Saturday, October 20, 2018

Rosewater Madeleines



My parents went to France last year and their hotel in Toulouse was across the street from a store that sells all kinds of kitchenware. My mother asked me if I wanted her to bring me back anything, and I couldn’t pass up a madeleine tin! It’s almost flat, so it really didn’t take up that much room in her suitcase, and I love that I have a real French madeleine tin. Finding a good madeleine recipe took longer than I thought, though. I first tried maple almond madeleines that, while good, did not satisfy me. There was too much batter for my standard tin (I would have needed to make something like three batches), they stuck to the pan despite my greasing it, and they were not what I had in mind for a madeleine, as neither the taste nor texture were what I had expected.


So I looked through some of my cookbooks, and after my initial disappointment that David Lebovit’z Ready for Dessert didn’t have a recipe for them, I realized that Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess did have one. But it didn’t work as written, as the baking temperature was much too high; plus, I had to adapt it to my standard-size pan, as opposed to her miniature pan.

The version below is mine, slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson’s. Note that a more traditional version would probably have you replace the rose water with finely grated lemon zest and/or vanilla. Use lactose-free butter if you have it, but know that I used Earth Balance stick margarine without any problem. To be really precise, you can melt 5 tablespoons of it, weigh out 50 grams for the recipe, and use the rest to grease the madeleine tin (with leftovers), which is what I did the first time I made it, but on the second go-round, I found that melting 4 tablespoons total was just enough. Finally, you can put regular sugar in the food processor to make it more like caster sugar – since the amount is given by weight, it’s very easy to measure. These came out perfect! I was very happy with them.


50 g. lactose-free butter, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing (see note above)
1 large egg
40 g. caster sugar
1 pinch of salt
45 g. all-purpose flour (white flour, not white whole wheat this time)
1 Tbsp. rosewater
icing sugar, for dusting

Melt all the butter over a low heat, then leave to cool.

Beat the egg, caster sugar and salt in a bowl for about 5 minutes, preferably with an electric mixer of some sort, until it’s as thick as mayonnaise. Then sift the flour into the egg and sugar mixture and fold it in with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Set aside a scant tablespoon of the cooled, melted butter (for greasing the madeleine tin) and fold in the rest along with the rosewater. Mix well, but not too vigorously.

Leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour, then take out and leave at room temperature for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 °F.

Generously brush the insides of the madeleine tin (I used a standard tin with 12 indentations) with the tablespoon of butter (melting more if you feel you need it) before filling them with the cake mixture. I had roughly 1 heaping tablespoon per indentation. Don’t worry about covering the molded indentations; in the heat of the oven, the mixture will spread before it rises.

Bake for 8 minutes (you could check a bit before, and if your oven runs colder than mine, it could take a few minutes longer, but mine were spot-on at 8 minutes).

Turn out and let cool on a rack, then dust with icing sugar.

Sans se casser la tête

Parfois, on a besoin d’une idée-repas simple et rapide, sans trop avoir à se casser la tête. Par exemple, de l’houmous avec des légumes rôtis, servi avec pain pita ou quelque chose comme des boulettes de dinde (maison ou pas). Dans la même veine, il y a la sauce crémeuse au tahini de ma mère, que j’ai mangée à quelques reprises cet été et que j’ai refaite depuis. La recette est tirée du livre Barbecue et cuisine d’été de Coup de Pouce, où elle accompagne une salade de poulet et d’endives. Je ne pensais pas en parler, d’où le manque de photos, mais cette sauce est tellement bonne que je me dois de la partager! Je vous donne ci-dessous ma version de la marinade pour le poulet – vous le faites cuire comme vous voulez ensuite, que ce soit sur le gril, dans la poêle ou au four. La sauce crémeuse au tahini, elle, va avec tout! Du poulet, des légumes, une salade verte, une salade pas verte, un bol buddha, etc. C’est magique! En fait, ce n’est pas mêlant, j’en mangerais à la cuillère. Ici, je l’avais servie avec du poulet, de la laitue Boston, un petit pain et des carottes inspirées de celles-ci.

