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2.28.2012

scallion buttermilk biscuits


i based these yummy biscuits on vaishali's basic version. i'm pretty excited about finding her food blog this morning while searching for biscuit recipes since i adore indian food and don't cook it enough! i'm making a scallion version using nutritional yeast for an undertone of cheesy flavor (you can just omit this part of the recipe if you're not a fan of nutritional yeast).


scallion buttermilk biscuits
wet ingredients
     1 cup cold unsweetened almond/soy/rice/coconut milk
     1 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
dry ingredients 
     1 cup all-purpose flour
     1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
     1/3 - 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
     2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
     1/2 teaspoon baking soda
     1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons organic coconut oil
3/4 - 1 cup chopped scallions

directions
- mix together wet ingredients and set aside to curdle. this will be your "buttermilk".

- in a medium bowl combine dry ingredients and then use a pastry blender or fork to mix in the coconut oil (coconut oil melts at 75F, so make sure your kitchen is pretty cool when you make these). use a spoon to mix in the scallions.

- pour your "buttermilk" into the dry mixture and mix just until blended.

- roll out to a 1/2 - 1 inch thickness and cut into circles using a cookie cutter (or the top of a glass). space your biscuits about an inch or so apart on a cookie sheet and let them rise in the fridge for a 1/2 hour while you preheat your oven to 450F.
steamy oven pic

- remove biscuits from the fridge, brush the tops with milk/oil mixture and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.

- bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.



i dare you to resist eating these while they cool- they're light and flaky and the scallions have a mild flavor that's not too oniony. the nutritional yeast is just an undertone (i used 1/3 cup, if you want a "cheesier" flavor you could definitely up it to 1/2 cup without worrying about it overpowering the biscuit), probably not even noticeable to someone who didn't know it was in there. i would serve these with:
• any soup or stew
• the traditional gravy (and a tofu scramble perhaps?)
• a baby spinach dinner salad with toasted tempeh (biscuits are perfect for sopping up salad dressing)
• zucchini lasagna, using zucchini instead of pasta (they also soak up tomato sauce pretty well)
• cut in half and make a mini hummus-sprout sandwich!
the biscuits on the right are lemon-poppyseed- no recipe because they didn't turn out so well....
i realize i've posted two "breakfast" recipes in a row- i promise the next food post will be something dinner or dessert-y!

2.26.2012

blueberry-maple seitan breakfast sausage!


The Breakfast (for dinner) of Champions!

one of my favorite meals is breakfast, or "breakfast for dinner", and i've been so excited all week to use these delicious organic blueberries for a yummy breakfast sausage!

blueberry-seitan breakfast sausage
dry ingredients
     2 cups wheat gluten
     1 Tbs dried or 2 Tbs fresh thyme
     2 tsp dried or 1 Tbs fresh sage
     1 tsp onion powder
     1/4 tsp salt
wet ingredients
     1 cup water
     1 cup blueberry sryup (see below)
     *optional: 1/2 tsp organic lemon zest



cooking liquid
8 cups filtered water
1/2 cup shoyu/tamari
equivalent of 2 bouillon cubes

blueberry syrup
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup maple syrup

directions
- mix cooking liquid supplies in a large stock pot. bring to a simmer while you mix up your seitan.

- make your blueberry syrup: combine your wet ingredients in a saucepan & simmer for 10ish minutes. remove from heat and let cool. at this point you can either mash/blend your blueberries and syrup together or leave the blueberries whole, depending on your preference.

- mix your dry ingredients together in a large bowl. add cooled blueberry syrup and mix until incorporated. the danger here is over-mixing, which can make your seitan rubbery. i mix as little as possible then let the dough sit for about 15 minutes to firm up, the wet and dry spots seem to even out this way.

- drop your whole piece of seitan into the cooking liquid and let simmer for about an hour. when you remove the seitan it will be a little swollen from the liquid, but it will shrink and firm up as it cools. i place it on a cutting board with a moat for this step as it keeps the liquid that the seitan releases from getting on the counter, but you could use a bowl or a deep plate too.

- now it's time to prepare your seitan sausage! just rip off pieces from your seitan loaf and fry them on a cast iron griddle or pan and serve with your favorite breakfast foods- my suggestion would be:
 • corn cakes & black beans
 • waffles/pancakes & fresh fruit
 • breakfast potatoes and a side of garlicky greens
 • BBQ skewers with pineapple chunks
 • tofu frittata
 • bagel and tofu-scallion cream cheese

this seitan sausage is somewhat sweet from the blueberry syrup, but after spending an hour simmering in the savory mixture it has a perfect combo of sweet & savory! if you're looking for something that leans more toward the savory side, you can sub 1/4 cup shoyu/tamari for the equivalent amount of the blueberry syrup. this will give you a saltier sausage that has a milder blueberry undertone.

i have to say that i'm pretty proud of myself for this seitan. the texture was perfect, it reminded me of the seitan at lan cafe, one of my very favorite nyc spots. mmmmm... lan cafe...

