April 26, 2009

Crispy salad and easy cupcake topping

Sometimes I get to the end of the week and it just seems impossible that a whole week has passed. I know we've been eating but I can't think what we ate. The weekend was just as hectic with more company than we usually have in 3 months, and everyone knows you shouldn't try out new recipes (especially if you're making them up) on company. Noooo. So all the food has been familiar old stuff.

I did throw together a new combo of ingredients (for me at least) for a salad dressing and it was quite delicious. I had to be creative at the last minute because the dressing I was planning to make depended on ingredients that I didn't realize I didn't have. Instead, I used fresh squeezed orange juice and one of the wonderful vinegars I purchased a while back at Vom Fass. It was a Waldburg balsam cherry vinegar. I'm not expecting anyone to actually have this vinegar on hand — just use a mild fruity vinegar of your choice, or a plain rice vinegar, which I would have used if we'd had any. To go with the dressing, I made a salad of mostly finely shredded cabbage with a handful of baby greens and assorted other stuff, and it was so fresh and spring-like. It went perfectly with a mildly spicy peanut stew. I also came up with a new ULTRA EASY cupcake topping that worked amazingly well. And if it appears anywhere else on the Internet, I don't even want to know. I want to feel clever at least for a little while longer.

Mixed salad with orange-Waldberg cherry balsam dressing
  • baby greens
  • finely shredded red and green cabbage from a bag (about 1 part baby greens to 3 parts cabbage- use enough for 4 people)
  • shredded carrot (1 large)
  • 1-2 thinly sliced green onions
  • crystallized ginger bits (about 1/4 cup)
  • kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts (raw ones toasted in a pan)
Dressing (4 servings)
  • Juice of 1 small orange (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Waldburg cherry balsam vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch salt
Mix the salad ingredients, including half the walnuts, together. Add the dressing and toss thoroughly. Toss the remaining walnuts on top.

Easy cupcake topping
Take the cupcakes out of the oven and remove from the tins. With one hand make a ring shape with your thumb and third finger and place atop a cupcake. With the other hand drop a bunch of vegan chocolate chips into the ring. It takes about 3 seconds for the chips to adhere to the warm cake. You can give them a gentle press if you think they're not sticking. Do all the cupcakes, and then go back and stick individual chips in spots you think need a few more. The chocolate chips will soften but they won't lose their shape. As the cupcakes cool, the chocolate chips will harden again. That's it. They looked so cute I wanted to kiss them!

April 23, 2009

Banana-coconut-yogurt cake

I live in a university town, and there's an old joke here that when you take a cab, your driver probably has a PhD. There's actually a lot of truth to that, and as I've discovered over the years, it applies to more than cab drivers. The story goes that people come here for their degrees, fall in love with the city, and never leave, causing a glut of overqualified job seekers. But there's more to the story than just too many qualified workers. Some of these highly educated folks decide to take a different path. Take the handyman who cleared our walks this winter, caulked the tub and made me a new cutting board. He's a (too young to retire) retired engineer who builds decks and pergolas, trims trees, does woodworking, etc. And in a conversation with the painter who is working on our house trim, I discovered that he used to be a social worker/ psychotherapist. He also sold plants at the farmers market for 10 years. He prefers painting, which he started doing to put himself through school, to therapy. These are two people who have found what they really want to do, love their work, and love where they live. This is one of the little tidbits that comes to mind as I get closer to leaving the city that I love so much. There will probably be more . . .

So how do I connect that little blurb about my favorite city to a banana cake? Well, the house trim will be brown - about the same color as the bananas that were sitting on the counter looking ready to explode. They were past the point where anyone would want to eat them, and were crying out to be baked into a cake and not wasted. Each morning as I passed them on my trip through the kitchen before going to work, they cried a little louder, until I finally took action. There was also a jar of leftover coconut milk waiting to be used, and a carton of the most tangy (damn sour) unsweetened soy yogurt in the fridge, that needed a purpose. The words "banana sour cream cake" were assaulting my brain, even though I've never had such a cake, let alone made one, but now I've done both. Not real sour cream, of course, but sour yogurt must be kind of the same once it gets into a cake, don't you think? The cake far exceeded my expectations (and apparently my son's since he ate about half of it after I went to bed!) It was substantial without being heavy, not too sweet and with an almost velvety texture. Delicious!

