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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A (Mostly) Vegan Wedding Dessert Bar

(Mostly)Vegan Dessert Bar

(From top left going clockwise): Shoebox cookies(CabyBakes original recipe), sea glass candy, battenburg cake, Croquembouche(only thing that's NOT vegan!), cake pops, miniature pies in various flavors.

Thanks so much to the Shoemakers for letting us be a part of their beautiful wedding!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


So I feel like an asshole because I missed my deadline with my editor, Marie, on corn-based, whole-grain, healthful stuff. So here is my chance at redemption - or at least I hope it is.

Corn has a love-hate place in my heart, like spinach artichoke dip. I love it, but I hate it. I love corn's taste and texture and flavor, but I hate what it does. And I love spinach artichoke dip, but I really hate artichokes because they're basically thistles and a huge pain in the ass to clean. I do it, but I don't like it. I usually just end up buying artichoke hearts in that pickle brine stuff or in oil at the grocery store and call it good, but this isn't about that.

Post image for Cornmeal and Currant Pancakes & Paul Bunyan’s Flapjacks
The recipe is down below for these beauties!
I love corn because it has a wonderful sweetness to it. Corn is also interesting because most people think it's a vegetable and serve it as such, but in reality it's a grain, like quinoa or wheat. If you don't believe me, picture a giant wheat stick. Corn grows like grass, and the cool thing about it is that it stunts its own growth in times of drought, but that makes it more expensive for us in those times since it stops its own growing. I would think it's a neat evolutionary thing, if evolution really had anything to do with it. In reality, if we stopped planting corn as we know it and modifying it, it would eventually go back to how it would normally be.

The corn industry is huge. Not only do we use it in its raw form as a food source, we use it to make sugar, starch, as an ingredient in cereals, oils, et cetera. The biggest thing about corn, though, is that it's primary use in the US is to feed cattle. This is a good and bad thing.

Feeding cattle is awesome. But cows are the largest methane producers on the planet, and the concentration of that alone aids in the whole global warming crap. Taking care of the cows is a big deal, and unfortunately not a lot of them are treated the way we think cows should be treated. Beef cattle and dairy cattle are both treated/handled differently, but the point is that they eat LOTS and LOTS of corn. So if we cut out meats - say, one less meat per week, all at once, then the beef industry would suffer. Prices would go down because demand would go down, and they would have a huge supply. Profit losses are big deals in beef, and poultry, and pigs, so if we want to make meat - and corn - cheaper, then it would help if we started cutting animal proteins - little by little - out of our diet.

That being said, I really love corn. I know that I probably didn't do a very good job whetting your appetite for it, but living in Kansas City and seeing all this agriculture and lack of rain and expensive corn around me has gotten me to think a little more globally. Working in the restaurant industry and looking at rising prices of beef, dairy, and corn has gotten me to think more about it. And you guys should, too.

But wait, is this the bait and switch? Or are you going to tell us more about corn?

Blueberries and Pecans make these EVEN HEALTHIER - so you can use extra syrup
Why, yes, audience! I AM going to tell you more about corn! AND other grains! By the way...quinoa isn't actually a grain. It's a seed. I just threw that in there to see if you were paying attention. HAH!

So the benefit of introducing various grains into your diet is actually pretty awesome. Not only are most grains full of awesome fibers to clean your system out(which doesn't exactly explain corn poop, but it doesn't not explain it), but they're extremely versatile when it comes to cooking. Corn is a fabulously versatile ingredient, and can be executed in just about anything, from savory to sweet.

Don't believe me? Ever heard of cocoa puffs? Frosted flakes? Kellogg's anything? They have a lot of corn in them. Also, there is corn ice cream. And corn cake. And if you're ever feeling creative, cornmeal pancakes are an amazingly sweet and wholesome and NON-empty-calorie twist to your regular pancake breakfast. You could look up a cornmeal pancake recipe, or you could just do what I do and use the corn muffin mix you get from the store. Just use three eggs, some oil, and a little bit of milk to get a pancake batter-like consistency. Fry on a griddle with plenty of butter and serve with some breakfast sausage. I like it with cinnamon syrup(which is maple syrup warmed on the stove with a whole cinnamon stick for about 15 minutes). It's an amazing breakfast.

If you're in the mood for whole grain pancakes, simply make your normal pancake recipe with wheat flour instead. The only real difference is that you'll probably have to use a touch more liquid than normal, but please keep in mind that pancakes are a 'quickbread', so make them fast before all that fabulous baking soda dies!

Okay, okay, time for recipes!

This one comes to you from Cook and Be Merry.com! This pancake recipe uses cornmeal, yogurt, and currants. It's just as sexy as Paul Bunyan, only if somebody shaved him a little and put him in a nice suit after giving him a proper shower.

Cornmeal, Yogurt and Currant Pancakes

Serves 4
1 cup all-purpose four
½ cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dried currants, soaked in warm water or brandy 10 minutes, drained
1 ¼ cups plain yogurt
2 large eggs
½ stick butter, melted
1. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl, then stir in the currants.
2. In another bowl, stir together the yogurt and eggs with a fork, then stir into flour mixture with the melted butter, just until incorporated. (Don’t forget the butter)
3. Heat a lightly greased large nonstick skillet over moderately low heat until hot. Pour ¼-cup measures of batter into skillet in batches, forming 3 ½-inch cakes. Cook about 3 minutes until golden, then turn and cook 1 more minute, or until golden.
4. Keep warm in 250 degree oven if desired while cooking remaining cakes.
5. Serve griddle cakes with warm syrup.

 And now, to end the blog on a humorous note.

Yeah, I don't know either...