Monday, August 21, 2017

Burmese Semolina Cake

I bookmarked this recipe on a whim. It calls for half-and-half, so I used half lactose-free cream and half lactose-free milk, but you could use coconut milk instead of the cream and get an equivalent result. It was a bit of an odd dish in that it’s not like most desserts I know. The cake itself is almost bland and certainly not very sweet, so I recommend serving it with fruit or maybe lactose-free ice cream or some kind of sauce. That being said, it was very good and it was a great canvas for seasonal strawberries.

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine, melted, cooled slightly, divided
1¼ cups semolina flour (this is made from durum wheat; I haven’t tried it with corn)
1 large egg
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
1 ½ cups lactose-free half-and-half (see note above)
⅓ cup sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 °F. Grease an 8x8” baking dish.

Toast semolina in a large dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until darkened and nutty-smelling, about 2 minutes. Let cool.

Whisk egg, coconut milk, half-and-half, sugar, salt, and 1 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan. Gradually whisk in semolina and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking, until mixture is very thick and pulls away from the sides of saucepan, about 4 minutes. Scrape batter into baking dish.

Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45–50 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack. Brush cake with remaining 1 Tbsp. butter; let cool slightly. Serve with fruit or your preferred accompaniment.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Lemon Bundt Cake

Once upon a time, the Engineer asked me to make a lemon bundt cake, for no reason other than he had a craving for one. I didn’t have a recipe handy, so I googled it and settled on this recipe from the White on Rice Couple. But then I realized that I needed lactose-free cream so it (something whippable, so I couldn’t just substitute coconut milk), and so it ended up on the back burner until I was in Canada. (You can always make this to compensate, but it’s not pure lemon.)

In the meantime, I made a small chocolate layer cake with chocolate ganache that was an abject failure. I mean, I had thought it was weird that in the original post, the cake was covered with a bough of lilacs, as opposed to just a few flowers, but now I think I know why: the cake disintegrated upon unmolding. If you ever want to attempt it (the recipe is from Sweet Laurel Bakery), I can unequivocally say that you need to line the pans with paper in addition to greasing them and dusting them with cocoa. I’m not sure I liked it enough to attempt it again, though, especially since the frosting needed to be refrigerated for consistency.

Then, once I was in Montreal, I finally got around to making this coconut cake from a recipe I tore out of Martha Stewart Living in… 2004. Turns out the cake itself was fine, but the coconut cream was a disaster. It was supposed to be a frosting, but I had to serve it as a sauce on the side – so much for waiting to have lactose-free cream! That was a disappointment almost 13 years in the making.

So anyway, then I got back to the lemon bundt cake, and thank God I did. This cake was moist and delicious and very lemony, and it was really all you could want from a lemon bundt cake. And we lived happily ever after. Enjoy!

For the cake
2 ¾ cups (345 g.) flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) lactose-free butter or margarine
3 cups sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
zest from 4 large lemons
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
6 eggs
½ cup lactose-free cream

For the lemon glaze
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup sugar

For the vanilla icing
1 cup (120 g.) confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. lactose-free cream

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan (I used an angel food cake pan).

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt for at least 20 seconds. Set aside.

In a mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes (if the bowl does not feel cool while creaming, place it in the freezer for 5 minutes, then continue creaming).

Beat in the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. On the lowest speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated.

Mix in the flour mixture in three stages, until just combined. Set aside

Whip the cream just past the soft peak stage. Stir in about ¼ of the whipped cream into the batter, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Drop the pan from about 4" above the counter to knock out any bubbles.

Bake on the middle oven rack for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean near the center. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the cake by knocking it against the counter (I also ran a knife along the edges). Invert the cake onto a serving platter.

Stir together the lemon glaze ingredients (if needed, heat them briefly to help dissolve the sugar). Brush on the hot cake until all of the glaze is absorbed. After it has cooled, if serving within a day or two continue to final step, or if serving later in the week, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve (keeps 4-5 days wrapped in the fridge).