Banana coconut yogurt cake
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, sifted or stirred well before measuring
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup evaporated cane juice (like Sucanot)
  • 2 very ripe bananas (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened soy yogurt (I used Wildwood)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used soy milk)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  1. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar.
  2. Mash the bananas well and mix with the yogurt. Add the oil, coconut milk, soy milk and lemon juice and mix together.
  3. Add the liquid to the dry and fold in until all the flour is incorporated. Don't over-mix.
  4. Bake in a lightly oiled 9" square pan for about 40 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven. The baked cake should pull away from the sides of the pan and spring back to the touch. Don't over-bake.
This cake was especially charming while still slightly warm.

note: When I put the batter into the pan I was sure the pan was filled too high and would overflow, but it baked up perfectly. (I was so worried I even put foil around the edge just in case, but it was unnecessary.)

April 19, 2009

Spicy peanut stew

Duck, everyone. Here comes another recipe for peanut stew to make its way through the blogosphere. Like we need another, but what can I say? I just had to do it.

After a lovely recent dinner at the home of friends, I decided to exploit Elena's cooking skills and bring home her fabulous recipe for peanut stew. Of course she'd made it up, based on an African version of this dish, since she had lived in Africa. She couldn't remember exact quantities, but she was game to try. She painstakingly recalled all the ingredients, quantities and cooking times, and I carefully transcribed them, hoping to recreate her luscious stew at home and then post the recipe. So where did I put the recipe? It was nowhere to be found. My son convinced me to just make it anyway, since he was in the mood for peanut stew, so I made a list of what I could remember and we headed off to Trader Joe's to fill in the missing ingredients.

Elena used cauliflower, cabbage and swiss chard (I think) but I wanted broccoli and Jordan wanted sweet potatoes. I remembered that she'd used a large amount of garlic and ginger. There was peanut butter and crushed tomatoes, and I added kidney beans and hot peppers. I used the frozen "mystery peppers" from last summer's garden, and although I tasted them, I misjudged their heat and the stew was hellishly spicy (in a good way!). Although I was planning to add plain crushed tomatoes, I was attracted to a can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes and green chilies that was on special at TJ's, so that went into the stew. Jordan really wanted coconut milk, and although I wasn't in favor of it, I gave in and added some. I thought the stew tasted better before the coconut milk, and he thought it was better after. Actually, it was fantastic before and after, but I'm leaving it out. It's my recipe!

I cut my sweet potatoes a little too big and I had to simmer the stew nearly an hour before they were soft, which made the total cooking time, including prep, about two hours. I would serve this stew to company on a day when I had time to cook rather than as a busy weekday meal. It's easy to make and tastes wonderful.

Peanut stew (6-8 servings)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1–2 jalapeños (or 1 red or green sweet pepper if you don't want it spicy)
  • 2 stalks broccoli (about 4 cups chopped into bite-sized pieces)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/4 inch rounds, or your favorite way (I like 1/4 "-thick rectangles)
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced fine (about 2 tablespoons minced)
  • 1 tablespoon finely cut fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can crushed (or diced) fire roasted tomatoes or tomatoes with green chilies
  • crushed peanuts, cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)
  1. Sweat the onions. This means to place them in a thin layer of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) in a pan (I used a heavy 4-1/2 quart cast iron dutch oven) and cook over very low heat with a tight fitting lid. Stir often and cook until they are somewhat translucent. I cooked mine about 15 minutes. (Probably because that's how long it took me to prepare the garlic and ginger!)
  2. While the onions sweat, mince the garlic and ginger. Add them to the pan when the onions are ready, and continue to cook, covered, while you cut the pepper.
  3. Add the pepper to the pot and cut the broccoli.
  4. Add the broccoli and cook, covered, while you cut the sweet potato. (Don't make the sweet potato pieces too big!)
  5. Add the sweet potato and 1 cup of water. Cover and cook while you cut the carrots. Then add the carrots and replace the cover.
  6. Open and rinse the beans. Add the beans, tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin and sugar. Stir in the peanut butter. (It's a lot easier to stir in the peanut butter if it's at room temperature.) Add the second cup of water and bring to a boil.
  7. Turn the heat to simmer, and add the tamari.
  8. Simmer over low heat until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. If the stew seems too thick, add a little veggie broth or water. I like mine thick.
  9. Serve over white or brown basmati rice and garnish with crushed peanuts, cilantro or parsley, if desired.

