Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Summer Ends And Here Comes Fall

I'm more than 80% through my Rouxbe class!  Currently, my coursework is focused on the raw foods chapter.  There are sections on juicing, dehydrating, culturing, fermentation and so much more.  One of the recent assignments focused on other ways to use juices, for example, soups.  Cucumber and Watermelon Gazpacho sounded really interesting and I figured it would be a great homage to end of summer.

Finding watermelon in October wasn't the easiest thing to do, but the search time was worth it.  This gazpacho is refreshing, light and summery.  Jalapeño, mint, shallots, bell pepper, vinegar and lime juice work together perfectly to create a complex flavor profile in this simple to prepare dish.  

From summer to fall...healthy to, well, not so healthy. As promised from the previous post, pumpkin doughnuts!  I figured a vegan recipe wouldn't be hard to come by.  However, after quite a few searches, it became clear I was on my own.  After comparing some not so vegan pumpkin bread and pumpkin doughnuts recipes, I formulated this one and hoped it would work.  The results were pretty dang good.

These rose overnight (we keep the house pretty cool) and then I cut then and let them rise again the next day.   My friends arrived on a crisp fall morning to find hot pumpkin doughnuts before we headed out to pick apples at the orchard.  You can't beat that.  Autumn is my favorite time of year.

Vegan Raised Pumpkin Doughnuts
1/4 cup warm water
1 Tablespoons yeast
2/3 cup non dairy milk
1 egg replacer equivalent (my go to is EnerG egg replacer)
3/4 cup puréed pumpkin
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Mix the yeast and warm water and set aside for about 5 minutes until bubbly.

Then add yeast, egg replacer (pre-mixed according to your go to replacer), non dairy milk, pumpkin, oil, 2 cups of flour, sugar, salt, spice and mix until incorporated.  If using a stand mixer, switch over from the mixer blade to the dough hook, then add the remaining flour as necessary until a smooth dough ball forms.  If not, mix with your hands!

Knead the dough ball for 5-10 minutes or until you lose patience. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

Grease bowl, put the dough ball inside, cover with a towel and let it rise until it doubles in size.

Once doubled, punch down and roll out the dough until it is a little over 1/4 inch thick.  Then use a doughnut cutter and make your doughnut shapes.  You can get by with a pint glass to cut the big circles and a small round cookie cutter to cut out the center.

Place the doughnuts on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or greased) and let them rise until doubled again (about 45 minutes). 

Heat cooking oil in a pan that is deep enough for frying over medium heat.  Vegetable oil is the best bet.  When the oil is hot, gently place the doughnuts into the pan and cook for a few minutes per side until they are cooked through.  Then remove from oil to drain.  I generally rip up a paper bag, and then place a layer of towels over it.  This is a trick from my mom and always worked to sop up extra grease when she made potato latkes!

Once they are cool enough to touch, you can toss the doughnuts in a paper bag with sugar and pumpkin pie spice. I used a 1/2 cup of sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

If you prefer glaze, I made a maple syrup glaze.

Maple Syrup Glaze
Combine 1/4 cup of maple syrup with 1 cup of powder sugar.  If it is too thick add a tiny bit of almond or soy milk until it reaches the proper consistency.  If it is too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Mushroom Kale White Bean Ragu W/Chickpea Crepes

I've been cooking a ton for class as well as creating some new recipes of my own while I experiment in the kitchen. A few weekends ago, we went apple picking with friends. Pumpkin donuts seemed like the perfect start to our day before heading out. Who doesn't like pumpkin donuts? 

I veganized both cake and yeasted donuts because I couldn't decide which kind I'd prefer.  I'm also a huge fan of maple and wanted to create a maple glaze.  So many recipes use maple extract.  I'm not sure why anyone would use an extract when you could just use the real thing.  My glaze was full of straight up maple syrup goodess.  Expect an upcoming blog post with recipes so you can make your own. 

My Rouxbe coursework has most recently been about cooking for special diets.  This includes low fat, sugar and sodium as well a gluten free options. Clearly, I countered all this healthy cooking with a donut junket, but I digress. Last night for dinner I combined a couple of assignments. 

First, I prepared the No-Oil Mushroom Gravy.  The first step here is dry sautéing the onions/garlic to build up flavor and avoid oil.  The gravy was the base for the Mushroom Kale White Bean Ragu.  If you are looking for the recipe on Rouxbe, try searching for White Bean & Chard Ragu as I chose to use Dinosaur kale instead.  When looking for greens, I always default to those named after prehistoric creatures.  Yay for Dino kale! 

The Ragu was served in gluten free Chickpea Crepes.  You can also find that recipe on Rouxbe.  Though, I'll warn that in order to make the crepes, you need to thin out the batter.  This step is missing from the write up.  They also work best if you generously grease the pan.   

We both really enjoyed the mushroom gravy and the Ragu.  The crepes were ok, but not a favorite.  If you are looking for tasty, versatile gravy or Ragu then these recipes are worth a try.  Oh, and I recommend Dino kale over chard.