Saturday, November 25, 2023

French Apple Crunch Tart


I found this recipe on David Lebovitz’s blog, where he adapted it from Jacques Pépin. I felt like making an apple dessert, but I didn’t want a heavy cinnamon taste, so this French tart was perfect! I used 2 big Honeycrisp apples and 1 miniature Jazz apple. 

For the dough 
2 cups (280 g) flour 
1 tsp. kosher or flaky sea salt 
¾ cup (6 oz, 170 g) lactose-free butter, cubed and chilled 
 ½ cup ice water, plus a tablespoon or two more, if necessary 

For the apple filling and assembling the tart 
1 ¾-2 lbs. (800-900 g) apples, peeled, cored, and cut in ¼-inch (½-cm) slices 
1-2 Tbsp. granulated sugar (use the lesser amount if the apples you are using are sweet) 
2 ½ Tbsp. (36 g) lactose-free butter, finely cubed 
1 egg yolk, mixed with a teaspoon of milk or water 
2 Tbsp. demerara or turbinado sugar (optional) 

To make the crust, mix the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (You can also make this by hand in a mixing bowl using a pastry blender or your hands, or make it in a food processor like I do.) Add the chilled butter and mix until the butter pieces are the size of blueberries. Don't overmix; it should be quite lumpy. Add the ice water and stir just until the dough comes together. 

Divide the dough in two, shape both pieces into disks, and wrap and chill them for at least 30 minutes. (The dough can be made up to two days ahead.) 

To assemble the tart, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Toss the apple slices with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl. 

Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured countertop until it's a 14-inch (36-cm) circle. Place the round of dough on the prepared baking sheet. (I fold it in half and work quickly to transfer it then unfold it on the baking sheet, but Jacques Pépin rolls his dough around the rolling pin first, before moving it, and unrolling it on the prepared baking sheet.) Place the apples in an even layer over the dough, leaving a 2-inch (5-cm) exposed border. Distribute the diced butter bits over the apples. Fold the outside edges of the dough up and over to tuck in the apples. 

Roll the other disk of dough to the same size as the first. Brush the bottom crust that's folded over the apples liberally with water, then place the second round of dough over the apples and bottom crust, tucking the edges underneath the bottom of the tart. Place the tart on the baking sheet in the refrigerator or freezer for 15 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400 °F and set the rack in the middle of the oven. Mix the egg yolk with the water or milk in a small bowl and brush it over the top of the tart. Sprinkle the granulated brown sugar evenly over the top, cut four slits in the top and bake until the top is well-browned and crunchy. When done, thick apple juices should be bubbling up in the slit holes, indicating they are cooked. The tart should take about 30 to 35 minutes to bake, depending on the apples and your oven. Remove the tart from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then slide onto a wire rack.

Honey Ginger Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa


This recipe for Honey Ginger Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa was wonderful! I adapted it, since I now know that my slow cooker doesn’t heat well enough on the low setting – I cooked this on the high setting instead, for a much shorter time, and everything came out great. I highly recommend it! 

For the pork tacos 
2 lbs. pork shoulder/butt (boneless) 
½ cup soy sauce 
1/3 cup honey 
4 garlic cloves, minced 
4 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated 
1 tsp. cornstarch 
10 taco shells (I always pick soft tortillas) 

For the pineapple salsa 
2 cups fresh pineapple, diced 
1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, diced 
1/3 cup red onions, diced (I used shallot) 
¼ cup cilantro, chopped 
2 Tbsp. jalapeño, seeds removed, diced (I omitted that) 
1 garlic clove, minced (I omitted that too) 
2 Tbsp. lime juice 
1 pinch of salt 

Spray your slow cooker with nonstick spray, then place the pork inside. 

Next, make the sauce: whish the soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch together, then pour the sauce on top of the pork. 

Slow-cook the pork on LOW for 6 hours (my Instant Pot never quite reaches the right temperature on LOW, so I cooked it on HIGH for 1 hour instead). Shred the pork (it should be very easy by this point), then cook for an additional 30 minutes. 

Mix together all the ingredients for the salsa in a bowl and set aside. 

Warm the tortillas, top each one with a big spoonful of the pork and a smaller spoonful of the pineapple salsa. Enjoy!

