29 February 2008

okara waffles with blueberry sauce •

It’s Saturday morning and you know what that means. Yep, the little darlings are requesting that I fix a hot breakfast! I inherited my waffle iron from my sister seven years ago when she was packing up to move across several states. After 18 years, she was purging big time. We were in the kitchen going through cabinets when we ran across a classic retro chrome waffle iron. “I never use this thing, you want it?” she asked me. I whipped my hands out and took that waffle iron from her so fast I gave her arm a rope burn from the cord. “Oh, I guess I’ll take it” I replied coolly. Wonderfully seasoned, the waffle iron bakes waffles with a delightfully crunchy crust. The blueberry sauce is a nice change from maple syrup, and gives the darlings some added vitamins.

Okara Waffles with Blueberry Sauce •

Preheat your waffle iron.

In a large mixing bowl sift:

2 cups unbleached white flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar

In a small mixing bowl whisk together:

2 eggs, beaten until fluffy
1-1/3 cups vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup wet okara (this is referring to the okara straight from your machine)

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated. Make waffles according to your waffle iron’s manual. I use a well-rounded 1/2 cup of batter. Bake until golden brown, about three to three and a half minutes. Hold the waffles in warm oven until all have been cooked. Serve with Blueberry Sauce if desired.

Blueberry Sauce •

4 cups blueberries (frozen is fine, if thawed add the juice)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Over medium heat, stir constantly until mixture begins to heat up and break down (At this point I usually mash the berries to release more juice). Reduce heat and cook until almost boiling and sauce appears transparent. Serve immediately.

spicy okara ginger cookies •

I received the original recipe for these cookies from my good friend, Deb. And I will repeat her advice, “Don’t leave out the pepper!”  I was curious to see if I could adapt it by using okara and still retain their chewy consistency. Deb’s recipe called for more butter and an egg. You can try cutting back on the sugar...but when I want a cookie, I want it to be a treat!

Spicy Ginger Cookies •

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl cream together for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar,  tightly packed
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

Continuing to mix, beat in:

l cup wet okara, pressed as dry as possible in a sieve (this is referring to the okara straight from your machine)
1/3 cup molasses

In a medium mixing bowl combine:

2-1/4 cups white unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground ginger

Add dry ingredients to creamed okara mixture on low speed until incorporated. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes (If you are rolling the dough by hand, this is an important step. I, however, am inpatient when it comes to making cookies and can barely wait to eat them. I do not refrigerator my dough, and use my handy-dandy scoop from Pampered Chef® to shape my cookies. If you use the scoop, gently drop cookie in sugar, turn cookie over, then proceed to place on baking sheet). Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls; roll balls in granulated sugar. Place cookies 2 to 3 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet; flatten with the bottom of a drinking glass. Bake about 12 - 15 minutes, until golden brown and set around the edges but still soft inside. Cool 5 minutes, then remove to a rack to finish cooling. Makes approximately 3 dozen.

27 February 2008

olé okara patties •

When we ate these patties, I wasn’t going to post this recipe. Who needs another vegetarian burger recipe anyway? That all changed, though, when the little darlings gobbled them up. I had to stop my youngest from eating the serving that I had set aside for my husband. I swear I don’t starve my children—they really did think these were great!

Olé Patties •

In a large mixing bowl combine:

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen sweet corn, cooked and drained
2 cups wet okara (this is referring to the okara straight from your machine, not drained or dried)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles (I used mild)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cups cooked rice

In a small mixing bowl combine coating mixture:

1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
cracked black pepper

1 cup canola oil

I did not chill my bean mixture, but it might help in the shaping of the patties. Using your hands, scoop out enough mixture to form a golf ball size pattie. Do yourself a favor and make these on the small size. Any bigger and they will fall apart. Flatten slightly. Gently coat it on both sides with the cornmeal mixture. In a heavy skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Carefully place a couple of patties in the skillet and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper toweling, then transfer to a plate and hold in a warm oven until you have fried as many as you need. This recipe makes 20 to 25 patties.

26 February 2008

dried apple okara muffins •

I am a better baker than a cook, which isn’t saying much. I had to start somewhere so I decided to start with something not too ambitious...muffins. My kids have to be at school at 7:30 a.m. Not leave for school at that time but actually be sitting at their desks, eager and Ready To Learn. I am sure there are plenty of early risers out there, but I am not one of them and neither are my darlings. Needless to say, the kids are on their own for breakfast. I try to make my muffins as healthy as I can get away with and have them actually eat them. I have a wonderful mother who stills enjoys canning, freezing, and drying fruits and vegetables. Since I provided her with grandchildren she repays me in sharing her bounty. I have her to thank for some delicious dried apple slices. These muffins are moist and keep well in a covered container when completely cool.

Dried Apple Muffins •

Whisk together in a medium mixing bowl:

1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1 cup wet okara (this is referring to the okara straight from your machine, not drained or dried)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

Sift together in a large mixing bowl:

2 cups unbleached white flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon  cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
4 teaspoons baking powder

Toss in:
1 cup chopped dried apples

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX. Fill your muffin tins with enough paper liners for 16 muffins, or generously grease and flour your tins.  Spoon the batter into the liners about two-thirds full.* Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly brown. You can test them with a wooden toothpick; if it comes out clean take them out. Depending on the wetness of your okara, the baking times might be slightly different. Cool for 10 minutes,  take muffins out of tins and place on wire racks to cool completely. If you use paper liners, you must cool the muffins completely or the muffins will stick to the liner. Makes one and a half dozen.

*One of the items I would have a hard time living without in my kitchen is my stainless steel scoop from Pampered Chef®. It makes filling muffin tins so easy.

25 February 2008

scaling the okara mountain •

Blogs happen for many reasons. Truth be told, I never aspired to be...a blogger. I work on computers all day long. Every few years, a new software program comes along that I have to learn; more commands to command, more updates to remember...the last thing I wanted to do was run home and jump on my computer. I had too many hobbies already.

That all changed when I began to make homemade soymilk with my brand spankin’ new machine from Sanlinx Inc.—the SoyaPower™. Within no time I was holding two cups of okara, the by-product of soy milk making. “No problemo”, I said to myself, and promptly threw it away. On the second batch, my hand froze, it actually trembled, and my conscience got the better of me. This stuff had to be good for something! I decided to read the manual. It turns out that this okara, this soybean mush, is very nutritious. I diligently began to save it, scooping the okara into bags and chucking it into the freezer. The bags began to pile up, and I ignored them, too busy making soy milk to deal with it.

My hubby walked into the kitchen one day with a few bags in his hand. Turns out that my chest freezer in the garage was threatening to do what my hips have been in the last few years—blow the seams. Something had to be done. I started looking for recipes. I perused my vegetarian cookbooks—plenty of tofu, some cooked soybeans and TSP, slim pickings on okara. I googled okara recipes. Oh, I found a few, but I didn’t want to go out and buy too many odd ingredients, at least not right away.  Along with a hungry husband I have three kids to feed and needed recipes that they would eat, too. I am always trying to sneak more vitamins and fiber into them. And so Okara Mountain was born...a blog to save the recipes I test, to share the ones that pass muster. Let the Adventure begin!