1. Whole-Wheat Blueberry-Cornmeal Pancakes

    WET
    1.25 C soy milk (or any non-dairy milk)
    1 t apple cider vinegar
    2 T flaxseed meal mixed with 6 T water
    1.5 oz. coconut oil, melted
    1 t vanilla extract 

    DRY
    6 oz. whole-wheat pastry flour
    2 oz. cornmeal
    2 t baking powder
    1 t kosher salt

    1 C blueberries

    1. Mix together milk and apple cider vinegar, allow to curdle.
    2. Mix all wet ingredients together.
    3. Whisk all dry ingredients to combine.
    4. Combine wet and dry until well blended.
    5. Fold in cup of blueberries.

    Then you heat the griddle, grease it as you see fit, and make your pancakes! There’s "Pancake 101" at Smitten Kitchen, if you’re not clear on that process.

    (Sorry about this terrible picture!)

     
  2. People seem interested in cauliflower steak, a delicious and versatile use of an awesome veggie. Here’s how I make it: 

    Preheat oven to 400. Cut an inch-thick slab of cauliflower; clean off the end without cutting off so much stalk it breaks apart. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan, then add cauliflower, letting it brown on each side for a couple of minutes. Then put it on a baking sheet and in the oven for ~15 minutes. Voilà! It’s more awesome with tomato sauce or hummus and olives or capers…

     
  3. Here’s the holiday menu! (Trying to be better with our presence beyond Facebook.)

     
  4. In addition to the regular offerings:

    Cupcakes ($30 per dozen; $40 per 2 dozen)

    Vanilla-vanilla: vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream
    Vanilla-chocolate: vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream
    Chocolate-vanilla: chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream
    Chocolate-chocolate: chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream
    Caramel-filled chocolate: chocolate cake filled with caramel, frosted in chocolate ganache
    Chocolate-filled coconut: coconut cake filled with chocolate ganache, frosted in coconut buttercream
    Banana-PB: banana cake with peanut-butter frosting
    …Or any combination or request.

    Cakes, any combination of the above

    4-inch, $12; 6-inch, $20; 9-inch, $30. Please email regarding larger sizes.

    Muffins & Loaves ($15 per dozen or loaf)

    Blueberry
    Banana-chocolate chip
    Banana-walnut
    Banana-coconut
    Cinnamon crumb

     
  5. I worked at Starbucks for a year, and the best part of the job was playing with flavors. Though now I wouldn’t touch most of their ingredients with a 10-foot pole, I did come out with one amazing combination: apple and Chai. There, when they make a caramel apple cider, they use apple juice. I would steam the apple juice and add a Chai tea bag (or 2), resulting in a beautifully warming blend of spicy sweetness. Now I heat apple cider for steeping, and the result is a richer version of the same.

     
  6.  
  7. Going into fall, I knew I had to add some seasonal items to the menu. Everyone goes a little weirdly crazy for pumpkin spice lattes (which are not vegan), so it wasn’t surprising when the people clamored for pumpkin cake. This one that I came up with is very heavy on the spice end, with a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; the pumpkin provides color, moisture, and background flavor. This spicy warmth makes it fall perfect. 

     
  8. Popcorn! The perfect snack. I eschew the microwave kind for popping my own (Arrowhead Mills’ organic), which I can then brilliantly season in whatever way I feel like. Last night, for the presidential debates, I went with sea salt, garlic, nutritional yeast, and fresh parsley. It’s very easy to do yourself, in a chemical-free and delicious way. Here are the basic instructions:

    1 cup popcorn kernels
    3 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
    sea salt to taste

    In a medium-size pot, melt oil over high heat. After about a minute, put in one kernel. When it pops, pour in the rest, lower to medium-high heat, and place lid on the pot. When the popping slows down (or the lid is being pushed off by the popcorn), turn off the heat. Season and serve.

    I recommend filling your bowl halfway with popcorn, adding all your seasonings, covering it with the rest of the popcorn, and then giving it a good toss to ensure even distribution.

     
  9. Where have I been? I’ve been baking up a storm and updating the Facebook too much. We now stock cupcakes twice a week at Organic Corner in Massapequa, and last night were the featured vendor at Vegan Drinks NYC! Pictures and more about that coming soon. In the meantime, here’s a visual tour through just a bit of the last couple of months.

     

  10. "Teenage Dreams," Nada Surf

    We’re really busy at La Pirata Kitchen—baking, meeting, listening to Nada Surf, and sneaking peeks at Lucky Peach issue 4, from which this quote comes:

    "I mean, if you want to talk about American food, the Magnolia Bakery would be a fine place to start. The comfort-food thing started in the eighties, when people were hungry for the food that their moms used to make. Except Mom wasn’t a very good cook. Mom made everything out of a box, so they were eating boxed cake and canned frosting. So restaurants wanted to make frosting that tasted like that, and cakes that were exactly like Duncan Hines." —Jonathan Gold