Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chocolate Soufflés



This soufflé recipe is from last year’s Bon Appétit article about the New York restaurant La Grenouille. I couldn’t find the recipe online, but it was published in the magazine as the recipe used by the restaurant (and Bon Appétit’s tips are here). You can serve these soufflés with a dusting of powdered sugar, a dollop of dairy-free whipped topping, or plain. The Engineer and I disagree on how we prefer to eat soufflés: I like mine straight from the oven and puffy as soufflés are meant to be, though I might blow on each bite to cool it a bit before I eat it; he, however, prefers his soufflés baked, fallen and chilled (like pudding or mousse). So my technique here was simple: fill all the ramekins and store them in the fridge, raw, until needed; then bake his in advance and put them back in the fridge, and bake mine just before eating it. You can also use this technique to make the soufflés for guests, that way all the prep is done and you’re ready to go with just the baking part before serving (warm the oven as the meal winds down). Whatever way you choose to eat them, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them!

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature (for the ramekins)
6 Tbsp. superfine sugar, divided, plus more for dusting (I put my regular sugar in the food processor)
1 cup lactose-free whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large egg yolks (I used pasteurized eggs for this recipe; save the whites – see below)
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
5 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp. natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
6 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Butter six 6-oz. ramekins and lightly dust with superfine sugar (mine are slightly smaller and I used eight). Chill.

Place milk in a small saucepan; scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat and let steep, then discard bean from milk mixture.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat yolks and 3 Tbsp. superfine sugar in a medium bowl until slightly thickened and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Beat in flour and salt. Gradually beat in half of vanilla milk. Whisk egg mixture into remaining vanilla milk in saucepan; bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until soufflé base is thickened, 2-3 minutes. Transfer soufflé base to a large bowl.

Combine chocolate and cocoa powder in a small bowl; set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Gradually whisk chocolate mixture into soufflé base.

Using an electric mixer with clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in a large, clean bowl until frothy, about 1 minute. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 Tbsp. superfine sugar by tablespoonfuls, beating to blend between additions. Continue beating meringue until semi-firm, glossy peaks form, 6-7 minutes. Gently stir ¼ of meringue into soufflé base to lighten; then gently fold in remaining meringue in two additions. Fill ramekins ¾ full.

Bake until centers are just set and soufflés are puffed, 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately, topped with a dollop of lactose-free whipped cream.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Batch of links

- Essential knife skills with GIF tutorials, which are always a nice refresher. I still have trouble maintaining “the claw” with my non-dominant hand when chopping, but I’m working on it.

- A good article that explains gluten sensitivity, as opposed to gluten intolerance or diet fads.

- An interesting article on a new meat substitute, Beyond Meat, that comes eerily close to the real thing. I’d love to taste it!

- A sampling of good restaurants on Montreal’s Saint-Laurent Boulevard, courtesy of Bon Appétit. This is only a small selection, obviously, but I love seeing my city in major magazines.

- How not to cook an egg: When Pinterest and the Internet lead you wrong, which actually led me to How to make scrambled eggs still in the shell.

- An interesting read on why being childless is bad for society as a whole, even though it can be the ideal choice for some couples.

- An interesting article on Dothraki and constructed languages in general. The fact that Klingon is available as a subtitle language on TED.com made my day!

- Here’s a quick 13-question quiz to test your scientific knowledge, created by the Pew Research Center and Smithsonian magazine.
I’m pleased to say that I got all 13 questions right, which means I’m more scientifically informed than 93% of the American population (which is perhaps a little scary considering I haven’t studied sciences or worked in the scientific field in over 10 years).

- And while we’re discussing science, here’s a disheartening article called A tale of mice and medical research wiped out by a superstorm, plus why birth control might be harder to come by in the States, despite Obama Care.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cretons avec pain aux 5 céréales, et des soufflés

Cela faisait un petit bout de temps que j’avais envie de cretons. J’avais sous la main une recette d’Obsessions gourmandes, mais finalement, j’ai préféré demander sa recette à ma mère. Il s’agit en fait de la recette de ma grand-tante Izora. C’est le genre de recette qu’on fait à temps perdu une journée où on est à la maison, car il faut les faire cuire pendant 6 heures à feu doux (et la maison sent tellement bon!). Je rajouterai davantage de sel et de poivre la prochaine fois, mais sinon, mes cretons étaient parfaits! On peut aussi varier le mélange des épices, en y allant par exemple avec des herbes de Provence, du persil ou du clou de girofle. Pour la viande, pas besoin de prendre le porc trop gras, mais je conseillerais quand même de ne pas utiliser du porc très maigre. Vous pouvez utiliser une autre sorte de viande, comme de la dinde hachée (j’utiliserais un mélange de viande blanche et de viande brune, pour plus de saveur), même si c’est moins traditionnel. J’en ai profité pour faire à l’Ingénieur son premier sandwich aux cretons, avec moutarde jaune bien entendu, car il n’en avait jamais mangé auparavant! Il faut dire qu’il est anglophone d’origine juive, alors voilà qui explique sûrement la chose…

2 lb. de porc haché
2 oignons hachés fins
sel et poivre
½ c. à thé de quatre-épices (allspice, ou piment de la Jamaïque)
2 gousses d’ail
¼ c. à thé de sel de céleri

Mettre tous les ingrédients dans un chaudron épais. Ajouter de l'eau froide pour juste couvrir la viande. Amener à ébullition et mijoter à feu doux pendant 6 heures, en couvrant au début. Ensuite, verser dans un ou plusieurs contenants (comme des contenants en plastique ou des ramequins) et faire refroidir complètement. On peut ensuite mettre des contenants au congélateur.



