Vegan Sourdough Bagels New York Style

I didn’t really know what a bagel was until moving to the East Coast. I mean, I had eaten plenty of bagels, but I had never really, truly, had a bagel. The difference is incredible. A true bagel has chew, but still remains light and fluffy, has a crust, but can easily be eaten. There were two places that made amazing bagels in Cambridge, MA Bagelsaurus and Forge Baking Co . What was even better about these bagels than other East Coast bagels, or even my own jalapeño bagels (which are still amazing), is that they are sourdough, and have been fermented for a few days. The slightly sour taste and incredible chewy but light texture take these bagels to the next level. Problem is when we moved to the West Coast I couldn’t find good bagels. So I learned to make them myself. These rock. Try the and fall in love with bagels all over again.

There is a ton that goes into sourdough and I am not an expert by any means. I just started my own sourdough starter a few months ago. I used this tutorial from The Kitchn. 

A few other notes:

  • I used volume measurements for some of the ingredients because my scale does not seem to be accurate for such small quantities.
  • Non-diastatic malt powder is for flavor, you can omit it if you don’t have it, though I think it adds something special.
  • I tried several times to make these without added yeast, but they did not reach the heights I was hoping for (literally they didn’t poof like I wanted them to).  You can omit the yeast, but be warned, as written, this recipe will create a pretty dense bagel. It is still pretty good, but I like to poof.
  • I start on Wednesday to have bagels for Saturday morning.
  • This recipe was adapted from Honest Cooking. 

Ingredients

For the Sponge

  • 500 g (4 cups) bread flour
  • 500 ml (2 cups) water
  • 160 g 100% hydration wheat sourdough starter

For the Dough

  • 1000 g (5 cups) of sourdough sponge (above)
  • 480 g (4 cups) bread flour, divided
  • 3 tsp non-diastatic barley malt powder
  • 3 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp dry yeast

Instructions

  1. Make the sponge:
  2. Mix your starter with the water and whisk until foamy. Add 500 g flour. Mix thoroughly until all lumps are gone. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Cover loosely with plastic or lid and leave for at room temperature least 6-8 hours.
  3. Make the dough:
  4. Measure 1000g of the starter sponge. You can use the rest to refresh your starter, throw it in some pancakes, or compost it.
  5. To the starter add the salt, malt, yeast and 480 grams of flour in a bowl of a stand mixer and mix together with the dough hook until they form a ball. – if you are measuring by volume not weight start with 3 cups of flour and add more a 1/4 cup at a time mixing until it is incorporated before adding more.
  6. Continue kneading the dough with the dough hook until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. You can do this by hand, but you are way stronger than me if you do!
  7. Immediately divide the dough into 12 equal parts. I weigh mine and go about 4.5 oz per bagel for 12 bagels.
  8. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  9. Roll each portion of dough to form a log about 10″ long, then shape into a bagel by bringing the ends together and folding one over the other. Set formed bagels on baking sheet with a little room in-between.
  10. Once all bagels have been formed cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator at least overnight, and up to 3 days. I like them best after 2-3 days, but sometimes I don’t plan far enough ahead and I just let them go overnight.
  11. It is super important to let the bagels rest for a bit. It creates the taste and texture you are looking for in these delightfully perfect bagels.
  12. On the day you are planning to bake remove the bagels from the refrigerator 1-2 hours before you plan to boil them. It is possible to boil right from the refrigerator, but I think the texture improves if you let them warm up a bit.
  13. Preheat your oven to 500F.
  14. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. I use a 3qt wide saucepan. It is about 5″ deep and has a large flat bottom. Any wide saucepan will do.
  15. I also have my cooling rack out and ready to go.
  16. Once the water has reached a rolling boil carefully add as many bagels as will comfortably fit into your pot. 4 fit into mine. I have to nudge mine a bit to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom.
  17. Once you have placed your bagels in the pot set a timer for 30 seconds. When it goes off flip all the bagels and set the timer for 30 more seconds. After the second timer remove the bagels from the pot and place them on the cooling rack. If you are going to add toppings now is the time to do it while they are sticky with water.
  18. Bring the pot of water back to a rolling boil before boiling another batch of bagels.
  19. Continue with above steps until all bagels are boiled and resting on the cooling rack.
  20. Transfer bagels onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
  21. Bake for 20-25 minutes until perfectly golden all over. Use the rack in your oven that is the hottest. For me it is the bottom rack.
  22. Once baked place bagels on the cooling rack and allow to cool until you can easily hold them.
  23. Store cooled, uneaten bagels in plastic on the counter for up to 3 days, or in the freezer if you can manage to keep them that long.
Bagel After fermentation, before boiling
After fermentation, before boiling
Bagel While Boiling
While Boiling
Bagel After boiling before baking
After boiling before baking

