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Days 8-10 Vegan September 11, 2014

Filed under: Breakfast,Dinner,Vegan,Vegan MoFo — pastrybrush @ 3:23 pm
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IMG_4798

Not too much has happened in the past few days.  I have made a few items and I am making a good amount of stuff tonight for dinner (Day 11), but I will post about that when it is complete.

Day 8

I made the Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna from Veganomicon and I add the Almasan on top.  It was very good and the husband actually like it.

Do you know how hard it is for me to get him to eat tofu?

VERY

I tricked him once in the form of a chocolate pie.  He really liked the pie, but he wasn’t too happy with me when I told him there was tofu in it after the fact.  HAHAHAHAHAHA (evil laugh).

The Almasan was AWESOME!!! I could totally imagine putting that on top of popcorn.

With regard to the lasagna I used a little less spinach because I was having some issues fitting everything into the baking dish.  I thought I was going to have a drip mess in the oven so I baked it on a sheet pan, but surprisingly it didn’t drip at all.  I was EXTREMELY surprised because that lasagna was essentially over the top of the rim of the baking dish.  I did add sautéed onions to the marinara sauce along with some fresh basil.  I think next time I am going to sauté the spinach up with some garlic and season it with salt and pepper.  I would also give that same treatment to the mushrooms (which I had 20 oz instead of 16oz).  Essentially giving everything layers of flavor so that it isn’t too bland.

Oh yeah, and I love garlic so you can never have too much.

Day 9

IMG_4796You know how you have those days where you just NEED some carbs.  You don’t just want it, you NEED it.  Well that was me on Day 9.  I knew that Mike (the husband) wasn’t going to eat Coconut French Toast (Isa Does It).  It has nothing to do with flavor, he is fine with that. He doesn’t like the texture of coconut.  Since the Coconut French Toast is dipped in batter and then unsweetened shredded coconut, I knew it was a no go for him.  I made half the recipe because I knew I couldn’t eat 6 pieces of bread.  I used my leftover Whole Wheat French Bread that I made last week, and it turned out fantastic.  At first I was skeptical because I always put sugar in my French Toast batter and this one doesn’t have any. I decided to go with it just to see what happens.  The French Toast was rich from cooking it in coconut oil, so I didn’t need to put the usual vegan butter on top.  I just drizzled it with a little bit of maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar and the sweetness was perfect.  I threw some frozen berries on the plate for some color.

I some how was able to do this with the girls playing in the other room.  But the peace didn’t last long when I heard Emma say, “Uh-oh” and then come into the kitchen looking for a cloth.  I walked into the living room and she had dropped her drink on the floor and it busted open.  So I had to clean that out of the carpet. Funny thing was my 1 year old came over to the carpet after I had cleaned it and tried to lick the floor like one of the dogs.

Crazy children 🙂

Day 10

Not too much has happened. My knees have been bothering me, and that is just because I am not a runner and I am training for a 5k.  I made it to the gym and I have gradually knocked off a minute from my average mile time in a week.  But trust me it isn’t close to being fast at all, progress is progress so I will take it. I haven’t been keeping up with the 21 day fix workouts this time around, but I have been sticking to my diet (lifestyle eating change).

I started making the Grasshopper Pie in Vegan Pie In The Sky so that we could have it for dessert on day 11 (today).  I am very excited for this pie, and I also thank my husband everyday that he bought me a Vitamix because it really helps with making pies and sauces with nuts (cashews).

Eating Vegan has been going very well, and I am surprised by the variety that I have been able to include in my diet.  My omnivore diet was not as varied.  I decided to step on the scale and just see if anything has happened because it has been hard for me to loose a couple of pounds lately.  I usually gain muscle and don’t lose weight at all or it is just slow going.  I always see results with regard to measurements just not on the scale.  So yeah, I lost 2 lbs in a week just changing to a Vegan diet.

 

Daring Cooks: Savory Edible Container April 14, 2011

Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at http://thedaringkitchen.com!

The rules for this challenge are as follows:

Mandatory Items: To make a SAVORY edible container and fill it with something appropriate.

