Sunday, April 1, 2018

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 Tbs coconut oil
3 Tbs maple syrup (the real stuff!!)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups blanched almond meal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1)  Preheat oven to 375F.
2)  In a large bowl, combine coconut oil and maple syrup with an electric mixer on medium speed.
3)  Add the egg and vanilla extract, mix on low speed, just until combined.
4)  Add the almond flour, baking soda and salt, mixing on low speed until combined.
5)  Stir in chocolate chips.
6)  Using a small sized cookie scoop, drop dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes.

Review:  This day's post may seem like a bake-a-thon. It kind of was. My employer is having a bake sale tomorrow. I never get to bake, because baking makes way more goods than the two of us can eat. So, I got the joy of baking to my heart's content, sampling the recipes and then getting rid of the excess. It was a great day!!! This was the least favorite of the cookies I made today. I had way too much almond meal. It was the epitome of a health food cookie, as it had a strong almond flavor and texture. It was gritty instead of cookie like. It also didn't flatten out, so they were lumps that took FOREVER to bake. Ugh. Maybe they'd be better if I flattened them before baking?
Adapted from:
https://www.kitchentreaty.com/soft-baked-almond-flour-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Lemon Sugar Cookies

1 cup vegan butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
2 1/4 cups gluten free flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one large lemon
juice of one large lemon
extra sugar for rolling cookie dough

1)  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed.
2)  Mix in egg on low speed, just until incorporated.
3)  Mix in flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice, on medium speed until well-blended.
4)  Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes.
5)  Preheat oven to 350F. Roll dough into small sized balls, then roll in sugar. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden.

Review:  Once upon a time, I had a micrograter for zest. Seems as though I threw it out at some point and I turned to the finest side of my grater for zest. Neither has been successful in giving me the desired zest. I give up. In the meantime, these cookies are simply divine. They have a warm lemon taste, with just the right amount of sugar. They took seemingly forever to bake (and the recipe made a lot of cookies!). This recipe will definitely make the rotation of favorites.
Adapted from:
https://www.sixsistersstuff.com/recipe/lemon-sugar-cookies/

Rose Water Almond Cookies

3/4 cup cup-for-cup gluten free flour
1/4 cup blanched almond meal
6 Tbs vegan butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs rose water
1 egg, room temperature
extra powdered sugar for sifting on top of finished cookies

1)  Sift together the flour and almond meal in a small-sized bowl. Set aside.
2)  In a medium-sized bowl, cream the butter, vanilla extract, rose water, salt and sugar together with an electric mixer, on medium speed, until well blended.
3)  Add the egg and beat for 15 seconds, on low speed.
4)  On low speed, add the flour mixture slowly. Mix until just incorporated.
5)  Place in refrigerator and chill for at least 20 minutes.
6)  Preheat oven to 350F. Roll the dough into small balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until light brown on the edges.
7)  Place cookies on wire cooling rack and sift powdered sugar on top of each cookie.

Review:  These are so very delicate, including the rose taste!! The rose is just a hint of an aftertaste, in the back of the mouth. I love the flavor of rose and was disappointed. I will definitely make these again, but double (maybe triple?) the amount of rose water. Until then, this will hopefully be enough to appease whoever buys them at the bake sale.
Adapted from:
http://www.bakingobsession.com/2009/05/11/rose-water-almond-tea-cookies/

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Cauliflower Fried Rice (Original Recipe)

1 Tbs coconut oil
5 cubes frozen minced garlic
2 cubes frozen minced ginger
1 10 package frozen, sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 yellow potato, diced
1 12oz bag frozen riced cauliflower medley
1 7oz package sriracha tofu, diced
4 Tbs almond butter
6 Tbs soy sauce
sriracha sauce to taste

1)  In a deep skillet, heat the coconut oil, garlic, ginger, shiitake mushrooms and potato over medium-high heat. Saute, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has evaporated. As this is cooking, heat the riced cauliflower medley according to package directions and set aside.
2)  Once the water has evaporated from the skillet, and the potatoes are tender, add all remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine and heat until temperature is even throughout the dish.
3)  Serve warm.

Review:  I tend to make the same version of fried rice over and over again. Unfortunately, this tended to make rice heavy dinners, with little vegetable variety. Mike's been buying these riced veggie bags and I thought it might make for an interesting version of fried rice. It worked amazingly well! I really enjoyed the flavor combination and it seemed to make it a little more savory. The omission of rice greatly reduced the calorie load, which allowed me to use more almond butter to increase the amount of protein (and flavor!). This was quick, easy and incredibly flavorful. I'll be making this quite a bit!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Rice with Roasted Garlic, Lentils & Mushrooms

1 bulb garlic
1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbs olive oil, plus 1 tsp (separate)
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 cup dry lentils (green or red)
1 cup brown rice

1)  Preheat oven to 350F. Slice top off garlic bulb to expose cloves, and discard top. Place bulb on small square of foil and pour 1 tsp olive oil over it. Fold up corners of foil to seal. Roast garlic in oven 40 to 50 minutes, until soft when gently squeezed.
2)  Meanwhile, bring rice and 2 cups of water to boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Once water is all absorbed, transfer to a large bowl.
3)  Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss sliced mushrooms with 2 Tbs olive oil and 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar, in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Spread on baking sheet in single layer. Roast mushrooms 20 to 30 minutes in oven with garlic, or until tender and browned, stirring halfway through. Add to large bowl.
4)  Meanwhile, bring lentils and 2 1/2 cups of water to boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer (20 to 25 minutes for green lentils, or 10 to 15 minutes for red lentils). Drain and add to large bowl.
5)  Cool garlic until easy to handle. Squeeze out roasted garlic into a small bowl and discard skins. Mash garlic with fork until smooth. Fold mashed garlic into lentils/rice/mushrooms mixture.
6)  Add additional balsamic vinegar to taste and serve warm.

Review: I made this after work, not realizing how labor intensive it was going to be. I had four different pots/pans cooking at the same time, with varying needs. That's more than I wanted to manage and the length of time it took was longer than I wanted to wait to eat. I was further disappointed by the flavor. I love all these ingredients, so this should have been amazing. Instead, it was fairly dull. The roasted garlic was barely noticeable and it tasted mostly of lentils, rice & balsamic vinegar. If I make it again, I'd roast a few bulbs of garlic to really make the flavor noticeable.
Adapted from:
Vegetarian Times, February 2016 issue

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.