I’ll be back to blogging in time for French Fridays with Dorie on May 24th! Aloha!
07 May 2013 55 Comments
For some reason, I consider pancakes “weekend breakfast” fare. Maybe it’s because I normally make them from scratch and a lot of time is needed to fully enjoy them. More likely it’s because I always order pancakes with a cocktail or two when I’m having brunch on Sundays. As usual, I was jonesing for pancakes all weekend, but my overindulgence in one too many liquor drinks prevented me from finding a fun new pancake recipe to try. So instead of waiting for next weekend, I found this vegan strawberry pancake recipe Monday night and made them for dinner. They were delicious, even without the cocktail! The recipe I followed can be found at Oh She Glows.
19 Feb 2013 67 Comments
Since I’m playing hooky on this week’s TwD: Baking with Julia assignment, I thought it would be okay to post a different Dorie-centric recipe instead. In the February issue of Better Homes & Gardens, Dorie Greenspan shared several Valentine’s Day recipes from her NYC bakery, Beurre & Sel, including these smoky chocolate crackers. Chocolate crackers? And they’re somehow smoky? Well, the smoky flavor comes from the smoked paprika in the recipe, which added an unexpected but tasty layer of flavor to these chocolate snacks. These crackers are definitely out of the ordinary, but worth a try if you like to walk on the wilder side! Dorie suggests pairing them with port and a slice of cheese.
Smoky Chocolate Crackers by Dorie Greenspan
(makes approximately 50 crackers)
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c. powdered sugar, sifted
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 egg whites
1/2 c. finely chopped almonds, toasted (I left these out)
1. In a medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, smoked paprika, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add both sugars and beat for 2 more minutes. Reduce to low speed and add egg whites.Beat 1 minute. (The egg whites will curdle the batter, but the dough will come together when the flour mixture is added.) Still on low speed, add flour mixture and mix only until it disappears into the dough. Using a spatula, stir in chopped almonds if using.
3. Turn dough on work surface. Divide in half; shape each half into a disk. Place a disk between two sheets of parchment or wax paper; roll to a 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat with remaining disk. Freeze rolled-out dough at least 30 minutes.
4. Position oven rack in center of oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
5. Working with half the dough at a time, use a 2-inch heart-shape cookie cutter to cut as many cookies as you can. Save the scraps of dough. Place the hearts about an inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
6. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, rotating baking sheet at the halfway point. Remove from oven; cool 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool to room temperature.
7. Repeat with remaining dough, always starting with a cool baking sheet. Combine scraps of dough, shape into a disk, roll, and freeze 15 minutes. Cut and bake as above.
19 Dec 2012 32 Comments
As the impending Christmas deadline rapidly approaches, I’ve noticed my patience waning to the point of non-existent. To counteract a possible short circuit in temperament, I thought it best to ease my frustration with some baked goods. With all the good deals on holiday baking ingredients, I easily whipped up a batch of chocolate chip muffins from Taste of Home to help coax me into yet another day of “MUST BE DONE BY FRIDAY” demands. Hmm, maybe this is why so many people indulge in chocolate when they’re stressed…
04 Dec 2012 55 Comments
*Sorry! No Tuesdays with Dorie for me today. I’m not a huge fan of gingerbread, so this week’s assignment (gingerbread baby cakes) had zero appeal to me. Instead, please enjoy this tasty pancake recipe from Fitness Magazine!
Sometimes a slight change in your meal routine can make you excited about eating breakfast again. This was the case with my usual yogurt/fruit combo. I had become bored and started skipping breakfast altogether. However, a recent issue of Fitness Magazine included a recipe for these oatmeal banana pancakes. I was intrigued because I was on my vegan cleanse and this quick and easy recipe fit the bill. I’ll admit: most recipes I’ve tried from Fitness don’t make the prettiest foods, but they are quite delicious and that’s what counts, right? Vegan or not, these pancakes are definitely recommended.
3/4 c. almond milk
1/2 c. oatmeal
1 chopped banana
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
dash of salt
2 tsp. baking powder
Place the almond milk and oatmeal in a blender (I used my Magic Bullet) and blend until smooth. Add banana and blend for 30 seconds. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and blend just until combined. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Spray pan with vegan friendly butter spray and pour batter by half-cup full into pan. Cook on each side for approximately three minutes. Top with syrup, fresh banana, or walnuts.
14 Nov 2012 34 Comments
…I’ve been sick the past four days. Hence, no new posts. Hopefully I’ll be back to full form for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie!
