Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cue the angels!

You know the saying, “when you give, you receive”? I guess that’s what happened. Several days ago, Lactose Intolerant (@cheesefreepls) retweeted someone’s simple question: is there such a thing as lactose-free sour cream available in stores? So I quickly replied yes, since Green Valley Organics makes one, and I just love helping fellow lactose-intolerant people find it! Then I followed up that tweet with a link to their website, which I copied-pasted right from their homepage – I guess that was going the extra mile, but I was glad to do it. And as I was on the homepage, what do I see in the bottom right-hand corner? LACTOSE-FREE CREAM CHEESE!!! Green Valley Organics makes lactose-free cream cheese, everybody! And I would not have found out if I hadn’t decided to go the extra mile with that second tweet.

The Engineer stopped by the Whole Foods at the Quarry on his way home from work Tuesday, so guess what I had for breakfast this morning? Oh, yeah. Cream cheese! I’m including the breakfast shot below (please ignore the torn foil, it bothers me more than it does you) so that you can see the consistency: soft enough to drag your knife across the top and get a satisfying amount of cheese on there. It’s not as tangy as I would have hoped, but it’s way tastier than vegan cream cheese! Do you realize this means that I can make real cheesecake again? Oh, the possibilities! I’m posting this in case anyone wants some for the holidays, though I still have some posts to catch up on (like Thanksgiving dinner and what I’ve made since then!). This totally made my day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Kind Cupcakes

Let’s catch up on a few desserts I made lately but haven’t blogged about. I made what was a VERY good chocolate banana cake, vegan to boot, but I have no good pictures whatsoever, so I can’t do a whole post about that. And an apple and pomegranate tarte tatin that was okay, though homelier than expected (despite a beautiful color) and a little too sweet for my taste (which is saying a lot). The crust did have the interesting addition of sour cream as well as butter, but it was less noticeable than I had hoped in the finished product. I won’t bother making it again. There was also a luscious pumpkin cake, which was somewhat blander than it should have been.

These vegan cupcakes, however, were different from any I’ve made before, and definitely good enough that I want to share them! They’re from Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet, where she refers to them as her favorite cupcakes. What a surprise they were! I went into this curious about the frosting, which is different because it calls for soy milk powder. I mean, I had tried something like it before at some point (I believe it was for cupcakes from the BabyCakes cookbook), but I didn’t keep that recipe, so obviously it hadn’t worked like I wanted. Yet I somehow still had hope that this one would work. (Interestingly enough, the recipe does mention that the soy milk powder can be omitted and the frosting will only be runnier. Personally, I’d keep it, though you could use rice milk powder if you don’t like soy.)

The cake itself turned out beautiful, with a good crumb, albeit a little healthy-tasting – it might have been better to use white whole wheat flour instead of a mixture of white and whole wheat. Then, as I was making the frosting, it looked like it would fail, but it was a revelation! It was sweet and had a great consistency once all the ingredients were mixed properly. I’d definitely make these cupcakes again. Note, however, that I buy my agave nectar in 11.75-oz. containers, which isn’t enough for the recipe; I topped it off with maple syrup.

For the vanilla cupcakes
2/3 cup hemp or soy milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
pinch fine sea salt
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup safflower oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the fudge frosting
½ cup (4 oz. or 1 stick) Earth Balance
½ cup agave nectar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
½ cup soy milk powder

For the cupcakes
Preheat oven to 325 °F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners

Combine the milk and vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for at least 5 minutes or until it bubbles a little. (According to America’s Test Kitchen, this step isn’t strictly necessary, but I did it anyway.)

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

By now, the milk should be ready. Add to it the agave nectar, oil and vanilla and stir.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined and no lumps remain.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin, and bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean and the tops are slightly springy when pressed. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then cool completely on a rack before frosting.

For the frosting
Use a mixer to cream butter and agave nectar. When smooth, add vanilla extract and about half the cocoa powder; mix on low speed to combine, then add the remaining cocoa powder. Add in the soy milk powder and beat at medium-high speed until fluffy. If it is runny, refrigerate the frosting until it sets up a while (I did not have to do this, but I imagine that’s what happens if you omit the soy milk powder).

