Saturday, October 9, 2010

vegan epiphany



i've been on a phyllo dough kick recently (what's not to love about flaky, buttery, delicious pastry?), but have yet to use phyllo for a dessert. maybe it's because of all the donut runs...
anyway, this recipe may not be as easy as easy as going on a donut run, but it's definitely as satisfying. and it's vegan, contains chocolate sauce, and undoubtedly an epiphany.

ingredients:

crust-
16 sheets phyllo dough
1/3 cup earth balance, melted
plain bread crumbs for sprinkling

ganache-
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup soy milk (or coconut milk)

topping-
1 cup soy creamer (or coconut milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
slivered almonds for sprinkling

preheat oven to 375 F

for the crust, carefully lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough with the longer side in front of you. cover the surface with the melted earth balance and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs to prevent the layers from sticking together. layer another sheet of phyllo dough upon the first, spread earth balance on the surface, and sprinkle with bread crumbs. repeat the process until you have 4 sheets layered upon one another. fold the stack lengthwise (you want the longer side to remain the same length, while the shorter side has been divided in 2). make two cuts along the shorter side, so that you end up with 3 equally sized squares. each square should be 8 layers thick, and large enough to fold into a cupcake tin cavity (about 4 or 5 inches squared). repeat the layering process until you have filled a cupcake tin with mini pastry shells. bake for apx 20 minutes or until the edges of the the cups have lightly browned. allow to cool.

meanwhile, prepare the ganache by melting the chocolate chips and soy milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. stir often to prevent burning and remove from heat once the mixture is smooth.

once the shells have cooled, you can fill them with the ganache. start with about a tablespoon for each shell, then disperse extra chocolate where it looks skimpy. my original intention was to purchase soy whipped cream to top the ganache with, but apparently it's not in stock yet ye local grocer, so i decided to attempt to make my own. i failed. i added soy creamer, vanilla extract, and arrowroot powder (a natural thickener) to a food processor, but it just wouldn't thicken. so instead, i popped the mixture into the freezer and made a granita. if your grocery store carries soy whipped cream, you could always opt for that, but if not, a granita is a pretty simple and fun replacement. after sticking the mixture in the freezer, just check on it every 45 minutes or so (for a couple of hours) and give it a good scrape to prevent too large of ice crystals from forming. once it's ready, you can top the ganache with a spoonful of the granita, sprinkle it with almonds, and have an epiphany of your own. enjoy : )

Thursday, October 7, 2010

spanakopita



this recipe for spanakopita from ina garten is truly amazing, but not one i whip out on a regular basis. it's not very difficult, but i won't sugar coat the fact that it takes forever. despite the time commitment, in the end, it's always worth it...

ingredients:

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium-large yellow onion, diced
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
20 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons plain bread crumbs (plus extra for sprinkling between layers of phyllo dough)
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsps salt
1 tsp freshly grated black pepper
10-12 oz feta, chopped into small chunks
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
48 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted

preheat oven to 375 F.

heat the olive oil in a skillet set over medium-high. add the onion, and cook for 5 minutes then add the scallions, and continue to cook for another 2 minutes until the scallions are wilted but still green. 

meanwhile, squeeze as much of the water from the spinach as possible and place it in a large bowl. when the onion and scallions are done, add them to the spinach, along with the eggs, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and mix well. fold in the feta and pine nuts.

to begin arranging, place 1 sheet of phyllo dough on a clean, dry work surface with the long end in front of you. brush the sheet lightly with butter and sprinkle it with bread crumbs (to prevent the next layer from sticking). slide another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, brush it with butter, and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs. repeat the process until your pile has 4 sheets of dough (it isn't necessary to sprinkle the topmost layer with bread crumbs). cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. place 1/4 cup spinach filling on the shorter end and roll the phyllo up diagonally as if folding a flag. then fold the triangle of phyllo over straight and then diagonally again. continue folding first diagonally and then straight until you reach the end of the sheet. the filling should be totally enclosed. continue assembling phyllo layers and folding the filling until all of the filling is used. place on a greased sheet pan, seam sides down. brush the tops with melted butter, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. try to avoid burning yourself when they are fresh out of the oven and piping hot. drooling is acceptable. 

oh so flaky...


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

creamy spinach and artichoke soup with feta and dill



i love fall, and soup, and eating soup in the fall. this soup, inspired by one of the soups of the day at the vintage, is one of the best i've ever had. it's creamy, yet tangy and tart, and chock full of veggies.

ingredients:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 yellow onions, roughly chopped
4-5 large carrots, roughly diced
4 large stalks of celery, roughly diced
4 (14 oz) cans of artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1 cup dry white wine
8 cups of veggie broth
1 lb frozen spinach
10-12 ozs crumbled feta (i used a greek variety)
juice of 4 lemons
1 tablespoon dry dillweed
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 cup of feta brine
salt and pepper to taste

melt the butter in the olive oil at medium-high heat, then add onions, carrots, and celery. saute for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies have lost their bite and are somewhat softened. add the white wine and artichokes, stir to coat, then add the veggie broth and bring to a boil while covered. uncover, add the spinach, feta, lemon juice, and dill, and blend the soup using an immersion blender (or any available blender). once you have achieved a smooth and creamy consistency, add the soy milk, salt and pepper, and gradually add the brine to taste. i used about a cup of brine to achieve a nice tang in the soup, but you can use as little or as much as you'd like. serve with pieces of sourdough or sourdough croutons, and if you're feeling crazy, topped with a piece of sourdough broiled with feta and sprinkled with dill.