On the day you are ready to serve (or the night before), take the bundt out of the fridge to come up to room temperature. In a bowl, whisk together the icing ingredients, adjusting the cream or confectioners’ sugar amount to make the icing fairly thick but pourable (not runny). If the icing is close to the thickness you want, but still a touch too thick to pour, warm it slightly and it will become more fluid until it cools off (perfect for icing the bundt cake). Drizzle the icing over the top of the bundt cake and serve.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Roasted Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcakes with Cardamom Whipped Cream

I could no longer find rhubarb in grocery stores after making the clafoutis, so I thought I’d have to hold off on making more recipes with rhubarb until next season. But then I was lucky enough to get rhubarb straight from my grandmother’s garden! Since there were still a lot of delicious, seasonal, local strawberries at the store, I decided to make roasted strawberry-rhubarb shortcakes – and, bonus, I’ve got lactose-free cream here to go with it! These were delicious as a not-too-sweet dessert, and I imagine they’d be good as an indulgent breakfast, too. This recipe makes 6 shortcakes, though we had leftover cream and filling (great with yogurt or ice cream).

For the shortcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ cups plus 1 Tbsp. lactose-free cream, divided (I think coconut milk would work here too)
1 Tbsp. demerara sugar

For the fruit filling
4 cups chopped rhubarb (1-inch pieces, from 4 or 5 stalks)
4 cups quartered strawberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
juice of 1 medium lemon

For the whipped cream
1 ½ cups lactose-free cream
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground cardamom

For the shortcakes
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Pour in 1 ½ cups of the cream and stir until the dough is shaggy. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds, just until it all comes together. Shape dough into a 4x12-inch rectangle.

Cut the dough into 6 (4-inch-square) pieces. Transfer to the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the shortcakes with the remaining 1 tablespoon cream, then sprinkle with the demerara sugar.

Bake until golden-brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling
While the biscuits cool, reduce the oven temperature to 350 °F.

Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, lemon zest, and juice together in a large bowl. Spread over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until soft, stirring halfway through, about 20 minutes total. Cool on the baking sheet.

For the whipped cream
Whip the cream on high speed in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, vanilla, and cardamom, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

To assemble the shortcakes
Slice the shortcakes in half. Place the bottom halves on serving plates. Spoon the strawberry-rhubarb filling over the bottom halves, top with a big dollop of whipped cream, and top with the other shortcake half.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Small knitting projects

I kept going in my efforts to knit through the stash, prioritizing baby projects because, well, people keep getting pregnant. I mean, if everyone could just stop having babies for a second, I could finally knit something for myself, you know? Ha! I suppose I’ll get there eventually.

I started by digging into some gorgeous yellow yarn, Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino in Cadmium – it also comes in worsted weight and probably others, but what I had on hand was lace, so I knit double-stranded. First, I made a puerperium cardigan for a tiny little boy who turned out to have the really cool name Asher Hendrix. I used blue buttons that were in my collection, originally from Etsy.

In my previous post in this series, I mentioned the ongoing grey yarn saga. See, I had a skein of Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace Yarn in Medium Grey (03) left over from a previous project, and I really wanted to use it up. I thought I had enough to make a small garter yoke baby cardigan for the Fox, but it turns out I didn’t. So I set about buying a second skein, only to realize that it’s been discontinued! I finally located one in the U.K. Of course, once I got it, it was from a different dye lot, so I figured I’d use the recommended trick of knitting alternating rows from each skein, so that the greys blend into one another. So I started over, only to realize that there was still a visible striping effect! I frogged everything and balled up the colors individually. I ended up making another puerperium cardigan with most of the first skein, this one for the Fox, and the second (British) skein is still sitting in my stash.

As for the garter yoke cardigan, I made it in more of that luscious cadmium yarn, with star buttons I hadn’t used in a while.

I decided to make the Fox an Offset Wraplan with more of that yarn – I can’t get enough of that color, and it’s super soft, too. Plus, it’s a great pattern! I used wooden buttons.