Monday, December 15, 2014

White Chocolate Mud Cake

I made this because I knew the Engineer would love it. He made a happy, contented face when he tasted it and did, in fact, declare his love for it. I said he seemed to like it so much that it looked like he would marry that cake if he could, and he replied that he married me so I could make him the cake. Turns out, I love it too. But it’s a little dangerous, because it’s just so good! We had to ration out this cake to make it last, and we cut it into 12 pieces if memory serves me correctly (instead of the usual 9 pieces I make when using a square pan like that). I simplified the directions a bit below, because Exclusively Food had instructions more adapted to Australia than North America; I also used a substitute for self-rising flour, so that’s what I wrote below as well. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

For the cake
300 g. white chocolate (ideally dairy-free)
200 g. (14 Tbsp.) margarine (this was butter in the original recipe)
1 cup lactose-free milk
165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar (I processed 165 g of cane sugar to get an equivalent)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
240 g. (2 cups) all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1 pinch of salt

For the ganache
200 g. white chocolate
80 g. lactose-free sour cream

For the cake
Preheat oven to 325 °F.

Grease an 8-inch square pan and line the base and sides with parchment paper.

Place chocolate, margarine, milk and sugar in a large saucepan (or double boiler, as I did) over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat when chocolate and margarine have melted, and stir mixture until completely smooth. Allow mixture to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Add vanilla and eggs to chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. (If you fear some of your eggs have curdled, you can strain the mixture, but if you let the chocolate cool long enough, this shouldn’t be an issue.)

Stir flour, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Add one cup of chocolate mixture to the flour and stir until a smooth paste forms. Repeat with another cup of the chocolate mixture. Add remaining chocolate mixture and stir until mixture is smooth. (This gradual method of combining the wet and dry ingredients helps prevent lumps.)

Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour or up to 1 hour 20 minutes. When the cake is ready, a fine-bladed knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out without any batter attached.

Loosely cover cake with greaseproof paper or a clean tea towel and allow it to cool to room temperature in pan. (The cake can be stored in the fridge overnight and brought to room temperature before being iced and served.)

For the ganache
Melt white chocolate in a double boiler (or in a small saucepan over VERY low heat), stirring frequently. When chocolate has completely melted, remove from heat and quickly stir in sour cream. Use immediately, or if your ganache is quite runny, set it aside at room temperature to thicken slightly before using. Simply pour on the cake and let stand until it has set.

Green's Kale Salad

I finally got around to making the kale salad from Green, my favorite vegetarian restaurant. It was shared by San Antonio Express-News. I halved the recipe (which is what I wrote below) to make a reasonable amount, and used soy sauce instead of Bragg Liquid Aminos (I’d just pared down the pantry and fridge and wasn’t going to buy another ingredient for just one recipe). I also toned down the heat. It’s quick to make, and really fantastic! The kale is sturdy enough that the salad can keep for a day or so if it’s dressed, but I still preferred it fresh.

1 bunch kale
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
1 ½ tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste (to me, that’s a pinch)

Wash the kale in cold water, pat dry, and with a sharp knife, trim off the tough portions of the stems and discard them. Chop the kale into bite-size pieces and place in a large salad bowl; set aside.

Combine vinegar, oil, brown sugar, garlic, Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce and red pepper flakes in a sauté pan. Simmer the mixture over moderate heat for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat and immediately pour the hot mixture over the kale; mix well to thoroughly coat all of the leaves with dressing. Allow kale to sit for 10 minutes or more before serving.

Classic Tourtière

To those of you who are not from Quebec: tourtière is essentially a pork pie. Some people put different meats in there, including venison, and some recipes have potatoes, but this is the bare-bones basic version. It’s traditional fare around the holidays, but to me, it’s a good winter meal! This recipe is from Simple Bites. I liked that it’s un-plain while still being simple, if that makes any sense. It was really good, as a matter of fact! This recipe makes two pies, so I froze one, and I don’t see the point of making any fewer. Since it’s harder for me to cook than it used to be (what with parenting an almost-toddler at the same time), I cut corners and bought pie dough instead of making it. And I’m not even sorry.