Monday, October 4, 2010

blumble



blumble, a cousin of plumble, is a crumble made with blackberries picked by me and tim in the neighborhood. blackberries grow like crazy in oregon, and you're likely to find a bush or two, or in some cases an entire wall full of ripening fruit. you can eat them right off the bush, throw them into exciting sweet or savory treats, or make blackberry wine...
i've decided to continue a tradition i hadn't known i'd started and make crumbles with any fruit that i've picked (at least the first time around... the bushes are still yielding tons of fruit). and so blumble was born, but unlike plumble, blumble has a more mild tartness, a much thicker crumb crust, and it's vegan (for poppy and corrie).

base layer:

5 1/2 cups blackberries
juice of half a lime
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp lavender buds (dried or fresh)
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in a little bit of cold water

crumbly part:

1 cup almond meal
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup of very cold earth balance (or butter if you don't want to make it vegan), cut into small pieces

preheat oven to 350 F.

for the berry base: 
in a medium saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, combine the blackberries, sugar, honey, and lime juice. stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. add the lavender buds and the dissolved cornstarch and stir for about 5 minutes, until the mixture resembles a thick soup (if the mixture appears too watery, continue to cook and stir, and if that doesn't work, add more dissolved cornstarch). pour the mixture in an even layer onto the bottom of a baking dish. i recommend a 9x13 sized dish, but using a smaller dish will allow for a thicker crumble, and a larger dish will result in a thinner one. 

for the crust: 
in a large bowl, combine (using either a pastry cutter or your hands) almond meal, flour, sugars, oats, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and earth balance until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles. cover and place in a freezer for 5-10 minutes. when cooled, sprinkle the crumbles over the blackberry base and bake for 35-40 minutes. serve warm and enjoy! 


it's drippy stuff : )


Sunday, October 3, 2010

roasted acorn squash quiche with spinach and peas

photo by mike. thanks mike : )

my nephew is most likely lactose intolerant which means that my sister has to avoid dairy while nursing. while this isn't exactly life altering, it has been pretty difficult and as a result, i've been experimenting with dairy-free recipes. when i saw a similar recipe for a pumpkin quiche, i thought it would just be cruel to make something so exciting and not be able to share the product, and so dairy-free quiche filled our hearts and bellies.

ingredients (for 2 quiche):

1 medium to large acorn squash, seeded and sliced, but not peeled (the peel will come off easily after roasting)
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
5-7 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
9 eggs
1 8 oz package tofutti
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
2 tablespoons fresh chives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1-2 cups frozen spinach, thawed to a point where it is easily handleable
apx 1 cup frozen peas, same as spinach
1/3-1/2 cup earth balance, melted
12-16 sheets filo dough
bread crumbs for dusting (less that 1/4 cup)
salt and pepper to taste

preheat oven to 375 F.

dress the squash, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. roast for apx 40 minutes, until squash is tender and slightly brown.

while the veggies are roasting, you can prepare the egg mixture and filo crust. for a more textured filling, you can simply mix the eggs, tofutti, soy milk, chives, cilantro, thyme, mustard, salt and pepper together. for a smoother filling, you can first mix the tofutti and soy milk together to eliminate all of the tofutti chunks, then add the rest of the ingredients.
for the crust, begin by brushing a pie or tart tin with melted butter and layering sheet of filo dough upon the base. brush the layer with butter, sprinkle with bread crumbs (to prevent the next layer from sticking if it is accidentally mis-laid), and repeat with 5-7 additional layers, bunching the dough along the edges to prevent the eggy filling from spilling outwards. make sure to brush the final layer with butter, but at this point, the bread crumbs are no longer necessary.

when the roasted veggies have cooled enough to handle, you can easily peel the squash and arrange chunks within the prepared crusts, along with onions and garlic. upon the roasted veggies, you can sprinkle a layer of peas and another of spinach. to finish the quiche, you can ladle the egg mixture evenly between the two crusts and smooth over the tops. bake for 35-40 minutes or until the filling has set, and broil the tops if necessary.

this quiche is much lighter than a typical quiche because of the lack of cream and cheese, but it is still complemented nicely by a fresh salad.

enjoy : )

Thursday, September 23, 2010

potato leek soup

i've been holding off on making this soup for a while, but today is absolutely a soup day (as most fall days in oregon prove to be), and this soup is just right for starting soup season.



ingredients:

1/3 cup unsalted butter
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 medium to large potatoes (i used red skinned potatoes, but yukon gold ones would also work well), cut into rough chunks
3 leeks, roughly chopped and cleaned of dirt and sand
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 cups veggie broth
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

in a large stock pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high. once the butter has melted, add the potatoes and stir to coat all of the chunks. allow them to cook for 7-10 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and add the garlic, leeks, and wine. stir once again to coat and allow to cook, covered for 15 minutes. uncover, add veggie broth and puree using an immersion blender (or allow to cool and transfer to a food processor). stir in the soy milk and parmesan and it's ready to go.

it doesn't even fall over when you tip it sideways (do not try at home)...

