Vegan's Chronicles + [The Joy of Vegan Baking]

Spring Strawberries!

As a kid growing up in Ghana and Ivory Coast, I was deprived of strawberries. I don't have those standard childhood memories of eating strawberry pie, strawberry shortcake, or going strawberry-picking with the family (my fruit memories include mangoes, papaya, and guavas instead, hehe!). As a result, I think I'm now trying to make up for all those strawberries I missed out on as a kid. That said, here are some strawberry-related foods/drinks I've had lately:

A mini strawberry cream pie. The crust was made from vegan gun-bbang (건빵), which is a Korean wheat/barley snack traditionally eaten by soldiers serving in the military (many gun-bbang brands are not vegan, so check the ingredients list). I basically used them like graham crackers to make a simple crust. As for the filling, I used strawberries, soy milk, tofu, agave syrup, and agar powder.

Altogether, the taste was good, but the texture needs some tweaking. The recipe is a work-in-progress, so I'll share it after I make some modifications. :)

This is a strawberry smoothie I got at a coffee shop. Aside from the fact that I could tell they added syrup, it was quite a refreshing hit of vitamin-C.

Chocolate oatmeal for breakfast, with strawberries on the side. Do you see the accidental 'smiley face' in my oatmeal? My breakfast is smiling at me. 'Why, goodday to you too, Sir Chocolate Oatmeal!'

This one's a bit out of place, but my parents were recently gifted with a tin of 'Fortnum & Mason' strawberry-flavored tea from England, so while I was in Cheonan last week, I insisted that we open and try it.

Black tea leaves and bits of dried strawberries!

I only brewed a little bit of tea, so my tea looks pretty light and weak, but the strawberry flavor still came through! I felt quite posh, really~ And of course, I've just been eating loads of fresh, whole strawberries, by the plateful. It's simple pleasures like these that make a world of difference in my day. :)

Last, but most definitely not least, the other day, I tried my hand at Colleen Patrick Goudreau's 'No-Bake Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Chunks' from 'The Joy of Vegan Baking.' Actually, my mini pie (I just made a single pie in one muffin mold) wasn't fully raw because I went with a baked vegan gun-bbang (건빵) crust, rather than a raw pecan crust. My crust wasn't very 'crunchy,' but that's okay... the strawberry filling totally made up for any crust-shortcomings. Man, this pie was so good!

The recipe calls for dates, but being in Korea, I had to go with dried plums instead (bought at E-mart). I used two of these plums to make the filling for this single mini pie, but I think I should've increased the plum-to-strawberry ratio to make it thicker, since the filling was a little on the runny side. But what the hey, biting into this pie was still absolutely blissful. Not to mention, getting a little messy with strawberry-plum filling on one's fingers never hurt anyone.

As the recipe suggests, I topped it with some dark chocolate chunks (Green & Blacks 70% dark chocolate). Oh snap. That just took it all to a whole other level.

After photographing the heck out of it (and salivating the whole time), I literally scarfed it all down in a few bites (my sister can attest to that, who I was video-chatting with at the time). Mmm~! I am definitely making this pie again- but with a real no-bake crust next time.

So that was the last of the strawberries I picked from the farm last week. Phew! It was a lot of strawberries, but I could still go for more. I plan on enjoying this fruit all spring and summer long.