Tant qu’à faire des cretons, j’ai décidé de faire un bon pain pour les accompagner. Je ne vous avais pas encore fait la recette de pain aux 5 céréales de ma mère, qu’elle sert toujours avec son chili. Il s’agit d’un pain au bicarbonate de soude de type irlandais, qui a donc besoin de très peu de temps de pétrissage et de repos, alors c’est parfait quand on est un peu pressée (ou quand on trouve qu’on en a assez comme ça des cretons sur le poêle). La recette est adaptée d’Anne Lindsay. Les céréales suggérées ci-dessous sont justement cela, des suggestions, alors vous pouvez ajuster selon ce que vous avez sous la main.

1 tasse de farine tout-usage
¾ tasse CHAQUE de farine de blé entier, de seigle, de sarrasin et de flocons d’avoine
2 c. à soupe de sucre
1 c. à soupe de poudre à pâte
1 c. à thé de bicarbonate de soude
½ c. à thé de sel
3 c. à soupe d’huile végétale (j’ai pris de l’huile de carthame)
1 ¾ tasse de lait sans lactose avec une cuillérée de vinaigre (pour le faire surir comme du babeurre)

Préchauffer le four à 350 °F. Préparer une plaque à cuisson en la recouvrant de papier parchemin ou en la graissant.

Dans un bol, mélanger tous les ingrédients secs. Ajouter l’huile et combiner pour obtenir un mélange homogène. Ajouter le lait et mélanger pour faire une pâte molle. Renverser la pâte sur une surface enfarinée et pétrir une dizaine de fois, jusqu’à obtenir une consistance lisse. (J’ai fait cette étape directement dans le bol de mon mélangeur sur socle, avec le crochet à pain.)

Placer la boule de pâte sur la plaque à cuisson préparée et aplatir en un cercle d’une épaisseur d’environ 2 ½ pouces (6 cm). Avec la lame d’un couteau, entailler un X sur le dessus à une profondeur d’environ ¼ pouce (5 mm). Faire cuire au four pendant 1 heure, ou jusqu’à ce qu’un cure-dent inséré au milieu en ressorte propre.

Ce pain est délicieux tiède avec un peu de beurre. Il se prête aussi bien au déjeuner qu’aux autres repas, car il s’harmonise avec de la confiture tout comme avec des cretons.



Pis bon, après ces recettes de famille, voici des petits plats préparés, vendu dans la section des aliments surgelés de certaines épiceries (c’est vraiment sélectif, par contre, car ici il y a juste Target qui en a!). Il s’agir de soufflés de marque Garden Lites; ils sont fait sans produits laitiers (donc sans lactose, du moins ceux que j’ai essayés), sans gluten et sans noix – mais avec des œufs, tout de même. En plus, les ingrédients sont naturels, du genre qu’on retrouverait dans ma cuisine, et contiennent deux portions de légumes par petit soufflé. J’ai essayé celui aux légumes rôtis et, ce midi, celui à la courge musquée, qui était vraiment délicieux. Je pense en garder quelques-uns sous la main, pour les midis où je ne sais pas quoi manger, car j’aime vraiment ce produit. J’aimerais aussi trouver leurs muffins au chocolat et à la courgette, également sans gluten et pleins de légumes, mais je ne les ai pas encore vus en magasin… Apparemment qu’il y en a chez Costco en Nouvelle-Angleterre.



Sur les photos ci-dessous, on voit les cretons et le soufflé aux légumes, mais pas le pain aux 5 céréales car il s’agit de photos prises au dîner et je n’ai fait le pain que pour le souper. C’est donc du pain tranché du magasin. Les photos du dessous montrent le soufflé à la courge, super facile à démouler (soit dit en passant).

Three kinds of pancakes

I guess I’ve been on a bit of a pancake kick lately, as I’ve tried three pancakes recipes in as many weeks… And they were all hefty, puffy pancakes, too. I decided to put them all in the same post, to avoid redundancy – plus, I actually did have a clear favorite.


First, I made sour cream pancakes when my mother-in-law visited us at Easter. At first, I wondered whether they were failures, because the batter seemed very thick, so I thought maybe I should add more milk the next time I made them. However, they turned out great! They were proclaimed “moist” and “delicious”. The original recipe called for a topping made with sour cream, maple syrup and butter, but I made one with only sour cream and maple syrup. In the end, though, I’d recommend topping them with plain maple syrup. I ended up with 7 pancakes from this recipe.

