Friday, May 27, 2016

Batch of links - Food waste

- Here are some statistics about food waste in America. Did you know that a whopping 40% of food produced is then wasted?

- Here’s a depressing short film about the sad life of a strawberry, from

- Roughly 26% of produce is wasted before it even hits store shelves because it is deemed “ugly”. I think it would make more sense for grocers to sell it at a discount or donate it, assuming consumers won’t buy it as is. That being said, there’s actually evidence that ugly produce may be more nutritious.

- A college student has created an app that helps prevent food waste by connecting donors with people and organizations in need. In its first year, it saved 4,000 pounds of food from being wasted. Pretty impressive!

- In New York City, there’s a program called Rescuing Leftover Cuisine that matches restaurants with charities to prevent food waste. According to that article, a staggering 40% of food in the U.S. goes to waste each year. (Also, many restaurant owners are not aware of legislation in place that protects food donors from legal liability, except in cases of gross negligence; once they know about it, they are much more likely to give their unwanted leftovers to charitable organizations.)

- Suzy DeYoung has started La Soupe in Cincinnati, where she and her staff collect unsellable produce and make it into soup to feed the food-insecure.

- The town of Galdakao, in Spain, has a Solidarity Fridge where people can leave extra food and others can take what they need. There are rules (like anything homemade must be labeled with a date and thrown out after four days; no raw meat, fish or eggs) and volunteers clean the fridge as needed. It is such a success that other towns are following suit.

- Food waste is driving climate change.

- John Oliver had a great in-depth piece about food waste, including causes and possible solutions.

- France passed a law last year stating that supermarkets must donate unsold (but still edible) food to charities instead of throwing it away or destroying it. It also introduces a food waste program in schools and businesses to help curb waste in places other than supermarkets. Some critics of the law say that the real problem is overproduction, but I still think this is an awesome development.

- Dan Barber wants you to eat smarter, waste less. This article also talks about the honeynut squash, which is basically like a butternut, but with twice the flavor at half the size. You see, when farmers are asked to develop new types of vegetables, they are usually asked to make them contain more water, which makes them bigger and heavier (and therefore maximize profits, as produce is sold by weight and water is cheap). But this makes the vegetables bland. Dan Barber asked a farmer to develop a squash that would taste really good, and the farmer said it was the first time anyone had asked him to use taste as a criterion! I’d love to get my hands on one of those honeynut squashes…

- Finally, here are some tips to cut down on food waste in our households. Personally, I’m pretty good at not wasting ingredients – meaning that I plan a weekly menu that will use up ingredients I already have before they go bad, and we rarely deviate from the grocery list. However, I do throw out some prepared food now, mainly if the Little Prince doesn’t finish his plate. (I used to eat it so that it wasn’t wasted, but I ended up eating more than I needed and put on weight, so the best solution for me at this point is throwing out food that won’t be eaten. I wish we had a solidarity fridge in the neighborhood!)

Grapefruit-Poppy Seed Loaf Cake with Yogurt Glaze

This recipe is from Bon Appétit. I made it for breakfast, though it would be a good snacking cake as well. The cake stays moist at room temperature for several days, thanks to the vegetable oil. We all liked it, including the Engineer (who doesn’t normally like grapefruit, but it was subdued enough here that he found it pleasant). The glaze is optional, but recommended.

1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
1 Tbsp. finely grated grapefruit zest
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup plus 1 Tbsp. plain Greek yogurt, divided
8 Tbsp. fresh grapefruit juice, divided
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds, plus more for sprinkling
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line an 8½x4½" loaf pan, preferably metal, with parchment paper, leaving overhang on the long sides, and lightly coat with nonstick spray.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and ¾ tsp. salt in a medium bowl. 

Using your fingers, work grapefruit zest into granulated sugar in a large bowl until sugar starts to clump and mixture is very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add eggs, oil, and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until light and thick, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low and mix in half of dry ingredients, then mix in ¾ cup yogurt. Mix in remaining dry ingredients followed by 5 Tbsp. grapefruit juice and 1 Tbsp. poppy seeds. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. 

Bake cake until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack. Poke holes in top of cake and brush remaining 3 Tbsp. grapefruit juice over top. Let sit 15 minutes, then run a knife around sides to loosen and use parchment paper to lift cake out of pan and onto rack. Remove parchment and let cool completely.

