Sunday, August 13, 2006

Baking miscellany

My aunt gave me two cups of zucchini purée a couple of weeks ago from a gigantic homegrown zucchini, and I wanted to use it up before it went bad. So I pulled out the same pumpkin bread recipe that I made last week, substituting zucchini instead. I used molasses again, and this time I added more applesauce (replacing the oil) than the recipe called for, hoping that it would make the bread a bit moister. It did! Bob and I both agreed that this loaf came out better than the last. This time I froze two-thirds of it, because apparently we can't even eat half a loaf quickly enough before it goes bad.

Also Bob surprised me and came home early today! Yay! And I have been complaining lately because he never seems to want to cook with me anymore, and that's something I have always enjoyed doing together with him. But when he got home he said a couple of his friends were coming over--let's make some cookies. Yay! So we flipped through Vegan With a Vengeance and settled on the Big Gigantoid Crunchy Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies (p. 199)... except we made them normal sized.

These cookies were soooo sweet, I actually didn't eat any (well, I took a bite out of hubby's cookie). But Bob and our guests loved them. Making normal-sized cookies, the recipe produced about 50--whew! Luckily we're going on a retreat tonight and we can share. If I make this recipe again I may cut the sugar in half, and I will definitely use the natural peanut butter instead of conventional peanut butter (which is all we had on hand this time). These were a bit too much for me, but tasty nonetheless.

Our Panera Bread store here in Athens donates its bread at the end of the day to a ministry which in turn distributes the bread to the homeless, to hospitals, etc. It makes me feel good to know that there is good food out there not going to waste but instead being used for a good purpose. One of my friends works with that ministry, and she came over on Friday and brought me a small sackful of leftover bread. I immediately looked up Panera online and found the ingredients. The bagels she brought are vegan--and delicious! Bob and I had one for breakfast yesterday, spread with cream "cheese" and strawberry preserves. The focaccia bread she brought, however, was not vegan, as it was topped with Asiago cheese. So we had to pass it up. Bob seemed particularly interested in the focaccia bread, and I felt bad for him.

So last night, I pulled out a focaccia bread recipe and we made our own! The recipe makes 3 loaves, so we topped one with fresh vegetables and had a little focaccia pizza for dinner. The veggies you see are eggplant, tomato (straight from my aunt's garden!), banana peppers (ditto), mushrooms, and broccoli. I mixed thyme and rosemary into the dough. It was so soft and fresh and delicious. Bob dipped his in olive oil, which was quite tasty as well. We served it with a simple salad and were quite pleased.

The other two loaves I just baked, then brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with spices. One I froze, and the other I left out so that we could take it on our retreat today.

These look ten times better than the bread my friend offered us from Panera, and it was so rewarding to bake it ourselves!

Today, a friend is coming over for lunch. She called me yesterday and revealed that she is giving vegetarianism a try! She's giving herself three months before she decides if it's for her or not. So, to show her how good tofu can be, I am making the Grit's classic twice-cooked tofu that they serve in their wonderful Golden Bowl--my favorite menu item. Right after lunch we're leaving for that retreat, but on Monday evening I promise a picture of these homemade Golden Bowls.


Beata said...

Wow - that focaccia looks so good! Yum! You're making me hungry.

funwithyourfood said...

Aw you and Bob cook together?!
that's great, I'm pretty much the chef of the house here. but i like it like that



KleoPatra said...

You star you! Way to make your OWN foccacia! Hey, love the fact that you 'n' hubby made cookies together AND i love the plate they're on! And what're the chances that the loaf you made with zucchini this time was gonna be even BETTER than the pumpkin one? Hooray, Laura! Kudos all around for you!

Hope your friend makes the move... to veg*n. With your cooking and compassion and knowledge, bet you could help convince her.

Hope the retreat is fab!!

Midwest Vegan said...

Your focaccia looks great. Much better than the ones I've seen in the store and you can control what you put in/on them.

Peanut butter cookies are my fave, especially hot from the oven (although I love all cookies hot from the oven). I'll have to check out that VwV recipe.