Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thai Coconut Pineapple Curry Banana Bread

Please, for the love of Dog, make this for yourself. When I read about this on the blog of a gal in Bali I knew I had to make this. Sugar, butter and all (will try to make it a little healthier the neeeext time). The only change I did make was to swap out 1/2 cup of unbleached flour for whole wheat. I would have prefered to add nuts, but the Monster doesn't like pecans or walnuts...hmph. Maybe add 1/2 cup of either of those and it would be just right. You could always add unsweetened dessicated coconut too for a little extra texture. I found the powdered coconut milk/cream in the Asian foods aisle at Central Market.

Thai Coconut Pineapple Curry Banana Bread:
(from Airy Fairy Cupcake's blog)

3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar (I used granulated evaporated cane juice)
1/2 cup brown sugar (organic)
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp coconut cream powder (or unsweetened coconut...I might do both next time)
1 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp mild curry powder
1/2 cup chopped pineapple (I used fresh, don't know if canned would be fine also)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup of unbleached white and 1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour...thinking I'll try some whole spelt flour next time)
optional: chopped nuts...1/3-1/2 cup?

Preheat oven to 325F. Butter and flour a loaf pan.
In a large bowl mix the melted butter, mashed bananas and coconut cream powder with a spoon. Mix in sugars, egg, lime juice and curry powder. Add pineapple and mix. Mix in baking soda. Add the flour and mix. Pour into greased 4x8 (mine was 8.5) loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour (I baked mine for 1 hr 20 min). Cool on rack before removing from pan.

Fish and Chickpea Burgers (salad) with Tartar Sauce

These are a great healthy meal and my guess is that even kids would like them on buns...specially since I found the recipe on a blog called Eco Child's Play. The tartar sauce was really great too, that recipe gleaned from I only made 1/3 of the tartar sauce recipe, but I'd say for this amount of burgers 1/2 would have been the perfect amount. I should note that I wouldn't have made tartar sauce, but for the fact that we have a vegan eggless canola mayo by Spectrum that is only 35 calories per Tb, versus regular mayo's 90. It's a really great mayo that I don't feel the least bit guilty buying for my Monster's daily lunch sammie. Much better for you than the still icky "light" mayonnaise. But back to the recipe...the only thing I added was a little touch of agave nectar, and I didn't have any viable tarragon, but I'm sure that would have been great. I might mention that the Monster ate 3, I ate 2, leaving 3 remaining. So I figure this recipe feeds either 2 adults + 2 kids, or 3 adults worth.

Fish & Chickpea Burgers:
(Vanessa Brown at Eco Child's Play blog)

Canola cooking spray (I use Spectrum brand...good stuff)
1 lb of fresh natural tilapia filets
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Pepper to taste
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves (I didn't really chop them for the 1/2 cup measure)
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I found whole wheat bread crumbs in a store brand..sweet!)
1 egg, beaten
Mini whole grain buns, or bread if you're making a sammie instead of a salad.
Optional...last time I made these I added a shake or two of Old Bay, and some Tabasco sauce into the mix

Romaine lettuce
Tomato slices
Tartar sauce (recipe follows)
lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spritz foil-lined baking pan with cooking spray and add fish. Season with 1/4+ tsp salt and pepper to taste. Bake until flaky, 7 to 10 minutes (taking care not to overcook the fish since it still has to be subjected to more heat in the patty cooking process). Remove fish from oven; leave oven on.

In a food processor, puree chickpeas, parsley, 1/4 tsp salt and bread crumbs. Process for 1 minute. (If you don’t have a processor, use a potato masher instead.) Place bean mixture into a large bowl with the egg; crumble in fish. Gently mix with your hands until it’s incorporated, then form into 8 small patties.

Coat an ovenproof skillet with canola cooking spray (or you can just wipe some canola oil around the pan with a paper towel) and put over medium heat. Add burgers. Cook until brown on one side, about 5 minutes. I spray the cakes lightly with more canola spray before flipping cakes carefully, then place in oven for 5 minutes.

Serve on mini-buns with lettuce, tomatoes and tartar sauce. Or, do as we did and serve atop romaine dressed with a touch of olive oil, lots of lemon juice, kosher salt and pepper. Toss your greens then add avocado slices, tomato, cucumber, patties and tartar sauce and of course more lemon over the top of everything. :-)

Tartar Sauce:
(Bon Appetit, Jan. 4 forks!)

