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Archive for the ‘Bread’ Category

 

 

I’m not a baker, which is odd considering how many years I spent working in laboratories weighing and measuring precise amounts of reagents to incorporate into an experiment.  Thing is, when it comes to food, I really just like to wing it.  I take a bit of this and a bit of that and toss them together to make something that tastes really good.  I’d heard that Essene bread was really easy to make and basically just required mashing together some sprouted grain and then tossing it into the oven to bake.  Sounded like just the kind of baking I might enjoy;  there was truth in that notion.

This bread is amazing, in my book.  Not only do you get the goodness from using sprouted grains which changes the entire chemical nature of grains making them more digestable and lower in gluten, but the texture was exactly what I love in bread:  Hearty and moistly chewy inside and crunchy and crusty on the outside.  That little hit of saltiness from the sea salt I sprinkled atop each loaf really brought out the contrasting flavors of all the grains as well.

I’ve been  making raw dehydrated breads and they’re very nice, but these slow-cooked loaves were meant for dipping into a gorgeous stone crushed olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar, sliced garlic and herbs and savoring each bite, slowly.  It is especially good when served warm, fresh out of the oven.

 

 

 

 

 

Sprouted Multigrain Bread

Ingredients:

2 cups grains per loaf [You could use wheat alone if you would rather.  I used a multigrain mix called Amber Waves from Sprout People that contains 11 different grains and pseudograins.]

2 chopped dates per loaf [optional]

Coarse sea salt [I used Pacifica Hawaii Salt’s Blush Lava that we picked up when we were in Kaua’i this past January.]

Good quality olive oil [Bariani is a gorgeous stone-crushed and unfiltered olive oil that has become our olive oil of choice.]

Directions:

Sprout grains until the sprouting tails are about ¼ -inch long or, basically, as long as the grain itself. [Since I used a multigrain mix, I used the wheat berry as the indicator grain rather than checking each individual type of grain.  This took two days after an initial overnight soak in filtered water.  Depending upon the grains you choose and temperature of your home, the length of time may vary.]

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Rinse the sprouts and let drain until somewhat dry.  Transfer to a food processor and process until you have a sticky paste.  Transfer to a large clean surface and knead for @10 minutes.  [This dough is really sticky and I found having a dough scraper on hand was really helpful.]

If adding dates to the loaf, now would be the time to incorporate and knead them in.

Form a long loaf about a foot long and place in the oven on a non-stick surface.  [I used a Silpat sheet.]  Lightly daub some olive oil onto the tops of the loaf/ves and sprinkle a few pinches of large crystal sea salt atop.

Bake for @ 3 hours.  The bread will be moist, sweet and chewy inside and crusty and golden outside.

 

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This savory baked toast rocks because it tastes like pizza.  You could definitely use this as a base for a thick-crusted pizza and top it with whatever you wish.  For this dish,  I took a helping hand from Trader Joe’s and used their six-bean medley as the base and then added in some eggplant, fresh herbs and vegetable stock to make a quick stew.   

 

Savory Baked Toast

This recipe yields four slices of baked toast.  If you need more, simply multiply the ingredients by whatever factor you need.

Ingredients:

4 inches ciabatta bread cut into 1 inch-thick slices

4 T flax seeds, ground

2 T tomato paste

6 cloves roasted garlic

1 tsp faux chicken or vegetable bouillon

1 tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp sea salt

½ tsp freshly-cracked black pepper

2T olive oil

1½ cups water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Place a Silpat-covered or non-stick sheet pan in the oven to preheat as well.

Add all the ingredients to a blender except the ciabatta bread.  Blend until completely combined and frothy.  Pour into a small shallow container that is large enough to accommodate the ciabatta bread.  Let sit for five minutes to thicken.

Dunk the bread into the mixture and soak completely.  Transfer to a plate until all the slices have been dunked.

Place slices upon the preheated sheet pan [If you do not preheat the sheet pan the underside will be mushy] and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes.  The baked toast will get puffy and the tomato will caramelize slightly.

 

Herbed Beans with Eggplant

Ingredients:

1 package Trader Joe’s 6-bean medley [Found in the refrigerated produce section of the store]

1 small eggplant, cut into a small dice [Whether you peel it is up to your tastes, I prefer mine to have the anti-oxidant rich skin on]

1 T tomato paste

½-1 cup faux chicken or vegetable stock [I really love Kitchen Basics unsalted vegetable stock]

2 sprigs fresh oregano, plus some for garnish if you wish

2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus some for garnish if you wish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F degrees.

Spray the eggplant with a mist of olive oil.  Place in the oven and roast until soft.  This should take about 30 minutes. [You should roast the eggplant at the same time as you are baking the toast so that the entire meal comes together at the same time.]

Place a pan on the stove over medium heat.  Add the tomato paste and cook it for a couple of minutes to remove the tinny flavor of the can.  Slowly whisk in the broth until the sauce is smooth.  Add the beans and fresh herbs.  Cover and reduce heat to low.

Once the eggplant is soft, add to the bean mixture.  If you need more liquid, simply add more broth.

