I feel like gaining a (gas!) kitchen of my own and a largish grocery budget more than justify the creation of a journal just for food-related pursuits. I hope to make this page a depository for pictures, recipes, notes for myself and others, and an all-around learning tool. For my first entry, I will discuss... leavening!
The other night, I got a hankering to do some baking. My go-to baked good is usually banana bread, because it is delicious, cheap, easy to adjust for different tastes (spicy! bland! green! soft! vanilla! nuts! raisins! cloves!), and is easily distributed among my friends, so I don't end up eating it all myself. In my newly-stocked kitchen, however, I was missing the baking powder required to prepare my favorite tried recipe. As I always do when I want to make some comfort food, I dusted off one of my many church cookbooks--compilations of favorite recipes from old women who cook on little money for large families--, knowing I would find at least three variations on the tea bread. There were five.
I was hoping to find one leavened with baking soda and salt, and I did, but it also called for sour cream, which was mixed with the soda and allowed to rise. BUH?
I substituted plain, fat-free yogurt (I've found this almost always substitutes beautifully. Does anyone know of any exceptions?) for the sour cream, mixed it with the baking soda, and was surprised to find that in three or four minutes, it almost doubled in volume and took on a light, foamy sweetness, almost like meringue. I fully plan on utilizing this as a snack food with honey and fruit, but for the time being, I folded it into the otherwise-standard banana bread batter, poured the mixture into the buttered-and-floured pan, and popped it in the toaster oven, which took only about ten minutes longer than a conventional oven to bake the bread, replacing the smell of new carpet with the smell of love.
My oven is a gas oven, and I cannot figure out how/where to light the pilot. I feel like a prize idiot, but I am not going to go poking a lit match at my carbon-monoxide-spewing kitchen appliances, so I think I am going to have to swallow my pride and call the landlord. In the meantime, however, the toaster oven is working beautifully!
More later, I think. I want to write about the vegan feast I made on Saturday night for friends.