English Muffins

Yields 8 English muffins.

Ingredients

  • 300 grams/300 ml (1¼ cup) lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon organic sugar
  • 1 packet instant yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
  • 450 grams bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt

Preparation

In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water, sugar and yeast.

Add the flour and salt and mix until a shaggy dough develops.

Transfer the dough to a roomy, lightly-oiled container, cover loosely and set in a warm place. After 30 minutes, with a dampened hand, fold the edges of the dough into the center while rotating the container (4 folds are sufficient). Cover loosely. Repeat this folding procedure again, 3 more times every 30 minutes (2 hours total), covering loosely each time.

After the series of folds, set the container aside in a warm place undisturbed for 2 hours. At this point you can proceed with rolling and cutting the dough – or, for a more complex sourdough flavor, the dough can be refrigerated up to 48 hours until ready to use (be sure to cover the dough directly in the container with oiled plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface and seal the container before refrigerating).

Dust a work surface with flour. Transfer the dough to the work surface and dust lightly with flour to reduce stickiness. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out ¾-inch thick. Cut rounds with 3-inch diameter round cutter. Roll out scraps of dough and repeat. Lay the dough rounds on parchment generously dusted with cornmeal and then dust the tops generously with cornmeal. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise 45 minutes (1½ hours for chilled dough).

Heat a large, dry non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Using a spatula, transfer a few rounds of dough to the skillet; don’t overcrowd. Cover with the lid to trap steam. Cook 8 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Flip and cook another 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on a rack.

Working around the perimeter of the muffin, use the tines of a fork to split the muffins in half. Toast until crisp. While hot, spread with vegan butter or margarine, and/or other toppings as desired.

Store leftover muffins airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

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Gentle Chef Ballparks – Vegan Franks

I’m pleased to present my signature recipe and technique for creating plant-based jumbo franks which remarkably resemble a classic hot dog texture, color and flavor. Ballparks are high in plant-based protein, low in fat, and with no starch fillers, gels or gums. A food processor is required for this recipe in order to produce the desired texture. Yields 8 jumbo franks.

If you like this recipe, or any of my recipes, please consider making a donation to help further fund my work. Thank you and happy compassionate cooking!



Ingredients

  • 4 oz/115 grams well-pressed and blotted extra-firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or 1 teaspoon sweet paprika and 1 teaspoon liquid smoke)
  • ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon commercial poultry seasoning
  • ⅛ teaspoon FD&C red food color*
  • 270 ml/grams water (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 150 grams (1 cup, scoop and level) vital wheat gluten

*FD&C red food color is an artificial food color. It is not animal sourced. It is used in a scant amount to create the nitrate-pink hot dog coloration since natural red food color pigments degrade during the cooking preparation process (I have experimented a great deal with natural red pigments over the years, and they won’t work for this purpose). Additional paprika (up to 1 teaspoon) can be used to enhance color, if preferred, but will create an orange pigment rather than pink. Red food color can be ordered online or found in the baking section of any supermarket.

Preparation

Crumble the pressed tofu into the food processor. Add the tamari, oil, onion and garlic powder, paprika, spices and food color.

Add a small quantity of the measured water and process until smooth (if all the water is added at this point it will create excessive splashing). Add the gluten and the remaining measured water and process the mixture for 3 full minutes. Use a timer for accuracy. The dough should be soft, sticky, glossy, stretchy and slightly warm.

Divide into 8 portions, about 80 grams each using a digital scale, and double wrap in pop-up foil (10-inch by 12-inch) or single wrap in cut pieces of heavy-duty foil (10-inch by 12-inch).

To do this, place a portion of dough on the foil and press and stretch the dough into a rough sausage shape about 6-inches long. Don’t worry about shaping perfectly – the foil when do this when rolled and twisted. Roll into a cylinder shape and twist the ends tightly to seal.

Pressure Cooker (e.g., Instant Pot)
1. Add a few cups of water to the bottom of the pressure cooker and place the wrapped dough on a trivet. Pressure-cook on high for 30 minutes.

2. Unplug or turn unit off and set timer for another 30 minutes. During this time the pressure will naturally release. Even if the safety valve pin drops, allow the 30 minutes to complete – do not force the pin down. Open unit and remove the wrapped packages.

3. Allow to cool and then refrigerate in their wrappers until completely chilled until firm before unwrapping and heating and serving. Since the franks are hand-wrapped they will be somewhat rustic in appearance with surface imperfections – but nonetheless delicious.

4. Brown the Ballparks in an oiled, non-stick skillet or oiled grill grate; reheat in a steamer; or gently simmer in enough water to cover. Serve with your favorite condiments.

