Archive for Vegetarian

Cherry Shortcake (plus Cheddar and Green Onion Biscuits)

Sometimes in life, you should splurge a little bit. I decided one of those times is while I’m here in London, I should definitely buy the full fat creme fraiche. Why? Because it’s delicious, creamy, and I can’t get it easily back home. Here I can even get a store brand, and it’s fantastic.

But then I had to come up with something to eat it with.

Sure, there’s the usual “with fruit” option, and that’s wonderful and I have used part of my tub for that. But I wanted something that would be a little different. And I also felt like baking. However, I’m cooking for just one person here, so it doesn’t make much sense for me to make a whole pie.

I decided to make some biscuits. Originally, I was heading this direction because a) of this recipe and b) I knew I could freeze some of them and bake them next week when I’m ready for more biscuits. So I decided to divide the biscuit recipe in two and make half savory and half slightly sweet. Savory for eggs in the morning (ok, I’ll admit, I topped the eggs with creme fraiche too!), and the sweeter ones for shortcakes. I should say I’m usually more of a flaky biscuit gal, but these were pretty tasty. I decided since I was already baking in a kitchen other than my own, I didn’t need bust out a rolling pin.

And the cherries my produce man had looked delicious, so I bought “two handfuls” instead of one. Also, someone important to me doesn’t care for berries, so I considered this a test run of a recipe for us to eat this summer.

So first the the cherries, and then the recipe(s) for the biscuits. Please note the cherry recipe makes a terribly small amount since it’s just for me, but it’s easily doubled or tripled.

Mmm, cherry shortcake.

Cherries for Shortcakes

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • about 1 c. whole, fresh cherries (or maybe 1 1/2 so you can eat some of them as you go)
  • 1/2-1 tsp sugar (depending on how sweet your cherries are)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp water–the cherries don’t release that much juice, so I added a touch of water to get everything evenly coated and to have some juice to pour on the biscuits.
  1. Wash and de-stem the cherries. Cut them in half and remove the pits. Put them in a small bowl and combine with the other ingredients, adjusting the amount of sugar based on the sweetness of the cherries. (I used just a touch over 1/2 tsp.)
  2. Refrigerate for 30 min to a day before using.
  3. To make the shortcakes, split open a biscuit such as the sweet ones below or your own favorite recipe, top with half the cherry mixture and a generous dollop of creme fraiche or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Cheddar & Green Onion and Sweet Drop Biscuits

Servings: 6 savory and 6 sweet

Prep/Baking Time: 15-20 min prep, 15-18 min baking

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • scant 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp (1 tbsp) sugar, divided
  • 3 oz/6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
  • 3 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (or vinegar)*
  • enough milk to make 1 c when added to the lime juice (or use buttermilk and omit the lime juice)
  1. Stir together the lime juice and milk. You can grate the cheese if you want, but I diced mine into small pieces. I think it was easier to mix that way. Whichever, prep your cheese and thinly slice the green onion, separating the rings of the white part. Cut the butter into 6-8 pieces.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1 1/2 tsp sugar. Add the butter pieces, and cut in with your fingers until you have small pieces throughout (slightly smaller than peas).
  3. Separate half of the flour mixture into another bowl. This will be just over 1 1/2 c of flour mixture. We’ll call this new bowl “bowl B.”
  4. To bowl A (the original one), add 1 tsp of sugar and mix thoroughly. Add half the soured milk. Blend quickly (dough should still be rough, not smooth). Dollop onto a greased baking sheet, about 1/3 c per biscuit. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp of sugar.**
  5. To bowl B, add the cheese and onions and mix thoroughly. Add the other half of the soured milk and blend quickly, noting the same as above for mixing. Divide dough onto a greased sheet in the same manner.
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and smelling delicious.

*I happened to have purchased a lime earlier in the day, which was fortunate ’cause I couldn’t find an vinegar in the flat where I’m staying. The lime juice worked just as well as vinegar, and I didn’t notice any lime flavor (though I think that might have been tasty).

**You can also dollop the dough onto a cookie sheet and then freeze the sheet until the biscuits are set. Then move them to an airtight container and bake them when you want to, adding a couple minutes to the time. I baked three sweet and three savory and froze the other three of each. I even baked on the same pan and didn’t notice any flavor transfer.

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Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Strawberry (Ginger) Coulis

Fail. Wow. I haven’t posted since August. I had a pretty good excuse last semester with my exams, but not this one. Oh well.

I wish I could tell you how tasty this cake was, but I can only provide a second hand account. I made it for a friend’s birthday, but she doesn’t live in town any more, so some other friends brought it to her (ok, they were already planning on making the trip–my cake was a tag-a-long). But they said they loved it, so I’ll just take their word for it until I have the chance to make this again.

