28 January 2009

a tuile i can live with •




They call it The Daring Bakers. Maybe they should have come up with different monikers. Number One: the Daring Baker, where the ingredients and photos seduce you, tempting your baking expertise. Second comes the Desperate Baker, when those same ingredients taunt you, and your photos don’t look like the cookbook’s. Next, comes the Dizzy Baker, when you are running out of time and that recipe maliciously giggles at you. Last: the Determined Baker — where you give that recipe one last try, I mean it! *Update - Four more; the Depressed Baker (courtesy of Aparna) and the Drained Baker (suggested by Jenny)  the Demented Baker (by Esther) and the Dreamer (Alana)!

Having made tuiles before and having no problems, I became the Determined Baker with this recipe. It was not a pretty sight. The first attempt there was a typo on the original recipe. The second attempt I made the tuiles bigger and did not bake them long enough. My husband told me to “Give it up!” “Excuse, me?” Them’s fightin’ words, bub! I persevered and finally got a tuile that I could live with. My husband is another matter. He looked at them and suggested I keep my day job. Not really...he knows that complimenting the cook is the way to keep getting fed around this house.

The Daring Bakers January Challenge •

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux. We were to pair them with something light; fruit, sorbet, mousse, etc. I decided to mix 4 ounces of cream cheese (softened) with 1/2 cup of lemon curd for a dip/spread. It was delicious!

Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)
Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes, baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch

65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract) I used orange extract
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.1/4 ounces sifted all purpose flour
1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet 

Oven: 180C / 350F

Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly.

Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….


25 January 2009

roasted vegetable lasagna •





I had something entirely different in mind when I set out to fulfill the requirements of the Joust; a dish incorporating mushrooms, cauliflower, and noodles. But in honor of The Leftover Queen herself, I decided to whip up a recipe using the pantry and food items that I already had on hand. It is amazing when you start poking around in the depths of the kitchen, the treasures you unearth. Farmers Cheese with Dill? Where did that come from? The parsley was purchased for another recipe that didn’t get made (do you ever do this?). I had a bit of parmesan cheese hanging out in a bag, begging to be used before it got lost in the black hole of the refrigerator. Organic carrots were purchased just because they looked so pretty and healthy (and orange is one of my favorite colors)...but 5 pounds??  It seems like every magazine I have opened lately has featured roasted vegetables of some sort, and I have wanted to give the procedure a whirl. Why not Roasted Vegetable Lasagna? 

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna •

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Roasted Vegetables •

1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerets, then sliced
1 head broccoli, cut into flowerets, then sliced
4 large carrots, sliced into 1/4" rounds
1 large onion, sliced
1 (16 ounce) package of button mushrooms, sliced
5 - 8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and cracked Pepper

I had enough vegetables to fill two 9 x 13 pans. Dribble vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and cracked pepper. Roast in oven for approximately 30 - 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are slightly brown around edges. Scoop all vegetables into one of the 9 x 13 pans, set aside.

While the vegetables are roasting, boil one package of lasagna noodles according to directions (al dente) drain, and set aside. If using Okara Pasta, use it fresh and layer per instructions below.

Cheese Sauce •

8 tablespoons butter
8 tablespoons white unbleached flour
4 cups milk
2 cups cubed Farmers Cheese with Dill (Hennings)
1 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in flour until well blended. Add milk all at once, whisking over medium heat until thickened. Add farmers cheese, parsley, parmesan cheese and garlic. Stir until all cheese is melted. Add salt and/or pepper if desired.

1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese

Using the empty 9 x 13 pan, layer in this order:

1 cup cheese sauce, lasagna noodles, 3 cups vegetables, 2 cups sauce, one-third of the mozzarella cheese, lasagna noodles, 3 cups vegetables, 2 cups sauce, one-third mozzarella cheese, etc. End with noodles. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for another 5 minutes. Let set for at least 10 minutes before cutting. 


20 January 2009

cinnamon raisin bread •



Vegan Cinnamon Raisin Bread •

After my success with Multigrain Bread for my bread machine, I wanted to come up with a recipe utilizing soy milk and keep it vegan. This cinnamon raisin bread is not too sweet, is healthy, and toasts up beautifully. Follow your machine’s instructions for layering wet and dry ingredients. All ingredients should be at room temperature or warm. I usually pour hot water into my bread pan first to warm it, assemble my ingredients, then empty the water. I layer my ingredients in this order:

1 cup warm vanilla soy milk
1 cup warm wet okara (this is referring to the okara right from your machine, not drained) or tofu
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons canola oil

2-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2-1/4 teaspoons yeast

1 to 1-1/2 cups raisins (set aside)

Use the setting on your bread machine for a large rapid rise whole wheat loaf. When the bread machine starts the kneading cycle, add the raisins a 1/4 cup at a time, until incorporated. After your machine kneads the dough, open the lid and check that it is coming together into a ball. If not, add warm water, a little at a time, waiting a few minutes in between. If the ball looks too sticky in the beginning of kneading, add some flour a little at a time. 