Fudgy Brownie Cookies


This was originally a recipe for fudgy brownie sandwich cookies from Parents magazine (and it is no longer online). However, since I couldn’t find lactose-free cream cheese here, I used a vegan version – in this case, Miyoko’s cashew cream cheese. The consistency of the frosting was too runny, even though I didn’t use milk. Plus, I was making them to send to school, and then I remembered that this would have gone against my policy of not sending nuts in the kids’ lunchboxes. So I only used the frosting on the one in the photo, and kept all the other cookies plain for the kids’ lunches. These cookies were wonderful, deeply chocolaty, and they freeze very well without frosting! 

1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained 
¾ cup sugar 
½ cup cocoa powder 
¼ cup cornstarch 
2 Tbsp. honey 
1 egg, at room temperature 
1 Tbsp. coconut oil 
1 ½ tsp. vanilla, divided 
½ tsp. salt 
¼ tsp. baking powder 
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled 
4 oz. lactose-free cream cheese, at room temperature 
1 Tbsp. lactose-free butter 
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted 
1 Tbsp. lactose-free milk (I omitted that) 

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In the bowl of a food processor, combine beans, sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, honey, egg, coconut oil, ½ teaspoon of vanilla, salt, and baking powder. Process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the melted chocolate until a smooth, paste-like mixture forms. 

Drop 2 Tbsp. batter onto a prepared pan and gently spread the batter to form a 2-inch round. (I mean, mine weren’t pretty, but it wasn’t a contest.) Repeat with the remaining batter, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies lose their sheen and crack slightly. Let cool on a wire rack. 

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Add the powdered sugar, milk, and remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat until smooth. 

Sandwich 1 tablespoon of cream cheese filling between 2 cookies. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Store in fridge.

Chicken Fajita Salad


OK, I don’t know why I need recipes for simple stuff. I just like following instructions more than winging it, I guess? But anyway, this chicken fajita salad was right up my alley! 

2 Tbsp. canola oil 
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (I used 1 ½ lbs. of chicken strips) 
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced 
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced 
1 onion, medium, thinly sliced 
1 tsp. salt 
1 tsp. chili powder (I used a pinch) 
1 tsp. cumin 
1 tsp. garlic powder 
3 Tbsp. olive oil 
3 Tbsp. lime juice 
1 tsp. brown sugar 
1 tsp. chili flakes 
1 tsp. salt 
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped 
1 avocado, sliced 

Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, bell peppers, onion, salt, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder for five minutes, stirring constantly. 

Flip the chicken, and cook for another five minutes, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are slightly soft. Remove from heat and slice the chicken into strips. 

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, brown sugar, chili, and salt, stirring until evenly mixed. 

In a large bowl, toss the romaine lettuce with the chicken, peppers & onions, avocado, and dressing. Enjoy!

Friday, November 24, 2023

Œufs à la turque et courge


J’ai adapté cette recette d’œufs à la turque aux courges de Ricardo pour me faire un dîner. Je me suis inspirée de la version originale partagée dans le magazine (courge rôtie au miel et à la coriandre) : j’ai assaisonné ma courge (une seule) avec du miel, de la coriandre, du cumin, une pincée de piment, du sel et du poivre. Je n’ai pas utilisé le beurre ni fait l’huile au piment. J’ai fait pocher les œufs, j’ai utilisé du yogourt grec et j’ai fait dorer les graines de citrouille dans le reste d’huile à l’ail avant de les saupoudrer de sel. C’était vraiment délicieux! Je partage ci-dessous la recette de Ricardo; libre à vous de l’adapter à votre goût. 

2 courges Delicata moyennes, coupées en deux, les graines retirées et coupées en demi-rondelles de 1 cm (½ po) d’épaisseur 
3 c. à soupe d’huile d’olive 
4 œufs, tempérés 
1 gousse d’ail, tranchée finement 
¼ c. à thé de flocons de piment broyé 
2 c. à soupe de beurre 
1 tasse de yogourt nature 10 % sans lactose 
40 g (1/3 tasse) de fromage feta sans lactose émietté 
2 c. à soupe de graines de citrouille grillées 
fleur de sel 
brins d’aneth, au goût (je n’aime pas ça, alors je n’en ai pas mis) 
4 petits pains naans 

Placer la grille au centre du four. Préchauffer le four à 375 °F. 

Sur une plaque de cuisson antiadhésive ou tapissée de papier parchemin, enrober les courges de 1 c. à soupe de l’huile. Saler et poivrer. Cuire au four 25 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que les courges soient tendres et bien colorées. 

