Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chocolate Sweet Potato Torte

This is such a lovely cake...well, maybe lovely isn't the word as it doesn't seem much to look at, but it tastes wonderful. I reduced the amount of sugar by a quarter cup both times I made this as my sweet potatoes were plenty sweet. Folks I served it to had no idea it was a "healthier" cake until I told them. No butter, no oil, and as it happens no flour if you're looking for a recipe that is gluten-free (make sure you use gluten-free chocolate if that's what you're going for).

Chocolate Sweet Potato Torte:
(Vegetarian Times Magazine)
Serves 12

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided (original recipe calls for 1 1/2...1 being added to the sweet potato cocoa mix, the other 1/2 to the egg whites. I used evaporated cane juice crystals.)
1 cup packed cooked, mashed orange-fleshed sweet potato, such as Beauregard, garnet, or jewel (I roasted them wrapped in foil at 400 for about an hour, till soft, then peeled once cool)
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup unsweetened dark-chocolate cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 Tbs. milk, or any plant "milk" you prefer

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
Blend sweet potato, 3/4 cup sugar, almond flour, cocoa, and salt in food processor 30 seconds, or until smooth, scraping bowl as necessary.
Separate 3 eggs, placing whites in bowl of electric mixer. Add 3 yolks and remaining whole egg to sweet potato mixture; pulse to combine. Transfer sweet potato mixture to large bowl.
Beat egg whites with electric mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar; beat 2 minutes more, or until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Fold one-third egg white mixture into sweet potato mixture with spatula. Gently fold in remaining whites. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (mine was done at 40 min). Cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack. Remove springform sides; cool completely.
Melt chocolate in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in soymilk. Alternately, you can just put both chocolate and soymilk in a bowl in the microwave for ~15-20 seconds taking care not to burn the chocolate. Spread chocolate mixture over top of cake. Let stand until chocolate sets.

Per slice: Calories: 227, Protein: 6g, Total fat: 9g, Saturated fat: 2g, Carbs: 37g, Cholesterol: 71mg, Sodium: 61mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 29g

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Hotcakes

Nothing says Fall like punkin' anything. I've been thinking about cooking with it for weeks now and finally got around to doing so this weekend. I'm sure the fact that EVERY food blog I've read lately has featured pumpkin recipes has had nothing to do with my thought processes. :-)
Thankfully, I was too lazy to get out of bed Saturday night when I remembered I hadn't soaked the oats in buttermilk for for our standard Oatmeal Pancakes and had to search for something new to try out. Pinch My Salt had just the homey recipe I was looking for.
I'd just bought a new bag of white whole wheat flour so decided I'd sub that for both the regular whole wheat and cake flour she used in her pancakes. They were a resounding success...yums all 'round. The recipe made 12 pancakes for us. We each ate 4 (plus 1/2 ea. of the "test meatball" know, the one meatball/pancake you have to try to see if it's done?), but I should have stopped at 3 max. Very filling! I'll be making these babies again for sure.

Pumpkin Hotcakes:
(Adapted only slightly from Pinch My Salt's blog)

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (I used about 1/4 tsp fresh ground)
1 cup+ buttermilk (you'll likely need more than 1 cup of buttermilk and you'll still have a thick batter)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbs oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs dark brown sugar (I used 1 Tbs mild flavor molasses and 1 Tbs Sucanat)

Heat a pancake griddle to 325.
In a bowl, whisk together white whole wheat (Pinch My Salt uses 1 cup regular whole wheat and 1/2 cup cake flour) through nutmeg.
In another bowl, combine buttermilk through dark brown sugar, stirring to combine.
Add wet ingredients to your dry ingredients bowl stirring until just combined. Some lumps are fine. My batter was waaaaaay thick at this point so I added some more buttermilk.

Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto your griddle, flipping the pancakes when the sides have started to dry out. Then cook the other side for several more minutes. Our pancakes were really thick, so make sure you give them enough time on the griddle to cook all the way through.
Place pancakes in oven at low temp to keep warm until all are finished.

