Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Blueberry bliss, pea pancakes, and mousse.

(ps. sorry about the font in some parts of this post.  not sure why it went so wonky)

So if my blog tags are any indication at all (and amusingly, they often are), I'm more than a little mad for blueberries.  Dunno why exactly... it could be the bursting qualities... or the way they're so purple and freeze perfectly and are also called starberries?  And when you stick them in things people go "oooooooh" without fail, it's kind of funny!

When I saw this recipe for pea pancakes with blueberry basil dressing I knew knew KNEW I had to try it, it sounded the thing little fresh-showered elves would eat over tea and the latest forest news.  Lo and behold, it even looks like that sort of food, too!  Call me bowled over with technicolour, batman.  I wanna cook chromatically so much now!

Here's the veganization of it all.  The pea pancakes are almost perfect (I'd consider leaving out the cornstarch to keep the flavour brighter perhaps?).  The blueberry dressing is also pretty good, but I could do better probably and another kind of vinegar would probably work nicer, I just haven't figured out which one.  Still really good though!  (If you wanted lemon I'd never stop you, I just wanted to see if I could use something besides citrus.  Balsamic would probably be nice, too, come to think of it).  

Blueberry Basil Sauce

2/3 cup blueberries

1/4 cup water + 1 tbsp

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tbsp fresh minced basil

cracked black pepper

- In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp of water with the cornstarch, set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the blueberries, 1/4 cup of water, sugar and salt to a low boil until the berries start to pop and bleed their juice.  Remove from heat and stir in the cornstarch mixture, oil, vinegar, basil, and pepper.  Taste for salt and cover to keep warm.

Green Pea Pancakes (serves 2-3 as a snack or side)

4 oz. snap peas, strings removed

1/2 cup green peas

1/2 cup milk or cream

1 tsp melted buttery spread

1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

- Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil.  Blanche the snap peas for 30 seconds, then rinse in cold water.  Do the same with the green peas, until they're tender (2-3 minutes maybe).

- In a blender, combine the cooled peas with the milk, butter, and cornstarch, and blend until pretty smooth.  Move to a mixing bowl.

- Sift in the dry ingredients and gently fold until totally incorporated (shouldn't take much effort)

- Melt a bit of buttery spread in a nonstick and fry thin little 2" pancakes until golden brown on both sides.  Serve warm with a bit of blueberry sauce and some basil leaves on top.

Right.  And.

It was Pomme's birthday time this weekend, and that meant I was required to out-do myself again, inspired by love to fling culinary handrail-holding out the window and concoct some sort of artistic masterpiece that'll never have a recipe written down (but I'll always remember how to do).  In this case - a 2-layer Morrocan Mint cake with generous inches of Blueberry Mousse and a Pomegranate Glaze, topped with sugared pine nuts and mint leaves.  !!!!  For the record, I did a billion new things in the kitchen for this (well okay, I played with agar), and it turned out like some patisserie's jazzed star, in shades of aubergine, gold and lavender, and I *wish* I had a slice shot, but it was enjoyed by candlelight in the company of lots of vegan restaurant coworkers, so I'll just have to make another layer cake soon to make up for that! :p

Officially, the entire thing doesn't have a recipe, but I'll post the adaption I made to the matcha cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes because it made a damned fine joconde and the vegan world can always use another attempt at that, I think.  Pretty simple, actually... (it was the simple part)

Vegan Morrocan Mint Joconde

1/2 cup soygurt

2/3 cup strongly brewed green tea with 10-12 fresh mint leaves in it (strained, of course)

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup canola oil

1/2 tsp almond extract

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3 tsp matcha soymilk powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup sugar

- Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8" cake tin with nonstick spray and parchment paper.

- In a large mixing bowl combine the soygurt, tea, extracts, and oil

- Sift together the dry ingredients, then slowly add it to the wet bowl in installments, gently folding with a whisk until it's smooth.

- Pour into cake pan and bake for 35-42 minutes (my oven is really slow, so take these times as approximations).  A toothpick should come out clean, and the top should be glossy and flat.

- Let it cool almost completely before turning it onto a parchment lined cooling rack.  Once cool, cut it carefully into 2 layers, and soak each layer (as you construct your moussey cake) with Mint Syrup.

Mint Syrup

2/3 cups strong Morrocan mint tea (made the same as before)

1/3 cup sugar

some extra mint leaves if you want

- Bring everything to a boil in a tiny saucepan over medium heat and let it bubble until it's reduced slightly and thicked.  Cool completely before spooning over your cake layers.

(it all tastes of exotic and meltaway sweet sand and herbs..... very very very - needless to say - delicious)


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Now that blueberries are in season here, I can't get enough of them - that sauce/pancake combination is so intriguing!

dreaminitvegan said...

OMG! First let me tell you that cake is very artistic!!! Secondly, lovin the savory pea pancakes, and then you add the blueberries, oh my!
Blueberries are addicting for some reason, we leave them on the counter and like everytime you walk by you pop a couple in your mouth and a burst of yum pops inside your mouth.

nora said...

omg i want to make those pea pancakes! they're flipping beautiful.

i LOVE this line: "it sounded the thing little fresh-showered elves would eat over tea and the latest forest news. "

what a perfect description!

and i was gonna suggest balsamic too.

T said...

Peas and blueberries! I love vegan cooking! Those are so gorgeous and crazy-looking!

And the cake looks like heaven, wish it was sitting on my counter right now.

Theresa said...

Can I just say that the colours in this post, quite frankly, have made my heart flutter. I totally have a crush on you, your pea&blueberry pancakes, and your frickin awesome layer cake.

Anonymous said...

Mmm, everything looks so wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Again, we should REALLY live together sometime.

And, I've tried the storebought version of that dressing before but wasn't crazy about it... too sweet! I've thought about making my own version at home that's a little basil-ier. But with those pea pancakes I might have to push that task up on my list of to-do's!

aTxVegn said...

This is some of the most beautiful food I've seen all summer. You REALLY outdid yourself on the cake. I share your blueberry love!

Judy said...

I am totally intrigued by the pea pancakes - so cute too!

Gina said...

I have the same font issues sometimes, it drives me crazy when they're not the same (on my blog...on yours I don't care, haha).

For the pea pancakes....you use the entire snap pea, pod and all, right? Do you think it'd work with just the peas and not the pod too? Its totally my kind of thing, I want to make it!

Gina said...

Oooh, P.S. I'm going bluberry picking this morning!

Mihl said...

You make the most amazing foods, Liz! Those pancakes look very funny, I love their colour...and the cake...I'm out of words.

jessy said...

i had no idea blueberries were also called starberries. now i love them even more! we have some in our freezer right now, along with some blackberries we’re been picking from the woods behind our house! mmmmmmmmmm! i’ve gotta make those pea pancakes! wow! sweet gloriousness, your morrocan mint cake is the best! WOW! isn’t agar fun?! well, it’s kinda fun! ahahahahahahaa! mine always gets so fussy! thanks for the recipe, Liz!

Jes said...

Pea pancakes! Two of my favorite things in one! And that basil blueberry awesomeness sounds sooo good. And the cake? You've totally outdone yourself!

Sarah P said...

omg that cake looks incredible. And the green pea pancakes are adorable! I love green things.

The Voracious Vegan said...

What a seriously gorgeous post! Those green pea pancakes are too cute, and yes, forest dwelling elves would definitely make them for breakfast.

Try balsamic vinegar for your sauce, it is my go to vinegar for desserty things.

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