Thursday, November 29, 2007

Home Is Where the Whisk Is

Dear world, meet my new kitchen, soup pot and all:

Yes, the place is small--I don't even have a silverware drawer--but it's my own. My own dear kitchen. My own dear kitchen with a nice tile counter, a gas stove, a teeny tiny oven, and a refrigerator that is all my own!!! I feel like I've dropped into heaven!

Oh, and meet Brautigan:

He's the kitty I adopted that, unfortunately no longer lives with me. He was only 8 or 9 months old, a growing cat who needs lots of space to run and play and bounce around it. My 250 sq ft apartment didn't cut it. So I did a cat switch with my mom. I got the two siamese cats in exchange--Sheba, a bitchy 11 year old lass who hides under the bed and hisses, and Mistoffelees, a 4 year old who used to be really playful until he went through rounds and rounds of urinary tract infections and is now just fat. I mean, they're sweet cats, dont' get me wrong, but I miss Brautigan already, and it's only been a few hours. He was my dream cat. But I just couldn't give him what he needed.

And, just to top it off, a few glamour shots of Rad and Merckx at the new place:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Catching Up

I guess it's time to catch up on my long delayed (ok, less than a week still) Thanksgiving post. My family came to my house for the meal because I had the most space--a real dining room, the largest kitchen of them all--and because, frankly, I wanted to control the side dishes. My mother did threaten at one point to throw butter in the beans and mashed potatoes...thanks mom. Mind you, my family isn't huge by any sense of the imagination. The guests were my mother, my brother and his wife, and two of my friends who wanted to have a bigger dinner than one or two dishes shared between themselves.

We had quite a spread, and I would have taken more pictures but I was tired of being ridiculed, so I don't have more. My mother brought the turkey for her and my brother and his wife (somehow a 12 pound whole turkey was cheaper than a turkey breast...I bet they're still eating turkey today, actually), stuffing (vegan and non) and a pumpkin pie. Josh and Amy brought Quorn Chickn reubens (which I did eat, swiss cheese and all--yes, I'm a bad bad vegan) and a bean and nut salad. I provided the rolls, carmelized onions and green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, millet pumpkin casserole, and a shmlove pie.

So. Much. Food.

Shmlove Pie

I'm not going to give you the Shmlove Pie recipe--go buy Veganomicon for that. It's worth the whole book. I've made it twice and it gets better every time. Seriously, go buy the book, even if you love meat and can't abide the thought of cooking vegan food. It's seriously the only recipe source I'm using right now and I couldn't possibly be happier with any other book.

But here's the recipe for my take on Mark Bittman's Autumn Millet Bake Recipe which I found on Heidi's site, 101 Cookbooks. Forgive the photo. The lighting in my dining room was horrid and I had to take the picture without any styling.

Autumn Millet Bake

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus oil for the dish
1 1/2 cup millet
1 small pumpkin, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used half of a medium sized pumpkin)
1 cup fresh cranberries
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1 cup vegetable stock or water, warmed
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds or coarsely chopped hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a 2-quart casserole, a large gratin dish, or a 9x13-inch baking dish with olive oil.

Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the millet and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden, about 3 minutes (hs note: don't overdo it). Spread in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Scatter the pumpkin cubes and the cranberries on top of the millet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the sage and drizzle with syrup. Carefully pour the warmed stock over all (cp note: I did about 1 cup stock & 1/2 cup soy milk ). Cover tightly with foil and bake without disturbing, for 45 minutes.

Carefully uncover and turn the oven to 400F. As discreetly as possible, sneak a taste and adjust the seasoning. If it looks too dry, add a spoonful or two of water or stock. (hs note: This is key! The millet should be close to being cooked through at this point, if not you need to add liquid and keep it moist and cooking ). Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top, and return the dish to the oven. Bake until the mixture bubbles and the top is browned (hs note: and the millet is cooked through), another 10 minutes or so. Serve piping hot or at room temperature.