It wasn't this blurry in person!
The second night I served it over rice noodles, and we added some frozen okra. I'm not a big okra fan but Jordan says it's his favorite vegetable.

There are 8 million recipes for peanut stew in the Naked Blogo-City, and this has been one of them . . .

April 16, 2009

Mock chopped liver/gluten-free crackers

One (just one) of the reasons I started this blog was to have a place to share recipes with my kids. They sometimes ask me how to make a particular dish they remember from when they lived at home. This is especially true around holidays, but it can pop up anytime. My son recently sent me an e-mail asking if I had my recipe for mock chopped liver on the blog. He wanted to take it to a potluck, but no, I didn't, and I couldn't remember where it was. I was going to a potluck, too and decided to add this to the things I was already bringing, so I searched the internet for recipes. It sometimes seems that every recipe ever created already exits there. (I swear, even when I go into the kitchen and think I'm making something up, the next thing I know someone posts a similar recipe before I've even posted mine, or I google what I've just made and 10,000 similar things pop up. It's uncanny and unnerving.) I was sure the exact paté I used to make from string beans and walnuts would be there, but I couldn't find just what I was looking for. Instead, I found one that used mushrooms and celery, and decided to use that for my base. I've tweaked the recipe a bit (click here for the original) and the result was the one of the best mock chopped livers I've ever tasted. The weird thing about this recipe is that for people who have grown up vegetarian as my kids have, the original chopped liver is something they've never actually tasted. This should just be called "paté." But it does have a flavor that is so like the original, it's hard to ignore. Call it what you will, it tastes great, and serves a large crowd.

Mock chopped liver (Real mushroom pate)
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • oil or oil spray for cooking
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper (lots)
  1. Sauté the onions in a large wok until they start to brown. Either add a little oil to the wok or spray it with oil, and spray occasionally to keep the veggies from burning.
  2. Add the celery and cook until soft.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes. The onions will be very brown, but not burned.
  4. Add the cashews and walnuts and cook 3-4 minutes.
  5. Put everything in a food processor. Add the salt and pepper. Process several minutes until the mixture is very creamy.
  6. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and process just until mixed.
  7. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for several hours. Check the seasonings.
  8. Serve with crackers or as a dip.
FYI: The crackers in the photo are Mary's Gone Crackers which are a staple at our house. This line of crackers is gluten free, and although I don't avoid gluten, I'm addicted to all varieties of Mary's Gone Crackers.

p.s. Uh oh. I just discovered I have another version of this recipe on the blog already, but this newer one is better and more like its namesake. (In a good way, of course!)

April 12, 2009

An evening with friends

My dinner plate.

Yesterday was the most gorgeous day - sunny and warm. I spent a lot of time in the late morning cooking food to take to our friends Claire and Alan's house in the country for a belated Seder. I made potato stuffing, cranberry-apple sauce, mock chopped liver (recipe coming soon), salad, golden macaroons and chocolate-covered matzo (recipe below). Because one of the guests avoids gluten, the stuffing, macaroons, cranberries and salad were all gf. (I made the macaroons with rice flour and coconut flour and the stuffing contained potatoes, onions and buckwheat.)

The hosts and other guests made sweet potato casserole, soup, fruit salad, roasted asparagus, amazing apple crisp and who knows what else. We had a Seder, then a feast of food and friendship.

Although when we left our house at 4:30 it was warm enough to wear only a sweater, by the time we left our hosts' home in the valley, the outdoor thermometer was registering 31˚ F. It's hard to believe how fickle Wisconsin weather can be.

Just look at these gorgeous organic roasted asparagus.

GF macaroons.

Potato stuffing

Chocolate covered matzo
Spread 4 sheets of whole wheat matzo with Earth Balance margarine and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of evaporated cane juice. Place on a cookie sheet and place in a 325˚ F oven for 1 minute. (The margarine and sugar are optional. You really only need the chocolate in the next step.) Remove from the oven and cover the matzo with about 1-1/2 cups dark chocolate chips. Place back into the oven for a minute or until the chocolate chips are soft. (They won't lose their shape so poke one with a knife to see if they're soft.) Remove from the oven and use a knife to spread the softened chips to the edges of the matzo. Carefully place the matzo in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens. This takes 5 to 10 minutes. Break the matzo into pieces.

