Leading, Following, Baking

NB: There is a recipe at the bottom, but I don’t feel as confident about it as usual, so the post isn’t really “about” that.

I’ve been cooking family meals for decades. I started when I was just into double digits and haven’t stopped other than during my first two years of college when I lived on campus in a dorm. I don’t mean to be immodest, but I am a good cook.

I tend to cook by feel, smell, and taste memory. If I taste something a couple of times, I can generally get a pretty good idea of what goes in it, and make a reasonable version of it. Once in a while, a dish goes sideways. I can usually rescue it, but now and then I make something that is, objectively, not good. It’s pretty rare though.

Baking is different. When I cook non-baked food, I’m the leader. I scope it out. I make choices. I improvise. But, with baking, it’s not that easy. I’m not knowledgeable enough about the chemistry of baked goods to just fake it. I’ve gotten better just during this last year, but I still need to follow a recipe if I really want things to come out. And, if they start to go wrong, I don’t always know how to fix them.

Baking requires, for me, following, rather than leading. And I don’t much like that sometimes. But, I suspect it’s good for me to be in that position – where I have no control and I don’t know the answer – in something as low-risk as baked goods.

So, I’ll keep at it! And maybe I will grow my following skills in the process. It’s sort of yoga in food form?

Today’s almost disaster involved a Sourdough Nectarine Cobbler. The original recipe came from Farmhouse on Boone. But, I made some adaptations, because I had nectarines rather than peaches, and I wanted to try out some pancake/waffle mix that reportedly could be substituted 1:1 for flour. In the end, it basically turned out, but wow what a process of annoyance and reworking! And I definitely won’t use this mix as flour again. So, I present it here in the way that I will make it if I make it again!

Sourdough Nectarine Cobbler

Dough Ingredients
2 cups flour (you may need to adjust a bit depending on type)
1/2 cup active 100% hydration sourdough starter
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup agave or maple syrup
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup brown sugar

Filling Ingredients
4-6 cups peeled and chopped nectarines
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp vegan butter, sliced
1/3 cup brown sugar

Process

Add flour, starter, melted coconut oil, and agave and mix. It will be quite dry. If you have to add a few drops of water to even combine it, go ahead, but don’t add much. Set this in a warm location, covered, for 8-24 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350*.

Bring out your dough mix from wherever it has been sitting. Add baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, soy milk, and brown sugar and mix.

Peel and chop your nectarines. Add to your baking pan (I used a 13×9 pan, but a 10-12 inch cast iron would also work well). Sprinkle with cinnamon, butter, brown sugar, and flour and fold in. Bake for 10 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, pat out biscuit dough to about half an inch and cut into biscuits using a cutter or mason jar lid. Try not to twist your cutter so you don’t seal the biscuits.

Remove peaches from oven and stir. Place biscuits over peaches and bake for ~ 20 minutes, until the biscuits are turning golden brown.

Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Vegan “Cheesy” Eggplant Pomodoro with Kale

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Ingredients
2 eggplants, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 cups cut grape tomatoes
1-2 T capers
8 cups kale, chopped
½ cup nutritional yeast
Sea salt and pepper to taste
3 T Olive oil

IMG_1847cProcess
Place olive oil, onion, and eggplant in large skillet and sauté until eggplant begins to soften. Add tomatoes and capers. Continue to cook until tomatoes start to cook down. Add kale, salt, and pepper. Cook until kale is tender. Add nutritional yeast and stir. Toss with pasta or serve on toasted Italian or French bread.

Nay-gg Salad – A Vegan Recipe

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Before the summer is over completely, at least in terms of the temperature, how about a refreshing light, but protein packed, salad?

As always, it’s cholesterol free! It’s also gluten free (though just because there isn’t anything in here that should have gluten in it) if served over lettuce mix or on g.f. bread.

IMG_1017webIngredients
1 container extra firm tofu, drained and diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
1/3-1/2 cup vegan mayo
2 T yellow mustard
3-4 T relish
3-4 T nutritional yeast
1 t turmeric
1/2 tsp black salt
salt and pepper to taste

Process

Mash tofu with a fork or potato masher and dice veggies. Mix ingredients. Chill. Eat!