Friday, February 20, 2009

peanut butter cookies

Rachael loves to reminisce about some peanut butter cookies Granni Diane once made, the best peanut butter cookies ever! I know they had tofu and honey in them, but I've never managed to replicate them, or to make any peanut butter cookies Rachael liked nearly as well. I don't think these quite lived up to Granni Di's standard, but Rachael liked them well enough to eat ten at a sitting.

peanut butter cookies

Apple Peanut Butter Cookies

makes about 2 dozen

250g non-health-food peanut butter, like Skippy's
80ml peanut oil
150g brown sugar
1T tapioca flour
1t vanilla extract
70g grated apple (about 1/2 an apple)
150g flour
1/2t cinnamon
1/4t baking soda
1/4t salt

Beat the peanut butter, oil sugar, tapioca flour, and vanilla together till very smooth, then add the grated apple. Whisk the dry ingredients together, making sure that there are no lumps of baking soda left, and mix them into the wet. Let the dough chill while your oven heats up to 375°F. Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and distribute over a couple of lined baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2" between cookies. Squash them flatter with a fork. Bake 12-14 minutes. Let cool on the Silpat or parchment paper for at least five minutes before transferring to cooling racks, as they're pretty delicate till given time to firm up.

Friday, February 13, 2009

pumpkin miso soup

soup ingredients

I made this soup the other day to use up some squash I had languishing in my refrigerator, and it turned out really well. It seemed more coherent than most soups I invent, with less of a thrown-together quality.

pumpkin miso soup i

Pumpkin Miso Soup
3" piece of kombu, soaked in a quart of water while you prepare the other ingredients
1lb kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
1lb firmish tofu, cut into cubes
4oz shiitakes (I would have used more, but that's all I had), thickly sliced
1 1/2 length of ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2T caramelized onions (or just slice an onion and fry it till it's golden)
2 big green onions, or more smaller ones, cut into 2" long slivers*
1T each dark and light miso (I used Hatcho and shiro miso)

Bring the soaking water and the kombu to a simmer, then pluck out the kombu and cut it up into little strips to match your green onion slivers. Add the squash, tofu, shiitakes, ginger, and onion to the soaking water and cook on medium heat till the squash is tender, seven to ten minutes. Add the green onions and kombu, cook another minute or so, then take off of the heat. Add the miso to the soup either by pressing it through a misokoshi** or by whisking it in a little bowl with some of the broth then adding it back to the soup.

* I have a special green onion shredding device I got at Daiso. Without one of these, I think cutting green onions into little threads is more trouble than it's worth, so if you don't have one just slice them thinly on the diagonal.

misokoshi ii

** A misokoshi is a special deep sieve that you hold into the soup and press the miso through.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

soda bread

baked soda bread

Poor Rachael came to see me after school today, ailing with a migraine and asking for aspirin and lunch. I didn't have anything handy for lunch, so made her some nice soda bread. This recipe makes a tiny loaf, suitable for two--soda bread doesn't keep as well as regular bread, so this is a useful feature for a small household.

headachy rachael

By the time the bread was ready to eat Rachael was revived by a nap and had a hearty appetite. Partway through the loaf she sang 'I'm in the mood for bread, simply because it's yummy,' and when it was finished she said 'You should have made a three-person loaf, Mommy, and I could have been the third person!'

I used King Arthur Flour Irish-Style Wholemeal Flour, but if you don't have that I've suggested an alternative.

Brown Soda Bread

250g KA Wholemeal flour
or 150g whole wheat pastry flour,
50g whole wheat bread flour, and 50g all-purpose flour
1/2t baking soda
1/4t cream of tartar
1/4t salt
1t sugar
1T margarine
175ml soy yogurt or soy milk soured with 1t lemon juice

Sift the soda into the flour, then whisk in the remaining dry ingredients. Rub the margarine in with your fingers, then stir in the yogurt till there aren't any dry bits. Knead 3 or 4 times, then shape into a disk about 5 inches across and an inch thick. Cut a cross on the top and bake at 425°F for about 35 minutes. It will be very crumbly unless you let it cool thoroughly before cutting into it, but that's up to you!

cut soda bread

Sunday, February 8, 2009

mac & cheeze

mac i

Since Rachael was a tiny child one of her favorite dinners has been macaroni and cheese and broccoli. I tried every once in a while to make non-cheese versions, but Rachael always rejected them. Now that she's a vegan I decided to try again, with a variation on this recipe. I left out the onion, as Rachael doesn't like oniony macaroni, and added some cheezey flavors like nutritional yeast and miso. It was a success, and Rachael said I should put it on this blog for Annie's delectation.

