Saturday, February 28, 2015

Asian Pork and Carrots

I made a recipe a while back that was loosely adapted from this one on Vintage Kitchen Notes: a crunchy Szechuan pork. But I don’t like heat, so I didn’t use Szechuan peppercorns, and therefore I don’t think my dish qualifies as Szechuan anything. Plus, my pork wasn’t crunchy. And I chopped the carrots instead of cutting them into matchsticks. I also think that where the recipe calls for corn meal, it should actually be corn flour (or the most finely ground meal there is, really). That’s what I’d use next time. Oh, because there will be a next time: we all loved this dish, and toward the end of the meal, the Engineer upgraded his original assessment and called it “lip-smacking delicious”. I made it with coconut ginger rice, which the Little Prince decided he liked after all (he doesn’t like rice as a general rule). Note that the quantities below make roughly 2-3 servings; I had doubled the recipe to make sure we’d have leftovers, but it’s too much for a single wok – I had to cook the meat in two batches, and even though I might do it again, I now know that this doesn’t double easily.

4 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
2 Tbsp. corn flour (or most finely ground corn meal you can find)
12 oz. pork tenderloin, cut into bite size pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into small cubes
1 small leek, halved (washed) and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
3 Tbsp. soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari sauce)
2 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. orange juice
3 Tbsp. mirin
chopped green onions or chives, for garnish
2 cups cooked rice, to serve

Put corn flour in a medium bowl and then add the pork pieces. Toss to coat and reserve.

Heat the wok over high heat. Add 2 Tbsp. oil and cook carrots and leek until beginning to brown, 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and reserve.

Add 2 more Tbsp. oil to the wok, add pork and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the plate with the carrots.

Add ginger and garlic to the wok, sauté 1 minute and add soy sauce, honey, orange juice and mirin. Cook until sauce is somewhat syrupy. Add meat and vegetables and cook for 1 or 2 minutes.

Divide rice between two bowls or plates. Add pork mixture on top, dividing evenly. Garnish with green onions and serve.

Batch of links - GMOs

- I’ve talked a lot about GMOs in these batches of links. (Here’s a refresher on what is and isn’t true about GMOs.) A friend sent me an article about GMO labelling (a long time ago, true, but I’m only now getting around to posting these things!). While I’ve always been pro-GMO labelling and couldn’t understand why anyone would be against it, this nuanced article is making me reconsider my position. It turns out that there would indeed be real downsides to labelling items that contain GMOs – if we could even agree on what to label – and one should also keep in mind that non-GMOs are usually labelled as such, so people who wish to avoid them can already do so. (There’s also the Non-GMO Shopping Guide to help.)

- Here are 10 things that would fix the food system faster than GMO labelling, actually.

- While we’re at it: 5 things to stop arguing in the GMO debate.

- Vermont recently required manufacturers to label products containing GMOs, but was promptly sued by four different organizations – on the grounds that it interfered with their right to the First Amendment, of all things.

- And just recently, I read that there is no scientific consensus on GMO safety. But then again, we don’t even know the levels of pesticide residue on our food, due to poor government testing. That’s not reassuring, and actually worries me more than GMOs. I wish more money were invested in that area!

- That being said, the USDA has approved new GM potatoes. Their DNA has been altered so that they produce less of a specific carcinogen when fried, and they also bruise less than traditional potatoes, meaning fewer will be wasted before reaching our kitchens. These sound like good improvements, really. This article gives more information on how they were created (they are cisgenic, if that makes anyone feel better).

Friday, February 27, 2015

Batch of links

- An interesting comparison of cow’s milk, soy milk, almond milk and rice milk from a nutritious standpoint.

- There’s a school in California that, starting next fall, will be serving meals that are 100% plant-based. This follows the news that Beyoncé will offer a vegan delivery service.

- You’ve heard about the Oscar swag bags valued at over $160,000 this year, right? They contain, among other things, $280 of maple syrup, a private tour of a sea salt reserve in the South of France, a gift certificate for a candy buffet, herbal tea-based lollipops adorned with gold leaf, apples, gluten-free cookies, and Dunkin Donuts coffee. If you get too jealous, remember that recipients still have to pay taxes on the lot!

- Symmetry Breakfast, an account I’m now following on Instagram. I love it even though it’s making me feel my breakfasts are inadequate.

- Watch what happens when American kids try international breakfast foods. Well, it could have been worse. I’ll admit that a century egg is not my thing, either.

- How one New-Yorker lives comfortably in 90 square feet. I have to admit, she lost me at “no private bathroom.”

- This is a must-read for everyone. To set up the scene: “In August of 1865, a Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdon Anderson, and requested that he come back to work on his farm. Jourdon — who, since being emancipated, had moved to Ohio, found paid work, and was now supporting his family — responded spectacularly” by dictating this letter.

- And I have to talk about the dress: I’ve never seen so many individual responses as to what color it is! I initially saw white and gold, though now I see pale blue and pale black (gray?). The link has a scientific explanation, and you can see another example of a similar optical illusion here. (And perhaps the blue and black are appropriate, given the famous uniform of Mr. Spock – Leonard Nimoy passed away today at the age of 83.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sour Cream Pound Cake

Whenever we go to Whole Foods, we pick up lactose-free sour cream (and now cream cheese!) by Green Valley Organics. It’s such a treat to be able to eat those again, and I’m still not quite used to it. So it recently occurred to me that I should make a cake that calls for a lot of sour cream, since that is the kind of thing I can make now! This recipe is from The Kitchn, and it is a delicious sour cream pound cake, if I do say so myself! You could replace the sour cream with lactose-free Greek yogurt (or strained lactose-free plain yogurt) and still get a nice tang from it. I’ve changed the ingredients slightly because I don’t keep cake flour or pastry flour on hand, so I used a mix of all-purpose white flour and corn starch. (Note that to measure it, I found it easier to place a bowl on the scale and tare it, then put in the corn starch and top it up with flour until the whole thing reached 360 g.) This cake was dense like a pound cake ought to be, and was very pleasant to eat. We give it three thumbs up!

2 ½ cups + 2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring the pan
6 Tbsp. corn starch
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (I used cold vegan margarine)
2 ½ cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 tsp. of vanilla extract
1 cup (8 oz.) lactose-free sour cream

Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Grease a bundt pan, being sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle in a few spoonfuls of flour and tap the pan to distribute. Tap out excess flour.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, corn starch, salt and baking soda. (I find that this is sufficient and I don’t have to sift the flour beforehand.) Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix again.

Sift half of the flour over the butter and egg mixture, and fold in with a spatula. Add the sour cream and continue to fold gently. Sift the remaining flour over the batter and fold until all the flour has been incorporated.

Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan softly against the counter to remove air bubbles. Bake for 60 minutes and check the cake. The cake is done with the top is deep golden-brown and a skewer or paring knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. If batter or wet crumbs cling to the blade, continue baking. Check every 5 minutes until the cake is done.

When the tester comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and place the pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes (I always leave it longer). Invert the cake onto the rack and wiggle the pan gently until it lifts off of the cake. Allow the cake to cool for another hour.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Batch of links

- In light of the recent uplifting of the California ban on foie gras, I enjoyed reading J. Kenji López-Alt’s most recent article on the subject. Production of foie gras is still illegal in California, but there are two (apparently ethical and family-run) farms in New York State that produce it. And I maintain what I said before on the subject: this particular food should not be singled out and banned, as it is more ethical (in the States) than most meat produced and eaten.

- The U.S. released a 600-page report with its new dietary guidelines yesterday, but Brazil might actually be the best example to follow.

- This free online knife skills class will teach you everything you need to know. (I didn’t take this class and can’t vouch for it, but it looks really good.)

- How to make baking powder out of baking soda, in case you ever run out.

- What’s the deal with Interstellar’s idea that corn and okra are the only two crops left in the future? Let’s ask a scientist.

- Finally, I have to talk about PoudingChômeurGate! (See here for the Twitter feed.) In a nutshell, last Wednesday, chef Caroline Dumas ambushed chef Danny St-Pierre on the air of a radio talk show and accused him of plagiarizing her recipe for Pouding Chômeur. The issue wasn’t so much that he was using her recipe on his website, but that it wasn’t being credited to her. And you know what? I completely agree with her (even though springing it out of the blue on someone during a live radio show isn’t necessarily the best way to approach it). From a legal standpoint, a recipe is a list of ingredients that can’t be copyrighted (though if the instructions are written in a particular style, that can be copyrighted; the headnote can be copyrighted; and a collection of recipes, such as a cookbook, can be copyrighted). Most chefs agree that if you change 3 ingredients or 10% of a recipe, it’s yours. That being said, I think that the proper thing to do is to give credit to the author of the recipe, even if you change something in it or adapt it (that’s what I do here). When I made that pouding chômeur recipe, I credited it to Au Pied de Cochon, because that’s where I had eaten it and, since I know it appears in Martin Picard’s cookbook, I assumed it was his (I haven’t read said cookbook and don’t know what was in the headnote). It turns out that Caroline Dumas gave it to both Martin Picard and Josée DiStasio, so at least I gave proper credit to someone. And it really is the best pouding chômeur recipe out there! I wasn’t aware, though, that francophones seem less likely to properly credit their recipe sources, and that’s something they should work on (including well-regarded publications like La Presse, it would seem).

