Friday, May 26, 2017

Batch of links

- Ramadan etiquette guide: 10 tips for people who aren’t Muslim (pretty self-explanatory).

- A map of popular brunch foods in every state, though “the roundup isn't top brunch foods by volume, but what people in each state like proportionally more than those in other states.” Apparently, people in Texas like stuffed avocado.

- Ten food items that need to rethink their packaging. YES!

- One more reason to consider switching to full-fat dairy. I’m looking at you, Dad.

- It turns out that salty foods don’t actually make you thirsty. My whole life is a lie!

- Protein 101, as well as 10 ways to eat your daily protein (it’s less than you’d think) and 10 vegetarian ways to eat your daily protein.

- Bon Appétit had an article about the history of Maldon salt that was very interesting!

- Remember my batch of links about meal kits? The Kitchn did an actual dollar-to-dollar comparison with groceries for three different services.

- Have you ever seen Jacques Pépin debone a chicken? It is a thing of beauty.

- (Not food-related.) Reclaiming “Jew”: an article about the fact that using “Jew” as a noun is often seen as a slur, even though it is correct, while the adjective “Jewish” is seen as polite.

- (Also not food-related.) Math problems for English majors and math problems for parents, because they’re too funny!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Pistachio-Citrus Pound Cake

Here’s something that I made and managed not to taste right away, instead stashing it in the freezer for after the baby was born. It’s a pistachio-citrus pound cake that I found on Orangette, though it’s originally from Bon Appétit. I unfortunately neglected to get a picture of the whole loaf when it was made; instead, I cut it in half and froze everything, and I only tasted it recently. It was delicious! Not too sweet, this pound cake might be more of a snack than a dessert. As for the citrus, you could make it as is (with lemon, orange and lime), but if it’s citrus season, consider using Meyer lemon or tangerines, for example. Note that I put fewer pistachios in the batter than called for, because that’s usually not my favorite place for nuts, but I like them on top of the cake!

2 cups (260 g.) all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
1 tsp. finely grated lime zest
1 cup (125 g.) shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped; divided

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 325 °F. Lightly grease a 9”x5” loaf pan. Cut a rectangle of parchment paper to line the bottom and the two long sides of the pan, leaving a little overhang. Press the parchment paper into the pan, and grease it lightly, too.

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

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, and beat until well incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions. Add the juices and the zests, and beat until well combined. (Don’t worry if the batter looks curdled.) Add the flour mixture, reduce the speed to low, and beat until just incorporated. Add ¾ cup of the pistachios, and fold in gently. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup pistachios over the top.

Bake the cake, rotating it halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 ½ hours. Transfer it to a wire rack, and let it cool completely in the pan. Run a sharp knife along the short ends of the pan to loosen the cake; then pull up on the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan. (The flavor of this cake is best the day after it’s made. I can tell you that it freezes well, too.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Granola au gingembre et à l'érable

J’ai fait ce granola et je l’ai congelé avant la naissance du Renard. Je l’ai ressorti récemment pour déjeuner – ça me manquait, le granola! Il s’agit d’une recette du magazine À bon verre, bonne table. J’ai fait une demi-recette, parce que je n’avais pas l’intention de nourrir une armée, quand même; les quantités ci-dessous sont les miennes. (Je ne connais personne qui veut un rendement de 15 tasses pour sa famille!) Pour cette recette, j’ai utilisé des amandes ainsi que des canneberges et des abricots séchés. Selon mon humeur et le contenu de mon frigo, j’aime manger le granola avec du lait sans lactose (végétal ou pas) ou encore du yogourt. Mon yogourt préféré ces temps-ci est le Noosa à la vanille, qui est riche et crémeux et dont les grains de vanille croquent sous la dent. (Noosa, c’est du yogourt australien fait au Colorado, avec des saveurs comme fraise-rhubarbe, miel, cerise et même mangue et chili ou poire et cardamome!)


4 tasses de gros flocons d’avoine
¾ tasse d’amandes ou de vos noix préférées ou encore de noix mélangées, hachées grossièrement
½ tasse de son ou de germe de blé
½ tasse de graines de citrouille
¼ tasse de graines de lin moulues
¼ tasse de noix de coco non sucrée, préférablement râpée
1 c. à thé de cannelle
1 c. à thé de gingembre moulu
¾ c. à thé de sel
1 orange
¼ tasse d’huile végétale
¾ tasse de sirop d’érable
2 c. à thé de vanille
1 tasse de fruits séchés (cerises, canneberges, raisins secs, abricots émincés, pruneaux hachés, etc.), préférablement un mélange
2 c. à soupe de gingembre confit coupé en dés fins

Préchauffer le four à 300 °F.

Huiler légèrement 2 grandes plaques à pâtisserie à gros rebords (ou une rôtissoire).

Remuer dans un grand bol : flocons d’avoine, noix, son de blé, graines de citrouille, graines de lin, noix de coco, épices et sel.

Râper finement la peau de l’orange dans une casserole moyenne. Presser l’orange et verser 3 c. à soupe du jus, l’huile et le sirop d’érable dans la casserole. Chauffer jusqu’à ce que le liquide soit bien chaud. Incorporer la vanille. Verser ce liquide sur le mélange d’avoine et remuer pour bien humecter les ingrédients.

Étaler le granola sur les plaques à pâtisserie. Cuire au four préchauffé en prenant soin de remuer de temps à autre et de faire la rotation des plaques, jusqu’à ce que le granola soit bien doré (40 à 45 minutes). Y incorporer les fruits séchés et le gingembre. Laisser refroidir complètement. (Conserver le granola à la température ambiante, dans des récipients hermétiques, pendant 2 semaines. On peut aussi le congeler. Servir le granola avec du lait ou une grosse cuillerée de yogourt, agrémenté de baies fraîches et d’un filet de sirop d’érable pour en faire un dessert.)

Dark Chocolate and Squash Muffins



These muffins were really something. They contain squash purée, which makes them moist and makes one feel like they’re at least somewhat healthful, and they are delicious. As it turns out, they’re gluten-free, but no one here guessed it. They were especially good warm (I called them “perfect” in my notes), but were great at room temperature after a few days as well.

The original recipe calls for kabocha squash, but I used half a small butternut squash that I had left over from this recipe. I’m pretty sure that any winter squash would do, maybe even sweet potato. Note that the original recipe also recommends homemade squash purée, not canned, as the texture is better. (An easy way to do this is to halve a squash, rub the cut sides with oil and bake the whole thing at 425 °F for 30 to 45 minutes or until tender. The flesh can then be scooped out and puréed.)