Macaroni and Cheeze

1lb macaroni, cooked till al dente (I used brown rice macaroni)
2C frozen peas
a 5" length of French bread, cut into little cubes
1T olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
unsweetened soy milk
2/3C raw cashews
1/3C non-hydrogenated margarine, like Earth Balance
1/2C nutritional yeast
2T pale miso (I used chickpea)
2T tahini
2T lemon juice
1/2t mustard flour
1/2t salt
freshly grated nutmeg and black pepper, to taste

Cook the potatoes and carrots till tender. I did it in my pressure cooker, with 1/2C water for 3 minutes at high pressure; with a conventional pan, try 1C water for 10 minutes. When it's done, add the vegetables and their cooking water, and enough soy milk to make 1-1/2C liquid total, to your blender. Put in the remaining sauce ingredients and blend till very smooth.

Mix the macaroni, peas and sauce together in a big bowl, then put in a greased casserole. Toss the bread crumbs with the olive oil and garlic, then scatter over the macaroni. Bake at 375°F for about 20 minutes, till it's bubbly and the top is nicely browned.

mac ii

Thursday, February 5, 2009

lemon almond cake

lemon almond cake i

I've been working on this cake for a while, and I think--after the fourth try--I've mastered it. It's a veganisation (and lemonification) of Nigella's famous Clementine Cake. My main difficulty, I think, was that Meyer lemons are a lot wetter than clementines, so I had to reduce the liquid quite a bit for the cake to not come out as damp as a steamed pudding.

Lemon Almond Cake

115g sugar
150g blanched almonds
1/4t salt
1t baking powder
200g Meyer lemons (2 or 3, depending on their size)
1T each tapioca flour and golden flax seed or meal
1t vanilla extract

Cook the lemons, whole, in a pressure cooker with 1/3C water (or whatever is the smallest amount that will let your cooker come up to pressure) for 6 minutes at high pressure. Alternatively, boil in a pan of water for 1 1/2 hours. Let cool till they're easy to handle, then quarter them and pick out the seeds. Put in a blender with 2T of the cooking water and the tapioca, flax, and vanilla. Blend until very smooth and fluffy.

Grind the almonds in a food processor with the sugar till they're very fine, feeling like fine cornmeal when you rub it between your fingers. Add the salt and baking powder and mix together well. Stir in your lemon paste, then spread the batter in a greased 7" cake pan. Bake at 375°F for 1/2 an hour, then cover with tin foil and turn the heat down to 350°F, and cook for another 25 minutes. Let cool in its pan, then hide it away to eat the next day. This cake is very moist, and should keep well for several days.

If you want to make it with clementines, just cook them a little longer (7 minutes in the pressure cooker, 2 hours in a conventional pan) and add 3T of water when you're blending them. A pinch of cinnamon would go well with the clementines.

Ready-made almond meal works well too, but results in an unappealingly wholesome-looking cake, all flecked with brown. It's less work, though, and you don't have to dirty up a food processor. Just whisk the almond meal, baking powder, sugar and salt together, then mix in the lemon fluff.

lemon almond cake iv

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ginger cookies

I veganised David Lebovtiz's ginger cookies, and they turned out very well. Rachael and I sneaked a bunch into to the movies, and I ate the rest throughout the week with my work lunch. After a week they were still nice and fresh.

ginger cookies

Fat-free, Vegan Ginger Cookies

makes 2-2 1/2 dozen cookies

215g dark brown sugar
75g applesauce
45g dark molasses
75g (1/4C) flax gloop (my favorite egg substitute for cookies)
315g flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
50g finely-chopped candied ginger (very finely chopped if serving to Rachael: she objected to a chunk she found in one of her cookies)
1/2C sugar mixed with 1/4t cinnamon, for rolling the cookies in

Beat the applesauce, brown sugar, molasses, and flax gloop for four minutes in your stand mixer, or until very thoroughly mixed if doing by hand. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients except the candied ginger and the rolling sugar, and mix into the applesauce mixture. Stir the ginger into the dough, and chill for at least two hours.

Have ready two Silpat or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Grab off walnut-sized lumps of the very sticky dough and roll them around in the cinnamon sugar. Arrange them on the cookie sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between them. Bake at 350ºF for 12-14 minutes, till barely set in the middle. Cool on their Silpats.