Monday, December 02, 2019

Vegan Hamburger Buns for Adam Schiff




This year I made no pies, no cornbread, no beans, no pumpkins.  I spent the entire holiday making batch after batch of buns for a project to be announced shortly.

The impulse to develop this recipe began with  a podcast I heard on which Adam Schiff noted that while vegan burgers have become much more widely available, the vegan bun remains an elusive desideratum.

I can think about a few possible reasons for this.  Two conflicting qualities make a sandwich bun optimal.  The ideal sandwich delivery system is sufficiently soft and fluffy that it does not interfere with or distract from the sandwich contents, but strong enough to contain any juices without disintegrating.  A dough with eggs and milk or milk powder can provide a fine dense crumb to fill these requirements, but adding mashed potatoes to the dough can do the same thing.  This recipe is inspired by the potato bread in The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison.  I added some sweet potato just for some golden eggy color, but serendipitously, the sweet potato dough turned out softer and fluffier than any other batch.  This is also a recipe which works best with all-purpose flour.


Vegan Buns

1 medium-large russet potato, about 6-7 ounces
2 ounces sweet potato

2 pounds all-purpose flour (about 7-8 cups)

1 cup water (use water from cooking the potatoes, plus enough added to make one cup)
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 1/2 packets yeast (1 tablespoon, 3/8 ounce)

3 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablespoons date syrup, malt, or sugar
1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
sesame seeds
Coarse grain sea salt (optional)

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1-inch dice.  Put them in a small saucepan and add water to cover and 3/4 teaspoons salt.  Bring to the boil and simmer until quite tender. Strain and reserve the water.

Measure reserved potato water and if necessary, add enough water to make one cup.  If the water has become cool, reheat it.  Combine the water and soy milk in a mixing bowl.  The mixture should be warm.  Sprinkle yeast over the surface and add half the flour.  Mix with the paddle.  Leave the spongy dough in the mixing bowl to rise for 45 minutes.

Mix the dough once more with the paddle.  Remove the paddle and add the potatoes, syrup, oil,  salt, and remaining flour.  Knead with the dough hook for four or five minutes.  This dough can also be kneaded by hand.  The dough will be somewhat softer and stickier than typical bread dough, but worry not.

Turn the dough into an oiled bowl and allow to rise for another 45 minutes.  Punch it down, separate challah, and divide the remaining dough into twenty pieces for large buns or 40 for slider buns. Roll the dough bits into round balls and arrange them on parchment-lined sheet pans.  Press each roll to flatten into bun shapes.  Cover and and allow to rise another 45 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350F (Mark 4)

Bring 1/2 cup water to the boil.  In a small cup or bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon cornstarch in 1 teaspoon cold water.  Add the cornstarch slurry to the boiling water and cook until clear.  Brush the tops of the risen buns with cornstarch, and sprinkle with sesame seeds and coarse salt. Bake the buns for 25 minutes, rotating the pans after 15 minutes.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Star Thistle Honey Cake with Michigan Sour Cherries





Honey cakes I usually make are dark, dense, winey, slightly bitter, and full of a mixed chorus of seasonings.  This cake may look a little pale compared with some of the other honey cakes you have seen here, but the flavors are just as bright and vivid.  We are very proud of star thistle honey here in Michigan.  It has bright, zingy, almost citrusy notes on top, with a nice warm sweetness underneath.  We are also proud of our sour cherries, but not quite proud enough to call them sour cherries.

Star Thistle Honey Cake with Michigan Sour Cherries

1 cup dried Michigan sour cherries
Ann Arbor Autumn Gin (or brandy, or just tea)

3 cups flour (2 cups all purpose and 1 cup whole wheat pastry or a mix of gluten-free flours)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar

4 eggs
3/4 cup sunflower oil, or other oil
1 cup star thistle honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel

Heat the oven to 425.
Prepare two cake pans

Soak the cherries overnight in enough gin to cover.

Stir together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Beat the eggs and blend in the oil, honey, and extract.  Add the cherries and orange peel.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and fold until just combined.  Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake for 25 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350 after the first five minutes.

ETA:
I just made a gluten-free version of this recipe using two cups of a gluten-free mix and a half cup each oat flour and white rice flour.  For the gluten-free version bake the batter in four pans rather than two, and increase the baking time by about 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Paw Paws are a Thing דער פּאָפּאָבוים





Counter clockwise from bottom:  Paw paws, ground cherries, Michigan honey, apples and pears from Centennial Community Farm, pomegranates.


