Friday, January 27, 2012

Pepperoni & Meatball Stromboli

Holy Stromboli!
Home Made Almost Everything: Organic Bucket Dough, Vegan Pepperoni, Grandma Margie's "Meat"balls, Marinara and Daiya Mozzarella

Oh MAN.  I've been on a roll (haha) with making this "five minute" bread, so I had some in my fridge tonight from my second batch. 

AND, I HAD to have vegan pepperoni last night, so after getting so many lovely recipe suggestions for it from my friends on FB (thanks, guys!) I made a batch, and here it is:
I could have cut it much thinner, but I was hungry! It was stupendous.  I used sort of a combo of recipes, but check out Vegan Dad's Pepperoni recipe for a good approximation.  I have like six other recipes from my friends to try for vegan pepperoni, so I'm psyched!! 

So, vegan pepperoni, fresh bread dough, leftover GM's meatballs, marinara and Daiya mozz? Yeah, that equaled stromboli to me.

 Me, photographing the stromboli rising in the oven.

 Baked Stromboli. 

Sliced Stromboli. 

I used the stromboli recipe in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and just filled it with my custom, vegan filling.  It's so much fun to have access to fresh bread in your fridge!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Tale of Supergingerbreadman!

Our hero, Supergingerbreadman!

When the first snow of the season struck...

Supergingerbread man was making his usual rounds, especially in the developed nations, because no one knows how to drive in a little bit of snow.  After dealing with thousands of close ones all winter long, he finally made his way to the other side of the world.  When he reached Tibet, it was spring!  

And wouldn't you know it? An inexperienced American climber was stranded on Mushroom Rock near the summit of Mt. Everest, with a storm quickly approaching! He had been given plenty of warning to turn back, but refused, for he had summit fever.  At this point, the expedition leader instructed his sherpa to return to high camp and leave the climber to fend for himself.

Supergingerbreadman flew through the storm to rescue the stupid American.

The stranded climber was in rough shape.

Supergingerbread man made a single rescue attempt, and was successful!

The End. 

Or is it?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bucket Bread!

So, I'd seen these folks, an M.D. and a professional baker, hawking their wares on daytime T.V.: a "five minute" artisan bread recipe that you mix in a bucket and leave in your fridge for up to two weeks, swiping some every time you want to pop a loaf in the oven.  It marinated in my subconscious for months.  

Then, a chef I adore blogged about making their pizza dough from their newest book (which focuses on pizza), AND she shared that she used an amazing kitchen tool to mix the dough.  

*Subconscious trigger pulled, firing wildly in the conscious* 

OK, it's high time to give this a try.  The early birthday present to myself arrived on Friday.  My son was sick, so he napped all afternoon, and even though I'd been up since 5:00 a.m. with him I couldn't help myself.  

I opened the boxes.

Book, Danish Dough Whisk (this thing is awesome) and Big Buckets with Lids

 Danish Dough Whisk, Made in Poland :-)

I (quietly!) scrubbed the new buckets and the whisk, and readied the ingredients to make the "Master" dough, a Boule (artisan free-form loaf).

It only involves FOUR ingredients: warm water, yeast, salt and flour.  The Master recipe is here on the author's website!  

Put everything in your bucket (warm water and yeast first, followed by flour and salt) and stir with your Danish Dough Whisk (really, this is one of the best kitchen tools I have ever used!) The dough whisk really incorporates the dough so well with minimal effort and minimal sticking (if you used a plain wooden spoon, this very wet dough would have stuck all over it).

Mix dough until dry and wet ingredients are well incorporated.
This gloppy mess is correct! It is how you want it to look.

Now, cover and let it rise for 2-5 hours at room temperature.  The dough will rise high up!  Mine went up to the five quart line, which I think is standard.  It is really fun to watch it rise.  Here it is at about one hour:
It will come back down to this level once it's in the fridge for a while, too.

Once it's done rising, put it in the fridge.  Now you can make bread anytime you want, for up to two weeks!

So, since we got an inch of ice last night instead of snow, we were stuck in the house.  Time for a trial loaf of Bucket Boule!

You must let the loaf "rest" (this is basically your second rise, the first rise being the bucket rise) before baking.  This can be a long time depending on the loaf (min is 20 min, max is somewhere near 2 hours).

Both crumb and crust were excellent.  Tasted exactly like Whole Food's boule which costs $6 (or used to, I haven't shopped there for a long time! I'm engaged to Wegmans and gettin' some on the side with Trader Joe's.).  We ate the whole thing this morning! And, I have dough for three more loaves in the fridge.

The book will pay for itself in three loaves :-)  Or, it will be free from the library if you can find it!

