Monday, January 26, 2009

oniony flatbread

I made caramelized onions a couple of days ago. Five-and-a-half pounds of sliced raw onions filled my seven liter pan right to the top:

raw onions

After cooking for four hours, they'd shrunk down to a little more than a pint:

cooking onions ii

I'm not sure what all I'm going to do with them; I may put some in a potato gratin, and they'll probably be a good soup ingredient. The first thing I tried was using them as a flatbread topping, and they did this very well.

baked bread i

Oniony Spelt Flatbread

200g whole spelt flour
350ml water
1/8t instant yeast

the sponge
300g bread flour
1/2t instant yeast
10g salt, about 1 1/2t
50ml olive oil

olive oil
a handful of caramelized onions
a handful of oil-cured olives, pitted and halved
a couple of sprigs of thyme, stemmed

The night before you bake, whisk together the sponge ingredients and let rest, covered, at room temp.

In the morning, add the flour and yeast to the sponge, mix till it's a shaggy mass, and let rest 20 minutes. Add the remaining dough ingredients and mix thoroughly. Briefly knead the dough every 20 minutes for an hour, then let rise till it's tripled and you're ready to shape it.

Heat the oven with a baking stone in it to 450ºF. Stretch the dough out on a piece of parchment paper till it's a big rectangle, about 10"x14". Cover with a tea towel and let rest for half an hour.

Dimple the dough with your fingers, drizzle olive oil over it, then artfully scatter the rest of the toppings.

raw bread

Slide onto the baking stone, and bake about 15 minutes. You may have to turn it around partway through so that it bakes evenly.

piece of bread ii

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rachael to lunch

black bean soup

Rachael came to my house for lunch yesterday, and I fixed her some nice black bean soup from my Rancho Gordo book. Since she's now a vegan, I made sour cashew cream to garnish the soup. It was pretty successful: Rachael liked it, and she's not usually very receptive to my homemade dairy substitutions. I'm sure it would also be good with lemon instead of lime, and basil or parsley instead of coriander, if you wanted to serve it with other soups.

Coriander Cashew Cream

125ml water
50g cashews
70g coriander, coarsely chopped
juice of 1 1/2 limes, about 45ml
1t pale miso (I used chickpea)
salt to taste

Whiz everything in the blender till creamy.

cashew cream

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

health salad

wild rice seaweed salad iii

I made a big batch of this salad today to last me several of my upcoming six days of work. It's made up mostly of things I already had around, and I tried to include a little bit of everything necessary--fruit, veg, grain, legume, etc.--so that it would be a sufficient diet. I realised while I was at the movies that I should have added some nuts, so the pecans don't appear in the photos.

I smoked the tofu by smearing it with a sludge of garlic, ginger, tamari, and sesame oil, then running it through my little smoker with some pecan chips for half an hour. It came out very smoky--maybe I should have done my salt with pecan!

Wild Rice Seaweed Salad

3T apple cider vinegar
1T oil
juice from a 1cm length of ginger (I just slice it and squash it with my garlic press)
a shallot, minced
1/4t salt, several grindings of black pepper, and 1t Aleppo pepper

1C wild rice, cooked and drained
a big handful of wakame or other seaweed, soaked in cool water and cut into bite- size pieces
3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
12oz smoked tofu, cut into little rectangles
a big red apple, cored and cut into pieces similar in size to the tofu pieces
1C pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
a small handful of parsley, coarsely chopped
I would have added maybe 4 green onions, thinly sliced, but I was out.
Some dried cherries might have been nice, too.

Whisk the dressing in a large bowl, then put in everything else and mix thoroughly.

wild rice seaweed salad

Monday, January 12, 2009

tuno casserole

tuna casserole ii

Rachael, Annie, and I have all been sad since Kellogs discontinued Tuno when they took over Worthington. Eaters of real fish universally thought Tuno was disgusting--it did smell more like cat tuna than human-grade--but we thought it made an excellent tunafish casserole. I've been trying different homemade fake tunas ever since. I've had the best success with tuna salad, but still haven't found a way to replicate Tuno in a casserole.

I made this today, and it was pretty good but not very fishy-tasting. Maybe just add a lot more kelp powder?

Vegan Tuna Casserole

1 1/2T soy sauce
1T rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, pressed
3T water
1 1/2t kelp powder
1lb extra-firm tofu, cut into 8 1/4"-thick rectangles

Canned Soup
2T margarine
8oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
5T flour
2C unsweetened soy milk
1/4t salt, pepper, and a pinch of mace

Tuna and canned soup
8oz wide noodles, cooked
2C frozen peas, thawed
4 green onions, thinly sliced
a little bag of potato chips (2.5oz or so, smashed up in the bag

Mix all the tuna ingredients besides the tofu in the bottom of a shallow pan. Swoosh the tofu slices through the marinade so that they're coated on both sides, then arrange in one layer and bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes. Turn them over and bake for another 25 minutes, till they've sucked up all the marinade and are beginning to look dry. Let cool, then cut up into little rectangles--about 1.5cm x 0.5cm x 0.25cm.

Cook the mushrooms with the margarine in a medium, heavy saucepan till the mushrooms get limp. Add the celery and cook a few more minutes. Add the flour and stir around so that it's mixed in thoroughly. Add the milk and seasonings, and turn up to medium-high. When it begins to simmer, turn down and let cook till it thickens.

Mix the tuna, canned soup, noodles, peas, and green onions together in a big bowl then put in a greased casserole and bestrew with potato chip bits. Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes, till hot and nicely colored.

tuna casserole

Sunday, January 11, 2009

smoked salt

I keep seeing little jars of expensive smoked salt, and occasionally recipes calling for it, so I decided to try to make some myself.


I started with some coarse Portuguese salt: I spread it, along with some rosemary and thyme branches, in a foil cake pan with a perforated bottom. I then set it on the rack of my stovetop smoker with 2T of cherrywood dust and let it smoke for half an hour.

smoked salt

It came out pleasantly smoky, but not nearly as intense as the kind you buy. I wonder what the secret is?

jarred salt

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

blackberry vinegar

vinegar ii

I made this present for Annie with blackberries I picked this summer and froze. It's nice because it's thick enough to use as salad dressing all by itself, without bothering to add oil and all that. It would also be good in a vinaigrette with walnut oil, salt, pepper, and mustard flour.

Blackberry Vinegar

1qt blackberries, thawed if frozen
2 1/2C rice vinegar
2 1/2C sugar

Grind the blackberries in a food processor or blender (if you do it in your hippie blender, be careful not to grind up the seeds). Add the vinegar and let sit overnight. In the morning, run it through a food mill to get out the seeds, then put in a pan along with the sugar. Simmer for five minutes, then put in bottles.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

celery wild rice soup

celery soup

I made this soup for my work lunches last week, to eat along with my scalloped potatoes. It was a little blah, but the chile oil perked it up nicely.

Celery Wild Rice Soup

2T olive oil
2 leeks, white and pale green parts, sliced
2 carrots, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4" chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced
bouquet garni
450g celery, cut into 1/4"-1/2" pieces
1C wild rice, cooked in 3C water
2 cups water
2T nutritional yeast
salt and pepper
Chile oil, to drizzle upon serving

Cook the leeks, carrots, and garlic in the olive oil in your soup pan. When they're nicely fragrant, add the celery and bouquet garni and let cook a few more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (except the chile oil) and simmer for 10 minutes or so.