Whisk powdered sugar, remaining 1 Tbsp. yogurt, 1 tsp. water, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl until smooth and drizzle over cake. Sprinkle with poppy seeds and let sit until glaze is set, about 30 minutes. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Crêpes au chou frisé et au sirop d'érable

Je sais, je viens de vous faire un billet avec des crêpes… Enfin, ça, c’était des « pancakes » américaines, tandis que celles-ci sont vraiment plus de type « crêpes minces »! J’ai fait la recette sur un coup de tête, parce qu’il me restait un peu de chou frisé après avoir fait une salade. Il se trouve que c’est une recette sans gluten; je n’avais que 1 ¼ tasse de farine de quinoa, alors j’ai complété avec de la farine de pois chiches, et c’était délicieux! Le goût du quinoa se marie à merveille avec le sirop d’érable, et c’était juste assez sucré pour rester acceptable comme plat principal. Je n’avais pas de canard effiloché (les élevages de canards sont quand même beaucoup plus courants au Québec qu’au Texas, on s’entend), alors j’ai servi quelques crêpes avec un peu de bacon et une chiffonnade de feuilles de menthe. J’en ai mangé beaucoup nature également (il y avait plus d’une douzaine de crêpes en tout). Il s’agit d’une recette de J’aime l’érable.

1 ½ tasse de lait sans lactose
2 grosses feuilles de chou frisé (kale) sans la tige centrale, hachées
4 œufs
½ tasse de sirop d’érable
2 c. à soupe d’huile d’olive
1 ½ tasse de farine de quinoa
1 pincée de sel

Chauffer le lait dans une casserole à feu moyen. Ajouter le chou frisé, retirer du feu et laisser reposer 1 minute.

Verser le lait et le chou frisé dans le mélangeur électrique, puis ajouter le reste des ingrédients. Mélanger environ 1 minute jusqu’à l’obtention d’une texture lisse.

Badigeonner de beurre ou de margarine une poêle anti- adhésive d’environ 20 cm (8 po). Verser environ ¼ tasse de pâte, l’étendre et faire dorer la crêpe des deux côtés. Transférer dans une assiette et couvrir de papier aluminium pour éviter qu’elle sèche. Répéter avec le reste de la pâte.

Servir ces crêpes garnies de confit de canard effiloché, de laitue émincée, de menthe fraîche et de sauce BBQ maison ou du commerce (ou comme vous voulez).

Monday, May 23, 2016

Vegan Caesar Salad

This take on Caesar salad, which is both vegan and gluten-free, was very good! It was actually impressive how much it tasted like Caesar salad, even without anchovy paste. I omitted capers in my version. You can prepare each of the components ahead of time and refrigerate them separately, except for the chickpea croutons (which should stay on the countertop in an airtight container). The dressing will thicken when chilled, so it’s best to let it come to room temperature before using. This is a good recipe for a light lunch or a side dish; it is from Oh She Glows.

Don’t forget to soak ½ cup cashews overnight beforehand to make the dressing!

For the roasted chickpea croutons
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas (or 1 ½ cups cooked), drained and rinsed
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. fine grain sea salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)

For the Caesar dressing (makes ¾ - 1 cup)

½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
¼ cup water
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 small garlic clove (you can add another if you like it super potent)
½ Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce (GF if necessary)
½ tsp. fine grain sea salt and pepper, or to taste

For the nut and seed “parmesan” cheese
1/3 cup raw cashews
2 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds
1 small garlic clove
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. garlic powder
fine grain sea salt, to taste

For the lettuce

1 small/medium bunch lacinato kale, destemmed (5 cups chopped)
2 small heads romaine lettuce (10 cups chopped)

For the chickpea croutons
Preheat oven to 400 °F. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place chickpeas in a tea towel and rub dry (it's okay if some skins fall off). Place onto large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on oil and roll around to coat. Sprinkle on the garlic powder, salt, and optional cayenne. Toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes, then gently roll the chickpeas around in the baking sheet. Roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden. They will firm up as they cool.

For the dressing
Add the cashews and all other dressing ingredients (except salt) into a high-speed blender, and blend on high until the dressing is super smooth. You can add a splash of water if necessary to get it blending. Add salt to taste and adjust other seasonings, if desired. Set aside.

For the “parmesan” cheese
Put cashews and garlic in a mini food processor and process until finely chopped. Now add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse until the mixture is combined. Salt to taste.

For the lettuce
Destem the kale and then finely chop the leaves. Wash and dry in a salad spinner. Place into an extra large bowl. Chop up the romaine into bite-sized pieces. Rinse and then spin dry. Place into bowl along with kale. You should have roughly 5 cups chopped kale and 10 cups chopped romaine.

For assembly
Add dressing onto lettuce and toss until fully coated. Season with a pinch of salt and mix again. Now sprinkle on the roasted chickpeas and the “parmesan” cheese. Serve immediately.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Batch of links

- BBC Food will close its digital platform, so I checked my bookmarks and printed the recipe I had saved online.