[Update, Feb. 24th, 2015: I’ve actually looked at both recipes online (Caroline Dumas here, and Danny St-Pierre here), and I have to say… this is not a case of copy and paste, as Caroline Dumas alleges. I don’t know whether the online content was changed recently, but while both recipes are very similar, one has more sugar, and they are written differently. Moreover, the one with the interesting headnote is Danny St-Pierre’s! He credits it to one of his employees’ grandmother. Strangely enough, though, in the video, he says that he used brown sugar in the sauce along with the maple syrup and cream, but that doesn’t show up in the ingredients, and no one has replied to comments from 2012 about this.]

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Swiss Chard, Pear and Gruyère Tart

This lovely tart is from the cookbook Small Plates and Sweet Treats, by Aran Goyoaga, and I got the recipe from an interview she did for CTV. I seem to be making a lot of her recipes these days, but it wasn’t planned that way! I found the crust incredibly hard to work with, even using parchment paper to roll it out, and it shrank back a little too much for my liking once it was baked (this is probably due to the amount of fat it contained). That being said, it was very good, and once the tart was filled, you really couldn’t tell that the crust wasn’t perfect to begin with. You could substitute a regular wheat crust if you wanted. What I loved about this, though, is that it used coconut milk instead of the typical cream and it totally worked. I hadn’t used coconut milk in savory dishes (except curries) because I was afraid that the taste would be overwhelming, but here I couldn’t even tell it was an ingredient. This is another great tool in my arsenal for lactose-free dishes! And hey, any recipe that gets us to enjoy Swiss chard is a hit. I used a 9” tart pan with a removable bottom, but a 14”x5” dish works, too. You could serve this tart with a salad for a light meal, but I served it with a sweet potato crisp (in which I used coconut milk instead of the cream, and that was less of a leap for me because of that dish’s flavors).

For the pastry crust
½ cup (70 g.) superfine brown rice flour, plus more for dusting
1⁄3 cup (45 g.) quinoa flour
1⁄3 cup (35 g.) almond flour (I used almond meal)
2 Tbsp. potato starch (I used corn starch)
2 Tbsp. tapioca starch
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 stick (8 Tbsp. or 110 g.) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
6 to 8 Tbsp. ice water

For the filling
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium leek, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups (175 g.) chopped Swiss chard (remove tough ribs but use the tender ones)
2 Tbsp. white wine
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. sweet rice flour or cornstarch
½ cup lactose-free whole milk
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
½ oz. parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 oz. lactose-free gruyère cheese, grated
1 medium Bartlett or Bosc pear, thinly sliced, preferably with a mandoline

For the crust
Add the first seven ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to aerate. Add the cold butter to the flour mixture and pulse ten times, until the butter is cut into pea-size pieces. Add 6 Tbsp. ice water and pulse until the dough comes together (it will not form a ball). Check the dough to see if it holds together when pressed between your fingers. Add more water if needed.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, knead it a couple of times, and press it together to form a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap. Press it down to flatten it and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Line your work surface with parchment paper if you wish (I find this helps a lot when working with gluten-free tart/pie dough). Lightly dust your (preferably cold) work surface with superfine brown rice flour and roll out the dough to a ¼-inch thickness. If the dough cracks while rolling, pinch it back together. Fill the tart mold with the dough and press it gently into the mold. Cut off excess dough. Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.

Blind-bake the tart by covering it with a piece of parchment paper and topping the paper with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pie weights and paper and continue baking for another 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Let it cool slightly while preparing the filling. (Leave the oven on.)

For the filling
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leek and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the Swiss chard, white wine, ½ tsp. of the salt, ¼ tsp. of the black pepper, and nutmeg. Cook until the chard is wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk together the eggs, sweet rice flour, milk, coconut milk, parmesan, 1 oz. of the gruyère, remaining ½ tsp. salt, and remaining ¼ tsp. black pepper.