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled Red Onions
Pickled Red Onions

As I’ve been exploring balancing flavors, and trying new food combinations I have truly come to love pickled red onions. Pickled everything really, but these are one of my favorites. It is not one of those ingredients that brings and item into focus when I see it on a menu. I feel it pairs particularly well with things that are sweet. Think sandwiches with roasted vegetables and their inherent sweetness that needs a bit of acidity for balance. Yummy. I made this particular batch to go with harissa roasted sweet potatoes. I also threw on some roasted salted pecans, and some candied pine nuts. It was yummy.  This recipe is adapted from Bobby Flay, one if his 3000 recipes for pickled red onions.

 Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 TBL granulated sugar
  • 1 TBL kosher salt
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat, stir, and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  3. Place the onion in a heat safe container with a lid, then poor the hot vinegar mixture over the onions.
  4. Cover and allow onions to sit for at least an hour, up to 4 days
  5. Remove from liquid and use to top everything from sandwiches to sweet potatoes.

Vegan Kale Stem and Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 cups roughly chopped kale stems, about 4oz
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, about 3.5 oz
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend until a smooth paste forms.
  2. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

What To Do With Leftover Rice and Beans – Rice, Beans, and Greens

Using Leftovers to Make Rice Beans and Greens
Using Leftovers to Make Rice Beans and Greens

Using what you have on hand can be a struggle, especially with it is  just a little of this and a little of that from previous recipes. One trick I love is to let go of preconceived notions of making something specific, and just make something that tastes good. I have a version of this rice, bean, and vegetable mixture regularly as I frequently have leftover rice, beans, and some odds and ends of vegetables. You can jazz it up with herbs and spices, or keep it simple like this version. I love the simplicity and deliciousness of a good olive oil, a little nutritional yeast, and some big, crunchy salt.

 Ingredients

  • 1 TBL oil for cooking
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup cooked rice (mine was leftover from takeout Indian)
  • 3/4 cup cooked kidney beans (or other bean of choice)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach (or other greens)
  • 1 TBL nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBL good olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Add oil, and saute onion and mushrooms until just softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the rice, kidney beans, and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted and rice and beans are hot.
  4. Sprinkle on nutritional yeast, drizzle the oil, and add some salt. Stir lightly to combine and serve.
  5. This is probably enough to serve two of normal appetite. Enough for one nursing mother.

Easy Vegan Gravy Without a Recipe-Thinking Thanksgiving

Vegan Gravy
Vegan Gravy

Thanksgiving is coming!! I can’t wait! I love a holiday dedicated to food, especially comfort food. A necessary addition to any Thanksgiving table is gravy. Creamy, umami filled, and delightfully full of vegetables it is the perfect addition to your table, Thanksgiving or otherwise.

Some people think that gravy can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. It can me a simple process, and one that is easily adapted to various dietary needs such as vegan or gluten free. It is also something that is so very quick to make and delivers flavor as if you have been slaving for hours. When we have just odds and ends in the house I’ll make gravy to top biscuits for breakfast, or to finish potatoes or other fall vegetables for a quick and hearty dinner.

Discussion:

What is important for successful gravy?

  1. Creamy texture
  2. Flavor
  3. Add-ins

I I like to think of gravy as a beautiful vegetable filled umami bomb. It is a versatile vehicle for bringing vegetables and protein, a way to round out a meal, and the perfect sauce. It is an easy process to make gravy and you can easily change things up to fit your mood and your pantry.

 

How Does It All Work? 

