Friday, July 31, 2020

Farro-Vegetable Hash with Chermoula

A while ago, I made this dish of creamy barley risotto with root vegetables. Celery root is not in season, so I used sweet potatoes instead; I thought that the honey played off the earthiness of the beets nicely and I enjoyed the addition of apple juice to the broth in the risotto. And while I loved the resulting dish, eating so much of it that I needed Google to explain to me that my pee was orange because I had eaten such potent beets and not because of an emergent liver problem, it turns out the other members of my family did not much care for this risotto.

A few weeks later, I tried a similar dish again when I made farro-vegetable hash with chermoula. I changed some quantities to feed my family for two nights (4 sweet potatoes, 8 ounces of bacon, 2 sweet onions, 1 ½ cups of farro, and a second round of eggs on night 2). Also, because it’s a bit involved as a dish, I had to rush at some point if I was ever going to get dinner on the table, so I cubed the sweet onions rather than coarsely chopping them, and I didn’t get a good sear on the vegetables. Luckily, I had quick-cooking farro, which takes only 10 minutes to boil instead of 30 to 40 minutes, and obviously that’s what I would recommend. I had fewer herbs than I would have needed, so the only way to make the chermoula was with an immersion blender, which I’ll note below. But honestly, even though this dish was a hassle, it was totally worth it! The Engineer and I really liked it, and the kids found enough pieces of something edible to not go hungry.

The quantities below should make 4 servings, but check my notes above or increase quantities according to your taste if needed. Note that benne seeds are actually a kind of heirloom sesame seeds, but if you can’t find any, you can either use sesame seeds or omit them altogether (I omitted them only because I completely forgot and I was kicking myself for it).

For the chermoula
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. black peppercorns
2 cups (lightly packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems
2 cups (lightly packed) parsley leaves with tender stems
1 cup (lightly packed) mint leaves
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. (or more) fresh lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I used a pinch of Korean pepper)

For the hash
¾ cup whole farro (see note above)
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 lb.), scrubbed, cut into ½" pieces
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 bacon slices, coarsely chopped (or more)
1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup brussels sprouts, leaves removed, cores thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. toasted benne or sesame seeds, plus more for sprinkling
4 over-easy or fried eggs (I think poached eggs would be good as well)

For the chermoula
Toast coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a dry small skillet over medium-high heat, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and just beginning to take on color, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a spice mill or mortar and pestle and let cool. Add peppercorns and finely grind; set aside.

Purée cilantro, parsley, mint, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, and ¼ cup water in a blender (I needed an immersion blender), adding more water 1 Tbsp. at a time if needed, until a coarse purée forms. Transfer to a small bowl. Add oil, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and reserved spice mixture. Season chermoula with salt and more lemon juice if needed.

For the hash
Cook farro in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente, 30–40 minutes (unless it’s quick-cooking farro – mine takes 10 minutes). Drain farro well and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 °F. Toss sweet potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet with 2 Tbsp. oil to coat; season with salt. Roast, tossing halfway through, until lightly browned and tender, 12–15 minutes.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and mostly crisp, 7–9 minutes. Add onion and thyme and cook, tossing occasionally, until onion is softened, 6–8 minutes. Add garlic and brussels sprouts and cook, tossing occasionally, until garlic is softened and brussels sprouts are bright green and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add farro, sweet potatoes, and 1 Tbsp. benne seeds. Cook hash, tossing occasionally, until farro is warmed through, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide hash among plates and top with eggs. Spoon chermoula over and sprinkle with benne seeds.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Cinnamon Sugar Scones

I’m not always drawn to very cinnamon-y pastries, but when I saw these cinnamon sugar scones on Smitten Kitchen, their layers of dough folded over just called to me. It was a great breakfast, especially with a side of fruit.

The yield is only 6 scones, but then again scones are better fresh, so it’s just as well (they were still fine the day after, but I’d recommend storing them in an airtight container). The Little Prince and I loved these; the Fox didn’t know what they were and refused to taste them, but that’s his loss.

1 ¾ cups (230 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for counter
6 Tbsp. (75 g) granulated sugar, divided
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. fine sea salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick or ½ cup) lactose-free butter or margarine, cold, diced
2 Tbsp. lactose-free cream or coconut milk, cold
2 Tbsp. lactose-free milk, cold
1 large egg
2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided

Preheat your oven to 375 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pinch the butter into the dry mixture with your fingers or cut it in until it resembles coarse cornmeal (I like to do this with my food processor). Make a well (clear area) in the center and pour in the cream and milk, then the egg. Use a fork to gently combine the egg and cream in the center, then use it to combine everything into a rough mass (again, the food processor is my friend). Dip your hands into the bowl and knead the mixture a few times into an even mass.

