Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Heavenly Chocolate-Chip Pumpkin Muffins

It sounds like bragging, but it's true. These velvety cakes not only use a whole can of pumpkin (no annoying half-cup), but they're silky-soft due to the addition of sour cream (I use vegan) and the Tipsy Crumpet's favorite mystery ingredient, RUM. Showers of dark chocolate chips send the mid-afternoon snacker into the stratosphere of ecstasy.


makes 6 large or 12-14 medium muffins



1 stick butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup oat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
dash salt
a few hearty shakes of cinnamon
a flurry of freshly grated nutmeg 
a cautious tap of allspice
1 can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sour cream (or a few healthy tablespoons, if you don't like measuring)
1 long pour of rum
as many chocolate chips as you can handle--I really like Whole Foods' dark chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350.

Did you let your stick of butter soften for a few hours? No? Microwave it for about 30 seconds.

Did you remove the wrapper first? I hope you did. Use it to grease your muffin tins.

Cream the butter and sugars together. 

Beat in eggs.

Stir in vanilla. Whisk the ingredients until they are relatively smooth.

Sift in flours, baking powder, and baking soda. Include the salt and spices. 

Add the pumpkin and sour cream. Mix gently. If your batter is a little dry, good. Add the rum.

Pour in as many chocolate chips as seems reasonable.

Spoon the batter into the tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes if you're using medium tins, and 22-25 minutes if you're using big tins. (Note: my oven runs hot and tends to bake quickly, so use your discretion. Basically, when they smell done, they're probably done. An inserted knife will be mostly clean, with a few fluffy orange crumbs.)


  • As always, I like to use half whole-grain flour, and oat flour is healthy without making the muffins taste too virtuous for their own good. It does, though, add to their density (or their destiny, as the case may be).
  • You can play around with spices, adding as much or as little as you want. Why not go wild and incorporate some clove? Ginger might also be tasty.
  • Speaking of which, candied ginger instead of chocolate chips would be divine.
  • I like Tofutti sour cream. Unlike other vegan products, it really tastes like what it is replacing and is just fine for this kind of application (as well as being a great topping for quesadillas, soups, etc.)
  • You can use all white sugar, too. I just like the earthiness of brown.




5 stars. 5 is the maximum number of stars.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Piquant Caesar Salad with Seared Tofu

This is adapted from a Vegetarian Times recipe. You massage mustard greens in a creamy, pungent dressing redolent of capers, garlic, and lemon, add some blackened tofu rectangles, croutons, and flame-red tomatoes, and pretty soon even your salad-averse boyfriend is clamoring for more.

This is a vegan Caesar (unless your croutons have some milk product), but it's just as zesty and potentially obnoxious as if it were filled with anchovies.

for a hungry crowd of people desperate for something green




2 Tbsp capers
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
juice from one lemon
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
squeeze or two of Dijon mustard
black pepper
white pepper


Main Players


2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
6-oz package baked tofu: Italian, smoked, or savory
one head of mustard greens
handfuls of croutons (I used Caesar salad croutons, but any type will do)
1 carton cherry tomatoes, heirloom or otherwise
two juicy sundried tomatoes that have been packed in oil




First, slice the tofu into thin rectangles.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat. You may need more than one pan, as you'll want each tofu slice to have full-body contact with the metal.

When the oil starts to protest, place the tofu slices on the pan(s). After two or three minutes, flip them with a spatula. Sear them so that each side has crusty, blackened patches, like so. It's even better if the edges start curling like one of those mood-detector fish.

No squishy, flavorless soy cubes here. Set the tofu aside to cool when it has been sufficiently punished.

Now, put your capers and garlic into a food-processor. Blend. Add the tahini, water, lemon, nutritional yeast, and mustard. Whizz until you have a smooth paste.

Rinse your mustard greens and chop finely. Soak up excess water with paper towels.

Place the greens in a bowl and massage in the dressing. Add salt, black pepper, and white pepper and massage some more.

Chop your sundried tomatoes and add those, too.

Add the tofu.

If serving right away, mix in the croutons and as many cherry tomatoes as you like. 




  • I bet this would taste just as good with kale or some other sturdy green.
  • A few handfuls of crisp red pepper slivers would be a nice addition.
  • This makes a good lunchbox option for work or school, as the mustard greens are hardy enough to withstand the pressure of the dressing, as opposed to a flimsier leaf, such as arugula, which would curl up and turn into a lifeless piece of mulch.

 Getting ready for a nutritious workday




4 stars. You may not want to breathe on anyone afterward.