Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ciabatta: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

I love this recipe. I have blogged about it before and I make it on a regular basis. I have made the poolish version and the biga version, and have made it with water and with soymilk. This time I made ciabatta rolls so I can enjoy some tasty sandwiches this week.

1. I prefer making this with water, since it makes for a nice chewy loaf with the characteristic holes. Soy milk is nice if you want a softer loaf.
2. I prefer the poolish version.
3. To make the rolls, I divided the dough into 10 portions, then folded each one like the larger loaf. I baked them for 14 mins.
4. I make the dough with the full 6 oz of water, and sometimes a few splashes more. A wet dough is what leads to the holey structure.
5. I have never made this by hand, but instead rely on my stand mixer to work the dough.

None, other than the soy milk not above.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Challah: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

Several months ago a reader asked if I had a vegan challah recipe to share, and I fired off some vague reply about getting around to veganizing Reinhart's recipe. I really hope that person is still reading the blog because this turned out rather well, I think. Of course, I have never actually had challah before, so I have nothing to compare it to. You might be able to tell from the pic that I totally messed up the braiding. Turns out, its just like a regular braid but I thought Reinhart was teaching me some new braiding system. Lesson learned for next time.

1. I made one large braided loaf--it was a pretty big loaf.
2. I made the dough with 7 oz of water, but I would up it next time to make it a little more pliable.

1. I replaced the eggs with an equal weight of soy yogurt.
2. I replaced the egg yolks with 1 tbsp of ground flax whisked into enough water to make the 1.25 oz called for.
3. I used soy milk instead of an egg white wash.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tarka Dhal

My teaching schedule is really cramping my cooking this semester. A late afternoon course twice a week means needing to have large pots of food cooked up the day before so leftovers can be served up quick for the kids. This is a toned down version of tarka dahl. There are supposed to be dried red chiles in the onion mixture to give the dish some zing, but there is no way the kids will go for any "spiky" dishes. Feel free to punch this up as you see fit.

- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 2 1/4 cup water
- 1" piece of ginger, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tomato, chopped

1. Place lentils, water, ginger, garlic, tumeric and salt in a pot. Bring to boil, reduce heat, loosely cover, and simmer until lentil are thoroughly cooked (about 1/2 hour). Add more water, if needed, or uncover if too runny.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan over med-hi heat. Saute onion with mustard seeds until it turns a nice golden brown. Add in tomato and cook for 2 mins.
3. Pour onion mixture over the lentils, garnish with cilantro, and serve.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Casatiello: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

This is a version of brioche done Italian style, and the non-vegan version is supposed to be loaded with cheese and salami. For one insane moment I thought about replacing that with vegan cheese and meat, but quickly decided that the final product would probably be pretty gross. Instead, I went with sundried tomatoes for bursts of flavour, and some nutritional yeast for a more cheesy flavour. I also used Ener-G egg replacer this time, but felt that yogurt or silken tofu would have made for a moister loaf.

1. While I was intrigued with the idea of baking the loaf in a bag, I opted instead for 9" round pans. Reinhart calls for 8" round pans, but I don't have any. The final loaf was slightly thinner, but filled the pan just fine.
2. Because the thinner loaf, I baked the loaves for a total of 35 mins, instead of 40.

1. I replaced the milk with soy milk.
2. I replaced the eggs with 2 Ener-G eggs, but would opt for soy yogurt next time.
3. I replaced the butter with Earth Balance, and so I did not add any salt into the dough.
4. I replace the salami with 4oz sundried tomatoes in oil, drained, and chopped.
5. I added 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast to the dough.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Ragout

We spent the afternoon hiking through the snowy woods, so this thick and hearty stew made for the perfect dinner. I really apologize for the truly terrible picture--the colour is reminiscent of those pictures of luncheon meats from the 70s they used to hang over the deli counter in the grocery store. I love the combination of vermouth, tomato, and basil in this dish, and I like a stew so thick you can eat it off a plate. Roasting is worth the extra time to bring out the sweetness of the onions, but feel free to use whatever veggies you want.