My friend is doing really well on Weight Watchers, and I didn’t want to throw her off, so in addition to the low fat nature of regular angel food cake, this one is also low sugar. My sister, a WW leader, estimated the cake at about 2 points for a tenth of it! But you’d need a little of this super easy sauce with it, which is probably another point. But still, that’s pretty good for a great dessert. Since this uses Splenda, you should know that it might dry out more quickly than a regular cake.

One thing that made this cake even easier than normal was that I bought a carton of egg whites from the grocery rather than cracking and separating 10-12 eggs. You’ll find this item near the Egg Beaters. What a great time saver! This recipe was adapted from one at Baking Bites plus some thoughts from my Better Homes and Gardens version, plus a coulis recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan.

Servings: 10-12

Prep time: 1 hour; Baking time: 50-55 minutes

For the cake:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. egg whites (10-12 eggs, or buy a carton), at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup Splenda
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Make sure your tube pan and your mixing bowls are spotlessly clean–any fat residue from previous baking projects could deflate your cake. Also, make sure the racks in your oven are separated enough to accommodate the tube pan–it’s taller than most bakeware.
  2. Sift together the Splenda, cake flour and cocoa powder, making sure the cocoa gets evenly distributed. (I sifted mine three times.) Set aside.
  3. If using a stand mixer, use the wire whisk or the regular beaters of a hand mixer will be fine. Pour the egg whites into the mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until they get frothy. Add the cream of tartar and salt. While mixing on medium to medium-high, slowly add the sugar to the egg whites, a few tablespoons at a time. Continue beating to the soft peak stage. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat for a few more seconds. You don’t want to go all the way to firm peaks, but a little past soft is ok. (When you pull out the beater, the tips of the egg whites should droop over a little, but not recede completely back into the rest of the whites.)
  4. Sift about 1/6 of the flour mixture over the top of the egg whites and gently fold the flour mix into them. (By folding, I mean putting a spatula down the side of the bowl to the bottom and then folding that over the top of the whites. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat until mostly combined.) Repeat until all of the flour mixture has been added to the egg whites. Take your time here. If you hurry, you’ll deflate the egg whites and your cake won’t have a good texture.
  5. Dollop the batter into the tube pan, trying to distribute it evenly (it will probably be a little too thick to pour). Give the pan a good whack against the top of the counter to loosen any large air bubbles. Gently smooth out the top of the batter with your spatula. Bake for 50-55 minutes, rotating after 30 min if your oven heats unevenly. The cake is done when the top is dry and springs back when lightly touched (mine took 55).
  6. When the cake comes out of the oven, invert it onto a well-ventilated cooling rack. Or, you can invert it so the tube rests on top of a bottle, but I have yet to find a bottle that fits my pan. I’ve tried wine, beer, soda, vinegar and oil, all with no luck. But if it works for you, go ahead. My cake was fine resting upside down on the rack.
  7. When the cake is completely cool (4+ hours), run a knife along the outside edge, pressing against the pan so as not to tear the cake. Then repeat along the inner tube. The cake should release from the tube part of the pan still sealed to the removable bottom. Repeat the cutting technique on the cake bottom, and your beautiful angelfood cake will be free!

Strawberry (Ginger) Coulis

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries, mostly thawed (or fresh, but they’re not in season here yet)
  • 2 tbsp Splenda (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp water (see note below)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger (optional)
  1. Blend the strawberries, Splenda, sugar and water in a food processor until completely smooth. Yea, seriously, that’s it.
  2. If you’d like, take out half of the coulis and mix it with the ginger. It gives it a nice, bright, unexpected taste. Double the ginger if you want it in the whole batch, but some people don’t like ginger, so I thought it would be nice to have some with ginger and some without.
  3. Drizzle on cake slices.

*Note: The reason for the water in the coulis is that Splenda does not work the same way real sugar does to draw out fruits’ natural juices. If you are making this with all real sugar, omit the water.

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    Creamy Kalamata Spread

    I’m back! After a crazy year of school, I’m hoping to get this blog going again, starting with this easy spread perfect for summer picnics and potlucks. It’s based off of something sold at my local co-op, except that has feta cheese and roasted red peppers in it as well. I would encourage the enclusion of 2 tbsp of chopped roasted red pepper if you have some around, but I didn’t. I included something else to make up for feta’s saltiness that keeps the price down: some of the brine from my olives.

    I brought this to a picnic today and served it with slices of baguette. It would also be great with crackers or sliced fresh vegetables. This would also be a really easy recipe to double for a larger crowd. You can also use vegan “cream cheese” to serve friends who don’t eat dairy.

