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Vegan Czech kolaches

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My last name is Pitlick (pit-lick), which is Czech for “scrotum.” Yup, hard to believe that it’s even worse in its native tongue.

Technically, it should be spelled Pitlyk (or was it Pytlik?), is pronounced peet-leek, and is the diminutive form of the word “bag” or “sack,” literally translated as “little sack.” Which, of course, colloquially means… scrotum.

Now that we have that out of the way, the only other reminder in my life of my Bohemian heritage are kolaches.

If you’re Czech or Texan, you are well aware of kolaches. Kolaches are sweet buns filled with jam or poppy seeds. Texans make savory versions too. Weirdos.

My dad would bake these every once in a while when I was a kid with jam from our apricot tree. I highly doubt his Czech dad made them for him while he was growing up — he confirmed that the recipe he used come from an aunt.

However, when I asked him for her kolaches, he forwarded me an email from a few-times-removed cousin with a couple of recipes from a cookbook, which I combined to suit my own needs.

This version takes much less time to make than I recall, but time passes differently to a child. My dad would add a streusel stopping to the jam, which is delicious but unnecessary.

Vegan Kolaches

Ingredients

  • 2 cups lukewarm non-dairy milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups flour, divided
  • 1 can poppy seed filling or jam of your choice

Instructions

  1. Add sugar to lukewarm milk and stir in yeast in a large bowl. Let sit for a few minutes until foamy.
  2. Stir in oil, 3 cups flour, and salt and mix until combined. Stir in remaining 3 cups of flour.
  3. Shape into small balls and place on a greased baking pan about 1 inch apart. Let rise until more or less doubled in size.
  4. Press down centers with your thumb and fill with desired filling.
  5. Let rise again and bake at 350° for 15 – 18 minutes.

Pan-grilled vegan khatchapuri

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I apologize in advance for an overly dramatic post. I have very strong feelings about khatchapuri (ha-chee-purr-ee), this wonderful cheese-filled Georgian bread.

Khatchapuri has been described as Eurasian pizza or a Caucasian quesadilla, but it’s so much more. Yes, the wheat and dairy factor is a commonality between the three, but khatchapuri triumphs over her lesser bready/cheesy brothers with the salty tang of pickled cheese. She’s rustic, a little wild, and not the prettiest, but she makes you feel at home. Comfortable.

Once you’ve had a little taste of khatchapuri, you just want more. You’re hooked. Pretty soon, you’re booking flights to Tbilisi. Taking too much time off work. Maxing out credit cards and selling your possessions, then your hair, then your body, just to get your fix. Because you can’t just have one bite of khatchapuri — oh no. What a fool you were to think you could try her and then just walk away.

Khatchapuri consumes you. Haunts your dreams. Reduces you to a fragmented shard of a human being. Destroys you.

Needless to say, I really like the stuff. Unfortunately, it’s not very vegan. So, here’s my attempt to veganize it!

Mo has already veganized khatchapuri, but her version — which looks amazing — is a little different from the one I remember: every region of Georgia has a different take on it.

My khatchapuri, adapted from Delights of Culinaria, didn’t turn out quite as delicious as I remembered, but they weren’t bad.

Pan-grilled vegan khatchapuri

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 TBS cups all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups soy milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup “suluguni” cheese (see below)
  • 1 package Daiya, cheddar or mozzarella
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 TBS chopped cilantro
  • oil

Instructions:

  1. Add lemon juice to soymilk and stir until mixed. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add soy milk/lemon mixture and knead until it forms a soft mixture.
  2. In another bowl, combine Daiya, “sulugini,” garlic, and cilantro.
  3. Oil your hands and place 1/4 of the dough onto a generously floured surface. Press it into a pancake, making sure that the dough doesn’t stick. Place 1/4 of the filling in the middle, and fold the edges over all around (making sorta a big dumpling). Sprinkle it with some flour and flatten it out again. Do this three more times.
  4. Heat skillet to medium, spray with a little oil, and grill khatchapuri about 3-4 minutes on each side. Optional: brush each side with oil when done.

Vegan “suluguni”

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb tofu
  • 2 tsp miso
  • 2 TBS red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender until just combined. It should be a little grainy.

Purple potato bread

What’s a another thing to do with purple potatoes?

Make purple potato bread.

This lovely lavender dough, when baked, is perfect for pretty party sandwiches, thick-cut as French toast, or broken off in chunks to sop up stews and sauces.

Purple Potato Bread

From Group Recipes

makes one loaf

Ingredients

  • 3/4cups water
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2/3 cups cooked purple potato, mashed
  • 3 + 2 TBS cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp fast rising yeast

Instructions

  1. Grease 2 bread pans – 9 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches
  2. Place water, milk & butter in a microwavable bowl and cook until butter melts; pour into a large bowl.
  3. Add salt, sugar & mashed potato and beat until sugar dissolves.
  4. Add approx 1 1/2 cups of flour and beat until combined. Sprinkle the yeast over the batter and beat until yeast is thoroughly combined.
  5. Add remaining flour.
  6. Knead dough on a floured surface, incorporating more flour if needed,  dough is no longer sticky — a few minutes.
  7. Grease a large bowl and place dough in it; flip dough over and let rise until doubled in size,  40 – 45 minutes.
  8. Place in a greased bread pan, cover with damp towel and let rise again until doubled in size, 45 – 45 minutes.
  9. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until tops of loaves are golden.
  10. Remove dough from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Coconut zucchini bread

It all started with a discussion of dung.

In September, the Woodland Park Zoo sells the scat– zoo doo–  that its animals produce throughout the year. This factoid, of course, was too bizarre not to share in the office chatroom.

Kelly mentioned that her neighbor used zoo doo in his garden. And that her parents might be able to use it in their garden. And that their garden had produced more vegetables than they could eat.

I said I knew someone who could take those vegetables off of her parents’ hands.

The next morning, a zucchini the size of my cat (the little guy, not the grumpy old woman) mysteriously appeared on my desk. How could I ever eat such a behemoth in its entirety?

With David departing for a family road trip, a ceramics class potluck, friends coming over to watch the Emmys and my always-hungry coworkers, zucchini bread seemed like an ideal solution.

But with a twist.

The coconut oil, coconut palm sugar and shredded coconut in my pantry transformed standard zucchini bread into a magical fusion between simple Americana and a tropical breeze. When the batter proved too dry, a small can of coconut milk pulled through to create a moist, not-too-sweet quick bread.

And yeah, Kelly, the zucchini yielded 6 loaves. There’s one on your desk.

Coconut Zucchini Bread
makes 2 loaves

  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 cups palm sugar (or one cup granulated sugar and one cup palm sugar)
  • 1 (5.5) oz can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 2 9″x5″ loaf pans.
  2. Combine zucchini, sugar, coconut milk, applesauce, coconut oil, vanilla, and mashed bananas in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine flours, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined; stir in walnuts, currants and shredded coconut.
  5. Pour into greased pans; bake for 50-55 minutes.
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