Fill the tart crust with the Swiss chard and top with slices of pear. Lightly press the filling down and pour the custard over it. Top with the remaining 1 oz. gruyère.

Bake at 375 °F for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. Let it cool slightly before cutting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cranberry and Pistachio Cake

I’ve made a few cakes lately, and they haven’t made me happy. There was a ginger pear cake that completely fell apart when sliced. A double chocolate loaf cake had the same problem, though its redeeming quality was that the pan was sugared instead of floured, which made for a delightful crunchy and sweet exterior – I’ll keep that idea in mind for other cakes, but I can’t bring myself to keep that recipe. I also made a coconut cake that had none of the decadence that it promised. And as it turns out, it was a gluten-free cake that made me happy again.

I was looking for a recipe to use up some pistachios (left over after making bread pudding), and I also had some cranberries at the bottom of the freezer, so Aran Goyoaga’s cranberry pistachio cake was perfect. It’s moist enough that it keeps for several days, and it’s not too sweet, so you could have it for breakfast if you wanted. We all loved it, and I’m not even sure the Engineer realized it didn’t contain wheat flour (I certainly wasn’t going to tell).

1 cup superfine brown rice flour (I used 160 g.)
½ cup almond flour (I used almond meal)
¼ cup tapioca starch
¾ tsp. coarse sea salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 cup natural cane sugar
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup light olive oil, plus more for the mold
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped (mine were frozen)
½ cup chopped pistachios

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Rub the inside of a 9" bundt pan with some olive oil (you could use pan spray as well), making sure you get into all corners so the cake doesn’t stick.

Mix the rice flour, almond flour, tapioca, sea salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, rub the sugar, lemon and orange zest together between your fingers to let the natural oils come out. Whisk in the eggs, applesauce, olive oil, and vanilla extract. Pour into the dry ingredients and whisk to mix. Fold in the cranberries and pistachios. The batter will be very thin.

Pour the batter into the mold and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (since my cranberries were still frozen, I had to leave my cake in the oven a few minutes longer). Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Poulet au cola

J’ai adapté une recette de Poulet du Québec, soit le poulet au cola de la famille Benoît. J’ai modifié les ingrédients, parce que ½ tasse de sauce chili, c’est beaucoup trop pour moi! J’en ai plutôt mis quelques gouttes. Et puisqu’il faisait froid, j’ai fait cuire le poulet au four plutôt que sur le barbecue. Quand même, c’est une recette facile à préparer, du moment qu’on se rappelle de faire la marinade à l’avance (je l’ai faite la veille, alors le jour-même, il ne me restait plus qu’à mettre le poulet au four). J’ai servi le tout avec des légumes racines rôtis en même temps. J’avais doublé la recette (avec des filets de poulet) pour avoir des restants, mais je crois que la prochaine fois, je garderai la quantité de marinade telle que décrite plus bas tout en doublant le poulet, il y en aurait assez. J’en avais aussi profité pour essayer le ketchup maison de Coup de Pouce, qui était bien bon.

454 g (1 lb.) de demi-poitrines de poulet désossées (voir plus haut)
1 canette de 355 ml de cola (idéalement sans sirop de maïs à haute teneur en fructose)
½ tasse de ketchup
quelques gouttes de sauce chili (voir plus haut)
3 c. à soupe d’huile
1 c. à soupe de miel
1 oignon haché
sel et poivre du moulin, au goût

Dans un grand bol, mélanger le cola, le ketchup, la sauce chili, l’huile, le miel, l’oignon, le sel et le poivre. Y déposer les poitrines et enrober de marinade. Couvrir et laisser macérer au réfrigérateur pendant 6 heures ou toute une nuit.

Bien égoutter les poitrines, mais ne pas assécher complètement.

Préchauffer le barbecue à feu moyen pendant 5 minutes. Huiler la grille.

Faire griller les poitrines sur le barbecue de 20 à 25 minutes ou jusqu’à une température interne de 165 °F, en les retournant une fois en cours de cuisson.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Kumquat Pudding Cakes

This recipe is adapted from Cannelle et Vanille, where Aran Goyoaga originally posted a recipe for Glazed Sour Orange and Coconut Pudding Cakes. I couldn’t find small sour oranges, so I used kumquats, and I’m really glad I did. They were absolutely delicious, and in fact, the Engineer decided maybe kumquats aren’t that bad after all (he’s found them too bitter in the past). The glaze is entirely optional.

