Wednesday, August 18, 2010

No-Knead Bread

Okay, so I'm smack in the middle of "Pantry Week" and I've vowed to not purchase any new groceries until it's over. That was all well and good, until I remembered I wanted some bread for the leftover meatloaf to make sandwiches. So what was I to do? Make some.

I have never made bread outside of a bread machine. I've always thought about it, but have just never tried it. Even when I purchased the No-Knead cookbook. And even when i saw this recipe online. I just didn't try it. Until now.

And let me tell you - I'm kicking myself for not doing it up until now. Seriously, listen to me. If you have not tried this recipe, do it. Right now. Get up, go to the kitchen, and start this. Why? Because it's easy and the finished product is delicious.

This gorgeous loaf of bread literally cost me about 10 minutes of actual labor. The rest was spent either minding it's own business overnight on the counter, or cooking. The recipe is foolproof.

Oh, and the bread. Absolutely delicious. It has a lovely thick chewy crust, and the inside is delicious. It's exactly what I want my bread to be. Seriously. I mean, just look at it!

No-Knead Bread

Anyway, here's the link to the recipe. I followed it exactly as written, using parchment paper. I plan on making some variations for the next batch. Enjoy! And if you try it, let me know!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Coconut Almond Cookies

So as you can tell from the recipes listed on the sidebar, I'm not much for baking or sweets. Salty snacks tempt me far more than a piece of cake or pie. That being said, there are times that I do crave just a little something sweet to take the edge off.

I'm deeply embroiled in pantry week, so I've been pulling out all of my cookbooks and looking for some stellar recipes to use. I was looking for a cookie that was easy, but also one where I had all the ingredients already in my kitchen. I knew I wanted something vegan, but as I sadly realized I as out of Smart Balance, the list of potentials grew shorter and shorter.

I finally found a recipe in Veganomicon (which is a fantastic vegan cookbook, by the way) that sounded tasty. I quickly skimmed the ingredient list, thought, "yeah, I have all that," and proceeded to the kitchen to make it.

Well, as I started throwing it all together, I realized I was out of a few crucial elements. The first was canola oil, or any oil actually. As I realized my olive oil supply was on the slim side, I knew I didn't want to use that all up. I almost bagged the entire recipe, but then remembered the 2 jars of coconut oil I stashed away. I crossed my fingers and began making the recipe.

Whoa. These cookies are amazing! Not only are they light and crispy, they aren't overly sweet and have a lovely almond and coconut flavor. And seeing how they took me only a few minutes to throw together before they went into the oven, I can guarantee you these shall make an appearance many many times in the future.

Check back tomorrow for my first attempt at breadmaking and the reason why everyone should try this recipe.

Coconut Almond Cookies

Coconut Almond Cookies
Makes 38-40 cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 c natural almonds, ground into flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c coconut oil, warmed slightly
1/4 c agave nectar
1/4 c coconut milk or almond milk
2/3 c sugar
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Put a layer of parchment paper onto 2 baking sheets and set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together coconut oil, agave nectar, milk, sugar, and extracts until well combined. Add in flours and beat until a thick batter is formed. Allow to rest in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Drop by the tablespoon onto baking sheets. Place in oven and bake for 7-9 minutes, until cookie is golden brown. With a flat spatula, remove from baking sheet and place on wire racks to cool.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just Because It's Vegan: Delicious Vegan Meatloaf

This is by far the best vegan meatloaf recipe I've ever made. How many other recipes have I tried, you ask? Well, only 1 other, but that's only because I found this one and had no need to ever try another recipe!!

I've only recently come to appreciate the versatility of TVP. Although I've had it in my pantry for quite some time, I've sadly neglected it in exchange for shelling out unnecessary money on the expensive brand-name meat substitutes.

This meatloaf is meaty and tasty and filling and comforting - all the things you want in your meatloaf. I also love that it slices perfectly, making it perfect for sandwiches for later in the week.

This recipe is a variation from a recipe in Cozy Inside, another great vegan cookbook. It was a perfect fit for Pantry Week, and also another great addition to the "Just Because It's Vegan" series. (See the previous entries of Spicy Italian Sausage, Thai Curry Tempeh Spread, and Raw Brownies!)

Check back tomorrow for a delicious cookie recipe that stood up to my many ingredient substitutions!

Delicious Vegan Meatloaf

Delicious Vegan Meatloaf

Serves 6

3 cups TVP
2 1/2 cups vegetarian beef broth
2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
1 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fennel seed, crushed
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 cup vegan barbeque sauce
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten

Preheat oven to 350. Mix TVP with broth and worcestershire sauce in a large glass mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, and saute for 5-8 minutes. Add fennel seed and saute another minute. Place onion mixture in a large mixing bowl, and add TVP and remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined.
Remove half of the mixture, and process in a food processor until paste-like. Add back to the mixture and combine well. Place in a well-oiled loaf pan and press down well.
Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest at least 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pantry Week Begins!
Spicy Zucchini and Mushroom Saute

So I went to the amazing Amish health food store that I frequent, and one of my purchases was a bag of organic dried pinto beans that I was intending to turn into chili. I brought them home, and as I went to put them away in my pantry, I realized I had already made that exact same purchase. Twice before.

One of the perils of not having a lot of visible cupboard space is that things get pushed to the back and then they are forgotten. I decided to pull everything out and take stock of what I had.

Well, color me embarrassed. I was floored by how well-stocked my pantry was, full of things I had purchased with good intentions and then promptly forgot about. Lentils, beans, cans of tomato sauce, green chilies - the list goes on and on. I then opened my refrigerator and realized how much fresh produce I had too!

Right then and there I decided to instill "Pantry Week" at my house. No new groceries for a week. Period. Not only will it force me to use up the things I already have, but it's a challenge, and those that know me well KNOW that I love a good challenge. And here's the thing - I've made most of the menu for the week and I haven't even begun to get rid of all the things that linger in my pantry.

Today, it's rainy and dreary outside, so I needed something filling and comforting. The main dish will be featured tomorrow, but for today, a unique side dish. I had a zucchini that has been languishing in my fridge for a bit, as well as a few different boxes of mushrooms. I wanted something simple, yet tasty, and this saute was born.

I'm always a fan of using spice in my cooking, and if I can utilize whole spices, all the better! This saute gets a nice punch of flavor from the cumin and celery seeds, and is a nice change from the boring everyday side dishes.

Check back tomorrow for a great vegetarian main dish and later for my first attempt at homemade bread!

Spicy Zucchini and Mushroom Saute

Spicy Zucchini and Mushroom Saute
Serves 4-6

4 cups chopped zucchini
1 (8 oz) container of sliced baby bella mushrooms
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp celery seed
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add zucchini and saute for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and mushrooms, and saute for another 4-5 minutes. Add cumin seed, celery seed, and salt and pepper. Saute for another 2-3 minutes, until zucchini and mushrooms are tender. Serve and enjoy!