Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: GF Split Pea Chips

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

I had such high hopes and expectations for this recipe!  I was given a sample a couple months ago of a gluten free split pea chip.  It was seriously insanely delicious!  I couldn't imagine how something like that could even be made, so like a geek, I wrote down all of the ingredients, hoping one day to make it.  Fast forward a couple of months later, when I was going through my computer desk, sifting through the volume of recipe scribbles I had on so many pieces of paper.  I was sorting them into piles of things I would realistically do, and getting rid of the things I most likely wouldn't do, when I came across the list of ingredients and my thoughts on how the gf split pea chips were made.  My coworkers at the time suggested that according to the ingredients, the company must have cooked the split peas, pureed them, seasoned them with spices, added a gf flour to create a dough, rolled it out and fried the resulting pieces. 

Easy, I thought.  Until I got started!  I did everything I assumed was done, cooking the peas, seasoning them, adding the flour and seasoning again.  Everything seemed ok until I started to roll out the dough.  I know all about xanthan gum, and was thinking I should have put some in there, even though the ingredients did not specify it, but lately I have been trying to abide by the idea that you should make a recipe exactly as it is stated the first time, then make any changes you want the second time around, once you know how it behaves, so I did just that.  I should have listened to what I was thinking!  The dough was impossible to roll out, or maybe not so impossible to roll out, once I added a bunch more flour to the ingredients to it (thereby changing the flavor I had created initially!), but when I sliced the rolled out dough into pieces and tried to lift the pieces is when it all fell apart ... literally.   I tried to fry them anyway, but they exploded into tiny bits as soon as I submersed them into the hot oil.  Damn!  I was so excited!  They were tasty, but not too pretty, and kinda funky if I must admit.  I think it was a really good idea and a good base, but next time I will listen to myself and add a little xanthan gum, - I'm sure it will work out much better.  I will definitely try this again when I have a little extra time!  Try this if you would like, but make a couple changes, and if you do, let me know how it turns out.

Gluten Free Split Pea Chips:

Very Messy, But Very Tasty!

1/2" no-taste oil to fry, such as canola

1 cup split peas, soaked for several hours (I used green), then cooked until soft
1/2  cup water
2 teaspoons vegetable boullion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1/2 cup sorghum flour, mixed with 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (I added the xanthan gum part for next time, but I have not tried it yet.)

1.  Place the cooked split peas in the bowl of a  food processor.  Add the water and all of the spices.  Just do not add the flour and xanthan gum.
2.  Process the mixture until completely smooth. 
3.  Remove the mixture from the processor and place in a medium mixing bowl.  Add the flour and xanthan mixture and stir until a thick dough has formed.  It should not be sticky.  If it is, add a little more flour until it is no longer sticky.
4.  Sprinkle a good amount of sorghum flour on your work surface and turn half of the dough onto the flour.  Sprinkle with additional flour.  Press the dough down with your hands until a disk has formed. 
5.  Get your oil ready - the rest of the recipe will come together very quickly.  Place the oil in a medium sized pot and place over medium-high heat.  Allow the oil to become hot.  It is hot when a drop of the batter immediately sizzles and comes back  to the surface. 
6.  Using a rolling pin, roll out dough to desired thickness.  Cut into desired shapes using a paring knife.  Use the paring knife to carefully remove the chips from the counter and place them into the oil.  Do not place too many in the oil at the same time, or they will bump into each other and break up, like mine did.
7.  Cook for a couple minutes until golden.  Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon onto paper towel lined plates and immediately sprinkle with sea salt.  Continue cooking the remaining chips. 
8.  If the chips appear to be breaking and you did not add too many to the pot, your oil may also be too hot. 


