Bowl of dry potato flakes next to a heart-eyed smiley face wearing a chef’s hat. Text: Instant mashed potato flakes forever.
Bowl of dry potato flakes next to a heart-eyed smiley face wearing a chef’s hat. Text: Instant mashed potato flakes forever.
Illustration: Summer Anne Burton; source: Shutterstock

The secret ingredient for more than you know

In my country, and perhaps yours too, there is a societal tradition where large numbers of its youth leave their family home for work or university after finishing high school, and move into a house — often cold, damp, miles away, and with several strangers — where hijinks will inevitably ensue. During my time in such a dwelling, a simple and affordable comfort was instant mashed potato, usually eaten from a coffee mug, with as much butter as I could force each reconstituted potato flake to absorb. …


Bartenderly

‘It’s not 2020 anymore!’ We can all cheers to that with this festive, warming-yet-refreshing seasonal cocktail for vegans and our friends.

A cloudy, refreshing ginger-colored drink on ice, with a mint sprig and a lavender backdrop
A cloudy, refreshing ginger-colored drink on ice, with a mint sprig and a lavender backdrop
Photos: Laura Vincent

Want a cocktail veganized? Bought a bottle of something and don’t know what to do with it? Need a cool mocktail? Want to make your own liqueur? We’ll drink to that. Bartenderly is here to make all your vegan drinking dreams come true. If you want to check on whether a specific brand of alcohol is vegan, I recommend Barnivore.

Here’s a drink to toast the monumentally exhausting year that just closed. This One-Two Punch recipe is so named because it’s equally serviceable for one or for many, with or without alcohol, as a seasonal cheer-bringer or as a Valentine’s date drink— and however you take it, the sharp and spicy combination of apple and ginger is supremely uplifting. It’s based on a punch I used to make by the giant bowlful every Friday night at the bar I ran — it helped us, being quick and easy to serve, and customers enjoyed the convivial novelty. …


Everyone deserves an absurdly fancy dessert on Christmas

A wreath made of stiff sweet white vegan meringue sits on a plate and is decorated with red berries and leaves
A wreath made of stiff sweet white vegan meringue sits on a plate and is decorated with red berries and leaves
Photos: Laura Vincent

Whether your Christmas this year will be spent with family, chosen family, whoever’s in your bubble, or in a more compact, cozy fashion with just yourself — everyone deserves a showstopper dessert. I know it seems outlandish to suggest making this for one person, but hear me out: eat it for breakfast, perhaps while watching comforting films or face-timing loved ones, enjoy a sugar-induced nap, rustle yourself up something savoury later on and finally reward yourself with more meringue wreath for dessert.

If you’re serving this beauty to a crowd you can be assured of their appreciative gasps — not that impressing people should be your sole motivation in cooking but I believe it’s quite reasonable at Christmas, especially when the question, “so what are you doing with your life?” tends to come up a lot. It’s useful to have this spectacular meringue wreath as either a distraction or an example of absolutely being a capable adult. …


Virtual Serotonin

What a Babe!

4 people holding out cellphones in front of an illustrated pastel rainbow.
4 people holding out cellphones in front of an illustrated pastel rainbow.
Design: Summer Anne Burton

There is real contentment to be found in browsing Wikipedia — learning about resolutely antisocial animals; chortling at the solemnly literal List of Lists of Lists; or streaming a television series, phone in hand, scrolling through the cast’s filmography. History is usually recorded by the most powerful, and even with Wikipedia’s egalitarian ethos of gathering information, it’s not entirely trustworthy. But it’s a solid starting point, and I consult Wikipedia so often that its presence in my browser history is as good as a diary when the days merge into one — what on earth was I doing on Tuesday? …


Aquafaba Files

Lifehack: Use leftover chickpea brine to make yourself a giant tray of warmly comforting, crispy mini-churros. Enjoy.

A photo of a plate piled high with homemade golden fried churros, tube-shaped dough that’s dusted in sugar and cinnamon
A photo of a plate piled high with homemade golden fried churros, tube-shaped dough that’s dusted in sugar and cinnamon
Photos: Laura Vincent

The Aquafaba Files is a Tenderly recipe series by Laura Vincent, exploring the almost suspicious versatility of this ingredient that is little more than the leftover liquid from a drained can of chickpeas.

Despite the length of the ingredients list and instructions, these churros are quite simple. They’re mostly flour and water, and there is as much preparing to cook as there is actual cooking.

