Monday, June 10, 2013
chewy granola bars
slightly adapted from Orangette, Smitten Kitchen and King Arthur Flour
1 2/3 c. (155 g.) quick-cooking oats*
1/3 c. (35 g.) oat flour**
1/3 c. (65 g.) brown sugar
scant 1 c. (100 g.) raw pecans or other nuts, chopped as roughly as you like
1/2 c. (85 g.) chocolate chips
1/2 c. (25 g.) coconut chips or flakes***
1 – 2 tbsp. ground flax (optional)
1/4 c. (40 g.) dried fruit (cherries, raisins, currants, prunes, etc.), chopped
1/2 tsp. fine salt
1/3 c. (85 g.) nut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 tbsp. (85 g.) butter, melted
6 tbsp. (120 g.) honey
1 tbsp. water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8 by 8 inch baking pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper into a rectangle that will line the bottom of the pan and overhang on two ends.
Take out a big bowl and mix up the oats, oat flour, pecans, chocolate chips, coconut, flax, dried fruit and salt. In another bowl, whisk the nut butter, vanilla, butter, honey and water together. Drizzle over the oats and friends, and mix well. Dump the mixture into your prepared pan. Use a piece of plastic wrap to press it down evenly.
Bake for about 30 minutes. Start checking on them after about 25 minutes. The edges will get golden and (hopefully) the top will also get a bit golden (although not as much as the edges). Put the pan on a rack and let cool completely. Then put it in the fridge for a few hours. Do not attempt to cut them into squares before they are thoroughly chilled or you will freak out because they'll all fall apart and you'll think you've made granola cereal instead of granola bars. Of course, if you need to cut a bit out while it's cooling to taste, that is absolutely recommended. Just don't stress about its crumbly nature when it's warm.
I keep mine in the fridge because it's almost summer, but I hear they're fine wrapped on the counter, too. They've certainly held together for hours in my lunch bag outside of the fridge.
* I've also used regular rolled oats and they were good, but a bit more crumbly. If you are gluten-free, make sure you get oats that are labelled "pure" and "wheat free." This means they have not grown next to wheat or been processed in a factory that also processes wheat.
** If you don't have oat flour handy, you can just grind them in the food processor
*** Unsweetened is best, but sweetened is fine, too (that's all I could find)
Friday, May 31, 2013
asparagus and cheese sauce on toast
4 – 5 pieces of bread
enough asparagus to cover the toast (maybe 15 stalks)
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. wheat flour
or gluten-free: 1 tbsp. sweet rice flour*
1 cup milk, heated
1 c. old cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
Start by making the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and let it simmer for 1 – 2 minutes to cook and bind together. Slowly whisk in the heated milk. Turn the heat up to medium and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a minute or two until it's thickened somewhat. Whisk in the cheese a bit at a time until it's incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In the meantime, put the asparagus in simmering water and cook until bright green and tender. Alternatively, steam it until tender.
Toast the bread.
Set the table with butter, asparagus and cheese sauce. Butter your toast. Lay the asparagus on top. Pour cheese sauce over to taste. Eat.
*If you don't have any sweet rice flour, you can use white or brown rice flour but your sauce won't be quite as smooth.
Monday, May 20, 2013
cauliflower and mull cheddar soup
slightly adapted from New Scottish Cookery
50 g. (2 oz) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large cauliflower, chopped finely (1 – 2 cm pieces)
140 – 175 g. (5 – 6 oz) Mull Cheddar, Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar or other aged white cheddar, grated
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped, to garnish
Warm a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Add the onion. Stir often and cook until it's translucent, golden and almost softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
While the onion and garlic are cooking, fill a kettle with 1 litre (4 c.) of water and set it to boil.
Add the cauliflower and boiled water to the onion and garlic. Bring it to a boil, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes. Take it off the heat.
Purée the soup with an immersion blender until it's quite smooth. Return the pot to the element and turn the heat on low. Add a small handful of cheese and stir it in until melted. Repeat until all the cheese is melted in. (If you add it all at once, it will clump.) Turn the heat off.
Serve with fresh cracked pepper and chopped parsley on top.