- 1 large sweet onion, cut into wedges
- 3 red potatoes, diced
- 2 large carrots, sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 15 Brussels sprouts, halved
- 1 19oz can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tbsp oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 tsp basil
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes, drained
- 2/3 cup dry vermouth
- 1 cup spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
1. Toss veggies and beans in oil, season with salt and pepper, and then mix in basil. Spread out on a heavy baking sheet with sides (I used a stoneware sheet). Drain tomatoes very well and spread out over veggies. Bake for about 1 hour, turning veggies every 20 mins, until cooked and nicely browned.
2. Transfer veggies into a large pot. Add in vermouth and bring to bubbling. Cook for 10-15 mins, until reduced, then stir in spaghetti sauce. Bring to bubbling again, adjust seasoning, and serve. If the Brussels sprouts need more cooking, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

(Vegan) Brioche: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

This is the first recipe that gave me pause. First, I have never had brioche in my life so I was not sure what the end result was supposed to be like. Second, the recipe calls for 5 eggs, which meant that veganizing was going to be a bit of a challenge. From what I can gather, brioche is all about working in as much butter as possible into the dough whilst adding eggs to up the protein content so the brioche actually holds its shaped when baked. Thankfully, Reinhart provides three versions with varying amounts of butter. I went with the middle class brioche recipe figuring that 1 cup of margarine would be easier to work with (rather than the 2 cups in the upper class recipe) and therefore my egg substitutes would have a better chance of actually doing what they were supposed to do. The end result was absolute perfection: a light, delicate, and tender brioche that rose like a dream. I was more than pleased, especially because I guessed on how to best replace the eggs.

1. I only refrigerated the dough for the minimum time (4 hours) and had great results. I imagine, though, that leaving it overnight would make the dough even more tender.
2. I don't have brioche pans so I put the brioches a tete in muffin tins. I made 16.
3. Because I used Earth Balance, I added only a pinch of salt to the dough.
4. I used Method 2 to shape the brioche.

1. I replaced the milk with plain soy milk.
2. My thought on the eggs was to replace the weight of the eggs (8.5 oz) with a mixture of egg replacers. I whisked 2 tbsp of ground flax into 1/3 cup of water (final weight 3 oz). I then blended in 2 oz of soy yogurt, and 3.5 oz of silken tofu with an immersion blender. I have no idea if these proportions can be altered, I just know they worked for me.
3. I added 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten to the dough.
4. I replaced the butter with Earth Balance margarine.
5. I brushed the brioche with soy milk instead of an egg white wash.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bagels: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

Next on the baking challenge: bagels. I have made this recipe many times and have always had great results. I have blogged about these bagels before (you may recognize the pic above), and have even provided my own variations. These bagels are chewy and soft and absolutely amazing. I have not made them for a while so it was nice to revisit an old favourite.

1. The recipe says it makes 12 large or 24 mini bagels, but they are pretty big bagels. I usually make 16 bagels so they aren't too huge. Even the "mini" bagels are a pretty good size. If I bake these for the kids' lunches I make a 50g boule and shape it into a true mini bagel.
2. The recipe calls for high-gluten or bread four. I have tried adding in some vital wheat gluten to the bread flour to up the gluten content but I don't like the texture this gives the final dough. I prefer just adding a bit more bread flour to get a stiff dough.
3. I always find that the bagels brown unevenly in the oven, but it does not seem to matter too much. Rotate the pans to brown them as evenly as possible, but I find that the bagels are done after 10 mins even if they are lightly browned.

- none

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Leek, Onion and Potato Soup

I really need to think up more clever names for my dishes. This soup starts with inspiration from French Onion Soup but ends with delicious chunks of sweet potato and white kidney beans. You will notice that this recipe calls for a lot of leeks--that is because I had a bunch of them in the fridge that needed to be used up before they went bad. Feel free to cut down on the leeks by adding more onions. To my utter amazement, the kids bolted the soup right down and gave it two thumbs up.

Serves 6
- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 2 large sweet onions, halved and sliced
- 6 leeks, white and light greens part, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups red wine
- 5 cups water or veggie stock
- 2 tsp sage
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp mushroom soy sauce (or regular)
- salt and pepper to taste (heavy on the pepper)
- 3 large red potatoes, peeled, small dice
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled, small dice
- 1 19 0z can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1. Heat oil and margarine in a large pot over medium heat. Add in onions and and saute for a few mins until they begin to soften. Then add in leeks and garlic and mix well. Once things are sizzling along, reduce heat to med-lo and cook, uncovered, for 45-60 mins, until onions and leeks become a nice golden brown. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking.
2. Add wine to the pot and stir to deglaze. Add in water, spices, soy sauce, potatoes and beans. Bring to bubbling, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 30-45 mins, until potatoes are soft but not mushy. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Artos (Greek Celebration Bread): Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

