Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers Do Vegan

Joy of joys, this month the Daring Bakers were given a savory recipe with not a smidgen of butter, and only a tiny amount of sweetness in the yeast dough, necessary to help the yeasties grow. A huge thank you to Natalie of Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings From The Fishbowl for being the hosts and giving us such a nice change of pace for the challenge. To up the ante, they also asked for a fully vegan spread or dip to go with the baked part. My answer to that part of the challenge follows the latest story from the Land of St. Honore' that I dream up each month to go with the challenge. The recipe for the challenge can be found at Natalie's and Shel's blogs. The link to the daring Baker blogroll...which will take you to all the wondrous versions of this challenge that the hundreds and hundreds of other Daring Bakers have made, is on the right of this post. Enjoy!

September 2008 Story from the Land of St. Honore' - a Tale of Elves

The five elves gathered in the kitchen one fine morning. Now they do happen to be near neighbors of the seven dwarfs of storybook and Disney fame, but are not nearly as well known, and that bothers them a bit. They are also no relation to the Keebler elves, although that could have been a useful relationship today, considering what they are baking.

The first elf, Tigger, gathered the ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, oil, sugar, water. She proofed the yeast in the water and sugar because the expire date was coming up and who wants to waste flour these days?

When it looked like the yeast was active, the second elf, Elm, mixed the dough and kneaded, and kneaded, and kneaded...good thing he had strong arms and shoulders and supple hands...hence the nickname. Eventually the dough was satiny and stretchy, so he oiled a bowl and put the dough in to rise.

Once the dough was risen, the third elf, Moon Doggy, removed it from over the dryer where it had risen to double it's size, thanks to the effects of a load of laundry drying during rising time. Unfortunately, she became distracted since the other four elves were involved in a rousing game of mumbleypeg and she wanted to play, too.

Hours later Moon Doggy realized that she didn't have time to finish the project, so she shoved the dough, covered with a tea towel, into the fridge. It sat there overnight.

The next morning the fourth elf, Swifty, took over. She was a bit dismayed to find that the top surface of the dough had toughened up...a skin formed overnight. Moon Doggy had gone off surfing, so Swifty did what she could. She coated the skin very lightly with a smear of olive oil and let it sit while she had her first cup of coffee. Then she placed the dough on a lightly floured surface, divided it in half, used her fingers on each half to break up the skin and kneaded each half a few times. That distributed the tougher dough into the softer dough.

The fifth elf, Shorty, got up on his stool, put one half of the dough between large sheets of baking parchment and rolled, rolled, rolled the dough with his rolling pin.
Every now and then he would remove the paper, turn the dough over, re-cover it, and let the dough sit for a minute or so to rest, then he rolled some more. In time he had a sort of oval of dough rolled as thin as he could manage.

Once Shorty had rolled out the other half of the dough, Tigger docked the dough with the tines of a fork and then misted the dough with water.

The rest of the elves sprinkled on some sesame seed, poppy seed, flax seed and salt. Shorty used the pizza cutter to cut rectangles. Into the preheated oven it all went.

After 20 minutes the crackers were baked and smelling wonderful! After cooling a bit, Elm broke them apart along the cut lines.Unfortunately the water mist didn't hod the seeds, so most ended up in the pan. Who cared? All the elves agreed that the crackers still were delicious. Moon Doggy even came home in time to try out a few crackers with the spinach and roasted garlic spread.

Spinach and Roasted Garlic Spread
1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, warmed and drained OR
1 pound fresh spinach, washed, steamed, chopped, and drained
1 can cannelli (white) beans, drained
3-5 cloves roasted garlic, or to taste
¼ - ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
salt to taste
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until a smooth spread is formed. Check for seasonings. Serve with crackers, sliced baguettes, or fresh veggies.

Roasted garlic:
Take a whole head of garlic and remove most of the papery skin. Put the garlic in a small heat-proof dish. Add ¼ cup olive oil and ¼ cup water. Cover tightly with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven (toaster oven works fine if you have one) for 45 minutes to an hour, or until cloves are very soft. Remove from oven and let cool. The oil left in the dish can be used for salad dressings. The rest of the roasted garlic also tastes good in the following, non-vegan recipe:

Ricotta and Roasted Garlic
1 cup ricotta cheese
3-5 cloves roasted garlic (or to taste) mashed
salt & pepper to taste
Mix ingredients thoroughly. Serve with crackers, baguette slices, or fresh veggies

By the way, no elves actually helped with making any of these foods...except in my imagination.


  1. Lovely! We had seeds all over the pan, too, but the lavash still tasted good! Your dip sounds fabulous!

  2. Anonymous9:56 PM

    nice job on the challenge and it does sound as if the elves had a blast doing this! :)

  3. Kalunck . . . that is simply incredible dip! Awesome . . . spinach, garlic and beans . . . yes I must make.
    Savory was terrific!

  4. No elves harmed in the process, tastebuds tingled, I say this is a success!

  5. Great story as always Elle! That dip sounds lovely too. I'm glad the Queen of Stories liked my own little attempt! :)

  6. Love the idea of the garlic and spinach dip. Super healthy and super tasty

  7. Anonymous7:18 AM


  8. Lovely Lavash and awesome spinach garlic dip - mmmmmm!

  9. Ooo, your lavash looks great, and that dip sounds wonderful!!

  10. Looks great! The dip sounds great too!

  11. yum, love the sound of your dip!!

  12. Yum! How do you feel about it being vegan?

  13. Spinach and roasted garlic? oh that sounds heavenly to me. I'll need extra crackers for that one. Lovely lovely lovely!

  14. Giggle! Giggle! Great story. Elves - hah!!! Great job. The dip and crackers look delicious.

  15. Andrea, those silly seeds!Glad I wasn't the only one.

    Jo, the elves did :)

    Tanna,wasn't savory a nice change?

    Baking Soda, Happy elves and you are right...a success.

    Dharm, I loved your James Bond story! The dip is pretty good, too.

    Katie,Roasted garlic makes almost anything delish.

    Culinography, Thanks!

    Gabi, Thanks!


    Claire, Thanks!

    Tammy, Thanks!

    Davimak, Vegan is great. Sweetie loves meat and potatoes, but when I'm on my own I usually choose vegetarian and often vegan. I developed vegan recipes for our participants at the clinic, too. Everyone seemed to think that vegetarian was enough, but it's really not if you don't want to eat animal products at all. There are lots of yummy vegan recipes!

    Meeta, Yes, we used up all the crackers and went on to baguette slices...too good to stop.

  16. I'm late, again, but am glad I still made it by! Nice work little elves. Love the idea of the dip too!