- The 15 most common counterfeit foods – and how to identify them. I must admit I’ve had trouble finding good honey lately…

- An interesting NPR article titled What is “natural” food? A riddle wrapped up in notions of good and evil. The FDA asked for the general public’s help to define the term “natural” so that they could come up with a legal definition for packaging. I’m really curious to see how that turns out! Next up, the FDA want to define “healthy”.

- Why does chocolate cost so much? A good explanation by Bon Appétit.

- Why does spicy food taste hot? A scientific explanation.

- The five rules of Tex-Mex, according to the Homesick Texan.

- What happens when a Japanese woodblock artist depicts life in London in 1866, despite never having set foot there.

- Apparently, Montreal’s Mile End is the coolest neighborhood in the world.

- Also, Town & Country magazine named Montreal as the food capital of North America.

- Public service announcement: Apple Music deletes your personal files from your internal hard drive as part of its NORMAL operation.

- Finally, two links about so-called female empowerment. I hadn’t quite been able to put into words my unease with what passes as female empowerment these days, which really is more about marketing than empowerment. These articles explain it well, though: From shopping to naked selfies: how “empowerment” lost its meaning, and Beyoncé is destroying your daughter, not empowering her.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Part 2 of the breakfast quest

It’s remarkable how similar thoughts I’m having regarding breakfast, as compared to a year ago, when I wrote about a breakfast quest for a good pancake recipe. I had been trying a bunch of non-pancake recipes, some that didn’t work (like this fennel-honey granola, which forced me to admit I just don’t like the texture of granolas that contain peanut butter). Others worked really well, but my blog doesn’t need another recipe for vegan marbled banana bread. Or peanutella, with which I fell in love because it’s so fantastic (just keep it at room temperature), but I forgot all about pictures. And then I remembered that I never got around to testing the pancake recipes that call for whipping egg whites, so I decided to tackle that project. I tested three: recipes by Clayton Miller, Laurent Jeannin, and J. Kenji López-Alt (from Serious Eats). In all cases, the night before, I mixed my dry ingredients and left them on the counter, then mixed the wet ingredients and left them in the fridge overnight next to the egg whites. In the morning, to make pancakes, I whipped the egg whites and mixed everything together. I dislike using my stand mixer before breakfast, but for pancakes, anyone who is still sleeping in should get up on the right side of the bed regardless.

Laurent Jeannin’s pancakes, while pretty, were very dry and not that good. I only got 6 pancakes out of the batch. Perhaps this French chef would be better at crêpes than pancakes? In any event, considering how finicky this recipe is (weighing egg whites and yolks, anyone?), it just wasn’t a winner.

The most interesting recipe was Clayton Miller’s, which is actually for soufflé pancakes. (I heard about it via The Kitchn; their link is broken, but you can also find the recipe on Yahoo.) Each soufflé pancake is first cooked in a pan, then finished off in the oven. Because I have an inquisitive toddler in the way, opening and closing the oven door a few times for each pancake (especially given that I only had one oven-proof pan the right size) was not an option. I did make one as instructed, for scientific purposes, but the rest were made strictly in a pan, the old-fashioned way. I have to admit, though, that the baked soufflé pancake was a thing of beauty. It was certainly one of the best pancakes I’d ever had, and if at all feasible for you, that’s how I recommend making them. The yield is about 6-8 pancakes done the soufflé way, or 24 pancakes cooked stovetop (they freeze well); one soufflé pancake would be enough of a serving for me.

Clayton Miller’s Soufflé Pancakes
5 ½ cups flour (yes, really)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. baking soda
2 cups lactose-free milk
2 ½ cups buttermilk (about 2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice + lactose-free milk)
2 whole eggs
2 eggs yolks
3 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the milk, buttermilk, whole eggs, and egg yolks and whisk together until combined. Slowly stir the wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Do not over mix (this makes the pancakes tough). Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to medium peak then fold gently into the batter. Do not over mix.

Melt a tablespoon of butter in a 6-inch nonstick frying pan on medium. Swirl to coat sides. Butter should be golden and bubbling, but not brown or smoking. Pour one cup of batter into pan. You can add more or less depending on how thick you want the pancake. It will puff up, so don't fill pan more than ¾ of the way up the sides. Cook on the stovetop for one minute then place in the oven for 3 minutes. Flip pancake and place back into oven for about 2 more minutes or until cooked through (mine was still slightly underdone in the center after 2 minutes). Add more butter as necessary to coat pan and repeat. (You can also cook them entirely on the stovetop like regular pancakes, in which case you’d want to use closer to ¼ cup of batter for each pancake. Pictured first is the soufflé pancake, followed by the stovetop version.)