P.S. Baking these breads obviously does NOT take five minutes (and I didn't expect that it would since I am familiar with traditional bread recipes, but other folks would have no idea!).  No part of it takes five minutes.  Mixing it was extremely fast, maybe about 10 minutes, and then you have that initial rise for the 2-5 hours.  But THEN when you want to make your bread, you still need to give that loaf time to rise once you form it.  And you still need to bake it (however long the recipe says).  The time you save with this technique is to remove the first two steps of bread making: mixing the dough and the first rise.  After you make the initial batch, you no longer have to do these steps, you just start with the bucket dough.  It's fantastic, but not five minutes.  At all.  Ever.  Just had to say that.

Oh, and I also made some other stuff today. 


Friday, January 20, 2012

Updates: Timer, Triops, and Tempeh

Timer: Setting the timer for the pizza dough's rise!

Here she is! Cast iron double griddle in the background.  That thing makes a MEAN pizza! If you don't mind a rectangular or oval pizza, go get one, it's so much better than a pizza stone.

I had a serious craving for green peppers and vegan pepperoni.  I doused my slices in jalapeno olive oil as well from Taste of Olive.  Fruity, grassy, and mildly spiced (really! it almost wasn't hot at all, they must have only used the flesh and not any seeds to make the oil) I can't recommend this oil highly enough.   The left half is sparsely topped to ensure last minute variables would be covered (kid says he wants plain, then pepperoni, so  had to cover my bases :-)).

Triops: Well, there's good news and bad news.  Good news is that we had two strong hatchlings from our second round of Triops growing.  Then, it was down to one (two days ago).  We think the bigger one ate the smaller one since we couldn't find his body! THEN, as the directions called for on or around Day 8 (for us, yesterday was Day 11) we tried to transfer the remaining one (he was pretty big and seemed hardy) to the tank from his little petri dish as the directions called for.  We did that, knowing he needed more room, however, we couldn't maintain the temperature of the tank water at 74 degrees, the warmest we could get it was around 70-72.  We figured we'd give it a go, and tried to acclimatize him to the cooler water in his little Petri dish first, then transferred him, but he bit the dust in a mere hour or so.  It was just too cold. Poor guy (or girl!).  We will try again when the ambient temperature is warmer (spring or summer). It's just too hard to warm water with a light bulb in winter! RIP "T," RIP.

I mailed in my order for the tempeh spores! I have no idea how long it will take to get them. I'll keep you posted, haha.

P.S. I have an early birthday present to myself coming in the's cooking related (of course).  I may get it today!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Citrus Circus! Tangerine Tofu & Blood Orange Banana Bread

I love all citrus fruits that are available in winter: Meyer lemons, key limes, blood oranges, tangerines, clementines, oh yeah!  I've been taking advantage of them to the fullest.

Tangerine Tofu!
Marmalade Marinade: Home made tangerine marmalade (thanks, sister!) probably about 3/4 cup, 1 tablespoon or so organic tamari,  1/2 tsp dried rosemary, 1 tsp dried organic oregano, a little nutritional yeast (a few shakes), a few shakes of garlic powder and topped up with some spring water.

 Saute on top of the stove in cast iron :-)

Serve with Winter Risotto (see below) and Sauteed Organic Swiss Chard & Arugula

Winter Risotto: Barley Risotto with Mushrooms, Carrots, Onions, made in an Organic Veggie broth with White Wine, & 18 Year Balsamic.

Then, I got obsessed with making a Blood Orange bread of some sort.  I was jealous of my friend, Food Feud's Blood Orange Olive Oil Loaf, and I wanted to get the Blood Orange olive oil from Taste of Olive, but they were out of it (it's coming in soon, since the blood oranges just became available, they didn't have it on Saturday morning when I went to the store, so I got the jalapeno oil--highly recommended by my friend Taylor of the Mac&Cheese blog, and the Picholine oil, since I love those olives).  Then, in my continued obsessing about citrus, I remembered this awesome Lime-Coconut-Banana bread I made last year, and I had three (yes, three!) ripe bananas on my

So, I made a Blood Orange Banana (and Olive Oil and Coconut) Bread a version of the Coconut-Lime-Banana bread from last year, exactly a year ago to the day, amazingly.  Here's my counter in the process of making it:

 Ground flax + 1/4 cup fresh Blood Orange juice = "egg" for the bread.

 Action shot of my mixer.  I like the reflection of my legs and the bright pink flax "egg" in the bowl.

 Batter in the prepared pan.

 Baked! You can see a bit of a pinkish-orange tinge to the top of the cake, beautiful!

Served with a topping of coconut nectar, shredded organic coconut, more fresh blood orange juice, and fresh blood orange zest.

Here's the recipe.  It is based on the wonderful recipe in The 30 Minute Vegan, which I highly recommend.

Blood Orange Banana Bread

Adapted from the 30 Min Vegan’s Coconut-Lime Banana bread.