I then used up some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in Duck Egg (leftover from the Temari sweater) to make another Jeudi sweater, again for the Fox.

Friends of mine announced they were adopting their second daughter, so I made them a short-sleeved Kina cardigan with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in Coral. I had 4 skeins, so I made the 4T version – it’s definitely too big for her right now, but at least she’ll grow into it (and can currently wear the cardigan I had made for her older sister). I used a button from my stash and threw in a knit flower to make it more interesting. I really like the pleats at the neckline! It turns out I actually had a blank card with a design that looked like the flower, so of course I had to use it for the care instructions!

Finally, for the Little Prince, I made the Lancelot sweater I’d been eyeing for so long. I bought some Classic Elite Adelaide Yarn in Charcoal because, based on its description, it seemed perfect to show off the pattern on the front. In person, it’s a bit fuzzy and I feel like it looks better in the pictures than in real life. I had set aside two large black buttons to finish it up, but they ended up being too big, so I riffled through my mother’s button collection and chose two yellow ones. I needed a little less than 4 skeins of yarn (I thought I’d need 6), but then again the sweater came out a bit smaller than I expected – I had hoped it would fit him for a trip a year from now, but I’ll be lucky if he can still wear it this winter! At least I’ve got another child on whom I can pawn it off.

Clafoutis à la rhubarbe et à la noix de coco

Je n’ai vu de la rhubarbe à l’épicerie qu’une seule fois depuis mon arrivée, au début juin, mais heureusement, j’en ai acheté deux paquets! J’ai fait un peu de compote avec le premier, et avec le deuxième, ce clafoutis. Il s’agit d’une recette sans produits laitiers ni gluten, et je conserverai la base pour utiliser avec d’autres fruits, car c’était vraiment réussi! J’ai modifié un peu la recette en utilisant un moule carré de 8 pouces et en ajoutant une pincée de sel; la version ci-dessous est la mienne.

250 g. de rhubarbe
2 c. à soupe de sucre
3 gros œufs
125 g. (5/8 de tasse) de sucre
1 pincée de sel
90 g. (9 c. à soupe) de fécule de maïs
1 boîte de 400 ml de lait de coco
40 g. (6 c. à soupe) de noix de coco râpée

Préchauffer le four à 350 °F et bien graisser un moule carré de 8 pouces.

Peler la rhubarbe (je ne l’ai pas fait) et la couper en petits tronçons d'environ ½ pouce ou 1 cm. La déposer dans un bol et la recouvrir d'eau bouillante. Saupoudrer de 2 c. à soupe de sucre et couvrir. Laisser reposer au moins 30 minutes, cela ayant pour but d'attendrir la rhubarbe et de lui enlever un peu de son acidité.

Fouetter les œufs avec le sucre et le sel; ajouter la fécule de maïs, la noix de coco râpée et le lait de coco.
Égoutter la rhubarbe et l'ajouter au mélange. Verser cette préparation dans le moule et cuire au four pendant 25 minutes.

Servir tiède et saupoudrer d'un peu de sucre glace, au goût.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Chicken with Mustard and Bacon

I decided to make this recipe because it claimed to be a one-pot meal, and I’m all for ease; that being said, it’s really just a main dish and does not include any sides! So I made honey-and spice-roasted carrots to accompany the dish (though if you wanted something richer, I’d recommend the sour cream mashed potatoes I tried earlier last month). I found the chicken too salty, though, so I think you should taste the sauce before adding any salt – this may also depend on what kind of mustard you are using. Other than that, it was really good!

¾ cup Dijon mustard, divided
½ tsp. smoked paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
6 slices thick cut bacon, diced
1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
3 Tbsp. lactose-free cream (or soy creamer)
6 sprigs fresh thyme

Combine ½ cup of the mustard, the paprika, and the salt and pepper to taste in a shallow bowl.

