Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mocha Muffins


Sweet treats are always plentiful around the holidays. Many of them are off the charts when it comes to calories and fat. While these muffins aren't exactly health food, mashed bananas, whole wheat flour, and dark chocolate contribute lots of good-for-you potassium, fiber and antioxidants. At the same time, these are super moist and chocolaty. So go ahead and indulge yourself a little! These also make a nice gift, especially when topped with the optional glaze. Happy Holidays!

Mocha Muffins:
2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 Cup Buttermilk (I used low-fat)
1/4 Cup Instant Coffee
1/4 Cup Oil (or Applesauce)
1 Egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 3/4 Cup Flour (I used a mixture of white and whole wheat)
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chunks or Chips (I chopped up a bar of Trader Joe's 72% dark chocolate)
Coarse Sugar (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line it with paper muffin liners.

2) Stir the instant coffee powder into the milk until it is dissolved (heating the milk slightly may help). Stir in the bananas, oil, egg, vanilla extract, and brown sugar.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

4) Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stir until thoroughly combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.

5) Divide the batter equally among the 12 muffin cups, sprinkle the top of each with coarse sugar if using.

6) Bake muffins for approximately 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

*Optional Glaze: If using, omit the coarse sugar topping

1/4 Cup Confectioner Sugar
1 Tablespoon Instant Coffee
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Milk (add a little more or less to achieve desired consistency)

Combine sugar, coffee and cinnamon. Whisk in milk until you have a smooth glaze. Drizzle over cooled muffins, let sit until glaze sets.

As usual, I've also included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Friday Foodie, Family Food Fridays, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pear Harvest Salad


We Delshad's are big salad fans! We eat salad with or for at least 1 meal a day. Fresh greens with a light vinaigrette most commonly grace our plates, but we also love incorporating seasonal fruits. The following salad is one of our current favorites. I think it would also be a tasty and festive addition to holiday meals.

In the "recipe" below, I did not include measurements so you can as little or as much of the accouterments as you like. By adding leftover roasted chicken or turkey breast, you can turn this salad into a very satisfying meal (without the meat this dish is vegan).

Pear Harvest Salad
Ripe Pears (our favorite variety is Comice), thinly sliced
Dried Cranberries or Cherries
Candied Pecans (recipe below)
Salad Greens - use whatever you like best, I used a mixture of spinach and bibb lettuce
Maple Dijon Dressing (recipe below)

Divide greens equally among bowls or salad plates, top with pears, cranberries, and nuts. Drizzle with dressing.



Maple Dijon Dressing
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
Pinch Sea Salt
Pinch Dried Thyme

Place all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, cover and shake well. Alternatively, whisk the ingredients together.

Candied Pecans
1/2 Cup Diced Pecans
3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
Pinch Cayenne Pepper

Heat a dry non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the pecans. Let them toast, stirring occasionally until they are fragrant. Combine the maple syrup and the spices, drizzle over the nuts, toss to coat evenly, let cook another 1-2 minutes, until the nuts look caramelized. Remove from heat and let cool.

I hope you and your loved ones have a very Happy Turkey Day!

As usual, I've also included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Friday Foodie, Family Food Fridays, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

I've also linked this recipe to one more really fantastic recipe sharing event - a Gluten Free Holiday. This event was organized by Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, it will take place every Thursday in November and December, with different themes each week, and different bloggers hosting each week. This week's theme is Holiday Side Dishes and it is being hosted by Diane of The Whole Gang.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Peanut Butter Honey Oat Cookies


If you are looking for a sweet treat you can enjoy without feeling too guilty - give these little gems a try. They are chock full of good for you ingredients: oats, peanut butter and honey. They also come together in a snap and go great with a cup of coffee, tea, or milk. They sure pleased the cookie monster in our household, and I'm willing to bet you and your loved ones would like them too!

Peanut Butter Honey Oat Cookies
1 C. Natural, Creamy Peanut Butter (the kind with peanuts as the only ingredient)
2/3 C. Honey
1 Egg, beaten
1 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Salt (omit if using peanut butter that contains salt)
1 C. Oats
Coarse Sugar (optional)

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) Cream together the peanut butter, honey, egg, baking soda and salt. Stir in the oats.

3) Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls (if desired, roll the dough balls in sugar - this creates a nice crunchy crust).

4) Place the dough balls on the lined baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown.

Munch away!

As usual, I've also included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Friday Foodie, Family Food Fridays, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

I've also linked this recipe to another really fantastic recipe sharing event - a Gluten Free Holiday. This event was organized by Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, it will take place every Thursday in November and December, with different themes each week, and different bloggers hosting each week. This week's theme is "Gifts of Good Taste" and it is being hosted by Alta of Tasty Eats at Home. Cookies always make a great gift - I mean who doesn't like cookies? For gifting, you can jazz these babies up a bit by drizzling them melted white and/or dark chocolate! Head over to Alta's blog for tons of other great edible gift ideas!

