Tagged: Portland

Chocolate Sour Cream Banana Bread

The other day at a wedding a friend of mine looked at me awkwardly for a minute before blurting, “So what are you baking lately?”. I thought that it was hilarious because I’ve come a long way from the hard dating, hard partying head case I used to be. So much so that my friends apparently have no idea what to say to me sometimes. I am the girl that bakes somewhat edible, sometimes terrifying things.

After a few 100 degree days here in Portland, I decided it was time to get back on the baking wagon. Sure it was still 90 degrees in my kitchen but I had a bowl full of rotting bananas that were either headed to their grave or to a loaf of banana bread.

I’m not sure if I buy bananas in the hopes that I will not eat them so I can make bread, or if I just suck at eating them. The banana above had been in the freezer. It’s not covered in creepy blue mold.

Did everyone else grow up with black bananas in their freezer? My mom always had some in there. Probably because her children wouldn’t eat them unless she chopped them up, threw some brown sugar on top and then stared down at us while we miserably chewed and gagged down every last piece. Bananas and I have a tortured past.

Now that I’m an adult (with the taste buds of a child) I have my own black bananas and in an ode to my mother, I often make banana bread. I make it multiple ways, switching up ingredients a fair amount. It’s an easy recipe that gives you room to play.

Yesterday I found this one and I had to try it. I had the dead bananas and all the other ingredients already in my kitchen. I’m such a grown up! I own baking powder, people. I am a motherfucking adult.

I found this recipe on Savory Sweet Life. It’s not a vegan website, I just have a habit of taking normal recipes and substituting things. I do this because a lot of the time the vegan versions call for all sorts of things that I don’t own and have no desire to search out. I don’t have soy flour or wheat flour or spelt. I’m not in this for the health, I’m in it for the cows, man.

Ingredients
  • 1 stick of Earth Balance, softened to room temp.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Egg replacer equal to one egg
  • 2 large ripened bananas mashed ( or 2.5 small bananas)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 Tbl. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup of Tofutti sour cream
  • 1 cup of mini chocolate chips (regular chocolate chips work too, make them vegan, duh)
  • optional 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan, or 2 mini pans with non-stick spray.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Stir in egg replacer, mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla until well blended.
  4. Add baking soda, cocoa, and flour.
  5. Mix everything until well incorporated (about 3 minutes in a Kitchenaid mixer).
  6. Add chocolate chips and nuts (if applicable).
  7. Pour batter into loaf pan(s) and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hr.
  8. Insert a tooth pick into the center of the loaf and check to see if it comes out clean when you pull it out.
  9. Remove from heat and allow bread to rest in the loaf pan for 10 minutes.
  10. Invert the loaf pans onto a cooling rack. Enjoy warm or cold.
 My mom recently gifted me with a Kitchenaid. Squeeeee!
I adore it. It makes kneading bread so farkin’ easy. A bread hook?? Who knew. If only she would have gotten me the swarovski crystal one.
I kid, I kid…..a little.
My bread came out like brownies since I took them out a bit too early. The toothpick came out clean though! So I took it out, went on a walk with the dog and came back only to find that when I cut into it, it was a bit gooey. But delicious! Super rich and magical. Especially when spread with butter. Yeah that’s right. That’s how I roll.
Go take your sad bananas and make them into happy, unhealthy treats!

About those chickens…

After ranting (eloquently and thoughtfully) about chickens and goats being “slaves” I went to visit my friend who owns the chickens. Since the last time I had been there, the chicken area had been extended to more than twice it’s originally size. Two of the ladies were out in the yard with the dogs, poking around in the garden and enjoying the rare Portland sunshine.

My heart has been officially stolen by Freddie. The young chicken that my friends found wandering the streets of their neighborhood. After putting up found signs and asking around to their neighbors yielded no results, they decided she should join their family. I have never met a more charming bird in my life. She wants to be near people at all times. She kept hopping up into the hammock we were all sitting in with the dogs. I have never seen a chicken jump. It was hilarious.

This photo was taken after Kaitlin fled the hammock because Freddie was trying to get into her lap.

I invited her to hang out with me instead.

Her favorite place to hang out is on your shoulder.

The minute that Zach got home, both girls ran up to him and jumped into his lap. Freddie, of course, scrambled for his shoulder.

Even Kaitlin was eventually won over by her. 

