me know how it turns out!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 2-1/2 dozen

Peanut butter and oatmeal partner up to create another stick-to-your-ribs oatmeal cookie, even wholesome enough for breakfast if you must eat cookies then. Briefly rolling the dough in salted peanuts really makes this one, so definitely use those over the unsalted variety. For serious ice cream sandwiches, serve this excellent cookie with vanilla chocolate chip dairy-free ice cream.

1 1/3 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups oats
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup creamy natural PB
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup nondairy milk
4 teaspoons ground flax seed
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup roasted, salted peanuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
2. In a medium-size bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Sir in the oats and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat together oil, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, nondairy milk, flax seeds, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in half of flour/oat mixture to moisten, then fold in the remaining half.
4. Place the chopped peanuts in a shallow dish. Drop 1 generous, rounded tablespoon of dough per cookie into the peanuts, pressing the nuts into the dough. Move the dough onto the cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie. Flatten slightly with moistened fingers.
5. Baked for 12-14 minutes until the edges just start to brown. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to racks to complete cooling.

1 comment:

  1. Chocolate cherrios were on sale last week. They are somewhat similar to cocoa puffs...yet, the box says it will lower my cholesterol. Does this make them healthier? They are good in yogurt nonetheless.