Sour Cream Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup lactose-free sour cream
½ cup lactose-free whole milk
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine, melted (or oil), plus additional for cooking pancakes

Preheat oven to 200 °F.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together sour cream, milk, egg, and melted butter, then whisk into flour mixture.

Brush a 12-inch nonstick skillet with melted butter and heat over medium heat until hot. Working in batches, pour a scant ¼ cup batter per pancake into skillet and cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden brown. Flip and cook other side, about 1 minute. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Lightly butter skillet between batches.

Serve pancakes with warm syrup.



The second recipe I tried is a blueberry yogurt multigrain pancake from Smitten Kitchen, because I finally bought rye flour. These were good and hearty, and while I liked them, I eventually felt like they were a bit heavy (but I ended up with 13 of them, so there were lots of leftovers to deal with). I would make them again, though.

Blueberry Yogurt Multigrain Pancakes

½ cup (62 grams) whole wheat flour
½ cup (68 grams) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (32 grams) barley or rye flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. table salt
2 large eggs
1 cup plain, full-fat lactose-free yogurt
2 to 4 Tbsp. lactose-free milk
3 Tbsp. butter (I used grapeseed oil), plus extra for buttering skillet
½ tsp. lemon zest
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries, rinsed and dried

In a small bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Melt half of butter. Remove from heat and stir in second tablespoon of butter until melted. This keeps your butter from being too hot when you next want to add it to the wet ingredients. (I skipped this step entirely, since obviously my oil was already at the right consistency.)

Whisk egg and yogurt together in the bottom of a medium/large bowl. If you’re using a thin yogurt, no need to add any milk. If you’re using regular yogurt, stir in 2 tablespoons of milk. If you’re using a thick/strained or Greek-style yogurt, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of milk. Whisk in melted butter, zest and vanilla extract.

Stir dry ingredients into wet only until dry ingredients are moistened. A few remaining lumps are fine.

Preheat your oven to 200 °F and have a baking sheet ready (to keep pancakes warm). Heat your skillet or sauté pan to medium. If you’ve got a cast-iron skillet, this is my favorite for pancakes. Melt a pat of butter in the bottom and ladle a scant ¼ cup batter at a time, leaving at space between each pancake. Press a few berries into the top of each pancake. The batter is on the thick side, so you will want to use your spoon or spatula to gently nudge it flat, or you may find that pressing down on the berries does enough to spread the batter. When the pancakes are dry around the edges and you can see bubbles forming on the top, about 3 to 4 minutes, flip them and cook for another 3 minutes, until golden underneath. (If you listen closely, after a minute you’ll hear you blueberries pop and sizzle deliciously against the pan.) If pancakes begin cooking too quickly, lower the heat. Transfer pancakes to warm oven as they are done cooking, where you can leave them there until you’re ready to serve them.



Finally, I made chocolate chip sour cream pancakes. The recipe is clearly adapted from a plain pancake recipe, because after listing the chocolate chips in the ingredients, the blogger didn’t mention them anywhere after that! I decided to mix them in the batter, as I tend to prefer that to chips dropped into a pancake before it is flipped over. I used 1 cup of sour cream instead of ¾ cup, which made my pancakes perhaps a little more fragile than intended, but I’d do that again any day; one just needs a bit more caution when flipping them. These really hit the spot, and I preferred them to both the sour cream pancakes and the blueberry pancakes above – plus, since I used white whole wheat flour, they were still whole grain pancakes, albeit not multigrain ones. I ended up with 11 pancakes (which disappeared more quickly than the blueberry ones), and served them with maple syrup, as usual.

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Pancakes

2 cups flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup lactose-free milk
¾ cup to 1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
4 Tbsp. butter, melted (I used safflower oil here)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 200 °F.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk the milk, sour cream, eggs, butter, and vanilla smooth. Stir the dry ingredients into the batter until they are incorporated and the batter is smooth and all lumps are gone. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat and coat it with non-stick spray (I always use vegetable oil). Pour ¼ cup of the pancake batter onto the pan. Watch for the pancake to form bubbles around the edges of the pancake and then gently flip the pancake over and cook for about 45 seconds more until both sides are just slightly golden.

Repeat this process for the remaining batter, spraying new non-stick spray before each pancake and keeping cooked pancakes on a baking sheet in the oven so they stay warm until you are ready to eat.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Batch of links

- I can’t really post anything today without mentioning the terrorist attack in Boston. I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said, either in the official media or on Twitter, so let me just give you two links: the term “godless” doesn’t apply to terrorism, as the godless mourn along with everyone else, and also, Patton Oswalt reminds us that the good outnumber the bad.

- I’m sure by now you’ve all seen Dove’s latest ad. While I agree with their message in general, and love their ad campaign, here is why this ad should still make you a little uncomfortable.

- A beautiful tribute that reminds us how food is often connected to love.

- The Slow Death of the American Author, an interesting read on how copyrights and royalties are worth even less with e-books.

