i am the bagel queen

One of my favorite foods (okay let’s be real, my number one favorite food) is a nice sesame bagel toasted with some nice melted butter (vegan of course). One of my first hard foods as a baby was nice frozen bagel; who knew that bagel would shape my very existence (into a bagel obsessed adult).

A brief history of the bagel…Records show that the bagel was invented (or at least  mentioned) in Krakow, Poland around 1610, however, it did not make its way to the United States until the mass Eastern European immigration in the late 19th century. There were other similarly described breads mentioned even earlier in history in other parts of the world, including Italy and China. Bagels did not become popular/ubiquitous until the 1970’s, where before they were only found in Jewish markets and delis. 20 years later the bagel industry was booming thanks to the Lenders and their development of the “frozen bagel.”

I had only made bagels once before with mom when I was quite young, so this whole bagel making process was quite new to me. However, they came out quite good, which is why I am making them a second time in one week, and hope to make other flavors besides sesame. Bagels get their nice little crust from boiling the dough before baking it. The whole process takes about 2 hours because you need to let the dough sit for about an hour and 20 minutes in total (spread out).

Now that I live in New York, I am still trying to figure out what a true “New York Bagel” really is all about about. I have my few favorite bagel places but I have discovered I tend to like a perfectly crisp outside layer with an almost flaky doughy inside. Some theories are that New York Bagels are the best due to softness of New York’s water, which as lower levels of calcium carbonate. New York bagel shops also tend to ferment their dough over night, which in turn enriches the dough with a specific yeasty flavor we all seem to love. I am still on the quest for the “true” New York bagel experience.

New York Style Bagel Recipe (adapted from Sophisticated Gourmet):

Makes 8 mid-sized bagels.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of active dry yeast (~2 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ~1  1/4 cups of warm water
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

  1. Combine yeast, sugar, and a 1/2 cup of warm water. Let sit for five minutes until mixture is bubbly. Do not stir (yet).
  2. Whisk the mixture until the yeast and sugar have dissolved. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Make a small well in the middle of the flour mixture. Add yeast mixture and 1/3 cup of water.
  4. Stir together the ingredients until a moist, but firm, dough has formed, adding more water and flour as needed.
  5. On a floured countertop/surface knead dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Kneading is important for removing air bubbles so make sure you take the time!! (A bread machine would also be perfect here). You can look up kneading techniques here.
  6. Lightly oil dough and a large bowl (I used a little spritz of pam and a paper towel to ensure a thin coverage). Place dough in bowl and cover dough with a damp towel, setting in aside in a warm space. Set aside for an hour until dough doubles in size.
  7. Punch down dough and cover again, setting aside for another 10 minutes.
  8. Rip dough into 8 equal pieces to create the bagel balls. Using your finger, create a hole in the middle of the ball that is roughly a third of the diameter, creating the bagel shape. Once complete, set aside for another 10 minutes, once again covered by a damp cloth.
  9. Now preheat your oven to 425 F.
  10. Fill a large pot with water. Heat until boiling. Place as many bagels into the pot; the bagels will float to the top and then you will boil each side of the bagel for 1-2 minutes. The longer you boil, the chewier the bagel. Use a slotted spoon to flip the bagels.
  11. Place bagels in a lightly oiled pan/baking sheet and add your toppings!!! Bake for 20 minutes until the bagels are a light brown color.

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Also don’t miss a beat on what I’m cooking up: check out my new instagram account @chocolatenchickpeas. 😀

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cozy mornin’ berry quinoa

Quinoa, originally grown in South America, has definitely become one of my favorite grains once I became vegetarian. It’s nutty, versatile, full of protein and fiber, and can be eaten hot or cold, morning or night. Quinoa also contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, oleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid.  Quinoa is also a complete protein, and contains adequate amounts of both the amino acids lysine and isoleucine.

In the past, my favorite quinoa recipe was a spicy Mexican quinoa (recipe soon to follow).  I was never a huge oatmeal fan growing up, although just like any other kid I loved the dinosaur egg instant oatmeal, as well as the apple cinnamon quaker oatmeal….however, that was at least a decade ago. Since then, I haven’t really eaten oatmeal for breakfast but my boyfriend decided to try/surprise me with this sweet and comforting quinoa porridge. You can add whatever fruits and nuts you like, and use any sweetener as well (we used maple syrup, but honey or agave nectar should be good too).

