Saturday, February 25, 2012

#1 Yeast

I'd consider myself a baker. A really good baker too. I bake cookies, cakes, etc. But for some reason I've always shied away from any recipe that called for yeast. I must have had a traumatic experience where it didn't work for me or something. I probably just used bad yeast.

Last night I had the fortune of spending an evening with Sophistimom. I kind of came when she wasn't expecting me and she was in the throws of testing recipes for her new cookbook. One of her recipes was lemon pull-a-part bread. And the recipe required yeast. So I partook of her culinary wisdom. And I accomplished my first goal of baking bread from scratch. And having it work.

She taught me a few things about yeast:

1. She prefers to use instant yeast (which is smaller)
2. You don't need to proof instant yeast
3. But if you do, the water needs to be warmer than you think.
4. You can keep it in the freezer

I wish I had a picture of the final product, but my phone died and that was my only camera. Basically, after the dough rose, we rolled it out, cut it into squares, sprinkled sugar and lemon zest all over it, stacked the squares and placed them in a bread pan. We let the dough rise a bit again and then popped it in the oven. When it came out, we iced it and then ate the deliciousness that it was.

So now I'm not so afraid of yeast. I'm excited to make more bread (Monica! I'm ready!) and make this recipe again. But I'll need Jaime to give me the modified version. We changed it a bit.

While the dough was rising, Jaime taught me how to make miso soup. We happened to have an egg white that we didn't use for the bread so we threw it in there and made egg drop miso. It was delicious, although Jaime said she has made better. I can't wait to try it myself. Miso soup on a cold day is one of the most comforting things you can do for yourself.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Goal #16: Hungry

So vegan week was interesting. The first day was easy but I was hungry for most of it. I made a lot of green smoothies, lentil soup and rice. As delicious as those spring rolls were (pictured above) they weren't filling. And I really wanted the ones with crab. Snacking was the hard part. Everything has milk and cheese, but these are the things that saved me:

Most protein bars are vegan friendly turns out. Well, as long as you’re not weird about honey. I’m not. I also was loose with food items that were processed in a facility that also processed milk. I don’t have an allergy for heavens sake.

So breakfast was easy: cereal, oatmeal or I’d pop a cliff bar. Lunch was harder. The second and third day, my lentil soup sounded absolutely disgusting. So the second day I Googled “fast food vegan” and found this great site that listed a bunch of chain restaurants and what on their menu was vegan. So I went to Noodles & Co. and got the Indonesian noodles. They were good but so spicy that I was crying by the time I was done.

On Tuesday I was hungry for most of it. This is when I started making lists in my head about what I was going to eat at the end of the week: eggs, cheese, donuts...mostly things with eggs and cheese. Meat wasn’t an issue. Oh, and Jon wins for most thoughtful for bringing me cashews on Valentines Day figuring I’d be hungry. And I was.

Wednesday is when things started to go downhill a bit. I went to a retirement party at 11 AM (right before lunch) and there were chocolate eclairs. I was STARVING and there were only eight of us there and everyone was eating one so I did. I couldn’t help it. Didn’t feel too bad though. I thought “OK, I’ll just tack a day on to my vegan week to make up for this”. For lunch I went home and made this delicious stir fry (again, thank you Jon for the cashews).

But then I had a meeting that night at Thanksgiving Point where there was delicious catering. There were breadsticks, artichoke dip and giant chocolate cookies. I figured since the day was shot I might as well indulge.

Thursday was fine, Friday was fine. But then Saturday I was at Harmons to get some rice (for my tofu fried rice that I had for lunch today) and there were cheese samples. I hadn’t eaten since my mini cliff bar at 1 PM. That’s when I decided there is no reason to be vegan if you don’t have to be. And I don’t have to be. So I had 3 samples of cheese. And they were delicious.

And then today I cracked an egg into my fried rice and I didn’t care. And then I popped a kit kat that was in the lovely bowl of chocolate my mom gave me for Valentines Day that was just sitting there waiting for me.

So I’d say goal 16 was a success.