The third recipe I tried, Serious Eats’ Light and Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes, was also a winner. That recipe calls for sour cream, which I’m sure you could replace with Greek yogurt, especially given that you don’t really taste it in the finished product. The original recipe also says it can be replaced with buttermilk. These are easier than the soufflé pancakes, so that may guide your choice on most mornings.

Serious Eats’ Light and Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
For the basic dry pancake mix
10 oz. (about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
For each batch of pancakes
2 large eggs, separated
1 ½ cups buttermilk (1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice + lactose-free milk)
1 cup (about 8 oz.) lactose-free sour cream (see note above)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine, melted

For the dry pancake mix
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until homogenous. Transfer to an airtight container. The mix will stay good for 3 months.

For each batch of pancakes
Place one batch of dry mix in a large bowl.

In a medium clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, buttermilk, and sour cream until homogenous. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter while whisking. Carefully fold in the egg whites with a rubber spatula until just combined. Pour the mixture over the dry mix and fold until just combined (there should still be plenty of lumps).

Heat a large heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes (or use an electric griddle). Add a small amount of butter or oil to the griddle and spread with a paper towel until no visible butter or oil remains. Use a ¼-cup dry measure to place 4 pancakes in the skillet and cook until bubbles start to appear on top and the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip the pancakes and cook on the second side until golden brown and completely set, about 2 minutes longer. Serve the pancakes immediately, or keep warm on a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet in a warm oven while you cook the rest (about 12 in all).

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Biscuits moelleux à l'érable

Cette recette-là, je l’avais découpée dans un dépliant de J’aime l’érable du temps des fêtes. Je l’avais apportée au Canada l’été dernier, parce que certains ingrédients ne sont pas sur le marché local au Texas (les produits de l’érable). Mais il fallait aussi du fromage à la crème sans lactose, qui n’est qu’aux États-Unis… Alors, j’ai rapporté mes produits de l’érable ici et j’ai fait ma recette. Si vous n’avez pas accès au fromage à la crème sans lactose, vous avez deux options : le fromage à la crème avec cultures actives de Liberty (teneur en lactose réduite, mais il me faut quand même des Lactaid); ou du fromage à la crème végétalien. Une fois que j’avais décidé que je faisais ma recette, je n’ai pas trouvé de confiture de canneberges, même après avoir cherché dans plusieurs épiceries. C’est dans une allée de l’épicerie fine que j’ai décidé d’acheter une autre sorte de confiture à la fois sucrée et un peu acide, plutôt que d’essayer de trouver de la confiture de canneberges en ligne; j’ai donc acheté de la confiture de cerises et de framboises. J’avais donc ma tire d’érable, et puis j’ai fait mon propre beurre d’érable avec du sirop rapporté l’été dernier (recette ci-dessous).

Selon la recette d’origine, le rendement est de 18 biscuits assemblés (il s’agit de gâteaux-sandwichs de style « whoopie pie »), donc 36 biscuits cuits en tout, mais je n’en ai eu que 24. Je les ai faits cuire pendant la durée recommandée par la recette, soit 15 minutes, même si en théorie ils étaient un peu plus gros et auraient donc dû cuire plus longtemps. Malheureusement, ils sont sortis du four tout durs, alors que je m’attendais à des biscuits plus mous. De un, ça se mange bien mieux dans un gâteau-sandwich, et de deux, c’est quand même une recette de biscuits moelleux, c’est dans le titre! Je réduis donc le temps de cuisson ci-dessous. Je diminue aussi de moitié la quantité de sucre d’érable et de cannelle (dans lesquels il faut rouler les biscuits avant de les faire cuire), parce qu’il en est resté plus de la moitié et c’est du gaspillage de sucre d’érable (c’est assez cher comme ça, le sucre d’érable). J’ai aussi eu trop de glaçage au fromage à la crème, mais j’en ai utilisé un peu comme glaçage pour des petits gâteaux au chocolat et à la betterave, puisque l’érable et la betterave se marient très bien.

Donc : je ferai les choses différemment la prochaine fois, mais j’ai beaucoup aimé les goûts de ces biscuits-sandwichs, alors je pense que ça vaut la peine de recommencer.

Avec les restes de mon beurre d’érable maison, j’ai fait une autre recette du même dépliant nommée truffes aux amandes et à l’érable, mais je ne l’ai pas aimée, parce que ce ne sont pas des truffes. Une truffe, c’est fait à base de chocolat et ça fond dans la bouche, alors que là, il s’agissait de poudre d’amande mélangée à du beurre d’érable et roulée dans du cacao, donc à mâcher et pas chocolatée… Déception! Mais l’Ingénieur a beaucoup aimé. (Même chose pour ces petites bouchées noix de coco, lime et chocolat – il va falloir que je me résigne, ce n’est pas mon truc, même si ça a l’air bon.)

