I’ve wanted to bake some bread for quite a while, but honestly, I’m rather good at killing yeast. The water is usually too hot even when I think it’s fine. Plus, I usually crave bread when I’m putting dinner on my plate, when it’s too to make some. And then I never get around to making it anyway.

This afternoon I decided I wanted pasta for dinner, which left me plenty of time to decide I wanted to make bread with it. Afterall, who eats pasta without bread? Because I’ve got a serious gal-crush on Isa Chandra Moskowitz and every recipe I’ve tried of hers was amazing, I settled on the Fresh Rosemary Focaccia from her and Terry Hope Romero’s Veganomicon. Focaccia bread in the store (at least at the store I often go to) is around $5 a loaf – way too much for my budget.

Since I’ve never made bread before, I decided I wasn’t going to add any of the optional ingredients. I wanted to just learn to make a basic loaf. I didn’t have fresh rosemary (gosh, what I wouldn’t do for an Aerogarden!) so I used dried. Granted, it might have had a stronger flavor had it been fresh, but I only wanted to use what I had in my kitchen already.

Since I’m new to baking, I didn’t really know what kneading was. Whenever a recipe instructed me to knead, I usually just stuck my hands in the dough and moved it around a bit. So I check out a video from Epicurious which helped a lot.

The focaccia bread came out great. At first I thought I had undercooked it slightly, but it was so delicious. Next time I’d like to make it with kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes.

For lunch today I made peanut butter tofu. A very well-known Asheville restaurant, Rosetta’s, serves peanut butter tofu that is delicious. Of course, everything I’ve had there has been amazing. I used a recipe from VegWeb, and couldn’t have been happier with the outcome. It didn’t taste exactly like what I had from Rosetta’s, but it was just as good. The peanut butter-soy sauce coating was good enough that I think I might use it as a dip! Who would have thought those two flavors would go so well together?! The recipe was easy to follow and pretty quick.

I’m sure I’ll be making both the bread and peanut butter tofu many more times in the future!

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