17 Fri, 2011 § 10 Comments
Early mornings are meant for the kitchen. Flours dust the counter tops as the sun slowly reaches its way across bowls & bamboo mixing spoons. Sometimes, 4am (or even 5am) feels too early to be awake & baking breads; but often, I relish this unique perspective of our home as the house fills with light & sweet aromas.
While I enjoy this intimate time with myself, it’s not purely selfish. Dave doesn’t seem to mind waking to smells of freshly baked millet muffins or Summer-infused quick breads. I look forward to sending him to work with a scone, a fresh slice of sweet bread or a muffin.
I have taken to creating more baked goods rather than buying bread from the store, especially as I am delving into gluten-free varieties. Baking my own is less expensive, but more than that, it’s rewarding & sparks creativity. Experimenting with gluten-free flours is becoming more interesting than sticking to whole wheat, though I still rotate in batches made with kamut. There is much more variance & diversity of flavors & textures when you explore what lies beyond all-purpose & wheat flour. Corn. Oat. Rice. Buckwheat. Amaranth. Almond. Each is distinct in its nuances & offers something different to your baking.
I am becoming very partial to the combination of almond & oat.
Orange & saffron as well.
I have just started baking with a scale & following weight ratios rather than measuring by volume (ie measuring cups), which immediately amped up my confidence in creating rather than simply following recipes. Baked goods each have a ratio of flours to liquids to eggs to fats. What makes bread different from pancakes — & these different from pizza dough or a croissant — is not just the ingredients, but how those ingredients work in proportion to each other. Of course, there are still many recipes out there I have fallen in love with which need little to no adapting; but baking by ratio gives me the freedom to make these recipes my own by more easily swapping flours or the type of liquid or fat I use.
Try it. My kitchen scale set us back only $20 & is more than worth it.
To ease you into this, I did translate my recipe back into approximate volume measurements. These will only be useful if you use the exact ingredients I did though, because each flour, oil, etc has its own specific weight. I’m a newby just playing around, having fun & certainly no expert. This is a great post if you are interested in learning more about cooking with ratios.
The ratio for baking quick bread is 2 parts flour: 2 parts liquid: 1 part egg: 1 part fat. To fill a 9 x 5 loaf pan, you would need 227 grams of flours, 227 grams of liquid of any kind, 113 grams egg (2 of them) or egg substitute & 113 grams of fats. This ratio also works for making muffins.
Almond Meal Muffins with Orange Zest & Saffron
makes 12 muffins
or slightly fewer if you want a higher muffin top
- 110 g almond flour (~heaping 3/4 cup)
- 117 g oat flour (~heaping 1 cup)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 131 g orange blossom honey (~1/2 cup)
- 63 g coconut milk (~1/4 cup)
- 34 g fresh orange juice (4T) & zest from one orange
- 2 eggs (113 g)
- 113 g coconut oil, melted (~1/2 cup)
- tiny pinch of saffron, seriously only a few strands
Preheat oven to 350*F.
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients separately. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients & mix. Fold in zest & saffron. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling to the rim. Bake for 13 – 15 minutes until muffin tops are lightly golden & a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
These are crumby & moist, best eaten with a fork, fresh & warm from the oven.
Do you bake using ratios?
p.s. The first bread is my vegan variation of Marla’s Strawberry Snack Cakes.
2 Mon, 2011 § 8 Comments
Heidi’s Millet Muffins.
They are slightly crunchy, still fluffy & smooth on the inside, not overly sweet & have the perfect kiss of lemon. They are reminiscent of poppy seed muffins, which are my absolute favorite. Next time, I just might toss in a few poppy seeds for fun.
I adapted her recipe slightly to create a vegan version but left the major components untouched; & though they might not be as pretty as hers, I would wager they are just as delicious. We also made the Tinto de Verano from her recipe sampler over the weekend…& plan to enjoy her Avocado with Mustard Seeds later this week. Yes, I really want her new cookbook. I will be swinging by B&N very soon to take a closer peek.
Adapted from Super Natural Every Day
makes 12 muffins
Preheat oven to 400*F. Prep a muffin pan with oil or butter or line with paper liners. I like my silicone baking cups, which I place on a regular baking sheet.
- 2 & 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup raw millet (Heidi’s recipe calls for 1/3 cup, but I like the extra crunch from the millet)
- 1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup yogurt (I used dairy-free coconut Amande yogurt made with cultured almond milk)
- 2 flax “eggs” (whisk together 2 T freshly ground flaxseeds with 6 T warm water & let thicken ~10 minutes)
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
- 1/2 cup agave or honey
- grated zest from 1 lemon & 2 T juice from half the lemon
Combine flour, millet, baking powder, baking soda & salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, flax”eggs”, butter, agave, zest & lemon juice until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients & mix until flour is just incorporated. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling just to the rim.
Bake for 15 minutes until muffin tops are golden brown & just beginning to crack. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Have you ever baked with millet? What do you think of Amande yogurt?
