Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cooking from VeganMoFo: 2011

While VeganMoFo was a while ago, I continue to be inspired by the recipes and posts from that month. It is a shame to let all those awesome, creative ideas fade into memories of MoFo past. Therefore, I am making it a New Year pledge to make at least one recipe a month from MoFo-land. Here are my top 12!

1. These steamed BBQ seitan buns are high on my list because I have never steamed bread before.
2. As a Saskatchewan-born gal, I really appreciate these Ukrainian Cabbage Rolls.
3. After purchasing some adzuki bean paste, I am definitely inspired to try this alternative Sweet Potato Paste (with accompanying recipe ideas!)
4. VeganMoFo may as well have been the month of vegan tacos! I was particularly inspired by these Bourban Seitan tacos!
5. Bread risen with salt? Sounds like a challenge! I accept!
6. Quick flat breads make me happy. Chickpea flour makes me happier. Mix 'em together and this happy clam can make some socca.
7. Homebrewed Kombucha
8. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies - identical to the ones consumed during my non-vegan childhood.
9. Easy, breezy, homemade coconut milk.
10. Fermentation city with these Daikon n'Mustard Pickles.
11. I always eye the plaintains in the grocery store - but almost never purchase any for want of ideas however this mashed plaintain recipe looks awesome.
12. Homemade Dill Pickle Potato Chips. No more info needed.

Falling under 'Awesome-idea-and-really-want-to-do-but-probably-will-never-actually accomplish is:
a. Fresh Homemade Yuba From Scratch

Honourable Mention:
One of my favorite mo-fo posts is this one about cooking playlists.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wed

Cactus Fruit.
Las Vegas.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gingerbread House: Inspiration

Christmas is such a hectic time of year. We are actually 'doing Christmas' this year. Usually we are too busy with school and family to set up a tree and make Christmas eve dinner for my husband and I. However, this year is different. We will be getting a tree. I will be cooking Christmas eve dinner. There are various Christmas traditions that have been on my list for a long time. Traditional fruit cake. Mulled wine. Christmas Pud. I know I won't get all those traditions accomplished this year but I will be making a Gingerbread house. 

Building a gingerbread house can be intimidating as they can morph into architectural achievements. I am sure that my humble house will be nowhere as beautiful, accomplishedintricate or beautiful as these houses.

There are two main veins of gingerbread house. The fantastical candy covered house of fairy tale lore and the replica of the realistic modern house. My favorite interpretation of the second category is the 'cabin in the woods' type of house. I have fantasies about creating a version of this type of house this year.  

The details of these houses that I love are the pretzel siding and fence (which I probably won't be using this year), and the use of rock candy (which I hope to use). I also love the shreddie roof, icing icicles and peppermint pillars. I also love how elegant the piped royal icing looks.

In contrast, but also very inspiration is this modern gingerbread interpretation.
My current gingerbread plan is to combine some of the elements from these various houses to make a beautiful gingerbread house. Wish me luck!
What's your top hints regarding Gingerbread House building?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Food Podcast: The Sporkful

There is a really great podcast called 'The Sporkful' that brings humour and craziness to the discussion of food. The tag line of The Sporkful is that 'It's not for foodies, its for eaters!' Hands down the best episode of The Sporkful was episode 62: Call in Smorgasbord #5 in which they discuss the proper classification of milk when consumed with cereal. Is the milk a beverage? is it a sauce? is it an ingredient? Some fascinating discussion going on there.

The Sporkful put out a call for more debates/rants/innovations regarding food for a new series of call ins. I emailed them the following...