Recipe (adapted from 101cookbooks):

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups of fruit (I used raspberries and bananas)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup toasted almond slivers
  • 4 teaspoons maple syrup, or more 🙂

Instructions:

  1. Heat milk, water, and quinoa in a saucepan and boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer over medium-low for 10 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Add remaining fruit, cinnamon, nuts, and maple syrup.

 

chickpea flour omelet (pancake)

This is by far one of my top 3 breakfast dishes to make! The texture and consistency is very similar to a real omelet (unless you dilute it a little more to make a thinner pancake) and it is very satisfying/will keep you full for a few hours. I started to notice once I took a hiatus from eating eggs and ate them on a hasty whim while on spring break I was immediately hungry an hour or so later, which I also believe used to happen to me in the past but I accepted it as I was exercising more and was not so conscious of all that I was eating. The chickpea flour pancake can be scrambled, portioned out into sand-dollar sized pancakes, or made into a large pancake/omelet. I have always had problem flipping the larger sized pancakes so I generally make it into a scramble.

Chickpea flour is super cheap (less than $3!) and can also be used as an egg replacer in various dishes (which I have yet to try). 1/4 cup of chickpea flour + 1/4 cup of liquid (either water or non-dairy milk)=1 egg! You can also use it to make tofu, which I will probably also be posting on this blog later!

Recipe for Chickpea Flour Omelet ( Adapted from Oh She Glows)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup of  each of the veggies you would like, as if for making it an omelet (I did tomatoes, white onions, a little poblano pepper, and green pepper)
  • 2 cloves of garlic diced, or you can use a 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon baking powder (use less if you want your pancakes flatter, use more if you want them more fluffy)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of water
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Hummus, tahini, guacamole, hot sauce, etc for sides!

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in large pan and sauté vegetables and garlic until tender.
  2. Mix together chickpea flour, spices, baking powder, and water and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add batter to vegetables and cook until no longer moist and slightly brown, roughly 5-6 minutes. If you are able to flip your large or smaller pancakes do so until both sides are cooked. Otherwise you can scramble the batter and cook it to your satisfaction.
  4. Serve with any topping of your choice. I usually use avocado and hot sauce :p

 

 

southwest tofu scramble

This morning I was craving some southwest tofu scramble from Lone Wolf, a local breakfast hot spot in Amherst that has plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, so I decided to make some at home with the help of Cam, who made the tasty home fries to accompany it. The scramble itself is low in calories, about 150 calories depending on how much oil and other ingredients you use.

Tofu, made of soy, is packed with amino acids (building blocks of protein) and a complete source of protein, similar to meat, eggs, and dairy. Incomplete proteins are foods that do not contain all the essential amino acids, that can only be found in food and not produced by our body, and need to be paired with other fods that contain the remaining amino acids (i.e. rice and beans, nuts and whole grains, etc). Quinoa and a few other grains and seeds are also complete sources of protein.

Tofu also is a good source of calcium and iron, as well as other minerals and vitamins and phytoestrogens, specifically isoflavones, which are considered natural antioxidants. Isoflavones consumption are linked to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, breast and prostate cancers, menopausal symptoms, bone loss, etc.

The scramble is very easy and quick to make, and goes well with a nice side of home fries, dollops of guacamole and salsa, and nice a piece of toast (with earth balance of course). Cam used yukon gold potatoes for the home fries: he chopped them up in bite size pieces, through them into a skillet with 3-5 tablespoons of olive oil, seasoned them with salt, black pepper, garlic powder and a little bit of cumin, and fried them until crispy.

Recipe for Southwest Tofu Scramble:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of extra-firm tofu (16 oz)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 of a green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 of a large tomato, diced
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 1/2 of a poblano, jalapeño or hot pepper, diced small
  • Other vegetables optional!
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1l/2 teaspoon of coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cajun seasoning (optional)
  • 1/2 can of black
  • Salt and pepper for taste
  • 1/2 of a can of black beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:

  1. Drain and chop tofu into pieces and place in strainer over a bowl to smash out excess water. Mash the tofu with a fork until crumbly/with a scrambled egg appearance.
  2. Heat oil in pan and sauté all vegetables until soft and tender.
  3. Add vegetable and spices and cook for a few minutes
  4. Add black beans and nutritional yeast and cook for another few minutes.

 

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