Monday, July 25, 2011

Banana Flapjacks

It seems that whenever I go to the store I see a bunch of bananas, think oh, that sounds good, and buy it.  99% of the time, I eat one or two bananas, Hubbs eats 1-2 bananas, and the rest sit there ... and sit there... and sit there. Till one day they are almost entirely black and I have to figure out something to do with them or throw them out.  I bought them - I don't really want to throw them out!  I'm soooo tired of banana bread - not something I want to think about baking, let alone eating, ever again!  And I have tried the whole freezing the banana thing, but it just really doesn't work too well for me - I forget about it for a long time, then when I remember, they're already freezer burned!  I was browsing for some banana recipes in my cookbooks, shuddering at almost all of them, when I came across the Banana Flapjacks recipe in Vegan Brunch.  Just something about the word flapjack really got to me and I had to make it.  So I made it, kind of in the middle about my expectations, and when the "flapjacks" were finished, topped with earth balance and smothered in maple syrup sent to me from my Mum's neighbors back in Michigan, I was in heaven.  Seriously so tasty!  And easy - and a great way to use up a couple bananas.  

Even after making this recipe, I still had 3 bananas left, which I removed from the peel, mashed and placed in a plastic deli container, to be used the next day.  This is something I had competely forgotten from my days at Babycakes - prepping ingredients like that.  I always feel like cooking and baking at work and home are such completely different things, that  I forget I can still do things like prepping to make my life a little easier.  When I go to make the recipe tomorrow, this step will already be finished.  Just keep in mind that if you do mash and store the bananas, the top will become a funky brown color, but you can use it as is, or just scrape off the very top-most part.  The rest of banana underneath will still be a nice fresh color. Make these pancakes/flapjacks the next time you have some leftover ripe bananas.  You could get creative here as well - add some chopped strawberries, chocolate chips, or any other fun and interesting ingredient.

Banana Flapjacks:

Yields 6 large flapjacks

Banana Flapjacks:
2 very ripe medium-sized bananas, mashed well
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup vanilla soymilk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon agave
1 cup unbleached flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1.  Place the mashed bananas in a medium mixing bowl.  Add the rest of the wet ingredients: the canola oil, soymilk, cider vinegar and agave.  Whisk together until a somewhat smooth mixture forms. 
2.  Into the same bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. 
3.  Get your pan ready.  Place a nonstick pan over medium heat and spray with oil. 
4.  Whisk together all of the ingredients in the mixing bowl until a thick batter has formed. 
5.  The pan should be hot by now.  Use a ladle to portion out some of the batter into the prepared pan.  Cook for a couple minutes, or until bubbles form on the top.  Carefully flip the pancake over and cook for an additional couple minutes or until the other side is cooked through. 
6.  Place cooked pancake on a plate, and continue cooking the remaining batter, continuing to place the cooked pancakes on top of one another. 
7.  To serve, spread earth balance on top until it melts and pour a generous amount or REAL maple syrup over top.  Yummy!  Eat two!



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Gluten Free Savory Cornbread

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday! 

I love cornbread!  Seriously, it's kind of ridiculous!  I love it sweet, kind of sweet, not so sweet, savory.   I'm the kind of person that would make chili with cornbread just for the cornbread.  Yum!  You getting it yet?  I said it was a little ridiculous!

 When I worked at Lifethyme, we made a Mixed Berry Cornbread that's super tasty.  At Babycakes, we made some form of a raspberry/lemon cornbread (it was several years ago now - I don't exactly remember!) and a basic cornbread, which were both obviously gluten free and super delicious.  One of my previous coworkers at Lifethyme that left about 1 1/2 years ago came up with a savory cornbread with roasted corn, jalapenos and scallions which was seriously out of this world.  It was so amazing I could have taken some home, popped it in the oven and eaten it everyday and I would have been happy.  I decided to replicate the recipe, but make it gluten free, to see how it would turn out.  So, I had a base gluten free cornbread recipe I had made before, tweaked it and came up with this recipe.

Back when I was at Lifethyme, there was some left over on the occasion when I made this, so I brought it around to some coworkers in other departments, simply telling them it was vegan savory cornbread, and paying close attention to their reactions.  Once they had eaten it, I let them know ut was gluten free and they were shocked.  Success!  Two people actually came to me later in the day and asked me for the recipe.  What a compliment!  One of the guys actually went home the same night to make it, brought it to a party and came back the next day saying how everyone loved it and couldn't believe it was gluten free!  Try it and let me know what you think!

Savory Cornbread:

Piping Hot Slice of Cornbread!