Serve with whatever toppings you generally like on your hotcakes. I went for walnuts, pure maple syrup and some Greek yogurt dolloped on each. YUM.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Acorn Squash Toad-in-the-Holes

I loved this idea when I came across it on Proud Italian Cook's blog. Now, after making these newfangled toad-in-the-holes last night, I like the idea even more!
I went a different route with the spices on ours, choosing instead to blend whole corriander, whole cumin, chunky grey salt and whole peppercorns to a course grind in my spice mill (read: coffee grinder that has never seen coffee). We ate these with braised collards for dinner, but they'd make a great dish for brunch as Proud Italian Cook suggested.

Acorn Squash Toad-in-the-Holes:
(adapted from Proud Italian Cook's recipe)

1 large washed acorn squash (you can eat the skin)
olive oil
~1 tsp whole corriander
~1 tsp whole cumin
~1/2 tsp whole black pepper corns
~1/2 tsp grey salt
grated Pecorino Romano
parsley to garnish

Preheat oven to 400.
Course grind corriander, cumin, black pepper and grey salt, then set aside.
Slice an acorn squash into rings (yeah, try getting them all the same thickness...impossible!) withOUT cutting any extraneous bits off your hands (wait a minute...wouldn't "extraneous" suggest that you've got extra bits that you could afford to lop off? Hm, better make that "without cutting ANY bits off your hands" full stop).

Lightly coat squash rings with olive oil, sprinkle as much spice as you'd like on each side of rings.

Bake for ~20-25 minutes at 400, or until tender (the preceding can be done ahead of time if need be...which I did, and then reheated the rings in the microwave for 1 minute before starting the next step).

Move oven rack to top of oven and pre-heat the broiler on High.
Heat a non-stick pan (that can go into the oven) with a little olive oil on med-high.
Place squash rings in pan, crack eggs into the centers (add salt and pepper to eggs), then once the eggs have set on the bottom, about a minute, transfer to the broiler and cook until tops set. Try to cook the eggs so the white is done, but the yolks remain liquid.
Remove from oven, sprinkle lightly with Pecorino Romano and parsley, and serve immediately.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Brutti Ma Buoni Cookies

I was baking with my friends today...the requisite Ogre Toe cookies for Halloween, but I wanted to squeeze these into the day's baking frenzy too.
I've wanted to make these gnarly dudes since I copied the recipe from a copy of Food and Wine on a recent visit to my grandmothers, but felt I needed a place to leave most of them given my propensity towards eating entire batches of sweets all by my wee self. Today seemed the perfect occasion to make them (although I still brought more home than I should have).
The name Brutti Ma Buoni is Italian for "ugly but good". Now who couldn't fall in love with something of that name? Like the homeliest sweet mutt at the pound, I can't see how you wouldn't fall hard and fast for these cookies. Who needs a frou-frou, fawned over iced sugar cookie? Give me brutti ma buoni any day over cute. I'd also venture to say the name should be upgraded to Ugly But Great!

Brutti Ma Buoni (ugly but good):
(Food and Wine Magazine)

1 1/2 cups hazelnuts (8oz)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375.
Roast hazelnuts for ~12 minutes til fragrant and skins blister. Watch carefully as they'll fact, the original recipe called for roasting at 400 which I had bad luck with.
Transfer to a kitchen towel, cool, and rub the skins off as best you can.

Process nuts, sugar and salt til finely chopped.
Scrape into a medium bowl and stir in egg and vanilla.

Bump the oven temp to 400.
Line baking sheet with parchment.
Spoon Tbs.-sized mounds of hazelnut dough onto the prepped sheet one inch apart.
Bake cookies in center of oven for 14 minutes, until browned in spots (about 13 minutes for chewy cookies and 15 for slightly crisp).
Let cookies cool on the sheet before serving.

Can be stored in an air-tight container for 4 days...yeah, like they'd last that long. ;-)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chocolate Mint-Chip Cookies

Don't ask yourself if you should, just make these cookies already!