29 Thu, 2010 § 5 Comments
A mere sampling of our car camping eats:
Angela’s In A Jiffy Curry Chickpea Burgers
The first time we had these, they kind of fell apart in the oven, but I loved the flavor. I do not know if it was the freezing before hand or the pan frying method, but they were an awesome arrival dinner our first night. The outside browned & crisped up just slightly. I’ll be making them like this at home. SO GOOD!
Process until smooth:
- ½ C Oats
- 2 Carrots
- 1 ½ tsp Curry
- ½ tsp Paprika
- ¼ tsp Tumeric
- ¼-½ tsp Sea Salt, to taste
- ¼ tsp freshly ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Parsley flakes [optional–did not use]
- 1 ½ C cooked chickpeas [add these as 1/2C increments]
- 1T coconut oil, melted
- 3T Sunflower seeds
- ¼ C Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Wet hands & shape into patties. Angela suggests baking at 375* for about 20 minutes. Like I mentioned, freezing “raw”, then pan-frying seems to be the way to go though or at least finish them off on the grill if you bake them.
Flax & Oat Breakfast Power Muffins. Another treat from Angela [can you tell I have a blog crush on her yet?]
I love how I feel after eating these — not heavy & gross like many muffins leave me — but I will probably tweak this a bit, because I’m not completely loving the flavor & texture yet. If I discover a tweaking trick, I’ll share.
Veggie & Black Soy Bean Scramble in Rice Tortillas
Scape & White Bean Dip via Ashley, who is amazingly creative in the kitchen.
We love hummus, but it’s nice to switch it up a bit; white beans are usually our next go-to. The garlic scapes give this a nice, pale shade of green & make me think this would be an excellent dip to sneak in some spinach [no one will ever know] & make it even greener & more fun! We devoured this with raw cauliflower & Olive chips.
- 4 Garlic Scapes, chopped
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 2 C White Beans, cooked
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- Pepper, to taste
Stream in 1T EVOO at a time, alternating with 1T water until you reach the desired consistency.
- ¼ C EVOO
- 2-5T Water
I wanted an afternoon-energy-boosting-snack that was not oat based [since the muffins were primarily oats]. This granola, with its complete protein quinoa, seemed the perfect fit. It was lovely sprinkled over large lunch salads. Mmm…strawberries & balsamic.
I checked midway through cooking & decided it needed dried cherries thrown in; I’m glad I did. This simple granola is not super flavorful, so the cherries amped it up some. This creative spin on granola is sure a party, but not exactly a party in my mouth. Next time, I’ll follow Ashley’s suggestion & add coconut butter in the mix; I might also swap walnuts for cashews, which Dave will like more. Even so, I can’t stop munching on it — it’s great with rice milk — so it must have something my body needs.
We never have wine — alcohol for that matter — while camping, because…well, I guess it’s just not our usual style. For this trip though, we found this 2007 “earth friendly” Cabernet Sauvignon from California & even managed to safely pack the wine glasses. Neither of us really cared for this particular bottle; we found it fairly acidic. Dave & I enjoy saving & writing on some of our corks; we display them in a bowl at home: mini-journals of special occasions, friends, events, etc. [Thanks for the awesome idea Julie!]
Essential for me while camping. It warms me up on those cold, cold mornings & soothes my tummy in the evenings. Camping seems to throw my digestive system for a loop; & next thing I know, it’s off & I feel less than terrific. Ginger & Lemon Tea does wonders for calming my tummy, & I’m anxious to explore other blends that may help. Though the weather was generally quite hot on this trip, I still enjoyed my tea by simply adding cold water or rice milk after it brewed. In the future, I think I’ll take fresh lemon to add to water in the morning like I do at home. This is an amazingly cleansing way to start off your day.
Raw Brownie Balls
Rich. Decadent. Glorious. These are a favorite indulgent from TKD that do not feel indulgent; raw desserts are like that — they just seem clean & nourishing even — so I make these often. These little beauties are even growing on Dave: from his first taste test came this reply: “kind of nutty” [not a lover of nuts in treats] ; this time: “mmm, chocolatey.”
Process until coarsely ground:
- ½ C raw Walnuts
Add & pulse until well combined:
- ½ C Pitted Dates
- ½ C Carob Powder
- ½ C Maple Syrup
- ½ C Organic raw Almond Butter
- ½ tsp Pure Vanilla Extract [I used half a Vanilla Bean]
- ¼ tsp Sea Salt
Process until thick & smooth.
- ½ C whole raw Almonds
-Pulse a few times until combined, keeping chunky for crunch.
-Allow to sit outside the freezer for a couple minutes before devouring 😉
To me they taste like heaven & brownies [hence the name alteration — she calls them Raw Balls, which just sounds weird to say to people].
I made about 17 balls [my “golf balls” are kind of small, so I can eat two at a time & not feel bad :P]. I could probably get 18 out of these by the time I scrape all the sticky batter & stop “taste testing” — did I mention — they taste like brownie batter!
What do you normally eat while camping? I’m anxious to try other meals & make more of our camping experiences “gourmet”. 🙂