Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spiced Cranberry Cake(s)

Made many mini-cakes but adding a middle layer of leftover cranberry sauce. Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Ingredients

cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour or almond meal* (about 2 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder**
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries

Preparation

cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 12-cup Bundt pan (or many mini-bundt pans). Whisk first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add both sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract, then Greek-style yogurt. Add dry ingredients; beat just until blended. Fold in almonds and cranberries. Fill prepared pan(s) halfway, evenly spread cranberry sauce, then carefully spread remaining batter on top.
  • Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out almost clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes (much shorter if in separate pans). Cool cake in pan 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely.
    Frost or sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Fluffernutter & Chocolate Cookies

Fun new addition to the Christmas cookie line-up from this blog...

ingredients:

You will need:
1 batch of peanut butter cookie dough (recipe follows)
regular marshmallows, sliced in half lengthwise
chocolate glaze (recipe follows)

Peanut Butter Cookies:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Chocolate Glaze:

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

directions:

To make peanut butter cookies:
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter, peanut butter and sugars for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla.
Gradually add in the flour mixture on low speed. Chill dough 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
Place by rounded spoonfuls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 7-9 minutes, until edges are very lightly browned (cookies will not spread much at all). Do not overbake.

To make chocolate glaze:
In a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water, combine chocolate chips, butter, and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add vanilla.

To assemble the cookies:
As soon as the peanut butter cookies come out of the oven, place 1 marshmallow half on the top of each cookie (you may need to flatten the cookies slightly with a spatula first). Place them back in the oven for 2-3 minutes, until the marshmallow is melted. Let cool completely.
When completely cooled, spoon a small amount of chocolate glaze over the top of each cookie. Glaze will set slightly upon cooling.



Self-frosting Nutella Cupcakes

These are blogosphere favorites, and were quick and easy to throw together for tomorrow's holiday potlucks. This version of the recipe taken from Baking Bites...

Nutella Frosted Cupcakes
10 tbsp(140 grams) butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups (200 grams) sifted all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Nutella, approx. 1/3 cup

Preheat oven to 325F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
Cream together butter and sugar until light, 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Don’t worry if the batter doesn’t look smooth. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill each muffin liner with batter. They should be 3/4 full, if you’re not using a scoop. Top each cake with 1 1/2 tsp Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the nutella.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 12.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Southwestern-ish Homemade Veggie Burgers

The food processor made this an easy dinner to throw together in minutes (with the help of steam-in-the-bag frozen brown rice anyway.) The recipe is adapted from Desert Culinary, and I think it turned out great -- kind of like spicy falafel! Served with avocado on top and on made-from-scratch rolls from a rosemary/thyme/garlic-spiked peasant bread dough, this turned out to be a surprisingly delicious "healthy" meal.

Brown-Rice Veggie Burgers (Adapted from Food and Wine)

1 packed cup cooked brown rice, at room temperature, divided
1 - 2 oz Pepper Jack cheese, cut into small pieces
1 chipotle chile in adobo (to taste - I used a big one with a tsp or two of the sauce -- gave a medium level of spice)
1 teaspoon salt
1 large poblano chile, seeded and finely chopped
5 scallions, thinly sliced (use the root and about half to 2/3 of the stalk)
3/4 cup mukimame/shelled edamame (can use peas too...I used the frozen, steam-in-the-bag mukimake from Target)
1/4 cup roasted and salted pepitas (I used sunflower seeds because I couldn't find pepitas that morning)
olive or canola oil
buns or rolls and assorted toppings for serving

Place 3/4 cup rice, cheese, chipotle and salt into a food processor - pulse until slightly pasty. Add chopped poblano, scallions, mukimame, and pepitas - pulse just until the vegetables are blended in and coarsely chopped.

Scoop mixture out into a bowl and knead in remaining rice. Using damped hands, divide mixture into four equal pieces, shaping each firmly into a 4" patty, roughly 3/4" thick. Place into the refrigerator and chill for 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat grill pan or flat skillet. Brush one side of the patties with oil and place, oiled side down, into the grill pan - cook over medium heat until golden and crusty, about 5 minutes. Brush top side with oil, then carefully turn patty over and cook until heated through and golden, about 5 minutes more.