1 ¼ cups fine brown rice flour
2/3 cup coconut sugar (I used cane sugar for a bit more sweetness)
½ cup almond flour
5 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. fine sea salt
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup kabocha squash purée (see note above)
2 large eggs
1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup chopped dark chocolate (I used 4 oz.)
cacao nibs, for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 °F and line a 12-cavity muffin tin with liners (I actually ended up with 15 muffins).

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.

In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until mixed. Add the dry ingredients to the wet a little at a time until combined (I used a wooden spoon), then fold in the chocolate.

Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tin, filling each cavity ¾ of the way. Top with a sprinkle of cacao nibs, if desired.

Bake in the center of your oven until a cake tester comes out clean, about 28-34 minutes. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove muffins and let them cool completely before eating.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Green & Black's

For some reason, I haven’t been able to find my regular Godiva dark chocolate with sea salt in stores in a while, I’m not sure why. I bought Lindt’s version again, but didn’t like it as much. So I started looking for a substitute and bought a Green & Black’s pure dark chocolate bar with sea salt, which I really liked. Then, as I was renewing stock in our emergency kit, I found two bars of Godiva, so I decided to do a side-by-side comparison.



The first thing I should point out is that Godiva appears to have changed its ingredients since I first wrote about it. It has less iron than it used to (now 15% of the daily value, when it used to be 30%), and it had also become less expensive (before it disappeared). Green & Black’s is about $5.00 a bar, and bars are ever so slightly smaller than Lindt or Godiva (90 g., versus 100 g. for both others). That being said, it is ethically sourced cocoa, so I’m guessing that’s where most of the money goes. Serving sizes are similar (4 squares, with 2.5 servings per bar), so I don’t notice the difference in size. Green & Black’s is technically vegan, though processed on equipment that also comes in contact with milk and tree nuts. It has more calories, and those seem to come mostly from fat – but it’s cocoa butter, which is a vegetable fat and in my mind is similar to coconut oil or avocado, so it’s a good fat and I’m not worried (if I’m wrong, please don’t shatter my illusion). The cocoa butter gives it a smooth mouthfeel and enhances the flavor. It’s also got significantly less sugar than the other brands, about half as much, but is still very good – I normally prefer lower percentages of cocoa, but I really like this. And it’s got 25% of the daily value of iron, which is nice.

So if I see my Godiva again, I’d certainly stock up, but for now, Green & Black is my go-to evening treat.

On a side note, I also tried Alter Eco’s Dark Salted Brown Butter Organic Chocolate bar and loved it. It may not be strictly lactose-free (it contains butterfat), but I stuck to 2 squares per serving and didn’t have any symptoms. The chocolate is smooth and tastes more like caramel than browned butter, but is very enjoyable!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Beef Curry

I got this Japanese curry recipe from Bon Appétit and made it right before having the Fox. The original recipe claims to serve 6, but we had more than 8 servings (without guests, I would have frozen the leftovers). Note that I reduced the amount of curry from 3 to 2 tablespoons and, as always, I prefer mild curry. I served it with rice the first night and with couscous the second – so technically, you do need to make a side for this to be a complete meal, but it’s an easy side, and at least the meat and vegetables are taken care of here. This was really good!

For the raita
2 Japanese or Persian cucumbers (I used baby cucumbers)
kosher salt
1 garlic clove
½ cup plain lactose-free whole-milk yogurt
½ cup plain lactose-free whole-milk Greek yogurt

For the curry
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. potato starch or cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 lbs. beef chuck, cut into ½–1-inch pieces
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
3 medium onions, chopped
1 apple, peeled, grated
3 Tbsp. mirin
1 Tbsp. finely chopped peeled ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. curry powder
2 Tbsp. kuro sato (Japanese black sugar) or 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar + ½ tsp. robust-flavored (dark) molasses
1 Tbsp. garam masala
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, cut into ½-inch pieces (I used half a butternut squash)
1 large Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 large carrots, peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces

For the raita
Slice cucumbers in half lengthwise. If using Japanese cucumbers, scrape out seeds with a small spoon. Slice cucumbers into very thin half-moons. Toss in a small bowl with a few pinches of salt. Let sit until salt begins to draw out water from cucumbers, about 5 minutes. Massage cucumbers to release liquid, gently at first to keep them from breaking, then more vigorously as they start to expel water. Rinse in several changes of water, squeeze out excess liquid, and place in a clean small bowl.

Mash garlic and a pinch of salt on a cutting board with the side of a chef’s knife to a paste. Mix into cucumbers along with both yogurts; season with salt. Set aside in the refrigerator.

For the curry
Mix flour, potato starch, and water in a bowl. Set slurry aside.

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high. Season beef with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, cook beef, turning occasionally and reducing heat if needed, until browned on all sides, 6–8 minutes per batch. Add onions and apple and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, 12–15 minutes. Add mirin, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until very fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, kuro sato, garam masala, soy sauce, and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until beef is almost tender, 30–40 minutes.

Add squash, potato, and carrots, cover, and cook, adding water by ¼-cupfuls if needed to keep vegetables submerged, until tender, 20–30 minutes.

Submerge a small sieve into curry and whisk reserved slurry into liquid in sieve to combine. Return curry to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened, 8–10 minutes. Serve over rice topped with raita.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Chai-Spiced Medjool Date and Almond Tart



Now here is the perfect dessert if you want something simple and not too sweet! (I mean, I had tried an easy spiced applesauce cake, but it was a bit too one-dimensional for my taste; this tart is different.) It’s a bit more cakey than most tarts and is particularly good served warm, though it was great at room temperature as well. You could use chai tea instead of the spice blend if you want (just grind it well beforehand). The original recipe specified that it could be made in 8 individual tart pans of 3 ¼ inches each, rerolling the dough a few times, but I haven’t tried it. We all enjoyed it (including my parents, who were in town at that point).

For the pastry
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
⅓ cup sugar
1 egg
1¼ cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder

For the date filling
1½ cups chopped Medjool dates (about 15)
½ cup water
1 tsp. ground cardamom
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground ginger

For the almond filling
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
¼ tsp. almond extract
½ cup ground almonds
1½ tsp. all-purpose flour

For the pastry
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until combined. Add the egg and continue beating until combined.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cake flour and baking powder, then add to the butter mixture. Beat just until combined. The dough will be very soft. Wrap in plastic wrap and form into a flat disc. Chill at least 2 hours. The dough can be prepared a day ahead.

For the date filling
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and place over low-medium heat. While the dates are cooking, mash them with a rubber spatula and continue cooking, about 5 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the mixture is very thick and almost smooth. Transfer the date mixture to a small bowl to cool completely. The dates can be cooked 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside. Roll the dough about ⅛ inch (3 mm) thick, and line a 9-inch (23 cm) tart pan with it. Place on the parchment-lined tray. Chill while preparing the almond filling.

Place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 °F.

For the almond filling
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and almond extract and beat to combine.

Combine the ground almonds and flour together and add to the butter mixture. Beat until smooth.