On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough to roughly a 10-by-6-inch rectangle (think: a piece of paper but a little smaller). Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon over half of the rectangle (it will seem like too much but trust me, these scones do not end up overly sweet), then fold it in half. Roll the dough out again into an 8-by-6-inch rectangle; sprinkle another of the remaining tablespoons of sugar and the last teaspoon of cinnamon over half, then fold in half again. Do not roll again, just pat the dough into roughly a 6-inch circle and cut with a sharp knife into 6 wedges. Evenly space the wedges on the pan, sprinkle with final tablespoon of sugar, and bake until slightly golden at the edges, 15 to 17 minutes.

Pan Pizza

I saw this video tweet by Jamie Oliver in which he makes a really easy deep-dish pizza right in a pan, so when I had some leftover sausage crumbles to use up, I figured this was the right thing to do with them. The recipe is here, though I adapted some ingredients to what I had on hand – pandemic cooking and all. I didn’t have self-rising flour, so I added baking powder and am giving you the proper amounts below. That being said, I also used bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, and I think that was a mistake because the crust was too thick and chewy for us – but that’s on me! I liked this pizza, but my kids were disappointed that there was no red sauce, so next time I’ll try to add some. This is a great recipe to use up leftover meat, cheese and vegetables!

2 Cumberland sausages (I used sausage crumbles)
olive oil
1 pinch of dried oregano
½ tsp. fennel seeds (I didn’t use them)
2 red onions
500 g self-rising flour (or 2 Tbsp. baking powder + top up to 500 g with all-purpose flour), plus extra for dusting
100 g cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 475 °F. Put a large non-stick, ovenproof frying pan on a medium-high heat.
Squeeze the sausage meat out of the skins directly into the frying pan, with ½ a tablespoon of olive oil. Use a wooden spoon to roughly break up the meat. Add the oregano and fennel seeds, and stir-fry until the sausage meat is lightly golden.

Peel and finely slice the onions, then add to the pan with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Cook on a medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and caramelized, stirring regularly. (Mine did not end up caramelized after so little time, obviously, but they were still good.)

Meanwhile, for the dough, pile the flour into a bowl with a good pinch of sea salt. Add up to 1 cup of water, mixing until it comes together as a smooth, elastic dough (I added a tad more); you want it to be pliable.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a couple of minutes, then form into a rough round.
Now, tip your topping out of the pan for a moment, returning the pan to a medium heat. Place the dough in the pan and – being careful not to touch the hot pan – use your fingertips to stretch out the dough to cover the base (I rolled it out over a lightly floured countertop first so that it was about the same size already).

Spoon the toppings back over the pizza, spreading it out and pushing the sausage into the dough, then top with the grated cheese.

Turn the heat back up to medium-high and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the base has started to crisp up. Transfer to the oven for 10 minutes, or until golden, puffed up and sizzling. Serve with a nice salad, if you like.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Mini-Cupcakes with Pistachios and Roses

One last thing with pistachios and roses (see here for pistachio rose cookies). These were originally called pistachio saffron rose financiers, but were made in miniature brioche pans instead of financier molds, and the baking times/volumes were just unclear across the board. So I adapted the recipe to make miniature cupcakes, in standard mini-muffin pans – I got a total of 43 – and I changed the ingredients a bit and reordered them in a more logical sequence.

These were absolutely fantastic! The saffron is really worth it here, and the rose-honey syrup just makes the flavors sing. I’ll definitely be making them again! Note that I used crushed dried rose petals instead of making my own candied rose petals (you could also buy those ready-made). This is one place where you should use butter instead of vegan margarine; I’m not aware of any American brands that currently label themselves as lactose-free, but if you make sure that the nutrition label states 0 grams of sugar, then it is de facto lactose-free butter.