Variations allowed:

  • You may want to use one of the ideas provided here as described, or give them your own twists and your own recipes for the content.
  • Or, you can choose to create something totally new, from scratch.
  • As long as it is a container, it is edible, and has a content suitable for it, I want you all to have a lot of fun challenging your creativity!

For this challenge I decided to go with a recipe that I have wanted to bake for awhile now, but just ended up putting it on the back burner, Bacon and Egg Pastries w/Spinach and Roasted Red Peppers.  The edible containers is actually puff pastry, something that is very yummy, and something that I have made for a Daring Bakers’ Challenge.

These pastries were very yummy, and can be eaten anytime of the day.  We actually had them for dinner, and they were fantastic.

Bacon and Egg Pastries

with spinach and roasted red peppers

Source: Cuisine at Home, April 2008, Issue 68, page 32-33

Makes 4 pastries

Total Time: about 1 hour

Fry; Add and Saute:

2 strips thick-sliced bacon, diced

2/3 cup white or red-skinned potatoes

1/2 cup onion, diced

1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced

1/2 t. minced fresh rosemary (I omitted this)

1 1/2 cups fresh spinach

Salt and pepper to taste

Beat; Add:

2 oz cream cheese, sofened

3 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup Gruyere or Swiss Cheese, shredded

1 T. all-purpose flour

1/2 t. zosher salt

1/8 t. cayenne

Roll out; Brush Pastries with:

1 sheet purchased puff pastry, slightly thawed

1 egg beaten with 1 T. water

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Coast four 4″ quiche pans with removable bottoms with nonstick spray and arrange on a baking sheet (I used 4″ round springform pans because I didn’t have quiche pans.  They turned out great, but just not as pretty).

1) FRY bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat until crisp; drain on a paper towel-lined plate.  Pour off all but 1 T. drippings and return pan to burner.  add potatoes, onion, peppers, and rosemary; cook covered, until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.  Stir in spinach, reserved bacon, salt, and pepper; set filling aside.

2) Beat cream cheese in a bowl with a hand mixer, then blend in eggs.  Add milk, cheese, four, and seasonings; beat to blend.

3) Roll pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 12″ square.  Cut into four 6″ squares, then lightly press 1 square into each prepared pan.  Spoon about 1/3 cup potato mixture into each pan, then pour about 1/3 cup egg mixture on top.

4) Fold corners of sough onto filling, brush with egg wash, and bake until crust is browned and filling is set, 20-25 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before unmolding.

 

Daring Cooks Challenge: Soufflés November 14, 2010

Filed under: Baking,Breakfast,The Daring Cooks' — pastrybrush @ 11:43 am
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Yes, Yes, Yes.

You have entered the zone of procrastination station, and I was suppose to post this on November 14th.  The whole stomach bug thing, put me out of commission for awhile and I said I would make this and I DID!!!! YAY!!!

Because I was the only person eating this, for breakfast, I decided to only make half a recipe.  I also substituted spinach because I was unable to find watercress.  As you will see from the picture, I didn’t use a souffle dish when I baked it so it flared out a little and essentially looks like it is wearing a brown hat 🙂  My bad, I had a few dishes handed but I figured the big one was too big and the tiny ones WAY too small.  I opted for another dish that of course didn’t have straight sides.  The Souffle turned out great.  It was very yummy and perfect for breakfast. (more…)

 

Daring Cooks Challenge: Chicken en Croute and The MIA Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Cannolis December 14, 2009

The 2009 Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Simone of Junglefrog Cooking. Simone chose Salmon en Croute (or alternative recipes for Beef Wellington or Vegetable en Croute) from Good Food Online.

For this challenge I change up the recipe A LOT ended up subbing the chicken for the salmon, used only spinach, and subbed herb and garlic feta for the cream cheese.

Now you ask me why did you not use Salmon or making Beef Wellington.