Serve on buns or rolls with your toppings of choice.

Makes 4 servings.

Friday, March 11, 2011

"European Peasant Bread" (or bread with a mix of your favorite whole grains)

This was round 2 of the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day baking, and allowed me to use up some miscellaneous non-all-purpose flours in the pantry.
It, like the basic boule recipe, is delicious and versatile -- I made a basic loaf, a few pain d'epi's, and a couple loaves of cinnamon raisin bread just from this batch.

Ingredients
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1/2 cup rye flour*
1/2 cup whole wheat flour*
5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour*

*I actually used 4 cups all-purpose flour+1 cup whole wheat flour + 1 1/2 cups spelt flour -- If you like whole grain foods, then you can get away with adding more and increasing the whole grain-to-AP-ratio. I think it is most important to just make sure it all adds up to ~6 1/2 cups of flour.

Cornmeal for the pizza peel


Directions


Mix the yeast, salt and water in a 5-quart bowl. Add the flours and mix without kneading using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, a 14-cup food processor with dough attachment, or a spoon/wet hands combo.

Lightly cover the dough and rest it at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, about 2 hours. Refrigerate the dough and use over the next 14 days -- you can use the dough immediately (as I did) but evidently it’s easier to work with when cold.

When ready to bake, dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound piece. Dust with more flour and shape it into a ball by stretching the outer layers to the bottom, rotating the dough until smooth on all sides. If you have taken it from the refrigerator, rest the dough on a cornmeal covered pizza peel for 40 minutes (I don’t have a pizza peel so I used a cutting board). If not, it can rest for the 20min the oven is pre-heating.

Set a baking or pizza stone in the center of the oven and preheat it to 450°F 20 minutes before baking. Also, place an empty broiler tray on a different oven rack.

Sprinkle the dough with flour and use a serrated knife to cut slits or “scallops” across the top. Slide the dough onto the baking stone and pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray. Bake until the crust is browned and firm, about 35 minutes (if your loaves are smaller, start checking around 15min!)

Triple Mustard Salmon

This recipe is from my latest issue of Food and Wine and it is definitely a new favorite. I wasn't sure how it would turn out (too mustard-y? too bland?) but it is a perfect balance of flavors, and has an amazing crisp texture on the outside and soft warm wonderful fresh salmon goodness on the inside. I had to make a few tweaks from the orginal recipe (I think there may have been some errors with theirs...), and they are incorporated below.
This is also super fast and easy -- will definitely be doing this one again and again.

Ingredients
3 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds, crushed
2 6-8 ounce skinless salmon fillets
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon canola oil (or a healthy dose of Pam)

Directions

1. In a shallow dish, combine the wheat germ and mustard seeds. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. In a bowl, blend the Dijon mustard with the dry mustard and spread it over each side of the fillets. Dip the fillets in the wheat germ mixture one side at a time until thickly coated.
2. In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the fillets, crust side down, and cook over moderately high heat until browned and crisp, 3 minutes. Turn the fillets and cook over moderate heat until barely cooked in the center, 3 minutes longer. Transfer the salmon to plates and serve crust side up.

Savory Cornbread Muffins With Jalapeños and Corn

Another quick recipe from Recipes for Health. These muffins have an appealingly coarse grain texture and a nice robust flavor from the corn and buttermilk.
Unfortunately, most of the actual flavor depends on the spice/taste of the jalapenos you put it in it, which is hard to judge at the store. So you might want to (carefully) taste your jalapeno before adding it -- if it is really mild, add more than the 2 Tbsp, but if it is insanely spicy, maybe a bit less.

1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably organic stone-ground
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup corn kernels
2 tablespoons minced jalapeños
1/2 cup grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack positioned in the upper third. Oil or butter muffin tins.

2. Place the cornmeal in a bowl, and sift in the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the sage. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, buttermilk, oil and honey. Whisk or stir the cornmeal mixture into the liquid mixture. Do not beat; a few lumps are fine, but make sure there is no flour at the bottom of the bowl. Fold in the corn kernels, minced jalapeño and optional cheese.

3. Spoon into muffin cups, filling them to just below the top (about 4/5 full). Place in the oven, and bake 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned and well risen.