Serves 4 to 6.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Daring Bakers Potato Bread

I moved the day after Thanksgiving and I don't have internet yet, so my post is a bit on the late (but still on time!) end this month.

This month Tanna of My Kitchen In Half Cups chose "Tender Potato Bread" as the November Daring Bakers challenge. I love bread! And it's automatically vegan. From the get-go I was excited about the recipe. In the spirit of an already DB vegan recipe I decided to follow it to the letter of the law. So on Thanksgiving morning (mind you, I'm hosting Thanksgiving at my house this year--for the first time ever...) I woke up and started on the delicious carbohydrate goodness.

Following the recipe EXACTLY was a bad bad bad idea. DO NOT add in all of the water first. I used, I swear to god, 8-10 cups of flour and the dough was still hell to work with. Sticky, soppy, sad sad mess. Luckily my mom was at my house by the time I tried to shape the rolls and she gave me a helping hand. It was a two person job. Seriously, the dough was ridiculous.

The rolls, however, were taaaasty. Mmm mmm good. They were soft and sourdoughy and perfect for a mixed vegan-meaty Thanksgiving dinner. Because the dough was so hard to work with, the rolls didn't turn our nearly as pretty as I was hoping. They were huge and moundish...but the taste is what matters.

I would totally make this recipe again (I'm still eating off of it now!), but I would recommend adding HALF of the water and at the end, when you're kneading, probably, add more water or flour as needed. Adding all of the water and then trying to add enough flour was a mess and a pain in the ass (pardon my french, I'm young, it comes second nature to me) and got flour all over the kitchen--my clothes were thrown into the hamper as soon as I was done attempting to knead the stickyness.

Anyways, here's the recipe. Bake if you dare!

Potato Rolls

4 medium to large floury (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks variety of potatoes you might want to use would include Idaho, Russet & Yukon gold
4 cups water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 ½ cups to 8 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 cup whole wheat flour

Put the potatoes and 4 cups water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook, half covered, until the potatoes are very tender.

Drain the potatoes, SAVE THE POTATO WATER, and mash the potatoes well.

Measure out 3 cups of the reserved potato water (add extra water if needed to make 3 cups). Place the water and mashed potatoes in the bowl you plan to mix the bread in – directions will be for by hand. Let cool to lukewarm – stir well before testing the temperature – it should feel barely warm to your hand. You should be able to submerge you hand in the mix and not be uncomfortable.

Mix & stir yeast into cooled water and mashed potatoes & water and let stand 5 minutes.
Then mix in 2 cups of all-purpose flour and mix. Allow to rest several minutes.

Sprinkle on the remaining 1 tablespoon salt and the softened butter; mix well. Add the 1 cup whole wheat flour, stir briefly.

Add 2 cups of the unbleached all-purpose flour and stir until all the flour has been incorporated.

At this point you have used 4 cups of the possible 8 ½ cups suggested by the recipe.

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, incorporating flour as needed to prevent sticking. The dough will be very sticky to begin with, but as it takes up more flour from the kneading surface, it will become easier to handle; use a dough scraper to keep your surface clean. The kneaded dough will still be very soft.

Place the dough in a large clean bowl or your rising container of choice, cover with plastic wrap or lid, and let rise about 2 hours or until doubled in volume.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently several minutes. It will be moist and a little sticky.

Divide the dough into 2 unequal pieces in a proportion of one-third and two-thirds (one will be twice as large as the other). Place the smaller piece to one side and cover loosely.

Butter a 13 x 9 inch sheet cake pan or a shallow cake pan. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball under the palm of your floured hand and place on the baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch between the balls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 35 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled.

Dust risen rolls with a little all-purpose flour or lightly brush the tops with a little melted butter or olive oil (the butter will give a golden/browned crust). Slash crosswise two or three times with a razor blade or very sharp knife and immediately place on the stone, tiles or baking sheet in the oven.

Bake rolls until golden, about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I had to buy it...

