Food + Drink

Baking. Eating. Drinking. More baking.

Vegan marbled banana bread

Shanna Murray made the tea towel. Food52 made the knife. Ariele Alasko made the cutting board.

I didn’t intend for this to be a food post, but looking at the photos I just rounded up, it’s looking like it’s going to be a food post.

It’s been 55 days since Friday the 13th, the day when a lot of us in the United States realized life was going to be very different for a while. It’s been even longer than that elsewhere around the world. 55 days!

I’m not sure if I’ve been cooking more than I did pre-quarantine, but my cooking has changed. There are fewer fresh vegetables involved since going to the grocery store is now an endeavor more than an errand, with the exception of longer-life veggie friends like onions, potatoes, carrots, and peppers. There are more dried beans, and a lot of lentils. So many lentils. I love lentils, so I’m not complaining, but…well, you know. Sometime you just have an immediate craving for a romaine salad, but putting on a hazmat suit to go to the grocery store just isn’t worth it in that moment.

Everyone is baking. I don’t know if it’s the scarcity of flour in supermarkets that’s made us feel like we urgently need to bake, or if the desire for the comfort of carbs has led to the scarcity. Maybe we all just want to feel like we’re able to provide our households with fresh bread and other sustenance without going to a store? Whatever it is, I’m here for it.

Vegan marbled banana bread

Oh my god, look at this banana bread. Just take it all in.

Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe for vegan marbled banana bread is a staple in my baked-good repertoire. I have made it approximately one million times, and it is always delicious. It’s not super sweet, which is nice. Bananas are so sweet on their own, and I usually dislike when banana stuff has a ton of sugar in it. Like Isa says, if you leave it on the counter overnight (in plastic wrap, not nude), it will be SO MOIST AND DELICIOUS in the morning. Also, if you’re feeling bold, leave a couple of slices out naked overnight (if you have a cat or a tall dog, maybe put the plate inside a cabinet) so they get stale, then make banana bread French toast in the morning. You’re welcome.

Tofu florentine with vegan Hollandaise sauce

Speaking of breakfast, check out this tofu Florentine I made! I got the tofu nice and eggy by marinating it in a mixture of soy sauce, Sriracha, garlic powder, and kala namak (black salt) for about 30 minutes, then pan-fried it until it was crispy. I had some spinach in the freezer, which I sauteed with a little garlic. I used this vegan Hollandaise sauce recipe, which is amazing (it makes a lot, but the leftovers are good on just about anything—even for dipping potato chips). The English muffin is probably self-explanatory. I toasted it.

This was SO GOOD. The Hollandaise was more effort than I usually make at breakfast time (and actually remembering to soak the cashews and marinate the tofu was a true feat), but every now and then? Why not.

Vegan dalgona coffee

Yes, like everyone else, I have been making Dalgona coffee (aka “quarantine coffee”). And yes, it is just as delicious and addictive as everyone says it is. There are a bazillion articles describing how to make it, all of them roughly the same: Combine 2 tablespoons of instant coffee*, 1/2-2 tablespoons of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of hot water in a bowl. Blend until super-creamy and thick (I used an electric hand mixer), then spoon over your milk of choice and ice. It’s like magic. (For my follow nerds, there’s a great article at Vice that gets into the global history of Dalgona coffee.)

*I’ve been using Medaglia D’Oro instant coffee because it’s cheap/readily available at the grocery store I usually go to, but I’m told Café Bustelo is even better.

Vegan brownies

Vegan brownies

Brownie edges for dayyyyyyys

And finally, THESE BROWNIES. The recipe is from Nora Cooks, and they truly are the Best Ever Vegan Brownies. BEST EVER. I’m not a huge chocolate lover, but for some reason, I just need a brownie every now and then. I love a brownie that’s fudgey, not cakey, and the edges have got to be crispy and chewy. This recipe delivered. I don’t own a baking pan for some reason, so I just used a round cake pan. This gave the brownies a little extra surface area, so they kind of came out like the entire pan is an edge piece. Except the actual edges are like the best brownie edges in the world. Anyway, THESE BROWNIES. Make them. They’re even better on the second day after they’ve been wrapped in the fridge overnight.

Tell me: What are you cooking lately? More baked goods than usual? Do you feel like you want to be hopped up on caffeine as often as possible?

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36 Comments

  • Reply Rebecca May 6, 2020 at 11:45 am

    We made the queso from America’s Test Kitchen cookbook Vegan for Everybody and it’s fabulous! It’s got great flavor and texture, and it’s pretty easy to make. I’ve also made both of these soups and they were quite tasty:

    https://www.vnutritionandwellness.com/hungarian-red-lentil-soup/
    https://www.shelikesfood.com/southwestern-butternut-squash-white-bean-soup/

    The only thing I’ve baked so far is this applesauce bread (I did the added oil version):
    https://simple-veganista.com/applesauce-bread-vegan-oil-free/

    We’re thinking about making some vegan brie and sangria this weekend, which are two of our favorite comfort foods. I’ll have to try that brownie recipe too, it sounds fab!