    Prep time: 20 min, plus some chilling time.

    Servings: 4-6 as an appetizer

    Ingredients:

    • 4 oz neufchatel (low fat cream cheese)
    • 10-14 pitted Kalamata olives in brine, about 1/4 cup diced
    • 2 green onions
    • 1 large garlic clove
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • pepper
    1. Put the cheese in a small bowl and set aside on the counter to warm slightly. Finely dice the olives and green onion, discarding the root end of the onions. Mince the garlic.
    2. Combine all ingredients in the bowl with cheese mixing thoroughly with a fork. Add 1/4 tsp olive brine and taste. Add more brine and pepper to taste. Alternatively, for a smoother dip, combine the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. (I like chunks of olives, but you may not.)

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    Baked Chile Rellenos

    I tried doing something like this a while back, and it didn’t work as well as it did this time. That time, I battered the peppers first and then stuffed them. This time, I reversed the process. The peppers were crisp, as was the crust, and the cheese was flavorful and gooey. I served this with refried beans, corn tortillas and tomato slices. You can either make a little wrap with a slice of pepper and the other ingredients, or eat them separately.

    Servings: 2

    Cooking time: 25-30 minutes prep, then baking

    Ingredients:

    • 2 ripe poblano chiles
    • 3 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, grated (low fat is fine)
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 small garlic clove
    • 1/3 cup cornmeal
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1 egg
    • 2-3 oz milk
    1. Wash the peppers. Cut them horizontally about an inch from the stem end. Carefully, remove the veins and seeds from the inside of the peppers (for a spicier dish, leave some of the veins). Again carefully, cut around the stem and the top of the pepper and remove it. Discard the seeds and veins. Wash your hands well.
    2. Heat the oven to 350. Mince the garlic. In a small bowl, mix the cheese, cumin and garlic. In another small bowl, scramble the egg with the milk. On a plate with a bit of an edge, mix the cornmeal and flour. Spray a small baking dish (one or two quarts) with non-stick spray.
    3. Carefully stuff the cheese mixture into the peppers. Be sure to get some down in the tip of the pepper, but don’t just cram it in or you’ll break the pepper. (Use the handle of a spoon or fork if you’re having trouble.) If there are pockets in your pepper tops, you can put some cheese in there as well.
    4. Again carefully, dip one of the pepper bottoms into the egg mixture, trying to keep it somewhat upright so the cheese doesn’t fall out. Once it’s coated, dip the same pepper into the cornmeal/flour mix and coat well. You might just want to use your fingers to spread the cornmeal mix onto the pepper. If you’d like a thicker crust, repeat dipping in the egg mixture then the cornmeal. Place in the baking dish. Repeat with the other pepper bottom and the tops, matching the tops to the peppers once in the baking dish.
    5. Bake uncovered in the center of the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is starting to brown.

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    Rainbow Chard Crustless Quiche

    I typed up the ingredients for this post a while back but never finished the post. I’m glad I typed up those, or I never would have remembered! This dish was fairly quick, aside from the baking, very tasty and colorful.

    Servings: 4-6

    Cooking time: 30 minutes prep plus 40-50 minutes baking time

    Ingredients:

    • 1 large bunch rainbow chard
    • 1 small onion (yellow or white)
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 3 eggs
    • 3/4 cup eggs substitute (3 eggs worth)
    • 1/2 cup light sour cream
    • 1/2 cup low fat milk
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • black pepper
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 1/2 c shredded cheese (I used part Swiss cheese, part vegetable Jack cheese)
    1. Rinse the chard well and shake off the excess water. Separate any ribs of the chard thicker than 1/4 inch from the leaves by cutting along the edge of each side of the rib. Set the leaves aside for now. Slice the ribs into 1/3 inch thick pieces. Dice the onion.
    2. Preheat the oven to 375. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Saute the onion a few minutes until starting to get tender. Add the chard ribs, stirring occasionally. While that cooks, lay a few leaves on top of each other, roll them up, and cut into 1/2 inch wide pieces (chiffonade). If any of the leaves are particularly wide, you can also cut them in half lengthwise to make slightly smaller pieces.
    3. When the chard ribs are tender, add the leaves to the pan and stir. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Spray a 9 inch pie plate with non-stick spray.
    4. After the leaves have cooked for a few minutes and are wilted, turn off the heat. Continue to stir and cook one minute more. Then add the chard mixture to the egg mixture. Mix thoroughly. Pour into prepared dish.
    5. Bake in the middle of the oven until set in the middle on the top and golden on the edges, about 40-50 minutes. You may need to rotate the pan once during baking depending on how your oven distributes heat. The quiche will continue to cook for a few minutes outside the oven, so it doesn’t need to be completely set in the middle before removing it from the oven. Excellent with a tomato salad.