1 ½ cups whole organic spelt flour (Arrowhead Mills works well)
½ cup organic coconut flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder

1 ½ cups banana (3 small bananas) mashed if not using a mixer
½ cup olive oil—my preference. (or coconut, sunflower, safflower, organic canola, etc.)
2/3 cup organic sugar
2 tsps vanilla extract
½ tsp orange extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Blood Orange zest (the zest of about one orange)

1 ½ tablespoons ground flax
¼ cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice

Add-ins and variations: chopped nuts (any kind), ½ cup shredded coconut, ½ cup white or dark chocolate chips, lime zest + juice instead of orange, lemon zest + juice instead of orange, etc.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flax seeds and the blood orange juice. Set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, or in a large bowl if making by hand or using a hand mixer, add the bananas and mix (or smash!) until pretty well mashed.  Add all the rest of the wet ingredients (oil through zest) including the flax mixture and blend for 2 minutes on medium speed until the mixture is uniform and soups with very few chunks of banana.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flours through baking powder) through a fine mesh strainer.

Reduce speed on your mixer to low, and gradually add the flour mixture until dough is blended. Do not over mix!  

Transfer to a prepared baking pan (a standard loaf pan, lightly buttered and dusted with flour). Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes (start checking at 35 min, if it looks browned on top, take it out and do a toothpick test).  It will be lovely and lightly toasted on top and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when it is done.

I let my loaves cool completely on a wire rack (in their pan) before serving or wrapping for storage.


P.S. So, I need to mention that this bread recipe produces a fantastic bread with a perfect, moist crumb, but WITHOUT what I consider to be the usual problem of most fruit based 'quick' breads (usually banana or pumpkin): TOO MUCH MOISTURE to the point of almost soggy, especially on day two or three of having the loaf around.
I substituted the flax egg for soy yogurt called for in the original recipe.  Many fruit breads call for ingredients that ALL lend moisture: bananas/fruits, oils, and often yogurt or silken tofu in addition.  By removing the yogurt/silken tofu element, I created lighter, slightly drier, but far from “dry” bread.  I vastly prefer the texture and taste of this bread than the more moisture laden fruit bread recipes.

Let me know what you guys think.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Santa Plunder and The Jan Plan

It's that time of year again, time to finish all the unpacking, de-decorating and putting away from the holidays.  It is also time to look at what we did over our winter vacations and to really examine our awesome pressies AND to plan some fun projects for the next three months of winter, aka, The Jan(uary) Plan.

So, what did I get from Santa this year?

What IS that big blue box, Santa??

Looks like I got me Jan Plan Project#1: Home Made Soy (and Almond and Oat!) Milk!

But, wait! What did Santa Dad get me for Christmas?

A ton of his time and effort, that's what! Sheesh! What the hell? It took about forever to disassemble my little refrigerator, and it took both my dad and me to figure it out.  Look at all those holes in the back of it, hardware was screwed into every one of them, I ended up with a HUGE bag of stuff, the fans, main board, on and on, all the electrical bits and pieces of a small refrigerator were really something to behold!  We were going to wire up a baseboard thermostat to the existing wiring as the thermostat for my desired project, but it just got too complicated, so we ended up getting a plug in thermostat instead.  Anyway, we did this all to turn my now empty and unobstructed mini fridge into...drum roll please...a TEMPEH INCUBATOR!  Huzzah! 

Jan Plan Project #2: I'm going to MAKE MY OWN TEMPEH.  Oh, yes.

Once I get me some tempeh spores, I'll be in business. (You actually have to write to this company to order them, how quaint!) It pains me to add tempeh to my grocery list at this point, but I'll only have to be buying it from the store for just a little while longer...

And, the pièce de résistance, a Griswold #10 Cast Iron Fry Pan given to me by my Mom B. The pan is from my husband's great grandmother! Oh, momma!!

Here is the original Griswold marking on the back of the pan.  Below it, you can just make out the mark, "Erie," which, along with the Griswold "cross" design, indicates the pan was manufactured between 1906 and 1912, which makes perfect sense given that it was my husband's great grandmother's pan, reportedly used for making some kind of delicious, old-fashioned maple candy...mmmmmm!

Jan Plan Project #3: Recondition heirloom cast iron pan.  Oh joy!! So excited.  I have never done a reconditioning project with cast iron, since I use modern, Lodge cast iron, pictured here (and in many of my on-the-stove shots all throughout my blog! It gets a lot of use):

You can see the subtle differences in the styling between the modern Lodge pan here and the heirloom Griswold pan above.  I really, really want to get that Griswold up and running on my stove top!  I think The Pan Man can help me! 

