Wednesday, November 28, 2007

BBQ Tempeh Buns

This is an adapted version of "Cha Siu Bau," BBQ Pork Buns, from "Dim Sum and Other Chinese Street Food." This recipe makes 8 buns.

This has always been one of my favorite things, but I don't like BBQ pork so much, and I do like BBQ tempeh.

You need some tempeh, about one 8 oz package (or less, the original recipe made 16 buns, which would normally hold 12 oz of BBQ pork. Tempeh is sold in 8 oz packs, so halfing the recipe, as I have done here, makes a little more filling than buns. But the leftover BBQ Tempeh works real well in a sandwich, or in this case, we ate it for breakfast the next morning, with grits.) Here's that tempeh, diced into pea sized cubes.

The diced tempeh should be marinaded in a ziploc bag with 1/4 cup BBQ sauce: (2 T Ketchup, 1 and 1/2 tsp dijon mustard, 1 T molasses, 1 and 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar,) and about 1 or 2 T of fermented black beans.

While this sits, get to work on the dumplings! Hurry! They take two hours!
First step, since this is a risen dough, we make a sponge, which checks the vitality of the yeast.
1/2 tsp active dry yeast, 2 T tepid water (right at body temp or slightly above), 1/4 cup cake or pastry flour, low gluten is important. Dissolve the yeast in the water, mix in the flour, let this sit for 15 minutes. It should start to bubble and rise, if it does, move on! If not, get some different yeast.
Add 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup of tepid water. Mix this all in with a spoon and then cover the bowl with saran wrap, let this sit somewhere warm until it rises and doubles its volume, 40 minutes to 2 hours. If you live in Florida, anywhere is fine, if not, use an oven that was heated to low (200 degrees) for a few minutes, and then turned off and let sit for five minutes.
Here's a picture after the 1st rise, it's been punched down, and kneaded for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface, then put back into the bowl. On the side is 2 T more tepid water, and 1 and a half tsp of shortening, softened to room temp.

Massage this warm fat and water into the dough, it will be sticky, seriously.

Then, on a lightly floured surface, knead in a final 1/2 cup flour with 1 tsp baking powder added.

Cover with saran wrap and then, back into the warm oven for another 40 minutes. Here it is after the 2nd rise.

Cut up one half an onion, one clove of garlic. Sautee along with the tempeh in 1 T of peanut oil over medium to medium high heat. Get some good carmelization going.

Cut out eight little three inch squares out of wax paper and set them aside. After the dough has risen, roll it into a snake with your hands on a lightly floured surface, and cut it into eight bits. Take a bit, pat and pull it into a circle. Let it rest in your palm, the dough will stick to your hand, but it sticks to everything else in a much worse way. The trick is to move fast, so...

Quickly! Fill the circles with 1 to 2 T of the filling.

Pull the stretchy dough up around the filling and set them on the wax paper. Transferring the dumplings from here to there is now much easier. Just pick up the edges of the paper. The dumplings will stick to the paper, so serve them with the paper on, and tell your guests that you meant to do that. It's like a cupcake, and peeling the paper off is part of the fun.

Dumplings get steamed vigorously for 15 minutes, covered.

They will double in size.

Now you can eat them. If for some reason, you don't eat all of them instantly, (they are good!) they can be re-heated in the microwave for 30 seconds and they are as good as new.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner. Since it was just the two of us, we skipped the turkey, and went with some chicken. But we did do up all the trimmings.


Noon: Basic Cornbread Dressing from "Cookin' Southern, Vegetarian Style"
Two O'Clock: Mashed Potatoes with Chives
Four O'Clock: Sesame Green Beans and Shallots from "The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook."
Six O'Clock: Cranberry Relish from "The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook."
Nine O'Clock: Chicken and Sage Gravy, from my Dad's recipe. Cook half a diced onion and about six diced sage leaves in a Tablespoon or so of olive oil until translucent. Drop in two boneless chicken breasts, which have been floured in some lightly seasoned flour. Increase heat, brown on both sides, and browning the onions at the same time. Sprinkle some more flour in the pan until it soaks up any remaining oil. When the flour browns, gently pour in about a cup of water to make a gravy. Lower the heat, cover, and cook at low heat for a half an hour.

We served this with a nice chilled Gewurztraminer.

Finish off with the No Fault Pumpkin Pie from "The Moosewood Cookbook," (topped with Soy whipped cream,) we used half sweet potato and half pumpkin, cause all pumpkin tastes a little vegetable-ey.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What's Pho Dinner?

Pho, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

Why it's Faux Pho of course. This Pho comes from the Meat and Potatoes Cookbook and is a relatively simple broth with spices and miso, rice noodles, seitan browned with hoisin sauce, and fresh veggie toppings.

This was actually really good the next day as well. Apparently rice noodles do not get soggy.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

This shepherd's pie looks messy, but it is really good. It is from my new favorite cookbook: The Vegetarian Meat and Potatoes Cookbook. I have been eyeing this book for a while and one day while browsing Borders with a 30% off coupon in my purse, I decided to get it (by the way, those 30% off coupons are dangerous--they may cause habitual book buying). We have been on a cooking spree out of this cookbook. We have already made lentil soup with potatoes and chard, kale and cannellini bean stew, creamy broccoli and pasta bake (very tasty--I ate it for 3 days), and seitan cheese steaks (which were actually very much like a classic Philly cheese steak--or at least the vegetarian versions I tasted in Philly and it was very simple to make). I have been lazy and did not take any pictures of those--although I should have taken a picture of the cheese steaks because they looked pretty with a bunch of rughetta piled on top (the rughetta season is over, so we will have to wait until next year to get some more of that at the farmer's market).

The shepherd's pie is made with chopped up Amy's california veggie burgers, onions, carrots, frozen peas, frozen corn, a bunch of "gravy" that consists of broth, soy sauce, fresh thyme, and cornstarch (no oil), and mashed potatoes on top. This really got good after baking because all of the flavor's melded together very well.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pomegranate Tofu

Pomegranate Tofu, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

This is the pomegranate tofu and coconut rice from Vegan with a Vengeance with some chard cooked with garlic on the side.

Tomato Sandwich

Tomato Sandwich, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

Another use for rughetta! This sandwich is essentially a grilled cheese sandwich with mustard which is pulled apart after grilling and tomatoes, onion and rughetta is added.

Rughetta Pizza

Rughetta Pizza, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

Yes, another pizza. This one uses store bought pizza dough, store bought pizza sauce, rughetta, mushrooms dressed with lemon juice, and fontal cheese.