Wednesday, 30 March 2011

vampire-proof your spring fling

I love spring in Edinburgh. I also love wild garlic. And while I'm at it, I'll profess my love of polenta, aubergine, and anything simmered in red wine. Now, what I do not love is having cold fingers. And my fingers have been very cold for days now. DAYS. While the calendar says spring, and the wild garlic heralds spring, and the earlier-and-earlier sunrise confirms spring, it is still FRIKIN' COLD when I go out to run in the morning, and quite chilly when I bike home at night, which makes me refuse to quit eating wintery food just yet.

This recipe is kind of loose, because it kind of just happened. I wanted garlic. Lots and lots of garlic. Lucky for me, I seem to have picked an entire carrier bag full of the stuff during my (finger-numbing) bike ride last weekend. So, here's what happened.

I made homemade "faux beef" seitan (test recipe from New American Vegan), modified to make it dryer and spicier and smokier, then rolled it up in a cheesecloth and simmered it for about an hour in water + soy sauce + bay leaves + red wine. Kept the resulting broth and used it to:

-caramelize a red onion with dried basil, pul biber chilis and black pepper
-then I added an aubergine, chopped sundried tomatoes, and some chopped capers and more broth so it was vaguely stew-like.
-When the aubergine was mostly done, I added a courgette and some of the seitan.
-When that was done, I added smoked sea salt and a ridiculous amount of chopped wild garlic. Yes, my little pretties, *all* the green you see in that picture is wild garlic. I smell awesome right now.

I piled this all on polenta (I stir in white miso and nutritional yeast at the end of the polenta cooking).

Mmmmm... garlicky spring comfort.

Dancing in a most unspringlike way along to "My daddy is a vampire" by The Meteors.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

bim bim baptastic

Ahem. This is soooo not authentic. But so far as I understand it, bimbimbap is "stuff on rice". And "stuff" means "a few different small things rather than one big thing". So, inspired by the recent opening of an *actual korean resto* in Edinburgh, which I want to eat at all the time, I made this:

Brown rice, topped with simmered tofu, spicy mushrooms, ginger-miso carrots, perfectly slimy okra, and kimchi. And maybe some pickled onions. YUM. Also, I have been out picking wild garlic, because, despite the craptastic weather, it is spring. Dammit.

The okra is from Asian Vegan Kitchen. It is perfect. Make it now.

Highly addictive tofu:
simmer together 2 tbs soy sauce, some sugar, 1 tsp ground sesame seeds, 1 tbs red wine, some chili flakes (I used urfa biber, cuz I wanted kind-of-but-not-really smoky). When the sugar has dissolved, carefully add tofu (enough for two people). When the tofu is cooked, add 1/2 cup wild garlic and 1 scallion, chopped. Let these warm through. Drizzle with sesame oil to taste.

Simmer mushrooms in soy sauce + mirin + kochuchang paste + grated ginger. Devour.

1 large carrot, grated + 2 heaping tbs pickled ginger, cut into thin strips. Sauce: 1 tbs white miso + 1 tbs lemon vinegar + 1 tbs pickling liquid from the ginger.

The next night, I might have made this again, only with greens instead of okra.

Also, I have made skully chocolates. The chocolates are not actually blurry, but my camera is acting odd. Perhaps it is afeared by the awesome scariness of my skully chocolates.

Bopping along to: Kung Fu Fighting! (getting tempered chocolate into those frikin' skully molds means) I was fast as lightning....

Friday, 4 March 2011

land and sea rolly buns

Perfect for breakfast (or dinner). They go well with slices of apple and slices of almond cheese. Actually, I think they go well with pretty much anything, but that's because they contain two of my favorite things: seaweed and spinach.

1 and 1/2 c buckwheat flour
3/4 c brown rice flour
1/2 c soy flour
2 tbs ground flax seeds
1 tsp xantham gum
pinch salt
1 tbs quick yeast

Mix all this together, then add warm water to make a wet dough. Let it rise for about an hour or two. It won't rise very dramatically, but it *will* rise.

Rinse and chop up 1 c sea lettuce (or use dried)
wilt and squeeze the water out of and chop lots o spinach (enough that you have just over 1/2 when you're done) - or use 1/2 cup frozen

Paste made from 1 tbs ume paste + 1 tbs rice syrup (or agave) + a squeeze of lemon juice (fine, about a tsp, more or less to taste). If you don't have ume paste, try substituting miso. This will taste totally different, but the key is that you need some sort of strong fermenty taste.

Mix the sea lettuce into the dough. Dust a surface liberally with buckwheat flour. Dump dough onto surface. Knead a bit. It will absorb the flour. Worry not! When the dough stops being sticky, stop kneading. Re-dust (liberally) the surface with flour, then dust the top of the dough with flour, then roll it out into a rectangle. Spread your ume syrup over this. Spread the spinach on top of all that. Roll up and cut into four or six buns. Let rise overnight.

Preheat oven to 220C with a metal cup of water in. Drop the oven dial down to 200, and put the buns in. Bake at 200C for 25 mins. Brush with a thinned out version of the ume syrup (1 tsp ume, 1 tbs agave, few drops of lemon, 1 tbs water) when they come out of the oven, and if you're feeling really fancy, a wee bit of coarse sea salt.

land and sea music: all you can eat by kd lang

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

practice pancakes

Confession: I got so excited about Pancake Day, that I accidentally scheduled it a week early. Luckily, there is nothing wrong with having a "practice run" of pancake day. Phew! These are weekday-dinner pancakes, meaning that you throw the batter together in the morning, and then leave it in your fridge all day and come home to deliciousness! I top them with caramelized red onions, apples (added to the onions so that they're cooked, but not mushy), fresh thyme and crumbled smoked tofu. They also work reheated and drizzled with maple syrup for breakfast the next morning. Yum. These are gluten-free, if you're into such things. I'm doing a bit of an experiment to see if xgfx is for me. I secretly hope it's not, but ... I'm trying to keep an open mind, which will be easy if I just eat these pancakes a lot. They're some of the best I've made so far! I looooove 'em, and even if I end up giving gluten the thumbs up, I think I'll stick with this as my new dinner pancake recipe.

Dinner pancakes

1 c buckwheat flour
1/2 c fine polenta
1/2 c brown rice flour
1/2 c full-fat soy flour
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
pinch salt
dash nutmeg
1 tsp quick yeast
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbs ground flax seeds in 2 c water (let sit for 10 mins)

Mix all dry ingredients. Stir in water/flax. Adjust consistency. Place in fridge (or on counter if your kitchen is cool) for the day. At night, pancakify! I find that it helps to cook these on slightly lower heat and for a bit longer than eggy pancakes (from what I remember... it's been over a decade since I confronted an eggy pancake), and cover the pan while they cook. Use either a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, or a nonstick pan. If gluten isn't a problem, sub beer for the water. As soon as I locate a gluten-free beer, that's certainly my plan!

dancing to: ladies and gentlemen, pop goes the world, by men with out hats!