Saturday, February 28, 2009

Croissants, Agave Chocolate Cake, and Chili Cheese Fries

After completely over estimating the amount of chili ingredients I had been throwing in the pot, I distinctly made way too much, as usual, and was left with a bunch of meaty TVP-seitan-kidney bean chili to use at my leisure for probably months to come. One such mouthwatering way to use this chili was on top a golden brown and delicious heap of oven baked french fries. I used a Tofutti cream cheese based cheese sauce to make the whole mess come together. This was basically 2 parts cream cheese, 1 part soymilk, 1 part nutritional yeast, then some paprika, salt and pepper. So good and easy.

Here are the fries on their own as a side to an avocado baked tofu toast with a radish salad.

And now for the ever so daunting croissants.

The prep surface.
Skip a few steps and a whole day's time....

After a 20 min ride at 400F.

A croissant Ménage à trois.The recipe was based on the vegan croissant recipe at Zeke's Ve-gastronomy. I subbed whole wheat flour and probably didnt use enough Earth Balance, but they still turned out pretty great. This was just a trial run at these for me, they will be perfect soon.

Now this is a a triumphant baking success. A no-refined sugar chocolate cake with chocolate icing, and it tastes amazing. The textures are spot on and it is really quite easy to make.

Cake Recipe
Look here for facts about agave and this recipe.
Now for the ever so difficult no powdered sugar icing. Well it is not so difficult if you have access to xanthum gum. The xanthum gum is a stabilizer that provides the stabillity for a fluffy vegan buttercream without using any powdered sugar. This is huge when using non-refined agave nectar syrup that is liquid so it makes the frosting quite loose. I just mixed 6 Tbsp agave and 6 Tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tsp xanthum gum and 2 tbsps Earth balance vegan butter together until light and fluffy. This turns out more like an icing than a fluffly buttercream, but thats what I wanted for this recipe.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Reinhart's Epoxy Method

Lately I have been really into the free version of Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads cookbook on Google books. He is a master of bread making and the best possible source for information on making nutritious whole grain breads. His book has all the bread recipes you could possibly want and he explains how to make them taste so damn good. As far as bread goes, you could make some extremely inedible substances. However, Reinhart's method is good because his techniques for fermenting the doughs and combining them come as a result of scientific knowledge of microbiology and bread grain structures. His explanations on TED make it seem more like chemistry and science than cooking, but it is this background which makes the best bread possible, even if you feel like you're in chem lab.

I recently combined this new knowledge of bread baking and my previous knowledge of simple yeast doughs (messing with starters, Biggas, soakers, etc. ) This time I utilized his method and made a delicious seeded bread that has the most amazing texture. I made a soaker with 1 3/4 ww cups flour, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds and 1 Tbsp. salt. Then I made a bigga of 1 3/4 cups ww flour, 3/4 cup water, 2 tsp yeast and 1/2 cups sesame seeds and 2 tbsp molasses. I worked this biga for about 10 minutes and let rise for a few hours. The soaker was made the night before and stashed in the fridge. While the Biga was rising, I took the fermented soaker out of the fridge. I cut the biga into about 16 pieces and worked the two doughs together with about another 2 cups of ww flour and 1/2 wheat germ. After thoroughly combined and kneaded for about 1o minutes, I let it proof/rise for about 90 mins in a round dish. Then it was baked at 450F for 30 mins, then 400 for another 30mins. The oven was sprayed with water 4 times to create steam within the first 30 mins.
DO this and you will have some great bread. Sorry for no pictures.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

ANd some stuff

I made a few dishes and a real good bread. We have been a bit lazy when it comes to dinners, but of course we ate a few nice things here and there.

Chickpea Cake , garlic swiss chard, mustard beurre blanc.

Lemon Sesame Tofu on homemade burger buns
Corn, potato, and zucchini hash

Rustic Whole Wheat Torpedo Loaf

Friday, February 13, 2009

Busy times but the kitchens still open

So I have been a little lazy and busy lately, but mostly lazy, and have neglected this blog. In part because I'm busy and lazy, partly because I feel like only one person reads it.

However, my friend and I have been think of starting a bread baking business that delivers by bicycle. We would deliver reasonably priced whole grain bread on our bikes to people in the town. Pretty cool idea, and I hope we do well.

Here's a few pics of loaves I have been making. I refuse to buy bread anymore.

Multi grain Boule and sandwich loaf

Sourdough Baguettes

As for dinners, they have usually been of the quick kind.

fettuccine Alfredo with broccoli and fried tofu.
Ingredients for this one are just 1/2 package fettuccine cooked al dente, 3 tbs pasta water, 4 tbsp butter, 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan, and steamed broccoli.
The tofu was fried for the orange tofu below. Coated in arrowroot then shallow fried in canola oil.

Orange Tofu with broccoli and brown rice
the sauce is from vegan menu. The broccoli was steam separately, the tofu was fired separately, then stir-fryed with the sauce. So amazing.

Coriander Crusted Seitan, Masala Potatoes, Cashew Curry Gravy, Cumin spiced beluga lentils

This one was so good. Indian inspired dishes are my fave.

I just took a package of seitan coated in crushed coriander, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and masala powder. Sauteed in olive oil. Yukon gold potatoes boiled, mashed with turmeric, mustard seeds, EB and salt. Lentils cooked til done, spiced with cumin salt and pepper. The gravy is like pure gold. I soaked raw cashews for about an hour, blended them with salt, nutrional yeast, curry powder, sage, paprika, coconut milk, salt and pepper. Very rich, but incredibly delicious.