Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Light Wheat Bread: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

Yes, another bread post. I have been doing a lot of baking lately and not a lot of cooking. Well, I have been cooking, but nothing of particular interest due to all my time being consumed by grading. Now that all the papers have been marked (huzzah!) I can get back into the kitchen. Reinhart describes this bread as "a poor compromise for whole-grain purists" but still a "tasty, soft" loaf. Mine rose like crazy and made for a perfect PB and J sandwich the next day.

GENERAL NOTES
1. This is one of the few breads in this book that can be made in one day, which is a real plus.
2. The recipe only makes one loaf, though it is a 2 lb loaf. I dislike recipes that only make one loaf because it seems like a lot of time to spend on bread that will be gone the next day. But, I suppose I could just double it.
3. I used Robin Hood "Best for Bread" whole wheat flour. I think all purpose would have sufficed since it is only 1.5 cups. The Robin Hood is the best bread flour I have been able to get around here. I tried some organic whole wheat bread flour from the local co-op, but it was more like a bag of bran with so little gluten my bread did not rise much at all. Bummer, man.

VEGAN NOTES
1. I subbed soy milk powder for the powdered milk, but I think I could have just left it out.
2. The recipe calls for sugar or honey, but I used maple syrup.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Marbled Rye Bread: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

This is one of those loaves that was interesting to make, but now that I have made it I don't think I will make it again. Marbling the loaves made for a splashy presentation but the extra work is not worth it for everyday baking. Maybe I will revisit this one when I need to impress someone.

GENERAL NOTES
1. The bread is not overly "rye-y" since the rye flour is in a 1:3 ratio with bread flour. This is perfect for those who aren't that crazy about rye, but will disappoint others who like lots of rye flavour.
2. I skipped the caraway seeds because I hate them.
3. I coloured the dark rye with cocoa powder. The downside of this is that it tricks your brain into thinking you are making some desert loaf.

VEGAN NOTES
1. I did not bother subbing the egg wash with soy milk.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Red Lentil Sloppy Joes

Here is installment number two of kid-friendly meals for my newly veggie nephew. It is a marriage of my original recipe (made with tempeh) and Isa's lentil-based recipe from Veganomicon. I love this version because the red wine vinegar gives it lots of zip. Red lentils are also a great choice because they cook quickly and are pretty neutral in flavour. The trick here is to cook the lentils until they are soft enough but not too much so they go mushy.

INGREDIENTS

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups water (more if needed)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- Tabasco sauce to taste

METHOD
1. Heat oil in a frying pan over med-hi heat. Saute onion, celery, green pepper, and oregano for 5-7 mins, until onion is translucent and pepper has softened.
2. Add lentils and mix well. Add ketchup, 1 1/2 cups water, vinegar, Worcestershire (if using), sugar, salt and pepper, and Tabasco.
3. Bring to bubbling, then reduce heat, and cover. Cook for about 30 mins, stirring regularly, adding more water if needed until lentils are cooked but still hold their shape.
4. Serve on toasted rolls, open-faced if you want.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Stuff I've Made But Did Not Make Up

The school year is almost over and the mountain of marking has not been whittled away to a reasonable sized pile. Let me tell you, nothing kills creativity like grading a few hundred undergraduate essays. So, I have been relying on other people to do the culinary thinking for me.

The first two recipes come from the recent issue of Vegetarian Times. I've never really looked at VT before, but when the kids came home selling magazine subscriptions as a school fundraiser I decided to give it a whirl (it was the only veggie option in the whole lot). First up: broccoli pesto. Amazing! The mint gives it a little bite and the hazelnuts are a nice change from walnuts.
Second up: Oyster Mushroom Rockefeller. This is from a section of recipes by the owners of Horizons in Philly. I made this for Easter Dinner with my family, and everyone enjoyed it, vegan or otherwise. The sauce is really rich (hence naming it after Rockefeller) but perfect for a special occasion when you need to bring a vegan entree to a dinner party. An added bonus is that you can make and bake it in about 30 mins. Lucky for you, VT has a digital edition of this issue online.
Third: biscuits from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday. He claims they are the best biscuits ever, and he is right. You start with a soft dough (almost a batter), then turn and fold it 4 times whilst heavily dusting with flour. Like puff pastry, this results in a laminated dough that rises high and fluffy in the oven.
Lastly, I made the beer-battered onion rings from American Vegan Kitchen. I know I shouldn't have, but I did. I have not had an onion ring in a decade or more, and these are the best I have ever had by far.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lavash Crackers: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

