Wednesday, September 2, 2009

FNF: Outside-In Pizza Panini

All of us had so much fun testing for Tami's American Vegan Kitchen Cookbook. Quick tangent, take just a minute to click to your favorite book seller and order this book. I promise you will not be sorry.

So, we decided to continue the fun with Food Network (FN) Friday. One of us will pick a FN recipe which will be reworked vegan style. All the recipes will be listed on Tami's Blog Vegan Appetite. This week it is Rachel Ray's Outside-In Pizza Panini. This is a recipe where everything can be made to suit your palate and any allergy issues.

I went a little old school and made everything by scratch. But you can take a few shortcuts in my recipe to save yourself some time. The focaccia, chopped olives and pesto can be store bought. But, the good thing with my recipe most of the cooking time is inactive with maybe about 60-90 minutes of active time. The focaccia will need to be started the night before. The bread should make enough for two meals.

Focaccia Recipe
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
10 oz white flour
10 oz pastry flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh herbs
Kosher Salt

Heat water and milk to 110 - 115 degrees in small sauce pan. Transfer to a mixing bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast into the liquid. Let yeast mixture activate in a warm spot for 10 minutes. I normally preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Turn it off and place the bowl inside with the door propped open. Add olive oil, half the flour, and salt to yeast mixture. Mix to incorporate. Then slowly add the remaining flour until everything is well mixed. With a stand mixer continue to knead for about 5 minutes or by hand about 8 minutes. Add fresh herbs and knead just enough to incorporate herbs. Put dough in covered container in the fridge overnight.

The next day, start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Punch down the dough once and shape into a rough rectangle, let relax until workable again. Repeat till it is the size of a standard size cookie sheet. Line cookie sheet with parchment payment or brush with a small amount of olive oil. Put the focaccia on the cookie sheet and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt or more fresh herbs and/or olives. Bake for 15 minutes in the 400 degree oven. Then turn down the heat to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and transfer to rack.

While the focaccia is baking get the toppings ready. Start the pan frying of the chicken and potatoes. Then make the pesto, chop the olives and grate the cheese. The soy cheese is optional. The sandwich is just as great without it.

12 ounces of seitan chicken
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

Preheat olive oil on medium heat in a frying pan. Chop chicken into 1/2 inch by 2 inch pieces and rub garlic in. Pan fry till golden brown. Place on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.

1-2 Potatoes (Yukon Gold are my favorites)
1 Teaspoon each of black pepper and garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Preheat frying pan with the olive oil on medium heat. Thinly slice and rub spices into the potatoes. Place in fry pan and cook 3-5 minutes on each side or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Or just right before they begin to brown. Place on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup vegan parmesan
1 bunch of basil about 8 ounces
4-6 garlic cloves or however much garlic you love

Place all ingredients in food processor or blender. Mix until it reaches desired consistency. I leave mine a little chunky.

Black Olives
8 ounces of finely minced black olives

Soy Cheese (Optional)
8 ounces of finely grated vegan mozzarella

Cut two squares of focaccia off, one for the top and one for the bottom. Or split one section in half. Spread pesto on both sides. On the bottom side layer potatoes, olives, chicken, and soy cheese. Then put the top on and place panini in sandwich press or on the stovetop. The heat seatings should be around medium. If using the stovetop, place another heavy skillet or a brick wrapped in foil on top of the sandwiches to press them down. Press until cheese is melted and bread is crisp on both sides, about 3-5 minutes on each side.

If you are wondering what that lovely green dipping sauce in front of the sandwich is... well it is one of the last recipes I tested for Tami. It has been made and requested multiple times by both vegans and omnis. And while I would love to share the goodness of Tami's recipes... I think her publisher would not be happy with me at all.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Turkish Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe was inspired by Isa’s Vegan Brunch Coffeecake.

Turkish Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup of butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon molasses
4 Tablespoons of Preground Flax plus 6 Tablespoons of Water
or 2 vegan egg equivalents
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 - 4 black cardamom pods (see note), seeds removed from pod and finely ground
1 ½ roughed chopped dried apricots (about the size of raisins)

Cream together butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and molasses. Stir in eggs, vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and salt together. Combine flour mixture in two batches with cream mixture. Stir in oats and cardamom. Blend into the batter the chopped apricots. Chill in fridge one hour.

Roll or Scope into tablespoon sizes balls and flatten with palm. Bake for 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Black cardamom is not normally used for baking but I like the bit of smoke and the assertive flavor it adds to the cookies. I would recommend in the beginning just using 2 pods and adjust upwards if desired. If you desire a more subtle flavor, use 15-20 finely ground green cardamom seeds that have been removed from their pods.

American Vegan Kitchen

What is contained within these fried bits of deliciousness would make Paula Deen green with envy that she did not come up with this. I am a very fortunate tester for Tami’s new cookbook, American Vegan Kitchen. This is comfort food at its best drawn from America’s melting pot culinary history. Put this book on your order list because you will not want to miss this one in 2010.

A quick note about what this blog will be about. Moving around quite a bit as a kid, I was exposed to a wide range of cuisine from Ethiopia to Thailand. In testing for Tami, the memories of those lovely dishes from childhood came back. So with the help of the web, I will take those non vegan dishes and make them vegan. Thrown into the mix will be tips, restaurant reviews, and new vegan products.