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Monday, October 1, 2007

Cooking Trials & Tribulations

Well, it was a rainy Sunday, and my fingers needed a rest from the metal work, so yesterday I decided to do some serious cooking. I spent pretty much all afternoon hunched over a cutting board and a hot stove, and unfortunately, only one out of three of my projects can realistically be considered a success.

I'll start with the good and move on to the bad and the ugly.

First thing in the morning, after some yummy blueberry pancakes, I made a loaf of bread from this recipe. I didn't follow the instructions though; I halved the recipe, used my bread machine to do the mixing, and used 1/3 white flour and 2/3 whole wheat pastry flour. The flavor was delicious, especially while it was still warm, but it was a bit crumbly and delicate (my toast this morning did not stand up well to peanut butter at all). I decided to forge ahead with a minor adjustment and make dinner rolls from the same recipe; this time, to try to remedy the crumbliness (I invented a word!), I substituted 1/2 cup of vital wheat gluten flour for 1/2 cup of the white flour. The rolls turned out tasty and pretty.

before baking, brushed with soy margarine

after baking, ready to eat

Okay, so that's where my success ended. I also attempted to make Paches (Potato Tamales) from a Guatemalan cookbook (testing out recipes for Carlos' upcoming Diego-themed birthday party). Now, I have never made tamales before, and I probably should have stuck with something more basic, but these are made from a potato base instead of a corn/masa base, and let's just say they were, well, smooshy. They looked so pretty before I steamed them...

But afterwards, all hell broke loose. There was tamale filling everywhere; the insides did not stay happily ensconced in their corn husk cocoons. The taste was okay, but the texture was all wrong and they were absolutely too horrifying to photograph, so I'll leave you with that pretty pre-cooking photo.

Finally, I attempted to make kettle corn. I love kettle corn, but who needs the hydrogenated oils and refined sugars??? So I thought I would make my own semi-healthier version with vegetable oil and cane sugar. But, well, simple enough - I burned it. I don't think I've ever made popcorn on the stovetop before (!) and I think I had the flame too high. I'll try again. Once more, not photo-worthy.

So that's about it. I still want to make tamales - anyone have a tried and true veggie tamale recipe to share?


Vegan_Noodle said...

You win some you lose some.... your rolls look awesome though!

On a completely unrelated note, I posted a photo for you on the Etsy customer appreciation group. It is kind of a close up of me with the jewelry for my wedding. Don't worry, once I get the professional ones I"ll send you some others!

Tamara said...

What's the Etsy customer appreciation group??? I was already scoping out your Flickr pics to see how it all looked together. You looked beautiful!!!

Jamie said...

There is a very simple tamale recipe in Vegan Lunch Box. I don't think it is posted on her site, but it is really easy to make and to change. The recipe has a basic black bean filling, but sometimes I add corn, onions, peppers, seitan, etc.
If you have vegan lunch box, I recommend that recipe.

Vegan Girl said...

I have cooking experiences like that too. And sometimes when something takes forever to make by the time it's ready I don't even want to eat it!

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know, I lived 2 years in Guatemala. What they call tamales in Guatemala are not really much like what we would call tamales in the US. In the US tamales are much more solid than in Guatemala where I would have to say smooshy comes closer to describing what they are supposed to look like. They usually cook them in banana leaves which gives them a lot more room to work with them. They are supposed to be very different from what you would normally consider tamales, and they are much much tastier. I never liked tamales until I went to Guatemala.