Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sour cream pancakes

These pancakes are very light and fluffy - totally worth the extra effort (and calories...)  Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.


Ingredients

(Makes about 8 pancakes)

7 Tall purpose flour
1 Tsugar
1 t baking soda
1/ 2 t salt
1 c sour cream/creme fraiche (can be combined with yogurt)
2 large eggs
1/2 t vanilla extract
Butter
Maple syrup (or perhaps some Cranberry Syrup)

Instructions

1) Stir the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.
2) Stir sour cream, eggs, and vanilla in a smaller bowl.
3) Combine dry and wet mixtures, being careful not to overmix - it's okay if there are small lumps.
4) Heat at a large skillet over medium-low heat, and let it sit so that it gets hot enough to immediately melt some butter dropped into it.
5) Melt a small chunk of butter in the skillet, and pour small amounts of batter (about 1/4 c) into discreet pancakes (i.e. don't let them run into each other).
6) Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, until bubbles appear all over the surface and you can shake the pancakes along the bottom of the skillet.
7) Flip carefully and cook another minute on the other side.
8) Remove from pan and wrap in tin foil or put into a warmed oven, then repeat with remaining batter.
Serve with maple syrup and banana slices.

Vegetarian Tacos

This recipe is a vegetarian adaptation of the American classic - tacos.  It is infinitely better than any premade taco seasoning, and can be used with any meat substitute (not just quorn).  Adapted from Cooks Illustrated.


Ingredients

1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1.4 t cayenne pepper
1 t salt
1/4 c tomato paste
1/2 c broth
2 t cider vinegar
1 t brown sugar
1 T oil
1 package quorn mince

Instructions

1) Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and cook onion in oil until translucent and golden, about 8-10 minutes.
2) Add garlic and spices, stir, and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
3) Stir in the tomato sauce, broth, vinegar and sugar.
4) Add quorn, stir, and simmer for a few minutes, until some of the liquid is absorbed.
Serve with taco shells/tortilla wraps, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, salad, and vegetables of your choice.

Killer Mac and Cheese

This recipe is adapted from Cooks Ilustrated/America's Test Kitchen, and makes an incredible rich cream mac and cheese.  You can use a variety of cheeses - as long as one is semi-hard and full flavored like cheddar, and the other is soft like colby jack (I used port salu and it was delicious)


Ingredients

1 c bread crumbs
1 pound elbow macaroni (or any other type of small pasta)
6 T butter
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 t dry mustard
1/4 t cayenne pepper
6 T flour
1.75 c broth
3.5 c whole milk
16 oz colby jack cheese, shredded (about 5 1/3 cups)
8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 2/3 cups)
Ground black pepper

Instructions

1) Preheat the oven to 200C.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, stir in 1T salt, and add macaroni.
2) Cook until al dente according to the instructions on the box (it should be very chewy, as it will continue cooking in the oven).  Drain and set aside.
3) In the same pot (after you dry it), heat butter over medium heat until melted.
4) Add garlic, mustard, and cayenne, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
5) Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute.
6) Slowly whisk in the broth and milk - bring to a simmer and cook, whisking often, until the mixture is slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.
7) Remove from heat and whisk in the cheeses gradually until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
8) Combine cheese mixture and pasta, breaking up any clumps.
9) Pour mixture into a 9 x 13″ baking dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
10) Bake until golden brown and bubbling around the edges, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The best pumpkin pie

This is a wonderfully tangy alternative to the standard pumpkin pie - the creme fraiche adds a light and creamy texture.  Adapted from The Traveler's Lunch and Martha Stewart.


Ingredients

For the crust

12 graham crackers/digestive biscuits ground finely
70 g (5 T) butter
40 g sugar

For the filling

1 can/1.5 c pumpkin puree
1.5 c creme fraiche
3 large eggs
1.5 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
pinch cloves
1/2 salt
1/2 c (100g) dark brown sugar
1/2 c (100g) white sugar
1 T cornstarch

Instructions

1) Preheat oven to 175 C.  Combine graham crackers/digestives with sugar and butter, and combine until the mixtures is the texture of wet sand.
2) Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9" pie plate, and bake crust until it is dry and set, about 12 minutes.
3) While the crust is cooking, in a large bowl combine all of the pie filling ingredients except for the sugars and cornstarch.
4) In a small bowl, combine the sugars and corn starch until no lumps remain.
5) Combine pumpkin and sugar mixtures, and pour into parbaked crust.  Lower oven temperature to 160C and bake until the filling is puffed and set, about an hour.

Quinoa with miso, sweet potato, and broccoli

This is a delicious recipe with incredibly more-ish sauce: the miso is sweet, savory, and tangy.  Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.