On to recipe two in The Bread Baker's Apprentice! As you can see by the self-explanatory title, artos is Greek celebration bread, and Reinhart provides the baker with three variations: a plain loaf, one for Christmas, and one for Easter. Since I didn't have any particular religious holiday to celebrate I make a more plain loaf but added in the fruit and nuts of the Christmas loaf thinking the end result would be something like a cinnamon raisin bread we could eat for breakfast. I also made the glaze but did not have any sesame seeds on hand as he suggests.

1. This is one big loaf--somewhere between an American football and a rugby ball. Reinhart's instructions call for a boule, but I made more of a batard. Next time I would make an even longer batard (or even two loaves) since the final loaf was a tad unruly.
2. Unless I am making this for a holiday, I would skip the glaze next time since it was a real pain to bag up a sticky loaf of bread. I found I needed half as much as the recipe calls for, but I suppose if you made the variation with all the fancy decorations that would result in more surface area and the need for more glaze.
3. Possibly because of the vegan substitutes (below), I had to add in about 3/4 cup more flour than is called for. However, I usually find Reinhart's recipes heavy on the liquid (or light on flour) and I always end up using the minimum amount called for.
4. I used sourdough starter instead of the poolish, which meant I could make the bread in one evening.
5. I baked the loaf for the full 45 mins.

1. I substituted maple syrup for the honey in the loaf and the glaze. It did not make anything taste maple-y.
2. I used 1/2 cup of soy yogurt for the 2 eggs.
3. I used full fat plain soy milk for the milk.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Indian Kale and Split Peas

This is my final installment of new Indian dishes. For whatever reason, my kids ate this up with no complaints despite the obvious presence of leafy greens. I have found that I have to remove the tough stems from kale because my youngest often chokes and gags as he tries to chew and swallow them. It makes for a rather unpleasant meal. While I usually like my greens lightly cooked and still bright green, cooking the greens together with the split peas and spices for an hour makes for a wonderful flavour and soft texture. I made the dish fairly dry, but you could add more water and some tomato paste at the end to make a sauce so the dish coul dbe served over rice.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 cup yellow split peas, rinsed
- 1 cup water (more if needed)
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1 tsp tumeric
- salt to taste
- 1 bunch kale, rinsed and chopped (stems removed, optional)

1. Heat margarine in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for 5-7 mins, until soft and translucent. Add garam masala and chili powder and fry for 1 min.
2. Add split peas, water, tomato, tumeric, and salt and bring to bubbling. Let bubble for 5 mins, then add kale. Stir until wilted, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 60-75 minutes, until split peas are cooked. Check periodically to stir, adding more water if too dry.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Anadama Bread: Baking Through The Bread Baker's Apprentice

I love baking. I love bread. There is nothing quite like kneading together the perfect dough, caring for it during the fermentations, anticipating its flavour as the house fills with the smell of baking bread, then finally cutting into the finished loaf and enjoying a still warm slice of perfection. Perhaps it's because Vegan Mom and I just watched Julie and Julia, but I have decided to bake through Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice (not even an original idea, as it turns out). I have made several breads from this book, and have made no secret of the fact that I totally love it, so I am going to make them all. I will veganize when necessary, but I have no plans to alter the recipes in any other way. I will do a quick post about each bread for anyone interested.

The first bread is Anadama Bread: a loaf made of cornmeal (polenta), flour, and molasses of New England origin. The bread takes 2 days to make, with the first 24 hours taken up soaking the polenta in water to help release the natural sugars during baking. Reinhart made a note that his recipe testers preferred a light molasses so the flavour did not overpower the final loaf. I just used the molasses I had on hand, the same stuff I use for gingerbread, and did not notice any adverse flavour. The end result was amazing--a soft and light loaf with a bit of texture from the polenta. I found 40 mins of baking to be just right. We enjoyed a slice soon after baking with a bit of margarine, and then I made some classic PB and J sandwiches for lunch the next day.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Potato and Oyster Mushroom Curry

Tonight's recipe is the part two of my trio of posts on the new Indian dishes I made to branch out beyond my old favourites. It is based on a recipe that calls for shrimp, but uses oyster mushrooms instead. You could just use white or cremini mushrooms, but oyster mushrooms really are a treat because of their delicate texture and taste. This is also a quick and simple meal that can be on the table in about 30 mins. You will also note the naan sneaking into the picture (and in my last post). I use this recipe which is hands down the best I have ever made and is pretty close to the stuff actually baked in a tandoor oven.

