Monday, September 27, 2010

Super Easy Thai Coconut Rice

I live fried rice as a quick and easy answer the question of what is for dinner. This dish is nothing fancy, for sure, but it tastes great and the kids love it. You can use chickpeas, tofu, or seitan in place of the Tofurky--it's just what I had on hand. Try to pick a veggie mix with some great colour that can contrast the yellow rice. I really don't put a lot of curry paste in because I enjoy the creamy mellowness of the coconut milk and tumeric.

INGREDIENTS
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp lemongrass paste
- yellow or red curry paste to taste
- 4 cups cold cooked rice
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 pkg Tofurky lunch meat, cut into strips
- 3 cups frozen veggies (some Asian mix), thawed
- salt to taste

METHOD
1. Heat wok over med-hi heat, then swirl oil in. Add onions and stir fry for 2-3 mins, until golden and softened. Add garlic and stry fry 30 seconds. Then add lemongrass paste and curry paste and mix well.
2. Add rice and fry for a few mins, turning to coat the rice well. Add coconut milk, tumeric, and hoisin, and lower heat to medium, mixing well. Add more coconut milk of mixture is too dry.
3. Add Tofurky and veggies and heat through. Season with salt and serve.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Teff Biscuits

Thinking of making the Ethiopian Soup I posted yesterday? Then you also need to make these teff biscuits. The recipe is adapted/veganized from Rienhart's Artisan Breads Everyday--the best biscuit recipe around, I think. You really do need a pastry scraper for this recipe, so if you try it without one, don't say I didn't warn you! The method is similar to making croissants or other laminated doughs. The alternating hydrophilic and hydrophobic helps the biscuits rise and contributes to their flaky texture. These biscuits are a little more dense because of the teff flour, but are still remarkably tender.

INGREDIENTS
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 8 oz coconut milk, or plain soy milk
- 1/2 Earth Balance margarine (1 stick of the baking margarine)
- 2.5 oz bread flour
- 2.5 oz all purpose flour
- 3.5 oz teff flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt

METHOD
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
1. Whisk vinegar into the coconut or soy milk in a small bowl. Keep in the fridge.
2. Put the margarine in the freezer for 30 mins to get nice and cold. Meanwhile, mix all the rest of the ingredient together.
3. When margarine is cold, grate it into the flour mixture, then work it with your fingers into something that looks like very coarse bread crumbs. Don't make the mixture too fine--some chunks of margarine is what you want.
4. Add coconut or soy milk mixture and stir until just combined. The mixture will be very wet (teff has no gluten) and starting to rise from the action of the soda and vinegar.
5. Turn the mixture out on to a very well floured surface. Dust liberally with flour, then pat the dough into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick, and square off the sides with the pastry scraper. The exact size does not really matter. The key here is that it needs to be big enough to fold into thirds, like a letter. Using the pastry scraper, fold the dough like a letter (it will most likely fall apart, on the first turn, so be patient). Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat, dusting with flour as needed. Rotate and repeat. Rotate and repeat. By this time enough flour will have been incorporated into the dough to make it more firm and workable.
6. Pat dough out into a final rectangle, 1/2 inch thick, then cut with the pastry scraper into whatever size biscuits you want (I like smaller ones for the kids, so I get about 20). Place on prepared baking sheet and put in the fridge while the oven heats.
7. Heat oven to 500 degrees. When heated, put baking sheet in, reduce heat to 450, and bake for 8 mins. Rotate the pan and bake for another 6 mins (more if you made huge biscuits). Serve while still warm.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ethiopian-Style Soup

I say "Ethiopian-Style" soup because the flavours are inspired by the Ethiopian stews I like to make, but is not any "real" Ethiopian dish that I know of. In many ways it is just a simple and thinned down stew packed with that nourishing lentil-y goodness that I love about Ethiopian food. This was also a great way to use the first squash of the season (see below). I used Bonbon which had a delectable texture and gave the soup a wonderful sweetness to offset the spicy heat. It was even better the next day.