My family is coming to my house tomorrow and they threatened to boycott if a Tofurkey showed up. But I've never eaten one and I really wanted to and I live next door to the vegan store and it'd been a long day--I just had to. So maybe I should revise that survey and state that my most extravagant food purchase was the tofurkey for tonight. I had no idea that it would take 3 hours to cook frozen, so I thawed it in the microwave, popped it in the oven while I was working on a pie for tomorrow's feast, slopped some frozen snow peas in 15 minutes before it was done, pulled the tofu football out, and sliced it up.

You know what? It tastes kinda turkeyish. I mean, the texture is way off--it's too dense--but the flavor wasn't too bad. Not turkey, but not tofu. Or seitan. Or TVP or whatever that thing is made out of--don't tell me, I really don't want to know. And now I'm stuffed. I feel like I ate too much turkey like my mom and brother and his wife will tomorrow, tryptophan and all.

Tomorrow I'll be cooking more legitimate food, never fear, so those pictures and recipes will be up soon. But for now I'm going to laze around in the delicious fake meat-ness that is the all-American, all-processed, all-salty Tofurkey.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Survey Time!

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
Plain soymilk...I don't really have a favorite brand, just whatever is on sale.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
I'm going to be remaking the Shmlove pie for Thanksgiving and I totally love that, I'm baking my secret weapon, the vegan crepe cake, for a bake-off on Dec. 1, and I really want to go to town this December with vegan Christmas cookies.

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
Nutritional yeast with a bit of Earth Balance!

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
That strawberry mirror cake that was a Daring Baker's challenge this summer. It used two huge double quarts of strawberries and didn't taste like strawberries, the texture was disgusting, and I had to use gelatin which made my heart die a bit inside.

5. Favorite pickled item?
None, ew.

6. How do you organize your recipes?
I don't. I used to have a fairly comprehensive blog, but since I rashly deleted it, that's not a method anymore. I use cookbooks with post-it notes on the pages for upcoming recipes and log specific recipes from blogs in a Google Doc.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
I wish I could compost. But I can't, so I have to trash. Or my rats eat the food scraps. :)

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods…what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)?
Broccoli, chocolate, and chickpeas. I'd have to make hummus somehow!

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
Jesus' birthday cake. Two dark chocolate cake layers with an amaretto or chocolate chip cheesecake in between and frosted with dark chocolate butter cream frosting. Jesus knew how to order the holiday cake, let me tell you.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
Temptation. They don't sell it in Georgia anymore. I'm really pissed off.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
If I had it, a kitchenaid mixer. Since I don' hand mixer.

12. Spice/herb you would die without?
Cinnamon! I over spice everything (baked good-like that is) with cinnamon.

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
I don't have any old cookbooks anymore...There's a Food & Wine cookbook I've had for a few years. I rarely use it though--too many fancy ingredients.

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
Can vegan nutella count? I don't eat jam or jelly.

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
Some sort of vegetable pot-pie dish with vegan biscuits on top. Mmm comfort food.

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
Tofu. Not a big fan of any of them though.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
Dinner. I often cook late at night after writing papers or reading boring lit. theory books as a way to destress.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
Bread, potholders, our lease.

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Vegan ice cream, frozen pizza sauce, frozen split pea soup.

20. What’s on your grocery list?
Baking chocolate, silken tofu.

21. Favorite grocery store?
Sevananda. It's the grocery coop in Atlanta and out of my price range most of the time, but I love their emphasis on local/organic produce and tasty vegan ingredients.

22. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet.
Angel Food Cake. It was given to me as a challenge back in May, I tried, I failed, it's been bugging me ever since. I just can't afford that much agar agar!

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa’s because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, 101 Cookbooks, Smitten Kitchen.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Erm. I don't make extravagant food purchases since my student budget is kinda slim. I do buy coffee and vegan ice cream more than I'd want to admit.