Yield: Twelve muffins, depending on the size of your muffin tins.

Advance preparation: These keep for a couple of days out of the refrigerator, for a few more days in the refrigerator, and for a few months in the freezer.

Nutritional information per muffin (based on 12-muffin yield; does not include optional cheese): 161 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 32 milligrams cholesterol; 23 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 362 milligrams sodium; 5 grams protein

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vegan Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash and Apple With Candied Walnuts

I adapted this from The Temporary Vegetarian column in the NYT.
Next time around I would put all of the cut produce in a much larger baking area so that they could all slightly char and crisp without getting mushy from surrounding veggies.
Aside from that minor texture issues in a couple of spots, I thought the taste of this was wonderful. (Oh and if you're hungry (read: pigs like us) and thinking this will serve two people as a main dish...you might want to double it -- we definitely wanted a bit more.)

Ingredients

* 1 1/2 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved
* 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch asymmetrical chunks
* 2 cups (about 1 large) Honeycrisp, Cortland, or Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1-inch asymmetrical chunks
* 1 shallot, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
* 2 tablespoons olive oil (or Pam if you want to omit some fat/calories)
* 5 fresh sage leaves
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
Candied walnuts
Craisens/dried cranberries

Method

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large, shallow, baking dish, toss the brussels sprouts, butternut squash, apple and shallot with olive oil and sage leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake without stirring until vegetables and apple are wrinkled, slightly brown, and the edges of the squash are beginning to crisp, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
2. Remove vegetables from oven, drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with 2 to 3 tablespoons of halved or roughly crumbled walnut pieces and 2 to 3 tablespoons of craisens. Return to oven for about 5 minutes, then serve.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Slow"-Baked White Beans With Kale

This came from Recipes for Health originally, but I tweaked a few things to add a little more spice to it as well as to make cooking time a little faster because I got a late start on it. Ideally you'd do all the prep early and let the oven do most of the work, but with the right adjustments, either way works!

Ingredients

1 bunch kale, stemmed and washed in two changes of water (I actually used 1/2 bag of frozen kale + ~2 cups of fresh baby spinach)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I omitted and used Pam and water and a splash of white wine, but the oil would help the veggies soften best probably)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 2/3 cups white beans (3/4 pound) or dried lima beans, picked over and soaked for at least four hours and drained (I used 2 cans of cannelini beans)

1 6-ounce can tomato paste, dissolved in 1 cup water (I used 1 1/4 cup marinara sauce)

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Salt and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you are using fresh kale, you may want to blanch it first to extract some of the bitterness.

2. Heat a greased/oiled pan over medium heat; add the onion and carrots. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the dissolved tomato paste, and bring to a simmer. Stir in the kale/spinach and let all veggies soften, adding more liquid (water, wine, or tomato sauce) as needed/desired.

3. Add the drained beans, red pepper flakes, herbes de Provence and salt and pepper. Transfer to a large (greased) ovenproof casserole and place in the oven. Bake until the beans are tender and creamy (original recipe was for 3 hours and for if you are using dried beans -- I only cooked this for about 20-30min). Taste and adjust salt

4. Mix together a bit of olive oil and the bread crumbs. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the beans, and continue to bake another 10min until the bread crumbs are lightly browned. Remove from the heat and serve; or allow to cool slightly and serve.

Yield: Serves six (or two, if you're Scott and I. There were no leftovers.)

(Oh and a poached egg on top is delicious :) )

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Red Onion, Lemon and Pecorino

I found this recipe on Food52 after having something just like it at Pizzeria Da Lupo.
It is really tasty in a tangy but not bitter sort of way, and pretty easy if you have a food processor to slice the Brussels sprouts.

