Saturday, September 25, 2010

Basic White Bread

This is a very basic bread recipe on to which you can build that I adapted from one of my baking books. I make bread a few times a week to save money and to savor the wonderful smells and flavors of homemade bread. Even though there appears to be a lot of steps, once you do this a few times, it seems like the prep work goes very quickly. The longest part of making bread is the wait time, and there's tons of ways to spend that time, right? My girls are very helpful now and love to do the kneading process, which is just fine with me. To make this as easy as possible, I've posted several pictures that my good helper, GR, and I took; the recipe follows.

Fig. A. Freshly baked and sliced Basic White Bread.

Fig. B. Resting Dough

Fig. C. Risen Dough (on a pre-floured surface)

Fig. D. Punching down risen dough

Fig. E. Folding dough into into loaf shape. The bottom seam has been pinched together, and I'm folding up the ends. This loaf actually could have been rolled even tighter.

Fig. F. Resting dough in loaf pans.

Fig. G. Risen dough in loaf pans.

Fig. H. Slashing floured tops of risen dough.

Fig. I. Fresh out of the oven. The loaf on the right has a little less flour because I took it out of the pan to tap the bottom and then put it back in for the picture. Shucks. But notice how they are so puffy and have risen above the pans.

Basic White Bread


Makes two loaves
Two large bowls

In each bowl add:
5 1/2 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. salt (Can adjust to 1 Tbs. for less salt, if desired)
1 packet Rapid Rise yeast packet
2 cups cold tap water


In each bowl put in the dry ingredients. Carefully whisk until well mixed. Add the water and mix as well as you can with a large spoon. On a lightly floured surface, pour out the contents of each bowl one at a time, unless you have a helper, then you can use two floured surfaces simultaneously. Knead the dough for ten minutes, adding a little flour at a time, if the dough gets sticky. Thoroughly wash each bowl, and put the dough back in them (Fig. B). Cover each bowl with a damp, clean dish towel. Let it rest and double in size for two hours (Fig. C). Lightly grease two loaf pans. You can do this by either spraying with Pam or by taking a paper towel with a bit of margarine on it and rub it around the inside of the pans. Remove towels and gently punch down dough in the middle and a couple of times on the sides (Fig. D). Again, pull out each bowl's dough onto floured surfaces and flatten and shape to look like somewhat rectangular shapes, roughly the shape of your loaf pans but a little bigger. Roll up the dough from the short end, somewhat snugly. Pinch the seam together and fold under the ends (Fig. E). Now you'll have a loaf shape again in this position. Rest for another hour to double in size with the towels again in place (Figs. F and G). Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove the towels and sprinkle and gently spread flour on the top of each loaf. With a sharp knife, gently cut a slash down the center about an inch deep of each loaf (Fig. H). Bake for 15 minutes, then turn down heat to 400 degrees and continue baking for another 25 minutes. They will have a nice golden color on top when done (Fig. I). When the bread is removed from the pans, tap the bottoms to hear a somewhat hollow sound. Let cool out of the pans on a cooling rack. Added tip: If you are baking more than one loaf at a time, bake for 30 minutes instead of 25, and then remove them from the pans, place upside down directly on grills, and bake for another 5 minutes. After a few minutes of resting, even when very warm, the bread can be sliced for a wonderful treat (Fig. A). We toast ours, use it for sandwiches, snack on it, dunk it in split pea soup, and have it for dessert. This recipe makes two loaves, which feeds five hungry vegans for about three days.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sauteed Baby Bok Choy