26. What was your favorite food BEFORE becoming veg*n?
Everything chocolate and tasty. Or cheesecake. Or pastries. Oh my god chocolate cream cheese filled croissants, croissants in general, cream puffs, everything. I can make these all myself, but I miss being able to go to restaurants and coffee shops and being able to order whatever looks good.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Split Pea Soup and Double Cornbread

I believe in comfort food. I believe that it can cure all ills, warm the heart and stomach, and woo lovers. I believe in warm soups and stews in the winter (even though God knows it's ain't winter in Georgia yet...schizophrenic weather). And most of all, I believe in my mother's split pea and ham soup.

Crap. Ham in soup. That's not very vegan. Or vegan at all.

So I made Veganomicon's split pea soup with roasted red peppers. The red pepper idea is genius. Unfortunately, red peppers, although tasty, don't add the same effect as ham to a split pea soup. Don't get me wrong, the soup is good. It's just not comfort food good. So I'm going to steal my mother's recipe this week and try this again at a later date. I can almost guarantee that the roasted red peppers will show up again, but I just need more flavor than the recipe gave me.

The rats were a fan. They might not be the best taste testers ever, but their positive attitude towards everything I make is quite humoring.

The cornbread, however, worked really well with the soup. After reading Heidi's yeast raised cornbread muffin recipe, I really wish I would have made that recipe instead, time consuming as it is, but Isa and Terry's recipe from Veganomicon is quite tasty in a more traditional way.

Vegan Double Cornbread
2 c soy milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 c cornmeal
1 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c oil
1 c frozen and partially thawed corn kernels

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a skillet over medium heat, saute the corn kernels in oil for approx. 7 minutes, or until the corn is slightly browned.

Combine the soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Create a well in the center and add the soy milk mixture and oil. Mix together with a spoon until just combined. Fold in the corn kernels.

Pour the batter into a 9x13 baking pan. Bake for appox. 30 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pumpkin Crumb Cake

Remember how I said I made pumpkin squares for the Monday Night Vegan Potluck? Well, here's the recipe (finally!).

The recipe is from Veganomicon (I'm in a rut, a happy tasty Veganomicon rut!) and everyone loved them. I talked to my friend Stuart yesterday and when I mentioned I still had a few left over he immediately asked if I happened to have any in my messenger bag because, really, that would make his day.

I must admit that I've breakfasted on these this week and eaten slivers all throughout the day. They remind me a lot of banana bread...except pumpkin, and the pecan streusel is uber tasty (even though I bought the salted pecans instead of plain roasted pecans by accident).

Pumpkin Crumb Cake with Pecan Streusel

Pecan Streusel:
1/4 c all purpose flour
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 c coarsely chopped pecans

1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree
3/4 c soy milk
1/4 c canola oil
1.5 c granulated sugar
3 Tbsp molasses
2 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 c all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.

For the streusel:
In a small bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, and spices. Drizzle in the canola oil and mix with your fingertips until crumbs form. Add the chopped pecans.

For the cake:
Combine the pumpkin, soy milk, oil, granulated sugar, molasses, and vanilla. Mix well. Add half the flour, the baking powder, salt, and the spices. Use a fork to fold everything together. Add the remaining flour and mix gently until combined.

Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly. Scatter the streusel on top as evenly as possible.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pumpkin Ricotta Pasta

Our Monday Night Vegan Potlucks disappeared for a month or so due to me being out of town and everyone being busy. Last night we brought it back!

I'd planned on making pumpkin squares (from Veganomicon), but I realized that the savory food might be a bit lacking (like it usually is), so I threw together a creamy pumpkin sauce from leftovers in my fridge.

It's a lazy lady's sauce--required very little work, just add to a sauce pan and warm until creamy. If I had been feeling more creative, I'd have made a pasta bake out of it, layering pasta, sauce, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, and red and green peppers. However, I'm lazy and the dish had to fit in my messenger bag anyway.

The dish was a hit, even though the picture is not so swell--the tupperware was wiped clean with Phil's delicious bread. The creamy ricotta part mixed with the spicy pumpkin part was perfect. I still have some ricotta and pumpkin in my fridge--I think I'm going to have to make myself a batch!

