Archive for January 2012
King cake is my favorite desert, and I can’t believe I made it halfway through Carnival season this year without one. I also can’t believe that I’ve never actually made a king cake before – I suppose I’ve been too busy eating everyone else’s fabulous cakes, and I’ve felt vaguely intimidated by the process of making the brioche. But, I’m happy to say, I have found a wonderful, authentic New Orleans-style recipe that is manageable AND delicious. It’s everything a king cake should be: moist, just sweet enough, and with a hint of orange.
This is important to me, of course, because now that Daniel and I are eating vegan, most king cakes are not for us. This cake is indeed vegan, and as such, it’s lower in fat and doesn’t have cholesterol. But you have my word and Daniel’s that you’d never know it. (Don’t believe me? I’ll bring you some.) As a novice brioche maker, I followed the recipe closely, with just a few substitutions: I used only all-purpose flour, because I didn’t have any whole wheat pastry flour on hand, and I blended about 4 oz. of silken tofu to use in place of 1/2 cup soy yogurt, because I certainly didn’t have the latter on hand.*
*Daniel and I are trying to reduce our gluten consumption, but I didn’t make this cake gluten free. I bet it would still be great, though, with gluten-free all-purpose flour.
Daniel and his family were on the hummus train way before hummus got cool, and they introduced me to homemade hummus. I like to think of homemade hummus as its own genre; we don’t claim to replicate authentic Mediterranean hummus, but we do enjoy making infinite varieties of this wonderful dish. No two batches are the same, and there are so many variables and variations that lend themselves to experimenting. It’s hard to go wrong if you’re careful and taste as you go (and I would know, having made a few disaster batches).
We don’t really believe in quantifying hummus ingredient proportions, but several years ago, Daniel and I set out to quantify the ingredients in what turned out to be a rather delightful batch, so we could share the recipe with friends. (We call that particular recipe cheater hummus because we used canned beans, lime juice concentrate, and garlic powder instead of soaked beans, juiced limes, and minced garlic. But if you’re in a hurry, it’s still good.) I should note that we are incapable of making a small batch of hummus, so our recipe yields enough to feed an army, or two people for a very long time. If you’re looking for baseline proportions, though, this should be helpful. And it is a reproducible experiment: several different friends have made their own wonderful hummus from the recipe (below).
1 (16 oz.) jar sesame tahini
2 (15 oz.) cans garbanzo beans
2 (15 oz.) cans great white northern beans
7 oz. lime or lemon concentrate
5 oz. first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
2 ¼ tsp. salt
2 ¼ tsp. ground cumin
2 ¼ tsp. garlic powder
2 ¼ tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. red pepper
Dash of paprika to garnish
Drain cans of garbanzo and great white northern beans (about half of each can is juice). Combine drained beans, lemon or lime concentrate, olive oil, salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper in a medium or large mixing bowl. Blend with hand blender until smooth and all spices mixed. Serve with a dash of paprika and olive oil on top to garnish. For more developed flavors, leave in refrigerator for several hours.
Yield: about 9 cups
1. We minced about five cloves of garlic in today’s batch. We did add a bit of onion powder, but since the beans were already lightly cooked with onion, we didn’t need much.
2. We juiced two limes for today’s batch. It might need a little more, but that’s what we had on hand. We can always add that later, especially when the flavors have married/matured.
3. Hummus is always better when the flavors have had a chance to marry and develop. I still enjoy the just-made hummus; it just doesn’t have as much depth.
4. Our recipe uses paprika for garnish, but we usually mix some in with the other seasonings, too. Why not, right?