    • Reply Anna Dorfman May 6, 2020 at 11:48 am

      I would like to eat ALL OF THESE THINGS right now, Rebecca! Oh my. How’s the Vegan for Everybody cookbook overall? I’ve never watched America’s Test Kitchen, so it’s unfamiliar territory for me.

      • Reply Elisabeth von Uhl May 11, 2020 at 8:34 pm

        I use America’s Test Kitchen Vegan for Everybody cookbook a lot. When I first started cooking vegan, the book offered wonderful explanations as to why some ingredients worked as substitutes and why others did not. The cookbook is definitely a staple for my family, but if possible (at this time) I would check it out online via your area’s library; cookbooks are so hit or miss and are so personal for each person.

  • Reply Geninne D Zlatkis May 6, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    So funny, I just texted you the black rice pudding before seeing your delicious food post. Great minds! I am making everything on this post on the next few days! Thank you for the recipes!

    • Reply Anna Dorfman May 7, 2020 at 9:44 am

      Yay! I really want to make that goth rice pudding!!

  • Reply kory May 6, 2020 at 12:11 pm

    Yes, it feels so good to make stuff 🙂
    I started making something sweet every weekend. My way of life is never to make the same thing twice – there are so many good recipes in this world and if I feel like cookin’, I also feel like trying something new… though I think the mango upside-down cake should be repeated 🙂 Here is the recipe, I hope you can vegan it up! https://feastonthecheap.net/orange-mango-upside-down-cake/
    I live in Croatia and actually I get more veggies than usual – farmers that would normally sell their stuff on farmers markets have now started delivering food. This way there is also no way to indulge the cravings, but at least my fridge is full of fresh produce which is both local and seasonal – so that’s great. It’s actually one positive thing from the situation, people turning more to local farmers instead of imported, tasteless, cheap supermarket stuff.

  • Reply Jessica May 6, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    We’ve had fun cooking our way through the new cookbook “Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein”. I love beans, it’s a great cookbook, and this kind of cooking has been perfect for our quarantine life.

    • Reply Anna Dorfman May 7, 2020 at 9:47 am

      That looks like a great cookbook!! I’m adding it to my wishlist 🙂

  • Reply Karla McWilliams May 6, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    hi Anna, I live in santa fe and we have used Just the Best for produce delivery – they’re at: https://www.justforyoubyjtb.com/ another friend used skarsgard farms and liked them:
    https://skarsgardfarms.deliverybizpro.com/ I was finding it challenging getting the veggies I wanted!

    • Reply Anna Dorfman May 7, 2020 at 9:50 am

      Thank you so much, Karla! I’m not sure I can meet the JTB minimum order amount without winding up with too much on my hands, but the Skarsgard offerings look great! I’m going to check out their options more closely later today.

    • Reply Darcie D May 8, 2020 at 7:34 am

      A quick second for the Skarsgard farms boxes. It’s been a perfect and simple way to keep fresh produce in our house!

      • Reply Anna Dorfman May 8, 2020 at 7:42 am

        That’s great to know, Darcie!! Thank you.

  • Reply Sarah Atwood May 6, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Definitely more baking than usual. DEFINITELY. Our beloved neighborhood bakery is closed, so like everyone else I’ve been making my own sourdough, and it’s actually going fairly well! I’m shocked, I am much more a cook than a baker. Also 3 loaves of rhubarb yogurt quickbread from the NYTimes I actually haven’t made this yet during the quarantine, but it’s one of my very favorite cakes, which just happens to be vegan:
    https://smittenkitchen.com/2017/10/chocolate-olive-oil-cake-more-book-tour/
    HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND! (and I’m not even a big chocolate person).

    • Reply Jessica May 7, 2020 at 6:57 am

      I made this last night based on your recommendation- thanks!

    • Reply Anna Dorfman May 7, 2020 at 9:52 am

      That cake is so beautiful!! Hmmm…I think I have all of the ingredients…

      • Reply Sara May 7, 2020 at 1:46 pm

        I made that Smitten Kitchen recipe for friends once and they liked it so much they used it for their wedding cake!

  • Reply Jules May 6, 2020 at 1:28 pm

    I’m in a weird stage right now. Things were going great as the weather was cooler–lots of soups–but now that the weather is warming up I’m at a loss. My main struggle is balancing everyone’s preferences (some eat meat, some don’t). Pretty typical mom struggle. Originally I was baking more but that has slowed down as my work picked up (and my weight went up).

    • Reply Anna Dorfman May 7, 2020 at 9:53 am

      Do you like eating soups cold? I know some people hate that, but I think a lot of soups (especially split pea or lentil soups) are delicious that way.

