Thursday, December 31, 2015

Carrot Coconut Soup

This soup was really, really good. It’s great in the fall, but also perfect to start the New Year, as it’s warm and comforting, but also not carb-heavy (I’m assuming I’m not the only one who eats more carbs that usual in late December?). You can serve it with some Thai chili sauce if you wish, and I’d consider a dollop of plain yogurt or a drizzle of olive oil to make it richer. You can also double the recipe easily.

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter (I used vegan margarine)
1 lb. carrots, peeled, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
fresh cilantro leaves (for serving)

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add carrots and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until carrots are softened, 15–20 minutes. Stir in broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and liquid is slightly reduced, 40–45 minutes.

Let soup cool slightly, then purée in a blender until smooth. Reheat in a clean saucepan, thinning with water to desired consistency if necessary; season with salt and pepper.

Divide soup among bowls, top with cilantro, and drizzle with Thai chili sauce (if using).

Hamburgers au porc et au cheddar, sauce à la moutarde et au sirop d'érable

Voici une dernière (je pense) recette de Coup de Pouce pour clore mon trip
« burgers ». Elle a été publiée dans un dossier sur les hamburgers en août 2010. Nous avons beaucoup aimé cette combinaison de saveurs! J’ai doublé la recette pour avoir des restes, et je l’ai faite dans une poêle plutôt que sur le grill – adaptez comme vous voulez, donc! Pour nous, c’est une recette à refaire.

1 œuf
1 c. à soupe d’eau
¾ tasse de cheddar fort râpé
¼ tasse de chapelure nature
1 gousse d'ail hachée finement
½ c. à thé de sel (environ)
¼ c. à thé de poivre noir du moulin (environ)
½ c. à thé de sauge séchée (je n’en avais pas)
1 lb. (500 g.) de porc haché maigre
2 c. à soupe de moutarde de Dijon
2 c. à soupe de sirop d'érable
1 c. à thé de vinaigre de cidre
1 petit oignon rouge
1 c. à soupe d’huile végétale
4 pains à hamburger

Dans un grand bol, battre l'œuf et l'eau. Ajouter le fromage, la chapelure, l'ail, le sel, le poivre, la sauge et le porc haché et mélanger. Façonner la préparation en quatre pâtés de ¾ po (2 cm) d'épaisseur. (Vous pouvez préparer les pâtés à l'avance et les mettre dans un contenant hermétique en les séparant d'une feuille de papier ciré. Ils se conserveront jusqu'au lendemain au réfrigérateur.)

Dans un petit bol, à l'aide d'un fouet, mélanger la moutarde de Dijon, le sirop d'érable et le vinaigre de cidre. Réserver.

Couper l'oignon en quatre tranches de ¼ po (5 mm) d'épaisseur (réserver le reste de l'oignon pour un usage ultérieur). Piquer une brochette de métal ou de bois préalablement trempée dans l'eau horizontalement au travers de chaque tranche. Badigeonner l'oignon de l'huile, saler et poivrer.

Régler le barbecue au gaz à puissance moyenne. Mettre les brochettes d'oignon sur la grille huilée du barbecue, fermer le couvercle et cuire pendant environ 10 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que l'oignon soit tendre. Défaire les brochettes d'oignon dans une assiette et réserver. (Je me suis contentée de faire cuire mes oignons à la poêle.)

Entre-temps, mettre les pâtés de porc sur la grille du barbecue, fermer le couvercle et cuire pendant 10 minutes (les retourner deux fois et les badigeonner chaque fois de la moitié du mélange de moutarde réservé). Poursuivre la cuisson de 2 à 4 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que les pâtés aient perdu leur teinte rosée à l'intérieur (j’ai utilisé un thermomètre).

Entre-temps, si désiré, mettre les pains sur la grille du barbecue et cuire pendant 2 minutes ou jusqu'à ce qu'ils soient dorés. Mettre les pâtés de porc dans les pains et garnir des tranches d'oignon réservées.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving is a holiday I’ve adopted since moving to the States. We have Thanksgiving in Canada, but it’s not nearly as big a deal there as it is here, and I only celebrated it on occasion. Now, though, how can I resist a holiday that’s all about the food? As I read in this November’s Bon Appétit, “It’s not Thanksgiving unless there’s more food than you know what to do with.” It’s my excuse to make a huge meal and drink sparkling cider from the nice glasses. (Plus, it’s almost like a dress rehearsal for Christmas, so this post isn’t entirely unseasonal – or so I tell myself.) This year, however, I couldn’t find the file of recipes I had torn out of magazines. I know I got rid of a lot of those papers after last year’s feast (because I made the recipes), but I could have sworn that I still had a bunch of recipes, including one for turkey breasts, and I couldn’t find any of it. After a quick online search, I think I have located the turkey recipe on the Bon Appétit website, but then I realized that they are butter-roasted turkey breasts, and I’m wondering whether I just threw the recipe in the recycling bin because it would have had too much lactose anyway. That would explain why I can’t find it, at least! So I figured I’d just roast turkey breasts (for 3 adults and 1 child), except then I miscommunicated with the Engineer and he bought boneless, skinless, plain turkey breasts when I was expecting bone-in, skin-on, festive turkey breasts. I ended up using this method to bake them in the oven, with some fresh thyme, and they were very good.

For side dishes (and really, that’s what Thanksgiving dinner is all about, right?), I made recipes I found this year, which made me feel like I was on top of things. We ate pull-apart potato rolls, caramelized onion and bacon gravy as well as sautéed pears with bacon and mustard dressing (the sleeper hit of the meal, I think). I paired them with my regular cranberry sauce because, after trying a bunch of others, I’ve decided my go-to was always the best one. I also made garlic olive oil mashed potatoes, as those were the best I had made in the past 6 months (including goat cheese and caramelized onion variations). I made the gravy and cranberry sauce the day before (so all I had to do was reheat the gravy), the potato rolls that morning, the sautéed pears in mid-afternoon (they can stay at room temperature for a few hours, and that pretty much makes them the ideal Thanksgiving side dish), then the turkey and potatoes before dinner.

For dessert, I made the Engineer choose between two options: chocolate pie or pumpkin cupcakes with maple frosting. He chose pie, so I made the Pioneer Woman’s chocolate pie. I liked that it was super simple and can be made the day before; basically, you just fill a pie crust with a chocolate pudding mixture. Ree Drummond’s recipe is below, but you could also use your favorite pudding recipe, or this one. I served it with the rest of that CocoWhip and it was fantastic!

