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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

From Le Pain with Love...

I stopped in at a Pain Quotidien about two weeks ago whilst in Rye New York. Wow, it was arguably the most perfect restaurant I can imagine - well when I'm looking for a bistro breakfast at least. Stopping at the Red Lentil last night, I was reminded why It's the best purveyor of vegetarian I imagine to exist.
Anyways, besides the perfectly prepared Steel Cut Oats with berries and Tea I enjoyed (two relatively simple dishes I know, but a step above nonetheless) I sampled a terrific Chia Seed muffin. I've had a bag of Chia Seeds in my cupboard for months, unopened, but I was waiting for a good excuse to use them. Lo and behold, this muffin of whole wheat flour, yogurt, chia seeds, and banana was tremendous.

So here's my attempt at the Chia Seed Muffin but with a carrot cake twist.

Carrot Cake Chia Muffins
  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour (Whole Grain)
  • 1 tsp Arrowroot Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 very ripe Banana, diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt, sans-lipide si vous plait!
  • 2 eggs (feel free to omit one of the yolks)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 1 cup water
  • about one cup grated, dried carrots
  • 1-2 tsp diced (grated fresh!) ginger (I used pickled; it's what I have...)
  • 1-2 tsp chopped fresh sage
Grate the carrots in a large bowl, combine with sage and fresh ginger. Press with a paper towel and remove liquid. Set Aside.
Combine Flours, Baking Soda and Powder, Arrowroot, Salt, Cinnamon, and Garam Masala as well as some of the ginger powder in a bowl. Whisk to combine briefly and set aside.
Combine Sugar, Eggs, Oil, and Yogurt, vigorously whisking for a minute or two until the mixture is relatively frothy. Add in vanilla and Chia seeds (these should have been mixed with the cup of water prior to adding), whisking again, briefly.

That's some good batter...

Preheat your oven to 350 and get a muffin tin (or loaf pan I suppose) ready for baking.
Add the carrot mixture to the wet mixture, mixing lightly. Now's the hard part of all muffins - mixing. Add the wet carrot mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing to as to just combine - aim for 10 mixes.
Add the mixture to your bakeware of choice, about 16 minutes, or until toothpicks come out slightly moist, but not gooey.
Set aside to cool.
Not the best pic, but they taste so good...
The were not nearly as dense and chewy as those from Le Pain but they certainly got the carrot cake-y flavor I was looking for. I'd try more ginger - Fresh Ginger - and more sage next time.
Enjoi!

Graduation...Mmmm...

So I made a quick Baked Brie for myh better half on the day of her graduation party. There was more than enough delicious food but I wanted to make her something special. She loves her brie.
It was simple to whip up a batch of whole wheat crust and pour a bit of homemade Cranberry Chutney atop the wheel. So says I: "I should bake bread to go with this!"

Using my favorite baking cookbook, the Bread Bible, I made the Bread with Three Chocolates. I thought it would complement the sweetness of the cheese and cranberry chutney well, and it did.

Love that Chocolate Flecking...

Now I'd like to make a nice french toast out of the stuff, but that will just have to wait. It's a mildly sweet bread - very traditional bread in texture, but with a mild chocolate flavor and a wonderfully dark color.
Bread and Earth Balance FTW!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pillows of Sugary...

Goodness.
Also known as Marshmallows, these little rectangular sponges of egg white, sugar, and Xantham Gum fill a very special place in my heart. It's been a while since I've had a good marshmallow. Yes, I can and do eat Kosher marshmallows (i.e. the fish-Gelatin bound variety) but some of my friends are stricter vegetarians than I and thus I have set out to devise a toast-able, spongy, satisfying vegetarian Marshmallow.

I found a few recipes: Here was an ebook of a number of unusually prepared foods focusing on textures. I didn't however use that recipe; instead I found one (listed below) which provided measurements in metric weights, so I used this converter to get simple volumes.

So here's my first go at
Vegetarian (Not Vegan) Marshmallows

4 (+/-) Tbsp hot water
Pinch of Cream of Tartar
1.33 Cups Granulated Sugar
11.66 or so Tbsp Light Corn Syrup (it's 3/4 cup or so, but that's about how much I used)
1/2 vanilla bean BUT I just used 1tsp vanilla extract as it's what I have on hand
3 egg whites
1/2 tbsp Xanthan Gum

Taking this recipe from Adventures of A Gluten Free Mom...

Ground Xanthan Gum with a tablespoon of sugar, set aside

Heat water, cream of tartar, remaining sugar, corn syrup and vanilla bean to 120° C. (248° F.) or until its bubbling and rising dangerously on the stove ( ;-) )

Meanwhile, whisk egg whites, about 2 minutes, until forming peaks

Continue whipping the egg whites at slow speed while slowly adding the hot syrup mixture to the egg whites.

After adding the hot syrup to the egg whites and while still whipping, sprinkle the xanthan gum/sugar mixture to the egg white/syrup mixture.

Turn speed up and continue whipping 2 – 3 minutes until the marshmallow pulls away from the sides.

Sprinkle a pan or baking sheet (Personally I used a 9x9 pan and the mallows are about 1 to 1.5 in deep) generously with cornstarch (or a mixture of Arrowroot Powder and confectioners’ sugar as I did) then add marshmallow mixture and spread out.

Top marshmallow with the starch from the undercoating on the bottom).

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to set in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Maybe I'll just use a spoon...Nothing wrong with that.

Step 2

The mallows just didn't solidify like I'd hoped, but after rolling in more of the starchy coating I used before, they jsut might cut it as roasters.

They aren't round but cylinders are just the new square

Enjoy them toasted over a roaring fire, beside a dark chocolate bar and (for gods sake, fully whole grain) Graham cracker. That's what I'm planning on at least.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Vegetales en crisp...

I haven't been writing much lately, I know. Between graduation (Seniors!!!) and the beautiful June days spent moving bark mulch and stone, things have been busy. Last week I tossed together some tasty Huevos Rancheros with red cabbage, kale, egg whites, and portabello strips. I was pleased myself but there's always room for improvement.

I have been in a pizza-eating mood lately, however. It's not the sort of pizza you might get from your pizza shop down the street I look for - more like the sort of thing you might get from Flatbreads or the American Flatbread company (I can only vouch for the former, I must note - it's a wonderful small chain you should try sometime).

Well My favorite market, Whole Foods, had these crusts called Top This. With my George Foreman electric grill, a whole wheat crust about 1/8 inch thick, a thick homemade red sauce, all topped with mozzarella and Feta Cheeses layered with sliced squashes, mushrooms, and grilled eggplant it was a thing to behold.

Look at those veggies! At least half an inch deep...

Yes, I should have held off on so many ingredients and the sheer volume of sauce I poured atop, but I love my veggies!
The crust was crispy - should have been more so - chewy, and hardy enough to support the weighty toppings I tossed on.
So next time you want a pizza but don't have time to make a good sourdough starter - sourdough crust just makes a better pizza - try Top This.