Serves 4
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 8 oz oyster mushrooms, cut into large pieces
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 lb potatoes, cut into small chunks
- 2 large tomatoes, small dice
- 1/2 cup water, more if needed
- 1 tsp lemon juice

1. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry onions and cilantro for 5-7 mins, until soft and translucent. Add mushrooms, salt, and spices. Fry for about 5 mins, until mushrooms release their water. Add a splash of water if spices stick too much.
2. Add potatoes, tomatoes, and water and mix well. Bring to bubbling, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15-20 mins, until potatoes are cooked. Add more water if it gets too dry, then stir in lemon juice and serve.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


If the Google is to be believed, khichri means a hash of rice and legumes. I thought this would be a nice change from the dal recipe I keep making again and again (it's awesome, to be sure, but it's time for some change). This is really comfort food--mellow, warm, easy to chew, and nourishing. It does not make for the greatest picture, but don't let that stop you from making this amazing dish.

- 1 sweet onion
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 5 cups water (more if needed)
- 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1 cup red lentils
- 3 tbsp margarine
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
1. Get water boiling in an ovenproof pan with a lid. Rinse rice and put in boiling water with onions, garlic, and salt. Reduce heat and simmer on low, uncovered, for 20 mins.
2. Rinse red lentils and add to pan. Cover and simmer for 15 mins.
3. By now the rice and lentils will be mostly cooked and getting fairly dry. If too dry, mix in some more water, then place in the oven. Bake for 20-30 mins, until fully cooked.
4. Heat margarine in a small pan over medium heat and fry sliced shallots for 5-7 mins, until golden. Add in garam masala, then gently stir into khrichi along with the cilantro. Add water, if needed, to reach desired consistency. It can be more dry like a biryani, or wetter like a porridge. Season to taste and serve.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Indian Lentil and Rice Pancakes

I decided it was time to break out of my Indian food rut and explore some new recipes. I have been wanting to try this recipe for a while but have never had my act together enough to plan two days in advance. These are actually really easy to make, but you need to plan ahead. I guess this is also the first gluten-free bread(like) recipe I have posted on this site, so huzzah for me! These are thick and durable enough to be used to scoop up food or sauce from your plate. They are a nice change from naan bread and have a wonderful flavour despite the simple seasoning.

Makes 10 pancakes
- 3/4 cup basmati rice
- 1/4 cup red lentils
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro

1. Place rice, lentils and water in a juice pitcher. Cover and let sit overnight.
2. Drain water off (reserve) and blend rice and lentils with an immersion blender. Then, blend water back into the lentils/rice until smooth. Cover and let ferment in a warm place for 24 hours. (Or, you can soak everything in a bowl, and blend in a food processor. I find the first method easier and less messy).
3. Heat a non-stick frying pan (like a well-seasoned cast iron pan) over medium heat. Mix salt, tumeric, pepper, and cilantro into the batter. The original recipe called for 1 tsp of salt, but I found that to be far too much.
4. Brush the pan with oil, and pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter on the pan. Spread/thin out batter with the back of a spoon (you can make 3 pancakes at once, depending on the size of your pan). Cook for 1-2 mins, until dry around the edges, flip, and cook another min or so. Keep cooked pancakes wrapped in a towel while you cook the others. Serve at once.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year (and muffins!)

Happy New Year! I usually don't make resolutions, but after a meager 4 posts last month I guess I should resolve to do more cooking. Thanks to all who are still sticking around looking in vain for a new post. 2010 looks like it is shaping up to be a busy year, so I will have to focus on quick and easy meals. While I figure out how this year will shape up culinarily, you head into the kitchen and make these Orange Cranberry Nut Muffins from Vegan Brunch. I have made these many times over the past month and can assure you they are awesome with pecans, or walnuts, or even hemp seeds for a protein boost. You can also sub in applesauce for the oil and they are still tender and moist. This is now my favourite of Isa's cookbooks with its beautiful colours and pics, simple layout, and awesome recipes.