Sunday, November 30, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I like fancy cobblers, but this is your plain-jane, straight-up cobbler, the way my Great Aunt Cora did it. This recipe is so easy, you can make it with your mind full of election paranoia (and even with a few drinks in your system, if the evening calls for it).
Preheat your oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan. Mix together 1 cup self-rising flour (I did 1 cup white whole wheat flour + 1 1/2 t baking powder + 1/2 t salt), 1 cup sugar (Zulka unrefined, in my case), and 1 cup milk (Almond Breeze unsweeetened original). Pour this into your pan. Spread a quart or more of prepared fruit (peeled, chopped apples) over the batter. Dot with marg or coconut oil or give it a spritz of canola oil. Into the oven for 1 hour. It's done.
Now, you can add all sorts of spices and extracts to the batter and/or the fruit. You can pre-cook the fruit if too hard, and add sugar to it if it is too tart. Eat with ice cream, mimiccreme, soyatoo. Do what you will. But it's plenty good plain and unadorned.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Heeding warnings of cold temperatures, we harvested all the remaining frost-vulnerable items from our little backyard garden, including a bunch of green tomatoes. When I was a kid, we would put all our green tomatoes in paper grocery sacks in the basement and they would slowly ripen. I am more likely to turn these into fried green tomatoes.
There are a number of different fried green tomoato philosophies. Lately, I have seen many FGTs that are completely encased in a cornmeal crust. Beyond the fact that these are likely to involve eggs (and thus be non-vegan), such a complete shell is contrary to the way I learned to make them. (I am equally opposed to encased okra.)
To make fried green tomatoes, my way, do this: Slice tomatoes, and toss with a mix of equal parts flour and cornmeal, with some salt and pepper. You can add other seasonings, and I often go for thyme and cayenne. Fry in a hot cast iron skillet with a thin layer of oil, until well-browned on each side.
I would be tempted to make a green tomato pie, but we have been very over-sugared of late (tester cookies and a delicious pear crisp from The Joy of Vegan Baking). If you are interested, most traditional green tomato pie recipes are easy to veganize, requiring only a substitution of vegan margarine or oil for butter - for example, this recipe looks very similar to that made by relatives of mine.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Burke has traced a complicated spiritual pilgrimage, as can be seen in his autobiography. At the time that this cookbook was published, he headed an independent sacramental christian community called the Gnostic Orthodox Church, apparently now defunct. Burke's Hindu influences (esp. Paramahansa Yogananda and Anandamayi Ma) have been important throughout his adult life. He and his community now follow a Hindu path as the Atma Jyoti Ashram. Today, Burke is known as Swami Nirmalananda Giri.
Simply Heavenly! is an unfortunate casualty of the transitions in Burke's community, and has been out of print for some years. It remains one of my favorite cookbooks, and I use it frequently. I have made Burke's recipe for Anadama Bread at least a zillion times. Thanks to Burke, I own (and love) a steam juicer which makes truly excellent broth, among other uses.
When I have leftovers that need repackaging, or random items that need using (tonight: some leftover chicken-style seitan, chopped up in a skillet with a little red bell pepper and bbq sauce), I often turn to his formula for "Square Meals" - an Americanized relative of the pierogi and the calzone. He provides a number of recipes for fillings, but you can use whatever you have. He also gives a separate recipe for a sweet dough, and a number of sweet fillings. As the book is out of print, and used copies are often hard to find and pricey, I will give you the basic recipe for savory square meals:
2 T yeast
1 c. warm water
1 t. unrefined sugar
3 T. vegetable oil
3 c. flour (white or whole wheat or a mixture)
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
1/2 t. onion powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
Mix yeast, water, and sugar, and let stand 10 minutes. (I don't find this waiting necessary, and usually proceed with the recipe without waiting for the yeast to proof. Your mileage may vary.) Whisk in the oil. Sift the dry ingredients together and slowly add to the wet. When well-combined, turn the dough out on the counter, and knead for a few minutes until you have a smooth ball. Roll out until approximately 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into 4 inch squares. Moisten all four edges of a square with water, and then put 1/3 cup of your chosen filling in the center. Fold in the corners toward the center (like folding an envelope). Pinch the center and the seams carefully to be sure they are sealed. Place on lightly greased baking sheet (or parchment, as in my photo), seam side down. Prick the top with a fork several times. You can brush the tops with oil or vegan milk if you want. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes. These freeze well and make great work lunches.