23 August 2010

Bread: I can't believe it's vegan!

So, here's the bread recipe I've been using lately that makes some terrific bread! I respect the raw vegans, but to me, something magical happens when you take flour, yeast and water and put it in an oven.

2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast

3 tablespoons vegan cane sugar

2 1/2 cups warm water (between 37.2°C and 43.3°C [99°F and 110°F])

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon salt

6 1/2 cups bread flour


1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water then add yeast. Stir in olive oil, salt and two cups of the flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

2. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

3. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form into loaves. Place the loaves into two lightly oiled and floured 9x5 inch loaf pans. Cover the loaves with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and 10 minutes before putting in the oven, turn down to 375 degrees F. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Happy eating!

Seitan Roast

2-3 carrots
2-3 stalks of celery
1 Large onion
1/4 c Salt
6-7 c Water
Herbs and Spices to taste

6 c Unbleached Whole wheat flour
2 2/3c water
(may add herbs and spices to taste)

1/2 c brown or white rice
1/2 c quinoa

3 T olive oil
1-2 T Unbleached white flour

2' of cheese cloth
Halve carrots and celery, quarter onion (no need to peel). Fill a stock pot with the water and add salt. Drop in vegetables and bring to boil. Once at a boil, let simmer.

(You can skip this next step [the ones referring to getting the starch out of the dough ball] by using Vital Wheat Gluten flour instead of the Whole Wheat Flour... it goes by a little quicker [and by a little, I mean a LOT])

In a large bowl, pour in the flour and make a well (like when making pasta). (Add in any herbs you may want to add) In a mixer with dough hook or with a fork, slowly incorporate the water into the flour or with dough hooks, let the mixer mix the two ingredients and then knead for 10 minutes. If doing by hand, once the water is incorporated into the flour, on a floured board, knead the dough to develop the gluten.

Mix rice and quinoa and cook according to rice cooking instructions.

Once the dough has been kneaded, place back into the bowl and fill the bowl with warm water. Let sit for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, start kneading the dough by hand, the water will become milky in colour (that's the starch coming out!). Drain the water and fill with warm water and continue kneading. Continue this process until little to no more starch comes out of the kneaded dough.

NOTE: In the middle of the second kneading process, there will be a time when the gluten will be goopy and you'll think you messed it up; keep going and try to keep the gluten together.

You may even want to let the raw seitan ball sit in water again and submit it to a third kneading process.

Soon you'll be left with a ball of gluten. Take the gluten ball out and massage it, this will get some air bubbles out and make it denser. Eventually work it flat and rectangular.

Place cooked rice and quinoa in the middle of the seitan. There are two different ways you can make it from this point on: with the stuffing all in the middle or with the rice and quinoa in a spiral with the seitan (I think it's a bit more aesthetically pleasing).

** you do not necessarily need to use all the rice and quinoa you make**

For a roast with the rice and quinoa all in the middle, place the mixture on one end and roll the rest of the seitan around it, fold in the sides (like a burrito) and wrap in cheese cloth.

For a roast with a rice and quinoa spiral, place the rice and quinoa mixture down the length of the seitan leaving about 2 1/2" around. Start at one end and roll the rice and quinoa into the seitan. Then, like the other instructions, fold under the sides and wrap in cheese cloth.

Once the raw seitan roast is wrapped in cheese cloth, the vegetable broth should be completed and simmering. Bring to a boil and drop the seitan into the broth. Let boil for one hour. Once the seitan roast has boiled for an hour, lift out of the pot and let stand.

In a skillet, heat up 2 T of Extra Virgin Olive oil. Place roast in the skillet and brown on all sides. Once brown, remove the roast, place in a dish and slowly add the 1-2 T of flour with a wisk. Once well-incorporated, add 1-2 cups of the vegetable broth to the oil and flour with a wisk. Add soy sauce to taste and whatever herbs and spices you like. Pour the gravy over the roast and then serve.

Serves 6.

15 August 2010

The Best thing I ever ate...

Hi Everyone,
For a normal non-VEGetariAN restaurant, this is quite possibly THE BEST vegan breakfast I've ever eaten. You need to make the trip up to about Ainslie and Damen in Ravenswood and have breakfast/brunch at Over Easy. Their spicy tofu scramble cannot be missed. With peppers, tumeric covered tofu and chorizo spiced crumbles, it would be enough, but the salsa verde with lime and cool, creamy guacamole... Awe-inspiring, so many layers of flavor and texture, it's bliss on a plate. It's the cherry atop of the vegan sunday. My friend Piotr had the Banana spiked French Toast. Let's just say that I've never seen anyone down French Toast that quickly. He reported that it was perfect and everything he expects from French Toast. It's been featured on Check Please! and has received numerous awards. If you're in the area, you HAVE to make it a stop for breakfast; hell, if you're in the tri-state area, you have to make the trek. May I suggest Sunday brunch? I give it an elated bunny rating. It's been hours since I left... and I start to drool thinking about it, my heart races, my eyes dialate and I get goosebumps. This is only one time when I choose not to use hyperbole. This is amazing. A city is only as good as it's food, and Chicago hits a homerun-hatrick-touchdown-goal-in-one. I love this city.

Over Easy Café
4943 N Damen Ave.
between Ainslie and Argyle
Chicago, IL 60625