Monthly Archives: February 2011

I Kneaded That

I’ve never been intimidated by baking bread and have been cranking out loaves, rolls, and sweeties since I was a teen.  My lack of fear probably comes from watching my mom make yummy raised donuts, coffee cakes, and bread and my grandma make her famous rye bread.  With bread aficionados like that how could I go wrong.  I was fortunate enough to inherit the rye bread recipe but for some reason have never made it.  I did break out the yeast this rainy afternoon to make a batch of oatmeal rolls…perfect to go with the potato soup and roasted veggies that are planned for dinner.  These herby oatmeal rolls were a staple in my house when the kids were little, not only did they love them with dinner the leftovers made cute little sandwiches when split and filled.  This is the first time in a very long while that I’ve made these and the first time that I’ve veganized them so we’ll see how this works out.

Herbed Oatmeal Pan Bread

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3 T. Earth Balance (buttery sticks or other dairy free margarine)
  • 3 3/4  to 4 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Egg replacer to equal 1 egg ( I used Ener-G)

Herb Topping

  • 1/2 tsp basil leaves (dried)
  • 1/4 tsp oregano leaves (dried)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 T Earth Balance (melted)

Grease a 13X9-inch baking pan or two 8-inch square pans.  Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan; stir in the rolled oats.  Remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of Earth Balance.  Cool mixture to 120 to 130 degrees.

In a large bowl (I use my stand mixer for this step) combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast; blend well with a wire whisk to keep it fluffy. 

Add oats mixture and egg replacer.  Mix until just moistened; beat for 3 minutes at medium speed.  Stir in 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 cups of flour by hand to form a stiff dough. 

On floured surface, knead in 1/2 to 3/4 cup additional flour until dough is smooth and elastic.  This is the fun part and takes about 5 minutes.  Shape dough into a ball; cover with a large bowl.  Let him rest for 15 minutes, he just got beat up pretty bad so deserves a little rest.

Punch dough down several times to remove air bubbles.  Press into greased pan(s).  Using a very sharp knife, cut diagonal lines 1 1/2 inches apart, cutting completely through the dough.  Repeat in the opposite direction to form diamond shapes.  Cover loosely with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  At this point you can also let them rest at room temperature for 20 minutes and then cover and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours before baking.  This is what I did because I wanted them hot and fresh with dinner.

When you’re ready to bake them take them out of the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Uncover dough.  Redefine cuts but don’t pull the knife through the dough.  Just poke it into the cuts until the tip hits the bottom of the pan.  In a small bowl combine the herbs and garlic powder and set aside.  Spoon 4 tablespoons of the melted Earth Balance over the dough.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Brush remaining 2 tablespoons of EB over the partially cooked rolls.  Sprinkle with herb mixture.  Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.


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Meat Water

So where have I been?  Who knew Meat Water was making the rounds in cyberspace along with the vegan version–Meat Water Void. 

Beware of graphic meat processing content in this commercial:

In reality the product is a hoax but the concept has merit.  New York artist and photographer Till Krautkramer came up with the concept back in 2008.   The Meat Water site advises, “Walk, don’t run and brush your teeth before you go to bed. By drinking Meatwater you can cut down on exercising and eating time, and have more time to enjoy yourself.”  Check it out!

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Why Call it Chili if it’s Hot?

OK, bad joke, if you even want to call a 5 year-olds attempt at humor a joke.  Every vegetarian has a favorite chili recipe.  It’s probably one of the first things you veganize; often starting out just replacing the meat with some TVP or crumbled tempeh.  I know my mom made chili when I was a kid but I can’t separate the spaghetti sauce recipe from the sloppy joe recipe from the chili recipe.  They all involved ground beef, a can of tomato sauce and some spices.  When I became a vegetarian my go to recipe was Julie Jordan’s Cashew Chili from Wings of Life.  I’m not sure I even have her cookbook anymore, it may have been purged in the great cookbook purge.   I’m sure it’s found another good home, and I can live with the fond memories of that rather simple chili.  My tastes have changed since then and I like something a little sturdier with a bit of a kick.  Enter my own secret ingredient chili recipe.  Yes, I will share the secret ingredient.  What’s a secret if not to share.  I like to make this in the crock-pot but I’m sure it work on the stove top as well.

Dawn’s Secret Ingredient Chili

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Saute veggies and garlic in olive oil until soft and just starting to turn brown, about 5 minutes. 

