Sunday, August 29, 2010

King Arthur's No-Knead Country Bread

You say "no knead" and I'm there! This recipe has minimal "working" time - most of it's either waiting for it to rise or bake. This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour website and I'm loving it - lots of recipes, inspiration and things to buy if you're so inclined. This bread is really simple especially when you let it rise in the mixing bowl overnight. It has a nice flavor and chewy crust. I especially adore it because it uses whole wheat and flax flour.

I think I probably should have let it rise a bit longer on the second rise - it wasn't as "tall" as I thought it would be. But then I substituted regular yeast instead of instant* and used ground flax seed instead of flax flour. But don't get me wrong - it was still great! I'll be making this again but will follow the recipe to the letter next time. Five stars.


1) Stir together all of the ingredients (or use a stand mixer) to make a sticky dough. Continue to work the dough enough to incorporate all the flour, or beat for several minutes in a stand mixer.

2) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 8 hours; it'll become bubbly and rise quite a bit, so be sure your bowl is large enough.

3) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. To make a single loaf, choose a 14" to 15" long lidded stoneware baker; a 9" x 12" oval deep casserole dish with cover; or a 9" to 10" round, 4" deep lidded baking crock. To make 2 loaves, lightly grease (or line with parchment) a large baking sheet.

4) Shape the dough to fit, and place it in the lightly greased pan of your choice, smooth side up. For two loaves, divide dough in half, shape each into an oval loaf, and place on the prepared baking sheet.

5) Cover and let rise at room temperature for about 1 hour, until dough has become puffy and fills the pan about 1/2 full.

6) Slash the loaf in a cross-hatch pattern or 3 diagonal slashes just before placing into the oven.

7) If baking in a lidded crock or pan, place into a cold oven. Set the oven temperature to 450°F.

8) Bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake for another 5 to 15 minutes, until the bread is deep brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 205°F.

9) To bake on a baking sheet, preheat the oven to 400°F, and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until bread is deep brown. Remove the bread from the oven, turn it out onto a rack, and cool before slicing.

Yield: 1 large or 2 smaller loaves.

*I read online to substitute regular active yeast for instant yeast, you activate your yeast in warm water and REDUCE the overall liquid called for in the recipe by that amount. So, this recipe called for 1-1/2 cups water and I reduced that amount by 1/4 cup and used 1/4 cup to activate/proof the regular yeast. Just make sure the total amount of liquid in the recipe stays the same – or so they say!

Vegan Bites – Recipes for Singles

by Beverly Lynn Bennett
"This book was written specifically for single young people (in their teens and twenties) who have chosen to live as vegans." Direct quote from book on page 2 - and don't let it keep you from buying this book if you are NOT young and single! I've passed this book by before (on Amazon) just because it was geared towards a certain age group. Then I saw it in a book store and was able to inspect it and was excited by the recipes and the fact that each recipe is for one or two people. I get overwhelmed (as an older single person) by the large quantities of food in a regular recipe. It was nice to have someone else cut the size and test it for a change.

The book has lots of good information for someone inexperienced in the kitchen such as smart shopping, pantry essentials, equipment, cooking tips, menus, glossary of special ingredients, and an index. There are no fancy pictures and it's printed in two colors, maroon and green. It's very readable and each recipe is on one page.

Whenever I get a new cookbook I like to make a fast pass through it, listing all the recipes that interest me and right off the bat I had 23 recipes on my list: Spicy Vegetable Cocktail, Fabulous Flapjacks, Maple Pecan French Toast, Sweet Italian Sausages, Hacienda Home Fries, Tofu and Vegetable Hash, Garlic Tahini Dressing, Pesto, Unfried Beans, Vegetable Patch Chili, Unchicken Tofu Salad, Falafels, Seasoned Tofu Tidbits, Tex-Mex Bean Burgers, Pad Thai, Coconut Curry in a Hurry, Mexican Maize & Quinoa, Biscuits, Double Chocolate Brownies, Lemon Cake, Rich Dark Chocolate Cake, Hot Fudge Sauce, and Whipped Tofu Topping!

I've been very happy with the recipes I've made so far: Fabulous Flapjacks, you'd think a pancake is a pancake but that's not true. I've made lots of vegan pancakes and this was the best one by far (and there were only four - yippee!). The batter was perfect and not too thick like a lot of them are. The Hacienda Home Fries was very original by using yams instead of potatoes and I've made it twice so far. The Seasoned Tofu Tidbits did not disappoint and I will be making that one again. Finally, the Pad Thai was tasty, and there was enough for just two people.

All in all, I am very happy to add this book to my vegan book shelf and I'll be using it again and again. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rustic Peach Galette

This oh, so, wonderful recipe is from Chef Chloe. She's so talented. If you want to make this awesome dish, here is a link for the recipe.
But back to the recipe. I really like it because it uses just two peaches (or nectarines). The crust is tender and extra tasty with the addition of brushed on maple syrup and sprinkled sugar. I am not a "pie person" but I will definitely be making this again. Five Stars.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Penne Pasta with Creamy Asparagus Sauce

Another pasta dish without the cheese! This was rather elegant and tasty with some surprise ingredients. It is a slightly altered version of the recipe in 1,000 Vegan Recipes. 1,000 Vegan Recipes is an amazing book because it really does have 1,000 recipes. The original recipe calls for 1 pound of pasta which I halved to 8 ounces so I had LOTS of sauce which is the way I like it. Four Stars!

1 pound asparagus, trim off tough ends
1 TB olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 cup cooked or canned Great Northern white beans
plain soy sauce
1/2 pound penne pasta
fresh basil, amount to your taste, chopped

Steam asparagus until just tender, about 3 minutes. Rinse under cold water, drain and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside.