Ingredients

1 c cooked quinoa
2 medium sweet potatoes (1.5 pounds)
1 large broccoli head
1-2 T olive oil
2 T toasted sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste
2 green onions, chopped coarsely
a handful of your favorite herb, chopped

For the sauce

1.5 T ginger
1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed
3 T miso
3 T tahini
1.5 T honey
3/8 c rice vinegar
3 T sesame oil
3 T olive oil

Instructions

1) Heat oven to 205C.  Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes, then remove stalk from broccoli and cut into small florets.
2) Spray a tin foil lined tray with olive oil, layer sweet potatoes onto tray, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3)  Cook sweet potatoes for 20 minutes or until browning slightly, then add broccoli chunks and toss to combine, and roast for another 10-15 minutes, until broccoli is lightly browned and sweet potato is fully cooked.
4) While vegetables are cooking, prepare miso dressing by combining ingredients and blending (in a blender or with a hand blender).
5) To serve, put a dollop of quinoa on a plate, add a few spoonfulls of sweet potatoes and broccoli, sprinkle with dressing, then finish with sesame seeds, herbs, and green onions.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pizza with gorgonzola, caramelized onions, pear, beets, and rocket

Making homemade pizza dough requires a bit of advance prep and effort, but it's absolutely worth the effort.  The dough here was kneaded using a bread maker, but it is just as easy to use a food processor or knead by hand.  Adapted from Cooks Illustrated.


Ingredients

For the dough

1 3/4 c water, divided into 1/2 cup warm, 1 1/4 c tap temperature
1 t dry active yeast
2 T olive oil
4 c strong white bread flour
1.5 t salt 

For the pizza

a jar of your favorite tomato sauce
a hunk of gorgonzola, crumbled
250g fresh mozzarella, cut into small chunks
200 g baby beets (sweetfire is best), cut into small chunks
1 pear, sliced thinly
2 red onions, caramelized (see here for a recipe)
1/2 c parmesian, grated
6 cups fresh rocket

Instructions

For the dough

1) Combine 1/4 c warm water with yeast in a medium bowl, and let stand 5 minutes, until yeast dissolves and swells to produce bubbles.  
2) Add remaining 1/4 c water, 1 1/4 c tap water, and 2 T olive oil.
3) Combine flour with salt.
4a) If using a bread maker, combine all ingredients together and let the machine do the work.
4b) If using a food processor, place flour/salt into the food processor, pulse to combine well, then add the liquid ingredients, pulsing all the while until a ball of dough forms.
5) Process dough in food processor with short pulses for 30 seconds to a minute, until the dough is smooth and satiny.
6) Lightly flour a work surface, turn dough out, and knead by hand for about a minute to form a small ball.  
7) Place dough into a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a cool place for about 4 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

For the pizza

I like to improvise with quantities for ingredients.  Here, you should have enough toppings for about 3 pizzas - feel free to decrease/increase the quantities of any of the toppings to suit your taste.  You will have some leftover dough, which can be wrapped tightly in cling film and frozen.

1) Preheat the oven to 250C.  Cover a large work surface with flour, take a piece of dough the size of a fist, and roll dough out from the middle outwards, with a rolling pin, until it is to the thickness of your liking.  (See here for tips)
2) Place the dough onto a baking stone or tray, and layer with ingredients: spray with a bit of olive oil, slather base with 2-3 T tomato sauce, and sprinkle with gorgonzola, mozzarella, red onions, pear, and beets.  
3) Sprinkle the top with parmesian, and bake for 8-12 minutes, until the crust is gold brown and the toppings are browning slightly.
4) Serve sprinkled with fresh rocket.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Quinoa salad with egg, zucchini, and avocado-cilantro dressing

This is a delicious and summery quinoa salad, adapted from 101 Cookbooks.


Ingredients

1 large avocado, ripe
juice of 1 lime
1/4 c lightly packed cilantro
1 clove garlic
1/4 c plain yogurt
1/2 c water
1/2 t salt
2 T mayonaisse
4 large eggs
1 large zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch thick coins
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
couple pinches of fine grain sea salt
1 cups quinoa, cooked according to package instructions
handful pine nuts, toasted
1/4 c feta, crumbled
1-2 c fresh spinach, chopped finely
2 T chopped cilantro
1/4 c cooked corn (optional)

Instructions

1) Prepare the avocado-cilantro dressing by blending the avocado, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, yogurt, water, salt, and mayonaise with a hand blender, and set aside.
2) Hard boil three eggs and set aside.  (Try this technique: place eggs in a medium pot and cover with cold water by 1/2 inch.  Bring to a gentle boil, turn off heat and cover.  Let sit for 7 minutes, then dunk eggs in ice water to stop cooking.)
3) Use a grill pan (or a normal pan if you don't have one) to cook zucchini: heat olive oil over medium heat and cook zucchini for ~5 minutes on each side.
4) Crack and peel each egg, then cut into quarters.
5) Toss quinoa with zucchini, spinach, feta, cilantro, and corn (if using).
6) To assemble salad, top quinoa mix with avocado sauce and slices of egg.