1 ½ sticks of lactose-free butter, plus more for greasing molds
2/3 of all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting molds
1 cup of granulated sugar
¼ cup of finely ground raw almonds
¾ cup of finely ground raw pistachios, plus more for decorating
2 small pinches of saffron, about 25 threads of saffron in all, ground in a mortar and pestle
1 pinch of salt
6 egg whites
2 Tbsp. of honey
1 tsp. of rose water
crushed dried rose petals or candied rose petals (for decorating)

Preheat the oven to 375 °F with the rack placed in the middle. Grease and flour a mini muffin pan (my pan has room for 24 mini muffins, so I made 2 batches, one after the other, for a total of 43 miniature cupcakes).

Start browning the butter in a shallow pan over medium heat. Keep the butter swirling around until the butter begins to smell caramelized and begins to turn tan. Once the butter turns a deep brown, remove the pan from the heat and pour into a separate small bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, finely ground pistachios and almonds, saffron, and salt; stir to combine. Add the egg whites and whisk the mixture together until smooth. Pour the browned butter in stirring until combined.

Pour batter into molds and sprinkle chopped pistachios over them. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges just start to tan and the tops are springy. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, warm the honey and rosewater in a small bowl in the microwave or over the stovetop. Brush the top of the mini-cupcakes with the syrup and sprinkle with crushed rose petals.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Buckwheat Tahini Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Last time I ordered chocolate Soom, it came with a recipe for double chocolate chunk tahini cookies. (On a side note, looking up the link to this recipe online led me down a rabbit hole of other delicious-looking recipes that I’ve been sure to bookmark!) I didn’t make them quite as they were intended, I guess, because I got 20 cookies (as opposed to their 36 to 48, which is still a whole lot of variation!), so I’m assuming mine were bigger and chewier than they were meant to be, but that’s what I like! 

In any event, they were good enough, though I felt like I wanted something with chocolate chunks, sure, but no chocolate in the dough. The tahini, however, was a welcome addition. It’s possible the seed had been planted when I had read this a few years ago.

A quick look through my bookmarks revealed these tahini and rye chocolate chip cookies and, while they looked delicious, I didn’t want to add a bag of rye flour to my pantry. I wondered if I could just replace it with buckwheat and still get something good. When I saw that someone had replaced the wheat with buckwheat, I decided to adapt the recipe my way, replacing the rye flour with light buckwheat flour that I thought would work better than the typical dark one.

So without further ado, here’s my recipe for buckwheat tahini chocolate chunk cookies! They were delicious, and they were all so good-looking that it was hard to choose just one to photograph. I used a 3-ounce cookie scoop to shape them and got a total of 16 cookies.

125 g light buckwheat flour (see link above)
125 g white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup (1 stick) lactose-free butter or margarine, at room temperature
¼ cup tahini
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
sesame seeds, to coat

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

Place the butter, tahini and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined, then add the chocolate and mix until evenly distributed. Scoop the dough into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 4 hours until firm. (You can also refrigerate the dough for up to a few days.)

Preheat the oven to 360 °F (the higher-than-normal temperature helps “set” the cookies before they spread too much). Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

Using a 3-oz cookie scoop, form the cookies. You can either place them on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle them with sesame seeds like I did, or roll them in sesame seeds for a more thorough coating and then place them on the sheet (up to 12 to a sheet is fine).

Bake for 10 minutes or so (my oven is on the hot side, so it may take up to a few more minutes for you), until the cookies are ever-so-slightly golden at the edges (they will still look damp on top). Allow to cool completely before attempting to pick them up.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Pasta e Fagioli

J’avais envie de me faire un plat de pasta e fagioli et je me suis rendu compte que j’avais deux recettes que je voulais essayer : une de Coup de Pouce et l’autre, de Cook’s Country. (Je sais que j’avais déjà une recette de pasta e fagioli, mais sur le coup je voulais quelque chose de plus crémeux, et tant mieux s’il y avait du bacon!)

J’ai décidé d’utiliser un truc de Cook’s Country et de l’appliquer à la recette de Coupe de Pouce, soit de réduire en purée une partie des haricots avant de les mélanger aux pâtes, pour épaissir la sauce. Je voulais aussi en faire une grosse quantité – j’en ai peut-être un peu trop fait, parce que j’en ai eu pour 2 repas et j’en ai mis au congélateur en plus. Mais j’ai vraiment aimé ça! Je vous donne donc la recette telle que je l’ai faite, mais vous pourriez réduire les quantités de moitié au besoin. Il faut dire aussi que j’avais mis beaucoup de pâtes pour plaire aux enfants; on pourrait simplement réduire la quantité de pâtes de moitié et obtenir un ratio différent, mais une quantité plus raisonnable au final (il faudrait alors réduire également la quantité de bouillon ou de tomates).

