Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Batch of links

- Which pumpkin pie should you make for Thanksgiving? A blogger reviewed 12 recipes and ranked them so I didn’t have to. From my blog, though, I’d recommend pumpkin chiffon pie and this traditional-style pumpkin pie.

- Bon Appétit had a cool article in the Thanksgiving issue: it’s an interview with three Indigenous chefs about what Thanksgiving means to them.

- A very interesting article on what cookbook authors get paid. Some publishing houses now aren’t even offering advances, which is outrageous when you consider how expensive and time-consuming it is to create recipes!

- I’m often pleasantly surprised by Parents magazine. Recently, they had an article abut essential oils, and before I could shake my scientific fist at them, they stated that while they had started the article with the intention of creating a guide explaining which oil to use for which ailment, as they were doing research, they actually realized that a) most essential oils are not proven to cure anything, and b) essential oils can actually be quite dangerous. So the article turned into a warning instead.

- Parents also had this article with the results of the latest scientific studies in 8 areas of interest (like whether probiotics can help with colic or the benefits of the HPV vaccine).

- The Little Prince and I used an app that let us move throughout the International Space Station. Here’s what they have in the kitchen area.

- Weeknight dinners around the world. Including Texas!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Cauliflower Rice Bowl

I’m still a big fan of Buddha bowls. I try to branch out once in a while, like with this avocado BLT with basil mayonnaise or this succotash with bacon and croutons, though neither was popular with the Fox. I also really liked this tuna salad that is made with yogurt instead of mayonnaise – I served it once with apples, cucumbers, and hard-boiled eggs, and another time as part of a salade niçoise composée, so there was usually something there that my toddler might appreciate.

Then I had leftover riced cauliflower in the freezer and didn’t really know what to do with it, so when I came across this cauliflower rice bowl recipe, I decided to go for it. It turned out I had less than called for, but you don’t have to be so finicky about amounts with bowls, so it worked out. I had crumbled feta on hand, and the pieces seemed too small to go in the oven without making a mess, so I served it cold with the warm vegetables (sweet potato, in my case). For me, the pepitas were what really made this dish, and they were SO delicious roasted! That being said, I think I really took them to the edge by roasting them for 7 minutes (whereas the cauliflower rice should have gotten at least 10 minutes in the oven), and they don’t keep as well stored with the other ingredients in the fridge, so I’d consider roasting them separately, in a dry pan on the stovetop. The amounts below should make 4 servings.

1 ½ lb. root vegetables (such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, or a combination), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. lactose-free feta cheese, drained
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
3 cups fresh or frozen cauliflower rice (I had less)
½ tsp. ground turmeric
1 (15.5-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
finely grated zest of 2 medium limes
juice of 2 medium limes, plus more wedges for serving
1 medium avocado, pitted and quartered (I used 2 total)

Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 425 °F. Place the sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then season with ½ teaspoon of the salt and several grinds of black pepper. Toss to combine, then arrange into an even layer. Roast on the lower rack until beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.

Flip the sweet potatoes and push them to one side. Add the pumpkin seeds to the now-empty portion of the baking sheet and crumble the feta into large pieces over the sweet potatoes (see note above). Place the cauliflower rice (if using frozen, break up any clumps first), turmeric, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and several grinds of black pepper on a second rimmed baking sheet and toss until evenly combined. Spread into an even layer.

Place the sweet potatoes on the upper rack and the cauliflower rice on the lower rack. Roast until the pumpkin seeds are toasted, the sweet potatoes are golden-brown, and the feta is warmed through, 7 to 10 minutes more. Meanwhile, place the chickpeas, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper in a medium bowl and toss until evenly coated; set aside.

For each serving, transfer ¼ of the rice, ¼ of the sweet potato and feta mixture, and ¼ of the chickpea mixture into a bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ of the pepitas and top with a piece of the avocado. Drizzle with more olive oil and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with a lime wedge.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Pumpkin Fluff

Fellow parents, you too can be a snack time hero!

