Wait, didn’t I just blog a Thanksgiving feast? No, that was a Thanksgiving-themed feast. This here one was on actual Thanksgiving day! Totally different. This was a pretty small gathering of 3 couples, but we didn’t lack anything.
For my contribution, I baked because it’s what I do. I figured everyone would like ciabatta rolls, so I made some of those. There was also a maple walnut oat loaf made with white whole wheat. Kind of healthy but didn’t taste like it.
Somehow I didn’t get any pictures of the snickerdoodles I made. They were definitely a hit though. Who knew such a simple cookie could be so popular? The main dessert was this pumpkin cinnamon swirl cheesecake. Tasty, but I think I would have liked it a little denser. Others liked the fact that it was a little softer. It was perfectly set up though and cut and stayed together nicely. I forgot to swirl it though so it kind of looks like rock strata.
Here’s my plate of belt-loosening goodness, clockwise starting at 12: sweet potatoes with Dandies marshmallows, mac & cheese, Stuffed Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute By Field Roast, dressing and mashed potatoes under the gravy, Match Vegan Meats holiday roast (this time the pre-made version), the maple walnut oat bread and green bean casserole in the center. There were also two cranberry sauces: the regular jelled canned kind and a home made cranberry pineapple sauce. I had to clear some space before I could get them on my plate though.
Both the roasts were great but different. A more traditional person might like the Match roast better. I really enjoyed the cranberries, apples and crystallized ginger in the Field Roast. But I know ginger is a strong flavor and can turn some people off.
I’ve been cruising the vegan blogs today checking out everyone’s holiday meals in between working and mopping up drool. As with vegan cheeses, how much does it rock that we have an actual assortment of holiday roasts to choose from now?
Friday night I made Kevin really happy by cooking something that was fried. I had starred this recipe for Country Fried Seitan Steak in Google Reader and planned to cook it some time this week. I already had the seitan, so just need to bread it, fry it and make the gravy. Oh, and make the collards and cook sweet potatoes to mash. It was a whole stove kind of meal.
I wouldn’t change anything about the seitan steaks. The breading was lovely. Seasoned nicely. The gravy seemed a bit bland to me so I added two tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Perfect! The sweet potatoes I steamed in the pressure cooker. It all came together really well but isn’t the kind of meal I would make on a standard week night. Too much work and too many dirty dishes. To add to the chaos, I was also baking off a whole wheat sandwich bread that turned out to be just cool enough to slice and eat with dinner.
How do you make delicious treats that don’t make you fat? You get them out of your house!
A friend of Kevin’s was having a vegan out of town guest and wanted to get some goodies. He’d been by the Atlanta Vegan Bake Sale and asked us to do a couple of things for him. Well, “us” is me, but that’s fine. This is the best kind of baking. I get to taste a little, and get the rest out of my house. I mean, how could you walk by these and not shove one in your mouth?
You also need breakfast for an out of town guest, right? How about cherry almond scones? Turbando sugar is the perfect grain to sprinkle on top. Damn, I would totally eat one if these if I had one here right now. See? That’s the problem with keeping that sort of thing around.
So what happens when you take an active sourdough starter, stick it in the fridge and ignore it for 6 months or more? Apparently nothing bad. This is exactly what I did. Actually, I have 4 starters in the fridge. Last week I decided to try and revive the Italian starter and attempt a batch of bread.
How did I do it? I pulled the starter out, stirred the hooch in (the liquid on top) and put it on the counter in a new bowl. Leaving it on the counter, I fed it with half a cup of flour and half a cup of water twice a day. At each feeding , I poured off about half the starter into a container of excess. But I’ll get to that later.
Friday night I began the Vermont Sourdough from Hamelman’s Bread. Saturday morning I worked through the shaping and then retarded the two loaves in the fridge overnight. Then Sunday morning I baked them off one at a time on my pizza stone. The first loaf I steamed once with ice cubes. The 2nd loaf I added a second steaming. The second steaming seemed to give the 2nd loaf a little more spring. The taste was mild but clearly the starter did its job. Nice rise, good crumb. Chewy crust. Sourdough bread is such a process that it’s even more satisfying when it all goes well.
So there have been sammichs, bread slice snacks, bread with salad, etc. And I haven’t cut into the second loaf yet! So what to do with the cast-off starter created when feeding? There are a bunch of things you can do with it, but this time I chose scones. (Obviously, I veganized that recipe.) It really doesn’t act to rise the scones, but flavors them a little and keeps you from having to throw the excess in the garbage.
tempeh salad sammich
apple pie sourdough scones
It’s been a while, so I’m going to submit this post to WildYeast’s Yeastspotting. Head over there every Friday for a collection of baking porn from around the internets.
Making pretzels is a similar process to making bagels. Mix, ferment, shape, retard, boil, top, bake. I tried really hard to fuck these up. When I need to measure out water that’s a certain temperature range, I usually make the adjustments in the measuring cup, then pour out the excess once the temperature is right. This time, I got the temperature right, then just dumped the whole cup into the flour mixture. Crap. So I fiddled with it by adding more flour and a bit more yeast until the dough texture seemed about right. I was working with the Bavarian Pretzel recipe in Daniel Leader’s Local Breads. Unfortunately because I’m an idiot, this wasn’t a real test of the recipe. They came out pretty well despite this. The pretzels were best still warm from the oven. Oh yeah, I also burned the crap out of my arm on the baking sheet. Add that to the collection of scars.
pretzels taking a swim
pretzels ready to bake
cinnamon sugar pretzel
sesame seed and salt pretzel