A lovely smoothie

Disclaimer: This smoothie will turn out ugly, as pictured.

Oh hey there, eggplanters. I’m sure some of you were wondering if I’d return after Mary Ellen’s blasphemous post about the health benefits of cheesecake. Well, I’m still here and it will take more than a dairy-infused feud to stop me.

I’ve been thinking about our time here together, and I feel like I have a moral obligation to use my significant clout for the greater good. I think everyone can see where I’m going here. This is going to be an all-out rant about group texts. You see, awhile back I was added (against my will) to a group text involving my darling boyfriend’s entire family. For years, he has complained about my family, we see them all the time, and there are just a lot of us Bearfinas. And while my family may outnumber his 10:1, at least my people had the decency to keep him out of any group texts. Now, it’s well documented that I am an exceedingly tolerant person, however, today was the final straw. Somehow a text chain about current events led to a series of offensive chicken memes and I could no longer contain my rage. After a brief 20 text rant/dissertation about chicken rights, as well as a few dozen thoughtful PETA re-tweets, I regained control of my life and decided to lead by example instead of shouting via group text.  

So here I am, Fully enlightened. Drinking a smoothie that was originally supposed to be green but turned out kinda brown because I added strawberries.

Vegan Green Smoothie, for health and enlightenment

Makes two smoothies, so you can share your enlightenment with your future self:

Ingredients

  • 1 apple
  • ½ orange
  • Small handful of mixed frozen berries
  • Large handful of spinach
  • Some almond milk

Instructions

  1. Put all the fruit at the bottom, followed by the spinach, followed by the almond milk
  2. If you are saving one of the smoothies for later, wait until you’re actually going to make the smoothie to add the almond milk
  3. Blend
  4. Take a selfie while you’re drinking your smoothie, show off that radiant glow and deep understanding of the universe

For a long time I was hiding in anonymity, concerned about what my family, boyfriend’s family, and colleagues would think of my flawless recipes and exceptional prose. But no more! I’m here! I’m going to soar through the skies like a chicken. And feast on vegan greenish smoothies.

Serafina

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Regarding Cheesecakegate

Few things invoke a strong, authentic emotional response from me, but one of those things is cheesecake.  To my absolute shock, Serafina wrote a hit piece on cheesecake to choke out the year 2018’s final breaths.  

Because of her, what I’m hoping was drunken, nonsense, we got about 40,000 angry emails from readers, most of which listed recipes about how to cook Serafina into a cheesecake.  I read them all until I got very, very hungry. Listen, at least 70% of those recipes sounded tasty, and our readers are clearly more skilled at making food than us, but the responses were a bit over the top (not unlike reducing Serafina with some seasonal berries to make a glaze). 

Dear Eggplanters, I understand your pain, because I, too, felt it.  You see, our tandem baking journey started out with cheesecake.

I’ll wait while you gather yourselves.

It’s true.  We made a cheesecake together.  A New York style cheesecake.  It was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life at that point, which just really shows how great I was at avoiding any sort of conflict.  I vividly remember calling her up on my hot pink Razr flip phone and asking her what creme fraiche was.  She didn’t know either, and since I guess this was before the internet, she had to consult a baking book index.  

But our story was just beginning.

As I was preparing myself to make this cheesecake, I was again confused by the instructions.  What was a stiff peak? I thought innocently to myself.  I called Serafina.

“Isn’t that what you call the ending to your stripping act?”

Of course it was!  But how did that relate to cheesecake?  Do I strip for the cheesecake?  Is the cheesecake into girls?

Anyway, Serafina ended up just coming over and we sexily made the cheesecake.  You can fill in the details with what you deem sexy, I don’t judge and we’re pretty easy.  But now when I think of it, she did not eat any of the cheesecake.  My whole world has been shattered with lies!

Ha ha just kidding.  That’s actually the foundation of my world!

So yeah I made the cheesecake again.

When it’s cracked like that, it means it’s artisanal.

New York Style Cheesecake (adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess)

Ingredients:

(for the crust)
1. 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons graham crackers, crushed to crumbs
2. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3. 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
4. 9 inch springform pan

(for the cake)
1. 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
2. 1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
3. 6 large eggs, separated
4. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
6. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
8. Zest of 1 lemon
9. Confectioners sugar for dusting

I’m pretty sure this is the original pan from 10 years ago. Hasn’t been used since.