I never thought I’d get around to making this recipe, but then I decided that it was the perfect, seasonal thing to serve as a treat at snack time. I used graham crackers as a vehicle for this dip (gingersnaps would be good, too), and the snack was EXTREMELY well received.

If you were to run out of pumpkin fluff while you still have a lot of graham crackers, I’ve got two words to make you a hero again: chocolate hummus. You’re welcome.

1 (15-oz.) can of pumpkin purée
1 (9-oz.) container of Coco Whip, thawed overnight in the fridge
1 box of instant vanilla pudding (just the powder; make sure it’s lactose-free)
pumpkin pie spice, to taste (I omitted it)

Whisk everything together and serve with crackers for dipping. Refrigerate leftovers.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Maple Bacon Sugar Cookies

I’d been hanging on to this recipe for at least a few years, and then when I was desperately trying to figure out what dessert to make, and happened to have half a container of lactose-free sour cream to use up, I thought, “Why not?” You don’t need a special occasion for these – treat yo’self.

The recipe makes double the dough you need. Because there’s only 1 egg, it would be complicated to halve (maybe using a flax egg?), so I made the recipe as is and froze half the dough. It’s not something I’m used to keeping on hand, and I’m pretty sure Future Me will clean out the freezer one day and be surprised that there’s sugar cookie dough in there. But hopefully she’ll be grateful, because the cookies were so good! They’re a great base for any frosting, obviously, you don’t *have* to use bacon. I changed the order of the steps to make it easier to follow. I also reduced the amount of sugar in the frosting (less maple syrup and no milk, which made the frosting a bit stiffer and therefore reduced the need for powdered sugar as well); the version below is mine. I got 23 cookies.

For the cookies (see note above)
4 cups flour + more for rolling out the dough (I used a 50-50 mix of white and white whole wheat flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) lactose-free butter or margarine, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup lactose-free sour cream

For the maple frosting
¼ cup lactose-free butter or margarine
1 pinch kosher salt
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
crumbled crispy bacon, for topping (about 8 oz., or to taste)

For the cookies
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla; mix thoroughly. Add the sour cream; mix thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

Divide the dough into two parts and wrap each in wax paper. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. For the amount of frosting in this recipe, you will only use half of the dough – you can freeze the second batch of dough for another use, or just double the frosting recipe.

Preheat oven to 400 °F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

On a clean, floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Roll the dough so it’s about ¼” to ½” thick and use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out shapes of the dough. (I just made round ones because I thought the bacon gave them enough pizzazz.) Use a spatula to move them to the prepared baking sheet with minimal damage.

Bake the cookies 6-8 minutes (the original recipe said 8-12, but in my oven, 8 was already a bit too much. Admittedly, this depends not just on the oven, but on the thickness and size of the cookies). You never want them to get too browned around the edges, or they’ll be too crunchy. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the maple frosting
Combine butter, salt, syrup, vanilla, and 1 cup of the sugar. Add remaining sugar and mix until smooth and creamy.

Frost the cooled cookies with the maple frosting, and sprinkle bacon bits on top. Cookies keep well in the fridge for a up to a week, or a few days at room temperature. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Pizza Balls

I’m always trying to find new recipes for the Little Prince’s lunchbox. Sweet potato and parmesan muffins were poorly received (I tasted them too and they certainly weren’t my favorite). Then one day, he came home from school with a recipe printed on a piece of paper and asked me to make it for him. I gathered that the company that takes care of the food at his cafeteria held a pop-up (which they call “Discovery Kitchen”, according to the hand-out) and tried to get students interested in new foods. So I tried this recipe for curried chicken pasta salad (I can’t find it online), and the Little Prince didn’t touch his lunch that day, saying he didn’t like it. So I sent him to school with another lunch the next day, and served the pasta salad for our own lunch at home. And, readers – it was FOUL! The Fox and I absolutely hated it, and I forced myself to eat some because that’s what was for lunch and everything, but I threw the rest away, I’m never making it again, and I suspect that this recipe might turn off kids in our school district from curry, chicken, and pasta salad in general.

