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I've Got Wheels of Vegan Cake

Wednesday

23

April 2014

3

COMMENTS

Vegan Wednesday No. 87

There’s a question vegans are asked all the time. It doesn’t come alone, it is usually paired with “But where do you get your protein?” The question I am talking about here is either called “But what can you eat?” or “But what do you eat all day?” I know that people don’t want to annoy or tease me with that question. They just cannot imagine what you can eat when you’ve eliminated some foods from your diet, which are very important staples to most people around you.

vegan wednesday

Well, some German bloggers have the answer to these questions. The project Vegan Wednesday is all about collecting the foods and meals vegans eat on an average day. They are submitted and then shared on Pinterest. This is already Vegan Wednesday No. 87! I think it is a wonderful idea and finally decided to take part. So one day last week I took pictures of the foods I ate to document them here. And yes, this was my day off and I had a lot of time to take about 70 pictures each before finally eaten my food. Next time I am going to document the food I eat on a regular work day.

This is my go-to breakfast: oats, banana, flax, soymilk, and some fruit. I eat something like this every morning. But before breakfast happens I always drink a strong expresso.

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Green smoothies have become such a cliché for vegan and healthy eating. And yes, they are quite a nice way to eat a big portion of fruits and vegetables. They don’t keep me full for very long, which makes them a good snack between breakfast and lunch. This one had apple, pear, orange juice, and frozen kale.

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My lunch had something it almost never has: vegan cheese. I found a block of vegan cheddar cheese at a local reformhaus and wanted to try it out. When I first tasted a slice I found it pretty bland with a hint of margarine. But it’s quite good in a traditional cheese sandwich, which I am craving from time to time. That sandwich is often made with vollkornbrot (whole grain bread), butter, and cheese. The vegan cheese I had tasted a lot like German butterkäse (butter cheese, a very mild cheese) and it was a great stand-in both for the cheese and the butter. Other toppings used for this sandwich: garden cress and hummus.

cheese sandwich

Of course I need to have my cup of coffee during the afternoon and I love to pair it with something sweet. The recipe for these streusel muffins has been on the blog forever. The original version was made with margarine. Last week I decided to update the recipe with coconut oil. It also needed a new picture!

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For dinner we had this easy and simple red pepper stew, which I made because I had to use up a bunch of those peppers. The stew is also made with TVP, which I hadn’t used in a long time, A couple of weeks ago our day care teacher asked me about preparation methods and recipes for TVP. She told me she was looking for a certain size but couldn’t find it at the local grocery store. So bought a couple of bags at the health food store and now have made several dishes with it. I love how easy it is to prepare and use. If you wanna try it, the recipe is at the end of the post. Happy Wednesday!

TVP, chickpea, and red pepper stew.

Recipe

TVP, Chickpea, and Red pepper Stew (serves 2-3)

50 g large TVP chunks
1 cup boiling vegetable broth
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
4 average sized red peppers, cored and diced
1 400 g can diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
1 400 g can chickpeas, rinsed
salt, pepper, and sriracha to taste
rice and cilantro to serve

Place the TVP in a small bowl and pour the boiling vegetable broth over it. Let sit for 30 minutes, or until reconstituted. Stir from time to time.

Add oil to a large pot and heat. Add onion and cumin seeds and fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add garlic and stir.

Place the bell peppers in a blender and purée well. Pour into the pot, add tomatoes, vegetable broth, chickpeas, and reconstituted TVP. Cook for 20-30 minutes, add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste, serve with rice or other grain and garnish with cilantro.

Note: Instead of the TVP you can also use a second can of beans. It doesn’t have to be chickpeas, kidney beans are nice, too.

Friday

18

April 2014

4

COMMENTS

Easter Wreath with Nuts

Easter wreath

Holidays come with many traditions and food is an important part of them. Sweetened yeast breads and braids are a very popular Easter food in Germany. Usually they are either made from an enriched yeast dough and braided or they have additional ingredients like raisins and nuts. These versions are shaped into round loaves. Of course there are many variations to this.