Popcorn is one of man's better inventions. The metamorphosis from tiny yellow kernel to bright, white flaky cloud is pure majesty. However, popcorn's majesty is violated when consumed immediately upon popping. Fresh popcorn includes shrapnel in the form of 'old maids', which can cause grave bodily harm. The seasonings and toppings that popcorn is anointed with merely slide off the hot white surfaces. The holy grail of popcorn is the day-old variety. Seasonings and toppings have a chance to marinate into the crevices of the flaky popcorn giving the consumer a revolutionary experience. Day-old popcorn is safe as there is no danger of a hot 'old maid' sliding down your shirt or landing in your underwear clad lap. As an added bonus, unseasoned day old popcorn makes a lovely breakfast cereal in combination with wholesome milk. The day-old phenomenon is especially pertinent in relation to microwave or movie theatre popcorn.

Maybe I'll be podcast famous soon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wordless Wed: Candied Ginger

Candied Ginger is so easy and has the added bonus of making the house smell amazing. I reccomend making this for the foodies in your life. They will love you for it! I do not think I will be purchasing candied ginger again. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bread Baking Day #44: Round up!

So many delicious loafs of bread this month! It looks like everyone had fun with the autumn theme this month! Lets get right to bread!
Backyana, from German, got in the spirit when she made a delicious looking loaf of pumpkin bread.
Reshmi, also from Germany, got adventurous with her healthy whole wheat banana loaf.

Another adventurous German, Stefanie, entered this awesome three grain bread with cider.
Continuing in the healthy trend, is American Heather with her whole wheat pumpkin rolls.
Cathy, from the USA, thought that pumpkin rolls were the way to go this month as well, thus she baked up some pumpkin yeast rolls.
In a very different and interesting vein is Connie, from Thailand with her Kanelbullar with Cardamon and Cinnamon.
Chaosqueen, from Germany, made this awesome looking loaf with cranberries.
Tristen, living in England, baked an awesome rustic loaf this month.
In contrast to Tristen's rustic loaf, Pamira, from Spain, made a light and elegant pizza.
The theme was interpreted in yet another way when Sravani, from the USA, made this apple bread.

It seems like American Judy, enjoyed this month's theme and enjoyed the Herbed Carrot Clover Leaf Yeast Breads she baked this month.

Priya, from France, made some awesome looking Herbed Whole Wheat Bread.
Cinzia, from Italy, made Grissini.
Manuela, from Brazil got into the theme with Pumpkin and nut swirl buns.

Zorra, the creator of BBD, made an awesome Bread with Walnuts this month.
Of course there is my Autumn bread. Multigrain Sour.
I love the varied interpretations of the theme this month. Creativity rocks! Thanks everyone for participating!
Cinzia from cindystarblog will be hosting next month's BBD. Stay on the lookout for December's theme!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

News for December

Last month I stated some of my November goals. I'll say I was partially successful as I completed the blog tour, the hosting of Bread Baking Day #44, some recipe testing photos, and a wordless wed about a pie I made from Vegan Pie in the Sky. I think I was partially successful in the commercial Kvass taste testing and I have a really logical reason for not doing more. The other two kvass types I have in the fridge are 2L bottles. I'm reluctant to open them because I am not a big soda person and am saving them until Christmas holidays when there are more people around to help consume it! I have no excuse for not making a homemade version though! I did not complete the MoFo round up or the opinion piece on the recipe testing process but I'm okay with that. Real life kind of kicked my butt last month! I'm sure December will be better. Yes - that was sarcasm!

  • Best of MoFo roundup
  • Commercial Kvass taste testing 
  • Opinion piece about the recipe testing process
  • Bread Baking Day round up
  • Edible Christmas gifts
  • Vegas!!!
  • Gingerbread House inspiration
December is gonna be a crazy month around these parts but hopefully I'll get it all done!

I am heading to Vegas for a few days, if anyone has food related tips I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wed

Vegan Pie in the Sky
Pucker up Raspberry Pie
Balsamic Vinegar

Friday, November 18, 2011

Drinking: Lidsky Kvass

I've been slightly obsessed with fermented foods as of late. (blame Sandor Ellix Katz author of Wild Fermentation) After my kvass adventure in October I wanted to try a commerically prepared version of kvass, so I sent my husband to a Russian market in Toronto. He brought me three bottles of kvass. It's now a few weeks later, and I have finally cracked a bottle.
I opened a bottle of Lidsky Kvass De Pain. Their website is This kvass is very dark in color. It has a carmel flavor with background notes of molasses and butterscotch. There is very little carbonation. Overall the flavor is akin to a cola, but with more refinement and complex flavors.
I drank the first glass straight but then I added some spiced rum which was delicious. The rum I use has strong vanilla notes which when added to cola makes a vanilla cola flavor but when added to kvass gives more refinement to the flavors already existing in the kvass. I'm sure the Russian mob would disagree with the addition of spiced rum but it sure was tasty.
Overall, I will drink kvass again and it may replace some of my (infrequent) use of cola but the commercially prepared version is an entirely different product from the homemade version I made previously.
I am excited to open the other bottles of kvass! I see kvass cocktails in my future!
What is your favorite commerically prepared kvass?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest: Brette Sember with The Parchment Paper cookbook

Brette Sember, author of "The Parchment Paper Cookbook: 180 Healthy, Fast, Delicious Dishes" is here to participate in a Winged Snail Q&A, as part of her November Blog Tour.

Q1: You have an impressive publishing resume. Was publishing always a goal for you?
A1: My mother has "books" I wrote before I could write, so books have always played a huge role in my life. I was editor of my school newspaper and literary magazine in high school and majored in English in college. I probably would have pursued that path if I hadn't been discouraged by my parents (I went to law school instead). When I was practicing law and dreaming about leaving my practice, my husband would ask me "What would you do if you could do anything?" and the answer was always "Write."

Q2: The majority of your books have been published using traditional publishing houses. Why did you choose this route? What advice do you have for fledgling authors with respect to dealing with publishing houses?
A2: I started out 13 years ago, when no one was self-publishing. A publisher approached me to write my first book, so it just kind of happened for me that way. I think that if you don't have a big platform then self-publishing is a great way to approach writing. Even if you work with a traditional publisher, you still have to do much of the legwork when it comes to promoting the book, so it really isn't that different of a situation.

Q3: You are also a freelancer. What is the most difficult thing about freelance work? What is the most valuable piece of advice you have received with regard to freelancing?
A3: The worst part about freelancing is the unreliable income. Not only can you not count on the work in any predictable way, but you can't count on anyone paying you when they say they will.
  I think the best way to build a career as a freelancer is to find a niche for yourself and then build upon it. Find something you can write about with knowledge or experience and you are an instant expert. Once you make a name for yourself with that, it's easier to branch out into other topics.

Q4: You have published non-fiction in other areas so how did you get started in food and recipe writing?
A4: Cooking has always been a huge part of my life and I was raised in my grandmother's and mother's kitchens. I like to write about things that matter to me personally, so food was a natural progression. Three years ago, I started a blog called, where I unofficially apprenticed myself to Martha Stewart for a year. I blogged every single day for a year, cooking her food, doing her crafts, buying her products, and basically submerging myself in all things Martha. It was quite an education. I'd always loved cooking, but this one year "apprenticeship" changed everything for me. I learned new techniques, tried new ingredients, gained confidence, and come into my own as a cook. I think it helped me understand who I am as a cook. After the year was up, I continued the blog, still trying Martha's recipes, but I began to post some of my own and I've built upon that in the ensuing years. I enjoyed it so much I started a new blog, with a completely new type of cooking, called, where I cooked in parchment paper packets. The Parchment Paper Cookbook grew out of this blog. I went on to sign for two more food books.

