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!