Monday, March 05, 2007

5-star bread, Cajun Feast, & Calzones

here's a bit of what I've been up to in the kitchen...

first. I made another loaf of the No-Knead bread. If you have ANY inclination toward making homemade bread, please allow me to tell you to MAKE THIS BREAD!!!! It is SO freak-out good and easy & fun & even quite flexible. I took the original recipe, for a basic french loaf... and tweaked it thusly:

Rather than all white flour, I used 1 1/2 c of white flour
a bit more than 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour (is this the same as "white whole wheat flour?")

a bit less than 3/4 c. rye flour
* I also added about 2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts &
2/3 c raisins.
I also changed the salt up to 1 3/4 tsp. but I'm not sure that's necessary. I was just trying it out.

All this was aimed at making a loaf of the amazing "raisin nut rye bread" that our local bakery makes... and guess what? It worked!!! This bread is SOOOOOO GOOOOOD! Yumola!

Last night we had a yummy cajun feast, thanks to Susan V's recent Mardi Gras Post. I made the Cajun Tempeh Bacon, the Cajun White Beans, and the Not-So-Dirty Rice. The tempeh was way too salty, but I'm pretty sure that's because I bought something called "creole seasoning" (in place of the recommended "cajun seasoning"), of which the first ingredient was salt. No matter, I just didn't put salt in any of the other dishes and we used little nibbles of the tempeh for our salt. :) Like Bazu, I was feeling really grateful for my internet friends - I used ingredients I've never used before - how exciting!

For the Cajun White Beans, I just made the beans, and didn't cook them in squash. They took about 5 minutes - not counting the all day project of soaking and cooking my own beans. I don't do this often, so I was feeling quite pleased with myself. The beans were "Yellow Mountain Heirloom Beans" from Napa's own "Rancho Gordo" farms, who specialize in heirloom beans. The Cajun beans turned out spicy and delicious, and we've got another tub of unseasoned beans waiting to get used.

For the not-so-dirty rice, again, I just made that element of the dish. I also incorporated some gimme lean sausage by Lightlife, which I sauteed and then cut up in little chunks and mixed in with the rice once it was done. The rice was Musty's and my favorite part of the meal. Yummy and flavorful.

Here's a super yum smoothie that I had today with lunch (more cajun beans and dirty rice): frozen blueberries, frozen banana, frozen nectarine, frozen raspberries, plain soy yogurt, pomegranate juice, hemp seeds, and a dash of maple syrup. Oh yeah! It was one of the best homemade smoothies I've ever had.

Tonight I made calzones. They were **superb**. Around 7:45 pm I got the idea to make calzones, but I didn't want to wait an hour to make dough. So I went out to Trader Joe's and picked up a baggie of their "Whole Wheat Pizza Dough." Then I whipped up a few ingredients:

- tofu ricotta : I used the recipe from "Voluptuous Vegan". It took 2 minutes and was great
- tomato sauce : I sauteed two sliced up cloves of garlic in a teaspoon of olive oil, with about a teaspoon of dried oregano and a teaspoon of basil. Added 1 can of Muir Glen tomato sauce, and simmered while I did the next step
- veggie mix: sauteed up 1/2 a white onion, about 1 c of chopped up broccoli, half of a green bell pepper (thinly sliced), and a mountain of fresh spinach (which of course cooks down to almost nothing).

I divided the dough in two parts and made two 7" circles. Onto each circle I included:
-tofu ricotta
- tomato sauce (lots!)
- some chopped olives
- some fresh parseley
- veggie mix.

I cooked these guys for about 10 minutes and they were so insanely good. I am still feeling happy and content and nourished.

They were also huge... neither one of us could finish, and we're both big eaters! (this is just one, cut in half!) So we've got a little morning snack waiting for us in the fridge.


  1. Just the thought of that bread has me drooling! I've resisted the temptation to make the no-knead bread, but I just may have to break down and try it sometime. Yours looks wonderful!

