July 6, 2012

Welcome back, me/Father’s day Avochocoberry Cake

For Father’s day, I was a little lacking on the inspiration side. I’d just come back from Mediterranean/German Europa – the land of carbs, fat and cold cuts, I had not touched anything that cooks other than a microwave to reheat take out for 6 months, I had not had the choice to eat vegan or gluten free in 6 months, and most of all, I was pretty goddamn tired. My father however, decided to make bbq and wanted something tasty for dessert. I immediately turned to Peanut Butter – Chocolate cake. His favorite. Then he said: I want something healthy for dessert. Like “low sugar” (which to him equals Splenda)…

WHAT?

And so I got my wheels turning and my engines working and thought. No effin way I’m doing a normal recipe with Splenda instead of sugah. No no no. I’ll show ’em all natural gluten free and tasty cake. And then there were Blackberries, and Green Kitchen Stories and then there was this:Image

Image

 

For the cake, you’ll need

  • 1 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 14 fresh Medjool Dates
  • 5 tblsp raw cacao
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • hint of salt
  • 3 tblsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  1. Preheat yo’ oven to 325F, the ‘batter’ is done in like 30 seconds. It’s swell.
  2. Place the walnuts in a food processor or powerful blender and blend until they look like grainy flour. Don’t pulse too much unless you want walnut butter!
  3. Add in the dates and pulse until they mix somewhat evenly with the walnut “flour”… it can (and probably should) be lumpy. Try some, dates with walnuts are super awesome. Or don’t and make the cake properly.
  4. Add the cacao, cinnamon, coconut oil, pinch of salt and applesauce. Pulse until it is well blended.
  5. Add 3/4 the blackberries and pulse until it looks like preserves just got swirled through your chocolate concoction. Not too much, the mushy-just-blackberry bits of cake are awesome once its baked
  6. Bake for about 40-50 minutes at 325F

Once the cake is cool, its frosting time. For this marvelousness you’ll need

  • Half an avocado, ripe.
  • 150 gr of good quality dark (I used 91%) chocolate
  • 1 tbsp of agave syrup
  • hint of salt
  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until it looks consistent
  2. Spread over the cake and decorate with remaining blackberries
  3. Cut up and stuff into your belly and your friends’

Enjoy!

December 30, 2011

Coup’a boring, photo-less updates

1. I’m home, well halfway, sort of. I’ve been eating like a walrus and having tons of fun. Baking like a 1950s housewife (some recipes to follow) and overall having a blast with my family🙂

2. I made a Mexican feast for an impromptu fiesta yesterday. I didn’t photograph it but I hope to repeat it soon, it featured carnitas (original I’m super proud of!), pico de gallo, roasted tomato salsa, guacamole, tortillas from scratch, queso blanco (it was actually Venezuelan, so it tasted better than your usual Kraft ‘Mexican Blend’) and whole wheat tortillas from scratch. I’m considering making it for my host family in Germany to further the stereotype that all latin americans are mexicans. It should be fun.

3. YES! that is correct! I’m going to Germany for 5 months and then traveling around Europe for a month or so. I’ll be staying with a family there and studying… which brings me to the brand new category: ‘Weird German|European Food’ I hope to learn a lot about their culture and then make my own versions. Something tells me it’ll be mostly things with apples that resemble pancakes, but we’ll see we’ll see.

4. Due to the length of my trip from here to there (about 24 effin hoursss), I’ll probably prep some cool posts during then. For now, I’ll go back to what remains of my holiday eating. Laters!

December 9, 2011

Boys take note: Medjool Dates are my kind of date. Seriously.

Statement 1: Medjool dates are a-ma-ziiiing.

