Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Chocolate, Raspberry, and Almond Rugelach

I had always felt iffy about my rugelach because it seemed like the consistency was never right. Granted, I didn’t grow up with them and don’t actually have anything to compare them to, but the dough always seemed too thin, like it spread out too much (even when I was using butter instead of margarine), and the fruit filling would ooze out during baking. The ones I made with this Real Simple recipe, though, were much better than any I’d made before. I did use margarine instead of butter, because I still haven’t been able to get my hands on Green Valley Organics’ lactose-free butter. The dough *was* thin, but I’m now starting to think it’s supposed to be, because my rugelach looked pretty much like those in the picture. Plus, here the jam is cooked down a bit before becoming filling, which prevents it from oozing out when the rugelach are baking. And these cookies combine fruit, nuts and chocolate, so you don’t have to choose which filling you’ll make! This will be my go-to recipe from now on.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
6 oz. lactose-free cream cheese, softened
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 cup seedless raspberry jam (ideally not sugar-free)
⅓ cup roasted salted almonds
⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 large egg
1 tsp water

Beat the butter, cream cheese, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour. Beat until the dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 3 portions and shape each into a disk. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.

Meanwhile, bring the jam to a gentle boil in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring often, until the mixture reduces by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper (I was able to fit everything onto 2 baking sheets, and I used silpats).

Pulse the almonds and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in a food processor until coarsely chopped, 5 or 6 times. Add the chocolate chips and process until the mixture is finely ground, about 30 seconds.

Roll 1 disk of the dough into a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Spread ¼ cup of the jam over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle ¼ cup of the almond mixture over the jam. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the circle into 12 wedges, like a pizza. Starting at the wide end, roll up the triangles and transfer, seam-side down, to the baking sheets. Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl. Lightly brush the cookies with the egg wash. Repeat with the remaining disks of dough.

Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until browned and crisp, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Herb-and-Garlic-Crusted Pork Roast

This pork roast is from the same promotional magazine as the chicken and sausage white bean pot.

I served it alongside broccoli Veggie Tots, which I was curious about – they’re okay, but not great. The pork though, was delicious – the Engineer called it exceptionally good.

I forgot I had to marinate the pork loin overnight, so I skipped that step, but it turns out that it isn’t necessary if you can’t find a “natural pork roast” (whatever that means), according to Better Homes and Gardens. Mine turned out fine. For the fresh breadcrumbs, I was lucky enough to have some left in the freezer from a previous recipe, but to make your own, just pulse the soft part of the bread in the food processor until it is reduced to crumbs, then let stale overnight (or bake for 10 minutes in a 300 °F-oven, stirring once or twice). If you’re not going to make your own, I would recommend panko over traditional bread crumbs.

Note that I used the leftover processed bacon in this recipe.

8 cups cold water
½ cup kosher salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1 center cut, boneless pork loin, approximately 3 to 3½ lbs.
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 slices thick-sliced bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces (uncooked; see note below and above)
1 Tbsp. apricot preserves
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh garlic
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

For brine, in a very large bowl dissolve salt and sugar in 8 cups cold water. Transfer pork to brine, making sure to submerge it fully. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 2 days.

Remove loin from brine and blot dry with paper towels. In a nonstick skillet heat oil, then brown roast on all sides, about 10 minutes. Set aside for 5 to 30 minutes to cool slightly.

In a food processor, purée uncooked bacon to a smooth paste. (This amount of bacon is necessary for blades to process. Use the remaining puree to make appetizers: spread on baguette slices then broil until golden, for example.) Transfer half the bacon to a bowl. Stir in apricot preserves, chopped garlic, and 2 teaspoons of the chopped rosemary.

Position oven rack in lowest position. Preheat oven to 425 °F. Place cooled pork loin on waxed paper. Spread with bacon mixture. In a separate bowl combine the bread crumbs, parsley, remaining rosemary, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and the melted butter. Toss well to mix. Press an even layer of the crumb mixture on the roast (except the ends), applying enough pressure for the crumbs to adhere to the bacon layer.