1 cup mayonnaise (Look for Spectrum vegan eggless canola mayo)
1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickle
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)

Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Season with pepper (says and salt too, but ours didn't need it). Cover; chill at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Spelt Pasta with Braised Cauliflower and Anchovies

I made a mish mosh of several recipes to come up with this one. Don't be freaked out by the little fishies. I only used 3 and they just melt away in the sauce to provide a slightly salty, nutty depth of flavor. I use spelt pasta (Vita Spelt brand) because I like it better than whole wheat pasta. It's got a nice nuttiness without the bitterness I get from whole wheat sometimes. The Monster and I really liked this dish served up with a big spinach salad.

Spelt Pasta with Braised Cauliflower and Anchovies:

1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florettes and washed
~3 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 Tbs unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic
3 anchovy filets
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
~1/3 cup dry white wine
~1/3 low-salt organic chicken broth
~1 tsp small capers
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
lemon juice to taste (I probably used about 1/2 a lemon's worth)
Kosher salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, I use a very fine cheese rasp.
~2 Tbs chopped Italian parsley
Spelt egg noodle pasta

Start a large pot of water for your pasta.
When this comes to a boil add the cauliflower and blanch for 2 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon or seive and set aside to drain.
Heat ~1-2 Tbs olive oil and 1 Tbs butter in a large skillet.
When good and hot add the cauliflower and saute for ~ 5 minutes, when it's starting to get some nice brown spots. Toss several times during saute, but don't stir too much or you won't get the nice carmelization.
Push the cauliflower to the sides of your pan and add either ~1 Tb more olive oil or butter plus your minced garlic, chopped anchovies, and red pepper.
Cook for about 1 minute or until fragrant.
Now toss the cauliflower together with the garlic mixture and add chicken broth, white wine and capers.
Start your spelt pasta at this point (only takes 6 minutes).
Cover and reduce heat to simmer for another 4-5 minutes, cooking until tender but not mushy.
Add the chopped egg, parsley, drained al dente noodles, Parm to taste (doesn't take too much), lemon juice, pepper and some salt if needed. Done!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Apple Peanut Butter Doggie Biscuits

We're off to celebrate with Horton Stickers today!! His very first birthday donchaknow. And marking this momentous occasion...a batch of homemade treats! Well, let's hope they're treats.
If our little Germanian Whiteside Terrier friend turns his nose up at these, I'll be mighty heartbroken. ;-)
I got the recipe from Culinary in the Desert's blog...a great place to peruse recipes, be you human or canine. I'm putting a little icing on the bone as it were, by adding some carob decoration. Please don't use chocolate if you don't want to off your wee pooch! I just melted some carob chips in the microwave (carefully, so as not to burn them) and then used a ziplock bag with a small corner cut off as my piping bag. I was pretty shaky after a pot of strong green tea this morning, so my piping skills were not the best. A mixture of small bones with his initials (perhaps his calling cards at the doggie park?), a whole passel of arching kitty cats, and one big bone in honor of his big day. Am I a complete goofball? Yes. But were they fun to make? YES! :-)
These should probably be kept in the freezer or they'll go bad before your furry friends get a chance to go through them all.

Apple Peanut Butter Doggie Biscuits
(with carob):
(Culinary in the Desert)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used no-salt all natural roasted peanut butter)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons honey
optional: carob chips

Preheat oven to 350

In a large bowl, whisk together flours.

In a medium bowl, whisk together applesauce, peanut butter, water, oil and honey until smooth. Add the dry ingredients, one cup at a time, into the wet and stir until combined. Scoop the mixture out onto a floured surface and knead a few times until it completely comes together and is smooth, adding enough additional whole wheat flour to keep it from sticking.

Roll the dough about 1/4" thick - cut out as many shapes as you can and place them on parchment lined baking sheets. Repeat rolling and cutting until you have used up all of the dough.

Bake until the biscuits are golden, about 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway though. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with melted carob if you want.

Depending on your biscuit cutter size, the recipe can make a couple to several dozen biscuits.
And of course I packaged them all up before taking a photo!! d'oh.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quick Injera (Teff Flour Crepes)

Ok, I'm not kidding myself. These aren't really that close to real injera other than they use teff flour. BUT, I can make them at home with no big...leave it on the counter for 3 days to ferment, then be disappointed when all you get at the end is a big non-sour mess (for the most part in my case). And like the name implies it's quick. I found the recipe online at What I'm Eating Now, but it comes from The Healthy Hedonist Holidays, by Myra Kornfeld. I made them as written, so just follow the link. You probably won't be able to scoop up your grub with these as they are pretty fragile, but they made a great edible "plate".
I really, really love teff flour. It's so tasty and for most people, incredibly nutritious. I try to limit my intake of teff due to it's amazing iron content. Ugh. Curious about the fates of any poor Ethiopians with hemachromatosis I just had to Google it.
Whew! Good thing, seeing as teff is a cornerstone of their diet.