For my Easter bread I decided to make a nut filling and shape the bread into a wreath. But not just a simple wreath. I wanted a neatly braided version similar to this one. Unfortunately I failed and my wreath did not come out as beautifully as the version I linked to. I think I made one important mistake and I am sure my wreath would turn out better next time, but I guess that has to wait until the next Easter holidays. Or maybe you can do it better?

For my filling I used almonds and pistachios. The almonds are nice, but honestly I mostly used them to add bulk to the filling. Because the real stars of this recipe are the pistachios. I love their sweet, prominent taste. Since shelled, unsalted pistachios are very expensive, I used salted ones in their shell. I removed the shell and then soaked the nuts in water over night. Then I rinsed and drained them and ground them together with the almonds in a food processor. Since the pistachios were soaked, they were a bit softer and even though I didn’t grind the nuts very thorough, I ended up with a filling that had a marzipan-like consistency.

Many enriched, sweetened yeast doughs are made with eggs. Those are supposed to make the crumb light and fluffy. If you make a vegan version, there is a very simple trick to achieve a very similar texture: add more water to the dough as you usually would and resist the temptation to add more flour. Since gluten is a water soluble protein, it will form as soon as water is added to the dough. This means kneading is not as important as many people think and the water will not only do all the work, more water will also improve the texture. So you can simply stir this dough with a wooden spoon until it is well mixed and then leave it alone. After a resting time of 45 to 60 minutes it should be perfectly smooth and easy to work with.

Recipe

Easter Wreath with Pistachios

For the dough:
270 ml (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) soy milk
65 g (1/3 cup) sugar
55 g (1/4 cup) refined coconut oil
420 g (3 1/2 cups) flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
150 g (5.3 oz) shelled pistachios*
150 g (5.3 oz) blanched almonds
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar

*For me 400g pistachios in their shells yielded 150 g.

wreath-step-by.step To make the dough: Combine soy milk, sugar, and coconut oil in a small pot. Warm the soy milk until the coconut oil has melted. Make sure not to boil the mixture. Then cool until luke warm.

Add flour, yeast, and salt to a bowl and stir until mixed. Add liquid ingredients. Use a spoon and stir  until all ingredients are well incorporated. At this point your dough should be rather sticky. (Picture 1) Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise for about 45-60 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling: Rinse and drain your pistachios if you haven’t already and place pistachios and almonds in a food processor. Process into a sticky mass. Make sure not to overheat your food processor. Add to a bowl and mix with sugar. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured working surface and knead well or one or two minutes. Roll the dough into a rectangle (60 x 30 cm or 23.6 x 11.8 inches). This will take a while and it usually helps to make a couple of small pauses, let the dough rest and help the gluten to relax. Then continue rolling it out.

Sprinkle the nut mixture on top of the dough and leave a little margin around the edges. (Picture 2) Roll up the dough, starting with the long side. (Picture 3) Pinch the edges and tuck them in. Now use a sharp knife to cut into the log. You should cut it into two halves. And there’s the mistake I made: I thought the cut log would be easier to handle by leaving the edges intact. (Picture 4) But that did keep me from rolling the log into a proper shape while twisting it. So if you make this wreath and want a prettier version, you should not leave the edges intact and you should make shure that when you twist the logs as shown in picture 5, you should twist them in a way that the cuts are visible and not tucked in as in my version. (Here is a great tutorial on how to do this.)

Anyway, after you cut the log, twist it (picture 5) and shape it into a wreath, making sure to pinch the ends. (Picture 6) Place on a baking sheet and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let rest for 45 minutes. Transfer to oven and bake for 60 minutes. Check on the wreath from time to time. I had to cover it with aluminium foil after 30 minutes as the crust started to get a bit too dark.

Remove from oven and let cool completely and serve immediately. Happy holidays for all of you! happy holidays

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