Pull-Apart Potato Rolls
1 medium Yukon Gold potato (about 6 oz.), scrubbed
1 cup lactose-free whole milk
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing (I used vegan margarine)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 ¼-oz. envelopes active dry yeast (about 4½ tsp. total)
3 (heaping) Tbsp. sugar
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 large egg yolk, beaten to blend
2⅔ cups (or more) bread flour
1 Tbsp. flaky sea salt, plus more
vegetable oil (for surface)

Boil potato in a small saucepan of boiling water (no need to add salt) until a paring knife passes through flesh with no resistance, 30–40 minutes; drain. When cool enough to handle, pass through ricer into a small bowl (peel won’t go through; discard).

Mix milk and ¾ cup riced potato in the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment until no lumps remain. (I added the rest of my riced potato to the mashed potatoes I made later that day.) Add ½ cup butter and mix until incorporated. Switch to dough hook. Add all-purpose flour, yeast, and sugar and mix on medium speed, scraping bottom and sides of bowl as needed, until a very wet, sticky dough forms, about 2 minutes. 

Let dough rise, uncovered, in a warm spot, 30 minutes (it will have puffed slightly).

Add eggs, egg yolk, 2⅔ cups bread flour, and 1 Tbsp. salt and mix on medium-high, adding more bread flour if needed, until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Brush surface of dough with butter, cover, and let rise in a warm spot 30 minutes (dough should rise 1½ times its initial size).

Turn out dough onto a lightly oiled surface and divide into 18 pieces; roll each into a ball using your palm. Brush a 13x9" baking dish with butter and place balls side by side in dish (rolls will be touching). Brush tops with more butter. Let sit, uncovered, in a warm spot 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Brush dough again with butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake rolls on a low rack until deep golden brown, 15–20 minutes (I’m suggesting a low rack because I feel like the bottom of my rolls was a little underdone). Transfer dish to a wire rack and let rolls cool in dish 10 minutes. Turn out rolls onto rack and let cool 30 minutes before serving.

Sautéed Pears with Bacon and Mustard Dressing
6 oz. slab bacon, sliced ¼ inch thick, slices cut into ¼ inch pieces (I used regular sliced bacon)
4 ripe but firm Bosc pears, quartered, seeds removed (I also removed the stems and blossom ends)
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
3 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. walnut oil or olive oil
½ cup unsalted, roasted walnuts
sliced chives (for serving)

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp around edges, 10–12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. bacon fat from skillet. 

Season pears with salt and pepper and cook in skillet with bacon fat over medium-high, turning occasionally, until golden brown and starting to soften (they should be slightly firm at cores), 5–7 minutes. Transfer to a platter; let cool.

Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, mustard, and 3 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl to combine; season dressing with salt and pepper. Toss walnuts with remaining 2 tsp. oil in another small bowl; season with salt. Drizzle dressing over pears and scatter walnuts and bacon on top. (At this point, the dish can be stored at room temperature for 3 hours, tightly wrapped.) Just before serving, top with chives.

Caramelized Onion and Bacon Gravy
¼ cup olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
6 slices bacon, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1¼ tsp. paprika
1 tsp. finely chopped thyme
3½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
kosher salt and black pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft and caramelized, 30 minutes. Add the bacon, garlic, paprika, and thyme and cook, stirring, until the bacon is browned but not crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the bacon is tender, about 5 minutes.

Using a blender (I used a stick blender), purée the gravy in batches until smooth. Return the gravy to the skillet and keep warm over low heat. Whisk in 1½ teaspoons salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper. Serve. (The gravy can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stovetop before serving.)

Chocolate Pie
1 whole pie crust, baked and cooled (Oreo or graham cracker crusts are acceptable)
1 ½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
3 cups lactose-free whole milk
4 egg yolks
6 ½ oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 sp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. butter (I used margarine)
whipped cream substitute, for serving (I used CocoWhip)

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir or whisk together.

Pour in milk and egg yolks, and whisk together.

Stir over medium heat until the mixture just barely comes to a boil and becomes thick, about 6-8 minutes (maybe less, maybe more; just watch it!) The second it starts to bubble and thicken (it should be thick like pudding!), remove it from the heat. Add the chocolate, vanilla, and butter, and stir until everything is beautifully combined.

Pour the pudding into the pie crust and place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours uncovered. (Note that if you are using a commercial pie crust, which are shallow, you will have extra filling – just spoon it into some ramekins and put them in the fridge as well, it’s delicious chocolate pudding!)

Cut into slices and serve with whipped cream.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Toddler Gear

This is an update to my previous posts Baby gear and Baby gear – A follow-up. We got a few more items now that the Little Prince is older, and I thought I’d share some links I found useful. I’ve actually started writing this post in the fall and never got around to completing it, probably because it became so long and unwieldy… So I’m actually going to give you a table of contents of sorts, and you can just scroll down to what interests you. Note that some of the links are affiliate links (meaning that if you were to buy something from my Amazon store, I would get a small percentage, but it would be no extra cost to you).

- Car seats (and cooling devices)
- Learning towers
- Books
- Toys (ONE toy, really)
- Apps
- Videos
- Rant about child restraints for airplanes

First, car seats. This is the subject of controversy for some. Depending on where you live, you may not be required to keep your child rear-facing more than 12 or 18 months, even though the AAP recommends at least 24 months – and keep in mind that the real factors to consider here are the height and weight of your child, not strictly his or her age. The thing is that all the research I read says that rear-facing is literally 500% safer than forward-facing for small children up to 4 years old, at which point the risk of internal decapitation drops because cartilage and the spinal cord harden (technically, it would be somewhat safer for older kids and adults too, but that’s just not practical). Given that, we decided to keep the Little Prince rear-facing for as long as possible, which works well for us now given that he’s a great traveler. [If you’re interested, you can read this (community-sourced) post debunking myths about rear-facing toddlers.]

So I did some research to find a car seat that would keep the Little Prince rear-facing ideally until he’s around 4 years old and that would convert to a forward-facing seat, then booster, seat down the road. I loved this list in particular because it factors in your child’s height and weight ratio, though there were also some contenders in this list as well as that article. In the end, we settled on the Diono Olympia Convertible Plus Booster Car Seat, which fit all our criteria and is well-rated by users. It is rear-facing for now, will be forward-facing later, and turns into a booster seat – it’s actually good for 10 years, starting in infancy. As a bonus, its low sides make it easier to get the Little Prince in and out of the seat. Keep in mind, though, that you should check your car manual to see the specifications of your LATCH system, which may differ from those of your chosen seat.

On a side note, if your child is over 4 years old, you might want to consider the Mifold instead of a booster seat. I’m certainly keen on getting one for travelling, at the very least, when the Little Prince is older.