Yields 12-15 slices

2 cups corn meal
2/3 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup tapioca starch
4 tablespoons raw sugar
4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water)
6 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups unsweetened soymilk, mixed with 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 small jalapeno peppers, minced, about 3 tablespoons
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, about 3 cloves
1 cup roasted corn (1 1/2 cups frozen corn, 1 tablespoon oil, pinch of sea salt and black pepper)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Oil a 10" round or square cake pan and set aside.
2.  In a medium bowl place all of the dry ingredients: the cornmeal, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, raw sugar, baking powder, sea salt, xanthan gum, red pepper flakes and black pepper.  Wisk well to combine all ingredeints.  Add the wet ingredients to the same bowl: flax eggs, canola oil and soymilk mixed with lemon juice.  Whisk just until ingredients are combined.  Add the minced jalapeno peppers, monced garlic and roasted corn.  Stir into the batter with a rubber spatula just until mixed together.
3.  Pour batter into oiled pan and smooth the top with the spatula.
4.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden on top and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Top is Nice & Golden

5.  Allow the cornbread to cool in its pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan and place on a cooling rack to continue cooling the rest of the way.

Trying to Wait for it to Cool - So Difficult!

If you can't wait until it cools all the way, don't worry, I couldn't either!  Slather with some earth balance and eat!  Yum!



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Toast with New Tempeh Bacon Test

Ever since I stared private cheffing for a family in the mornings, I have been making so many things out of the Vegan Brunch cookbook, including the tempeh bacon recipe there.  I'm sure you guys know by now that I love tempeh bacon!  So I was excited to try the recipe.  I let it marinate for several hours before I used it, and was very disappointed.  It didn't have very much flavor and was really watered down ( if I decide at some point later on I'll give the recipe another go, I will take out the vegetable broth, add more maple syrup, soy sauce and liquid smoke - it would probably be good then).  So Bummed!  I let in marinate for a further three days, tried it again, and was still disappointed!  Marinated for three days and it still wasn't tasty!  So, I've put the recipe here, but if you really want to make some tasty tempeh bacon, make the one that I have already posted and use in so many recipes.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the vegan brunch cookbook, just sometimes a couple recipes do not turn out as I expect them to.  I made the Bakery Style Muffins in the cookbook for the family for breakfast one morning, using vegan sour cream instead of yogurt (just because they didn't have vegan yogurt in the house) and used fresh berries instead of the frozen berries the recipe called for, and they were all eaten within a couple hours.  Believe me, I bake everyday! and sometimes can barely stomach eating any baked goods anymore, and I would eat this every day!  If you don't have the book or have never seen it before, go check it out.  But, just don't make the tempeh bacon recipe! 

Tempeh Bacon:
1 pkg. tempeh, cut in half widthwise, then sliced thinly
3 tablespoons tamari/shoyu
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 cup vegetable broth
2 garlic cloves, minced

1.  Place all the marinade ingredients in a bowl with a tightly sealing lid.  Whisk together all ingredients until well combined.
2.  Place the tempeh slices into the marinade and allow to marinade for several hours, or overnight. 
3.  Place a small amount of oil into a medium sized pan over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, place the drained tempeh into the hot oil carefully! and cook for several minutes on both sides, or until nice and crispy.
4.  Serve with toasted multigrain bread slathered in earth balance.   Quick breakfast!



Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Black Bean Tamales, Yucca, Roasted Corn Salad

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

When I was making this meal, Hubby was off with his cousin at the Barber's, getting his face shaved, his hair trimmed, and his "line" made.  The whole idea of going to a barber is still pretty strange and old fashioned to me, even though we have been together for over 2 years now and he does this every couple weeks.  His hair is very different than mine, so he needs to have it maintained in his own way.  Although lately he has been complaining about the cost and suggesting I cut his hair, make his "line", etc.  The idea really freaks me out (hello, do I want to ruin his beautiful hair!?)  I of course shouldn't have told him that when I was growing up, my Mum cut all four of my brothers' hair, plus my Dad's and also trimmed his beard.  Just because my Mum is talented that way, doesn't mean I am, right?

