May 29th, 2007

basic but better-than-usual brownies


(Forgive the crappy quality of the picture-- I couldn't find my digicam, so I just used my MacBook's camera)

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar (this was just because I ran out of white sugar-- feel free to use 2 cups of white sugar)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

First of all, preheat oven to 350 (~180-ish, I think, for vegans who are inclined towards Metric measures). Then in a decently-sized bowl, mix all dry ingredients and then mix them well. I can guarantee that it will look like a gray mess, but that's perfectly fine. Then add all wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gradually mix together-- I personally used an electric mixer (it's orange, man. It might be the most delightful mixer to ever exist), but it might be even better if you did it by hand.

Lick the beaters, and then pour into 13x9 baking pan, and bake 25-30 minutes. It's a simple recipe, but these might be the best brownies I have ever tasted-- not the best I have seen though, since they tended to fall apart.

Also, a quick question: when you are baking/cooking, what do you listen to, if anything?

Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce isn't the most difficult or original thing to make, but my roommate and I did this Saturday and it was very, very tasty.

- 4 or 5 medium to large tomatoes, diced
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 2 small onions
- olive oil
- 1 large zucchini, sliced
- a handful of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 lime
- fresh basil, garlic, salt, and spices (we used oregano and herbs de provence) to taste
- splash of red wine

I don't really cook with recipes, it's a bit of this and that, so everything is approximate.

We diced the tomatoes and put them in a large saucepan with the vinegar, some salt, and the brown sugar. We brought this to a boil, and then turned it back down to a simmer. You may have to add some water, we didn't need it. In a separate pan, I cooked the onions in olive oil, and then added them to the tomatoes when they were brown. I added the juice of the lime, the basil, the garlic, wine, and spices while it was simmering (things would get added whenever I wandered into the kitchen). I added the zucchini and mushrooms toward the end, so that they wouldn't be completely mushy. This simmered on a back burner for about three hours total, possibly longer. It doesn't necessarily need to be cooked that long, half an hour to forty-five minutes should be fine, if not even less (I don't like the taste of raw tomatoes, or of stewed tomatoes if they still taste tomato-y).

A friend of mine had been making lime and basil tomato sauce, which is great on pizza. This was my attempt at it, and I was very proud of myself. We served it over pasta to our meat-eating friends.

Soy sauce substitute?

My daughter is allergic to soy, so we've been having to skip about half of what's in our cookbooks. It's usually easy enough to figure out something instead of tofu (or just go without), but I've been having a hard time trying to replace soy sauce with something that gives more or less the same flavor. Any suggestions? (Braggs has soy in it; I checked.)

Thanks!