Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I am proud to say that I actually completed this challenge AND it was a success! My final product was a little crazy looking, but oh so delicious...
This month's challenge was brought to us by Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What's Cookin'. The recipe itself is from Sherry Yard's The Secrets of Baking.
When I first read over this recipe, I was intimidated. This seemed like an easier recipe to veganize than the challenges of the past two months (cheesecake pops and opera cake), but it involved several steps and apparently patience, and those are the kinds of recipes I tend to skip over. But, I am so glad I gave it a go.
Here is the recipe as written, pre-veganization:
Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough
For the dough (Detrempe)
1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 large eggs, chilled
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
For the butter block (Beurrage)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.
1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Makes enough for two braids
4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.
Makes enough for 2 large braids
1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)
For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.
Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.
And now, my substitutions...some of them are very easy, i.e. hemp milk for the whole milk, Ener-G Egg Replacer for the eggs in the dough, and apricot syrup for the egg wash. But then there was the issue of the butter block. My first thought was Earth Balance, but I was reading on the Daring Bakers forums that that may not work, unless I could find it in stick form, which I could not. So I decided on coconut oil, which has become one of my favorite things in the world since becoming vegan.
Our Alternative Daring Bakers virtual bake-along was held on the solstice, and unfortunately I was only able to pop online for a few minutes, but I am so glad I did! I told Natalie of Gluten A Go-Go my plan to use coconut oil, and she suggested that I mix it with some vegetable shortening to improve the consistency. So that is what I did, and my layers turned out beautiful!
After all the turns and proofing, this beauty was now ready to go in the oven. The baking aroma was heavenly! The lovely scent of cardamom, apples and coconut filled my kitchen, and seriously I could have just stood there all day breathing it in if I did not have two monkeys climbing me like a tree. Luka even commented how yummy it smelled, but then was disappointed that it wasn't chocolate, lol (a child after my own heart!).
Once I took the braid out of the oven, I took many many pictures of it as if it were my firstborn. The apricot glaze had made the top darker than I would have liked, but it still looked pretty. Nate and I had some for dessert, and it tasted wonderful! I did spend a few moments admiring my lovely layers between bites.
I will definitely make this again. I never thought that I would make something like this, but thanks to Kelly and Ben, I can now say that I have made Danish pastry! This would be a great addition to my family dinners at Easter time. We love our pastries in Easter baskets, and now I can make a pretty vegan variety!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
There were a multitude of wonderful things I could do for the strawberry moon, but since our first CSA share comes this Friday and I am expecting strawberries, I didn't want to have to buy any more than I already have. Luckily, I had enough to make a no-bake strawberry pie with chocolate chunks, recipe courtesy of Colleen Patrick Goudreau's Joy of Vegan Baking. It is in the refrigerator right now setting. I took some pictures because it is a lovely "sunset pink" color, unfortunately my food photography leaves a lot to be desired and the photo made it look more like pepto-bismol.
This coming Saturday, Obama supporters across the country will be taking part in a "Hungry for Change" bake sale. This bake sale is organized by Move On to raise money for Barack Obama's campaign. My contribution will be banana chocolate chip muffins. Our local event here in Dearborn will be at Ford Field (Cherry Hill & Brady St. ) at noon. So stop by and buy some vegan muffins! :)
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I’ve been vegan for more than 10 years. For me veganism is (considered approach + eating) / (me + my contemporary context). I understand veganism as a process and a commitment to living a life with compassion. Veganism is not a stable or unitary response to production and consumption, it is active and comprehensive in its consideration of how best to respond to the commodification and degradation of life that takes place in the contemporary context of agribusiness production. Veganism is not even just about animals, it's about people, the producers, workers, transporters and sellers of food, it's about the environment, it's about our whole relationship to the big broad world out there.
Not to be mushy, but—I eat for peace, I cook for love, I think about food as a means to connect and I use this forum as a means of extending my table—the food on it, the work behind it, the thoughts about it, the fun and the flavor too.
--Emilie Hardman, The Conscious Kitchen
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Well, Charm City Cakes won't be knocking down my door any time soon, but I thought Brobee turned out quaintly cute. The best part is that he made Cas smile!
Sadly, I'll be making Brobee 2.0 in a few days because we had to cancel today's party. Cas woke up in the middle of the night crying and very uncomfortable and stayed up for most of the night into the early morning. We have all been sick around here (except Cas) and now it seems it is his turn. I hope it doesn't last long...my poor little birthday boy. Anyhow, we rescheduled the party for later this week, so hopefully that will work out!
Friday, March 14, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
I've started using Nate's technique for blending the greens and it works much better than mine. He packs the fruit in first, then the greens and water before blending. I was doing the opposite. Having the greens closest to the blade seems to puree them nicely, leaving the chunks of fruit for last and giving them a creamier texture. I am able to use less bananas this way, although I'm not exactly sure why it works that way.