I have a confession to make: I am in love with bok choy. I mean unreasonably in love, especially with baby bok choy - to the point where I become selfish with it and wished that no one else liked it, so I could eat it all by myself. I have a very large pan, but if I had a larger one, I'd cook even more baby bok choy in it at one time. As it is, I squeeze as many baby bok choys as I can in the pan over some olive oil, drizzle a couple of spices, do my bok choy wiggle, and gobble it up when it's done. Apparently, though, I need to have you all sign a waiver before you eat this dish. My husband, G, seems to like to gobble his up too, and while he was doing so one night, some bok choy slipped down his throat and got stuck. Apparently, he was making the universal choking sign (I was informed a few minutes later), but I didn't notice because I was too busy gorging on my bok choy. SR started hollering that Daddy was choking, but he was a grown man and all, and he's eaten his food way too fast on too many occasions where I've heard that familiar gakking sound. So, I didn't take this one seriously. When I did look up a few seconds later, a partially eaten/swallowed bok choy was being hacked up. Everyone seemed to blame me! I let him choke one time, one time, and the family thinks I don't care. Sheesh, it's not like it would have killed him, er, strike that. Eat at your own risk! Chew first thoroughly! You've been warned, people.

Bunches of baby bok choy cooking away.

Very innocent looking baby bok choy resting on a bed of quinoa.

Sauteed Baby Bok Choy


6 - 8 Baby Bok Choy, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise
2 Tbs. olive oil
Soy sauce
Garlic powder


Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Place the bok choy halves in the pan. Sprinkle garlic powder and drizzle soy sauce over them. Cook for about five minutes, then take tongs and turn them over. Again sprinkle garlic powder and drizzle some more soy sauce, and cook for another five minutes or so. Do one final flip to sear in the seasonings, and cook for another minute. Serve on a bed of grains. Feeds five hungry vegans.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lemony Lemon Tart

This was a nice little dessert I made this last weekend. It's got a nice lemon taste, so if you like lemons, you'll like this. By the way, this fits into the Feingold plan, if you're keeping track.

Lemony Lemon Tart (I'm cheating by using a leaf from our grapefruit tree as a garnish.)

This is how it looks when you weigh down your crust with beans before pre-baking it. Make sure you crinkle the wax paper first, so it lays down easier.

A wedge of Lemony Lemon Tart. See the sneaky grapefruit leaf again!

Lemony Lemon Tart



1 cup flour
A good pinch of salt
2 1/2 Tbs. vegan or raw sugar
6 Tbs. of chilled vegan margarine, cubed or coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. EnerG Egg Replacer
4 Tbs. cold water
1 extra Tbs. water


1 pkg. Mori-Nu tofu, soft silken
2/3 cup soy milk
1 cup vegan or raw sugar
2 Tbs. dried lemon peel
3 Tbs. lemon juice


For the crust: Have a 9-inch loose-based tart pan ready. In a food processor put the flour, salt and sugar. Process until mixed. Add the margarine and process again until mixture is crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk together the Egg Replacer and the four tablespoons of water. Remove the feed tube cap and, with the machine running, pour in the water mixture. The dough should clump up into a ball in about a minute. Turn the machine off. Pat the dough into a disk shape, wrap it in wax paper and chill for 30 minutes. Unwrap the dough and reserve the wax paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to about eleven inches in diameter (mine is never perfect); you can sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the crust, so the rolling pin doesn't stick. Gently fold in half and unroll into your tart pan. Use your rolling pin to roll across the top of the pan to release any extra dough. Use any extra dough to fill in gaps in your crust. Prick the bottom of the crust several times with a fork, and chill for another 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Take the chilled tart pan and dough out of the refrigerator. Spread out the used wax paper over the dough, making sure the bottom is completely covered. Open a one-pound bag of dried beans, and pour the beans over the wax paper. Spread the beans out so are they are in every nook and cranny of the covered dough. Bake for 20 minutes. Bring out and carefully lift the wax paper with the beans and put in a bowl - you can use these for a later dish. Brush on the remaining tablespoon of water on the bottom of the crust. Turn off oven, and let the crust completely cool.