2 c. à soupe d’huile d’olive
4 oz de pancetta ou de bacon coupé en dés
1 oignon haché
2 branches de céleri coupées en dés
2 carottes coupées en dés
1 c. à soupe de romarin frais haché finement
3 gousses d’ail hachées finement
4 tasses de bouillon de poulet ou de légumes (ou plus, au goût)
2 boîtes (15 oz) de haricots blancs cannellini, rincés et égouttés
2 boîtes (28 oz) de tomates broyées
16 oz de petites coquilles ou autres petites pâtes, comme des ditalini (voir note plus haut)
parmesan râpé et basilic frais (facultatif; je n’en ai pas mis dans l’assiette des enfants)

Dans une grande casserole, chauffer l’huile à feu moyen-vif. Ajouter la pancetta, l’oignon, le céleri, les carottes et le romarin, et cuire, en brassant de temps à autre, 4 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que les légumes aient ramolli. Ajouter l’ail et poursuivre la cuisson 30 secondes, en brassant.

Mélanger la moitié des haricots dans 1 ou 2 tasses de bouillon. Réduire en purée avec un pied mélangeur ou au robot. Ajouter le mélange à la casserole ainsi que le reste du bouillon et des haricots, les tomates et les pâtes. Saler et poivrer. Porter à ébullition. Réduire le feu et laisser mijoter 10 minutes, en  brassant souvent, ou jusqu’à ce que les pâtes soient al dente. À ce stade, vous pouvez ajouter du bouillon si vous voulez une texture plus « soupe » que « sauce » pour vos pâtes. Parsemer de parmesan et de basilic, si désiré.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Sweet Potato and Bacon Quiche

I recently tried a French bacon and onion tart that, despite how great it sounded, was really underwhelming. (By far the best thing to come out of that meal, possibly of that whole week, was the black sesame vinaigrette I made to dress a salad on the side.) So I had my doubts about making another French tart so soon, but I reasoned that it was hard to go truly wrong with a quiche, even if it had add-ins that I’d never tried before.

This sweet potato and bacon quiche, by Melissa Clark, has lemon zest that gives it an unexpected bright touch and that goes surprisingly well with the hint of nutmeg. While I love sweet potato, I’d never tried it in a quiche – turns out it’s delicious! I think the key is to roast it well first. I really loved this dish, and the Little Prince not only had seconds, but proclaimed it “the best quiche I’ve had in my life” and has requested that I make it again.

As for the pan: I got confused and used a 10-inch springform pan, but really, I should have used a tart pan with a removable bottom – the crust would have been much prettier then. I think this would also work in a 9-inch deep pie dish, as long as you baked it a bit longer to accommodate for the extra depth. You could also use a storebought crust and roll it out to fit your tart pan. I changed some of the amounts below to suit my taste and dietary restrictions. Note that I didn’t taste the coconut milk in the finished product, but if you don’t want to use it, you can replace with either lactose-free cream (if you’re lucky enough to have access to it), or you could use a smaller amount of whole milk and add an egg to the filling to compensate.

For the crust
2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
¾ tsp. fine sea salt
¼ tsp. sugar
1 cup (2 sticks / 225 g) lactose-free butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, plus more at room temperature for greasing
scant ½ cup ice water

For the filling
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes (about 3½ cups)
4 oz bacon (4 slices), diced into ½-inch squares
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1¼ tsp fine sea salt, divided
3 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk
¾ tsp finely grated lemon zest
⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
⅛ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¾ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 cup (4 oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup (2 oz) grated parmesan cheese

In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, and sugar to combine. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the mixture has formed lima bean-size pieces. Drizzle in the water and pulse just to combine, taking care not overprocess the dough – you may not need all the water. (You can also do this by hand with a pastry cutter.)

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and press it together into a ball. You should see bits of butter in the dough; those will bake up into delectable flakes. Flatten the dough to form a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it for 1 hour or as long as 2 days.

Butter a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to form a 12-inch round, rolling from the center toward the edges and trimming the edges as needed. Drape the dough over the tart pan and press it onto the bottom and up the sides, folding the excess down to bulk up the thickness of the sides of the tart shell. Then use your fingers to push the dough ¼ inch up past the rim. Use a fork to poke evenly spaced holes in the bottom and sides of the dough. Chill the tart shell for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours, uncovered. 