So with that, and barring any other cases of hemachromatosis out there...try them! Easy, tasty, and of great nutritional value.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Niter Kebbeh- Ethiopian spiced clarified butter

Niter Kebbeh is the fat used to cook many Ethiopian dishes. I'm printing the full recipe, but made only 1/4 of it, using only one stick of butter. I combined several recipes that I found online. Basically just adding a few extra ingredients to Kittee's recipe. She's a vegan and uses soy margarine in place of the butter, something I was out of at the time I made it. Next time I'll be sure to make at least a 1/2 recipe as I can see many more uses for this yummy stuff. Do yourself a favor, take a little jaunt to the bulk spices section of your grocery store and make some of this goodness. Oh and bonus...your kitchen will smell terrific when you're making it!

Niter Kebbeh:
(A combination of recipes from Kittee's blog [Cake Maker to the Stars] and from recipe3K)

1 lb butter
4 Tbs onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbs garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp tumeric
4 whole green cardamom pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
1 Tbs fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried...make sure it's not old)

In a small saucepan, gradually melt the butter and bring it to
bubbling. When the top is covered with foam, add the other
ingredients and reduce the heat to a simmer.

Gently simmer, uncovered, on low heat. After about 45 to 60 minutes, when the
surface becomes transparent and the milk solids are on the bottom,
pour the liquid through a cheesecloth into a heat resistant
container. Discard the spices and solids.

This will keep in a covered dish in your refrigerator for quite a while and I'll bet you find all sorts of non Ethiopian specific uses for it. I made collard greens with it the other night...super yum!
Served atop Quick Injera.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Buckwheat-Molasses Griddle Cakes

Just cause we can't seem to get enough pancakes in this house...
Another recipe from Biscuits, Pancakes & Quick Breads. I've made this one 2 weekends in a row now, this time subbing whole wheat pastry flour (third time with whole spelt flour, 4th time with buckwheat flour) for the white flour. Worked just fine too. I also add 1 tsp of vanilla, which the original recipe doesn't call for. This recipe makes 12 ~4" pancakes...enough for two little piggies.

Buckwheat-Molasses Griddle Cakes:
(adapted from Biscuits, Pancakes & Quick Breads)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (used whole wheat pastry flour once, and have now settled on whole spelt flour which tasted great)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 2/3 cup low fat buttermilk
2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs molasses (I use the mild flavor molasses and find it much more palatable, or you could sub maple syrup or brown sugar)
1 Tbs vegetable oil (you won't need this if you have a non-stick electric griddle...Sear's ~18 bucks!)

Sift the all-purpose (or whole wheat pastry flour, or whole spelt flour), baking soda, and salt into a bowl.
Stir in the buckwheat flour.
In a separate larger bowl, whisk together the melted butter, molasses and vanilla.
Slowly whisk in the buttermilk so as to not get clumpy butter.
Now gradually stir the flour mixture into the buttermilk mixture until the ingredients are just blended.
Ladle the batter by the 1/4 cupful onto the griddle.
When bubbles begin to form on the top, after about 2 minutes, turn and cook until browned on the other side.
Serve with butter, and warm maple syrup (and bananas or strawberries etc., walnuts and Fage Greek yogurt!)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Alton Brown's Moo-less Chocolate Pie

Book club tonight, and I'm FINALLY remembering to take a picture of a dish I've made for it! I don't know what's come over me. Could be I just really want to share this ungodly rich dessert that took all of 2 minutes to put together. This was served with dollops of whipped cream, decidedly moo-some. But, after licking the bowl of the food processor and nearly falling over from the hardcore chocolate of it all, I figured it needed something to cut it a bit. Maybe next time I'll use a little less chocolate? I know...blasphemy! It'd also be fun to try another liqueur too.