Fully coat each chicken thigh in the mustard mixture. If using chicken thighs, be sure to get in all the nooks and folds. Place the coated chicken in 2 large ziploc bags and place in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.

When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the fridge and set aside.

Add the diced bacon to a large skillet over medium/high heat. Stir as it cooks, until fully crisp and done. Set aside and allow to drain on a paper towel; leave the bacon grease in the skillet.

Place the chicken in the empty pan and brown each side for 4-5 minutes (the chicken doesn't need to be all the way done). Remove from the pan and set aside with the bacon.

Add the wine to the pan and scrape the bottom with a wooden spatula to deglaze. Whisk in the remaining mustard, the whole grain mustard, and the cream. Add back in the chicken, bacon and toss in the fresh thyme.

Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce is reduced to your liking.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Banana Bread with Muscovado and Chocolate Chips

You know by now that I like banana bread. But I must have posted a dozen recipes already! I wanted to try something a bit different, so I made one with maple syrup, but I felt like I couldn’t taste it much. I mean, it was good banana bread, just somewhat plain. I then tried a recipe from Orangette that uses muscovado as a sweetener. Sadly, muscovado was *really* expensive at the store, so I did the same thing Molly Wizenberg did in her recipe: I used all the muscovado I had, which was about half of what was called for, then I used brown sugar and a tablespoon or two of molasses to make up the rest (I weighed it all to get the right amount). It was really good, and with chocolate chips, impossible to resist!

2 cups (250 g.) all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 generous pinch of kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. (235 g.) muscovado sugar
14 oz. (400 g.) ripe bananas (peeled weight), or about 3 medium bananas
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 ½ oz. (100 g.) dark chocolate, chopped to the size of fine gravel (I used chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Grease a standard-size loaf pan (approximately 9 ½ x 5 inches) and line it with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. Whisk to blend.

In another bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. They should still be lumpy, not fully pureed. Stir in the vanilla.

In yet another bowl, beat the eggs lightly with a fork.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter briefly, just to get it going, and then add the sugar. Continue beating until the mixture is light, fluffy, and the color of coffee with milk. Add the beaten eggs, and continue to beat. (If the mixture looks like it’s curdling at any point, add a spoonful of the flour mixture.) Add the chocolate and the mashed bananas, and beat to mix. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture. Beat to incorporate.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and smooth the top. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out moist but clean. If there is any sign of wet batter, continue baking for a few more minutes, tenting the top with foil if it’s browning too much.

Cool the finished loaf in the pan for 15 minutes. Loosen the sides with a thin knife, then carefully lift out the loaf with the parchment liner. Cool completely before slicing.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Petits pots de crème à l'érable et au beurre d'arachides

Ces petits pots de crème à l’érable et au beurre d’arachides, de Coup de Pouce, étaient excellents! J’ai obtenu 8 ramequins d’une capacité d’environ ½ tasse chacun et je les ai saupoudrés de flocons d’érable que j’avais sous la main – je recommande fortement!

¾ tasse de sirop d'érable
1 tasse de beurre d'arachides crémeux (j’ai utilisé du Kraft)
1 ½ tasse de crème sans lactose
flocons d’érable, pour garnir (facultatif)

Dans une petite casserole, mélanger le sirop d'érable et le beurre d'arachides. Cuire à feu moyen, en brassant, jusqu'à ce que le mélange soit homogène. Verser la préparation dans un grand bol et laisser refroidir légèrement.

Entre-temps, dans un autre bol, à l'aide d'un batteur électrique, battre la crème jusqu'à ce qu'elle forme des pics fermes. À l'aide d'une spatule, incorporer délicatement la moitié de la crème fouettée au mélange de beurre d'arachides en soulevant délicatement la masse. Incorporer le reste de la crème fouettée de la même manière jusqu'à ce que la mousse soit presque homogène. Verser dans de petits ramequins et réfrigérer pendant au moins 4 heures ou jusqu'au moment de servir. Garnir de flocons d’érable, si désiré.