Thursday, January 27, 2011

Coconut Quickbread



This tasty quickbread is choc-full of coconut in several forms. The top has a crunchy sweet crust, but the bread itself is not overly sweet (making it less cake-like than some quickbreads). If you are craving something especially sweet, I would recommend spreading a slice with a bit of jam (or nutella if you're feeling particularly indulgent). Alfred enjoyed his plain with a cup of slightly sweetened hot tea.

This recipe is also nice because it requires relatively few ingredients and the preparation is very simple. It is an adaptation of several other adaptations of Bill Granger's now famous recipe. I have replaced the butter in the original recipe with expeller pressed (aka Virgin) coconut oil, a very healthy fat that lends a nice buttery taste to baked goods. If you are unable to find it, extra virgin olive oil would be a suitable substitute.

Coconut Bread
2 Eggs (see below for a vegan alternative)*
1 1/4 Cups Coconut Milk (not light)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 1/4 Cups Flour (preferably Whole Wheat Pastry Flour)
2 teaspoons Baking Powder (preferably aluminum free)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Sugar (preferably evaporated cane juice or coconut palm sugar)
1 1/2 Cups Finely Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
6 Tablespoons Virgin Coconut Oil, melted

*For a vegan alternative leave out the eggs, add 2 Tablespoons of ground flax seed, and use a whole can of coconut milk rather than 1 1/4 Cups.

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat a loaf pan with oil.
2) In a large bowl, combine the eggs, coconut milk, and vanilla.
3) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and coconut.
4) Stir the coconut milk mixture and the flour mixture together until they are just combined.
5) Gently stir the coconut oil into the batter.
6) Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for approximately 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7) Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan to cool completely.

Enjoy!

I have included this recipe as part of this month's Sweet or Savory (SOS)Kitchen Challenge, which features recipes using coconut oil. Be sure to check out the other recipes that employ this healthy oil.

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, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Miso Tofu and Cauliflower Fried Rice


I've tried tofu on several occasions, I always found it so-so. Something about the texture and bland taste didn't quite do it for me. In the past, the only ways I really liked it was in miso soup or in non-dairy pudding (seriously - this is the BEST pudding I've ever eaten and it is a cinch to make - I use agave or honey in place of the sugar syrup).

My ambivalence about tofu changed with this recipe! I tried marinades in the past, but none of them really permeated the tofu like this one. It is truly delicious, even Alfred - a true tofu hater - loved it! I think the miso paste is what did the trick. (P.S. The same marinade also works great on salmon and chicken.)

I paired the tofu with cauliflower fried rice. My digestive system doesn't always tolerate rice very well, so I often saute finely chopped cauliflower and eat in place of rice. Cauliflower rice is also an excellent way to sneak some extra veggies into your diet! This time I jazzed it up with the seasonings and veggies typically included in fried rice. It made for an excellent meal!

Miso Tofu
1 Heaping Tablespoon of Miso Paste
1 Tablespoon of Tamari (or light Soy Sauce)
2 Tablespoons of Rice Vinegar
1/2 Tablespoon of Honey or Agave Nectar
2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon fresh Ginger, finely minced
1 Teaspoon of Sriracha Chili Paste or 1/2 teaspoon of Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
12 oz. Firm Tofu, well drained and cubed

1) Combine all of the ingredients, pour the mixture over the tofu cubes, toss to evenly coat, cover and allow to marinate overnight.

2) Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Lightly coat the skillet with olive oil. Add the tofu cubes along with the marinade to the hot skillet. Cook turning until the cubes are lightly browned on all sides.

Cauliflower Fried Rice (all measures are approximate)
1/2 Large Head of Cauliflower, finely chopped (a food processor is best for this)
1/2 Large Onion, minced
1 Large Carrot, minced
1/2 Cup Frozen Peas
1 Cup Cabbage, thinly sliced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
Tamari or Light Soy Sauce to taste

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Coat the pan with a little olive oil. Add the onions and carrots and saute about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the peas and cabbage, saute another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the cauliflower, cook, stirring often until the cauliflower pieces are cooked through about 7-8 minutes. Add tamari or soy sauce to taste, enjoy warm with the prepared tofu.