Update: I submitted this recipe to the culinary smackdown challenge for March 2011. The theme is cookies, so be sure to head over to Amy's blog U Try it to see the dozens of other sweet treats!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Apple Crumble


Inspired by my success with the purely fruit sweetened banana date bread, in this recipe I set out to make a purely fruit sweetened apple crumble. The recipe is also gluten free, so I actually got to eat some of it for dessert, and I had the leftovers with a little soy yogurt for breakfast the next morning. It was mighty tasty on both occasions!

For sweetness I once again relied on dates. More specifically, I used date molasses - I picked this up at a middle eastern grocer, it is basically very well pureed dates. I know this product may be difficult for some people to purchase, but the good news is you can very easily make your own! Simply cover chopped, pitted dates with boiling water. Let them soak until they are very soft (30 minutes or so), drain them and then puree them in a food processor or mash really well with a fork. Also, I chose to use a fairly sweet variety of apples, Fuji. Since we are not using any sugar, I would avoid the extra tart varieties in this recipe.

Apple Crumble
Topping:
1/4 Cup Date Molasses/Puree
2 Tablespoons Melted Coconut Oil or Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 Cup Almond Meal (I buy mine at Trader Joe's, you can also make your own by grinding almonds in a food processor until you have a fine powder)
1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Filling:
3-4 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/4 Cup Date Molasses/Puree
1 T. Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg (if you can, buy them whole and use the fine grates of a box grater to grate your own - it really makes all the difference)
1/4 C. Raisin (optional)

For the topping: Thoroughly combine the date molasses, oil, baking soda and spices. Use a fork to mix in the almond flour, then mix in the oats and nuts.

For the Filling: Thoroughly combine the date molasses, arrowroot/cornstarch and spices. Drizzle the mixture over the apples (and raisins if using) and stir until the apples are evenly coasted.

Assembly and Baking: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Pour the apples into an 8 or 9 inch (square or round) baking dish. Sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over the apples (I find it easiest to use my hands for this). Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour, until the apples are tender.

Serve warm!


*This dessert is perfectly scrumptious on its own, though it is not extremely sweet (which I see as a plus). To make it even more decadent serve with vanilla ice cream or yogurt (dairy free for me!).

As usual, I've also included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Friday Foodie, Family Food Fridays, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kosher Gumbo


This “gumbo” is non-traditional in many ways. First, it does not begin with a roux. In the past I have made gluten free gumbo by using masa harina in place of the flour for the roux. The masa harina worked great as a thickener, but I honestly prefer this roux-less version. In my humble opinion, the okra contributes all the thickener it needs. I also use less liquid than typical gumbo recipes, which produces a thicker stew. Second, there is no shellfish or pork in this gumbo. The only “meat” is cod – which means this gumbo is kosher. Alfred is Jewish, and though he does not maintain a strictly kosher diet, we don’t eat pork because it simply is not healthy. We did, however, want the gumbo to have the smokey flavor that pork typically imparts, so we added some smoked salt to the pot just before serving. You should be able to find smoked salt at specialty shops (I got ours at Sunspot Natural Market in West Lafayette) or you can purchase it through online spice vendors such as Penzey's. If you can't easily locate smoked salt, you can use regular salt and a little liquid smoke instead.

All in all this a lighter, but still hearty and tasty gumbo. It is also pretty quick and easy to prepare compared to traditional gumbo. Be sure to make enough so you have leftovers, like all soups, this gumbo is even better reheated the next day!

Kosher Gumbo
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, diced
1 Medium Green Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
3 Celery Stalks, diced
2 Large Carrots, diced
1/2 Garlic Head, cloves peeled and minced
2 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 15oz. Can Fired Roasted Tomatoes
1/4 Cup Flat Leaf Parsley, minced
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 Bay Leaves
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 lb. Okra, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
1 lb. Cod, cut into 2 inch chunks
1 teaspoon or Smoked Salt or 1 teaspoon of Sea Salt plus a teaspoon of Liquid Smoke
Cooked Rice for Serving

1)Heat a large pot over medium heat; coat the pot with the olive oil. Add the onions, bell pepper, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently until the onions are translucent.
2)Add the broth to the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the tomatoes, herbs and spices, and okra to the pot. Add enough water to the pot to just cover the vegetables. Bring the gumbo to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
3)Add the cod to the gumbo, gently stir to incorporate. Cover the gumbo and let simmer another 30 minutes.
4)Add the smoked salt (or sea salt and liquid smoke) just before serving. Taste and add additional sea salt as needed.
5)To serve, put about 1/2 cup of rice in each bowl and top with gumbo.

Bon Apetite!

As usual, I've also included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Friday Foodie, Family Food Fridays, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!