Monday, February 27, 2012

Thai Fishless Sauce

It's been a long time since I've tasted fish sauce, but I think this simple recipe does a nice job rounding out a Thai curry with a salty taste o' the sea.  I'm guessing it's actually nothing like fish sauce but I think it works better than soy sauce or hoisin sauce.  You could use any mixture of seaweed, I think, but I went with nori because it is more readily available at grocery stores what with sushi's popularity.

Makes 1 cup
- 2 sheets nori, crumbled
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 cup boiling water

1. Place all ingredients in a blender (or in a container and use a hand blender).   Let sit for 5 mins, then blend until smooth.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve.  Store in the fridge.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Baked Yeast Donuts

This weekend's experiment was to see if I could make a baked yeast donut that was as tender and tasty as its deep-fried counterpart.  The baked donut recipes I have seen all involve a donut pan and a batter (as opposed to a dough), but I wanted to go for the classic yeast donut.  I do have a donut pan that I have yet to try out (sorry, Tina.  I swear I will get around to it!), but I suspect such pans are not a common kitchen commodity.  The trick was to find the right method that would bake the donut without it developing a crust. The end result was pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.  Not as tender as a deep-fried donut (and, of course, lacking that wonderfully crispy outside), but still very tender and delicious.  Of course, the recipe is not fat-free (I'll leave that to more capable hands) but it certainly is fat reduced without the frying.  The ingredients are the same as the original, but I simplified the method a bit.

Makes at least 12 donuts
- 3/4 cups soy milk
- 3 tbsp warm water
- 1 1/4 oz vegetable shortening
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 11.5 oz all purpose flour

1. Heat soy milk, water, shortening, salt, and sugar in the microwave, or on the stove, stirring regularly until shortening melts. Whisk in flax, then whisk in yeast.  Let sit a few minutes, then whisk again until smooth.
3. Put flour in a large bowl and add soy milk mixture. Mix together into a rough dough, then knead for about 5 mins until smooth, adding more flour or more water as needed.  The dough should be very soft and slightly tacky, but not sticky.  Aim for a moister dough than usual for a more tender final product. 
4. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for about 60 mins, until doubled in size.
5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly mist with oil.
6. Roll out the dough on a lightly oiled surface to about 3/8" thick. Cut out donuts with a donut cutter (see pic above).  Dough scraps (and holes) can be re-rolled and cut. Place on prepared baking sheets (6 per sheet) and cover. Let rise for 1/2 hour, or until just about doubled in size.
7. Preheat oven to 500 degrees with rack in the middle.   Bake donuts one sheet at a time.  Place one sheet on top of another (i.e. you are baking the donuts on two sheets--this will insulate the donuts and keep the bottoms from getting too brown) in the oven and reduce the heat to 425 degrees.  Bake for 5 mins, then gently turn donuts over.  Bake for another 3 minutes.  Donuts should be lightly golden (see below).  Return heat to 500 degrees before baking the second sheet as above (but make sure the second sheet is new/cold).
8.  Let cool, then glaze.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hoagie Rolls

This is a pretty simple recipe that yields 10 incredibly tasty rolls perfect for your lunch-time sandwich, or a classic Philly cheese steak (vegan, of course).  Refrigerating the dough overnight helps develop flavour and it can stay in the fridge for up to four days.  You can bake them up all at once, or half the recipe at a time so you are not overloaded with rolls.  You can also freeze extra rolls and use them when needed.

- 5 1/3 cups/24oz/680g white bread flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp ground flax
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1.5 tsp barley malt syrup (optional)
- 1 cup/8oz warm water
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp/5oz warm soy milk
- 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast