Saturday, March 15, 2008

More Pancakes, Cookies and Eating Out

So we enjoyed Carrie's Powerhouse Pancake recipe so much that we decided to make it again - with blueberries! This was a major leap of faith for two reasons: 1)Every freaking time I try to make blueberry pancakes, they end up sticking to the pan and basically disintegrating, which results in much swearing, spatula flinging and general tantrum throwing and 2) we only had frozen blueberries, and I wasn't sure how they would work.

So I whipped up a double batch of batter (using only 1 T of applesauce and 3 of oil because I ran out of sauce). I poured my frozen blueberries into a measuring cup for easy access. And instead of mixing the berries into the batter, I used this magic trick: I poured the batter in to the pan to form pancakes, let sit for a few seconds AND THEN added the blueberries, by hand. I know this seems a little crazy or OCD, but it resulted in AWESOME pancakes that didn't stick AT ALL! This is the best trick ever. I remember reading it in that kid's cookbook by Mollie Katzen.

Pancakes a-cookin'

The finished product! I need to work on my garnish skills, they are obviously lacking, but luckily this did not impact the awesomeness of these pancakes. We did have sliced kiwi with these, but I didn't get them in the photo.And since we had a double batch, we got to have these two days in a row! Nothing like waking up and having pancake batter waiting for your loving attention in the fridge. Say it with me: Gooooooooo, Pancakes!

Eating Out
Yesterday we took an impromptu trip to Ann Arbor, because it was a nice day and we wanted to go for an outdoorsy walk AND I've been wanting to go to Seva, a vegetarian restaurant there. So we got to the walking place first (The Matthai Botanical Gardens) and of course, Silas fell asleep like 2.3 minutes before we got there. So Chad went for a walk and I read in the car while Silas slept. Which was fine, I didn't mind sitting in the sun reading and listening to the Canada Geese honking.

Then we went to Seva. I was so excited, it's a cool little place not far from UM campus, and even though I had been once before it was like 3 years ago and I barely remembered it. Everything vegan on the menu is marked, and so many things sounded so delicious. However, it is pretttty pricey. Like lunch entrees in the $9-15 range! I don't know, maybe I'm just cheap, but those seemed more like dinner prices to me. After much hemming and hawing over what to order, we both decided on getting the lunch special, which was half sandwich and a salad and we also each got a fresh juice from the juice bar. I decided on the BBQ Eggplant sandwich with sweet potato fries and salad with creamy dill dressing, and Chad got the Persea sandwich (open faced with sprouts, mushrooms, onion and guacamole - and he forgot to say no cheese, whoops) with regular fries and thai dressing on his salad.

Ok, so overall it was a fairly pleasant experience. My sandwich was tasty and spicy, and it wasn't something I normally would make for myself. Chad said his was ok, and he thought I could have easily made it at home and probably better. That was one of my big disappointments: a bunch of the stuff on the menu that was vegan I felt like could have so easily made myself. Like one was a tofurkey wrap - um, I make those all the time. They also did a tempeh wrap - same deal. And I don't think they're $9 when I do it. I'm exaggerating a little, because the sandwiches did come with fries AND someone else is obviously doing the work, but still. I don't know, I guess I was expecting some more creativity or innovation or something. Alas, we are still in Michigan, so I don't know why I got my hopes up that high. ;)

Second, I wasn't overly excited about our server (ok, if you work in hospitality, would it KILL YOU to crack a smile? Once? I was so excited to be there, and her energy was a total downer). Maybe she was having a bad day, I don't know. It was just kind of a bummer.

But maybe it was a good thing overall to have a mediocre experience - now I won't be jonesing for Seva constantly, and suggesting we take 90-mile round-trip excursions just for a veggie restaurant.

Oh, but I will say this: the dessert we got was AWESOME. We took it to go and had it last night and it was fabulous. It was a vegan cream tart with mixed berries. When I read tart I expected a mini-tart or pie, but it was basically a slice of vegan cheese cake with berry compote. It didn't look like much, but the cheesecake was rich and delicious and didn't have a weird tofu taste or grainy consistency and I don't know what they did to the berries but they were the perfect complement to the creamy tart/cake.

Neeeewwwww Cookbook!
We also stopped by Borders (we have a $50 Gift Card! I know all about independent bookstores, seriously, put the flame-throwers away!) and looked at kid's books, but we couldn't commit to any. So I decided to mosey up to the vegetarian cooking section (heeheehee) and just happened to find this:

Yayayayay! I've been waiting on hold for this book at my library FOREVER. Months. So I just decided, WTF, I'm using this freaking gift card, dammit! I love cookbooks, and as you know, I've been really inspired by Colleen's podcast, Vegetarian Food For Thought, so I was very psyched to try this book.

So when we got home, I made these:Oatmeal Raisin Cookies! Except I couldn't find my raisins, so I used dried blueberries, to the benefit of all, really. Chad doesn't really like raisins in his oatmeal cookies, and the blueberries were really subtle. This made a HUGE batch, like 4 dozen! I sent a dozen home with my neighbor (heh heh, subtly taking over the world with vegan baking!), and we have 2 dozen baked and ready to go (which should last about 2 days) and I also have over a dozen in the freezer, ready to be baked at a moment's notice! They were really tasty. I think next time I might cut back on the amount of oatmeal just a bit, they were pretty oat-y and dense. But really, really good overall.

There are so many delicious sounding treats in this book, I'm sure you'll be seeing a bunch in the future!


The Dalai Mama said...

YUM! The pancakes and the cookies look awesome! Every time I've made blueberry pancakes, I've dropped the blueberries on like you did. I might have to make some of those soon...

keeta said...

The by-hand blueberry trick is the best thing that's happened between me and pancakes in a long, long time! ;)

Jen said...

Ooh, I've been wanting that book and that cookie picture just convinced me to buy it!! :)

Jenny said...

Your pancakes and cookies look good! I have the Joy of Vegan Baking, but haven't tried the oatmeal cookies yet, your pictures make me want to try RIGHT NOW!

I totally agree with you about the eating out thing. Sometimes I get so mad at how expensive it can be when it is something you easily can make at home. Oh, well, part of it is the activity of eating out.

keeta said...

jen: buy it! I can already tell that it's going to be one of those good-to-have-on-hand cookbooks. I'm glad I finally just bought it instead of waiting for the library.

jenny: make the cookies! you will not regret it. And I know you're right about the eating out thing, for some reason I just took the experience personally. I think my expectations were waaaaaay too high. ;)

Happy Herbivore! said...

how is the cookbook? i have been debating on buying it...

keeta said...

Happy Herbivore: Everything I've made has been a hit, but I've only made two things so far. The Blueberry Cake we made tonight was AWESOME and the oatmeal cookies I made were really good, too. There are a lot of awesome sounding things that I can't wait to try. I'd say it's a pretty solid bet!