Sunday, January 10, 2010

Baked Apple Pudding

I first heard breakfast puddings mentioned on Oh She Glows. But, as she’s wont to do, Angela used a ton of “special” ingredients—some I didn’t have on hand, others are probably impossible to even find here. So, I tracked back to her reference, in Diet, Dessert and Dogs, which may just get added to my Reader lineup real fast. I’ve been to that site about 5 times in the last week!

Diet, Dessert and Dogs had a slightly simpler recipe, but it still was a bit more complex than ideal, and had another reference in Have cake, will travel. Jackpot!

This recipe called for the complicated ingredient of applesauce—I know I’ve seen it here, but I gave up on looking real quick, when I realized how easy it is to make!

  • 1/2 teaspoon butter, to grease the ramekins
  • 1/4 cup (20 g) old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) walnuts halves
  • 1/4 c raisins
  • 1/2 cup (122 g) applesauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus a little extra to sprinkle on top
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Lightly coat two 6-ounce oven-safe ramekins with butter.
  2. Combine oats and walnuts in food processor. Blend until finely ground, and that the walnuts start to release their oil a little.
  3. Add dates, and process until the pieces of dates disappear into oblivion.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth, scraping sides and bottom once to make sure everyone joins the party.024
  5. Divide the sticky batter into the prepared ramekins. Sprinkle just a pinch of ground cinnamon on top of each ramekin.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool and chill in the fridge before eating.

Yield: 2 servings

429 calories, 29 grams fat, 6 grams fiber

Comments: This was tasty, but heavy. I baked it all in one pan, since that’s what I had, and it worked out fine. It wasn’t as creamy as the photos appeared, but I probably should have processed it more. Next time I’ll make three servings and have some fruit with it, as that’s more in line with my typical breakfast patterns. I also can’t wait to experiment!

Friday, January 8, 2010


I’d heard a bit about Shakshuka, and it sounded so perfect for a vegetarian meal, I was immediately intrigued. Sweet Amandine posted a recipe, and tomato season hit, and suddenly, the stars were aligned.

1 large yellow onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes
1 T. tomato paste
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
4 large eggs
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro
1 bunch fresh spinach
1 cup brown rice

Bring the 1 cup of brown rice to a boil in 2 cups water. Turn the flame to low, and allow the rice to simmer gently until all of the water is absorbed (approximately 40 minutes).

Slice the onion into thin rounds and sauté in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the onions are translucent, add the chopped garlic. When the aroma of the garlic rises, stir in the tomato paste. Then, pour the can of tomatoes, juices and all, into the pan. Break up the whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon. Season with the cayenne pepper and salt. Stir. Allow the tomatoes and onions to simmer insistently; the goal is to reduce some of the liquid in the pan. Give it a stir every now and then. When the sauce thickens (approximately 20 minutes), stir in the drained black beans. Once the beans are heated through, use the back of a wooden spoon to make four round indentations in the bed of simmering vegetables. Crack one egg into each little hole. Cover the pan, and allow the eggs to poach for 3-4 minutes. Don't let the yolks firm up all the way. (Unless, for some reason, you have something against gorgeous yellow yolks seeping deliciously into your rice and tomatoes.)

Meanwhile, heat a few dribbles of olive oil in a second pan and sauté the spinach until it is just a little wilted. It should only take a couple of minutes.

Spoon a little mound of brown rice onto each plate. When the eggs are finished, scoop out each one, together with its tomato-y bed, and place over the rice. Sprinkle with a pinch of cilantro, and drop a few forkfuls of spinach on the side.

Serves 2-4 people, depending on whether you and your guests prefer one egg or two. (What with the beans and rice, one egg happens to be plenty filling.)

Comments: The good thing about vegetarian dishes is that even when they don’t work out for you, they’re rarely inedible. This was the case with this one. I subbed white beans for black, since that’s what I had cooked, and otherwise stuck to the recipe.

The spinach was the first disappointment. It sat by its lonesome, despite my efforts to include it in the mix. The flavors just didn’t meld and include it as they should. The rice had an easier time, being underneath everything. However, the biggest issue was that my egg never really cooked. I made two attempts, the second with a bit higher heat, and fully covered, and had marginally better results, but this still didn’t compete with the idea in my head. I may try this again, with a different recipe, or may just wait until it crosses my way in a professional context.

Lemon Barley Risotto

I was looking to experiment with barley, in order to diversify my grain intake, and this sounded like a good option, from 101 Cookbooks.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cebolla verdeo, grande (giant giant green onion), chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fine-grainsalt
2 cups lightly pearled barley
1 cup white wine
5 1/2 cups whey (I had it on hand, water or stock work as well)
Grated zest of 3 lemons (more to taste if you like)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cream
3 big handfuls of greens, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add the onions, shallots, garlic, and salt and saute, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften.

Add the barley to the pot and stir until coated with a nice sheen, then add the white wine and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until the barley has absorbed the liquid a bit. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle, active simmer.