Arrange the racks in the top and lower thirds of the oven, then heat the oven to 425 °F.

Butter a piece of foil or spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Line the chilled dough with the buttered foil, butter-side down, and fill the foil with pie weights. Place the rimmed baking sheet on the upper rack in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove the baking sheet from the oven, carefully lift the foil and pie weights off the tart shell, and return the baking sheet to the oven. Continue baking until the tart shell is barely turning golden on the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool slightly. 

Meanwhile, make the filling. On a rimmed baking sheet (I prefer to line mine with parchment paper or aluminum foil), toss together the sweet potatoes, bacon, oil, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Place the baking sheet on the lower rack in the oven along with the tart shell and roast until the potatoes and bacon are golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the mixture cool. (The tart shell and the potatoes will come out of the oven at about the same time.) Reduce the oven temperature to 375 °F. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, lemon zest, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Fold in the parsley. 

Scatter the roasted potato-bacon mixture and the grated cheddar into the tart shell. Scrape the egg mixture into the shell, smoothing the top, and then sprinkle the Parmesan on top. Bake on the lower oven rack until the tart is puffed and browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the tart cool slightly, then remove the ring from the tart pan and slide the quiche from the tart pan bottom onto a wire rack to cool further. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

No-Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bars

These no-bake peanut butter and chocolate bars were absolutely delicious. The Little Prince had asked me for a homemade peanut butter snack, so I decided to try these, and they are his new favorite thing ever. I can’t say that I blame him – they are fantastic! Honestly, they are so sweet that they are actually a much better dessert than snack, and a little goes a long way. I believe that the powdered sugar is necessary for the consistency of the bars, but I wonder whether I could omit the brown sugar – I might try that next time.

For the bars
6 Tbsp. lactose-free butter or margarine, softened
6 firmly packed tablespoons brown sugar (see note)
1 ⅓ cups creamy peanut butter
½ cup graham cracker crumbs (from 1 sleeve of 9 crackers)
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt (I used Maldon sea salt flakes and highly recommend it!)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

For the chocolate glaze
8 oz. semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
5 Tbsp. coconut milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Lightly grease an 8” square pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat to combine, then add the peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, vanilla, and salt, and beat until combined and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until just combined.

Put the peanut butter mixture into the lined pan, and gently press it down into the pan, covering the whole surface. Use your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup to even out the top. Set aside while making the glaze.

To make the glaze, combine the chocolate and coconut milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and heat over medium heat (I did this in a double boiler). Stir frequently, until the chocolate mixture is combined and completely smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Gently pour over the peanut butter bars and use a knife or offset spatula to smooth the glaze evenly.

Put the peanut butter bars in the freezer for one hour. After the bars have chilled, remove them from the freezer and lift the bars from the pan, using the parchment overhang to help you. Place on a cutting board and slice them into small squares. Keep refrigerated and serve cool.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Savory Rainbow Waffles

This Weelicious recipe was simply called Rainbow Waffles, but that wasn’t precise enough for me because the first image it conjured was that of a sweet waffle with sprinkles in it, like a birthday cake-flavored confection. And while that would be delicious, this is not that waffle. 

Instead, these savory rainbow waffles are great for lunch (or brunch), and they get their colors from vegetables. I basically doubled the amounts (those below are mine), because I didn’t think that ½ cup of flour would yield enough waffles for my family – that being said, we did end up with leftovers, as these are very filling. You *could* increase the ratio of batter to vegetables, but then you end up in the latke conundrum (is it potatoes held together by batter, or a pancake with lots of potatoes?), and this ratio turned out fine. You can also adjust based on what you have on hand. I got 6 very thick waffles, which my kids preferred with maple syrup to any savory condiment I offered. Once again, the Fox in particular was turned off by the red bell pepper, so I wouldn’t use it next time, but everything else was well received in this dish!

1 cup grated carrots
2 cups grated zucchini 
½ cup red bell pepper, finely diced
½ cup corn kernels
½ cup red onion, finely diced (I didn’t have any, so I omitted them)
4 large eggs
1 cup all purpose, white, wheat or chickpea flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ cup grated lactose-free mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder

Place the carrots and zucchini in a cloth towel and squeeze in a ball to drain off as much liquid as possible. 

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir to thoroughly combine.

Pour 1/3 cup of the mixture in a greased waffle iron and cook according to waffle iron directions. 