INGREDIENTS
Makes a lot
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 1 1/2 cup sliced shallots
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 tsp tumeric

- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- berbere to taste
- 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
- 10 cups water
- 6-8 cups chopped squash (or sweet potato)
- 1/4 chopped fresh parsley (more for garnish)
- salt and pepper to taste

METHOD
1. Melt butter in a large stock pot over med-hi heat. Add onions and saute for a few mins, until the onions get a nice golden brown on the edges (don't burn them, though). Add shallots, garlic, and ginger and reduce heat to med-lo. Cook for about 20-25 mins, until the mixture has nice brown colour.
2. Add spices and lentils and raise heat back to med-hi, stirring to mix everything well. When sizzling (the spices will stick a bit), add 6 cups of the water. Bring to bubbling, then cover and reduce heat to low. Let cook for at least 30 mins (longer is nicer, if you have the time, so that the lentils and onions can break down), stirring regularly.
3. Add the remaining four cups of water along with the squash and parsley, bring to bubbling over med-hi heat, then cover and reduce heat. Let simmer for 20-30 mins, or until squash is cooked through. Adjust seasonings to taste, garnish, and serve.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sourdough Starter: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

Before I get into the sourdough breads in The Bread Baker's Apprentice I want to sing the praises of Reinhart's method for sourdough starter. The starter is absolutely essential, of course, but is also the most daunting aspect of making sourdough bread. The great thing about this starter is that you can abuse and neglect it and it still keeps kicking. Because the starter lives in the fridge it does not need daily refreshments and actually can be left for a few weeks (as I did when I went on holiday). Really it's the most hassle-free sourdough starter ever. My starter is now over a year old (I originally blogged about it here) and is still happy and bubbly and making great bread.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Banana-Orange-Chocolate Cake

I made this dessert for date night with Vegan Mom by combining the methods from my pudding cake and cobber recipes. The base is sauteed bananas and Grand Marnier, topped with a fluffy cake with hints of orange and bursts of chocolate. It's not as oozy as the pudding cake, and not as fruity as the cobbler. And it's freaking delicious.

INGREDIENTS
- 1/3 cup margarine
- 2 large bananas, thickly sliced
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier

- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water

- 1 cup flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1/2 cup orange juice, minus 2 tbsp
- 2 tbsp Grand Marnier
- 1/2 tsp orange extract
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips

METHOD
Heat oven to 350 degrees
1. Heat a frying pan over med-hi heat. Melt butter then add sliced bananas. Fry for a few mins per side, until they are a nice golden brown. Add Grand Marnier. It will bubble like crazy. When it stops, remove from the stove and transfer into an 8 x 8 baking dish. Make sure the banana slice are spaced evenly.
2. Put sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to bubbling, without stirring, over medium to med-hi heat. Let bubble for a minute, then remove from the heat.
3. While sugar mixture is heating, make the cake. Whisk together dry ingredients, then add soymilk (don't mix yet). Place the two tbsp of Grand Marnier in a 1/2 cup, then fill up with orange juice. Add to dry ingredients along with extract and zest. Whisk together.
4. Pour cake batter over the bananas, then sprinkle chocolate chips over the batter.
5. Spoon the sugar mixture over the top of the batter. Bake for 35 mins, or until the top has reached a nice golden brown and the bananas are bubbling on the bottom.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pugliese: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

I can't believe that it's been almost 2 months since I posted about my journey through The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I've been baking, I just haven't been blogging. This is the last recipe in the book before the sourdough section. It is a chewy, rustic Italian loaf whose success relies on making a rather wet dough. I find this easiest with my KitchenAid stand mixer that makes it possible to knead without making a huge mess or breaking your wrist using a spoon.

GENERAL NOTES
1. The mashed potatoes are optional. I had some on hand and I think it made for a softer loaf.
2. I do not have proofing bowls so I just lined 2 mixing bowls with towels and it worked just fine.
3. I used a 50-50 blend of durum flour an bread flour.

VEGAN NOTES
- none

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Halushki with Fresh Flax Noodles

Ah, halushki (or haluski). This is a dish my grandma used to make, being of western Pennsylvania steel town stock. It is a cheap dish that is filling and delivers some great flavour. I added more ingredients than my grandma used to, but it still brought back all sorts of memories. I'll admit that I weenied out and made the noodles with my pasta maker. She used to roll them out by hand. Speaking of noodles, these are a great vegan version of egg noodles--tender, yet durable.

