Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Crowd Pleasers

Today Hillary heads back home. Last night we had a get together to wish her well. We feasted on Baked Macaroni and Cheese (using the recipe from Peta’s Veg Starter Kit) with collards and breadsticks. For dessert we had Peanut Butter Cake and Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake from the Simple Treats cookbook. Simple Treats is a must have cookbook for dessert lovers. The recipes look somewhat complicated, but they really aren’t and the results are consistently delicious.

As is often the case in frugal cooking, success in both taste and pocketbook comes down to your ability to recognize what ingredients can be substituted for each other. The Mac and Cheese recipe called for broccoli, which I was out of. I know from past experience that steamed collards work well in place of broccoli, especially in recipes with nutritional yeast based cheese sauce. The breadsticks were just defrosted bread dough shaped into sticks and sprinkled with Italian seasoning.

Substitutions in baked goods can be a tricky business. You always need to have an awareness of what the function of an ingredient is. Last night I ran out of maple syrup so I substituted a mix of sucanat and molasses. This is not my first choice but it works in a pinch. The cakes tasted great. My mother in law even took some home for my father in law. “He loves your cakes,” she said. That may be the highest compliment I’ve ever received from a staunch non-vegan!

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