My First GF Chocolate Ganache Birthday Cake!

gf-chocolateb-cake

Alright. The decoration is not up to per. But this was my first gluten free chocolate ganache cake and was made on and for my combined birthday party. I run out of space for “y” and had to squeeze that in. My name? Other birthday girls’ names? You are asking for too much. I had a lot of fun making this, but it took a couple of hours to decorate since the chocolate frosting was just made and had to be cooled before use it. Otherwise, it would not work. I baked the cake the day before and let it cool in a refrigerator over night which helps frosting to stick to the cake better. Thank you so much, my colleague for teaching me how to decorate this cake, although it was kinda her job. All the guests who ate this cake didn’t taste anything but a moist tasty chocolate cake. Another birthday girl ate the last piece for breakfast next morning.

Ingredients for 2 x 10″ round pan chocolate cakes (I used both to create layering)
Dry:
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup oat flour
1/2 cup arrowroot flour (or tapioca flour)
1 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 Tbsp salt

Wet:
1 box silken tofu
3/4 cup water
2 1/2 cups soy milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 cup oil (canola or sunflower)
1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2  cups maple syrup

  1. Blend silken tofu with water in a blender until it becomes smooth. Put it in a big bowl.
  2. Add the rest of wet ingredients to the bowl. Mix well with a whisk. Set it on a side.
  3. In another big bowl, measure all the dry ingredients in. Mix it well.
  4. Add wet in dry in a few batches. Mix well each time.
  5. Cut a parchment paper to fit the baking pan. Oil the 2 pans. Place the parchment paper in the bottom.
  6. Pour the half batter in the prepared baking pan. Pour the rest into the another pan.
  7. Bake at 350 ºF for 35 minutes or until done. Do a bamboo stick test. Stick a bamboo stick in the middle of the cake and if it comes out clean, it’s done.
  8. Cool it over night before frosting.

Ingredients for chocolate ganache:
2 1/2 boxes silken tofu
1 1/2 Tbsp soy liquid lectin
2 cups dark chocolate chips

  1. Blend silken tofu in a blender until it becomes smooth. Add soy lectin. Let it run again.
  2. Melt dark chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave. 2 minutes in microwave. Stir.
  3. Add melted chocolate in the tofu mixture and blend until it becomes uniformed in color as well as in texture.
  4. Keep it in a refrigerator until ready to use. I put it in a freezer for 30 minutes. I was in  hurry.
  5. Slice off a top of the cakes to flatten it, if they were not flat.
  6. Place one cake on a board or a flat plate cut side up. Put two big scoops of ganache cream on. Smooth it out.
  7. Place the other cake on top cut side down. Press it down with palm.
  8. Smother ganache cream on the side, filling the gap.
  9. Make a thin coat of cream on the top. Let the cake rest in a freezer or a refrigerator for a bit until it sets. Keep the rest of the cream cool, too.
  10. Pile up the rest of the cream on top.

Hey, what do I know about decorating a cake? This was absolutely my first trial. Next one will be better looking.

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Vegan GF Cherry Tart

GF Dark Cherry Tart

GF Dark Cherry Tart

OK. I admit. This photo is not appealing because I took it as an after thought, but it tasted pretty good. I promise. I wrote Cherry Pie in the last quatro birthday bash post. It is more like a tart since gluten free pastry is too crumbly to form a flaky pie crust. I couldn’t manage to do the lace work on the top. The birthday girl loved it nonetheless. I was supposed to go to Union Square Farmer’s Market on the day of the party, but I thought I would not have a time to go, so I decided to make it. This was my first trial. This tart freezes well. You can eat it right out of the freezer, and it still tasted good.