Fresh Flax Noodles

Makes 1 lb
INGREDIENTS
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup warm soy creamer or soy milk
- 2 tbsp finely ground flax
- large pinch of tumeric (optional)
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (I used black salt for an eggy flavour)
- 2 tbsp water (more as needed)

METHOD
1. Place flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre.
2. Whisk flax into the soy creamer in a separate bowl. Let sit a few mins, then whisk again until thick and goopy. Whisk in tumeric (for colour).
3. Put flax mixture into the well, and sprinkle salt over top. Begin to mix together, adding water as needed to make a stiff but pliable dough.
4. Cut into four equal pieces and pass through a pasta roller up to number 7. Cut into 1/4 inch (or a bit bigger strips) and let dry on a towel for at least 2 hours.
5. When pasta is dry, cut into 4-5 inch lengths.
6. To cook, drop into boiling water, stirring to keep it from sticking together. You only need to cook for about 30 seconds after the water comes back to boiling.

Halushki
INGREDIENTS
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
- 1 leek, white and light green part, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large carrot, finely grated
- 1 small head of cabbage, cored and sliced
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp parsley, plus more for garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp margarine
- cooked egg noodles

METHOD
1. Melt 2 tbsp margarine in a large saucepan over medium to med-hi heat. Saute leeks and onions for 5-7 mins, until soft and translucent. Add garlic, carrot, cabbage, and a few pinches of salt and mix well. Once sizzling, reduce heat to med-lo, cover, and cook for 10-15 mins, stirring regularly. You want the cabbage to be nice and tender, but not soggy. Add paprika and parsley, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from pan.
2. Add another 2 tbsp of margarine to the pan over medium to med-hi heat. Add egg noodles and gently stir to coat. Fry for a few mins, then add cabbage mixture. Stir to mix, adjust seasoning and serve.

Happy Belated Birthday, Son #2

Son # 2's birthday landed smack on the same day we were traveling back from Ohio to the Great White North after a wee summer vacation and a family reunion. As such, he didn't get a special cake like I do for all the kids on their birthdays. So, when we got home he chose a cake pan at the library (yes, the library), signed it out, and on a weekend trip to the cottage Son #1 made and baked the cake and I did the decorating. The cake is sitting on a slightly nasty cookie sheet that is perfect for the cottage but which you'd probably replace if you had it at home. The cake was a hit with the whole family (cousins, aunt, uncle, etc.) and with the birthday boy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Zesty Onion and Tomato Relish

If you have been following Vegan Dad on Facebook you know that I grew cayenne peppers in my garden this year. I'm not sure why, exactly . . . for fun, I guess. I have always had bad luck with peppers but this summer's hot weather has yielded a fine crop of bright red and super hot peppers. The problem is what to do with them since I shy away from really hot foods because of the kids (though there was that time I went on a ques to make the hottest jerk sauce on earth . . . .). So cayenne recipe number one is this zesty relish. It is quick and easy to make and you can decide how hot to make it by leaving the seeds in the pepper or adding more than one.

INGREDIENTS
Makes about 2 cups
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 15 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (if larger)
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cayenne pepper, seeded and minced (or leave seeds in for more zest!)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- fresh ground black pepper

METHOD
1. Heat oil in a saucepan over med to med-hi heat. Add onions and saute for about 5 min, until soft and translucent but not browned. Add brown sugar and stir. Bring to bubbling and cook for 3 mins, stirring regularly.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to bubbling over med-hi to high heat. Cook for about 10 mins, stirring regularly, until most of the liquid had evaporated. If the relish is still too runny you can drain it in a fine mesh sieve.

So what did I do with the relish? Luckily, I had some awesome tomatoes and basil ready to be eaten. I seasoned some tofu slices with salt and pepper and fried them a bit on each side in a bit of oil. Then, on a freshly made kaiser roll, I slathered on some pesto (Isa's recipe from VWAV, but made with toasted sunflower seeds because I was out of walnuts), the tofu, some slices of beefsteak tomato, and a large dose of relish. Dee. lish. us.

-

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Son #1's Peach Smoothie

Tonight's post comes to you courtesy of Son #1. He created this recipe, made it, staged it, photographed it, and wrote down the recipe. To say he was excited is a bit of an understatement. He was so proud of his accomplishment and kept going on and on about how he was going to be a chef just like Dad. It really was heartwarming.

INGREDIENTS
Serves 6
- 3 cups frozen peach slices
- 3/4 cup crushed ice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 cups vanilla soy

METHOD
1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Here is his original recipe.