Archive for the ‘COTC Recipes’ Category

Honey Lavender Oatmeal Squares

I was inspired when I saw this lovely post over at the very well loved Tartlette. I like the idea of using lavender, which I have in my cupboard, but really don’t know where to use it. I followed her recipe, except leaving out the eggs and adding ground flax seeds instead.

  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4c rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/3c chopped almonds
  • 1/4c chopped dried apricots
  • 1 tsp dried lavender buds
  • 1 Tbs ground flax seeds
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 1/4c yogurt
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4c honey (I think it could use a little more honey, so I would up this to maybe 1/3c)

Preheat oven to 350

Mix everything together into a dough. Press the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, into a rectangle or square shape. cut into bar shapes. Bake 10-12 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

I am sending this to Priya’s and Kiran’s Cooking with whole grains- Oats

Tomato Lentil Veggie Rice w/ Scallion Raita

I got inspired to make this when I saw this recipe over at Cranberry Jam blog and I noticed I had a can of tomato paste in the pantry. I don’t usually use tomato paste so who knows how long that has been there! Anyway, this was a perfect one pot and healthy balanced dish. I made a few changes and also cooked it all together in the pressure cooker.

Here is what I did:

  • 1/4c whole lentils/dal (I used a combination of masoor and tiny French lentils)
  • 1 1/4c brown basmati (white basmati will cook faster and get mushier, so if you use that, you may want to cook the lentils separately and then boil it altogether (instead of pressure cook) so it doesnt overcook the rice)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 red onion sliced thinly
  • 2 big cloves of garlic, grated or chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • salt
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1/2c mixed vegetables – frozen or use diced carrots, green beans, peas, etc
  • 3c water
  • cilantro

Soak the lentils until they have absorbed water and plumped up. Then add washed brown basmati to soak before you start cutting the vegetables… you can soak them together.

In the pressure cooker or pot, heat oil. Add cumin seeds, then red chilies, then onions. Cook the onions until starting to turn golden. Then add the garlic and ginger, bay leaf and stir. Next add the spices and then the tomato paste. Then add the vegetables and rice/lentils… stir them to coat with the tomato mixture. Add in three cups of water and after mixing well, taste the water. It will be a good indication of how your rice will taste, so if you need more spices or salt add them now. Pressure cook for 3 whistles or Cover and simmer until rice has cooked through and absorbed all the water.

Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves and serve with raita.

I made a scallion raita which goes with this nicely. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture but its dead easy. Just finely slice 3-4 scallions/green onions, chop a handful of cilantro and mince 1-2 green chillies. Add to beaten yogurt (half cup or so) and add a little water to thin if needed. Add salt to taste. You can add a tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves and urad dal, but I didn’t bother.

Sending to Aipi’s and Priya’s Bookmarked Recipes

Veggie Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

There are basically two salad dressings I make. One is this one, and the other…. I’ll share that another day 😉

I’ve been making it for a while now, and I’m a terrible one for measuring. The truth is, I tried to measure things today in order to share this recipe and I failed at that! So I suggest that you play around with the ratios to your liking.

Here is my best estimates:

  • 1/2c frozen blueberries (can be thawed or fresh)
  • 1-2 minced fresh green chilies (I like this, but you can leave it out if you don’t like it)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4c water
  • 1-2 Tbs honey
  • 1 Tbs dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp flax oil (optional, but it adds omega 3)
  • 1/4c extra virgin olive oil

First I blend the blueberries, garlic and green chili to bits in a mixie or blender. Scrape down the sides. Add the rest of the ingredients except olive oil and blend again. Taste and make adjustments. If its too strong, add more water. If its too sour, add more honey. Lastly, add in the olive oil. If you have an opening in the top so that you can drizzle it in slowly while the blender is on that’s better, but its also fine to just add it and blend until it comes together and is thickened. Drizzle over any salad you like.

For the salad I put:

  • Mixed baby greens
  • Cucumber sliced
  • Green pepper in thin slices
  • Yellow tomato, diced
  • Walnuts
  • Dried cranberries
  • Mandarin oranges

You could also add carrots, spinach, jicama, other dried fruits, pomegranate, blueberries, strawberry slices, apples, celery, sunflower seeds. Endless possibilities for whatever you have on hand.

Sending this to Only Salads by Prathibha and Pari and Food Palette – Green by Torview

Homemade Pizza Dough and Sauce

I just made an amazing pizza! One of those pizzas that tastes like it came from your local pizza place… and not the cheap crappy pizza place, but a real authentic one! I’m pretty excited about it, in case you couldn’t tell. My only worry is I wont be able to replicate it, lol. So, I will try to describe exactly what I did, so that you too (and myself) can make this gorgeous dough once again (BTW, I think this will make awesome naan!)

This is loosely based on Peter Reinharts recipe, but I did not follow it precisely (shocking right? lol)

Here is what I did:

  • 1 1/2c warm water
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1.5 Tbs olive oil
  • 1c all purpose flour, unbleached
  • 2-3 c of bread flour, unbleached
  • 1 tsp salt

Super Bubbly Crust!!

Mix 1/2c of the warm water with sugar and yeast. Let the yeast activate for 5 minutes or so. Add in the rest of the water, the olive oil and the all purpose flour. Mix it and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add in 1c of bread flour with the salt sprinkled over the top of it and sort of mix it into the flour then into the dough mixture. This is my crazy paranoid way of adding salt to bread dough because Im scared of killing the yeast. Then continue adding in the bread flour 1/2 c or so at a time until you get a very soft and still slightly sticky dough. I think moisture in the dough is key! Knead it until it just barely sticks to your fingers. Coat a large bowl with olive oil and coat the dough as well. Put it covered in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 475 (mine is a gas convection oven). Coat the bottom of your baking tray or use foil in the baking tray and put the oil on that which is what I did (unless you are using a pizza stone) with olive oil and coat your hands also. Cut the dough into about 3 equal portions, depending on the size of pizzas you want to make. One technique I picked up somewhere for making pizza is to squeeze the edge of the dough with your hands while letting gravity stretch the dough downwards, continuing clockwise around the edges. I did this until it was mostly stretched and then I put it on the baking sheet (remember to have everything well oiled!) and finish stretching it to the size you like. Let them rest about 10 minutes. Then pop this in the oven ON THE BOTTOM RACK. *This may depend on your type of oven*. I had two trays of pizza so I had one on the bottom rack and one on the middle rack, switched them after 5 minutes for a total of 10 minutes. This method produced a crisp bottom crust, no doughy middle and a light fluffy dough with lots of yummy bubbles!! Don’t let the bottoms burn.

Remove from the oven after no more than 10 minutes. It is just to partially bake the crust. Next slather on your sauce and pile on your cheese and toppings. Pop back in the oven for another 10-12 minutes (this time I used two middle racks and switched them again halfway.)

My toppings:

  • Very thinly sliced sweet onion
  • Thinly sliced green pepper
  • Black olives
  • 4 cheese blend (Parmesan, Asiago, Provolone, Fontina)

And, yes, I did not forget the sauce:

  • 4 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1/3-1/2c water depending on how thick you want it (peter reinhart says do not make it very thick, and I have to agree)
  • 2 tsp italian dried herb blend (oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, basil)
  • 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes or chili powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

This is going to Yeastspotting

Mexican-ish Bean Dip with Frijoles Refritos (“refried” beans)

If you have been to a Mexican style restaurant in US, you have probably come across the mashed beans known as refried beans. Well, I had some tortilla chips and dried pinto beans in my cupboard, so I thought, why not try a bean dip? I thought the refried beans will be a quick and simple thing to make. To be honest, its simple, but it does take some time. Luckily, I made enough for two batches and froze one for another day. Yay! There is some technique to getting that lovely creamy mashed texture. This video helped me a lot.

I also learned something. The term refried beans is the result of Americans “English=izing” a spanish word refritos. The prefix “re” in English usually means something that is done over again. Like replay a song, retake a test, etc. But the same is not true in spanish. So while fritos does mean to fry/cook, “re” just means to do it really well. So, it is just well cooked beans. Okay, lesson over.