Note: Nick Nairn says that if you'd like to freeze the soup, don't add the cheddar. Instead, add the cheddar when you reheat it.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
slightly adapted from Canadian Living
makes about 1 cup / 225 ml syrup
500 mL (2 c.) fresh or frozen rhubarb, chopped
125 mL (1/2 c.) white sugar
125 mL (1/2 c.) water
1 strip lemon peel
Put all the ingredients in a pot with a heavy bottom. Bring to a light boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down a bit so it can simmer comfortably and stir every so often. Cook until the rhubarb has broken up, but isn't a dead pulp, 8 -- 10 minutes.
Strain through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve suspended over a bowl. If you like your syrup a bit thicker, return the syrup to a clean pot and simmer for 8 -- 10 minutes. It will reach the consistency of maple syrup once it's cooled. (Simmer it longer if you want it even thicker; but don't simmer it so long that it loses its fresh flavour.)
Cool and refrigerate. Keeps for at least a week. Lovely on yogurt, panna cotta, anything that needs a little injection of spring.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
stinging nettle soup
note 1: you must wear rubber gloves when holding the lentils before they're processed
note 2: you must boil the lentils and rinse them and throw away the boiling water
1 very small onion or two shallots, minced (equals about 1/4 c.)
2 tbsp. butter
2 c. packed nettles (top 4 – 6 leaves only), rinsed
2 c. chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
4 – 5 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over low heat and add the onions. Let them cook slowly in the butter until they're golden and translucent, about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, bring a big pot of water to boil. Add the nettles and boil for about 3 minutes, until they're a bit greener and darker. Strain and rinse them. Chop the nettles on a board a few times to avoid having them clump on the immersion blender. (If you're using a real blender, you can skip the chopping.)
Add the chicken stock to the onion and butter pot. Add the cooked nettles. Blend until the nettles are very fine specks of green. Heat the soup up and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir the yogurt in and check your seasonings one more time before serving.
Monday, April 8, 2013
chocolate mice with licorice tails
adapted from rock recipes
breeds 16 – 20 mice
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1 c. icing or powdered sugar
2 tbsp. + 2 tsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. crispy rice cereal (optional), crushed a bit*
about 40 sunflower seeds or sliced almond pieces for the ears
heaping 1 c. milk chocolate pieces
1 – 2 tbsp. white chocolate pieces
licorice, cut into tails**
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Mix the peanut butter, icing sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter and vanilla extract together. If it feels too dry and crumbly, add the other 2 tsp. of melted butter. However, you do want a somewhat crumbly "dough" to shape – but you need to be able to work with it. Stir in the crispy rice cereal. Shape the mice so that they have a somewhat pointy nose and rounded bum. Set them on the prepared pan. Poke "ears" in with sunflower seeds or sliced almonds. Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours.
In the top of a double-boiler or a bowl suspended over boiling water, melt the milk chocolate. Scrape it into a small deep bowl that's just big enough to roll a mouse around. (If your bowl is too wide and shallow, it will be tough to coat the mice and you'll need more chocolate.) Place the licorice tails on the prepared pan where each mouse will go. Using two small spoons as tongs, dip each mouse in the chocolate and place each on a tail.
Chill for 1 hour until the chocolate has set. Melt the white chocolate and use a toothpick to dab on the eyes. Let set in the fridge. Eat!
*To crush, you can put them in a plastic bag and scrunch them
**Licorice has wheat flour, so these are not gluten free if they have tails. But you can always genetically alter them to be tail-less and gluten-free.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
spiced red lentil stew with greens and lemon
slightly adapted from Laura Calder's Dinner Chez Moi
brown rice (I like this short-grain brown rice best)
2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced (or peperoncino, crushed, if you can get it)
2 tsp. (10 ml) ground cumin
1 tsp. (5 ml) ground coriander
1 tsp. (5 ml) curry powder
pinch of turmeric
1 c. (200 g.) red lentils
398 ml (14 oz.) best-quality canned tomatoes
3 – 3.5 c. (about 700 ml) chicken stock*
salt and pepper
100 – 200 g. (4 – 8 oz.) Swiss chard, spinach or other greens, stems trimmed
lemon wedges for serving
Get your rice going, so it can cook while you prepare the lentils and greens.