Remove and serve with ketchup, mustard or on their own – my kids and I recommend maple syrup!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Pistachio Rose Cookies

I tried two more recipes with pistachios and, this time, dried rose petals. These pistachio rose clouds had caught my eye a long time ago, but were not as good as I’d hoped. Really, this should just serve as a lesson that I need to stop putting cornstarch in meringue. It produces a chewy center that I never enjoy – I much prefer meringues that are dry all the way through. Perhaps the recipe could be adapted, though, because they sure are pretty!

The pistachio rose cookies below were much more my speed! We all loved these.

I changed the baking time for this recipe. I baked the first batch almost as instructed, actually taking out the cookies at 18 minutes instead of 20 (even though my cookies were twice as thick as those in the recipe), but the cookies were way too dark and crisp for my liking; the directions below are mine. That way, not only do the cookies come out softer, but you can also still taste the rosewater, which is sort of the point. I adapted some of the ingredients, because I don’t have vanilla caster sugar and I imagine that most North Americans wouldn’t keep it in their pantry regularly. You could also add cardamom to the dough, for a more Persian feel. Note that even without any topping, these cookies are beautiful!

I was not able to find straight-up dried rose petals, only dried rosebuds. In order to make this recipe, I first removed the base and sepals and discarded them; then, I crumbled and finely chopped the petals. I think I used 8 rosebuds for this recipe.

I got a total of 36 cookies, but you’ll get more if you slice them more thinly, obviously. 

1 cup (2 sticks) lactose-free butter or margarine, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 egg
2 tsp. rose water
2½ cups flour
1 pinch salt
70 g ground pistachios, plus extra to garnish
3 Tbsp. dried rose petals, plus extra to garnish
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Add the egg and rosewater and continue beating until incorporated.

Add the flour, pistachios and rose petals. Stir until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough in two and roll both into logs about 18 cm (roughly 8 inches) long. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 45 minutes, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 °F.

Take one half of the rolled dough from the fridge, remove the plastic and slice 1-cm rounds. Place each round onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden. Cool on a wire rack. To serve, sprinkle a little more rose petals and ground pistachios over the cookies.
(You can slice and bake the other half of the dough now, leave it in the fridge for a few days, or put it in the freezer for another day.)

Indecision Chicken

Chicken is typically a crowd-pleaser, and it’s hard to go wrong with it. But then again, I feel like I’ve tried a lot of different recipes lately that turned out just okay - chicken curry, cilantro-lime chicken, creamy tahini chicken with rice, one-pot Asian chicken with rice (versions 1 and 2), even the pretty sheet pan chicken with sumac.

I was waiting for something to wow me, and that turned out to be this indecision chicken from Julia Turshen’s Small Victories (excellent cookbook, by the way). One day, when making dinner without a plan, she wasn’t sure whether she should marinate the chicken in herbs, or lemon, or honey mustard, and so she decided to use everything – and it came out so good that her dinner guests asked her for the recipe. It was really fantastic! And easy to prepare, too – I roasted mine.

I served this with carrot tzimmes that were excellent (and not unlike pennies from heaven, come to think of it). The Little Prince liked these! If you want to be more traditional, add a starch to your plate (like potatoes, rice, or quinoa).

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 Tbsp. minced fresh sage (I omitted it)

grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. seeded mustard

1 tsp. honey

¼ cup olive oil

½ tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs and/or breasts, trimmed

In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, parsley, lemon zest and juice, mustards, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add chicken and use your hands to generously coat each piece. Allow chicken to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour or in the refrigerator up to overnight. Allow chicken to come to room temperature before cooking.

GRILL: Preheat grill over high heat. Grill chicken about 5 minutes per side until fully cooked (internal temperature of 165 °F).

ROAST: Preheat oven to 425 °F. Roast chicken, turning pieces halfway through cooking, about 25 minutes total or until fully cooked (internal temperature of 165 °F).

BROIL: Preheat broiler. Broil chicken for about 5 minutes on each side or until fully cooked (internal temperature of 165 °F).

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Chocolate Cereal Smoothie

It’s super hot in Texas, it’s super hot in Quebec, so how about a nice cold drink today? If you want to go with something huge and decadent, let me recommend making caramel milkshakes (just use lactose-free vanilla ice cream and lactose-free milk and you’re all set). But for something smaller, that kids should love, try this chocolate cereal smoothie. I say “should” because, full disclosure, the Fox is 3 years old and has started refusing some foods that look new, even though he would obviously love them, and he just would not taste this even though he likes each of the components. The rest of us loved it!