One of the mystifying songs we had to sing in grade school was "Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch."  I liked this song well enough, but it never occurred to me that paw paws were a real kind of fruit.  I thought that like wizards, dragons, flying carpets, and Kalamazoo, they were just made up for children's literature.  Last month I took a train through Kalamazoo, and this month I learned that paw paws are in fact a thing.  I can't wait to see what month  brings.

On the inside they look a little like orange cherimoyas, with soft, creamy pulp and smooth hard seeds.  The fragrance is lush and tropical with notes of mango, papaya, banana, and lichee.  It is hard to believe they are native to this cool temperate area.  I will have to wait until after the holiday to tell you how they taste.

Also photographed above are ground cherries, which you may have encountered in the Little House books and My Antonia.

For tonight  am planning to make a cake with Michigan star thistle honey and Michigan sour cherries, and maybe even a sour cherry tsimes.  We are very proud of our cherries here in Michigan, but not proud enough to call them sour cherries.  Locals insist on calling them "tart cherries."  That makes me sad.  Sour cherries and not lesser cherries. Own your cherries, Michigan!

Other honey cakes:

Date Honey Cake
Pomegranate Honey Cake
Chocolate Honey Cake
Classic Honey Cake

דער פּאָפּאָבוים
Der popoboym, the paw paw tree

דער פּאָפּאָ
der popo, the paw paw

דאָס כינעזישע לאַמטערל
Dos Khinezishe lamterl, the ground cherry
Here are the Seegers singing Paw Paw Patch:


And one more film from Nature Boy Crabmeat 

Make pudding.

And of course, Honey Pie!













Have a sweet and beautiful year.


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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Peysekh Brownies (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Tree Nut-Free Passover Brownies)





You see, this is why we left Egypt.

Were it not for Passover, and the the needs of friends who are vegan, gluten-free, or tree nut-free, or all of the above, I would never have made these brownies, and the world would be a poorer sadder place.
OK, Here's what I made: I ground up one pound of chocolate (one 10-ounce bag Equal exchange semisweet ships and two 3-ounce bittersweet bars) to a fine powder. Then I took pulp from two green coconuts, two handfuls of medjool dates and ground those up, mixed with the chocolate powder.  Pat the mixture into a nine-inch pan and sprinkle pine nuts on top. 


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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Inside-Out Carrot Cake Hamentashn with Cream Cheese Filling



A few years ago I made this carrot jam filling for hamentashn.  It was not carrot cakes, nor carrot halwa, nor carrot pies (a venerable and beloved dessert before English cookery encountered the pumpkin and everything changed forever), nor even the carrot ice cream that Marya Dmitrievna thought was laughably implausible that inspired me.  It was those carrot-shaped bags.  As soon as I saw them I just had to fill them with some kind of carrot-based shalekhmones.  The compulsion was no more resistible than fate itself.

This made me think of A Girl of the Limberlost. Our heroine, Elnora, has a troubled relationshipwith her mother, who is unkind and sometimes abusive because she believes Elnora to be responsible for her father's death.  But, when Elnora (Mrs. Comstock was too conservative even to allow her poor daughter her fair share of vowels) gets a special lunch box from her uncle, Mrs Comstock is swept up in a frenzy of baking and cooking to make a lunch that will live up to the box in which it will be transported.  The moment when Elnora unpacks her lunch is unforgettable:

Mrs. Comstock was up early, and without a word handed Elnora the case as she left the next morning.
“Thank you, mother,” said Elnora, and went on her way.
She walked down the road looking straight ahead until she came to the corner, where she usually entered the swamp. She paused, glanced that way and smiled. Then she turned and looked back. There was no one coming in any direction. She followed the road until well around the corner, then she stopped and sat on a grassy spot, laid her books beside her and opened the lunch box. Last night's odours had in a measure prepared her for what she would see, but not quite. She scarcely could believe her senses. Half the bread compartment was filled with dainty sandwiches of bread and butter sprinkled with the yolk of egg and the remainder with three large slices of the most fragrant spice cake imaginable. The meat dish contained shaved cold ham, of which she knew the quality, the salad was tomatoes and celery, and the cup held preserved pear, clear as amber. There was milk in the bottle, two tissue-wrapped cucumber pickles in the folding drinking-cup, and a fresh napkin in the ring. No lunch was ever daintier or more palatable; of that Elnora was perfectly sure. And her mother had prepared it for her! “She does love me!” cried the happy girl. “Sure as you're born she loves me; only she hasn't found it out yet!”