Put a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the oil. Stir in the garlic, jalapeño, cumin, coriander and curry. After about a minute, the garlic should be light brown. Pour in the lentils, tomatoes, stock and turmeric. Cover and bring to a simmer, stirring every so often, until the lentils have broken down and become a purée, about 20 – 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Next, prepare the greens. Wash them and put them into a big pot with water droplets still on the leaves. Cover the pot and turn the heat to medium-high. Steam them for 3 – 5 minutes, tossing them with tongs a couple times to make sure they don't stick to the bottom of the pot. Once they are just wilted, turn off the heat.
Ladle lentils over rice in wide shallow bowls. Top with a tangle of greens. Serve with lemon wedges on the side to squeeze over.
*If you add 4 cups of stock, you will have a stewy soup and you don't need to serve it with rice. But I like the rice!
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
from Molly O'Neill
in Amanda Hesser's The Essential New York Times Cook Book
1 c. + 2 tbsp. whipping cream
1/2 c. sugar
3 tbsp. cold water
1 envelope powdered gelatin
1 2/3 c. buttermilk
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
Get out your ramekins, whatever size you like. (I prefer ramekins that hold about 1/4 cup.)
Stir the cream and sugar together in a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and stir every so often until the sugar dissolves, about 7 minutes.
In the meantime, pour the cold water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over it. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
Once the gelatin has stood for 5 minutes and turned into a big gelatin mass, stir it into the warm cream. Use a whisk to make sure it dissolves. Stir in the buttermilk and salt and take it off the heat.
Ladle the liquid into the ramekins. Loosely cover them with plastic wrap and carefully set them in the fridge. They should be set in about 2 to 3 hours.
To unmold, run a knife around the edges of the ramekins. Place each ramekin in a half-filled bowl of warm to hot tap water for 20 to 25 seconds. (No longer, or they will melt!) Unmold onto individual plates. Add a teaspoon or two of red wine syrup and milk chocolate curls to serve.
red wine syrup
from David Lebovitz
1/2 c. (125 ml) red wine
3 tbsp. (50 g.) sugar
small sprinkle of black pepper
milk chocolate curls to garnish
Stir the wine, sugar and a tiny bit of black pepper together in a small pot. (You don't want very much pepper because the flavours will concentrate as they cook down.) Bring it to a simmer over medium-low heat. Turn the heat down so it maintains a steady simmer.
Cook until it has reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the pot to a bowl to cool down. Serve at room temperature. Pour a teaspoon or two beside the panna cotta, and shave a few chocolate curls on top of the panna cotta.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
bakes 2 dutch babies in 8 – 10 inch cast-iron skillets,* serving 4 – 5**
1 c. milk
1 tbsp. neutral oil (such as canola or grapeseed)
1 c. flour
48 g. pure oat flour
36. g. potato starch
36 g. tapioca starch
20 g. corn starch
1 tsp. guar or xanthan gum
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
a good grating of nutmeg (let's say more than 1/8 tsp.)
about 5 tbsp. butter
1 – 2 lemons, cut into wedges for squeezing
2 tbsp. icing sugar for sprinkling
(optional: glass of juice)
Put your two cast-iron skillets in the oven. Turn the oven on to between 425 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. (I have a good oven right now and I like 440. But I know not all ovens will be that exact and it doesn't really matter, as long it's really hot.)
Get all the ingredients out.
Have a glass of orange or apple juice, whatever you have on hand.
Beat the eggs for one minute, but no longer. Slowly add the milk. Slowly add the oil. Slowly add the flour.
Stir in the vanilla, and then the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Put on your oven mitts (yes, both of them). Carefully, take out the hot skillets and put them on the top of the stove. Drop about 3 tbsp. of butter in your larger skillet and a bit less in your slightly smaller skillet. Watch it melt. Wearing your oven mitts, tilt the pan a bit so that it's coated with butter.
Pour in the thin batter right away. Don't worry about the melted butter that might sneak up along the side and over the batter – it's all good.
Wearing your oven mitts, carefully slide each skillet back into the hot oven.
Pull up a chair and your glass of juice and watch them poof up. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, until they are mountainous and browned and the sides have pulled away from the skillet.
Wearing your oven mitts, take the skillets out of the oven and set them on a rack. Call someone over to see what you've made. Try not to worry when it all falls down (in about 30 seconds). Sprinkle each Dutch baby with icing sugar through a fine-mesh sieve. Slice and serve with lemon wedges. Eat immediately.
*We have tried a metal skillet and it just didn't crisp as well.
