Monday, February 28, 2011

Brownie Lava Cake

I was needing a chocolate fix the other day and I came up with this recipe.

" 'Cause I've got a Golden Ticket, I've got a golden....."

I'm not gonna lie to ya, this was supposed to be just brownies.
 I got a little carried away with the chocolate and made it into a lava cake.

It was the best 'mistake' I've made all week  year.

Not like when I decided to order a Vanilla Matcha Mocha.
Word to the wise:
vanilla +green tea+chocolate+espresso
too much to stomach in one cup.
Please believe me.

You'd think all this chocolate would be too much to stomach.
But no.
It's not.
Too much and chocolate don't even belong in the same sentence.

Chocolate and more belong in the same sentence.
More chocolate, please.

Brownie Lava Cake
Serves: 6
(Original recipe)

½ cup butter
300 g good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp instant coffee
1 tbsp heavy cream, warm

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a microwave safe bowl, melt together 100 grams of chocolate and the butter. Stir together until completely combined.
2. Pour chocolate mixture into a mixing bowl and beat on low speed for about 1 minute. Add sugar and vanilla and increase speed to medium and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time until well mixed.
3. Dissolve the instant coffee in the warm cream and add to the mixing bowl. Add flour and stir until just combined. Fold in the rest of the chopped chocolate (200g).
3. Pour mixture into a greased 8'' x 8'' square pan or 6 ramekins. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes (for the square pan) or until the top of the cake has turned crisp and dry. The inside will be very gooey and seem under cooked. Serve warm topped with ice cream or whipped cream. As the lava cake cools it will harden on the inside. Reheat in the oven for a few minutes to make it gooey again.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vegan Pumpkin Breakfast Cookie

How do I say, "I didn't like this cookie, it wasn't very good, don't make it?"

Oh, I just said it.
That was easy.

I shouldn't completely disregard this cookie.
They're not bad.
They just don't deserve the title 'cookie'.

I prefer my cookies to be tooth achingly sweet, and loaded with chocolate and butter.
That's the way cookies were intended to be.
Am I right? Or am I right?

These aren't very sweet at all (truth be told, I threw in a handful of chocolate chips to liven them up but if you're vegan just forget I said that).
I'd say they're more of a cookie shaped power bar, good for an afternoon snack (or quick breaky) but definitely not going to satisfy a sweet craving.

That being said, they're not going to waste around my house. Although they're not my favorite 'cookie' (I use that word lightly) I probably need a break from all the sugar/butter/chocolate that usually goes on around here.

Vegan Pumpkin Breakfast Cookie
Makes about 16
Adapted from The Alchemist

1 ¾ cups pumpkin puree (or banana)
2 ¼ cups rolled oats (I used a mix of kamut flakes, soaked in hot water for a couple minutes and regular oatmeal)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup maple syrup or agave nectar (adjust this depending on how sweet you'd like the cookie to be)
½ cup toasted chopped walnuts (or any other nut)
½ cup chopped dates (or any other chopped dried fruit)
½ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Using your food processor or blender grind 2 cups of the oats into a fine powder.
2. In a large bowl combine ground oats, ¼ cup whole oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the pumpkin, vanilla and maple syrup and thoroughly mix. Fold in the nuts, dates and seeds. Scoop out by the tablespoon and roll into balls, gently flatten and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 - 16 minutes or until done in the middle. Store in an airtight container.

Linked to: Seasonal Sundays

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Curried Apple Brie Flatbread

I'm sorry but I just don't like brie.
There are so many wonderful recipes out there for baked brie that I want to like but it doesn't seem to my thing.

I think it's the rind on the cheese that I can't stand. Isn't it some type of mold or something? (Clearly I'm not very savvy when it comes to cheese.) I guess I could cut the rind off but it seems like such a waste of money.... I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before but I'm extremely cheap and I hate food waste. 
Hate it. 
If you waste food you're not my friend.

Yeah, I took a few bites outta the bread.

A few weeks ago I forgot about my disdain for brie cheese and was somehow compelled to buy it. 
Weird, I know.