For the filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process all the filling ingredients in the food processor for at least a minute, until smooth. Pour into cooled crust. Bake for 30 minutes. The filling will be slightly jiggly when removed from the oven. Let completely cool, then chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours to finish setting. Unmold the tart before serving. Feeds five hungry vegans for a couple of days.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Burgers with Smoky Tempeh Strips

I'm going to start out saying that I'm adjusting our daily food slightly by incorporating what's called the Feingold Diet. It basically removes petroleum-based preservatives, all artificial colorings and flavorings, and some natural flavorings, that are preservatives in disguise, from our food. It's a program I purchased after meeting a couple of women who have children struggling in certain ways that mine do. To protect my children's privacy, I'm not going to go into detail here of what we are working on, but I'm hoping that by removing some of the more harmful ingredients from our diet, it will help my beautiful blessings. The Feingold Diet by itself is not vegan, but I am only purchasing food that is vegan, so our food will actually be even more limited that the average person on this food plan. But, that's okay. What I won't do for my own health, I will cross over oceans and knock down mountains for the health of my children. Today was the first day that I began incorporating some of the food from their huge food list. It's a very slow process and reminds me of when I first became vegetarian and then vegan and how slowly shopping seemed to go in the beginning. I know that as I mark up my food list, shopping will go faster over time. So, over the next few weeks, you'll see things that we are using up that are not on the food plan, while I will be purchasing the new things on the plan. If this works and is helpful, this will be long-term, but the variety of food is great, and I should be still putting out tasty food. Hopefully, you'll stick around to see what I come up with.

Tonight's dish was originally going to be burgers with Smart Bacon, what we call facon in our home. It was going to be a kind of "facon burger," if you will. But, the "facon" isn't on the diet plan, so I came up with Smokey Tempeh Strips. I only told GR that I was subbing tempeh for facon because I knew everyone else would compare the two tastes, and I didn't want that. Everyone seemed to like them, except for SR, who wouldn't try them due to her past distaste of tempeh. Too bad. JK had seconds, and the whole dish was gone by the end of the meal. So, I guess it passed. The burgers we already had on hand and are not on the diet, so it's a half and half meal. Check it out.

Open-faced shot of Burgers with Smokey Tempeh StripsBurgers with Smokey Tempeh Strips


2 Tbs. olive oil
1 - 8 oz. pkg. LightLife Organic Tempeh, Soy style
5 to 7 drops of Liquid Smoke
2 tsp. yellow mustard
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. canola oil
Your favorite veggie burgers (we used the extra large Boca Burgers from Costco)
Your favorite burger condiments
Your favorite burger buns


Slice the tempeh into thin strips width-wise. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat, and add the tempeh. In a small bowl, whisk together the Liquid Smoke, yellow mustard and soy sauce. With a glazing brush, brush some of the sauce over the tempeh strips. Cook for two to three minutes. Take tongs or a small spatula, and gently flip the tempeh strips over. Brush the remaining sauce over the strips. Cook for another two to three minutes. Flip one last time to sear in the top sauce and put in a serving dish. Meanwhile, in a griddle, heat the canola oil over medium heat and cook the burgers on both sides until done. Fix your burgers the way you like them with the tempeh strips on top. They actually came out pretty tasty, and I'll definitely be doing this recipe again. Serve with steamed veggies. Feeds five hungry vegans.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Big Soy Tostadas

Oh, I love easy meals; I love Mexican food; I love a lot of food; and, I love comfort food, so this meal is always a hit with me. What I like about build-it-your-own-way dishes is that everyone ends up eating exactly what they want. This is a very basic recipe, one that you can build on or take away according to your tastes. Have fun with this, and I hope you enjoy it!

Big Soy Tostadas


5 Del Oro Tostada Crowns (each box has four crowns)
1 Tbs. canola oil
2 pkgs. Smart Ground, Mexican Style (you can add beans or not)
Our toppings:
Romaine lettuce
Sliced black olives
Finely grated vegan cheese - we used Vegan Gourmet, Cheddar Style
Toffuti Better than Sour Cream
Your favorite salsa - we used Herdez medium
Diced tomatoes


Preheat the tostada crowns according to package directions. In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the Smart Ground and cook until heated through and slightly browned, about five minutes. When the crowns come out of the oven, scoop some of the Smart Ground onto its bottom and then add the rest of the ingredients. Chew, swallow, smile. Feeds five hungry vegans.