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, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Bread



On a recent road trip Alfred became very fond of cinnamon raisin bread. After arriving home, he immediately requested I make him some. I was more than willing to oblige, because 1) I love baking new things and not only had I never baked cinnamon raisin bread, I had never baked yeasted bread in a loaf pan - I always bake it free form on my baking stone 2) I like baking pretty things and the cinnamon swirl in the middle of the bread is just lovely!

Like most yeast breads, this one is best on the day it is baked. However, Alfred assured me it toasted up quite nicely the next day and I'm guessing it would be great for making french toast!

Note: The dough requires a relatively long initial rise in the fridge. I think the easiest option is to mix it up the night before, and then finish it in the morning - that way you get to enjoy fresh, warm cinnamon raisin bread for breakfast!

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
1/2 Cup Warm Water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Sugar, divided
1/2 Cup Sour Cream (I used low-fat)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 teaspoons Cinnamon, divided
2 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup Raisins


1) Combine the water, yeast and 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Let mixture sit 10 minutes for the yeast to proof. *If the yeast doesn't activate (get nice and foamy) start over.

2) In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, 1/4 cup of sugar, sour cream and 1 egg.

3) In a separate bowl, combine the salt, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and flours.

4) Add half of the flour mixture to the olive oil mixture. Stir until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Stir in the yeast mixture. Stir in the remaining flour mixture.

5) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Knead the raisins into the dough, and then shape the dough into a ball.

6) Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn the dough to coat it with the oil, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

7) Place the dough in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least 5 hours.

8) Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and teaspoon of cinnamon. In a separate bowl, beat the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Also, coat a standard loaf pan with oil.

9) On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a rectangle about 12 X 8. Brush the dough lightly with the egg mixture and sprinkle with 3/4 of the cinnamon sugar mixture (reserve the remaining egg mixture and sugar mixture for the top of the loaf). Roll the dough up jelly roll style, pinch the ends together to seal, and place the dough seam side down in the oiled loaf pan. Cover and let rise 1 1/2 hours.

10) After the dough has risen, brush the top lightly with the some of the remaining egg mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. Allow the bread to cool (if you can control yourself because your whole home will be smelling fantastic at this point!), then slice and enjoy!

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, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Persian Black-eyed Pea and Greens Stew



Happy New Year! We hope you had a wonderful 2010 and wish you all the best for 2011!

Now on to the grub! Today's dish was inspired by the classic Persian dish, Gormeh Sabzi (Green Stew) - a mixture of fresh herbs, dried persian limes, kidney beans and beef shank. Gormeh Sabzi is one our favorite winter dishes because it warms you to the core. All the greens also make it incredibly nourishing. It sounded perfect for this chilly New Year's Day, but of course we had to eat our black-eyed peas for good luck! So we decided to swap out the kidney beans for black-eyed peas and since we don't eat red meat we kept it meatless. We enjoyed this dish immensely and hope you will too!

*A note about a couple of the "exotic" ingredients - dried Persian limes (limoo amani) and fenugreek leaves (shanbehlilleh). If you don't have a Middle Eastern grocer in your area, you can purchase them online here and here.

Persian Black-eyed Pea and Greens Stew
1 Cup Dried Black-eyed Peas, soaked in water overnight and drained
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of Turmeric
2 Medium Onions, diced
2 Large Leeks, halved and thinly sliced
4 Large Celery Stalks, diced
2 Large Bunches of Parsley, chopped
2 Large Bunches of Green Onions, chopped
1 Large Bunch of Spinach Leaves, chopped
1/4 Cup Dried Fenugreek Leaves
6 Dried Persian Limes
Juice of 1 Lime
Water or Broth
Salt to Taste
Steamed Basmati Rice for Serving

Heat a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, turmeric, onions, leeks and celery. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the parsley, green onions, and spinach to the pot. Cook another 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the fenugreek, the dried limes, the black-eyed peas, and enough water to cover the greens and beans by 1 inch. Cover and let the stew simmer over low heat for 1 hour (if, during this time, the beans soak up too much water you can add more as necessary). Add the lime juice and salt and let simmer another 30 minutes. Serve pipping hot over steamed basmati rice!

Nooshe-jan (Bon Apetite) and Happy New Year once again!

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, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Friday Foodie, Friday Favorites, and Seasonal Sunday. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

I am also very pleased to be including this recipe as part of this month's A Worldly Epicurean’s Delight (A.W.E.D.), which is focusing on Persian cuisine. This month's event is being hosted by Vanessa of Sweet Artichoke, so be sure to head over to her blog!