Monday, 21 April 2014

Week 3: Take a Bao

So after not feeling well for the past few days, a big steaming bowl of spicy Pho was just what I felt like last night. I've always adored BBQ buns, so I wanted to try my hand at them too, though I knew it wouldn't be easy. Both of this week's offerings are from Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Eats World.

Terry Hope Romero

BBQ Seitan Buns

These were just as involved as I'd imagined, and the only way I was able to get them done last night, sick and tired, was because I'd made the seitan ahead of time, earlier in the week. 

After some quick conversion from ounces to grams, and staring in consternation at the 35g packet of yeast ("Surely she doesn't expect you to use all five sachets? The box says only one is needed to make a Tea Bun..."), I decided to just follow what the recipe said. I ran into a minor snafu early on, when the dough was not 'tacky' and moist as described in the book, but decidedly dry, with quite a bit of flour sitting around it. I added an extra half a cup of water and tablespoon of oil, and it seemed to start behaving better.

After letting it sit for an hour and then 'punching down' the dough (I've always loved that instruction, I have a photo of one time I made bread, where I've left an actual fist mark in the dough. :-D), I rolled and cut it into small balls:

In the meantime, I cut up the pre-prepared seitan and baked it with the marinade while the sauce thickened on the stove. When they were combined, then came the fun part, shaping the bao:
(Quite a bit of the seitan mixture may have made it into my mouth rather than the bao, sooo yummy.)

After fiddling around in different batches whether to steam with the lid on or off, I decided to leave it on, reasoning that slightly wet bao were better than half-cooked ones.

And voila, the finished product! Om nom nom. They did taste a little more... yeasty I'm going to call it, than store bought bao I've tasted, but still yummy.

 "Did she really make fresh Bao? Quaint!"

Sizzling tofu Pho soup

This was a lot more involved than I expected it to be, with a lot of simmering time and cooling time and several different parts all to be assembled, so I may have taken some shortcuts. I used a packet of pre-marinated tofu instead of making more seitan from scratch, and fried it in a pan. The broth was by far the most complex part, with a lot of different spices (some of which I had to substitute, will try again another time when I have all of them to see the difference). After frying the onion and ginger, I added the shitaake mushrooms and other sauces and simmered for 45 minutes, after which you are supposed to strain the veggies out and add soy and vinegar, but I forgot to do this until it was already in the bowl so I added some in there.

The best part was assembling the bowl in layers, first the noodles, then chopped bok choy and carrot, then tofu and the broth poured on top. Definitely not a weeknight meal though, unless you'd made some of the parts ahead of time, but I will definitely be making it again!

Spicy and sour and delicious.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Week 2: Super sandwiches

So despite all my best intentions, I ran out of time this week to make the Bao like I'd planned. But! I did receive two new cookbooks in the mail (hooray! you know, sometimes I just type 'vegan' into book depo to drool over all the shiny cookbooks I don't yet own. But anyway): Vegan Sandwiches Save The Day, and Artisan Vegan Cheese. So I present for you now two of the delicious and inventive sandwiches from Vegan Sandwiches:

Oreo Wafflewiches

Oh wow. Yes, just as good as they sound. AND, it is the kind of recipe you can make from ingredients you almost always have on hand, which is only like my favourite kind of recipe ever (seriously, few things make me happier than reading an awesome recipe in a book and thinking, hey, I can make that recipe right now). These are actually surprisingly easy to make, if you own a wafflemaker (mine was $30 from the supermarket a few years ago, still going strong). All you need to do is mix, pour and wait, then fill with melty icing.

Don't be jealous.

Peanut Butter Banana Bacon sandwiches

Wait, don't run away! I know this sounds kinda weird, but it totally works. I love really original recipes that try new combinations, which is why this one caught my eye. The smokiness of the chickpeas, creamy peanut butter and sweet banana meld into this warm, gooey comforting thing when grilled together. I used a frypan to make the chickpea bacon because I don't have a broiler but if I made it again I would cook them for a bit longer, to let the flavours meld more. 

Next Week! Hopefully BBQ Buns and Pho (shizzle).

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Week 1: Puffy Pillow Pancakes

Hello and welcome to the Kate Cooks Actual Recipes From Her Too Many Cookbooks challenge! (Otherwise known as Challenge Accepted)

When I came to realise recently that I own over 40 cookbooks (and counting), yet have probably only used two or three recipes from many of the books, I decided to challenge myself to cook new things, and this project was born.

After seeing Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's live cooking demonstration recently, this week I decided to make Puffy Pillow Pancakes from my (brand new) Isa Does It cookbook.

Now, my previous attempts at pancake making have resulted in at best, soggy crumbly piles of dough, so I was a little sceptical that mine could turn out like the inch-thick pancakes in the book.

The first batch didn't go quite as smoothly as I'd hoped, were difficult to flip and resulted in a few pieces of reject pancake (which then prompted a cloud-shape type debate on Facebook over what they looked like):

(Feel free to add your guesses in the comments)

But! When I actually followed Isa's advice about not crowding the pan with more than two pancakes at a time, they turned out almost perfectly! Voila:

Mmmm, pancakes.

Next time I think I might add some different flavours in the batter, like orange zest. :-)

Next Week: Steamed BBQ Buns from Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Eats World.