Tuesday, April 28, 2009

easy Spargel

r l & m ii

I had Rachael and her friends over for yummy vegan grilled cheese last week, and I fixed my favorite easy asparagus to go with it. I usually cook it a little longer, till it gets wizened and flecked with brown, but Rachael was really eager to eat so I served it as soon as it was tender.

You can make this with fat or skinny asparagus, but I like the fat kind better--I think it's tenderer, as long as you peel the bottom halves. Be sure to read the ingredients of your ponzu to make sure it doesn't have bonito, if you care about those things.

Easy Roasted Spargel

12oz asparagus, bottom halves peeled if they're fat ones
pinch of salt
2t olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2t ponzu
grated toasted sesame seeds (or lightly crush them if you don't have a grater)

Heat oven to 450°F. Put the asparagus in a singer layer in your baking dish, then sprinkle with the olive oil and salt and roll it around till it's coated. Arrange the garlic slices among the spears, then bake for 15-25 minutes, till cooked the way you like it. Sprinkle with ponzu, roll around till coated, then garnish with the sesame seeds.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Japanese garden

I unexpectedly didn't work yesterday, so Annie and I went on a photo outing to the arboretum's Japanese garden. We couldn't find our membership card, but the lady guarding the gate found our name on a list and let us in after we proved who we were. I showed off my new camera (look! I can slow the shutter speed to make the water blurry!)


and my new macro lens (look at the in-focus moss flowers!)


and enjoyed the pretty sights.


There weren't too many flowers out yet, so we hope to return in a couple of weeks, before our membership expires.

Afterwards we went to Cafe Flora where we ate yam French fries and farro. My food pictures didn't turn out well, but here's a photo of my napkin:


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

sunflower cheese

sunflower cheese

I made this cheese to go with my knäckebröd during my six-day stretch of work. This recipe made just about the right amount to have a 3T blob in my lunch every day. I used a teaspoon of Spanish paprika, and at first I thought it was too smoky and I'd overdone it but over the course of the week I came to like it like that. If you don't like smokiness at all you could substitute Hungarian paprika for Spanish, or substitute some entirely different mild chile like pasilla powder.

Smokey Sunflower Cheese

1 1/3C sunflower seeds soaked overnight to become 2C of swollen seeds
juice of a lemon
2T chickpea miso
1 clove garlic
1/2t salt
1/2-1t Spanish paprika (the amount depending on how well you like smokiness)
1T sherry vinegar

Whiz everything in your blender till smooth.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter duckies

duckies at the window

Look at the cute duckies I knitted from berlinerbabe's pattern! They were a very quick knit, and are made Eastery by being stuffed with Cadbury eggs.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

carroty knäckebröd

raw knäckebröd

I'm working six days in a row starting tomorrow, so have been spending my day planning and cooking for my work lunches. I made a batch of knäckebröd with carrots and coriander which, if I'm careful to only eat them at work, should last me five days. They're very similar to the julknäckebröd I made in December, except I tried a new method of baking them to get them to turn out less hard.

two knäckebröds

Carrot-Coriander Knäckebröd

100g rye leaven, 80% hydration
125g dark rye flour
100g dark spelt flour
1t coriander seed, ground
2 medium carrots, about 150g, well-cooked and mashed
carrot-cooking water plus additional water to make 150ml
1/4t instant yeast
3/4t salt

Mix all the ingredients together with your hands and let rise a couple of hours or overnight. Roll out onto parchment paper, using plenty of rye flour to prevent sticking, till it's 1/2cm thick. Cover with a cloth and let rise again for a couple of more hours, till puffy. Dimple all over with the end of a wooden spoon and score with a little knife or rolling ravioli cutter into the size you'd like your crackers to be. Bake at 400ºF for fifteen minutes, then turn the oven off. Take the crackers out, turn them over, and return to the turned-off oven for another 10 minutes to dry out. Break apart and store in a tin.

knäckebröd pieces

Sunday, April 5, 2009

challah for Lillian


Lillian's eighteenth birthday was a couple of weeks ago, but because of my work schedule I couldn't have her and Rachael over for a partylet till yesterday. The dinner menu was nearly all from Vegan Soul Kitchen, since they're both fans of Bryant Terry: we had squash and pear soup, rosemary-roasted tofu, grits cakes, chard and spinach with lemon tahini sauce, and ginger yam pie. The only non-soul-food thing I served was challah, at Lillian's request. I adapted this from a recipe in A Blessing of Bread, and it turned out to be the hit of the party, very soft and fluffy. Lillian urged me to post the recipe here so that Annie can make it for Rachael.

darker raw challah

Eggless Challah

2T oil
50ml soy milk
a pinch of saffron threads
380g bread flour
45g sugar (less if you don't want your bread to be sweet)
1t instant yeast
1T potato flour
1T chickpea flour
1t granulated lecithin
165ml cold water
1 1/2t vanilla extract
1t salt
sesame or poppy seeds
Cornstarch glaze:
1/2t cornstarch mixed with 1/4C water and simmered 5 minutes till thick and transparent

Mix the oil in a little bowl with 50g of the flour, and set aside. Warm the soy milk with the saffron and let it steep while you gather the rest of your ingredients.

Put the rest of the flour, the sugar, yeast, chickpea and potato flours, and lecithin in your mixer bowl. Add the water, saffron soy milk, and vanilla and mix on low for about five minutes, till you get a soft dough that cleans the bowl. Add the salt and mix it in, then add the oil paste. Mix on as high a speed as you can (without making your mixer walk off the counter) for 8-10 minutes, till it passes the windowpane test. Let the dough rise till doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Shape however you like (I made a four-strand braid), and let rise another hour and a half. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes. Brush with cornstarch glaze and sprinkle with seeds about 10 minutes before it's done.

challah crumb