* 1/2 small red onion
* Juice of 1 lemon (~3-4 Tbsp)
* 1 teaspoon honey
* 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 3 cups Brussels sprouts (use larger sprouts if possible)
* 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino romano

1. Soak the onion slices in a small bowl of cold water for 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Set aside.
3. Trim all of the Brussels sprouts, cutting off any bruised outer leaves and slicing off a good portion of the hard root end. Using a mandoline (or a food processor!), shave the sprouts one at a time. When you're done, use your fingers to gently separate the leaves so that the shredded sprouts resemble a very fine slaw.
4. Put the sprouts in a serving bowl and toss gently with the onions (which you've now drained) and the dressing. Fold in the pecorino, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chicken Paprikash

This was based on a NYT "What we're reading" posting, so I won't blame the NYT that it wasn't as good as I thought it might be. The only reason I bother writing it up then, is that I am sure with a few minor tweaks next time, it could be good. Changes that I will make next time are included below, and all reflect an effort to spike the flavor in a few ways -- there was nothing bad about the original...it just seemed a bit bland. Thus, enter more salt, pepper, garlic, and some red pepper.

3 pounds skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper(a lot)

2 onions , chopped fine

2 red bell peppers , stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin

3 garlic cloves , minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup high-quality (could be smoked, sweet, whatever you like) paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, and to taste...if you want a little heat)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

3/4 cup fat free greek yogurt (optional; only if you want a creamy sauce)

1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Place in slowcooker.

2. Pile in onions and peppers, stir in garlic, tomato paste, paprika, pepper, broth, and flour and cook 4 hours on high, 6 hours on low.

3. Turn off heat, stir in yogurt (or sour cream) until incorporated and season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

(Oven) Fried Chicken and Savory Waffles with Cayenne-Bourbon Maple Syrup

Cooked this up from a combination of recipes found online, namely this one for the chicken and this one for the waffles. I doctored them both up a bit, and here's the version I used.
Obviously the chicken isn't greasy like it "should" be in the traditional recipes but this is less messy and more healthy.

Anyway, this is really tasty -- highly recommend it!

Oven-Fried Chicken

2 cups cornflakes (or 1 cup already-crushed cornflakes)

1 tsp thyme

2 tsp paprika

½ tsp chile powder

½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can evaporated milk

1. Preheat the oven to 400. In a food processor, process the cornflakes, thyme, paprika, chiles and salt.

2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Pour the evaporated milk into a shallow bowl. Pour the cornflake mix on to a plate and spread it out so that it's even. Dip each chicken breast, first in the milk, and then in the cornflake mix, pressing it on so that it sticks to the entire breast. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.

3. Put the baking sheet with all of the chicken on it in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.


Savory Waffles

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

¼ tsp black pepper

2 tsp mustard powder

½ tsp dried thyme

1/4 cup wheat germ

3 large eggs

2 cups well-shaken buttermilk

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

Into a large bowl sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Repeat sifting 2 more times and stir in wheat germ.

In another large bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Add flour mixture all at once and whisk just until combined.

Preheat a waffle iron and preheat oven to 200 °F.

Brush waffle iron lightly with additional oil. Spoon batter into waffle iron, using 1/4 cup batter for each 4-inch-square standard waffle and spreading batter evenly, and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm, uncovered, in middle of oven. Make more waffles with remaining batter in same manner, brushing waffle iron with mire oil before adding each batch.

Bourbon-Cayenne Maple Syrup
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp bourbon
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all three ingredients; heat for 1min in the microwave. Drizzle over chicken and waffles. (May want to double or triple the recipe depending on how many are being served!)



Friday, February 25, 2011

Artisan French Bread Boule

I am slightly embarrassed to say that I've never cooked a homemade yeasted bread until now.
The idea of getting the temp right, the dough to rise, etc, always made it seem like it might be more trouble than it's worth.
In truth, it (or at least this recipe) is amazingly easy. And amazingly delicious.

Thanks to Angela K for giving me the recipe and her tips and pointers, most of which are included below.

This one batch got me three good-sized loaves: original, garlic+rosemary, and cinnamon raisin. The extras in the latter two were just folded into the dough as I created the ball pre-baking.

----------------------------------------------------------------
This recipe is from the book " Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg & Zoe Francois. The recipe below is for the French Boule and it is SO good! You can play with this recipe and add different spices to change it up, but it is really good all alone too. I also use this same dough for pita bread too and it comes out great every time!
You can keep the dough in your fridge for up to 14 days and just pull out a hunk of dough whenever you want bread. The longer the dough is in your fridge, the more it will taste like sourdough.

