Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pumpkin (or Sweet Potato) Muffins

You can make these muffins with fresh pumpkin or sweet potato. Use any orange kind of pumpkin or Butternut squash.
1 cup whole wheat four
½ cup all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2/3 cup almond meal (or finely ground almonds)
1 ¾ cup grated fresh pumpkin (or sweet potato)
½ cup olive oil
2 eggs
¼ cup milk (soy or cow’s)
For icing:
1 ½ tbls carob molasses
1 ½ tbls tahini (sesame paste)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Position rack in center of oven. Butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients including pumpkin. In a measuring jar mix all wet ingredients. Pour liquid into the flour mixture and mix with wooden spoon or whisk. Do not mix too much. Spoon into muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are risen. Prepare icing by combining molasses and tahini in a small bowl. Fill a cut-open pastry bag (or ziplock bag) or a squeeze bottle to decorate muffins while they are still warm. Do not decorate them while they are hot.
Makes 12 muffins
You can grate pumpkin or sweet potato in a food processor.
If you are trying to reduce sugars you can lessen the amount of sugar in this recipe (up to ½ cup).
For vegetarian muffins substitute eggs with two small ripe purred bananas.

Carrot Pudding - Gajar Ki Kheer

4 cups milk (soy or cow’s)
2 tbls rice
2 cups finely grated carrots, firmly packed
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbls almond meal (or finely grated almonds)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (or ground cinnamon)
1 tsp rose water (optional)
2 tbls ghee (or butter)
15 almonds, chopped and roasted

Combine milk, rice, carrot and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook uncovered for 35 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cinnamon and butter, mix well and remove from heat. Mix in rose water and pour the pudding into a molds or serving glasses. I used a flexible silicone molds. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Sprinkle with chopped, roasted almonds before serving.
Serves 4 to 6

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins

1 cup quick oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup almond flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 cup soy or cow’s milk
½ cup olive oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 F. Position rack in center of oven. Butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
Put all dry ingredients into a bowl. Pour all the liquid ingredients into a measuring jug. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix. Do not mix too much. Spoon into muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top and bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are risen.
Makes 12 muffins
For vegetarian muffins, instead of egg use one small ripe purred banana.

Scrambled Tofu with “Kacamak”

Kačamak or kachamak is a traditional Bosnian, Bulgarian, Macedonian and Serbian dish.
The dish is made of cornmeal, potato and, sometimes, feta cheese or skorup. Similar to the Italian polenta and Romanian mămăligă, it is prepared by boiling the mixture until it is thick or runny, depending on taste, and then mashing while the pot is still on the fire. It is usually served with milk, plain yogurt, sour cream or sometimes with bacon. Although it was once regarded as a poor man's food, it has grown into the everyday cuisine and is often found in restaurants (from wikipedia). I discovered a combination of Kacamak and tofu from Serbian food blogger: http://sandrinmlin.blogspot.com/.
Scrambled tofu:
2 tbls olive oil
500 g firm tofu
2 tbls soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
2 cups yellow cornmeal
8 cups water
2 tbls white miso (or 1 – 2 tsp salt)
1 tbls olive oil
½ tsp turmeric powder
For garnishing:Black pepper
½ cup fresh green peas
Peas leaves and flowers and from your garden

To prepare Kacamak combine water in which you dissolved miso and cornmeal in a saucepan. Bring to boil and continue cooking at low temperature for 15 minutes. Mix in turmeric powder and olive oil, cover and set aside.

To prepare scrambled tofu, drain the tofu and crumble it, using hands. Prepare marinade combining soy sauce, lemon juice and honey in a small bowl. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add tofu. Cook the tofu for 10 minutes mixing occasionally with wooden spoon until it becomes golden. Remove from fire and spoon the marinade over. Mix well.

To serve, divide Kacamak between 4 plates. Put tofu over it and sprinkle with fresh green peas and garnish with its leaves and flowers. Make sure the flowers are edible. You can serve tofu with Kacamak with other vegetables and salads.
Serves 4

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cold Beet Cream Soup

1 medium size beet, peeled and cubed
1 small apple, peeled and cubed
Slice of ginger, peeled and chopped
½ avocado, peeled
½ tsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground coriander
1 ¾ cup cold water
For 4 cups of soup, serves 4

Combine all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth. Pour into serving bowls, sprinkle with freshly grated black pepper and garnish with fresh herbs or/and soy cream. For a nutritious lunch serve it with coarsely grated smoked tofu and bread croutons.
If your blender is not strong enough, grate all vegetables in food processor transfer it to blender, add water and mix until smooth.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tofu Risotto

10 oz or ½ lb firm tofu, cubed
3 tbls olive oil
2 carrots, medium size (or 1 ½ cup chopped carrot)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 slice of fresh ginger
½ tsp salt
½ cup green peas (frozen in fine)
2 cups water
2 tbls white miso
1 cup basmati rice
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp finely chopped fresh lemon thyme