Plus, on keeping your kid cool if the air conditioning doesn’t quite reach the back seat so well (this is a real problem for us here in Texas): we bought a car seat liner, but I honestly couldn’t tell you how big of a difference that makes. The one thing that *was* a lifesaver was this fan that gets plugged in to the cigarette lighter. We clip it onto the overhead handle on the side opposite the Little Prince’s seat. That way, he can’t actually reach the fan or wire, but gets the full benefit of the air. It’s made a big difference in our road trips over the summer, and Texas is hot enough that we even needed it in October and will surely need it in the spring again. The downside is that it wouldn’t work so well if we had two kids in the back seat instead of just one, because the fan really does need to be out of reach to be safe, in my opinion. There are more ideas here, and if you don’t take yourself too seriously, there’s always the noggle.

[Update, March 2018: It seems that a manufacturer has finally taken this seriously! We just bought Brica’s Breeze Baby-in-Sight Fan Car Mirror, which should help keep the Fox cool. Our other fan is rigged between the two front seats so that it now faces the back seat, which means that the Little Prince should be fine. The downside of the Brica fan is that it only operates for 10 minutes at a time, though one can turn it on again with the remote. That sounds like it’s going to be a lot of clicking on a 5-day road trip, and I really don’t know how long the batteries will last. But on the plus side, there are no wires, and the fan is directed right at the baby!]
[Updated update, August 2018: Well, the remote stopped working after a week or so, well before the road trip. I got a brand-new battery, but that didn’t do anything. So perhaps don’t buy this after all.]

I also wanted to talk about “learning towers” or “activity towers”. This is the name given to structures that are similar to stools with a guardrail, on which a toddler can safely stand to reach the sink or to see on the countertop while you’re cooking, for example. I had fully intended to build one myself after seeing Ikea hacks like this and this, made with a Bekväm stepstool – it looks relatively easy to make, using the dimensions either in the second link or in the beginning of the comments here. (If you’re *really* crafty, you can make prettier ones like this one.) When it came down to it, though, I realized that I had neither the time nor the energy to do this, so I looked at commercial versions. While I liked the idea of a foldable tower, I ended up preferring the adjustable height and aesthetics of the Little Partners tower. The Little Prince’s grandparents gave it to him in red, and we love using it. (It should be said that the Little Prince hasn’t figured out how to climb in and out of it yet, so when I put him in it, it doubles as a “toddler safe-keeper” when I need to open the oven door and don’t want to risk my kid running to the oven to see what’s baking.)

As for books, we are big fans of the classic Goodnight Moon. (This essay explains part of its enduring charm.) The app is also excellent. We also like most books by Eric Carle and Sandra Boynton. If you are in a bilingual English-French family, I strongly recommend the Oops & Ohlala series, where one family member says something in French and another responds in English. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that one of the kids is a girl and one is a boy, but I love that it’s not glaringly obvious. As a bonus, the pages are coated with plastic, making the book more resistant in little hands.

Also, I totally got my kid a few books about food. We went with World Snacks, a series by Amy Wilson Salinger, for the moment, and I’ve got a lot more up my sleeve for when the Little Prince is older. Currently, he’s all about First Book of Sushi, Let’s Nosh and Yum Yum Dim Sum (always in that order). I wouldn’t say they are must-reads, but he loves them right now! He’s getting more from the same collection for Christmas.

Finally, I recommend anything by Hervé Tullet – his books are translated in English, but we have the original French version of Press Here and Mix It Up and love them.

For toys, we tend to prefer things without batteries (though there are always some exceptions). I’m not going to give you a gift guide or anything, but if there’s one toy he’s playing with every day now, it’s a set of magnetized letters. Every kid needs a set of magnetized letters, right? The one we favored was this set by Educational Insights: it has 100 jumbo pieces, with uppercase and lowercase letters as well as numbers and symbols like question marks. (There’s another version with just uppercase letters, but I prefer the expanded set!) Bonus: the set comes with its own storage bin, so your husband won’t have to commandeer one from your already-pared-down Tupperware collection in the kitchen. As with all magnetized letter sets, the magnets can come off and some letters are small enough that in theory they could be swallowed (lowercase “I” and “l” as well as the “-“ sign), so always supervise your child when he’s playing.

Apps: New guidelines say that it is fine for toddlers to spend *some* time in front of a screen each day. I’m not getting into that debate in this post. For the Little Prince, we’ve found that judicious use of the iPad is a godsend. First of all, please use a protective case (I highly recommend Griffin’s Survivor cases, which come in dozens of colors and are very durable). Also, start by downloading the free app AppShopper Social, the relaunched version of AppShopper: this app allows you to create a wish list of apps, and when the price drops on one of them, you’ll be notified via email. This is great to take advantage of flash sales you wouldn’t find out about otherwise!
[Update: I’m not sure that the new version of AppShopper is adequate anymore. I am now looking at AppZapp for those functions. I haven’t used it much yet, but it seems to fit the bill.]

We often put the iPad in Guided Access mode to keep our little one playing on the same game (otherwise, he has a habit of opening things he shouldn’t, and on several occasions has locked rotation on my screen and put me in airport mode). Lately, he’s been allowed to wander among the apps in his folder, but needs some supervision to stay where he’s supposed to be. Is there a way to keep him within a specific folder? For older kids, there’s software called Zoodles, which looks like it’s essentially a kid mode with curated educational games, but I haven’t used it yet.

I’ll talk about some of the apps that we have for the Little Prince. This list is by no means exhaustive, it’s just what he’s into at this point (almost 2 ½ years old) and what he has been into so far. As he gets older, I find that getting apps that are slightly too hard for him is a good strategy, because then he learns a new skill (swipe instead of tap, match shapes and colors or what have you).
- Animal Friends (free, multilingual): find animals, play peek-a-boo on the farm, count.
- I Hear Ewe (free, multilingual but no French): animal (and vehicle) sounds.
- Peek-a-Zoo ($3.99, multilingual): animals from different environments. The French translation was atrocious, so I sent them a revised text and they fixed some of it. There are also wordless apps in the same family for even younger kids, such as Infant Zoo (catchy music!) and Egg Head.
- Busy Shapes ($2.99, wordless): this is was absolutely awesome at first, but the difficulty level increases very quickly and there is no way to set it so that only easier levels come up, even when you delete the progress the player has made. So the Little Prince usually can’t play for more than a few minutes without getting frustrated.
- Sago Mini Forest Flyer ($2.99, wordless): this is fantastic. You guide a little bird around the forest, and there are adorable and funny animations all around. Even I had fun with this. Also check out other Sago Mini apps, such as Sago Mini Space Explorer, Sago Mini Ocean Swimmer or Sago Mini Friends – or just get a bundle.
- Endless Alphabet ($6.99, English only): this is a bit of a splurge, but it was so worth it for us! It’s an app with great animation, where letters in a word get mixed up and you have to put them back in the right order (the space where each letter goes is outlined, and you just drag and drop each letter in the right spot). Once the word is complete, you get a fantastic animation with a spoken definition of the word, and I have to say that the voice is super friendly. New words are added periodically. I truly love this app, which by the way is the main reason why the Little Prince now uses words like “fireworks”, “lick” and (yes) “gargantuan”; I’m sure it is also a contributing factor to his ability to read short words already. There are sister apps, Endless Reader and Endless Numbers, which both have a free version with a few levels and a paid version for the whole shebang. However, they cost (respectively) $29.99 and $14.99, which is outrageously expensive for apps! The Little Prince loves the free versions so much, though, that we’re probably going to cave and get them for him at Christmas…
- Bamba Burger (free, wordless): I’d had this in the iPad for a year or so, but the Little Prince started playing with this one last month, and now he can’t get enough. There are tons of great sister games, but the annoying thing is that there are ads for all games within the app, so your child will invariably get stuck pressing something that he can’t access or request more games.
- Toca Kitchen 2 ($2.99, wordless): cooking meals to serve to one of the various characters. He also just started playing with this and with sister apps, and can’t get enough.

