I’ve decided, a couple weeks ago, to start experimenting with gluten-free recipes, specially baked goods. I’ve been reading a lot on how to work with different gluten-free flours, and started having fun experimenting with them. Vegan baking is, by itself, a challenge; but baking vegan and gluten-free goodies can be even more challenging, specially when you realize, after some reading, that even rye and spelt flours have gluten on them (until a few days ago, I was convinced they didn’t). But the thing is: once you get succeeded at baking vegan and gluten-free, you know that everybody – vegans, non vegans, and people with food allergies – can happily enjoy what you’ve prepared, and that’s the great thing about it.
So, on saturday, I’ve spent the whole afternoon in the kitchen baking gluten-free muffins and cakes, and was really surprised on how good everything has turned out. These corn and broccoli muffins is the very first gluten-free baked good I’m posting on Veggies on the Counter (and many others will come in the future), and they are/were surprisingly fluffly and tasty – give me them toasted with a little butter, along with a steamy soup, and I’m in heaven. The recipe can be easily adapted too: you can substitute the broccoli for corn kernels, or simply ommit those add-ons, for a simpler, but not less tasty, version. And if you’re not concerned with gluten-free baking at all, just substitute the white rice flour for unbleached all-purpose.
Gluten Free Corn and Broccoli Muffins
(Makes 6 muffins)
100 grams broccoli, cut very finely, plus 6 medium-sized broccoli florets
130 grams (1 cup) white rice flour
140 grams (1 cup) fine cornmeal
3 tablespoons melted vegan butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup (250 ml) soy milk, plus 5 tablespoons
80 grams tofu, crumbled
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180º. Oil 6 muffins cups or a 6 muffin pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.
3. In the bowl of a food processor, add the crumbled tofu and 5 tablespoons of soy milk. Process until smooth and transfer the mixture to another bowl.
4. Add the butter, soy milk, agave nectar, and the finely cut broccoli to the tofu mixture. Mix well to incorporate.
5. Slowly fold the wet ingredients over the dry, being careful not to overmix. The batter will be thick, but that’s how it’s supposed to be.
6. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. When you’re done, insert one medium-sized broccoli floret in the center of each muffin (see pictures above).
7. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let them cool on the pan/cups for 10 minutes before unmolding and serving.
I’m not sure why, having already tried some recipes from Plenty, I haven’t wrote about the book in here before. Plenty is strictly vegetarian (no meat, no fish) but, on the other hand, isn’t particularly vegan-friendly (a large number of the recipes call for dairy and eggs). Anyway, that isn’t really a disavantadge, as I usually find a lot of inspiration in dishes that aren’t vegan already, as part of the fun is to actually try to veganize them – that both mental and practical exercise on how to substitute non-vegan ingredients for plant-based ones, is one of the things I enjoy the most about the process of recreating recipes.
Back to the book: it is filled with amazing dishes from cover to cover (the photography is also great, and there’s an image for every single recipe on the book too) – next on the list, is the Soba noodles with aubergine and mango, already mentioned here – but this one in particular – saffron cauliflower – not only is really tasty, but also couldn’t be simpler (and require fewer ingredients) to make.
I’ve already shared with you my love for cauliflower – one of the vegetables I like the most to work with – and with this recipe on hand, I assure you, there’s no reason why not to eat it more often. I also haven’t modified the recipe that much, so my version only includes some minor tweaks: I ommited the bay leaves the original recipe called for (actually because I forgot them on the counter and only realized that a few minutes before the cauliflower was done roasting), subbed saffron strands for the powdered version (as it was what I had on hand), and added ¾ teaspoon of sea salt. Although the book features a very slightly different version of this dish, you can find its first version online, published on The Guardian’s column the new vegetarian.For a tasty, unusual, side dish, this is it.
My week has been really busy, and all I’ve been eating lately is kind of boring and predictable stuff (basically, lots of sandwiches and soup). So today, I finally gave myself some time to go into the kitchen and prepare a proper lunch. That lunch – for which the recipe follows – relies on a favorite combination of mine: peas and mint. As far as the preparation time goes, this is the kind of dish that will only take you a couple minutes to make, but even so, you can certainly prepare the tofu and rub the spices onto it and left the whole thing in the refrigerator until you start cooking.
Typically, I’d serve this along with some raita (with all natural, unsweetened, soy yogurt, grated cucumber, and good pinch of salt), but today, after an hour running, I was craving a more satisfying meal and made, instead, some buckwheat pancakes to go with it. I often like my tofu the simple (and easy) way – coated in a little olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt, and therefore grilled until golden brown – but rubbing a spice mix into it before grilling/frying, might be a new favorite method. Actually, as I type this, I can’t help myself but thinking on variations to the mixture of spices suggested below: feel free to add curry powder for a more indian scented flavor, or even going a completely different way, by substiting the cumin, ginger, paprika and turmeric, for dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme and oregano.
Spicy tofu with peas and mint
400 grams extra firm tofu, rinsed, pat dry, and cubbed
450 grams frozen peas
1 teaspoon powdered garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground powdered ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon paprika
2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons tamari
a few fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Combine the garlic, cumin, black pepper, ginger, turmeric and paprika in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and tamari and mix well.
2. Rub the spice mixture into the tofu cubes, making sure they’re all well coated. Set aside.
3. Bring enough salted water to a boil, add the peas, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the peas, wash them under cold running water and drain again.
4. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, but not smoking, add the tofu cubes and fry for 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden brown.
5. Transfer the peas and tofu to a large serving plate, and garnish with fresh mint. Serve immediately.
recipe inspired by Rose Elliot’s The Vegetarian Supercook, published by octopus Publishing Group in 2006