You will need:
~ a 5 quart (minimum) plastic [Kelly's note: I used a big metal bowl actually] container that is NOT air tight. You can use a bigger container if you want too.
~ A pizza stone. This is crucial! Doesn't matter if it's square or round
~ A broiling pan [Kelly's note: A 9x13 basic baking pan works too]
~ An oven :)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Tablespoons Yeast (doesn't matter if it is quick rising, active, or something else. I just happen to use "active yeast") ( oh, and keep your yeast in the freezer. it lasts longer)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
3 Cups warm-hot water
6 1/2 Cups Unbleached, all-purpose white flour
Cornmeal for pizza peel (I use a wooden cutting board as my pizza peel)

1. Put Yeast, Salt, Water in your plastic container and mix with big spoon. (You can add herbs here if you want too) Add flour all at once and mix all up. That's it!! Now put the lid [Kelly's note: I just used a piece of foil and laid a kitchen towel on top...I think the idea is for it to be covered but not absolutely airtight] on your container and let it sit on your counter for 2-4 hours. You can start using it after the 2-4 hours, or you can pop it in the fridge.

2. If you want to use the dough right away, after the 2-4 hours of rising, heat your oven to 450 degrees with the pizza stone in your oven and the broiler tray underneath the pizza stone. After 20 minutes of preheating (even if your oven isn't at 450 yet), go ahead and sprinkle some flour on the dough in your container and pull a chunk of dough (grapefruit size or bigger) out. Keep sprinkling flour on your hands and dough to keep it from sticking and stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all sides, rotating the ball around as you go. Dust your loaf and slash it with a knife. Slide it from your pizza peel onto your hot pizza stone (with some cornmeal dusted on top of the pizza stone) in the oven and then pour 1 Cup of hot water into your broiler pan. The water steams the bread, helping it to rise in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Take out and cool on cooling rack

3. If you refrigerated your dough, pull out the chunk of dough, shape it, and put it on your cornmealed pizza peel and let it rise for 20 minutes. If it doesn't rise, don't worry, it will in your oven. After the 20 minutes, then preheat your oven to 450. After another 20 min, stick your dough in your oven on the pizza stone and the 1 cup of hot water into your broiler tray. (The dough will have sat out on your counter for 40 min total before going into the oven). Bake for 30 min. Take out and cool on cooling rack.

Pita Bread:
Do all of the above. But when you go to bake, preheat your oven first to 500 degrees. No need for broiler pan here. No need for rising time. After the oven has preheated, pull out a hunk of the dough and put on a FLOURED pizza peel or wooden cutting board and roll out with a rolling pin until it is super thin, about 1/8 in thin. You can pop it right into the oven onto the pizza stone. Bake for 5-7 minutes until it is puffed and browned a little. Take out and cool between 2 towels on a cooling rack and it will cool and soften.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Turkey and Red Pepper Hash

This was a recent post in NYT's Recipes for Health, and I think it is a great recipe.
Easy once the veggies are chopped, it can be thrown together very quickly and has simple but rich flavors that are perfectly brought out with the turkey-red pepper combo.
I made a few tweaks below, and if I made it again I might increase the spiciness even a touch more.

Ingredients

1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes, with juice

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

2 red bell peppers, cut in small (1/4 inch) dice

2 large garlic cloves, minced

Salt to taste

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey

10 black peppercorns, ground in a spice mill

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons medium-hot chili powder

4 cloves, ground in a spice mill (1/2 teaspoon ground cloves)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

For serving:

12 to 16 corn tortillas

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Directions

1. Blend the tomatoes with their juice until smooth in a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in a blender. Set aside.

2. Bring a lightly oiled, large, heavy nonstick skillet to medium heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, three to five minutes. Add the bell peppers, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about five minutes.

3. Add the turkey to the pan and season with salt, ground pepper, cinnamon, chili powder and cloves. Raise the heat to medium-high, and press the turkey into a layer in the pan. Let it brown for a minute or two. Continue to stir, press down into the pan and cook until all of the meat is nicely browned.

4. Stir in the puréed tomatoes and vinegar, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and caramelized slightly, 20 to 30 minutes [I found that I had to increase heat/cook longer to really get this to thicken]. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from the heat, serve on hot corn tortillas and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Alternatively, use as a filling for enchiladas, quesadillas or vegetables.