12 January 2009

goodness in a glass •



Soy milk—My Favorite Recipe •

I have been making my own soy milk for over a year now. After several batches of (almost) undrinkable soy milk, I settled on this recipe. But I wonder...how do others make their soy milk? Do you have a recipe to share here? After soaking the required soybeans overnight, I drain and add 3 tablespoons of rolled oats before processing. When the cycle is complete, I pour the milk through a gold mesh coffee filter.

To two batches of soy milk (which yields 1/2 gallon of milk) I add the following:

1/2 cup sucanat (natural cane sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

The end result is smooth, sweet and creamy. Do you make yours differently? Do you add brown rice or nuts? I would love to know!

*Note: I use this machine Sanlinx Inc.—the SoyaPower™
Susan, from the wonderful blog Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, uses this.
Lolo, from Vegan Yum-Yum was adventurous one day and made it by hand.

07 January 2009

puffed apple pancake •




I know from reading food blogs and conversing on Twitter that a lot of you put a mighty fine dinner on the table every night. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. You will find me, more often than not, parked in front of the refrigerator or pantry at 6:00 p.m. staring blankly at what is inside. I have great intentions, of course. I read cooking blogs, bookmarking tons of recipes. I gather my cookbooks and read them for entertainment. I love to thumb through magazines drooling over photos, and conjuring up fabulous meals. In my dreams. The reality is that usually I am missing a vital ingredient, or I forgot to defrost, or I am just too tired to face that elaborate recipe. Yesterday evening was just that sort of evening. I came home from work tired, hungry and cold. The little darlings were circling the kitchen, stressing me out. I eyed the bright green apples on the counter in the stages of getting mushy. “Who wants a pancake?”

Puffed Apple Pancake •

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together:

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon coriander (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small mixing bowl whisk:

2 large eggs
1/2 cup wet okara (this is referring to the okara straight from your machine, not drained)
2/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until mixed. Set aside.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups sliced Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup brown sugar

Melt the butter in an iron skillet. Cook the apples and brown sugar (over medium heat) for approximately ten minutes. Pour the batter entirely over all the apples in the skillet. Place in hot oven and reduce temperature to 425 degrees. Bake until browned, about 15 to 18 minutes. Run a knife around edges of skillet, and flip over onto a plate or platter. Dust with Confectioners' sugar. Serve warm with maple syrup.

multigrain bread for bread machine •



I have been trying to come up with an okara recipe that I could use in my bread machine for quite some time. I have been making bread since I was in art school many (many) years ago. It was a wonderful stress releaser, spending all afternoon tending to that dough. Kneading and punching my way through my (as it turns out now) very small problems, which seemed catastrophic at that time. How I wish that my problems were that small and that I had all afternoon to tend to bread dough. Responsibilities change, and life throws you a curve ball (or two or three).  One of your children is diagnosed with a rare and incurable disease, your talented and creative husband is unemployed, your two used cars need major work, no health insurance. So you take on as much extra work as you can, your blog gets pushed to the back burner, and you start cutting deep corners on the grocery bill. Starting with a loaf of bread. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time paying $4.00 on a loaf of healthy bread when I can make it myself for so much less (and it tastes so much better)! Since time is at a premium, I find myself in the kitchen every evening using my bread machine to bake those healthy loaves. One drawback - it is hard to resist that aroma rising out into the atmosphere. We have been known to tear into that steamy goodness right out of the machine, leaving us with a mangled mess. Over the past year, I have tried to increase both the whole wheat flour and okara with less than stellar results. However, this recipe will yield a loaf that is not too dense or stunted. Follow your machine’s instructions for layering wet and dry ingredients. All ingredients should be at room temperature or warm. I usually pour hot water into my bread pan first to warm it, assemble my ingredients, then empty the water. I layer my ingredients in this order:

Multigrain Bread for your Bread Machine •

1 cup buttermilk
1 cup wet okara (this is referring to the okara right from your machine, not drained)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
2-1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
2-1/4 teaspoons yeast

Use the setting on your bread machine for a large whole wheat loaf. When the bread machine kneads the dough, open the lid and check that it is coming together into a ball. If not, add warm water, a little at a time, waiting a few minutes in between. If the ball looks too sticky in the beginning of kneading, add some flour a little at a time. Enjoy!