Category Archives: Vegan cooking

Greetings from the Chaos Kitchen #ambaking

Tear-and-Share Vegan Bread by

Laura’s Chaos-Cooking Tip #1: 

     Beat the winter blahs with bread baking.

     Yeast dough smells yummy when it’s rising, kneading dough is a fun way to let off some steam and you get to punch the daylights out of something!

     But isn’t bread baking hard? No, not at all. All you need is yeast, flour, water and salt.

     First, skim some sort of recipe. Just look one up on the internet. I found a vegan recipe, just follow the link up there, by googling ‘vegan bread recipes.’ Ok, flour, salt, powdered yeast, soy milk and something else. After skimming the recipe, go into the kitchen and see what you have in the pantry. Well, I don’t think we can buy powdered yeast, but I have these little 40 gram blocks of fresh yeast. Is that still vegan? Yeast, check. Flour, check. I don’t want to use soy milk in bread, how about olive oil? Check. Doesn’t yeast need sugar to feed on? I read that somewhere. Sugar, check. Water, duh. This is the twenty-first century.

     Dump the flour in a bowl and make a depression in the middle. I don’t know why, just do it. Mix the yeast with lukewarm water and a teaspoon of sugar and stir it until it dissolves. This part has to be right. If the water is too hot, the yeast will die! And I just throw the whole block in because what am I going to do with a half a lump of yeast?

     Now you may open the wine bottle.

     Pour the yeast mixture into the flour. Throw in some salt. A teaspoon looks about right. Pour the olive oil over the top. Maybe four tablespoons. I don’t like to dirty a spoon, so I count. One banana, two banana, three banana, four…tablespoons. Then get your hands in there and mix it up.

     Man, this looks really dry and crumbly. How much flour is in a bag? I already threw the empty bag in the fire. Checking a pizza dough recipe, I notice that 500 grams of flour would have been enough. And looking in the drawer at another bag, I notice that the bag was a whole kilo.

     Pour a big glass of wine, get out the half a lump of yeast that is still in the fridge (oh, that’s what you can do with that!) Mix with water, who cares how hot, get out the oil and one banana, two banana…

     Sip wine.

     Get your hands back in there. Mix it around until it starts to look like dough. Ok, this looks better. Cover the bowl with a kitchen cloth and let stand for about an hour and a half in a warm, draft-free corner of the kitchen where no mice will go. Grab the wine and get out of the kitchen.

     Don’t panic when you come back coz it’s ALIVE! Now picture someone who you might have a beef with and punch that sucker in the face. Funnily enough it feels like flesh. Punch punch punch punch! Take it out of the bowl and throw it onto a floured board and punch some more. Some may call this kneading, but I call it stress-management.

     Now, there’s lots of turns this scenario could take. One could slice the dough into small handfuls and make rolls. Maybe stick some of those big Spanish olives inside or some fresh chopped herbs and sautéed garlic. Or some vegan cashew cheese. One can bake half of the dough and put the rest in the fridge for the next day.

     Punch punch punch sip gulp.

     One could roll the dough out flat and put some tomatoes on top, maybe some homemade pesto, fresh chopped red pepper, sliced mushrooms, onions, garlic. Then throw it in the oven and make pizza (since this is probably a pizza dough.)

     Punch punch punch gulp.

     OR…I can see an evil twin moment coming…the situation gets out of hand…


Greetings from the Chaos Kitchen

Laura’s Chaos-Cooking Tip #2: Survive the snow by serving steamy soup!

On my way to PA today! And it’s still friggin’ snowing there and here in Germany, too. I can’t wait to cook with my big sister this weekend. I’m sure she can’t wait to have me in her kitchen.

Now, there’s a big soup discussion going on over at Terrible Minds today. And I love soup coz you can throw just about anything (presumably edible) in there. So I thought I’d share one of my favorites with you.

Hokkaido Soup (Hokkaido is a little, dark-orange pumpkin from Japan that you don’t have to peel).

Take one hokkaido and wash it. Cut off the stem, cut it open, remove the seeds and cut it all into cubes. You might have a bowl full, that’s enough.

Peel a big onion. If you don’t have a big one, then peel two or three little ones depending on if you even like onions. And a couple of cloves of garlic while you’re at it. Chop it all up. Heat a big pot, pour in some oil, (a few splashes is good. I like cold-extracted olive oil) throw the onions in first, let them cook a bit and then throw in the garlic. If you like curry, you could sprinke curry over the oily frying onions until the smell makes your mouth water, then it’s enough. Then pour something liquid over the top. Like that white wine you’re sipping. Or vegetable broth. Homemade lamb stock is really good if you’re not serving to vegan friends.

Ok, Hokkaido, go! Throw that in, unpeeled, of course. Add four peeled and cubed potatoes to help thicken. Cover it all up with broth (that’s enough wine!) Cover the pot and set a timer if you’re going back online or, um, going back to your writing. Twenty minutes unless you find yourself composing a volume-sized comment on some blog or another. When you come back you’ll be surprised how fast that cooked. It should be really mushy.

Puree the soup now using your favorite kitchen utensil. If you’re serving to meat-eaters, you can add creme fraisch or real sour cream. For our vegan friends, soy cream does nicely, too. Salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh grated ginger and serve. Serving suggestions: top with roasted pumpkin seeds and a little spash of pumpkin seed oil.  

Guten Appetit!