Wednesday, August 6, 2014
One thing you need to keep in mind is that these are not exactly brownies. They are, as the title says, two ingredient pumpkin brownies; that is exactly what they taste like. They are dense, moist and have a distinct pumpkin flavor. But that's not to say that they aren't good; they're just different. So don't plan to serve them as a plated dessert with homemade whipped cream or premium ice cream on top. Your guests will be..."surprised." The flavor isn't delicate enough to qualify as dessert. These things are sturdy and robust. They are brownies with attitude. I like to eat them as a snack, like a stand in for a granola bar. They even make a good friend for a strong cup of coffee first thing in the morning.
Here they are:
One 15 oz can pumpkin
One 19 oz size box brownie mix.
Bake in a 13 by 9 in pan at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Monday, August 4, 2014
I find plain pancakes a little, well, boring. As cooks we do all sorts of things with cookies, breads and muffins. But pancakes (yes, I admit, a good pancake with maple syrup and butter is pretty darn good, just very...expected) we tend to leave alone, unless we add a few blueberries or chocolate chips to the batter. But why not get creative with them and see what we can do? With a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder and a tsp of cinnamon, as well as a hefty scoop of chocolate chips, I found a thrilling new way to make pancakes. My daughter, almost two, agrees (no syrup necessary)! See her mouth well smothered in chocolate? That's from the still gooey warm chocolate chips that just barely melted. Heaven!
To make these, I used my trustworthy old Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook recipe that makes a very fluffy, tender pancake. Here is the recipe for these ooey-gooey breakfast gems:
Mayan Chocolate Chip Pancakes
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tbs oil
In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, chocolate chips, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl use a fork to combine egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened.
For standard-size pancakes, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet, spreading batter if necessary. Cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until pancakes are golden brown, turning to second sides when pancakes have bubbly surfaces and edges are slightly dry. Serve warm.
These would be delicious with whipped cream (add cinnamon, vanilla, or cocoa powder to the whipped cream if you like), butter, or a touch of chocolate syrup. Alternately you could sprinkle them with powdered sugar and cinnamon. But they are perfectly good plain, too!
Friday, August 1, 2014
Though a pudding traditionally brings to mind dessert, because this paleo-inspired recipe has no added sweeteners it can really work for breakfast, too. The chia gives it protein, and the gelatin helps to thicken it and give it an extra nutritional boost (read here about the benefits of gelatin. Knox Blox anyone?). Personally, I don't really enjoy the not-completely-thickened textured of puddings that just use chia, so I decided to add gelatin as well.
Blueberry chia pudding
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 packet Knox gelatin
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup blueberries, smashed
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1. In a large bowl, combine the chia seeds and almond milk and give it a healthy stir. The seeds won't begin to gel until they have been sitting in the milk for a bit, so don't be surprised if they settle to the bottom of the bowl. This is okay; you will stir again later after they have gelled. Set your bowl of milk and seeds aside.
2. In a small saucepan, pour your 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. This shouldn't take long at all with so little water to heat.
3. Once your water boils, turn off heat and pour in the gelatin; stir until completely dissolved.
4. Pour your gelatin water into the bowl with the chia seeds and milk; stir to combine. At this point your chia seeds will have started to gel a bit and should remain suspended in the bowl after stirring.
5. Stir in your smashed blueberries and vanilla, and leave to chill overnight in the fridge.
Friday, July 25, 2014
This recipe turns out a bit like lasagna without the pasta and with more vegetables (hence the zucchini in its name). It would be wonderful in the middle of winter with a slab of garlic bread or even served in bread bowls. There would be nothing wrong with it, though, simply eaten as it is, heaped in a bowl. But because zucchini is a summer vegetable, I am posting this in the middle of July. This is an easy and healthful way to bake up dinner. It literally has only six ingredients, most of which you should have on hand:
A 14 oz jar of pasta sauce (I used Hunt's)
three zucchini squash
1 TBS olive oil
a clove of garlic
5-6 slices of whole wheat bread
10 oz. of shredded part skim, low moisture mozzarella
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toast and then pulverize bread slices in a food processor or blender until you have fine crumbs; set aside.
Slice the squash into 1/4 inch thick pieces; heat olive oil in a large sautee pan until it runs fluidly across pan; add the zucchini slices (while stirring occasionally) over medium heat until almost tender. At this point, mince and add garlic to pan and cook until squash is tender and garlic is golden brown.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups shredded summer squash (about one large)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Either grease and flour or place a piece of parchment paper in a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan, or one of similar size. In a large mixing bowl, mix together lemon zest, squash, sugar and oil for about one minute.
In a separate bowl, use a whisk to combine all dry ingredients; whisk until all ingredients are evenly distributed.
Slowly pour flour mixture into wet ingredients, with the mixer on medium speed the whole time. Leave to mix until all ingredients are evenly combined and no more; you don't want to over brea the batter or it will lose its delicate texture once baked.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325 for about 55 to 65 minutes, or
until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan and slicing. Best enjoyed sliced, and rewarmed in the oven (or toasted), with a pat of butter on top! Also wonderful plain, eaten as it truly is: a cake with golden flecks of squash and lemon zest.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The original recipe hails from Scotland, but rolled over to Nova Scotia with the Scottish and so is part of the culinary history of both places. Nova Scotia (code for "New Scotland" in Latin) was settled by the Scottish in the 1700's. Cape Breton is considered the "most Scottish" part of Nova Scotia; it is said that the hills in Cape Breton smell of single malt whisky. Road signs there read in both Gaelic and English, and Cape Breton has been home to the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts for just shy of 75 years. With its Rocky Coast, you can see why the Scottish settlers must have felt that they never left home.
Cape Breton Oat Cakes actually call for shortening because of the firmness it lends them. The traditional version is available here: Cape Breton Oat Cakes, in both sweet and savory renditions. I decided to make these cookies with all butter instead of shortening (or shortening and butter, which some recipes use). I had no shortening at home and thought that in any case, the butter would give them a richer flavor. Not long into the mixing it became clear that the dough was too soft to cut into shortbread-like squares or circles, as oat cakes traditionally are. That is how I ended up making a drop cookie version of these ancient gems. They aren't quite oatmeal cookies (not as sweet, and they have a rich caramel flavor from all that brown sugar and butter) and not quite Cape Breton Oatcakes because they are soft, moist rounds rather than crisp, thick cracker-like entities. Therefore, I'm naming them Cape Breton Oatmeal Cookies.
And, drumroll, please. Here is the recipe:
Monday, July 21, 2014
Something about summer calls for chilled citrus treats. When I was a kid, it was those orange and vanilla push-up pops. Now I'm on to other things. There are margaritas, lemonade with fresh lemon juice and actual pulp, lemon bars, and if you're willing to go out on a limb, key lime bars. They are lemon bars' swanky unexpected cousin, and are, in my opinion, better for their slight plot twist. You can see the picture of the key lime bar basking in all her summery goodness!
You can also see that the crust to this bar is no lightweight. It is a thick, buttery blend of graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter, and a bit of cinnamon. It is sturdy enough to hold up what can at times be a too-soft-to-cut dessert. Not with this crust. Notice how the bar still has a nice, crisp edge after being cut; that's thanks to its weighty crust. If you prefer a higher filling to crust ratio (if you really like that lime tang!), simply cut the amount of crust ingredients down by a third without reducing the filling.
These bars would be great served up with some vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or nothing at all. They are rich in flavor and can stand well on their own. They are divine. Eat them at room temperature for best flavor, but be sure to chill them after they have cooled form the oven to help them set. And now for the recipe:
Key Lime Bars