Yield: Serves six to eight.


Pulled Pork with Caramelized Onions

My mom made this recipe when I was last home to visit and it was so good I decided to give it a shot. It has a great spicy undertone and the extra step of caramelizing the onions first made a big difference (even if I'm not sure that we'll ever clear the onion smell from our house now!)
I also realized while making this that I've never cooked with huge piece of butcher-cut raw pork before, and to be honest, de-fatting it was a little gross, but worth it.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 large onions, thinly sliced

1/3 cup raw cane sugar, such as Demerara or turbinado

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cider vinegar

1 cup chili sauce (I used a southwest red chili sauce from Whole foods)

4-5 tsp minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce (I increased this substantially from the original recipe)

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or blade (butt) roast, trimmed

Directions

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, 3 to 6 minutes. Add sugar and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes more. Add garlic, oregano, pepper, and salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add vinegar and bring to a boil. Cook until mostly evaporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in chili sauce and chipotle to taste.

2. Place pork in a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker and cover with the sauce. Cover and cook until the pork is almost falling apart, about 4 hours on High or 8 hours on Low.

3. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and shred using two forks. Stir back into the sauce.

(Can be made ahead and frozen as well)


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Olive oil salted dark chocolate brownies

From the NY Times...amazing.
I'll also admit that I made another batch in a pinch and used trusy ol' Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownie mix with half olive oil/half canola oil, and the salt and coconut added as instructed below. Have to say...I don't know that you could have told the difference?
At any rate, use high-quality chocolate and this recipe will quickly become a favorite.

3/4 cup olive oil, plus more to grease pan

1/3 cup cocoa powder

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

Fleur de sel, for sprinkling (be generous!)

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water until smooth. Add the unsweetened chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melted. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the eggs, yolks and vanilla, and continue to whisk until combined. Add the sugar, whisking until fully incorporated. Using a spatula, fold in the flour and salt until just combined. Fold in the bittersweet chocolate pieces.

3. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle 1 cup of the shredded coconut on top of the batter. Pour in the remaining batter and smooth. Top with remaining coconut. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and bake until just set and firm to the touch, about 25 to 30 minutes. (These brownies solidify as they cool, so inserting a toothpick to check for doneness will not work; it does not come out clean.) Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before cutting into 2-inch squares.

Yield: About two dozen brownies.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Pecan Streusel



I actually made these for Thanksgiving in Nov but just came across the photo on my computer and was reminded to finally post the recipe. I stumbled upon this one from Cookin' Canuck, and I'm so glad I did.
They were delicious -- multi-step, but not hard, and you can make it all ahead of time and do the second baking the next day. This was my favorite Thanksgiving dish this year!

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Pecan Streusel

Sweet Potatoes:
6 medium red-skinned sweet potatoes (also called yams)
1 tbsp canola oil5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp chipotle chile powder
Pinch salt

Chipotle Pecans:
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups pecans
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp granulated sugar
3/4 tsp chipotle chile powderPinch salt

Streusel:
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, slightly softened
2/3 cup chipotle pecans, chopped


Sweet potatoes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set one rack in the lowest position and the other in the middle of the oven. Place a foil-lined baking sheet on the lowest rack.
Rub sweet potatoes with canola oil. With a fork, pierce each potato 5 to 6 times in different places around the potato. Place the potatoes directly on the upper rack and bake until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and place on a cutting board to cool slightly.

Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Gently scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch layer of potato. Place 8 of the potato shells on a large baking sheet and discard the remaining shells. Place the sweet potato flesh in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Using a whisk, mash and vigorously stir the sweet potato until slightly dry, about 5 minutes. Add butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, chipotle chile powder, and salt. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Evenly divide the sweet potato mixture between the shells.

Chipotle Pecans:
Melt butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add pecans, chipotle chile powder, and sugar to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the sugar begins to caramelize and the pecans are coated with the sauce, 4 to 5 minutes. Make sure the pecans do not burn. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, sprinkle with salt, and cool.

Streusel:In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, chopped pecans, butter, and salt. Using your fingers, mix the ingredients together until combined.

