Saturday, December 8, 2018

Snowballs

This is a fairly familiar Christmas cookie--nuts, fat, and flour coated in icing sugar. Growing up we had something like them called Russian Tea Balls. I like this version because the almond flour makes for a more crisp and smooth cookie than the one of my childhood. These are flavoured to be reminiscent of eggnog, but you could leave the nutmeg out of you'd like. 

INGREDIENTS
Makes 48 cookies
- 1/2 cup almond flour/meal
- 2 tbsp corn flour
- 1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 cup margarine
- 1 tbsp rum
- 2 tsp rum extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

- 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
- 2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg

METHOD
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper
1. Whisk together almond flour, corn flour, nutmeg, and icing sugar. 
2. Add margarine and mix into a smooth paste with a wooden spoon. Add rum and extracts and mix well.
3. Add flour and mix with the wooden spoon into a ball of dough. 
4. Roll 2 tsp of dough into balls and place 1" apart on the baking sheets (2 dozen per sheet if they are big enough).
5. Refrigerate the balls of dough while you preheat to the oven to 350 degrees with the racks in the top and bottom third of the oven.
6. Whisk remaining icing sugar and nutmeg in a medium bowl. 
7. Bake for 20 mins, rotting the pans and switching racks after 10 mins. Cookies should be dry and firm and very slightly browned.
8. Let cool for 5 mins, then toss in batches in the icing sugar mixture. Let fully cool on a wire rack. If you are going to freeze these for later, do it now. 
9. Toss again in the icing sugar before serving. 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Eggnog Snickerdoodles

I am emerging from a large research project just in time for the holiday season. So, the plan is to post as many holiday-themes recipes as I can in the next 3 weeks. It's going to be mainly baking, of course, but that's not a bad thing. First up are these snickerdoodles. They are basically a veganized Betty Crocker recipe with added nutmeg and rum for an eggnog-y taste. Remove both and you have a regular snickerdoodle. These are both crisp and chewy thanks to the magic of aquafaba, and are perfectly sized for a holiday cookie tray. 

INGREDIENTS
Makes 4 dozen
Cookie Dough
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/3 cup aquafaba
1 tbsp golden rum
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup corn flour
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Topping
Mix together in a shallow bowl:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

METHOD
Heat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. Cream sugar, margarine, and shortening in large bowl until fluffy (I use a heavy-duty whisk). Whisk in aquafaba, then the rum.
2. Sift in flours, nutmeg, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Mix into a dough with a wooden spoon.
3. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar topping to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheet. 
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. The tops should be cracked and not too wet looking. Let cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Smoked Portobello Bacon


This is the best thing I have tasted in a while. Mushrooms are bursting with umami, and together with the saltiness of the brine and the smokiness of the smoking the overall effect is very bacony. We have been enjoying them on BLTs (which will be even more awesome when our own tomatoes ripen), veggie burgers, and in scrambled tofu. 


INGREDIENTS
- 6-8 large portobello mushroom caps
- 1 recipe brine
- 3 cups applewood chips

METHOD
1. Wash the mushrooms and thickly slice (about 1/2"). 
2. Place sliced mushrooms in a large freezer bag, pour in brine, and seal. Lay bag flat in an appropriately sized casserole dish (this way of the bag leaks you won't have a disaster on your hands).
3. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours, turning the bag over regularly to ensure all the pieces get evenly marinated. 

ON SMOKING DAY: you can smoke these in a smoker, if you have one, per its instructions. Or, you can turn your BBQ into a smoker per these instructions.
1. Soak the applewood chips (or smoking chips of your choice) in water for 30 mins. If you like, use foil to cover the holes in your BBQ lid where the rotisserie is supposed to go so that too much smoke does not escape.
2. Use a smoke box, or make a smoking packet out of aluminum foil--wrap the chips in foil and poke holes in it to allow the smoke to escape. Don't make the packet too big--you want some depth to your chips so they can smoulder and smoke away without burning up too fast.
3. Remove the grill from one side of the BBQ and place the packet on the heat plates over the burner. Turn the burner on high.
4. While the packet is heating, place the mushroom slices on the opposite grill and bun warming rack. I like to place mine on an old cooling rack and then place that on top of the grill. 