Ingredients for a 9″ pie plate:
2 cup gluten free flour mix
3/4 cup ground nuts (one or more of raw almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, brazilian nuts)
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
3/4 cup earth balance
1/2–3/4 cup cold water
5 1/2 cup pitted cherries (I used frozen)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup arrowroot powder or corn starch
juice and zest of 1 lemon

  1. Make dough: Put gluten free flour mix in a big bowl. Mix in 2 Tbsp sugar and xanthan gum. Scoop up earth balance, put it in the flour mix, crumble the earth balance first with a knife, then with your fingers. Splash cold water onto the flour mix just enough to be able to form a ball. Wrap it with a plastic wrap. Let it sit in a refrigerator for at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium pan, put cherries, 1/2 cup sugar, arrowroot powder, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir to coat cherries. Put it on a medium heat. Stir occasionally. When arrowroot started to thicken the liquid a little bit, turn off the heat.
  3. Roll out the dough between 2 plastic wraps to fit the pie plate. Use fingers to fit the dough to the wall. It’s a crumbly dough. I know it’s difficult to roll out without breaking.
  4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 375 ºF.
  5. Pour cherries onto the crust. Bake 20 minutes at 375 ºF.
  6. Let it cool completely before cutting.

Quatro Birthday Bash 2015!!!!

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

I hosted a quatro birthday bash last Friday. I started in the community backyard and brought it inside after 9 p.m. The menu was

Homemade Kombucha
Walnut Beet Dip with GF crackers
Avocado Corn Tomato Salsa with organic blue corn chips
Wild Rice Salad with Wasabi Peas
White Bean Salad
Tofu Lasagna
GF Banana Bread
GF Brownie
GF Cherry Pie
Strawberry Shortcake from a Japanese bakery in the neighborhood (Not vegan. Not gluten free, either.This was requested and ordered by one of the birthday girls. It can’t be a birthday party without a birthday cake, can it? I couldn’t say no.)

Recipes of everything else are all listed on this blog. Type in the name of the dish you would like to make in the search section. The recipe page will pop up. The only 2 things not listed are Avocado Corn Tomato Salsa and GF cherry pie. I will list cherry pie later. This salsa is so easy to whip up and tasty. I’m sorry that I don’t have any picture of the food. Nobody thought about taking a photo of the food, having such a good time including me.

Avocado Corn Tomato Salsa
Ingredients:
1 avocado
1 corn
2 tomatoes
1/2 red onion
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
a dash of cayenne pepper

  1. Halve avocado. Make incisions in criss cross in the both halves. Scoop out the meat.
  2. Over a big bowl, scrape corn kernels off with a sharp knife.
  3. Chop tomatoes.
  4. Chop red onion.
  5. Mix everything in a bowl. Taste it and adjust seasonings. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

White Bean Salad with Fire Roasted Red Pepper

White Bean Salad

White Bean Salad

I love big buttery white beans. I use dried beans and cook them in a pressure cooker. And I fire roast a red pepper, too. But if you are in a hurry, you can use canned white beans and a jar of roasted red pepper. Being paired with fire roasted red pepper, they make a wonderful summer salad. With GF toasts and homemade ginger limeade, ahhh, it’s a perfect lunch on a hot humid day like today.

Ingredients:
2 heaping cups cooked white beans (or 1/2 lb dried white beans. I used large lima beans.)
2 smallish tomatoes
1 red pepper
2 Tbsp minced parsley
1 garlic clove
1 small red onion

3 sun dried tomato halves
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2-1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
a dash cayenne

  1. White Beans: If you are using dried white beans, soak them over night, and cook in a pressure cooker for 7 minutes. Let them cool.
  2. Fire Roasted Red Pepper: Place a red pepper directly on a fire. I use a gas oven top on high heat. Rotate it as one side blackens. When all sides are blackened, put it in a bowl or pan, place a lid to steam for a few minutes. When it is cooled to touch, peel with fingers.Remove seeds and a stem. Cut it in skinny strips.
  3. Cut sun dried tomatoes in small pieces. If they were too hard, soak them in hot water just enough to cover for 5 minutes, then cut. Slice a red onion thin. Chop tomatoes. Mince parsley leaves. Crash a garlic clove.
  4. Drain white beans. Place everything in a big bowl. Season with olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and cayenne.

Peacefood Cafe: a second chance works like a charm, sometimes.