Q5: The Parchment Paper cookbook is about "healthy, fast and delicious" meals. It's not difficult to see where the motivation to write this book comes from. What is a meal that is laborious to make that you enjoy?
A5: When I was doing the Martha project I cooked tons and tons of things that were ridiculous. We're talking about cakes that cost $60 in ingredients, dinners that used 6 pans and 5 bowls and every kitchen tool in the house. Serious, crazy, over the top cooking. I loved it, but it was also exhausting. I don't know anyone who is a fan of doing dishes and I really reached my limit with that. This book grew out of my search for good food that did not require hours and hours of clean up.
 There are lots of things I like to make that take a long time and make a huge mess - brisket, Thanksgiving dinner, yeast donuts, poppy seed cake, stuffed shells, my grandmother's unbelievably difficult sugar cookies - it's a long list. What I love about The Parchment Paper Cookbook is you can make many, many delicious dishes with layers of flavor without having to make a huge mess!

Q6: What inspires you to create recipes?
A6: I just love to make food that tastes good, so I'm inspired by tons of things - dishes I remember from childhood, restaurant meals, things I stumble on in the supermarket, magazine articles, food TV shows, and food I enjoy while traveling.

Q7: What is the most surprising/exciting thing you have discovered that you can cook in parchment paper?
A7: Gnocchi! I really don't like scrubbing that sticky, gooey gnocchi pot and it cooks so well in parchment that you won't believe it.

Q8: You seem to have a lot of different sites relating to your work. How do you manage it all? What is the role of social media/networking sites for your writing career?
A8: I have my main site, I also have a site relating to plus-size pregnancy ( is my blog for parchment cooking; is where I still do some Martha recipes, as well post many of my own; and

Q9: What's next for you - in terms of food?
A9: The Organized Kitchen comes out in January. That's all about getting a grip on your kitchen and making it work for you, with organizing and cleaning tips you can use to make life easier. The Muffin Tin Cookbook comes out in April and is a really fun book about recipes for everything (breakfast, entrees, sides, desserts, and more) made in muffin tins. You wouldn't believe the great things you can cook in muffin tins! I have some other projects that I'm working on as well. I plan to continue writing about food and sharing my recipes!

hey --- that's the same plan I have here on Winged Snail! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

Vegan Nutritionista sent a call out for cookie testers. They are putting together an e-book of veganized Christmas cookies. I quickly responded with a resounding "Yes, I'll test!" and was sent the recipe for these 'Gingerbread Women' cookies. This is an excellent cookie recipe because the spice level is perfect! Pleasant but not too strong. This will definitely become my go-to gingerbread recipe. I think it would hold up to being made into a gingerbread house.
The e-book will be available on the Vegan Nutritionista website and some of the other cookies included in the book are:
Classic Sugar Cookie
Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Frosting
Peppermint Chocolate Bark
Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bread Baking Day #44 - Autumn flavors

I participated in the August version of Bread Baking Day. It was a blast and I got to eat this excellent Sourdough Onion Bread as a result. You can find the complete round up for BBD #43 here. I was super excited to volunteer to host this month's BBD! The home site of BBD can be found here. Another interesting page is the World Bread Day.

View breadbaki...jpg in slide show
I think an excellent theme for November is Autumn Flavors. I am envisioning breads made with root vegetables, pumpkin, squash, cinnamon, nuts and any other flavors that remind you of autumn.
To enter:
Bake some awesome autumn flavored bread then send an email to wingedsnail99 [at] hotmail [dot] ca with the following information:
Your name
Your location
Name of your blog
Permalink for the entry
an image of the bread (100x100)

Deadline : 1 Dec 2011

I'll post the round-up on 5 Dec 2011.
I hope you enjoy the challenge this month! :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

News for Novemeber

So MoFo is over! It was a fun, but slightly exhausting month. I tried to keep up with the MoFo stream, but if you were busy one day all of a sudden there was 800+ entries to read which believe me, takes a couple of hours to do! I feel like MoFo gave me and my blog a kick in the butt. Consequently, it's gonna be a busy and exciting month here at the Winged Snail.