Let's get back to food shall we?  SO, Hubby was at the Barber and since he wasn't at home, I wasn't really motivated to make anything great, so I had some leftover tamales in the freezer that I steamed, yucca that I boiled, and a simple roasted corn salad that I made.  The whole thing must have taken about half an hour.  It was a tasty, though very carby dinner.  I put sour cream and lots of sriracha on my tamales and was very happy.  Yum!

Black Bean Tamales, Yucca, Roasted Corn Salad:

Boiled Yucca, Roasted Corn Salad, Black Bean Tamales
with Sour Cream (I had Sriracha on the side of course!)

Black Bean Tamales, prepared, steamed until hot

2 large yucca
1 pot of salted water

Roasted Corn Salad:
2 cups frozen corn
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoons minced jalapenos
1/4 cup small diced green pepper
1/4 cup small diced orange/red bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced red onion
3 thin scallions, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.  To prepare the yucca, remove the tough ends.  With a pairing knife, remove the waxy outer skin.  The underlying flesh should be bright white.  Be sure to remove all of the pink flesh that is slightly underlying the dark outer layer. 
2.  Cut the yucca into 4-5 circles, depending upon the size.    Quarter each of the slices of yucca and place in a medium sized sauce pot over high heat.  Generously salt the water.  Boil until the yucca can be easily be pierced with a fork.  Drain, but keep warm.  (Remember, or be aware, if you have never eaten yucca before, that there is a large stem in the center that needs to be removed- it is not edible. 
3.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  On a baking sheet, place the 2 cups of frozen corn and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with black pepper and toss well to coat. 
4.  Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden and the corn is cooked.  Set the corn aside to cool slightly. 
5.  In a medium bowl, place the chopped veggies - the jalapenos, green and orange bell peppers, red onions, scallions and minced garlic.  Stir together.  Add the lime juice, olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.  Stir again to combine. 
6.  By now the corn should have cooled enough to be tossed with the remaining ingredients.  Toss with all ingredients to coat.  Season to taste, adjusting the salt or lime juice as desired. 
7.  To serve, remove the tamales from the corn husks and top with sour cream and hot sauce (that's my choice, but you can top with whatever you want), serve the yucca on the side and a portion of the corn salad.  Simple and tasty!



Monday, July 11, 2011

Baked Seitan

I've said before that one of my favorite things to experiment with is seitan.  I have made this baked seitan dish several times before, and have had success, but each time I thought it could do with having more flavor.  The seitan I usually make is the kind that is boiled, then marinated, baked, fried, sauteed, etc.  Or I also make the kind that is steamed, then baked.  I have only been making this baked seitan for a couple weeks.  I am finally satisfied that this recipe is super delicious and super easy!

Baked Seitan

The Baked, Cooled Seitan

Yields: a Giant Log - you can freeze it

1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tamari or shoyu
2 tablespoons sherry
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon boillion powder
1 cup filtered water

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Place the vital wheat gluten flour in a large bowl.  Add all the dry spices and stir to combine.
3.  Add all the wet flavorings and the water and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined.  Knead for 1-2 minutes or until gluten becomes firm and well combined.
4.  Form gluten into a log and place in the center of a large sheet of aluminum foil. 

Uncooked Seitan in the Middle of the Foil

A Close-Up of the Uncooked Seitan Log

5.  Roll the aluminum foil around the log and twist the ends, leaving a  couple inches of space to allow for seitan to grow.

The Uncooked Seitan in Aluminum Foil

6.  Place the log in aluminum foil on a sheet tray and bake in the oven for 60 minutes. 
7.  Allow to cool and slice into desired pieces.

The Cooked Log of Seitan - You can Easily Make it
Larger Around and Shorter. 



