Archive for May, 2012

May 31, 2012

Vegan Soft Pretzels

Someday I plan on developing my own recipes, but the point of starting this site was to make the hundreds of recipes I have collected from websites and cookbooks. There will be some that I have tried already but mostly there are new ones. I like to use this site to document what I really enjoyed making. I also feel this will help me develop my own recipes in the future because, for example, I will try a lot of recipes that are consistent with making a homemade dough or something to familiarize myself with the measurements. See what I mean? Well if not, I’m sorry. Instead, here are some pictures of the pretzels I made, from one of my favorite sites Peas And Thank You !

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Other than the obvious reasons of why one should like this recipe, it’s also perfect for us because it only makes 4 (giant) pretzels. We don’t need to be eating pretzels for a week straight around here, trust me.

*I didn’t change a single thing to this recipe, you can find it here

Vegan Soft Pretzels

3/4 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
2 teaspoons organic sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast (~1/2 packet)
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegan margarine, melted (or regular butter, however it will no longer be considered vegan. obviously)
10 cups water
2/3 cups baking soda
Coarse ground salt (sea salt)

Combine the water, sugar and salt in bowl of a mixer. Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit for ~5 minutes, until foamy.

Add melted butter and flour. Knead dough for 5 minutes, adding more flour if needed, until smooth and no longer sticky. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, let rise for 1 hour.

Separate dough into 4 sections. Using hands (floured hands if dough is a little sticky and wet hands if too dry) roll into 24” long strands and shape into a knot. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper that has been sprayed.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Bring water and baking soda to a boil, drop in pretzels one at a time, boil for ~30 seconds. Transfer to a baking sheet that has been sprayed. Sprinkle pretzels with sea salt. Bake 12-14 minutes.

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May 26, 2012

Ricotta Fritters

These are deelicious.

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I was trying to find a recipe that would use the rest of my homemade ricotta and came across the ricotta fritter. There were all sorts of different variations. Lemon, mini chocolate chips, homemade jams on the side for dipping, etc. I went to see what I had available in my own cupboards and that is when I realized I could (and had to) make these. Immediately.

I love discovering a new recipe you can make that doesn’t require you to run to the store for any last minute ingredients.

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I should really find more friends in this area because after all was said and done, I had about 20 hot crispy fritters all to myself and no one to share with. I took a bite, jumped up and down and shared my excitement with … my cat. Too bad he couldn’t have one with me, along with a glass of chardonnay.

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The ricotta gives the fritters a light, fluffy texture. Top them with confectionary sugar and they are severely addicting. I also found a bag of chocolate chips so I obviously had to make a chocolate drizzle for a few. Don’t mind my drizzling (?) skills, I was in a hurry – they only stay nice and warm for so long you know!joined

I based my recipe loosely on this one from Bobby Flay. He says it will make 36 but I definitely had more like 20

Ricotta Fritters

4-6 cups vegetable oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk ricotta
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Lime zest, for garnish
Chocolate chips, melted (optional)

Heat 2-inches vegetable oil in a large, wide, heavy saucepan until it registers 370 degrees F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, zest, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together the ricotta, eggs, granulated sugar, and vanilla in another bowl, then whisk into the flour mixture.

Working in batches, gently drop in tablespoons of the batter and fry, turning occasionally, until deep golden, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Dust generously with confectioners’ sugar,  drizzle with melted chocolate (if using) and garnish with lime zest. Serve immediately.

They aren’t so bad reheated the next day either…for breakfast, or a snack.

May 24, 2012

Homemade Ricotta

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To anyone reading (echo echo), I apologize for the lack of posts. My husband and I have come to the realization that we need to start saving up for a new apartment when our lease ends in September. Why oh WHY is it necessary to have thousands of dollars saved up to rent an apartment, only to have nothing to show for it except a tiny apartment where the faucets leak and the only job of the construction workers are to work outside your apartment every single month that you live there. Bah! What was I getting at? Oh yeah. So since this realization, we have cut back on expenses (or at least trying to, so many temptations all over this city!) and that includes trips to the grocery store. We haven’t been resorting to cup noodle or anything drastic like that, don’t worry.

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Enter homemade ricotta. It’s cheap to make plus easy and not time consuming. Which is important when I decide to pick up everyone’s shift at my job and work every.single.day. Ok, I will probably never do that.

The nice thing about this recipe is you can slather it on top of some toasted baguette pieces and serve it as an appetizer or pair it with some sautéed vegetables and/or a salad and call it dinner. Probably a salad for me, it’s been very humid lately!

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I also had a meatball lying around (I say meatball singular because that’s all my husband left me) and I topped a piece of baguette with ricotta and sliced meatball and it was awesome! I think next time I will make sure I have plenty of meatballs and maybe make some sort of meatball/ricotta Panini sandwich. Yumm.

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I first tried this recipe at home with my family. My brother had brought a nice bottle of balsamic vinegar with him from San Francisco. We topped the toasted baguette slices with a little bit of olive oil and a little of the vinegar and it was a perfect match! When I made it at my apartment, it wasn’t anything too fancy. I just topped it with salt and pepper, and a small drizzle of olive oil and it was perfection.

We (my brother actually convinced me to make it with him the first time) found this recipe here. She gives you more information and her pictures are obviously better but whatever! I live in that crappy apartment, remember?

Homemade Ricotta

Makes about 1 generous cup of ricotta

3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pour the milk, cream and salt into a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Heat the milk to 190°F, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it once or twice, gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. At an hour, you’ll have a tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable but a bit firmer, almost like cream cheese*. (It will firm as it cools, so do not judge its final texture by what you have in your cheesecloth.) Discard the whey. Eat the ricotta right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

*I doubled the batch and left it for 2 hours but it was still more creamy than firm. As you can see in the first picture.

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