For the cereal, I recommend the 2.3-ounce format of Cocoa Krispies, as you’ll need one container and that’s it. (Otherwise, the giant box will still get eaten in our house, and it’s a nice treat, but not something that we keep on hand.) As for the whipped topping, did you know that Reddi Wip makes not one, but two non-dairy flavors now? There’s an almond-based one and a coconut-based one, and I recommend either (or both, depending on how you look at it). Note that you can also decorate the rim of the glasses by dipping them in honey, then in chocolate sprinkles, if desired. Sprinkles would also be great to top the smoothie!

2 cups chocolate cereal, such as Cocoa Krispies 
2 cups lactose-free milk 
1 frozen banana 
6 oz. lactose-free vanilla yogurt 
lactose-free whipped topping (see note above) 
fruit, to decorate (optional)

Combine the cereal and milk in a mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let soak in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours, or until the milk tastes like the cereal.

Add cereal and milk mixture, frozen banana, and 6 oz. and yogurt to a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour smoothie into each glass. Add whipped topping to each glass and serve with fruit, if desired.

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Vegetable Quesadillas

You’ll have to excuse the recent lack of posts. Blogger changed its interface to something that is the complete opposite of user-friendly, and meanwhile, I’ve been very busy with both personal and professional development projects. (On a side note, I’m really enjoying bullet journaling as a means of not only keeping track of what has to be done, but also of motivating myself to do it!) 

I had been wondering what to make for lunch and considering serving grilled tex-mex vegetable sandwiches because I thought there was a decent chance the kids would like it. And serendipitously, my mother sent me this tweet, a video where Jamie Oliver makes vegetable quesadillas (there’s also a written version here if you prefer, but to me this is more a method than a recipe). The kids actually ate this heartily! I made enough that I had leftovers, which I warmed up in the oven, and on the second day my kids were less fond of the red bell pepper in there but still liked the rest. 

a mix of vegetables, finely chopped or grated (I used green onions, carrots, and red bell pepper) 
grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese 
flour tortillas 
avocados, lactose-free sour cream, lime wedges (to serve) 

Mix the vegetables and the cheese. Spread the mixture on half the tortillas and top with the remaining tortillas. 

Heat a large pan over medium heat and spray it with vegetable oil. Place a quesadilla in the pan and heat until the tortilla gets golden and crisp and the filling starts to melt; turn over with a spatula and do the same on the second side. Repeat with remaining quesadillas. 

Cut into wedges and let cool a bit before serving with avocado, sour cream and lime wedges.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Batch of links

- I’ve been meaning to post a link to this just because I was interested based on the tagline: This rocket scientist is tracing Black ingenuity through barbecue

- Some Dairy Queen locations will serve non-dairy Dilly bars

 - I’ve been trying to link to a age of Parents magazine for a few months and couldn’t find any better link than this. It’s about children’s books that combine a compelling story and beautiful illustrations with actual recipes you can make at home with your kids: Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao, Holy Squawkamole!, What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street?, Goodnight Bubbala (for which Ina Garten created a latke recipe), and Midsummer’s Mayhem (a chapter book for older kids). One more I could contribute: Fry Bread

- Canada will be investing $100 million in plant-based foods. I like that in theory, but I notice that it’s all going to one company, instead of, say, subsidies on fruits and vegetables… 

- I’m not sure I ever talked about Allergic Traveler before, but even if I did, it’s worth mentioning twice. They’re a company that makes custom food-allergy cards in various languages, based on your food restrictions and travel plans. 

- January’s Bon Appétit had a surprising-to-me feature about how to choose weed, based on which of 6 key experiences you want to focus on. The online version also has this feature with recipes, including compound butter and pot brownies. (I’m freaking out a little just reading the recipe… I realize it’s a 9”x12” pan instead of the typical 8”x8”, but, like, 16 eggs? 5 sticks of butter? 3 cups of flour and 6 goram cups of sugar? Are you trying to kill me? Then again, I’ve never made anything with weed and wouldn’t know the first thing about how it reacts with other typical ingredients, as far as baking chemistry goes.) 

- And finally, the Engineer and I will be spending our first Independence Day as Americans, so I better memorize some of this glossary of types of fireworks.