Transfer roast to a wire rack in a foil lined baking pan or roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 °F. Roast for 45 minutes more or until an instant read thermometer registers 145 °F. (If crust begins to brown too deeply, tent roast with foil.) Remove roast from oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 15 minutes in a warm place (or not). Temperature of roast will rise approximately 10 °F as it stands.

Chicken and Sausage White Bean Pot

This is another recipe that I got in a promo magazine last fall, I forget which one. I found it online in Better Homes and Gardens, though, so they must be using the same source… In any event, this dish is easy to make, and most of the prep time is actually hands-off. I made this when picking up my parents from the airport – I prepped in advance, then just threw the pot in the oven when we got back, and we had an easy dinner plus leftovers. Note that I adapted the recipe a bit to use canned beans, but if you want to use dried beans, it’ll obviously take longer. Also, I removed the chicken from the pot before serving and cut it into bite-sized pieces; you could use boneless, skinless chicken, but then it should probably be stirred into the mixture instead of being left on top to brown. Everyone here liked it, even the Little Prince (as long as there are sausages, he’s happy). I recommend serving this with crusty bread, to soak up the sauce.

Note that for the bacon, 2 ounces were chopped in the food processor and were left over from making this recipe.

6 oz. thick-sliced bacon or pancetta, chopped
12 oz. Andouille sausage
2 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs and/or drumsticks (about 6)
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
2 large onions, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
3 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped (1 ½ cups)
3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped (1 ½ cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
8 sprigs fresh Italian parsley and/or thyme
2 bay leaves
4 15-oz. cans of white beans
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
Italian parsley. For garnish (optional)

Cook bacon or pancetta in an 8-quart Dutch oven over medium heat for 8 minutes or until crisp. Remove to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Add whole sausage to Dutch oven; cook for 6 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally. Add to bowl with bacon. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper. Add to Dutch oven; cook for 8 minutes over medium-high heat until well-browned, turning occasionally. Remove to bowl with bacon and sausage; set aside in refrigerator. Drain all but 1 tablespoon drippings from the Dutch oven.

Add onions, carrots, and celery to Dutch oven and cook for 8 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in broth, tomato paste, parsley sprigs, and bay leaves. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the oven warms up in the next step.

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Cut cooked sausage into 1-inch pieces. Stir sausage, bacon, and beans into Dutch oven. Place chicken on top so the skin is exposed. Transfer to oven and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.

In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and butter. Scatter bread crumbs on top of bean mixture and bake for 20 minutes more or until crumbs are golden. Remove bay leaves and herb sprigs before serving. Garnish with parsley.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chocolate Bundt Cake

I had tried a gluten-free chocolate bundt cake made with quinoa a while back, but I hadn’t had much success with it. It called for the batter to be mixed in a blender, and while I did get an even consistency with the cooked quinoa, my batter never got “fluffy” and my cake turned out differently than the one in the original blog post. So I ended up not posting about it. Plus then there were coconut milk brownies that had textural issues and were way too sweet for my taste (which is saying a lot). And I tried another flourless chocolate cake, this one with whipped egg whites, but I don’t think it was any better than my good old free cake. So all this to say that even though I was obviously having chocolate cakes of some kind, I wasn’t really happy with those new recipes.

Then I decided to try Gluten-Free Girl’s bundt cake, which is adapted from Joy the Baker. Obviously, you can make this gluten-free by using a gluten-free flour mix (Shauna James Ahern suggests a mix of teff, sweet rice and potato starch), but since I didn’t want to buy the one more kind of flour I would have needed, I used the equivalent weight of white whole wheat flour. I also replaced some of the oil with applesauce. This cake was delicious, and what’s more, it unmolded beautifully!