  • Best of MoFo (I'll probably delay this until mid-month, to avoid the exhaustion surrounding MoFo)
  • Commerical Kvass taste testing and notes (also planning a homemade flavored version)
  • Vegan Pie in the Sky! (My copy is waiting for me at the bookstore so I'll make at least one pie this month)
  • Blog tour (NoPotCooking will be stopping by on her tour across the blogs)
  • Hosting BBD!
  • Recipe testing photos
  • Opinion piece on the testing process
Those are the things that have already been confirmed, but there are more things in the works!

Do you like my snazzy new header? Html stuff makes me want to tear my hair out but this month Brenda's tutorial saved me! 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cooking from VeganMoFo: Bread Roundup

Perhaps it was due to my Bread Themed MoFo but it was bread, bread, bread this month!

These pumpkin bagels from Joyful Girl's Cupcakes and Crafts look awesome.
This 'Trapper's Bread' from Killerbunniesinc has been added to my list.
Killerbunniesinc also made this gorgeous Oatmeal Brown Bread that I am dying to try!
These steamed buns, from Meet the Wikos look awesome. I've been dying to try steaming some bread and this photo is inspirational!
Salt risen bread is another techqnique I want to try and this loaf from I-40 Kitchen makes it seem possible.
These Paczki from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs look like they would be as much fun to eat as they had making them.
The Kitchen Operas made this awesome looking whole wheat flatbread that I have to try.

Anyone else have any fav bread recipes from MoFo that I should add to my list?

Congrads everyone for finishing MoFo! :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I made it! I've blogged everyday this month! MoFo was fun. I found some awesome bloggers that blog with creativity and integrity that have inspired me this month.
To celebrate the end of October, I made the Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies from 'Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar'. To that end, I've posted said cookies with several of my cookie jars. Also, DO NOT make these without chocolate chips. Trust me!

I hope you've enjoyed my MoFo. Come back tomorrow for a round up of my favorite bread related posts from other bloggers! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dough: Sourdough Tortillas

Tortillas are difficult to take a picture of but this recipe is not difficult to make. It is impossible for me to make perfectly round tortillas (pizza, cookies, pies ect) but it is not impossible to eat all these delicious tortillas in one sitting! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dough: Onion Crackers

These onion crackers are pretty awesome - although next time I would try adding some chives and/or green onion. I would also like to try cooking the diced onion in the oil before adding to the dough. The recipe originally called for one egg which I simply omitted  - with no replacement and it clearly did not matter!

Onion Crackers
2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/3 cup oil
1 cup finely chopped onion

Knead ingredients. Let rest for 30 minutes. Roll out and bake at 350 for 10-20 minutes. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dough: Raisin Rye

This is a hearty but sweet rye bread. I am really enjoying Bernard Clayton's 'New Complete Book of Breads'. I think it was the best $3.99 that I've spent lately!

Raisin Rye Bread
2 cup rye flour
2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 cup hot water
 Mix and let sit overnight.

1/2 cup sultana raisins
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/3 cup brandy
Let sit for 30 minutes

1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm water
add drained raisins

Add to sponge. Knead in 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour. Knead until smooth. Rise one hour. Shape. Bake one hour.

Submitted to Yeastspotting

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dough: Chocolate Banana Bread

This chocolate banana bread is like eating cake for breakfast and what could be wrong with that? I would up the amount of chocolate chips and walnuts though but that's only because I am a glutton.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dough: Pumpkin Bread

I used the pumpkin bread recipe from here but I found the way the ingredients were listed to be awkward so I will reword the recipe below. This is an interesting loaf due to the inclusion of cornstarch and the fact that the batter is very runny. The batter for most quick breads is fairly thick, like muffin batter but this batter was as runny as pancake batter. This bread is moist and pleasantly spiced.

