Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We're all in this together

An article in the New York Times makes clear the inter-relatedness of all life on earth.

Menhaden, a species of fish that was once as common as the passenger pigeon, are the linchpin of aquatic life. But they are being overfished to extinction, and one company, Omega Protein of Houston, is largely responsible.

Who owns the menhaden? And does Omega Protein have the right to fish them to extinction in federal waters?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cornbread, Part 2 of 2

Vegan bakers struggle to find something — anything — that has the magical binding property of eggs. Flour, a sweetener (such as sugar), and a leaving agent (such as baking powder) are the basic ingredients of any baked good, but these substances are meaningless granules until a binder, and the heat of an oven, orchestrates them into something nutritious and delectable.

Ingenious vegans have discovered many binding agents, including bananas, cornstarch, arrowroot powder and others. You can also buy your binder in a box — Ener-G Egg Replacer is one common brand.

This recipe uses a homemade binding agent, ground flax seed, boiled in a few tablespoons of water. It actually works pretty well and, interestingly, the flax seed acquires the sticky, shiny texture of an egg.

I use a coffee grinder to pulverize the flax seed. When you prepare flax seed for this recipe, grind it very fine. The cornbread will still have flecks of brown, which you may or may not like. This is a savory, crumbly, somewhat dry cornbread, very different from the recipe I posted earlier.


2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
6 Tbsp. water
1 C all-purpose flour
1 C cornmeal
1/4 C sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. table salt
1 C soy milk
1/4 C canola oil

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 8-inch-square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the ground flax seed, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the ground flax seed in the water for 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well-combined.

4. Add the ground flax seed mixture, soy milk, and canola oil to the flour mixture. Beat just until smooth (do not overbeat.)

5. Turn into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

6. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes; invert cornbread onto wire rack, then turn right side up and continue to cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer. Cut into pieces and serve.