Friday, September 17, 2010

mom's favorite



for my birthday, i received a basket of ingredients for making tiramisu (thanks kayla : ), and even though i have loved tiramisu for years, i've never attempted making it. this first attempt was pretty successful, and i see many more tiramisus in my future (and yours too, mom).

ingredients:

3 egg yolks (save the whites for a scramble or frittata)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
8 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temp
1/2 tsp cocoa + more for garnish
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 cup of very strong coffee (espresso is ideal, but strong coffee works well too), cooled
2-3 tablespoons sweet marsala, depending on how booze-y you want it (vin santo or dark rum could easily substitute the marsala)
ladyfingers (i used apx 30, or 2 store bought boxes worth)
semisweet of bittersweet chocolate shavings, for garnish (i used a chocolate with a 70% cocoa content)

directions:

in a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale (about 3-5 minutes, and it can be done by hand if you don't own a stand mixer or electric beaters, or if you just want to tone your arms). add the mascarpone, a tablespoon of coffee, 1/2 tsp of sifted cocoa, a dash of cinnamon, and the pinch of salt and beat until smooth.
combine the remaining coffee and the marsala in a shallow container. briefly dip the ladyfingers in the mixture and arrange the soaked ladyfingers on the bottom of baking dish (i used a roughly 5x9 sized loaf pan). avoid soaking the ladyfingers for longer than a few seconds because they are very delicate, and will begin to fall apart. it also best to dip and arrange them one by one.
once you have completely covered the bottom of the dish with ladyfingers, pour apx 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture over them. repeat the process by creating another layer of soaked ladyfingers, followed by another layer of mascarpone until you have used all of the ladyfingers. if you have remaining mascarpone, add it to the topmost layer. dust the top with sifted cocoa and chocolate shavings, and allow to chill, covered, for at least 3 hours.



serve with coffee, sweet wine, whipped cream, or whatever your belly desires and enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

plumble

about a month ago i moved to oregon, and since then i haven't had much time for cooking adventures. i can honestly say that i have never consumed more sandwiches/veggie burgers in a one month period. but when life gives you an abundance of tart wild plums, a plumble (or plum crumble, adapted from deliciously organic) is certainly in order.

plum part:

5 cups pitted plums, roughly chopped (tart regular plums, or even cherries could easily be substituted for the wild stuff)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon triple sec (or any complimentary booze)

ble part:

1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

preheat oven to 350 F.

in a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook plums, sugar, and honey until the sugar dissolves (about 5 minutes). combine the cornstarch with a little bit of cold water to prevent clumps and stir into the plum mixture. allow to cook, stirring  for an additional 5 minutes until thick. remove from heat and stir in the triple sec. transfer the mixture to a baking dish, making sure to spread it evenly along the bottom.

for the top: combine the almond meal, flour, 3/4 of the oats, sugar, maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor. add the butter and pulse until the mixture comes together and resembles coarse crumbles. if the mixture is too dry, add water at teaspoon intervals. stir in the remaining oats. if the mixture has become warm, it may be a good idea to allow it cool for 5-10 minutes in your freezer. sprinkle over the plum mixture and allow to bake for 35-40 minutes.

serve warm with a scoop of creamy vanilla to compliment the tartness of the plums, and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

herbed biscuits

now that i'm in oregon, i have my sister's herb garden at my disposal, which means there will be several herbalicious recipes in the very near future, starting with these:



ingredients:

1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (you could also do a 50/50 white and wheat combo)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

preheat oven to 375 F.  in a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. work the butter into the flour (i used my hands) until the mix has pea-sized crumbles, then place the bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes while mixing wet ingredients. in a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, and herbs. create a well at the center of the flour mix and stir in the buttermilk mixture until just blended. drop batter in cupcake or muffin tins and sprinkle with salt. bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the biscuits comes out clean.
serve warm and toasty.

note: you can switch up the herbs to anything you prefer. i've also made other version of these with lavender and lemon zest, for which i used 2 tablespoons of zest and 2 tablespoons of lavender buds in place of the herbs. those were less savory, but awesome with a bit of honey.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

homemade cheese balls

despite what it may look like based on recent blog posts (or the lack there of), i have eaten this week. and quite well too, but i haven't had much time for experimenting in the kitchen. tomorrow i am moving to oregon and this week has been pretty hectic because of it. i did, however, manage to squeeze these little cheese ball appetizers in.



recipe (from a chow life*):

1/2 gallon whole milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
herbs, spices, seeds for rolling

the procedure of making this cheese is not as complicated as it might seem, but it is somewhat time consuming. in a large, heavy pot, bring the milk to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. this step will take apx 30 minutes, so it's a good idea to have a book or ipod handy. once the milk starts to boil, remove it from the heat and slowly stir in the lemon juice. the milk will begin to curdle and the whey should appear a clear yellowish-green color. if the whey remains milky, return the pot to the heat and continue to stir until it becomes clear. allow curds to settle beneath the way for 15 minutes.
prepare a colander by lining it with cheese cloth and placing it in a sink. pour the curds into the lined colander and briefly  rinse with lukewarm water. gather the cheesecloth around the curds and gently twist the to remove excess liquid. transfer the bundle, which will still be dripping at this point, to a plate and top with apx 2 1/2 pounds of weight (i used a jar of pasta sauce). 
allow to drain for 45 minutes, then unwrap the curds and transfer to a bowl (if you have a stand mixer, you'll want to use a dough hook to knead the cheese, but if not, it's best to knead by hand). add the salt and beat/knead for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese no longer has a grainy texture.
roll the cheese into a log and wrap with plastic wrap. refrigerate for 1 hour until firm. meanwhile, prepare the different crusts for the balls (or mini logs if you prefer). i used 3 varieties: zaatar (a blend of roasted thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds), a blend of roasted sunflower seeds with paprika, and a paprika chili flake blend. this part of the process is all about personal preference, a blend of fresh herbs would also be lovely.
once the cheese is cold and firm, you can form your balls or logs and roll them in the assorted crusts. serve with crackers or pieces of rustic bread and enjoy!