- You know how people always complain about how the government or municipality spends its money? There’s an idea the Engineer has been talking about for a long time: create an official website with some kind of pie chart that lets the people see how the money is currently being spent, and that would let them adjust spending based on their own wishes – keeping in mind that, with a pie chart or similar graphic, if you want to spend extra money on a particular thing, then you need to take money away from something else! I think this is brilliant, as it would not only let the powers-that-be see how the people want their tax money to be spent, but it would let the people see that you can’t cut spending significantly if you refuse to cut into certain programs that benefit you. Well, there’s a Montreal borough that’s putting this idea in motion: here’s their website.

- How America’s cities will look in 500 years if the sea level rises as predicted by scientists. Better get those pumps working, people!

- I’ve been hearing a lot about the virtues of marrying young; the political right, obviously, is the one promoting this, but I think they’re doing so for the wrong reasons. I’m happy that there’s a much more factual and balanced point of view out there.

- Here are a bunch of different models of eco-friendly streetlights, most using solar power as a source of energy. I really wish this were standard in any new construction!

- Awesome Oatmeal cartoon about the mantis shrimp.

- The faces behind 31 Disney villains. This is really interesting to see!

- Two articles on somewhat linked topics: meet the family who sent six kids to college by age 12, and everything you’ve heard about failing schools is wrong (the latter is the title of the article, not my personal opinion, but it was a fascinating read).

- And finally, I’ll leave you on a good note: here’s a video of an awesome, sweet proposal. (Full disclosure: I once worked with the gentleman proposing marriage, so I saw the video via Facebook first and loved it there, but I’m just amazed at how viral it’s become – Huffington Post, for God’s sake!)

Batch of links - Organizing meals and recipes

I think I’ve talked about this before, but I used to get confused when making shopping lists and cooking meals for the week. There was a time when I didn’t really plan a meal for each day, just bought things “for the week or so”, then ended up pacing the kitchen after classes, wondering what to eat. Then I started planning meals in advance, but I have so many recipes to try that I would on occasion have all the ingredients ready to go and, for the life of me, couldn’t remember what I had meant to make with them! Now, I’ve simplified my life with a weekly menu (using a template from here). While I still have to put some effort into deciding what to eat the coming week (and in case you’re wondering, that’s usually what I’m doing on Friday mornings), I love having it all organized later in such a way that I always know what I’m supposed to be making on what day, and I can include instructions on which foods to pull out of the freezer a day in advance, or which meal I should make first so that various ingredients don’t go bad.

A lot of people struggle trying to organize their recipes, though. There are online tools to help manage your bookmarks, like Delicious or Plan to Eat (though the latter works with a paid membership), plus Pinterest and Evernote, of course. You can always email recipes to yourself in Gmail so that you can later search them not just by title, but by ingredient. Plus, there are tons of suggestions here and here. There’s also a new app called Paprika that might be helpful to some. (All this presupposes, of course, that you use some kind of electronic device, mobile or not, to browse various food sites, but most people do. The Engineer and I do not own a smartphone at this point, so I can’t comment on any mobile apps; all I have to contribute is that I would love an iPhone, though I probably wouldn’t use it enough to justify the monthly fees, and I usually don’t fall for the newer-is-better mindset out there.)

What is working for me so far is a system where I have bookmarks organized by type of recipe to try (mains, side dishes, desserts, etc.), plus a pile of recipes torn out of magazines, and cookbooks with post-it tabs for bookmarks. I pick some of them each week, and once I make them and decide to keep them, I produce an 8.5x11 paper of them (meaning I print it out or punch holes in the magazine page, depending on the situation, and change the cookbook bookmark from a vertical to a horizontal orientation – I’m very anal about it, what can I say), along with any modifications, and put that in organized binders (I used to write them out by hand in notebooks before, and while I still have those, I prefer the flexibility of binders). My meal binders are organized by type of dish, plus a whole section for vegetarian dishes. It gets confusing, unless you’re me, but I like having one spot – my kitchen bookshelf – to look up tried and true recipes, as opposed to having some on paper and some online. Plus, I’ve been in a situation before where I couldn’t access some recipe because there was a power failure, thus no internets. I have several binders, because I couldn’t find any big enough for all the recipes, though I admit I’m envious of the one on 71 toes!

As for grocery shopping apps, some people might find OurGroceries helpful, as it will sync up between two devices (so you can update the list in real time with your smartphone if you run errands without your partner, or your partner can add something to it after you’ve left for the store), plus it has a recipe feature that allows you to pull up all the ingredients for a recipe you like.

It can still be hard to come up with inspiration, though, even when you have recipes all bookmarked and piled up. Here are some suggestions to find fresh inspiration, including reading a restaurant menu. I have to admit I’m often in a rut these days.

There’s also a website that I fnd wonderful in theory: Eat Your Books, n which you create a paid profile (free for 5 books, and for unlimited books it’s something like $25 for one year or $50 for a lifetime – I’d totally pay the latter!) and enter the cookbooks you own. Then, you can enter a few ingredients that you have lying around, and the program will tell you which recipes in your cookbooks call for those ingredients! It sounds awesome, but last time I checked, they were still building a library, and they didn’t have enough of the cookbooks I own for me to want to sign up. I’m still keeping that in mind, though, as I hope they’ll expand the list of titles they cover!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Black Bean Avocado Salad



This salad is adapted from a recipe created by our grocery store (I did change a few ingredients). I liked it plain, but you can of course serve it with a side of tortilla chips, tortillas or bread. It’s super easy to make, too, so it’s perfect for those nights you don’t have time to cook.

½ cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste
2 avocados, chopped (only chop them right before serving)
2 cans of corn, rinsed and drained (or fresh corn or frozen and thawed)
2 15-oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
4 green onions, chopped

Make the dressing by whisking together the cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper (you could add hot sauce if you wanted).

In a serving bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serve.

Maple Yogurt Pound Cake



Here’s a maple yogurt pound cake that I think you’ll really enjoy. It’s spongy, moist, and a little oily but not unpleasantly so. You can taste both the maple and the yogurt in it, which was delightful. This didn’t last long in our house!

1 ½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup grade B maple syrup
¾ cups plain lactose-free yogurt, preferably not nonfat
¼ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. lemon zest (I actually didn’t have fresh lemons and used clementine zest instead)
½ cup oil (such as safflower)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 °F. Generously butter 8 ½ × 4 ½ × 2 ½-inch metal loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, combine maple syrup, yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to incorporate. Add oil, and fold gradually until oil absorbs into the batter.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Place pan on baking sheet in oven and bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 5 minutes. Cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto rack. Turn cake upright on rack and cool completely.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Gâteau aux amandes, garniture au mocha



Voici aujourd’hui une recette de gâteau, gracieuseté de ma mère. C’est un gâteau qu’elle a fait souvent quand ma sœur et moi étions petites, et nous en gardons de très bons souvenirs! Il s’agit également du gâteau que ma mère m’a fait pour mon premier anniversaire (mais ça, je ne m’en souviens pas). Ma mère a déjà aussi fait ce gâteau, dans un seul moule il me semble, en oubliant la poudre à pâte, et ma sœur et moi l’avions tellement aimé que nous lui avions demandé de le préparer ainsi à l’avenir! Je l’ai tout de même fait avec la poudre à pâte, dans deux moules, pour une version plus authentique. Pour servir, au lieu de garnir chaque morceau de crème fouettée (que je ne peux pas trouver sans lactose ici), j’ai utilisé de la garniture de marque Tru Whip légère, que j’ai beaucoup aimée! Et le gâteau était délicieux, bien sûr, exactement comme je m’en souvenais.

Pour le gâteau
4 œufs
¾ tasse sucre
2 c. à soupe de farine
2 ½ c. à thé de poudre à pâte
1 tasse d’amandes (avec la membrane brune dessus, pas les toutes blanches)

Pour la garniture au mocha
2 c. à soupe de beurre mou
1 tasse de sucre à glacer
2 c. à soupe de café fort, chaud
1 c. à thé de cacao
½ c. à thé de vanille

Pour servir
crème fouettée sans lactose ou substitut (facultatif)


Pour le gâteau
Préchauffer le four à 350 °F. Graisser deux moules ronds de 9 pouces; garnir le fond de papier ciré et graisser de nouveau.
Mélanger au robot les œufs et le sucre.
Dans un bol, mélanger la farine, la poudre à pâte et les amandes, puis ajouter ce mélange au robot et broyer jusqu’à ce que le mélange soit assez fin (mais il y aura toujours de petits morceaux bruns d’amandes). Verser dans les deux moules, en répartissant de façon égale, et faire cuire pendant environ 25 minutes (les côtés du gâteau décolleront du moule, et un cure-dent inséré au milieu en ressortira sec).

Pour la garniture au mocha
Mettre le beurre mou dans le bol d’un batteur sur socle et battre un peu pour défaire le beurre (on peut aussi utiliser des batteurs électriques ou y aller à la main avec un fouet assez rigide).
Mélanger le cacao au sucre en poudre et ajouter au beurre mou en 3 additions, entrecoupant par 1 cuillérée de café chaque fois. Bien battre, puis ajouter la vanille et battre une dernière fois. Étendre entre les deux gâteaux refroidis et démoulés.

Pour servir
On peut garnir le gâteau entier de crème fouettée ajoutée par cuillérées déposées les unes à côté des autres, ou simplement garnir chaque morceau au fur et à mesure qu’on les sert. Si on a quelques tranches d’amandes sous la main, on peut en garnir la crème fouettée. Bon appétit!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cheddar Garlic Stuffed Potatoes



Here’s a very simple recipe, for when you feel near brain-dead. I was completely uninspired when making the weekly menu, and the Engineer suggested stuffed potatoes, so there we have it. I liked that it’s a hearty all-in-one dish, though I did serve it with some greens on the side. Plus, the flavors of potato, cheese and roasted garlic are very comforting! The recipe is from Epicurious and is said to make 4 servings, though I have to say that half of one potato was enough of a serving for me!

1 medium head of garlic
4 medium russet (baking) potatoes (2 lb. in all)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, or margarine
1/3 cup lactose-free sour cream
6 oz. lactose-free sharp cheddar, coarsely grated (1 ½ cups), divided
salt and pepper, to taste
preparation
Preheat oven to 400 °F.

