Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tofu O' the Sea

A bit of cheater post tonight (turns out I am tired and shagged out following a prolonged day of work and then coming home to four overactive kids. Who knew?) in that this recipe is a variation on another I recently posted. The kids were wary of the seaweed, but Vegan Mom and I totally loved it.

INGREDIENTS
- 1 pkg extra firm tofu
- 4 sheets nori

- 1 1/4 cup plain soy milk
- 2 tbsp mustard
- 2 tbsp hot sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt

- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp salt
- large pinch ground pepper
- 2 tbsp kelp granules

- about 1 1/2 cups cornflake crumbs

- oil for frying

METHOD
1. Cut tofu into 12 slices. Line a baking sheet with a towel, then place the tofu on top. Put a towel on top of the tofu, then put another baking sheet on top of that. Put a weight on top and press the tofu for 15 mins.
2. Cut the nori sheets into 3 equal strips each. Brush one strip with water, then tightly wrap around a piece of tofu (don't worry if you don't cover all the surface area). Repeat with remaining nori and tofu and set aside.
3. Get a frying pan heating on the stove over medium to medium high heat.
4. Whisk together soy milk, mustard, hot sauce, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together flour, salt, and kelp in a another. Place 1/2 cup of the cornflake crumbs in yet another bowl.
5. Dip a piece of the tofu into the soy milk mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture. Set on a baking sheet. Repeat with all the tofu.
6. Add about 1/4 inch of oil to the frying pan. Re-dip 4 pieces in the soy milk mixture, then toss in the cornflake crumbs (one at a time, of course, adding more panko to the bowl if needed). Fry for a few mins per side, until golden and crispy (adjusting heat as needed. Cornflakes burn mch easier than panko crumbs, so watch the heat). Drain on paper towels or a paper bag.
7. Add fresh cornflake the bowl (another 1/2 cup or so) and repeat step 5 with another four pieces, adding more oil as needed. Repeat again with the remaining four pieces.
8. Serve with tartar sauce: vegan mayo, minced onion, and chopped sweet pickle in whatever ratio suits you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hot Cross Buns

A reader emailed me asking if I had a hot cross buns recipe. I didn't, but I thought that sounded like a great idea for the upcoming Easter holiday. My go-to guy is Peter Reinhart, but his recipe was basically a spiced panettone, which sounded delish but also like way too much work (what with it being leavened by wild yeast instead of commercial). But I do love the taste soughdough starter brings to bread, so I incorporated some into this recipe, veganized and adapted, and came up with this. I used citrus zest instead of candied peel (because I hate it), and it provided the perfect balance to the spiciness of the dough. The buns are chewy and moist, substantial but not dense.

INGREDIENTS
Make 12
Buns
- 1 cup warm soy milk (about 90 degrees)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp instant or active dry yeast (not rapid rise)
- 1/4 cup sourdough starter (optional, see method)
- 2 tbsp ground flax seed
- 3 tbsp warm water
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup melted margarine, or oil
- zest of 1 orange
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup currants
- soy milk for brushing

Glaze
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar

Icing
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/2 tsp light corn syrup (optional)
- 2 tsp orange juice (more as needed)

METHOD
1. Mix sugar, soy milk, and yeast together in a large bowl. Let sit until yeast is hydrated (about 1 min for instant yeast, a few mins for active dry). Mix in sourdough starter. If you don't want to use the sourdough starter, just add 2 tbsp of soy milk to the above amount and proceed forth).
2. In a separate small bowl, mix flax seed and water together. Let sit for 1 min to hydrate, then whisk until thickened. Whisk in orange juice, then add to soy milk mixture.
3. Add 3 1/2 cups of flour, spices, margarine, and zests and bring into a dough, adding more liquid or flour as needed. The dough should be firm but still tacky. Knead on a lightly floured surface (or in a stand mixer) for 5-8 mins, until smooth, kneading in the currants right at the end.
4. Place in an oiled bowl, turning dough to coat, cover, and let rise until doubled (1 to 1.5 hours).
5. Line a backing sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (about 100g each), and shape into a ball. Place on prepared sheet and press down to flatten. Mist with oil, cover, and let rise until about doubled (30-45 mins). Preheat oven to 400.
6. Before baking, uncover and cut a shallow cross into the top of each bun with a razor blade or sharp knife. Brush with soy milk and bake for 15-17 mins, until a deep golden brown.
7. While buns are baking, bring glaze ingredients to bubbling over medium heat in a small saucepan. When buns come out of the oven, brush with glaze. Let sit for 1 min, then brush with glaze again. Let cool in the pan. The glaze is optional. It adds some sweetness, but also helps keep the buns fresh by sealing them off from the air.
8. When buns are cool, mix together icing ingredients (it should be stiff but not too stiff) and fill in the cross shapes with a piping bag. The corn syrup is optional, but does help the icing retain its shape.

NOTE: If you want to bake these buns up fresh on Easter day, the dough will keep in the fridge (I had my dough in the fridge for 24 hours). So, make the dough, place in a greased bowl, cover, and place in the fridge overnight to rise. On baking day, remove the dough from the fridge, cut into 12 pieces, and shape into buns while still cold (it's a bit harder to do cold). Mist with oil, cover, and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (this will take about 1.5 hours). Score and bake as per the recipe above. The end result is more tender and a little more complex in flavour.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

This is so easy I don't know why I didn't think of it before. Thanks to Isa for the cookie dough recipe.

INGREDIENTS:
- 1 recipe vanilla ice cream
- 1/2 recipe chocolate chip cookie dough (I omitted the tapioca, and went a little more generous on the flour. I also used mini chocolate chips).