Asian Green Salad

Asian Green Salad

When Peacefood Cafe first opened at University Pl and E 11th Street, I went in. Everything was white, clean looking, a bit like a college cafeteria. Since it was newly opened, all the waiters were very attentive and eager to please. The menu looked interesting and yummy, too. I was excited and happy about this new addition to the vegan community. But when the food came, although they all looked nice and tasty, it was not. They were all very plain. Steamed vegetables plain even roasted vegetables. And my seasonal roasted vegetables were under cooked and tasted like steamed vegetables with no seasoning. There was an exception, chickpea fries. We ordered it because our waiter told us we must. I thought they were little bit too much seasonings, but still interesting and good.

A friend of mine, another vegan food lover, eats here quite often. She said their baked goods are good, too. So, I thought I meant to give it a try one more time. This time, I ordered right. I wanted a Big nice interesting salad. This Asian Green fit the bill. Towards the end, I started feeling it was bit too salty because the greens were dressed and the tempeh was marinated in soy sauce. None the less, I was happy with this Big nice interesting salad and a few sticks of chickpea fries.

Oven Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables

Oven Roasted Vegetables with Wasabi Chickpeas

It was a beautiful dry fall day today. The temperature went up to 70 ºF during the day, but after sunset, it got cold quickly, thus I had to go home. There was LES Garden Festival going on this weekend, and I could listen to pretty good rock and jazz when I was walking around. When I got home, I decided to roast vegetables because I had green beans at home and bought beets at the farmer’s market. At this time, beets are still in the oven because they take longer than carrots and green beans or a chocolate cake. Roasting vegetables in oven is easy and versatile. You can use left overs in a salad next day.
Ingredients: your choice of fresh vegetables such as green beans, carrots, beets, butternut squash, zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, ah, endless list here.
olive oil
sea salt
  1. Wash and trim vegetables. Heat oven at 350-400 ºF.
  2. Splash olive oil on a baking sheet. Put vegetables in the baking sheet and sprinkle sea salt, and roll them over in the olive oil by hands.
  3. Bake in the oven until vegetables becomes soft, but not mushy. Vegetables with high sugar content such as carrots cook quicker than potatoes. So, as each vegetables are done, take them out of the oven. My carrots and green beans took about 10 minutes. Sliced beets (1/2-3/4″ thickness) took 35 minutes.

5 Small Vegetarian Dishes

5 Vege Dishes

5 Vege Dishes

All of above small dishes are easy to make, but making 5 dishes for 1 dinner seems a lot of work. Yup, it’s the Japanese cooking. I was talking to my Mom the other day, and she told me what she made for dinner on that day. Grilled fish, roasted Japanese eggplant, simmered beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions, boiled spinach, miso soup, and white rice! So, I tried to do the same minus beef and fish. Above dishes are all good warm or room temperature. All dishes above (except rice) are great nibbles if you like to drink.

Sautéed Shishito Peppers

Heat a splash of olive oil on a pan, put shishito peppers in. Turn an few times until they blister, but not to burn. Season with salt.

Pan Grilled Tomatoes

Halve tomatoes. Heat a splash of olive oil on a pan, line tomatoes in. Sprinkle salt. When they are soft, turn them over and grill a few more minutes. This was always a part of my English Breakfast when I traveled there.

Kabocha (Japanese Pumpkin)

1/4 large kabocha, soy sauce, sugar, sake, water

Peel the green skins. I use a peeler and it is easier than a knife. Chop it at bite size.
In a medium sauce pan, put kabocha and pour water just enough to cover them. Heat up until boil. Add 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp sake. Turn the heat down to simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until kabocha is done. Stick a folk or a chopstick in a kobocha piece and if it was easy to come out, it’s done.

Fire Roasted Eggplant

2 Japanese eggplants per person, 1/2″ fresh ginger (grated), soy sauce

Place eggplants directly over the fire. Yes, keep the pan holder comes with the stove top, but no pan is needed. When one side is charred, turn it to expose the other side to the fire. It will take 5 minutes or longer one side. When all sides are charred and eggplant is collapsed, take them off the fire, place them in a bowl. Cover with a plate to let them steam. Peel and cut it in bite size. To serve, place grated ginger and a dab of soy sauce on top.