Freshly baked garlic, herb bagels

Although it’s the extreme dry heat of a professional oven that makes the absolute best bagels, it’s possible to make a good bagel at home. Many bagels made at corner shops are made with egg wash, honey, or other ingredients. Commercial bagels are often made with micro-ingredients, such as l-cysteine, and they lack the satisfying chew of a freshly baked bagel. This recipe makes half a dozen, but easily shrinks or doubles.

Ingredients

3 cups whole wheat bread flour
A pinch coarse sea salt
1 1/2 – 2 cups warm water
1 1/2T yeast
1/2T green herbs (I use herbes de Provence)
1/2t garlic powder
2 liter water
1T baking soda
1T blackstrap molasses
2T unsweetened plant milk

Optional: There are a lot of variations for bagels. You can braid the dough for something more European. You can make them smaller with a larger hole and sprinkle them sesame seeds for a bagel in the Montreal style. You can also flavour your bagels as you like (e.g., with onion or cinnamon and raising, etc.), but be careful of interrupting the yeast.

For a plain bagel, leave out the garlic and herbs. Unbleached, all purpose flour will give you a bit more fluff (but you made need less water). You can also sprinkle sesame seeds and other toppings toward the end of the baking. You can also change the sweetener, but be careful about changing the pH balance of the water too much — it’s partly what makes the bagel chewy.

Method

Note, to get the fluffiest, chewiest bagels you can, it’s helpful to have a baking stone for this recipe. If you don’t have one, sprinkle a lightly oiled baking sheet with 1/2T coarse yellow corn meal instead. Or, if you have baking paper rated to 450F, use that. You want a hot, dry oven.

It’s also best if you have a pan large enough to boil them all at once. The longer the bagels sit between the boiling and the baking, the longer they lose their heat and the fluff that goes with it. If you have to do the boiling in batches, remove each to a clean, dry cutting board sprinkled with a little corn meal while you do the remainder.

Start by mixing the flour and salt. Mix the water and yeast according to its instructions. Add the wet to the dry and mix until a smooth dough forms. Add additional water as necessary 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead for about 10 minutes. Let the dough rise covered with a warm, moist tea towel for 2 hours, punching down periodically. Roll out on a floured board. Fold in the garlic powder and herbs. Knead for a minute or so.

When the dough is ready, break into 6 equal parts. If you want large, sandwiched sized bagels, break the dough into 4 parts. Roll the dough out to a long thing tube, about 6″ long and 1 1/2″ in diameter, between your palms.

Once rolled, connect both ends of the tube securely into a bagel shape. The size of the hole varies by style. I make mine about 1 1/2″, and I twirl it on my index finger. Repeat until all your bagels are ready. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes or so. Don’t let them over-rise.

In a large pan, bring the water to a light boil. Preheat your oven to 500F (or 450F if your oven doesn’t reach 500F). Add the baking soda and molasses to the water and return to a light boil. Add the bagels, simmering them in the mixture for about 1 minute, turning over and boiling another 30 seconds or so. Remove the bagels from the water with a slotted spoon.

Add your bagels to your baking stone or sheet. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until they are starting to brown lightly (depending on the temperature and whether you use a stone, a baking sheet, etc.). Ovens vary; use the colour and texture of your bagel as a guide.

When the bagels are starting to lightly brown, brush each with a little plant milk. Sprinkle any additional toppings at this point. Bake for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Or, let cool completely and then package up for later.

Black lentil and amaranth soup with sesame and roasted kale

Warm and satisfying, and with the amaranth, a fairly nutrient dense soup. This make a large bowl for 1, small bowls for 2, and easily doubles.

Ingredients

For the soup
3T dried black beluga lentils
3T dried amaranth
2 cups water
1 ‘spring’ kombu (about 1/2″)
1 scallion, minced (1t set aside for garnish)
1T fresh garlic, minced (1/4t reserved for garnish)
1/2t fresh ginger, grated and minced
3T tomato passata (or puree)
1t sriracha
1t prepared brown mustard
1t balsamic vinegar
1/4t black pepper, freshly cracked (or to taste)
1/4t blackstrap molasses
1/2T green herbs (I used herbes de Provence)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the kale
1 cup green curly kale, chopped
1t scallion (as noted above)
A pinch coarse sea salt
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the sesame ribbon
1t sesame seed butter
1/2t lemon juice
1/4t fresh garlic, minced (as noted above)
A pinch coarse sea salt
1t cold water

Optional: Add a tablespoon nutritional yeast to the kale after roasting for some additional flavor and nutrition.

Method

In a medium pan with a lid, bring the water to a light simmer. Add the black lentils and kombu. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer. At the 10 minute mark, add the amaranth.

