Continuing my Vegan MoFo theme of recounting the nightly communal dinners enjoyed by my 21-person on-campus vegetarian co-op known as Ferry House, I’m thrilled to share with you last night’s truly impressive meal. My good friend Alan (who works for Mercy for Animals, incidentally) metaphorically birthed a sourdough starter last semester and decided last night to gift us Ferries with his first sourdough bread of the new academic year in the form of burger buns—puffy, chewy, crusty burger bun perfection.
Notorious for his vegan patty-making penchant, Alan predictably baked up a hefty batch of pinto bean-brown rice burger patties to sandwich in between his remarkable buns (tee hee). At my suggestion, Alan employed rolled oats ground in the food processor to ensure adequate binding of the patties. Yay for shared culinary knowledge!
To round out the meal, Alan’s cooking partner Layla tossed together a refreshing salad of kale, mesclun, shredded carrots, raisins, and almonds in a light lemon dressing, as well as a hotel pan full of meltingly tender roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, onions, and garlic.
Even after dinner, the Ferry kitchen remained fully occupied, since I needed to bake a cake to celebrate my darling Rocky’s birthday. Rocky also embarked upon an internship adventure this summer, though she experienced hers in rural California at the illustrious farmed animal sanctuary known as Animal Place, where she participated in the rescue of 3,000 hens from gassing at a California egg farm. Check out Rocky narrating a video of the rescue below.
Clearly, Rocky deserves an entire room full of cakes to celebrate her dedication to ending the exploitation of non-human animals (oh, and her 20th birthday), but I only provided her with one on this particular night. Rocky, like me, chooses not to consume chocolate due to the child slavery nearly always behind the harvesting of cacao, so I baked her a dense, fruity, nutty, chocolate-free loaf cake inspired by this Orange Blossom Sesame Cake from My New Roots.
My Changes to the Original Recipe:
–Replaced the spelt flour with a gluten-free mix from Bob’s Red Mill.
–Omitted the orange blossom water (you think we have that kind of thing in a college co-op?)
–Substituted a cup of roasted almonds for the sesame seeds and pistachios.
–Used maple syrup and orange juice for the glaze.
–Baked the cake in a loaf pan rather than in an absent-to-Ferry spring-form pan.
–Place all of the nuts on top of the cake rather than cutting it in half.
Even with all of the tweaks, the cake turned out fabulously and served as an ideal end to the first day of classes at Vassar. Who knows what tonight’s dinner will bring?
Until next time, Ali.