I encountered two problems while making this recipe. First of all, the directions were to boil the kumquats, then transfer their juice and flesh (not seeds) to a food processor and keep 1 cup of the purée. But I only got ½ cup of purée, so I was surprised to have such a small yield and wondered whether I should halve the recipe. But when I read the comments on the original post, I realized that since the skin on kumquats is very thin, it is edible, so regardless of how the instructions were phrased, I was supposed to include it in the purée. I therefore puréed the skin and topped up the flesh purée to reach 1 cup. This may have contributed to minimizing the bitterness in the cakes, though I’m not sure how much of a difference that really makes, especially when it is so time-consuming to tear the flesh from the skin of all these kumquats. I’m therefore amending the instructions to just seed the boiled citrus and put its flesh, juice and peel in the food processor. If you want to spend the extra time separating flesh from skin, you can, and if you want to use only flesh and not skin, plan on 2 pounds of kumquats.

The second problem I had was that I don’t have cannelé molds, and I didn’t want to make a loaf cake. I considered using an 8-inch round cake pan, but settled on my mini-muffin pan instead because it’s made of silicone, which I knew would make the delicate cakes easier to unmold. If you use a standard mini-muffin pan, you should get about 36 little cakes. I do hope you make them, because they are SO good!

For the cakes
1 lb. (450 g.) kumquats (or small sour oranges)
½ cup (60 g.) coconut flour
½ cup (50 g.) almond flour (I used almond meal)
3 Tbsp. (30 g.) tapioca flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
3 eggs
1 cup (200 g.) natural cane sugar
½ cup (150 g.) coconut oil, melted
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (or vanilla bean paste)

Place the kumquats in a medium pot and cover them with water. Simmer them covered for an hour or until tender. Drain the water and place the oranges in a large bowl. When cool enough to handle, open them with your fingers and remove and seeds. Transfer the juice, flesh and skin (see note above) to a food processor or blender and purée to a fine paste. You might find it easier to place a sieve over the bowl of the food processor as you’re removing the seeds, so that at least the juice falls into the bowl and any seeds that escape your grasp will be caught.

Preheat the oven at 350 °F and grease a mini-muffin pan. (Mine holds 24 mini-muffins, so I did this in two batches.)

In a small bowl, mix the coconut flour, almond flour, tapioca flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Measure 1 cup (300 g.) of purée into a bowl. Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla and melted coconut oil. Whisk to combine. Add the reserved dry ingredients and fold.

Scoop the batter into the prepared molds. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Insert a clean toothpick in the center to see if it comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pan for a few minutes before unmolding.

For the glaze
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Whisk them until it forms a fluid glaze. Pour over warm cakes.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. I had some left-over lactose-free sour cream, so I decided that this was the perfect recipe to use it up. I knew I would like it because caramelized onions and butternut squash go so well together, and squash is usually a hit with the Little Prince. Luckily, the Engineer approved as well! The galette makes about 4 to 6 small servings. I served it with pomelo couscous, since I had a huge pomelo left over after making pomelo bars.

For the crust
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¼ cup lactose-free sour cream
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ cup ice water

For the filling
1 small butternut squash (about 1 lb.)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 to 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
1 tsp. salt, divided
1 pinch of sugar
¼ tsp. cayenne, or to taste (I used a pinch of Korean pepper)
¾ cup fontina cheese (about 2 ½ oz.), grated (I used lactose-free swiss cheese)
1 ½ tsp. chopped fresh sage leaves

For the crust
In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. (I must admit that I did not have the patience for this and instead made the dough the “regular” way: I mixed the flour and salt in the food processor, added cold butter, then the sour cream and lemon juice, then ice water until it held together. I put it in the fridge to rest, then followed the remainder of the recipe.)

For the filling
Preheat oven to 375 °F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a ½-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.

While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.

Raise the oven temperature to 400 °F. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.

On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 ½-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.

Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Coconut Milk Bread Pudding

You guys, I made the most amazing bread pudding! I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, especially given that I’d used pre-sliced whole grain bread instead of a more typical stale brioche loaf, but it was absolutely perfect. Better than I could have imagined, really. I loved it, and will be making it again and varying the flavors! The Engineer wants it noted that he would either grind the pistachios in tiny pieces or replace them with raisins.

