06 March 2010

tomato-basil bread •

This bread came about by trying to replicate the Panera Bread® Mediterranean Veggie sandwich. I will need to do some experimenting next time around, (more herbs!) but for the first attempt it is certainly passable. Especially if you use it as a vehicle for the rest of the sandwich components: hummus, feta cheese, roasted red peppers, red onion, cucumber and lettuce. I even roasted my own red bell peppers for the first time!

Tomato-Basil Bread •

2-1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup ketchup
1 cup wet okara
3 tablespoons Sucanat (natural cane sugar)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups white whole wheat flour
5-7 cups unbleached white flour

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water. In a medium saucepan, heat tomato juice, ketchup, and okara until just warm. Stir in Sucanat and olive oil, and yeast mixture. Pour into a large mixing bowl and add cheese, salt, herbs and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Gradually add in as much flour as needed to make a soft dough. Depending on how much moisture is in your okara and flour, this could be anywhere from five to seven additional cups of flour. Knead for ten minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Let the dough rise until doubled, approximately 1-1/2 hours. Punch down, divide dough in half, and shape into loaves. Place in two greased 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pans and let rise until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

02 September 2009

back to school muffins •

I was roused from my bed this morning with the sweet sounds of intense bickering emerging from the main bath. Yes, it’s that wonderful time of year. The days become cooler, the notebooks are new, the backpack is packed, sitting at attention by the front door. The mornings become...well, hell. One of my indulgences of motherhood is to let my girls have a pretty laid back summer holiday. This tends to come back and bite me when school starts. I cringe listening to the shrieks of indignation coming from one daughter about the wearing of her clothes without permission. The other brings up the usage of her personal hair gel or mascara. My husband sheepishly ducks and quickly scoots out the house, avoiding the whole scene. The last thing I want to hear from them in the morning is the lack of food for breakfast. I spent last weekend filling the freezer with waffles and other quick-to-grab goodies. If you, unlike me, are feeling energetic at that time of day, a little icing made with cream cheese would be a perfect topping for these muffins. Or you can just do what I do, put out a plate of cream cheese with a knife.

Back to School Muffins •

Whisk together in a medium mixing bowl:

1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1 cup wet okara (this is referring to the okarastraight from your machine, not drained or dried)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1-1/2 cup grated carrots

Sift together in a large mixing bowl:

1-1/4 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Toss in:

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped raisins

Preheat your oven to 375 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.

26 August 2009

english muffin bread •

I really should call this “It Makes Great Toast” bread, because that remark is what I hear the most when I make this for the family. Besides that great feature, it goes together quickly, making it possible to have bread on the table in a little over an hour.

English Muffin Bread •

2 cups milk (dairy or soy, or a combination)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup wet okara (straight from your machine)
4 cups unbleached white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
4-1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Yellow cornmeal for dusting pans and bread

In a small saucepan:
Combine milk, water and okara. Heat until very warm (120 - 130 degrees).

In a large mixing bowl:
Combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add warmed liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, beat well. Stir in rest of flour to make a stiff batter. Dust two (8-1/2 x 4-1/2) loaf pans with yellow cornmeal. Spoon in batter, and sprinkle tops with cornmeal. Cover with a lightweight towel and let rise in a warm area for 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

23 August 2009

chocolate banana muffins •

I’m tired, I’m lazy...so here’s the recipe.

Okara Chocolate Banana Muffins •

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together in a large mixing bowl:

1 cup wet okara (this is referring to the okara straight from your machine)
1/4 cup vanilla soy milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 small bananas (peeled, of course)

Sift together in a large mixing bowl:

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa

1 cup chocolate chips

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX. Fold in one cup of chocolate chips. Line your muffin tins with paper liners. Fill the liners 2/3 of the way with batter. Bake muffins 20 to 25 minutes. Makes approximately 18 muffins.

30 April 2009

cheesecake in a jar •

Another month, another Joust over at The Leftover Queen’s forum! It is always a great event. Peter and his wife Christey at Fotocuisine won last month’s Joust and so they had the honor of picking this month’s ingredients. Instead of the usual food ingredients, they chose the colors red, green and white. I had something entirely different in mind until I saw Helen’s post. Now, my attempts will never come close to her creations, but who can resist the idea of Cheesecake in a jar?

Strawberry Kiwi Coconut Cheesecake •

I used the same cheesecake recipe as my previous post with the substitutions/additions in red. This recipe comes from Jenny over at Jenny Bakes.

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup of sweetened flaked coconut

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream (I used 1/2 cup heavy cream)
1 tbsp. lemon juice (I used 1 tablespoon lime juice)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake (I added 1 tablespoon of light rum)

Strawberry Layer:
2 cups fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
Cook down until reduced by half. Cool.

Kiwi Layer:
1 cup sliced kiwi
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 c. sugar
Cook down until reduced by half. Cool.

I had enough filling for approximately 7 jars. I had enough batter and crust for a total of 10 jars. I made a mango/strawberry layer for the remaining jars. I baked the jars for 30 minutes at 275 degrees in a water bath, then let them cool down in the oven for an hour.