Spread the date mixture evenly over the chilled dough. Repeat with the almond filling, spreading it over the date mixture to cover.

Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm or at room temperature. (The tart can be baked 1 day ahead and stored, well wrapped, at room temperature.)

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Mini-tourtières feuilletées



J’ai fait quelques soupers simples, comme un sauté au bœuf asiatique et une quiche aux tomates, qui étaient bons mais sans plus. (La quiche était en fait meilleure que je pensais, puisque la plupart des tomates étaient cuites pour les dégorger d’eau et qu’il y avait aussi des tomates séchées pour un peu d’umami. Mais le Petit Prince a décidé qu’il n’aime plus les quiches, et ça finit par gâcher mon plaisir un peu…) Je suis ensuite tombée sur une recette de Coup de Pouce pour ces mini-tourtières feuilletées. C’était vraiment délicieux! J’ai fait la garniture le matin, puis j’ai assemblé le tout pour l’enfourner avant le souper. Tout le monde a aimé! J’ai servi ça avec une salade verte, simplement.

J’ai utilisé 3 carrés de pâte feuilletée, soit 1 ½ paquet, pour un rendement de 18 mini-tourtières, alors c’est ce que j’écris ci-dessous. Aussi, j’ai utilisé du porc haché comme viande (j’ai trouvé ça plus simple que d’aller demander de petites quantités de ci et de ça au boucher). À noter que sur le site de Coup de Pouce, il y a deux variantes qui ont l’air délicieuses : bacon et poireaux ainsi que canard et pomme.

1 lb de viande hachée (mélange de porc, veau et bœuf)
1 oignon, haché finement
1 gousse d'ail
1 c. à thé de sel
½ c. à thé de poivre
½ c. à thé de sarriette
¼ c. à thé de cannelle
¼ c. à thé de clou de girofle moulu
2 c. à soupe de beurre non salé ou de margarine
1 c. à soupe de farine
1 tasse de fond de veau (j’ai pris du bouillon de bœuf)
2 c. à soupe de chapelure
1 c. à soupe de pâte de tomates
1 ½ paquet de pâte feuilletée (environ 725 g en tout), dégelée
1 jaune d'œuf
2 c. à thé de lait sans lactose

Mélanger la viande, l'oignon, l'ail, le sel, le poivre, la sarriette, la cannelle et le clou dans un grand poêlon et cuire à feu moyen-vif, en brassant de temps à autre, pendant 8 minutes jusqu'à ce que la viande ait perdu sa teinte rosée et que l'oignon soit cuit. Retirer le poêlon du feu et réserver.

Dans une petite casserole, faire fondre le beurre à feu moyen-doux, en brassant de temps à autre. À l'aide d'un fouet, incorporer petit à petit la farine en brassant jusqu'à ce que la préparation soit lisse. Ajouter le fond de veau, porter à ébullition et laisser mijoter, en brassant souvent, pendant 10 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que la sauce ait épaissi.

Verser la sauce dans la préparation de viande réservée. Ajouter la chapelure et la pâte de tomates. Mélanger et laisser refroidir. (On peut préparer la garniture à l'avance. Elle se conservera jusqu'au lendemain au réfrigérateur.)

Préchauffer le four à 425 °F. Huiler un moule à muffins (ou, dans mon cas, 18 cavités de deux moules à muffins).

Sur une surface légèrement farinée, abaisser le premier carré de pâte feuilletée en un rectangle, puis couper l’abaisse en six rectangles d’environ 4 po x 3 po. Presser chaque morceau de pâte dans une cavité de moule à muffins huilée; répéter avec les deux autres carrés. Répartir la garniture réservée (environ 2 c. à soupe) au centre de chaque carré de pâte en pressant. Ramener les pointes vers le centre, par-dessus la garniture et les presser ensemble pour sceller les feuilletés.

Fouetter le jaune d'œuf avec le lait. Badigeonner les feuilletés du mélange d'œuf. Cuire au four préchauffé de 18 à 20 minutes. Laisser reposer 5 minutes avant de servir.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Almond Cake

I had my eye on this recipe from Orangette for a long time. I’m not sure why I kept stalling – maybe because it calls for sour cream, which I don’t keep on hand and I have to go to a specific grocery store to get the lactose-free kind. But anyway, this was really good! The first time I made it, it came out darker and denser than I was expecting. So I made it again, this time making sure to use white flour instead of white whole wheat flour and baking it at a lower temperature while tenting it with foil. The latter precautions might have been too much, but the result was indeed better the second time around (albeit not as beautiful as Molly Wizenberg’s pale golden creation on her original post). The texture is a bit dense, with no crumbs when you cut into it; the cake will cave in the middle, and that’s a feature, not a bug. We really liked this one, though, and I’ll have to make it again!

1 cup lactose-free sour cream, at room temperature
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups all-purpose (white) flour
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
1 (7-oz.) tube almond paste, cut into small pieces
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 °F (see note below). Grease the sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, then line the sides and bottom with parchment paper and grease the paper.

In a small bowl, mix together sour cream and baking soda.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the almond paste a few pieces at a time, and beat on medium speed for 8 minutes. (Molly Wizenberg admits that this seems like a long time, but do it. The mixture will get gorgeously fluffy.) Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Beat in the almond extract and the sour cream mixture. Reduce mixer speed to low, and gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter a couple of times to make sure there’s no unincorporated flour lurking around.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and spread it evenly with the rubber spatula. Bake for about 1 hour: the cake is done when you press the top and it returns to its shape, and also when it shrinks from the sides of the pan. In my case, 55 minutes was too much; I’d try 45 minutes next time. (When I tried it again at 325 °F, I left the cake in there 45 minutes covered with foil, then removed the foil and baked it until it was done, 25 minutes longer. You could just try it at 325 °F without any foil.) Transfer to a cooling rack, and cool the cake in its pan.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Batch of links - FPIES and other food restrictions

- Today is National FPIES Awareness Day. FPIES stands for Food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome and is basically a form of food allergy that affects the gastro-intestinal tract. Certain foods (not just top allergens, but potentially anything, like peas, blueberries, lamb, rice, sweet potatoes, etc.) are rejected by the body, with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea (occasionally with blood or mucus), low blood pressure, paleness, and lethargy, sometimes leading to shock (short-term) and malnutrition (long-term) and often requiring hospitalization. (Note that these are not the same symptoms as those of an IgE-mediated food allergy, the latter of which are immediate and life-threatening.) Roughly 90 children are diagnosed with FPIES in the U.S. each year, and most (but not all) outgrow it by age 5. In the meantime, though, there are kids who won’t be able to find a single safe solid food to eat! You can find out more here, here or here.

- There are kids and teenagers (with FPIES or other restrictions) who still haven’t passed any solid food trials. What happens when insurance companies stop covering their formula?