*a chow life has great step by step photos of the process that you should check out.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

red thai curry

after making the ice cream and mini pies, i knew i needed something vegan to balance myself out. and because i had extra coconut milk from the pies, a thai curry seemed like the perfect meal. 



ingredients:

2 large carrots, sliced/shaved/diced (however you prefer)
2 bell peppers, sliced into skinny strips (i used a red and an orange, but any color combo would be fine)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 inch nub of fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 1-2 tablespoons, use more if you like ginger, and less if you don't)
1 tablespoon tamari
2 tablespoons oil (i used extra virgin olive oil, but any oil will suffice)
1 can baby corn (the store i went to was out, so i skipped this ingredient, but i definitely would have used it if it were available.
apx 1 lb firm tofu*
1 4 oz can of red curry paste (i found a vegan version)
1.5 cups coconut milk (this amount will yield a pretty spicy curry, use more milk for a milder flavor, or some veggie broth instead for a lighter alternative)
apx 3 cups cooked rice (i used brown, but any kind will be fine)
bean sprouts, cilantro, lime, toasted coconut (optional), sesame seeds (optional) for garnish

in a large pot set over medium-high, heat the oil. saute the ginger and garlic for apx 2 minutes, then add the carrots and tamari. cook for 5-10 minutes, until carrots are slightly tender, then add the peppers. cook for an additional 5 minutes, then add the tofu, baby corn (if using), coconut milk, and curry paste, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
serve over rice with with bean sprouts, fresh cilantro, a lime wedge, and a sprinkling of toasted coconut and/or sesame seeds.

*to prepare the tofu, slice it into 1/2 inch thick strips. place strips on a baking sheet making sure to face the sides with greater surface area up, and lightly salt. broil for 10-15 minutes or until nicely browned and crisp. flip the strips, lightly salt them, and broil and additional 10-15 minutes on the opposite side. remove strips from the oven, cut into rough cubes, and add to the vegetables.


Monday, June 28, 2010

lime curd and coconut no-bake mini pies

in chicago, it's hot. and humid. oh so humid, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to make treats and i told a friend i would make a treat for a bridal shower this weekend, because i couldn't pass up the opportunity. despite my love affair with baked goods, there was no way i was turning on the oven this weekend. so i began searching for no-bake pie recipes instead, but most of them had crusts that required baking. what's that about? a pie with a baked crust just isn't a no-bake pie...
because i was taking this treat to a party (one with a florida theme), i made individual pies, each the size of a cup cake. the pies are frozen and made with a raw crust, a layer of lime curd, a layer of whipped cream (a coconut and dairy blend), and topped off with a sprinkling of toasted coconut flakes and lime zest.



crust from wholefamilyfare (i doubled this recipe to use as a crust bottom for 48 cup cake sized pies, so it should suffice for 24):

1 1/2 cups raw coconut flakes
3/4 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup deglet noor dates, chopped
1/4 tsp salt

combine the coconut and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor. once it resembles a coarse meal, add the dates and salt and continue to process until it sticks together when pressed between two fingers. take the mixture and press it into foil cupcake liners or tart tins. i pressed the mix onto just the bottom of the liners, but if you want the pie to have more of a crust, you could press the mix directly into your tin and skip the liner altogether. i cannot, however, attest to how easy it is to remove them.



lime curd:

6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime zest
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

combine the egg yolks, sugar, and lime zest in a medium sized saucepan, and whisk until smooth. add the lime juice and butter and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 7 to 9 minutes, making sure to avoid boiling the mixture. pour the hot lime curd through a strainer into a glass bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a crusty layer from forming. refrigerate the curd until it's cold and thick, for at least 3 hours, but up to 3 days.
when the curd is cold, you may distribute it evenly amongst the tarts or liners. for liners, this is about 2 tablespoons each. place the crusts with curd in the freezer to harden, about 2 hours.

whipped creams:

1 can coconut milk with high fat content (apx 22%), unshaken and refrigerated over night
1 cups heavy cream, cold
1 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

 open the can of coconut milk and scoop out the cream that has situated itself above the milk. mix the coconut cream with the heavy cream and vanilla extract in a large bowl. using a handheld mixer, blend the creams. blend in the confectioner's sugar in 2 batches while mixing. i was not able to get my creams to hold soft peaks, but the mixture did thicken, and because i froze the pies, this wasn't really a setback. once you've gotten the mixture as stiff as you think it will get, or when it holds peaks, spoon it over the frozen lime curd layer. i used a little under 1/4 cup of the cream for each liner. when all of the coconut milk is distributed, return the pies to the freezer and allow to freeze for at least 3 hours.

note: you want to make the whipped creams once the lime curd layer is frozen, so that when it is poured upon the curd, it remains a separate layer.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

honey vanilla sunflower ice cream

this recipe is based on an ice cream flavor i had last summer in rapid city. all across the country there are little homemade ice cream shops, and because they don't exactly flourish in chicago and it was necessary to consume an absurd amount of calories, we tended to stop at them whenever we got the chance.
the funny thing about taste and smell is the memories that they'll bring back to you. who knew that the combo of honey, vanilla, and sunflower seeds would remind me of how glorious washing machines and dryers are? on a cross country bicycle ride, one tends to get pretty stinky, and sometimes you just can't get the stink out without help from a machine. the above mentioned ice cream shop was a few blocks from our stay over in rapid city, but right across the street, like a beacon of joy, was a laundromat.
so i guess this post is for my fellow riders, who know the importance of both ice cream and fresh laundry. enjoy : )



rapid city memories (in edible form):