Pour la marinade (pour 4 poitrines de poulet, environ 1 lb. en tout)
2 c. à soupe d’huile d’olive
1 échalote, hachée finement
1 c. à soupe de zeste de citron râpé
¼ c. à thé de sel
¼ c. à thé de poivre

Mélanger les ingrédients. Ajouter les poitrines de poulet et retourner pour bien les enrober. Laisser mariner au réfrigérateur pendant 4 heures (je les y ai laissées toute la journée), puis faire cuire le poulet.

Pour l’incomparable sauce crémeuse au tahini
¼ tasse de yogourt grec sans lactose nature
¼ tasse de tahini
3 c. à soupe de jus de citron
2 c. à soupe d’eau chaude
½ c. à thé de cumin moulu
¼ c. à thé de sel
¼ c. à thé de poivre

Mélanger les ingrédients jusqu’à ce que la préparation soit homogène (je fais ça dans un petit pot avec un couvercle). Servir ou conserver au réfrigérateur.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Galettes pour superhéros



Le titre de cette recette de Cuisine futée, parents pressés n’est pas très descriptif, je l’admets. En même temps, si j’appelle ça des galettes aux pépites de chocolat, c’est omettre beaucoup d’information, mais si je dis galettes aux légumes et aux pépites de chocolat, ça risque d’en aliéner certains! J’ai fait ces galettes en pensant à la boîte à lunch du Petit Prince, et ça tombait bien parce qu’il nous restait une courgette dans le frigo. Je recommande fortement les pépites de chocolat miniatures, comme ça il y a du chocolat dans chaque bouchée. Toute la maisonnée a a-do-ré! J’ai obtenu 21 galettes et j’en ai mis au congélateur pour plus tard.

2 carottes pelées, coupées en tronçons
1 courgette verte (zucchini) pelée, coupée en tronçons
4 petits champignons blancs, coupés en 4
2 œufs
¾ tasse de sucre
¼ tasse d’huile de canola
½ tasse de compote de pommes non sucrée
2 c. à thé de vanille
2 tasses de farine de blé entier (j’ai pris de la farine de blé blond)
1 ½ tasse de flocons d’avoine à cuisson rapide
1 c. à thé de poudre à pâte
2 c. à thé de cannelle moulue
½ tasse de pépites de chocolat mi-sucré miniatures

Préchauffer le four à 350 °F. Placer la grille au centre du four. Tapisser deux plaques de cuisson de papier parchemin ou d’un silpat.

Au robot culinaire, hacher les carottes. Ajouter la courgette et les champignons et mélanger jusqu’à ce que les légumes soient finement hachés. Ajouter les œufs, le sucre, l’huile, la compote et la vanille à même le récipient du robot. Mélanger pour que la préparation soit homogène.

Dans un bol moyen, mélanger à la fourchette la farine, le gruau, la poudre à pâte, la cannelle et les pépites de chocolat.

Incorporer le mélange de légumes aux ingrédients secs. Bien mélanger à la fourchette.

À l’aide d’une cuillère à crème glacée, former 24 boules de pâte et les déposer sur les plaques à cuisson (j’en ai obtenu 21). Aplatir avec une fourchette pour former des galettes.

Cuire au four de 20 à 25 minutes où jusqu’à ce que les galettes soient légèrement dorées.

Tahini Blondies



Here’s a quick little post as I try to work my way through the backlog of photos and notes meant for my blog; hopefully I’ll have time to post something else later this evening. I made tahini brownies not too long ago, so I figured I’d follow that up with tahini blondies. The recipe is from Real Simple and it was changed a bit in the online version – the cooking time is a bit longer than in the print version, which I approve of as I think mine were slightly undercooked. It’s a very simple dessert that I’d like to make again! We all liked it. I’d consider folding in some white chocolate chips next time.

1¾ cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup tahini
¼ cup lactose-free butter or margarine, melted
2 large eggs
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. flaky sea salt (I used Maldon sea salt)

Preheat oven to 325 °F. Line an 8”-square dish with parchment paper and grease the paper.

Stir together brown sugar, tahini, butter, and eggs in a large bowl until smooth.

Stir in flour, kosher salt, and baking soda. Spread mixture in the prepared dish. Sprinkle batter with sea salt. Bake in preheated oven until browned and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes (or until blondies reach room temperature). Cut into 9 squares.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Ham and Cheese Muffins

In anticipation of the Little Prince starting school and our collective desire to send him there with a lunchbox most days (as opposed to having him buy something at the cafeteria), I bought the Weelicious Lunches cookbook. I really like it, even though to me it skews very American. By that, I mean that there’s a whole section with variations of the peanut butter-jelly sandwich, whereas I, as a French Canadian, didn’t even realize that PB&J was a thing until my tweens (when I was living in the U.S., I should add), and never once had that in my school lunch. I did have peanut butter on bread in the morning on occasion, but in my family, we always paired it with honey, not jam. In any case, it’s full of a lot of recipes that look great to me, but I’m also afraid that my kid would never go for them. I’ve decided to try some anyway and simply make sure that he has a backup component in the meal that I know he’ll like (for example, I made the beet and carrot salad from the cookbook, but used it as a side and made sure that the Little Prince had another side and a main that he would like – turns out he didn’t magically start liking the salad, but hey, at least I sent him to school with beets in his lunchbox and it wasn’t a total failure, so there’s that).

So, ham and cheese muffins looked like they might work, in that my kid usually likes ham, and cheese, and muffins, so at least there were no red flags. The Engineer bought three thick slices of ham from the butcher, and I cut them into cubes, but only used about half for the recipe, along with half of a package of cheddar. Since I didn’t know what else to do with the rest of the ham and didn’t want it going to waste, I took a chance and simply made a second batch of muffins. A batch is supposed to make 18 muffins, but I ended up with 16 in the first batch and 17 in the second. As it turns out, the Little Prince loved these (phew!), and they freeze beautifully, so they’re a really good addition to my repertoire. Note that instead of a mix of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, I used only white whole wheat flour. Suggestion of sides: cucumber slices, red grapes, freeze-dried yogurt dots.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (see note above)
1 cup whole wheat flour (see note above)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk (lactose-free milk with a splash of lemon juice on it)
2 large eggs
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (white or orange works)
1 cup ham, finely chopped or cubed

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease 18 muffins cups on two muffins tins (give or take).

Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and maple syrup and stir to combine. Add the buttermilk to the egg mixture and stir.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour and stir until just combined. Fold in the cheese and ham.

Scoop the batter 2/3 of the way up into the greased muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Pizza oeufs-bacon



Vous allez me dire que j’ai déjà fait une pizza-déjeuner récemment, et c’est vrai, c’est un peu répétitif. Mais il y avait un dossier dans Coup de Pouce avec plein de pizzas cuites sur le gril. Et moi, bien sûr, j’ai adapté pour la faire cuire au four, parce que le gril m’intimide. Toujours est-il que la variation œufs-bacon était la seule qui me semblait vraiment intéressante (pêches-prosciutto, ça avait l’air bon aussi, mais ça me rappelait trop celle-là). C’était tellement bon, et tellement bien reçu de tout le monde, que je la partage ici. Contrairement à la plupart de mes recettes, celle-ci donne 4 petites portions, alors pensez à la doubler au besoin (mais pour faire deux pizzas tour à tour au lieu d’une seule grosse pizza!). Vous pouvez aussi faire quatre pizzas individuelles, mais alors au four, c’est nettement moins pratique qu’une seule.

1 lb. de pâte à pizza
2 c. à soupe d’huile d’olive
3 tasses de cheddar blanc sans lactose râpé
8 tranches de bacon cuites et émiettées
4 œufs
ciboulette fraîche, hachée

Placer une pierre à pizza dans le four et préchauffer ce dernier à 375 °F. Mettre un cercle de papier parchemin de 12 pouces de diamètre sur une pelle à enfourner et y parsemer de la semoule de maïs.

Sur une surface légèrement farinée, abaisser la pâte à pizza en un cercle d’environ 11 pouces de diamètre. Poser la pâte sur le cercle de papier parchemin.

Étendre l’huile d’olive sur la pâte abaissée, puis couvrir du cheddar, du bacon, et des œufs (vous pouvez les casser directement au-dessus de la pizza ou alors les casser dans une tasse et les verser sur la pizza).

Enfourner pendant 20 minutes avec le papier (ça protège la pierre à pizza et c’est plus facile à manipuler). Au sortir du four, couvrir de ciboulette et servir.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Gâteau moelleux choco-courgettes



J’ai fait une recette tirée d’un spécial Coup de Pouce Cuisine sur le chocolat, à la demande du Petit Prince, à qui sa grand-mère avait montré l’image de la recette en vidéobavardage (il me semble que je n’ai jamais utilisé ce néologisme, mais bon). Il me le réclamait plusieurs fois par semaine jusqu’à ce que je me décide à le faire. Et comme de fait, il a adoré! En plus, c’est plein de courgettes, ce qu’il ignorait. (L’Ingénieur a vendu la mèche, et le Petit Prince a continué à manger le gâteau quand même, c’est dire.)

Pour le gâteau
2 ½ tasses de farine
1 c. à soupe de poudre à pâte
¾ c. à thé de bicarbonate de sodium
¾ c. à thé de sel
¾ tasse de poudre de cacao
1 tasse de beurre sans lactose, à la température de la pièce
1 1/3 tasse de cassonade
3 œufs
¾ tasse de lait sans lactose
¾ tasse d’huile végétale
2 ½ tasses de courgettes râpées
1 tasse de pépites de chocolat mi-sucré

Préchauffer le four à 325 °F. Beurrer et fariner un moule à cheminée (de type Bundt) de 10 pouces de diamètre.

Dans un bol, à l’aide d’un fouet, mélanger la farine, la poudre à pâte, le bicarbonate de soude et le sel. À l’aide d’un tamis fin placé sur le bol, tamiser le cacao sur les ingrédients secs et mélanger.

Dans un grand bol, à l’aide d’un batteur électrique, battre le beurre avec la cassonade jusqu’à ce que le mélange soit léger. Incorporer les œufs, un à la fois, en battant bien après chaque addition. Incorporer le lait et l’huile.

Ajouter les ingrédients secs à la préparation au beurre et mélanger jusqu’à ce que la pâte soit homogène, sans plus. Ajouter les courgettes et les pépites de chocolat et mélanger en soulevant délicatement la masse. Verser la pâte dans le moule préparé et lisser le dessus. Cuire au four pendant 1 heure 15 minutes ou jusqu’à ce qu’un cure-dent piqué au centre du gâteau en ressorte propre. Laisser refroidir un peu, puis démouler et laisser refroidir complètement sur une grille.

Pour la sauce au chocolat
6 oz. de chocolat mi-amer haché
1/3 tasse de lait de coco (ou de crème sans lactose)
2 c. à soupe de sirop de maïs

Dans un bol en métal placé sur une casserole d’eau chaude, faire fondre les ingrédients ensemble en brassant pendant 5 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que la sauce soit lisse.

Laisser refroidir la sauce pendant 15 minutes, puis la verser sur le gâteau refroidi et servir.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Turkey and ricotta meatballs

I made another recipe from Julia Turshen’s Small Victories; this time, it was turkey and ricotta meatballs. I love meatballs that are cooked in the oven, because it is so much simpler than the stovetop method!

You’ll need to start by making ricotta with this recipe, and this can be made ahead of time. You can also make and cook the meatballs ahead of time and then warm then up in the sauce before serving, which is what I did. I served them with orzo, but rice or polenta would be good, too. The yield was supposed to be 30 meatballs, but I got 46, which fed all of us for more than 2 nights.

2 28-oz. cans of whole peeled tomatoes
7 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
7 garlic cloves (4 thinly sliced + 3 minced)
kosher salt
1 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 ½ cups (300 g.) lactose-free ricotta cheese (see above for the link)
½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 lbs. ground turkey (preferably dark meat)

Pour the contents of the cans of tomatoes into a large bowl (set the cans aside but do not throw them out) and crush the tomatoes with your hands. (This gets messy, and you can use kitchen scissors or a potato masher instead if you want.) Rinse one of the cans with about ¼ cup of water, pour it into the second can and swish it around to get all the excess tomato out of the cans, and then pour the water into the tomato bowl.