6 slices bread, dry or lightly toasted and torn into bite-size pieces (about 6 cups)
¼ cup shelled pistachios (optional, see note above)
2 Tbsp. chopped candied ginger
1 (13.5-oz.) can coconut milk
3 large eggs
1 cup jaggery (I used ¾ cup granulated sugar)
½ tsp. ground cardamom
1 pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325 °F. Grease an 8”x8” baking dish.

Arrange the bread pieces in the dish and evenly sprinkle the pistachios and ginger on top.

In a bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, eggs, jaggery or sugar, cardamom, and salt. Pour the coconut milk mixture over the bread, pressing down with a spoon or fork to make sure all the bread gets soaked.

Bake for 45 minutes or until set (this was 50 minutes in my case). The center should spring back when lightly touched. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Coconut Lime Tart

Yeah, so I totally missed my bloggaversary. When February 4th rolled around, I knew the date sounded familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. A look at my calendar revealed nothing. Well, too bad. It’s not like I had a special post or giveaway planned or anything – maybe I’ll do that for the 10th anniversary?

In any event, here’s a coconut lime tart that I’ve been meaning to tell you about. It’s entirely dairy-free, too, and I find it particularly nice to eat such lime tarts! We all really enjoyed it. The lime and coconut go well together, and it wasn’t too sweet, which was nice. The recipe is from the book Sprouted Kitchen, by Sara Forte. I made it in a 14”x5” tart pan; I believe you could adapt the recipe to a 9” round tart pan, too, though I haven’t tried it.

For the crust
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup spelt flour (you could probably use all-purpose flour, too)
1/3 cup unsalted toasted pistachios
1 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar
5 Tbsp. coconut oil
½ tsp. sea salt
1-2 Tbsp. water

For the filling
1 (13.5-oz.) can coconut milk, full fat
1/3 cup natural cane sugar
grated zest and juice of 1 lime (I used 2 Key limes)
1 Tbsp. coconut flour (or 3 Tbsp. brown rice flour or all-purpose flour)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
¼ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the garnish
toasted shredded coconut

Line the bottom of a 14"x5" tart pan with a removable bottom with parchment paper.

Combine oats, spelt flour, and pistachios in a food processor and pulse to create a coarse flour. Add the honey, coconut oil, and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse until mixture just begins to hold together. Immediately press the crust into the bottom and just barely up the sides of the prepared tart pan in a thin, even layer. Put in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour, and up to 5 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times and bake just until toasty, 12-14 minutes. Set aside and let cool completely.

Turn the oven down to 325 °F. To make the filling, put the coconut milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, then stir in the sugar and lime zest and sift in the flour. After the mixture has cooled slightly, whisk in the lime juice, egg, egg yolk, salt, and vanilla until completely combined. Let cool to room temperature. Strain the mixture through s fine-mesh strainer and pour into the crust (I had a little overflow and should have held back a few tablespoons). Bake until the center of the filling is just set, 23-25 minutes (I actually baked mine a total of 50 minutes because of how jiggly the middle still was). Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature, garnish with toasted coconut, then chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving.

In defense of flourless chocolate cake

So, the Engineer and I had a profound disagreement recently. Not an argument, mind you, just a realization that we have completely different viewpoints on flourless chocolate cake. I view it as a dessert in and of itself, and I absolutely love it. (As a matter of fact, when I googled the term, I had only gotten so far as “flourl” when Google completed it for me as its only suggestion and promptly gave me links to over a million recipes. This would suggest that I’m not the only fan of flourless chocolate cakes, to say the least.) The Engineer, however, places it on the same continuum as a “regular” (layer) chocolate cake, but always prefers the latter and sees the flourless version as inherently inferior. He would always prefer a layer cake, whereas to me, it really depends what kind of mood I’m in. (I’d always go for a layer cake on a birthday, for example, but I see a good flourless chocolate cake as much more decadent. The same goes for molten chocolate cake, while we’re at it.) So when I made this flourless chocolate cake from Real Simple, he didn’t understand why. After all, I’ve already got a very good recipe for flourless chocolate cake that, in his mind, I could serve to our relatives who are gluten-intolerant. He didn’t see the point in eating any more of it. But I’m not making it to serve it to them, I just want some because that’s what I feel like eating!