It was such an awesome afternoon. Lazing in the hammock with two of my favorite ladies with five dogs and four chickens running all over the yard. I understand the idea that animals cannot be owned, should not be owned. But as was pointed out in the comments on the last post, we live in a society that has been domesticating animals for years and years. I don’t see that changing any time soon. For me, that’s the last place my focus needs to be. Educating people on factory farming, animal abuse and what’s in our food is so much more important than caring if someone owns chickens. I’m thrilled that Freddie was found by an amazing family that is giving her a great life. If she was left wandering the streets, she wouldn’t have survived.

Also, on the owning animals front, anyone that knows my dog knows that he owns me.

Poor Chicken Slaves

Hot on the heels of me saying I can’t be bothered to blog, I’m blogging three times in one day. 

I need the chiming in of vegans and non-vegans alike. Seriously, some feedback/discussion would be greatly appreciated. 

One of my dear lady friends owns chickens. She owns them because it seems like everyone in Portland wants to own some chickens these days. God knows why. I grew up with chickens and they smell terrible and wouldn’t stop getting eaten by raccoons.

She also owns four dogs. The chickens, to her, are more like pets. Her boyfriend is in love with them. He built them a temperature adjustable coop and fenced off a large portion of the yard for them. Though a fair amount of the time they’re out running free with the dogs. One chicken (found wandering the streets of their neighborhood and unclaimed by anyone) is now convinced that she IS a dog, preferring the company of canines rather than the her own kind.

At several points my friend has offered me eggs because her family can’t eat all that the chickens produce. She doesn’t want to waste them by throwing them away. She knows that I attempt to maintain a vegan diet.

Her question to me was this: if the idea behind my personal veganism is that I don’t want to hurt animals then what’s the problem with eating eggs from chickens who are simply pets in a loving home?

I had no good answer.

(Keeping this strictly ethical. I know all about the health aspects and general grossness of eggs. I’m asking this in a strictly moral way because that’s why I want to be vegan. Healthy is great but I’m mostly in it so that I’m not hurting anything.)

I posed her question to several vegan friends. An answer given several times is that animals should not be pets. That just owning the chickens is going against vegan ideals.

You know where I’m going with this….

Where do you draw the line? Dogs and cats are acceptable pets but chickens are not? If my dog happened to shit vegan cupcakes every day that I happened to eat (ew, I know) then would my dog be a “slave”? Would it then be unethical for me to own my dog after saving him from a shelter and giving him a better life?

Another one: I know a girl who lives in Canada on a ton of acres with her family and a bunch of animals. Included are a small herd of goats. The goats are treasured family members, the kids adore them. They’re given names, documented in numerous photos and given a good life. Occasionally, when a goat becomes pregnant, this girl takes some of the mother’s milk and makes goat cheese.

(Pausing here to say I also grew up with goats and I adore them even though one of them used to kick the shit out of me on the daily. Their milk is disgusting though. I find goat cheese to be repulsive because it tastes exactly like goats smell. Perhaps I associate it’s flavor with getting my ass handed to me by a goat but either way, I never liked the stuff.)

My problem with milk and dairy products is the way that we get the milk. Keeping animals in a constant state of milk production is horrifying. Everything we do to cattle is horrifying.

So then, if she’s making cheese from goats who are naturally producing milk for a short period of time, goats who are well treated and loved, who prance about on acres and acres of gorgeous farm land, why am I supposed to be upset?

I’m not asking to be an asshole. I might be genuinely blind to a terrible truth. Please enlighten me.

Before I decided to give vegan life a go, I questioned the boyfriend about vegan ethics. I asked would it be okay to get cheese from small, local farms where the animals weren’t being mistreated. Due to his massive irritation at answering stupid questions like that for the last 7 years, his answer was not as detailed as I would have liked. Suffice to say, in his opinion, it was still wrong.

I understand that is naive to think that just because I buy local cheese at a farmer’s market from a kindly looking gentleman, does not mean that his animals are well treated. It’s like the Portlandia episode where they drive all the way to a farm to see where their chicken dinner has been raised to make sure he’s had a good life. I want to do that sometimes.

All this is not because I’m trying to justify eating dairy. It’s because I want answers that aren’t ridiculous.

Because of veganism I will never go horseback riding again because it’s apparently horse slavery (no matter if you love and cherish that horse and treat it like a queen), I feel guilty for wanting to have goats someday because god damn it I really like goats because then I’m keeping goats captive. If someday I get to run my sanctuary farm, will I be an asshole for loving and feeding cows and pigs and sheep? Should I rescue them and then send them off into the big world with a knapsack full of grass and a love note?

Okay, I’m getting ridiculous.

Sometimes I want to make my own rules. I want to decide what’s right and wrong morally for me as far as veganism goes. But there’s no wiggle room. There’s judgement and snark and elitism. If I were single and had no vegan friends I would feel free to adjust my life according to what I felt was important.

Like enjoy your chickens and love your goats. You’re not evil.

Now tell me why I’m a raging asshole.

 

Whiskey Wednesday cooking: Mac and “Cheese”

Every Wednesday night we have been going to whiskey club at Holman’s. Okay, sometimes I skip a week because I’m still recovering from last week. Whiskey club is rough on a bitch. The club is this: You drink 27 different kinds of whiskey and you get a t shirt and a plaque at the bar. I’m only at 11. The boyfriend already finished. Champion.

Obviously, we get hammered. Upon arriving home I tear through the kitchen in search of carbs to shove in my drunken maw. If I have the energy and enthusiasm though, I make mac and “cheese”. It’s the easiest mac and cheese recipe ever. It involves no planning and no fuckin’ cashew cream.

We decided we should film a how-to video. While really drunk.

My love of My Drunk Kitchen is no secret. No one can drunk cook like Hannah, so I’m not trying to rip her off. I just really love cooking. And I’m really good at drinking. And being a jack ass. It only seemed natural to combine the three. Besides, I wrote Hannah a bitchin’ song in tribute that I’ll post here later.

 

 

Here’s the actual recipe since, shockingly, my instructional video isn’t actually very instructional. I got this from To Live And Eat In LA

Ingredients-
16oz package of elbow macaroni or pasta of choice 
3 cups shredded Daiya Cheddar Cheese
3 tablespoons vegan butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 to 2 1/2 cups* unsweetened rice or soy milk (see recipe below for notes)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
Enough panko bread crumbs to liberally cover 

Directions-
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook pasta about 5 minutes until it’s just tender. Don’t cook all the way or it will fall apart when you bake it.
3. Drain pasta and transfer to greased baking dish. I packed it all into a smaller 8×10 dish so it would set up nice and thick.
4. Mix in about 2/3′s of the cheese into the pasta and set aside.
5. In a small pot melt the butter. Add the salt & pepper, then whisk in the flour until combined. Stir in the milk. Keep stirring until it starts to boil, then keep stirring for about another minute until it thickens up. *(Start with 2 cups of milk but if sauce gets too thick just add a little bit more, you don’t want it to be like a paste, just a thickened liquid).
6. Pour the milk mixture into the pasta and mix everything well. Top with the remaining cheese. Then cover everything with a generous layer of breadcrumbs.
7. Pop in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and top is starting to brown. 

 

It really is cheesy, delicious and amazing. Even non-vegans like it! Now go get drunk and try it!

Review: Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ Food Cart

Sweet tits, I can’t believe it’s taken me two months to get my ass to this cart and gorge myself.

I’d like to start this by mentioning that I’ve never been a health food person. Being vegan, for me, doesn’t mean I’m eating any better than I used to. It just means I’m not hurting anything by eating the junk food I eat now. In fact, I get all sorts of pissy when  I go to a vegan restaurant and find nothing but hummus, falafel, kale salads and chick pea burgers. Not that those things are bad. I just don’t want them in my mouth.

I’m at the point in veganism (and perhaps this never goes away) that I just want to eat everything that I got to eat before, minus the dairy. I still want mac and cheese and milk shakes and ranch dressing. I just have to either make it from scratch or find the few and far between junk food vegan places in PDX.

Homegrown Smoker is so very much my kind of place. Their website is lacking and their hours are wonky but the food makes it worth it ten times over. Plus they just opened a cart on the east side! Because I don’t know about the rest of you south easters but I never go to the west side unless I have to.

Today I got the Loafaroni. It’s a bbq meatloaf sandwich with mac and cheese. No, not mac and cheese on the side. Mac and cheese on top of the meatloaf IN the sandwich. I got baked beans as my side and while the flavor was great they were kinda crunchy. Not sure if that was a weird batch or if they’re always that way.

Guuuuh…so good. The boyfriend got the Macancheetoh. I could be spelling that wrong but who cares. The only thing you need to know is that it’s a burrito filled with sausage, mac and cheese and baked beans. WHAT? Yes.

I don’t think I could eat here much more than twice a month due to the serious gut bomb feeling after I ate. Not gut bomb like I was going to shit my pants or barf. Just in the way that it was a lot of rich flavors in a lot of food.

Delicious.

They have new specials all the time. Today’s was a pastrami sandwich topped with, what else, mac and cheese. Their website informs you of menu changes and their twitter feed keeps you up to date on their hours.

All in all, I’d say 9 out of 10 puppies:

Christmas puppies no less. In June. Sure.