Saturday, December 23, 2017

Gingerbread Cake

Cake:
1 1/4 cup gluten free flour
1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
6 Tbs vegan butter, room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup water

Glaze:
1/3 cup rum
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar

1)  Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a loaf pan.
2)  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, baking powder and xanthan gum. Set aside.
3)  In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
4)  Add the egg and beat well, while scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl. Stir in the molasses.
5)  Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the water, starting and ending with flour. Mix just until smooth.
6)  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
7)  Bake the cake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a food thermometer gives an internal reading of 210F.
8)  Set aside to cool, turning it out onto a cooling rack once it is cool enough to handle (roughly ten minutes).
9)  Once the cake if fully cooled, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan, combine all the glaze ingredients.
10)  Stir constantly over low heat, until the ingredients are well blended and the glaze is no longer gritty. Brush onto the cake.

Review:  I've joked with my niblings that I'd start making cake for the winter holidays instead of pie, but didn't do so until this year (it's been years of joking). The recipe originally called for a bundt pan. I really don't need that much cake, and the reviews indicated it was difficult to remove from a bundt pan. I halved the recipe and used a loaf pan. It looks so very dense, so a smaller size was definitely a good idea!
Adapted from:
https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gingerbread-bundt-cake-recipe

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Zhoug & Lentils

1 8oz pkg zhoug sauce
1 17.6oz pkg steamed lentils
2 cups quick-cook basmati rice

1) In a medium sauce pan, combine 4 cups of water, rice and lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, stir to loosen the lentils. Once the water is fully absorbed (12-15 minutes), remove from heat.
2) Mix in zhoug sauce thoroughly. Serve warm.

Review: I love Trader Joe's for so, so many reasons. However, it leads to many impulse purchases in which I have no plan. Zhoug sauce definitely was one of these purchase. I looooove cilantro and jalapeño, so to find a sauce made from both seemed like destiny. I had no idea what to do with it, though, and in the middle of the store was no time to figure it out. I tossed it in the cart and spent 20 minutes on google trying to figure out what to make for dinner. I found a recipe that was pasta based, but that felt weird. So, I swapped pasta for rice and made my own recipe. Luckily, I had an impulse buy from a previous trip to Trader Joe's in the fridge - steamed lentils. This was a fast meal, but ever so delicious. It's very flavorful and reminiscent of the green condiment I love at Indian restaurants. There's a bit of heat from the jalapeño, but not overwhelming. I know Trader Joe's will likely not carry this much longer (much like the kale cashew cheese pesto I saw only once, but was the most divine pesto ever), but it was well worth trying at least once. I'll definitely make this again if I find it in the store after the holidays.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Sweet Potato Pie

2.5 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
1/4 cup bourbon
1 Tbs olive oil
2.5 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt

1)  Bring sweet potatoes and enough water to cover by 1 inch to a boil in large saucepan. Boil 15 to 20 minutes, or until very soft. Drain, and cool.
2)  Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare pie pan with your favorite pie crust (or ready made!).
3)  Transfer sweet potatoes to a food processor bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and cover. Mix on low until smooth and creamy. This may require a few stops to push ingredients down - this gets thick quite quickly.
4)  Pour filling into crust and smooth the top with a spoon.
5)  Bake 60 to 70 minutes, or until crust is light golden brown and filling is jiggly, with some cracks on top.
6)  Cool completely before loosely covering with a paper towel and foil (the paper towel will catch any moisture). Chill 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.

Review: I originally made this Thanksgiving 2016. The recipe instructions were to put the sweet potatoes though the blender. I'm not sure why that was the instruction, when sweet potatoes don't move in a blender. I had to transfer everything to the food processor and had twice as many dirty dishes!! Even then, the recipe was bland. I made it again for Christmas, but added a little bit of bourbon. It was still fairly bland, but better. So, this time I used 1/4 cup of bourbon (I prefer Knob Creek). The mixing bowl suddenly became quite soupy! I was quite relieved when it set up well once it was baked. It was the perfect addition and really pulled the pie together. This is a nice alternative to pumpkin pie, as it's similar in taste but is a bulkier pie (and not as sweet!!). This finally earned itself a post on the blog!
Adapted from:
Vegetarian Times, November/December 2016 issue, Blender Sweet Potato Pie

Monday, October 16, 2017

Fermentation!

