The highlight of the last month was when my roommate walked in from grocery shopping with a 10kg bag of flour. At the time, it was a commodity rarer than gold.
Losing yourself in baking is meditative, relaxing, and best of all, the end result is delicious and soul soothing. When I found out that my grandparents had eaten an entire loaf of warm homemade bread for dinner a few nights back, I felt proud and relieved. I can all too easily do the same thing. It’s in my DNA.
This is a journey through my #stayhome baking adventures to date. Most of these projects can be done without the baking stone I am ever so fond of (it was a gift), though I would highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale (another gift) as they’re less than $30 and will change your cooking/baking game forever by allowing for more precision and (delicious) consistency.
Vegan chocolate cake with chocolate icing and sprinkles: Right before we went into social isolation, my roommate and I threw a small Friday the 13th dinner. The theme was originally meant to be bad luck and superstition with a ladder that you had to walk through in the doorway and pictures of black cats on the wall. Ironic for the impending doom. We decided that there was enough bad juju in the air, and instead had a fiesta. We drank a lot of red wine, ate linguini with ratatouille, garlic parsley focaccia, green salad, and chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and sprinkles. I love sprinkles; sweet, crunchy, and colourful, they turn any baked good celebratory.
Sugar cookies with sprinkles: Lunch was deliciously spicy green curry with rice eaten as we watched the first of many daily press conferences for Coronavirus updates. We had a little leftover hamentashen dough that I defrosted, rolled out, coated in sprinkles, and baked. They tasted like the Jewish sugar cookies I’d grown up with. A welcome sweetness covering the bitter taste from the news.
Banana bread: This recipe was one of the first I developed in my current apartment, pondering at the time if it should have a streusel topping. My wise Louisianan friend reminded me that “that streusel, quite frankly, is never a bad thing.” She was correct. The combination of banana, dark chocolate chips, and an addicting crunchy brown sugar, walnut, and cinnamon topping… there’s nothing better. It makes a great breakfast, snack, or dessert.
Vanilla cake with lemon buttercream: I had an off day and was craving one of my favorite desserts for comfort, vanilla cake with buttercream. I followed the Smitten Kitchen in book #2 that I’d been eyeing, freestyled a delicious lemony buttercream, topped it with sprinkles and since I ended up promising cake to three different people the following day I made…
Brownies: I like them dark and fudgy, with a cracked top and a deeply chocolatey aftertaste. I modified the first recipe that came up, adding sea salt and more cacao powder than indicated. Gooey and unctuous with a crackly melt-in-your-mouth top I dreamed of them all night and had one for breakfast the following morning.
Biscuits with sausage gravy: Quick and easy to throw together, I copied a good friend who was making biscuits herself (I love to be inspired by others). These were a satisfying treat that we had for brunch with a (Beyond) sausage and mushroom herb gravy. Leftovers were split in half, toasted, and eaten in a spinach mushroom omelette a few days later.
Pita bread (for falafel): I’ve fallen in love with both making and eating homemade hummus and falafel, warm creamy dip with crispy herbaceous fritters. To gild the lily, I’ve started trying to recreate a taste memory of the softest fluffiest pita a friend brought over a few weeks ago. I followed the Smitten Kitchen recipe and it was very good (who’s to complain about fresh bread warm from the oven?), though not as pillowy as the taste memory I was trying to recreate.
Pita 2 (better than pita 1): I tested out the NY Times recipe for pita, sprayed them with water, and cooked them at a lower temperature than called for which I think helped create the softed texture I was after. They didn’t puff up the way I wanted them too, but they were delicious. Maybe next time I’ll try a sourdough version. I love a culinary challenge.
Sourdough: Many years ago I was given a piece of sourdough starter and I grew it and used it and loved it. Then it lay neglected and turned flat, smelly and goopy. It’s been nursed back to health and has allowed me (and four others who were given a piece of my baby) to make some truly phenomenal bread. I started with a plain loaf and proved that I am a basic trend following bish by making avocado toast, photographing it, and posting it on instagram.
Seeded sourdough 1: I wanted to see how the sourdough recipe would be if I added a mix of seeds (pumpkin, sesame, poppy, and sunflower). It was exceptional. The perfect crisp crust, with a very slightly sour interior.
Sourdough bread 2: Even better than the first two batches of sourdough as I altered the ratio of seeds, added chopped walnuts, let it proof in the fridge overnight, and sprayed the bread with water before baking it to give the bread the perfect balance of moist interior to crispy crust. It made grilled cheese so good that I found myself quoting my grandmother: “my enemy shouldn’t taste food this good.”
72hr pizza dough: Worth the three day wait, this dough stretched out beautifully and cooked to crispy chewy perfection. Pizza night was deemed a bi-weekly occurrence. The closest thing to pizza perfect I have ever achieved chez nous.
72hr pizza 2: To celebrate the end of Passover we had pizza again. It was even better this time since I let the pizza stone properly preheat which improved the crust’s texture. We had our favorite combos on lock: pesto, goats cheese, lemon zest, and raw garlic, and tomato sauce with mozz, thawed frozen spinach, thinly sliced mushroom, fried eggplant, and raw garlic.
Tortillas: My roommate and I are a great culinary team. I love to cook but become impatient when it turns into an arts and craft project. I made a plethora of delicious fillings while she rolled out the tortillas dough. They puffed up and baked in moments on my pizza stone as watched in awe. Filled, rolled, and grilled, burrito y mojito was an excellent replacement to the more commonly celebrated #tacotuesday.
I use Lactancia margarine in place of butter. Though definitely no replacement for the real thing, it’s inexpensive, pretty tasty, and an all around very good sub for me since I have trouble digesting dairy (it’s not vegan).
Baked goods on my site include: vegan truffles (coconut and berry), triple chocolate chia cookies, chocolate Guinness cupcakes, olive oil bread, garlic olive bread, vegan citrus cheesecake, raspberry oreo cheesecake, carrot cake with pineapple cream cheese frosting, chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream (I now do a vegan version), sour cherry and orange cake, chocolate chip meringue cookies, honey cake, banana chocolate chips cake, and many more.
What I’ve cooked since the last blog post:
What I’ve cooked since the last blog post:
- Red coconut curry with spicy lemon tofu, cauliflower, and broccoli with rice noodles and baby spinach.
- Vanilla cake with lemon buttercream and decadent fudgy brownies
- Curry stretched out with more sauteed tofu, extra veggies, and more curry paste. With thick rice noodles.
- Burritos: homemade tortillas, guacamole, sauteed veggies, pico, cilantro lime rice, and slow cooked black beans sauteed with onions, garlic, spices, and corn
- Fennel Slaw with grapefruit
- Homemade pita, falafel, hummus, and salad
I WAS ON THE RADIO sharing “tips and ideas on how to reduce the number of trips to the grocery store by getting the most out of your load of groceries.” It was incredibly fun and exhilarating. You can listen to it here.
Let me know what you thought of this post in the comments down below and if there’s a specific ingredient or topic you’d like me to cover. Don’t forget to like my Facebook page, follow me on Instagram and on this site in order to receive a notification for the by-weekly content I’m posting here during the quarantine here. If you subscribe to my YouTube channel as well, I will love you forever.