Directions:

As you can see from the ingredients list, there is no creme fraiche, so I’m not sure what I was doing in the original story, besides rambling. I also forgot to take pictures of the process, so there will just be a slew of sexy cheesecake pictures.

The original directions didn’t describe how to get the cake off the pan base. It’s a delicate cake. I need instructions, Nigella! Anyway, I left it on and it’s part of the cake now.

1. Combine the graham crackers, melted butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar and press into the base of the pan. Put in the fridge to set while you make up the rest of the cake.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch together.
4. Add the cream cheese, egg yolks, and vanilla, and beat well. I recommend a stand mixer because it’s gonna get messy.
5. Slowly beat in the creams – see, it would be nice to have a stand mixer here. Wrangling a housemate also works.
6. Add salt and lemon zest.
7. You think you’re done, but remember those egg whites? Yeah, you need to whip those to stiff peaks. I did mine by hand because I wanted to know if I could. I look like this now:

Yeah, bet you didn’t see a Lady in the Water reference coming!

8. Fold the egg whites carefully into the cheese mixture.
9. Scoop it all onto the chilled base and put it in the oven for 1-1 1/2 hours. I’d recommend putting it on a baking sheet because 100% chance the butter will leak everywhere. Don’t open the oven to look at it. Leave it be, it wants privacy.
10. Turn off the oven and let it sit in there with its thoughts for another 2 hours. Don’t open the oven! It doesn’t want you to catch it doing… whatever it’s doing.
11. Take it out, and let it sit for another hour before chilling it.
12. Dust it with sugar, and smash it into your face. Unless you’re Serafina.

Look at that fluffy face.

We stripped for the cheesecake just to be safe, and it was, in fact, into girls.

-Mary Ellen

Healthy Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

Alternate title: Shit, I’m out of eggs and my chickens STILL aren’t fucking laying but I need a goddamn cookie

So, I have a problem. My chickens (they’re adorable and I love them so much) are STILL EATING THEIR MOTHERFUCKING EGGS.

I’ll have you know that there was so much anger in that sentence that I held down shift the whole time instead of hitting caps lock. It was intense. Glad I got that out. Anyway, I’m ordering more chickens this year. I need someone to lay some goddamn eggs and actually leave them for me. I’m keeping the other birds, of course. I’m just going to give them a stern talking-to about not training the new chickens to eat their eggs too.

So since it’s now 2019, I’m starting the new year with some sustainable health goals. More fruits. More veggies, maybe. Probably more nuts and legumes. Fiber. Whole grains. Fen-Phen. Wait… shit, sorry, I got carried away there. I promise, no banned diet pills. Unless they’re, like ground up in a cookie, then maybe. Should I backtrack a little more? Let’s start over.

Here’s some cookies! I added oatmeal, not just because I was almost out of flour, but also exclusively for that reason. I threw in some dried fruit and almonds because we already had a super healthy thing going. This was literally the first and only thing I’ve cooked this year (wait, do microwaved quesadillas count? If they count, then this was like the 30th thing I’ve made this year).

Adapted from this recipe


I gave up on measuring my flour at the end and just poured the rest of the bag into the bowl. Baking is about instincts. And sometimes it’s also about having cookies that are too dry because you didn’t follow the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt (less if your butter is salted)
  • ½-1 cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • Optional: ground up illegal diet pills (may change the flavor and cause potentially fatal cardiac problems)
Note: I did not include any ground up diet pills in my cookies. But that’s only because, as I mentioned before, the cookie dough was already looking a little dry.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. In a small bowl, combine sweetener, butter, oil, water and vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, oats, baking soda and salt
  4. Combine the flour and sugar mixtures. Fold in the chocolate chips, dried cranberries, almonds, or whatever the fuck you’re using
  5. Scoop onto a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies look like they’re done
Pay attention to your cookies when they’re in the oven. I almost burnt some of these because vegan cookies don’t brown like cookies with real butter do. Also, I might have been distracted and not set a timer, but I’m still blaming the vegan butter.

May 2019 be the year you meet your health and fitness goals without changing your diet or activity levels in any way.

Serafina