Thursday, July 09, 2020

Vegetable Quesadillas

You’ll have to excuse the recent lack of posts. Blogger changed its interface to something that is the complete opposite of user-friendly, and meanwhile, I’ve been very busy with both personal and professional development projects. (On a side note, I’m really enjoying bullet journaling as a means of not only keeping track of what has to be done, but also of motivating myself to do it!) 

I had been wondering what to make for lunch and considering serving grilled tex-mex vegetable sandwiches because I thought there was a decent chance the kids would like it. And serendipitously, my mother sent me this tweet, a video where Jamie Oliver makes vegetable quesadillas (there’s also a written version here if you prefer, but to me this is more a method than a recipe). The kids actually ate this heartily! I made enough that I had leftovers, which I warmed up in the oven, and on the second day my kids were less fond of the red bell pepper in there but still liked the rest. 

a mix of vegetables, finely chopped or grated (I used green onions, carrots, and red bell pepper) 
grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese 
flour tortillas 
avocados, lactose-free sour cream, lime wedges (to serve) 

Mix the vegetables and the cheese. Spread the mixture on half the tortillas and top with the remaining tortillas. 

Heat a large pan over medium heat and spray it with vegetable oil. Place a quesadilla in the pan and heat until the tortilla gets golden and crisp and the filling starts to melt; turn over with a spatula and do the same on the second side. Repeat with remaining quesadillas. 

Cut into wedges and let cool a bit before serving with avocado, sour cream and lime wedges.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Batch of links

- I’ve been meaning to post a link to this just because I was interested based on the tagline: This rocket scientist is tracing Black ingenuity through barbecue

- Some Dairy Queen locations will serve non-dairy Dilly bars

 - I’ve been trying to link to a age of Parents magazine for a few months and couldn’t find any better link than this. It’s about children’s books that combine a compelling story and beautiful illustrations with actual recipes you can make at home with your kids: Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao, Holy Squawkamole!, What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street?, Goodnight Bubbala (for which Ina Garten created a latke recipe), and Midsummer’s Mayhem (a chapter book for older kids). One more I could contribute: Fry Bread

- Canada will be investing $100 million in plant-based foods. I like that in theory, but I notice that it’s all going to one company, instead of, say, subsidies on fruits and vegetables… 

- I’m not sure I ever talked about Allergic Traveler before, but even if I did, it’s worth mentioning twice. They’re a company that makes custom food-allergy cards in various languages, based on your food restrictions and travel plans. 

- January’s Bon Appétit had a surprising-to-me feature about how to choose weed, based on which of 6 key experiences you want to focus on. The online version also has this feature with recipes, including compound butter and pot brownies. (I’m freaking out a little just reading the recipe… I realize it’s a 9”x12” pan instead of the typical 8”x8”, but, like, 16 eggs? 5 sticks of butter? 3 cups of flour and 6 goram cups of sugar? Are you trying to kill me? Then again, I’ve never made anything with weed and wouldn’t know the first thing about how it reacts with other typical ingredients, as far as baking chemistry goes.) 

- And finally, the Engineer and I will be spending our first Independence Day as Americans, so I better memorize some of this glossary of types of fireworks.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Lemon Turmeric Tea Cake

I wanted to make a dessert that was lemony, but not intensely so, and unfussy. This lemon turmeric tea cake fit the bill! I changed the recipe a bit because it was originally topped with very thin lemon slices before being baked, and I know from experience that I don’t like that, so I omitted that part. I’d bake the cake less next time. Otherwise, this was great! Not too sweet, great as a snack or even a breakfast as well as a light dessert (though you could serve it with lactose-free whipped cream or ice cream if you wanted).

1 ½ cups (215 g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
¾ tsp. ground turmeric
1 lemon
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
¾ cup lactose-free sour cream or full-fat Greek yogurt
2 large eggs
½ cup (1 stick) lactose-free butter or margarine, melted

Heat the oven to 350 °F. Lightly grease a 4-by-9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter, and line it with parchment, leaving some overhang on both of the longer sides so you’re able to easily lift the cake out after baking.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and turmeric in a large bowl.

Grate 2 tablespoons zest from 1 lemon into a medium bowl. Halve the zested lemon and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice into a small bowl.

Add 1 cup sugar to the lemon zest in the medium bowl; rub together with your fingertips until the sugar is fragrant and tinted yellow. Whisk in the sour cream, eggs and the 2 tablespoons lemon juice until well blended.

Using a spatula, add the wet mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just to blend. Fold in the melted butter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown, the edges pull away from the sides of the pan, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes (I would check at 45 minutes). Let cool before slicing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Green Risotto with Pistachio Pesto

This green risotto with pistachio pesto was really good! There are two main steps: the first is to make a standard risotto (though it’s finished in the oven rather than on the stovetop). The second step is to make a pesto, and because it’s added at the last minute in the risotto, it stays bright green (instead of wilting in the heat).

1 yellow onion, finely chopped
4 Tbsp. lactose-free butter or margarine, divided
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
5 cups hot chicken or vegetable broth, divided, plus more as needed
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley and tender stems
1 cup fresh basil leaves
6 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
3 cups fresh baby spinach, divided
3 oz. parmesan cheese, grated (about ¾ cup), divided
¾ cup roughly chopped roasted unsalted pistachios, divided
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Cook onion, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large oven-safe pot over medium, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Add rice; cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Add 4 cups hot broth to pot. Bring mixture to a simmer over high. Remove from heat; stir once and cover. Transfer to oven and bake until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes (rice won't be cooked through).

Meanwhile, make pesto: Process parsley, basil, oil, garlic, 2 cups spinach, ½ cup cheese, ½ cup pistachios, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a food processor until smooth.