- Here’s an interesting article on which food allergies are more likely to be outgrown.

- Can you get a food allergy from a blood transfusion? (Spoiler: it’s rare, but it can happen and, thankfully, it’s usually temporary.)

- With new technology, we could actually commercialize hypoallergenic peanuts someday.

- Had you heard about Indie Candy, an allergen-free candy maker in Alabama? They were featured on The Kitchn a while back, but their social media accounts haven’t been active in a while, though Google claims they’re still in business…

- Enjoy Life is still very much in business, though, providing allergen-free ingredients for the home cook.

- The 25 best allergy-friendly packaged foods, according to Parents magazine.

- A neat cartoon titled Gluten: The Facts and the Fad.

- Did you know that the celiac vaccine successfully completed the first phase of clinical trials? It’s based on immunotherapy, which is also used to treat some allergies.

- I’ll follow that up with 10 restaurants where you can safely eat in Montreal if you are gluten-intolerant.

- It turns out that non-celiac gluten sensitivity may actually have nothing to do with gluten. It’s probably due to another family of proteins, amylase-trypsin inhibitors (ATIs), which are found in wheat and other grains alongside gluten. I wonder if cases like these have contributed to the increased prevalence of celiac disease, just through misdiagnosing (in addition to correctly diagnosing more patients who would not have been counted before).

- On a related note: patients with celiac disease who react to gluten-free oats may actually be reacting to another protein called avenin.

- For a laugh: the Gluten-Free Museum, where works of art are reimagined to be gluten-free.

- Did you know you can test for food sensitivities at home? There’s a test kit called EverlyWell that tests for sensitivity to 96 different foods.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Muffins au gruau



J’ai fait quelques sortes de muffins qui se ressemblaient récemment. Il y a eu les muffins santé à la banane et aux pépites de chocolat, qui étaient corrects, sans plus. J’ai aussi essayé les muffins aux flocons d’avoine de Miss Diane, qui ont la particularité d’être sans gluten… Honnêtement, je pense que je les aurais plus aimés s’ils avaient contenu de la farine de blé. Cependant, j’ai aimé la flexibilité de la recette : il faut 1 tasse de purée de fruit, et on peut choisir de la banane, de la pomme, de la citrouille, etc.; il faut aussi ½ tasse d’ajouts comme des noix ou des pépites de chocolat, en plus de l’édulcorant liquide au choix : miel, sirop d’érable, nectar d’agave… Bon, des possibilités infinies! Il y a même des versions végétaliennes. Je garde quand même l’idée, mais je travaillerais la recette un peu.

Enfin, je me suis rappelée la recette sur le site d’Orangette, les muffins au gruau. Pour être claire : il ne s’agit pas de muffins aux flocons d’avoine, simplement, mais bien de muffins au gruau! On peut utiliser du gruau fait avec de l’avoine épointée (idéalement) ou des flocons d’avoine (ça fera l’affaire), et ça peut être du gruau fait exprès tout comme un restant de gruau. Dans ce cas-ci, j’ai fait du gruau exprès pour la recette et j’ai testé une version nature, sans ajouts, à part de la vanille. (Peut-être que ça vaudrait la peine d’essayer du gruau qui a déjà une saveur, comme celui-ci, mais je serais plus du genre à essayer le gruau à l’avoine épointée de Megan Gordon, avec du lait de coco et de la pâte de vanille!) Les muffins étaient bons, mais un peu fades; je les ai trouvés meilleurs avec des fruits ou un peu de confiture. La prochaine fois, je teste les ajouts!

1 ½ tasse (210 g.) de farine tout-usage
¼ tasse (50 g.) de sucre
4 c. à thé de poudre à pâte
½ c. à thé de sel de mer fin
½ tasse d’ajouts (noix, morceaux de chocolat, noix de coco râpée, fruits secs, etc.)
1 gros œuf
1 tasse (185 g.) de gruau (voir note plus haut)
½ tasse de lait entier sans lactose
2 c. à soupe de beurre ou de margarine, fondu et refroidi (ou de l’huile)
1 c. à thé de vanille (mon ajout)

Préchauffer le four à 400 °F et graisser les 12 cavités d’un moule à muffins.

Dans un grand bol, mélanger avec un fouet la farine, le sucre, la poudre à pâte, le sel et les ajouts.

Dans un autre bol, battre l’œuf légèrement. Ajouter le gruau et écraser à la fourchette pour défaire les grumeaux. Ajouter le lait et le beurre (et la vanille, si vous l’utilisez) et bien mélanger (à la fourchette ou au fouet).

Verser les ingrédients humides sur les ingrédients secs et mélanger seulement jusqu’à homogénéité. Diviser la pâte entre les cavités du moule à muffins préparé. Cuire au four de 15 à 20 minutes, ou jusqu’à ce qu’un cure-dents inséré au milieu d’un muffin en ressorte propre. (Les muffins seront encore pâles.) Servir tièdes, idéalement (voir note plus haut).

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Chocolate Haupia Pie Squares


Have you heard of haupia? It’s essentially a Hawaiian dessert made with coconut milk that has been thickened to a gelatinous consistency. It’s the kind of thing that, at a buffet, I would avoid just because I don’t know whether it’s dairy or not. This recipe, though, is dairy-free – heck, it’s vegan and paleo, so enjoy! Just remember to make it a day ahead to give it enough time to solidify. The crust came out a bit too dry and crumbly for me, so I’d use more dates next time, or less cocoa, and refrigerate it until the filling is ready. I think this would also work with another type of chocolate crust if you wanted to make something without nuts and with flour, for example. In any event, everyone here liked it!

For the chocolate crust
⅔ cup raw almonds
⅔ cup raw pecans
10 large medjool dates, pitted (or more, see note above)
6 Tbsp. raw cacao powder

For the haupia
½ cup arrowroot powder/starch
¾ cup water
1 can full fat coconut milk
4 Tbsp. raw honey or maple syrup
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup dark chocolate, chopped and melted

For the chocolate crust
Pulse the nuts in the food processor, leaving a few small chunks. Add the dates and process until creamy. Add the cocoa and process one last time until well combined. Spread evenly on the bottom of an 8”-square pan lined with parchment paper. Set aside in the refrigerator.

For the haupia
Combine the arrowroot powder and water in a saucepan and mix until all the arrowroot has dissolved.

Add the coconut milk and honey; slowly cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens.

Remove from heat and mix in the vanilla extract. Slowly pour mixture over the crust and refrigerate overnight or until the coconut layer is firm.

Cut into squares and drizzle with melted dark chocolate. (I decided to drizzle the chocolate on top before cutting the bars, as it’s less messy.)