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Even the quickest glance at this blog will demonstrate that we don't follow Brazier's diet recommendations with any great strictness. Nonetheless, we consume his smoothies very frequently for breakfast (ginger-pear in the photo above), and we also like his nutrition bar recipes (easy and better than any of the commercial ones). We haven't gotten too far beyond smoothies and bars, but I hope to do so, soon. He has some intriguing pizza recipes that beg to be made!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I had some eggplant that needed to be used, so I pulled down The Festive Fast: Greek Meatless Cooking in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition by Marigoula Kokkinou & Georgia Kofinas, a consistently reliable source of good ideas. I messed around with their "Baked Eggplant with Walnuts" recipe, altering it enough that I don't mind giving you the details of what I did:
Preheat oven to 400. Wash 1 lb eggplant, trim off ends, and slice lengthwise into thin slices. (As my eggplant were young and organic, I did not peel them. In retrospect, I suggest using 2 lbs of eggplant, as the recipe makes plenty of topping.) Drop the eggplant slices into boiling salted water for only 2-3 minutes, and then drain. Place them in a casserole dish, and sprinkle with salt and smoked paprika to taste. Pour a little olive oil over the eggplant, add about 1/3 cup of all purpose flour (or 2/3 if using the larger eggplant amount), and toss until combined. Bake for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, put 7 oz walnuts in the food processor with 4 cloves of garlic, 4 T red wine vinegar, and about 2-3 T water, and process until you have a thick paste. (To make it easy to peel multiple cloves of garlic, gather them on the counter, and give them a good smack with the back of a cast iron skillet to loosen their dry outer skins.) Spread the walnut paste over the top of the eggplant casserole, lower the oven temperature to 350, and bake for 20 more minutes. Enjoy!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
If you grew up here, you have surely had Hot Chicken in the wee hours of the morning. Most of the establishments which serve it (including Prince's, the originator) stay open all night. It is a food that seems most compelling when one's judgment is impaired by alcohol or other substances. I've had it in my head to veganize this, and last night was my first try. I'm quite pleased with the results. With a little fine-tuning, I may enter a vegan version in next summer's Music City Hot Chicken Festival. You can still set yourself on fire with no animal cruelty and no cholesterol!
Non-Nashville people, in order to understand Hot Chicken, you need to watch this film. Sorry for all the meat in it, but it's a very well done film and will teach you what you need to know. Once you have educated yourself about the subject in general, here's how to make your own vegan version at home:
First you need vegan meat. I made Joanna's Chicken-Style Seitan Cutlets, which worked well. You want your vegan meat and your breading to be very plain. You will be adding enough flavor in due course. (There is at least one place in town that marinates the meat in hot pepper sauce before frying, but that is insane overkill.) Joanna's cutlets are quite thin when made as directed, which results in a high breading-to-gluten ratio. If you are going to make your Hot Gluten really really hotttt, you may want a more substantial cutlet to help balance it. You could make a thicker version of Joanna's recipe, or go with something like the DEOTS chicken-style seitan, or the Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon, or even steamed tempeh.
Once you have your vegan meat, dredge it in self-rising flour. (If you don't have self-rising, you can add 1 1/2 t baking powder and 1/2 t salt to a cup of all purpose flour.) Don't go adding seasoning to the flour - plain, plain, plain. Heat up some oil in a cast iron Dutch oven and fry away. You will see mine above. When done, put the fried gluten on a brown paper sack to drain.
Here comes the hot part. You need a hot pepper paste, which you can make in advance. I tried two versions. First, I veganized this year's winning recipe, by simply subbing vegan shortening for the lard. Then, on impulse, I made a second paste out of 3 T Indian chili powder (which is mostly ground red peppers), 1 T + 1 t coconut oil, 1/2 t salt, and 1/2 t unrefined sugar. The second paste did not taste Indian or coconutty at all. It still delivered the same knockout blow as the cayenne paste, but with a little more grace. See photo above.
Put on gloves. While the fried gluten is still hot, gently rub on the desired amount of paste. Fingertip action works well. You don't want to break the breading. Try to be very even - no remaining globs of paste (as such a glob would kill you if you suddenly met it in your mouth). Use much less than you think you need to. Traditionally, you want the whole thing to be dark red, and this happens pretty quickly, even with a very light application. Warning: Even "Mild" hot chik'n is "Hot" by any other standard.