Pour le beurre d’érable (recettes-types ici et ici)
2 tasses de sirop d’érable (j’utilise du médium ou ambré)
¼ c. à thé huile de canola (facultatif)
1 pincée de sel (facultatif)

Dans une casserole profonde, faire bouillir le sirop d’érable (avec l’huile et le sel) jusqu’à ce que la température atteigne 235 °F.

Transférer immédiatement le sirop dans le bol de votre batteur sur socle, puis mettre le bol dans un bain de glace pour faire refroidir le sirop, sans remuer.

Avec le fouet plat, battre le sirop à vitesse lente jusqu’à ce qu’il devienne opaque, épais et beige pâle. (Cela m’a pris 10 ou 15 minutes, mais il peut falloir plus de temps, voire 30 minutes, surtout si on utilise un mélangeur électrique ou un fouet è la main.)

Transférer le mélange dans un pot en verre et garder au frigo (si le beurre se sépare, le mélanger à la main avant de l’utiliser). Vous obtiendrez environ 1 tasse de beurre d’érable, qui se garde facilement un mois au frigo.

Pour les biscuits
2 tasses de farine tout usage non blanchie
2 c. à thé de poudre à pâte
1 pincée de sel
1 tasse de tire d’érable
½ tasse de beurre ramolli (j’ai pris de la margarine)
1 œuf
1 c. à thé de vanille
¼ tasse de sucre d’érable
1 ½ c. à thé de cannelle

Pour le glaçage au beurre d’érable et la garniture
1 paquet de 250 g de fromage à la crème sans lactose, ramolli
¼ tasse de beurre d’érable
1 pincée de sel fin
1 tasse de confiture de canneberges (½ tasse suffisait pour moi)

Pour les biscuits
Préchauffer le four à 350 °F. Tapisser une tôle à biscuits de papier parchemin.

Tamiser ensemble les ingrédients secs et réserver.

À l’aide d’un batteur électrique, défaire en crème la tire d’érable et le beurre. Ajouter l’œuf et la vanille, puis battre encore 2 min. Ajouter les ingrédients secs et incorporer à la spatule. Réserver.

Dans un bol, mélanger le sucre d’érable avec la cannelle, puis réserver.

Former de petites boules de pâte d’environ 4 cm (1 ½ po). Les rouler dans le mélange de sucre d’érable et de cannelle. Disposer sur la tôle à biscuits et cuire au four pendant 10 min (15 minutes, c’était beaucoup trop). Laisser refroidir sur une grille.

Pour le glaçage et la garniture
À l’aide d’un batteur électrique, défaire en crème le fromage à la crème, le beurre d’érable et le sel.

Tartiner la moitié des biscuits refroidis de confiture de canneberges et l’autre moitié de crème au beurre d’érable. Coller les biscuits ensemble.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Trempette chaude au fromage et aux épinards

Apparemment que c’est mon 1500e billet. Le 1400e date du mois d’octobre passé. J’ai l’impression qu’il doit y avoir une erreur de calcul là-dedans, mais je ne vais pas me mettre à douter des algorithmes de Google, quand même… Alors bon, il faut une bonne recette pour fêter ça!

Cette recette de Coup de Pouce est tout simplement géniale. En fait, quand on y goûte, ça crée une dépendance et c’est très difficile d’arrêter d’en manger! C’est vraiment excellent, comme au restaurant. J’ai par contre trouvé qu’il y avait un peu trop de fromage sur le dessus, alors je change les proportions ci-dessous pour en mettre davantage dans la trempette elle-même. On a servi ça avec des craquelins aux fines herbes, avec des craquelins nature, avec des bâtonnets de pain… Gâtez-vous!

6 tasses de jeunes feuilles d'épinard
1 tasse de fromage suisse sans lactose râpé
3 c. à soupe de parmesan râpé
½ paquet (soit 4 oz.) de fromage à la crème sans lactose ramolli
½ tasse de mayonnaise
½ tasse de crème sure sans lactose
1 gousse d'ail hachée finement ou râpée
sel et poivre, au goût

Dans une casserole d'eau bouillante salée, cuire les épinards 1 minute ou jusqu'à ce qu'ils aient ramolli. Bien égoutter. Laisser refroidir, puis couper en morceaux.

Dans un bol, mélanger le fromage suisse et le parmesan. Réserver.

Au robot culinaire, réduire les épinards, le fromage à la crème, la mayonnaise, la crème sure et l'ail en une préparation lisse. Saler et poivrer. Incorporer ½ tasse de la préparation de fromages râpés réservée. Verser le mélange dans un plat allant au four d'une capacité de 2 tasses. Parsemer du reste du mélange de fromages râpés. (La trempette se conservera jusqu'au lendemain au réfrigérateur. Ajouter alors 10 minutes au temps de cuisson.)

