Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The DIY yogurt experiment

Everyone likes yogurt, even us vegans. Especially when it's made of coconut milk (yum yum yum yum yum!)

But I get sick of paying a lot of money for it all the time, and besides, they stopped selling coconut yogurt in this town--probably because everyone else was sick of paying a lot of money, too.
So I decided to try to make my own. I have NO IDEA if it's going to come out well. But I hope it does cause how cool would that be?

I'm making it in a crock pot. (Who knew we had a crock pot? Not me.)

2 cans coconut milk plus 1/2 can of water
about 1/2 cup already-made yogurt (I used Silk soy yogurt)
lots of time and patience

Time for an adventure? Here we go:
1. Pour the cans of coconut milk into the crock pot. You may be surprised at how much fat there is floating at the top of the can. Like, you'll have a hard time pouring it until you break it up and mix it around a little--that much fat. (Who ever said being vegan was healthy? Ha ha.)

2. Stir the coconut milk around a little to break up the clumps of fat. At this point I added a little bit of water, because it seemed really thick. I added about half a can.

3. Heat the coconut milk on low. Theoretically it's supposed to come to about 180 F to sterilize it, but guess what? It came out of a can so I'm gonna bet it doesn't have too many microbes in it, that's the point of canning. (But if it doesn't work out I'm gonna be embarrassed at my impatience!)

4. Once it reaches 110 F, it's time to turn off the crock pot, unplug it, and add your starter. My starter is plain old soy yogurt--I'm using Silk brand. It's important that you use a kind of yogurt that has live active cultures. You could certainly use a packaged yogurt starter, but I'm very low-tech. Also, if you have pre-packaged yogurt starter you probably don't need me telling you how to make yogurt, right? Cause I'm making this up as I go along.

5. Sorry, I got sidetracked. Where were we? Whisk in the yogurt (I used a spoon, my whisk is broken!) and then put the cover back on the crock pot. Wrap the whole thing in clean towels or something to keep it insulated and warm. I didn't have too many clean towels, so I wrapped it in a flannel sheet. Toasty toasty.

6. Check up on it after 8 hours or so. Hopefully, it will taste like yogurt, and not just like a big pot of coconut milk!

7. I checked my yogurt after 10 hours (the next morning) and it did indeed taste like yogurt--hooray! But it also didn't have a very satisfying texture; it had barely thickened at all. I even tried thickening some of it with agar and corn starch, but I wasn't pleased with the result. I've heard that it gets easier the more batches of yogurt you make. Next time I'm going to try culturing it in a sterilized glass mason jar instead of in the crock pot, and see if that works any better. For now I'm putting it in lots of tasty smoothies! And if I eventually perfect the yogurt recipe, I will definitely post it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

happy birthday to Leta!

It was my roommate Leta's birthday a couple of days ago, and I baked up some cute lil cuppycakes (recipe from the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, which is not an exaggeration they are quite actually taking over the world.)
Anyway, here's an admittedly not-that-spectacular photo of one.
Remember, I'm not a photographer! I just like to bake!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Crumbly Apple-Pear Pie

I know, I know, April isn't exactly apple pie season. Well, I didn't have anything else to make into a pie, and the apples were looking sort of sad and old, and this seemed like the best way to make them into something delicious.
This is everything you like about apple crisp, combined with everything you like about apple pie.

You will need:
1 9" deep dish pie crust

3 medium sized apples
2 pears
About 3 Tbsp sugar, depending on how sweet your fruit is
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
a splash lemon juice, but I was out of lemon juice so I used scotch whiskey
a sprinkle of flour

Crumbly topping:
3 Tbsp oil
1 tsp water
3/4 cup brown sugar*
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Wash, peel, core, and thinly slice your apples and pears.
3. In a large bowl, combine the fruit with the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, lemon juice/whiskey, and a small sprinkle of flour. Stir that up until the fruit is coated.
4. Make the topping: combine oil. water, brown sugar and vanilla. Add in flour 1/4 cup or so at a time and mix it in with your hands until it forms a crumbly mixture that resembles cookie dough.
5. Dump the fruit into the pie crust, and sprinkle the crumb topping over it. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the fruit is soft--you can tell by poking a sharp knife into it. The knife should go in pretty easily.
6. Don't let your roommates eat it all on the first day, because left-over apple pie is the world's best breakfast.

P. S. I know I know the photo is not too pretty. My excuse: it was too yummy to photograph; all I could do was just gobble it up.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Citrus-stachio muffins

I love citrus, and I love pistachios, and I love citrus with pistachios. And this is supposed to be a blog about muffins, right? So lets make some muffins!

1/2 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. oil
zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange (wash those lil' guys before zesting, please!)
juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange, plus enough soy- or other milk to add up to 1 1/3 cups
1/2 cup VERY finely chopped pistachios
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
optional: coarsely chopped pistachios and coarse sugar for decoration

1.Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and spray with oil to prevent any stickage.

2. In a medium bowl, combine orange juice, lemon juice, and milk. The milk will probably start to curdle; don't freak out, you didn't do anything wrong! Once it has thickened a little, whisk in the sugar, apple sauce, and oil.

3. In a large bowl, sift or whisk flours, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk in the grated zest and the finely chopped pistachios.

4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until combined. (I like to do this with a rubber spatula.) A few lumps in the batter are ok, so don't over-mix!

5. Scoop the batter into the lined muffin tins, and sprinkle the tops with coarsely chopped pistachios and coarse sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. If you can't wait to devour them, I understand but they're tastier after they've cooled down to room temperature.