Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yummy Earth

So I tried this Yummy Earth organic lollipop I found at Whole Foods in Texas: chili mango mambo. It sounds strange at first, and quite honestly, it tasted strange at first too. But I quickly got used to it and, even though I don’t like spicy food, I actually liked this lollipop. The sweetness of the mango was a great contrast to the fire of the chili. It was definitely unusual, but enjoyable (sniffles and all).

Yummy Earth is a company that was started by parents who wanted their kids to eat organic, safe candy free from additives, chemical colors, artificial flavors and allergens. I’ll probably be trying more of their stuff, because… the Engineer and I are officially moving to San Antonio this summer!

I want to quickly mention something else about an American restaurant chain: we had lunch at T.G.I. Friday’s in Texas, and I tried the Parmesan Crusted Chicken (reduced portion, which was still plenty). I didn’t expect much, because it’s not exactly a fancy place, and it was in the airport too, but man, that dish was good! “A sautéed chicken breast basted with Caesar dressing, then finished with a Parmesan-crust topping. Served with three-cheese tortellini tossed in spinach Alfredo sauce and a side of our fresh tomato mozzarella salad.” Certainly not lactose-free, but sooo worth the Lactaid. I really recommend this dish if you’re ever at T.G.I. Friday’s!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger

I got this recipe in A Homemade Life, though Molly Wizenberg also has a version of it posted on Orangette. I love banana bread, and this was a great variation!

6 Tbsp unsalted butter or lactose-free margarine
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups mashed banana (from about 3 large ripe bananas)
¼ cup well-stirred lactose-free plain yogurt (whole-milk if possible)
1 tsp vanilla

Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease a 9”x5” loaf pan.

In a small bowl, microwave the butter until just melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the chocolate chips and the crystallized ginger and whisk well to combine. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla and stir to mix well.

Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir gently with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides as needed, until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick and somewhat lumpy, but there should be no unincorporated flour. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake until the loaf is a deep shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. If the loaf seems to be browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.

Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. The tip it out onto the rack and let it cool completely before slicing – unless you absolutely can’t help yourself, in which case, dig in.

Ragoût de bœuf à la marocaine

Voici une recette adaptée du Coup de Pouce d’octobre dernier, mais je ne la vois pas sur leur site web (inexplicablement). Il s’agit d’une recette qui fait 8 portions, alors nous pensions en mettre la moitié au congélateur, et finalement on a eu de la visite à l’improviste pour souper alors on a tout mangé en quelques jours. C’était délicieux! Quand l’Ingénieur est entré dans la maison, il a tout de suite dit : « Ça sent tellement bon! » La cuisson est un peu longue, mais le tout est simple à faire et en vaut la peine. J’ai fait du couscous comme accompagnement, mais le riz est aussi une bonne solution; vous pouvez utiliser de la menthe fraîche comme garniture.

Si vous n’aimez pas la cannelle, mettez soit le bâton de cannelle, soit la cannelle en poudre, mais pas les deux. Pour la pâte de tomate, j’ai congelé les restes en portions de 1 c. à soupe (dans un bac à glaçon) pour l’utiliser ultérieurement.

2 c. à soupe d’huile d’olive
1 c. à thé de sel
½ c. à thé de poivre noir
½ c. à thé de filaments de safran
1 c. à thé de cannelle moulue
¼ c. à thé de gingembre moulu
3 lb de cubes de bœuf à ragoût
1 oignon espagnol haché
2 c. à soupe de pâte de tomates
2 gousses d’ail hachées finement
2 c. à soupe de farine
4 tasses de bouillon de bœuf
1 feuille de laurier
½ tasse amandes mondées
¾ tasse de pruneaux ou de dattes séchés dénoyautés
¾ tasse d’abricots séchés
¼ tasse de miel
1 lanière de zeste de citron
1 bâtonnet de cannelle

Dans un grand bol, mélanger l’huile, le sel, le poivre, le safran, la cannelle moulue et le gingembre. Ajouter les cubes de bœuf et mélanger pour bien les enrober.

Chauffer une grosse cocotte en métal à feu moyen-vif. Ajouter les cubes de bœuf, quelques-uns à la fois au besoin, et cuire en les retournant pendant 5 minutes ou jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient dorés de tous les côtés. Réserver les cubes de bœuf dans une assiette.

Dans la cocotte, ajouter l’oignon et cuire à feu moyen, en brassant, pendant 3 minutes ou jusqu’à ce qu’il ait ramolli. Ajouter la pâte de tomates et l’ail et cuire, en brassant, pendant 1 minute.

Remettre les cubes de bœuf réservés dans la cocotte et parsemer de la farine. Ajouter le bouillon de bœuf et la feuille de laurier et mélanger. Porter à ébullition. Réduire le feu, couvrir et laisser mijoter pendant environ 1 ½ heure ou jusqu’à ce que le bœuf soit tendre.

Entre-temps, dans un poêlon, faire dorer les amandes.

Dans la cocotte, ajouter les amandes grillées, les pruneaux, les abricots, le miel, le zeste de citron et le bâtonnet de cannelle et mélanger. Poursuivre la cuisson à découvert pendant environ 15 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que la sauce ait légèrement réduit et que les fruits séchés soient tendres. Au moment de servir, retirer le feuille de laurier, le zeste de citron et le bâtonnet de cannelle.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Buckwheat Cookies with Cocoa Nibs

I got this delicious recipe on Orangette because it just looked so darn good, and it turns out it’s been created by Alice Medrich, the one who came up with the Chewy Cocoa Cookies with Chocolate Chips that were such a hit! These buckwheat cookies were really, really great too. I liked them a bit better the second day, which is saying a lot. I didn’t end up with that many, because my log was a bit wider than expected and I sliced my cookies a bit thicker than ¼ inch – cooking with margarine instead of butter, there are a few concessions to make. But it’s all worth it!