Statement 2: I don’t really have anything after that.. well I love breakfast, so Medjools + breakfast = Reason to get up and to the office (I keep my breakfast in the office so that I’ll actually want to go)

This recipe is slightly adapted from here. Mostly because I was looking for something more date-ey and less walnut/sweet. I find that medjool dates have a really special taste and texture (and much richer than any other type I’ve tried) and I love running into them as I eat these, or breakfast cookies, or uhm.. as I make things with dates (somehow every recipe requiring 2 cups of medjools ends up with 1.5…). They’re like crack and they’re packed with fiber (and sugar.. but the good kind not the creepy white kind). Also, while I normally stay away from adding nuts to my baked goods because its kind of like cheating, the walnuts really did a superb job in these, adding crunchy deliciousness and a break from the rich, caramel-ey bread/muffins. It balances the whole thing like its nobody’s business. Definitely don’t skip those, or any other component of this loveliness.

For one full 9×5 loaf, or around 18 muffins, you shall need:

  • 1 cup of chopped Medjool dates + 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tblsp canola oil (or melted coconut oil. I am always out when I’m about to bake something cool. Boo)
  • 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
  • vanilla to taste (I think I used two bottle tops. WILD)
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of oats (or oat flour if you have some)
  • 1.5 tblsp flax seeds (totally optional)
  • 1.5 tblsp of chia seeds (totally optional too)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • a lot of cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Add the chopped dates to the boiled water and let stand while you do everything else.
  2. This is another quick recipe, so you should preheat your oven to 350F right about now.
  3. In a blender, blend together the whole wheat flour, oats, flax and chia seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until it looks homegeneous, or homogeneous enough for you (depends the texture you prefer of your baked goods). If you have a small enough blender, you could just blend the oats and make them into oat flour.. but I find that the weight of the other ingredients helps this process with my blender. If you have oat flour skip this step altogether and just mix all of the dry ingredients (except walnuts) in a medium bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, sugar and vanilla.
  5. Blend the dry ingredient mix with the wet ingredients. Once it all comes together, incorporate the dates with the water and fold them in along with the walnuts.
  6. Distribute the mix along previously lined muffin pans or pour onto a greased and floured (or lined with parchment paper) loaf pan. Or be like me and do half and half because your muffin pan only holds 6 muffins.
  7. Top with oats and some raw/turbinado sugar (if you want extra sweetness.. I didn’t) and bake at 350 F for about 50 min or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. If you did muffins, or half and half, reduce the baking time to 40 min and then keep checking until they’re done. Even when they’re over baked they’re still moist inside (just crusty outside), so don’t worry too much about it.
  8. Enjoy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, etc.!

December 4, 2011

Red Bean Cookies

Have you ever had a red bean shake from a dingy Chinese/Asian place?

I really hope you have. If not, go, run to your nearest reliable Chinese place and ask for a Red Bean Boba shake (or just a red bean shake if you’re not into the tapioca). Sip slowly, or quickly, and then thank me😉. When I worked within walking distance of Chinatown (ahem.. walking distance being about 2 miles), I used to get these twice a week… and then I discovered they had them at a Thai place next to my job and… well… that was one hell of a happy summer (and probably contributed to my whole insulin drama, ooooops).

Anyhow, before you get distracted lets chit chat about red beans. Adzuki beans are a ridiculously popular component of Asian desserts (probably part of the reason why I’d never heard of them before moving to Boston), they are often found in coconut soup, as a paste, as a filling for mochi pastries, put on shakes, you name it you can probably put red bean on it. Personally, being, well not-being Asian, I have made cheesecake with it, and then spread it on toast, and then eat it on its own at 3 a.m. before a crit. The thing though, is that more often times than not, red bean paste is piled with sugar almost to a 1:1 ratio, which in my eyes kind of cancels out the health benefits of the gah-geous adzuki bean, which its pleeenty tasty on its own, and actually just enough sweet as-is.

Like most beans and legumes, adzuki beans are high in soluble fiber and protein… however, unlike many of its counterparts, their fat content is not that high (which is all the more reason pile them sky high on top of stuff, hah). They’re also jam-packed with potassium (which “cancels out” the obnoxious amounts of sodium ingested by the average college student yours truly), as well as other nutrients like folate, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, manganese and zinc… all contributors to healthy hearts. Added bonus, they’re super easy to cook fresh (no soaking or anything). Bottomline, these are really really good for you cookies… and I got the idea from this recipe at My New Roots (so it ought to be good.. right?)… I’ll stop blabbering now. Lets do this!

