Last week I made a loaf of Jim Lahey’s basic no-knead bread. The idea that this method of bread baking is relatively new is crazy to me. Can you imagine all the hours of backbreaking kneading in the past 10,000+ year history of baking bread, essentially wasted. That bread was professional quality and took 5 minutes of active work. Anyway, I went in for his pizza recipe this week. In a home oven, without developing a sourdough, this is probably the best pizza you can make. As far as vegan pizza toppings go, textural variety is very important, as long as it doesn’t crowd the pie. So we’ve got pesto, good canned tomato, sautéed oyster mushrooms and cloves of roasted garlic. If it had been on hand I also probably would have drizzled some Saba or vin cotto or sappy balsamic.
Below is the recipe for my toppings followed by the recipe for the pizza taken straight from this source.
For the pesto combine the kale, nuts, rosemary, and half of the garlic in a food processor and chop until it’s all pretty consistently small. Place the kale mixture In a large bowl, and add olive oil,while stirring until the desired consistency. You want it to be saucy but without big pools of oil. Season with salt and sherry vinegar, and more mashed roasted garlic if need be.
For the mushrooms, heat a sheen of olive oil in a large sautéed pan and drop in the mushrooms. Season with salt. Cook over medium high for about 2 minutes before shaking the pan. Continue to cook until the mushrooms are browned and fragrant, then mix in the shallot. Cook for 20 seconds more, turn off the heat and remove the mushrooms to a paper-towel lined tray.
Open the can of tomatoes. Reserve the liquid and slice a couple tomatoes into quarters.
Making the Dough
In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon and/or your hands, mix thoroughly. We find it easiest to start with the spoon, then switch to your hands (see slideshow). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature (about 72°) for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled. It will take longer in a chilly room and less time in a very warm one. Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shape them. For each portion, start with the right side of the dough and pull it toward the center, then do the same with the left, then the top, then the bottom. (The order doesn’t actually matter; what you want is four folds.) Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. Mold the dough into a neat circular mound. The mounds should not be sticky; if they are, dust with more flour. If you don’t intend to use the dough right away, wrap the balls individually in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter, covered in a damp cloth, for 2 to 3 hours before needed.
Put the pizza stone on a rack in a gas oven about 8 inches from the broiler. Preheat the oven on bake at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Shaping the disk (Method 1): Take one ball of dough and generously flour it, your hands, and the work surface. Gently press down and stretch the ball of dough out to 10-12 inches. Don’t worry if it’s not round. Don’t handle it more than necessary; you want some of the gas bubbles to remain in the dough. It should look slightly blistered. Flour the peel (or an unrimmed baking sheet) and lay the disk onto the center. It is now ready to be topped. Shaping the disk (Method 2): Take one ball of dough and generously flour it, your hands, and the work surface. Gently press down and stretch the ball of dough out to 6-8 inches. Supporting the disk with your knuckles toward the outer edge and lifting it above the work surface, keep stretching the dough by rotating it with your knuckles, gently pulling it wider until the disk reaches 10-12 inches. Set the disk on a well-floured peel (or unrimmed baking sheet). It is now ready to be topped.
Spread a thin layer of pesto. Leaving 1/2 an inch at the edge. Arrange the quartered tomato, garlic cloves to your liking, and mushrooms on top. Splash some liquid from the can of tomatoes around.
With quick, jerking motions, slide the pie onto the stone. Broil for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes under gas (somewhat longer with an electric oven), until the top is bubbling and the crust is nicely charred but not burnt.
Even though I was born and raised in Pennsylvania and have even been to Amish country and eaten in their restaurants when I was young, I never knew about Amish noodles until a couple weeks ago. A coworker made a nice homey casserole with these thick cut fresh egg noodles, white sauce, and a bunch of stuff on hand. I was intrigued. Especially because what he called Pennsylvania Dutch noodles were strongly reminiscent of xi’an style hand torn noodles. After some research I even found that at least some recipes for Amish noodles relied on kneading boiling water into flour, which is also one method (minus the eggs) for the Chinese torn noodles. So, if anything, these noodles are Amish by context, but they’re texture really does fit the same bill.
340g ap flour
160g boiling water
55g cold water
In a bowl, pour the boiling water into the flour and mix with a fork. Then add in the cold water so that you can knead with your hands. It will be still be quite warm but as one of my chefs used to like to say “Pain don’t hurt!” knead for a full 5 minutes. Rest under a moist towel for 20 minutes. Knead for 1 more minute until the dough is smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap for at least one hour. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it’s between 1/4 and 1/2 inches thick. Slice it up, rustic-like, into noodles about 8”x3/4”. Dust with flour and store in a single layer on parchment until everything else is ready.
