Monday, May 31, 2010

Muffin cookies: Mmmm, yummy
I have been trying, off and on, over the past six months to make a muffin-style cookie similar to a certain Chunky Monkey cookie at a neighborhood foodie joint. Until this afternoon, I hadn't succeeded with anything that tasted remotely good. I modified a recipe from a kids cookbook from some library somewhere (could be the school or the public) and here's what they came out like:
Satisfyingly moist and thick and soft, no crunchy edges and enough bananas to give you a real monkey sense of goodness. Oh, and chocolate chips to make the perfect snack.
1/2 cup of butter
3/4 cup of agave and maple syrup, mixed in whatever ratio you want
1 egg
2 cups of fruit (the original said pumpkin, I used banana)
1 tsp of vanilla
2 cups of flour (I used half AP and half whole wheat)
3/4 tsp BS
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup of chocolate chips
1. Cream the butter, syrups and egg together. Add fruit and vanilla. Mix dry separately and add to wet, mixing just enough to combine.
2. Drop onto parchment or greased sheet, very wet dough, you will need a second spoon to push it off. Bake for 18 minutes at 350 or until golden.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Okay, this 'bread in five minutes' thing is amazing. I seriously threw all the ingredients into an old ice cream container, stirred it up for less than 2 minutes and covered it with saran with a corner loose for escaping gas (no lid yet) and left it for about 3 hours on top of the stove to rise. Into the fridge where it sat for a day and I made my first loaf today. Grabbed a handful of the goop (and this one is seriously goopy) and shaped it a bit, left it to rise for longer than I was supposed to (because I went to pick up the girls up the street and stayed for 2 or 3 hours and a glass of vino) and then baked it when I got home. Amazing texture, moisture and look. This one is a healthier version than the last, all-white-flour one. I did add about 1/3 cup of wheat gluten just in case, to help it rise. And I didn't use all whole wheat flour, but maybe about 2/3 and the rest white flour. I skimped on the salt a bit, which I shouldn't have but other than that, no complaints! See for yourself:
The inside
Half of the loaf after dinner

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Making a cake for a lot of people!
This is the Joy of Cooking's Hot Milk Sponge cake recipe, times 9. Yes, I used 45 eggs, 3 litres of whipping cream, 6 pints of strawberries and a jar of jam that would last our family a year. I baked it in a large chafing (spelling?) pan that my neighbor/chef pal brought home from his work. The cakes are sitting on an aluminum foil-covered chalkboard that I found in the back alley some time ago. 3 cakes took 4 hours to make, from start to finish. I used a food processor (to make the sugar powdery), the Bamix to whip the cream and the Kitchenaid mixer to mix all the ingrediants. The first one took the longest, but then I was experienced in making a triple batch and was flying. The cakes took 45 minutes to bake instead of the recommended 20 and they were pretty dense. Could it be all the eggs? I cut down on the sugar (as I always do) and was suddenly worried that I'd be serving 70-100 of my neighbors a scrambled egg cake. mmmmm, yum!There's the mega jar of jam that I used in its entirety as a middle layer
Here's my cute helper, directing where the blobs of whipping cream went
(what you see is 2 of the 3 litres).

These are the sliced strawberries, drying. The sink to the right is full of the remaining whole ones that I used around the edge of the cake
The Danish and Canadian flags, out of strawberries
A quote about friends that Val and I found online, that had a positive message for once, unlike the majority! It's FINISHED!
Happy that the cake is finished, now to get it to the function in one piece!
Frederick and Bettina, checking it out

Monday, July 20, 2009

Welsh Cakes
One of Clara's classmates brought these to school for her snack day (technically, her mum did but whatever). I quite liked them and asked for the recipe, being drawn to baked goods that are from the UK and might be traditional. Of course, I modified the recipe for health reasons but they are quite yummy and would be extra good with cheese on top or clotted cream and jam, perhaps!

2 cups flour (1 AP, 1 WW)
2 tsp BP
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter/marg
1/2 cup dried fruit (traditionally currents but I used raisins)
1/4 cup sweetener (recipe calls for white sugar but I used Agave syrup)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup of milk (I used buttermilk)

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients, cut in the butter and combine until crumbs, mix in the dried fruit and sweetener (if you are using sugar, add to the flour/dry mixture). Combine egg and milk and add to the batter to make a lightly sticky dough. Turn onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into the shape of choice (I made rounds). Heat a frying pan on low and cook slowly until browned on both sides (I didn't use any grease in the pan but I used a cast iron and a teflon crepe pan). The heat should be lower than you use to cook pancakes. They should take about 20 minutes to cook and will rise a bit.
Second batch, waiting to be fried
The leaning tower of Welsh Cakes
Arrrrr, it's getting hot in here

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The most delicious veggie burgers
Our cooking group meets once a month and we cook up a storm and swap meals. We each take home 4 different vegetarian entrees and this is what Gillian made for us this month. So good. So good.