In any event, what I liked about this recipe is that it uses mostly prunes as a sweetener (and extra fiber), making it more nutritious than my regular recipe, albeit less rich. I didn’t feel guilty about feeding some to the Little Prince, even though I don’t want to give him too much sugar. If you’re a fan of flourless chocolate cakes, you’ll like this one. If you’re not a fan of flourless chocolate cakes, you might want to reconsider your priorities.

1 cup pitted prunes
¾ cup margarine (1 ½ sticks), plus more for the pan
cocoa powder, for the pan
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs, separated
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ tsp. fine salt
3 Tbsp. sugar

Soak the prunes in boiling water until very soft, 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 °F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and dust with cocoa, tapping out the excess.

Drain the prunes and transfer to a food processor. Process until finely chopped, 10 to 15 seconds.

Place the chocolate and margarine in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring in between each, until melted and smooth. (I did this in a double boiler.) Add the prunes, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt and whisk to combine.

Beat the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until soft peak forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Continue beating, slowly adding the sugar, until stiff peak forms, 1 to 2 minutes more. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is set around the edges but still slightly soft in the middle, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool.

Batch of links

- 27 infographics about food and kitchen equipment. This is crammed with useful information! I’ll print out the graphic about how to care for a cast iron pan if I ever get one.

- Another useful infographic (sent in by a reader): The Dirty Dozen (Plus Clean Fifteen) Infographic. I keep meaning to print something that I could take with me when I’m grocery shopping, and this might be just the thing!

- A great article (with recipes) on how to make delicious pizza at home, on any budget.

- How to get a stuck bundt cake out of a pan.

- 10 things you should know before getting into a relationship with someone who loves food. (Is any other relationship even worthwhile?)

- California has lifted the ban on selling/buying foie gras. I have to admit I’m not sure whether this covers the production of foie gras, which I thought had also been banned, but now I’m not so sure anymore…

- The trick to making a perfect poached egg: break the egg over a sieve before lowering it into the water. I’ve never tried this, but I’ll try to remember it next time I make poached eggs!

- For parents out there: 20 healthy choices from kids’ menus in chain restaurants in the US.

- Spring cleaning for the pantry and fridge. I’ve actually done this recently, and it did a world of good!

- And finally, I meant to post this ages ago, but better late than never. Remember the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon? Well, here are 24 of their (insane-sounding) pizza orders in real life, and I must say some of them look quite good. Especially the tuna fish, peanut butter and grape jelly! Thanks to Foodbeast for putting so much care into this.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Quiche champignons et bacon, croûte de quinoa

Les quiches sont habituellement très populaires chez nous. Celle-ci ne fit pas exception! C’est une recette de Coup de Pouce. Sa particularité est que la croûte est faite de quinoa. J’avais peur que ça ne tienne pas, mais non, tout était parfait! Non seulement c’est bon, mais ça fait une croûte sans gluten hyper simple. Je crois que ce qui permet au quinoa de bien cuire, c’est l’eau contenue dans les champignons crus. Si vous faites cette quiche avec une croûte de farine de blé, je conseillerais de faire cuire les champignons avant. En tout cas, le mélange bacon-champignons-épinards, c’est gagnant! Tout le monde chez nous a aimé ça.

½ tasse de quinoa rincé et égoutté
6 tranches de bacon coupées en lanières
6 œufs
1 tasse de lait sans lactose
1 tasse de cheddar fort râpé
2 tasses de champignons coupés en tranches
1 tasse d'épinards hachés
sel et poivre du moulin

Préchauffer le four à 350 °F. Dans une assiette à tarte de 9 po (23 cm), vaporisée d'un enduit végétal antiadhésif (de type Pam), presser uniformément le quinoa avec une fourchette sur le fond et la paroi de l'assiette. Réserver.

Dans un poêlon, cuire le bacon à feu moyen-vif pendant environ 5 minutes ou jusqu'à ce qu'il soit croustillant. Retirer le bacon du poêlon et l'égoutter sur des essuie-tout. Réserver.

Dans un bol, fouetter les œufs et le lait. Ajouter la moitié du fromage. Saler et poivrer. Réserver.

Déposer sur la croûte de quinoa le reste du fromage, les champignons, les épinards et le bacon réservé. Verser le mélange d'œufs réservé.

Cuire au four préchauffé de 50 à 55 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que la pointe d'un couteau insérée au centre de la quiche en ressorte propre. Déposer la quiche sur une grille et laisser refroidir pendant 10 minutes avant de servir.