Conventional Steamer (steamer basket inside cooking pot)
1. Steam over rapidly boiling water for 1 hour. Hot water may need to be added during cooking time to compensate for evaporation. Do not let the pot boil dry!

2. Open pot and remove the wrapped packages. Allow to cool and then refrigerate in their wrappers until completely chilled until firm before unwrapping and heating and serving. Since the franks are hand-wrapped they will be somewhat rustic in appearance with surface imperfections – but nonetheless delicious.

3. Brown the Ballparks in an oiled, non-stick skillet or oiled grill grate; reheat in a steamer; or gently simmer in enough water to cover. Serve with your favorite condiments.


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Hard Shreddin’ Chedda’ (Non-Dairy)

Hard Shreddin’ Chedda’ is a hard, golden block cheese with a mild cheddar cheese flavor. It’s ideal as a cold-snacking cheese. Slices are wonderful for serving on crackers or cold sandwiches. It’s also ideal for shredding as a topping for tacos and other Mexican cuisine, when melting isn’t necessary. When shredded and stirred into hot high-moisture foods, or covered with a sauce and heated, it melts moderately well.

Homemade soy or almond milk yogurt is used in this cheese to impart a natural cultured aroma and flavor that cannot be achieved using commercial lactic acid powder alone. However, for the sake of convenience, you can replace the yogurt with additional plain unsweetened soymilk or almond milk and ½ tsp lactic acid powder. If you have commercial vegan cheddar cheese flavor on hand, add a teaspoon or two to the mixture when blending (strictly optional).

This cheese is very easy to prepare since it does not rely upon stirring or emulsification during cooking; and you will never experience a broken emulsion or a block that does not set and firm properly! It also does not rely upon gels for firming and is therefore free of carrageenan or agar.

The cheese can also be seasoned with additional ingredients to create interesting flavor combinations. Ingredients might include a teaspoon or two of prepared horseradish or hot pepper sauce blended into the liquid mixture before cooking. Dried herbs, spices and low moisture ingredients such as crushed peppercorns, chopped sun-dried tomato, dehydrated garlic, dried minced onion and/or chives, red pepper flakes, etc., can be stirred into the mixture just before cooking.

For this recipe you will need a flexible silicone form/cheese mold that will hold a minimum of 2 cups liquid. Avoid using a metal or Pyrex™ container because the cheese will be very hard after chilling and difficult to remove. Do not use a plastic form as it will not be able to withstand the cooking temperature. You will also need a cooking pot with a lid and an open steamer basket for steaming the cheese in the mold.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup refined coconut oil, melted (not virgin coconut oil)
  • ½ cup unstrained soymilk or almond milk yogurt, room temperature
  • ½ cup plain unsweetened soymilk or almond milk, room temperature
  • ½ cup unmodified potato starch or corn starch
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour/starch
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon mellow white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 and ¾ teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dry ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • optional additional high-moisture ingredients, such as prepared horseradish, liquid smoke or hot pepper sauce (2 teaspoons maximum)
  • optional additional low-moisture ingredients (2 tablespoons maximum)

Preparation

Add water to the pot, but just below the bottom of the steamer basket, and place over high heat to bring the water to a boil.

Process all ingredients, including any optional high moisture ingredients, in a blender until very smooth. If adding herbs and spices, stir them in after blending.

Transfer to the cheese mold and rap the mold gently on a firm surface to settle the mixture and remove any air bubbles.

Place the uncovered mold into the steamer basket. Place the basket into the pot over the boiling water and cover with the lid. Set a timer for 30 minutes.

Remove the mold from the steamer and allow to cool about 1 hour. The cheese mixture will have a puffy appearance but will settle upon cooling. If steam condensation has settled on the surface of the cheese, or any oil has pooled, very gently blot with a paper towel to remove it (a shiny oily appearance is fine).

The cheese will be very sticky until fully chilled and hardened. It will also have a translucent appearance but will become opaque upon cooling. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until hardened. This will take upwards of 12 hours with 24 hours being ideal.

Remove the cheese from the flexible silicone form. Slice or shred the block as desired. Wrap in a dry paper towel and store airtight in the refrigerator. Change the towel every few days. Stored properly, the cheese will last for weeks.