Vegan Pumpkin Ricotta Pasta

1/2 c pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 c vegan ricotta
1 c soy milk
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt

Simmer the soy milk, pumpkin, and ricotta at medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add spices.

Serve over pasta.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes I just want a chocolate chip cookie. I used to make the best cookies before I was vegan. My recipe was infallible. It was better than my mother's--who was a professional baker for 20 years. And then I became a vegan. I've yet to find a recipe I like. Half of the reason is because buying vegan chocolate chips is so expensive. And the eggs really added something to the recipe, I guess.

So here's one of my experiments--with egg replacer. I don't like egg replacer, but I was out of bananas. So, well, the recipe is good, but it's not perfect. I also used 3 oz of semi-sweet baker's chocolate instead of chocolate chips because that's what I had.

Needless to say though, these cookies made my paper writing and novel reading afternoon a-ok!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c Earth Balance, at room temp.
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs' worth of egg replacer
3 oz chopped semi-sweet baker's chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix the Earth Balance, sugars, vanilla, and egg replacer.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Add the chocolate chips or baker's chocolate.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ricotta Stuffed Challah French Toast

Saturday morning--a day I don't have class, a day I don't have to be up at a certain time, my day. Well, almost. My room is next to the back door of the house, so I'm always jolted awake my roommates' or their significant others' early morning tendencies. After lying in bed awake for a bit I decided to make some breakfast and do my favorite weekend morning thing--check up on all of the blogs! You may remember my vegan french toast recipe from this summer (which I can't link to because I deleted my blog...stupid stupid), but today I decided to do a pumped up version of it.

I remembered reading the two different ricotta recipes in Veganomicon last night and I've also really missed being able to order ricotta stuffed french toast at Sun in my Belly--absolutely nothing there is vegan, which is a shame because their coffee is amazing and utterly addicting. Well, hello, I have one and a half loaves of vegan challa sitting on my counter and the ingredients for the ricotta. Brunch time!

I omitted the garlic and basil since I was using the ricotta for breakfast, but the recipe made up tons more than I needed for just myself. So it will probably pop up in some savory dish in the near future with added seasoning. Next time I'm going to play with it more--the lemon was a bit strong, so maybe add a bit less and add in vanilla or something to make it sweeter and richer. The texture, however, is right on. I really think I'm eating ricotta.

As for the french toast recipe, I make mine up a bit differently every time. The measurements are in no way exact--I have no idea how much soy milk I used, for example--and this is one of those times you have to mix by feel.

The end result is quite tasty. Not exactly Sun in my Belly style, but not far off. Fresh berries would have been uber helpful, but I made do with dried cranberries and pecans. Over all, I'm happy with it!

Ricotta Stuffed Challah French Toast

1/2 loaf of Vegan Challah

For the Ricotta:
1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound firm tofu, drained and crumbled
(I also added in a handful of chopped pecans and dried cranberries at the end.)

For the French Toast Batter:
1 banana, mashed
1/2-3/4 cup soy milk
1 Tbsp soy flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp vanilla

In a food processor, blend together the cashews, lemon juice, and olive oil until a thick creamy paste forms. Add the crumbled tofu to the food processor until the mixture is thick and well blended.

In a pie tin or other shallow dish, mix mashed banana, soy milk, soy flour, cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla until a slightly thick liquid forms.

Heat up a frying pan on medium heat on the stove, add 1 tsp olive oil to warm.

Dip challah pieces in the french toast mixture so that one side of each is coated--leave one side of each slice uncoated. Slather the ricotta mixture on the uncoated side of one of the slices, place the other challah slice on top with the coated side facing outward. Fry until golden brown.

Repeat and serve!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Vegan Challah

Who doesn't love bread? Who doesn't love a heaping, unhealthy dose of carbohydrates?