2 ½ lbs. ground pork
1 ½ cups cold water
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped celery
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried savory
½ tsp. dried rosemary (I used chopped, fresh rosemary)
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
pastry for two double-crust, 9-inch pies
1 egg, beaten, for glaze

In a large, heavy frying pan (I used a saucepan), combine pork with cold water and heat to boiling point. It should be slightly soupy.

Add onion, celery, pepper, bay leaves, savory, rosemary, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 1 ¼ hours; stir often. Add more water if mixture dries out. Halfway through cooking time, season with salt to taste.

Stir in rolled oats and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove bay leaves and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, line two 9-inch pie plates with pastry. When meat mixture is lukewarm, divide it between two pie shells and spread it out evenly. Brush around outer edge of pastry with the beaten egg. Place top crust on the tart and press gently around the edge to seal. Trim pastry, crimp edges and cut steam vents in top crust. Decorate as desired.

Bake in preheated 425 °F oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 °F and bake another 25 minutes or until crust is golden.

[Pies can be frozen directly after assembly, with the dough still raw. Wrap them well in plastic wrap and freeze. To cook, remove from the freezer and unwrap; brush the top with a little beaten egg and place frozen meat pie directly in a preheated 375 °F oven. Bake until golden and heated through, about 50 minutes.

These pies can also be frozen after being cooked. In that case, remove the pie from the freezer a few hours before serving, if possible; wrap in foil to keep it moist and warm in a low (300 °F) oven until heated through.]

Friday, December 12, 2014

Muffins aux framboises, au chocolat noir et à la noix de coco

J’ai continué à essayer quelques recettes à la citrouille, mais sans trop de succès. Il y a eu notamment les scones à la citrouille avec beurre à la cannelle de Bon Appétit. Au début, je ne les ai pas aimés, mais l’Ingénieur était fan. En y repensant, j’ai décidé qu’il s’agit en fait de bonnes pâtisseries, mais qu’il ne s’agit pas de scones, alors voilà pourquoi j’ai été déçue – la recette porte le mauvais nom.

Tout de même, en voici, un nom bien descriptif : muffins aux framboises, au chocolat noir et à la noix de coco, de Coup de Pouce. Tellement bons que le Petit Prince leur a désigné une syllabe! Quand je lui en ai offert, il m’a dit « ké » (pour « cake », en anglais), et je lui ai répondu : « Non, mon chéri, ce n’est pas du gâteau, ce sont des muffins. » Alors il a dit « mô! » et il a retenu ce son pour les désigner. Nous les avons beaucoup aimés tous les deux!

2 tasses de farine
1 c. à thé de poudre à pâte
1 c. à thé de bicarbonate de soude
¼ c. à thé de sel
½ tasse de beurre ramolli (j’ai pris de la margarine froide)
½ tasse de sucre
2 œufs
1 c. à thé de vanille
2 c. à thé de jus de citron
1 tasse de crème sure sans lactose
½ tasse de brisures de chocolat noir
¾ tasse de copeaux de noix de coco non sucrée, grillés, grossièrement émiettés
1 ½ tasse de framboises
1 c. à soupe de sucre cristallisé blanc (facultatif)

Préchauffer le four à 375 °F. Tapisser de papier ou beurrer des moules à muffins (c’était 12 dans mon cas, mais la recette d’origine dit 15.)

Dans un bol, mélanger la farine, la poudre à pâte, le bicarbonate et le sel. Réserver.

