Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Orange-Coconut Cake

I made this cake for the party we had in January, and it's so good that I'm moving it over!

I mostly made it up, but I took some suggestions from The Voluptuous Vegan. It's a moist, rich cake, with a soft crumb texture and a firm crust. I recommend using organic citrus for the zest. I baked it in my star-shaped cake pan, and it unmolded effortlessly. Definitely a special-occasion cake.

2 C white flour
1/2 C barley flour
1/2 C gold n white or whole wheat pastry flour

cinnamon to taste
1/2 T cardamon
1 1/2 T baking powder
1 T baking soda
1/2 t salt
2/3 C sugar
the zest of one organic orange
some zest (maybe 1 T) of an organic grapefruit

MIx all dry ingredients.

MIx together:
1 can coconut milk, well shaken
1/3 C maple syrup or honey
1/4 C canola oil
the juice of the orange you zested

Add to dry ingredients and mix until just mixed.

Bake in a 350 oven for 40 minutes or until golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

I iced the cake with shredded coconut, confectioners' sugar and a little orange juice, and chilled it to set the icing. I forgot to toast the coconut, but I recommend you do so.

A few weeks later, when visiting Mary, I made a similar cake in her kitchen/living room (that was a very coconutty visit--I made coconut roti later in the week too). However, I was impatient to eat it and didn't bake it long enough, because a few days later it started to get moldy in the middle! The first cake was eaten immediately, so I didn't get a chance to see if that happened, but definitely hold that off by 1) baking it
long enough 2) eating it quickly or 3) throwing it in the fridge.

Tomato-Mushroom Seitan

Hello friends!

I'm moving over from, so there may be many posts to begin with, as I move over all the vegan doughnut recipes! Please bear with me.

With that, on to seitan. It's delicious and quite easy to make, even if you're not a breadmaker, and you can make stock at the same time, but for some reason I never get around to it--oh, I don't have any potatoes for the stock, I'm out of soy sauce, etc. I've had a bag of wheat gluten sitting in my pantry for a while (and it made two other batches of seitan) but hadn't found the time--until this weekend. This is a triumph of whatever's-in-the-kitchen cooking, and the joys of having a well-stocked pantry.

We made stock with potatoes, sweet potatoes, fennel greens I had stashed in the freezer, onions, garlic, bay leaves, celery seed, dill seed, peppercorns (black and white), some leftover celery, and a boullion cube (rapunzel brand). Once you've boiled the seitan in it the stock will become extremely delicious.

The seitan itself was based on a recipe scribbled on an orange scrap of paper titled 'Seitan is for lovers,' and also on a recipe from The Dirty South. I admit that Bethany made the actual seitan, so I'm not sure what all she spiced it with, but I'll do my best.

2 C vital wheat gluten
1/4 C nutritional yeast
salt, pepper
1/3 C red wine
1 C stock or broth
1/4 C chopped tomatoes (home-canned!)
1/4 C chopped re-hydrated oyster mushrooms
soy sauce to taste

Mix all together. Knead until springy. If the dough's too wet, add some more flour. Let rest 10 min. Knead some more. Let rest 10 more min. Cut (scissors work best here) into 8-10 pieces and boil in stock for 30 min-1 hour, until the seitan is firm. Freeze whatever you won't eat in a week with a bit of stock to cover.

This batch of seitan turned out a bit squishy because of the tomatoes and mushrooms. Next time I would mince or process the mushrooms so the seitan pieces wouldn't be so crumbly. Also, I would use tomato paste instead of tomatoes because, once boiled, the tomatoes were a bit bland.

This batch of seitan was good in soup and in dirty rice and fried with broccoli.

Another seitan story: The very first time I made seitan, maybe 7 years ago, was an unmitigated disaster. I was cooking lunch for the (80-person) co-op, and Robin gave me a recipe that made a huge blob of seitan. I didn't know to cut up the seitan before boiling it, and the pot in which I ended up boiling it, though a cauldron, was a bit too small. It all burned. I made something else in a hurry but everything smelled like burnt seitan.

Luckily, I've since learned how to cook!