Friday, March 4, 2011

Vegan Savory Cheese And No-Chives-for-You Bread: Returning to French Fridays with Dorie (A Pyrex Story And Why Organic Isn't Always Best)

So I solved two great mysteries yesterday. First, I thought I was the subject of some great baking conspiracy whereby every single time I ran across a loaf recipe--be it cake or bread, and the pan size called for an 8 x 4 inch pan, all I've ever had in my pitiful collection were two very old 9 x 5 sizers in aluminum, from my mom's collection--nice and stained from years of holding meatloaf recipes. (I have turned out very good quick breads and the like from these old pans, mind you, some were squatty-potty breads because of the larger size I resorted to when desperate times called for desperate measures, I'd just make do with what I had.) But then comes Dorie. In her very clear style of writing and very encouraging words for this week's French Fridays with Dorie bread recipe, she stated: Generously butter an 8-x-4 1/2-x-2 3/4 inch loaf pan -- a Pyrex pan is perfect here. Pyrex. Say what?! I have one of those. It, too, was my mother's. So in went my head into the dark cavernous kitchen cabinet holding all things to bake with, hands reaching around in the dark waiting to hit something cool and smooth feeling (knocking over every other cake, bundt and muffin pan along the way, spilling several pans out onto the floor and onto my lap), until I felt the cool slick side of something. I pull it out. My glass loaf pan! I turn it over and viola! Well I'll be darned, THAT's the mysterious eight inch loaf pan! I've had it all along!
 Not being a math major or an engineer or someone who has a ruler housed nearby for all things dough and measuring-related (okay, I DO have a ruler because I am just that anal when it comes to precise baking and rolling requirements)--I had never thought of measuring my mom's glass Pyrex loaf pan. And as I stumbled into the Bed and Bath store yesterday morning, for the eighth time, determined to get a gosh darn 8 x 4 inch loaf pan for today's bread recipe--to no avail, I threw my hands in the air once again saying, Whatever--a nine inch pan will have to do! Thank god for little notes like Dorie's.  

Second mystery. I got my car back from the shop. I can now steer my car. However, I cannot roll my window up! Who knew electronic windows had motors and that said motors burned out--right after the power steering pump goes out? So. . . I never ever go to a drive thru again? And pray to god I never get pulled over for fear of having to climb over to the passenger side of my car--causing, I'm certain, all kinds of concern. I think I'm getting a horse and buggy next.
I had taken a brief respite from my Dorie French-ness owing to the, um, well, the HUGE amount of cooked meat in that last recipe. There, I said it. Now, don't think I couldn't have used some faux vegan meat substitute to pull the short rib recipe off, I could have. But just thinking about it made me a) tired, and b) sort of mad at the French. Which lucky for me, on the page following this lovely cheese bread recipe was an entire piece dedicted to "Complaining the French Way". Yes, I laughed, too. Apparently, for French people, complaining can be an art form. Who knew? So I defer to my vegan connoisseur side in NOT pursuing the meat-y French dishes. But formally kinda logde my complaint at the same time.
Oh the joy of having an 8" Pyrex loaf pan.
My bread took a different direction. Not just a vegan one either. I wandered out my kitchen door to see how my chives were doing. Chives, for you non-gardeners out there, are the first little punkin' pies to poke their little heads out in late-winter-almost-spring. I love my chives--but alas, chives were not quite ready for pickin'. So I opted instead to add sundried tomatoes, chopped scallions and some fresh basil (well, frozen from last summer) and dried thyme to my bread, along with a half cup of pecans. Oh, and vegan cheese, but I did not add the cubed cheese Dorie suggests, in place of the "cubes of cheese", I added chopped green olives. Yum. The olives really added a nice touch, plus gave way to the salty flavor the cheese may have imparted in the non-vegan loaf. This bread was simply wonderful! I was completely smitten with it. We had it with minestrone soup last night. The aroma filling the house while this baked could have easily satisfied my tummy as dinner itself. (That's the carb addict in me talkin'.) In place of eggs--used Ener-G egg replacer. In place of milk, used unsweetened soy milk.
Little chive plant. Not quite ready for prime time. So we will wait and perhaps try this loaf with chives later.
Mmmm. Frozen basil from last summer. I had a gallon bag of this set aside. When I pull this out, my whole house gets happy. I added this to my bread. Then I wanted to add. . . red onion. 
This was quite disturbing to find. It's an "organic" red onion. I was going to use some diced red onion in my cheesy bread. I paid a lot for this onion. I'd had it four days. I thought an alien had struck my potato/garlic/onion drawer--it sort of scared me actually. To see more French Friday goodies, click here




