The Texture 

Balancing ingredients for the proper texture.

  1. The ratio of flour to liquid above has worked well for me, however, feel free to adjust it to your preference. The ratio will also be slightly different if you are using different flour such as garbanzo bean flour. Start with the ratio I have listed, then add more flour to make it thicker, or more liquid to thin it out. Make sure to cook the gravy before attempting to make it thicker as cooking with thicken the texture.
  2. To incorporate the flour you can either mix it with cold liquid until smooth, then whisk into the hot pan, or you can sprinkle the flour into hot fat, suck as oil (equal parts flour and fat) and cook while whisking until it starts to brown and begins to smell fragrant. Then add liquid.
  3. Vegetables are optional, so are beans. The will affect the overall texture so think about how you want them cooked before adding them.

Flavor

Optional additions for flavor

  1. I pretty much always use a mixture of non-dairy milk and vegetable broth (or water and vegetable broth powder), however, I have used just water when I’m out of milk. The balance of these will affect the flavor.  Just water makes it a little less cream and less rich. More milk can make it taste more like the milk you are using, just be sure to have a type of milk you want to eat in gravy. If you use sweetened vanilla almond milk it will taste like a nasty vanilla flavored gravy,
  2. Herbs are your friend. If you are using dried herbs, add them in the beginning. If you are using fresh, add them at the end. I love thyme, sage, and black pepper for a fall gravy. I might leave out the sage and add smoked paprika and vegan sausage for a breakfast gravy, or just salt and pepper with lots of vegetable broth for a lighter version.
  3. Nutritional yeast, lemon, and Dijon mustard are some of my favorite other additions to boost flavor.
  4. The vegetables you choose to add in will also affect the flavor. I nearly always use onions, often mushrooms and kale. Celery, onions, and carrots would lean toward a more traditional chickeny flavor.
  5. Don’t forget the salt!

 

Add-ins

More flavor, more texture, and all the fun

  1. Your gravy can be as simple as the vegetable broth that has been thickened and a few herbs and spices, but feel free to add anything else you like.
  2. Protein- I love adding cooked brown lentils to my gravy. The texture is fun and it adds a big punch of nutrients. Other options are garbanzo beans which I like to mash a bit and/or pre-made veggies sausage or other fake meat products.
  3. Vegetables- as in this recipe I usually use onions, mushrooms, and kale. The combination is delicious. Other options are anything in your fridge. I do a breakfast gravy with carrots, celery, red peppers and lentils. My daughter loves the addition of peas. Try things out as you have them available.

Pacific Rim Vegetable Kabobs (vegan optional)

Pacific Rim Kabobs
Pacific Rim Kabobs

These Kabobs will fulfill all your grilled vegetable dreams. They are herbaceous, savory, bring umami, acid, salt, and even sweet tastes to your palate. You can, of course, choose the vegetables you like the best. Personally I would be perfectly happy with just tofu, mushrooms, and onions served with a green salad on the side. Perfection.

These can be a side dish, or an entree. I love to make these when we BBQ with friends. They eat them as a side, and I have a entree I adore.

Ingredients

For the Marinade
  • 1 stalk fresh lemon grass, roughly chopped
  • 7 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 6 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2 TBL natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • juice of 2 small limes, about 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain yogurt (non-dairy or dairy)
  • 1/4 cup tamari
For Tofu
  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu cut into 1″ cubes
For the Vegetables
  • 8 oz white button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 medium onion cut into 1″ pieces
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, cut into rounds

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat for the tofu.
  3. Once skillet is hot add the oil, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, and add the cubed tofu.
  4. Cook on the first side until golden grown, about 3 minutes.
  5. Flip tofu and cook, turning occasionally until all sides are golden brown.
  6. Toss tofu into a large container.
  7. Add all the cut vegetables into the same container as the tofu and top with the marinade.
  8. Stir tofu and vegetables to fully coat with marinade.
  9. Let everything sit for 4-6 hours.
  10. Once marinated use bamboo skewers that have been soaked for at least 20 minutes and skewer vegetables and tofu alternating vegetables to create beauty.
  11. Grill over an outdoor grill preheated to medium high, turning occasionally until slightly charred in places. This will take 10-15 minutes.
  12. Baste with leftover marinade as desired, and at the end of cooking.
  13. Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold as leftovers if there are any.

