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.
Things I think a lot about: sustainability, the environment, and how we can save the planet.
Well that’s a bright and cheery intro, hey?
Okay. But seriously. The main reason I gave up eating meat all those years ago is because of the environment. And while I totally get that not everyone is going to stop eating meat, if we all just ate less meat, it would make the world a better place. I loved this recent article in The Atlantic that advocates that we even just give up beef, and how much of a change that could make to our planet.
Another option for those of you who are concerned about the environment, but aren’t ready to give up meat, is to only buy locally-farmed, pasture-raised meat. These animals are better cared for, and put less of a toll on the environment.
In fact, there’s a lot of research out there that advocates for eating locally, and that doing so could actually be the best thing for the environment. There is a lower carbon footprint if you have to ship food a shorter distance. For me, also, I prefer to support our local businesses if possible, keeping more money in our local economy.
But you know what else I think about?? Bread. And the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. And pizza dough. And Focaccia with rosemary and sea salt, dipped in good olive oil and balsamic.
And so it was, for all these various reasons, that I was super happy to see that Flourist finally was able to open up a bricks and mortar location here in Vancouver.
I’ve been fans of them for a long time (since before they rebranded in their current iteration). They sell local (well, from as far away as the prairies) grains and pulses that are locally milled and high quality. We’re talking heritage grains and Canadian pulses that are a real staple of our economy.
I used to buy their stuff in local specialty markets, but now they have their own location, so you can go straight to the source!
Flourist’s location, just off of Commercial Drive in East Van, also houses a mill, a cafe, and space for cooking classes and demos.
And–oh joy! They sell sourdough starter, too.
The space itself is super adorbs, and the cafe itself sells, in addition to baked goods made with their flour, lighter meals like salads made with beans, chickpeas, and millet, as well as toasts made with their homemade bread.
It honestly makes me so happy to witness and be a part of this whole food revolution. I love that people are beginning to understand that convenience food comes at a price, and we’re starting to look back to the eating habits of our ancestors.
By the way, if you’re gluten free, you may be able to tolerate this kind of bread. The flour it’s made with is less processed and refined, and its genetic footprint is less refined. In addition, sourdough partially ferments the dough, making it easier to digest.
At Flourist they bake the entire recipe in a big cast iron fry pan and cut it into wedges, so I’ve done that here. You can either bake your own or head over to Commercial Street to buy them. While you’re there, you’re going to want to pick up some bread, flour, and probably some chickpeas, too. 🙂
Oh–one last thing. All of the packaging at Flourist is recyclable. Your “to go” coffee will come in a mason jar that you pay a deposit on and then either bring back or keep. Pulses are sold in jars as well. The owners, Janna and Shira, are passionate about the local food movement, and Shira is a long-time plant-based advocate and food blogger. So yeah, this is a small local business you can feel good about supporting.
Especially when the chocolate chip cookies are made with whole grain flour, and they taste this good.
You may have noticed that I have been conspicuously absent these last couple of weeks. There has been a lot going on.
First, it was my birthday, with his whirlwind of parties and cakes and friends. The week immediately after my birthday, Michael and I jumped in the car and spent a week exploring Vancouver Island. He was all about the museums, I was all about the donuts. We both won.
It was a great week, very relaxing; except for one thing. The ring finger on my right hand started to get really sore and puffy. I did my best to treat it, and then I also did my best to ignore it. I was on vacation, after all!
The morning after I got home from the island, reality crashed into my denial and I knew I had to do something about the situation. My finger was so painful and sore I couldn’t type, and I definitely couldn’t hold a knife or do much in the kitchen. So, off to the doctor I went, and he lanced it (yes, ow) and gave me antibiotics.
Long story short, my kitchen experiments have been seriously curtailed these last few weeks as I wait for my finger to return to normal.
And it’s been hard to not be in the kitchen, because, you see, I got a fantastic birthday gift this year: a Breville Smart Oven Air.
So you know how much I freaking love my kitchen gadgets. I have pretty much everything I need now; I have my KitchenAid Stand Mixer, I have my Ninja blender, I have my Nespresso, I have my Instant Pot. But deep in my heart, friends, I longed for an airfryer.
A long time ago, when I was in university, I owned a deep fryer. It was small, but hey, I was just one person. I was a broke student, so I’d make french fries, and it made me happy. A few years later, I got rid of it, and made a vow that, for health reasons, I’d never deep fry at home. I shallow fry, I eat deep fried foods when I go out, but not a home. That was the rule.
But then came the invention of the air fryer. These magical machines create a deep fried taste and texture but without immersing the food in hot oil. You can basically deep fry stuff with just a tablespoon or so of oil! I can hear choruses of angels singing!
The problem with most of those first generation air fryers is that they were massive. Big, heavy, took up a ton of counter space and a ton of cupboard space. I just didn’t have the kitchen real estate to own one.
But over the last couple of years, more and more companies have been creating multi-tools similar to the Instant Pot, but that allow you to air fry. 7-in-1 is way, way better than a tool that just does one thing, don’t you agree?
The Breville Smart Oven Air is just such a tool. This countertop toaster oven does a myriad of things: it bakes and broils and toasts, as you would expect a countertop oven to do. BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! It’s also has a proofing mode for bread, it makes pizza, it’s a dehydrator, and people, it air-fries!!!
As much as has been humanly possible with my gimpy finger, I have been playing with my air fryer over the last few weeks.
The Breville Smart Oven Air basically uses convection heat to do all the cool things it does. it’s a million times cooler (haha for a hot oven) and smarter than my regular oven, and I barely use my regular oven any more. This bad boy is big enough for pretty much everything I need, uses less power, and gets my kitchen less hot, especially during these last few hot weeks of summer.
Okay, but enough about that. I’m sure I’ll be talking about this machine for a long time to come. On to the recipe!
If you’ve ever had a really good french fry, it’s probably because it’s fried twice. Those smarty-pants Belgians, who invented (ironically) the ol’ French Fry, would fry the potatoes twice: first at a lower temp to cook the inside, and then again at a higher temp to make them crispy on the outside.
And that’s how these work.
Air Fried French Fries
1 largeish russet (baker) potato
seasoning of your choice (I used smoked paprika, rosemary and garlic powder)
Scrub your potato and if you like, you can peel it, though you don’t have to. Cut the potato into french-fry size/shapes. I cut mine in half length-wise, then place the cut side down and cut in half again (length-wise). Each half gets cut 3-4 times, then place those on their side and cut into “fries.” Place the cut fries in a bowl of cold water and allow to stand for about a half an hour. Soaking helps remove some of the starches that will make your potatoes gluey.
Drain the potatoes and spread them out on a clean kitchen towel and pat as much water as possible off of them.
Preheat your air fryer to 325 degrees.
Place the potatoes on your mesh air fryer basket, and spritz them with oil, either from a spray bottle or by using a commercially available oil spray like Pam.
Air fry for 7-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are floppy, indicating that they are cooked in the middle. Be sure to shake the basket halfway through.
Place on the counter and allow to cool down to room temperature (about 20-30 minutes).
Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.
While the air fryer is heating, dump your fries into a bowl, and add 1/2 tbsp of oil and all of your seasonings. You’ll need about 1 tsp of salt, and then I also used 1/4 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and some crushed rosemary. Toss well to combine. Place back on the mesh air fryer basket and spread out in a single layer.
Air fry for an additional 7-10 minutes, tossing or shaking half way through, until potatoes are crispy.
Serve immediately with ketchup, aioli, Mayochup, or my personal fave, truffled mayo.