  • 2c dried pinto beans- soaked overnight and pressure cooked with  bayleaves for 2 whistles (must be very soft, even falling apart) – Don’t drain the liquid
  • 3-4 green chilies minced
  • 2 sm or 1 lg onion, diced
  • 4 big cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp dried mexican oregano, or other dried herbs
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • pinch of turmeric
  • 2 Tbs butter + oil
  • salt

Fry onions till brown (cook them really well for at least 15 minutes) in butter and oil. Add garlic, stir. Add the spice powders. Then add 1 ladle of beans without the liquid. Mash them really well with the onions in the pan. Add 2 more ladles of beans, along with a little cooking liquid. Continue to mash. Repeat untill all beans are in the pot (No need to add all of the liquid, just a little bit with the beans to cook with).

After mashing to the point you like, turn up the heat and keep stirring. Once beans start to thicken, reduce to medium and cook until you can run the spoon through the pan, and the bean mash does not immediately come back together. Then you’re done!  I divided this in half, let the other half cool first, then freeze it in a plastic freezer bag, flattened.

this is how it looks when its done

Now, butter an 8×8 baking dish (or larger if you use the whole thing) and preheat oven to 350.

Spread the beans mixture in the dish, and top it with lots of chopped spring onions and shredded cheddar cheese(mine is sharp white cheddar). Bake until cheese melts, around 15 minutes. Serve with salsa and tortilla chips. **I also like to spread the chips on a cookie sheet and pop them into the oven for 5 minutes or so after taking out the bean dip, just to warm and crisp the chips!

This dip was really scrumptious and I topped it with homemade avocado salsa. Don’t leave out the spring onions if possible because I think that took it over the top (and JF agrees!).

Salsa:

  • 1 ripe avocado, cubed
  • 2 tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 shallot, diced small
  • 2 green chillies, minced
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt to taste

Mix together and let the flavors blend.

Im linking this to Aipi’s Bookmarked Recipes and MLLA hosted by Simona and Susan, to Real Food Fiesta and to Hearth and Soul!

Hearth n' Soul Blog Hop at A Moderate Life

Lemon Ginger Poppyseed Muffins – a little bite of sunshine

On these cold winter days, we need something to perk us up. Put a spring in our step. For me, that is lemons.

The first time JF and I met, we had lemon poppyseed muffins. He commented how those were his favorite, and so, they always remind me of that day. 😀

This recipe has been in my box at least four years. Four years! I had written it down out of a cookbook called Luscious Lemon Desserts. I totally lurrrve lemon!! I saw another popular lemon muffin recipe online, but using just one little lemon… it definitely did not have enough intense lemon punch for me. Lemon flavoring? No way. I did change a few things from the original; less butter, less poppyseed (I like a lot of poppyseed, but wasn’t brave enough to add the whole 3 Tablespoons the recipe called for), cake flour and whole wheat pastry flour, and the addition of ginger, which I think subtly enhances the lemony-ness. Feel free to leave it out if that aint your thing.

  • 1c cake flour
  • 3/4c whole wheat pastry flour (or you can use all purpose flour in total of 1 +3/4c)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 Tbs poppyseeds
  • zest of 2-3 lemons
  • 3/4c sugar
  • 4 Tbs (4 ounces) or half stick of butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • juice of 2 l lemons (I got 1/3c) Meyer lemons are great too!
  • 1/2c milk, room temperature or slightly warmed but not hot
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger (optional)(increase for more intense ginger taste)

Preheat oven to 375

Rub together lemon zest and sugar in a bowl, and let it sit while you finish the other tasks. This will infuse the sugar with the lovely lemon aroma.

Line muffin tins with papers or grease them.

Mix or sift together dry ingredients. Stir in poppyseeds.