Sprinkle the streusel mixture evenly over the mashed sweet potatoes. Bake until the streusel mixture is melted together and beginning to bubble, about 15 minutes. Serve.

Serves 8

Friday, February 18, 2011

Chickpeas in Spicy Tomato Gravy

I got this recipe from my first issue of Food and Wine, and was at first disappointed. It seems that the picture they post is either not the photo that corresponds to the recipe, or the recipe was wrong. Either way, I doctored it up, fixed some issues with their instructions, and now deem it delicious :)

It is actually incredibly fast to make (you can also make ahead and let it simmer in the slow cooker on low for few hours at least), and very healthy. Oh and pretty spicy too -- yogurt helps!

Ingredients

8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 jalapeños, chopped
One 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

3 onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Two 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups water
Salt
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

Instructions

1. In a mini food processor, combine the garlic, jalapeños and ginger and process to a paste. (If your food processor is not small enough and doesn't reach everything enough to really get a paste don't worry about; just do the best you can.) Drain 1 can of tomatoes and add to the food processor, process til smooth.

2. In a large lightly oiled/pam'ed nonstick skillet, heat the pan to medium heat, add the onions and cook over moderately high heat until sizzling, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are browned, about 7 minutes.

3. Add the garlic/ginger/jalapeno/tomato blend and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander, paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

4. Add the remaining can of tomatoes and simmer over moderate heat until thickened, about 6 minutes.

5. Add the chickpeas and water and simmer until the chickpeas are flavored with the gravy, about 8 minutes. (May need to go longer to really thicken up the "gravy").

6. Season the chickpeas with salt, garnish with the cilantro and serve with naan and plain greek yogurt.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Healthy Oatmeal Bars


I got the template for this recipe from a Food52 entry but made some tweaks to make it healthier and more of what I was craving on a cold Sunday afternoon.
Serves 6
  • 3 cups Old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2/3 cups Splenda Baking blend (or sugar/brown sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp apple butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites/egg substitute
  • 1 cup almond milk(I used unsweetened vanilla)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 apple, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease an 8x8 pan
  3. In a large bowl mix together the oats, sugar/splenda, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  4. In a second bowl mix together the applesauce, vanilla and eggs. Slowly whisk in the milk and then gradually whisk in the apple.
  5. Add the wet mixture to the oat mixture until fully incorporated.
  6. Stir in the raisins, apple (and any other fruit you want to add!)
  7. Spread into the pan and bake for 20-30 minutes.
  8. Slice and serve as desired.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter Root Veggie Pie



I combined two recipes for this, one from the NYT Recipes for Health, and borrowed a general idea from Desert Culinary.
While I'm still coming around on the lemon-y taste of parsnips, long roasting plus the soaking up of coconut milk made them delicious in this dish.

1 1/2 pounds turnips, kohlrabi, rutabaga, large parsnips or a combination, peeled and sliced thin (if the rutabagas are very large, cut them in half and slice in half-moons; slice the turnips and kohlrabi into rounds; quarter and core the parsnips, then slice them)

1 cup diced onion

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

3/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese (3 ounces)

1 1/2 cups low-fat (1 percent or 2 percent) milk (I used silk light coconut milk)

2 cups chopped kale/chard leaves (I used a combo of red kale, curly kale, and swiss chard)

garlic, garlic salt to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 2-quart gratin or baking dish. Place the sliced vegetables in a large bowl, and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the thyme, and toss together.

2. Arrange the vegetables in the gratin dish. Add the milk, season with more salt and pepper if you wish, and place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake 45 minutes; every 15 minutes, press the vegetables down into the milk with the back of your spoon. After 30min, add in onion and desired amount of minced garlic; continue baking until onions are partly cooked/becoming translucent or lightly brown (depending how you cut them)

3. Add the cheese, and stir in carefully to incorporate. Return to the oven, and b

ake another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring or pressing the vegetables down with the back of your spoon every 10 minutes until the gratin is nicely browned and most of the liquid is absorbed.

4. Line a pie plate with pie crust dough; dump veggie mixture inside. Cover with second pie crust, brush top with egg/milk/salt, continue baking until crust is brown. Let sit for 10-15min before serving.