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Guest Post: Smucky Bakes!!

Note from Renae: one of my best friends in the world, whom I recently visited in Sydney, surprised me tonight by sending me a guest post! This is shocking because he’s a meatatarian…and didn’t even own a decent kitchen knife when I showed up at his doorstep. But I think you’ll agree after reading his post that he’s making huge, delicious strides in the way of vegan eating and cooking, and in fact, I’m hosting a small dinner party this weekend and now I’m planning to make Smucky’s banana bread for dessert! And with that, allow me to introduce Smucky!

Hi, everyone, welcome to my guest post! My name is Mark, but Renae Myers usually refers to me as Smucky, or Smuckalert. This is me pictured below, with my sous chef Max Powers below.

It has long been a dream of mine to make an ieatfood guest post, however there has always been two primary complications keeping me from achieving my lofty aspirations:

1. I am not vegan – I eat meat almost exclusively, and
2. I can’t cook

But, I am not deterred easily! Thanks to some mentoring from another vegan friend of mine, I have been able to create a dish that is not only 100% vegan, but also what I like to call, ‘the business’. I am referring of course, to banana cake! Note that this is my first time cooking, so the fact that this worked is somewhat remarkable. OK, here we go…

First of all, the ingredients:

2 ripe bananas
2 cups flour
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp cinnamon
Spray canola oil
4 cups love

The products pictured are all available locally here in Australia. Note that you guys call bi-carb soda baking soda apparently. Also, my vegan friend (who is also American) told me that vanilla paste is unavailable there, so instead you need to use vanilla essence or something like that. I know the bananas look like they’re past their prime, but this is how they’re supposed to be for banana bread.

You will need several kitchen implements also. Although I owned a few of the things I needed, I didn’t know what they were for or what they did (mum had bought them for me at one stage). So, when my vegan friend visited she made me get all the other stuff I needed. Basically, buy this stuff:

The following instructions can be used for converting all of the above seemingly unspectacular products into a little slice of heaven:

1. Preheat the oven to 177C (350F)
2. Blend the bananas like so

3. Combine the 1/4 cup soy milk with 1 tsp of vinegar into a small bowl.

Note that I used “light” soymilk – a health-conscious move that is nullified by the unruly amounts of sugar that go into this.

4. Pour the 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp bi-carb soda, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp cinnamon into the mixing bowl. It will looks like this:

5. Mix it all together with a spatula so that it looks like this:

6. Add the blended bananas, 1/2 cup margarine, 1/2 cup cream cheese, soy milk mixture, and 1 tsp of vanilla paste. You should now have something like this:

7. Mix the shit out of it. (Make sure u set the mixer on low and put the beaters in first, otherwise everything flies out all over the kitchen in a comedic manner.) You should now be left with this:

I don’t think you’re meant to eat the mixture but I totally did, and I advise it:

8. Spray your bread pan with canola oil for some reason to do with sticking stuff, and then put the mixture into it:

9. Put it in the oven and leave it on for 50 mins or so. BAM, done. My mentor advised me that the best way to test if it’s ready is to stick a skewer in it, and if nothing sticks to the skewer, it’s done. Otherwise, the mixture inside hasn’t baked fully, so you need to wait longer. It should look like this at the end:

ADDITIONAL ICING BIT

And now for the icing on the cake, you can add some icing on to the cake. This is really easy – you can do it while the banana bread is cooking. Here are the ingredients:

1. 2 cups icing sugar
2. 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
3. 1 tsp vanilla paste

Icing sugar is called powdered sugar over there I think. Usually the packaging will give some sort of indication of awesomeness. To make the icing:

1. Clean all your kitchen implements
2. Put all of the above ingredients into the mixing bowl. It should look like this:

3. Mix on low again, you will be able to tell when it has become money, because it will look like this:

4. When your banana bread has cooled, apply icing:

5. Serve

My presentation skills are a little messy, but that banana bread tastes like God’s love. Gordon Ramsay even asked me how I got it so tasty*

* Based on events that never actually happened.

–It’s me, Renae, again. Isn’t Smucky awesome? I’m so proud that he actually baked something – and made it vegan! Many thanks to the other vegan in his life. He’s visiting us next month and I can’t wait to see him! Maybe I’ll teach him how to cook something too – his other vegan friend is outdoing me! In the meantime, here’s a picture of us in downtown Sydney:

And here’s ol Smuckalert in his natural habitat:

You can tell from the Opera House in the background!

I’m super excited Smucky hosted another food-loving friend – who amazingly happens to be vegan as well – shortly after I left in March, because now he has all these fancy new kitchen appliances I can play with the next time I’m there. Hell, his oven didn’t even work when I was there! And I had to buy him a knife!