Then add:

  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Stir and cook another 2 minutes.  In the crock pot place:

  • 3/4 c. dry lentils
  • 1 – 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-15oz can fire-roasted tomatoes

Spoon the veggies and spice mixture on top.  Pour 1 cup of water into the same skillet; heat it slightly to deglaze the pan.  Pour the water, and all the little burned bits that come off in the water, over the ingredients in the crock pot.  Now add the secret ingredient actually 2 secret ingredients:

  • 2 T. molasses
  • 1/4 tsp allspice

Put the lid on the crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours.

With this bowl of deliciousness I made roasted sweet potatoes sprinkled with smoked paprika and sea salt, and a pile of steamed kale again with the sea salt and just the smallest drizzle of maple syrup.

Oh yummmmmo.  The sweet potatoes tasted like glazed donuts, the kale was salty and sweet and the chili was just perfect.  I swear it tasted even more delicious eaten from my favorite bowl (you know the one that ran away with the spoon)

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Warmed Over Leftovers

I have this weird phobia about leftovers if they’re not gone after one day I usually end up throwing them out.  That also means I peruse my refrigerator looking for expired items on a regular basis.  Superbowl Sunday interfered with our normal Sunday afternoon trip to the grocery store so I was forced to make a plate of leftovers for lunch.  Fortunately the leftovers were from Daphne’s and tasted as good as they did yesterday.  A couple of dolmas, falafel, and tabouli along with some roasted veggies and pita made a good enough lunch to carry me through until dinner.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll have something interesting to share, but for now…Superbowl leftovers

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Yesterday afternoon I watched Earthlings a film so devastatingly honest in its depiction of mans cruelty that I literally wept through the first 30 minutes.  To take up a lifestyle but not explore the impact it may have on other living creatures seemed irresponsible to me.  I had read so much about this film I put it in my queue.  On the other hand to continue down a path of exploitation is even more irresponsible so I finally sat down to view after having this movie on my shelf for over a month now.  I had to stop watching after about 40 minutes because it was so raw and disturbing.  Since it was a Netflix rental I stuck it in the mail but then this morning I ordered a copy for myself determined to watch the entire thing.  Even companion animals can be exploited if we don’t have the means or the time to give them what they need.  I can’t imagine anyone not being impacted by this documentary.


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Pancake Saturday

Saturday mornings should be about sleeping in, getting up slowly, sitting around in your pajamas, and eating pancakes.  Just like when we were young and had sleepovers at our girlfriends house.  In my neighborhood that usually meant more than one girlfriend on the floor and the moms mysteriously disappeared as we dragged out Bisquick and bananas to make breakfast.  I don’t ever remember what happened after breakfast, I certainly don’t remember cleaning up the kitchen (sorry all you moms) but those lazy pancake mornings have stuck with me and I try to recreate them in my house even though I have a gazillion things to do today.  All those adult things like laundry and cleaning, blah!  I made Berry Sunrise pancakes from a mix this morning.  The mix came from Tastefully Simple and was about to expire so N. and I shared the last of it.  The mix itself is vegan but the recipe calls for an egg and milk which I just substituted with vegan alternatives. 

While my cakes bubbled in the pan waiting for their flip I managed to clean out two shelves in my food cupboards.  In a house as tiny as mine storage is premium real estate, not a square inch can be sacrificed to unnecessary items.  So why in the world was I hanging on to a huge ceramic coffee jar, scoop included, when I don’t even drink coffee??  Once the jar along with a vase, a pair of crystal candlesticks and about eleventy-five bags of dusty catnip were cleared out I had a nice clear shelf to repopulate with needed and used items.  One shelf at a time!

Really, I need this?

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What are you Stewing About?

In honor of Black History month I thought I would try out some dishes using traditional African ingredients.  Tonight it was Senegalese Peanut Stew.  The fragrances emanating from the simmering stew were heavenly.  The combination of ginger, cloves and peanuts smelled so comforting and delicious I could hardly wait as it bubbled away.  This would be a good crock-pot recipe that would welcome you home like a warm hug.  I served it over couscous and have enough left over to feed the neighborhood.  The stew is loaded with traditional African ingredients such as sweet potatoes and peanuts (in the form of peanut butter) along with good for you stuff like spinach and carrots.  It’s spiced up with a zip of cayenne, but it’s not too spicy.   Vegetarian Times has some other good recipes to try out this month to pay tribute to African-American culture.  If you serve it in your “bowl ran away with the spoon”  it tastes even better. 

Senegalese Peanut Stew

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 pound sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 T. ginger root, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 T. peanut butter
  • 8 cups spinach leaves
  • Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and set over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the sweet potato, carrots and garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Add the ginger, cloves, salt and cayenne; cook for 30 seconds.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth.
  • Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly, stirring once in a while, until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.


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