350 g. all-purpose gluten-free flour (see note above)
2 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 ¼ tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups lactose-free sour cream (I used a 12-oz. container; you could try Greek yogurt)
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup safflower oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
1 ¼ cups hot coffee (decaf is fine)
1 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease a 10-inch bundt pan and dust it evenly with cocoa.

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

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until well combined. Add the sour cream, applesauce and oil, stirring well. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the coffee and cocoa powder until no lumps remain.

Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (I think I used a wooden spoon here) until they are truly incorporated, without any streaks of flour remaining. Add the coffee-cocoa mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter that is all one color. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 45 to 60 minutes (it was 55 minutes for me, and my oven is usually on the hot side).

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool at least 20 minutes (I always wait more). Carefully invert the pan and tap the bottom – the cake should slide right out. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Gâteau bundt à la banane et à la courge, glaçage érable et cardamome

Apparemment que c’est mon 1600e billet. Pas croyable, hein? Mais bon, pour fêter ça, ça prend un gâteau.

Ce n’est pas le premier gâteau à la courge que je fais, et ce ne sera sûrement pas le dernier. Cette recette-ci vient de Christelle is Flabbergasting, et en plus de la courge, il y a de la banane. Les saveurs se marient à la perfection avec l’érable et la cardamome! Le Petit Prince, qui boudait pourtant mes desserts depuis un certain temps, a adoré celui-ci – et nous aussi!

La recette d’origine recommande de faire bouillir des cubes de courge pour ensuite en faire de la purée, mais j’aurais peur de faire une purée trop liquide. Ma méthode consiste à couper la courge en deux puis à la faire rôtir environ 1 heure à 425 °F – non seulement la consistance est meilleure, mais le goût aussi! Quand j’ai trop de purée, je mets les restes à congeler dans un sac Ziploc déposé à plat.

Pour le gâteau
1 ¾ tasse (220 g.) de farine
2 c. à thé de poudre à pâte
1 c. à thé de bicarbonate de soude
½ c. à thé de sel
1 c. à thé de cannelle moulue
½ c. à thé de clou de girofle moulu
½ c. à thé de muscade moulue
½ c. à thé de cardamome moulue
½ tasse d’huile de canola (j’ai pris de l’huile de carthame)
½ tasse de sirop d’érable
¾ tasse de purée de bananes (environ 2 bananes bien mûres)
1 tasse de purée de courge butternut
zeste d’une orange (facultatif)

Préchauffer le four à 350 °F. Bien huiler un moule bundt.

Dans un bol de taille moyenne, mélanger la farine, la poudre à pâte, le bicarbonate de soude, le sel et les épices.

Dans un grand bol, fouetter l’huile avec le sirop d’érable. Ajouter la purée de bananes et fouetter à nouveau; répéter avec la purée de courge et le zeste d’orange. Ajouter ensuite le mélange sec et mélanger jusqu’à homogénéité.

Cuire au four pendant 40 à 45 minutes ou jusqu’à ce qu’un cure-dents inséré dans la pâte en ressorte propre et sec. Laisser tiédir le gâteau avant de le démouler et de le glacer.

Pour le glaçage
4 oz. de fromage à la crème sans lactose (végétalien ou non), à température ambiante
2 c. à soupe de sirop d’érable
½ tasse de sucre à glacer, tamisé
½ c. à thé de cardamome moulue
2 c. à soupe de lait sans lactose (au besoin; je n’ai pas utilisé cet ingrédient)

Dans un bol, fouetter le fromage à la crème avec le sirop d’érable, le sucre à glacer et la cardamome. Au besoin, ajouter le lait, 1 c. à soupe à la fois, pour obtenir un glaçage épais mais coulant.

Verser le glaçage sur le gâteau refroidi. Le gâteau peut être conservé à température ambiante pendant une journée, puis au réfrigérateur par la suite.