 

Quinoa Black Bean Bowl with Tahini Dressing- Power Bowl Without a Recipe

Quinoa Black Bean Bowl with Tahini Dressing
Quinoa Black Bean Bowl with Tahini Dressing

Power bowls are trendy. I love being trendy, so here is my version of a power bowl, and a few tips on how to make your own without a recipe.

This version of a power bowl is one of my favorite go-to meals when we have just about nothing in the house, or I don’t feel like cooking. It is perfectly healthy so you can feel virtuous eating it, then maybe finish with ice cream so you don’t get too high and mighty.

This is a perfect mix and match without a recipe recipe. Just use whatever you have around. I love quinoa in this, especially when cooked in mushroom broth, but any grain will do. Same for the greens. Whatever you have hanging around that you like in a salad will be good here. Beans are nice for a touch more texture and protein, but are optional. Any vegetable combination is good for the sauteed vegetables. I love the tahini dressing just because it adds hints of bitterness and acid to the finished product, but hey, if you have some dressing hanging out, just use it. Really, just throw whatever you have in a bowl or on a plate, top it with yummy dressing, call it a bowl and feel super trendy.

 Ingredients

Tahini Dressing – Or dressing of choice

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • water to thin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice to taste
  • fresh herbs, minced (optional)

Other Ingredients

  • 2-4 cups fresh spinach or salad greens
  • 1-2 cups cooked quinoa – or other cooked whole grain
  • 1/2-1 cup cup cooked black beans – other beans or protein
  • 1-2 cups vegetables. I like a mixture of fresh and sauteed vegetables (In the bowl pictured I used onions, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, scallions, and sundried tomatoes)
  • 2 TBL nuts or seeds of your choice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the tahini dressing by whisking the tahini and water together until it has reached your desired consistency. Start with a few teaspoons of water, whisk, and add more until it is how you like it.
  2. Stir in the garlic, salt, lemon juice, and herbs if you are using them.
  3. Divide the rest of the ingredients on two plates. I like to start with spinach, add quinoa, then beans, and finish with veggies.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the top and you have a super healthy, quick meal.

Discussion:

What is important for successful power bowl?

  1. Various layers of flavor
  2. Different textures
  3. Mix of fresh and cooked ingredients
  4. Protein

How Does It All Work? 

The Flavor

  1. The vegetables and how you choose to cook them will be the base of your flavor profile. You could use fresh, cooked, or a mixture.
  2. I love to have something from all five tastes in my bowls. For this bowl used carrots for sweetness, salt on the sauteed vegetables and cooked beans, umami with mushrooms and by cooking my grains in mushroom broth, bitter in the tahini and acid in the lemon in the tahini dressing.
  3. The dressing you choose will add a ton of flavor to your finished dish. Make sure it is something you like. It can be as simple as a little oil and salt, or go ahead and make the tahini dressing. Use up a bottle from your fridge. It’s your meal, eat what you like.

Texture

  1. Every ingredient that you add will have it’s own texture (I hope!).
  2. Use a mixture of chewy (grains), crunchy (fresh vegetables, nut or seeds), soft (beans), and just right (cooked vegetables).
  3. When choosing what to add think of how the textures will balance each other. You don’t want everything to be crunchy or you’ll get sick of chewing. You don’t want it all to be soft because that would be gross. Just a bit of each is nice.

Mix of fresh and cooked ingrediewnts

  1. You could easily use only raw or only cooked ingredients here, I just like to cook my grains and I like some fresh veggies to mix it up.
  2. How you cook things does affect the nutritional value. Having a mixture brings a nice balance to your plate.
  3. Proteins are usually cooked and for a real power bowl you need some protein.

Protein 

  1. Add some, it’s good for you.
  2. I like beans. I like the texture and the taste. Canned or cooked at home will work. I often make this meal to use up odds and ends and use whatever type I have ready.
  3. If you don’t like beans use something else. Tofu, Seitan, Tempeh, Nuts, Seeds, Fish, Meat. Whatever you like will be perfect.

