working it!

hey! that's me!

exciting news for bakerymanis! this girly got herself a great new job! i’ve recently been hired by Down to Earth, an all vegetarian Hawaii-based grocery store. there are six stores statewide: Hilo on Big Island, three stores on Oahu (soon to be four), and one here on Maui.  i was hired as a outreach assistant, and my first job was to start cooking classes at our store in Kahului.  For those of you here on maui, or those of you scheduling your Maui vacation around my classes (ha!), the classes are held weekly on tuesday nights from 5:30-6:30.

i was so excited to get this job; even though i had not actually had a marketing/outreach job before, nor have i ever taught cooking classes! but, after years of growing, writing, and learning about food- along with heaps of cooking and baking along the way- i was confident that i could pull off teaching classes and the other aspects of the job.

i’ve done just three cooking classes thus far, and the attendance has already increased dramatically.  yesterday we had 15 students- all fun, engaged, and inquisitive folks. some are vegans, some are transitioning, and others just want to learn more about healthy cooking.  the rad store manager is very happy to have cooking classes at the store, and has let me choose the foods and topics of the classes.  so i will be mining the archives of bakerymanis, along with some of my favorite cookbooks and blogs- and i am open to all suggestions. 

look at how many people came! i was so happy with the turnout!

another exciting aspect of this job is the freedom to try new ingredients.  i have a generous budget to spend on the cooking classes, so i have the ability to play with new ingredients and trial some things that i have not worked with before.  i would really like to learn more about gluten-free baking, new ingredients like rose water, sea vegetables, palm sugar, and coconut aminos, and work with more herbs and spices that are new to me, like asafoetida, mustards, and herbal remedies.  and, i can work more with raw foods, adding to my experience that i gained doing raw food preparation at the farmer’s market.

the classes so far:

working with tahini:
miso-tahini dressing
shitake noodles with miso-tahini dressing
tahini chocolate chip cookies

homemade soy-free seitan:
homemade vegetable broth
homemade seitan (see below!)
ginger and mustard sauce (below!)

healthy & healing soups:
miso & shitake soup (similar to this earth soup by my boyfriend)
roasted red pepper & pumpkin soup


Easy Homemade Seitan

Seitan is a hearty protein to add to your vegetarian meals; it is especially good for transitional diets because it often reminds people of the texture of meat.  It is made from kneaded and boiled wheat gluten flour.  This recipe uses Coconut Aminos instead of soy, for soy-free diets.  If you can eat soy, you can interchange the coconut aminos with soy sauce or Bragg’s Aminos.  This dough is very easy to make, but it needs an hour to cook and then another few hours to cool.  If you are using homemade broth, I suggest making it the night before, because it must be very cold for the seitan broth.  Makes about 8-10 servings.

lightly grilled seitan cutlets

1 ½ cups vital wheat gluten flour (Bob’s Red Mill)
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tbsp total herbs/spices such as smoked paprika, pepper, garlic flakes, thyme, etc. (optional)
1 ¼ cups cold water
¼ cup coconut amino acids (soy sauce or braggs)

Simmering Broth:

10 cups of cold homemade vegetable broth
¼ cup Coconut Aminos

Make the broth first: fill up your biggest pot with the broth and aminos and add some ice cubes to keep it very cold. The broth must be very cold to ‘set’ the seitan.  It is okay if the broth is a bit over 10 cups, but do not use less than 10 cups of liquid.

To make the dough: mix the gluten flour and nutritional yeast flakes in a dry bowl, add herbs if you are using, and mix with a fork.  Add the very cold water and soy sauce all at once, and mix well (first with a spatula, then with your hands works best).  The dough will become very spongy and elastic, and it should be one doughy ball.  There may be some liquid that does not bind with the dough- simply drain it off.  Let the dough rest for a few minutes, then tear or slice into three equal sized pieces and drop into your cold broth.  Bring the broth to a boil, and then simmer at medium/low heat for 1 hour.  Check periodically, to make sure it’s not boiling.  Stir the pieces halfway through (using tongs or a wooden spoon) so they don’t stick.  Let it cool completely in the broth; store in the broth in the fridge for up to a week (sometimes longer!).

the best way to cook fresh seitan:

Cut the seitan into half-inch thick slices and grill until browned in a lightly oiled cast iron pan or a nice non-stick pan, for about 10 minutes each side.  Serve with noodles, rice, vegetables, or in stir-fries, pastas, or on sandwiches!

ginger & mustard sauce 

this sauce was strongly flavored- great for dipping

this simple sauce hits all your tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami.  the Coconut Amino base is thickened with arrowroot powder; use this yummy sauce for dipping veggies or seitan, or for a stir-fry or noodle dish.  Yield ½ cup of sauce

½ cup Coconut Aminos (can dilute with water to decrease saltiness)
1 tbsp arrowroot mixed with 1 tbsp water
½ tsp ground dried ginger
½ tsp ground yellow mustard powder
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp brown rice or cider vinegar

In a small bowl mix the arrowroot and spices with 1 tbsp water, and stir to make a smooth sauce.  Add the Aminos to a small saucepan and heat on low until warm.  Add the arrowroot/spice mixture and stir constantly until thick, about ten minutes.  When it has thickened, take off the heat and pour into a glass bowl.  Add the ½ tsp vinegar and stir to mix.

i am interested in suggestions from readers!

did you attend an amazing cooking class recently- what did you love about it? is there something you always wanted to cook with- or a new ingredient you wanted to try? would you be interested in seeing videos of the cooking classes here on bakerymanis? please comment and let me know! thanks ;)

after class happy buzz!