Cuire au four préchauffé à 400 °F pendant 20 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que le fromage soit doré et que la préparation soit bouillonnante. Servir chaud ou tiède.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Chocolate Cupcakes with Beet and Kale

I made these chocolate cupcakes with beet and kale a long time ago – according to my picture files, it was Valentine’s Day. The reason I didn’t post about them is because I made them with a tofu frosting. There are many recipes out there, but the one I was trying out was a silken tofu whipped topping, and I ended up making it three different times because it kept failing and I wanted to get it right. And this was more complicated than it sounds. The first time, I made it with leftover soft tofu that I was trying to use up (which I thought worked out well, since I was making these cupcakes to use up leftover kale in the first place). The result was basically liquid, though, and the recipe does call for extra-firm tofu. So I tried it again with extra-firm tofu, but it was an abject failure as well. Then, looking at the name of the recipe, I figured I needed to buy extra-firm silken tofu – it can be hard to find in stores, but it’s easy to buy online, and since the packaging is shelf-stable, it’s pretty much indestructible. But it was still a failure, so at that point, just forget it – three strikes and you’re out. As you can see from the pictures, it was still very liquid (even without adding any soy milk), and it didn’t even taste good.

Back to the cupcakes themselves. The yield was supposed to be 16 cupcakes, but I got a whopping 30 cupcakes, which I actually had to bake longer than what the recipe said. The most obvious explanation is that I had too much beet purée. The recipe only called for “2 medium beets”, without giving a weight, so that’s the kind of thing that was bound to happen! That being said, even though I could taste the beets, it really wasn’t an unpleasant taste, especially with the chocolate. I couldn’t taste the kale at all. The cupcakes had a nice dome when they came out of the oven, but then they deflated and were very moist and not too sweet. So I actually like these cupcakes, even though they didn’t come out as expected! I liked them plain and I’d consider a vanilla buttercream-type of frosting. They keep well in the freezer.

2 medium beets, greens and stems removed (see note above)
¼ cup water
1 cup cooked kale (I admit I had a bit less)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
1 pinch of salt
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups skim milk (I used almond milk)
your choice of frosting (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Place beets in a baking dish and roast for an hour, or until you can pierce with a knife of fork. Reduce heat in oven to 350 °F. Line a muffin tin with liners or grease with nonstick cooking spray (see note above – I used 2 standard muffin pans, which I had to switch out halfway through baking, and I made 4 more cupcakes after that).

Once beets have slightly cooled, peel the skins off. Cut into chunks and place in a blender or food processor. Add water and kale and blend until fully pureéd. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the applesauce, sugar and honey together until mixed. Add eggs and vanilla and beat. Once mixed, add the beet and kale purée and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.

Add ½ of the dry mixture to the beet mixture and stir to mix. Add 1 cup of milk and mix. Add ¼ more dry mixture and stir. Add remaining milk and mix. Add the remaining dry mixture and stir to combine, careful not to overmix.

Fill the muffin cavities about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full with batter. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (it took over 20 minutes for me). Let cool completely. Once cooled, frost with your favorite frosting and garnish with chocolate shavings, if desired.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mexican Rice

I doubt this recipe is authentic Mexican cuisine, but it’s what is served in restaurants as Mexican rice, and we really like it. As a matter of fact, the first time the Little Prince decided he likes rice, it was when he tasted a dish like this. It worked again this time, he liked it! And so did we. I served it with meatballs with quinoa.

1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt (or less, if your stock is salted)
½ tsp. ground cumin
1/3 cup neutral cooking oil, such as canola or safflower (or rendered lard)
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 to 2 chile peppers, such as jalapeño or serrano, seeded and minced (I omitted that)
4 to 5 garlic cloves, pressed
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
juice from 2 limes, plus additional wedges for serving

Place the tomatoes and onion in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Transfer 2 cups of the tomato mixture to a medium saucepan. Stir in the chicken stock, salt, and cumin and bring liquid to a boil over medium heat. (Reserve excess for another use, like tomato sauce.)

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. When the oil is sizzling, add the rice and sauté, stirring frequently until lightly toasted and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the jalapeños (if using) and cook until they have softened, about 2 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Pour the boiling tomato mixture over the rice and stir to combine. Turn heat to low and cook, covered, until liquid has evaporated and rice is done, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and gently stir the rice. Re-cover the pot and allow to rest undisturbed for an additional 10 minutes. Add cilantro and lime juice; fluff gently with a fork. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Serve with additional lime wedges.

