Tag Archives: tomato

How Dare You Post So Late, Baker!

Oops.  March kind of slipped through my fingers … I blame the ides.  Speaking of ides, I made a Caesar Salad with Tempeh Croutons (to go with the rest of my post…)

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I’ll put up that recipe later … Now!  On to the more important matter at hand – March’s Daring Bakers Challenge!

Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna (veganized)

(From The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food by Lynne Rossetto Kasper (published by William Morrow and Company Inc., 1992))

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Recipe

(Serves 8 to 10 as a first course, 6 to 8 as a main dish)

Preparation Time: 15 minutes to assemble and 40 minutes cooking time

10 quarts (9 litres) salted water
1 recipe Spinach Pasta cut for lasagna (recipe follows)#1
1 recipe Bechamel Sauce (recipe follows)#2
1 recipe Country Style Ragu (recipe follows)#3
1 cup (4 ounces/125g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Method
Working Ahead:
The ragu and the béchamel sauce can be made up to three days ahead. The ragu can also be frozen for up to one month. The pasta can be rolled out, cut and dried up to 24 hours before cooking. The assembled lasagne can wait at room temperature (20 degrees Celsius/68 degrees Fahrenheit) about 1 hour before baking. Do not refrigerate it before baking, as the topping of béchamel and cheese will overcook by the time the center is hot.

Assembling the Ingredients:
Have all the sauces, rewarmed gently over a medium heat, and the pasta at hand. Have a large perforated skimmer and a large bowl of cold water next to the stove. Spread a double thickness of paper towels over a large counter space. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Oil or butter a 3 quart (approx 3 litre) shallow baking dish.

Cooking the Pasta:
Bring the salted water to a boil. Drop about four pieces of pasta in the water at a time. Cook about 2 minutes. If you are using dried pasta, cook about 4 minutes, taste, and cook longer if necessary. The pasta will continue cooking during baking, so make sure it is only barely tender. Lift the lasagne from the water with a skimmer, drain, and then slip into the bowl of cold water to stop cooking. When cool, lift out and dry on the paper towels. Repeat until all the pasta is cooked.

Assembling the Lasagne:
Spread a thin layer of béchamel over the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange a layer of about four overlapping sheets of pasta over the béchamel. Spread a thin layer of béchamel (about 3 or 4 spoonfuls) over the pasta, and then an equally thin layer of the ragu. Sprinkle with about 1&1/2 tablespoons of the béchamel and about 1/3 cup of the cheese. Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used, finishing with béchamel sauce and topping with a generous dusting of cheese.

Baking and Serving the Lasagne:
Cover the baking dish lightly with foil, taking care not to let it touch the top of the lasagne. Bake 40 minutes, or until almost heated through. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, or until hot in the center (test by inserting a knife – if it comes out very warm, the dish is ready). Take care not to brown the cheese topping. It should be melted, creamy looking and barely tinged with a little gold. Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and let the lasagne rest for about 10 minutes. Then serve. This is not a solid lasagne, but a moist one that slips a bit when it is cut and served.

My Alterations

I used a pasta recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan for my handmade noodles, a  Mushroom Lentil Ragu recipe from Eat The Right Stuff, and a Beschamel recipe from Vegan Dad.  I adapted everything to my own needs and it worked out really well!  I made everything all in one day, starting with the sauces in the morning.  I took a break to go throw a frisbee in the park (it’s gorgeous outside!) and came back to work on the noodles.  For the parmesan, I ended up using shredded FYH Mozzarella – this was the first time it didn’t melt perfectly for me.

Right now, I’m in a kitchen that is equipped with little more than a stove and one pot, but I made this thing work!  I ended up kneading my dough by hand and rolling it out on the dining room table, using a giant bottle of soy sauce as a rolling pin.  I used to make pasta when I was a kid with my parents, but we used a machine and there were usually eggs involved.  They’re really not necessary!  I even used semolina in place of the chickpea/soy flour and everything held up really well.  The mess wasn’t too heinous and I would probably make this recipe again if I wanted to impress someone with my Italian prowess.  I do have dual Italian citizenship, so it’s about time I prove my worth with some homemade pasta!

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Best served to friends and family outdoors with romantic lighting.  Don’t invite anyone you don’t want falling in love with you.

