Oh my gosh, I am so super excited about this book. Unless you've had your head in the sand, you've probably heard a lot of chatter in the last couple of years about the amazing miracle of chickpea water (the liquid from cooking your chickpeas/from a can of chickpeas). In particular, the water, which has been officially named "aquafaba" can be used with great efficacy to replace eggs in any number of sweet and savory applications. I've been a part of the wonderful aquafaba facebook group for a couple years, and I've followed many of the posts - but up until now I had only experimented with using aquafaba as an egg replacer in baked goods (with amazing results, btw!).
My pal Zsu Dever has written a book all about this liquid miracle, "Aquafaba." So, when Zsu and her publisher invited me to be a part of the blog tour (and offer a giveaway!) - I knew this was my chance to get serious, tackle my fears, and finally dive into the glory and mystery of the future of vegan food!!!!
aquafaba is cool!
Let me just say straight off the top, that this is a great book - it's full of well-researched and well-tested recipes and information about something that is really new and cutting-edge in the world of veganism. There are a wide array of recipes and the instructions are very clear. The book has some working assumptions: for instance, that you have a stand mixer (i do not), and many recipes also assume you have a slow cooker/Instapot (i also do not). That said, I was undeterred - as you'll see - and the book always gives clear alternate instructions for people who don't have a slow cooker.
my jerry-rigged system
As I said, I don't have a stand mixer... but I was also determined not to be left behind on this exciting Aquafaba bandwagon! So I got my trusty little electric hand mixer, bungee-corded it to my Vitamix, and put a metal bowl underneath the mixer. I had to use some vegan books to get the bowl to the correct height. This was not as good as a stand mixer, and it took *forever* -- but it worked!!!
Check it out!!! Here's the thing. This took me almost 1 hour of whipping with my little set-up... It's supposed to take about 15-20 minutes with a stand mixer, though! Every once in a while, I'd turn off my mixer and let the motor rest a bit. Also, I'd turn the bowl often, because (unlike a stand mixer, where the whisk gets rotated around the bowl) otherwise the mixer was just whipping one part of the stuff. But really, isn't this just amazing? My mind was pretty much blown. I was so happy to conquer my fear of a new technique!
big smiles for the desirable "stiff peaks" !!!
Crustless Chile Relleno Quiche
So, what did I make with my fluffy fluff? The first thing I made was Zsu's amazing Chile Relleno Quiche. The aquafaba is whipped and then folded in with pureed cashews (or tofu, I used half and half), plus a lovely mix of seasoning and a load of freshly roasted poblano peppers. The recipe calls for a crust (and provides a recipe), but I always prefer crustless quiche, and this worked just fine.
slice of fluffy heaven
This quiche had a wonderful flavor and a super light and airy texture. Although I love a tofu quiche as much as the next vegan, it was pretty exciting to make a quiche that had that classic lightness to it! There is another quiche recipe in the book too, and once I get the hang of it, I see that I could just start ad-libbing in all sorts of quiche directions! This dinner was a huge hit with Mr. VE&T too - in fact, he ate almost all of it and I had to request that he please leave me a piece for breakfast the next day. ha ha.
this recipe calls for a stand mixer
(I used a hand mixer - and patience - with good results)
It's SuperFluff and her amazing sidekick, FluffDog!
Toasted Oat Waffles, with homemade applesauce
Ooooh, I just LOVED these Toasted Oat Waffles! This recipe makes a wonderful, healthy waffle: very low in sugar, no added oil, and full of toasted rolled oats. The oats are toasted and then blended into a flour - and the end result is a beautifully rich flavor that's a bit nutty and earthy. Just remembering these waffles is making me want to make more for tomorrow morning. These are definitely one of my favorite new waffles and I know I'll make them again and again. Plus, served with some warm applesauce and cinnamon, they make for a delicious and totally reasonable weekday breakfast. So fun!
this recipe doesn't require any special equipment (other than a waffle iron and a blender)
Hollah for the Challah!
I didn't grow up eating Challah bread, and I'm not even sure when I ever had it for first time, but somewhere along the line -- before going vegan -- I developed quite an affection for this delicious, semi-sweet braided bread. Over the years I've tried several vegan versions of challah bread, with mixed levels of success, but when I saw an aquafaba Challah, I knew I was going to try it out. This bread takes a while (two rises, and then a third rise after braiding, then baking time) - but very little of it is active time, and the results are 100% worth it!
it's what on the inside that counts.