26 April 2009

Daring Bakers - April •

Abbey‘s Infamous Cheesecake •

I was very pleased to see what the Daring Baker’s challenge was this month, something I have always wanted to bake and have never attempted, for one reason or another. This is just one of the many wonderful perks by being a member of the Daring Bakers. It gives me the incentive I need to push past my insecurities, excuses and laziness. If I have any difficulties, there is always a member willing to help with advice or encouragement. Now if I can only manage to stop procrastinating until the day before the challenge is due!

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge. It is a versatile recipe, allowing for many tasty and creative ideas. The recipe itself is very easy to follow and execute. Even though I wrapped my pan with foil, the water seeped in anyway. And I should have listened to that little voice inside my head nudging me to add cornstarch to the syrup on top. Shall we just say that the cheesecake was nice and moist after everything was said and done? It might not look so pretty - but it made up for it in taste. It is a recipe that I will try again (and listen to that pesky voice this time).

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake: (My additions and/or substitutions are highlighted in red)

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted

2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
(I added the zest of one orange with the sugar)
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
(Heat the heavy cream in the microwave, then add 3 bags of Celestial Seasonings Tangerine Orange Zinger Herbal Tea. Let steep for 10-15 minutes.) Drain and discard teabags.)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
(I used 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
(I used 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 tablespoon orange extract)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake
(I added 1 tablespoon of light rum)

My topping:

1 (15 oz.) can of mandarin oranges in light syrup. Drain oranges and reserve syrup. Place oranges on the plate lined with paper toweling and let set while your cheesecake is cooling. In a small saucepan, heat reserved syrup until very hot. Add 2 bags of the Tangerine Orange Zinger tea. Let steep for five minutes. Squeeze excess liquid out of tea bags and discard. Add 1 tablespoon of frozen orange concentrate, and stir until thawed. Pour into a measuring cup and add enough water to make one cup. Boil over low heat until mixture is reduced by half and is thickened. Cool completely, and spoon over cooled cheesecake.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a springform pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.

Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!

Some variations from the recipe creator:

** Lavender-scented cheesecake w/ blueberries - heat the cup of heavy cream in the microwave or a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Add 2 tbsp of lavender flowers and stir. Let lavender steep in the cream for about 10-15 minutes, then strain the flowers out. Add strained cream to cheesecake batter as normal. Top with fresh blueberries, or make a quick stovetop blueberry sauce (splash of orange juice, blueberries, a little bit of sugar, and a dash of cinnamon - cook until berries burst, then cool)

** Cafe au lait cheesecake with caramel - take 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and heat it in the microwave for a short amount of time until very hot. Add 1-2 tbsp. instant espresso or instant coffee; stir to dissolve. Add this to the remainder of cream and use as normal. Top cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce (I usually find one on the food network website - just make sure it has heavy cream in it. You can use store-bought in a pinch, but the flavor is just not the same since its usually just sugar and corn syrup with no dairy).

** Tropical – add about a half cup of chopped macadamias to the crust, then top the cake with a mango-raspberry-mandarin orange puree.

** Mexican Turtle - add a bar of melted dark chocolate (between 3 and 5 oz., to taste) to the batter, along with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper (about 1/8 tsp.). Top it with pecan halves and a homemade caramel sauce.

** Honey-cinnamon with port-pomegranate poached pears – replace 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup of honey, add about a teaspoon or more (to taste) of cinnamon. Take 2 pears (any variety you like or whatever is in season), peeled and cored, and poach them in a boiling poaching liquid of port wine, pomegranate juice/seeds, a couple of "coins" of fresh ginger, a cinnamon stick, and about a 1/4 cup of sugar. Poach them until tender, then let cool. Strain the poaching liquid and simmer until reduced to a syrupy-glaze consistency, then cool. Thinly slice the cooled pears and fan them out atop the cooled cheesecake. Pour the cooled poaching syrup over the pears, then sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds.

Some variations from Jenny (from JennyBakes):

**Key lime - add zest from one lime to sugar before mixing with cream cheese. Substitute lemon juice, alcohol, and vanilla with key lime juice.

**Cheesecakelets - put in muffin tins, ramekins, or custard cups. Try baking 20-35 minutes, or until still a little jiggly, and cool as before.

28 February 2009

Daring Bakers - February •

I am right under the wire this month with the Daring Bakers challenge. If one of your resolutions this year was to diet - stop reading right now! This challenge would definitely break that resolution. The flourless cake is very manageable and delicious. I made cherry vanilla ice cream with cherry sauce to accompany my very rich chocolate cake.

Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino •

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.

We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Cherry-Vanilla Ice Cream •

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 - 3 drops almond extract
1/4 cup tart cherry juice
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup chopped tart cherries

Mix all ingredients except cherries together. Make ice-cream following instructions of your ice-cream maker. In the last minute of churning, add cherries. Place in freezer until solid.

Tart Cherry Sauce •

1/2 cup tart cherry juice
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 -3 drops almond extract

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook slowly with low heat until thick and sauce is clear. Serve warm over ice cream and cake.