So here's a recipe that, I think, covers the unpleasantness of the cheese rind and transforms the brie into a tasty lunch, appie or snack.

(Don't think you need to stick to making this as a flatbread. This could be made as a pizza, a stuffed pita, a grilled cheese sandwich, or served on naan.)

Curried Apple Brie Flatbread
Serves 4
Adapted from Dinner with Julie

½ cup softened butter
3 tsp mild curry powder
1 flatbread (or naan, pitas, wrap, pizza crust)
6oz Canadian brie, thinly sliced while chilled, discard end pieces containing mostly rind
1 apple, thinly sliced
4 tbsp mango chutney

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. In a small bowl mix together the curry powder and butter. Spread it on the top of flatbread. (Alternatively, you can brush the bread with olive oil and sprinkle on the curry powder.)
2. Arrange the apple slices on the flatbread. Top with the thin slices of brie. Scatter small dollops of the chutney all over. Bake for about 8 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Apricot Mustard

It's sorta the wrong time of year to be making apricot preserves.
Unless you're like me and have several freezer bags full of them.... then it's always the right time of year to preserve apricots.

I came across this recipe in the Urban Pantry by Amy Pennington; a book I highly recommend for anyone looking for tips on building a thrifty, sustainable and seasonal kitchen.
(If you think I sounded pretty intelligent with that whole "tips on a thrifty....." spiel, I must let you know I stole it off the front cover of the book.)

Because of my copious amounts of apricots I was eager to try this mustard out. I found it to be a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy, sort of honey mustard-like. I mixed it into some cream cheese with some bacon (because we have a lot of bacon around our house these days) for a quick sandwich spread and oh Lordy was it good!

Amy recommends using the mustard as a glaze on roasted meats or alongside cured meat and cheese so I'm definitely going to give that a go next.

Alphabet pretzels and apricot mustard - an obvious match.

Bookmark this recipe and give it a try in the summer when apricots are cheap and abundant.

Apricot Mustard
Makes: 5 half pints
Source: Urban Pantry

2lbs apricots, pitted and peeled
½ cup water

2 ¼ cups sugar
1 lemon, peel grated, halved and juiced (seeds reserved in a muslin bag)

¼ cup brown mustard seeds
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp ground yellow mustard

1. In a large saucepan combine apricots, sugar, water, lemon juice, grated peel, halves and seed bag. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, skim any foam as it cooks. Cook until fruit is soft and sugar is dissolved (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat, cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
2. Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to smash brown and yellow mustard seeds into a coarse meal. Put the smashed seeds and ground mustard into a small bowl and cover with vinegar. Set aside, covered on the countertop at least 6 hours or overnight.
3. Prepare jars for canning ie: sterilize jars and lids.
4. Return the saucepan of fruit to the stove and cook over medium heat until thickened and amber in color, about 30 minutes. Stir in the vinegar mustard mixture. Scoop out about 1 cup of the apricot mustard and purée until smooth. Add puréed fruit back to the pot and cook until thick and the mustard is set, 15-30 minutes. Test to see if it has set by putting a small amount on a plate that's been in the freezer at least 15 minutes. Drag your finger through the mustard and if it wrinkles it's done. Discard lemon halves and seed bag.
5. Add the mustard to the prepared jars and gently tap on the counter to release air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jar and put on lids and rings. Process in a water for 5 minutes to ensure a good seal.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Whole Wheat Double Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

I know, I know, this is my second pumpkin recipe this week.
There's no real reason for it except that I have a ton of pumpkin in my freezer; so why not use it? (that's actually a statement and not a question).

These muffins are a bit on the dry side because of the whole wheat flour. They're not saw dust dry, they're more like could use a bit o' butter dry. If you feel like experimenting with the recipe you could always add some more pumpkin for some extra moisture. I personally wouldn't change them though. I love the whole grainy goodness mixed with chocolate that kind of thing is right up my alley.

