August 24, 2009

homemade mozzarella

Fall semester starts tomorrow for Eric. Does that mean that the summer is over!? No, it couldn't be! Tomato season has just gotten into full swing!

jumping back into a hectic school schedule, I figured that he should enjoy his favorite meal ever - toasted bread with tomato, basil, garlic, and olive oil. To make it extra special we added in mozzarella cheese... that we made!

We've gotten our cheesemaking feet wet with paneer, but this was our first time making mozzarella. We followed instructions from Instructables, but we changed the recipe to 1/2 gallon whole milk, 1/4 c. distilled white vinegar, 10 drops vegetarian liquid rennet, 1/2 c. unchlorinated water, 1 t. salt.

We used distilled white vinegar instead of citric acid and vegetarian liquid rennet instead of rennet tablets. In the future we want to try replacing rennet with cardoons, wild thistle, globe artichoke (any composite thistle), safflower, melon, stinging nettle, fig, curdwort, mallow, sorrel (common or lemon), fumitory, and maybe borage because the internet said that we could... maybe. We'll let you know.

August 22, 2009

zucchini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Certain people don't like zucchini, ahem, Eric. No matter how well I saute it in awesome flavors, he scrunches up his face. I mean, its fine, but when zucchini is in season, zucchini is in season. To make sure that he eats his share of zucchini, I put it into bread and cupcakes that he loves. Sucker!

Serving Size: 12 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:
adapted from "vegan cupcakes take over the world" carrot cake cupcakes
1 1/2 c. shredded zucchini (or summer squash)
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
2/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. canola oil
1/3 c. yogurt (optionally vegan)
1 t. vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
1/4 c. cream cheese (optionally vegan)
1/8 c. margarine
1 cups powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon). Mix the wet ingredients (sugar, canola oil, yogurt, vanilla). Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined. Fold in the shredded zucchini. Distribute the cupcake batter into cupcake liners in a muffin tin. Bake for 25 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool before frosting.

While the cupcakes are in the oven, use a mixer to whip together the margarine and cream cheese for the frosting. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar and finally the vanilla. Voila, you have frosting! Refrigerate the frosting until the cupcakes are ready to be frosted.

August 17, 2009


We tried making inarizushi from scratch the other day. Ok, so, we didn't make the tofu from scratch...yet--that will be a future endeavor. But, I wanted to try making the aburaage at home. So, while we were deep frying some zucchini, I tossed in some slices of tofu, then deep fried them again at a higher temperature, rinsed them in hot water, cut slits, and stuffed the tiny pockets with as much sushi rice (rice vinegar, salt, and sugar) as I could cram in there. More detailed directions can be found at Shizuoka Gourmet. Next time I make these, I'd try larger slices of tofu. I think the tofu that comes in a more oblong shape, with a square cross-section would result in nice sized aburaage. These bite-sized inarizushis were great for snacking though...even cold!

August 9, 2009

peach canning

We got 20 pounds of seconds peaches for $20 from Ela Family Farms at the farmers market yesterday (as well as strawberries, tomatoes, and basil!). We loaded up my panniers and headed home to start canning. This was our first time canning peaches so we wanted to try a few different recipes to see which we prefer.

With 15 pounds of peaches, we made:
  • 3 pints whole peach halves in apple juice
  • 4 pints peach butter (pureed with 2 c. sugar)
  • 5 pints stewed peaches (no added sugar)
We're also going to freeze some peach halves for smoothies, and we saved some to eat fresh of course.

Traditional canning recipes tend to be super heavy on the sugar, so we wanted to try some no/low sugar recipes. I'm interested in learning how to get pectin naturally--for example, from crab apples--but for now we'll enjoy peach butter instead of jam on our toast.

We previewed the peach butter on pancakes this morning and it was delicious!

this is a public service announcement

from Bicycle Forest

August 6, 2009

peanut coconut sauce

This peanut coconut sauce is great for those days when it's too hot to cook (or when you're too lazy to cook). It is also a great way to celebrate fresh broccoli. I followed a recipe from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons that includes peanut butter, coconut milk, chopped peanuts, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger and garlic.

August 4, 2009

eggplant lasagna

If you ever need to cook for lots of people with diets ranging from open to selective, try this lasagna. Even people picky about eating only familiar "American" food should find some comfort in this dish, even though it is vegetarian. Use whatever veggies are in season or available (eggplant, steamed kale, brocoli, mushrooms). We chose eggplant because it just debuted at the farmer's market, but beware that there are people with eggplant allergies. For your vegans or those with lactose sensitivity you can used crumbled tofu or mashed white beans in place of ricotta cheese. To cater to the soy-phobics, I used mashed white beans. For the gluten-free people, I used gluten-free rice lasagna noodles instead of standard lasagna noodles. Yes, I know, that is a lot of substitutions, but it still tastes damned good!

Serving Size: 6

6 oven-ready, gluten-free rice lasagna noodles

Roasted Eggplant Ingredients:
4 c. eggplants, diced
1/2 c. water
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. basil
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. salt

Pasta Sauce Ingredients:
2 c. chunky tomato sauce
1 c. onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 T. honey (or sugar for the super strict vegans)
1 T. olive oil
1 t. basil
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. salt

Mashed White Bean Ingredients:
1 c. white beans, cooked
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. olive oil
1 t. oregano
1 t. salt

In a 9x9 baking dish, mix the eggplant ingredients. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Stir half way through. When it's done, remove the eggplant from the 9x9 baking dish so you can use it again.

Meanwhile, get the pasta sauce started by sauteing onions in olive oil, basil, oregano, and salt. When the onions are translucent, add the garlic and let it cook another minute. Then add the chunky tomato sauce and honey. Let it simmer.

Mash the cooked white beans with lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and salt.

Layer the pasta, pasta sauce, eggplants and mashed white beans in the 9x9 baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.