Veggie Burgers

These veggie burgers get their rich, earthy flavor from mushrooms and nutty quinoa, and are topped with sharp radish sprouts and cool cucumbers. Greek yogurt is a zesty Mediterranean replacement for ketchup.


Serves 6.

* 2 portobello mushrooms (8 ounces), stems removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 1 small zucchini
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
* 1/4 cup minced shallot (1 large shallot)
* 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
* 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
* 3/4 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions (2 cups cooked)
* 2 teaspoons coarse salt
* Freshly ground pepper
* 1 large egg, lightly beaten
* 1 1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
* 6 whole-wheat buns, split
* Yogurt-Garlic Sauce
* 1 cup radish sprouts, or other fresh sprouts
* 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1. Pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped, and transfer to a bowl. Shred zucchini, place on paper towels, and squeeze to remove excess moisture. Add to mushrooms.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add shallot and red-pepper flakes, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and zucchini, and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and add Parmesan, quinoa, and salt. Season with pepper. Let cool completely, then stir in egg and breadcrumbs. Cover, and refrigerate until cold and firm, about 1 hour.
3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Shape mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties, pressing firmly. Cook in batches until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
4. Wipe pan clean, and return to medium heat. Brush cut sides of buns with oil, and heat buns, cut sides down, until toasted, about 1 minute. Spread yogurt-garlic sauce on cut sides of bun halves. Divide burgers, sprouts, and cucumber among bottom halves. Sandwich with top halves.

Copyright 2009 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
Learning Something New
A new recipe tonight is shaping up very very nicely. It's "Acorn Squash Sauce" from Claire's Corner Copia Cookbook (vegan). When I asked Ben to buy 4 large acorn squash (squashes?), I didn't count on them taking up so much space in my medium-sized fridge. So, I moved this meal ahead instead of waiting to make it on the weekend.

Serves 8
4 large acorn squash, cut in half and seeded
1/2 cup of veg oil (I used olive)
6 large cloves of garlic, chopped (I used garlic from a jar, so shoot me)
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped (I always use scissors to cut up herbs, way quicker)
1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped
SNP to taste
1 package noodles (I used whole wheat linguine)

Oven at 425. Arrange squash cut side down on a cookie sheet with sides, cover with foil and, once in oven, pour boiling water onto sheet to 1/2 inch. Bake for about 15 minutes and then turn off the oven and leave for about 1 hour. NOTE: the recipe said to bake for 1 hour and then cool but I had to go out and didn't want to leave the oven on so I turned it off and came back later and tada! cooked to perfection - I LOVE finding out energy-efficient tips this way :)
Once cooled, scoop out flesh and set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet and cook garlic, basil and parsley for about 10 minutes on low. The garlic should be softened but not brown. Add the squash, SNP and cook, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Spoon some sauce over noodles and toss well. Serve with remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with butter, brown sugar or agave syrup if you want.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Chocolate Energy Bars
I have just finished my first ever boot camp and the instructor, Jen, rewarded our efforts at the last class with a tasting of these bars. She provides them for her marathon runners and, I have to say, they beat a package of Gu any day.
However, they really do give you energy and should come with a warning that they'll keep you up if you have them at night.

1 1/4 Cup natural *creamy peanut butter (or more, can also use almond butter)
¾ Cup honey
¾ Cup brown sugar
½ Cup cocoa
1 1/4 Cups Oatmeal (more for more density in the bars)
1 1/2 Cups Rice Krispies (more to make the bars lighter)
1 Cup dried fruit (i.e. Craisons)
1 Cup crushed peanuts (or almonds)

If mixture seems dry or crumbly, add more peanut butter, less oats/ krispies.

How to prepare:
In a pot, combine peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, cocoa and cook until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Spray a 9 X 13 inch pan with oil and firmly press batter in pan.

Cut into small squares, cover, place in fridge to set and cool. Can then remove them from pan, wrap in plastic and freeze for snacks when needed.

*peanut butter needs to be creamy as you need the moisture to hold the bar together.