    I'm happy to hear you enjoyed your Cajun feast. Sorry the tempeh turned out too salty; I should probably add a note to the recipe to go easy on the salted creole seasonings.

    About the flour, white wheat is a specially grown type of wheat that's lighter in color and taste than regular wheat; when it's ground into whole-grain flour, it's called white whole wheat flour. I finally am able to find the King Arthur brand at my local grocery store. Pastry flour is different: it's been milled to be finer and have less gluten and protein. Here's a page that discusses the different flours.

    Finally, your calzones look incredible! It's 7:30 in the morning and I want them now!

  2. Mmmm, those calzones look delicious!

  3. I tried the no-knead bread again this weekend and it came out good again but still a little flat. It made excellent french toast this morning though. Your variation looks yumola indeed ;-)

    Your cajun fest and calzones look great! I definitely need to try Susan's recipes.

  4. Hi Susan!
    Thanks for the great Cajun recipes! There were 3 ingredients in there that I hadn't ever used before (cajun seasoning, louisiana hot sauce, and liquid smoke - how fun!).

    Also, thanks a bunch for the information of different kinds of flour. I've seen the "white whole wheat" and that seems like it might be a slightly better choice than the whole wheat pastry flour - as far as substitute-abilty goes (and maybe more protein & fiber)... thanks!

    and I know what you mean about the bread. I am going to have to seriously control myself to keep from making this bread too often. I certainly don't need to be eating bread all the time!

    Hi Tracy!
    Yeah, the first time I made vegan calzones they weren't nearly this good. These ones rocked!

    Hi Chris!
    The secret to a nice round loaf of the No-Knead bread is a smaller pot than he recommends. Also, let the dough rest for 18-24 hourse (not 12). And, do the second rising for 3 hours rather than 2. Keep the house reasonably warm, and see that the water you add at the beginning is warmish. Those things should all help. The french toast sounds great - french toast is one of my all time favorite foods. In fact, I was thinking of letting this loaf go stale so I could make some with this bread!

  5. This post is chock full of alluring grub. I have not made the bread yet, but now I'm that much closer to 'having' to....

  6. You have been cooking, woman! I wish I had half the cooking and especially baking energy that you do lately... no matter what, I promise you that I'll make the no-knead bread sometime soon. Your photos just make it too irresistable!

    Tofu ricotta, especially in calzones or on pizza, is one of my favorite things- it's one of the VERY few vegan cheese substitutes that is totally satisfying.

    I recommend you look for a bag of white whole wheat flour. It is really fun to bake with. So far I've made scones and muffins with it. I'm sure you'll see the King Arthur's brand in the supermarket, and if not, you can order online from both them and Bob's Red Mill.

    Thanks for the cooking inspiration!

  7. Hi Jess!
    Yes, I am going to post about the NoKnead bread over and over until everyone makes it ! ha ha! :)

    Hi Bazu,
    Yeah... I'm in a cooking spell these days. It's fun. I will definitely check out the white whole wheat flour. I'm gonna go out looking for it tomorrow. And I agree, tofu ricotta is really great. This recipe was my favorite one so far. I didn't really like the tofu ricotta from The Real Food Daily book.

  8. I have just been thinking about making that bread myself! Once I am finished typing this I am off to do it! Thanks for the push! I bought some white whole wheat flour yesterday and was also wondering the difference between it and whole wheat pastry flour…thanks Susan V! Your smoothie sounds awesome! I adore smoothies..they are so yummy and healthy too!! I’ve never made calzones, but I am tempted to now!!!

  9. what a great food, thanks for share!

  10. Ooh everything looks so delicious! I really need to try that bread. Your new variation looks like something straight out of a bakery! That smoothie looks perfect, too. Yum yum!

  11. The calzone was delicious! Thank you! :) Just made it, but I added champignon (closed cup mushroom depending on where you're from).
    And I didn't make enough dough, but it turned out nice after all.


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