And Mrs C. continues to come up with brilliant, multi-course lunches every day, and adds more to share:
Elnora went down the road thinking of the city children with whom she probably would divide. Of course, the bridge would be occupied again. So she stopped and opened the box. Undoubtedly Mrs. Comstock was showing Margaret Sinton the "frills." The cake was still fresh, and there were four slices. The sandwiches had to be tasted twice before Elnora discovered that beechnuts had been used in a peanut recipe, and they were a great improvement. There were preserved strawberries in the cup, potato salad with mint and cucumber in the dish, and a beautifully browned squab from the stable loft.

Beechnut butter!  And that potato cucumber salad with mint would not be out of place at a hipster gastropub in Bushwick.  Who knew 19th century Indiana was so cool?

Of course we identify with hungry neglected children finding food and kindness after long deprivation.  We fell for this hook in Harry Potter, Sara Crewe, Oliver Twist, and I don't know how many others, but this time I can see things from Mrs. Comstock's point of view as well.  That multi-compartmental lunch box is an articulated womb, a challenge you can't decline.

Having made carrot filling, I wanted to try turning the hamentashn inside-out (as one does with pumpkin hamentashn to make inside-out pumpkin hamentashn). Carrot dough suggested cream cheese filling.  I added some farmers' cheese and a yolk to make the filling less melty.

Carrot Cake Dough for Hamentashn

20 ounces (about 5 cups) whole wheat pastry flour (best with part whole wheat and part all-purpose)
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon ginger
12 ounces (3 sticks) butter
1 egg
1 cup orange juice
2 or 3 medium carrots, finely shredded, about 6-8 ounces
To make the dough rollable, cutable, and foldable, you will need to grate the carrots very fine.

Mix the dry ingredients together and blend in the butter.  Add the juice, egg, and vanilla to form a dough.  Mix in the shredded carrots and allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Cream Cheese Filling for Hamentashn

8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese
4 ounces farmer cheese
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter
6 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) confectioners' sugar
1 yolk
(probably good to add one slice white bread, crusts removed, soaked in milk and squeezed out)

Blend everything together in a mixer or processor.  It might be a nice touch to push the farmer cheese through a sieve, but I will not insist.

Heat the oven to 350F
Line sheet pans with parchment.

Working in small batches so that it stays cool, roll the carrot dough to 3/16 inch thick (slightly thicker than usual) and cut into circles.  I recommend cutting larger than usual circles because the carrot shreds will offer some resistance.  Fill with cream cheese filling (do not overfill), and bake for 20-25 minutes or until fragrant and golden brown on the bottom.

More Purim links:

Yeast Dough for Hamentashn 

Orange Juice Dough for Hamentashn

Inside-Out Pumpkin Hamentashn (Pumpkin Seed Pastry with Pumpkin Filling


Pumpkin Hamentashn (with Pumpkin Seed Filling)


Carrot Filling 


Apricot Filling


Poppy Seed Filling

White Poppy Seed Filling


Hemp Seed Filling


Povidl (Prune Filling)

פּאָװידלע Prune Filling (Yiddish)

Chocolate Dough (English)

 

Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough
 (English)

Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough
 (Yiddish) װעגאַן טײג

Chocolate Dough (Yiddish)



Hamentashn, hamentaschen, homentashen, homentashn, המנטאַשן

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Friday, September 07, 2018

אַ תּירוץ פֿאַר די בענטש־ליכט


אַ תּירוץ פֿאַר די בענטש־ליכט
A teyrets far di bentsh-likht
A dreadfully lame excuse (literally: an excuse for the Sabbath candles)

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Rosheshone Round-up



For this year's rubiya I got some pretty Appaloosa beans.  I also got some love slender leeks for this year's karsi.  I am thinking about making Marcella's leeks braised with artichokes.

Bake cake:

Date Honey Cake
Classic Honey Cake
Chocolate Honey Cake
Pomegranate Mahlab Honey Cake 

Make pudding.

And of course, Honey Pie!

Have a sweet and beautiful year.


Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Breakfast Flakes for Peysekh (Passover Cereal)





If I give you twenty guesses, I bet you can't guess what I am cooking right now, or maybe you can, because you read the headline.  This recipe is for The Glaistig, who is cereal-dependent throughout the year and cereal-deprived during Peysekh. 
This recipe is also for anyone else who needs a convenient wheat-free, gluten-free, gebrokhts-free cereal.  By convenient, I mean convenient to eat once someone has made them. 
And of course, this recipe is for anyone else, who, like me, enthusiastically bought bags of almond flour and plantain flour last week and has no idea what to do with them.
 
I found this page of recipes for homemade cereals intriguing and made a variation on the corn flakes.  Allow me to note that this page also links to a recipe for homemade Cheerios, which involves shaping each individual Cheerio (does anyone use Cheerio in the singular?) by hand and making a little hole with a toothpick.  I want to make fun of this recipe, but I am all too afraid I will then wake up with an irresistible compulsion to make my own cheerios.  You know what happened with the rejuvelac and cashew cheese, don't you?