16 Oct 2012 56 Comments
One of my guilty pleasures is watching Bar Rescue on SpikeTV. The host, a loud and in-your-face nightlife expert, goes into failing bars, points out all the obvious problems, and revamps them to be profitable again, mainly by retraining the kitchen and bar staff with expert chefs and bartenders, rehabbing the interior and exterior, and re-working the concept of the bar. Think “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” for bars.
Anyway, one failing bar was redone into a sports bar featuring Grand Marnier drinks, including this “Grand Margarita”. According to the Grand Marnier site, the Grand Margarita has no orange juice and ups the amount of Grand Marnier. However, the one taught on the show includes orange juice, which is the version I made here. It’s extremely tasty and mellows you enough to laugh at all the idiotic problems with the bars on Bar Rescue.
(as featured on Bar Rescue)
.5 oz. Grand Marnier
1.5 oz. premium tequila (I used PATRÓN REPOSADO)
.75 oz. fresh lime juice
.75 oz. orange juice
Combine and serve over crushed or cubed ice. Garnish with lime wedge. Salt-rimmed glass optional.
09 Oct 2012 54 Comments
I felt a bit restless over the long Columbus Day weekend, so I took advantage of the time and made this cornmeal poundcake with rosemary syrup and candied rosemary. This recipe is from the November 2006 Bon Appetit issue and originally calls for poached pears to be served alongside the cake. However, I recently did a poached pear dessert with French Fridays with Dorie, so I skipped that part and made everything else in the recipe which can be found here. I highly enjoyed the rosemary-infused syrup and found it somewhat bold and different to serve with a sweet poundcake slice. I didn’t even miss the poached pears!
11 Sep 2012 58 Comments
This past weekend brought much-welcomed cooler temperatures and bright blue skies to Chicago, perfect for outdoor grilling and watching football. However, much to my chagrin, I was unable to fully enjoy the chilled air as I remained cooped up inside my apartment still nursing my sprained ankle.
In strong need for some cheering up, I managed to indulge in a long overdue craving for an “adult grilled cheese” sandwich made with two slices of homemade whole wheat bread slathered with caramelized onions and piled with shredded Gruyere cheese. I got the idea from watching a guy named Jeff Mauro, who hosts a cooking show called Sandwich King. His version was made on sourdough bread.
27 Aug 2012 62 Comments
I’ve been on my vegan cleanse for approximately three weeks now, and minus a few slip-ups, I’ve stayed pretty much on target. Though old habits die hard because I was grocery shopping during the first week and sampled a cube of aged cheddar. I didn’t even realize I had done so until I was talking on the phone with my friend (Codename: Candelabra) the next day! The upside is that I’ve had zero beef and pork and only two instances of chicken/cheese/eggs this entire time.
I’m actually enjoying the cleanse. I treat it as a food challenge, such as “I feel like eating Mexican food. What can I make that would be Mexican yet vegan?” I also find myself getting excited about “treats” that are still considered vegan, like “vegan” Oreos, “vegan” Lays original potato chips, and “vegan” Frito-Lay tortilla chips. Trust me, I don’t eat these all the time, but it’s nice to know that following a vegan diet doesn’t completely cut off all tasty snacks. Speaking of tortilla chips, I found a recipe for black bean burgers in a magazine, but the ingredients included shredded cheddar and an egg as binders. I couldn’t have those, so I nixed them and substituted in silken tofu. The black bean burgers tasted pretty delicious. However, because of their soft texture, I opted out of the hamburger buns and used lettuce leaves instead. Go, go “vegan” black bean burgers!
Vegan Black Bean Burgers
(adapted from Fitness Magazine’s Black Bean “Nacho” Burgers)
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c. chopped tomato
1/4 c. chopped onion
4 oz. silken tofu
1/2 c. finely crushed tortilla chips
1/4 tsp. black pepper
dash of salt
Using a food processor or Magic Bullet (like I did), puree beans, tomato, and onion until you get a chunky mix. It’s okay to have a few whole beans remaining. Add the silken tofu and puree just until blended. Scoop mixture into medium bowl and stir in crushed tortilla chips. Stir to combine and season with pepper and salt.
Allow mixture to stand for 10 minutes in refrigerator. Then, form four patties, place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and set back in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight.
When ready to cook, heat 2 teaspoons of canola oil in pan, and fry burgers for approximately 4 minutes on medium heat. Add another 2 teaspoons of oil, flip the burgers and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.