Cut off and discard top third of garlic and wrap remainder in foil. Prick potatoes with a fork and bake with garlic on middle rack of oven 45 minutes. Remove garlic to cool and continue baking potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes more. (Leave oven on.)

Squeeze garlic cloves into a bowl and discard skins. Stir in butter, sour cream, and 1 cup Cheddar.

Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Leaving ¼-inch-thick shells, scoop flesh out of potatoes and add to cheese mixture. Mash with a fork to combine. Season with salt and pepper and divide among shells.
Arrange potatoes in a small baking pan and sprinkle with remaining cheddar, then bake until heated through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Batch of links - On Pinterest and possessions

- I’ve been meaning to share this Apartment Therapy article on eliminating most clutter, but still making peace with a little mess. It reminded me of another article on roughly the same topic, Fighting the feeling of “should” (things that we feel we “should” own). It contains suggestions that I use in my everyday life, and I have to admit that Pinterest has helped with that – when I see something I really like, but can’t justify owning, I often pin it to one of my boards and feel content.

- On a related note, here are 25 items you can replace with your stand mixer (I’m still trying to justify buying the pasta-making attachments and the meat grinding/sausage stuffing ones, but don’t have the space for them).

- Here’s a New York Times article on why we love beautiful things, or more precisely, certain design proportions.

- To get back to Pinterest, I enjoyed reading this other New York Times article about the trouble with curation, because it rightly points out that Pinterest isn’t about the objects that are longed for, it’s about the feeling of longing.

- Some people experience a downside with Pinterest, though: feelings of inadequacy. I personally see the pictures and tips as something detached from myself, in the sense that I certainly don’t expect to have the time or the energy to do it all, even as a stay-at-home wife, so it’s not some standard against which I measure myself (otherwise, I’d drive myself insane). It’s just inspiration.

Hot Chocolate

Those of you in Montreal have to deal with winter’s last hurrah today. It’s both unexpected and normal: each year, Mother Nature teases you with melting snow banks and several days of weather nice enough to go play Frisbee in shorts and t-shirts in Parc Mont-Royal, then slams you again with one last “freak” snowstorm. And every year, people complain about how unseasonable it is, but really, the same thing happens *most* years, so the collective memory is pretty selective. However, let it not be said that I don’t sympathize: how about a nice cup of hot chocolate? Really, really good hot chocolate, nothing to do with instant mixes or even with most of what’s offered in coffee ship chains around the city. This is the real deal. You do need either an immersion blender or a standard blender, and that’s non-negotiable, but the result is absolutely worth it. The recipe below serves 2, with regular mugs (or 1 pregnant woman with a giant mug and a craving), but you can of course double it or triple it, depending on your needs. Think of it more as a snack than as a drink. I got this recipe on Orangette, and it is adapted in part from Ladurée in Paris.

1 ½ cups lactose-free whole milk
2 ½ Tbsp. water
2 ½ Tbsp. granulated sugar
3 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (don’t skimp on this one)

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, water, and sugar. Place over medium heat and whisk occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture just to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. At this point, blend the mixture. If you have an immersion blender, you can do this directly in the saucepan, which is what I recommend; if not, you’ll need to transfer it to a traditional blender. Either way, blend for 1 minute (on high speed, if using a traditional blender - and take care, as hot liquids expand when blended). The finished mixture should be very smooth and frothy.

Serve immediately. I topped mine with some non-dairy whipped topping, though you could also use miniature marshmallows or drink it plain.

Note: Should you somehow have any leftover hot chocolate, you can store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat it gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Blend for 1 minute, then serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Saffron and Orange Rice Pilaf with Orzo and Pine Nuts

As incredible as it may seem, this is my 1,000th post. It really doesn’t feel like I write that much, sometimes, but there you have it… I wanted to share an awesome picture called Spring delights, by Tamas Wachsler, and call it a day, but it’s copyrighted, so I can only link to it. Instead, I’m going to share a Serious Eats recipe that includes saffron, since the Engineer and I both love it so much! I’ve adapted it a little by including instructions for parboiling the rice. I ended up with more parboiled rice than the 1 cup called for and I used all of it, because, why not? I didn’t have any trouble with the amount of liquid further in the recipe, so that’s the way I’ll keep making it. You could make this without the pine nuts if you wanted. I served it with honey-thyme roasted pork loin; it serves about 4 as a side. This pilaf is fantastic, but then again, it’s hard to go wrong with saffron!