Whole Wheat Double Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins
Makes: 14
Adapted from Good Life Eats

2 ⅓ cups whole wheat flour (I used spelt)
⅔ cup sugar
⅔ cup cocoa powder
2 tbsp flax meal
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree
⅔ cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup melted butter, cooled to room temperature
¾ cup dark chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, sugar, cocoa, flax, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.
2. In another medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Stir in the butter.

3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Then, stir in the chocolate chips, reserving about 1/4 cup or so for sprinkling on top of the muffins.
4. Grease 24 standard sized muffins cups. Using a large cookie scoop, fill your muffin tins. Each muffin cup should hold about 3 tablespoons of batter. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top. 
Bake for 17-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack (or eat).

Linked to: Seasonal Sundays
                Sweets for a Saturday

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pumpkin and Roasted Beet Soup

Everywhere I turn I see snotty noses and hear phlegmy coughs.
Is that happening where you are too?

It's an onslaught of germs and viruses out there.
Yucky, icky germs and what can you do about it?

I know what I'm gonna do about it.
I'm loading up on this warm, sippable, vitamin packed soup.
Not only is it good for you, it's just plain tasty.

Rich in zinc and vitamin C, pumpkin gives a major boost to the immune system helping fight off little germ intruders.

That's a fact. 
I know because I read it on the internet.

Germs, meet your match.

Pumpkin and Roasted Beet Soup
Adapted from Dinner with Julie
Serves 6

2 cups pumpkin puree (or any type of squash)
3 - 4 small beets topped trimmed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ cups orange juice
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper

sour cream or yogurt to serve (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Wrap the beets individually in foil. Place the beets directly on the rack; roast for 30 minutes.
2. In a large pot, heat oil over med heat and saute onion for a few minutes, until it starts to soften. Add the garlic and pumpkin puree. When they're cool enough to handle, peel and chop the beets; add to the pot along with the orange juice and stock. Simmer for about half an hour.
3.Puree the soup with an immersion blender and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

Linked to: Seasonal Sundays

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cinnamon Hot Chocolate

'Cause baby, 
it's cold outside.

Cinnamon Hot Chocolate
Serves: 2

2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder
3 tbsp confectioner's sugar
2 cups milk 
½ tsp cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick

To garnish (optional):
whipped cream, cinnamon stick, cinnamon hearts 

1. Heat milk on medium low until small bubbles start to form on the surface (if using a cinnamon stick take off heat and steep for about 10 minutes or until milk reaches desired strength and return to heat). Whisk in cocoa powder, cinnamon and sugar until dissolved. Allow milk to boil just for a second (you heard me..... it makes it creamier). Garnish with whipped cream and ground cinnamon and enjoy with the one you love.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

I've always thought of oatmeal as poor man's food. 
Like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory before he got the chocolate factory poor.

When I say oatmeal, I really mean porridge.
To me, cooked oatmeal is poverty porridge.
I know you all agree with me and therefore are wondering why on earth I'd bring you a recipe with cooked oatmeal.

Well that's because this, my friend, is no poverty porridge.

This baked oatmeal is homey, creamy, rich and tastes of prosperity but can be made on a poor man's (or lady's) budget. 
It's great for a crowd and can easily be adapted to use up fruit that may be nearing it's expiration date in your fridge or freezer.

I know I'm not the only one with it..... aging fruit..... it's time to part ways and use it up. 

Make this great custard-like oatmeal (that, thankfully, has few porridge-like qualities) and serve it with a buffet of toppings like brown sugar, honey, milk, dried fruit, and toasted nuts.

Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Serves: 4 - 6
Source: Two Peas and Their Pod (barely adapted)

2 cups old fashioned oats
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ cups skim milk
½ cup applesauce
1 tbsp melted butter (or coconut oil)
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large apple, cored, diced (and peeled if your not lazy like me) 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. 
2. In a large bowl, stir together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, applesauce, butter, egg whites and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until combined. Gently stir in apples and pour mixture into prepared pan.
3. Bake for 20 minutes or until oatmeal is set. Serve warm with brown sugar, milk, toasted nuts and/or dried fruit.

