October 26, 2015

Vegan Apple Sage Pancakes with Crispy Sage Leaves

Happy fall! Here in New York we've slipped into the sweetest season with its crimson leaves and cool mornings. I spent last weekend up in New Haven, CT dancing around the kitchen with one of my sweetest and oldest friends, KM . We went apple picking at our favorite spot, High Hill Orchard. It's a whacky apple and chestnut farm that winds over hills and sumac-filled ditches and is full of old growth fruit trees and wild fungi. We picked a bag full of Cortland apples, our favorites, and made these sweet and savory pancakes!

Fried sage is a beautiful and delicious addition to any fall dish. These delicate little leaves have the ability to spruce up any flapjack stack or bowl of butternut soup. In this recipe, I use coconut oil to fry the leaves, but you can use whatever you have around. Simply heat a few tablespoons of oil in a small frying pan and prepare the fresh sage leaves by pinching them off the stems. Once the oil is hot, add the leaves and fry until crisp (about 5 seconds). Remove from the pan with a fork and place on a paper towel to rest.

Apple-Sage Pancakes
Recipe makes about 8 small pancakes. Double if you're feeding a crew!

1 1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1-2 apples (chopped finely)
2-4 sage leaves (chopped finely)

In a small bowl, mix the almond milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. It's ok if there are some lumps remaining! Fold in the apples and sage leaves. Set aside.

Heat a heavy cast-iron pan over a medium flame for about three minutes or until heat is dispersed. Once hot, add some coconut oil and fry those flapjacks to perfection! Serve hot with crispy sage leaves (recipe above) and drizzled with maple syrup!


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,

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!