There’s also a free app called YouTube Kids. I like it less – sure, the Little Prince can watch curated videos, but there’s a lot of unboxing videos on there and I’m against those for various reasons, so I wish there were boxes for me to check to include/exclude further content. (Like, nature documentaries are cool for kids, but I couldn’t find any. I’d also like videos in French.) Plus, there are ads, so I feel like it defeats the point of an app… It’s also not interactive like the apps I like. All this to say that I’m actually I’m considering uninstalling it.

We have a few more apps that I really like but that are a bit too advanced for the Little Prince now, so I’ll report back on those.

People keep asking us what kinds of videos the Little Prince watches. We’ve shown him some Baby Einstein and Sesame Street (more to keep him entertained on long road trips and such than for any educational value), but he’s also into almost anything by A.J. Jenkins and loves the alphabet in particular (if you’re looking for higher production value, check out Alphabet Songs by ABC Mouse). He also has a thing for Super Simple Songs like Put On Your Shoes and Do you like… (there are compilation videos out there, too). Most of the videos he watches now are available for free on YouTube.

Finally, while we’re discussing toddler gear, I’d like to give you a word of warning against the Sit Seat Travel Harness (the picture is straight from the official product and not mine). It can be used as a travel high chair, but that’s not what we needed it for (we already had a My Little Seat and I had sewn an Anywhere Chair, so we had that covered). The point of the seat, as the name, photo, and official description imply, is that it can keep your baby safely in your lap on an airplane (up until he is two years old, at which point he needs his own seat anyway). This seemed like just what we needed, since the Little Prince wouldn’t sit still in a front-to-front carrier anymore last Christmas. Well, that didn’t happen. We used it on 4 flights, operated by United and Air Canada. On the first flight, the flight attendants marveled over it and said it was the neatest thing they’d seen and they loved it. On all three subsequent flights, I was absolutely forbidden to use it, but when I pressed for a reason, no one could explain the logic behind it. When I got home after that trip, I looked up the airlines’ rules about travel harnesses. The FAA doesn’t require kids’ seats (despite deaths and injuries), though it recommends them. It specifically forbids harnesses for taxi, take-off and landing, but I was forbidden from using in in flight as well! I mean, what about turbulence? Airlines can be fined if they have so much as a box of tissues unrestrained, but children under two are allowed to stay on their parent’s lap untethered – how is this specific harness less safe than that? Wouldn’t it be smart to use it, were it only to protect the other passengers from the projectile your child will become otherwise?

United’s policy suggests that the Sit Seat Travel Harness is acceptable, as it does not fall in the “forbidden” category (“The following child restraint devices may not be used on board the aircraft: booster seats, belly belts attached to adult seat belts only, and vests or harnesses that hold the infant to the adult's chest” – and this, by the way, means that front-facing baby carriers aren’t actually allowed, even though flight attendants approved it when we used one with the Little Prince when he was 5 months old; would they be safe in a bulkhead seat?). When I contacted them, the email that I got in response stated: “I regret that I do not know the rational [sic] for this policy. We can only advise as to what is the policy.” As for Air Canada, they forbid “vest or harness type devices”, but when I emailed to ask why, I was not given any information (just the standard “sorry you had a bad experience on our flight” spiel).

Anyway, now that I’m done venting: If your child is old enough for his own seat (meaning, can sit up by himself) and is over 22 pounds, then I recommend the CARES system, which takes up very little space in your carry-on and is FAA-certified. That’s what we got for our next flight.

To conclude this aparté, I’m angry that 1) the FAA won’t step up and mandate safety measures like is the case for cars; and 2) nobody in charge seems able to explain the rules currently in place regarding the vest harness.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Pain-gâteau aux légumes

Cette recette a été publiée dans le Coup de Pouce de mai 2015, mais elle n’est pas en ligne (je vois d’ailleurs dans leur index des recettes de 2015 que c’est un choix éditorial). Mais moi, il faut que je vous la donne, cette recette, parce qu’elle est géniale. Nous avons eu un pain-gâteau moelleux, savoureux, parfait pour le déjeuner! C’était vraiment délicieux. Pour les légumes, la recette recommande les légumes racines : carottes, patate douce, rutabaga, panais, etc. J’ai pris une petite patate douce et deux panais; je les ai pelés puis râpés au robot, et ensuite je les ai hachés (toujours au robot).

2 tasses de farine de blé blond (ou 1 tasse chaque de tout-usage et de blé entier)
2 c. à thé de poudre à pâte
¾ c. à thé de cannelle moulue
½ c. à thé de sel
1 œuf, légèrement battu
½ tasse de sucre
4 tasses de légumes hachés finement
½ tasse d’huile végétale (carthame, canola, pépins de raisins)
1/3 tasse de sirop d’érable
1 c. à thé de vanille
½ tasses de pacanes, hachées (facultatif)

Préchauffer le four à 350 °F. Graisser un moule à pain de 9 pouces x 5 pouces.

Dans un grand bol, mélanger la farine, la poudre à pâte, la cannelle et le sel. Réserver.

Dans un autre bol, mélanger l’œuf, le sucre, les légumes hachés, l’huile, le sirop d’érable et la vanille. Verser ce mélange sur les ingrédients secs et mélanger jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient humectés, sans plus. (Dans mon cas, à ce stade, j’avais peur que ce soit un flop total. Ce que j’avais ressemblait plus à de la bouillie de légumes qu’à de la pâte à gâteau! Mais j’ai continué, et heureusement, parce que le résultat après cuisson était excellent.)

