26 March 2011

Tricky Ingredients

(Knitted by my friend Lizzie.)
A vi-curious (omnivore who digs eating vegan) friend of mine was saying she has a lot of trouble finding some vegan ingredients.  Girl, so do I!  It's not easy being vegan the Scottish countryside.  If it weren't for the large Indian population in the UK, I would be totally screwed.

Black beans, wheat berries, nutritional yeast, vital wheat gluten and such all have to be ordered from specialty places on-line, although I can make a special day-trip to the big city and hit the See Woo in Glasgow for black beans and wheat berries (and dried fungus and miso paste and seaweed and spices).  And don't even get me talkin' about Latin American ingredients like tomatillos or mole.  Tofu and tahini can, thankfully, be found in some stores, although tofu is getting more expensive and harder to find.  I even went to a heath food store in Glasgow once and they were OUT OF TOFU!!  They were, like, "we run out of tofu all the time."  So why don't you stock more?  They shrugged.  

So, I'm wondering what ingredients are hard for you guys to find?  I'm going to try to come up with some recipes with simpler ingredients.

Slow-cooked cassoulet.  Such tender carrots!

I have an update for you on my slow cooker -- I LOVE it!  It's probably the one of the most well-spent £7.99 ever.  :D  I've gotten lots of recipes and inspiration from this book and this blog and I use it all the time.  I made a cassoulet from the aforementioned book and the carrots were sooo tender!  I'm usually pretty neutral when it comes to cooked carrots, but these were lovely.

I also got a waffle maker1c flour, 1c soy milk, 1 tbsp baking powder, and 1 tbsp oil and you are good to go (that makes about 6 waffles, so I usually triple it -- I've found you don't really need to triple the amount of baking powder -- you know in case you are always running low, like me).  My husband had 12 waffles the first time I made them.  12!!  I usually make 40 or 50 in one go (seriously!) and freeze a bunch for later (they fit in the toaster perfectly).  I also made falafel and hash browns in my waffle maker.  It is so much fun.

And on a totally different non-food, non-crafter note, MINIMALISM.  I've decided to get rid of some of my non-essentials & other things I don't use as often as I used to and have been looking at minimalist blogs for inspiration.  I'm not a total hoarder, but I do struggle with getting rid of sentimental things.  If you guys have any tips, philosophies, or interesting links and such, please share!

Much love from your favourite Crabby Crafter!  :D

08 March 2011

Southern-Style Cornbread (GF!)

I think a good southern-style cornbread should have no wheat flour and no sugar.  Ideally, it should go well with both sweet or savoury dishes.  I really prefer mine with beans!  Baked beans, bean chili, bean stew, beans & tomato, you get the idea.

First things first, oil-up your cast-iron skillet, stick it in your oven, and preheat your oven to 200°C.  If you don't have a cast-iron skillet, a pie pan (or whatever oven-friendly container you have handy) will do and you don't need to pre-heat it.

Mix 2c cornmeal, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt.  Then stir in 1.25c soy buttermilk (recipe follows) and 4 tbsp olive oil.  Pour into your oiled and preheated cast-iron skillet (sizzles on contact and gives it a nice crust). Bake at 200°C for about 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean.

A well seasoned cast-iron skillet is more non-stick than teflon.  I was pretty impressed.

Soy Buttermilk:  Put a tbsp of lemon juice or cider vinegar in the bottom of a measuring cup.  Fill up to the 1.25c-line with soy milk.  Let it sit for a while, like while you gather the rest of your ingredients and while you mix the dry ones together.  It will (usually) get the consistency of very thin yoghurt.

If you skip the soy buttermilk and use plain soy milk, the result will still taste nice, but it is a lot more dense.