1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean pod
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
5 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted

in a medium saucepan over medium heat combine milk, honey, sugar, and salt. split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise, scrape the seeds into the milk mixture, and add the pod along as well. cook the mixture for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently until the honey and sugar have completely dissolved.
in a small bowl mix the egg yolks and while stirring constantly, slowly add half of the heated milk. if you don't continue to stir while adding the milk, the eggs could curdle. pour the heated eggs back into the saucepan. cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the saucepan, until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the spoon.
add the cream to a large bowl, and strain the milk and egg mixture into it. return the vanilla pod to the mixture and add the additional vanilla extract. allow to chill completely and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
just before the end of the churning process, incorporate the sunflower seeds into the ice cream.

for added sunflower-y goodness, heat sunflower seed butter until it is somewhat runny and drizzle over the ice cream before serving.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

asparagus, spinach, and feta cheese frittata

frittatas are amazing because everything about them is super easy. from prep, to cook, to clean up, they're perfect for when you don't have much time, but don't want to sacrifice a nutritious meal.



frittata (modified from this recipe):

10 egg whites
2 eggs
2-3 tablespoons soy milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
apx 20 asparagus spears, tough ends removed and cut into 1 inch chunks
4 cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
3 green onions, diced
1 cup feta (i use french, but any variety would work), crumbled
salt and pepper, to taste

preheat over to 350 F. 

whisk together eggs, egg whites, and soy milk (use more milk for fluffier eggs, and less for denser eggs) and set aside. in an oven safe skillet (i used cast iron) heat the olive oil. add the asparagus, spinach, onion, salt and pepper, and cook on medium for 5-7 minutes or until asparagus is tender and spinach has wilted. pour the egg mixture over the veggies and mix in about half of the feta. cook for an additional 5-7 minutes on medium-low until the eggs are mostly set. sprinkle the remaining feta over the eggs and transfer the skillet to the oven. bake for 10-15 minutes until the frittata is firm, and broil for 1-2 minutes to allow cheese to brown.



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

curried cauliflower

i'm starting to think of myself as a produce rescuer. this recipe managed to put 2 heads of cauliflower, a pack of carrots, and 2 sad looking tomatoes, all to good use.
it's a combination of two recipes, one of which my former roommate steffi was quite crazy about, the other which tim couldn't get enough of. how could i go wrong?



curried cauliflower:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or additional oil instead, to make the recipe vegan)
2 medium yellow onions, diced
4-5 carrots, diced
2-3 tomatoes, diced
2 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 29 oz can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
3 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups water
spices galore*
1/2 tablespoon sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
cilantro leaves for garnishing

in a large pot heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. when melted, add onions and carrots and saute for apx 5 minutes. lower flame to medium and add tomatoes, spices galore, sugar, salt, and pepper. allow to cook for apx 5 more minutes then add cauliflower, chick peas, tomato paste, and water. bring to a boil, then cover and return flame to medium. allow to simmer for apx 20-30 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. if the mixture is too soupy continue to cook uncovered on medium low, until the sauce has thickened to a desirable consistency.
serve hot, garnished with cilantro.



*my spices galore included the following, but feel free to use a curry blend you already have on hand, or any combo of spices that suites your tastes:

2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tsp chili flakes
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek powder
1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida powder)


to steffi: it's not exactly that carrot magic i made you a couple years ago in bologna, but a lot of the flavors are the same and unless you hate tomato paste and cauliflower, i think you'll really like this. and who knows, maybe even if you think you hate them (like how you thought you hated eggplant), they'll turn into you're new best friend : )

Sunday, June 20, 2010

funfetti cupcakes with strawberry buttercream



in my house, father's day isn't so much about my father or my brother (who also happens to be a father), it somehow ended up being all about my niece. so naturally, funfetti cupcakes with a pinkish frosting and extra sprinkles were on the menu. or rather, they were the menu...

cupcakes (modified from this recipe):

1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp
1 egg + 1 egg white
2 tsps vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. in a larger bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth, add the egg, egg white, and vanilla and mix well. add the flour and milk in alternating batches, starting and ending with flour (1/3 of the flour, 1/2 the milk, 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the milk, 1/3 of the flour). fold in the sprinkles and avoid over mixing.
line a cupcake pan and fill each liner about 2/3 of the way through. bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. cool completely before frosting.




frosting:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temp
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cocoa powder
3 tablespoons strawberry puree (i blended 3 large strawberries, then ran the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds)

beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. add the confectioner's sugar in 1/3 batches and mix well. add the cocoa, vanilla, and strawberry puree and mix well again. spread or pipe on cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

zucchini roll ups

this recipe allowed me to get rid of the last of the zucchini, but that doesn't mean there won't be tons more in my summer future...



zucchini roll ups:

2 large zucchini, cut into lengthwise strips (using a mandolin to cut apx 1/4 inch thick* slices would be ideal, otherwise just cut them by hand)
3-4 oz goat cheese (i used a garlic herb blend, but if you are using a plain variety, i would mix in some chopped herbs: 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, 1/2 tsp finely chopped thyme, or whatever blends you particularly enjoy)
1 pint grape tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

grill the zucchini strips (or saute them in a nonstick pan) on a lightly greased grill or grill pan. salt and pepper both sides of each strip, and allow them to develop dark grill marks (about 5-7 minutes per side over medium-high heat). 
when the strips are still warm, spread the goat cheese over one side and place 1 or 2 tomatoes at one end (the less attractive one) and roll up.
the goat cheese acts as a great adhesive and it's really that easy...
serve as a cold appetizer and enjoy : )

*cutting the slices thinner than 1/4 inch will make spreading the goat cheese very difficult.