In a large saucepan or pot, over medium-high heat, warm 3 Tbsp. of the olive oil, add the sliced garlic, and cook, stirring, until it begins to sizzle, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and a very large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer, stirring every so often, until it is slightly reduced and has lost any tin-can taste, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425 °F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle 2 Tbsp. olive oil onto the baking sheet and use your hands to rub it over the entire surface of the sheet. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the minced garlic, basil, parsley, ricotta, parmesan, turkey, and 1 Tbsp. salt. Blend everything together gently but authoritatively with your hands until well mixed. Then, form golf ball-sized meatballs (you can wet your hands if the mixture gets too sticky). Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet as you form them. Drizzle the meatballs with the remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil and roast until they’re browned and firm to the touch, about 25 minutes (I checked the temperature with a thermometer to be sure).

Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the meatballs to the simmering sauce (discard whatever juice and fat is left on the baking sheet). Cook the meatballs for 10 minutes in the sauce (they can be left in the gently simmering sauce for up to 1 hour) and serve, sprinkled with parmesan.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Galettes à la poire et au gingembre



Mine de rien, ça fait 1800 billets que j’écris ici. J’ai l’intention de me prendre un peu plus au sérieux bientôt et de me faire une petite installation pour les photos. En fait, c’est surtout par manque d’espace et parce que j’ai deux jeunes enfants que j’ai dû tout remiser dans mon garde-robe et me contenter des photos à la va-vite. Mais je fais des efforts pour me débarrasser du superflu, et les enfants vont finir par grandir, alors j’ai bon espoir de pouvoir m’investir un peu davantage ici. Et peut-être que ce serait bien d’écrire, tant qu’à y être.

Toujours est-il que cette recette-ci est tirée de Famille futée 2 (tout comme la crème étagée au citron. J’avais essayé quelques recettes, soit le poulet moutarde et érable (correct, sans plus) et le brocoli avec sauce au fromage (ça ne vaut vraiment pas la peine). Là, j’avais en tête les lunchs de mon fils à la maternelle, et j’ai vu ces galettes à la poire et au gingembre, qui contiennent peu de sucre et beaucoup de… tofu. Ni vu, ni connu. Vraiment, le truc parfait pour une collation! J’ai mis un peu moins de gingembre que dans la recette, de peur que le Petit Prince n’aime pas, et ma version a été très bien reçue par tout le monde. Par contre, une mise en garde : les galettes sont moelleuses et assez bourratives, alors ce n’est pas le genre d’aliment qui se conserve à la température de la pièce très longtemps. Je vous recommande de congeler celles que vous ne prévoyez pas manger dans les 2-3 jours suivants, ou au moins gardez-les au frigo. J’ai obtenu 24 galettes en tout.

Pour les galettes
3 ½ tasses de farine Nutri (PAS celle avec omégas-3; ici, j’utilise la King Arthur)
1 ½ c. à thé de bicarbonate de soude
1 ½ c. à thé de poudre à pâte
1 pincée de sel
1 boîte de 28 oz. de poires dans le jus, égouttées (conserver le jus)
450 g. (1 lb.) de tofu mi-ferme
½ tasse de sucre
2 c. à thé d’extrait de vanille pure
1 cube de 1 pouce (2,5 cm) de gingembre frais pelé et tranché (voir note plus haut)

Pour le glaçage au gingembre (facultatif, mais tellement bon)
1 tasse de sucre à glacer, tamisé (ou plus, selon la texture désirée)
1 ½ c. à soupe de jus de poires (provenant de la boîte de poires)
1 c. à thé de gingembre frais pelé et râpé

Préchauffer le four à 350 °F. Placer la grille au centre du four. Tapisser une plaque de cuisson avec du papier parchemin.

Dans un bol moyen, mélanger la farine, le bicarbonate de soude, la poudre à pâte et le sel.

À l’aide du mélangeur électrique (blender), mélanger les poires, le tofu, le sucre, la vanille et le gingembre. Incorporer les ingrédients humides aux ingrédients secs. Bien mélanger.

À l’aide d’une cuillère à crème glacée, diviser la pâte en 30 galettes sur la plaque de cuisson (j’en ai eu 24).

Cuire au four 15-18 minutes ou jusqu’à ce qu’un cure-dent inséré au centre d’une galette en ressorte propre et que le dessus des galettes soit doré.