Let's just say that when I made this loaf, I promised my bread-loving friend (who is also Jewish and has been enjoying Challah her whole life) that I would save some for her, but then we ate it all. Oooooops. So, when she and her family came over for dinner this week, I made a second loaf for them. Of course, loaf #2 turned out perfect and amazing too. I got a text message from her later that night: "Omg. The challah. Makes me want to freak out. It is So So So Good. Chew is great, moisture lovely. !!!" ha ha ha. That's a direct quote, in case you were wondering. This is definitely my new Challah recipe!
this recipe doesn't require a stand mixer, or any special equipment
Zsu's publishers, Vegan Heritage Press have agreed to let us bloggers share the recipe for this amazing bread! The recipe makes two loaves, so each time I made it, I just halved it for one loaf. What was I thinking? I"ll never make that mistake again.
(from Aquafaba, copyright © 2016 by Zsu Dever. Used by permission.)
3/4 cup warm water (not hotter than 110°F)
6 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
6 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
5 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 pinches turmeric
1/2 cup aquafaba (see Note below)
1/4 cup aquafaba (see Note below)
1/2 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch
1. Dough: Combine the water, 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup, and yeast in a medium bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes to proof. Add the remaining 5 tablespoons of the maple syrup and oil.
2. Combine the flour, salt, and turmeric in a separate medium bowl and set aside.
3. Add the aquafaba to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and use a whisk to beat the aquafaba until light and frothy, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and about 4 cups of the flour mixture. Knead the dough in the stand mixer or using a large wooden spoon. Mix well and add the rest of the flour mixture as needed to create a firm dough; try adding most, or all, of the flour mixture. Knead the dough for 10 minutes to develop the gluten. The dough should be smooth and push back when poked.
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Deflate the dough and let it rise again until doubled, about another hour. Divide the dough in two and divide each half into three, four, or six pieces, depending on how you would like to braid the dough. Keep the pieces covered until ready to use.
5. Roll each portion of dough into a 12-inch long, tapered rope. Braid half the ropes into a challah loaf. Set the braided dough on a baking sheet, repeat the process with the other half of the ropes, and cover each loaf with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 40 minutes.
6. Aquafaba Wash: Combine the aquafaba and arrowroot or cornstarch in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until thickened. Cool slightly before use. (For a sweeter, slightly sticky wash, combine 3 tablespoons aquafaba with 1 tablespoon maple syrup; no need to heat the maple syrup mixture before use.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
7. Brush the aquafaba wash all over the bread and bake for 10 minutes. Brush the bread with the wash again, continue to bake for 20 to 25 more minutes, and check the bread for doneness. If the bread is browning too quickly, tent it with foil or continue to bake it upside down. Tap on the bottom of the bread; if it sounds hollow, it is probably ready. Cool before serving.
Makes 2 loaves
Note: Although aquafaba is best if homemade using the recipe provided in the book, you can use aquafaba from canned chickpeas. Use the organic, low-sodium, canned chickpeas and strain off the liquid into a measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. Note the amount of liquid you acquired, then add it to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Cool the aquafaba completely before using.
Soft-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
These amazing cookies use the aquafaba as egg replacer, and Zsu's recipe for Soft-Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies is based on Somer's recipe which you can fine online here. I made this big batch of cookies for a family dinner party, celebrating FOUR October birthdays in our family. I know of few ways to satisfy everyone's tastes better than chocolate chip cookies! These were a total and complete super-hit and I brought home an empty platter at the end of the evening. My brother's fiance was one of the birthday guests being honored, and she is crazy about coconut, so I added a couple tablespoons of coconut flour, and a big handful of some lightly sweetened organic coconut that Edwards & Sons sent me recently. The coconut was nice in these cookies! These cookies were pretty much perfect and will definitely be one of my top chocolate chip cookie recipes from now on.
this recipe requires no special equipment
This recipe was definitely a bit intricate (candy making always is!), but not hard to follow. The fact that I had to whip my aquafaba for 1 hour with my silly handmixer bungee cord set-up made it take a bit longer than it needed to -- but I was busy enjoying myself in the kitchen so it was okay. When it finally got to the stage of pouring the hot syrup into the whipped aquafaba meringue, I couldn't believe my eyes: it was turning into nougat!!!! SO amazing! The recipe calls for lemon zest, and add-ins of your choice: I used toasted hazelnuts and toasted almonds. It is so incredibly delicious. Also, isn't it beautiful? I am really over the moon about how well it turned out.