Dans un grand bol, à l'aide d'un batteur électrique, battre le beurre jusqu'à ce qu'il soit crémeux. Ajouter le sucre et battre pendant environ 2 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que le mélange soit léger et gonflé. Ajouter les œufs un à un, en battant bien après chaque addition. Incorporer la vanille et le jus de citron. Incorporer les ingrédients secs réservés en deux fois, en alternant avec la crème sure. Ajouter le chocolat et la noix de coco et mélanger délicatement à l'aide d'une cuillère de bois. Incorporer délicatement les framboises. Répartir la pâte dans des moules à muffins. Saupoudrer du sucre, si désiré.

Cuire de 15 à 25 minutes ou jusqu'à ce qu'un cure-dents inséré au centre des muffins en ressorte propre. Mettre les moules sur une grille et laisser refroidir pendant 5 minutes. Retirer les muffins des moules et laisser refroidir complètement sur la grille.

Dark and delicious

This recipe is from Live Journal, though I must admit that I do not remember where I found that link. But the important thing is that I have this recipe. I’m editing the presentation and wording below, for clarity, but the recipe is for the same dark and delicious chocolate cake posted by the user. I only urge you to line your pans with paper instead of just greasing them and flouring them, as the original recipe suggested, because that wasn’t enough to keep the cakes from breaking when I unmolded them… The cake itself is a good chocolate cake, perhaps somewhat unremarkable in and of itself (and certainly not like the steamed chocolate cake I thought this recipe was for originally!), but what makes it really special is the frosting, which the user says is from Joy of Cooking. It’s not a frosting so much as a mousse, and it’s just luscious and decadent when spread over cake! I made it with butter, so I had to take Lactaid, and I’m not sure that this would work with margarine (too soft) or shortening (too bland). The Lactaid was worth it, though, and since this cake is very rich, it lasted for several days in the fridge. It would definitely be a good choice for a birthday cake, or a party where you have guests to help you polish it off!

For the cake
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 ¼ cups cake flour
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup butter, at room temperature (I used cold margarine)
2 ¼ cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 cup lactose-free sour cream (you could use lactose-free yogurt instead)
1 cup boiling water (I used water from the double boiler, it’s easier)

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Grease two 9-inch round pans; put parchment or wax paper on the bottom and grease again.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and cooled chocolate and mix again.

Add about a third of the dry ingredients, mixing only to blend, then half of the sour cream, mixing again. Continue adding the ingredients, alternating and ending with dry ingredients. Finally, add the boiling water – the batter will seem very thin, but this is normal.

Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (I’d check mine at 30 minutes next time, as it seemed a bit dry.) Let cool before turning out onto a rack.

For the frosting
2 eggs
2 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
½ cup lactose-free milk
¼ tsp. salt
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
6 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp. vanilla

In a heat-proof bowl (I used a metal one as a double-boiler), whisk together the eggs, powdered sugar, lactose-free milk and salt. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until the mixture reaches 160 °F. (I did bother doing this, but I think if you use pasteurized eggs, it’s not such a big deal.)

Remove from the pan and add the chocolate and butter, whisking until they have melted into the mixture. Add the vanilla and whisk one last time.

Get another bowl and make it into an ice water bath. Set the bowl of chocolate in it and, with a handheld mixer on high speed, beat the ever-living heck out of it until the frosting takes shape. (I couldn’t do this, as I don’t have a handheld mixer here, so I used the stand mixer and periodically set the bowl in an ice water bath for 30 seconds or so. I wouldn’t worry too much about cooling it down quickly, though.) The chocolate mixture will be dark and glossy at first, but as you beat it, it will slowly lose its gloss and become lighter. Keep beating until it becomes smooth and lush.

Frost your cake as desired, ideally taking care to make a crumb layer. The frosting can be stored in the fridge, though it should be mixed again before being spread on the cake.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Possibly the best peanut butter cookies you will ever eat

We’ve all had peanut butter cookies. The kind with crisscrossed fork marks on top that seem to pop up at every bake sale. They’re good, but they’ve got nothing on these salted peanut butter cookies. Nothing! These were, by far, the best peanut butter cookies I’ve had, and now I’m not even sure why I’d make any other kind of peanut butter cookie again. I found the recipe on Orangette, and it’s adapted slightly from Hot Cakes Confections in Seattle (the same Hot Cakes who make vegan caramel sauce). The secret is the quality of the peanut butter as well as the quantity of salt. So that’s two secrets, I guess. And they’re out.