Anyway, try Smucky’s banana bread: if it’s vegan and Smucks will eat it, it MUST be good!

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How (not) to make a burrito, by Mark

Tonight when I asked Mark what he wanted for dinner, he replied, “nothing,” and proceeded to help himself to a large pile of saltines. “You are not eating saltines for dinner,” I informed him. “Why not?” “Because you need nutrients. I’m making burritos, will you eat one?”

We went back and forth about the burritos, with Mark being rather picky about what he would accept in his burrito (including, oddly, cucumbers), until I finally said, “why don’t you make your own damn burrito?”

So he did. And he suggested that I share the wonder of his burrito making “skill” with you. So I did.

First you need to gather the ingredients. These include canned pinto beans, Ro-Tel tomatoes, chopped onions, hot sauce, salt, and (oddly) a cucumber.

Oh, and tortillas.

Open the cans using a can opener.

Mark is unsure about canned goods. He thinks they all smell bad. This is because he’s in charge of feeding Brachtune her tuna and that really does smell bad.

Get over your disgust and plow on through with the burrito-making process.

Pour the beans into a strainer …

… and rinse.

Look how Mark balanced the strainer on the sink! How talented he is in the kitchen!

What step is next, I wonder?

Oh yes, the chopping!

First, murder your wife.

Then go to business on that cucumber.


(This is about when I told Mark he was finished with the cucumber.)

Remove a tortilla from the package.

Tortillas can serve many purposes. For one, they help prevent the spread of swine flu.

They can also be large yarmulkes.

If, instead, you’d like to eat the tortilla, place it on a work surface. Arrange your chopped cucumbers in the middle.

Add some of the beans. No need to cook them!

Instead, just smash them down.

Choose only the finest tomatoes from the tin. The only way to know which are best is to taste them.

Put them on the tortilla as well and smash.

Get some onions. The onions are a very important part of the burrito.

Add them to the pile on the tortilla.

Generously sprinkle some hot sauce over the tortilla.

Your tortilla should now look like this:

But we’ve forgotten the most important ingredient!

Now fold the tortilla up:

Your meal-in-a-hand is done!

Enjoy!

Mmmmm!

Wait a minute …

… this is a little disgusting.

And also messy.

The final product:

And that was Mark’s dinner tonight.

Warning: Mark’s burritos may cause insanity.

As delicious as Mark’s burrito looked, I chose not to follow his recipe. I made my own burrito, which consisted of pinto beans that I cooked, with vegan nacho cheese, tomatoes, onions, taco sauce, vegan sour cream, and a distinct lack of cucumbers.

Not too pretty, but very tasty and very satisfying!

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Guest Post by Fortinbras! Peanut Butter Salvation Cookies

Note from Renae: I’ve been promising you Fortinbras’ Christmas post forever, and he decided Easter was as good a time as any to get around to it. (He exists! He exists! I didn’t make him up!) So with no further ado…

heeeeeere’s Fort!

…and just in time for Easter, I Eat Food Presents:
Peanut Butter Salvation Cookies (a delicious story of addiction, decadence, and ultimately redemption)

WET INGREDIENTS:
6 bottles of champagne
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of light brown sugar
2 sticks of margarine (slightly cool and softened)
The equivalent of 2 eggs using egg substitute (we used egg replacer)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of unsweetened, salted all natural crunchy peanut butter (Crunchy is what the recipe calls for, but smooth can be used instead, really the decision is left to the discretion of the baker. Remember: Life is short, as Jesus has taught us, so you use the type of peanut butter that you desire because, who knows? Tomorrow somebody may want to crucify you and you don’t want to be hanging there wishing you had used the kind of peanut butter that you prefer. Amen)

DRY INGREDIENTS:
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of soy milk chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 and get ready to make the most delicious cookies you have ever eaten in your entire life. Seriously, they are life altering good.

LETS GET STARTED:
Go on ahead and pop open that first bottle of champagne.

Pamper yourself and pour a nice healthy glass and take a big ol’ swig from the bottle, as if you could be, if given the proper circumstances, a rock star or a naughty politician.

Now that we all feel better about life let’s begin to mix together the essential wet ingredients. Mix the sugars, the egg substitute, the vanilla, the margarine and lastly the peanut butter together in a large bowl.

When incorporating the margarine it is very important that it be soft and slightly cool. If the margarine is melted or room temperature your cookies are still going to taste good, but they will be more thin and crisp after baking. Also, the cookies tend to come out better if the peanut butter is added last, I have no idea why this is but I do know it has something to do with physics and viscosity, parallel dimensions and the letter W. VERY SCIENTIFIC COOKIE STUFF, Y’ALL.

By now you should have finished, at the very least, one of your bottles of champagne. So lets open another, shant we? Why yes, yes we shall.

