Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Cookbook Review: Babycakes: Vegan, Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked-About Bakery
Erin Mckenna, the author and owner of Babycakes Bakery in NYC, was on the Martha Stewart Show making cookies from her new cookbook. Martha went on and on how good they were. Well, my mom, my sister and I immediately ordered the book. Unfortunately there are many problems with the cookbook.
- It is not completely gluten-free as the title states. The whole chapter on biscuits and scones and some other recipes are not gluten-free (those recipes use spelt flour).
- I, my sister and many other people (see Babycakes blog and Amazon reviews) seem to be having similar problems. Muffins and breads collapsing, cooking times way off, cookies coming out as flat disks, etc.
- Ingredients and directions are not clear in the book. She lists coconut oil in the recipes but then on her blog she says you should use unscented and melted coconut oil (unscented is more difficult to find and that should be stated in the recipe as well as whether to melt it or not).
- She has a couple of posts on her blog to deal with all questions and problems people are having with her recipes. But her responses all seem to assume the homecook has made mistakes or not followed her recipe exactly. She also states "Remember, baker buddies, this isn't easy stuff! " Vegan and gluten free bakers are used to tweaking recipes and having cooking disasters. But when one uses a cookbook and follows the recipe exactly, it should come out well (maybe in the future you tweak spices and such but overall the recipe should work).
So I think that she did not have recipe testers for this which is a shame because the book is beautiful and it would have been great to have a go to cookbook for vegan and gluten-free baked goods. The shortcake bread came out well as well as one batch of the cookies. Buy this if you are ok with it providing guidelines for you for vegan and gluten free baking but not consistently good recipes. Be ready to spend a lot for ingredients ( a jar of coconut oil might be enough for two recipes) and to have a many inedible disasters before getting something good.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
This is another wonderful bean recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian cookbook. She says it is a Greek recipe from nuns in Macedonia. It is really simple to make with just a few ingredients. It is baked for about two hours but there is little prep time. She does call for cooking dry beans but you could use canned or frozen lima beans and add broth instead of the bean's cooking liquid. I usually cook dry beans a couple of times a week and use them in a variety of recipes.
I highly recommend this cookbook. It has about 200 recipes and most are vegan or easily veganized. She has an Indian cooking one as well but I haven't tried it yet.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Oven roasted tomatoes require little prep time but do cook for about 3 hours. Pre-heat oven to 250 (300 degrees if your oven doesn't go down to 250 degrees). Cut tomatoes in half and place cut side up on a foil covered baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes and sprinkle with salt, pepper and a tiny bit of sugar (sugar helps the caramelization but doesn't make them sweet). Bake for 2 1/2 - 3 hours until tomatoes are still soft but are starting to shrivel.
I left the seeds and juice in my tomatoes before baking but many people remove the seeds and juice first. If you plan to use the tomatoes on sandwiches or don't want them too juicy then remove the seeds and juice first by scooping it out of each tomato half. Use the juice and seeds in soup or a veggie smoothie.