METHOD
1. Make the cookie dough. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. With floured hands, divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll each into a rope/snake, about 1/2" in diameter. Cut off pieces (about 1/2") and place on the prepared sheet. Cover, and place in the freezer for an hour to harden.
2. Make the ice cream as per the recipe. When the ice cream is almost done in the ice cream maker, start dropping in frozen chunks of cookie dough. You can add all of them (not at the same time, though) or as many as you see fit. Save the leftovers in the freezer for next time.
3. Thoroughly freeze before serving.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New York Deli Rye: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

I know its been four months since my last post on this book, but I still intend to get through it. I've just started refreshing my sourdough starter again (after some neglect) so I can finish off the final recipes. I've made this bread before, and this time around made rolls for lunches during the week. It is wonderfully tasty for all kinds of sandwiches, especially reubens.

GENERAL NOTES:
1. I have no idea what "white rye" flour is, and in any event the bulk food store where I get my flour only sells one kind of rye flour.
2. I always find this dough to be rather wet and end up adding in plenty of bread flour so it can actually be kneaded. I'm not sure if this is because of the onions, or what. It still tastes great in the end, though.
3. I left out the caraway seeds because I don't really like them.
4. I made 4 oz rolls instead of loaves, and baked them at 400 degrees for 15 mins.

VEGAN NOTES
1. Replace buttermilk with soy milk.
2. Make vegan buttermilk by replacing 1 tbsp of the soy milk with apple cider vinegar and whisking.
3. Brush with soy milk instead of an egg wash.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Golden Crispy Tofu

Yes, this tofu is crispy. And yes it is golden. But, it is also pretty darn tasty. The mustard and the hot sauce combined with the spices makes it rather delightful on its own, or topped with a sauce of your choice. It is important to press the tofu well so there is not too much water trying escape during cooking that will sog your breading. The panko is also essential. Lastly, I don't see any reason why you could not bake these at 450 for 15-20 mins or so per side (spray lightly with oil, perhaps), but I have not tried it myself.

INGREDIENTS
- 1 pkg extra firm tofu

- 1 1/4 cup plain soy milk
- 2 tbsp mustard
- 2 tbsp hot sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt

- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp salt
- large pinch ground pepper
- 1 tsp poultry spice
- 1 tsp paprika (smoked if you have it)

- about 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs

- oil for frying

METHOD
1. Cut tofu into 12 slices. Line a baking sheet with a towel, then place the tofu on top. Put a towel on top of the tofu, then put another baking sheet on top of that. Put a weight on top and press the tofu for 15 mins.
2. Get a frying pan heating on the stove over medium to medium high heat.
3. Whisk together soy milk, mustard, hot sauce, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together flour and spices in a another. Place 1/2 cup of the panko crumbs in yet another bowl.
4. Dip a piece of the tofu into the soy milk mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture. Set on a baking sheet. Repeat with all the tofu.
5. Add about 1/4 inch of oil to the frying pan. Re-dip 4 pieces in the soy milk mixture, then toss in the panko crumbs (one at a time of course, adding more panko to the bowl if needed). Fry for a few mins per side, until golden and crispy (adjusting heat as needed). Drain on paper towels or a paper bag.
6. Add fresh panko the bowl (another 1/2 cup or so) and repeat step 5 with another four pieces, adding more oil as needed. Repeat again with the remaining four pieces.

NOTE: a few pieces of panko will fall off during cooking that will start to burn and stick to your next pieces of tofu. If you don't care, then great. If you do care, then remove these pieces with a slotted spoon between batches.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cajun Mushroom Soup

This recipe caught my eye because in its omnivorous incarnation it was billed as "mock turtle soup." This sounded promising, but I soon learned that since turtles are hard to find outside of Louisiana they had been replaced with veal. There was even a note in the margin saying "no reptile was harmed in the making of this mock turtle soup." Oh, good. So, a calf was taken from its mother, kept in the dark in a confinement pen, feed an iron deficient diet, and slaughtered at a young age; but at last the turtles got a pass! This recipe is an experiment in using seaweed to keep a seafood-like stock, which I think worked very well. The original recipe also called for diced hard boiled eggs which I replaced with some tofu and black salt. Feel free to leave this out and just add more mushrooms.

Seaweed Stock
INGREDIENTS
- 8 cups water
- about 1 cup seaweed (I had dulse on hand , but you could use kombu)
- 2 nori sheets, crumbled

METHOD
1. Bring all ingredient to a boil in a stockpot. Cover and simmer for 30 mins. Remove from heat and strain.

Mushroom Soup
INGREDIENTS
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 large yellow onion, small dice
- 2 celery stalks, small dice
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- cayenne pepper to taste
- 1/2 lb oyster mushrooms, washed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 lb shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 cup minced fresh tomatoes (chop as finely as you can)
- 6 cups seaweed stock
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
- 1 cup tofu, small dice
- black salt (or regular) and pepper to taste
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup dry sherry

METHOD
1. Heat the oil in a stock pot over med-hi heat. Add the onion, celery, bay leaves, thyme, paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and golden brown (about 10 mins). Add mushrooms and cook until just beginning to release their water. Add flour, mix well, and cook for 5 mins (add a splash more oil, if needed).
2. Add garlic, tomatoes, seaweed stock, sauces, and tofu. Mix well, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about an hour.
3. If the soup is too thick, add more stock. If too thin, add some tomato paste. Taste and adjust all seasonings as you see fit.
4. Add lemon juice, parsley, and green onions and simmer for 30 mins. Remove bay leaves, stir in sherry, adjust seasonings one last time and serve with crusty bread.