Mettre la pâte dans le moule à pain et lisser le dessus; parsemer de pacanes. Cuire de 60 à 65 minutes ou jusqu’à ce qu’un cure-dents inséré au centre du pain en ressorte propre. Laisser refroidir pendant 10 minutes. Démouler le pain sur une grille et laisser refroidir complètement.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Vanilla Honey Rice Pudding

I’ve been reading through Joanne Chang’s Baking With Less Sugar. The title is pretty self-explanatory; it’s about baking with less refined white sugar and embracing other sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup. As it happens, you can often trick your brain into thinking that you’re eating something sweet by adding extra cinnamon or vanilla, because we associate those with sweet desserts! The first recipe I tried is the vanilla honey rice pudding. It turns out that it’s not very different from my usual rice pudding, which uses 1/3 cup sugar (compared with ½ cup honey here); this version also has a bit more fat, but nothing worrisome. Interestingly, though, this felt sweet enough that I didn’t want to add maple syrup to it, despite the fact that that’s how I ate rice pudding when I was growing up. Even though each step took me a little longer than it should have (especially waiting for the mixture to thicken over heat), I really liked the result. I might actually cook it a bit less next time, to have it less stiff. The Engineer liked it so much that he declared it surely flows from every faucet in heaven!

4 cups lactose-free whole milk
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
½ cup jasmine or white basmati rice
½ cup raisins or currants (I used golden and brown raisins)
3 egg yolks
½ cup honey
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. kosher salt

Place the milk and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan. Using a small paring knife, scrape the seeds from the split vanilla bean into the milk; throw in the pod as well. Bring the milk to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice with a wooden spoon and decrease the heat to a low simmer. Cook the rice slowly in milk for 20-25 minutes, uncovered, or until the rice is soft. Stir regularly during cooking with the wooden spoon to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom.

Remove from the heat, remove the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean pod, and stir in the raisins. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and honey; slowly ladle the hot milk-rice mixture into the yolks, whisking all the while. Continue adding hot milk-rice mixture to the yolks until about half of it is mixed in. Dump the rice mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the ground cinnamon and salt.

Serve warm, or refrigerate and serve cold.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Tartlets

What can I say, I liked vegan chocolate tarts. These are made with coconut oil in both the crust and filling. The filling didn’t come out nearly as smooth as for my chocolate cashew tarts, even though the original post showed them as being perfectly smooth, but they were very good nonetheless. I think it’s because I’m using a new kind of cocoa, and based on what I can tell after making a batch of my usual chocolate sauce, it does seem to absorb more liquid than other brands (but it tastes fantastic!).

For the crust
1 ¼ cup almond flour
3 Tbsp. cacao powder
1/8 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
¼ cup extra-virgin unrefined coconut oil, melted

For the filling
½ cup extra-virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/3 cup maple syrup, at room temperature
1 cup cacao powder

For the crust
Place the almond flour, cacao powder, and salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the maple syrup and coconut oil and blend together with a fork until everything comes together and mixture becomes wet.

Press the dough evenly into cupcake pans with liners (I got 9 out of this and recommend silicone liners). Spread the dough with fingers along the bottom and up the sides. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to allow the dough to firm up and chill.

For the filling
Put the coconut oil and maple syrup in the bowl of a food processor and process until well combined. Add the cacao powder and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the edges of the bowl as needed. Pour the chocolate mixture over the crusts and spread evenly.

Return tarts to the refrigerator to set and firm up for at least 1 hour. Tarts can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Cobb Salad with Creamy Pesto Dressing

I really liked this salad because it was hearty enough for dinner. I’ve made many salads that might look a bit like this (such as this southwestern chopped salad with a cilantro-avocado dressing), but that didn’t quite cut it as a meal. However, this Cobb salad with creamy pesto dressing from Parents magazine really hit the spot. Plus, it was highly adaptable – I made a vegetarian version and made a few substitutions according to what I had on hand. The dressing was really, really good!

(I just now realized how bad the picture is. But hey, I wrote the post, so I’m going to hit publish anyway. See, I used to have a lightbox and two lamps set up on the dining room table, but now that the Little Prince is reaching and grabbing whatever he can, that was no longer an option. I’m hoping that at some point next spring I can set something up in the guest bedroom, which is in the process of becoming the guest bedroom / sewing room.)

For the dressing
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup buttermilk (1 tsp. lemon juice + lactose-free milk)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp. finely grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, finely minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Mix together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, basil, Parmesan, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender until everything is well combined (I used a stick blender). Transfer to a plastic container. Refrigerate for up to 2 days until ready to serve

For the salad
6 cups slivered romaine lettuce
8 slices bacon, cooked and roughly crumbled (or sunflower seeds)
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced
2 medium-size tomatoes, seeded and diced (I had miniature tomatoes)
1 ½ cups cubed cooked chicken (or 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained)
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
½ cup diced red onion
½ cup crumbled blue cheese (I used feta; any lactose-free substitute is fine)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Scatter the lettuce over a large serving platter.

Make nice neat rows over the lettuce with the crumbled bacon, diced eggs, tomatoes, chicken, avocado, onion, and blue cheese. (The order is of no consequence; whatever strikes you. I made the salad directly in plates instead of having a serving platter, though.) Season with salt and pepper. You can drizzle the dressing over the salad, or serve it on the side.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

The Squash Moratorium

I know this sounds like the title of a Big Bang Theory episode and doesn’t augur well for the recipe, but bear with me. Each fall, I make recipes with squash. I try not to make them too often, because I know that squash is unpredictably hit or miss with the Engineer and I don’t want to make him sick of it. So maybe a dish every other week or so? But this year, he declared a squash moratorium. It came on the heels of a squash risotto (in which I had omitted the sage to avoid a repeat of the pumpkin ravioli fiasco, and really, it would have been fine had the squash been roasted instead of pan-cooked). Before that, I had made a vegan spaghetti squash lasagna bake where we both agreed that the tofu mixture meant to replace ricotta was very good, but the rest wasn’t. So that stopped my experiments with squash this year. However, I had already planned spaghetti squash latkes before the moratorium was imposed, I had the squash sitting on my kitchen counter, and I was making them to eat for lunch with the Little Prince, so the Engineer wouldn’t have to suffer them for dinner. I went ahead and made those despite the moratorium, and I’m glad I did.

I’m no expert on Hanukkah, but I believe that technically, the important thing about a latke isn’t the potato, but the oil. Latkes made with other vegetables are therefore acceptable, if not as traditional. The advantage of using spaghetti squash here is that you already have strands of vegetables, so there’s no need to grate anything. And really, these latkes are awesome! I’d never made any with cheese before, but it worked really well. I hope you try them!