In increments, add about 6 cups of water or stock, 1 cup at a time, letting the barley absorb most of the liquid between additions; this should take around 40 minutes altogether. Stir regularly so the grains on the bottom of the pan don't scorch. You will know when the barley is cooked because it won't offer up much resistance when chewing (it will, however, be chewier than Arborio rice).

When the barley is tender remove the pot from heat. Stir in the lemon zest, Parmesan, and cream. Taste and adjust - add more salt if needed, more lemon zest. Then stir in the greens. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and a dusting of extra Parmesan before serving.

Easily serves 4 to 6.

Comments: I need to learn to halve recipes! Of course, it says quite clearly it makes a lot of servings. Anyway, it was good, but not mind-blowing. I made a side of beets and paneer, and ended up mixing them in. I’ll definitely pursue the risotto idea, but not this specific recipe. Maybe this one?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

I wanted something sweet, quick, and easy. AllRecipes had this highly rated recipe.
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Combine ingredients and drop by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool. Recipe doesn't make very many, so you could double recipe as you desire.

Comments: These served the purpose, but next time I’d put in the extra effort to make the flour, eggs, and butter version.

Homemade Apple Sauce

applesauce I needed apple sauce for this recipe, and since it didn’t show up at my first two grocery stores, I decided to google it. Gold! This recipe, adapted from AllRecipes was perfect!

  • 2 apples--cored and chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 T. white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then process in a food processor.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Asian Ginger Dressing

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup water

Blend in food processor (or whisk by hand).

Comments: Good dressing. I ate it with green salads, it’d also be good over cooked veggies.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

The original plan behind my Mexican feast was enchiladas. I had a bunch of veggies I needed to use up, so to prolong their lives, I diced them and threw them in the oven. When they came out, I ate half, before deciding enchiladas would be a better purpose.014

I made some whole wheat tortillas (since I was feeling industrious), and as my tortillas always come out a bit thick, I decided to make an enchilada casserole. I started by putting a thin layer of sauce in the pan, then threw in some fresh tortillas.


A layer of veggies came next, followed by a bit of gouda. More tortillas followed, and sauce, and well…did I mention I already ate half the veggies? I covered it with cheese, a bit more sauce, and threw everything in the oven.


Half an hour later, dinner was served! See other posts for sauce, refried beans, and Mexican rice.

Enchilada Sauce sans tomato

I usually fall back on this 10-Minute Enchilada sauce, which is tasty with its 1/4 cup chili powder, but I was in the mood to try something different, and decided to go with this one.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons hot chili powder
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable
  • 1/2 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate
  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and chili powder, reduce heat to medium, and cook until lightly brown, stirring constantly to prevent burning flour.
  2. Gradually stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder, and onion salt into the flour and chili powder until smooth, and continue cooking over medium heat approximately 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt.

Comments: This was good, I was surprised at not missing the tomato taste, although I had to omit the chocolate (due to not having any). I also used bouillon instead of broth, and simply mixed it with less water rather than using the full amount and reducing it. However, I think I still enjoy the 10 minute sauce best.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Refried Beans

I adapted this recipe from Emeril Lagasse.

  • 1 cup dried pinto beans, soaked overnight in a large bowl with water to cover by 2-inches, and drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced, seeded jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup grated queso blanco


In a medium, heavy pot, combine the beans, bay leaf, and enough water to cover by 1 to 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding more water as necessary to keep covered. When the beans are soft, mash in the pot with a potato masher or the back of heavy wooden spoon. Remove from the heat.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add the beans and any cooking liquid from the pot, and the oregano, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon, until the mixture forms a thick paste, 5 to 10 minutes, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time to keep from getting dry.

Comments: So, the jalapeno is ideal, I used pickled jalapeños, as fresh hot peppers are hard to find. The first time I made this, I threw in some gouda, however it didn’t make a huge difference, so I omitted it the second time, and didn’t miss it. I’m never happy with mashed refried beans, and since I got a new mini-food processor for Christmas, I whirled the cooked onion mixture with the beans for a bit, and found it great.

Mexican Rice

I still use my mom’s Mexican rice as my gold standard. Although not necessarily authentic, I enjoy it and it is similar to what restaurants usually serve. However, I’ve never learned exactly how she does it—she was supposed to show me last time I visited, but we got sidetracked.

Most recipes call for tomato sauce, which tends to leave the rice too wet for my taste, so I knew I wanted to use tomato paste. This website was a great resource in getting started. Here’s what I ended up doing:


  • 1 c. brown rice
  • 1 T. oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1-2 T. tomato paste
  • Salt to taste

Cook brown rice with bay leaf, according to package directions. Sautee onion and garlic. Add chili powder and cumin, cook one minute. Add tomato paste and mix, then add rice and incorporate mixture well. Add salt as needed.

Comments: I added the cumin and chili powder based on an old recipe I had, and thought the rice was a bit overpowering. The website I found (later) cautioned against using too many seasonings in rice for this reason. Next time, I would omit the chili powder and cumin It was still a bit wetter than I’d like, I remember my mom saying she made it more like a pilaf with tomato, so maybe I will try that next time. But so far, it’s the best I’ve made.