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Vegan Food & Cooking FAQ

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Must apple cider vinegar be refrigerated?  I bought some Bragg - raw unfiltered. It said does not need refrigeration.  However, I started noticing something in it - not growing just floating in there.  Is that normal?  It seems to still be doing that after refrigeration.

Yes, it's normal. That's the "mother"--the "starter" if you will of the vinegar. In a sense, vinegar is already "spoiled"...it's cider or wine that has turned sour because of bacterial growth. That's the mother, which they put in there on purpose to make the vinegar. Refrigeration won't change it but it can make it look cloudier because it "settles." Don't worry, it's supposed to be there.

Thanks Yabbitgirl.

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I have tried several brands of rice/soy "milk" with most ending up going down the drain.  I see the uses in cooking but no one in the house is actually going to drink it.  I can make myself drink almond milk, DD won't but might drink the Silk brand coconut milk she tried but I don't like it for drinking.  Can I use that in cooking instead of canned coconut milk?  I keep eyeing some of the recipes for baked goods but don't want to throw most of the soy milk away.  Can I freeze it in say, 1 c. containers?

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Dried fruit tip: When using  any dried fruit such as raisins etc. in cooking, soak them in a cup of hot tea while preparing the other ingredients. It plumps them up nicely, makes them easier to chop and gives them a nice flavour. You can also drink the fruit-flavoured tea afterward, which will be nicely sweetened without adding sugar!! I use black tea, I don't know how it would go with green but if you're used to the taste it should be fine.

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I have tried several brands of rice/soy "milk" with most ending up going down the drain.  I see the uses in cooking but no one in the house is actually going to drink it.  I can make myself drink almond milk, DD won't but might drink the Silk brand coconut milk she tried but I don't like it for drinking.  Can I use that in cooking instead of canned coconut milk?  I keep eyeing some of the recipes for baked goods but don't want to throw most of the soy milk away.  Can I freeze it in say, 1 c. containers?

the short answer is NO, canned coconut milk (atleast the ones I have used) tend to be thicker and without the extra additives that are usually in boxed coconut milk. It won't taste the same, and won't have the same thick texture. You COULD add say cornstartch or some other thickener to it, but again it still won't taste right.
If you're looking for coconut milk that might taste better, there are a couple recipes on this site for it, I myself have one posted on raw coconut milk, which is absolutely yummers + can be used for cooking. However another alternative is to use coconut chips to make milk (not dried coconut thats sold in bags, its defatted and sweetened) Take like 1 cup coconut chips and 3-4 cups boiling water in a blender (high hp like a vitamix works better but regular will work but takes longer) and process until very creamy looking. Strain if needed and drink, you may need to sweeten to taste and add a pinch of salt.

As far as rice milk and soy milk. I make my own soy milk and add coconut to it, it makes an amazing cocosoy milk that everyone in my house enjoys, I'll try to post a recipe for it soon. Try hazelnut milk also. Its sold in the nonrefridgerated section of most health food stores like whole foods. The pacific brand is really food, espcially the chocolate kind (can't remember if its vegan though, i think it is).

sorry if thats not a good answer :(

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I have tried several brands of rice/soy "milk" with most ending up going down the drain.  I see the uses in cooking but no one in the house is actually going to drink it.  I can make myself drink almond milk, DD won't but might drink the Silk brand coconut milk she tried but I don't like it for drinking.  Can I use that in cooking instead of canned coconut milk?  I keep eyeing some of the recipes for baked goods but don't want to throw most of the soy milk away.  Can I freeze it in say, 1 c. containers?

the short answer is NO, canned coconut milk (atleast the ones I have used) tend to be thicker and without the extra additives that are usually in boxed coconut milk. It won't taste the same, and won't have the same thick texture. You COULD add say cornstartch or some other thickener to it, but again it still won't taste right.
If you're looking for coconut milk that might taste better, there are a couple recipes on this site for it, I myself have one posted on raw coconut milk, which is absolutely yummers + can be used for cooking. However another alternative is to use coconut chips to make milk (not dried coconut thats sold in bags, its defatted and sweetened) Take like 1 cup coconut chips and 3-4 cups boiling water in a blender (high hp like a vitamix works better but regular will work but takes longer) and process until very creamy looking. Strain if needed and drink, you may need to sweeten to taste and add a pinch of salt.

As far as rice milk and soy milk. I make my own soy milk and add coconut to it, it makes an amazing cocosoy milk that everyone in my house enjoys, I'll try to post a recipe for it soon. Try hazelnut milk also. Its sold in the nonrefridgerated section of most health food stores like whole foods. The pacific brand is really food, espcially the chocolate kind (can't remember if its vegan though, i think it is).

sorry if thats not a good answer :(

OK, no cooking with boxed coconut milk.  I have a food sensitivity to chocolate (big irony, born in Hershey)  Can I freeze soy milk form the carton until I need it?  I have done without liquid dairy since the late 70's when subs were really bad and never developed a taste for them so I would rather do without m"ilk" on cerial and in most table uses than use alternatives.  I am simply trying not to waste what I buy.

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I cook with boxed coconut milk all the time. Just remember to shake it.