500g cold soy milk (preferably freshly made)
25g olive oil
1 shallot, halved
3 cloves garlic
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
5 pieces dried porcini
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour gradually, avoiding clumps. Add the shallot, garlic, herbs, porcini. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly so that the roux (the mixture of flour and fat) takes on color evenly. When it becomes a deep khaki but not quite brown, vigorously whisk in the soymilk, trying to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer, making sure it doesn’t boil over, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Strain through a chinoise. Keep warm until ready to use.
1 cup Blanched peas
1 cup sautéed mushrooms
1 cup breadcrumbs, rubbed with olive oil and salt
Pull the noodles gently to the desired thickness. Blanch the noodles in boiling salted water until tender, about 90 seconds. Drain and add them directly to the warm bechamel. Add in the peas and mushrooms,and stir to mix together. Season with salt, pepper, and vinegar to your liking. Soy sauce or gravy master can also add a little something to this, if you’d like, at this point. Fit into a casserole and cover with breadcrumbs. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes at 350.
108 layer lasagna. Ready for the cast iron.
One of the first things you notice when biting into a good steamed bun is the neutrality of the bready puff. But I t’s not lacking anything in its subtle sweetness and soft wheaty aroma. In fact it can be good empty. A well made bao is like the most elegant and fertile blank canvas you can imagine. Just about any juicy flavorful filling will make it a masterpiece. Here is a recipe for the bun and two different fillings.
4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup warm water
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
3 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
Mix the sugar, water and yeast. Into the bowl of a standmixer, sift the flour. Using the dough hook, mix on low until it becomes a single shaggy mass and drizzle in the oil. Mix for about 7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and soft. lightly oil a large bowl and plop in the dough. warp in plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, until it has doubled in size. Punch down the dough and knead in the baking powder until it’s well incorporated. cut the dough into approx. 50g pieces. roll the dough into a ball and then roll it out into a disc. spoon about 3 tablespoons of filling into the center of the dough discs. pull the edges of the dough up and around the filling. pleat and twist the dough to enclose the filling. place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap for about 30 minutes. follow the directions on your steamer to set it up. cut out parchment squares large enough to fit the buns. put each bun on a parchment square and into the steamer. steam the buns for 20 minutes.
Filling 1 (tempeh ragu)
1 block tempeh
2 large onions, small diced
1 large parsnip, small diced
5 slices dehydrated porcini, small diced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 small bunch kale, chiffonade
2 cups fruity dry red wine
4 bay leaves
6 sprigs of thyme
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
For the tempeh ragu, grate the tempeh on the 2nd largest side of a box grater. Pour 1/3 cup of oil into a searing hot, preferably cast iron, pan. Drop the grated tempeh in and season it with salt. Cook, stirring every couple of minutes until the tempeh is browned all over. Pour the contents of the pan onto a paper-towel lined plate and reduce the heat in the pan. Refill the oil and drop in the vegetables. Season them with salt and cook on medium, stirring often, until they are thoroughly cooked but have not browned. Add the tomato paste and kale and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the red wine and reduce until the pan is dry. Add the seared tempeh back in along with the sachet and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or so, until the flavors are well developed and savory,
Filling 2 ( frisée)
3 heads frisée, root removed but greens attached
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon fermented black beans
Pinch of Aleppo chile flakes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons black vinegar
Heat a cast iron pan with a sheen of oil. Add the frisée and season with salt. cook down until its just wilted. Add the garlic, fermented black beans, chile and cook for another 2 minutes, until the raw garlic aroma is gone. Deglaze with the soy sauce and black vinegar. Cook 2 more minutes and put the contents of the pan into a colander. Let it drain and cool while you prepare the dough.
These recipes are for some of the asian noodles which I was developing and producing for about 6 months over this past year. My last post included a couple (wontons and glass noodles), and these are a few more. I had also worked out some intense chinese-style egg noodles, and feel free to contact me if you are interested in getting a recipe for them. In attempting Soba noodles I developed some very flavorful buckwheat noodles, but definitely wouldn’t call them soba. I plan on having that recipe up soon. Below are ramen noodles, dumpling dough and Xi’an-style torn noodles, vietnamese rice noodles (best for noodle bowls and other room-temp preparations) and my personal favorite out of this batch, somen noodles. Somen are essentially thin udon noodles. They have a pleasantly slippery texture which always made me think there was rice flour or some other kind of flour involved in addition to wheat flour. They don’t. You may notice that between the dumpling dough, the wonton dough and the somen dough, the differences are quite subtle. This fact significantly increased the usefulness of my experience working on these doughs, really honing in on the importance of fat, kneading, resting, water temperatures, hydration geometry, and more. I don’t have recipes for entire dishes in this post but there are plenty of recipes around which use the factory-made versions of these noodles. Using freshly made noodles will elevate any dish.