I'd been eyeing the PPK's recipe database recipe for Vegan Challah for some time now. With three overripe banana's sitting on the counter, begging to be used in something sinfully wheaty, I spent this afternoon kneading and mixing and kneading and waiting and waiting and baking. Honestly, it's a lot of work--I guess not more than usual for bread, but I never bake bread--but totally worth it.

I took a couple hours break while it was rising to go grocery shopping at the Dekalb Farmer's Market and put the dough in the fridge to chill until I got back home, and I don't think that affected the bread. My braiding technique could use a bit of work, but the bread is just so tasty.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, it doesn't taste like bananas at all!

::edit:: I just noticed that I forgot to use 1 cup of soy flour. Huh. Oh well...I wonder what the difference is... oops!

Vegan Challah

2 1/2 Tbsp dry active yeast
1/3 cup warm water
6 cups flour (white:whole wheat ratio of 4:2)
1 cup soy flour
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar or dry sweetner
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola ok, too)
2 overripe (mostly black) bananas
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
another half cup of boiling water for brushing braids
sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or sea salt to top

In one small bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water, put to the side to stand for 5-10 minutes.

Mash bananas in other small bowl.

In large bowl mix: oil, sugar, salt, and boiling water, stirring so it's all mostly dissolved.

Add the cold water to the large bowl (the mix should be warmish now but not hot). Stir in yeast mix.

Add bananas.

Add flour, one cup at a time. (Don't forget the soy flour!)

Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead for 5-10 min, dough should be smooth, not too stiff or too runny.

Lightly coat the large mixing bowl in oil, turn the dough in it to just coat it with oil, place a towel over the dough in the bowl and let it rise for about 1 hr, till double in volume.

Punch dough down, turn out and knead again 2-3 min. Divide dough into 2 balls, divide each ball into 3 sections, roll each section into long ropes and make 2 braids. Preheat the oven to 350.

Let the braids rise 45 min. Boil a little more water. Just before putting braids in the oven, brush them with boiling water, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or sea salt.

Bake 30 min. You'll know they're done when you tap them on the bottom and they sound hollow. Let cool on a drying rack for 10 min before slicing. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Apple Galette

We're having a pie fest next weekend. I suck at making pies. Or, rather, I suck at making pretty pies. But for Pie Fest 2007 I want to have a pretty pie that tastes better than everyone else's pie. AND I want to impress some vegan boys I'm inviting (food is always the way to a man's heart, right?). So Cupcake Punk is turning into Pie Punk. Too bad that doesn't sound better.

Pie Experiment #1: Apple Pie, no, Apple Tart, no, Apple Galette

Wikipedia Definition
Galette: a general term used in French to designate different types of round and flat crusty cakes.

Cupcake Punk Definition
Galette: a poor woman's tart; to be made when rolling a crust is apparently impossible and one doesn't even own a tart pan thing.

I had a bag of apples in my fridge--granny smith, the kind I like to slather natural peanut butter on and make a tasty snack of. My mother said granny smith apples wouldn't make a tasty apple pie. With her dissent, I forged ahead. Anyways, whenever she says it can't be good I normally make it better than what should be good--it's that rebellious daughter in me (I wasn't raised a baker's daughter for nothing!).

I fidgeted around with the idea of an apple pie...but I wanted something lighter, more autumnal. And autumn in Georgia isn't freezing, it's light and breezy (and, well, today 30 something degrees...the weather is rather schizophrenic actually. It'll be 70 tomorrow). Luckily, Smitten Kitchen posted this delicious looking tart--so simple, so few ingredients, so easy to make vegan!

Well, except for the tart pan thing. I don't have one. I should, they only cost $2 or so at Ross...but I don't have one. Good thing I like artistic free form shapes. Especially since I can't roll out a round pie crust for the life of me. I always end up with something oblong. But maybe that's also because I don't have wax paper. I should really go shopping, no?

Anyways, it's a simple recipe and hard to mess up. After I pulled the pie from the oven and let it cool, I slipped it into a tupperware box, dropped it into my messenger bag, hopped on my bike, and rode three miles over to my friend Deck's house for movie and pie night. Served with vanilla soy cream, this pie is irresistible. We ate the entire thing. The two of us. An entire pie.