Tofu Making it Tasty Without a Recipe

Cooking Delicious Tofu
Cooking Delicious Tofu

I might be biased since I’ve been eating tofu most of my life, but I like the stuff! It is versatile and soaks up any flavor you put on it, fairly inexpensive, and just full of protein. I usually buy extra firm water-packed tofu from the refrigerator section of just about any grocery store. The different firmness levels are good for different recipes, but for the most part the extra firm works for my daily purpose.

This basic tofu recipe is how I make my tofu before adding it to my Thai Curry, Pot Pie, and Veggies and Peanut Sauce. I use a similar procedure for my Breakfast Sandwich, and pretty much any time I make tofu. Tips, tricks, and variations below the recipe.

 Ingredients

  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 1/2 lb water packed extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 TBL Tamari

Instructions

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat until hot, about 3 minutes. (If you don’t have a cast iron just go get one.)
  2. Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom.
  3. Add tofu and cook on one side until brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Flip tofu and continue cooking and turning until brown on all sides.
  5. Remove tofu from heat.
  6. Let the pan cool for 1 minutes (optional step).
  7. Drizzle the tamari over the tofu, and stir briefly to coat all pieces.
  8. Use as you like.

 

Discussion:

What is important for successful tofu?

  1. A hot pan
  2. Using Fat (oil, butter, heck, bacon fat if you want to)
  3. Adding Flavor

How does it all work 

Texture. For the perfect texture (for me) you have to cook the tofu before adding it to another recipe. I really like the firmer texture, crispy outside, and flavor the extra step of cooking the tofu separately brings to the table. To get the texture and not make a mess you need to:

 

  • Preheat your pan
  • Add the fat after the pan is hot (this actually helps prevent the tofu from sticking)
  • Add the flavoring after the tofu as developed a crust (or marinating before cooking)

Flavor. Obviously flavor is important when making, well, anything. Tofu is a delightful sponge that will soak up anything you pour over it. I rarely marinate my tofu simply because I don’t plan ahead very often. You can marinate it in any marinade you like for a few hours or overnight. Then cook as directed, and even pour a little more marinade over the top instead of the tamari. Other options include:

Flavoring options:

  • Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Salad Dressings
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Nut butters
  • Pre-made sauces like a teriyaki sauce
  • Hot sauce or salsa
  • Sugar or sweeteners
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Liquid smoke
  • Flavored oils or fats
  • Flavored Vinegar

Some of my favorite combinations:

  • Tamari, Worcestershire, Brown sugar
  • Apple cider vinegar, salt, olive oil
  • Tamari, liquid smoke, brown sugar, hot sauce
  • Tamari and balsamic vinegar with Caribbean Jerk Seasoning

Because of the way I cook it I find bringing flavor in some type of liquid so the tofu soaks it up. I also always use some time of salt because tofu is rather bland. One of my favorite combinations is Tamari, Worcestershire, brown sugar, and a little water. I use this as a sauce for a stir fry with eggplant, tofu and broccoli. Super yummy!

Vegetarian Quiche Without a Recipe

Vegetarian Quiche Without a Recipe
Vegetarian Quiche Without a Recipe

I think this might be the first non-vegan recipe I have posted. It’s kind of scary to open myself to judgement as I switch to a non-vegan point of view. Historically this website has been totally vegan, though with the change a few months ago I decided to open the doors to no-vegan recipes. Personally I have gone through a process to make the decision to eat some animal products again, and it is a decision that works for me and my current lifestyle. When I do eat animal products I try to stay with “happy” animal products. I am working on a post about my food journey that will come soon.

I continue to eat vegan most of the time, though when I do venture out of my vegan ways this is one of my favorites. I think quiche is best when loaded with vegetables and baked in a perfectly flaky crust. Quiche is a dish that I have fond memories of from my childhood. We always had quiche for holiday brunch, and when we had people over for breakfast. It seems an impressive dish, but is actually easier than scrambled eggs!

What I love about quiche now is easy it is to throw together, that it feeds lots of people without slaving over a stove or worrying about timing eggs, and you can put whatever you have in your fridge, making it a delicious way to use up odds and ends. The only “hard” part of quiche is if you are making a homemade crust, and I made this sweet video to take the mystery out of that, so you are all set. I guess you could also buy a crust, it is up to you.