Ramen (5 portions)
225g high gluten flour
75g ap flour
13g kansui (solution of sodium bicarbonate and potassium carbonate)
115g lukewarm water
combine the kansui and water and fork it into the flour in a large bowl.
knead for 5 minutes, this will become a very firm dough.
Rest under a moist towel for 30 minutes
Knead for 1 more minute until smooth
Rest wrapped in plastic for at least an hour
Roll out to the third thinnest setting on your machine and cut using either a fettucine cutter or a sharp knife. Boil in heavily salted water for 90 seconds when ready to eat.
Dumpling dough (makes about 45 dumplings or 5 generous portions of Xi’an-style noodles)
340g ap flour
160g boiling water
55g cold water
In a bowl, pour the boiling water into the flour and mix with a fork. Then add in the cold water so that you can knead with your hands. It will be still be quite warm but as one of my chefs used to like to say “Pain don’t hurt!” knead for a full 5 minutes. Rest under a moist towel for 20 minutes. Knead for 1 more minute until the dough is smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap for at least one hour
For dumplings roll out extremely thin using a rolling pin and cut using a round mold that’s appr. 3.5 inches. Lay out the discs on parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap. refrigerate for 90 minutes or up to 1 day. fill with your favorite vegan meatball recipe. fold by grasping one part of the edge between your thumb and first finger until it sticks together, then picking up the adjacent couple centimeters of the edge and pressing that into the first fold. continue until you get all the way around and have a little knot on top of the filling. twist off any excess dough. cook in salted boikling water until the dumplings float to the top.
For Xi’an style noodles, use dumpling scrap or fresh dough, rolled out to 1/8 inch thick. Cut or tear them in rustic strips. Flour them aggressively as they will stick together. boil in salted water for about 90 seconds and toss with sauce when you are ready to eat.
Yields approx. 10 portions
Whisk together 750g water and 750g rice flour. Let the flour settle over the course of a few days while it ferments.
Remove extraneous water carefully. Weigh out 1000g of smooth but thick batter.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil until rippling, then pour in batter and stir with a wooden spoon just until a ball.
For 775g ball, Mix with 100g tapioca starch. knead in the mixer just until it forms a ball. It should be a touch sticky against the bottom of the bowl. Knead by hand for one minute until it is not sticky but is still soft.
Extrude through iddiyapam press directly into simmering heavily salted water for 20-30 seconds and shock in salted water. They will not become totally firm in the hot water - carefully spider them into the ice water where they become strong. Portion into 145g bundles.
Yields approx. 5 portions
300g ap flour
150g hot water from the tap
4g blended oil
Combine flour and salt In a mixing bowl. combine water and oil. Fork the liquid into the flour. Need for 5 minutes until soft but smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes. Roll out to the third thinnest setting on your pasta machine and cut using either a fettucine cutter or a sharp knife. Boil in salted water for about 90 seconds right before eating.
The other night I taught a sold-out class at Audrey Claire’s Cook on making fresh pastas from around the world. Some of these component recipes are already up on the blog, but most are not and they are all together here (except for the bulgur filling and chile oil which will be added soon). The menu was: Bulgur wontons with chili oil Pandan glass noodles with turmeric vinaigrette, cashews, and green mango Pappardelle with lentils, fermented escarole and apple Gnocchi with mushroom ragu and pickled mustard seeds.
Cauliflower and olives is not too common of a combination but its a classic Italian pairing, especially around Marche. Cauliflower has a remarkable flavor of its own, but it pairs with strong flavors very well - gojuchang, olives, horseradish, even cocoa if it’s done right. The simple flavors in this dish become more than the sum of their parts and make a startling contrast to the essentially white-on-white presentation.
Sweat the shallots, garlic and almonds in ¼ cup of olive oil with a teaspoon of salt over low heat, covered. When that’s soft and flavorful, after about 10 minutes, add the cauliflower. When they’re tender, add the white wine. Reduce until the pan’s almost dry, then add 1 cup water. Simmer for 3 minutes or so until the cauliflower is soft. Blend thoroughly, pass through a chinois and season with salt.
Boil the pasta
Warm the cauliflower cream gently and add in the olives, capers, and almonds. Toss in the pasta. Adjust the thickness of the sauce with water if necessary. Toss in the parsley and serve.