      • Reply Jules May 8, 2020 at 6:04 pm

        I’m not sure if I do! My first thought is no, but I should give cold soups a shot first. That’s a great idea; thanks. 🙂

  • Reply Crystal Clark May 6, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    I made bagels!! I used a sourdough starter for the dough (not yeast needed!) and Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel for toppings! So good!

    • Reply Anna Dorfman May 7, 2020 at 9:54 am

      Nice!! I’ve never had a sourdough bagel!

  • Reply Fiona May 6, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    They look amazing. Wrapping up the banana bread, I can’t wait to try. Been baking a lot for the family even though I’m really a very bad baker. It’s nice to bring some sweetness wherever possible these days. I hear you on the fresh vegetables. Going to the supermarket is quite a paranoid experience to do as little as possible. I got some seeds a month ago so have six precious zucchini seedlings coming up, some arugula that’s nearly ready to eat and some teeny tomato plants. Apparently just picking enough leaves off the salad plants every day they’ll keep growing for a few weeks. I’ve never tried it before so here goes.

    • Reply Anna Dorfman May 7, 2020 at 9:56 am

      I’ve had a terrible time trying to grow veggies in New Mexico! Even with brand amended new soil, it’s just SO dry here, and the sun is unrelenting in the summer. I’m going to give it another shot at some point, but I think I might need to have a humidified greenhouse enclosure if I want to be successful.

  • Reply Jemma May 6, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    I’m not normally a coffee drinker, but am cultivating a nice lockdown coffee habit and am definitely starting to crave it and look forward to it! I haven’t figured out the milk trickery with the machine so am using the French press trick and plunge it up and down rapidly to get it super thick and fluffy! I saw a dalgona coffee recipe and in the name of research tried it with a shot of fresh espresso and it worked! Amazing! But the inventor of that was clearly a maniac! In NZ we have these weird little fruits in season called feijoas that are amazing warm with crushed ginger biscuit and icecream, or in baking, and since my tree has dropped around ten million over lockdown there has been a lot of that as well as jam and chutney. Will definitely look up that brownie!

    • Reply Anna Dorfman May 7, 2020 at 10:18 am

      I’d never heard of feijoas before! I’m intrigued!

  • Reply Kim B May 7, 2020 at 12:40 am

    Wanna hear my sob story?

    WE DON’T HAVE AN OVEN!

    no baking for us

    So. . . . every time folks get jealous of people living glamorous lives in Paris, they can just remind themselves : that woman doesn’t even have an OVEN!!

    Hee hee

    • Reply Kim B. May 7, 2020 at 12:43 am

      And p.s. as to what we’re cooking, I have to give a shout-out to my husband, who has been cooking all the meals (he usually cooks anything here, but I am not used to having him home seven nights a week since he works in a restaurant himself!). I know he is getting tired of thinking of things night after night . . .

    • Reply Anna Dorfman May 7, 2020 at 10:23 am

      Kim, I’ve seen enough episodes of House Hunters International to know that an oven at home is NOT a guarantee outside of North America and the UK!! I always want to scream at the TV that they should just get a countertop convection oven. Do you have one? I do SO MUCH baking in mine even though I have a full-size oven because it doesn’t make the house hot. (I have this basic Cuisinart model, and it’s great.)

      • Reply Mina May 11, 2020 at 11:04 pm

        Thank you so much for the oven recommendation! I’ve been searching for years, but could never decide on which model to get but this was my favorite. Convection oven cooking could deserve its own post please. Texas is as hot as Hades in the summer and anything that requires the oven is a hard no May-Nov.

    • Reply Grace May 7, 2020 at 11:29 am

      I feel your pain, cherie! My oven broke in the early days of quarantine. I’m missing out on all the baking fun, but it’s the only reason I can still wear real pants!

  • Reply Molly May 8, 2020 at 8:33 am

    You may want to give #thestew a try. I resisted for a long time bc I don’t know…I like to think I’m above trends? I finally caved and will admit it’s worthy of the hype. Easily made vegan with veg stock. Highly recommend some kind of yogurt for tanginess, or a squeeze of lime if you don’t like yogurt. I also re-crisped the reserved chickpeas for some added texture. https://pamelasalzman.com/spiced-chickpea-stew-with-coconut-and-turmeric/

    • Reply Anna Dorfman May 8, 2020 at 8:49 am

      I’ve made it a few times! It’s delicious.

  • Reply Laura C May 8, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    I’ve jumped on the sourdough bandwagon. I love that it’s time intensive. On bulk fermentation day it forces me to step away from work every hour to fold the dough. I need reasons to move these days. The first few loaves were not great but I think I’ve got the hang of it!

  • Reply Ilaria May 12, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    Wow! Definitely want to try some of these recipes!

  • Reply Christian May 18, 2020 at 7:40 am

    Dalgona Coffee is our new favorite at the job! It is so damn delicious. Instead of ice cubes then try it with vanilla or caramel icecream. It send you to heaven instantly.

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