April 10, 2009

Quick post about cupcakes

I've been experimenting a little with my coconut flour, and I made cupcakes using this easy recipe with a slight change. I traded two tablespoons of wheat flour for two tablespoons of coconut flour and I added an extra three tablespoons of water. The recipe usually makes 11 smallish cupcakes but this new version made 12 high-rising cupcakes. In fact, they rose so high I was afraid I wouldn't be able to use the cheater-frosting trick of putting chocolate chips on the warm, just-out-of-the-oven tops and then giving the melted chips a swirl. (My apologies to those who pipe those gorgeous frostings onto their cupcakes. I admire them to death, but I'm too lazy and too sugar phobic to attempt those perfect swirls myself. A nice little topping of melted chocolate works for me.)

They were tasty little cakers even though I over-baked them! Next time I'll do it right.

April 08, 2009

Macaroons and movies

I usually prepare recipes and posts on the weekend, but we didn't do much cooking around here this past weekend because we were attending movies at the Wisconsin Film Festival, and anything beyond utilitarian cooking just didn't fit into the schedule. The festival lasted from last Thursday through Sunday, and this year I got tickets for 6 films, which is about as many as I can stand to see in 4 days, considering that two of the days include a full day of work. My goal this year was to try to pick films that didn't leave me feeling depressed and hopeless, in other words, uplifting films. This can be hard with independent films, but not impossible. The first night we saw "Anvil: The Story of Anvil," which was about a Canadian heavy-metal band that has been trying to find mainstream success for 30 years. The band members are now in their 50s and still hoping to make it big. I loved this film — it was funny and touching, and left me hoping the band really does find stardom with their new album. And I didn't fall asleep even though it started at 9 p.m.

The next night we saw 2 films. The first at 5 and the second at 9:30. The first one was "In a Dream" which was about an outsider artist in South Philly who creates amazing mosaic walls. Actually, he covers entire buildings, inside and out, including the floors, with gorgeous mosaics. One of his sons, a film writer, made the documentary, and there's quite a bit of mental anguish, but the film ends on a positive note. I grew up in Philadelphia and was amazed that I didn't know about this artist. Next time I visit, I'm making a beeline for South St. The second film on Friday night was "A Wink and a Smile" about the burlesque scene in Seattle. It profiled the progress of a diverse group of women learning to perform burlesque for reasons of personal growth. I didn't come away with new insights or fondness for the genre, but at least the film met my goal of not being depressing. Sorry to say I dozed off briefly and missed what my husband claims was the best part.

On Saturday we saw two films and they were both fascinating, but my run of "not depressing" took a high speed nose dive. We saw "Silent Light" and "Treeless Mountain." Both films were photographically beautiful and mesmerizing, and both were so slow if they were any slower they would have stopped. This is more of a warning to those who prefer lots of action, than a criticism. For my husband and me, both films were riveting. (But make no mistake, they were slow.) The first had an astonishing ending that I'm still trying to understand, and the second ended with a glimmer (a small glimmer) of happiness, (maybe) but was pretty heartbreaking for most of the film.

On Sunday we saw "Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight." The documentary showcases Milton Glaser's rich life as an iconic graphic designer, illustrator and humanitarian. He's elegant and eloquent.

In spite of the busy schedule, I did have time to make a little something for those celebrating Passover - vegan macaroons. They are made mostly from carrots and coconut (seems to be a theme lately) and are made acceptable for Passover by subbing matzoh meal and coconut flour for the regular flours. The recipe is an adaption of "golden macaroons" from the "Country Life Cookbook." These are fairly delicate but become sturdier as they cool. You have to really like coconut to like these chewy cookies. (non-Passover and gluten-free versions below)

Vegan Passover macaroons (3 dozen small macaroons) based on a recipe from Country Life Cookbook
  • 1 packed cup finely grated carrots (2 medium to large carrots)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond (or vanilla) extract
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup matzoh meal (not whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. In a bowl, mix together well, the carrots, water, agave, oil, extract and salt.
  2. Add the coconut, matzoh meal, coconut flour. Mix well and let sit at least 10 minutes. After sitting, if the mixture seems too wet, add another tablespoon of coconut flour or matzoh meal.
  3. Form the mixture into walnut sized balls and shape with your fingers. (The original recipe says to drop from a spoon but I always find it easier to make the balls.)
  4. Bake at 325˚F on a lightly oiled baking sheet for about 30 minutes, or until nicely browned.
I usually grind the carrots in the food processor so they will be finely grated because my hand grater is too coarse.

