Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kaiser Rolls: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

Oh, man. Where have these kaiser rolls been all my life? I am kicking myself for not making these when I first bought The Bread Baker's Apprentice over a year ago. To be honest, I was intimidated by the knotting process needed to get that characteristic look, so I never made them. As it turns out, it is super easy to make these and they taste absolutely amazing.

1. The pate fermentee will keep in the fridge for three days, by which time it develops an amazing flavour that makes for a great kaiser roll. I make a double batch, use half right away, then keep the other half to make more buns a few days later (or French Bread).
2. I also made small 2 oz buns for the kids' lunches. They loved them, and the buns baked up in about 15 mins.
3. I find 20 mins is enough time to bake the large 4 oz buns.
4. When making a double batch, I place two sheets of buns in the oven on the second lowest and second highest shelves, then rotate halfway through.

1. I subbed an equal amount of soy yogurt for the egg. I have also made them with no egg substitute. Both ways are fine, though the yogurt does enrich the dough and make it slightly more tender.
2. I brush the rolls with soy milk (instead of water) before sprinkling with seeds just to get a darker crust.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Irish Stew 2.0

Here is the stew I made for St. Patrick's Day. I have made Irish Stew before but this time I found a secret ingredient that made it even more awesome: Montreal Steak Spice. The pepper adds some kick while the coriander and paprika make for an earthy and hearty tasting stew. I did not have any seitan on hand, so I made "beef" by adapting the vegan sausage recipe and was thus able to whip up a tasty stew fairly quickly. As while most stews, feel free to improvise as you see fit. Here is what I did.

- this recipe, made with 1 1/2 cups of wheat gluten, no fennel, and 1 tbsp Montreal steak spice. I also added 1/2 tsp of gravy browner to get the dark brown colour. I then shaped it into a square, wrapped it in foil, and steamed it for 45 mins. I used half of the seitan (and froze the rest), cut it into small cubes and simmered it in the stew for about 30 mins. The end result was pretty good. Not too tough or bouncy.

- basically this recipe, but I did not use the vinegar or red wine. Instead I used veggie broth and added 2 tbsp Montreal steak spice. A reader commented that this was WAY too much steak spice, so maybe mine is old and less potent. Just add to taste.

Monday, March 22, 2010

HiKool Update

Sorry I have not posted any new recipes lately, but all the content from my blog for the past seven months had been illegally posted on a site called HiKool. Every time I posted something new, it would soon be posted on that site. And it was not even my blog. I recognized pics and recipes from other vegan blogs as well. So, I filed a DMCA letter with HostGator, the site's hosting service, listing the 48 blog posts stolen from my website. Remember, bloggers, you maintain the copyright to the material on your blog. That means you have exclusive control over where that material appears. No one can re-post your recipe or pictures, even if they provide a link back to your blog, without your permission. This is not about plagiarism, necessarily, it is about copyright. It is your property, and you get to distribute it at your discretion.

I am happy to report that HostGator has now disabled access to the aforementioned site. Huzzah! Now that that is all sorted out, I will get back to posting recipes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The kids and I decided that the best way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day was with a cake. Yes, nothing honours the death of a saint from the 400s like cake. But not just any cake: green marbled cake! I made two batches of Isa and Terry's basic vanilla cupcake recipe, and dyed one green with Wilton's gel dye. 1/4 of the of plain batter went into a buttered and floured 8" cake pan, followed by 1/4 of the green batter, then 1/4 of the white, and 1/4 of the green. I repeated with a second 8" pan, then used a knife to slice through the batter to get the marbled look. I then baked the cakes for 22 mins, as per the recipe.

The frosting is Isa and Terry's buttercream frosting. After laying down a layer of frosting, Son #1 drew a picture of a leprechaun on it with a toothpick, and I filled it in with frosting. Son #2 suggested the shamrock and Son #3 licked all the bowls clean.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cream of Broccoli Soup

This is a nice, simple soup, perfect with the baguettes you see in the background.

- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
- about 3 cups water
- 2 cups cashew cream (or soy creamer/soy milk/coconut milk)
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion, shallot, celery, and garlic for 15 mins, until nice and soft and stating to get golden.
2. Add broccoli and enough water to cover about 3/4 of the way up (about 3 cups). You don't want too much water or the final soup will be too thin. Cover and simmer for 15-20 mins, until veggies are soft.
3. Blend broccoli mixture with an immersion blender (or what have you) until very smooth. Add in cashew cream and season to taste. Heat to desired temperature, then serve.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

French Bread: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

I will admit that I was a bit dubious about this recipe. I have made quite a few baguettes in my day, and have even posted a recipe. So how much better could Reinhart's recipe be? The answer: so much better! As with most of his recipes, a little extra time makes for an amazing loaf of bread. The key to this French bread is pate fermente, a dough made the day before and kept in the fridge until needed. This pre-ferment and the final dough is a mix of bread and all purpose flour which makes for a tender loaf with a crispy and crackly crust.

I don't have any notes for this recipe, vegan or otherwise.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chow Noodles

One of my favourite blogs is Chow Vegan, a site with great recipes and beautiful pictures. The other night I really wanted to make the Cantonese Style Chow Mein but did not have all the ingredients. So, I tweaked here and there and dubbed the dish Chow Noodles. The thing that really makes this dish is Chow's baked and crispy noodles. Delicious. Actually, you're probably just better off making the original recipe.

The amount of each ingredient is up to you, depending on how many you are serving
- chow mein noodles, baked as per this recipe
- dried shitake mushrooms
- boiling water
- oil
- crushed garlic and ginger
- water chestnuts
- edamame
- sliced romaine lettuce leave (or some other green)
- soy sauce
- splash of sesame oil

1. While noodles are baking, soak mushrooms for about 20 mins, until soft. Drain and reserve water, then slice mushrooms.
2. Heat oil in a wok, the briefly fry ginger and garlic until fragrant. Add water chesnuts and edamame and fry for a few mins. Add greens and fry until soft but still vibrant.
3. Add noodles to the pan along with as much of the reserved mushroom soaking water as you want to make a sauce. Season to taste with soy sauce, then stir in the sesame oil. Serve.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary

Maya Gottfried, author of Our Farm, was kind enough to send me a copy of her latest book. Beautifully illustrated, the book is a collection of poems, each one capturing the personality of some of the animals at Farm Sanctuary. Other than a note in the back to parents, the book does not get into why the animals are at the sanctuary but instead celebrates animals as unique individuals. As such, the book allows parents to discuss animal rights on their own terms, or just enjoy a book that respects animals with their kids.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Focaccia: Baking Through the Bread Baker's Apprentice

Google informs me that I have reached my viewing limit of The Bread Baker's Apprentice. That means I can't post links to the rest of the recipes in the book. But, you might be able to see the recipes, so check the link above. I will not be posting the recipes here for obvious legal reasons and out of respect for all the work Reinhart has done for his cookbooks. What I hope to do here is inspire you to bake, and guide you through the veganizing.

I have made this focaccia recipe twice now, both times when we had guests. Everyone loved it. But, I suppose that this is because focaccia is pretty heavy on the oil. This recipe makes a wonderfully tender bread with a crispy crust and a honeycomb crumb.

1. I use scant 1/3 of oil total, so I don't bother making the 2 cups of herbed oil Reinhart call for.
2. I have used fresh and dried herbs for the oil. Fresh really is better, but dried isn't too shabby either.
3. I baked this in a stoneware baking sheet since it is the biggest baking sheet I own. I was worried the bottom would not brown enough, but it turns out just fine.