I was pretty much freaking out as I watched my ingredients transform into nougat!!
my nougat candies all wrapped up and ready to be distributed.
I wrapped up all my nougat chunks in little squares of parchment paper (it's pretty sticky stuff!). I am planning to give these candies out on my Halloween morning yoga class - a perfect opportunity to hand out candy to my yoga students! This nougat is soft and chewy, with the lovely crunch of the toasted nuts, and you can definitely taste the lemon zest too. After being in the fridge, it gets more firm and less soft. There's a note in the recipe that you can reduce the quantity of aquafaba by half to yield a more firm nougat, and maybe I'll try that next time, just to see the difference. I'd like to take some of these and roll them in tempered chocolate and make little chocolate bars!
this recipe calls for a stand mixer
(I used a hand mixer - and patience - with good results)
One thing about making all this aquafaba, is that you will also end up with a lot of chickpeas in your life! ha ha. Luckily, both chickpeas and aquafaba can be easily frozen! That said, I love that "Aquafaba" (the book) also has a wonderful section in the back full of recipes for all your chickpeas. And of course they are great recipes!
Zsu is Hungarian, so the Gulyas (aka "goulash") caught my eye right away - this was a lovely and hearty stew with chickpeas (of course), carrots, potatoes, tomato, and a myriad of lovely spices and seasonings. Mr. VE&T always loves the flavors of Hungarian food, so I knew he would love this - and he did!
chickpeas look like cute little butts
Korean Dak Galbi
YUM! I used up the last of my precious bag of Korean rice cakes on this dinner - and it was a very worthy use for them. This was a really, really delicious meal that was satisfying in every way: sauteed tofu cubes and chickpeas full of protein, rice cakes and sweet potatoes (I used purple sweet potatoes) for substance and starchy goodness, cabbage and fresh herbs for a veggie blast, and loads of spices and gochujang sauce for flavor and heat. Mmmmm. I loved this meal a lot.
we are certified fluff-heads now that we have seen the glory of aquafaba
This is all I've made so far, but I have many more recipes that I am eager to try. Most of what we've heard about from aquafaba has to do with sweets and meringues, but actually this book is full of a surprising variety of recipes - just to give you an idea, here are some of the recipes I want to make:
Condiments Chapter: Butter, Country-style Aged Sharp Cheddar, Caesar Dressing
Breakfast Chapter: Baked Donuts, Classic Waffles, Fluffy Pancakes, Matzo Brei, Crepes
Lunch and Dinner Chapter: Levantine Kebabs, Swedish Meatballs, Eggroll Wrappers, Brioche, Hot Cross buns
Sweets from the Pantry: Marshmallows, Chocolate Mousse, Lemon Meringue Pie, Ice Cream
Sweets from the Oven: Espresso Macarons, Autumn-Spiced Bread Pudding, Pound Cake
Bean Recipes Chapter: Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Hummus, Curried Caribbean Coconut Chickpeas, Pulled Seitan Chickpea Roast
Overall, I think this is a super exciting and interesting book - I've absolutely loved everything I've made from it, and I loved even more the joy and challenge of learning about new ingredients and new techniques. After almost 17 years of veganism, it's pretty wonderful to create flavors and textures in my home kitchen that I haven't had in years. Also, even if you don't have a stand mixer, I encourage you to consider this book -- there are plenty of interesting and delicious recipes that don't require it, and maybe you could fix up a cheapo hand mixer like I did. It just takes patience, but the results were really good.
I felt some intimidation about really trying some of the new techniques with aquafaba, especially with my atypical equipment!, but I was absolutely impressed with how clear and helpful Zsu's instructions are throughout the book. I also really appreciated how much Zsu kept the community spirit of the online aquafaba group - she gives a lot of credit to the various people whose discoveries and recipes paved the way for her own recipes. I love this book!
Guess what, lucky United States readers? I get to giveaway a copy of "Aquafaba!" To enter, leave a comment here and tell me if you have tried making anything yet with aquafaba, or which of the recipes I mentioned sound good to you, or really, any comment you want. **** Be sure to leave your email address or some way for me to contact you, or else I will just pick a different winner! ****