15 comments:

  1. Cute post. Love the addition of olives - again you turned out a great result with all of your substitutions.

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  2. Your loaf looks like it turned out great. If you ever want a metal version of the 8 in pan, Bed Bath & Beyond (on-line) and King Arthur Flour both sell a 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 pan made by USA pans. It is a great little pan, I used it for my bread and it came right out of the loaf pan after cooking.

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  3. [Forehead smack] Olives! What a fabulous idea. The loaf turned out gorgeous!

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  4. I am so jealous. All you see when you look out at my chive plant is the top of my garden gnome's hat! The rest of him and my chives are buried in snow.

    Wonderful looking loafs!

    (And yes, I did know that about car windows. I drove around with two broken motors, both driver and passenger, for over 6 months one year.)

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  5. Sounds lovely! I like the idea of adding olives...yum. :)

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  6. All your additions and substitutions sound wonderful. I love the chunky look of your bread, too. I hope your auto woes are over soon!

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  7. So are you going to plant the onion??

    The bread looks lovely, and I heart Pyrex, I don't have their loaf pan though.

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  8. Hi Cher! Why, thank you very much! BTW, I loved your post on the FFWD bread!

    Hi Ms. Hobby! Thank you for that tip and I saw your bread pan and was like, whoa, that's the kind of bread pan I want! I am so glad you shared that info. with me!

    Hi soupaddict! LOL! I do that all the time!

    Hi Ronda! Girlfriend of the car woes: Your note made me feel sooo much better. Misery loves company, you know! And thank you!

    Hi Sara! Thank you so much for your note!

    Nupur! Plant it? Really? Do you think I should have? If I can find another Pyrex loaf pan, I'll be a happy, happy girl!

    Hi Lola! Thank you!

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  9. Your bread looks just gorgeous...I can not believe how well you did with all of the substitutions. Kudos to you for finding it all. I was running behind this week and barely got the bread baked by Friday night :) Good thing it was such an easy recipe. Nana had hers done early this week and thankfully cheered me on to try this one. We both loved the "French Complaining" notes too !

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  10. I want your pyrex loaf pan!!! I only have a 9 x 5 - it seems Dorie always calls for some little specific piece of equipment I don't have. Love the olives addition. That was the thing about this recipe - I think it was downright necessary to add tons of yummy stuff, which you did admirably!

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  11. Hi tricia! Thanks so much! Lucky for me my pantry was pretty well stocked.

    Hey Trixie Girl! Thanks dear! I know I have seen these glass pans somewhere--like maybe in the plain old "regular" grocery store aisle where they keep really strange cookware items. I am not good with "substitutions" when it comes to baking--so glad I found this pan!

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  12. Oh my mom has one of those pans...and my grandmother too. I finally ordered an 8 inch loaf pan because I saw it in so many recipes. I should have measured the one's my family owns. This bread looks yummy. And I can't wait to see how you are going to use those chives in the future. Thanks for sharing all this culinary goodness. I hope you sleep well tonight and wake up refreshed and ready to embrace the new day!

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  13. Olives are a brilliant idea!!! Olives are one of my most favorite things to enjoy in almost everything:) I will definitely look at adding them next time I enjoy this bread! AND freezing basil, I had no idea, thank you for sharing that tip:)
    Take care,
    Terra
    www.cafeterrablog.com

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  14. Hi Monet! Thanks, dear! I wish I had two of these, so I am now on the hunt to add another! I hope all is well with you!

    Hi Terra! Thanks for your note! I eat olives like I eat chocolate. Seriously. I cannot take credit for the basil idea. I learned this from a checker at Trader Joe's who saw me purchasing a HUGE package of basil and said, You should freeze whatever you don't use--worked like a charm! Have done so ever since.

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