I had no idea it was so easy to make crackers. Reinhart calls these "Armenian-style crackers" that can be seasoned with sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt. I kept it really simple and just used sesame seeds so the kids wouldn't freak out too much. This recipe made a box worth of crackers for a fraction of the cost.

GENERAL NOTES
- none

VEGAN NOTES
1. I subbed maple syrup for the honey.

Monday, April 12, 2010

American Vegan Kitchen: A Cookbook Review

I was really pleased when Tamasin Noyes contacted me to review her cookbook, American Vegan Kitchen, because I had been eying it on Amazon. I dig comfort food, and this book is expressly dedicated to all things homey and comforting. From donut bites to potato skins to burgers and onion rings to apple crisp, this book has you covered from breakfast to dessert. The book begins with a brief intro to the basics (what is tempeh?) and a few recipes for seitan, veggie broth, spice blend, etc. What follows is almost 200 pages of breakfast food, starters, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees, sides, and desserts. Most recipes get their own page (shorter recipes share a page with other shorter recipes) which makes them very cook-friendly (I hate having to flip back and forth between the ingredient list and method). The book is published by Vegan Heritage Press, which, from what I can tell, is a small company that only publishes vegan books. The front cover is great, but I wish the photos in the colour insert were of the same quality. The layout is a touch spartan, but easy to read and follow.

As to be expected with a cookbook of veganized American cooking, the entrees and sandwiches are heavy on the seitan and tempeh which stand in place of meat. That being said, the book is not simply a fake-meat fest. Flip through the table of contents on Amazon to see what I mean. Some recipes are there in their full deep fried glory (which you will either love or hate), while others have a baked option (the onion rings, for example). I will be honest, I don't really cook from cookbooks on a regular basis, but I can see turning to this book to supplement Sunday brunches and neighbourhood BBQs.

After leafing through the recipes, I decided on the Tuna-Free Noodle Casserole. It was a total hit with the whole family: a creamy cashew-based sauce with roasted chickpeas and a crumb topping. The ingredient list is one of the longest in the whole book, but the kids loved it so it was worth the work. As you can see, I can't get egg-free ribbon noodles here, so I used bowties.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Vegan KD 1.0

Ah, KD. The food of my youth. Back in my teen years when grew about a foot every night, I would come home from school, eat an entire box of KD, then eat dinner a few hours later. And I never gained a pound. Man, those were the days. This is my first attempt (hence version 1.0) to recreate that peculiar KD look and taste. Part of this is because of a weird hankering I got for KD the other day, the other part is because I want to create some very kid-friendly meals for my nephew who has recently embraced veg*nism. I got the colour right, but the sauce was still too thick. No matter, the kids bolted it down with gusto with Son #1 eating a record 4 servings.

INGREDIENTS
- 1 large red pepper roasted, peeled, and seeded
- 3 cups macaroni
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/4 cup margarine
- soy milk

METHOD
1. While red pepper is roasting, cook pasta according to directions. Start processing cashews and water in a blender until very smooth (3 to 5 mins).
2. Chop roasted pepper (after peeling and seeding, of course) and add to cashew mixture. Once smooth, pass mixture though a fine sieve (optional--my blender really isn't that great). Return to blender and add yeast, mustard, spices, salt, and flour. Blend until smooth.
3. When pasta is cooked, drain. Add margarine to the now empty hot pot and return to the stove over medium heat. When melted, slowly whisk in cashew mixture, then add pasta and mix well. Add enough soy milk until desired consistency is reached.