Carrot Orzotto

Here’s the last of the saved promo recipes that had been cross-pollinated in Better Homes and Gardens as well as Coup de Pouce. I don’t know if you remember the carrot risotto I once made, adapted from Dirt Candy? I really only made it once, because it was so labor-intensive. But this recipe is like its fast, easy cousin, and I’m sure I’ll actually make it again. Plus, I love orzo! I used store-bought julienned carrots; shredded would work, too. It came out really great, and the lemon juice really brightened it up. I served it without feta, though I’m sure it would be great with it if you can digest it. I served it with turkey breasts stuffed with kale and bacon that I had in the freezer.

2 cups carrot juice
1 ¾ cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 Tbsp. olive oil
10 oz. (1 ½ cups) dried orzo pasta
1 cup matchstick carrots (see note above)
½ cup water
¼ tsp. salt
½ lemon, zested and juiced (roughly 1 tsp. zest and 1 ½ Tbsp. juice)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional, as this isn’t lactose-free)
freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat carrot juice and chicken broth over medium-low heat; cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat until melted. Add orzo; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until orzo is golden brown. Stir in carrots. Add about 1 cup of the hot broth mixture to the orzo. Stir until absorbed. Continue adding broth mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring until just absorbed. Cook until orzo is tender. Remove from heat. Slowly stir in up to 1/2 cup water until creamy. Stir in salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Top with feta (if using) and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sweet Orange Risotto



I found this recipe from Whole Foods at the perfect time, when I was trying to use up some arborio rice from my pantry. It’s essentially rice pudding, but made with a risotto method. The downside is that it takes some effort to make, but on the upside, it was really good! I loved the combination of orange and vanilla with the taste and richness of coconut milk! The original recipe used a lot of strawberries, too; I used them as a topping only, and while I liked them, I think this would be good with other fruit, too. Note that if you’re going to serve the pudding right away, you could consider using only 4 cups of milk; if, however, you’re going to store it in the fridge and eat it later, cold or not, then I’d use all 6 cups of milk to prevent it from being too stiff.

6 cups reduced-fat (2%) lactose-free milk (see note above)
½ cup sugar
1 pinch salt
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine
1 cup arborio rice
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 cup canned coconut milk
strawberries, to garnish

In a medium pot, heat milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla until just simmering. Reduce heat to low, cover and keep warm (do keep an eye on this, as milk is prone to boiling over).

Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add rice and cook, stirring often, until fragrant and toasted, about 2 minutes. Add orange zest and juice and cook, stirring constantly, until absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Add about 1 cup of the milk mixture and continue to simmer, vigorously stirring often, until almost absorbed, about 3 to 5 minutes more. Repeat process until all of the milk mixture has been incorporated and rice is thick and creamy, about 30 minutes.

Remove pot from the heat and stir in coconut milk; set aside for 5 minutes.

Spoon risotto into bowls, garnish with strawberries, and serve.

Friday, April 21, 2017

LactoJoy



A while back, I was approached by the Head of Social Media Marketing for LactoJoy, a German brand of lactase supplement. They wanted to send me a free sample and hear my thoughts. I accepted, and then of course it took me a while to test it, what with having a new baby and all. But I finally got around to writing a post! So all opinions here are mine, though the product was given to me for free.

[If you need a refresher on definitions and mechanisms of lactose and lactose intolerance, please read this post on lactose intolerance (according to Blogger, it’s my second-most popular post to date – I couldn’t tell you why chocolate babka is first).]

One of the characteristics of LactoJoy is that it has a high FCC, (14,500 FCC lactase units per tablet), as compared with only 3,000 per Lactaid tablet. FCC stands for Food Chemical Codex; the higher the FCC, the more lactase enzyme. It takes roughly 1,000 FCC lactase units to break down 1 g of lactose, depending on the individual. And to be clear: I had a preferred kind of lactase tablet, specifically Lactaid Original (not the Extra Strength, not the Fast Act, certainly not other brands), because I had figured out exactly how to dose it for the foods I eat the most. The standard dose of Lactaid Original is 3 tablets, so 9,000 FCC lactase units – LactoJoy’s dosage is much higher. My worry was that with such a high dosage of lactase, I’d experience negative side effects from taking too much. After all, that is the case with Lactaid – too little and you risk symptoms like diarrhea from your lactose intolerance, but too much and you might end up constipated. However, it turns out that this is usually due to other additives in the pills, not to the lactase enzyme itself. Since LactoJoy contains almost just lactase and potato starch, this isn’t an issue. I can confirm that I’ve tested it on many occasions, and I haven’t had any problems whatsoever! This makes it so much easier to dose, because there is no overdosing, and underdosing would be rare indeed. It’s actually one less thing to worry about, and it wasn’t until using LactoJoy that I realized I’d been taking that worrying for granted, but LactoJoy is so much more pleasant in that respect.

The tablet itself is very small (perhaps too small for the scoring line to be very useful). It can be chewed, though I find that the potato starch gets caught in my molars and it takes a while for my tongue to work it out before I dare eat dairy. The taste is neutral, not sweet like Lactaid. The tablet is small enough that it can easily be swallowed, though, even by people like me who have trouble swallowing pills, so that’s what I do now. (For reference, the website describes them as having a 7.5-mm diameter and a 4-mm thickness. Here are photos of it next to a ruler, and next to a Lactaid Original tablet.)


The scoring line would come in handy for medication. I personally do take prescription meds (on an empty stomach) that require a single Lactaid tablet; with LactoJoy, I’d probably use a pill cutter to get a bunch of half-tablets and store those with my medication.

What really stands out about LactoJoy, though, is the design of the box, which is a modern-looking black tin. It looks like a box of mints, certainly not like the bottle of medicine I carry with me everywhere! I’ve gotten so used to carrying a bottle of Lactaid for nearly half my life that I’ve basically gotten used to it, even though there is a certain social stigma with taking out meds at mealtime in public. I’d MUCH rather have a tin of LactoJoy handy!

The box I was sent is this one, which contains 45 tablets, though it comes in a larger size as well. The box itself has an ingredient list in German, despite its English cover and tagline (Stay Fresh!), but it comes with a printout of the information in English (this is available on the website as well). As for the price, it is very competitive (€12.99), and larger quantities offer a better value. With the exchange rate as I type this, it comes out to $13.89 for the box, meaning $0.31 per tablet/dose; to compare, I buy my Lactaid Original at $17.34 per 120-tablet bottle, which comes out to $0.43 per 3-tablet dose. Shipping is free within the E.U. via Amazon, but unfortunately for those of us in the United States, we are SOL. As far as I could tell, none of the Amazon vendors deliver to North America! For what it’s worth, the company spent €6.20 (about $6.63) on postage to get it to me via registered mail.