In a large pan, sauté garlic and ginger on olive oil for a few seconds, add carrot sauté for a minute, then add tofu, salt and green peas. Mix miso in water and add it to the mixture. Add all seasonings except fresh herb and cook covered for 15 minutes or until rice becomes tender and liquid is absorbed. Mix in fresh herbs. Garnish with fresh thyme and serve warm.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

That Chocolate Cake

This recipe is from the book “The Essence of Chocolate, Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate” (Hyperion, 2006). The introductory notes say, “If you could only have one recipe for chocolate cake, this would be the one.” I couldn’t agree more with it and I will not say anything else - You just HAVE TO try it.
For the Cake:
Unsalted butter and flour for pans
2 cups granulated sugar
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup canola oil
1 cup whole milk
1 cup boiling water
For the Frosting:
1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
5 ounces dark chocolate (72% cacao), finely chopped
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the parchment and the sides of the pans.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, mixing on low speed. Min in the eggs, oil, and milk. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the water. The batter will be soupy. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then turn the layers out onto the rack and cool completely. When the cakes have cooled, check the frosting. It should have the consistency of mayonnaise. If it is still too thin, allow it to cool longer.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Add the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Pour into a bowl and stir in the vanilla.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread the frosting with a hot palette knife or icing spatula to give the frosting a beautiful shine. Run the knife under hot tap water and dry with a towel. Spread about ¾ cup of the frosting over the top of the first layer. Top with the second layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, heating the knife again as necessary.

Serves 8 to 10

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Berries Shortcake Meringue Cake

This recipe is from “Joyofbaking.com” (Meringue Cake) , I changed a few details, such as substituted white with brown sugar and omitting cream of tartar from meringue. I also added lemon grind to the batter and added blueberries. Combination of lemon zest and berries works really well with sweetness of meringue. We were invited to a summer picnic party and I wanted to make something to please both children and adults. First idea was Pavlova with berries but because Pavlova needs to be eaten right after topping with cream it was not an option. So when I found this recipe it seems like a perfect combination of Pavlova and Strawberry Shortcake. It is also a perfect cake for little girl’s Birthday party.
Cake Batter:

4 large egg yolks
1 cup (100 grams) sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) (114 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
1 tsp grated lemon zest
Meringue Layer:
4 large egg whites
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 - 2 tablespoons (14 - 28 grams) granulated white sugar
1 pound (454 grams) fresh strawberries and blueberries, cut into bite sized pieces
Confectioners Sugar (powdered or icing) for dusting top of cake
Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Grease and flour two - 8 x 1 1/2 inches (20 x 3.75 cm) round cake pans. Set aside.
Separate the eggs while they are still cold, placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another bowl. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and allow the eggs to come to room temperature before using (about 30 minutes).
In a mixing bowl sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans, smoothing the tops with an offset spatula. Set aside while you make the meringue layer.
Meringue: In a clean bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Divide the meringue between the two cake pans, gently smoothing the tops with an offset spatula. Bake for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. The meringue layers will have turned a light brown and will be crisp to the touch but soft inside. Place the pans on a wire rack to cool. When completely cooled, remove from pans.

Shortly before serving whip the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form. Cut the strawberries into bite sized pieces and, if necessary, add a little sugar to sweeten them. Place one of the cake layers, meringue side up, on a serving platter. Spread the whipping cream onto the cake and top with the strawberries and blueberries.
Gently place the second cake layer, cake side down so the meringue layer is facing up, onto the first layer. Decorate with some cream, a strawberry and few nice blueberries. Dust with confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar. If not eating immediately, cover and place in the refrigerator until serving time. The assembled cake will hold in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Serves 8 - 10.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Spinach Soufflés

This is a great way to enjoy spinach especially for children. Soufflé is very easy to make if you have two things on your mind: first is to fold in the egg whites gently, by hand (not by electric mixer). Second is not to open the oven while it is baking, no matter how curious you are. My recipe is not a real soufflé but rather a dish that is inspired by soufflé – not requiring béchamel sauce, using oats instead of flour, fresh spinach rather than cooked in the béchamel.
3 eggs, separated
2 cups chopped spinach
2 tbls butter melted
½ cup milk
½ tsp salt
½ cup grated cheese such as cheddar
½ cup quick oats

Grease a soufflé cups or flexible muffin tray. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Mix all other ingredients in a separate bowl. Fold in the egg whites but do not over mix because egg whites foam is what is giving light and airy texture to the soufflé. Transfer the mixture to the cups or muffin tray and bake at 375 F for 20 - 25 minutes. Cool for just a little bit just so that you can transfer soufflés at a serving plate and garnish with fresh arugula flowers or other edible vegetable flowers.

Mexican Bean Salad

A colorful and refreshing bean salad
1 ½ cup corn cooked (1 can)

1/ ½ cup black beans cooked (1 can)
1 tomato (1 cup cubed tomato)
1 medium onion chopped
4 tbls lime juice (2 limes)
2 tbls olive oil
1/8 tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp chilli powder
1 clove crushed garlic
2 tsp cilantro
2 tsp parsley

In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Chill and serve cold with croutons, fresh bread or tortillas.