1 medium spaghetti squash
olive oil, for drizzling
salt and pepper
¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
5 sage leaves, finely chopped (I only used 2)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg
¼ cup Pecorino Romano, grated (I used parmesan)
¼ cup chickpea flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Lightly drizzle the flesh with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven, cut-side up for about 40 minutes or until tender.

Allow the squash to cool slightly, then use a fork to shred the squash into strands. Transfer your squash "noodles" to a strainer to drain any excess liquid. (I strongly recommend wringing them in a clean dish towel like you would with potatoes. You probably need to be gentler with cooked squash than with raw potatoes, but my mixture ended up too soggy with only a strainer and I used extra flour to compensate, but ended up with latkes of the pancake persuasion when I prefer something with no “batter”.)

In a large bowl, combine the sliced green onions, chopped parsley, chopped sage leaves, and minced garlic. Once the spaghetti strands have drained of excess liquid, add them to the bowl with the herbs and toss to coat. Fold in the egg, Pecorino Romano, chickpea flour, salt, and pepper. Toss all of the ingredients together until the mixture is well combined.

Using a soup spoon, scoop a generous amount of the squash mixture into your hands and form into patties, one by one, and lightly flatten. Make sure you shape all of your patties before heating the oil. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large pan. Once the oil is hot (you can test by adding a strand of squash — if it sizzles, you're ready to go), add the patties, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Depending on the pan size, you should be able to fry about 4 to 5 latkes at a time. Fry for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Flip the latkes and fry for another 2 minutes on the other side. Transfer the cooked latkes onto a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the rest of the mixture and additional peanut oil.

Serve the latkes hot, with lactose-free sour cream if desired.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I found a recipe for lemon poppy seed muffins that happened to be egg-free, using yogurt instead. When I first made them, though, I wasn’t satisfied with them: the batter had been a bit too stiff, and the yield was only half-a-dozen, so that annoyed me. Luckily, I’d also had the good sense to reduce the baking time. All that said, I liked them enough to make them again and tweak the recipe further, so what follows is my adaptation for 12 muffins. I really enjoyed these on the second go! Note that you could make a glaze with ½ cup of powdered sugar (sifted) and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, but I didn’t feel like glazing muffins. They were great for breakfast as is.

2/3 cup regular white sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup poppy seeds
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup plain lactose-free yogurt (Greek yogurt will do)
½ cup lactose-free milk
¼ cup vegetable oil (such as safflower oil or grapeseed oil)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Grease a muffin tin (or line it with paper liners) and set aside.

In a small bowl, rub the white sugar with the lemon zest until the sugar is lightly colored and scented with lemon.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium, whisk together the yogurt, milk, oil, vanilla extract, the reserved lemon-infused sugar, and the lemon juice.

Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and fold together. Divide batter between muffin cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing (if desired).

Coquilles farcies à la saucisse

J’ai essayé cette recette que Coup de Pouce avait publiée dans un cahier de recette pour la famille (dans le sens où les enfants sont censé aimer cela). J’avoue que ça a été un succès un peu mitigé avec notre enfant, mais nous, on a aimé ça! Ce serait pratique à congeler, aussi…

16 coquilles géantes (la moitié d’un paquet de 340 g; je recommande un peu plus)
2 c. à soupe d’huile d’olive
1 oignon, coupé en dés
1 poivron vert, coupé en dés (j’ai pris un poivron rouge)
2 gousses d’ail, hachées
1 lb. (500 g.) de saucisses italiennes douces, la peau enlevée
1 œuf
¼ tasse de persil frais, haché
2 tasses de coulis de tomates (de type passata)
1 c. à thé d’origan séché
¾ tasse de fromage de style mozzarella râpé (j’ai pris du Daiya)
¼ tasse de parmesan râpé

Huiler un plat carré de 8 pouces allant au four. (Mon plat mesurait plutôt 9 pouces par 13 pouces.) Préchauffer le four à 425 °F.

Dans une grande casserole d’eau bouillante salée, cuire les pâtes de 8 à 10 minutes ou jusqu’à ce qu’elles soient al dente. Égoutter et passer sous l’eau froide. Réserver sur un linge humide.

Entre-temps, dans un poêlon, chauffer l’huile à feu moyen. Ajouter l’oignon, le poivron et l’ail et cuire pendant environ 6 minutes ou jusqu’à ce qu’ils aient ramolli. Mettre cette préparation dans un bol. Ajouter la chair des saucisses, l’œuf et le persil et bien mélanger (la recette d’origine recommande un mélangeur à main, mais je l’ai fait à la main avec une fourchette – évitez simplement de trop mélanger). Farcir chaque coquille de 1 c. à soupe de ce mélange. Placer les coquilles côte à côte dans le plat huilé. (Alors, j’avais mal lu les instructions et j’avais fait cuire toutes les pâtes. J’ai quand même rempli mon grand plat rectangulaire, vu que j’avais assez de farce pour cela. Personnellement, j’aime mieux faire cuire quelques coquilles de trop plutôt que d’en manquer, alors c’est ce que je recommande.)

Dans un autre bol, mélanger le coulis de tomates et l’origan. Verser ce mélange sur les coquilles. Parsemer du fromage mozzarella et du parmesan. Couvrir le plat de papier d’aluminium et cuire au four pendant 20 minutes.

Retirer le papier d’aluminium et poursuivre la cuisson pendant environ 10 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que le fromage soit doré.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

This year, I made a pumpkin pie before Thanksgiving. We were going to be hosting the Engineer’s mother over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I really didn’t know how she felt about pumpkin pie this year, but I didn’t want to take a chance (she once said she disliked pumpkin and squash and had refused to taste pumpkin pie the first time we celebrated Thanksgiving here; then again, she said the same thing about sweet potatoes at the time, but a year ago she said she ate sweet potatoes practically every day, so who knows). But I, for one, really wanted a pumpkin pie this fall, and it seems like all the ones I remember were rather ho-hum, non-descript pumpkin purée pies. I therefore decided to make a pumpkin chiffon pie recipe that I had seen on The Kitchn, but which is actually adapted from Saveur magazine. I had been hanging on to the recipe because it calls for cream, but I decided to use coconut milk instead, and it worked out just fine. So this recipe is dairy-free, though it isn’t vegan – or even vegetarian, come to think of it, because I used animal gelatin. The author of the original post says that the problem with this recipe is that it will ruin you for other pumpkin pies. And I have to confirm: yes, it’s true. Don’t eat this if you foresee a lot of plain pumpkin purée pies in your future: this is a different beast, sure, but anything else will pale in comparison. It is scrumptious (can I use that word with a straight face to mean beyond delicious?). The filling is both dense and fluffy, all the tastes are perfectly balanced, it holds together well, the crust is not just an afterthought… It is basically the perfect pumpkin pie. Come to think of it, maybe I should have made my mother-in-law taste it after all, because this one might have changed her mind. Or at least, if not, nothing will.