Answer: Salmon and I have a bad history together….REALLY bad.  It goes back to an incident in my childhood and we just don’t get along.  Now, I have discovered over the past few years that I am completely fine with eating raw salmon at sushi places but once you cook it or smoke it, it is all over.  At one point in my life, I also worked in a seafood restaurant in the kitchen and would often have to cook my Nemesis Salmon and that didn’t bode well either.

Now, no Beef Wellington because I made it once and my husband said he really didn’t care for it.  But he fessed up later that he really doesn’t like things encased in pastry.  Then I had to remind him of the lamb and potato pies that we had in New Zealand, that he couldn’t get enough of 🙂

So, it came down to chicken, spinach, and herb/garlic feta because it was A LOT less expensive and I love the combination.  I ended up making a little packet for each of us and we actually enjoyed it a lot.  I used a small package of frozen spinach that I squeezed on the excess water, a small log of feta, and put it in a food processor and pulsed until combined.  Then I spread half of the spinach mixture on one piece of pastry and half on the other.  I laid one boneless-skinless chicken breast on top of the spinach mixture for each pastry, brushed egg whites on the edges of the pastry, and wrapped the dough around the chicken to seal it.  I cut a vent hole in the top of each pastry and baked it at 390°F for approximately 45-50 minutes.

Now…the MIA Daring Bakers’ Challenge for November 2009

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

Sorry it took me so long to actually make and post about this, but I told you that I would do it because come on…who in the right mind does not like a Cannoli.  I was so happy when this was chosen because it finally gave me a chance to use the Cannoli Forms that I bought over 3 years ago 🙂 These turned out fantastic and I really enjoyed making them.  Last but not least, they were very yummy.

Recipes for the above Challenges:

Salmon en croute:

Recipe source : Good Food online

Ingredients
Mascarpone or creamcheese 5.2 ounces/150 gr
Watercress, rocket (arugula) and spinach – 0.6 cup/4.2 ounces/120 gr
Shortcrust pastry – 17.6 ounces, 500 gr. Use a butterversion such as Jus-rol which is frozen or dorset pastry. or… make your own!
Salmon fillet (skinless)- 17.6 ounce/500 gr
egg – 1 medium sized

Directions:
1.Heat the oven to 200°C/390 F. Put the mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor with the watercress, spinach and rocket and whizz the lot until you have a creamy green puree. Season well.
2. Roll the pastry out so you can wrap the salmon in it completely (approx. 2-3 mm thick) and lay it on a buttered or oiled baking sheet (it will hang over the edges). Put the salmon in the middle. If it has a thinner tail end, tuck it under. Spoon half of the watercress mixture onto the salmon. Now fold the pastry over into a neat parcel (the join will be at the top, so trim the edge neatly), making sure you don’t have any thick lumps of pastry as these won’t cook through properly. Trim off any excess as you need to. Make 3 neat cuts in the pastry to allow steam to escape and make some decorations with the off-cuts to disguise the join if you like. Brush with the egg glaze.
3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. To test wether the salmon is cooked, push a sharp knife through one of the cuts into the flesh, wait for 3 seconds then test it against the inside of your wrist; if it is hot, the salmon is cooked. Serve with the rest of the watercress puree as a sauce.

Shortcrust pastry
While this is not mandatory to do, I highly recommend making your own shortcrust pastry as it is very simple to do! As mentioned in the notes; please make sure to not add too much water as that is the key to having a successful shortcrust pastry. Watch this video to check the correct consistency of the dough Making shortcrust pastry

Ingredients:
450 gr (15.8 ounces or 3.2 cups ) of plain all purpose flour
200 gr ( 7 ounce) cold butter
pinch of salt

Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you have a food processor you can use that as shown in the above video.
Stir in the salt, then add 2-3 tbsp of water and mix to a firm dough. Knead the dough briefly and gently on a floured surface. Wrap in cling film and chill while preparing the filling.

For best results make sure the butter is very cold.

