Friday, November 15, 2013

Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread With Chocolate Chips

My version of Post Punk Kitchen's banana bread. I love PPK--it's a treasure trove.

Chocolatey Banana Bread

1/4 c soy or almond milk
1 t vinegar
2 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/4 c cocoa powder
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c room-temp margarine or oil
2 t vanilla
handful of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8 x 4 pan.

Mix almond milk and vinegar and set aside.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Divide this mixture in half. To one half, add the cocoa powder.

In a separate bowl, cream together sugars and margarine or oil. Add bananas and vanilla. Add milk and vinegar mixture. Now divide this in half, and add half of it to your cocoa/flour mixture.

Mix the other half into your plain flour mixture, then throw the chocolate chips in there and stir a couple more times.

Pour the plain batter in half the pan, lengthwise. It doesn't matter if it doesn't exactly stay in one half--it can be messy. Then pour the chocolate batter in the other half. Take a fork and zigzag it through to bring streaks of chocolate into the plain batter and vice versa. (This does not have to be done neatly. Really nothing in any of my recipes has to be done neatly.)

Bake at 350 for about an hour, or until knife in center comes out clean.

Inflorescence of Banana, Maria Sibylla Merian,  1710

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Senate Bean Soup

I'll just tell you up front: this recipe has Bacos in it. Bacos are vegan and I love them.

You don't have to use them; you can get a nice flavor from smoked paprika or liquid smoke instead. But I say, why pass up an excuse to buy Bacos?

So here's my version of senate bean soup.

Senate Bean Soup

1/2 onion chopped
3 T margarine or oil
pinch salt
2 c water or broth
handful parsley
2 cans navy or other white beans; or 3 c cooked white beans
3 garlic cloves sliced thin
(one rib celery chopped - optional)
(liquid smoke or smoked paprika - optional if using Bacos)
one lg or two small potatoes, baked or boiled (in other words, pre-cooked), and peeled and diced
salt or soy sauce or miso paste to taste
1 or 2 t red wine vinegar, or splash of red wine
black pepper
large handful of Bacos
dash of hot sauce if you like

Saute onion in margarine or oil with a pinch of salt, until translucent. Add water or broth, parsley, beans, garlic, celery, smoked paprika or liquid smoke, and potatoes. Simmer about 20 minutes or longer, until potatoes are very soft or break down completely. (Do not puree the soup with potatoes in a blender or food processor! Potatoes turn to glue if you do that.) Add salt/soy sauce/miso, red wine vinegar, pepper and Bacos and simmer a few more minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley.

The Public Soup Kitchen, Vincent Van Gogh, 1883

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Favorite Bread

My longtime favorite bread. Adapted (I think) from Laurel's Kitchen.

Favorite Bread

1 c rolled oats
2 c boiling water
1 t salt
1 pkg yeast, or 2t - 1T
1/3 c brown sugar or any sweetener-- agave, molasses, maple syrup, whatever
1/4 c oil
4 - 4.5 c flour (I usually use white whole wheat, but you can use all purpose, or bread flour, or whole wheat, or a mixture)

Mix oats, boiling water, salt, sweetener and oil in a huge bowl. Let stand until lukewarm--a temperature you could comfortably rest your hand in. This is important because if it's too hot, it will kill the yeast.

Mix in yeast and flour. When you can no longer mix with your spoon, use your hands to mix and knead. I do this in the bowl. To knead, slightly flatten the dough with the heel of your hand, fold in half, flatten again, then fold in half the other way (horizontally, then vertically, then horizontally, etc.) Do this for about five minutes until the dough feels nice and smooth.

Form it into a ball, put a clean dishtowel over the top of the bowl and set in a warm place to rise. If you're lucky enough to have a warm hearth, put it there. Or turn on the oven, heat it, then turn it off, put the bowl in, and leave the door slightly open. Make sure you can comfortably put your hand in there. It should be a cozy temperature.

Let rise for about an hour, until, when you press your finger in, the dough no longer springs back to shape. Oil a bread pan, or if you don't have one, use a baking sheet, a cast iron skillet, or whatever you have. Punch down the dough, make it into an oblong shape, tuck the ends under to make a smooth top, and put it in your pan. If you're not using a loaf pan you can make it into a ball and just set it in the middle of the pan or baking sheet. Put the towel over it and let it rise again for about half an hour till it no longer springs back.

Bake at around 400 degrees and start checking on it after about half an hour. It's done when it smells like fresh baked bread (to me, that's the best way to tell); when the top is golden brown; and when it sounds hollow when tapped (be sure to tap all around). Let the pan cool on a rack for a while and the loaf will come out more easily. The texture will be right for slicing when it's cool. If you try to slice it when it's hot, it will be very crumbly. Though it's worth it for the taste of bread straight from the oven.

May I Give This Ukranian Bread to All the People in This Big Wide World, Maria Primachenko, 1982