Friday, June 18, 2010

basil lemonade

the high today in chicago is 95 degrees and it just so happens that i bought a lemonade pitcher yesterday in champaign. can you believe the odds?



basil lemonade (adapted from a giada de laurentiis recipe):

2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (i used 7 lemons, but they were all pretty juicy. 8-10 is probably a safe average bet)
basil simple syrup, cooled (recipe below)
3 cups of cold or sparkling water
lots of ice (i froze mine with basil leaves and lemon zest inside)
fresh basil leaves and lemon slices for garnish (optional)

mix lemon juice, simple syrup, and water in a pitcher and serve in glasses filled with ice.

basil simple syrup:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 cups lightly packed basil
1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)

combine the water, sugar, and basil in a small saucepan and heat at medium-high until the liquid is clear and sugar granules are no longer visible, about 7 minutes. if using lemon zest, add to the syrup once it's off the heat. allow to cool, then strain out the zest and basil leaves.

note: this is a tart lemonade, if you prefer a sweeter lemonade, i would increase the sugar in the simple syrup. the recipe also produces a strong lemonade, which is why it is served in glasses with lots of ice.

and i'll leave you with lemonade and a city scape, for those who  pine...


Thursday, June 17, 2010

yeasted zucchini bread



after zucchini pancakes, zucchini fries, and now zucchini bread, i'm down to 5 giant zucchini. that doesn't seem so bad, except that there's also 2 cauliflower heads and 15 tomatoes begging to be used... ah well there's always tomorrow.

bread (adapted from cooking rookie):

1 medium zucchini, grated (i used a large grater because i wanted to be able to recognize pieces of zucchini in the bread, however, you can use a smaller grater for less noticeable shreds)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup rye flour
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 package dry active yeast
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 cup veggie broth (if possible, heated between 90-100 F. if you plan on estimating the heat, it's better to underestimate because liquids that are too hot can harm your yeast)

combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. cover the bowl (not airtight) and allow to rise for 2 hours.
use the dough after the 2 hour resting period, or alternatively refrigerate the dough for up to 10 days.
on the day you plan on baking the bread, sprinkle the dough with flour (it will be quite sticky) and form two same-sized round loaves. place the loaves on a cornmeal coated baking sheet to prevent sticking, and allow to rise for 40 minutes if using room temp dough, or 90 minutes if using refrigerated dough.
place a pan or tray at the bottom of the oven and preheat to 450 F. if you plan on making decorative incisions in the bread, do so right before baking. i also gave my loaves a sprinkle of pink salt, i'm a bit obsessed with the stuff...
once the oven is preheated, place the baking sheet in the oven and carefully add 1 cup of hot, but not boiling, tap water to the heated tray at the bottom of your oven. there will be a lot of steam and you want to make sure not to splash water on the oven door, as it could crack. close the door as soon as possible to trap the steam inside (this helps to form a really crisp crust while maintaining a moist interior). bake for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and allow to bake for 15 more minutes. turn off the oven and let the bread sit inside for an additional 10 minutes then remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

creamy vegan tomato soup with zucchini fries







remember when i thought 7 zucchini were a lot to make use with? or 5 boxes of blackberries? well how about 29 tomatoes? after using some of them for stuffing peppers yesterday, i decided a soup was the most effective way of minimizing that frightening number. this recipe is adapted from a non vegan version by ina garten.

soup:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium sized yellow onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
8 roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 cups veggie stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tsps sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tsps black pepper
3/4 cup unsweetened soy milk.

heat olive oil on medium-high in a large pot. add onion and carrot and saute for 10 minutes. add garlic and saute an additional minute. add all of the other ingredients except the soy milk and stir well. bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes.
add the soymilk and blend the soup using either an immersion blender, a regular blender, a food processor, or a food mill.
serve hot, garnished with julienned basil and/or croutons. for non-vegans you could add a sprinkle of parmesan and/or zucchini fries.

zucchini fries (adapted from a recipe by two peas and their pod):

1 large zucchini, cut in half and then into skinny sticks
2 large egg whites, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

(if you don't have the exact herb combo, just incorporate the herbs you have on hand)

preheat the oven at 425 F. spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
beat the egg whites in a wide shallow bowl. on a plate, mix the bread crumbs, parmesan, herbs, spices, salt and pepper.
dip the zucchini in the egg, then the bread crumbs, making sure that each stick is well coated. place in a single layer on the greased sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping the sticks half way.
serve warm. they're good alone, but better as croutons in the soup.




Tuesday, June 15, 2010

stuffed red peppers



i first made these peppers when vlada (one of my roommates in bologna) and i visited sade in milan. we all fell in love with them before they even hit the oven. this recipe is reconstructed mostly from memory and some bad notes taken 2 years ago, but i assure you, the end result is equally as delicious now as it was then.

ingredients:

