Archive for December, 2011

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: