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Breads

Muffins for breakfast this morning!  I’m always so grateful when people get together because as far as I’m concerned, that’s my opportunity to make them my baking guinea pigs!

The three muffins on the right side of the picture above are from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.  I loved them all, but I recommend cutting down on the vegan butter (1/3 cup?) and liquids in the ginger muffins, as they fell apart a little too easily.

The pumpkin chai is pretty much my chai cupcake recipe without the icing:

This was so yummy and hearty. It’s messy, so be prepared with a fork or serve open-faced!

Beer Bread

Beer Bread is so amazing!  It takes seriously 3 minutes to come together and 1 hour in the oven.  The inside is soft and the outside is crusty.  And you don’t have to like beer to like this bread… the beer flavor is there, but subtle.

Follow this Happy Herbivore recipe for 100% whole wheat beer bread.  Some tips:

  • Prep your dough after the oven is preheated!  The dough comes together so fast and you don’t want the leavening to weaken while it’s sitting on your counter waiting for the oven.
  • Consider doing half whole wheat pastry and half regular flour if you are using this for a sandwich as it can be a little dense as is.  Keep it all whole wheat if you are serving this with soup!

Caramelized Onions

  • 4 onions, sliced like this
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • black pepper
  • 1 tsp no-beef bouillon base
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup water

Heat a large pan over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, whole thyme sprigs, and pepper, and cook until the onions are caramelized.*  Dissolve no-beef bouillon in a small bowl with the wine and water.  Add the liquid to the pan, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium, simmering until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry.  Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

*Quick way to caramelize onions (Seriously this takes half the time with the same result!):

Start with a dry non-stick pan at medium-high heat… do not add water or oil.  Add onions. Stir once every minute or two with a wooden spoon until the onions release some moisture and then that moisture cooks away.  

When the moisture cooks away, the onions will start to brown and you will see a sticky brown substance start building up on the bottom of the pan.  This is when you want to start stirring the pan more frequently, every 15-30 seconds.  Allow the onions to stick to the pan a little and brown, but do not let them or the sugars on the pan burn.  Now every couple minutes or so, start adding two tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan.  Only deglaze the pan when you fear the sugars on the pan might burn or you will slow down the caramelization process.  When your onions look like this, you are done!

Creamy White Cheese Sauce

Chop the following veggies and steam in a steamer basket in a pot or saucepan:

  • 1 cup yukon potatoes (if using russet, you will need to peel)
  • 1/3 cup red onion
  • 2 Tbsp shallots or more onion

While the veggies are steaming, blend in your blender:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp or a few drops of yellow mustard
  • a few cloves of garlic (amt. depends on personal preference)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

When steamed veggies are soft, add to blender and process till smooth.

I made this delicious chili a few days ago and man does it go far!  This quinoa cornbread goes amazing with it… it’s moist, savory, and and the quinoa gives it a bit of a nutty flavor that’s really nice.  Both recipes are from Cathy Fisher at StraightUpFood.com.

Both of these recipes are gluten-, oil-, sugar-, and salt-FREE!

A couple modifications and tips:

For the cornbread (click here for recipe)

  • Don’t use the banana unless you want to taste it in your bread.  I subbed out 1/2 cup applesauce (one of those little containers) for the banana and it worked perfectly.
  • I also left out the cinnamon, because I thought that was weird for cornbread.
  • If you want a sweeter cornbread, you are either going to have to add a few more dates to your soaking liquid (discard any additional liquid you use to soak) or use sugar.
  • Use a coffee grinder to grind your whole flaxseeds, oats, and cornmeal.  I just bought this one recently, and I LOVE it!  I put it next to my 13-inch macbook so you could see how compact it is.  Click the photo for an amazon link to purchase it. 

For the chili (click here for the recipe):

  • Use Pomì Tomatoes (pictured above and can be purchased here in bulk on amazon, or in Arizona at Sprouts or Whole Foods).  Then you don’t have to worry about what’s leeching from the cans.
  • Don’t leave out the celery.  In her cooking demonstration at True North, Cathy said that celery gives the impression of saltiness… and it really does work in this chili.  I ALWAYS miss salt when they are left out of soups and stews, but I don’t miss it here.
  • If you like your chili spicy, then add come chipotle chili powder and some cayenne.  I also doubled all the spices she listed.
  • I heard this great tip about beans that I haven’t tried yet… If you want to avoid canned beans, but don’t want to be soaking and cooking dried beans every week, cook them in larger batches, then store in plastic sandwich bags or small jars in 1 1/2 cup portions in the freezer.  Most canned beans equal about 1 1/2 cups, so if a recipe calls for canned beans, you just pull out a bag or jar from the freezer!  I’m so doing this.