6 red bell peppers, halved and cleaned of seeds (i like using red peppers because they are sweet and complement the saltiness of the feta, but you can use any color pepper you have on hand)
2 medium yellow onions, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 8 oz package of button mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
5 roma tomatoes (or 3-4 larger tomatoes), diced
2 10 oz packages of chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
3 cups greek feta, crumbled
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 cups tomato sauce

in a large pot heat the olive oil at medium to medium-high and add onions and garlic. saute for about 5 minutes then add the mushrooms. saute for about 7 more minutes and add the tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, paprika and chili. cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the crumbled feta.
place the pepper halves into a baking dish and begin to fill will the spinach mixture. avoid stuffing the peppers with the liquid from the mixture, and if necessary drain some it off, but do not discard it. once the peppers are all stuffed, top them with the additional 2 cups of crumbled feta.
i used canned tomato sauce, so i added it to the reserved liquid from the spinach mixture, along with a cup (packed) of roughly chopped basil, and 1/2 tsp of pepper. i cooked the sauce of high heat until it began to bubble, then allowed it to simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes. pumping up the sauce is an optional step, and you can use 2 cups of sauce as it is. pour the sauce over the peppers and onto the bottom of the pans. bake at 375 F until the cheese has browned and the peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.


enjoy with friends : )

Monday, June 14, 2010

zucchini pancakes





there will probably be a lot of zucchini recipes in the days to come. this recipe only managed to polish off one of the six giants sitting in the fridge...

recipe:

1 giant zucchini, grated into large shreds (about 3 cups)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons yellow onion, grated into large shreds
6 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1 tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

after grating the zucchini, place the shreds in a clean thin dish towel and ring out some of the water (i managed to ring out 2-3 tablespoons). zucchini retain a lot of water and draining some of it enables crispier pancakes. place the grated zucchini in a medium bowl. in a separate bowl, beat together eggs, onion, paprika, chili, salt and pepper. add this mixture to the zucchini and mix well. add the breadcrumbs, baking powder, and parmesan and mix well.
in a skillet heat the butter and oil at medium-high heat. when the butter is completely melted, do a test blob of the pancake batter: if it starts to sizzle, you're good to go, if it isn't making that sound that makes you want to drool, give it a little more time.
once the pan is hot enough, spoon the mixture into several little pancakes (i made mine with apx 2 tablespoons of batter per pancake). cook for about 4 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. after flipping the pancake, press down upon it with a spatula to create more brownable surface area.
serve hot with a dollop of goat cheese and sprinkle of fresh parsley leaves. yum.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

chocolate spritz cookies




whenever my niece is over we bake something chocolate-y. even if i happened to spend too many hours making a giant chocolate cake a few days before...

recipe:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

preheat oven at 375 F. cream together butter and sugars. add vanilla and eggs and mix well. sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into the wet ingredients and mix until combined. form logs from the dough and use in a cookie press. if you don't have a cookie press, you could still form logs from the dough and refrigerate them until they are stiff enough to slice. bake for 10 minutes. once completely cooled, you can decorate them with various icings.



note: this recipe makes about 75 spritz cookies and the process is very kid friendly.

base icing:

1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tablespoon unsweetened soy milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

after mixing the icing ingredients together, i drizzled it on some of the cookies then topped some with toasted coconut and some with pink himalayan salt (my favorite of the combos).

spiced chocolate icing:

same as the base icing with an additional 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp cayenne


clockwise from top left: dusted with cocoa and confectioner's sugar, iced and topped with toasted coconut, iced and sprinkled with pink himalayan salt, drizzled with spicy chocolate icing.

Friday, June 11, 2010

i4cake

the i4cake is a cake that caroline and i made to greet the illini4000 (or i4k) as they arrived in chicago today. for anyone who does not already know, last summer i participated in a cross-country bicycle ride to raise money for cancer research and patient services. caroline and i both were both members of this student-run organization at the university of illinois at urbana-champaign and wanted to make sure we supported this year's team.


we topped the cakes with these cute little cyclists...



snow covered mountains...



cake recipe (adapted from an ina garten recipe):

3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tsps baking soda
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps salt
4 eggs, at room temp
2 cups buttermilk, shaken
1 cup vegetable oil (i used extra virgin olive oil)
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
2 cups freshly brewed coffee

preheat oven to 350 F. in a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. in a separate bowl mix eggs and add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. add the wet ingredients to the dry while mixing slowly, then add the coffee, mixing just to combine. pour batter into 2 9x13 cake pans that have been sprayed and lined with parchment paper. bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

frosting:

1/4 pound unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1/4 pound cream cheese, softened
3 cups of confectioner's sugar
2 tsps cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

combine butter and cream cheese. add cocoa and vanilla. mix well, then add sugar in 1 cup intervals and mix until very creamy.

frost, decorate, and make others happy : )

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

adventures with crostini

in addition to the two paletas and leftover thai food i ate today (my dad decided after a few bites that his popsicle was hurting his teeth, which led me to double fisting...), i ate a variety of crostini. this one was my favorite



to assemble:

lightly toast slices of baguette
spread with fresh pesto (recipe in earlier post)
using a vegetable/potato peeler, create shavings from a block of cheese (i used a peppercorn encrusted parmesan)
top with freshly grated black pepper and garnish with baby basil leaves

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

spinach salad with roasted beets and goat cheese

it just doesn't make sense to go through the trouble of roasting beets without pairing them with goat cheese. this is one of my favorite salads topped with a roasted garlic dressing.



salad:

fresh spinach
roasted beets (about 1/4 cup per person)
goat cheese  (1/2-1 oz per person)

create a bed of spinach in a shallow bowl, top with roasted beets (directions for roasting beets in post below), crumbled goat cheese, and crushed walnuts. drizzle with dressing.

dressing:

1 head of garlic, unpeeled
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

wrap the head of garlic with foil, leaving an opening at the top for steam to escape. bake at 350 F until soft (apx 15-20 minutes). carefully peel roasted garlic cloves (they will be hot and you want to avoid squishing them out of their skins). for a more rustic texture, you can mash the garlic by hand and mix with the other ingredients, or for a smoother texture, you can combine all of the ingredients in a blender.

eat up!