5. Once the packet begins to smoke, reduce the heat and close the lid. You want to keep the temperature between 250 and 300 for about 45 mins, but you also want the chips to keep smoking. Basically this means a higher heat at the beginning and then lower heat towards the end as the chips burn. If the chips stop smoking too early, just raise the heat to get them going again and then lower it. 
6. The bacon will be done in about 45 mins. The outside should be leathery but the pieces should not be dried out. Remove smaller pieces first if necessary. 

The bacon can be stored in the fridge and fried up (if you want) when needed. I like the thicker slices because they don't dry out on the grill and can be sliced thinner later if necessary. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Dosa

Welcome to post two of two of fermented breads! If you made the injera recipe, you will find the method for this recipe very similar. And, like injera, the bread is a wonderful gluten-free addition to a meal. You may toss the first few as you get used to spreading out the batter but it is worth persevering to get it right. These are best served fresh, so halve the recipe if you need to. 

INGREDIENTS
Makes 2 dozen
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 1 cup red lentils
- 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
- 2 tsp. salt
- margarine
- water for thinning, if needed

METHOD
1. Soak the rice in cold water overnight. In a separate bowl, soak lentils and fenugreek in cold water overnight. 
2. Drain the rice (discard the water) and add to a blender. Drain the lentils/fenugreek (save the water), and add to the blender with the rice. Add the salt and blend on high speed, adding as much of the lentil soaking water as needed to make a thin batter (like crepe batter). Add fresh water if needed.
3. Transfer the blended mixture to a large glass jar, and affix a piece of cloth over the mouth of the jar. Let ferment at room temperature for about 2 days, or until bubbly and foamy.
4. Stir the batter, adding water if needed to thin it if needed. It should still coat the back of a spoon but not be too thick. 
5. Preheat a non-stick pan over medium heat. When pan is heated, add 1/4 cup of batter to the pan. Use the back of a spoon to speed the batter thinly--start in the middle and quickly spread outward in a circular motion. 
6. Cook until the does is dry and the edges start to curl up a bit. Remove from heat to a cooling rack. Spread a thin layer of margarine over the surface of the dosa, and roll while still warm. Store under a towel until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining batter. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Injera

The key to injera is getting comfortable with fermentation. Just like sourdough bread, injera gets its flavour from wild (as opposed to commercial) yeast. But unlike sourdough, this recipe is much easier to prepare. A few days out on the counter and this batter will be happily bubbling away and ready to be made into Ethiopian flatbread.  It's a great introduction into the world of fermentation! The bread is gluten free but still rolls just like a crepe and is durable enough to scoop up whatever tasty stew you make. 

INGREDIENTS
Makes one dozen
- 3 cups teff flour
- 4 cups water
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD
1. Mix together teff flour and water. Pour into a large, clean glass or ceramic container (I use a 56 oz canning jar). Keep in mind that the batter will expand by 1/3 or more, so make sure you container is big enough. Secure a piece of cloth over the mouth of the container so everything can breathe--I put a cloth napkin over the mouth of the canning jar and secure it with the metal ring.
2. Let the batter sit for 2 to 3 days, stirring 3 times a day, until better begin to bubble and rise.
3. Once the batter is bubbly, stir in the baking powder and salt.
4. Let the batter sit while you heat a 10" non-stick pan over medium to med-hi heat.
5. Lightly oil the pan. Pour 1/2 cup of batter into the pan and tilt to coat (thin batter with water if necessary). Cook until the injera has bubbles all over, then cover with a lid so the injera can steam for 2-3 minutes. Regulate the heat so the bread does not burn.
6. Remove the injera to a cooling rack and roll it while warm. Cover with a towel to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter.