August 24, 2015

Wild Yeast Sourdough for Beginners


Greetings friends! Summer of 2015 has been an experiment in fermentation and I have been ravishing each sour culture from gingery daikon kimchi and salty umeboshi to hearty sourdough pancakes and loaves. I had been intimidated by the metabolic process of creating living foods and to be honest, I still don't really understand what's going on in all my crocks. In an effort to explain glycolysis I have ripped this wonderful formula off of Wikipedia to explain all of your science-related questions:

C6H12O6 + 2 NAD+ + 2 ADP + 2 Pi → 2 CH3COCOO + 2 NADH + 2 ATP + 2 H2O + 2H+

Make sense now? All I can say is that it's not complicated to smash a bunch of things into a jar, starve them of air, cover them in a protective salty brine and wait for the magical lactobacillus to wiggle their way into deliciousness. The results are wonderful, healthy, and flavorful. Here's my first tutorial into the world of fermentation for beginners- an introduction to wrangling wild yeast and using it to produce dense, delicious loaves. In an era where bread-loving seems like a subversive act, I encourage you to try this recipe out and convince the anti-gluten types in your life to sample a sliver!



Harvesting Wild Yeast & Maintaining A Starter

Yeast microbes are amazing organisms that exist in most environments, shuffling themselves around in flours and soils and breezes and attaching to the skins of sugary fruits. To make your own sourdough starter, mix 2 cups unbleached flour with 2 cups filtered water in a large jar or bowl. Whisk vigorously until combined. Drop in 4 organic, unwashed grapes or berries. Be sure to use organic fruits with edible skins only! Pesticides often carry antimicrobial funk and will prohibit the good funk from forming.

Cover the jar with cheesecloth and place in a warm place with good air flow. Mix the culture vigorously at least once a day for a few days until you start to see bubbles forming on the surface of the batter. Many environmental factors effect the speed at which this happens, so be patient! If you do not see bubbles after 4 or 5 days, add a pinch of commercial packaged yeast. Once you are seeing bubbles, fish out the fruits and add a tablespoon of flour each day, stirring to combine. The lactobacillus are hungry and feeding them a bit of flour each day keeps the sponge alive and happy.

To maintain, add a tablespoon or more flour each day with a bit of water as necessary. If you are going out of town, cover and refrigerate the starter. To enliven it again, simply feed the culture and return it to a warm place with good airflow.


Sourdough Bread Recipe

1 cup bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
3/4 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Add a bit of water if necessary. You want the mixture to resemble a loose, floury mess but don't worry about it being perfect! If you add too much water, simply compensate with flour and visa-versa. Knead for at least 5 minutes on a floured surface. The dough should feel smooth and elastic. Form into a ball and place into a clean, oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Place the bowl in a plastic grocery bag and close the bag loosely to allow ventilation.

Let sit for 6-8 hours or overnight until doubled-ish in size. Punch down and re-form into a ball. Let rise again for another hour. Place a shallow dish filled with water on the bottom rack of your oven and preheat to 425.  If you have a pizza stone, place that in there as well to pre-heat. I bake my bread in a cast iron frying pan and lightly oil it before placing the pan in the oven to pre-heat.

Once your oven is good and toasty, use a serrated knife or blade to cut a large X on the top of the loaf and gently plop it on your pan. Bake for 45-60 minutes until the crust is dark brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when knocked. Remove the loaf from the oven and let cool on a wire rack or paper bags.

Once cooled, slice thinly and enjoy!

Yours under a chorus of cicadas,
NRG

January 22, 2015

Basic Tempeh Scramble


Happy New Year! Brunching my way into 2015 with joy and excitement. I have a tower of plans, projects, and dreams for this year - all of which involve a healthy dose of risk and adventure. As always, I'm powering this spirit with hearty vegan breakfasts and the support of the sweetest friends and family. Tempeh scramble is an all-time favorite of mine, an easy go-to on Saturday mornings. Once you get the basic gist of this dish down, you can throw in any veggies you have around! My scrambles always include a whole bunch of lacinato kale, an onion, and a hefty chunk of garlic. Here's an outline of my process for making tempeh scramble, though I realize there are many ways of doing it!

1 block Tempeh (Lightlife's Flax is my favorite product on the market)
1/4 cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos
3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp. maple syrup
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp. olive or sesame oil
1 onion
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale or other vegetables
nutritional yeast

First, marinate your tempeh. Cut the block into 1/2 inch pieces and place in a small bowl. Cover the tempeh in 1/4 cup Braggs, 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 2-3 pressed cloves of garlic, and 1 teaspoon of oil. Let the tempeh marinate for 10-20 minutes while you prepare the vegetables and brew a pot of coffee.

Heat a cast-iron pan over medium heat. Drizzle with olive oil. Once hot, saute one chopped onion with a tsp. of red pepper flakes until transluscent. Add the marinated tempeh and pan-fry till golden brown and crispy. At this point, add kale and other vegetables (tomatoes, red pepper, etc) and saute till wilted. Top with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and a few slices of avocado and serve with toast and fresh fruit!

To 2015!
NRG

December 17, 2014

Holiday Cards by ETC Letterpress!


I am delighted to share my new online shop featuring a collection of hand-printed and foiled holiday cards! http://etcletterpress.bigcartel.com/ These cards were produced in collaboration with Rachelle Sartini Garner and printed with care on a Vandercook Universal 1 press. All orders are shipped promptly from New York and packed carefully to ensure they arrive to you in mint condition.


ETC letterpress is a design and print studio specializing in custom invitations, stationary, posters, letterhead, and business cards. Follow us on Instagram at @etcletterpress and be on the lookout for more greeting cards and prints stocking the shop in 2015! 



For custom inquiries or to realize a project of your wildest whimsy, contact us at etcletterpress@gmail.com.
Wishing you a very festive holiday season!
NRG

December 15, 2014

The Veganette for Chickpea Magazine- Winter 2014



The holiday season is upon us with its hustle and bustle and in my corner of the world, towers of letterpressed cards and tangled half-finished knitting projects! I'm delighted and honored to be featured in Chickpea Magazine's Winter 2014 issue along with fellow collaborators Hope Dickens and Rachelle Sartini Garner. The Snow Day Menu features three delicious and easy recipes to warm even the chilliest of days. The Curried Sweet Potato and Kale Soup is spicy and earthy, paring perfectly with a hearty loaf of wheat-flecked Four Peaks Hearth Bread. For dessert, serve up an Apple & Rosemary Frangipane Tart and impress your guests with its sweet almond custard and fancy half-moons of apple.




The magazine is beautifully printed and is stacked with useful content including interviews with famous vegans Terry Hope Romero & Bryant Terry, recipes for candied herbs, and an eating tour of Manchester, England. Check it out and receive 15% off if you order today!


Wishing you a delicious holiday season!
NRG


November 24, 2014

Spicy Habanero & Maple Brussels Spouts


Here's an impossibly easy new recipe to pucker up mouths at your Thanksgiving table! Inspired by a non-vegan dish served at one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, Saraghina, these brussels sprouts are spicy as all get out, sweet and salty with just the perfect amount of caramelized crispness. It takes just about 20 minutes and is the perfect addition to any meal. Pictured above on a stuffed Sunday brunch table surrounded by roasted potatoes, apple rosemary coffee cake, tempeh scramble, roasted romanesco, raw farm carrots, watermelon radish, and (of course) coffee. 

2 Tbs. Coconut Oil
1/2 - 1 Habanero pepper (minced finely- adjust to your spice tolerance)
1 lb. Brussels Sprouts (trimmed and cut in half length-wise)
2-3 Tbs. Pure Maple Syrup (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp. salt

Heat the coconut oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the hot pepper and stir. A minute or two later, add the brussels sprouts and saute, stirring often, until they begin to brown. Season with salt and drizzle with maple syrup and continue heating until you reach desired carmelization. Taste for sweetness/ spice and adjust accordingly. Serve hot!

Yours in celebration,
NRG