Get a large pot of water started and boil your pasta (about 10 minutes until al dente) while you make the sauce.

In large skillet heat oil and cook onion until wilted. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute or two until just starting to brown. Stir in the wine, basil, salt and cayenne and simmer, for about 2 minutes. Add HALF the chopped asparagus and beans and stir to combine.

Transfer the asparagus and bean mixture to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth adding soy milk to thin to desired consistency. Add back to skillet, and keep warm over a very low heat.

When your pasta is cooked al dente, drain, add back to pot, add cream sauce and fresh basil. Stir well, adjust salt & pepper seasoning and serve.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Homemade Veggie Burger

I make at least one new veggie burger a month. I really hate to buy commercial ones and I'm looking for that "perfect burger" – tasty and holds together when you cook it. My last foray was unsuccessful since it didn't hold together when I baked it. The recipe said to fry in a pan and I just could bear to do that, baked it, and was sorry, sorry, sorry!

This version is fried in a skillet and after last week, I didn't even attempt to bake it; just went ahead and fried it. And it was GOOD! This recipe originated from the book Vegan Comfort Food. Four stars, quite tasty! It would have been five stars except for the fact I had to fry it, instead of bake it. Makes four patties. Serve with Hacienda Home-Fried Veggies (see last blog).

3/4 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
2 TB chopped red onions
1/4 cup chopped green peppers
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 diced crimini mushrooms, stems removed
2 TB catsup
2 TB vital wheat gluten
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Bun or pita
Guacamole, sliced tomato, dill pickes, sprouts, spinach, whatever turns you on!

Bring the stock and liquid smoke to a boil and add TVP and let sit for 5 minutes. Add to food processor with worcestershire sauce and diced vegetables and pulse until combined. Add rest of ingredients and mix with your hands until well combined.

Heat oil in pan, and fry until browned, flip and brown other side. Enjoy!

Hacienda Home-Fried Veggies

My book addiction hit full force this past weekend and I added two more books to my collection. This recipe was inspired by a recipe in the book Vegan Bites – Recipes for Singles. What I love about this book is the smaller quantities. With other recipes, I cut the quantities in half and there's still too much food for leftovers and freezing. I'm looking forward to trying out more recipes in this book.

I don't know about you, but I get into a rut when I have a burger. This was a nice change from the usual baked fries. Such a burst of flavor with all of the fresh, organic veggies. I think the leftovers would be wonderful in a warm tortilla with some baked tofu cubes... Five stars, I'm making this again - freakin' awesome!

1 large garnet yam, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/8-inch slices
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 medium jalapeno, seeded, and diced
1 cup diced zucchini
1 ear of fresh corn (sliced off the cob!) OR 1/2 cup frozen corn
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
2 TB white wine
fresh lime juice

I like to chop all the vegetables before I begin the saute. Heat oil in pan and saute yam for about 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and peppers and saute for about 5 more minutes. Add zucchini, corn, and spices for cook for 2-3 minutes. Add wine and deglaze pan. Take off heat and drizzle with fresh lime juice, to taste.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Macaroni & Cheeze

I'm always scouting around for a new mac & cheeze recipe to try out. I came across this one at and it's pretty good. There is no nutritional yeast which some folks would consider an added plus. It's thickened with the addition of cooked potatoes and carrots. The only reworking I'll do when I make this again is to half the bread crumb topping and add something green like cooked broccoli, asparagus or even some spinach. Three stars.

4 quarts water
1 tablespoon sea salt
8 ounces macaroni
4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces
2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine
2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine1 cup water
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon paprika

In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the bread and 2 tablespoons margarine to a medium-fine texture. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.

In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.

In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish, sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs, and dust with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Zesty Cheeze Sauce

I wanted a tostada real bad last night and I didn't have much in the way of toppings. No tomato, no avocado, no "cheeze." So I perused my copy of The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook for a topping. I modifed the recipe for Hot or Cold Tangy Chedda Sauce. The resulting sauce was quite nummy on my tostada and would be wonderful on nachos or baked potatoes. I will definitely make this again but will modify it just a bit by soaking the cashews before I puree everything. Three 1/2 stars and I do recommend the book. It's quite unique.

Cheeze Sauce
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 cup soy milk
1 cup roasted red peppers
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 cup sesame tahini
3 TB lemon juice, fresh if you got it
1/4 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground allspice

Grind cashews finely (I used my coffee grinder) and place in blender or food processor with rest of ingredients. Process or blend until creamy. Warm over medium heat until hot and bubbly.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule

by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
This cute, compact cookbook is loaded with beautiful photos and every recipe I have made has been wonderful. There is information for the inexperienced baker and tons of inspiration for an old dog like myself. At this point I've pretty much stuck to the basic recipes: Your Basic Chocolate Cupcakes, Golden Vanilla Cupcakes, Lemony Vanilla Cupcakes, and Sexy Low Fat Vanilla Cupcakes. A bit off the beaten path were the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes, and Chocolate Stout Cupcakes, both delicious. I still have many more cupcakes to make but wanted to post this review. My only "complaint" is the yield of 12 cupcakes. I share these delicious vegan treats at work, so there are never any left over, and may I add, never any complaints. One other thing - I am a graphic designer by trade so I am sensitive to how a book is designed. They did a great job - well laid out, easy to read, no weird fonts and colors that are hard to read, liberal use of color photos throughout. This is a beautiful, very functional cookbook. I can't recommend it highly enough. Five stars.