Veganesque

For a few years, B and I have wavered in practicing a vegan diet. We’re not going to be all-out, but we do not avoid it. Veganesque is a good term for it. Or, con-vegan-ient.

I really like Thug Kitchen, the vulgar vegan cookbook that has really simple, tasty food in it. I’ve enjoyed The Veganomicon, and also discovering nutritional yeast (NOOCH). I’ve noticed in pre-made vegan items, there’s a reliance on palm oil, which gives me pause; palm oil is unethical. I mean, there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism; nothing is without cost, nothing is without process.

And, too, I thrive on convenience. Throwing chicken breasts on the smoker (which is amazing) and having a quick lunch or dinner option in the fridge? Priceless. But I’m participating in systems I don’t like. I should just move to a farm somewhere. Get off the grid, electrify a fence or two.

Of course that’s a pipe dream. And of course, we can do the next right thing, which is to examine the cost of life and labor in what we eat, weighed against convenience, cost and culture.

I don’t even know what this means yet. But it is on my mind. Perhaps it’s a couple meals a week to start. And I’ll post about it here.

Culinary Attempts #2

This week, I’ll be trying a recipe that makes my heart very, very happy: Compost Cookies from the Momofuku Milk Bar.

Here is the recipe, and I’ll be following it exactly. This means I’ve gone out to buy milk powder, and I found out glucose is sold at craft stores, not grocery stores, which is weird but that’s life.

It also means I’m going to be dropping these cookies off to someone, probably belonging to my church, when they’re done. Because I don’t need these delicious, marvelous cookies in my life as I am trying to become the Lesser. I will have one, of course, so that I’m not blindly throwing baked goods at friends and family. That would be monstrous.

So you can follow the recipe, which, again, is two paragraphs above. But here’s the process:

Step One: Make Graham Crust

Butter, cream, salt, dry milk, sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Combine the dry, whisk the wet together, toss it all together.

I should note–I used the little tiny baby whisk to toss the dry ingredients and to combine the wet. I love the little tiny baby whisk.

When Brian and I were first dating, I went to his house (which would become our house) and cooked dinner, and I was overjoyed that he had this little tiny baby whisk. I laughed so hard–not at him, just, look how small it is! He brought me an Easter basket a few weeks later, and amidst the candy and green cellophane grass was my very own tiny baby whisk.

It’s when I knew I’d marry that man. And yes, we have two little tiny baby whisks and we are double #blessed.

Dry and wet tossed together should be like sand–it should keep shape when squeezed.

Yes, that is an attempt at a thumbs up. Also, it is delicious.

Once the graham crust is made (and there’s enough to do like, little tartlets with if you feel so inclined, I did not, you can begin getting your mise together.

The coffee in the top right corner is because I baked in the morning.

I always prep mise en place when I bake, because things move fast. And, it’s neat-looking. These are called compost cookies because everything goes in–from top left, clockwise: flour, sugar, glucose, butter, (spatulas and the little tiny baby whisk!), potato chips, pretzels, baking powder and baking soda and salt, vanilla extract, eggs, butterscotch and mini chocolate chips, coffee, brown sugar, oats and graham crust.

Can we talk about glucose for a minute? Essentially, I have just one thought: what the hell? I mean I get it, it’s corn syrup more or less, and maybe that’s why I had to buy it at JoAnn Fabric rather than Dillon’s (Kroger). I don’t know. I scooped it after wetting my hand and dropped it in a little beaker-measurer and I felt weird like when we used to do crafts at summer camp. But in it went!

ACTUAL MIXING: STEP ONE
Cream together the butter, sugars and glucose (whatever it is!) for a few minutes.

ACTUAL MIXING: STEP TWO
Scrape the bowl, throw in the eggs and vanilla extract.

Mix it for at least eight minutes. Eh, no–around eight minutes.

ACTUAL MIXING: STEP THREE
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix on low just till it’s combined.

ACTUAL MIXING: STEP FOUR
Throw in the oatmeal and coffee and chocolate chips and butterscotch chips (I forgot to take a picture), and mix for maybe half a minute, then throw in the potato chips and pretzels until it’s just barely combined.

NOT PICTURED:

  • scoop out approximately 1/3 of a cup lumps, and throw those onto a parchment lined sheet tray
  • Flatten the lumps (I did not do this step well)
  • Wrap the trays in plastic wrap
  • Chill them for an hour

Your dough has to chill. It has to.

Is this an invitation to assess how often you might chill, or be able to chill?

Anyway, since these are huge amounts of dough, they’re going to make huge cookies–the recipe calls for 4 inches between! We went with two inches on either side. And yes, we means I asked Brian for his advice and experience.

Bake them! I baked mine longer because I was not confident.

BUT GUESS WHAT. They’re fantastic and enormous and I will give these away because I’ve had one… okay two and now I don’t ever need to eat again.

Thanks Christine Tosi! Thanks Momofuku Milk Bar! Thanks, milk powder and glucose! Good night moon!