Boulettes de viande au quinoa

J’ai essayé deux recettes de Coup de Pouce pendant deux semaines consécutives. La première, c’était leur recette de pizza à croûte de chou-fleur, publiée dans le dossier spécial « Révolution chou-fleur » de novembre 2015. (Soit dit en passant, les recettes de ce dossier ne sont pas en ligne, comme en témoigne l’index des recettes de 2015. Si quelqu’un pouvait m’expliquer la logique d’un magazine qui ne met pas ses articles en ligne, surtout ceux d’un dossier spécial, j’en serais bien reconnaissante. À moins que ce ne soit parce qu’ils ont acheté les recettes au lieu de les concevoir eux-mêmes, comme c’est le cas de certaines recettes du numéro de mai que j’avais vues dans une publication américaine plus tôt, et que ces droits d’impression ne s’étendent pas au web?) J’étais curieuse, parce que je vois partout de telles recettes, mais ça a été un fiasco. Enfin, c’était très bon au goût, mais la texture était kaput – la croûte était molle et se défaisait, même si je l’avais fait cuire plus longtemps qu’il le fallait justement pour qu’elle s’assèche davantage… Dommage.

La deuxième recette, je l’ai modifiée parce que je ne mange pas de veau. C’était à l’origine une recette de boulettes de veau au quinoa, mais j’ai pris un mélange de bœuf et de dinde. En fait, puisque la viande hachée se vend par paquet de 1 livre, j’ai doublé la recette et j’en ai mis la moitié à congeler. C’était très bon! J’ai servi ça avec un riz mexicain.

½ tasse de quinoa rincé et égoutté
1 lb. (500 g.) de veau haché maigre (ou un mélange de bœuf et de dinde)
2 oignons verts hachés finement
2 œufs légèrement battus
½ c. à thé de cumin
½ c. à thé de paprika
¼ c. à thé de piment de cayenne (j’ai pris du piment coréen)
¼ tasse de persil frais, haché
sel et poivre du moulin

Dans une casserole, porter le quinoa et 1 tasse d'eau à ébullition. Baisser le feu, couvrir et laisser mijoter de 12 à 15 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que l'eau soit absorbée et que le quinoa soit légèrement translucide. Laisser refroidir.

Préchauffer le four à 400 °F. Recouvrir une plaque à biscuits de papier parchemin ou de papier aluminium huilé.

Dans un grand bol, mélanger le veau, les oignons verts, les œufs, le cumin, le paprika, le piment de cayenne, le persil et le quinoa refroidi. Saler et poivrer et mélanger. Avec les mains mouillées, façonner la préparation en 48 boulettes, environ 1 c. à soupe à la fois (j’en ai eu 40).

Mettre les boulettes sur la plaque et cuire de 15 à 20 minutes ou jusqu'à ce qu'elles aient perdu leur teinte rosée à l'intérieur. Laisser refroidir 5 minutes.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Batch of links

- I just finished reading Julia Child (and Alex Prud’homme)’s My Life in France, and It is excellent. As it turns out, her old Provence residence, La Pitchoune, can be rented on Airbnb.

- Allrecipes reveals the enormous gap between foodie culture and what America is actually cooking.

- I haven’t seen rhubarb in stores yet, even though it’s already May. As it turns out, farmers in Ontario and Quebec grow forced rhubarb as early as February, and it looks even more delicious than the regular one!

- Here’s a job I didn’t know existed, but I already like: pie consultant!

- It turns out that bleached cake flour really should get a place in my pantry. But only for angel food cake – for the rest, I’m sticking to my white whole wheat flour!

- According to Paula Forbes on Epicurious, Texas’ HEB is the best grocery store chain in America. That’s where we usually shop, and it’s nice and all, but I wouldn’t call it the best in the country. Even though I’ve never set foot in a Wegmans, I’m more inclined to agree with the Micheline Maynard article, also on Epicurious, proclaiming Wegmans as the best chain. I’ll see if I can stop at one on our annual road trip this summer…

- There’s this great Kickstarter project called Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, which has stories about 100 real-life women who broke the rules, “from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams.” Personally, I think this book isn’t just for girls, because it’s important for boys to identify with female protagonists as well. The project is fully funded already (it only took 30 hours), but it’s unclear whether there will be print copies available after the campaign…

- How have I not shared this link yet? Bask in the brilliance of the Nine Inch Nails parody “This Is a Trent Reznor Song". It’s funny because it is so spot-on!

- Medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the US, behind only heart disease and cancer. Flabbergasting!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Baked Avocado Fries

I had seen several recipes for avocado fries, like here and here. They looked delicious, but I have this rule that I just don’t deep-fry things at home (*way* too afraid of burning down the house). But, as with all fries, there was a baked version. Since I was looking for a side dish to go with some meatballs I had in the freezer, this seemed perfect. As it turns out, these were really good! The Little Prince had a few bites, then remembered he doesn’t always like avocado; I really liked them, especially sprinkled with parmesan. These actually keep pretty well, meaning the avocado won’t brown if they’re in the fridge overnight, but of course then they won’t be as crisp as they were fresh out of the oven. Keep in mind that this is much easier with firm avocados, as the slices won’t fall apart when you manipulate them.