I’m labelling this as nut-free, but there is one problem: cocoa nibs are hard to come by as it is, and the rare ones I’ve seen may contain traces of nuts. So even though in-and-of-themselves they are not a problem, it might be hard to find ones that have not been cross-contaminated.

1 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup buckwheat flour
1 cup unsalted butter, softened, or dairy-free margarine
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar and salt until smooth and creamy but not fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the nibs and vanilla, and beat to incorporate, scraping down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

Add the flours all at once, and beat on low speed until just incorporated. The mixture will seem very dry and pebbly at first, but keep beating, and it will slowly moisten and darken (as the buckwheat flour is absorbed) and come together. You’ll know it’s ready when it pulls away from the side of the bowl. The dough will be very thick.

Form the dough into a long (12” or 13”) log about 2 inches in diameter. Because the dough is so thick, I find it easiest to do this by pinching off hunks of dough from the bowl and lining them up on a large sheet of plastic wrap to form a log, then massaging and pressing them together to seal. Wrap well and refrigerate at least two hours, or overnight.

If you have refrigerated the dough overnight, remove it from the refrigerator 1 to 2 hours before you want to bake the cookies. (It’s a dense, rich dough, and once it’s very cold, it takes a little while to soften enough to slice without shattering.) Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat to 350 °F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

When the dough feels slightly softened - it should have just a hint of give when you press it with a fingertip - unwrap it and place it on a cutting board. Using a thin, sharp knife, carefully cut the dough into ¼-inch-thick slices. Place slices on the prepared baking sheets, spacing each cookie about 1 ½ inches apart.

Bake until cookies just begin to color around the edges, about 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the sheet pans from top to bottom and front to back midway through. Transfer to wire racks, and cool the cookies on the baking sheets (or slide the parchment onto the rack to free up the pans). Cool completely before eating or storing. Repeat with remaining dough, if any.

Médaillons de porcs nappés de sauce à la crème et au rhum vanillé

Il me semble que j’ai pris cette recette dans un magazine de la LCBO, mais je n’ai pas trouvé la recette sur leur site. C’était du temps avant que je devienne intolérante au lactose; j’avais vraiment adoré cette recette (même si j’avais acheté des escalopes de porc au lieu de me donner la peine d’écraser des médaillons). Comme c’est là, j’ai encore de la difficulté à doser la quantité de lactase à ajouter à la crème pour que je puisse la digérer, mais je me suis dit que pour ceux d’entre vous qui connaissent la bonne dose dans leur cas et pour ceux qui digèrent le lactose, cette recette vous ferait plaisir.

1 filet de porc ou 3 escalopes (environ 12 oz en tout)
1 gousse de vanille
2 c. à soupe de rhum
3 c. à soupe de farine
sel et poivre, au goût
2 c. à soupe d’huile végétale
1 c. à soupe de beurre
¼ tasse d’eau
¼ tasse de crème à fouetter

Parer le filet de porc et en retirer les membranes. Dépecer en 6 morceaux de même grosseur. Mettre chaque morceau entre deux feuilles de pellicule plastique et, avec un maillet à viande, aplanir à une épaisseur de ¼ pouce. (Ou simplement couper chaque escalope en deux).

Couper la gousse de vanille dans le sens de la longueur et, avec un petit couteau, en racler les graines noires. Mettre dans un petit bol et mouiller du rhum. Ajouter la gousse.

Saupoudrer la farine dans une assiette et assaisonner de sel et de poivre; en enrober le porc. Dans une poêle, chauffer l’huile et le beurre et faire dorer les médaillons, environ 3 min de chaque côté; garder au chaud.

Jeter le gras de la poêle puis ajouter l’eau et racler le fond. Ajouter le rhum, les graines et la gousse de vanille; baisser le feu et ajouter la crème. Laisser mijoter jusqu’à épaississement.

Remettre les médaillons dans la poêle et enrober de sauce.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake

I found this recipe last winter and saved it until it was blood orange season again. A fat lot of good that did me, because apparently the grocery stores in my neighbourhood can’t be bothered to carry decent blood oranges. Take a look at the close-up in the second picture: see how the top of the orange in the foreground is ever-so-slightly darker than the rest? According to the produce manager, whom I spoke to a few days later, that’s the blood part (he apparently had no idea what I was talking about when I spoke of flesh that was entirely red). Now compare that to regular blood oranges and you’ll understand why I’m disappointed by these. I’m sure I could have gotten some at either Jean Talon Market or Atwater Market, but by the time I realized I’d been had, I was already in the midst of cake preparation and I didn’t want to abort the project.

The cake itself was absolutely delicious, though, really moist and tasty. So I’m sure it works fine with regular oranges too. I hardly tasted the olive oil in it.

3 blood oranges
1 cup granulated sugar
plain yogurt (about ½ cup; see below)
3 large eggs
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup olive oil

Grease a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and set aside.

Grate zest from 2 blood oranges and place in a bowl with granulated sugar. Mix well with a whisk.

Cut 2 oranges into segments (remove the skin first) and chop into ¼-inch pieces.

Juice the remaining orange and combine with yogurt to make it 2/3 cup of orange-yogurt liquid.

Mix orange-yogurt liquid and orange zest scented granulated sugar in a large bowl.

Whisk in 3 large eggs until well combined.

Whisk in dry ingredients to wet ingredients.

Fold in olive oil a little at a time using a spatula. Lastly fold in chopped orange pieces.

Pour in prepared pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.