1 cup rice (I used Arborio rice), plus water
1 cup water (not including the water for parboiling the rice)
1 cup low-sodium organic chicken or vegetable stock
½ tsp. saffron
2 tsp. unsalted butter (or margarine)
¼ cup orzo
1 shallot, finely diced
kosher salt
2 tsp. orange zest
3 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
freshly cracked black pepper (use in moderation, so as not to overpower the saffron)

Put some water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the rice and boil it for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the water and stock with the saffron over medium heat.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the orzo, and toast until golden brown, about 90 seconds. Add the shallot, and season with salt. Sauté on low heat until the shallot is translucent, about 2 ½ minutes. Add the rice, and stir to coat in the butter. Add the water, stock, and saffron, and raise the heat to high to bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender, 16 to 18 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and stir in orange zest, pine nuts, and pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Healthier Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie



I got this recipe from Chocolate-Covered Katie, probably via Pinterest. I made it to use up leftover quick oats from one of the Engineer’s projects. This dessert happens to be vegan and gluten-free, and there is a version of it that uses mostly dates instead of sugar (so that would be even healthier, but I haven’t tried that version). I used 2 15-oz. cans of beans, rinsed and drained, but didn’t weight the beans before I put them in the food processor; it’s possible I used too many, which might be why I could taste them (it wasn’t an unpleasant taste, as white beans are pretty bland, but I could tell they were there). That being said, the result was very good, and I think it would be even better with the right amount of beans! The Engineer was very surprised that this pie was gluten-free, and he had seconds. (Note that I think this gave me a little heartburn, but then again, I’m pregnant.)

2 cans white beans or chickpeas (drained and rinsed; 500g total, once drained)
1 cup quick oats (or certified gluten-free quick oats if necessary)
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I used safflower oil)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups brown sugar (vegan if necessary)
1 cup chocolate chips (vegan or gluten-free if necessary)

Preheat oven at 350 °F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan.

Blend all the ingredients (except the chips) very well in a good food processor (not a blender). Mix in chips, and pour into an oiled pan. Cook for around 35-40 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. I let this cool completely before serving it, as I feel the beans are less obvious if the pie isn’t warm. Enjoy!

Friday, April 05, 2013

Boiled Peanut Hummus

I love hummus, and I’ve been making some variations lately. There was a lovely white bean hummus from Orangette, which I ended up not sharing because hummus isn’t always naturally photogenic (see below; I’d have to style it with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika or sumac to make it look good).


More recently, though, I made this boiled peanut hummus from Bon Appétit. This might seem strange, until you remember that a) boiled peanuts are pretty common in the Southern United States, and b) peanuts are actually legumes, like chickpeas, not nuts. (As a side note, I’ve always lumped together a whole bunch of “nuts” in the nut-free category in my tags. This is in part because I’m limited in how many letters total the tags on each post can have, and also because there’s a strong correlation between tree nut allergies and peanut allergies. Plus, many people don’t actually realize that almonds are from the stone fruit family and aren’t true nuts; cashews and Brazil nuts are actually seeds; etc. But people with nut allergies would have a reaction to these foods, so I just label them all nuts, Linnaeus be damned. That being said, despite how the FDA operates, I refuse to use the term nut for coconuts and nutmeg, which are definitely not major allergens.)

This hummus was surprisingly labor-intensive, as I spent the better part of an hour shelling and peeling boiled peanuts (I’m including a photo of the contents of one can). I used all the contents of two 15-oz. cans, which was a little more than the 1 cup called for, so I adjusted the other seasonings accordingly (I added mostly lemon juice, cumin and salt). While the hummus was very good, and I could tell it wasn’t made with the usual chickpeas or regular beans, it was so much work that unless I have a helper next time, I’ll probably just stick with pre-peeled legumes. Then again, upon tasting it, the Engineer exclaimed, “Ermagherd, this is awesome hummus!” So it might be worth keeping the recipe after all.


1 cup shelled, boiled peanuts (from about 2 cans)
2 Tbsp. tahini
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (I used Korean pepper)
1 small garlic clove
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt
chips or pita, for serving

Put boiled peanuts, tahini, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, and garlic in a food processor and pulse to combine. With processor running, slowly add oil. Continue puréeing peanut mixture, adding water 1 Tbsp. at a time, until the hummus is smooth. Season to taste with salt. Serve with chips or pita.

Batch of links

- I told you what 200 calories look like, so I found it interesting to compare with 2,000 calories (and sadly, I did have that fettuccini Alfredo at Olive Garden once, with Lactaid – does Lactaid have any calories?).

- I’m pretty sure I haven’t shared this before, but forgive me if I have. It’s what fruit and vegetables look like in an MRI.

- Eight Pacific island nations, collectively referred to as the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, have banded together to curb overfishing (and, to a certain extent, illegal fishing) of tuna. I wish all nations did this!

- I enjoyed Nora Ephron’s rule of four to intrigue and satisfy her dinner party guests: she would serve the usual trifecta of protein-starch-veggie, but her trick was also serving a fourth, unexpected or unusual dish that guests found memorable.

- I loved this TED Talk debunking the Paleo diet, not from a nutritional point of view but rather from an accuracy point of view.

- With all this talk lately of Sheryl Sandberg and leaning in, I found it enlightening to learn how the IRS hurts working mothers.

- Roger Ebert passed away yesterday. While this makes me sad, I had to admit that The Onion actually wrote a good tribute.

- Yesterday was also Maya Angelou’s 85th birthday. She has a new memoir coming out, and I’m looking forward to reading it! I thought you might enjoy this NBC interview.