Substitutions I've tried that work: 
*subbing in 1 whole egg for the 2 egg whites
*1 cup old fashioned oats and 1 cup kamut flakes
*1 small apple plus a handful of blackberries

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

So this is what was happening post cookie making:

"Why, hello, babycakes."

"Oh, you're coming to see me?"

"I'm just going to take this quick photo"

"How did that hand get there?"

"I didn't know you could crawl up on the chair".

"Ahh... put that down. That cookie's almost as big as you!"

I can't really blame her. 
They're chocolate chip cookies. 

Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside.

 Chocolate chip. 
Are you drooling? I am.

Because these are best eaten warm from the oven (duh), I weighed out the dough in 2oz balls and froze them so I could just bake a few at a time. (Thus I could avoid eating the whole batch in one sitting.)
Speaking of which, I'm going to go bake some up right now.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes: 20 

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ¾ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 ½ cups good quality chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time and vanilla, beat until incorporated. 
2. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and mix until just combined. Gently stir in chocolate chips. Weigh out dough into 2 oz portions. Gently roll into a ball.
3. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment (or greased) and bake for 19 minutes. (That amount of time was perfect in my oven: golden on the outside, gooey on the inside. You may need to adjust the baking time for your oven, just be careful not to over bake.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Honey Amaranth Pancakes

I have amaranth to use up. 
Consider yourself forewarned that you'll probably be seeing a few amaranth recipes around here in the next little while. 

I bought it on a whim and I sorta hate it. 
The flavor is just too 'earthy' for me. 

I've ground it into flour in hopes that I can disguise the flavor in some baked goods.

Like baked goods with chocolate. 
And butter. 
And sugar.
You know the stuff that desecrates the goodness and sanctity of amaranth?
You know what I'm talking about.

This recipe works well to conceal amaranth's yuck factor.
 In fact, I think I could've even used more amaranth flour and less all purpose flour.
They ended up just tasting like a not too sweet, whole wheat pancake. We ate them with big dollops of Greek yogurt (as an alternative to whip cream) and they were pretty good.

I even made a second batch of these and froze some for toaster pancakes during the week.

If you don't have amaranth flour to use up, like me, substitute any other type of flour.

Honey Amaranth Pancakes
Makes about 12
Adapted slightly from Fake Food Free originally from ''Good to the Grain'' by Kim Boyce.

⅓ cup amaranth flour
¼ cup flaxseed meal
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used spelt)
1 cup all purpose flour (or white whole wheat)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
 2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups minus 1 tbsp milk added to 1 tbsp lemon juice)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup honey
2 tbsp melted butter

1. In a medium bowl mix together all the dry ingredients (first 8 ingredients). Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, eggs, honey and melted butter.
2. Use a spatula to gently blend the ingredients until barely mixed. (Lumps are fine)
3. Heat a griddle or frying pan on medium high heat. Pour batter onto griddle using about ¼cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Roasted Beets w/ feta and dill

My lack of photography skill is really showing here.

These don't look very pretty, do they?
In fact, they don't even look all that edible.

Do me a favor and look past appearance today, please?
I promise you, these are much better than they look.
They're darn delicious.

My sister, a genius by all counts, invented (I think) these lovely roasted beets, or at least a version of these. As I recall, hers looked a lot better than mine.

But again, putting looks aside, this simple side dish is great hot or cold.

We ate this as a side to roast beef (can you say iron overload) and then I ate it again the next day cold, mixed into a green salad.

Healthy and delicious, what more could you want?

Roasted Beets w/ feta and dill
Serves: 6 as a side dish

2 ½ pounds beets, well scrubbed or peeled
2 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dried dill
¼ cup crumbled feta
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Chop beets into 1-inch cubes and toss with olive oil.
2. Spread the beets out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, flipping once for 45-55 minutes or until beets are tender and easily pricked with a fork.
3. Toss hot beets with balsamic vinegar, dill, and feta. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or cold.

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