Simmer until the amaranth has dissolved into the soup (about 20 – 30 minutes). Remove the kombu. Add the remainder of the ingredients for the soup. Stir to combine. Return to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer another 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450F. Toss the kale with the scallion, garlic and sea salt. Roast in a thin layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan for 6-10 minutes until the kale is lightly wilted and a vibrant green. Ovens vary; use the colour and texture of the kale as a guide. When done, remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk together the ingredients for the sesame ribbon in order until the sesame becomes a little fluffy. Set aside until the soup is done.

When everything is ready, season the soup and the kale to taste. Ladle out. Pour the sesame ribbon out in the design of your choice. Add the kale in the center, and serve.

Pillowy, chili-garlic, gluten free potato gnocchi

A simple, gluten free variation of the traditional potato pasta, the tapioca helps keep the softness of the original dish. Shown here with sauteed kale, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, gnocchi goes well with a variety of sauces.

Ingredients

1 large floury potato (about 1 1/2 cups, mashed — I use organic russets)
1T fresh garlic, minced
1t dried basil, rubbed
1/2t dried oregano, rubbed
1/4t dried red chilis (or to taste; I use 1/2t)
1/4t black pepper
Up to 1/2 cup tapioca flour (see the note below)
1/4 cup brown rice flour
Coarse sea salt to taste
2 liters water with 2t coarse sea salt for boiling

Optional: Add a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast to the dough for some additional flavour and nutrition or dust with the nutritional yeast when drained. Traditionally, you would peel the potato once it has cooled, but I don’t. A lot of the fiber and other nutrients are in the skin, the skin provides a lot of the starch, etc. It’s also traditional to add a little nutmeg, but it would be overpowered here.

Method

Boil the potato unpeeled in enough water to cover for about 30 minutes. Drain and chill uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Puree smooth. Add the herbs, 1/4 cup tapioca, and brown rice flour until a soft dough forms. Add salt to taste (depending on the sauce you’ll use).

Roll out gently into lines about 1/2″ thick and cut into 1″ segments or roll 1T sized bits of dough between your palms for more of a dumpling shape. Lines are more traditional. Decorate each gnocchi with a gentle fork press (striation helps to hold the sauce with the pasta).

In a large pan, bring the 2 liters water and salt to a light boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add the gnocchi and swirl the pan to avoid sticking. Simmer the gnocchi until they float. Don’t overcook. Drain carefully. If you have to leave the gnocchi before saucing, rinse gently but thoroughly with cold water. If not, toss with your sauce and serve!

Note, this makes a soft, light, fairly traditionally textured gnocchi. However, because of the size of the potato, the type, the exact amount of water it absorbs, its age, and how much it dehydrates while cooling, gnocchi often takes a few tries to get the texture you prefer.

If you find your dough doesn’t come together, add more tapioca flour one tablespoon at a time. But start with 1/4 cup. If you’ve never made gnocchi and don’t know from the touch of the dough whether it will hang together, you can also always test one piece and see what the resulting texture is like before committing.

Red miso soup with spinach and tofu

A variation on a warm and nourishing favourite, simple enough for breakfast. This recipe easily doubles.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups water
1 ‘spring’ dried kombu (about 1/2″)
1/4t coarse sea salt
1 scallion, minced, 3″ – 4″ green reserved for garnish
1t fresh garlic, minced
2t tamari
125g tofu, cut in 1/3″ cubes
1 cup baby spinach
1T red miso
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: Wakame, shiitake mushrooms, and sesame seeds all make nice additions to this soup. A little nutritional yeast will also add flavour and nutrition. A few drops of toasted sesame oil will also enrich the other flavours, as will a few drops of apple cider or plum vinegar.

Method

In a small pan with a lid, bring the water to a light boil. Add everything up to and including the tofu. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove the kombu. Add the spinach and miso. Stir until the spinach is wilted and the miso is dissolved. Ladle out, garnish with scallion sliced on an angle, and enjoy.

Of course the amount of animal suffering incidental to our use of animals is horrendous, and we should not be using animals for “frivolous” purposes, such as entertainment, but how can you expect people to give up eating meat?

In many ways this is an appropriate question with which to conclude our discussion because the question itself reveals more about the history of the human/animal relationship than any theory, and it demonstrates our confusion about moral matters in general.

