Aquafaba literally means bean water — the water that’s drained off neutral-colored beans like chickpeas, white beans and cannellini beans.
Vegans have had limited choices when it came to baked goods. The existing substitutes did not have the chemical properties of eggs which made them integral for binding and leavening. But now there is the perfect substitute, and it’s aquafaba. And it’s blown open the world of vegan baking.
This collection of recipes, however, is not only for vegans. It is great for anyone who has an allergy to dairy and eggs. It’s proof that you can go egg-free and still enjoy delicious recipes. You will never miss eggs again. The general rule of thumb is 3 tbsp of aquafaba equals one egg. The protein in aquafaba, when mixed with some sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar, perfectly simulates egg whites. Neutral in taste, you don’t have to worry about your dishes tasting beany.
All your breakfast and brunch favorites are here–from omelettes, French Toast and pancakes to scones and crepes. You’ll enjoy satisfying and sumptuous Vegan Shepherds Pie, Vegan Mac and Cheese or for lunch or dinner. And you can once again enjoy Alfredo Sauce over your pasta. And the meringue desserts are not to be missed — Fruit Pavlova and Sweet Potato Pie to Lemon Meringue Pie. Chocolate Chip Cookies, S’mores Bars, Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Ice Cream are perfect for those children’s birthday parties where allergies are now a prevailing concern.
Now you no longer have to live without the culinary wonders that eggs and egg whites produce. All you need to do is open up a can of chickpeas, drain the water and you’re ready to go.
Well, hello there! And how is your pandemic going?
The deeper we get into this thing, the longer it feels like it’s going to go. In China, they are now starting to lift quarantines and life is beginning to go back to normal, but it’s been 2+ months for them. We are now into week 3.
To help maintain my sanity, I’ve been cooking and baking a lot. More than usual? Maybe. Not sure. Actually, my life hasn’t changed dramatically in the way that many people’s lives have. I work from home a great deal of the time anyway, I cook and bake a great deal of the time anyway… I do miss restaurants and my friends and shopping for food. I miss working in coffee shops.
On my list of places to check out before the lights went out was a local Indian place up on Davie called Mumbai Local. So, clearly, I had a craving for Indian food. The good news is, that stuff is easy to make at home, and I generally always have the pantry ingredients on hand to do so.
But I also wanted to make naan. Now, if you’ve ever had Indian food, you’ve probably tried naan. It’s this pillowy, soft, buttery, tasty yeasted flatbread that is great for dipping into and sopping up all the bits of sauce in the bottom of your bowl.
It’s pretty simple to make (though I’d never made it before) and I thought I’d try making it with sourdough, because, you know, I have time on my hands and sourdough and why the heck not.
I was really happy with the results. I served my sourdough naan alongside some Vegan “Butter Chicken” (tofu) and basmati rice. Perfect!
1 cup sourdough starter
1/2 cup milk or non-dairy milk (warmed)
1/4 cup thick yogourt (or non-dairy option)
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of kosher salt
melted butter (vegan?) or oil for frying
Begin by mixing together the wet ingredients (including sourdough starter) in a large bowl.
Add in the dry ingredients and mix well until it forms a shaggy dough. Spritz or brush with oil, cover with plastic wrap, and then a clean tea towel and set aside to rise for 2-3 hours in a warm place, or until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and sprinkle a little flour on your work surface. Turn the dough out onto your floured work surface and knead it for a few minutes until smooth, adding additional flour if needed.
Divide the dough into half, then half again, then half again so you have 8 pieces. Using your fingers, stretch each piece of dough out into an oval shape about 1/4-1/2″ thick.
Heat your frying pan over medium-high heat. Brush the pan with melted butter or oil and then place the naan bread in the pan and allow to fry to for a minute or two, until crispy and golden, then flip and allow to cook on the other side.
When the going gets tough… the tough head to the kitchen.
Cooking and writing have always been my best therapy. But there’s a bonus to being able to cook and bake, and that’s being able to take care of other people.
A few nights ago, I made this tray of Sourdough Focaccia. I love making sourdough bread, but I’m moving beyond it (I’m still making loads of bread) to other kinds of baked goods using sourdough. Like Focaccia. I was so happy with it, it turned out so well.
And I was able to leave some for my neighbour.
And I walked a few blocks and left some on the doorstep of my friend Lori’s apartment, and then backed away and then texted her. We had a 6-foot-distant conversation, and she placed a container of freshly made banana bread on the sidewalk in front of me.
This is love. This is the new love. Checking in, connecting, still feeding each other, even during a global pandemic when we can’t go within 6 feet of each other.
1 cup sourdough starter
2 cups warm water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour (I used 1 cup WW and 3 cups AP)
course sea salt
rosemary (dried or fresh, whole)
cloves of roasted garlic (optional)
In the workbowl of your mixer, place the sourdough starter, the water, olive oil and salt. Mix well together.
Slowly add in the flour, using the doughhook attachment. (you can do all of this by hand as well, it just takes more time).
Once all the flour is incorporated, continue to knead for another 5 minutes or so, until smooth and elastic.
Form the dough into a ball and drizzle over some olive oil. Cover the whole dough ball with a thin layer of olive oil. Place back into the bowl, cover, and allow to rise. You could also do a slow rise in the fridge over night. I let mine rise about 6 hours. It should be doubled in size.
Drizzle a sheet pan with olive oil and brush it all over. Place the dough on the sheet pan and use your fingers to spread it out.
Set aside for 30 minutes in a warm place, while your oven preheats.
Turn the oven on to 450 degrees and allow it to preheat.
Before putting the Focaccia in the oven, “dimple” it with your fingers, then drizzle over more olive oil and sprinkle with course salt. Sprinkle with rosemary and roasted garlic as well, if you like.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden on top. Eat while still warm. I like to dip mine in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.