Big Pumpkin Loaf

This recipe from Smitten Kitchen makes a really, really big loaf. This is a good thing, because why settle for filling only part of a loaf pan? Mine is 9.5” x 5.5” measured at the top; Deb Perelman says hers is 8”x4” at the bottom and 9”x5” at the top. If your pan is any smaller, though, consider scooping out some of the batter to make a few cupcakes in addition to the pumpkin bread – otherwise, go for it! I haven’t tested it, but apparently this could be made into 18 muffins instead of a loaf (the muffins should bake 25 to 30 minutes). One of the nice things about this pumpkin bread is that it uses up the whole can of pumpkin purée, so you’re not stuck with part of it to use up somehow or freeze. Of course, you can adjust the spices to your liking, and you could use sweet potato purée or squash purée to make this, but I’d suggest making the purée yourself by roasting the sweet potato or squash to make sure the consistency isn’t too liquid.

In addition to being delicious, the consistency of this loaf was also very pleasing, as the top was crisp while the crumb was nice and moist. We really enjoyed this!

For the bread

2 ¼ cup (295 g.) all-purpose flour (I used white whole wheat, as always)
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. fine sea salt or table salt
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. (heaping) nutmeg
¼ tsp. (heaping) ground ginger
2 pinches ground cloves
1 15-oz. can (1 ¾ cups) pumpkin purée
½ cup vegetable oil (or melted margarine)
3 large eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar

For the topping
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 °F. Butter a 6-cup loaf pan or coat it with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugar until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until just mixed. Scrape into prepared pan and smooth the top.

In a small dish, stir sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle over the top of the batter.

Bake bread for 65 to 75 minutes, until a tester poked into all parts of cake (both the top and center will want to hide pockets of uncooked batter) come out batter-free, turning the cake once during the baking time for even coloring.

You can cool it in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove it, or cool it completely in there. The latter provides the advantage of letting more of the loose cinnamon sugar on top adhere before being knocked off. (I took mine out of the pan once it was completely cool, and didn’t lose much of the sugar topping.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Blondie à la lime et au gingembre

Les recettes de dessert tout droit sorties du blogue de Juliette et Chocolat, généralement, ça se prend bien, non? Ce blondie contient du chocolat blanc, mais ce sont les saveurs de lime (surtout) et de gingembre (plus modérément) que vous goûterez. Nous, on a trouvé ça succulent! Je l’ai adapté pour le faire sans lactose, en mettant les ingrédients dans l’ordre avec des mesures américaines, dans un moule carré de 8 pouces.

Pour le blondie
5 oz. (140 g.) de chocolat blanc
9 c. à soupe (140 g.) de margarine ou de beurre
1 ¼ tasse de sucre
4 œufs
2 c. à soupe de lait de coco (je l’ai oublié et ne m‘en suis pas plus mal portée)
le zeste et le jus (100 mL, un peu moins de ½ tasse) de 4 limes
1 c. à soupe (10 g.) de gingembre frais râpé.
1 ¼ tasse (150 g.) de farine
1 pincée de sel

Pour le glaçage
1 ¾ tasse (200 g.) de sucre à glacer
le zeste et le jus de 2 petits limes (ou 1 moyenne)

Préchauffer le four à 350 °F. Graisser et chemiser de papier parchemin un moule carré de 8 pouces.

Faire fondre ensemble au bain-marie (ou au micro-ondes) le chocolat et le beurre.

Dans un autre bol, battre ensemble le sucre et les œufs. Y ajouter le mélange de chocolat et bien mélanger.

Incorporer au mélange le lait de coco, le zeste de lime, le jus de lime et le gingembre.

Ajouter la farine et le sel, en mélangeant juste assez pour incorporer.

Verser le mélange dans le moule et enfourner. Cuire 30 à 35 minutes, jusqu’à ce que le dessus du brownie commence à dorer et soit légèrement craquelé (c’était plutôt de 40 à 45 minutes dans mon cas).

Fouetter ensemble les ingrédients du glaçage. Une fois le blondie refroidi, le glacer puis laisser le glaçage figer. Couper en morceaux et déguster.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Batch of links

- Why it’s time to give the “resting meat myth” a rest. I enjoyed this (admittedly long) article because it debunked a common myth, i.e. that one should rest a piece of meat before serving it. It also differentiated between a small piece of meat like a steak and a large piece like a roast, and explained the difference between resting meat and holding meat. While I was surprised by the findings at first, I have to say that after reading this, it made sense. I’ve always said that if there’s one thing I’d like to know more about, it’s cooking meat (and the school at which I wanted to take a class when I lived in Montreal actually only offered the meat class in Quebec City). I was raised in a household where only well-done meat was served, because we all lived in fear of bacteria, so admittedly juiciness was never an issue. I thought that people rested meat mostly to avoid a mess (especially because we tend to think that the juices spilling out are blood, which they are not), and I never actually poured those juices on top of the meat again anyway… So if my criteria were the same as they seem to be for *most* people, then resting the meat would be an obvious no-no.

- Can we all just admit that smoothie bowls are big fat lies? Well Amen, somebody else said it!

- There is now such a thing as banana milk? I wonder if that will make it to a store near me…

- I’m pretty sure I had posted this before, but it bears repeating: the difference between muesli and granola. Also, in the non-food world, I finally learned the difference between a fedora and a pork pie hat.

- The incorrect assumption most people have about healthy food. I’ve said this before, but we all need a reminder from time to time: healthy food is not necessarily expensive, and expensive food is not necessarily healthy.

- Vanity Fair published a review saying that Trump Grill could be the worst restaurant in America. Of course, Trump was quick to respond with negative tweets, but the joke was on him.

- Very worrisome: Reuter’s found lead levels higher than Flint’s in thousands of locales. It turns out that the data taken closest to our house suggest a higher-than-normal percentage of children diagnosed with lead poisoning…

- What it’s like to grocery shop below the poverty line. This is really interesting: you can enter you household income and you’ll get grocery prices equivalent to what you would pay if you were paying the same percentage of your income as families living below the poverty line.

- Is it possible to make a less allergenic peanut? It might be, eventually. Also, here’s a good resource called FARE: Food Allergy Research and Education.

- Because it’s the season: does cough syrup actually work? At this point, the Engineer and I might as well buy stock in Zarbee’s.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lemon chicken salad full of good things

Dear Sister posted this recipe on Pinterest and it looked so good that I couldn’t help but add the ingredients to my next grocery list. I’m glad I did! It was absolutely delicious and felt very refreshing while still being in season. I would omit the shallot next time, as mine was pretty strong, and I added a bit of honey in the dressing. Note that while cara cara oranges would be excellent, you can also make this with regular oranges or maybe even blood oranges.

For the chicken marinade
⅓ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
juice of one half of a lemon
½ tsp. salt

For the salad
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cara cara oranges, peeled and cut into pieces (segments or rounds)
1 avocado, cut into slices
½ cup pomegranate arils
2 cups spinach, torn or cut into small pieces
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 shallot, thinly sliced (see note above)
a handful of chopped fresh herbs like parsley or mint (I used mint)

For the dressing
3 tablespoons mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
1-2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard, or other grainy mustard
salt, pepper, and/or honey to taste (I recommend all three)

Whisk marinade ingredients together. Place in a bowl with the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (while prepping other stuff) or as long as 2 hours.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together. (I like to put them all in a jar and shake the dressing together to emulsify it.)

Heat the oil in a pan or pre-heat a griddle. Discard extra marinade from chicken and grill the chicken pieces until cooked through. Let stand for a few minutes to cool before cutting.