Many humans like to eat animal products. They enjoy eating them so much that they find it hard to be detached when they consider moral questions about animals. But moral analysis requires at the very least that we leave our obvious biases at the door. Animal agriculture is the most significant source of animal suffering in the world today, and there is absolutely no need for it. Indeed, animal agriculture has devastating environmental effects, and a growing number of health care professionals claim that meat and animal products are detrimental to human health. We could live without killing animals and could feed more of the world’s humans–the beings we always claim to care about when we seek to justify animal exploitation–if we abandoned animal agriculture altogether.

The desire to eat animal products has clouded some of the greatest minds in human history. Charles Darwin recognized that animals were not qualitatively different from humans and possessed many of the characteristics that were once thought to be uniquely human–but he continued to eat them. Jeremy Bentham argued that animals had morally significant interests because they could suffer, but he also continued to eat them.

Old habits die hard, but that does not mean they are morally justified. It is precisely in situations where both moral issues and strong personal preferences come into play that we should be most careful to think clearly. As the case of meat eating shows, however, sometimes our brute preferences determine our moral thinking, rather than the other way around. Many people have said to me, “Yes, I know it’s morally wrong to eat meat, but I just love hamburgers.”

Regrettably for those who like to eat animal products, this is no argument, and a taste for meat in no way justifies the violation of a moral principle. Our conduct merely demonstrates that despite what we say about the moral significance of animal interests, we are willing to ignore those interests whenever we benefit from doing so–even when the benefit is nothing more than our pleasure or convenience.

If we take morality seriously, then we must confront what it dictates: if it is wrong for Simon to torture dogs for pleasure, then it is morally wrong for us to eat animal products.

Doesn’t the animal rights position represent a “religious” view?

No, not necessarily, although the idea that we should not treat animals as things is certainly present in some primarily non-Western religious systems, such as Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. The irony is that the notion of human superiority used to justify animal agriculture, vivisection, and other practices often does represent a religious position. For the most part, not only has the Judeo-Christian tradition endorsed the view of animals as things, it has been a primary support of the notion of human superiority to animals and of humans’ right to use animals as resources. We saw, for instance, that the modern Western notion of animals as property can be traced directly to a particular interpretation of the Old Testament, according to which God created animals as resources for human use. Arguments for qualitative distinction between humans and animals have often rested on nothing more than humans’ supposed God-given superiority, which in turn rests on humans’ good fortune in having been made “in God’s image.”

The animals rights position articulated on this website does not rely on any theological beliefs; it requires only a simple application of the principle of equal consideration. Humans exclusively possess no special characteristic, nor are they free of any defect that they attribute to animals.

Isn’t the matter of whether animals ought to be accorded the basic right not to be treated as our resources a matter of opinion? What right does anyone have to say that another should not eat meat or other animal products or how they should otherwise use or treat animals?

Animal rights are no more a matter of opinion than is any other moral matter. This question is logically and morally indistinguishable from asking whether the morality of human slavery is a matter of opinion. We have decided that slavery is morally reprehensible not as a matter of mere opinion, but because slavery treats humans exclusively as the resources of others and degrades humans to the status of things, thus depriving them of moral significance.

The notion that animal rights are a matter of opinion is directly related to the status of animals as human property; this question, like most others examined here, assumes the legitimacy of regarding animals as things that exist solely as means to human ends. Because we regard animals as our property, we believe that we have the right to value animals in the ways that we think appropriate. If, however, we are not morally justified in treating animals as our property, then whether we ought to eat meat or use animals in experiments or impose pain and suffering on them for sport or entertainment is no more a matter of opinion than is the moral status of human slavery.

Moreover, as long as animals are treated as property, then we will continue to think that what constitutes “humane” treatment for your animal property really is a matter of opinion because you get to decide how much your property is worth. Just as we have opinions about the value of other things that we own, we can have opinions about the value of our animal property. Although our valuation of our property may be too high or too low relative to its market value, this is not generally considered a moral question. So when Jane criticizes Simon because he beats his dog regularly in order to make sure that his dog is a vicious and effective guard dog, Simon is perfectly justified in responding to Jane that her valuation of his property is not a moral matter up for grabs, but a matter of his property rights.

On another level, this question relates to a subject discussed in the Introduction, the position that all morality is relative, a matter of convention or convenience or tradition, with no valid claim to objective truth. If this were the case, then the morality of genocide or human slavery or child molestation would be no more than matters of opinion. Although it is certainly true that moral propositions cannot be proved in the way that mathematical propositions can, this does not mean that “anything goes.” Some moral views are supported by better reasons than others, and some moral views have a better “fit” with other views that we hold. The view that we can treat animals as things simply because we are human and they are not is speciesism pure and simple. The view that we ought not to treat animals as things is consistent with our general notion that animals have morally significant interests. We do not treat any humans exclusively as the resources of others; we have abolished the institution of human property. We have seen that there is no morally sound reason to treat animals differently for purposes of the one right not to be treated as a thing, and that the animal rights position does not mean that we cannot prefer the human over the animal in situations of true emergency or conflict where we have not manufactured that conflict in the first place by violating the principle of equal consideration.

