There are all kinds of breads that are on my to-do list. This time, I decided to try my hand at making submarine rolls (or baguettes or hoagies, if you prefer), the ones that are delicious with all sorts of sandwich fillings. I always seek out these rolls from good bakeries- the best rolls have a hard crusty shell that cracks as you bite it, revealing a soft and pillowy interior. After all, anyone can turn out fabulous cakes and pastries full of rich ingredients, but it takes a great deal of talent to make a delicious product from just flour, water and yeast. The inspiring recipe came from the blog Coconut and Lime. With just 1.5 cups of flour, it is a small-scale recipe, perfect for pilot experiments.
The most sought-after characteristic of these rolls- the crisp texture of the crust- is achieved by creating a steaming effect in the oven when the rolls start to bake. This can be done either by spritzing the oven interior with a spray bottle filled with water, or by throwing ice cubes on the floor of the oven. I tried both and thought that the ice cube dumping was easier and worked better. I suggest reading the original recipe carefully if you want to try this; I have merely written a short summary here. It takes about 3 hours from the time you start making the dough to the point of getting fresh-baked rolls from the oven.
Sub Rolls(adapted from Coconut and Lime, makes 4 palm-sized rolls).
1. In a food processor, make a smooth dough with 1.5 cups flour (I used 1:1 all-purpose flour and white whole-wheat flour), 1 t salt, 1.5 t yeast and 0.5 C or so water.
2. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then let it rise for an hour or so.
3. Gently collapse the dough, divide gently into 4 portions and let them rest for 20-30 minutes.
4. On a cornmeal-sprinkled surface, gently pat each portion of dough into an oblong shape. Cover and let it rise for another hour.
5. Heat the oven (with a pizza stone inside) to 450 degrees F. Place the rolls on the pizza stone, throw 4-5 ice cubes on the oven floor (they will melt and vaporize with a great deal of hissing and sizzling), and close the oven door.
6. After 5 minutes, turn the temperature of the oven down to 400 degrees F, throw 3-4 more ice cubes on the oven floor, and let the rolls bake for 15 more minutes, or until golden brown.
I used the rolls as a base for Barbecue sandwiches, using this recipe from Vegetarian Times.
It was the very first time that I used the meat substitute seitan (wheat gluten) and I thought it was OK, but nothing to write home about. The barbecue sauce was quite flavorful and overall, we enjoyed these sandwiches. The rolls had a superb crust, to my delight, but the inside was a little more dense than I would have liked. All in all, this was a delicious meal.
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Here are a couple more recipes from fellow bloggers that I tried and loved (NOT entries for the event, just ones that I wanted to share here)...
There are all kinds of reasons why I bookmark a recipe, but this following recipe was bookmarked for the simple reason that it has such an irresistable name: Succulent Mountain Mushrooms. I was tempted to make this delicious mushroom curry the minute I read Nabeela's post.
This recipe was a good example of how minor variations in the spice profile can lead to such diversity in the tastes of dishes. This mushroom curry starts off with the most unusual tempering: asafoetida, fenugreek seeds and jet-black nigella seeds (kalonji). This last ingredient is a newcomer to my pantry. The result was completely delicious! The mushrooms are the most succulent and flavorful ever, and if you close your eyes tight, you can pretend that you enjoying the crispness of the Himalayan air, rather than being trapped in a sweltering Mid-Western summer.
P.S.: This recipe comes from a beautiful book called Mangoes and Curry Leaves by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Part travelogue, part photo-essay, part cookbook- this coffee table-style book is entirely worth a read.
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I happened to mention spaghetti with soy "meatballs" and roasted cauliflower in this post and Roshni left a comment on the post saying that she would like the recipes for these. Well, it took me quite a few weeks to get to it, but here are the methods to make these (too simple to be official "recipes")...
1. Spaghetti with soy "meatballs": This quick yet satisfying dinner uses three pantry staples- whole wheat spaghetti, canned whole tomatoes, and fake "meatballs". I don't use meat substitutes very often, but this last product (usually made of soy protein) is something I do like to keep on hand. There are many brands available, and I normally use the ones from Trader Joe's.
I started by following Karen's recipe for Sunday gravy
2. Roasted cauliflower: our favorite fall/ winter side dish, a go-to vegetable dish when inspiration fails me. Cauliflower cooked this way is so tasty that I find myself nibbling on it as if it were popcorn. I don't have a picture of this, but will update the post the next time I make this stuff.
(a) Take a medium head of cauliflower. Cut into bite-size florets. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
(b) Place the florets on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with 2-3 T extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Use our hands to distribute the oil over the florets.
(c) Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 7-8 minutes, or until the florets start browning. By this time, the cauliflower should be tender on the inside (test with the point of a knife). If not, turn the oven off and leave the sheet in there for 5-10 minutes more.
(d) While cauliflower is roasting, mix the following in a bowl: 1/4 C coarsely chopped olives (any kind you like; I usually use Kalamata olives), 1 heaped T capers, red chilli flakes (optional), 2 T fresh lemon juice and 2 T minced parsley.
(e) Stir the olive mixture into the roasted cauliflower and serve.