By the way, these age really well. The coconut texture is very pronounced at first but as they age, the coconut softens and the cookies get very chewy. I left them out in the open (in the kitchen, of course) on the cooling rack, and they tasted even better and chewier 2 days later. So make a lot!

To make the non-Passover version use 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour for the matzoh meal, 1/4 cup garbanzo flour for the coconut flour and only 1/4 cup water.

To make gluten-free, use 1/4 cup rice flour for the wheat and 1/4 cup coconut flour. Use 1/2 cup water. Let sit at least 30 minutes before forming cookies.

April 05, 2009

Carrot-ginger muffins with coconut flour

While my husband took the shopping list and actually shopped, I wandered around the food coop mesmerized by the packaging (graphic design research?) and vast array of available packaged products. I can remember when going to the coop meant scooping from big bulk bins. (The memory of trying to scoop from those bins while not dumping out the baby in my backpack is particularly vivid.) I rarely bought packaged stuff; I wanted basic ingredients like dried beans and grains. We also had our own small coop where we ordered and split huge bags of beans, grains and nuts, and large tubs of tahini and peanut butter. But Ken does the shopping now, (and a lot of cooking) and he's more into cans, bags and boxes. Staring at the amazing variety of packaged flours, my eye riveted on a bag of coconut flour. Just the sound - coconut flour - intrigued me. It sounded so tropical, so beachy, so smooth. "Mmmm," I was thinking as I grabbed it and headed for the cart, "wonder what I can make?"

I had all sorts of plans for chocolate things with coconut flour, but the day I decided to use my coconut flour was more of a muffin day. It was cloudy, windy and chilly, and muffins have a sunny, warming quality about them, don't you think? Besides, if I made a lot of muffins, I could freeze a bunch and have baked goods around for a while.

Coconut flour is very high in fiber and protein, low in carbohydrates and contains no gluten. It can be part of a mix of no-gluten flours when baking gluten-free. It can be added to smoothies and baked goods in smaller amounts to increase fiber. It also adds sweetness to baked goods so you can use less sugar. When not baking gluten-free, you can replace up to 20% of wheat flour with coconut flour. Coconut flour absorbs lots of liquid so you need to add extra liquid equal to the amount of coconut flour. (eg: substitute 1/2 cup coconut flour for 1/2 cup wheat flour and add an extra 1/2 cup liquid to the recipe) It's possible to use all coconut flour in certain recipes, but this seems to require using a LOT of eggs, which doesn't fit into my vegan diet. I'm not using it for gluten-free baking, just to add some extra taste, texture and fiber.

I decided to add coconut flour to a muffin recipe — and make carrot and ginger muffins. Because the coconut flour so readily absorbs liquid, the batter will be thick, but the muffins will be light, with a moist and almost creamy texture and gentle sweetness. I couldn't taste the coconut. The muffins were small, so don't be afraid to fill the tins. The recipe made 18 muffins.

Carrot and ginger muffins
Lightly grease muffin tins for 18 muffins
Pre-heat oven to 350˚F
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup crystallized ginger, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Sift the flours, baking powder, salt and sugar together into a large bowl. Stir in the carrots and ginger to coat well with flour.
  2. Mix together the juice, water, oil, vanilla.
  3. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and fold in to incorporate all the flour. Do not over-mix.
  4. Fill muffin tins nearly full.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes until done. (muffin tops will be springy.)
  6. Remove muffins from pans and cool on wire rack. Can be frozen when cool.

Note: I froze the muffins and they still taste great when defrosted, but they seem to take a long time to defrost. I usually end up eating them half-frozen, and the texture is a little hard. I finally let one defrost completely, and the texture was creamy just like when it was fresh. Obviously it's best to make fresh muffins, but that's not going to happen around here as often as I'd like, so if its frozen or nothing, I'll take the frozen.

April 01, 2009

Scallion pancakes

When I write posts for this blog I usually try to stick to my theme of "easy" to prepare foods that can be created in a relatively short time. Sometimes I include something that is easy to make but might require a bit more time. That may be the case for today's offering. It wasn't really very hard to do, but it wasn't quick, and it wasn't something I'd whip up after a hard day of work. Maybe I'd do it on a leisurely weekend when I had some time to play with my food.

