Saturday, April 12, 2008

Knead Practice!

To my dismay, I haven't had much success as a baker recently. Much of the blame can be attributed toward my stubbornness that leads me to believe I can get away without using a recipe, even when I'm dealing with chemical reactions of trying to get foodstuffs to rise.

My recent crumpet experiment did not turn out horribly, though I can't really say that crumpets were the actual end-product of the baking event.

And what is a crumpet you ask? The simplest way to describe it is as the bread product that would result if an English muffin and a regular ol' pancake were to get together one night and produce offspring. The crumpet inherits its dense holey goodness from its English side, and its soft & flat characteristics from its pancake side. And from both its parents, the crumpet gets its desire to be topped with additional yummy goodness and served at breakfast, or just about any other time of day.

So anyway, I think I killed the yeast in soymilk that was too warm, but I didn't want to waste the liquid, so I went on with the experiment. What resulted is a product that was a bit too dense and chewy, without the lovely holes that are the perfect crevices for such substances like butter.

Luckily they tasted okay, crumpets or not. They were all gone by the morning, eaten mostly underneath jam piles and in the form of "mini pizzas" and breakfast sandwiches. I can't decide if I want to try again or attempt a different dough-product first, but I will certainly post when I make something that resembles a crumpet a little more closely.

And while I obviously did not master the task, I'll post my recipe for those who want to have a go at it yourselves!

1 c. soymilk
2 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 c. plain flour
2 T. gluten
1 tsp. salt

Warm the soymilk, then mix in yeast and brown sugar. Let this sit for a couple minutes to let the yeast do its thing. Sift the remaining ingredients together, then add the liquid and stir well. Let the batter sit in a warm place for about an hour.

After resting, spoon the mixture onto a preheated pan into 3-4 inch circles. Let cook on low for about 10 minutes. Bubbles should form and the top will appear holey. For the last minute or so, flip your crumpets so the other side can turn golden.

Grill Time

Some people believe that vegetarians have no reason to own a grill. This is an unfortunate misconception, because there are many delicious vegetarian foods that are barbeque-compatible.

There are the more obvious grillable vegetarian items: veggie burgers, veggie dogs, and veggie kebabs/skewers. But many people overlook the grilling potential of the quintessential vegetarian food item, itself: tofu.

As a nice beginning to the summer barbeque season, I had the chance to enjoy some grilled tofu this week. It was bathed in a spicy soy marinade, which made it nice and juicy on the inside, while slightly crispy with grill marks on the outside. Yay for summer eating!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Nerdy Confession

I am lucky in the sense that I get to eat out on my company's dollar pretty often. When we go to a nice restaurant, the nerd inside me wants to take photos of the food. The sad part is that at the same time, I am conflicted about taking photos of food in front of my coworkers--I don't want to look like some weirdo who has never eaten at a restaurant before. Or like someone who has a strange and unhealthy obsession with food. That certainly wouldn't go over with this crowd.

For these reasons, I tend not to take photos of some of my culinary adventures, and I have to apologize for not having as many beautiful photos of dining out experiences as I'd like to. In addition to being slightly sad about not being able to fulfill my own desire of taking photos of pretty food, I have a guilt for not being able to take photos for my Random Yummies audience. I wish I could share some of those experiences with you!

In lieu of a photograph of a lovely combination of sorbets that I enjoyed at a lunch on Monday, I drew you a picture! The flavors are lime, mango, and a Mexican berry whose name I don't remember. Delicioso!