So I decided to go all out for this and make my own peanut butter, since I have a Vitamix. (I won’t turn this post into a love letter to Vitamix, but suffice it to say it rocks!) I used 1 pound of roasted peanuts and, as per Alton Brown’s guidelines, 1 tsp. kosher salt. It was the most perfect peanut butter and tasted fantastic! I’d use a few more ounces next time, as I had to top it up with a few tablespoons of Skippy Natural creamy peanut butter. If you’re not making your own (as I suspect most won’t, and I can’t blame you), I recommend natural peanut butter, the kind you keep in the fridge – just make sure it’s salted. Also, note that even though I usually prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, Molly Wizenberg says that in this case, the milk chocolate really does go better with these cookies. I used 4 ounces, but would consider more next time, though these are by no means chocolate chip cookies.

This recipe makes 18-20 large cookies.

240 g pastry flour (I substituted 120 g of cake flour and 120 g of white whole wheat flour)
5 g (1 tsp.) baking soda
12 g kosher salt
275 g (2 sticks + 3.5 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used cold margarine)
200 g (about 1 ¼ cup, packed) dark brown sugar
170 g (¾ cup plus 2.5 Tbsp.) sugar
2 large eggs
400 g (1 ½ cup) natural salted creamy peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
115 g - 170 g (4-6 oz.) chopped milk chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 °F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine the pastry flour, baking soda, and salt, and whisk well.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Add the peanut butter and vanilla, and beat on medium-low speed to blend. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, mixing on low speed until incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the chocolate, and beat briefly on low speed, just until evenly incorporated.

Using an ice cream scoop – mine has a capacity of about ¼ cup - scoop the batter onto the prepared sheet pan, taking care to leave plenty of space between cookies. (I bake six cookies per pan; if you add more, they run together.) Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and pale golden around the edges, but their tops have no color. (The cookies will not look fully baked, and this is crucial if you want chewy cookies!) Transfer the pan to a rack, and cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan. They will firm up as they cool.

Repeat with remaining dough (though it freezes beautifully).

Mousse au chocolat et à la patate douce

Il s’agit ici d’une recette trouvée sur les Carnets de Miss Diane. L’idée peut sembler drôle au départ, mais je vous assure que c’est bon! De plus, cette « mousse » est sucrée avec des dates, alors d’un point de vue nutritif, c’est assez bon. Entendons-nous tout de suite : si vous aviez envie d’une vraie mousse au chocolat, ce dessert ne satisfera pas votre envie. Mais si vous vouliez simplement un petit quelque chose de sucré, ou si vous voulez donner un dessert santé à vos enfants, c’est tout indiqué! La recette ci-dessous donne 4 toutes petites portions, alors je n’hésiterais pas à la doubler la prochaine fois.

2 petites patates douces ou 1 moyennement grosse (environ 235 g)
4 c. à table de poudre de cacao non sucrée
125 g de pâte de dattes (j’ai pris 125 g de dattes, soit environ 18 dattes)
¼ tasse (ou un peu plus) de lait de coco
1 pincée de sel

Cuire la patate douce; on peut la cuire au four ou au four micro-ondes, ou encore la faire bouillir. Personnellement, je préfère le four (1 heure à 425 °F).

Lorsque la patate est cuite et refroidie, déposer tous les ingrédients dans la jarre du robot. Si la pâte de datte est trop ferme, la passer quelques secondes au four à micro-ondes. (J’ai réchauffé mes dattes un peu.) Actionner à haute vitesse jusqu'à ce que le tout devienne une mousse. Ne pas hésiter à ajouter du lait de coco pour obtenir une mousse plus souple.

Déposer la mousse dans une poche à pâtisserie munie d'une douille ronde et remplir de petits ramequins aux trois-quarts. C’est plus joli que d’y déposer la mousse à la cuillère, même si cette dernière méthode convient aussi tout à fait.

