Corina Bakery’s Fall Vegan Temptations

I had another special (i.e., cat-related) post in mind for tonight, but I’ll either sneak in a Saturday or Sunday post or add it in with my last post on Monday. Instead, I’m going to highlight Corina Bakery a little more, as we’ve been visiting them pretty often as of late for reading, coffee and some special snacks.

Corina Bakery is so close to my apartment, it’s kind of frightening. The ease and speed with which I can acquire vegan baked goods is awe-inspiring to say the least, and I know that I’m quite lucky because of these facts. I don’t know what I’d do without them on the days when we need a little something sweet but are a bit too busy or zonked to prep them ourselves.

This local vegan bakery keeps up with the times and seasons, and right now they’re rolling out all kinds of delightful vegan baked goods that encompass the traditional pumpkin-in-everything fashion everyone is loving as the winds start blowing in, leaves fall and temperatures drop to brrrr! status.

Behold, one of my favorites from Corina during this season:

Their Vegan Pumpkin Pie.

I first tried this last year when my favorite local craft cocktail lounge (which I will review on here, one of these days) started offering it when they instituted their 2010 fall/winter menu, (they brought it back this year as well. Yay!). It perfectly accompanies both hot cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages such as vanilla tea or Valhalla espresso drinks. All my non-vegan friends at the table tried it the night of the 1022 menu tasting party and loved it. The pie filling is teeming with warming spices – cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg – and smooth pumpkin flavor. The crust is buttery, soft and flaky, and the combo of filling and crust is just classic. I could eat a slice everyday and be perfectly content.

Today, I tried a new offering that I’d never seen before:

A slice of Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

I always see cream cheese frosting items on Corina’s regular menu and desperately want them to be made vegan, so today my dreams came true, (okay, they could’ve if I’d called in and requested it, too, but I like seeing all the vegan options naturally available every time I come in and/or flying by the seat of my pants, guys). This cake was incredibly light and fluffy, and so spongy on the fork. The pumpkin flavor wasn’t overpowering but just right – slightly spicy with the right amount of sweetness. The cream cheese frosting brought this cake home! I was so happy slowly enjoying this cake, and savoring every moment with it. With my Americano in hand, I didn’t fret as the rain came down outside and turned the sky an apocalyptic shade of gloomy.

Some days, though, Corina is either low on or out of some of their finer vegan dessert-type items. It happens, they’re a popular place! On those days, vegan visitors can usually rely on one or both of these always vegan, always delightful sweet options to be in or on top of the pastry case:

The not so fall-ish, but still sweet Quinoa Cookie and the autumnal Mini Pumpkin Loaf, available year-round.

The Quinoa cookie is actually a healthy option for those looking for a lighter treat. Filled with raisins and other wholesome ingredients, this cookie is generously portioned and pairs well with any beverage. The Pumpkin Loaf is the perfect little rich, nutty bread that has a great texture and is covered in pumpkin seeds. I personally love bringing it home, heating it up for a few seconds and then slathering it in Earth Balance. You can find this loaf at Satellite Coffee and Metronome Coffee as well, as it’s quite popular with vegans and non-vegans alike.

Corina’s a great place to be for Tacoma vegans anytime of the year, but it’s so nice to be able to switch gears and get something seasonally-inspired sometimes!

Which fall treats are you enjoying at your local vegan-friendly bakery?

Getting Over My Squash Fears: Acorn Edition

Today on my lunch break, I was at home – digging into my leftover nachos – when I noticed an acorn squash I’d purchased the week before staring back at me on the table. I remembered that I should use it soon, before it goes bad and I have to throw it out, (like so many squashes of my past). I’ve never purchased one before, let alone cooked one, so I was genuinely stumped. I felt like the two main veins of recipes I’ve seen for them in the past were stuffed or soup, so I went to my faithful friend Twitter and asked if anyone had any great suggestions on how a noob could successfully cook this particular gourd.

Fellow, (but non-vegan) Tacoma food blogger and avid tweeter, Adrienne, said:

“@veganmoxie Stuff it something like this,” and included a link to a stuffed squash recipe from a beautiful blog I’d never come across. And it just happened to be vegan. I looked it over and immediately responded, “that looks glorious!” When I got home, I peered around to make sure I had everything for the recipe.

I didn’t, so I made some changes. Like the name, for instance:

Roasted Stuffed Acorn Squash with White Beans, Walnuts and Cranberries

Adapted from The First Mess‘ Stuffed Acorn Squash with Pine Nuts, Sour Cherries and Sage recipe

Here are all the major changes I made to the original:

- Used cooked brown rice in lieu of wheat berries, (in the interest of saving time and not having to track down wheat berries)
- Used 1/4. onion instead of shallots
- Used dried versus fresh herbs, as I had them
- Swapped out the cherries for cranberries
- Used walnuts instead of pine nuts
- Added 1 c. rinsed, drained white beans

Laura suggested cutting the squash in half, seasoning with salt and pepper, and placing a smashed garlic clove underneath each half while roasting. I believe this step to be genius. The squash was incredibly flavorful as a result, and I threw the roasted cloves into the pan while making the stuffing. Never enough garlic.

Cranberries, some reserved squash and brown rice.

Stuffing!

The finish product.