Place your Hot Gluten on a couple of pieces of bread. We used french bread as that is what we had, but that is an outrageous heresy. Spongy nutrition-free white bread of the Wonder Bread / Bunny Bread sort is traditional. After applying hot paste to the first side of the gluten, you can flip it onto the bread to work on the second side, so that some of the hot red greasiness of the first side runs into the bread. Finally, throw a few slices of cucumber pickle on top. Some people go for a spicy pickle, but that's c.r.a.z.y. Regular pickles will be fine. There is a contingent that believes in mayo, so feel free to apply a little Vegenaise if you see fit. I didn't get a photo of our assembled Hot Gluten - it was (appropriately) late and it went fast!
Enjoy carefully, and with respect. As Ms Andre says in the film, "It's a cleansing, and we need it."
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I enjoy recipe testing for cookbook authors. I wind up trying recipes that I would not have picked out of the published book. I also learn new tricks and techniques. Thanks to all my cookbook- and cookzine-writing friends for the opportunity!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I was so delighted to open The New York Times food section on-line today, and find an article on Bluegrass Soy Sauce, a small-batch soy sauce made in Kentucky. Go read about it, and buy yourself some. It's really good stuff. PS... the company also makes bourbon smoked paprika...
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
We are halfway through the Vegan Month of Food!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
The Vegan Month of Food continues. As people seemed to like the SDA post, here's another chapter of the veg story:
Like all organzations, the TS has had its splits over the years. One of the most important schisms was the exit of Rudolf Steiner and a large part of the German Section in 1913. Steiner and his students then founded the Anthroposophical Society. Steiner is perhaps best known for his central role in the origins of Waldorf education and Biodynamic agriculture. Much like Blavatsky, he often recommended vegetarianism to his students, but did not require it. (See his lectures collected as Nutrition and Stimulants, Biodynamic Farming & Gardening Assoc., 1991) Steiner gave some interesting indications to bakers which are included in the Nutrition and Stimulants volume. You can find a (veganizable) bread recipe worked out from Steiner's guidance here. The Waldorf and Biodynamic movements have produced a number of books on food and cooking, few of which are strictly vegetarian, but most of which are veg-friendly. The books of Wendy Cook are a good example, and one might note the forthcoming lacto-vegetarian cookbook by Hermann Spindler.
To give only one more example, travelers to southern California may have encountered the Rosicrucian Fellowship's beautiful headquarters in Oceanside (between San Diego and Los Angeles), complete with a vegetarian cafe. This organization was founded in 1909 by a former Theosophist named Max Heindel, who also had connections to Rudolf Steiner. Heindel's organization promotes vegetarianism and publishes a couple of veg cookbooks.
The world of late 19th / early 20th century occultism can be a strange one indeed, especially to the newcomer. Regardless of one's evaluation of these organizations and their teachings, we owe them a debt of gratitude for promoting a veg*n diet for ethical and spiritual reasons, long before it became fashionable.
I am headed to Asheville later today. If I can get internet access, I'll post from there. Otherwise, MoFo posting will return on Monday.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I had leftover taco fillings (refried beans, corn relish, spinach, taco-spiced soy curls) from the other night, and lots of masa, so I decided to try my hand at pupusas. I love to order this wonderful Salvadoran food at Las Americas - they will make me a vegetarian-beans-only pupusa, and they are really nice about it. There is at least one other place nearby that makes them (Delicias Mary Chuy Restaurant) but I have not strayed from Las Americas.
There are apparently many ways to make a pupusa. After some internet research and watching the guys at Las Americas, here is what I did:
1. Mix masa harina with hot water from the tap until you have a soft but not sticky dough. Let rest for 30 minutes or more.
2. Pick up a golf-ball sized lump of masa, and hollow it out to make a cup. Put filling down in the cup, pull the sides around as far as you can, and then place a cap of masa on top to seal it.
3. Roll the ball around in your hands until it is smooth and sealed. Then gently flatten until it is 1/4 inch thick or a little more. If it breaks around the edge or filling pops through, just repair the best you can, and keep going. No worries - imperfections won't hurt. I found it easier to do most of the flattening in my hand and then finish on a plate.
4. Place in a hot skillet and fry on both sides until done. A dry skillet was recommended in a number of sources, but I saw someone on YouTube use just a wee bit of oil, so I did that. I think it was a good idea.
5. Eat! Tomato salsa and a cabbage/carrot slaw are the usual sides. We had the salsa but not the slaw, because I am lazy. You need the tomato salsa to point up the flavor, especially if the fillings are mild. When I make these again, I think I'll experiment with adding a little salt and/or seasonings to the masa.