Food Plant

chocolate-pumpkin pudding cake
September 23, 2008, 6:57 am
Filed under: sweet | Tags: , , , ,

remember this?

the housemate and i love pudding cakes, the fruits of fall and spiced baked goods.  half of a large pumpkin can was still sitting in our fridge after last week’s pumpkin sticky buns, and i wanted to try the pumpkin-chocolate combination that i saw in many recipes last year. our standby pudding cake recipe comes from VWAV, but its chocolate-rum flavour and the weird food-science behind the pudding bottom made me hesitant to experiment.  off to the internet i went, to seek a preexisting chocolate-pumpkin pudding cake recipe.  i found none! it might just be google’s fault, but i think you should all be ashamed for not inventing one and sharing it already.

well, i went ahead and jammed my pureed pumpkin into the aforementioned recipe, making just a few changes to accommodate the pumpkin and ditch the rum.

it went thus:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (for wheat free, use equal amounts barley and oat flours.)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix (i improvised 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 nutmeg and a bit of ground ginger and allspice)
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin (a standard/small can will yield enough, or get a large one and use the other half to make a double batch of pumpkin cinnamon rolls)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
my trick for an improved top:
after ten minutes in the oven, take out the cake and evenly sprinkle:
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin spice mix
  • 1 or 2 Tablespoon large grain sugar (such as turbinado)
then continue to bake as usual.
    instructions (lifted from
  1. Boil some water in a teakettle, preheat oven to 350°F, and grease a 9-inch springform round cake pan (non-springform works at least as well.)
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin spice, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and 1/4 cup of the cocoa. Add the pumpkin, oil, and extract, and mix into a thick batter.
  3. Spread batter into cake pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cocoa and sugar.
  4. Pour the boiling water into a glass measuring cup, add the maple syrup to the water, and pour this mixture on top of the cake batter.
  5. Place cake on a cookie sheet in case of pudding overflow and bake for  35 minutes – Don’t forget the sugar and spice intermission after 10 minutes.
  6. Let cool just a bit; while the cake is still warm, place it on a large plate (your plate should have a slight edge to prevent spillage).
  7. Throw on a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream if you like, and you’ve got yourself one impressive dessert.

dduk bok-ki yummittee
September 13, 2008, 4:11 am
Filed under: main | Tags: ,

sorry for no proper recipe with photos, i just want to remember how i made this dish tonight because i didn’t use a recipe.

fiiirst, cook about half a package of flat oval dduk (the traditional shape for this would be cylinders, but i don’t like them as much) in salted water until they are flexible and can be pierced with a fork, but still too firm to eat.

after draining the rice cakes in a colander, wash and dry the pot they cooked in (it will be used again later.) heat a large cast iron or nonstick pan on medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil. fry the dduk in the pan on medium heat until both sides are dry and they soften a bit. add sliced onion (about half a medium onion) and continue to saute until it softens.

place the pot in place of the pan on the stove, and transfer the content of the pan into it.  add 3-4 tablespoons of fermented hot pepper paste mixed in about 2 cups of water to the pot. let it simmer on medium low heat.

in the meantime, prepare tvp by soaking it in very hot water with a splash of soy sauce, 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil and a shake of powdered garlic. i used those thin dark slices of tvp that look like asian-style steak, about a large handful when dry, and tried to break as many as i could in half (tvp chunks can be used instead.)  when they soften and become flexible, drain and add them to the pot.

at this point add: 3 thinly sliced cloves of garlic, 1 or 2 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1 T sugar, about 4 T braggs soy sauce (start with less and add more until it’s salty enough,) and splash of white wine (regular or rice.) keep simmering.

cut up enough  tasty greens for two (i had 2 baby bok choi and 2 big chard leaves.) wash them in the colander and leave them there until the rice cakes are soft to your liking. add the greens to the pot and more water if necessary – the sauce for this dish should be thinner than curry, but not so watery it’s like soup. chopped scallions can be added at this point, although i didn’t have any.

turn the heat off once the greens are sufficiently tender. serve hot in a bowl.

serves two, although i was starving and ate the entire pot.

September 11, 2008, 7:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

there is something that i don’t get about snickerdoodles.
it seems that almost all the top searched recipes call for small amounts of both cream of tartar and baking soda,
and wikipedia says that cream of tartar lends the snickerdoodles their distinctive taste.

now, all the vegan snickerdoodle recipes i’ve seen seem to call for baking powder in place of the cream of tartar and baking soda.
if you look it up, you’ll find that baking powder is made up of cream of tartar and baking soda in approx. the same ratios as non-vegan cookie recipes call for.

i’m assuming there are a few additions to modern baking powders, ones that perhaps affect their taste, but is it really so much of a difference to necessitate calling for the fairly elusive cream of tartar? is it merely a matter of tradition?

i’m wondering because i made a tiny batch of vegan snickerdoodles just now, and they were rather heavenly but i do wonder if they tasted  like the traditional cookie. they didn’t seem to crackle on top as much as ones i’ve seen in photos, and although they expanded they didn’t considerably flatten. the outter part was crisp and spicy from the cinnamon sugar, and the inside was soft and buttery-tasting, maybe a little bit acidic? i’d describe the entire experience as fresh, christmasy, and a little too rich for this time of the night. let me know if this sounds about right!

p.s. these are the ones i tried, if it helps.