Beat together the eggs and sugar. Stir in the butter, milk, and lemon juice. Add the flour mix and stir until it just comes together without overmixing. Its okay if there is a little flour not totally incorporated. This will make for very tender muffins. Just to let you know, when I added the dry to wet, it bubbled up quite a bit due to the lemon juice reacting to the baking soda. Thats fine. If you want to wait for it to calm down, it wont affect the final product either! Spoon into the muffin tins.

Bake for 15 minutes or so. It may still look pale on top. You don’t have to let them turn golden because the pale ones are more moist.

Optional Glaze:

I like the glaze for an extra lemon zing, but its good without too!

Just stir together powdered/confectioners sugar with lemon juice till you get a pourable consistency. A good starting point is 1/2c powdered sugar and juice of half a lemon, depending on how much glaze you like.

I’m linking this to Seasonal Sunday.

Cranberry Walnut Blondies

I needed some type of sweets to take to a party. Thinking back, I remembered one of the best cookie bars I ever made. It was these coconut blondies from Brown Eyed Baker. I wanted to use the ingredients I had on hand, and also make it a little festive. So, I threw in some dried cranberries and white chocolate chips in addition to the chocolate and walnuts. They were a hit (people definitely prefer the middles, I found out). Feel free to halve the recipe and bake in an 8×8 dish instead.

Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips (try to find ones made with real cocoa butter and not shortening oils- I recommend trader joes)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325

Butter a 9×13 baking dish

In a small pot melt the butter. Add the brown sugar to it and cook a minute, stirring, until the brown sugar melts completely into the butter. This is what gives blondies the awesome butterscotch flavor! Let it cool before mixing with the other ingredients.

Stir or sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl and add the butter/brown sugar to it. Add vanilla. Beat them together well. Add the dry ingredients and mix until almost incorporated, but not completely. Then stir in the cranberries, walnuts and both chips. Do not overmix.

Pour into baking dish and even out with a spatula.

Bake 40 minutes or until the sides are pulled away from the pan and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Do not overbake or they may be dry.

Want a vegan version? Check this out!

Quinoa Tabouli

Quinoa is that wonder food we began hearing about a few years ago. Its health benefits are actually quite unique. This seed, often considered a  whole grain, is a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, riboflavin, and copper and can help prevent migraines. Its also gluten free. But maybe the best thing about it, is that it contains a complete amino acid protein, which is great for any vegetarian!

Here is a quick and easy way to incorporate quinoa into your day. The original tabouli is a Lebanese salad made with bulgar wheat and parsley. I like the taste of cilantro far better, so I have used that instead. You may use either or a mix of both. Enjoy!

  • 1/2c uncooked quinoa
  • small bunch of cilantro leaves, chopped finely (I was too lazy for “finely” hehe)
  • 3 scallions or 1/2 red onion diced small
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2-3 green chilies minced (if you like it hot, otherwise omit)
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder (same as above)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/4c of crumbled feta cheese (leave out for vegan)
  • 1/4c black olives

Rinse the quinoa in a strainer. Heat 1c water and 1/2c quinoa together in a small pot over med-high heat(I like to add 1 bay leaf and a little salt to the water). Cover. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes. Once the little pod splits from the side of the seed and curls, it is done. Fluff with a fork (remove bay leaf) and let cool slightly.

Mix together all the other ingredients in a large salad bowl. Add the quinoa to it, and adjust the seasonings. You can eat it immediately, but it will absorb flavors if you can let it sit for a little while in the fridge. I also prefer it cold.

Sending this to Make it with Mondays-Quinoa and Only Salads by Prathibha and Pari

Bubble Corn Bread

I’ve been trying to decide on which bread to make for BBD- Corn-y Breads. First, I was going to try anadama bread, which has been on my to-try list for a while. Then I considered one from Amy’s Bread cookbook, which is shaped like a sunflower… very impressive, but maybe too advanced for me! Then I had narrowed it down to two from Bernard Clayton :  Broa, a soft portuguese corn bead, and this, “bubble” loaf. As you can see, I went with the bubbles! It was quite easy to make and I liked the outcome. Plus its cute how the little round balls puff up and fill the pan, then bulge over the top. And pulling them apart while the loaf is still hot, and smearing some butter on… mmmmm. I halved this recipe to make in a regular loaf pan.