Pendant la cuisson des galettes, mélanger tous les ingrédients du glaçage dans un bol moyen jusqu’à ce que la préparation soit homogène. Ajouter un peu de sucre à glacer si la préparation est trop liquide.

Transvider le glaçage dans un sac en plastique pour sandwich. Refermer le sac hermétiquement. Former une poche à pâtisserie et couper finement l’extrémité pointue. Décorer les galettes tiédies avec le glaçage au gingembre. (J’y suis allée avec une cuillère, simplement.)

Monday, October 08, 2018

Brown Butter and Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies



This recipe was originally in Bon Appétit, which claimed that they ruined any other chocolate chip cookie because they’re that much better. Spoiler: they don’t, and they’re not. They weren’t even that great when I made the first batch as instructed, ending up too flat and nearly burnt. I tried lowering the temperature, but they spread out even further and were way too thin for my taste. BUT, then I used the rest of the dough my way. I made them regular-sized instead of small, I put the dough from the fridge straight to the oven, and I baked them for less time. And they were really good. Will I make them now instead of the 36-hour cookie? No. But sometimes, sometimes, people want something other than the straight-up chocolate chip cookie, and this fits the bill. The version below is the way I made them, including using a bag of Heath toffee bits instead of chopping a toffee bar (because the latter sounded like a horrible use of my time).

1 cup (2 sticks) lactose-free butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 chocolate toffee bars, chopped into ¼-inch pieces (see note above)
1½ cups chocolate wafers (disks, pistoles, fèves; preferably 72% cacao)
flaky sea salt

Cook butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until it foams, then browns, 5–8 minutes. Scrape into a large bowl and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.

Add brown sugar and granulated sugar to browned butter. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until mixture lightens and begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Reduce mixer speed to low; add dry ingredients and beat just to combine. Mix in toffee pieces and chocolate wafers with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Let dough sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate. Dough will look very loose at first, but will thicken as it sits. After this, refrigerate the dough until you are ready to bake (mine was cold when I baked it; if yours isn’t, you’ll need to reduce baking time accordingly).

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375 °F. Form balls of dough and place on a silpat-covered baking sheet (I baked 6 at a time because I was testing various factors to tweak the recipe, but you could probably fit the typical 12 to a sheet). Do not flatten; cookies will spread as they bake. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake cookies until edges are golden brown and firm but centers are still soft, 9–11 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Swirled Sesame Tea Cake

As you can guess, I really like tahini. I’ve been using it in desserts often lately, and I must say that it is particularly good with sugar to tame its bitterness (though admittedly the bitterness varies by brand). For the health-conscious, it contains protein and fiber as well as a fair amount of magnesium, calcium and iron. It also has a lot of fat, but I’m not too worried about fat from seeds. This swirled sesame tea cake cake was delicious, and the sprinkling of sugar in the greased pan instead of flour gave it a wonderful crackly exterior. The Engineer dubbed it “halva cake” and it was a hit!

white sesame seeds (for sprinkling)
2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¾ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ cup lactose-free plain whole-milk yogurt
½ cup tahini
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup vegetable oil
1½ tsp. toasted sesame oil

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Lightly coat an 8½x4½" loaf pan with nonstick spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on long sides. Lightly coat parchment with nonstick spray. Sprinkle sides and bottom of pan with white and black sesame seeds and sugar and shake around in pan to coat; tap out excess.

Finely grind 2 Tbsp. black sesame seeds in a spice mill; set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and baking soda in a medium bowl to combine.

Whisk yogurt and tahini in another small bowl until smooth (mixture will seize and stiffen at first).

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat eggs, vanilla, and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl until eggs are pale and thick (use the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer), about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and, with motor running, gradually stream in vegetable oil and sesame oil. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with yogurt mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Beat after each addition until fully incorporated. Scrape half of batter into the bowl that held the dry ingredients. Add reserved ground black sesame seeds to the remaining batter and mix on medium speed until evenly distributed—this is your black swirl.

Alternating between batters, spoon large dollops into prepared pan. (The dramatic streaks may look like they require artistic talent, but really all you need is a metal or wooden skewer. The key is not to overswirl, which will muddle the two different-color batters into a gray blob. Insert the skewer all the way to the bottom of the pan, then use confident strokes to make up to four figure-eight patterns throughout the loaf.)

Sprinkle with more white and black sesame seeds, then with more sugar. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of cake comes out clean, 55–65 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan 10 minutes. Run a knife around short sides of pan and use parchment to help lift cake out of pan and onto rack. Let cool completely.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Veg-Full Lasagna

People, this lasagna was fantastic. I think it was the best I’ve ever made, actually, and the fact that it was full of vegetables is just a bonus! I’ll have to put this one into regular rotation. (For the record, the Little Prince wasn’t a big fan, but the Fox loved it as much as the Engineer and I did).

The original recipe is from the June 2017 edition of Parents, where it was called Veggie-Full Lasagna and was made in a slow cooker. The version below is mine, as I’ve adapted it to be made in a regular oven (no-boil noodles FTW!). I also had to adapt the quantities a tiny bit: when I start with half a gallon of lactose-free milk (or about 2 liters), I get 15 ounces of ricotta, so I used that instead of 16 ounces. I replaced the mozzarella with shredded Daiya. Another option might be to replace the ricotta with Miyoko’s fresh mozzarella substitute for a dairy-free lasagna, and/or replace the mozzarella with shredded sharp cheddar cheese for a dairy-full version. For the marinara sauce, I recommend using something with a bit of flavor. I used a 25-oz. jar of Mezzzetta tomato sauce with roasted garlic and caramelized onions, but I think this would be good with basil or garlic tomato sauce as well. I made things easy on myself and used the food processor for all the prep: first shred the parmesan, set it aside, shred the cheddar if using, set it aside, and rinse the bowl; then shred the carrots, set them aside, and rinse the bowl; finally, shred the zucchini, set them aside (and squeeze out the water), switch out the blades, and chop the spinach and basil.

After putting the lasagna in the oven, I had two leftover lasagna noodles. What’s a person to do with two sad noodles? I used this link to find ideas and I ended up making two lasagna “cupcakes” with leftovers from a different meal (turkey and ricotta meatballs, which I’ll blog about later). If they had been broken, the lasagna kugel would have been a good option!

For the ricotta
½ gallon (8 cups) lactose-free whole milk
1 tsp. coarse sea salt
6 Tbsp. lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

Pour the milk and salt into a nonreactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Heat the milk to 190 °F, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it once or twice, gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Carefully pour the curds and whey into the colander (mine had as much as it could take) and let the curds strain for at least an hour. Use the ricotta right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the lasagna
1 24-oz. to 26-oz. jar of marinara sauce (see note above)
1 cup coarsely shredded carrots
15 oz. ricotta cheese (see recipe above)
1 cup coarsely shredded zucchini, squeezed dry
1 cup packed fresh baby spinach
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 egg
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
12 oven-ready, no-boil lasagna noodles (about 10 oz.)
2 cups shredded mozzarella substitute (I used Daiya; sharp cheddar could work too)

Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Coat a 9”x13” baking dish with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the marinara sauce and the shredded carrots. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, zucchini, spinach, parmesan, basil, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Spread ½ cup of the marinara mixture in the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 of the noodles over the bottom. Spread ¾ cup of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, followed by ½ cup of the marinara mixture, and ½ cup (or a bit less) of the mozzarella. Repeat the layers 3 more times, ending with the cheese (ideally, if you’ve saved a bit of the mozzarella for the top layer, it will look better).

Cover with tin foil and bake for 60 minutes. Optionally, you could then remove the foil and broil it for a few minutes. Let cool a bit before serving, and sprinkle with more parmesan or basil if desired.



[Update, Dec. 18th, 2018: I made this again last week, using extra sharp cheddar cheese and homemade ricotta, and saving some filling and grated cheddar for the top layer. So the lasagna looked better, and as it turns out, we all prefer cheddar to Daiya. Not only did the Little Prince eat it even though I had just confirmed for him that there were vegetables in it, but he asked for seconds! That’s the way I’m making it from now on. On a side note, I can confirm that when stuck with leftover noodles, one should *never* attempt to make kugel in the microwave. Big mistake.]