One of the many kitchen projects I enjoy involves letting vegetables ferment in jars on the counter!! It sounds horrible I know, but it's the same beloved practice that makes sauerkraut. Vegetables sitting in a 2% brine will become delicious, pickled versions of themselves. Lactobacillus bacteria converts the natural sugars to lactic acid. This prevents bad bacteria from growing, while the lactobacillus (probiotics!) thrive. It's a tangy, healthy treat. However, it takes several weeks usually to get to the right ph. This means jars of things, submerged in salt water, with air locks on top, just waiting to become tasty. Oh, and watching it occasionally bubble throughout the process.

So, here's pics of the set up and my current fermentation attempt - Brussels sprouts!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Savory Acorn Squash (Original Recipe)

cooking spray
1 acorn squash, chopped into large chunks
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
cayenne, to taste
basmati rice

1) Preheat oven to 425F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray, then arrange squash chunks so that they are not crowded together.
2) Spray squash chunks with cooking spray and then sprinkle with seasonings (salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne). Bake for 30 minutes, or until squash can be easily pierced with a fork.
3) Remove baking sheet from oven and scrape squash chunks away from the peel (discard peels).
4) Serve over basmati rice. (I cheated and used a 90 second microwave pouch of rice).

Review: I got more squash in my CSA, so I had to find a savory use for it. I really don't like the focus on making it sweet and gooey every time. I tossed these seasonings together and it was an amazing match. It had a bit of exotic flavor, combined with the good, savory taste I was looking for. Basmati rice was the perfect bed for this squash, though I could have eaten it without!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Golden Squash Quinoa

2 delicata squash, seeds removed, halved lengthwise and then sliced
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbs turmeric
1 cup quinoa

1)  Preheat oven to 400F. On a greased baking sheet, place the squash slices evenly so there is no overlap. Spray with cooking oil (I love olive oil spray) and then dust with salt, garlic powder and turmeric. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork.
2) In a medium saucepan, add 2 cups of water to the quinoa. Cover and boil for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.
3) Serve squash slices over a bed of quinoa.

Review: I got two delicata squashes from the CSA last week. Somehow, this is the first time I've ever had delicata squash.This blows my mind, as I've tried so many obscure versions and yet missed this one. So, I didn't want to go the traditional sweet route with this one. I'm so happy to have found a version with turmeric as it's my new favorite spice. It's so versatile while remaining exotic and fancy. Too bad it stains everything yellow . . . but I digress. It really makes this dish savory. The turmeric balanced with the garlic picked up the sweetness of the squash without being a sugary mess.
Adapted from:
http://www.skinnytaste.com/roasted-delicata-squash-with-turmeric/

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fiesta Potatoes (Original Recipe)

2 Tbs avocado oil
1 lb potatoes, diced
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground chipotle
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground cumin

1 cup frozen roasted corn
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1)  In a large pan, add oil and potatoes, cover and sauté over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.
2)  Once the potatoes begin to brown, toss in the seasonings, stirring to ensure even coverage. Add the frozen corn and cover, ensuring all ingredients are heated.
3)  Once the contents of the pan are evenly cooked, stir in the vegan cheese. Stir until evenly melted (or as evenly as vegan cheese can melt . . . ). Stir in diced tomatoes.
4)  Serve hot, topped with cilantro.

Review:  I have been OBSESSED with tacos for the last week. I had tacos, I had taco salad, and yet, I still can't stop thinking about tacos. I picked up our CSA today and challenged myself to not make another stirfry. So, I end up making this taco flavored dish with the potatoes and a tomato from our pick-up. It was beyond delicious. I also added some minced, fermented peppers to the top. I had made lacto-fermented peppers with the intent to make hot sauce. Instead, I ended up with a tasty paste. It added extra flavor to the dish, and tons of probiotics!