In conclusion (and for those of you thinking “TL;DR”): If LactoJoy were available in the U.S., I would absolutely switch brands and buy that instead of Lactaid. If LactoJoy finds a distributor that ships to North America, I’ll even consider paying more for the shipping to buy this because I like the product so much. I really hope this becomes an option!

Batch of links - Baby stuff

- 11 lies the maternity section told me when I was pregnant. Because I can so relate, even for nursing clothes!

- A quick follow-up to my post about dietary restrictions during pregnancy… Last summer, there was a recall on flour, of all things, because of possible contamination with e. coli, but according to this, King Arthur wasn’t affected at the time, and I haven’t heard anything since. I’m not sure if it will become “a thing” (we must now forever avoid raw flour) or not, we’ll see.

- If you are avoiding alcohol, there are still fancy grape juices, PureBlue UnWine with blueberries, and non-alcoholic substitutes for cooking, in addition to regular non-alcoholic wine and beer.

- As it turns out, some raw milk cheeses are safe for pregnant women, and some pasteurized ones are not. This is hard to navigate, especially when combined with lactose intolerance… I’m certainly looking forward to a good brie again, I should get one this weekend.

- It is also recommended to avoid feeding raw milk to children, in case you didn’t already.

- What pregnancy cravings would look like if they were served fancy. I can’t exactly relate, as I’ve had more aversions than cravings…

- If you’re pregnant, you should still get the flu vaccine – in addition to protecting against flu viruses, it apparently cuts the risk of stillbirth by half!

- Here’s why you accidently call your kid by the dog’s name – or call your youngest by your oldest’s name. It turns out that your baby and your dog light up similar parts of your brain.

- There’s a rise in a new type of family: singles who are choosing to be coparents without a romantic relationship. Unsurprisingly, most people pursuing this type of arrangement are “well-educated and financially secure”, and a significant percentage of parents are homosexual. This seems so much more complicated to me than single moms sharing a household, so I can only hope that there’s some kind of reliable algorithm to help would-be coparents figure out if their values are compatible! I’m enough of an introvert and control freak that I think choosing to be a single mom would be easier, but then again I’m really glad I have a great partner with whom to parent.

- Millenials are more confident in their parenting than others, and I wonder whether this has to do with how much they read about parenting compared to previous generations. Or maybe they just haven’t realized how little they know yet. The article goes on with interesting data about how parents from racial minorities and lower socio-economic classes perceive their children’s strengths and weaknesses as results of their parenting, whereas white and upper-class parents think it’s intrinsic to the children.

- Long-lost photos show what hasn’t changed about motherhood in 50 years.

- 24 surprising things about parenting in the United States, as seen by moms of other countries. Conversely, global parenting habits that haven’t caught on in the U.S.

- I’ve shared this link about infant CPR before, but we can all use a reminder.

- I was talking about this with the Engineer recently: here’s a GIF that shows what a baby sees every month for the first year of his or her life.

- What do stay-at-home-moms do all day? Here’s one example.

- I just looked this up on YouTube because I remembered seeing it on Oprah as a teenager: Priscilla Dunstan has decoded babies’ language, based on five types of cries emitted reflexively for basic needs. I can’t say that it’s been this clear with my kids, but interestingly, my youngest makes a sound like the French word “Lait!” (milk) when he’s hungry!

- This mom is confessing her parenting crimes in hilarious notes to her baby (and there’s more on her website).

- Last year, when I read how one Japanese mom’s rant about lack of daycare options for her child actually prompted the government to create 500,000 new daycare slots, I couldn’t help but be in awe. We have that same problem in Quebec; in the States, we don’t even have maternity leave. But one blogger’s viral post was enough to change things on a national level in Japan? Rock on!

- It’s also interesting to read about 24-hour daycares, which I hadn’t heard of in Quebec. There’s more of a need for them in places without maternity leave, decent minimum wages or subsidized daycares, but maybe they do exist there too and I was just oblivious?

- There’s now a smart breast pump, called Willow, retailing for $430. I have to admit that for all it claims to do, the price is surprisingly affordable – functionally, I’d compare it to the Medela Freestyle, which is about $150 less. I actually ended up getting the latter through my health insurance – if you live in the U.S., just go to Pumping Essentials, fill out the form, and they’ll take care of everything. I think this will be a lot less work than the Medela Harmony with which I made do the first time around!

- And here’s a good article about breastmilk that actually explains how a mother’s body can produce antibodies specific to her baby’s infection. (Spoiler: baby spit backwash.)

- Here are three stores that are nursing-friendly; the most useful one is probably Target, given how many there are and how often people tend to shop there.

- An interview with the woman who was the Gerber baby.

- Canadian babies have significantly higher rates of colic than elsewhere in the world, according to a recent British study. This really interesting article offers a new possible (read: as yet untested and unproven) explanation for colic: it might be tied to the same mechanism as SIDS and be caused by “glitches in the development of infants’ neural networks as they transition from involuntary to controlled breathing.”

- Had you heard of harlequin sign in infants? I hadn’t, until my baby turned half red (and I mean, literally half).

- Mothers cradling infants on their left may have a deep evolutionary origin; it’s perhaps not just because we’re predominantly right-handed.

- Some children’s books that we have enjoyed: The Snowy Day, the Llama Llama books (especially Llama Llama Misses Mama and Llama Llama Mad at Mama; though I wish Papa Llama were more present, or anywhere to be seen, actually); Extra Yarn (that *never* gets old!); I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat (although the third in the trilogy, We Found a Hat, was a bit disappointing).

- As for movies: the Little Prince doesn’t yet sit through a whole movie, but he’s getting there. He’s enjoyed parts of The Incredibles, Kung Fu Panda and The Iron Giant, but recently we’ve been really into My Neighbor Totoro.

- I didn’t know this, but there’s a hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD) that one can call anonymously to get parenting advice, resources, and a sympathetic ear. The goal is to prevent child abuse by overwhelmed parents. You can read more about it here.

- This reminded me of an episode of Dear Sugar Radio that I went and dug up, about Moms who hate motherhood. It’s worth a listen if you have time, and one of the things that I loved was that the hosts (Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond) addressed everything that I wanted to say to the authors of the two letters they read on that episode.

- An artist illustrates the silly things kids say, and you can even get custom art.

- Finally, I probably won’t need this for a while given how young my kids are, but it could be helpful to others: a guide about kids and vaping.

S'mores Cupcakes



I finally got around to making this Real Simple recipe! It’s actually pretty easy, including the marshmallow part: all you do is bake them a bit so that they melt, and then you use them to top the cupcakes. The marshmallows do puff up quite a bit and then deflate as they cool, and keep in mind that they’ll be really sticky if you serve the cupcakes right away – they were actually more manageable the next day (compare on the pictures – the handheld cupcake is from day 2). I’d make these again, and/or use the marshmallow trick in other recipes!