Oh, and of course, some of you may be familiar with my last post which involves...
Jan Plan Project #4: Grow a disgusting pet for my son (T. longicaudatis, aka, "Triops"). I already have three hatchlings this time around, and no, I don't plan to cook them, though some people want to! Check out the "fan mail" on the Triops site, scroll about 14 Fan Letters down, it's the one in the large font. Exotic, indeed! They probably taste like shrimp, lady, but don't do it! ;-)

I have to plan my garden, too, Jan Plan #5: Gardening Stuff.  More to come on that one.  In the meantime, start seed shopping!

What do you all have planned for the winter months??

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Triops-A-Day, Days 1-7

Rabbits have two eyes, whales have two eyes, eagles have two eyes, but Triops has three eyes!  They Might Be Giants got us kinda hooked on thinking about the Triops.  Don't you love his little dance? So, we got ourselves a grow kit to check out the real Triops.  OMG!! Disgusting but strangely alluring...

I actually considered starting another blog to deal with my new and disgusting tiny friend, the Triops (Triops Longicaudatis), but decided to post about it here.  Apologies to those who are looking for a different kind of "recipe." :-)  I have plenty more of those to come!

We started our Triops kit the day after coming back from our winter vacation.  Our start date coincided perfectly with the Artclash Collective's "Fun-a-Day" project (Philly based, YEAH BABY!) that is taking place throughout January, which I found through one of my FB friends (Kristin Lajeunesse) who is doing a "Dance-a-Day" project to coincide with her travel the country for awesome vegan eats project--I love Kristin!

Anyhoo, back to prehistoric crustaceans.

About Triops for those of you without small boys :-):

Basically, T. longicaudatis is an ancient aquatic pest who lives in "flash" freshwater pools and resembles a horseshoe crab.  T. longicaudatis (commonly known as "Triops") is a crustacean of the Brachiopod class (same class as brine shrimp or "sea monkeys").  Kingdom, Phlyum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.  Remember your evolutionary biology, folks? Anyway, lots more info about Triops here, where they grow the eggs in a lab (not harvesting them from the environment).  And here is a handy school curriculum (second grade level) of the Triops growing project created by the talented folks at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES (holla, J&J!).  You can order your very own Triops kit on amazon, should you be so inclined.

The box claims, to grow, "just add water!" Um, no, not exactly.

Jan. 2nd, 2012, Day 1:

 One must use ONLY Spring Water, not distilled, not reverse osmosis, and not deionized water!

 Spring water and 1/8 tsp of "crushed" organic carrot in T's tiny tank! 

 I thought little T. might feel more at home with a tropical tree nearby.

 Temp must be maintained somewhere between 74 and 85 degrees.  That was my first problem.  Not hot enough.  

 So, got me a little greenhouse effect going.  Also had to cover the dish so my cat wouldn't drink the Triops! (Doesn't that dish look suspiciously like a cat water bowl?)

 My plastic bag greenhouse worked nicely to raise the temperature.  I ended up cutting out fairly large holes in the top of the bag so T. could get more air, and I was still able to maintain the temp right around 74 to 76 degrees.  Perfect!

 Now T's home is ready, so it's time to add the eggs! Those TINY specks of dust right in the center of the paper in the crease are the Triops eggs.

 Eggs are added! Now, it's time to see if anyone is hatching.  Days 2-3, we had no hatching at all.  It is winter here, and the lower ambient air temperature did not help with the hatching.  Also, I had been covering the dish at night, and it was cooling off WAY too much, so I then ended up covering half of the dish to give T. rest and also to allow the water to stay heated.  

The magnifying glass that comes with the kit totally sucks.  But, it makes one look all scientist-like when wielding it.  

On Day 4, we noticed we had a tiny Triops swimming around!
Do you see him? Look right at the biggest piece of carrot directly in the center of the frame and you will see a little white speck with another tiny white speck attached (it is actually food stuck on his tail) on the right hand side of the carrot piece.  See him??

He was going along just fine from Day 4 through Day 6, eating his disgusting detritus suspension (that I had to make, ewe) and swimming around looking very pleased, indeed.  T. was a happy camper.

Well, I killed him today (Day 7).  The directions say to clean the dish on Day 4, and our dish wasn't even very dirty at all (we only hatched one single Triops out of 18 eggs, so he wasn't making very much T. poopy).  I waited until Day 6 to clean the bowl water (yesterday) and I think disrupting his substratum really pissed him off and killed him dead.  We mourned our little guy.  SO...

We are starting again tonight! Wish me luck! Going to add the eggs in another hour or so once I get the tiny tank up to temperature.  Got me a few more tricks in my bag now (how to maintain water temp overnight and how NOT to clean his little tank unless absolutely necessary) , so I think we are going to have more success this time.  And, because they are awesome, I sent my nephews a Triops kit, too, (hi X&G!!) so maybe they will have some more tricks for me once they get going with their kit!

Are any of you doing a Fun-A-Day project??