Moo-less Chocolate Pie:
(Adapted from Alton Brown)

2 cups chocolate chips (I use one whole bag of Ghiradelli 60% cacao chips...I'm fairly well addicted)
1/3 cup coffee liqueur
1 block firm silken tofu, room temperature (aseptic package that is shelf stable...I used MoriNu lite)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a touch of almond extract to taste (ours is really strong, so I err on the side of less is more)
1/2 tsp, or to taste cinnamon (I use Vietnamese cinnamon)
1 tablespoon+ honey
1 prepared chocolate wafer crust (I just used a store-bought graham crust I already had, but will make a crust next time. The pie filling sliced nicely, but the crust just crumbled to bits.)
Update: I now use this tart's crust recipe. So good!
whipping cream (optional, but highly recommended)

Nuke the chocolate in a bowl at 20 second intervals, stirring each time until melted...careful not to burn it. Combine the tofu, chocolate mixture, and honey in a food processor.  Add coffee liqueur, vanilla, cinnamon, and a touch of almond extract.  Blend until smooth. Pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until the filling is set. Serve with whipped cream if you know what's good for you.

Mexican Masa Cakes with Chevre & Red Pepper Sauce

I know, I know...what's with this girl and hotcakes?? Truth be told, I have a third pancake recipe in the chute to publish after this. But who can argue with something so easy to make that also happens to be infinitely variable. These were undeniably delicious, made all the more so by the tasty additions. A great first course, lunch or light dinner. We ate ours for dinner with some of the leftover black beans (thawed from the freezer) topped with avocado. Perfect.
The roasted red pepper sauce was awesome, but I'm thinking it could also be made with jarred peppers in a pinch. Would be a real time saver. Or, you can make a double batch and freeze it in 1 cup servings, leaving the yogurt out until you thawed the portion you were going to use.

I think I'll make omelets for dinner this weekend with fresh spinach, avo, chopped tomato, and the leftover goat cheese. Topped off of course with the yummy leftover red pepper sauce!

Mexican Masa Cakes with Chevre & Red Pepper Sauce:
(Biscuits, Pancakes, & Quick Breads)

Yields 12 pancakes; 4 servings

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup masa harina de maiz
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups low fat buttermilk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, or parsley
1 Tbs canola oil, or other vegetable oil
mild goat cheese, sliced ~1/4" thick (I used Montrachet's chevre with pepperdew peppers)
1 (8oz) can corn niblets, drained (buy one with nothing else added besides corn and water)
1 cup Red Pepper Sauce (recipe to follow)
red bell pepper strips and cilantro sprigs to top

Preheat oven to 300.
If you have an electric griddle, heat it to 325. If you'll be cooking stovetop, just wait till your batter is resting.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, masa harina, baking soda, and salt.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg, buttermilk, cilantro, and 1 TBS oil.
Stir with a wooden spatula until just blended.
Allow the batter to rest for 5 minutes.

Oil (if needed...we have non-stick electric, so didn't have to) your heated griddle.
Ladle scant 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the griddle, making pancakes 3 1/2 -4 inches in diameter.
Cook the pancakes until golden brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes.
Turn and cook the other side about 2 minutes.
Keep them warm in the preheated oven while cooking the rest of the cakes.
When all the pancakes are made, arrange 3 cakes on each of 4 serving plates.
Place 2 overlapping slices of cheese on top of the pancakes.
Scatter corn over each serving.
Return the plates to the oven and heat for 5 minutes, until the cheese is warmed through.
Spoon the Red Pepper Sauce around the pancakes and garnish with pepper strips and cilantro.

Red Pepper Sauce:
(adapted from Biscuits, Pancakes and Quick Breads)

2 large roasted red bell peppers
1 Tbs canola oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2-1 tsp Asian chile-garlic sauce
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 cup low sodium chicken broth (I made this a second time with veggie broth)
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt (Fage...original recipe uses sour cream)
(original recipe also used 1 Tbs chopped cilantro added after taken off heat)

Finely mince 1 1/2 of the peppers; cut remaining 1/2 pepper into thin strips to garnish cakes.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add onion, minced peppers, chile-garlic sauce, and cumin. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, for about 2-3 minutes, until onions begin to soften.
Stir in the broth and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until reduced somewhat.
I blended it at this point with a stick blender in a smaller bowl. You could also use a regular blender.
Wait for the sauce to cool, then whisk in your yogurt and season with salt and pepper if needed.
If you're making the sauce in advance and plan to use it later, refrigerate it; reheat gently without letting the sauce come to a boil.

Yields about 1 1/2 cups of sauce

This sauce is so amazing! Wonderful warm or cold. We had it atop veggie omelets and then I used the rest cold as a dressing for my spinach salad at lunch the following day. Sooooo good.