Monday, June 7, 2010

roasted veggies

roasted veggies are one of my favorite things to eat. i think i could eat them every day and probably not get sick of them. there are some veggies, or i guess roots/tubers, that i prefer on their own like beets or yams, but my favorite combo is carrots, red potatoes, and brussel sprouts. the best part about them is that they're almost impossible to mess up.




roasted veggies:

(this is what i did, but i encourage ignoring my vegetable ratios and doing what looks right and appetizing to you)

2 medium/large carrots, cut into roughly 1/4 inch disks
2 medium/large red skinned potatoes, diced into chunks that were near the size of the carrots
3-4 cups of brussel sprouts, thoroughly cleaned, trimmed of tough stems, and halved or quartered depending on how large they are (the goal is to have all the vegetables at apx the same size to avoid overcooking some while undercooking others)
1/8-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2-1 tsp salt and 1/2-1 tsp pepper (season to taste)

preheat oven at 350 F. mix all ingredients so all veggies are well coated and seasoned, and cook for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. crank up the heat to 400 F and continue to cook for 20 minutes or until nicely browned.

note: the brussel sprouts will shed outer layers when trimming them. do not discard these leaves, they make awesome chips when thrown in with the batch.

roasted beets:

i used 2 giant beets and diced them up fairly small (they take a long time to cook, so the smaller you cut them, the faster you'll eat them)
1/8-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2-1 tsp salt and 1/2-1 tsp pepper (season to taste)

mix all the ingredients and spread them on a cookie sheet in roughly 1 layer. if you pile them on top of each other they are less likely to develop a nice outer skin, and their texture will be homogeneous all the way through. the cook time is the same as the veggies above, with an additional 10 minutes at 400 F at the end.

note: when roasting beets, i try to make as many as possible because they are great to throw on spinach salads or to add as a side to whatever i'm eating for dinner.


nutella

when i lived in italy i ate mass quantities of nutella with my roommates. everything was perfect then, and the day i realized that nutella had hydrogenated oils was a sad, sad day. until now. here it is, better than ever...



nutella

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts with skins peeled (i usually toast mine in a toaster oven at 350 F for apx 10 minutes, but once they are slightly browned and fragrant, you'll know they're ready)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (or any vegetable oil really, it's only added for consistency)
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
1.5 ounces dark chocolate (i used 70%), melted and cooled
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

run the hazelnuts through a food processor until they are the consistency of peanut butter. add all of the other ingredients, giving the mixture a quick blend by hand to prevent the confectioner's sugar from poofing up at you once you turn on your machine. process until smooth and try not to eat it all in a day...

note: my final product was grainier than store-bought nutella, but i liked the added texture. it was also less sweet because nutella is made with milk chocolate.



Friday, June 4, 2010

aunty esabel tomatoes

this is a recipe based on an appetizer my aunt served without fail at every thanksgiving. it's very simple, but it's the kind of thing that my sister and i would await in anticipation for months. that was before i knew my way around the kitchen...



feta stuffed cherry tomatoes:

1/2 lb feta (i use french, but greek would also work well)
2 tablespoons chopped green onion, green and white parts (about 1 bulb)
1/2 tsp ground paprika
2 tablespoons zaatar (look for a blend that does not contain salt, but if you can't find one, a salted one will do)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons flat leaf or italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
cherry tomatoes

(this filling will stuff several tomatoes, probably around 50, so feel free to make only a fraction of it)

combine all ingredients except tomatoes in a bowl and mix well, it should appear relatively creamy. test the mixture and make any alterations at this point. keep in mind that the tomatoes will not be salted, so if the feta mixture is a bit salty, it's okay.
take the tomatoes and remove their tops and seeds. i make a circular incision to the tops and then scooped out the seeds with the smallest teaspoon i have (1/8), then used the same spoon to stuff the tomatoes with the feta mixture.
serve with bunches of parsley or sprinkled with roughly chopped parsley leaves.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

anais bread


anais bread is named after its creator anais. she is both my favorite roommate and also the one who made me the most insane. we have a dynamic food history that includes eating mac and cheese out of an electric water heater on our dorm room floor in the wee hours of the morning, nibbling on boozy chocolate sent to us in gargantuan packages from her parents in the mail, hummus fests!, and of course baking as a means of avoiding sufi homework (sorry vhoff, nothing personal). this recipe falls into the last of the categories. it's a garlicy herb bread that's super easy and very flavorful. its also vegan, imagine that...



anais bread:

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon unsweetened soy milk
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tsp salt
1 package dry active yeast
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground flax meal (whole flax seeds would also be fine, and if you don't have any flax, just skip it)
1 tablespoon each herb: dry dill, dry oregano, and fresh rosemary (roughly chopped)
2 cloves garlic, well minced

 
combine the flours, flax, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. in a separate bowl combine everything else. add the wet ingredients to the dry and knead well, then coat the ball of dough in a thin layer of olive oil to prevent drying. cover and allow to rise in a relatively warm, dark place (like an oven that's been on for a 3 minutes) for 40 minutes. add the herbs and knead a little more to incorporate. cover again and allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes. coat dough once more with a thin layer of oil, score, and sprinkle with sea salt (or any salt that you have handy). bake in an oiled pan for 15 minutes at 375 F, 20-25 minutes at 350 F, and an additional 10 minutes at 300 F.

delicious both warm and cold, but best with salty, herby, olive oil for dipping.

and to anais: i'm so glad you don't suffer oil-a-phobia.