Divide into four equal portions and spoon over the baked toast.  Serve immediately.

 

 

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Mmm!  Amazingly decadent and seasonal breakfast food was on the menu this week because of the holiday.  I don’t post many breakfast recipes because we tend to eat very simply in the mornings and usually end up throwing together a quick Vega smoothie.   I wanted to treat H to a special breakfast on Christmas morning for a variety of reasons, including that she took on the task of preparing Christmas Eve’s dinner for us this year.   I figured that If I was going to treat her I’d need to go all out and thoroughly indulge her sweet tooth.   I also knew that this would probably  involve tackling a dish that I’d put on the back-burner for a long time:   vegan French toast.  I only wish that I’d put my imagination to work on this sooner because it turned out wonderfully and earned me some serious brownie points!

 

Spiced Pumpkin French Toast

Ingredients:

2 cups non-dairy milk [I used So Delicious Original unsweetened coconut milk]

½ cup pumpkin purée [I use Farmer’s Market Organic brand]

2 heaping T finely-ground flax meal

1 T pumpkin pie spice

pinch of salt

1 loaf fresh ciabatta cut into ½ inch slices

¼ cup pecans, toasted

maple syrup

Directions:

Add the milk, pumpkin purée, flax meal, pumpkin pie spice and salt to a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside for at least 15 minutes to thicken.  [I made mine the night before and placed in the refrigerator and it worked brilliantly.]

Dip the bread into the pumpkin milk and coat evenly.  Remove any excess by brushing the bread along the sides of the bowl after dunking.  Place on a hot nonstick griddle and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes on each side until the bread has set.

Serve hot with warmed maple syrup, a sprinkle of powdered sugar and toasted pecans.

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So, it has been occurring to me lately that there are so many things we, H and I,  buy commercially that I could easily make from scratch.  Not only would they taste better and be more nutritious but I’d know exactly what I put into them.  Imagine that.  I get weary of having to look at microscopic fonts that are printed upon reflective plastic and tucked behind the flap on a wrapper to see what’s actually in a product.  Seriously, I don’t want my foods full of industrial chemicals and preservatives because a company wants its product to sit pretty upon a shelf for years.

There are so many foods that we consume on a  regular basis that can easily be made at home.  For me, the major epiphany was tofu, but pasta, jams and jellies, bread and crackers are in the lists.  Guess what?  I’m in the kitchen and I’m experimenting.  It’s hella fun.

I modified a recipe posted on the Food Network.  The first cracker is slightly modified; the other two strayed well off the beaten path.

Seven Seed Flatbread Crackers

Ingredients:

5 oz 10-grain flour [Bob’s Red Mill]

4-3/4 oz unbleached flour

2/3 cup seeds  [I used 1/3 cup black and white sesame seeds and then 1/3 cup of mixed poppy, flax, chia, millet and dill seeds]

1.5 tsp sea salt

1.5 tsp aluminium-free baking powder

3 T olive oil

6.5 oz water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients then add oil and mix well.  Slowly drizzle in the water and knead a few times on a floured surface.  Cut into 8 equal sections and let rest for 15 minutes.  Using a pasta machine, roll out to a 1/8-inch thickness for a thicker flatbread-style cracker.  Roll through a higher setting for a thinner cracker.  Bake until slightly browned, turning once during cooking.

Dilled Yease and Flax Seed Flatbread Cracker

I wanted a savory cracker with a slight cheesy flavor.  This one worked out nicely.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup nutritional yeast

5 oz 10-grain flour

4-3/4 oz unbleached flour

1 T Bill’s Chik’Nish vegetarian seasoning

1.5 tsp aluminium-free baking powder

1 T dill weed

1 T dill seed

1 T flax seed

1 T turmeric

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1.5 tsp sea salt

1.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 T walnut oil

6.5 oz water

Directions:

Same as above.

Carrot, Roasted Garlic and Walnut Crackers

I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to make a variety using our vegetable of the month.  I’m jazzed that I found a use for the carrot pulp left behind from making fresh carrot juice.  [A thinly-rolled version is pictured above.]

Ingredients:

5 oz 10-grain flour

2-3/4 oz garbanzo flour

2 oz  unbleached flour

one head roasted garlic

1/3 cup ground walnuts

2 T ground flax seeds

1.5 tsp aluminium-free baking powder

1 T caraway seeds

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 cup carrot pulp [from freshly juiced carrots]

3 T walnut oil

3 oz fresh carrot juice

Directions:

Same as first cracker recipe.

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Like many others around the country today, D and I decided to have a more traditional New Year’s Day dinner full of foods that represent luck, prosperity, and comfort.

Colcannon (steamed cabbage, mashed German Butterball Potatoes, unsweetened coconut milk, salt, and pepper)

Braised apples with sautéed kale and currants

Black eyed peas cooked in vegetable stock with mirapoix, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick, with chopped carrot tops for garnish.

Whole wheat cornbread with whole kernel corn and minced serrano peppers

We are happy. We are stuffed. And now, we’re in desperate need of a nap. 😀 Ah, yummy bliss.

Happy New Year everyone!

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