Alice Waters’s Apple Tart (Veganized!)
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For dough:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick Earth Balance, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3½ tablespoons chilled water

For filling:
2 pounds apples (Granny Smith or other tart variety), peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar

For glaze:
½ cup sugar

MIX flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the EarthBalance. Blend in a mixer until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas.

DRIBBLE in water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Toss with hands until you can roll dough into a ball. Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush. *Note: If you have issues getting the right roundness or thickness, just play with it. Make a square galette, make a triangle, make whatever works. Don't force the dough to do something it doesn't want to do.

PLACE dough on a baking sheet. Heat oven to 400°F.

OVERLAP apples on dough in a ring 2 inches from edge. Continue inward until you reach the center. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals.

BRUSH melted EarthBalance over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over dough edge and the other 1 tablespoon over apples.

BAKE in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown (about 45 minutes), making sure to rotate tart every 15 minutes.

MAKE glaze: Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth.

REMOVE tart from oven, and slide off parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes.

BRUSH glaze over tart, slice, and serve

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Lazy Dinner

Sometimes I just don't feel like cooking. And when that happens I walk next door to Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe (it's literally two doors down from me) and browse the freezer case for something tasty--well, something besides soy ice cream, that is. I had a head of broccoli I needed to use, as well as two potatoes, so I figured a fake meat was in order--you know, a traditional meat and potatoes kind of affair.

The end result?

Garlic Sun Dried Tomato Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli, and Vegan Citrus Sparerib Cutlets.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Creamy Thai Butternut Squash Soup

I go grocery shopping only every two to three weeks. Cooking for one can be a blessing sometimes. And I always try to cook things that can be frozen or saved in the fridge for a long time because frankly, when I make a big pot of lentils, I can eat it for a week, but then I'm tired of it and I still have half a recipe left. Luckily, fall and winter are soup seasons! And today is my first soup of the season--creamy "thai" butternut squash.

I bought a butternut squash and a head of cauliflower so that I could repeat this recipe. (Interestingly enough, that's the first recipe I made when I started this food blog.) But today I ran across Heidi's take on pumpkin soup. The result is a mix of the two, and oh my word, it's delicious. Naturally, it's hard to photograph, so bear with me. (smile)

Creamy Thai Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash
1 head of cauliflower
olive oil
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 teaspoon (or more) red Thai curry paste
water or soy milk
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut the butternut in half lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds. Drench the squash in oil (I'm on no diet!) and salt generously. Place outside up on a baking tray and bake for 45-1 hour, or until the squash is soft.

Meanwhile, put the cauliflower florets into a small, oiled baking dish of their own. After the squash has cooked for 15 minutes, put the cauliflower in with it. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is beginning to brown and the squash can be pierced easily with a fork. (They will probably be finished at different times.) Remove from the oven and set the cauliflower aside.

Allow the squash to cool until it's easy to handle, and scrape the flesh out of the skin and into a bowl. Use a fork or masher to mash it a little.

Scoop the squash into a large pot over medium high heat. Add the coconut milk and curry paste (I used 1.5 tablespoons, but it depends on how hot you want it and what brand you're using) and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and puree with a hand blender, you should have a very thick base at this point. Add water or soymilk one cup at a time until you reach the consistency you want.

Add the cauliflower and serve!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Guilt Trip

I deleted the blog last night because I hadn't updated in month and I didn't know when that would change...but now I feel bad about that and I miss the old thing. Unfortunately...well, all of my posts are gone. I still have pictures from most of the posts so I could scrounge back up the recipes, but we could just call this a new go.

I'll try to reconstruct what I can, but I had almost a year of posts. HOWEVER! It's the holiday season which means I'm going to be cooking/baking like mad, so there should be tons of new recipes and food porn.

So, a word to the wise, don't rashly delete your blog--you'll regret it.