Sunday, March 1, 2009

New Award: The Drool of Desire!

A couple of posts ago, I promised a new recipe using the mystery ingredient: pears!

And here it is:

Ginger and Cinnamon-Scented Pear and Almond Cookies with Sunflower Seeds.

For these truly yummy treatlets, you will need:

1 cup diced fresh pear
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp almond butter

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and ginger. Then add in the diced pear and sunflower seeds.
3. In a measuring jug, stir together the almond butter and the water, until the almond butter is thin and runny. You can use warm water for this, to make it a little easier if you like.
4. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
5. Turn the dough out onto a baking sheet covered with baking parchment and press down to flatten out with your hands. Then roll it out until it's about one-half inch think.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, remove from oven, cut into small pieces or use a cookie cutter to create shapes. Separate out a bit so that all sides of the cookies are able to dry out completely.
9 Return tray to the oven to bake for a further 25-30 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, turn the oven off, but leave the cookies in to dry out and go really crunchy.

A close-up:

Why, I hear you cry...why are they bone shaped???

Ahh....excellent question! Because they are intended for the canines in your life. These particular cookies have gained the official 'Paw of Approval' - from Sir Humphrey Hound - and the 'Drool of Desire' - from Darwin the Beagle.

Praise indeed!!

Try them out on your pups and let me know how it goes!

Oh, and stay vegan, friends!

PS: In the interests of scientific inquiry, I nibbled on one of these myself and have to report that they are really rather good. Not overly sweet - due to the absence of sugar as you will have spotted - but the almond butter and the fresh pear do lend the cookies a slight hint of sweetness which is almost enough!

Life's occasional rewards

Sometimes you get confirmation that you're on the right track in the most unusual ways. Take yesterday, for example.....My Beloved and I were in our favourite brunchtime hang-out in NoHo - The Green Bean (no website, alas) - seated at a small two-top towards the back of the restaurant. Now for folks who don't know The Green Bean, it's a pretty cozy kind of place. Not exactly elbow-to-elbow, but 'friendly', if you catch my drift.

So, I had ordered their roasted pear and pecan salad (hold the goats' cheese that normally comes with it) and had settled back with some coffee and begun to people-watch. It's a really intriguing kind of place in that it attracts a great diversity of customers - college students, locals, 'valley folk' (stereotypically munchy-crunchy, Birkenstocks-in-winter, hand-knitted hats and beaded beards), alternatives of every kind, and strictly professional types peering at their Blackberrys or laptops. The couple seated next to us were older, hardy New England types, bundled up in The North Face, Polartek, and leather outerwear. They drew my attention mainly because they were large folks in a small space and were incredibly clumsy: water glasses were constantly on the verge of overturning, forks dropped effortlessly to the floor, condiments squirted randomly across the table....everything was a disaster, happening right beside us, in slow motion.

Amidst this carnival, our food arrived and I was presented with a gorgeous-looking plate of baby spring greens, candied pecans, a roasted pear, fanned delicately across the plate, the whole thing drizzled finely with a balsamic vinaigrette. There was also a side of fresh, creamy avocado. The colours, textures and the smells were just a picture! As I savoured the image before tucking in, the plates arrived for the 'couple next door' and instantly my stomach just heaved. He had ordered a beef burger and it arrived slathered in cheese, with fat pooling around the bun. It was gross in the extreme.

Then he cut into it.

The smell was just nauseating. It was blood and death and putrifying. That's the only way I can honestly describe it. A slight panic set in as I realised that it was going to be really difficult to eat with that stench emanating from the next table and I did not want to spoil our brunch.

And then the miracle happened.

The dead bovine on a bun was underdone.

So. He. Sent. It. Back.

I looked at My Beloved and he looked at me, and we tucked in to our brunch with abandon.

I wondered how long this reprieve could possibly last. The guy grumbled. He ate from his wife's plate. He muttered, dropped a coffee spoon or two, was given some chips and salsa to 'tide him over', he muttered some more. And still his beef burger did not reappear.

A full 20 minutes later, My Beloved and I had finished. For me, the last candied pecan had disappeared in a tummywards direction; the final morsel of toast and jam had been devoured, for him. We sat back, satisfied, and drained the last dregs of our coffee contentedly.

Then our waitperson reappeared. She was bearing two things - our check and our neighbour's cremated cow.

It was time to leave.

But the wonderous way in which life doles out occasional rewards was not lost on me.

Steer clear of the steer and stay vegan, friends!