July 28, 2008

Long John Doughnuts

While we were visiting my parents back in Illinois, we had two full days of cooking and baking.  In all, we handmade cinnamon-raisin bagels, fajitas with flour tortillas, two round loaves of french bread, 30ish cinnamon rolls, oatmeal-raisin cookies, grilled pizza, zucchini brownies with chocolate mousse and black raspberry topping, and, finally, these long johns.  Looking back at that list even sounds ridiculous to me, but I swear we did it.  
The doughnuts were nice and fried (not oily) on the outside, but stayed sweet and doughy on the inside.  A nice combo, but at times seemed undercooked.  Depends on your preference, I guess, but we loved 'em.  Within 24 hours four people consumed all 17ish doughnuts.  
I had never deep fried anything in a ridiculous amount of oil, and it was a lot easier than I expected, as well as took way more oil than I expected.  In all, we used two 48 fl. oz. jugs of canola oil that amounted to 2 1/2 inches in the huge pot.  Also, these take a little chunk of time to make.  There's a 2 hour refrigeration time and the deep frying keeps you on your toes for at least 20 minutes, but it's quite worth it, as the picture below proves. 

Long John Doughnuts

4 c flour
4 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1 T whole flax seed, ground or 2 1/2 T pre-ground flaxseed
3 T soymilk
1/4 c apple sauce
1/4 t baking powder
2 T maple syrup
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c soymilk
5 T vegan butter, melted

Chocolate Glaze

1/4 c soymilk
1 1/2 c confectioner's sugar
3.5 oz  semi-sweet baking chocolate (or chocolate chips), melted

Directions: Mix the flour, 4 t of baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, cream together the ground flaxseed and 3 T of soymilk.  After it's nice and goopy add in the apple sauce and remaining 1/4 t of baking powder and mix well.  When it's all combined, pour in the sugar and maple syrup and cream it, cream it real nice.  For the finale, mix the soymilk and melted butter into the sugary mix.  When all that's finished, slide the flour mixture on over to the sugar bowl and mix until it first becomes a homogeneous mass, kinda like pancakes, but way thicker.  No need to overmix.  It'll still be gooey, by no means a typical bread dough.  Mixing is all done, so put a dishtowel over the top of the bowl and seal it with a large rubber band or hair tie.  Put the bowl in the fridge for two hours and kick back on the sofa.  Maybe watch some cartoons, whatever.

Now that you're good and relaxed, it's time to get serious.  Flour your work surface and place a floured sheet of wax or parchment paper to the side.  Be light when handling the dough so it doesn't get overworked.  If you need to, imagine your hands belong the the gentlest masseuse this world has ever known.  Now, divide your dough in half and roll out one of the halves on your floured surface to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thickness in a long, flat rectangle about 4 inches wide.  When it's rolled out evenly, cut away the edges of the top and bottom so you have a flat edge, and place the scraps to the side.  This can be uneven, so the final cuts will look like a cityscape of sorts. 

Now, make the individual long johns however wide you'd like.  Mine were about 1 1/2 inches wide, I think.  Gently lift each piece up and place it on the floured paper.  You can slide a spatula underneath to transfer too.  Repeat this process with the other half of dough, and then put your scraps all together and roll them out and cut.  Whatever scraps result from this final rolling, turn into donut holes by rolling on the floured surface or in your hands, or if you'd prefer, just take all the scraps and make 'em into donut holes. 


Time to move to the stove.  Let the cut doughnuts rest and heat up 2 inches or more of oil in a high walled pan or pot.  The oil needs to be at 375ish.  I played around with temperatures from 360 to 380 and it didn't seem to make a big difference.  Have some metal tongs or metal slotted spatula nearby for fishing out the doughnuts after cooking, as well as a layout of paper towels or dishtowels for absorbing excess oil off the edge.  After the oil is hot, lift the donuts one or two at a time with a slotted metal spatula and slide them into the hot oil.  After 15-45 seconds they'll plum up and rise to the top.  After they've risen, turn them and cook for another 20ish and place onto a paper towel.  

Goodness you've done a lot of work, but we're not quite finished.  Mix all the ingredients of the frosting together, and when the donuts have mostly cooled, drizzle or spread the glaze over the top of the doughnuts (if drizzling, you can probably halve the recipe).  Eat leftover chocolate with a spatula or spoon. 


July 24, 2008


Yup. It's just granola. No frills here. Sorry if you wanted one of those snappy titles like Old Skool Granola or Cinnamon Nutmeg Almond Granola, which would still be fitting. But that doesn't mean this granola isn't incredible. This is the kind of granola that starts wars over the last bowl, the granola that Spain would set sail over vast oceans for, the granola that Sesame Street would create a new character, the Granola Monster, for.


1/4 c. vegan butter (melted)
1 1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 T cinnamon
1/4 c. almond slices
2 T agave nectar
1/4 t nutmeg

Pre-heat the oven to 250 and combine all the ingredients until everything is evenly distributed. Spread the mixture in a thin layer over a walled cookie sheet and bake for about an hour, stirring halfway through the bake (so, 30 minutes-stir- another 3o-ish minutes). Let it cool completely before storing in a closed container. Congrats. You've made the perfect breakfast cereal.

July 11, 2008

Grilled Cookie


Grilled Cookie

Fire up the grill.
Make up your favorite cookie dough.  

Put a lightly oiled cast iron skillet on the grill to heat up for a few minutes, then pat down the dough.  It'll be patchy at first, but as it heats up the top will smooth out a bit.  Cover the grill and let it go.  It's generally done when the sides are a deep golden brown.  The texture is a bit like a cookie bar with a thick bottom crust.  

So far we've made your general chocolate chip cookie and a peanut butter banana chocolate chip cookie.  Both, obviously, were incredible.

July 6, 2008

Chickpea Salad

Alas, my 7:30-4:00 summer school schedule is over and our week-long stomach sickness has passed (mostly).   Life is sweet.  Our only responsibility is to take care of little O and our gardens.  So, here's our long overdue chickpea salad recipe.  It got me happily through many a quick lunch during the semester and summer classes (thanks Michelle). 

Chickpea Salad

1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained
2 T veganaise
1/2 t ground mustard
1/4 t dill
1/4 t basil
1/8 t celery salt
1/8 t garlic powder
1/2 C cucumber, chopped
1/4 C celery, chopped
fresh ground pepper to taste

Smash the chickpeas with a fork and add in the rest of the ingredients.  Mix it up.  

That's it.  You're done.  

Now spread it on some bread and top it with a tomato and some lettuce. mmmmmmmmm