 Ingredients
  • 4 Happy Eggs (cage free, local, organic, from happy chickens)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened, plain, non-dairy milk

OR

  • 3 Happy eggs
  • 1 cup dairy milk

And

  • salt and pepper to taste
  • herbs to taste (I used fresh tyme and sage for this quiche)
  • spices to taste (I used smoked paprika, salt and pepper)
  • 1-2 cups of chopped, cooked vegetables (I used kale, leeks, mushrooms, fennel, and little bit of red bell pepper for this one)
  • 1/2-1 cup shredded happy cheese (I use goat gouda for this quiche)
  • prepared pie crust (homemade or store bought)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Beat eggs until uniformly yellow.
  3. Add milk, salt, pepper and whatever herbs and spices you are using mixing briefly.
  4. Sprinkle the cheese evenly into the bottom of the prepared, unbaked pie crust.
  5. Spread the cooked vegetables evenly over the cheese.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cheese.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-60 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Discussion:

What is important for successful quiche?

  1. Veggies
  2. Cheese
  3. Flavor
  4. The custard (egg and milk mixture)

I I like to think of starting to build the flavor in quiche with the veggies accented by the cheese, herbs and spices, and all held together by the custard. Choose you vegetables based on either what you have, or a specific combination for a taste you are looking for. If it sounds like it would make a good omelette,  it would make a good quiche.

 

How Does It All Work? 

The Veggies 

Your first layer of flavor.

  1. Really any vegetables will work in this recipe; you can use as many or as few as you like. If you only do a little you might need to add more custard to fill the crust. I like mine stuffed with vegetables.
  2. I love using greens such as spinach or kale, onions or something in that family (leeks, shallots, scallions), mushrooms, peppers, broccoli. Really whatever you like in the combination you like it. Somewhere between 1-2 cups of cooked vegetables per quiche.
  3. Vegetables are the first layer of flavor, so choose those that you like together, chop them and cook them before adding them to the quiche. I usually saute mine.
  4. When cooking the veggies you want to make sure they are just cooked as they will cook a little more as the quiche bakes.
  5. You also want to start building flavor here while cooking the veggies. I usually add salt pepper, and finish with some fresh herbs if I have them. Dried are also good, but I add dried herbs while the veggies are cooking rather than at the end.
  6. You can also use leftover cooked vegetables. Let’s say you had fajitas last night, chop up those leftovers and throw them in. Maybe it was steamed broccoli, or roasted asparagus; just toss it in.

Cheese

Adding a bit more flavor.

  1. Almost any cheese you like should work fine here. Shredded is best as it will melt more evenly.
  2. Add the cheese to the crust first and it will help create a barrier so the crust doesn’t get soggy from the filling.
  3. Think about the cheese you might want on an omelette with the vegetables you chose, and use that cheese.
  4. Somewhere between 1/2 and 1 cup of cheese is good. You can also mix types of cheeses here.

Herbs and spices

Keep building flavor

  1. Fresh herbs are great in quiche, but if you don’t have them dried are fine. Don’t forget the salt and pepper!
  2. Season every layer separately (vegetables, custard, even the crust if you are making it homemade).
  3. I used thyme, sage, salt and pepper in my quiche today. Again, think of flavor profiles you like together and build a quiche based off those. Maybe basil and tomato with mozzarella, broccoli cheddar with just a little salt and pepper, mushrooms, spinach and swiss cheese with herbs de provence. Whatever sounds good.

The Custard 

Holding it all together

  1. You need something that holds it all together, and makes it, well, a quiche. The custard does this.
  2. If you are using dairy milk 3 eggs to 1 cup milk works well, if you are using non-dairy milk then 4 eggs to 3/4 cup milk.
  3. Sometimes I add too many vegetables and have to whisk another egg and pour it over the top to make sure the veggies are covered in the custard mixture.
  4. Season this layer too; salt and pepper for sure, and a little bit of whatever herbs and spices you are using.