Now, children of the New Testament Era, it is time to sift the flour and the salt and the baking soda together in a bowl of your choosing. So take a few sips, refill that glass and hop to it.

After sifting the dry thangs together, you should be tired, so reward yourself for all of your hard work by taking a long smooth drink of your cool bubbling champagne. Feel free to laugh as the bubbles tickle the back of your tongue and throat, knowing in your heart of hearts that you deserve this moment. Lucky, lucky you.

NOW FOR THE DEAL, THE OPUS, THE SHOW! Grab your wet ingredients and your dry ingredients and get thee to a mixing station! If you are using a hand mixer I am gonna tell you now, there comes a point with this dough, that you will have to get in there with your hands and mix it using the raw power of all ten digits. Don’t be afraid, it will be okay, take a sip of your fourth bottle of champagne and get in there and make that magic happen! Humph! For those of you who own a professional mixer you may want to forgo allowing those ingredients to fornicate together in the relative privacy of the mixing bowl and just pretend that you own a hand mixer and get in there as well. Let’s keep it clean, but let’s not forget to keep it sexy as well. Everyone begin to add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until they form a firm dough.

And for the love of God do not forget to take that fifth bottle of champagne out of the freezer!

Now, at this point you should have a good buzz and a stiff cookie dough going. Form the dough into a ball

And, if you were raised in the circus as I was, feel free to toss it about as if it were a bowling pin or a baby.

But remember, accidents can happen.

So if you are not circusy you should probably just take that ball of dough and put it in a bowl and chill it in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes. Use this time to prep your cookie sheets with parchment paper or tin foil, again, remember the cross, and do what you prefer. LET THERE BE NO REGRETS DURING YOUR CRUCIFIXION!

15 minutes and one bottle of champagne later:

IT IS TIME TO GET TO SMOOSHIN’!

By now you should have lost the pretense of the glass and you should be drinking long and deep directly from the bottle, you should also be removing the ball of dough from the fridge and getting out a tablespoon sized scooping apparatus from your drawer of apparati. Now get your cookie sheet in front of you and get that scoop in your hand and I want you to take a very healthy tablespoon sized scoop from your ball of dough using your scooping apparatus of choice and then I want you to roll that scoop of dough between your palms until it is in the shape of a ball.

I suggest that you start with eight scoops on your first tray, spacing them evenly until you gage how much your dough will spread during baking.

Now that you have your dough balls spaced evenly on your baking sheet I want you to smoosh them down slightly, giving each potential cookie a little smack down.

Next place 1 to 3 soy milk chocolate chips in the center of each of the smooshed down dough balls.

Now it is time to raise your bottle and your adorned cookie sheet in celebration of the fact that you have come this far. You are very intelligent and gifted, by this point in the recipe you should already be aware of this.

NOW, very carefully, (because by now if you have been following this recipe to a tee, you are drunk) place the baking sheet with your unbaked smooshed down cookie dough upon it onto the middle rack of your oven and remember to close the door .

You are going to want to bake these cookies for 13 to 16 minutes depending upon your oven, if you have a slow oven you may need to bake them even longer. After you get a feel for how the dough bakes you can increase or decrease the temperature of your oven if you feel that it is necessary. Baking times are so inconsistent between ovens that I refuse to draw a hard line where time and temperature are concerned. Just know this: These cookies aren’t going to be golden brown; at the golden brown stage after they have cooled they tend to be a little over done, still more delicious than any other cookie on the planet, but a little over done. Instead, I recommend that all bakers everywhere should shoot for finding that point where they are simply cooked thoroughly. I find that tasting the first tray of cookies, even if it means that you have to eat them all, can reveal the subtleties of the cooking process that will give you the information necessary to bake these Peanut Butter Salvation Cookies to perfection, just the way Jesus would.

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!

Fort out – it’s Renae again. I CAN’T BELIEVE OF ALL THE PICTURES OF ME FROM THAT DAY I SUPPLIED HIM WITH, HE CHOSE THE ONE CALLED “VERY UGLY RENAE.JPG”. Why is he my best friend again? Oh yeah, because he’s hilarious. And also he thinks it’s okay for us to drink six bottles of champagne while doing all of his holiday baking. And also “very ugly Renae.jpg” was probably one of the least horrible looking photos of me in the batch. (I’ll never let very ugly Renae-2.jpg get out to the public, boy.) Yes, I love Fortinbras. But since he didn’t include any of the nice pictures of the ole Tiggster from that day, I shall:

Tigger used to always hang out with us during parties, no matter how raucous we got. Brachtune, on the other hand, doesn’t know what to make of us when we get rowdy and tends to hole up in a safe place:

And with that, I wish you all a happy Easter as well!

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