- And finally, Hanson just came out with a new single, Get The Girl Back. It’s well within their comfort zone (as in, quite similar to music on their previous albums), but I enjoy it nonetheless. I most probably won’t be able to see any shows in person this tour, because of the tiny human growing under my shirt, but I’m looking forward to hearing the new album coming out in June!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Comfort Cookies



I recently made my friend Jen’s grandmother’s peanut butter marshmallow squares (the recipe is actually here, too). While they were good, and the Engineer compared them to a peanut-buttery cloud, they were too much for me. I have a sweet tooth, but these were beyond what I could handle! I could only have a little square at a time, except that it didn’t quite satisfy any dessert cravings I had. I think this would be a great dish for a potluck, though, where everyone has a little bit of everything, but I won’t make it again for the household.

But then I tried these cookies from Bakerella, which I thought were in the same vein because they’re double-chocolate with peanut butter. Turns out I was wrong: the peanut butter is actually very subtle here, and even the chocolate isn’t overwhelming. The Engineer said it was a harmonious cookie, and I less eloquently declared them to be like crack – I couldn’t help but swipe one every time I passed the baking sheet. And they were so good! I really loved them and will be sure to make them part of the rotation. As for the yield, things get a little blurry here. The original recipe says 30 cookies, but I made 24. I was reminded of David Lebovitz’s tweet from a month ago: “Problem with Cookie Dough: Yield never matches how many cookies it's supposed to make. / Solution: Stop eating the dough before baking it.” Yeah, that might have been a factor (don’t worry, I used pasteurized eggs). But then again, I had dough left over at the bottom of the bowl, only it had a sandy consistency and was too dry to hold together, like the egg had never gotten around to it. I considered adding an egg white and baking those cookies too, but then I ended up using it as a topping on ice cream and yogurt, and that was fabulous.

1 ½ cups flour
½ cup cocoa
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup butter, slightly softened
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup peanut butter (I use Skippy Natural)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
10 oz. dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, soda and salt using a wire whisk and set aside.

In another bowl, cream butter, sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.

Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until combined.
Stir in dark chocolate chips.

Roll cookie dough into 1¼ -inch balls. Place on parchment paper covered baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes (I baked mine 13 minutes; I baked both sheets at the same time and rotated them after 5 minutes).
Place cookies on cookie rack to cool.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Salade de quinoa, sauce au tahini



J’ai fait bien des petits plats récemment, mais aucun ne me semblait assez important pour le blogue. Il y a eu une excellente salade de thon, une salade aux œufs et aux champignons, une délicieuse salade de pommes de terre et haricots avec pesto de roquette, une autre salade de farro et de légumes, même une simple sandwich aux pois chiches et à l’avocat. Et puis dans le fond, je me suis dit que tout le monde aime les recettes simples. C’est pratique, c’est rapide, et une bonne salade, c’est rafraîchissant. Alors voici, une variation sur un thème, une salade de quinoa avec sauce au tahini de Coup de Pouce. J’en fait souvent, des salades de quinoa, mais là, avec le tahini, j’ai trouvé ça juste assez différent pour plaire! À noter que j’ai complètement oublié les amandes en tranches le premier soir, et quand j’en ai ajouté le deuxième, j’ai décidé que finalement, c’est mieux sans amandes.

1 tasse de quinoa, rincé et égoutté
2 tasses d'eau
½ c. à thé de sel
¼ tasse de jus de citron
¼ tasse d’huile d'olive
¼ tasse de tahini (beurre de sésame)
¼ tasse d'eau chaude
1 gousse d'ail, hachée finement (j’ai râpée la mienne)
½ c. à thé de cumin moulu
¼ c. à thé de poivre noir du moulin
2 tasses de tomates raisins ou de tomates cerises coupées en deux
1 tasse de concombre anglais coupé en dés (j’ai pris un concombre)
1 tasse de lentilles en boîte, rincées et égouttées (j’ai pris toute une boîte)
2/3 tasse de persil frais, haché
1/3 tasse de menthe fraîche, hachée
3 oignons verts, coupés en tranches minces
amandes en tranches grillées (facultatif)

Dans une casserole, mettre le quinoa, l'eau et la moitié du sel. Porter à ébullition à feu vif. Réduire le feu, couvrir et laisser mijoter pendant environ 15 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que tout le liquide soit absorbé et que le quinoa soit tendre. Retirer du feu et laisser refroidir à couvert.

Dans un grand bol, à l'aide d'un fouet, mélanger le jus de citron, l'huile d'olive, le tahini, l'eau chaude, l'ail, le cumin, le poivre et le reste du sel. (Moi, je fais toujours mes vinaigrettes en mettant tous mes ingrédients dans un pot style Bonne Maman et en brassant fort une fois le couvercle vissé.) Ajouter le quinoa refroidi, les tomates, le concombre, les lentilles, le persil, la menthe et les oignons verts, et bien mélanger. (Vous pouvez préparer la salade jusqu'à cette étape et la couvrir. Elle se conservera jusqu'à 3 jours au réfrigérateur.)

Au moment de servir, parsemer d'amandes, si désiré.