Note that the recipe below makes one large pie if you are using a deep pie dish like the one pictured; if you use the shallow tin plates in which most commercial pies are baked, you’ll get two pies out of it.

For the crust
4 cups crushed Nilla wafer cookies (a rough texture with unevenly sized pieces is fine)
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (I used vegan margarine)
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt

For the filling
3 tsp. unflavored gelatin (I used 1 packet)
¼ cup Cointreau or Drambuie (I used Grand Marnier; apple juice would work, too)
1 ½ cups pumpkin purée
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup sugar + 1/3 cup sugar, divided
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
¾ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. salt
4 egg whites
fresh whipped cream substitute, to serve (optional)

For the crust
Preheat oven to 400 °F.

In a large bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, butter, sugar and salt (I did this in the food processor, since that’s what I used to make crumbs out of the cookies in the first place). Press mixture firmly into 2 tin 9-inch pie pans or 1 deep 9-inch ceramic pie plate.

Bake for 10 minutes, and cool on a wire rack.

For the filling
In a small bowl, sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over ¼ cup Cointreau to soften for 5 minutes. Set the mixture over a bowl of hot water and stir until the gelatin is dissolved.

In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the pumpkin purée, coconut milk, ½ cup of sugar, 3 egg yolks, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and salt and cook the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in the gelatin mixture, and let the mixture cool.

In a large bowl, beat 4 egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Beat in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating the meringue until it holds stiff peaks, and fold this meringue into the partially cooled pumpkin mixture.

Pour the filling into the baked shells and chill the pie, lightly covered, for at least 6 hours. Garnish with fresh whipped cream (there is lactose-free cream in Canada; otherwise, use any vegan substitute, or omit it if you forget your whipped topping in the freezer like I did).

[Update, November 2018: I made this pie for Thanksgiving this year, and my mother-in-law DID like it!]

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Spiced Honey Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Bon Appétit published a piece about Milktooth, a brunch restaurant in Indianapolis. In it was this recipe for spiced honey cake with cream cheese frosting. The original recipe is gluten-free, but because I don’t have all-purpose gluten-free flour ready to go and didn’t feel like fiddling in my pantry, I made it with wheat flour. It somehow feels wrong to me to adapt a gluten-free recipe to make it gluten-full, but, well, that’s just what I did. The lactose-free substitutions, though, are made without guilt! I really liked this cake, perhaps because the honey flavor came through more than in most honey cakes I’ve tasted. Sure, there are spices, but overall, the batter isn’t very dark, so the spices didn’t overpower the honey. I had a bit of a problem for the frosting, though: adding the required amount of cream from a can of coconut milk made for a frosting that was way too liquid. Next time, I would add only a few heaping tablespoons, for flavor, but I would make sure to monitor the consistency of the frosting as I go (as it was, I had to strain it over cheesecloth before using it). It was delicious, however!

I say it again every once in a while, for new readers: Green Valley Organics makes lactose-free cream cheese that is certified humane, and that’s what I used in this recipe. I didn’t have any of the recommended decorations for the cake, and it was just for us to eat at home, so I omitted them entirely.

For the cake
2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour (or all-purpose wheat flour)
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
⅛ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
⅔ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup honey
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise (I used vanilla bean paste)
½ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup buttermilk (½ tsp. lemon juice with lactose-free milk)

For the frosting and assembly
3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 pinch of kosher salt
½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise (I used vanilla bean paste)
a 13.5-ounce can (or less) unsweetened coconut milk, cream separated from milk, room temperature
Bee pollen, fennel fronds, edible flowers, and berries (for serving; optional)

For the cake
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Coat a 9" cake pan with nonstick spray and line bottom with a parchment paper round (this needs to be a pretty tall pan, so I used a springform pan).

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a large bowl to combine.

Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, honey, egg, and egg yolk in another large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; discard pod. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat mixture until pale and thickened, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually pour in orange juice and buttermilk. Beat until frothy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients; beat just until smooth and homogenous (it will be thin, like pancake batter). 

Pour into prepared pan and bake until cake is golden brown and center springs back when gently pressed (a cake tester will not come out clean), 45–55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pan, 20 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cake to loosen and invert onto rack; let cool completely. 

For the frosting and assembly
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar, lemon zest, and salt and scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; discard pod. Beat on low speed until mixture is very light and thickened, about 2 minutes; scrape down sides of bowl. With motor running, add coconut cream by the tablespoonful and beat until very soft peaks form (save coconut milk for another use). Make sure to monitor the consistency and only use as much of the coconut cream as you need.

Pile frosting on top of cake and spread to edges (it’s okay if it cascades over the sides). Decorate with bee pollen, fennel fronds, flowers, and berries, if desired.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Délices des mers

La recette suivante est dans ma famille depuis ma naissance, probablement (à confirmer avec ma mère). Je me souviens en avoir mangé beaucoup quand j’étais petite! Je me suis rendu compte qu’elle n’était pas encore sur mon blogue, alors la voici. Ma mère m’a dit qu’à l’origine, c’était une recette de Louise Lambert-Lagacé, qu’on a adaptée un peu (ma mère a diminué la température de cuisson, et moi, j’ai ajouté un œuf). Je vous confirme que c’est un très bon moyen de faire manger du thon aux enfants! La recette donne 4 petites portions; vous pouvez servir le plat avec une sauce au yogourt et aux concombres ou encore avec une salade verte.

1 boîte (6 oz.) de thon en conserve
2 œufs battus
¼ tasse de lait sans lactose
1 c. à soupe d’huile végétale
¼ tasse d’oignon haché (des fois, je prends une échalote ou un oignon vert)
1 c. à soupe de persil finement haché
¼ c. à thé de basilic séché (j’aime également le basilic frais)

Préchauffer le four à 350 °F. Beurrer 4 ramequins.

Mélanger ensemble les œufs, le lait, l’huile, l’oignon, le persil et le basilic.

Avec une fourchette, défaire le thon en flocons et l’incorporer au premier mélange. Verser dans les ramequins.

Cuire au four environ 25 minutes.

Peanut Butter, Bacon and Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is from Joy the Baker. I originally made it because it combines three things that I like, but I was a bit disappointed by the result. I wonder if it’s because I didn’t grow up with peanut butter cookies, so I’m not as big a fan as I would be otherwise – and I think I especially don’t care for the flour-free ones that so many people seem to make… In any event, my favorite cookies have had flour in them. I loved the bacon part, and the chocolate went well with it, but I think maybe a sugar cookie base would have been better than the peanut butter (I’m keeping that in mind for next time). The Engineer, however, loved these because he felt like he didn’t have to choose what he wanted; he could have it all.

The recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Note that you can cook the bacon in the oven if you wish (about 15 minutes at 375 °F should do the trick).

1 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. baking soda
about 6 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and coarsely chopped
1 large handful dark chocolate pieces (I used chocolate chips)
granulated sugar, for coating cookies (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined. Add egg and baking soda and mix until well combined. Fold in cooked bacon and chocolate pieces.

Roll into large walnut-sized balls and, if you’d like, roll the dough balls in granulated sugar before placing on the cookie sheet and creating a crisscross pattern with a fork.

Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a baking sheet for five minutes before eating.

Poulet moutarde et érable

J’ai ressorti un dossier que j’avais déchiré dans un Coup de Pouce il y a quatre ans, sur des repas approuvés par les enfants. Je n’essaierai pas toutes les recettes, mais celle-ci, j’ai trouvée qu’elle valait la peine d’être partagée. Il s’agissait à l’origine de pilons de poulet à l’érable et à la moutarde, mais j’ai décidé que les hauts de cuisse, ça nous convenait mieux. Il y avait aussi une sauce d’accompagnement à base de crème sure et de mayonnaise, mais je ne l’ai pas aimée, alors je l’ai effacée ci-dessous – la prochaine fois, soit je me passe de sauce, soit j’en fait une à base de yogourt, vu que mon fils *adore* le concept de « sauce » pour y tremper sa nourriture. Nous avons beaucoup aimé le poulet tous les trois, par contre! J’ai servi ça avec une salade verte (sauce verte crémeuse que j’ai trouvée ben moyenne finalement) et des patates rôties.

1/3 tasse de sirop d’érable
¼ tasse de moutarde de Dijon
¼ tasse de moutarde à l’ancienne
2 c. à soupe de vinaigre de cidre
2 c. à soupe d’huile végétale
2 gousses d’ail, hachées finement
3 lb. (1,5 kg.) de pilons de poulet, la peau et le gras enlevés (ou des hauts de cuisse)
sel et poivre noir du moulin

Dans un bol, mélanger le sirop d’érable, les moutardes, le vinaigre de cidre, l’huile et l’ail. Saler et poivrer. Ajouter les pilons de poulet et les retourner pour bien les enrober. Couvrir et laisser mariner au réfrigérateur au moins 4 heures ou jusqu’au lendemain.

Préchauffer le four à 400 °F. Retirer les pilons de la marinade (réserver la marinade) et les étendre côte à côte sur une plaque de cuisson tapissée de papier d’aluminium. Cuire 20 minutes, puis retourner les morceaux de poulet et les badigeonner de la marinade réservée. Cuire de 10 à 20 minutes de plus ou jusqu’à ce que le poulet soit caramélisé et qu’il ait perdu sa teinte rosée à l’intérieur (j’utilise un thermomètre pour m’assurer que la température a atteint les 165 °F).

Parsnip Muffins

I had a few breakfast flops lately using recipes that seemed like sure-fire hits. A chocolate breakfast pudding that ended up being totally unappetizing. Sweet potato and almond butter muffins that should have been moist and almost custard-like, but that came out more like dry, dense pucks. Bacon blueberry waffles that sounded fantastic, but that completely fell apart in my waffle iron (granted, they would probably work better in a Belgian-style waffle iron, which is not what I have, and the batter needs to be pretty consistent and cooked at high heat to be crisp, but that was a fail for me). Quinoa banana pancakes that had a bit too much baking powder and that fell apart as I flipped them – I’d make them smaller next time. (I did get to try birch syrup with them, though I wasn’t crazy about it. I’m not sure how authentic mine’s flavor was, because it was mixed with cane sugar, but it had a strong taste that reminded me of sorghum syrup; if you’ve never had it, it’s a bit milder than molasses.) Anyway, I try to make breakfast once or twice a week, but lately, I hadn’t been thrilled.

Then I remembered the Weelicious cookbook in which I had things bookmarked, and I decided to make parsnip muffins (and later found the recipe online here). You know how we make carrot cake without blinking an eye, yet rarely do the same with other root vegetables? Well, let me introduce you to parsnip muffins. I used 1 ½ cups of white whole wheat flour instead of the all-purpose and whole wheat, and it was really good. I have to admit that I found the cream cheese center a bit off-putting, so I’d consider omitting it or using it as frosting (if one can frost a muffin and still call it a muffin, that is). The recipe makes a dozen, and they actually freeze pretty well, though they have to be warmed up longer than other muffins to get the chill off the center.

For the muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
3 large eggs
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup lactose-free plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 parsnips, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)

For the cream cheese filling
8 oz.-package lactose-free cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Grease a standard muffin tin.

Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in large bowl. Whisk to combine

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the brown sugar, yogurt, oil and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Stir the grated parsnips into flour mixture to coat.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined

To make the cream cheese filling, place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth (a few lumps are okay).

Fill each muffin tin one third of the way with batter, top with 1 tablespoon of the filling, then drop another tablespoon of muffin batter on top, and finally, top with additional tablespoon of the cream cheese filling.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden.

Cool and serve. Because these muffins contain cream cheese, they’ll keep for a day at room temperature, covered, or for up to 4 days in the fridge.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Beef, Bacon and Egg Burgers

I’ve been making burgers lately as I’ve been weeding out recipes from the pile of torn-out magazine pages in my kitchen. Real Simple published a half-dozen burger recipes in June 2013, and as I looked them over, I decided I had to make this one now. The original ingredients called for English muffins as buns, but we found those to be ill-advised, as they crumbled apart under the weight of the contents of the burgers. I’d recommend regular buns, so that’s what I’m writing below. Also, I’d make the beef patties a bit wider and flatter next time. An egg on a burger is always a bit decadent, and the tomato is a good addition, but what really made this burger for me was the bacon mixed into the beef patty. In fact, I’m considering making this my standard burger from now on! Note that it’s easier to chop the bacon if you put it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes beforehand. I made these on the stovetop instead of the grill.

2 tsp. vegetable oil, plus more for the grate of the grill
1 ¼ lbs. ground beef chuck
4 slices bacon, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
4 burger buns
4 large eggs
1 large tomato, sliced

Heat grill to medium-high. Once it is hot, clean the grill grate with a wire brush. Just before grilling, oil the grill grate.

Gently mix together the beef, bacon, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper with your hands in a medium bowl until just combined. Form the beef mixture into four ¾-inch-thick patties. Use your fingers to make a shallow well in the top of each patty (this will prevent overplumping during cooking).

Grill the burgers until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 160 ° F. Grill the buns, split-side down, until toasted, 10 to 20 seconds.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet and cook, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes for slightly runny yolks (I used pasteurized egg for this). Season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Stack the tomato, burgers, and eggs between the buns and enjoy.