Here is what I did:

  • 2c bread flour
  • 1/2c all purpose flour (or use all bread or all purpose)
  • 1/2 Tbs salt
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1 pkt active dry yeast
  • 3/4c water
  • 1/4c milk
  • 1 Tbs butter + additional melted for brushing the top(optional)

Mix 1c flour, salt, sugar, yeast, and cornmeal in a bowl.

Heat water milk and butter till butter melts, and then cool until it is just warm (and you can put your finger and hold it there without being hot).

Add the liquid to the bowl and mix hard with a wooden spoon for a few minutes (or do this in a mixer). Mix in flour 1/2 cup at a time until a dough forms. (I actually needed to add 2 Tbs more water, but ymmv). Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 minutes. He says the dough should be smooth and elastic, and feel alive under your hands!!

Cover the dough and rest for 20 minutes.

Butter the loaf pan. Punch down the dough and knead a few times to remove air pockets. Divide into 16-20 equal pieces, by dividing in half with a knife, half each again, and so on.  Roll each dough portion into a ball (I made little roll forms, by bringing the sides of the dough tightly underneat and pinching it shut, but this may not be necessary) Arrange half the pieces in the bottom. It does not need to fill the bottom because it will do that when it rises. Add the other half on top. Brush with melted butter (I didnt do this step). Cover tightly with plastic and rise for 1 hour.  You can also keep this in the fridge for 2-24 hrs. removing 15 minutes before baking.) Preheat oven to 375 or 325 if using convection oven.  Since I halved the recipe, it only needed to bake for 25-30 minutes, but he says to bake for 45-55 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and brush again with melted butter(optional).

Sending this to Yeastspotting, Bread Baking Day, and BYOB and also Healthy or Decadent

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

Apple crisp is one of my favorite desserts because its easy, using only few ingredients, and fairly healthy too. Of course, we love to make it less healthy by pairing the hot  juicy apples with ice cream! Hehe. It also makes the house smell fabulous! Usually I use rolled oats for the topping, but since I’m trying to use what I have, I used rye flakes instead. It is still good, but the rye flakes are much harder than oats. Next time I may try to break them up some in the mixie (food processor) first.

Here is what I did:

  • 5 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly (I used a combo of honey crisp, granny smith, golden delicious, and stayman winesap)
  • 1/3 c cranberries
  • lemon juice – 1/2 lemon or less as needed
  • 1 TBS sugar  *You may want to add more if your apples are very tart or you like things more sweet*
  • generous sprinkle of cinnamon
  • generous sprinkle of cornstarch

Topping:

  • 1/2c flour
  • 1/4c rye flakes (or rolled oats)
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar *This makes it mildly sweet. Add another Tbs if you like*
  • 3 Tbs cold unsalted butter (if your mixture is not crumbly, you may need another Tbs of butter)
  • pinch of salt

Butter a deep pie dish and preheat the oven to 375.

Put the apple slices in the pie dish and sprinkle them with lemon juice so they do not turn brown, and I like the tartness the lemon gives also. Toss them around and add the sugar and cinnamon, then the cornstarch and toss around again. Sprinkle the cranberries over the top. Cornstarch will make the juices released from the apples to thicken, and so will the pectin in the cranberries. The cranberries also give another level of flavor which I really enjoyed, especially with the sweetness of the ice cream we had it with.

Mix the ingredients for the topping in a bowl, using your fingers to break up the butter and squish it into the rye/flour making a crumbly texture. You may also use a fork or a pastry cutter for this.  Pour the mixture evenly over the top of the apples in the pie dish.

Place the pie dish on a metal baking sheet to prevent any possible spill overs. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the topping is golden and the apples are bubbling up.

Let it cool at least 10 minutes before eating, but its best while still warm!  Especially with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream!

Sending this to Hearth and Soul and to Decidely Healthy or Horribly Decadent
Hearth n' Soul Blog Hop at A Moderate Life

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