Cumin-Scented French Lentil Salad

I promised you another recipe from our last Summerfest, and here it is. It’s Serious Eats’ cumin-scented French lentil salad, which my friend Jen made for lunch one day, and it was delicious. It’s really not complicated to make, you just have to take the time to pick through lentils and finely dice vegetables, but it’s well worth it. I liked this salad eaten warm, and it was great straight from the fridge the next day, too. Enjoy!

1 cup French lentilles du Puy
3 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you want)
1 bay leaf
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
½ cup finely diced red onions (about ½ a small onion)
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme (or ½ tsp. dried, but I prefer fresh)
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp. ground cumin (or more, to taste)
½ tsp. salt, plus more to taste
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one large lemon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, best quality
1 tsp. honey (or maple syrup or agave nectar)

Combine lentils, chicken stock and bay leaf in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer until lentils are just tender, about 25 minutes (or about 20 minutes for common lentils). Strain and let cool.

In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Add cooled lentils and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Cumin Braised Carrots and Chickpeas

A quick little post for a quick little side dish. I had meant to make this Naturally Ella recipe at one point, and bought the ingredients, then I ended up making something else instead. I can’t remember why, but more’s the pity, because this was fantastic! On the bright side, all the ingredients keep well, and they’re all things that are usually in my pantry or crisper drawer, so hopefully it should be easy to make again on a whim. I’d consider omitting the golden raisins, and it should be noted that I completely forgot the broth. And still, still, this was delicious. The Little Prince loves carrots, too, so this was a win all around! I served them with turkey meatballs, but I imagine they’d go well with just about anything.

3 carrots, sliced ¼" thick
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed if using canned (I used the whole can)
¼ cup golden raisins
1 ½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
⅓ cup vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 375 ˚F.

In a roasting pan, toss together sliced carrots, garlic, chickpeas, raisins, cumin, salt, and olive oil. Spread out into a thin layer. Add vegetable broth and cover roasting pan with foil.

Bake carrots for 30 minutes, uncover, and then bake for another 10 minutes. Serve over cooked grains or as a side.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Overnight Oatmeal with Blackberry Chia Jam

It seems like I haven’t posted a breakfast recipe in a while. It also seems like I never know what to eat for breakfast, so I certainly like having the time to make something special! I made yeasted buckwheat pancakes, but I’m not sure the Engineer really enjoyed them. Plus, they aren’t great to make in the morning, because the batter has to rise for an hour. For something faster, I much preferred overnight oatmeal with blackberry chia jam, though of course you could use just about any jam you want. The jam, which is actually just chia seeds that have absorbed fruit juice, is very quick to make, and the oatmeal just sits overnight in the fridge. When you’re ready for breakfast, just warm up the oatmeal in the microwave, add jam and dig in!

For the blackberry chia jam
1 cup blackberries
1 nectarine or peach, cored and cubed (I omitted it because I couldn’t find any)
half a lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup (or to taste)
2 Tbsp. chia seeds

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the blackberries, cubed nectarine and lemon juice. As the fruit heats up and the juices bubble and boil, smash the fruit using the back of a fork until they break down. This should take 3 to 5 minutes. (I actually threw in the spent half lemon and removed it when I took the saucepan off the heat.)

Sweeten the mashed fruit with honey to your liking. Add the chia seeds and stir once. Remove from the heat and let the jam set for about 5 minutes to thicken. Cool and transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate. (Makes about 1 cup of jam, which will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge. Leftover jam is also great on yogurt or pancakes!)

For the overnight oatmeal (4 servings)
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups lactose-free whole milk (or 2% milk, skim milk, nut or seed milk, or coconut milk)
1 cup jam (blackberry chia jam or other)
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted if desired

In a large bowl (or other container with a lid), combine the oats and milk. Cover and store the container in the fridge overnight. The next morning, layer the soaked oats into jars with jam (I prefer to warm up the oatmeal first). Sprinkle the coconut on top, and add anything else you might want, like nuts, seeds or fruit.