This squash and stuffing combo really screamed ‘fall’ to me, from the first bite. The garlic and veggies added a savory nod, the cranberries mixed in a little sweetness while the walnuts added great texture and crunch. In my head I imagined this being made with barley instead of brown rice, and I think I’ll do that next time. Other than that the recipe did prove to be glorious, and I think my adaptations to the recipe came out as well in practice as they did in my head. Thanks for helping me get over my acorn squash fears, Adrienne and Laura!

What’s your favorite way to serve acorn squash?

Sunday Brunchin’ II: Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Here were are, at week 2 of Vegan MoFo! Week 1 went by in a flurry of brunching, cupcake wars and reading, but after a fun weekend of geeking out, eating out and relaxing, I’m all pumped up for this week’s posts. And today we continue my theme of Sunday Brunchin’ recaps on Monday!

At Vida Vegan Con, I was lucky to have the chance to meet a ton of people and some wonderful cookbook writers. One of them was the sweet and inspiring Christy Morgan of The Blissful Chef. Christy is a vegan macrobiotic chef, cooking instructor and most recently, cookbook writer. We met and chatted at the Con, but it wasn’t until a few days after the con in Seattle that a few of us local bloggers got together for a meetup when I had the chance to get Christy’s book, Blissful Bites for myself.

A few days after I purchased it, I breezed through the book in a few days, (which is something I normally don’t do with cookbooks) and loved it. The wonderful photos, great tips spread throughout, meals separated out by season and ever-present focus on wholesome, rich and delicious healthy vegan food all hooked me from the first page, and I started keeping a mental list of all the wonderful recipes I wanted to try immediately. The first meal I tried was the Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho, to make good use of these sweet, seasonal fruits right before summer ended and fall hit. It was fabulous paired with pita bread and tofu spread and some quickly whipped up sangria.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. I sat up in bed and thought, “I want pancakes.” And then a few minutes later, confirmed in my head, “Pumpkin pancakes!”

I started searching through my monstrous cookbook shelf and wasn’t finding what I wanted. Finally, I picked up Christy’s book, and the recipe in my head popped out at me: Pumpkin Spice Pancakes. So serendipitous! And then I got to work.

Dry ingredients. I’ve never owned pumpkin pie spice, so I improvised with my most pumpkin-y/fall seasonings on hand: cinnamon, ginger, allspice.

And wet, whisked to a gorgeous orange thanks to canned pumpkin.

Flipped, and doing their thing.

Pumpkin breakfast success! I served ours up with chopped walnuts, Earth Balance, drizzled them with pure maple syrup and enjoyed it all with warm cups of coffee.

The recipe was a simple yet satisfying twist on a standard pancake recipe. I had some problems with the first batch I put on the griddle and felt the batter was a bit runny, but that could’ve been me adding in too much of one wet ingredient or not having the stove on a high enough temp to start. The following batches firmed up a lot faster, so I think upping the heat fixed it. The result was flapjacks that were soft, fluffy, perfect for October mornings and that had just the right amount of sweetness. The boy proclaimed, “mmm, tastes like pumpkin pie,” after first bite. Mission accomplished.

Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Last night, we realized that our fridge was filled with so many leftovers and we’d just gone grocery shopping, so we knew that there’d be no meal making. Instead, there was dessert making. Sweet, rich, make-the-house-smell-awesome dessert making, that took the form of Maple Walnut Ice Cream from The Vegan Scoop.

We’d purchased The Vegan Scoop long before we were able to use it, and would just pore over the range of tantalizing flavors every once in a while. Almond Cookie, Sweet Curry Fig, and Avocado are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are over 150 recipes contained in the book. I visited Wheeler’s Frozen Desserts prior to its closing one freezing January Boston night, to pick up something for the boyfriend who was in the hospital, (long story – some other time). My friend and I were overwhelmed with all the options, and despite the fact that we couldn’t feel our fingers, we relished in the smooth sweetness that was handmade vegan ice cream.

I’ve loved ice cream as long as I can remember. I’ve gone through a ton of different favorites since I was little, (from mint chip, to rainbow sherbet, cookie dough, etc.), but since I’ve gotten older and went vegan, most of my favorites tend to revolve around peanut butter and coffee flavors, which should surprise no one if you read my last post.

I’ve been extremely satisfied with how much vegan ice creams on the market have improved over the years, and have found some favorites that I grab when I need a sweet treat in a pinch. But sometimes you want a flavor that you can’t find readily available in your small town supermarkets – like Rocky Road, in the bf’s case. Or you want the unmatched taste of ice cream that you made with your own hands, and that only contains ingredients that you can pronounce. Enter a recent gift to our household: an ice cream maker.

It’d been a while since we’d tried a new flavor out of the book, so last night I suggested we make something “fall-ish.” Maple Walnut most definitely qualifies.

Ingredients, including the star of the vegan ice cream making process: arrowroot.

Arrowroot and soymilk mingling -it was soon after poured into…

…lots of boiling maple syrup.

What’s better than freshly chopped walnuts, about to be thrown into a sweet treat?

The results after freezing for a few hours are still soft – a little firmer than the consistency of soft serve. Overnight, it’ll harden to regular ice cream thickness.

Mmm.

Do you have The Vegan Scoop? If so, what are some of your favorite ice cream flavors that you’ve made from it?