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs, Artichoke & Roasted Pepper Salad, Sauteed Kale

Hello everyone.  Let me take a minute to just say that I am extremely extremely busy lately!  Since leaving my other job, where I was head baker of the vegan bakery, I have taken not one, but two new positions, in addition to teaching my gluten free baking and cake decorating classes at NGI.  Needless to say, I am so busy and tired lately that most of the time, I'm not sure which end is up.  Not that this is a bad thing at all, because I am working with the things I love most: food!  I work as a private chef in the mornings for a very nice family in Flushing, then in the afternoons/evenings, I work as an executive pastry chef in Long Island City (while living in Brooklyn!).  By the time I get home from cooking and baking all day, the last thing I find myself wanting to do is more cooking and baking.  I would like to spend some time with my Hubbs!  But this is not all in vain - I am saving a lot of money now for our business.  It has really become time for us to get our act together and get cracking on all of the preliminary work, so we can open our vegan cafe!  Cannot wait!  I am expecting it to be the most difficult, but rewarding thing I can do in this world!  So, to make a short story long ... I will likely probably only be posting once or twice a week.  I will definitely try to incorporate the gluten free  Wednesdays in my posts.  (What I really need is a mini laptop to work on my blogs and other things while I am on the looooonnnnngggg commute from Brooklyn to Queens! :)  So without further ado, Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

This was a delicious way to use up the leftover meatballs and sauce from the gluten free Wednesday from quire awhile ago.  I froze the lentil meatballs in the marinara sauce and of course promptly forgot about them.  I was going through the freezer recently, a form of Spring Cleaning if you will, and discovered the meatballs.  Score!  Easy dinner tonight!  I love it when that happens.  Since I didn't have the time to thaw the meatballs overnight in the refrigerator, I placed it in the sink in a bowl of warm water, and it was ready to go within a half an hour.  Roasting the peppers was easy, because while those were roasting, I was able to finish the rest of the meal.  I love meals like this.  And when Hubby compliments the meal, it makes me smile, because I know the secret - it was so easy and quick, but tasted like it took all day to prepare.  Although I guess that really is true, because when I made the meatballs initially, they did take quite a long time, but were they worth it!  If you don't want to go through the motions of making the meatballs, you can definitely buy ready made vegan meatballs - super easy!  But definitely make the salad - I made enough so that we could have it for dinner two nights in a row, and Hubbs was disappointed when it was all gone!

Spaghetti & Meatballs with Artichoke & Roasted Pepper Salad, Sauteed Kale:

The Plate: Artichoke Pepper Salad, Sauteed Kale &
Spaghetti & Meatballs!

Spaghetti & Meatballs, Prepared

Artichoke & Roasted Pepper Salad:
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered, excess liquid squeezed out
2 small orange or red bell peppers, roasted, see below
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 pinches sea salt
1 pinch black pepper

Sauteed Kale:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 bunch kale, thick stem removed. sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tamari/shoyu

1.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2.  Have the spaghetti and meatballs prepared.  All you have to do is reheat them.
3.  Prepare the artichoke and roasted pepper salad.  Wash and dry the peppers.  Drizzle them with a small amount of olive oil and place on a baking tray.  Place in the oven and roast until the skin is blackened on all sides, about 1/2 hour. 
4.  Place the peppers in a small bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and allow the peppers to "sweat".  This will help the peels come off much easier. 
5.  In the meantime, prepare the rest of the salad: squeeze the artichokes of excess water, quarter and place in a medium mixing bowl.  Add the olive oil, sherry vinegar, sea salt and pepper. 
6.  The peppers should be ready by now.  Remove the plastic wrap and carefully take off the top of the pepper.  Be careful because the pepper is filled with hot juices.  Empty the juices from the pepper.  Peel off the outer skin on the pepper- it should be very visible and easy to remove.  It may be stuck in some places - just use a paring knife to help you.  Rinse the peppers of any remaining pieces of skin and seeds.  Julienne the roasted pepper (slice it into long, thin strips).
7.  Place the roasted pepper strips in the bowl with the remaining ingredients and toss to coat.  Season to taste. 
8.  Prepare the kale.  In a large work or large saute pan over high heat, add the olive oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the kale.  It will seem like a lot, but it will shrink down considerably.  Use a wooden spoon to constantly move the kale around until it wilts.  Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the tamari - be careful it will sizzle.  Stir ingredients around and season to taste. 
9.  To serve, portion out a serving of the pasta and meatballs, the kale and the artichoke pepper salad. 

Dinner on our NEW Table!
(Well, not so new anymore, but we LOVE it! Thanks Mum!)