So back to a safe bet: I got pizza sauce out of the freezer and made another recipe from the Weelicious Lunches cookbook: pizza balls (the recipe seems to be gone from the Weelicious website, but it’s here. This was VERY well received; I got to eat one pizza ball myself, and gave one to the Engineer as well, and we all agree we love them.

For the filling: obviously, use something your kids (or you) will like. I knew broccoli florets wouldn’t fly, so I went with pepperoni, but if your child will eat finely chopped vegetables here, go for it. For the cheese, I used lactose-free shredded mozzarella (look for something that has 0 grams of sugar on the nutrition label). And for the dough, I used 1 pound of homemade dough I had in the freezer and 1 pound of storebought dough, hence the different appearance of my balls (ahem).

2 1-lb. packages white or whole wheat pizza dough (homemade or storebought)
¾ cup broccoli florets, cooked & chopped (or filling of choice, see note above)
1 cup lactose-free mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup pizza sauce (again, homemade or storebought)
olive oil
parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 425 °F. Grease a 9” pie plate or cake pan.

Bring pizza dough to room temperature and divide into 16 even pieces.

In a bowl, combine the broccoli (or whatever addition you choose), mozzarella and pizza sauce.

Roll out each piece of dough into a round, about 3 inches wide, and place 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture in the center. Take the edges of the dough and bring them to the center, pinching along the edges to make sure they stick together, then roll into a ball.

Place the ball, sealed side down, in the pie plate and repeat these steps making the rest of the balls. Brush each ball with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Poulet épicé aux abricots

À la fin de l’été et an automne (la saison est longue au Texas!), j’ai essayé quelques nouvelles recettes avec des fruits à noyaux, mais sans trop de succès. J’ai fait un tagine de poulet avec des abricots et des pistaches, mais je n’ai pas été trop impressionnée. Puis ce filet de porc et nectarines à l’orange un peu décevant. Jamais deux sans trois, n’est-ce pas? Alors j’ai aussi essayé ce poulet épicé aux abricots, mais avec de petites pêches au lieu des abricots. Je savais que je prenais un risque, avec un plat qui a des goûts si prononcés, mais en fin de compte, tout le monde a aimé! Même que le Petit Prince m’a demandé d’en refaire, et il a adoré la sauce! C’était vraiment gagnant, comme recette. J’ai servi ça avec du riz.

Pour le mélange d’épices
1 c. à thé de gingembre moulu
1 c. à thé de curcuma moulu
1 c. à thé de cannelle moulue
1 c. à thé de graines de coriandre broyées
1 c. à thé de fleur de sel
½ c. à thé de poivre moulu
½ c. à thé de piment de la Jamaïque moulu

Pour le poulet
1 ½ lb. hauts de cuisses de poulet désossées
¾ tasse de confiture d’abricots
¼ tasse de vinaigre de vin blanc
¼ tasse d’eau
1 c. à soupe de moutarde de Dijon
1 c. à soupe de graines de moutarde
1 gousse d’ail, hachée finement
4 abricots, coupés en deux (j’ai pris de petites pêches)
1 gros oignon rouge, coupé en quartiers
½ tasse de pistaches grillées, hachées grossièrement
¼ tasse de menthe fraîche, hachée

Parsemer le poulet de 2 c. à thé du mélange d’épices et frotter pour faire pénétrer. Laisser reposer 15 minutes.

Entre-temps, dans une petite casserole, mélanger la confiture d’abricots, le vinaigre, l’eau, la moutarde, les graines de moutarde, l’ail et le reste du mélange d’épices. Porter à ébullition en brassant de temps à autre. Réduire le feu et laisser mijoter 5 minutes. Réserver.

