I was in graduate school the first time I made bread. Years before I became vegetarian, I was trying on vegetarianism as a weight-loss diet and cooking vegetarian dishes out of a popular cookbook of that era. For some reason, the book’s authors recommended cooking whole wheat bread in 2-quart cans, the kind juice comes in, and I followed that advice. (With what we know today about BPA, I shudder to think what leached into that bread.) In those early days of my bread making, there was no white whole wheat flour, no vital wheat gluten, no bread machine, just me and my muscles and the most basic whole wheat flour, and the tube-shaped loaves I created were better suited for weight lifting that eating. My bread made even avowed bread-lovers like my parents run the other way when they’d see me stagger up their driveway with a basketful of heavy, brown cylinders.
But that was a long, LONG time ago, and I’ve learned a few things since then. First of all, I let my new bread machine do all the kneading, shaping, and even baking (in a rectangular pan, thank you very much). And I’ve learned that white whole wheat flour makes a much lighter loaf than traditional whole wheat flour and that vital wheat gluten helps trap more air bubbles so the bread rises higher. Finally, thanks to a tip by Philippa Sonnichsen, a reader of this blog, I found that one small substitution makes an even better loaf of whole wheat bread. And that secret ingredient is…
Continue reading →
I’m counting down the days (less than three) until my husband D and I drive our daughter to college 796 miles away. Because of the anticipation, the dread, the planning, the shopping, and the packing (or at least the nagging E to pack, without much success), I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking, or at least not original cooking. I’ve relied on old standbys, like burritos made with canned beans, to get us through most days, though in the last week I’ve been honoring E’s requests for some of her favorites. At her going-away party last Friday, I served the sesame-peanut noodle salad she’s always loved (and which is much too high in fat to qualify for this blog). Last week we had Pasta and Vegetables with White Sauce, and last night she requested her very favorite meal, lasagna, garlic bread and salad. And don’t tell her but tonight I’m planning to surprise her with Ribz.
All of this is to say I haven’t had much time for experimentation, though I did have one idea floating around in my head that I wanted to try out. I’ve seen a lot of recipes lately for Mexican Street Corn, which looks beautiful, but since I’ve been vegan since the Dark Ages, I’ve never tasted. Traditional recipes involve mayo and cheese, but I thought it would be delicious to slather corn in a spicy, limey, vaguely cheesy, vegan sauce, so I did a little experimentation until I found a concoction I loved. The best news is you can put this sauce on anything to liven it up, so feel free to drizzle it on your potatoes and veggies or even toss it with some pasta. Anything goes.
Continue reading →