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Falafel Bites

A quick and easy recipe for Middle Eastern falafel made with chickpea flour and my own special blend of seasonings. They’re lightly crisp on the outside but delicate on the inside without the deep-frying.
Ingredients
· 1 cup chickpea flour
· 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes; or 2 tablespoons fresh, minced
· 2 teaspoon onion powder
· 1½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
· 1 teaspoon garlic powder
· 1 teaspoon ground cumin
· 1 teaspoon ground coriander
· ½ teaspoon ground rosemary; or 2 teaspoons fresh minced
· 2 cups water
· 1 T olive oil
For Browning the Bites
· 2 tablespoons mild olive oil or other cooking oil
Items Needed
· 8-inch x 8-inch glass or non-stick baking dish
Preparation
Combine the chickpea flour and seasonings in a bowl. Add the dry mixture to the water and olive oil in a medium non-stick saucepan and whisk together until smooth. Place over medium heat.
Cook the mixture while stirring with a sturdy silicone spatula. The batter will begin to get lumpy as it cooks. Continue to cook while stirring vigorously until smooth and it begins to pull away a bit from the sides of the saucepan. It will be very thick.
Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and spread evenly by pressing into the dish. It will be sticky. Pat down to smooth the surface as best as you can (this will become easier as it begins to cool).
Let cool for 15 minutes and then cover with wrap and refrigerate for an hour or until completely chilled and firm set.
Transfer to a work surface and cut into cubes. Add 2 tablespoons mild olive oil or other cooking oil to a non-stick skillet and place over medium-high heat. Brown the falafel bites in the hot skillet. Serve warm in a whole grain wrap with sliced red onion, cucumber and non-dairy Tzatziki sauce.
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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Zhoug, Tahini Sauce, Sumac Onions and Herbs

A whole cauliflower is marinated in Middle Eastern seasonings, roasted to golden brown perfection, dressed with a variety of tangy and spicy sauces and then garnished with an abundance of fresh herbs. The herb garnish not only lends beauty to the finished dish but is intended to be eaten with the cauliflower. Simply superb!

Ingredients
· 1 large whole cauliflower
· ½ cup grapeseed oil or other neutral cooking oil
· 1 teaspoon ground coriander
· 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
· 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (onion seeds)
· ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

Toppings (recipes follow)
· Sumac Onions
· Zhoug
· Tahini Sauce

Herb Garnishes
· Parsley
· Cilantro
· Mint

Preparation
Remove the stem and excess core from the whole cauliflower, but be very careful not to remove too much, as it will separate the florets.
Whisk together the marinade ingredients and add to a sealable bag with the whole cauliflower. Seal the bag and shake to distribute the marinade. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour (best overnight).
Preheat the oven to 400˚F/200˚C. Place the cauliflower in a baking dish and roast in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until nicely browned and fork tender. Brush with the marinade mixture occasionally during baking time. Transfer to a serving plate and dress with the zhoug and tahini sauce. Garnish with the sumac onions and a generous amount of fresh parsley, cilantro and mint.
Sumac Onions
Pickled red onions seasoned with tart and citrusy ground sumac make a lovely condiment for Middle Eastern cuisine. They make a superb condiment for vegan burgers and hot dogs too.
Ingredients
· ½ large red onion, thinly sliced
· 2 tablespoons white vinegar
· ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
· 1½ teaspoon ground sumac
Preparation
Bring the vinegar and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the sliced onions. Toss thoroughly and let cool. Sprinkle in the sumac and toss thoroughly again. Refrigerate in a sealed container until thoroughly chilled to blend the flavors.
Zhoug
Zhoug (pronounced zoog), is a spicy, green herb and chili condiment that originally hails from Yemen, but has become popular in Israeli and other Middle Eastern cuisine. The flavor and warmth of the spice cardamom is what makes this sauce unique. Spoon it over falafel, vegan shawarma, shish kebab, or grilled eggplant wraps. Use it as a condiment for roasted vegetables and grilled tofu. Swirl it into hummus or non-dairy yogurt.
Ingredients
· 1 bunch parsley, large stems removed
· 1 bunch cilantro, large stems removed (or additional parsley)
· ¼ cup olive oil
· 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
· 3 jalapenos, stems and seeds removed (or leave in some seeds for extra spicy)
· 3 large cloves garlic
· 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
· 1 teaspoon ground cumin
· ¾ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste
· ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Preparation
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until nearly smooth. Add a tablespoon of water if needed to lighten consistency. Season with additional salt if needed to taste. Refrigerate in a sealed container for a minimum of 1 hour to blend flavors. Use within 1 week.
Tahini Sauce
Tahini sauce is a deliciously rich, smooth and tangy condiment sauce made from tahini (ground sesame seeds), lemon juice, garlic and seasonings. It’s widely popular in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Ingredients
· 2 cloves garlic
· ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
· ½ cup tahini
· ½ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste
· ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
· 1/3 cup water, additional as needed
Preparation
Process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. The sauce should have a salad dressing consistency. Whisk in small amounts of water as needed to adjust consistency. Season with additional salt as needed to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use within 10 days.
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