Lidisano’s Cannoli
Makes 22-24 4-inch cannoli
Prep time:
Dough – 2 hours and 10-20 minutes, including resting time, and depending on whether you do it by hand or machine.
Filling – 5-10 minutes plus chilling time (about 2 hours or more)
Frying – 1-2 minutes per cannoli
Assemble – 20–30 minutes

CANNOLI SHELLS
2 cups (250 grams/8.82 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces) toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for garnish
Confectioners’ sugar

CANNOLI FILLING
2 lbs (approx. 3.5 cups/approx. 1 kg/32 ounces) ricotta cheese, drained
1 2/3 cups cup (160 grams/6 ounces) confectioner’s sugar, (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it), sifted
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (4 grams/0.15 ounces) pure vanilla extract or the beans from one vanilla bean
3 tablespoons (approx. 28 grams/approx. 1 ounce) finely chopped good quality chocolate of your choice
2 tablespoons (12 grams/0.42 ounces) of finely chopped, candied orange peel, or the grated zest of one small to medium orange
3 tablespoons (23 grams/0.81 ounce) toasted, finely chopped pistachios

DIRECTIONS FOR SHELLS:
1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

2 Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

3 Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, oiled..lol). Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.

4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.

5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.

8. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.

9. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

DIRECTIONS FOR FILLING:
1. Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Weight it down with a heavy can, and let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.

2. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and stir in chocolate, zest and nuts. Chill until firm.(The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).

ASSEMBLE THE CANNOLI:
1. When ready to serve..fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the ricotta cream. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer.

2. Press or dip cannoli in chopped pistachios, grated chocolate/mini chocolate chips, candied fruit or zest into the cream at each end. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and/or drizzles of melted chocolate if desired.

 

The Daring Bakers’: Vegan Crackers and Dips September 27, 2008

When I saw that this months Daring Bakers’ Challenge was chosen by two of the Alternative Daring Bakers : Natalie from Gluten A Go Go, and co-host Shel, of Musings From the Fishbowl.  They chose for this months recipe to be Lavash Crackers from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

The Challenge was to make Lavash Crackers and create a dip/spread/salsa/relish to accompany it.  The catch was that all dips/spreads/relishes/salsas must be vegan and gluten free.  So essentially it is Vegan Crackers and Dip.  I was sad for a second that it wasn’t something sweet.  Then I was extremely happy for two reasons: it was vegan, and it was savory.  I have been making so many sweet dishes lately that savory was a nice change.  I was happy that it was vegan not because I am vegan (I am an omni actually) but because if you are a regular reader you know about my Vegan Adventure. (more…)

 

Vegan Adventure #13 September 19, 2008

Filed under: Appetizer,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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Wait for it…

Wait for it…

Sorry, it isn’t a cupcake 😦

It’s SPANAKOPITA!!!!

Okay, first thing first, back in college I use to always go to a Greek Restaurant with A-Jello every Tuesday and Thursday.  We would sit at the bar and people watch, since it was right on the corner.  We went there so much that after I graduated I went back a year later by myself and the owner still remembered me and asked where A-Jello was.  The owner was hilarious.  The stories he used to tell :sigh:  I miss that place.  I used to always get the Gyro and a Pita Pizza with Cucumber Sauce.  I think A-Jello used to get the Soulvaki with either a Pita Pizza or Fries.  Oh the simple times. (more…)

 

Vegan Adventure #3 August 22, 2008

Filed under: Curry,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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The Vegan Adventure continues with Chickpea and Spinach Curry. I wasn’t too intrigued by this recipe when I first read it through. Until I went to The Post Punk Kitchen’s Flickr page and saw a picture that someone took when they made this recipe. It looked SO GOOD that I knew that I had to make it.

The only problem that I had with this recipe was trying to find asafoetida (hing powder). Fizzle was right when he said that it is hard to find. Since it was only optional, I gave up and did not use it. The curry turned out great. I have never had a real curry or gone to an India restaurant or anything to get curry. My usually curry consists of me buying a jar of curry paste and making something close to the recipe on the back of the jar. It usually involves 1 chopped onion, 1 can diced tomatoes, curry paste, chicken, and hot cooked rice. Yes, chicken….remember I am not vegan I only play one on TV. Wait, I mean I am just experimenting right now.

(more…)