On a completely separate note...one year ago today began the loooong back labor that would lead to the birth of baby Cas. It was my due date, and he would not be born for two more days. Luka and I took laps around the block in my hopes of progressing the labor, and then later in the day Nate was a trooper and stayed with me for each contraction (24 + hours worth!). I can't believe my baby will be a year old! I made a couple practice cakes for his party yesterday and settled on one I liked (and I think he will like) best. It is the Deep Chocolate Vegan Cake from "Moosewood Restaurant New Classics", and it will be decorated to look like Brobee from Yo Gabba Gabba. For our party guests, I will make an assortment of cupcakes which, at least for now, will include chocolate pretzel cupcakes, chocolate mint, and either banana split or chocolate raspberry. I'll try to post some pictures this weekend.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
This is not the one I ended up making because I did not have chocolate chips...probably for the first time ever. But this is definitely on my "to-make" list. Who can resist "maternal love made edible"?
Breakfast smoothie: 3 large kale leaves
1 cup water
Today I blended the kale and water first, improving the texture quite a bit. This smoothie was probably the least sweet of all of those I've made so far, but it was the most filling. I had no sugar cravings at all the entire morning! I didn't have another smoothie for lunch, I had pita bread and hommous instead, but I am considering a green smoothie "snack" in the afternoon to hold me off until dinner. So this really does work!
Thursday, February 28, 2008
couple kale leaves
handful of frozen mixed berries
1 TBSP raw honey
The texture on this one was rather swamplike since the kale didn't get mixed very well. I think for future smoothies containing kale I will have to blend the greens first. On the plus side, it was very filling and I did not have my usual sugar cravings, although I was already thinking about cupcakes (see previous post).
I keep seeing this blog "How About Orange" referenced on different sites and finally had to check it out, mostly because orange is my favorite color. This is a great blog! Check out the pictures of the orange office.
I think cream cheese chocolate cupcakes make a great dessert after a morning if green smoothies, don't you? Everything in moderation...:)
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
3 handfuls of baby spinach
1 cup water
I've only had one smoothie today. I ate a big green salad for lunch instead. This morning's smoothie was actually rather filling, could be because I used more greens. By lunch again I was quite hungry, so I had a couple tablespoons of hommous with pita bread and a big kale salad with pecans. At this point I still feel ok, not as tired as I am most afternoons, so that's an improvement.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
2 handfuls baby spinach
approx. 1/4 cup blueberries
1 cup water
Lunch Smoothie: 5 large strawberries
2 handfuls baby spinach
1 cup water
This morning I tried to use up the rest of our fruit before going to the farm market for more, so the combination was kind of weird, but still good. This one was definitely more "earthy" than the others I've made thus far, it had a grassy flavor but was still sweet enough to taste good to me. It actually kept me pretty full until about 11:30, when I was suddenly very very hungry for lunch. I had intentions of having a pretty salad and then a smoothie for lunch, but I was too hungry to assemble the salad and opted for hommous and pita bread instead (not a bad choice as far as lunches go, but not the "raw before dinner" that I was going for). Once the hommous and pita settled my hunger, I made another smoothie. This one was not quite as filling, and now a couple hours later I am experiencing my typical afternoon sugar cravings. Luckily I bought lots of fruit this morning so I have that to snack on, but that doesn't make the Girl Scout cookies in the pantry any less tempting.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Sunday, February 3, 2008
There was a woman in the class whose energy was so powerful she actually seemed to radiate. She talked a bit about her avoidance of reiki, something to which I can definitely relate. The first time I became curious about learning to use the energy was at least five years ago. I've never understood it, but have always felt drawn to it.
I crave more instruction and information, but I think I am going to postpone Level 2 for awhile to see how this first attunement unfolds.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Today my son Luka turns three years old. I can't believe how fast he is growing up, right before my eyes. Three years ago today I was so scared of giving birth, and had no idea what to expect from the little person who would be coming home with me. I read a book by Jon Kabat Zinn where he says that our children are like little zen masters who one day parachute into our living rooms. I have learned so much from my son in these three short years. The gratefulness I feel for having such a beautiful little soul in my life is overwhelming. Happy birthday, Luka!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The recipe is from "Veganomicon" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. We're having them for dinner tonight with mushroom gravy, mushroom risotto and some sauteed veggies. I think the trick might be to lighty pan-fry them first and then bake. For some reason I have been trying to perfect these things since I got the cookbook for Christmas. It's sort of a culinary quest...
My other "fun" project for today is the Brobee pillow I'm trying to make for Luka. I know it would be much easier if I used my sewing machine (but I'd have to learn how to use it first) but there is something strangely satisfying about sewing a project by hand. I'll work on that when the kids are off to bed!
Tomorrow I will be baking cupcakes for Luka's third birthday and also trying to figure out how to fashion a guitar cake for his birthday party. The cake decorating is a major undertaking for a not-so-crafty girl like myself, so I really hope it turns out good. If it does, I'll post a picture.