Happy Frigid Monday GFMers!
Just as we pack our winter clothes and stuff ’em up our closet’s back end the cruelty of wind and cold greets us with brute force. The only possible way we can refrain from sulking and whining is by highlighting another Greenpoint Food Market vendor and make sexy gastronomical daydreams. Also we hope you’ve marked your calendar for the next market on May 22, themed Picnic in the Park!
What is Electric Blue Baking?
It is my Williamsburg –based vegan baking and catering business! I bake from-scratch vegan pastries and snacks for stores and cafes in Brooklyn (check my website for locations), occasionally cater events, and teach monthly classes at Brooklyn Kitchen Labs. Eventually I want to open my own teahouse/super funky catering hall so people will have a fun place to celebrate big events in style.
How did the inspiration for it come about?
3 years ago I was working full time, catering parties for friends on weekends, and baking muffins for a cafe on the side. I submitted some recipes to Bon Appétit and they published them. That gave me the confidence to quit my desk job.
I started working two pastry cook jobs and blindly consumed many delicious baked goods full of butter, eggs and cream. When I started to have stomach problems and rapidly gain weight, I put the brakes on all the cute cupcakes, huge cookies and decadent desserts I made at work and in general stopped eating food that made me feel bad, which led me to become vegan. After a week of feeling off (I think my body was detoxifying) I started to feel amazing all the time!
A few months later, I was recruited by an eco-hotel in Puerto Rico to be their vegetarian/gluten-free chef. I quit my job and went. When I got back, I baked my last non-vegan cake for a friend’s birthday. People in the food world thought that going vegan with my business was ridiculous, but I stood by my decision, and the Puerto Rico job helped me see that there was an audience for it.
The decision to start wholesale baking came one night after I got a serious pastry craving. A friend of mine had recently returned from France and captivated me with photos of patisserie cases stocked with tarts, crepes, croissants, and quiche. I traversed Brooklyn on the hunt and discovered plenty of vegan cupcakes, brownies and chocolate chip cookies, but nothing flaky, light, and a little more upscale. There was no vegan equivalent to what I wanted, so I would have to make it myself. I realized there were probably other people out there with the same unfulfilled craving, and that they would buy something healthy and vegan as long as it was affordable and just as delicious, if not more so, than the regular version.
Where do you source your ingredients?
Most of my produce comes from a family-run vegetable stand on Grand Street. Their prices and selection are unbeatable. I also get local, seasonal ingredients from the Greenmarket.
I get alternative flours for my gluten-free pastries, spices, and other dry ingredients from Indian markets in Jackson Heights. I love that neighborhood for ingredients and snacks. The most difficult part of the trip is deciding between a taco or samosa. Chinatown has things like water chestnut flour and agar powder, which are great for vegan baking. You shouldn’t have to spend more for vegan food so I price things as low as possible. I can only do this with the selection and value of New York’s ethnic markets.
What is your favorite and can you share a recipe?
My favorite things on the menu are seasonal. I love the raw vegan strawberry rhubarb tart. Raw rhubarb is a treat that everyone should experience. The crust is made with walnuts, pistachios and dates. I also love the fiddlehead pizzette we made at my last appetizers and cocktails class (recipe below).
What do your goods go well with? What does it NOT go well with?
The savory items pair well with a fresh salad or refreshing soup like gazpacho. The sweet ones go well with tea–I love Thai iced tea with almond milk and a little agave. Nothing on my menu goes with a bag of pork rinds.
Why the decision to share at GFM?
When I quit my desk job I didn’t know anyone in the food world. Since then, the community I have become a part of, especially here in Brooklyn, has been kind of a dream come true. There is nothing more inspiring than being around people who are equally passionate about the food they make—and have also stayed up through the night, burned themselves, missed parties, and spent their last dime on packaging. I met people in the restaurant world who had an original idea and were scared to go for it. Everyone here has taken that chance and I admire them for it. It is not easy.
Website and Blog?
Cashew Ricotta and Marinated Fiddlehead Pizzette
serves 10 as appetizer
3 lb raw pizza dough
1c unbleached flour
1c olive oil
¼ c sea salt
2 lbs fresh fiddleheads, halved
½ c sundried tomato, finely chopped
2 lg. cloves garlic, minced
2T extra virgin olive oil
1-2 lemons, juice and zest
½ t red pepper flakes
½ t each sea salt and pepper
1c cashew ricotta (recipe follows)
½ bu basil leaves
special equipment: rolling pin, food processor
Toss the fiddleheads and sundried tomato with the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice/zest, red pepper, salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste & set aside.
Preheat oven to 500˚F.
On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1cm thickness. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Cut out 4-4.5” circles and transfer, upside-down, to baking sheet. Brush tops with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pierce each piece a few times with a fork.
Bake 8-10 minutes, until golden around edges. Remove from oven and brush with a little more olive oil, if desired. Transfer to rack to cool.
Spread each pizzette with cashew ricotta. Top with a layer of fiddleheads, and garnish with fresh basil.
2 c raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 lb sprouted tofu
¼ c extra virgin olive oil
2 ea garlic cloves, chopped
2 lemons, juiced
2 T nutritional yeast
2 T fresh oregano
½ t coriander
2 t sea salt
Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Adjust seasoning to taste.