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      Banana Nut Bread

      I bought a few bananas a while back, and before I knew it, they were much too “ripe” for me too eat. I prefer my bananas with a hint of green or possibly a lone brown freckle. But once there are a handful, I can’t quite bring myself to eat them as is. I often take these over-ripe bananas, slice them and freeze them for use in milkshakes. However, my freezer already has enough banana slices in it, and with the cool evenings we’ve had recently, I thought it was time for some banana bread.

      Super ripe bananas are key for this recipe to provide the necessary sweetness. I made mine in three small loaf pans (about six inches by three inches). This made nice rounded loaves with golden tops, but the recipe could easily be spread into four loaf pans with less in them or one larger loaf. Keep the oven temperature the same, but adjust the baking time (more for a larger loaf, less for smaller ones). This recipe is a modification of the Better Homes and Gardens one.

      pretty loaves

      pretty loaves

      Cooking time: 15 minutes prep, 35-45 minutes baking

      Ingredients:

      • 2 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
      • 1/2 tsp baking soda
      • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
      • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      • 1/8 tsp salt
      • 2 eggs
      • 1 1/2 cups very ripe bananas (about 3 large)
      • 3/4 c sugar
      • 1/2 c vegetable oil
      • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
      1. Grease and flour/spray with Baker’s Joy the inside of your loaf pan(s). Preheat oven to 350.
      2. Combine the first six ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl.
      3. In a separate medium bowl, mash the bananas. Add the eggs, sugar and oil and mix thoroughly.
      4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry all at once. Mix well, but there will be some lumps. Add the nuts and mix a few more strokes.
      5. Pour batter into the prepared pan(s). If using several small loaf pans, there should be at least an inch of space at the top of the pan.
      6. Bake in the oven about 20 minutes, then rotate the pan(s). Continue baking until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, 15 to 25 minutes more, depending on the size of the loaves.
      7. Cool on a wire rack at least ten minutes. Quick breads freeze well–just be sure the loaves are completely cool before doing so. I froze one of my loaves, wrapping it first in plastic wrap, then foil.

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      Courgette Croquettes

      This time of year, everyone needs recipes for their prolific zucchini plants. I dared to plant one myself this year. Unfortunately, one of our windy rain storms toppled it over. Oh well. Zucchini are pretty cheap at the farmer’s market.

      Not only is this a tasty way to use zucchini, it’s a continuation of my series of Greek recipes. The lemon and mint are really tasty here. The thing that’s tricky about this recipe is frying the croquettes quickly enough to cook all of them and get them to the table while they’re all still hot. I’m terrible at that. Nevertheless, they were quite tasty.

      Servings: About 6 as a side dish with other items; enough for 8 appetizer servings

      Cooking time: 40 minutes prep time, 1 hour+ chilling time, 30 minutes for frying

      • 5-6 medium zucchinis
      • half a medium white or yellow onion
      • 3 garlic cloves (enough for 1 1/2-2 tbps once minced)
      • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs
      • fresh parsley, enough for 1 cup once chopped
      • fresh mint, enough for 1/3 cup once chopped
      • 2 eggs
      • 1 lemon
      • vegetable oil for frying
      1. Grate the zucchini in a large, mesh colander. Sprinkle lightly with salt (1/2 tsp) and let sit in a sink or over a bowl for at least 15 minutes, or while you complete step 2.
      2. Grate the onion into a large bowl. Mince the garlic and add it to the onion. Finely chop the parsley and mint, being careful to remove any large stems. Add them to the bowl.
      3. Push down on the zucchini in the colander to remove more of the water. Add the zucchini to the large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, eggs and the juice of the lemon. Wash your hands. Mix together with your hands.
      4. Cover and chill the mixture at least one hour or over night. Shortly before you’re ready to serve them, heat 1/2 inch of oil in a pan. When you can feel heat coming off the oil about three inches above it, drop a small piece of bread in the pan. If it sizzles quickly, the oil is hot enough. (Make sure it doesn’t smoke.)
      5. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the zucchini mixture into the hot oil, trying to keep the mix in a pile. Depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to fit five to seven croquettes in at once. Make sure to leave space around them though so you can flip them over. When a croquette is golden on one side (3-4 minutes), flip it to the other side. When a croquette has fried on both sides, remove it with a slotted spoon or spatula onto a plate lined with paper bags (to absorb the grease). Serve as soon as they’re all done.

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