Return risotto to stove over medium. Stir in remaining 1 cup broth; simmer, stirring often, until rice is al dente and risotto is creamy, about 6 minutes, adding more broth as needed to reach desired consistency.

Fold in remaining 1 cup spinach, pesto, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Top with remaining ¼ cup each cheese and pistachios.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I made these sour cream bran muffins that my kids actually ate, which is a win, but of course they were disappointed that the dried currants weren’t miniature chocolate chips. So I made these banana chocolate chip muffins and they were a hit! I’m making two small modifications below (adding vanilla and reducing the baking time), as well as putting the oil before the honey to facilitate things. I’m wondering if the oven in the Weelicious kitchen is just weaker than mine, because I found their chocolate muffins too dry as well. Also, the original recipe didn’t say so, but I’d recommend saving a few chocolate chips to put on the top of the muffins before you bake them – or maybe even chocolate chunks if you have them. These are great either way!

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 Tbsp. honey
1 large egg
2/3 cup lactose-free milk
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (plus more for decorating)

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Grease a muffin tin or line the mold with paper cups.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the oil, honey, egg, milk, mashed bananas, and vanilla.

Slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet, and then stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into the muffin cups, about 2/3 of the way up, and top with remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Coconut-Lime Crumble Bars

I made pink grapefruit bars recently that were good, but not great. I think they didn’t taste enough like grapefruit to me, given that half of the citrus juice was actually lemon… But then I made these coconut-lime crumble bars that were more nuanced. And also not unlike the coconut-lime cookies I made recently. They’re just two flavors that go really well together!

Note that the original recipe called for 14-ounce cans of sweetened condensed milk. That’s obviously not lactose-free, so I used sweetened condensed milk instead. I knew that the cans are smaller (7 ounces vs. 14 ounces), so I got two and I was sure I was fine. It’s only as I reread the recipe when I was typing it here that I realized that the recipe called for a total of 28 ounces (TWO cans), and I used only 14 total… Oh well, what can I say, it was still delicious! It also calls for the non-standard 9” square pan; I used my 8” square one and added 20 to 30 minutes to the baking time to compensate. Again, my bars turned out great and I love them as is, but I thought you might want to know about these differences!

For the crust
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup salted roasted macadamia nuts
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) lactose-free butter or margarine, softened
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. kosher salt

For the filling
14-oz. sweetened condensed coconut milk (see note above)
3 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp. lime zest plus 1 cup fresh lime juice (from 8 limes), plus more zest for serving

For the crust
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper (I used my 8-inch square pan).

Combine flour, coconut, nuts, sugar, butter, baking soda, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until crumbly but beginning to clump together, about 15 pulses. Set aside 1½ cups flour mixture for topping. Firmly press remaining flour mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until crust begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

For the filling
Whisk condensed milk, yolks, lime zest, and lime juice in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour over crust and sprinkle with reserved flour mixture.

Bake at 350 °F until filling is just set and topping is light golden brown, 22 to 24 minutes. (For the 8-inch square pan, add 20 to 30 minutes to the baking time.) Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. Cut into 12 bars and garnish with lime zest.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Curried Chickpea-Lentil Stew

I saw this recipe in Bon Appétit, where it was called a curried chickpea-lentil dal – but suddenly in the online version, it’s a coconut-ginger chickpea soup. I can only assume it’s because it wasn’t an authentic dal? It was part of a spread on stews. Originally, it called for 2 whole heads of garlic and a 3-inch piece of ginger, used to flavor the broth and then removed before eating. I didn’t have enough garlic or ginger to do that (#pandemicproduce), so I took some inspiration from this recipe. I ended up using 4 cloves of garlic and a 1 ½-inch piece of peeled ginger, which I grated and left in the broth. The result was good, but admittedly a bit bland; maybe some vegetable broth instead of water would do the trick. I also don’t think it was worth the trouble of using dried chickpeas; I’d just used canned chickpeas and less liquid next time. The recipe made A LOT, though, so I have some in the freezer for future lunches.

I served this over rice, with delicious cilantro-raisin chutney (recipe below) as well as toasted coconut flakes and fresh cilantro. It was really good, despite what the kids might think.

For the cilantro-raisin chutney
1 small shallot, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. chopped golden raisins
2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro stems
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Mix shallot, raisins, cilantro stems, lime juice, and oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (The chutney will keep, covered, in the refrigerator.)

For the stew
3 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 heads garlic, top third removed (see note above)
a 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (see note above)
1 Tbsp. curry powder
½ tsp. cayenne pepper (I used 1 pinch of Korean pepper)
1 ½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained (see note above)
2 13.5-oz cans of coconut milk
1 ½ cups split red lentils
toasted coconut flakes, fresh cilantro leaves (for serving; optional)
cooked rice (for serving; optional)

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Cook onions and garlic, cut side down, and ginger, stirring onions and ginger occasionally, until onions are translucent and garlic is golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Add curry powder and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add chickpeas and 5 cups water (or broth; see note above), stirring to release any bits stuck on bottom of pot; season with several pinches of salt. Bring to a simmer; cover with a lid, leaving slightly askew so steam can escape. Cook, adjusting heat to maintain a very gentle simmer and skimming foam from surface as needed, until chickpeas have swelled about 50 percent in size but are still crunchy, 25–30 minutes.

Add coconut milk and lentils to pot; season with more salt. Return to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until chickpeas are tender and lentils have broken down to form a thick broth, 30–35 minutes. Pluck out and discard garlic heads (don't worry about any cloves that may have escaped into stew). Taste and season with more salt if needed. Ladle dal over rice into bowls and serve with cilantro-raisin chutney, coconut flakes, and cilantro.