Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vegan Slow Cooker Minestrone with Teff Agave Bread

The minestrone was a perfect match for the Teff Agave Bread. Mr Thyme used garbanzo beans, pinto beans, some carrots, onions, 2 cloves of garlic, celery and spices along with a can of whole tomatoes, (chopped), plus veggie juice--2 cups and veggies stock--4 cups. Set for four hours in a 4 quart slow cooker. Add your favorite cooked pasta at the end--let it cook another 30 minutes. Viola--it was delicous. (We sprinkled a bit of vegan parm on it, added some green onion and drizzled olive oil on the finished bowl.)

The teff flour added heff to this bread--in a good way. This bread has the most amazing crust.

Lest you think I have taken a break from my vegan cooking (and apparently some have as I have sadly lost another "follower"--where do they go, why do they leave?). I have no idea. I am puzzled and curious. I have always been curious. So, maybe I should include a button asking: Why are you following this blog? And the converse, Why are you departing this blog? I am a sensitive sort--running high with giddiness at times, and on other occasions, running quite low. I prefer the first to the last. I stumbled into Twitter and Facebook because. . . well, I was curious. Now, not so much. It is one more stop I must make in my checking in, logging in, remembering the login passwords, etc. Of the two, I think a tweet now and then is more my speed. Keeping this blog is something I enjoy. It is my first stop most days. I like seeing comments. But also enjoy sharing my vegan chow. But as we are into the dark winter months, I am not as inclined to begin thinking of clever foods as often as I was say, a month ago. I am taking a mini break from the "this-must-be-a-meal-I-post" drive. For every season. . . well, you know the rest.

I have been on a soup kick since the onion ring night. As delicious the holiday indulgence was, I also realized that just because one is vegan does not mean they are immune from the "holiday five, or ten" or whatever your weight gain may be. Personally, I could eat soup year round, though it is best this time of year. The comfort months call for bringing soup of all kind to the front of the cooking line.

I also love bread. I am, nor was I ever, one to put myself on any diet. Ever. I thought that whole no carbs diet was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard of. Honestly. Plus when I worked around the people on the carb-free diet--they seemed to become more agitated, more barbaric in their demeanor--eat your carbs I say and do so with great gusto. Just not the whole cake. Not the whole loaf of bread either.

Which brings me to my favorite: soup with bread. My bread machine is about a year old. I love it. It sits smugly on my counter begging me to add my water and flour on a daily basis. So I was thrilled when I picked up my new Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger (again with a shout out to Beth and her fine bread baking skill!) and I flipped open a page to this wonderful sounding teff bread. Hers was made with honey. My change included making it with agave. Interesting note included about the bread is that teff is produced in only one place in the US--out in Idaho by a single shop. He produces much of his teff for the Ethopian communities living in the US. Beth notes in her book that teff is the tiniest grain in the world. Who knew? Then it is sold under a few vendor names--most recognizable to me: Bob's Red Mill. I love the Red Mill grains. I bought teff flour to try as I was, what else: curious. The teff agave bread was true heaven. I could not have been more pleased. It has a slight nutty taste, a moist and chewy crumb and a crust that was to die for. I am the kind of gal that leaves crust behind. But with this bread, all the crust was gone. I hope you give this bread a shot--or scour the internet for other teff uses. It is a grain I am truly impressed by.

Mr. Thyme made the minestrone. He doctors it up with about two cups of veggie juice, then adds about double the amount of veggie stock--to give it that nice color and amazing taste. He set it in the slow cooker for about four hours. At the final half hour, he cooked about 3/4 cup of pasta and then added it--preferring not to have the starch release and thicken the soup during its slow cooking time. There are a million recipes for minestrone out there. Just be sure to serve a wonderful bread with it. And, be sure to have some vegan parm on hand for sprinkling on top.

Teff Agave Bread (for the bread machine)

*Note: when you bake with agave, you must reduce the liquids a bit--I've made an adjustment on that front in this recipe for you. This recipe is for a 1 1/2 pound loaf.

3/4 cup water at 80 degrees
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 1/4 unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Teff Flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Vital Wheat Gluten
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Red Star Active Yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine per manufactuer's directions. Set on Basic Loaf, 1 1/2 pound loaf size. Set on medium or dark crust. Once final beep takes place--remove from the machine, allow to cool for about a half hour prior to slicing. This bread re-heats well in the microwave the following day--give it about 15 seconds.

4 comments:

  1. Looks wonderful, both the soup and the bread...thankyou for posting

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  2. I adore injera, so I know I would love this bread!!!

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  3. @tasty trix: Thanks! I had never heard of injera--until I began reading about this bread and grain! We ARE in the Midwest, and where I reside, it is a little less cosmopolitan than most places! The bread was yummy!

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  4. @pineapplesforme: Thank you for your kind note! I really do love a simple meal like this--it feeds the soul, you know?

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