raspberry lemonade

Sunday, May 30, 2010

When I hear people complain about the heat, I want to punch them in the kidneys. But that would be rude. So, I make lemonade instead. Nothing cures a case of summer-heat-woes better than an ice cold glass of homemade raspberry lemonade. It's refreshing and core-cooling. And there's really just something therapeutic about juicing lemons the old fashioned way, isn't there?

10 lemons, juice and zest of
7 cups water
3(ish) cups ice cubes
2 cups raspberries (Fresh or frozen. I prefer fresh. Also, 2 cups is only a suggestion. Go nuts.)
simple syrup (1 cup water, 1 cup granulated sugar)
fresh mint leaves for garnishing (optional)

1. Zest those lemons. All of 'em. That's where all of that awesome lemon flavour is hiding.

2. Now juice them! Tip: roll those bitches around on the counter (somewhat agressively) before you half and juice them. It just makes it a little easier to get as much juice as possible out of them.

3. Add the zest to the juice, and let it stand for an hour or so.

4. Meanwhile, prepare simple syrup. (Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, and then remove from heat. Pour into glass container and let it cool in the fridge before using.)

5. Strain lemon juice into a large juice pitcher with ice.

6. Add simple syrup, water, and raspberries. Stir. 

7. Garnish with mint leaves. (optional)

Makes a great mixed drink with vodka, rum, or gin -- all tried and tested by your's truly, I don't mind saying.

So, stop complaining about this beautiful, hot summer weather. It's not too hot. You just need some lemonade.

vegan chocolate buttercream icing

Friday, May 28, 2010

If you like chocolate icing, you will looooooove this recipe. It. Is. Decadent.

You'll need an electric beater for this recipe (also what she said.)
Yields enough icing for 12 cupcakes. Double or triple for whole cakes.

1/4 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance or vegan Becel)
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/8 heaping cup cocoa powder, sifted
1  teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 cup chocolate soy milk

1. With a fork, cream shortening and margarine together with a fork.

2. Add cocoa and beat on low-medium speed until completely mixed.

3. Add soy milk, and beat on low speed until completely mixed. Beat on medium-high speed until entire amount of sugar is used. (You might adjust the amount of sugar according to your desired sweetness. Just stick your finger in and taste it. Don't be afraid.)

5. Add vanilla and mix on medium-high speed until fluffy, about two minutes.


vegan buttercream icing

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I've been promising a lot people that I'd share this recipe with them, so here it (finally) is! This is my go-to recipe for vegan cupcakes. It's versatile and delicious and, like always, super simple. The ingredients are also easy to find which is a nice change for a vegan recipe. There's no 'essence of organic butterfly tears' in this recipe. You're welcome.

You'll need an electric hand mixer.
Yields enough icing for 12 cupcakes.

1/4 cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine (I use Becel)
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoons flavour extract
1/8 cup plain soy milk

1. With a fork, cream shortening and margarine together with a fork.

2. Add the sifted icing sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Mix using electric mixer until all sugar is used.  (You might adjust the amount of sugar according to your desired sweetness)

3. Add soy milk and flavour extract and mix on low-medium speed until fluffy (usually about two minutes, adjusting for room temperature and other various 'acts of God')

I usually let it sit in the fridge for 20 minutes or so before I frost my cupcakes with it. It stays fluffy, but it just seems to gain and maintain a some stiffness if it's been chilled before hand.

So that's it. Go nuts with different flavours and colours. You can basically add any flavour extract and colour you want, and the result will always be awesome.


lavender & lemon cookie recipe

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Let me just tell you a little something about these cookies. Whoever thought of putting lemon and lavender together was brilliant. What an interesting and delicious combination. In every bite, you can taste the individual flavours: the bright and tart citrusy flavour of lemon zest, and the wonderfully light and floral flavour of the lavender. When you bake these two flavours together, they marry beautifully.

Refreshing, loaded with flavour without being overbearing, and super simple. These cookies are perfect to have with a hot cup of tea or a cold glass of iced tea.

3/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp dried lavender
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

(If you don't have a food processor, follow these by-hand directions)

1. In a food processor, combine sugar, lemon zest and lavender until completely incorporated and sugar is damp from zest.

2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.

3. Combine sugar/lemon/lavender mixture with the flour mixture with a whisk.

4. Return this mixture to food processor, and then scatter butter cubes over mixture, and process until mixture resembles cornmeal.

5. In a measuring cup, beat together the lemon juice, egg yolk and vanilla.

6. Slowly add the egg mixture to the food processor while it's running, and continue processing until the dough forms into a ball.

7. Move dough to a clean, dry work surface, and roll it quickly into a cylinder. It should be approximately 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

8. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or in the freezer for 40-45 minutes.

9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

10. Cut chilled dough into cookie slices that are approximately 3/8 of inch thick.

11. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray, and place cookies 1 inch apart.

12. Baking time can be anywhere from 10 to 16 minutes, depending on the thickness of your cookies and on your oven. If they aren't finished after 10 minutes, just keep a momentary eye on them until the edges have browned slightly.

13. Let cool completely on racks. Store in sealed container for longer lasting freshness.


(picture from When Harry Met Salad)

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