Entre-temps, dans une casserole d’eau frémissante, déposer délicatement les œufs à l’aide d’une cuillère. Cuire 5 minutes. Égoutter les œufs. Rincer sous l’eau froide 1 minute. Écaler délicatement les œufs sans les briser. Réserver. 

Entre-temps, dans une petite poêle à feu moyen, dorer l’ail dans le reste de l’huile. Égoutter les chips d’ail sur du papier absorbant en conservant l’huile dans la poêle. Ajouter le piment et mélanger. Retirer du feu, puis ajouter le beurre. 

Répartir le yogourt dans des assiettes. Déposer les rondelles de courges et les œufs. Arroser de l’huile au piment. Garnir du fromage feta, des graines de citrouille et des chips d’ail. Parsemer les œufs de fleur de sel et décorer de brins d’aneth. Accompagner de pains naans.

Ginger-Miso Dressing


I read this newsletter of Dinner A Love Story and the idea for the dressing really stuck in my mind. I omitted the jalapeño and decided to serve the dressing with an improvised Buddha bowl (shredded chicken from the freezer, roasted butternut squash and broccoli, bell pepper, and lettuce). I loved it! 

3 Tbsp. sweet white miso 
1/3 cup neutral oil (like grapeseed; olive oil is fine too if it’s what you’ve got – I used ¼ cup) 
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar 
1 tsp. brown sugar 
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil 
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped 

Add all ingredients to a mini food processor and whirl until emulsified and smooth. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, if you need to adjust the consistency to be drizzly.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Ginger Lemonade


I don’t make drinks that often. I did take advantage of summer to make this sparkling grapefruit-raspberry lemonade, since the Engineer doesn’t like grapefruit or raspberry but the rest of us did. 

And once back in San Antonio, I made ginger lemonade

So, here’s the thing: because this lemonade is made with ginger and honey in addition to the lemon, it really felt like I was trying to fight a cold, not feel refreshed. That’s not a bad thing, of course, especially considering that one of the kids had brought a cold home from school at the time… I decided to freeze the leftover lemonade in an ice cube tray and I will pull it out when medicinally appropriate. 

3 ½ cups water, divided 
½ cup agave syrup (plus more to taste) 
2/3 cup chopped fresh ginger, peeling optional (clean the skin if you included it, though) 
1 cup lemon juice (5 lemons yield about 1 cup of juice) 
fresh mint leaves, for garnish (optional) 

In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup of the water, the agave, and the chopped fresh ginger. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, cook for 10 minutes to extract the ginger flavor. Remove from the heat. 

Meanwhile, to a glass jar or pitcher, add lemon juice and remaining water. Place a strainer over the jar/lemon mixture and pass the ginger syrup through it, removing any small pieces of ginger. Whisk the lemonade well to mix in the ginger syrup, and serve it over ice. Optionally, garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve on its own or as a mixer with tequila, gin, or vodka. 

Lemonade will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator up to 5 days, or freeze in popsicle molds for a sweet, cold treat! Can also be frozen into ice cubes and added to summer beverages (I’d add it to ginger ale, actually).

Pâtes crémeuses sans produits laitiers

Est-ce que ça commence à faire longtemps que je n’ai pas parlé de Ricardo? Bon ben, voici sa recette de pâtes crémeuses sans produits laitiers. Ici, on obtient le « crémeux » grâce à des panais réduits en purée. Puisqu’ils ont un goût légèrement sucré, il est important d’utiliser la moutarde pour équilibrer le tout. J’ai utilisé 12 onces de pâtes protéinées de marque Barilla. C’était délicieux! 

8 tranches de bacon, coupées en lardons 
225 g (½ lb) de panais, pelés et coupés en fines rondelles 
2 gousses d’ail, coupées en deux 
1 oignon, haché grossièrement 
¼ c. à thé de thym séché 
2 tasses de bouillon de poulet réduit en sodium 
1 c. à soupe de moutarde à l’ancienne 
450 g (1 lb) de linguines ou autres pâtes longues 
30 g (1 tasse) de cresson ou de roquette 

Dans une casserole à feu moyen, cuire le bacon jusqu’à ce qu’il soit bien doré, soit environ 10 minutes. À l’aide d’une écumoire ou d’une cuillère à trous, prélever le bacon et l’égoutter sur une assiette tapissée de papier absorbant. Réserver. 