The recipe comes from a Chinese cooking class that my husband and I recently attended. The version I offer here uses half whole grain flour instead of the all-purpose flour used in class, and in my version, the nutty-wheaty taste and texture of the flour has a presence that was missing in the class version. If you prefer a lighter, more authentic taste, I suggest you substitute 2-1/8 cups unbleached white or all purpose flour for the flour mix I list. The pancakes tasted great, so if you're used to whole grains, go with this version.

The scallion pancakes the teacher demonstrated were really delicious, and though a bit oily, they were much less greasy than the ones we had at a Chinese restaurant in Seattle, which were probably deep fried. But, I think the pancakes are meant to be a little oily. My first attempt was so oil-phobic that they lost some of their essential character. The amount of oil is so small, I think it would be better to just use the oil and enjoy the taste.

Scallion pancakes
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (stir before measuring) (see above story)
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour (stir before measuring)
  • 4 ounces boiling water
  • about 2 ounces cold water
  • 4–6 scallions, white and green parts—slice each scallion lengthwise, then mince finely
  • toasted sesame oil
  • salt to taste
  • oil for the pan (peanut is traditional) and oil to brush or spray directly onto the pancakes
1. Mix the two flours together on a board.

2. Make a well in the center and add the boiling water. Flip and scrape the flour around with a dough scraper or spatula to incorporate the flour and water. (Be very careful about not using your hands here, as the water and forming dough will be burning hot. It will quickly become cool enough to handle and you can start using your hands at that point.)

3. When all the water is incorporated, gradually add the cold water until you have a flexible, kneadable dough. Don't make the dough too stiff. Knead the dough until, as our teacher says, you have the three shinings. (1) Your hands are clean of sticking dough, (2) the board is clean and (3) the dough is shiny. (I'd say, "more or less" shiny.) Step 3 takes about 5 minutes.

4. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest 20 minutes. Or more. After its rest, cut the dough into 2 sections and wrap 1 of them in the damp towel. Roll the other into a rectangle that is about 1/8" – 3/16" thick, and about 6" x 9". Brush toasted sesame oil (or spread with your fingers) all over the dough. Use 1 teaspoon. Cover with minced scallions and sprinkle with salt (1/4 teaspoon).

5. Roll into a log shape starting with the long end. Then coil the log into a spiral, tucking the last end underneath.

6. Pat the coil into a flattened round, and then roll into a round pancake about 1/8" thick, with your rolling pin. Be gentle, as the dough may have a tendency to rip around the scallions and oil. Try to roll to the edge rather than over it, as much as you can. If you roll over the edge, the pancake may break and some of the oil will ooze out. This is probably unavoidable to some extent, and is OK.

7. Heat the pan and coat lightly with oil. Spray the pancake with oil. Use a wide spatula to ease the pancake up and into the pan, sprayed side down, then spray the top side of the pancake.

8. Fry over low heat, flipping a couple of times, until both sides turn golden with patches of deep color. Cook the pancake slowly, over low heat so it doesn't burn before the inside cooks. (about 10 minutes) If you prefer, you can use a non-stick pan and cook the pancake in a light coating of oil. Peanut oil is traditional, but I used canola to spray the pan and the pancake. I tried both types of pans and thought the pancake came out better in the cast iron.

9. Drain on a paper towel if desired. Cut into 8 or 12 triangles (like pizza) and eat immediately. Repeat with the other dough section.

Note: I made these pancakes so many times to get the recipe right, that just the thought of eating anymore is making me weak. I learned a few things, though. The first dough I made (not included here) was a little tough. It was a larger recipe and more than we could handle in one day, so I stored the leftover dough in the refrigerator overnight. When I made a pancake the next day, it was much lighter and more tender. Really good, actually. So, you could probably make the dough a day ahead and roll and fry them when needed. I used a mix of white whole wheat and unbleached flour but decided to switch to whole wheat pastry flour for the second batch. I think I made the first batch too stiff, so I added a little more water to the second batch, and it worked much better; not enough to require adding flour for kneading, but enough to produce a softer dough.

Update: I would try making these with white whole wheat flour, which produces baked goods very much like those made with unbleached white flour.