Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Busy, Busy Night

Whew, busy night tonight. I decided that I'm going to use this time to learn how to make bread over the next couple of weeks. On top of that, tonight's menu is tempeh stuffed bell peppers.... and it's election night, so listening to returns is important... and it's hockey night (yes, there are vegans that enjoy a good hockey game; dozens of us, in fact. Dozens!). For a little while I debated bringing two radios into the kitchen and listening to both, but I decided to try and keep my ADD secret (shhhhh!). On to the food.

I have to come clean, I am utterly unable to follow a recipe. Every time I read through something I'm making for the first time, I can't help but think to myself "Hey, that'd be better if I swapped out something and replaced it with something else." Plus, I have some secret ingredients -- no, I won't tell, that's why they're called "secret" -- that get added to nearly everything I make. This works great when you're, you know, cooking. Baking, however, is a totally different story. When baking bread, changing recipes and altering proportions is a surefire way to end up with an inedible, sorry, I have to, hockey puck.

So, in an effort to better my culinary skills and break fewer teeth, I've decided to take on bread baking. I recently picked up a cookbook called "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" [1] on the recommendation of a friend. While not all the recipes are vegan, the book introduces a technique that will allow you to make artisan quality bread in your oven at home. I'll try to start from the beginning with the basic French Boule.

Goal!! Take that, Sharks!

The stuffed peppers come from "Vegan Soul Kitchen" [2], a cookbook that I just can't get enough of. I'm surprised I made it to day two without using a recipe from this book. It's all spicy, strongly flavored, and awesome. To make up for the simplicity of the bread, the peppers are a little more complex. Having to manage three different things cooking at a time makes for an extremely warm kitchen, especially when you have to keep the door shut lest the beagle in the other room decides to come have a sample.

So, three hours of hard fought cooking later, the right candidates doing well in the returns, and a shutout for the home team, we're ready to try it out.

The Wife's Reaction: Wow, this bread is good. It's got a great crust and the crumb (interior) is nice and moist. 4.5 out of 5 stars. Make more, please. Personally, I found it a little bit dense, but nothing letting it rise a little longer wouldn't fix.

As for the stuffed bell peppers, I'm not the biggest fan of tempeh because it has a really asstertive flavor. Though there's a lot of other flavors going on here, the tempeh kind of takes over. 3 of 5 stars.

[1] Hertzberg, Jeff and Francois, Zoe. "Master Recipe: Boule." Recipe. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. New York, New York: St. Martin's Press, 2007. 24-30

[2] Terry, Bryant. "Tempeh-Stuffed Bell Peppers." Recipe. Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2009. 149-150


  1. I adore tempeh so much it's almost scary. Bread is one of my favorite things ever. And I love hockey, obviously. Who doesn't?? Sounds like an excellent night!

  2. Awesome! I was looking at the Bread Bible today and thinking of making some myself this month. (Good gift ideas, too!)