More with Guinness

AriCooks, Cooking and baking with Beer, soups and stews, Vegan, vegetarian, Winter

I have to admit that there is something to be said for serving up a thick, meaty stew on a cold winter evening. Though I have been a non-meat eater for most of my life (partly because I do not enjoy the hands-on raw meat experience) I can appreciate that meat lends itself to cooking in a way that vegetables cannot when it comes to the flavor and texture of certain dishes. One such dish is stew. Though not all dictionaries define stew as containing meat, almost all do describe the dish as something that is cooked or simmered for a long time. As us cooking-folk know, if you simmer vegetables alone, for too long, you get mush (or a semi-tasty sludge, commonly referred to as “vegetable curry” at most Indian restaurants in the United States).

This is where seitan enters the picture. Not a year-round staple on our table, seitan — the product of kneading flour, water and vital wheat gluten until you get a tough, dense product that can be baked, boiled, stewed or sauteed for hours without disintegrating — does make a few appearances during the colder months because of it’s beefy qualities.

This recipe, which was inspired by an Irish stew from Gourmet Today, suffers very little from the substituion of seitan for beef, and becomes irresistable with the addition of Guinness both in the stew and along-side the meal. Enjoy.

Ari’s Irish Stew

Although I have made seitan from scratch in the past (it’s not difficult, just a bit of a process), store bough seitan is perfectly fine – The Bridge brand available at Whole Foods, is particularly tasty.

16 oz seitan, cut into 1-inch cubes,  moisture squeezed out

2 Tbs flour

salt and pepper

olive oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

3 carrots, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs tomato paste

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 Tbs worcestire sauce (there is a vegetarian version avaible at some markets)

1 cup Guinness or other stout

1 cup vegetable broth

2 tsp green peppercorns in brine (drained)

2 sprigs fresh thyme

Toss the seitain with the flour and a couple pinches of salt and pepper in a large bowl, unitl seitain is well coated.

In a large (oven-safe) sautee pan, heat olive oil on medium heat and add seitan. Brown the seitan on all sides, them remove from pan and set aside.

Add a bit more oil to the pan and gently sautee the onion, carrots and garlic until onions begin to soften.

Add tomato paste, mixing it into the vegetables. Add seitan to the pan along with water, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the beer, broth, worcestire, peppercrons, and thyme and bring to a simmer, covered.

While stew is simmering, preheat oven to 350ºF. Put the pan in the oven and cook for 1-1 1/2 hours, covered– check after 1 hour to make sure too much liquid has not evaporated.

Serve with crusty bread, a simple salad, and more Guinness!


Cooking and baking with Beer, Dairy Free, dessert, quick breads and tea cakes, Winter

A move this big is crazy. Even crazier when you are going to a new city without jobs and with a small child who needs to eat three times a day. In addition to the normal anxiety that goes along with turning our lives upside down, it’s December in Boston, which means short days, gray skies, freezing temperatures and bleak…bleakness. What I am trying to say is that alcohol may be involved for the duration. More specifically, Guinness — my most favorite beer! I love Guinness not only because of it’s frothy, rich, creamy, delicious flavor, but also because it lends itself to cooking and baking so nicely. Cheers.

In this case, some tunnelling is okay (developing of gluten which causes those holes) you need some gluten to give this heavy cake structure and prevent it form collapsing in the center

Gingerbread Cake [so good it’s almost sinful], from Cook’s illustrated, Jan/Feb 2011

This is some seriously moist, sticky (yes,sticky!), molasses-y, dark, rich, gingerbread. If you double the recipe (and I highly recommend that you do), you will use an entire 12-oz bottle of guinness stout.

3/4 cup stout

1/2 tsp baking soda

2/3 cup mild molasses (I could only find blackstrap, but I like it)

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups  all purpose flour (I used a mix of all purpose and whole wheat pastry)

2 Tbs ground ginger

1/2 tsp table salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper

2 large eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 Tbs finely grated fresh ginger

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan.

Bring stout toa boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda (mixture will foam vigorously).

When foaming subsides, stir in molasses, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until dissolved; set mixture aside. Whisk flour, ground ginger, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pepper together in a bowl; set aside.

Transfer stout mixture to a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs, oil, and grated ginger until combined. Whisk wet mixture into the flour mixture in thirds, stirring vigorously until completely smooth after each addition.

Transfer the batter to prepared pan and gently tap pan against counter 3 or times to dislodge any large air bubbles. Bake until top of cake is just firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean ~ 40 minutes.

Cool cake in pan on a wire rack, about 1 1/2 hours. Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

A little moping and some really good cupcakes

Cooking and baking with Beer, Dairy Free, dessert, Vegan

Oh Fall, you’re more than halfway over and we were barely getting started. Suddenly the leaves are nearly gone and November is upon us. Shivering-while-wating-for-the-train has made its comeback, as has hot-tea-at-all-hours.  Not only is my favorite season almost over (the best and the shortest, here in New England) but as our move draws ever-nearer I find more and more reasons why I am sad to leave. Although it will be an exciting change, and certainly feels like a grand adventure, I appreciate all that we have here even more now that we are leaving it behind. I think that’s the best way to leave a place, really…. appreciative and a little nostalgic.

Happy Halloween, xo

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes With Orange Buttercream, from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

Isa and Terry suggest a crumb topping for these little treats, but for me, a cupcake is almost not worth the effort without a healthy dose of frosting.

makes one dozen

For the Cupcakes

3/4 cup soy milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 cup, plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour (or a mix of AP and whole wheat pastry)

1/3 cup unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup stout (I found a chocolate-coffee stout that was perfect)

3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used less– 1/2 cup maybe)

1/3 cup canola oil

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, sift the cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and mix. Add stout, sugar, oil and vanilla and beat until foamy. Add dry ingredients to the wet in 2 batches and mix well (I folded the dry into the wet with a whisk, but was careful not to over mix). Pour batter into cupcake liners, 3/4 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes and cool on a rack completely before frosting.

Orange Buttercream

This recipe calls for half margarine, half shortening, but I just used all Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticksworked very nicely. Also, the addition of orange food coloring was in honor of Halloween, you can leave it out if you so choose- thought the orange color does look pretty against the dark chocolate cakes.

1/4 cup vegan margerine, softened to room temp

1/4 shortening, softened to room temp

2 cups powedered sugar

2 Tbs freshly squeezed orange juice

1 Tbs finely grated lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream the margarine and shortening until creamy and well combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar in roughly half-cup addtions. After each addition, add a splash of orange juice and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add vanilla and beat for another 3 to 5 minutes until smooth, creamy and fluffy. Wrap tightly, if not yet ready to use.

Frost cupcakes when they are completely cool.