Vegan Pumpkin Bread
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons ground flax (premixed with 6 tablespoons water)
1 cup sugar

Mix (in separate bowl)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Mix wet into dry. Bake in greased loaf pan for 50 minutes at 350. Enjoy.
1/4 cup cornstarch

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dough: Banana Bread

Apparently I am on a 'How it all Vegan!' kick. I have a love/hate relationship to that book. Almost everything I've made from it works out perfectly and is very tasty but I find the recipes to be more like guidelines than actual recipes. The table of contents makes me mad! Sometimes I know the recipe is in the book, but I just can't find it. I think the table of contents issues is what prevents me from buying other books by Sarah Kramer.
Anyways, this is the 'Banana Bread' recipe. It's tasty and sweet but in my head it's a healthy recipe due to the wheat germ and the dates. I recommend this recipe.
I am getting bread fatigued these days - so I plan on making some quick loaves over the rest of the month and slicing and freezing them for lunches.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Liebster Blog award is making the round of MoFo-ers and several bloggers picked me to receive the award!
Michelle, a fellow cookbook collector, at a bit addicted to cookbooks whose collection is not imaginary.
Jess at Cupcakes and Kale takes some awesome food photography - like the pictures of her scrumptious looking apple and salted carmel cupcakes.
Nicole at The French Fry Conundrum has some awesome pumpkin MoFo posts and her Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes are high on my list!

The idea behind the award is to give recognition to blogs that have less than 200 followers. Here is what you do when your blog is nominated for an award:
1. Show your thanks to those who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Link to 5 of your top picks and let them know they've been nominated by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the the award on your blog.
4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the interweb!

I am passing the award along to....
1. The Vegan Version because the concept of making Mastering the Art of French Cooking vegan is awesome and this post makes me want to make some brown butter!
2. Vegan on the Prowl has beautiful photography with warm tones and makes me want to try some Daikon pickles.
3. All you eat is vegetables has an awesome post on seitan ribs that makes me wish it was July.
4. Liz Lemon Lights has an awesome post about cooking playlists that is definitely worth a read.
5. Retro Vegan has a lot of comfort food on her blog, but the one that makes my list is her orange, cranberry and walnut cornbread muffins.

Happy MoFo guys!

Cooking from VeganMoFo: 'Goldfish' Crackers

I was inspired by the beautiful food photography over here. I made this recipe exactly as stated, however next time (and there will be a next time!) I am going to try it with vegetable shortening rather than margarine because I find the finished cracker to be a bit oily. I've never had official goldfish crackers so I don't know how close of a copy this recipe is but I really enjoyed them. I actually had to hurry and take a photograph of them before I ate them all.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

D'oh: Donuts

Apparently this MoFo is a series of posts about my culinary past! One of the first things I bought for my kitchen was a donut pan. I made baked donuts once or twice, but they were stodgy and not very pleasant. Before a move across the country, I got rid of that donut pan. I have since seen a lot of successful donut posts online that make me wish I had kept that pan to give it another go!
I finally caved and picked up a new donut pan and I am certainly glad that I did. These donuts are light, tasty and actually not that bad for you (being baked and not fried).
I used the recipe from here. Overall these were really tasty and I can't wait to try some flavored donuts - pumpkin pie donuts anyone?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dough: Sourdough Biscuits

When I first started cooking I made biscuits all the time. I found them to be quick and satisfying to make as I could start a pot of soup, mix the dough for biscuits and quickly be enjoying fresh biscuits and homemade soup. I felt like a domestic goddess!
In the last several years I have moved on to bigger and better culinary things, leaving biscuits in my wake. However, these Sourdough Biscuits (adapted from How it all Vegan!) may change that! They are flaky, moist and quick! I ate them slathered with butter and jam for supper. The original recipe called for margarine - which I don't usually keep in the house so I subbed it out for vegetable shortening which I always have. Also, my sourdough starter was unfed pretty much straight from the fridge, this meant that it wasn't as hydrated as it usually is, so I added about 1/4 of a cup of water to make the biscuit dough come together.

Sourdough Biscuits (adapted from How it all Vegan!)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter (plus 1/4 cup water)

Mix together flour, salt, baking soda and sugar. Cut in the shortening. Stir in the starter and water. Roll out and cut with biscuit cutter (or use the classic water class as a cutter!) Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350.