Churros are a fried delicacy traditional to Spain and Portugal, eaten throughout much of South America and parts of North America [Editor’s shoutout to the NYC subway station churro vendors], but as a New Zealander it was only in the last decade that I tried them for the first time. …


Bartenderly

Whether your mood is best buoyed by booze-on-booze or caffeine-on-caffeine, we got you covered

A trio of cocktails photographed from above: one is in a martini glass w orange peel, one tall w foam, one dark on the rocks
A trio of cocktails photographed from above: one is in a martini glass w orange peel, one tall w foam, one dark on the rocks
L-R: Rum Hanky Panky, Black Velvet, Double Shift. Photos: Laura Vincent

Want a cocktail veganized? Bought a bottle of something and don’t know what to do with it? Need a cool mocktail? Want to make your own liqueur? We’ll drink to that. Bartenderly is here to make all your vegan drinking dreams come true. If you want to check on whether a specific brand of alcohol is vegan, I recommend Barnivore.

You don’t need me to tell you that this year is intense, and has been throwing literally all of us challenge after challenge on every conceivable front. What I can offer you, however, is a drink to match this energy. These three cocktails evoke a certain nihilistic chaos, while also drawing from the canon of the classics — sure, they’re a little outrageous, but they’re also outrageously good. …


What better way to view the world than with animals in mind?

A simple ink drawing of two round dogs staring at a small snail — with the first aphorism below printed underneath them.
A simple ink drawing of two round dogs staring at a small snail — with the first aphorism below printed underneath them.
Illustration source: Kamisaka Sekka (1909) via New York Public Library/RawPixel; design: Summer Anne Burton; aphorism: Laura Vincent

The aphorism is a perceptive truism, a saying which allows us to recognize some aspect of life in a simple but meaningful way. Their success can be their downfall — many is the aphorism which started off witty and is now considered a cliche through overuse. Cliche or not, the truth at the core of many of them remains.

When I’m not writing about food, my words are used in composing poetry and writing a novel, and in order to metaphorically dunk my tired brain in ice-cold water, I wrote some aphorisms of my own as a creative exercise. …


Aquafaba Files

This fluffy vegan ice cream doesn’t require an ice cream maker, nuts, or milk — but it does draw on the magical properties of aquafaba

A fresh scoop of deep purple berry ice cream from a carton of the same rich looking ice cream.
A fresh scoop of deep purple berry ice cream from a carton of the same rich looking ice cream.
Photos: Laura Vincent

The Aquafaba Files is a Tenderly recipe series by Laura Vincent, exploring the almost suspicious versatility of this ingredient that is little more than the leftover liquid from a drained can of chickpeas.

This was intended to be a sorbet recipe, but the aquafaba had other plans. Traditionally, egg whites are added to sorbet, to improve its texture upon freezing. …


Cooking with fat, the vegan way

A plated of roasted parsnips, red beets, withered confited tomatoes, potatoes, and thyme.
A plated of roasted parsnips, red beets, withered confited tomatoes, potatoes, and thyme.
Photos: Laura Vincent

Fat rules. It makes food comforting, rich, balanced. Tender, crisp, caramelized, delicious. Watching Samin Nosrat’s exquisite series Salt Fat Acid Heat affirmed this long-held fixation of mine — fat is crucial to cooking.

I’m happiest when there are rivers of olive oil running through my food. A drizzle of earthy peanut oil, a toasty bead of sesame oil, a creamy spoonful of coconut oil. Dripping off sun-dried tomatoes, or the glossy coating on salad leaves. The way it pools invitingly in a jar of homemade nut butter, or emulsifies cooperatively in a cake batter.

And then there’s one of the best ways to wallow in the wonders of oil — confit. This traditional French process is a preservation method, where food is cooked submerged in fat very slowly and then stored, still submerged, until required. Although it’s generally associated with meat preservation, there’s no reason why you can’t apply the same idea to vegetables that you want to eat with relative immediacy. …


A rectangular sheet pan pizza with crispy, browned potatoes and basil and pine nuts, next to 4 retro Baby-Sitters Club books
A rectangular sheet pan pizza with crispy, browned potatoes and basil and pine nuts, next to 4 retro Baby-Sitters Club books
Photos: Laura Vincent

A richly satisfying vegan pizza recipe, in tribute to an unbelievably satisfying TV-watching experience

In Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 novel Brideshead Revisited, Captain Charles Ryder realizes he will be returning with his battalion to the same castle where he spent much of his youth. This unexpected reminder of times past shakes him to his very skeleton, and the outside world is silenced as he’s left in a trance, absolutely kneecapped by memories. That was me, when I saw the distinctive handwriting of Kristy Thomas in the opening credits of Netflix’s new series, The Baby-Sitters Club.

The Baby-Sitters Club books were no mere source of entertainment during my formative years. They were a whole world operating in parallel to mine, and only when I’d got the obligations of my own existence out of the way, could I gratefully retreat into the more preferable lives of the baby-sitters. Back in January, I wrote about the series character Dawn Schafer and her vegetarianism, and assumed upon completion that there was not much more for me to say about The Baby-Sitters Club.

About

Laura Vincent

Food blogger and author from New Zealand. Writing at hungryandfrozen.com; Twitter at @hungryandfrozen; and exclusive stuff at Patreon.com/hungryandfrozen.

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