For the cupcakes
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from 9 crackers)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. fine salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
¾ cup lactose-free whole milk

For the ganache
1/3 cup lactose-free cream (I used coconut milk)
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

For the topping
12 large marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 °F with the racks in the middle and top positions. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar in a separate bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing well between additions. Mix until just combined.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake, on the middle rack, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the ganache, bring the cream to a boil in a small pot. Remove from heat, add the chocolate, and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk to combine. Let cool slightly.

To make the topping, place the marshmallows on a parchment-lined baking sheet, 2½ inches apart. Bake on the top rack until golden and deflated, 6 to 10 minutes. Let cool.


Divide the ganache among the cupcakes, then top each with a toasted marshmallow. Let sit until the ganache is almost firm to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes, before serving.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Moroccan Carrot Salad

This recipe is from Sprouted Kitchen. It’s a very simple carrot salad that is surprisingly good. I made a vegan version, but you can add feta if you want – I think this would also go well with goat cheese. Note that it would look prettier with a mix of purple and orange carrots, but orange was all I had on hand and it was fine. I served this with crisp chicken with lime dipping sauce.

For the salad
4 cups grated carrots
¾ cup cooked lentils, rinsed and drained (chickpeas would work, too)
7 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
¼ cup minced red onion or shallot
5 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
½ cup roughly chopped cilantro
½ cup toasted pistachios
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional, see note above)

For the dressing
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
zest and juice of 2 limes
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. turmeric
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
¼-½ tsp. sea salt, to taste
½ tsp. fresh ground pepper

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, lentils, dates, red onion, scallions and cilantro. Break up any bits of dates that are sticking together.

In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, zest and juice of the limes, cumin, nutmeg, turmeric, red pepper, salt and pepper (or shake them together in a jar).

Pour the dressing over the carrot salad and toss to coat. Give the pistachios a rough chop and sprinkle on top along with the feta cheese. Serve as is or cover and chill in the fridge.

Crisp Chicken with Lime Dipping Sauce

This is another recipe from that promotional calendar by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, which somehow isn’t online either… I modified it a bit, by using chicken cutlets instead of drumsticks and increasing the amount of corn flakes accordingly – the version below is mine. We really liked this, especially with the lime sauce! It’s admittedly nothing very original, but sometimes I need to be reminded that I can make coat chicken in cereal and bake it. I served it with Moroccan carrot salad.

For the chicken
1 cup lactose-free milk
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 pinch Korean pepper (or pepper of your choice)
1 chopped garlic clove (or use garlic powder)
12 chicken cutlets (strips)
4 cups corn flake cereals
¼ cup margarine, melted

For the lime dipping sauce
½ cup lactose-free sour cream
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. lime zest
1 Tbsp. lime juice

For the chicken
Combine the milk, vinegar, spices and garlic. Add chicken and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 425 °F.

Crush cereals and place on a plate. Remove chicken from the marinade and coat each one with cereal crumbs. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and brush with melted margarine. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until chicken is thoroughly cooked and coating is crisp.

For the lime dipping sauce
Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the lime dipping sauce and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Buckwheat Banana Cake with Yogurt-Espresso Frosting



This banana bread from Bon Appétit is different from others I’ve made. On the plus side, it stays moist for days! On the downside, a slice of it won’t hold up to being toasted (unless you have a toaster oven, maybe, but not in a conventional toaster like mine). This means I can’t eat it my favorite way, which is warm from the toaster and spread with a bit of margarine. That being said, this is where the frosting comes in! I keep the bread at room temperature and the yogurt frosting in the fridge and assemble just before serving. I had leftover frosting, so I might make less next time, or slather it on more thickly… This was a nice way to shake up my morning routine!

For the cake
1 cup whole wheat flour (I think I used white whole wheat)
½ cup buckwheat flour (or more whole wheat flour)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
4 very ripe bananas
⅔ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
½ cup olive oil
½ cup lactose-free sour cream

For the frosting and assembly
4 oz. lactose-free cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup lactose-free plain Greek yogurt
1 pinch of kosher salt
⅓ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp. espresso powder (decaf is fine)

For the cake
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Coat an 8½”x4½" loaf pan with nonstick spray, then line with parchment, letting it hang over on both of the longer sides.

Whisk whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

Mash bananas and brown sugar in a large bowl until virtually no lumps of banana remain and brown sugar is dissolved. Mix in eggs, oil, and sour cream. Add dry ingredients and mix in with a rubber spatula. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake cake until the top springs back when gently pressed and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 55–65 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan 30 minutes. Turn out cake onto rack and let cool completely.

For the frosting and assembly
Whisk cream cheese, yogurt, and salt in a large bowl until no lumps remain. Sift powdered sugar through a fine-mesh sieve into bowl and whisk vigorously to combine, then stir in espresso powder.

Serve cake with frosting alongside for spreading over.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Fresh Raspberry Tart with Lemon Cream Cheese Filling



This recipe is from Date Night In by Ashley Rodriguez. I made it a while ago already (it showed up in my Instagram feed then), but posting is slow these days! I didn’t see it on her blog, but it’s been published online here, for example. I thought it was absolutely delicious, but obviously you have to like raspberries for this! You could make it vegan by using a vegan cream cheese (I’d suggest Daiya) and swapping maple syrup for the honey.

For the crust
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
2 Tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour

For the filling
1 (8-oz.) package lactose-free cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup (70 g.) dark brown sugar
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1 ½ Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pinch of kosher salt
2 pints raspberries
1 Tbsp. honey

For the crust
Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Place a 9-inch tart pan on a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Add the salt, cinnamon, and flour and stir until just combined. The dough will be soft.

Press the dough onto the sides and bottom of the tart pan and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown and completely set.

Let cool at room temperature on a wire rack.

For the filling
In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, brown sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt and mix with an electric mixer on low speed, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

To assemble, fill the cooled tart with the cream cheese filling, spreading evenly. Top with fresh raspberries and drizzle with honey; refrigerate. To serve, remove the tart from the refrigerator 30 minutes to 1 hour before you plan on serving.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tahini Cashew Bars with Chocolate



This recipe made delicious bars! The Engineer said they reminded him of halva, and I can see why. Plus, they stayed good several days at room temperature! They’re a bit like blondies and would be easy to adapt by using different nut butters or add-ins (like chocolate chips).

The author says you could use all tahini or all cashew butter instead of a 50/50 mix as is the case here, but I’d caution you to make sure the consistency of your preferred ingredient will work – meaning tahini that isn’t too thin or nut butter that isn’t too thick. In any event, make sure your stir them well before use.