2.20.2012

getting our micro greens on!

nothing says sunday to me like walking hand-in-hand with my husband over to our local farmer's market. our first stop there is always tiny greens- we can't get enough of the micro onion sprouts, and as of yesterday i want to put micro cilantro on everything- these babies really pack a punch of flavor! in addition to being super delicious, baby micro greens are loaded with nutrients (probably why their taste is so fresh and intense). a plant's micro green stage is between the sprout (think alfalfa) and baby green (think tiny lettuce leaves). the micro green stage is  when the first little green leaves appear.
there seems to be a raging debate (within the sprouting community) over which stage, sprout or micro-green, is more nutrient-dense, but the claim either way is that these little tendrils have 20-50 times the nutrients of adult plants. personally, i'm not a huge fan of sprouts- their bland taste pales in comparison to intense flavor of micro-greens. and who really cares if micro greens have the same amount of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients as the mature plant when they're absolutely delicious and so pretty too!
tiny greens must have about 10 different baby micro greens for sale by the ounce at any given time and they're happy to let you try a few before you buy. we get the black onion every week and a few others depending on what they have on hand. the other must-tries are tiny greens' amazing sprouted humus and sprouted tortillas (we also get the fresh, sprouted tofu, which is beyond yummy)... everything you need for the most delicious post-farmer's market snack:



2.11.2012

ain't no shame in our star trek game...

last night i made grilled polenta with portobellos and onions in a bordeaux sauce. sure it was delicious, but really, i was looking for an excuse to use these amazing cookie cutters our friend donella just gave us:

don't be jealous, you can get yours here!
after cooking the polenta i poured it into a shallow casserole pan to cool & set up. then i cut it and grilled it in our little george foreman (i bet mara and matt never thought i'd still be using this 10 years after they gave it to me!), and served it with the sauce and a yummy parsley & rice salad. obviously this meal called for a camp-out on the couch  for a little ST:DS9 dinner theater (we're watching all of DS9 over in order).

welcome to our nerdy kitchen collection little cookie cutters! i think you'll feel right at home... 

the equally amazing pizza cutter we got for xmas this year

2.06.2012

the ups and downs of home-made soymilk

when i make something new i usually read through a bunch of recipes (in my cook books, on the internet) and then take the parts i like from each and sub a few ingredients to come up with something that works best for what i know i like/dislike and what i have in the house. after reading about the crazy amount of work involved in making soymilk at home (here, here, and even the "simple way" here), and then comparing it to the recipe in my vita-mix cookbook (video version here) i didn't need to be convinced to use the easier version. it was pretty much just like the vita-mix video- so easy i tried to give myself more work by straining the milk to see if there was any of the okara, but all i got was the milky foam (like a cappuccino!):



so i just enjoyed my soymilk with some warm irish soda bread and melty chocolate chips:


a note on taste:  i really liked the taste, it was like a creamy soy bean. it's especially good warm straight out of the vita-mix!! the authors from most of the online recipes i looked at came to the conclusion that they preferred store-bought soymilk because it tastes less "beany". my take is that home-made soymilk tastes like soy, which is what it should taste like since that's what it's made from. before soymilk went mainstream, store-bought soymilk tasted more like soy than the stuff you find at most grocery stores today. so i think it's probably just a matter of what you're used to. in the usa soy is mainly seen as a substitute for meat or dairyproducts, but in japan it's a traditional food enjoyed in a myriad of forms for it's unique taste and excellent nutritional value.

one funny thing i did notice about my soymilk is that the next day when i was making vanilla-almond ice cream, the bottom of the jug of soymilk was a lot thicker (but not grainy or chalky) than the top. don't know what that's about, but it made some yummy ice cream:

super tasty, but it turned into an ice block the next day- had to let it sit on the counter for an hour before scooping! 
for the ice cream, i used the vita-mix to blend:
1 cup home-made soymilk
1/4 cup raw almonds, soaked for 1 hr
1/4 cu maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (this stuff is the bomb, i'm never going back to vanilla extract)
3 cups ice cubes (i froze a bunch of soymilk so the ice wouldn't dilute my ice cream)

a note on protein: while i was looking through my cook books i found this super-handy little bit of info in a recipe on "sesame soy milk for children", from The Book of Tofu and Miso:
"soymilk is richer than dairy milk in almost every nutrient except calcium... the world's richest source of calcium is the sesame seed... since soy and sesame proteins are complimentary, their combination yields an abundance of high quality protein."
how cool is that? the obvious "duh" to this realization is that chick peas + sesame (aka hummus) is also a complete protein. i'm going to add sesame to everything now...