¼ cup flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 ¼ cups panko
2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced into ½” wedges
grated parmesan, for serving (optional, but recommended)

Preheat oven to 450 °F. Spray a cooling rack with olive oil, then set it on a cookie sheet.

Coat avocado slices in the flour, then egg, then panko. Place the slices on the prepared rack, then spray the top of the slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

Sprinkle with parmesan and serve warm.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Savory Vegetable Pancakes

These savory pancakes were really great for lunch! I often wonder what to make for lunch, because I want it to be relatively healthy, but also relatively easy, as I used to be more of a cobble-the-lunch-together kind of person while making more elaborate dinners – I don’t have as much latitude with the Little Prince, though. Anyway, these pancakes are full of vegetables, and they allow you to use whatever is left in your crisper drawer, so win-win! You’ll have enough for more than one meal, and leftover pancakes are freezable, too.

2 ½ cups flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs
2 ¼ cups buttermilk (lactose-free milk with maybe 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice)
10 Tbsp. margarine, melted and cooled
1 large zucchini
8 medium carrots, peeled
1 bunch green onions
3 cloves garlic
½ bunch fresh parsley

Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk the eggs and buttermilk. Add the melted, cooled margarine and whisk until well combined.

Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until barely combined. Set aside while you continue with the recipe.

Grate the zucchini and carrots using the large holes on a box grater or using a food processor. Thinly slice the green onions, mince the garlic, and roughly chop parsley. Fold the vegetables into the prepared pancakes batter.

Warm a skillet over medium-high heat and brush it gently with olive oil. Use a 1/3 measuring cup to scoop the batter onto the warmed skillet. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the outer edges have set, then flip. Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes and remove from heat.

Sprinkle the pancakes liberally with salt and allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve with a dollop of lactose-free sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Rose Mini Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

My rosebush has started to bloom again (although I hacked it back aggressively last weekend – I should have done so in February, but never found the time). So when I came across this rose cake recipe, I felt inspired. Technically speaking, though, you only “need” roses to decorate, and even that is optional; as long as you have rose water, you’re good to go (I always have some in my pantry because it keeps indefinitely). I think this would be great with crystalized flowers, too.

The cake itself was a little wet for my taste, though, so maybe I’d just use a standard recipe and substitute rose water for some of the liquid, although it can be hard to scale down recipes for a 6-inch pan. I didn’t slice the cake in half because it just hadn’t risen enough. I wonder if it’s something I’m doing, because this seems to be a recurring problem for me, even in different cities/kitchens/climates. It’s not that the cake rises unevenly, or that it doesn’t rise at all, just that it doesn’t rise enough for me to be able to slice it in half and not have it tear or crumble on me. Perhaps things would be different if I used butter instead of margarine, but that would be playing with fire in my case…

For me, the frosting was the best part of this. I imagine you could easily double or triple the amount to frost a regular-sized cake or cupcakes!

For the cake
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine, softened
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. rose water
1 large egg
¾ cup flour
1/8 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ cup buttermilk (lactose-free milk with a splash of lemon juice)

For the buttercream
1 stick unsalted margarine, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ Tbsp. rose water
2 oz. white chocolate, chopped
rose buds, dried or fresh, for garnish (optional)

For the cake
Preheat the oven to 350 °F and grease a 6” round cake pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, beat together with an electric mixer the butter, sugar, and rose water. Beat very well, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the egg and beat until well combined, about 15 seconds.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add half of this to the batter and beat lightly. Stir in half of the buttermilk and continue beating. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat, then stir in the remaining buttermilk.

Scrap the batter into the pan, smoothing the top and bake on a small sheet pan for 37-39 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack in the pan. Carefully remove the cake from the pan once it has cooled and set aside.

For the buttercream
In a medium bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and rose water and beat until combined.

Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a bowl in the microwave at 50% power for 30-second intervals. Stir between each interval. (You can also do this with a double boiler.)

Stream the slightly-cooled white chocolate into the buttercream, and beat to combine.

Slice the cake in half evenly to make 2 layers (see note above).

To frost the cake, layer slightly more than half of the buttercream on top of 1 half of the cake. Gently place the second layer on top. Frost the top as you wish. (For example, use a piping bag to make dollops of frosting all around the edges, then use a spatula to press the dollop down and towards the middle of the cake. Or just frost it with a knife.) Decorate the cake with rose buds and serve.