Dans la même casserole à feu moyen, attendrir les panais, l’ail et l’oignon avec le thym dans le gras du bacon 3 minutes. Saler légèrement. Verser le bouillon. Porter à ébullition. Couvrir et laisser mijoter 10 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que le panais soit tendre. Retirer du feu. 

À l’aide d’un mélangeur à main, réduire le mélange de panais en purée lisse. Incorporer la moutarde. Poivrer. Réserver au chaud. 

Entre-temps, dans une autre casserole d’eau bouillante salée, cuire les pâtes al dente. Prélever 1 tasse d’eau de cuisson. Égoutter les pâtes. Remettre les pâtes dans la casserole. 

Ajouter la sauce sur les pâtes et bien mélanger. Ajouter de l’eau de cuisson pour détendre la sauce au besoin. Rectifier l’assaisonnement. 

Répartir les pâtes dans des assiettes creuses. Garnir du bacon et du cresson. Servir aussitôt.

No-Churn Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream


I had some sweetened condensed coconut milk to use up, so I decided to make this no-churn chocolate cherry ice cream. I was unable to find lactose-free cream cheese anywhere, so I had to use vegan cream cheese – while this ice cream was good, I believe it would have been much better with dairy lactose-free cream cheese! Just remember to take the ice cream out of the freezer about 15 minutes before serving it. 

16-oz. bag frozen pitted dark sweet cherries (about 3 cups) 
½ cup granulated sugar 
2 tsp. cornstarch 
2 tsp fresh lemon juice 
½ tsp. kosher salt, divided 
8 oz. lactose-free cream cheese (see note above), at room temperature 
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract 
14 oz. sweetened condensed coconut milk 
2 cups lactose-free cream (vegan is fine) 
4 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate bar, coarsely chopped (or grated) 

Stir together cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until bubbling, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring often, until thickened, dark, and slightly reduced, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large baking dish. Refrigerate until cool, 1 to 2 hours. 

Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and lightly whipped, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt; beat on high speed until just combined. With mixer running, gradually add condensed milk in a steady stream, beating until no clumps of cream cheese remain and scraping down sides of bowl as needed, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Place cream in a separate large bowl. Beat (no need to clean beaters) on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Fold in chocolate. Fold in 1 cup cooled cherry mixture until just swirled in, being careful not to overmix. 

Pour into a freezer-safe 2 ½-quart baking dish or 10-by-5-inch loaf pan. Dot with remaining cherry mixture; swirl with a spoon. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours.

Loaded Veggie Quesadillas

These loaded veggie quesadillas were delicious! They were hearty and had protein and vegetables – what’s not to love? I just sliced the avocado instead of making guacamole. I used vegan Boursin and lactose-free sharp cheddar, but you could use a vegan substitute for that as well, or omit it if you want. And to make them gluten-free, just use gluten-free wraps! As for me, I used these new Olé Rising Xtreme Wellness keto wraps and really enjoyed them. 

For the roasted vegetables 
1 large red bell pepper 
1 large yellow bell pepper 
2 medium sweet potatoes 
1 tsp. ground cumin 
1 tsp. ground coriander 
¼ tsp. ground allspice 
½ tsp. chili powder (I used a big pinch of Korean pepper) 
a drizzle of olive oil 
salt and pepper 

For the black beans 
1 15-oz. black beans 
½ tsp. ground cumin 
½ tsp. ground coriander 
salt and pepper 

For the guacamole 
1 large ripe avocado 
squeeze fresh lemon juice (to taste) 
salt and pepper 

For serving 
2 large tortilla wraps 
50 g lactose-free cream cheese (I used vegan Boursin) 
75 g extra mature cheddar cheese 

Preheat the oven to 425 °F. Chop the peppers into thin slices. Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into thin rounds. Place the veg in a large roasting tray, sprinkle over the cumin, coriander, allspice and chili powder, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Toss everything together to coat then roast for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. 

Rinse and drain the black beans and place in a small pan with the cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until roughly mashed then heat until warmed through. 

Place the avocado flesh in a bowl and mash with the back of a fork, add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. 

Spread the cream cheese over one side of each tortilla wrap. Spread the black beans over the other half. Spread the guacamole on top of the beans, layer the vegetables on top then sprinkle with the cheddar cheese. Fold in half. 

Lightly grease a large frying pan with vegetable oil over a medium heat. Place the folded tortillas in the pan and heat for about 5 minutes until lightly browned then carefully flip them over and repeat on the other side. Carefully remove to a plate and serve.