(Les instructions du paragraphe suivant sont celles de la recette d’origine; ma démarche est entre parenthèses à la fin.) Régler le grill à puissance moyenne. Mettre le poulet sur la grille huilée et fermer le couvercle. Cuire 5 minutes. Retourner le poulet et le badigeonner de ¼ tasse de la sauce réservée. Mettre les abricots et l’oignon rouge sur la grille. Fermer le couvercle et poursuivre la cuisson de 5 à 7 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que le poulet ait perdu sa teinte rosée à l’intérieur et que les abricots et l’oignon soient marqués (retourner les morceaux et badigeonner le poulet de ¼ tasse du reste de la sauce à la mi-cuisson). (Dans mon cas, j’ai décidé de ne pas me servir du grill et d’utiliser plutôt le four. J’ai fait cuire le poulet à 425 °F pendant 20 minutes; idéalement, il faudrait mettre l’oignon à cuire avec, et faire cuire les abricots pendant les 5-10 dernières minutes.)

Mettre le poulet sur une planche à découper. Couper les hauts de cuisses en 2 ou 3 morceaux, puis les mettre dans une assiette de service. Parsemer des pistaches et de la menthe. Servir le poulet avec les abricots et les oignons grillés. Accompagner du reste de la sauce.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Plaque de pommes de terre à la grecque

Pour lutter contre le temps froid, j’ai essayé une recette de pâté chinois aux lentilles et aux patates douces, dont la garniture était faite avec du sans-viande et des lentilles, et la purée était un mélange de pommes de terre et de patates douces. En fin de compte, ça n’a pas été un succès auprès de ma famille, et même moi je trouvais que ça laissait un peu à désirer. Et le succès, de façon inattendue, est venu sur une plaque avec du chou frisé. Il s’agit d’une recette de Coup de Pouce, facile à préparer tout en impressionnant par sa présentation.

Le Petit Prince ne trouvait pas le plat à son goût au départ, alors nous avons suivi notre philosophie habituelle, soit ne pas le forcer à manger, mais lui demander de rester à table avec nous. Et pendant que l’Ingénieur et moi parlions, le Petit Prince a mangé une feuille de chou frisé. On n’a rien dit, pour ne pas briser le charme, mais on était bien contents! En fait, le Petit Prince est dans une phase géniale (selon moi) où il goûte à presque tout avant de décider s’il aime ou pas. Et il y a encore plein de choses qu’il n’aime pas, mais au moins il est prêt à essayer, alors je ne peux pas lui en demander plus.

Un truc, pour couper les pommes de terre en éventail : utilisez une paire de baguettes chinoises jetables, une de chaque côté de la pomme de terre, avant de la couper. Comme ça, le couteau n’ira pas jusqu’à la planche, et vous conserverez donc un morceau de chair intact pour que la pomme de terre se tienne ensemble. Ce n’est pas infaillible comme truc, mais ça aide! Aussi, la recette recommande des pommes de terre à chair ferme, comme les Chieftains. Bon, si j’avais pu passer une commande à la ferme de mon cousin germain éloigné au 1er degré, ça aurait été idéal, mais j’ai pris les Russets qu’il y avait à mon épicerie et c’était très bien comme ça.

6 pommes de terres, lavées et brossées (environ 1 ½ lb.)
4 c. à soupe d’huile d’olive
1 c. à thé d’origan séché
½ tasse de fromage à la crème sans lactose
½ tasse de féta sans lactose émietté
1 botte de chou frisé (« kale »), lavé, les tiges enlevés et coupé en morceaux
½ petit oignon rouge, tranché finement
12 tomates raisins (j’ai pris tout le casseau)
sel et poivre, au goût

Préchauffer le four à 400 °F; placer la grille à la position du centre.

Couper les pommes de terre en fines tranches d’environ 1/8 po (3 mm), en arrêtant avant la base pour que les tranches restent attachées entre elles.

Déposer les pommes de terre sur une plaque de cuisson tapissée de papier parchemin. Arroser de la moitié de l’huile et saupoudrer de l'origan. Saler et poivrer. Cuire 1 heure.

Retirer la plaque du four. Couvrir les pommes de terre du fromage à la crème et du féta, puis disposer le chou frisé, l’oignon et les tomates tout autour. Arroser du reste de l’huile. Remettre la plaque au four et poursuivre la cuisson 15 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que les pommes de terre soient tendres.