Toss all other salad ingredients, including chicken, together with the dressing before serving.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Muffins aux patates douces et aux pépites de chocolat

Quand j’ai vu cette recette-là sur Le Tablier du dimanche, ça m’a fait penser à ma recette de muffins à la citrouille et aux pépites de chocolat, et je les aime tellement que je n’ai pas pu m’empêcher d’essayer celle-ci! Pour la farine, j’ai utilisé 3 tasses de farine de blé blond. J’ai aussi remplacé une partie de l’huile par de la compote de pommes, et c’est la version que je vous donne ci-dessous. Bien sûr, on peut toujours faire la purée de patates douces d’avance! C’est ma méthode, et j’aime congeler les restes. Les muffins sur les photos ne sont pas les plus jolis, parce que malheureusement, les spécimens que je me réservais pour les photos (une fois le soleil levé) ont été mangés par l’Ingénieur et le Petit Prince pour leur déjeuner! Petit Prince qui a d’ailleurs décidé qu’il aimait beaucoup ces muffins, alors qu’il en mange rarement ces temps-ci. On adore ça! J’en ai mis quelques-uns au congélateur pour une autre fois.

2 patates douces moyennes
2 tasses de farine de blé entier (voir note plus haut)
1 tasse de farine tout-usage (voir note plus haut)
2 c. à thé de bicarbonate de soude
2 c. à thé de poudre à pâte
¾ de c. à thé de cannelle
1 c. à thé de sel
4 œufs
2 tasses de sucre
½ tasse de compote de pommes
¼ de tasse d'huile végétale neutre (j'ai utilisé de l'huile de carthame)
1 paquet de pépites de chocolat

Préchauffer le four à 400 °F. Percer les patates douces avec une fourchette et les faire rôtir au four pendant environ 40 minutes. (Ma méthode est toujours de percer la pelure avec une fourchette, de les emballer dans du papier d’aluminium et de les faire cuire à 425 °F pendant 1 heure; dans ce cas-là, n’oubliez pas de baisser la température du four pour la suite.) Attendre qu'elles refroidissent un peu et enlever la pelure. Réduire en purée à l'aide d'un pilon à patates, d’un presse-purée ou même du robot culinaire. Ça devrait donner environ 2 tasses de purée de patates douces, et vous pouvez toujours faire congeler les surplus.

Graisser deux moules à muffins. (Vous pourriez aussi mettre du papier dans les moules, mais j’ai testé les deux manières de faire et je recommande la première. Notez aussi que la recette d’origine est pour 18 muffins, mais j’en ai obtenu 24.)

Dans un bol de taille moyenne, mélanger les ingrédients secs (farines, bicarbonate de soude, poudre à pâte, cannelle et sel).

Dans un grand bol, mélanger la purée de patates douces, l’huile, les œufs et le sucre. Ajouter les ingrédients secs à la préparation et mélanger juste assez pour incorporer, pas plus. Ajouter les pépites de chocolat et mélanger.

Verser la pâte dans les moules (je recommande une cuillère à crème glacée) et cuire de 20 à 25 minutes. (La recette d’origine disait 25 mais je crois que j’aurais dû vérifier après 20 minutes.)

Monday, January 09, 2017

The last knits of 2016

I’ve been trying to knit through my stash again, using up small amounts of yarn instead of buying more. I still have several sets of matching skeins that are earmarked for projects for myself, I just never get around to making them! I’m in a season where everyone is having babies and I knit for them more than for me. Speaking of which, we are expecting our second boy in two months, so I’ve been busy knitting for him, too! It’s hard to believe I haven’t said it here before, especially considering that it has affected how often I blog (you’ll notice there were fewer posts than usual last fall, and that’s because I was just too tired to do much of anything productive!).

I started by making another Stela Pixie Hat with the rest of my fuchsia Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino – the hardest part was figuring out how many stitches to cast on in order to use up all of it, but it paid off. (This was for a friend from the Little Prince’s swim class.)

