Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

I apologize for being so overdue with a post; oddly enough, I've had quite a bit to write about, but no time to update! I've decided to dedicate this post to summarizing how the past few weeks have gone for me, with the hope of having follow up posts that can link recipes to those events (although, of course, I have a recipe for today!).

Greg and I had a great Christmas; we hosted our very first Christmas party at our house. We had an all-day open house, with brunch in the morning, dinner in the late afternoon, and dessert at night. We're happy with how it turned out - we ended up having 15 wonderful friends and family members come by! We were also very proud because our celebration was completely vegan. We hadn't intended it to be that way, but as we were putting the menu together, we realized that almost everything was vegan, so we just took the final leap - to great success, we think! No, we didn't have a Tofurky; instead, for our main course, we made mushroom phyllo triangles from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates. Also, a thank you to a friend of mine at work who recommended this recipe for a Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. It was a hit!

New Year's was also great! I've made two little resolutions (wear sunscreen on my face everyday and remember to take my multivitamin) as well as a big resolution: to train for and complete a marathon. I'm all signed up for the Wisconsin Marathon and have been training with CARA since the middle of December - wish me luck! I hope to have some posts on vegan fueling.

Finally, I am totally hooked on a new book, courtesy of a Christmas present from my parents: The Kind Life by Alicia Silverstone. I really enjoyed the book quite a bit and it has wonderful tips, as well as a great interactive website. Basically, Alicia takes basic vegan principles, as well as macrobiotic theories and medical research, with great recipes and recommendations for using food to your benefit. I have really enjoyed it and have found it to be consistent with my doctor's recommendations that I switch to a low glycemic index diet, which I also hope to write about later. I've made a number of the recipes from the book, and they are delicious, vegan, and sugar-free; what more could you want!

As I hope this post shows, I've had quite a bit going on that I'm very excited to talk about, so more posts should be forthcoming! In the mean time, I want to leave you with a recipe I recently adapted and adore.

For those who know me, I have a definite weakness for bread and rolls. I have really been enjoying baking bread, particularly with Greg's dad, who gave me the nudge to really investigate baking bread when he wanted to learn to do it, too; learning more about bread has been fun for both of us!

Although breadmaking is fairly easy, it can also be time consuming. Although there is very little in the way of preparation, the waiting can be a bear. Recently, I was preparing a dinner ahead of time and realized I forgot to make bread; this was a problem, because it was 9:30 at night, this was the only time I had to bake, and I had no interest in staying up until 12:30 just to make a loaf of bread.

Enter Moosewood Restaurant and its homemade biscuit recipe - yum! The recipe was quick, yeast-free, and already egg-free; I just needed to figure out a way to get rid of the buttermilk. As always, my go to person, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, had a tip; she recommended generally stirring a little apple cider vinegar into soy milk and letting it sit for a couple of minutes. Needless to say, I'm happy with the result! Kiss trans fat laden instant biscuits good-bye; these take the same amount of time to prepare and get in the oven as it does to open the can.

Biscuits (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites)
Yields: 6 biscuits

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/3 c. soy milk + 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, mixed together (let set for a few minutes after mixing)
An additional portion of soy milk (2-3 Tbsp.) to stream into mix

1) Combine flour, salt, powder, and sugar.
2) Mix together oil and soymilk/apple cider vinegar mixture; slowly stream into dry ingredients. If, after adding, the mixture is not creating a dough, slowly add, by the tablespoon, additional plain soymilk until the mixture just comes together.
3) For this next part - be careful not to overknead! Otherwise, the biscuits will be like rocks! Form the dough into a ball. Then, cut the dough in half, place one half on top of the other, and push down. Repeat 2-3 times.
4) Spread out dough into an oblong shape, and then cut 6 pieces. Form the dough into 6 round, biscuit looking shapes and place on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
5) Bake in a 350 degree oven, until puffed and golden brown on the bottom. Start checking at 15 minutes, but it may take up to 25 or 30 minutes until the biscuits are done. The biscuits may or may not be golden on top, but that color is not important; rather, once the bottoms are a light golden brown, they are done.
6) Cool on cooling rack or eat hot!

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