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Q: The recipe calls for whole spices, and all I have is pre-ground. How do I measure?
A: A good rule of thumb is about half the measurement of whole spices to preground. So if it calls for "1 teaspoon of whole cumin" use half a teaspoon of cumin powder.

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Q: The recipe calls for whole spices, and all I have is pre-ground. How do I measure?
A: A good rule of thumb is about half the measurement of whole spices to preground. So if it calls for "1 teaspoon of whole cumin" use half a teaspoon of cumin powder.

cool! for fresh i heard it's 1/3 so like 1T fresh parsley would be 1t (1/3T dried)

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Another good tip in a comment on the Thanksgiving Meatloaf recipe:
hope this helps for VEGAN ONION SOUP MIX problems.

ONION SOUP MIX
4 TBSP. dry minced onion
1 TBSP. onion powder
2 TBSP. veggie bouillon or 4 cubes
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. sugar

Nice.  Thanks for the recipe.  Pumped up about using this.

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SOURDOUGH STARTER
Thanks to some anonymous poster on Yahoo! Answers who posted this detailed explanation with a recipe.
Starting a sourdough starter.

The mythology of sourdough is that you are capturing yeast from the air. However, there are many reasons to believe that doesn't happen very often. When people take care to sterilize the flour and water they use to catch a culture, it fails much more often than not. When they don't sterilize, it almost always works. In short, the flour has wild yeast in it, and chances are you are providing the lactobacillus from your skin. All you need to do is encourage their growth.

Mix ¼ cup of water with ½ cup of whole grain flour. Mix the ingredients well, knead to add the lactobacillus culture, cover with plastic wrap. The mixture will be a thick mass, even a very thick mass. Congratulations, you've just mixed up a sourdough starter.

Feeding:

In processes used to start a starter, some starter is discarded. The amount of food that is added to a starter is proportional to the amount of starter you are maintaining. The growth is always a geometric progression. If you don't discard some of the starter, the amount of starter you have will grow beyond belief. The three rules of feeding a starter:

1.Sourdough starter at room temperature must be fed no less than twice a day. If you feed it less than twice a day, it will lose vitality and eventually become useless and die.
2.Each feeding of the starter should be enough to double its size.
◦Some people keep feeding the starter the same amount each time they feed it. That's like feeding a puppy ½ cup of dog food a day. Even when he's as 120 pound Great Dane. How much organisms should eat depends, in part, on their size.
◦If you keep doubling the size of your starter, in 10 days you'll have enough to fill a swimming pool. And 12 hours later, you'll have enough to fill two swimming pools. So, before you feed the starter, take half of your starter and set it aside. You may discard it, or you may save it for other projects like making biscuits, pancakes, cakes, pizza shells. But even throwing it away is less wasteful than continuing to double the size of your starter.
3.Each feeding should be equal amounts of water and flour, by weight. You can use about 2 parts of water to 3 parts of flour by volume as an approximation.

Feeding? If you have 100 grams of starter, adding 50 grams of water and 50 grams of flour. To ½ cup of starter, I would add ¼ cup of water and about ½ cup of flour that has been sifted and spooned into the half cup measure. Remember, flour scooped from the sack yields heavier cups, or half cups. If your starter is too thin, you might increase that amount by a few tablespoons. It REALLY is easier to weigh your ingredients than to fret about whether you have a light or heavy cup, or to sift and spoon your flour.

Using starters:

"How will I know when my starter is ready to use?" There are two tests I use for a new starter. (1) I wouldn't use a starter that is less than one week old. Before then, chances are there are too any strange critters still in the starter. (2) I wouldn't use a starter that can't double in size between feedings.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

¾ cup water
¾ cup active whole wheat sourdough starter
2⅓ Tablespoons light olive oil
1½ Tablespoons honey
2⅔ Tablespoons vital wheat gluten (optional)
2⅔ cups whole wheat flour
1¼ teaspoon salt

Pour starter into a mixing bowl. Add the water, salt, honey, and oil. Whisk together. Add the flour a cup at a time and mix; after the first cup, add the rest of the dry ingredients. Make sure the dough is well mixed, feeling it to see if the water has been incorporated through the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for five minutes, cover the dough and let it rest for five more minutes, and then knead an additional five minutes. Try not to add too much flour. I usually add about ½ cup per loaf in the kneading process.

Put a bit of oil in the bottom of a bowl, put the smooth side of the dough onto the oil. Turn the dough so it's lightly coated with oil. Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise about 2 hours in a warm place. Punch down; let rise until doubled again, about 1 hour.

Form into a loaf, and put the loaf into a greased 4" x 8" bread pan. Let rise ½ hour. Slash the bread with a single slash down the center of the loaf and spread melted butter on the cut. Bake at 350°F. for 40 - 50 minutes until brown.

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Thanks Yabbit,  I was thinking about sourdough the last few day but I only knew how to start/feed it with milk.

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OVEN TEMPERATURES:

FARENHEIT                            CENTIGRADE (CELSIUS)
325                                                    160
350                                                    180
375                                                    190
400                                                    200
425                                                    220
450                                                    230

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