New to vegan baking? There’s no need to toss out Nonna’s cookie recipes just yet!

Holiday Cookies (Unsplash)

Thousands of blogs on the internet specialize in vegan/plant-based recipes, and a simple search for a specific cookie with the word “vegan” will undoubtedly yield more than one reliable recipe. I only cook plant-based food these days, but I still follow tons of food publications and cooking blogs that post incredible recipes that are not vegan. The holiday season means many of those recipes are for baked goods and the recipes that usually call my name are for the ultimate holiday-time baked goods….COOKIES! I’m not here to convince you that cookies are the ultimate holiday treat of all time (they…

Last weekend I made a micro-batch of cannabutter using the stovetop Moka pot method. I ended up with just a few tablespoons of yummy Gelato butter, and I thought consuming it for breakfast would be a great start to the day. I had a couple of leftover biscuits from dinner the night before, and a pint of sweet Florida blueberries hanging out in the fridge. I ended up making this quick & easy dish: crispy biscuits slathered with cannabutter and topped with a perfectly sweet blueberry compote plus a little backyard basil.

The biscuits were not homemade, though you could…

Don’t throw out your discard!

Sourdough starter (Pixabay).

Sourdough bread baking has been a trendy hobby during the quarantine. Many folks are finding comfort and joy in cultivating a natural yeast starter from flour and water to use in delicious homemade bread. Maintaining a healthy and vigorous sourdough starter can be achieved using minimal amounts of flour. Still, some baking experts encourage the use of seemingly excessive amounts of flour to feed starters. Most of the starter is “discarded” during each feeding. Flour has become a sort of precious commodity recently, so it is wasteful to dispose of so much of it. Fortunately…

This simple and versatile dish using pantry ingredients is on repeat at my house

Creamy vegan pasta (baked) with pimento peppers, buttered breadcrumbs & backyard parsley.

I’ve been making creamy vegan pasta quite a bit these days. It’s inexpensive comfort food made with pantry ingredients, and you can throw in anything you have in the fridge. There are three essential components to this dish: pasta, the sauce (made with non-dairy milk of your choice), and add-ins (cooked vegetables, roasted peppers, frozen veggies, pickles,etc.). I do give ratios, but this dish can easily be doubled or tripled.

Let’s start with the pasta; any kind will work. I like penne, orecchiette, and fusilli, but…

Vegetables are good for you! Most people don’t eat enough of them. In a time where most of us have more time, shouldn’t we all learn how to prepare vegetables that are satisfying and flavorful? Maybe you disagree; if living on instant ramen and frozen pizza rolls make you happy, then do you! But I’m a hardcore veg-head, and I’ve been delving back into one of the best vegetable cookbooks of all-time: Power Vegetables by Peter Meehan and the editors of Lucky Peach (a hipster food magazine with a cult following that is sadly no longer in print-#RIPLuckyPeach).

A classic: Power Vegetables by Peter Meehan

Power Vegetables

Holly Hill is a little city that occupies just four square miles in coastal Central Florida, nestled in between Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach. Locals refer to it as “Holy Hell” (in the most loving way, of course). It’s a low-income city dotted with inebriated folks roaming the streets; there are sweet neighborhoods, and old, interesting houses. But brand new trucks occasionally end up on cement blocks in Holly Hill. Every once in a while, you might have to shoo away a drug-addled couple looking for a safe place to get their next fix. …

The bridge in my hometown.

I’ve lived in the same small coastal Florida town my entire life. Sometimes this makes me nervous, restless. I worry that I should be moving to the mountains in North Carolina or braving the winters on the Colorado plains.

But there are days that I head east. I head east to the bridge over the river. The views are at the top. Look north or south, and see the Intracoastal waterway. The banks are lined with ancient oaks and dotted with waterfront homes of grandeur. The river used to be clear; old-timers tell us that you could see the white sand on the bottom and schools of brightly-colored fish. Now the water is a murky grayish-brown. You cannot see the bottom; you can’t even catch a fish anymore (not that you should eat anything out of this river). Our paradisaical waterway is now a cesspool of toxic sludge, a wasteland of Rockefeller dreams. Yet, somehow, the river is still beautiful to look at, especially from the top of the bridge.

The views are at the top. Look west and you can see thick clusters of dark green; how lucky we are to have all those trees! All those trees are for sale, soon to be laid to rest to make way for bright & shiny strip malls that will quickly become dirty & desolate. But right now, the view to the west is old Florida oaks. They were here before us, and they will be back once we are gone.

The views are at the top. Look east to see the seas; the ocean spreads beyond your line of vision, blues and greens. As a child, I could hear the gentle roar from my bedroom window as I lay awake, restless to roam the sandy streets. When I have felt close to breaking, close to my limit, with nowhere to turn, the ocean has been there for me. I’ll wade in fully-clothed, despite the water’s cold, and dunk my head beneath the powerful waves. I’ll let a few sets crash overhead and then work my way back to shore. I’m ankle-deep in sand, sopping wet and weighed down by the heaviness of my clothes and my heart. But that plunge into the endless & relentless ocean restores enough in me to keep going. Where I am going, I still don’t know. But in that moment, this place feels like home.

When I feel restless, I head east. The views are at the top.

From San Francisco to You

My first plane ride brought me here; hungover at night (two Jacks, one coke, to soothe my first-flight nerves), but still, I forced a visit to the Mission District for a carnitas burrito. It was a busy, bustling, sticky scene, even at 1 A.M. We awoke the next morning on top of a hill. It was breathtaking; it’s nothing but flat land back home.

A bakery for breakfast. One I’ve read about, but never imagined I’d visit. The bakers filled a white pastry box with my choices: a morning bun, a chocolate chip cookie, and…

Angie Carson

Fermentation geek, veg head, cannabis advocate, outdoor enthusiast, brewery owner, writer. @grisettemenot //

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