Plantain Almond Flakes
 
2 scant tablespoons plantain flour
2 generous tablespoons almond flour
1 or 2 pinches salt
1 to 4 pinches sugar

Mix together the flours and seasonings with your fingers.  Sprinkle about one tablespoon the mixture onto the bottom of a non-stick or cast iron skillet.  There should be barely enough to cover the bottom. Wet your fingers and shake water over the surface of the flour so that it is evenly soaked but not disturbed.  A spray bottle might make this easier.  Heat the mixture so that it dries out and begins to toast.  Flip over to break up and toast on the other side.  Allow the skillet skillet to cool before starting the next batch.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

דער װינטער הוריגאַן Bomb Cyclone in Yiddish



Yingl Tsingl Khvat by Mani Leyb

דער װינטער הוריגאַן
Der vinter hurigan
Bomb Cyclone

דער אַרכטישער שטרודל
Der arkhtisher shtrudl
Polar Vortex

סאַפּאָזשקעלעך
Shtivl, Sapozhkelekh
Boots

קאָמאַשן
komashn
Puttees, boot-legs



See also Cold in Yiddish and Snow in Yiddish ,

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Yeast Dough for Hamentashn




The only reason I have not posted this recipe sooner is that it is so important, I was sure I must have posted it already.  Every year at least two or three people will comment that they remember a kind of homentash you used to be able to get made with yeast dough, and they wish they could find a recipe, and every year I tell them the recipe is on my blog, and finally enough of you insisted you couldn't find it.

I almost always double this recipe, but I will give the proportions Jenny Grossinger provides in her wonderful book The Art of Jewish Cooking.

Yeast Dough for Hamentashn

1/2 cup milk
1/2 ounce yeast
1/2 cup water
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
8 ounces (2 sticks) melted butter
20 ounces flour

Scald the milk and allow it to cool.  In the mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and allow it to dissolve.  Add the milk, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, and mix to combine.  Add the flour and knead with the dough hook or by hand until you have a resilient, silky dough, about ten minutes.  Allow the dough to rise until doubled (about forty minutes, depending on the conditions in your kitchen.  Punch down the dough and roll it out to slightly less than a quarter inch.
Since this dough is a little springy, you might find it easier to make slightly larger hamentashn than usual.

Fill with radish preserves or the filling your heart desires.

Brush with egg wash and bake at 375.  Check after 15 minutes.

Here's what to do with extra dough

Here's what to do with extra poppy filling


And here is a round-up of previous Purim recipes:

Orange Juice Dough for Hamentashn

Inside-Out Pumpkin Hamentashn (Pumpkin Seed Pastry with Pumpkin Filling)

Pumpkin Hamentashn (with Pumpkin Seed Filling)

Carrot Filling


Apricot Filling

Poppy Seed Filling

White Poppy Seed Filling

Hemp Seed Filling

Povidl (Prune Filling)

פּאָװידלע Prune Filling (Yiddish)

Chocolate Dough (English)



Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough
(English)

Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough
(Yiddish) װעגאַן טײג

Chocolate Dough (Yiddish)


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I'll Make You Pie, Baby.


This year, for the first time in decades, I am not baking pie.  But I have not forgotten that you need pie.

The boss of all pies is chocolate pumpkin pie.  It is chocolate.  It is pumpkin.  It is a pie. In the words of Lucy Long, every person and every second of life is a gift.

well I know you love sweet potato pie

Some pies to keep in mind are

Bamboo Honey Pecan Pie  

A Really Lovely Pumpkin Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lime Meringue Pie 


Skillet Pie (and some thoughts about crust)

Grape Pie  

While it is not a pie, and not from Boston (claims of the Omni chain to the contrary) this gesture toward Boston Cream Pie is worthy of attention.



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

חלה־פּאַכע Challah Turtles

לכּבֿד ייִדיש־װאָך האָב איך דאָס יאָר געמאַכט חלה־פּאַכעס
In honor of Yidishhvokh, I made Challah-turtles this year.

קליינע פֿישלעך, טשערעפּאַכעס
קלײַבן קרישלעך, שעפּן נחת
װען די אָזערע איז אָפֿן
זײַנען מיר אַהינגעלאָפֿן

ייִדישװאָץ
אַלע יאָר
קומט מיט אונדז
צוזאַמען
קומט איר פֿרי
קומט איר שפּעט
זאָלט איר ניט פֿאַרזאַמען

Friday, June 09, 2017

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Recipe coming soon.  Gut shabes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Rebooted Kharoyses (Haroset) and Over-Wintered What?

