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MoFo #5: Drinks and Snacks — No-knead bread, spinach artichoke dip, and a pom cosmo

5 Oct

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Happy Friday, everyone! I can’t wait for the weekend to start — tomorrow we’re rafting on the American River and tomorrow night we’re staying at Farm Sanctuary‘s country cabin, followed by a tour of the farm on Sunday. Squee!! I can’t wait!

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In the meantime, I’m celebrating the start of the weekend with snacks and alcohol! I brought this warm spinach-artichoke dip to a vegan meetup a few weeks ago and it was so good and easy that I had to make it again. And, going along with my theme, it’s the perfect comfort food for a crisp fall evening (except it’s hot here — d’oh!).  I used to love spinach dip in my dairy-eating days but it was one of those things I could only take a few bites of before overloading on the richness (or, if you’re like me, you’d devour the entire bowl against your better judgement and then feel sick the rest of the day!). This recipe from Chloe Coscarelli’s new cookbook Chloe’s Kitchen is much less rich than its dairy counterpart, but is still creamy and bursting with flavor. The dip is super fresh, calling for fresh wilted baby spinach and sauteed onions and garlic. Soft tofu (I used silken) gives it a lovely creaminess and nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor. I’m not the biggest fan of nooch, so I only used 1/8 cup while the recipe calls for 1/2 cup and it was still very cheesy. Some red chile flakes sauteed with the onions and garlic add a subtle kick that I loved.

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Here it is fresh out of the oven. I’m so pleased with how it came out!  Mr. Chickpea said it could use more spinach.  I tolerate no criticism in my kitchen, so of course I’m ignoring him (but secretly agree that it would be tasty).

Of course, you need something to eat this stuff on, so I decided to finally see what all the fuss was about with this “no-knead bread recipe”. I’ve been hearing a lot about this recipe since it was posted on the New York Times and I think I’ve been forwarded the recipe by several friends. I spotted a whole-wheat version in my copy of World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan and decided to give it a try. First of all, let me say I’ve loved everything I’ve made from this book and I love bread, so I figured it couldn’t come out too bad. Um, it was amazing. The recipe is super simple and the bread looks like what you’d get at a fancy restaurant. It was literally as simple as stirring flour into a mix (the chemist in me almost wrote “an aqueous solution of”. Ha ha!) of water, yeast, oil, and salt and then letting it rise overnight. The next day you divide the dough into quarters, fold the dough over a few times, plop it in a pan to rise an hour, and then bake. That’s it and you get this:

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Isn’t it beautiful??? The crust is crunchy and the inside is so soft and moist. Yum yum yum. And it’s almost half whole wheat flour, so you’re getting some added nutrition and fiber as well. The only thing I would say about this recipe is that it’s huge. It makes 4 loaves of bread, which I didn’t notice until I had already made my yeast solution — seriously, it calls for 8 cups of AP flour and 5 cups of whole wheat flour. I had to break out my big daddy mixing bowl to fit everything! I only noticed after putting it together that there is also a 2-loaf recipe. Whoops! At least you can keep the extra dough in your fridge for 2 weeks!

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And finally, a drinkie from Celebrate Vegan. I feel like a bit of a cliche, but cosmopolitans are probably my favorite drink or at least are a close second to vodka tonics. I really like tartness in drinks, so pomegranate cosmos are great for someone like me. The recipe is pretty much the same as a normal cosmo — vodka, Cointreau, lime, and fruit juice. I like to add extra pomegranate juice to mine so the flavor really shines through, and throw in a few pomegranate seeds for garnish.  It doesn’t look like much in the pic but it was tasty!  Along with the last of the tomatoes from our garden, we had a delicious Friday treat!

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Well, that’s it for today! Have a great weekend!

Now that’s my kind of swollen ovary!

17 Sep

Fun fact: did you know that zucchini is the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower? Hee hee, that’s the appetizing description you’ll find if you check Wikipedia!

Boyfriend is not fond of zucchini and we got quite a few in our CSA box this week so I tried to disguise it a bit!  When I was a kid my parents had a huge garden in their backyard and our fridge was always chock full of tomatoes, green beans,  cucumbers, radishes, and squash.  One way to use up the tons and tons of zucchini was to turn it into a sweet bread.  I’ve never made zucchini bread as an adult because it seemed wrong to “waste” it in bread when I could be eating it in its truest form.  So while it often drives me nuts that bf is so picky about his veggies, this time it was awesome because I got to do some fun baking!

I modified a Betty Crocker recipe:

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

3 cups shredded zucchini (abouot 3 medium)
1 2/3 cups sugar (I used 1 cup white, 2/3 cup brown)
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
equiv of 4 eggs (I used Ener-G egg replacer, but you can also use flax or banana)
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans (the ungreased sides allow the batter to cling while rising during baking, which helps form a gently rounded top).  Mix zucchini, sugar, oil, vanilla and egg replacer in large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Pour into pans.

Bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 min.  Loosen sides of loaves from pan and remove from pans  Cool completely before slicing and store tightly wrapped in fridge up to 1 week.