**This recipe halves perfectly.
Friday, February 1, 2013
chocolate ginger cookies*
slightly adapted from sweet surprise and martha stewart
bakes about 34 cookies
80 g. (1/2 c. + 2 tbsp.) brown or white rice flour
42 g. (1/4 c. + 1 tbsp.) sweet sorghum flour
54 g. (1/4 c. + 1 tbsp.) potato starch
40 g. (1/4 c. + 1 tbsp.) tapioca starch
3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
90 g. (1/2 c.) room-temperature butter or coconut oil
3 cm (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 c. brown sugar
175 g. (1/2 c. + 1 tbsp.) molasses
200 g. dark chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp. white sugar or coarse blonde sugar for rolling
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl so that they mix well. Set aside.
With your mixer, beat the butter, ginger, brown sugar and molasses until it's very creamy. Then slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Add the chopped chocolate and mix. Try not to worry about how wet the dough is at this point.
Take out two rectangles of plastic wrap. Divide the craggy dough in half and put each half on one of the rectangles. Use the plastic wrap to form a log on each rectangle. It should be about 5 cm (almost 2 inches) in diameter (roughly). Chill for at least one hour or overnight in the fridge.
When the dough has chilled, prepare 3 baking trays with parchment paper. Put the white sugar into a small bowl. Slice the dough into even pieces – about 16 to 18 per log. Roll each slice into a ball and flatten it slightly. Roll that in the sugar. Place the dough balls on the tray about 6 cm (2 inches) apart. Let the dough balls chill in the fridge for a further 10 minutes.
While the dough balls are chilling, move your oven rack to the top half of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.** Bake for about 10 minutes. The top will have a crinkle appearance and the cookies will look somewhat set, but will still be very fragile – this is key for a chewy cookie.
Let the cookies rest on their tray for about 10 minutes, until they are coherent enough to transfer to a rack to finish cooling (they will be much stronger at this point). Let cool.
Note: Sweet Surprise says the unbaked dough keeps in the fridge for about a week, if you like to do that. I always need to bake them right away because it never seems like there's enough . . .
* I have only tested these cookies with gluten-free flours since that's how Sweet Surprise wrote the recipe. The Martha Stewart version with regular wheat flour is very similar – try it if you don't need to go gluten-free.
** My mom tried this recipe and found the cookies baked better (and chewier) at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. If you think your oven runs hot, try that.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
black-eyed peas with kale and bacon
adapted from eating for england and for the love of cooking
2 c. dried black-eyed peas
5 – 7 slices bacon, chopped (easiest to do frozen)
1 small onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz. canned whole tomatoes, best quality you can get
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 tsp. cumin
pinch of crushed red pepper (or Korean red pepper)
3 1/2 – 4 c. chicken broth
2 – 3 c. kale, chopped finely
First, prepare the black-eyed peas. You have two options.
Option 1: Put the black-eyed peas in a big pot with lots of water. Soak them for at least 8 hours.
Option 2: Put the black-eyed peas in a big pot with lots of water. Bring them to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover and wait 1 hour.
Drain your prepared black-eyed peas and rinse them well.* Set aside.
Put a big heavy-bottomed pot (like a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Cook the bacon until it's just cooked and a bit crispy. While it's cooking, prepare a small plate with a paper towel on top. When the bacon's done, use a slotted spoon to take it out and put it on the prepared plate.
Add the onion, carrot and celery to the bacon fat left in the pot. Fry for 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the tomato, salt, pepper, cumin and crushed red pepper and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Break up the tomatoes with your spoon a bit while everything's cooking.
Pour in the chicken broth and prepared black-eyed peas. Bring to a simmer and cover. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes, until the black-eyed peas and veggies are tender, but not too soft.
Stir in the kale and bacon and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve – we like this with crusty bread or homemade cheesy garlic toast and a glass of red wine.
*Apparently, rinsed beans are less likely to cause gas.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
pan de yuca (colombian tapioca buns)
adapted from my colombian recipes
bakes 12 nice little buns
1 c. tapioca starch
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sugar
250 g. mild feta cheese, broken into a few big chunks
2 eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Stir the tapioca starch, baking powder and sugar together. Pour into the food processor. Add the feta and pulse until mixed well. Add the egg slowly and pulse until just mixed.
Pull the dough out and shape 12 balls. Place them on the prepared pan. Bake for 14 – 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Serve warm.