Pancakes Without a Recipe

Gluten Free Vegan Pancakes
Gluten Free Vegan Pancakes

I guess I’m on a breakfast kick; oatmeal, now pancakes! Breakfast is my favorite first meal of the day. Pancakes are a classic breakfast and are easily adaptable to whatever you have in the house and or dietary needs. They are also a wonderful comfort food. I have fond memories of pancake eating contests with my brothers when I was growing up. Yes, I won. Again we will do a simple recipe, then some variations and a discussion on how to make decisions when you are developing your signature pancake recipe.

Basic Pancakes Without a Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 parts flour (1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder or 1 tsp baking soda plus acid (apple cider vinegar 9mixed into liquid)
  • 3 parts liquid (3/4 cup) + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar if using baking soda
  • Egg substitute (1 banana, mashed) or one Egg if you are not vegan
  • Flavor
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Oil for cooking such as coconut or sunflower oil
  • Maple Syrup
  • Earth Balance Buttery Spread

Instructions

  1. Mix flour, baking powder or soda, and salt, mixing to combine dry ingredients.
  2. Add the curdled milk, mashed banana, and vanilla whisking the ingredients until they are uniformly wet and combine.
  3. Heat your favorite pancake pan over medium heat. I use a large cast iron pan.
  4. Once your desired pan is hot heat a little oil in the pan, I use about a teaspoon per batch, and pour the batter into the hot pan. I usually make one big pancake at a time, but you can also do smaller ones and do however many fit in your pan.
  5. Cook on one side until the sides of the pancake are starting to look dry and bubbles are forming, popping, and not closing, and the cooked side is turning a delightful golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  6. Flip pancake and cook until the second side is also golden brown, about 1 more minute.
  7. Serve piping hot with topped with maple syrup and butter, or topping of your choice like this cinnamon roll topping.

Discussion:

What is important for successful pancakes?

  1. Texture (the ratio, choice, and combination of wet and dry ingredients, a leavening agent, and other ingredients to add structure)
  2. Flavor
  3. Toppings

How does it all work 

Flour. For a happy pancake you need to start with flour. I have only used grain based flours which is what I will talk about here. You can use any combination of flours that you have in the house. I usually use an all purpose wheat flour. I have also mixed in oat flour, cornmeal, whole what flour, buckwheat, and even bread flour when I ran out of all purpose. To be successful you will probably want the majority of your flour to be wheat flour to bring the texture you are seeking. I will post a gluten free recipe soon for those of you not into wheat.

Liquid. The flour to liquid ratio is important for the finished product. More liquid creates a runnier batter and a thinner pancake. Less liquid is a thick batter and a dense pancake. You need something that balances both for a light fluffy pancake. About 4 parts flour to 3 parts liquid seems to be a good ratio. This is something you can play with quite a bit. I no longer actually measure my liquid and just pour it in until it is the consistency I am looking for.

Egg Substitute. You need something for the egg in pancakes, either egg, or another ingredient to build structure in you pancake. Options I like include; egg, chia seeds (1 TBL chia seeds mixed with 1/3 cup water), banana, and egg replacer powder. You could simply take out the egg which would give you a thinner, floppier pancake. My go-to egg substitute in pancakes is banana and I always use them when I have them in the house. They give a wonderful touch of sweetness and good structure to the pancake.

Leavening agent. Either baking powder or baking soda. With baking soda you also need an acid. This creates the chemical reaction needed to give your pancakes lift. This is why I call for the apple cider vinegar if you are using baking soda. The baking soda and vinegar will give you a bit more of a buttermilk pancake taste.

Flavor. Salt, vanilla are added here for flavor. Other options include any extract you can think of, spices like cinnamon, cocoa powder, and zest from citrus.

Other. One of the delightful things about pancakes is the add-ins. We are all familiar with blueberry pancakes. Other options are any fruit you can think of, protein powder, cheese, chocolate chips, nuts and seeds, even vegetables like some grated carrot or zucchini. For most of these you want to add them into the pancake after you have poured the batter into the pan. This way your pancakes will look amazing, and you will be able to control how much goes into each pancake. You can also make toppings and go crazy with your combination. Maybe start with this cinnamon roll topping.