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Daring Bakers October Challenge: Pizza

I can’t believe I managed to get this challenge done!  I finished last night – right under the wire!  This month was originally supposed to be hosted by Rosa’s Yummy Yums with Sherry at http://www.whatdidyoueat.typepad.com/ and Glenna at http://www.afridgefulloffood.typepad.com/.  In a sad turn of events, Sherry suffered a heart attack and passed away.  This month’s post is in honor of her.

~ BASIC PIZZA DOUGH ~
Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

Ingredients:
4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled – FOR GF: 4 ½ cups GF Flour Blend with xanthan gum or 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup corn flour, 1 cup oat flour, 1 ½ cup arrowroot, potato or tapioca starch + 2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast – FOR GF use 2 tsp
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar – FOR GF use agave syrup
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

DAY ONE

Method:
1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

Or

2.  FOR GF: Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough.

3. Flour a work surface or counter.  Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them.  Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

DAY TWO

8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

Or

8.  FOR GF:  On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator.  Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

Or

10.  FOR GF: Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter – for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough).

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.
In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.
You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter – for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

Or

11.  FOR GF: Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

Or

12.  FOR GF:  Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.

Or

13.  FOR GF:  Follow the notes for this step.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

My Adjustments

I am trying to stay away from wheat right now, but I really wanted to make this recipe!  Rather than make a GF pizza, I decided to try the spelt flour I already had on hand.  The results were great!  The crust is crunch on the edges and held up very well in the middle.  My tosses were sad little hops and flops and the first crust I ended up just spreading out with my fingers.  The second crust, however, was successful!!  I felt a mild sense of pride and accomplishment!  On my first pizza, I made a walnut-pesto and topped that with sun-dried tomatoes (which burned, oops) and soy feta.  I think I can live without the feta next time, but it sure looked neat.  On my second pizza, I went for a classic and made a tomato sauce and topped it with For Your Heart mozarella and soy pepperoni.  I just had some for breakfast.  Don’t tell anyone.

Crazy Bean Sports League

On Sunday I had a Kickball/Going Away Picnic in the park with all my favorite deputies.  It was AMAZING. A few games of kickball (in which we recruited four other picnickers) turned into ultimate frisbee and then a tennis tournament.  It was like we were all five years old at a field day!  I had so much fun and I’m really grateful to everyone who came for giving me such a nice send-off to New York.  Of course, I had to test out some new recipies on my loved cronies.  After two failed attempts at making vegan brownies (ugh), I decided to make the salad you see above and Oatmeal Cream Pies!  At the picnic, everyone referred to my salad as:

That Crazy Bean Salad

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 Purple Onion
  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 1 can black beans

Directions

  • Chop the peppers, onion, and tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces and put in a large bowl
  • Drain the corn and beans and add to the bowl
  • Mix it all up like you’ve got something to dance about

I had this salad a couple nights ago at my aunt and uncle’s house and fell in love with it.  It was perfect for a hot day of running around and kicking things and crashing into people.  Just in case you need a recipe for that.

What’s that?  Oatmeal Cream Pies?

These things are so sweet and decadent that you’d think I’d have only been able to polish off one.  You’d be wrong four times.  The oatmeal cookie part is based off of Kittee’s Oatmeal Cookies minus the chocolate chips and cherries.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Earth Balance (half a tub) or soy margarine
  • 2 T molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached granulated sugar
  • Ener-G egg replacer for 1 1/2 eggs (follow box directions)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups rolled oats

Filling

  • 1/4 C vegan margerine
  • 1/4 C vegetable shortening
  • 2 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract

Directions (copied from pakupaku.info)

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and both sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Add the prepared egg substitute and beat together.
  • Add the vanilla and mix to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda and stir it into the creamed mixture until well combined.
  • Add the oats and mix to combine.
  • Spoon a heaping teaspoon of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat, spacing the cookies at least two inches apart. You should have room for three rows of four cookies.
  • Bake cookies until golden brown, 14-16 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes four dozen delite-full cookies.
  • Begin to prepare the filling by creaming the sugar and margerine for two minutes.
  • Add in the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  • Construct the cream pies by spooning a heaping teaspoonful of the filling and smashing it between two cookies.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Everyone seemed to like the cream pies, but I’m not sure anyone appreciated them quite as much as this guy:

Theo managed to snag a cookie and got through a third of it before I noticed.  Sneaky little mustache man.