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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

FOOD PHOTOS AND EXPERIMENTS FROM THIS WEEK

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I made a thin-crust pizza the other night-- always such a treat! Used some leftover homemade spaghetti sauce with a bit of crushed tomatoes added, sauteed mushrooms and red bell pepper strips, slices of Tofurkey's vegan Spicy Italian "sausage", freshly-ground black pepper,and sliced fresh basil. I placed the veggies and herbs OVER the grated vegan mozzarella because it melts better that way and gets nice and creamy. I drizzled the whole thing with a couple of Tbs. of peppery extra-virgin olive oil.  I used 1 lb. 4 oz. of dough for the crust for a 16" pizza.

I made the following white bread loaf (it does have some oat bran in it) just as an experiment to see how little yeast I could get away with (most bread machine recipes call for WAY too much yeast, which does NOT improve the flavor!). For this loaf, I used only 1/2 tsp. yeast in total. I made a sponge (loose batter) with all of the water, yeast and some of the flour and let it rise in the ABM container for 6 hours, before adding the remaining ingredients and baking it. Look how it rose! The crust was nice and crunchy.

It tasted good for white bread, but was actually a little TOO fluffy for my liking! Here's the recipe:


Printable Recipe
BRYANNA’S “NOT QUITE WHITE” BREAD MACHINE BREAD
2 lb. (sponge method)
This can be used as basic bread for many variations. NOTE: This is the machine I have.

Sponge:
Mix for 5 minutes on dough cycle, then unplug and leave overnight, or for 6-12 hours:

1 and 1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. dry active baking yeast (or 1/3 tsp. instant yeast)
2 c. unbleached flour (use bread flour in USA)

After rising the sponge, add:
4 tsp. brown sugar
2 T. plus 2 tsp. oil
1 and 3/4 tsp. salt
2 c. unbleached flour (use bread flour in USA)
1/3 c. whole wheat flour (or oat bran)

Set on the Basic Cycle, Dark Crust. Check the dough during the first knead to make sure that it is neither too dry, not too wet. If it’s too dry, add water by the tablespoonful, letting it knead in, until it looks right. If it’s too wet, do the same with flour.

If you want a more attractive top crust to the bread, 5 minutes before the bread is due to bake (I set my kitchen timer to remind me of this), you can make a decorative slash in the top of the bread with a razor blade, and you can also glaze the bread with some soymilk, using a pastry brush, or sprinkle the top with flour.

Cover the “window” in the top of your machine with foil, so that the top of the bread will brown properly. Remove the bread immediately from the machine when done, placing on a rack to cool thoroughly. This will insure a crisp crust.



Dinner the other night was Swiss chard from our garden (yum!) and tofu kebabs with peppers, mushrooms and onion. I had soaked the extra-firm tofu cubes in the Breast of Tofu (or Crispy Marinated Tofu from World Vegan Feast) marinade for several days, anticipating a meal such as this. I just threaded them on skewers with the veggies, slathered on barbecue sauce (my Bourbon BBQ Sauce ) and grilled them, serving them on a bed of Basmati rice.



I just had to post yet another picture of a wonderful organic, fair-trade soy cappuccino made with my homemade soymilk! I always get such lame foam when I order soy cappuccinos in restaurants!   I'm wondering if it's maybe because I use a cheap plunger-type milk foamer? I'm thinking that maybe foaming with steam dilutes the foam???

















Last, but not least, two incarnations (above)of my experiments with Egyptian Felafel (ta’amiyya), which is made with fava or broad beans instead of chickpeas. Spice Island Vegan raved about the recipe from Canadian author Habeeb Salloum's EXCELLENT books, "From the Lands of Figs and Olives" and "Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East & North Africa".

I have a hard time getting dried favas, but I often use split yellow peas instead of dried favas in soups, etc., because, when they cook down to a puree they taste very similar. So, I substituted split yellow peas (cup for cup, and I did soak them) in the felafel recipe and it was great. However, next time I go to Vancouver I will get some fava beans and compare. These felafel are very light, quite different than the chickpea ones. Actually, I could not shape the batter-- it was too runny-- so I just dropped little spoonfuls of it into the oil.

Enjoy!

5 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

that pizza looks fantastic!! I absolutely LOVE the Tofurky® italian "sausage" - adds a zesty flavor to pastas and pizzas. I've never had Sheese® before, but I've heard nothing but good things about it (and that's saying a LOT for a vegan "cheese" alternative, since most of them are just downright terrible, haha)

DaviMack said...

Fabulous on the bread! After all, "sourdough" has been going forever, and it's always got better flavor than when you overuse commercial yeast - I even use sourdough for sweet breads, or at least a long rise. Far better flavor.

A quick thought on the use of fava beans: the most common enzymatic deficiency in the world is called favism or g6pd deficiency, and tends to be common among those of Mediterranean descent. For those with the deficiency, consumption of fava beans leads to a fairly gruesome death or at least a major blood transfusion. It's one reason that we cook at home a lot & avoid things like falafel.

Eric said...

Wow. That pizza looks amazing. I can't wait to try Sheese!

PS - Can you email me at eric@ananimalfriendlylife.com about a project?

bazu said...

Everything looks wonderful, Bryanna, but I'm just commenting to say that that cappucino foam is a work of art! Wow! I always thought I achieved pretty good foam, but I've been humbled.

harlemgrrl said...

oh, man... you're gonna make me buy a soymilk maker ;-p