Friday, April 27, 2012

I made the best quinoa yesterday, and since it isn't a baked good, I wasn't about to share it with you all, but oh my how I love quinoa. Best investment into groceries. A bowl of this quinoa lasted for 2 days worth of meals. Filling and nourishing.

Tri-Colored Quinoa
Black Beans
Red Bell Pepper
Vidalia Onion
Taco Seasoning
Olive Oil

Just trust me on this one, use the quantities you want to, but it is amazing. ANNND I'm signing off...


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 2- Krispy Kreme Glazed Donuts

Ample sprinkle coverage makes this a win.

Long before my first ventures into the super saccharine world of KK, a man by the name of Vernon Rudolph and his uncle bought the rights to a yeasted donut recipe in Kentucky, and opened up shop as the initial Krispy Kreme in 1937 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. You may be thinking, how surprising that the fried confection is a southern tradition! And how surprising that it was a certain prominent southern personality/cook who found a way to show a donut up and maximize its, erm,glory?

Actually, you might be really surprised to know, it’s not! The Dutch settlers in New England are credited with having made the first incarnation of the donut. Known as the “olykoek”, or oily cake, the fried ball of dough was a staple good used to sustain sailors who would travel for months at a time and who were in need of a stable food that could last the trip. One such sailor was Captain Hanson Crockett Gregory, whose mother would send him on his journeys overseas with a number of her trademark olykoeks, a good she had been known for filling with nuts and nutmeg, along with the recipe. Moms think of everything, but I digress. The name itself is said to be derived from the shape of the fried confection, or perhaps from most obviously the fried dough stuffed with nuts. Simple, yet effective, but the definitive origins of the name are unknown.

Before the Dutch could be given full glory for frying a ball of yeasted dough, one must take a look at artifacts that date back centuries before. Prehistoric Native American cultures are found to have fossilized remains of what seem to be the very first donut-type concoctions of fried dough, likely made in some sort of animal fat.

Flash forward to 2011. I might have initially been upset that the nearby Krispy Kreme had been shut down. The company, banking on its successes, had created a barage of openings in the United States in such a short time that the money they were making couldn't keep up with the dough they were shelling out, and many locations, including the three nearest ones, were shut down within a year. Fortunately, I had sworn off animal products, and as a vegan, continue to abstain from them, with no exception. Not even that sprinkled one.

So, what's a girl to do?I just made my own. A friend and I got together and made a batch of Krispy Kreme donuts at midnight, wrapping up the process with taste testing and a small nap on his part, while his mother and I kept working on maintaining the right temperature. The result was definitely good, and fell right in line with what our expectations were. The slight spongy soft insides were complimented with a pleasant slightly crisp outside, and we coated them in a vanilla glaze a la KK, with some being coated in sprinkles by Let's Do Organics. The result was whimsical, awe-inspiring, and certainly filling. Especially the latter.

So, catch up point: The Native Americans are believed to have made a fried dough confection back in Prehistoric times. Dutch settlers in New England make olykoeks when they arrive in Native American territory. Krispy Kreme is started in 1937 in the deep fried Southern U.S. Paula Deen makes a donut burger- a burger sandwiched between two halves of a glazed donut. A young vegan makes donuts in her vegan friend’s kitchen in New York, NY. 

The highly recommended recipe we used can be found here. 
Cardamom-Cinnamon Glazed, Cinnamon Sugar, Cookie Crumb, Sprinkle
I recommend doubling the recipe. I love that it created donut holes, as I expected this would be in lieu of making the full dozen donuts as the recipe says, not just as an addition. My friend got the donut holes, but that is no matter. The donuts were amazing and were just like their non-vegan predecessors. All around, a very successful night full of good food and many laughs.

In my research, I found myself surprised to see that donuts, in the 80’s, were being stamped out by the other ever popular breakfast baked good, the weed of the bakery world, the ever dooming bagel. Thankfully, the donut has since made its strong comeback and despite all the world’s ebbs and flows, the donut still has its place in the world; in my vegan belly. Plus, nothing can compare to sprinkles. There's no way a bagel wins this battle.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 1: Chocolate Chip Cookies

So as it stands, chocolate chip cookies are just one of the few delights that have remained the same throughout the course of my life. I have never lost my special hankering for melty gooey chocolate, canvassed in a sweet slight vanilla, slight caramel flavored dough. Here's how I hear most people like them; slight crunch to the outside, firm yet chewy center.

A cookie fresh from the oven is warm, as well as softer than they'll likely ever be again. For this reason, leaving a cookie on its sheet for the proper amount of time is so important. The extra heat from the pan crisps the outside even further, creating a more firm cookie as a result. The texture is entirely up to the maker and how long the cookie is left to cool on the hot pan.

Behold; I have a cookie that adheres to no rules about texture. Its outside is in unison with its insides; firm to the touch and buttery in flavor. Mais, how can this be? The answer comes from a crime of impatience: not allowing the buttery sticks come to room temp. If, like most of the world, you let your butter sit while you do the dishes, clean the house, maybe go invest in lucrative fiscal outlets, or perhaps mill your own wheat flour out in your personal windmill, you allow your butter to come to room temperature, which is paramount to the formation of the 'ideal' choco chip cookie.

When the batch of cookies was removed from the oven, they looked unsuspectingly normal. Given my experience with making abnormal cookie dough, I have found that the colder the margarine is, the more similar the result is to adding too much flour or beating the mixture for too long. It seems, without any actual research done on the matter, that the cookie becomes super-saturated with flour, creating a stiff batter that leaves some flour at the bottom of the bowl and out of the party. No big deal as the cookie dough is still amazing and safe to eat (no eggs = no salmonella scare) so if the cookie fails, the dough never ceases to satisfy. I pay the stiff dough no mind, as I've learned it's a simple sign of my eagerness to consume the dough rather than get the dough on cookie sheets to bake, anyway. Viva impatience.

The beauty of the culinary field is that further exploration yields mysterious mistakes, lucky ones. The story of the Chocolate Chip cookie is just that. Ruth Wakefield was a dietician who settled with her husband at an inn of their own, in which Ruth would become the meal planner. As anyone with a passion for food and its effects would do, Ruth took the whisk into her own hands. Her "Butter No Do" cookies were in the process of being made when she decided to cut up a bag of chocolate to replace a missing ingredient. This was in effect a mistake but nay, no crime of the kitchen, as the bits of chocolate didn't melt and evenly distribute throughout the dough as expected. Instead, that famous treat was born, The Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie. The cookie, whose name was derived from that of the Inn the Wakefields owned, became a sensation and with its growing popularity, impacting the popularity of the Nestle chocolate used to create it.

So, see? The chocolate chip cookie was birthed of a simple kitchen error. If the result pleases you, there is no error made. Just kitchen wizardry.