Chocolate Chip-Mint Cookies:
(Mollie Katzen's Still Life with Menu)

3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) room temperature unsalted butter
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour (I used white whole wheat flour with good results)
1/4 Dutched unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips (I used white chocolate chips)

Pre-heat oven to 350.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet (not necessary with air bake non-stick pans of course)
Cream together butter and sugars with an electric mixer on high.
Beat in the egg.
Stir in the vanilla and peppermint extracts.
Sift together the dry ingredients, and add this to the butter mixture along with the chocolate chips. Stir until well combined.
Drop by rounded teaspoons (know that I didn't want to muck around in the kitchen for too long making these so I pretty much doubled the size of the cookies, baking for about 16 minutes. I ended up with 18 cookies baked 9 per sheet, rather than 2 1/2 dozen) onto the cookie sheet.
Bake 12-15 minutes at 350.
Remove from sheet immediately after baking, and cool on a rack.
I like them a tad underdone when they come out, or they dry out a bit.

I can totally see making ice cream sammies with these bad boys.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Slow Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Just look at those wrinkly beauties! Delicious, and all you need is time.

Slow Oven Roasted Tomatoes:
(inspired by Aunt Susan and her burgeoning vegetable garden)

I started with 2 lbs of Campari tomatoes (they were about 1.5" inches in diameter), then proceeded to cut them in half, seed, then toss in a little olive oil. I laid them out on a sheet of parchment, salted them with big flaky Maldon sea salt, put them in the oven at 200 for oh...bout 7-8 hrs. That's all there was to it. Might want to use more tomatoes if you do this since they shrink so much.
Now use them on sammies, pizza, in pasta, on salads, etc....yum.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pizza with Zucchini, Slow-Roasted Tomatoes and Pesto

If you have these things, you must make pizza. It is the law of the land...

Slow oven roasted tomatoes
(I used Campari tomatoes that I seeded first, with just olive oil and sea salt roasted for hours and hours at 200 degrees...must have been 6+ hrs?...just keep going til they are utterly delicious)

A monster basil plant threatening to take over your backyard and hence, Basil-Almond Pesto
I only used 1-2 cloves of garlic though, for Pete's sake.

This recipe for Pizza Dough

It won't hurt your pie any if you broil 1/4" slices of zucchini and have slices of a big hunk of fresh mozzarella to pile on there too!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cocoa Cream Cheese and Whipped Cream Frosting

This is just the most awesome frosting! I've made it several times without the cocoa as the original recipe was printed, but this time I had one gnarlsbad deep-sea angler fish to frost so I tossed 3 Tbs. of unsweetened Valrhona cocoa powder into the mix. I spose I should have taken step by step shots, but all my efforts went into creating the crazy cake that would be receiving the frosting.
You can pipe this quite nicely as I've done in the past, and it's nice and light due to the incorporated whipped cream. Yum, yum, yum! That said, when it came to eating the above cake, I'd already eaten waaaaaay too much frosting to even consider a slice without turning green. ;-)

Cocoa Cream Cheese and Whipped Cream Frosting:

1 1/2 cups well-chilled heavy whipping cream
1 8oz package of softened cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat Philly)
1 cup granulated sugar (I used evap. cane juice crystals)
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbs dark unsweetened cocoa powder

Chill the bowl and the beater of your mixer in the freezer till it's good and cold.
Whip the cream to firm peaks and set aside in the fridge.

In the bowl of your mixer, add softened cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and cocoa powder. Mix on high until smooth and no longer grainy from the sugar.
Retrieve your whipped cream from the fridge and now carefully fold it into the cream cheese mix until blended.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and return to the fridge until you're ready to use me and don't even TRY it, or you'll have a lot less for your cake!

Alternately, you can just make this a white frosting by leaving out the cocoa.

I'm pretty sure Daniel (the 6 year old recipient of the cake) is gonna NEED this t-shirt!