To cook the adzuki beans you’ll need:

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of dried beans
  • about 3 cups of water
  1. Place the beans in a pot and cover with water by about 2-3 inches.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce to simmer and leave partially covered for about 45 min to an hour. Taste to test for done-ness.
  4. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool.

For the cookies you’ll need
  • 1.5 cups of cooked Adzuki beans
  • 2 tblsp of coconut oil (I used 2 tblsp of canola oil because I didn’t have any coconut oil and they worked out fine, but you can’t go wrong with extra coconut flavah’)
  • 1 tblsp raw cacao powder
  • 3/4 – 1 cup toasted shreded coconut
  • pinch of salt
  • aprox. 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of agave nectar (or honey, or maple syrup.. but I strongly suggest you use agave)
  • 2 tblsp of chia seeds
  1. Before you do anything, mix the agave with the chia seeds and vanilla. Set aside for a little while.
  2. These get done pretty fast, so you should pre-heat your oven to 375F
  3. In a blender (or food processor if you have one), place the beans, oil, cacao, 1/3 of the shreded coconut and salt. Blend well.
  4. Add agave-chia-vanilla mixture and blend until just incorporated.
  5. Pour mixture into a separate bowl (it’ll be really gooey/wet.. but should hold together). Add an additional 1/3 of the shreded coconut (and maybe chocolate chips? or yogurt chips?) and fold in by hand or spatula.
  6. In a greased pan, place, flatten and shape cookies. They don’t spread at all, so play around with the shape and stuff as many as you can!
  7. Top cookies with additional shreded coconut and bake for about 15-20 min at 375F. Basically until they’re done enough for you. If you want them soft take them out earlier and vice-versa.
  8. Refrigerate until ready to eat (it helped mine get crunchier!) and enjoy🙂

More info about Adzuki beans:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/299196-nutrition-information-regarding-adzuki-beans/#ixzz1fOHjj4YG

http://www.thehealthbenefitsof.org/the-health-benefits-of-adzuki-beans/

November 29, 2011

I MADE BREAD!

Ever since I can remember, my mom has been obsessed with being able to make fresh bread at home. For mother’s day, not so long ago, my dad and I got her a mystical and mysterious bread machine which promised delicious freshly baked bread whenever we walked in for dinner. MMMM. The machine certainly delivered as promised as long as it wasn’t whole wheat or whole grain bread. Whenever we attempted any of our preferred wholesome breads, the result was more like a weapon. Super hard and dense bread that scared us and left my mom hopeless… and for the longest time, I perceived whole grain bread as some mystical being that could only be obtained at fresh at a bakery made by someone with YEARS (if not an entire bloodline) of experience, or something scary that came in a plastic bag with a really far away expiration date. I was screwed, and afraid, and I really wanted bread to stop being my baking nemesis.

Then yesterday happened. I suddenly got really annoyed at having to go to the store to get some lame sliced bread wrapped in millions of layer of plastic. And then I found I had yeast in my pantry. And then this bread was born.

After hours and hours of surfing the blogosphere for an easy not intimidating and simple bread recipe that didn’t take 15 hours until completion, I came upon this one which seemed promising. Not many ingredients, adaptable, and didn’t warn me about hours of kneading waiting leavening and hunger (it did take a long time until completion, but ignorance is bliss) before my long awaited ultimate sandwich and so I set to work. As you should. Because honestly, getting those two tiny little loaves out of the oven was one of the most exciting moments ever. Right there with my first spaghetti squash.

