Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Baked Mini Corn Dogs

Son #1 wanted corn dogs for lunch this week.  I think they must be serving them in the cafeteria at school because "corn dog" really isn't in our vocabulary.  Now, you know that I don't shy away from frying things in oil from time to time (Mmmmmm.  Donuts . . . ), but if the kids were going to eat these every day for lunch (kids are like that) frying seemed like a bad idea.  Solution: a baked corn dog that is somewhere between a pretzel and the deep fried original.  These were/are a massive hit with my kids and hopefully will be with yours as well.  I also understand there is some major sporting event coming up this weekend which might lend itself to a a corn dog or two.

Makes 24.  Weighing the ingredients (the flour in particular) provides the most consistent results.
- 12oz/340ml/1.5 cups plain soy milk
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp instant or active dry yeast
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1.5 tsp salt
- generous 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 9oz/255g/1.5 cups fine cornmeal
- 11.5oz/326g/2.5 cups white bread flour
- soy milk for brushing
- 12 veggie hot dogs, cut in half

- I have seen recipes that call for some cayenne in the dough, or some minced jalapeño.  These sound like great ideas but not the kind of things my kids like

1. Warm up soy milk to between 90 and 100 degrees F, then whisk in vinegar.  When thick, whisk in yeast, oil, and sugar.  Let sit for 5 mins to allow yeast to dissolve.
2.   Meanwhile, whisk salt, baking soda and cornmeal in stand mixer bowl.  Add yeast mixture and mix well.  Let sit for 5 mins.
3. Add flour and mix into a rough dough.  Let sit for 5 mins, then knead with a dough hook for 5 mins on med-lo speed.  The dough should clear the bottom of the bowl and should be tacky but not be sticky.  Adjust flour as needed (I find the amount above to be perfect).
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  You can skip this step if you are in a rush and just let the dough rise at room temp, but I find that the overnight fermentation produces great flavour, lets the gluten relax, and allows the cornmeal to soften.  Also, since the dough is tacky, cooling the dough makes it much easier to work with.  You can also compromise between the two methods and refrigerate the dough for about 4 hours.
5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place one oven rack in the second highest position, and one on the second lowest.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces (around 40g each) then cover to keep from drying out.  Flatten each piece into a rectangle slightly longer than the veggie dog half and wide enough to wrap around the veggie dog.  Lightly dust the work surface with flour if the dough is too tacky to work with.  Wrap the dough around the veggie dog and pinch to seal the seam and ends.  Gently roll the dog back and forth in your hands to smooth out the dough as much as possible.  Place on the prepared sheet and repeat.  Put 12 corn dogs on each baking sheet.
7.  Brush each corn dog with soy milk (I pick them up and brush all sides).  Bake for 7.5 mins, then rotate and switch the sheets from one rack to the other (i.e. the sheet on the second highest rack will now be on the second lowest, and vice versa).  Bake for another 7.5 mins then transfer to a cooling rack.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Easy Mexican Red Rice

Great on its own, as a side, or in a burrito.

- 1 dried red chile, deseeded (I used a New Mexico chile)
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (juice and all)
- 1.5 cups long grain rice (I used basmati), rinsed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup frozen peas

1. Slit open chile and deseed, then soak in a bowl of hot water for about 5 mins.  Save the soaking water.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then sauté onion and garlic for 5-7 mins, until translucent but not browned.
3. While onions are cooking, blend the soaked chile (but not the soaking water) into the tomatoes (I use an immersion blender in a juice pitcher, but a blender or food processor would also work).  Blend until smooth.
4. Add rice to onions and stir to coat with oil.  Cook for 2 mins then add the tomato mixture.  Mix well.
5.  Bring to bubbling, then reduce to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 mins, or until rice is almost cooked.  If rice gets too dry, add some of the soaking liquid.

6.  Add peas to the rise, mix well, then cover and cook for 5 mins.  Fluff rice and serve.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Potato Quesadillas with Homemade Wheat Tortillas

Happy New Year, all you Gregorian calendar users!  I'd like to promise that I will blog more this year, but with 3 major projects on the go I know I would never be able to keep that promise.  I do have some goals for the blog, though.  My passion right now is baking and trying to make vegan baked goods accessible to all home bakers.  That being said, my menus need a real kick in the pants these days so I would like get some new dishes up as well.  This recipe is sort of a mix of these two goals, so enjoy!

Wheat Tortillas (makes twelve 12-14" tortillas)
This recipe is veganized from Peter Reinhart's Crust and Crumb.  It is rather similar to the recipe I posted here, but has a bit more fat.  I like his method, and made these up after I finished my bread baking.  I'm not sure it's worth heating up the oven just for these, so use a cast iron skillet if you're not already baking.  I baked up six, and put the remaining dough in the freezer for another day.
- 1.5 lbs bread flour
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 oz vegetable shortening
- 1.5 cups warm water

1. Mix flour and salt, then cut the shortening in.  Add water and work into a soft dough.
2. Divide into 12 equal balls, then flatten into discs.  Cover with plastic and let sit for 30 mins.
3. Place a baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.  On a floured surface, roll out a disc of dough into a 12 inch circle.  Place in a towel to keep from drying out.  Repeat with remaining discs (If the tortillas as well-floured, you can stack them six high).
4. Once the dough has rested a bit, you can stretch the tortillas even thinner by gently stretching them on the back of your knuckles, like you would with pizza dough.  Work from the edges, not the centre.
5. With a spray bottle, spritz the stone with water.  Place a tortilla on the stone (with your hands, or a baking peel) and bake for 30-60 seconds, until puffy but not crispy.  Flip and repeat.  You want the tortilla to bake, but not become hard and inflexible.  Stack in a towel as they come out of the oven.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Potato Quesadillas
I posted a recipe like this 3 years ago, but that was before Daiya existed in my town.  I'm not a huge fake cheese fan, but these are really good.  
- 1/2 lb potatoes
- 1 8oz bag shredded Mozzarella style Daiya (or Pepper Jack)
- 6 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tbsp chili sauce
- 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced
- chopped fresh cilantro to taste
- 6 tortillas (above)

1. Boil the potato(es) until tender but not mushy (peel them if you want).  Cool, then grate into a medium bowl.  Add remaining ingredients (not the tortillas, of course) and mix well.
2. Lightly brush a tortilla with oil or margarine, then flip over and place 1/6 of the filling over half of the tortilla.  Fold in half and repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
3. Cook in a skillet over med to med-hi heat until both sides are golden brown and cheese has melted.  Cut each tortillas into 3 wedges and serve immediately.