Then I focused on the Little Prince’s Halloween costume – appropriately enough, the Little Prince. I got the clothes from Primary (bonus – he can wear them again!). I was planning on getting a red bow tie and red belt, but Primary was out of the proper shade of green for a polo shirt. So I got a collarless t-shirt and went with a yellow pashmina instead. As for where the knitting comes in: I knit the Intrepid Fox pattern, for which I bought a yarn kit directly from the pattern creator (that way, I could complete it with very little yarn left over to feed the stash). I used glow-in-the-dark safety eyes because they reminded me a bit of the glow-in-the-dark paint used on the toy fox in the movie. It took some patience to knit those little legs in the round, but I love the result! Below are pictures of the fox, as well as one of the Little Prince in costume (with his face replaced with the character’s face from the movie – that wasn’t actually part of the costume, we’re just keeping his face off the blog!).

Since I still had a bit more than a skein of light gray Shibui Maai left, I decided to make a hat with it. (I just love this soft, squishy yarn!) I wanted it to be a large baby hat, so I settled on adapting the pattern for Hurricane Hat, also called Spiral Hat by other sources. It came out bigger than I expected, though, so maybe more like a large child’s hat…

I still had so much of that yarn left that I ended up making Rye, a pair of fingerless mittens that is coming in very handy (no pun intended) these days, when I have to go out in near-freezing temperatures.

After that, it was back to knitting for Baby 2 (for whom I still have to find a good nickname on this blog). I made the Temari sweater, which I’d had my eye on for a long time. It looks a bit like a kimono and I figured it would look unisex in blue. Since I already know I love Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, I got some of that in Duck Egg (so I did have to buy yarn for this, but I *really* wanted to make that pattern!). I used a button from my stash because it matched the color so well. My complaint about this is that where I joined the two sleeve pieces, the joint is visible in the back – this is probably because I knit double-stranded instead of weaving in the ends later. I’m willing to live with it, but I’d do it differently next time! This took me 5 skeins (down to the last yards) and should be big enough for a 9-month-old baby. I had some yarn left, so I threw in a Beehive hat (I know it looks big, but we all have big heads in the family; the Little Prince remains in the 100th percentile, and according to my records, this is the size he would have needed at 9 months, when I plan on using this for Baby 2, so there you go). I have less than a skein left.

Then there was the (ongoing) saga of the grey Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace, but I’ll leave that for the next post in the series!

Long overdue product reviews

Well, I hadn’t realized I’d hung on to this post quite so long before hitting publish… In my defense, I was waiting on trying a few more items and squeezing them in, but I’ve now decided to do a separate post later for those, so here are some long overdue product reviews (most are from last summer, some are from the fall).

I finally got around to trying two of Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice cream flavors: the Chunky Monkey and the P.B. & Cookies. The Chunky Monkey tastes just like I remembered (from before I became lactose-intolerant), so I loved it, even though it’s not the type of flavor I normally gravitate toward these days. The P.B. & Cookies was my favorite, though! I love ribbons of peanut butter in ice cream, and this worked really well with the Oreo-type cookies. To be honest, if I hadn’t known these were made with almond milk, I wouldn’t have guessed that they were vegan. Good job, Ben & Jerry’s!

I also tried an Oikos frozen yogurt, made by Dannon, in Cookies and Cream flavor. For some reason, I can’t find this on their website, so I’m really hoping they didn’t just stop making it... I absolutely loved the Cookies and Cream! And sure enough, since I can eat Oikos yogurt just fine, I didn’t need Lactaid for this. That being said, even if they stop making it, it’s not the end of the world because Lactaid itself is broadening its repertoire: it has delicious Cookies & Cream ice cream, as well as other flavors like mint chocolate, butter pecan, berry chocolate crumble, and salted caramel chip (which looks like it’s right up my alley). It used to be that in the US, one could only get vanilla ice cream that was lactose-free, but this is as much choice as Chapman’s offers in Canada!