 

For one loaf, or two petite ones (I like two tiny ones, I can freeze one and devour the other), you’ll need:

  • little less than half a cup of mixed seeds (I used sesame, brown flax and chia) 
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 packet/half a tablespoon of active dry yeast, preferably the one specific for whole grain baking
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • half a tablespoon of honey, agave nectar, maple syrup
  • 1/8 of a cup of vegetable oil (I used canola because it is what I had on hand, but I think it’d be great with olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • approx 2 cups of whole wheat four

 

  1. Mix the seeds, salt and yeast in a large bowl
  2. Add the warm water and whisk slightly to combine
  3. Add the sweetener and oil and combine well
  4. Gradually add and combine the all-purpose flour and a cup and a half of the whole wheat flour with your hands until the dough holds its shape
  5. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface (use the remainder whole wheat flour for this) and knead for about 10-15 min. Add more flour as needed, until the dough stops being a sticky mess. It shouldn’t be super dry by the time you’re done with your workout the kneading, but it should no longer stick to your hands
  6. Oil the bowl you were using before and return the dough to it and cover with a dish towel or rag. Let it rise for 1-2 hours until it doubles in size
  7. Take the dough out of the bowl, back onto the floured surface, and shape it as you wish. Baguette-ish, round-ish, square-ish or turn it onto a well greased and floured bread pan. Once its shaped, turn it onto a greased cookie sheet or pan and cover again. Let it rise until it doubles size. Again. (This step I shortcutted because I was sleepy, but be patient! Mine took about an hour to almost double its size.. so it’ll probably take more than that)
  8. Bake at 350 F for about 40 min, or until its golden and sounds hollow when tapped
  9. Let it cool before slicing. It will soften as it cools🙂
  10. Enjoy the best sandwich ever.

November 23, 2011

Blueblueblueeeberry-oatmeal scones

Blueberries are just about my favorite fruit, pecans are my favorite nut and oatmeal is my favorite breakfast. So these scones are on constant rotation amongst my baking, and honestly, they’re a somewhat addictive bounty of whole grains, antioxidants and healthy fats. I highly recommend you start thinking about making these and ways you can alter them (I also like raspberries with pistachios, bananas with cacao nibs…) to suit you and your fancy brunches or tea parties.

You shall need:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of yogurt
  • 1 and 2/3 of a cup of self risingflour
  • 1 and 1/3 of a cup of oats
  • 1/3 of a cup of sugar (preferably brown sugar, but granulated will do too)
  • 10 tblsp of butter
  • 1 cup of blueberries and chopped pecans (like whatever ratio you like. I think that 3/4 of a cup of blueberries plus 1/4 of a cup of pecans works really well)
  • hint of cinnamon
  • tad of salt
  1. Start by mixing the egg and the yogurt together
  2. On a separate bowl, mix the flour, oats, sugar, salt and cinnamon
  3. Add the butter to the oats mix, crush it with a fork until it is homogenous and crumbly.. its kind of a work out
  4. Add the yogurt mix onto the oats mix gradually, mixing it together with a spatula… if you use the mixer you risk losing the texture of the oats
  5. Carefully add the blueberries and pecans. Try to not crush the blueberries
  6. You should probably set the oven to 400 F
  7. On a floured surface, or lined with wax paper (less clean up), take half of the mix and knead it a few times
  8. Shape your blob of sconeness into a circle/square/some shape of about 1.5 cm thick (so like 2/3 of an inch?) and cut it up into wedges, or dinosours. Whatever shape you’d like
  9. Place them on a greased baking sheet, about 1-2 inches apart from each other
  10. Repeat for the remaining dough
  11. Bake at 400 F for about 20 min or until they look pretty and toasted. Like golden brown bottom and all that
  12. Eat ’em warm or wrap with tin foil, freeze and reheat in the oven whenever. Or just leave them sitting around to grab and go (this is usally what I do. I love having a tin of baked goods chilling on my dresser, nbd)

Enjoy!

November 23, 2011

All good things Pizza

This pizza is one of  my favorite go-to meals for a crowd, even though I don’t actually make it very often, the thought of making it goes through my mind pretty much everytime my friends and I are in lack of a plan. The array of flavors is kind of mind-blowingly exciting, and its super easy to put together once you have a crust (make your own (I will post a recipe for that later) or buy a whole wheat organic one from the store). Its also good for you! Since you’re making all the toppings from scratch, you can control the ammount of fat and salt according to your needs, and stay away from all that creepy stuff that comes with pre-packaged things. Gorgonzola is super rich in calcium and protein (and SUPER tasty, I could seriously eat just this for dinner on lazy nights.. but that’s not very balanced) and the fresh herbs and olive oil you use to make the pesto (for this pizza I use basil, but you can make pesto out of pretty much whatever you want!) make an awesome combo of nutrients and healthy fats that will make your tummy happy.
So make this, and enjoy every delicious bite right away. At home, whenever there are left overs (RARE), I like to wrap each slice separately and freeze it. It tastes just as good thawed and reheated in a toaster oven.

You will need:

  • 1 thin whole wheat pre-made crust. Make it yourself (preferably!) or buy it made.
  • 1/2-3/4 of a cup of pesto
  • 1 package of gorgonzola
  • 1 diced tomato, if you would like to peel it, boil it and take the skin off and then cut it into strips
  • 1/2 a cup of diced mushrooms
  • pepper to taste
  1. Pre heat the oven to about 375 F
  2. Spread all the ingredients over the crust evenly (or unevenly): pesto sauce – gorgonzola – tomatoes – mushrooms
  3. Sprinkle with pepper
  4. Bake on a baking sheet or pizza dish for about 20-25 min at 375 F
  5. Let it cool a little before slicing and serving
  6. Stuff into your belly

Enjoy!

November 22, 2011

Kale Lasagna

LOVE Kale when prepared tastefully. Its such a wholesome and nutritious vegetable that I’ve come to crave it whenever college-cuisine gets out of control. So naturally, when Annie (from Annie’s eats) posted the two together in a delicious Lasagna that would keep me fed and happy for an entire week, I could not contain my joy. While her recipe is a lot more elaborate and elegant than mine, mine is yummy, colorful (so many veggies!), and easy to make a lot and then freeze them in individual portions you can just microwave/put in the toaster oven to defrost whenever there’s crazy finals or you feel like eating a mouthful of delicious kale… so if you’ve got basic supplies, some fun spices, short on energy or other excuses for laziness, I highly recommend this!


You shall need:

  • 1/3 of a box of Lasagna noodles (like 6?) (I suggest you try to get whole wheat, or spelt ones if you can find them)
  • 1 cup of your favorite tomato sauce (I bought this delicious organic one from the store, it comes in many varieties and one of them is fiery tomato which I’m DYING to try… or try to make myself!)
  • 1 package of fresh or frozen Kale
  • 3-4 cups of cottage cheese
  • 2 cups of mozarella cheese
  • aprox 1 cup of parmesan
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • tabasco sauce/saracha/sambal/other hot sauce to taste
  • red chili powder to taste
  • salt and pepper

And thats good for like an 9×9 dish, which depending on your hunger gives you about 9 servings.

  1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions
  2. Cook Kale according to package instructions. Usually that means place it in a pot with some boiling water, season and stiring it ocassionally let it cook for about 13-15 min, but I guess there might be alternative methods depending on the kind of Kale you buy.
  3. Once the Kale is “done”, place it on top of a kitchen towel or a bunch of paper towels and drain as much water out of it as you can.
  4. This is a good time to heat up the oven to 375 F
  5. Heat up the tomato sauce (stove, microwave, whatever tickles your fancy), add hot sauce or chili powder to taste.
  6. Drain excess water out of the cottage cheese (I dont like draining too much water out, just because I dont have a strainer, but you risk the lasagna being a tad soupy if you skip this step. Its still good, just soupy).
  7. Mix the cottage cheese with almost all the mozarella (set aside about 1/3 of a cup) and some parmesan (I just put as much parmesan as I like). Season to taste with pepper, chili powder, salt, and drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Assemble! – Cover the bottom of the dish with some tomato sauce (about 2 tbsp should do, depending on the size of your dish) then add a layer of noodles, half the cheese mix, half the remaining tomato sauce and half the kale. Then repeat with the other half (noodles – cheese – sauce – kale). Top with some tomato sauce (if you have any left on the sides of the bowl, that should suffice), the mozarella cheese you set aside earlier, parmesan to taste and seasonings. check out my crazy photoshop skillz –
  9. Lastly, bake for 45 min or so at 375 F or until it looks insanely delicious. Let it set for at least 10-20 min before slicing and devouring.

Enjoy!

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