totally easy seitan

now that i’ve had many months to practice makin’ seitan, i have streamlined the recipe to make the whole process even easier. seriously, with only four ingredients and with 1 hour + 10 minutes you can have fresh seitan to impress your loved ones. how cool is that…?

very easy homemade seitan
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cups nutritional yeast flakes
(optional) 1 tbsp total herbs/spices such as smoked paprika, pepper, garlic flakes, thyme, etc.
1 1/4 cups cold water
1/4 cup soy sauce or braggs (to make it soy-free substitute coconut aminos!)

broth: 10 cups of water homemade broth + 1/4 cup soy sauce/coconut aminos + some ice cubes to keep it very cold

make the broth first: fill up your biggest pot with the water and soysauce and add some ice cubes to keep it very cold.  don’t worry about the exact measurements.

mix the gluten and nutritional flakes in a dry bowl, add herbs if you are using, then add the very cold water and soy sauce.  mix well (first with a spatula, then with your hands works best for me), until it is very spongy and one big doughy mass; there may be some liquid that does not bind with the seitan- don’t worry about it.   let the dough sit for a few minutes, then tear or slice into three equal sized pieces and drop into your broth.  bring the broth to a boil, then simmer at medium/low heat for 1 hour.  stir the pieces halfway through (using tongs or a wooden spoon) so they don’t stick.  let it cool completely in the broth; store in the broth in the fridge for up to a week.

the best way to cook this here fresh seitan:

cut into 1/2 thick slices and grill until browned in a cast iron pan or a nice non-stick pan, for about 10 minutes each side.

i like using peanut oil, but organic canola also works well to brown it nicely.

a note for soy-free seitan:

i made this for a cooking class, and it turned out better than ever!  the coconut aminos adds a nice sweetness, and while it is quite salty, it’s not nearly as salty as braggs or soy sauce.  also, using the homemade broth adds a deep rich flavor to the seitan that makes it work the extra time on the stove!

omnivore’s delight

firstly, let me state that micheal pollan’s book omnivore’s dilemma changed my life when i    read it exactly two years ago. if you have not read it- ask for it for xmas or hanukkah… or just because.  this post has nothing to do with the book, other than stealing the title… But it is about yummy food for omnivores.

i am usually happy with simple rice + veggies + beans or tempeh for dinner (in a few different variations that suit this single gal just fine).  but sometimes i want to impress my omnivorous friends with some hearty vegan goodness.  and now that it is winter (well, y’know… hawaii winter) i want to make cozy foods, and this dinner is one of the coziest i can imagine: grilled smokey herbed seitan and mashed sweet + red potatoes with mushroom gravy, plus some simple farm greens and roasted carrots on the side.

mushroom gravy (from vegan fusion world  cuisine by the blossoming lotus. this recipe is actually called avalon’s magic mushroom gravy– and ALL the names for their recipes are goofy like that).

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion (i used mostly shallots and just a bit of onion)
¾ cup shitake mushrooms (sliced very thin) (see note: i used
½ cup more mushrooms- 6 medium-sized)
1½ tbsp minced fresh garlic
2 cups water
¼ cup soy sauce
pinch of each nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne pepper


roux*
2 tbsp spelt flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water

Create a roux by placing spelt flour in a small bowl. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp water and whisk into a thick paste; set aside.

Place 1 tbsp of olive oil and a large pan on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients except the roux and cook for 5 more minutes on low heat; finally, add the roux and cook until gravy has a thick consistency, approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

*a note: though i followed the recipe perfectly, the gravy did not have a thick consistency and the flavor was not what i remembered it to be.  i did two things to remedy this issue.  firstly, i mixed up some organic cornstarch (about 2 tbsp with 1 tbsp water) and added to the bowl of gravy, then i chopped up a few extra mushrooms, sauteed them in a bit of olive oil until wilted.  i added the gravy with cornstarch to the hot pan and let it simmer for about five more minutes.  i then blended everything in the food processor the make it even creamier (and i really don’t like mushroom chunks).  then it was JUST PERFECT!



icky dinner.

my infatuation with field roast ‘sausages’ has dwindled significantly since my meal this evening. i was sooo looking forward to trying the mexican chipotle version… but i was sooo disappointed.  not only do they look rather disturbing (menstrual is the word that best describes the look as it comes out of the package), but the flavor is just kind of off.

i was thinking a spicy ‘sausage’ would be good after a stressful day of work and a moderate surf session, but i ended up eating mostly the sauteed greens, brown rice, and cilantro-cashew cheeze, to which i added green chilis!  the cheeze was definitely the highlight: not too spicy, creamy and soft, rounding out the weird flavor of the chipotle ‘sausages.’  i previously wrote about the cheeze here.  i think this raw recipe is open to much experimentation, and now i know it also works to cover up other, less pleasant flavors!

icky dinner.

my infatuation with field roast ‘sausages’ has dwindled significantly since my meal this evening. i was sooo looking forward to trying the mexican chipotle version… but i was sooo disappointed.  not only do they look rather disturbing (menstrual is the word that best describes the look as it comes out of the package), but the flavor is just kind of off.

i was thinking a spicy ‘sausage’ would be good after a stressful day of work and a moderate surf session, but i ended up eating mostly the sauteed greens, brown rice, and cilantro-cashew cheeze, to which i added green chilis!  the cheeze was definitely the highlight: not too spicy, creamy and soft, rounding out the weird flavor of the chipotle ‘sausages.’    i think this raw recipe is open to much experimentation, and now i know it also works to cover up other, less pleasant flavors!