While in Montreal, we tried a few of Gibiers Canabec’s game burgers. We tried the duck, kangaroo and deer meat burgers, though they also have wapiti, bison and a mix of deer and boar. My beef with them, if you’ll pardon the easy pun, is that I used a meat thermometer to cook them until they had reached 165 °F throughout (as recommended on the package), but this made them very dry. I don’t know whether any other consumers have run into the same problem – maybe most people like their burgers pink in the center, but I’ve read too many horrible tales about bacteria in ground meat to let that happen. I did hear that Canards du Lac Brome is now selling ground duck meat, though, so maybe there is a way to avoid that if one makes one’s own burgers?

I also tried two local (Montreal/Quebec) colas: 1642 Cola and Bec Cola. They are both sweetened with natural cane sugar and maple syrup, but my personal preference was for Bec Cola. Not only was the maple taste more pronounced (whereas 1642 Cola, which I really wanted to love, was more generic), but it also kept its fizz a bit longer.

My favorite drink discovery, though, was a company called La Rhubarbelle. I’d heard of them a few years ago, but only got to try their products last summer, after ordering them online (as I couldn’t find them even in stores named on the store locator portion of the website). I tried La Rosée de Rhubarbe (which is a not-too-sweet rhubarb juice) and Le Pétillant de Rhubarbe (same, but sparkling). If I remember correctly, rhubarb is the first ingredient, followed by water (or sparkling water) and then sugar. I loved the clean taste of rhubarb in both drinks, though I don’t think I would like the third product they make, L’Éclat de Rhubarbe, as that is even more acidic. I really liked the presentation, too: the drinks come in wine-bottle-sized containers, even though they’re not alcoholic, and I can easily see taking a few of these to a potluck. The only downside in my case was that the order was shipped to my billing address instead of my shipping address (which were different at the time), so that was inconvenient but not unsurmountable. I’m seriously considering ordering a bunch of these every time I go back to Quebec! (Except, you know, it comes out to roughly $10 per bottle, so it’s certainly not cheap.)

When I got back to Texas, I found a juice that I thought I would like, Cawston Press’s apple and rhubarb juice, but that was a disappointment. It tasted overwhelmingly of apple and just barely of rhubarb, so it won’t replace La Rhubarbelle for me. That being said, I’ll try their rhubarb and apple sparkling drink if I ever see it, as the ratios of rhubarb juice to apple juice are very different.

Last summer, we saw some Gusta sausages at Avril, too, so I couldn’t resist buying them. I first heard of Gusta Foods during their crowd-funding effort to open a store at Jean-Talon Market, which is now a reality. They make vegan sausages, vegan cheeses and will be adding vegan spreads to their line-up. We had the Italian sausage, which has bell peppers, tomatoes and herbs, and it was really good. (Allergen info: contains wheat, soy and mustard.) I’d also love to try their cheeses, which are solid when cold but apparently melt beautifully; those are made with cashew cream.

I bought some Chocadel, which I’d been wanting to try because it’s raw chocolate. I tried the dark chocolate with maple flakes. It was good, but not great. Honestly, the main drawback for me was that it’s sold in a somewhat thick tablet without any scoring lines to break off smaller pieces of it, so it was messy to eat, and since I tend to eat my chocolate a few pieces at a time while watching TV and knitting, this is actually a consideration.

The chocolate I loved was Kaoka, specifically the dark chocolate with fleur de sel. Kaoka is a French company that makes organic, fair trade chocolate; I only tried that one flavor, but I’d make a beeline right for that one next time I see a selection! (Allergen info: may contain nuts, gluten, and milk, though there’s no lactose.)

Finally, after my hipster apples, here are some hipster grapes. These are Moon Drops, an elongated, dark purple grape that is sweet and juicy. They are available from August to October, and I think they’ve become our favorite grape (though the Engineer still loves Cotton Candy grapes). It appears they would be available at Loblaws in Quebec, too!