If animals have rights, doesn’t that mean we have to intervene to stop animals from killing other animals, or that we must otherwise act affirmatively to prevent harm from coming to animals from any source?

No. the basic right not to be treated as a thing means that we cannot treat animals exclusively as means to human ends–just as we cannot treat other humans exclusively as means to the ends of other humans. Even though we have laws that prevent people from owning other humans, or using them as unconsenting biomedical subjects, we generally do not require that humans prevent harm to other humans in all situations. No law requires that Jane prevent Simon from inflicting harm on John, as long as Jane and Simon are not conspirators in a crime against John or otherwise acting in concert, and as long as Jane has no relationship with John that would give rise to such an obligation.

Moreover, in the United States at least, the law generally imposes on humans no “duty to aid” even when other humans are involved. If I am walking down the street and see a person lying passed out, face down in a small puddle of water and drowning, the law imposes no obligation on me to assist that person even if all I need to do is roll her over, something I can do without risk or serious inconvenience to myself.

The point is that the basic right of humans not to be treated as things does not guarantee that humans will aid other humans, or that we are obligated to intervene to prevent harm from coming to humans from animals or from other humans. Similarly, the basic right of animals not to be treated as things means that we cannot treat animals as our resources. It does not necessarily mean that we have moral or legal obligations to render them aid or to intervene to prevent harm from coming to them.

If animals have rights, does that not mean that we would have to punish the killing of animals in the same way we do the killing of humans?

No, of course not. It is certainly true that if we as a society ever really accorded moral significance to animal interests and recognized our obligation to abolish and not merely regulate animal exploitation, we would very probably incorporate such a view in criminal laws that formally prohibit and punish the treatment of animals as resources. But that would not mean that we must punish the killing of an animal by a human in exactly the same way that we punish the killing of a human by another human. For example, our recognizing that animals have moral value does not require that we prosecute for manslaughter someone who, while driving recklessly, hits a raccoon. The prosecution of humans who kill other humans serves many purposes that are not relevant to animals. For example, criminal prosecutions allow the families of crime victims to experience some form of closure, and although there is ethological evidence that many nonhuman animals experience grief at the loss of family or pack members, a criminal trial would not be meaningful to them.

Don’t laws like the Endangered Species Act, which prohibits the killing of certain species of animals facing extinction, effectively change the property status of animals?

No. The Endangered Species Act and similar measures protect only certain species that are valued by humans for human purposes; such laws do not recognize that animals have value other than that which humans bestow. Some people have argued–erroneously, in my view–that these laws actually provide “rights” for animals. In reality, these laws are no different from those that protect a rainforest, a stream, a mountain, or any other nonsentient thing that humans, for whatever reason, decide to value for human purposes. Such measures imply no recognition that the protected species has value of the sort that we attribute to every human being as a minimal condition of membership in the moral community.

Under economic pressure, governments are now seeking to withdraw some species from endangered-species protection and to readmit them as hunters’ prey, so that the fees generated by hunting licenses and the trade in animal parts can help to pay for maintenance of the remaining animals. Moratoriums on killing particular species are almost always eliminated as soon as populations increase beyond bare extinction levels, thus inviting the “harvesting” of excess animals. We do not, however, treat any humans in the same way. We do not regard it appropriate to use homeless people as forced organ donors in order to subsidize the social welfare costs of other homeless people. We do not condone the “harvesting” of humans.

In any event, laws like the Endangered Species Act do not recognize that animals, because they are sentient, have moral value beyond what humans give them. Such laws regard animals as no different from any other resource that we wish to preserve for the benefit of future generations. We temporarily protect animals like elephants so that future generations of humans will have elephants to use, but elephants are, in the end, only economic commodities, and as long as there are enough elephants, we ultimately value ivory bracelets more than we value the interests of the elephant.

Finally, it should be understood that it is unlikely that any significant change in the status of animals as property will come about as the result of legislation or court cases until there is a significant social change in our attitude about animals. That is, it is not the law that will alter our moral thinking about animals; it must be the other way around. It was not the law that abolished slavery; indeed, the law protected slave ownership and the institution of slavery was not abolished by the law but by the Civil War. The present-day world economy is far more dependent on animal exploitation than were the southern United States on human slavery. Animal exploitation is not going to be ended by a pronouncement of the Supreme Court or an act of congress–at least not until a majority of us accept the position that the institution of animal property is morally unacceptable.