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.
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.