½ cup (8 Tbsp.) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
½ cup well-stirred tahini
½ cup cashew butter (crunchy or smooth)
7½ oz. (approximately 1½ cups) all-purpose flour
½ - 1 cup chopped unsalted cashews, toasted or raw (optional; I didn’t use them)
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
1½ tsp. Maldon sea salt flakes or kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, allowing 2 sides to hang over the edges. Lightly grease the top of the paper and sides of the pan.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed for several minutes until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer off, add both sugars and the vanilla extract, and turn the mixer on low to combine everything. Turn the speed back up to medium-high for an additional 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to fully incorporate before adding the next, scraping down the sides after the 2nd and final egg.

With the mixer on low speed, add the tahini and cashew butter until evenly combined. Scrape down the sides.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour in 3 stages until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, all the way to the bottom. If using, add the chopped cashews.

Using a spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan. It will be thick and almost sticky. Spread it evenly using a regular or offset spatula.

Drizzle the melted chocolate over the batter. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the top of the bars.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Allow to cool completely, then lift the parchment overhangs to remove the bars from the pan. Slice and serve.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Pear, Raspberry, and Pistachio Salad with a Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

Another fruity salad, what can I say? I had pistachios left over from this recipe, so I decided to make the most of them. This salad was perfect! I ended up with long pearl slices, and I served it like a salade composée. The Little Prince liked this one too, even though he never eats the lettuce. You could add feta or maybe cooked chicken if you want, but I made it without. That creamy poppy seed dressing would go well with just about any combination!

For the salad
4 cups romaine, chopped
1 cup raspberries
2 pears, thinly sliced
½ cup shelled pistachios

For the creamy poppy seed dressing
⅓ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup lactose-free milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 tsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. poppy seeds

Whisk together in a small bowl mayonnaise, milk, sugar, cider vinegar, and poppy seeds (I just shook the ingredients together in a jar). Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss romaine, raspberries, pears, and pistachios. Add the poppy seed dressing and carefully toss to coat all of the ingredients. Serve immediately.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Dijon-Brushed Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potato and Arugula Risotto

This recipe is from the Autumn 2003 issue of the LCBO’s Food & Drink. After reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I went through a bunch of my old magazines and tore out recipes (then recycled the rest). It did take me a long time to decide to make this, but it turns out the recipe itself is faster and easier than I thought, and very rewarding. I’m writing the recipe without changing it, but next time, I’d consider using only half as much chicken. Our chicken breasts were relatively large, and even after cutting out the inedible parts, we still had too much to accompany the risotto.

1 small sweet potato, cooked (I roasted mine; some squash would work nicely, too)
4 bone-in chicken breasts (see note above)
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup chopped mixed herbs, such as parsley, thyme and rosemary

For the risotto
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small leek, white and light green part only, cut into matchstick pieces
1 ½ cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 ¼ cups arborio rice
1/3 cup Chardonnay or other white wine (I omitted that)
3 ½ to 4 cups hot chicken stock
1 cup tightly packed arugula leaves, torn into pieces, stems removed
¼ cup whipping cream (I omitted that too)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 425 °F.

Peel and dice sweet potato.

Remove skin from chicken breasts. Place in a shallow roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Brush breasts with Dijon mustard and cover with fresh herbs, patting gently to adhere.

Roast in oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 160 °F. Remove from oven. Remove from baking dish and let rest while risotto finishes.

For risotto, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook leeks, mushrooms, thyme and rosemary, stirring, for 4 minutes or until softened. Transfer to a bowl.

Melt butter in a saucepan; add rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add Chardonnay and cook until absorbed.

Add 1 cup hot stock; adjust heat so stock bubbles gently and is absorbed slowly. Continue adding 1 cup stock at a time, stirring almost constantly, for 15 minutes.

Add diced sweet potato and mushroom mixture. Cook, stirring often, adding more stock when absorbed, until rice is just tender.

Add arugula and cream. Cook, stirring for 1 minute, until arugula is wilted.

Stir in parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon risotto into wide bowls and top with herb-crusted breasts. Garnish with watercress and serve immediately.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Strawberry Pistachio Crumble Pie

I made two crumble pies in a matter of weeks; it wasn’t planned at all, but it was a good idea. We started with a cranberry-ginger-pear pie, which was very good! Everyone ate some. If you make it, I’d recommend that you omit the candied ginger in the crumble, make sure your pears are quite ripe, and perhaps tent the pie with foil while it’s baking.


Then there was strawberry pistachio crumble pie from Sister Pie in Bon Appétit. This one was an absolute winner! Everyone ate it happily. It would be even better with seasonal strawberries this summer! I’d consider adding some rhubarb, too.

For the crust
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. sugar
1¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. ice water
nonstick vegetable oil spray

For the crumble
¼ cup raw pistachios
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup old-fashioned oats
¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. poppy seeds
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. kosher salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine, chilled, cut into pieces

For the filling
2 lbs. strawberries, hulled, halved if large (about 6 cups)
5 Tbsp. tapioca starch
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. lactose-free cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. chopped pistachios

For the crust
Pulse salt, sugar, and 1¼ cups flour in a food processor to combine. Add butter and pulse until largest pieces are pea-size. Transfer to a medium bowl and freeze about 5 minutes.

Combine vinegar and ice water in a small bowl and sprinkle over flour mixture; toss with a fork to incorporate. Knead until dough comes together with just a few dry spots remaining. (I did this in the food processor.) Flatten into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill at least 2 hours.

Let dough sit at room temperature 5 minutes to soften. Roll out on a lightly floured surface, rotating often and dusting with more flour as needed to prevent sticking, to a 12" round. Fold dough in half and transfer to a glass 9" pie dish. Lift up edges and allow dough to slump down into dish. You should have about a 1" overhang. Fold edges under and crimp. Place pie dish on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and freeze 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 °F. Lightly coat a sheet of foil with nonstick spray and place in pie crust, coated side down, pressing into bottom and sides. Fill with pie weights and bake until edge is pale golden, 15–20 minutes. Carefully remove foil and pie weights and bake crust until bottom is light golden, 7–12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

For the crumble
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Toast ¼ cup pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 5–8 minutes. Let cool, then finely grind in a spice mill, or finely chop with a knife.

Mix pistachios, flour, oats, brown sugar, lemon zest, poppy seeds, cardamom, and salt in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, work in butter until no dry spots remain and crumble holds together when squeezed. Chill while you make the pie filling.

For the filling and assembly
Toss strawberries, tapioca starch, granulated sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl to combine.

Using a small offset spatula, spread cream cheese in an even layer over bottom of crust. Scrape strawberry mixture into crust, mounding into a dome. Sprinkle crumble evenly over top, breaking up any very large pieces.

Place pie dish on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet (to catch any rogue juices) and bake pie, tenting with foil if crumble starts to get too dark before filling is done, until crumble is brown and strawberry filling is bubbling around edges, 1½–1¾ hours. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before slicing, at least 4 hours.

Top pie with chopped pistachios just before serving.