Overwintered spinach from Lani's Farm
 Overwintering is the practice of planting late in the fall and then covering the sprouts so that they hibernate over the winter and come up in the early spring, usually right in time for Peysekh.  Over wintered greens are sweet and intensely flavored, and I urge you to rush out and try some while they are here.  This Passover I used the spinach above from Lani's Farm in this African Spinach with Pumpkin Seeds, and in Sephardic Spinach (recipe coming soon, mertseshem).

Chickweed
I also got some chickweed.  Elizabeth Schneider recommends using chickweed in an apple and walnut salad that sounded a bit like rebooted kharoyses, so I served this along with the


red vine sorrel

Wow, is this the prettiest sorrel (shchav) you have ever beheld?  I bought a wjole bunch of this even before I read Jeffrey Yoskowitz's NYTimes  piece, which I heartily endorse, as you can well imagine.

wasabi greens
I got some of these too.  Wow.  Just wow.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Spinach with Pumpkin seeds Vegan Passover



Yes, yes, I hear you.  You need a vegan peysekh entrée; you need something without matzo, gebrokhts, or wheat in any form, and you also need to make something for your daughter-in-law who can’t eat potatoes, and your other daughter-in-law who can’t have tree nuts.  I know last year you had to make four entrees, and indeed, the four vegan entrees of Passover may well be ready take their place in the Hagaddah, alongside the cups, sons, questions, varieties of redemption, and other paschal tetrads, because what could there possibly be that everyone could eat that is also as amazingly delicious as the feast of freedom deserves to be? 

Aha, you know you have come to the right place.

I tried this first only two years ago, but now I can not imagine peysekh without it  The recipe is adapted from the Ghanian Spinach Stew with Sweet Plantains that appeared in the Times in March of 2015.  It immediately caught my eye for a few reasons.  First, it satisfies all the conditions above (as adapted herewith), and that by itself is worth remarking.  Second, I really like how the pumpkin seed cream makes the dish into a rich sort of vegan creamed spinach or shag panir.  Of course, I love the idea plantains as a side dish for peysekh (that’s three), and fourth (another paschal tetrad!),  I was also excited about the chance to use smoked paprika, which I had never tried.  As it happened, my kosher paprika emporium does not have smoked paprika for Passover, even though they have every other kind of paprika in the universe, so I ended up using sweet and hot paprika.  The recipe in the Times also called for fish sauce.  I am thinking some toasted norimaki might add the desired scent of the sea.

Peysekh Spinach with Pumpkin Seeds

½ cup coconut oil, or mix of coconut and vegetable oil
1 medium onion,
5 - 9 cloves garlic
1 pinky-sized piece of ginger, (based on a medium-sized woman’s pinky, about 2 tablespoons after chopping)
1 habanero chile, or other type of chile (If you are on a totally nightshade-free diet, omit the chile and add ground black pepper).
Kosher salt
2 ½ pounds plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
¾ cup pumpkin seeds
 2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika or a mix of sweet and hot paprika
1 pound spinach*

Dice the onion, mince or crush the garlic, and chop the ginger and the chile.  Clean and chop the spinach.
Cook the onions, garlic, ginger, and chile in the oil. and salt. Stir and fry , until the onions begin to color. Add the tomatoes and some salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and partly cover the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 25 minutes, add paprika and simmer another two minutes. 
Pulse the pumpkin seeds to a fine powder in a food processor

Stir water into the pumpkin seed powder, a tablespoon at a time, until it is a thin paste. Spoon the pumpkin seed paste onto the tomato sauce, and spread it out. Cover the pan, cook for a few minutes, and stir.
Add water as needed, and increase heat to a boil. Stir in the spinach, and cook until soft. Add salt to taste, and serve with home-fried sweet plantains.

*over-wintered spinach is available briefly right around peysekh.  It is the most sublime spinach in the world.  Look for it at your farmers’ market.

The original recipe suggests serving the spinach with boiled plantains.  I love this idea, both because plantains seem to be an ideal foil for the spicy saucy spinach and because they provide a comforting alternative for folks who can’t eat too many potatoes or nightshades, for whom peysekh presents a formidable challenge.  To my taste, the boiled plantains were delicious when they were piping hot out of the pot, but aggressively bland very shortly thereafter.  When I make this next time, I am going to try home-frying the boiled plantains.

UPDATE:
I cooked the spinach in advance because I had five pounds of raw spinacsh taking over my kitchen, and that works just fine, possibly even better than the original method.


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