Friday, January 05, 2007

Making Lemonade Out Of Lemons

...or in this case one decent recipe out of two muck-ups!

You see, over the holidays I tried two new recipes. First - a cranberry sauce with dates. Second - white chocolate truffles.

The cranberry-date sauce was quite tasty, and I liked it, but I'm a bit of a cranberry sauce purist and so the dates thickened the sauce too much. I preferred the alternative cranberry sauce that I created which was far simpler and with fewer ingredients. So, as a sauce I didn't care for this date version, but thought "hmmm, as a mixture for date squares??..."

In the meantime I also tested some white chocolate truffles. Total wipe out! I'm talking complete and utter disaster! Now, I have been testing some very rich and far-out-fabulous chocolate truffles since about October. I thought I could sub the vegan white chocolate for the dark chocolate without much trouble. How wrong I was. The white chocolate mixture just ended up in a very thick, sticky type of sauce. I didn't want to chuck it, because I hate to waste ingredients, esp including vegan white chocolate which I order from the US (vegan essentials), and can be pricey with exchange/shipping.

So, I took out my Delish Date Square recipe from Vive, and I used the exact recipe for the crust (bottom and top), and then for the filling, I smoothed on the cranberry-date mixture, and then poured on some of the white chocolate sauce. Really, I should have used maybe 1/2 the white chocolate sauce, because as you can see, they were quite rich! Ahh, but it's the holidays after all, and we can justify all these rich, sweet treats.

How pleased I was with the results! White Chocolate Cranberry Date Squares. I would have liked these squares very much even with just the cranberry-date adaptation and no white chocolate - may work more on that sometime, but for now I'm happy to not have transformed two recipe flops into one recipe success!

btw - I'm not going to post our Christmas dinner, since most of us are tired of holiday dinners by now. But, if you do want to check it out, I posted it last year here. It is fabulous. Once a year we go all out making this meal, and it is 100% worth it. All the recipes are in TEV.


Michelle said...

wow, those do look good. i also hate to waste ingredients, especially expensive ones. will you be including this in your new book, or is that pretty much wrapped up on your end?

*a* said...

Wow! Those look fabulous! Will you be publishing the "new parts" to the recipe?

Melissa West said...

Happy New Year Dreena! It's nice to see you posting again. I've missed your posts over the holidays. Hope you and your family had a wonderful and restful vacation.

My hubby would love these, he is a date bar fanatic. Look forward to lots of great posts in 2007!

Judy said...

It's funny; I don't care for cranberries or white chocolate, but this looks delicious!

I've done similar things with 2 recipes that didn't turn out, and the results are sometimes pleasantly surprising. Isn't it fun to make something work?

springsandwells said...

Wow, Nice Work Dreena!
How satisfying to convert two duds into a rich and decadent success! I'm not so good at being creative with left overs and duds and such. I usually just perservere and eat them as is. :) So, maybe now I'll be a bit more inspired to try for a new success!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dreena - Happy New Year! The recipe looks fab,as always.Being a new Vegan, I've finally taken my "training wheels" off and become more creative in the kitchen - I'm still going to buy your next cookbook, though!! --Maureen--

laura jesser said...

Wow, those look incredible. You are so creative--and I'm glad you didn't give up on these recipes!

Harmonia said...

yummy, yummy, to my tummy, tummy!

Happy Weekend!!!

Dreena said...

Michelle, I'm not as 'wrapped up' as I'd like to be with the book! Getting there... but I'm not including these simply because I didn't set out to create this as a recipe. I might do a cran-date square recipe later down the road though, because they were quite good!

Hi Aimee, thanks. :) I won't be putting this in the book, but maybe later I'll do a version to publish on my blog.

To you too, Melissa! Thanks, I did take as much of the holiday break as I could to truly 'break' from blogging and to focus on clueing up a number of recipes for the book. I'm sure the holidays were a blast for you with your daughter (our girls are about the same age) - fun, wasn't it?! :)

Judy, I was so pleased, believe me! I don't normally care much for cranberries, either, but here they were delightful!

Amey, it doesn't *always* work for me, I just got lucky this time round! :)

Maureen, before you know it, you'll be whipping together your own creations and feeling totally confident doing so. It's all just adjusting to the learning curve of some of the new foods - even I'm still doing that with new foods and ingredients I come across.

Thanks Laura and Harmonia!

Anonymous said...

I've been unable to find whole wheat pastry flour. However, I've found white pastry flour. I would rather substitute something more wholesome for the whole wheat. Any suggestions?
As I write this I have the Almond Apricot Loaf baking in the oven. Of course, my pregnant brain was not focusing and I forgot to add the almonds! Doh! I'm sure it'll still taste great.
Sweet Pea (1 more week to go!)

Webly said...

I love how you combined the two. They look heavenly! (and mess!)

Webly said...

I love how you combined the two. They look heavenly! (and mess!)

Michelle said...

dreena, i made your Chickpea Mash Stew (and we liked it), and my daughter Ellia says that she likes the "chickpeas and the bikinis".. aka zucchinis.

thought you might get a kick out of that.

Urban Vegan said...

That is yummy resourcefulness at its finest.

Village Mama said...

Happy New Year!

Glad to hear the creative motor's runnin' in your kitchen, like it is in mine. Have fun.

ps have you finally gotten the summer and winter issues of Transitions featuring your recipes?

Dreena said...

Hi Sweet Pea! 1 week!!! omg, that's all passed so quickly... you must be excited now - and the pea must be too! Okay, I'll get to your question now. :) I have found that I use w/w pastry flour less and less. Mostly because I find it varies A LOT by brand here, and some of the w/w pastry flours I have bought are more like standard w/w flour, and aren't much lighter or less grainy at all. In all my testing now, I am using barley, spelt, or oat flour. Of course these are going to work differently in some recipes because (1) they have less gluten and (2) they may have more/less moisture. But, for most cases, I would suggest using spelt flour, if you can find one that is sifted - or sift it yourself to remove some of the heavier bits of bran in the flour (if it is a grainy one). I also love using barley or oat flour, but give spelt a try first and see how it subs in - are you looking at a specific recipe, btw? Oh, and you should know that I've made that loaf a few times forgetting the almonds too - "prego brain", "mommy brain", "dazed woman spending altogether too much time in the kitchen brain" - call it what you like, I've been there! If I don't hear from you again - I wish you the best with your delivery - may it be very smooth and swift for you. :) (and early congrats!)

Thanks Webly!

Michelle, that is priceless!!! In fact, that would have been a FAR better name for the recipe than Chickpea Mash Stew, don't you think... hmmm, maybe I can use it for one of my new recipes - I'll have to let you know, that is simply adorable. Your pic looks much like when I make it too - the same amount of pureeing, keeping it a lil' chunky with the beans and veg. I have a friend that loves that stew and her kids have loved it for years - I'm glad you liked it too, thanks for letting me know. :)

Urban Vegan, yes, I was quite pleased with myself on this one - I was a happy kitchen camper that day!

Hi Village Mama, no, you know I haven't received either issue yet - kinda strange... but don't fret about it, you are very busy - when they get here, they get here! :)

Anonymous said...

looks very good!