Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chewy Chocolate Cake

If I didn't trust my MIL's taste completely, I wouldn't have believed her when she told me there's a delicious egg, dairy, soy free chocolate cake I could make. Then, I saw this recipe in Kate's cookbook (and who's recipes are making up the bulk of my posts lately) and heard an NPR piece on this cake and how its popularity ebbs and flows (sorry, couldn't find the link to the story). An easy and economical keeper!

from In the Sweet Kitchen

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 c sugar
1/4 c natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

6 Tb canola oil
1 Tb white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 c cool water

Oven to 350. Whisk together first 5 ingredients. Mix in wet ingredients until most of the lumps are smoothed out, but do not overbeat. Bake in 8x8 pan for 30 minutes (9x9 pan for 23-25). Cool completely—this extremely moist cake will fall apart if removed from the pan too soon. I like to serve it topped with ganache or chocolate sauce, although it’s even good topped with only a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Caribbean Brown Rice and Beans

This was one of the first allergy dinners I found for Asher that I really liked. It's stayed in the rotation for a while now, and I made this for dinner at a fabulous feminist retreat that Jessica organized this past weekend. It's easy to throw together and the ingredients (except the cilantro, which we bought there) survived the drive from Phoenix to LA and a day in the car quite well.

1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
½ t nutmeg
1 c brown rice I often use white rice because it cooks faster
1 can (14 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
1 c chicken or vegetable stock
1 t salt
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 mango, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
¼ c roughly chopped fresh cilantro
lime wedges for garnish

Preheat oven to 325° with rack in center.

In Dutch oven, heat olive oil. Add onion and garlic; cook until soft (5-7 min). Add nutmeg, stirring constantly, 1 min.

Add rice, coconut milk, stock, and salt. Bring to simmer. Cover and transfer to oven. Cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Add black beans, mango, red pepper and cilantro. Combine. Garnish with lime and serve. Lately, I've also enjoyed adding some diced advocado to the top, too.

Crock pot UPDATE: Saute onion and garlic. Pour into slow cooker and add rice, coconut milk, stock, salt and nutmeg. Set on high for 3 hours, stirring occasionally to save your air conditioning bill in the summer.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tortilla Pie

I think I'll be using recipes from my friend, Kate H.'s family cookbook that she emailed me over Christmas. I've now got two more vegetarian entrees to add to my meal rotation. Is it hard for anyone else to find vegetarian main courses? Meat is such a convenient focal point for dinner.

from Cooking Light November 1995

1 Tbs olive oil
1 c chopped red bell pepper--I skipped the green pepper and just chopped 2 whole red bell peppers
3/4 c chopped green bell pepper
1/2 c chopped red onion--I just chopped 1/2 of a large red onion
1/2 c chopped seeded Anaheim chile or 1 (4.5-oz) can chopped green
chiles, drained--I didn't drain my can of chiles because I like the flavor it added
2 Tbs minced fresh cilantro
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 c no-salt-added tomato juice
2 (15-oz) cans black beans, drained
2 (15-oz) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, drained
1 c (4-oz) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
1 c (4-oz) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
Vegetable cooking spray
7 (8-inch) flour tortillas
Cilantro sprigs (optional)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add red bell pepper and next 7 ingredients (red bell pepper through cumin); sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add tomato juice; cook 8 minutes or until reduced to 2 1/2 c.

Combine black beans and half of tomato juice mixture in a bowl; stir well. Stir cannellini beans into remaining tomato juice mixture. Set both aside. Combine cheeses in a bowl; toss well.
Line a 9-inch pie plate with foil, allowing 6 inches of foil to extend over opposite edges of pie plate. Repeat procedure with another sheet of foil, extending foil over remaining edges of pie plate. Coat foil with cooking spray, and place 1 tortilla in bottom of dish. Spread 1 c cannellini bean mixture over tortilla; sprinkle with 1/4 c cheeses. Place 1 tortilla over cheeses, pressing gently. Spread 1 c black bean mixture over tortilla; sprinkle with 1/4 c cheeses. Place 1 tortilla over cheeses, pressing gently. Repeat layers, ending with the remaining cannellini bean mixture and cheeses. (I don’t keep the cannellini and black bean layers separate-KH; I don't either-ECC).

Bring edges of foil to center; fold to seal. Bake at 325° for 40 minutes.
Remove from oven; let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Remove foil packet from dish; unwrap pie, and slide onto serving plate using spatula. Cut into wedges; garnish with cilantro, if desired.
8 servings

Monday, March 9, 2009

Italian Sweet and Sour Broccoli Rabe

I was just complaining to my friend today that the latest recipes I have been trying just aren't blog-worthy. So, I was glad to finally have something come out tonight!

Cook's Country, April/May 2009

1 large bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), ends trimmed, cut into 1 inch pieces so I thought broccoli rabe and broccolini were the same thing. They're not, but the broccolini has the same cooking time, just less leafy greens, and it is easily found at Trader Joe's.
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c golden raisins I used Craisins instead
3 T red wine vinegar
1 T orange juice I had an orange and squeezed (squoze?) it over the pan
1 T brown sugar

1. Blanch: bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot. Add broccoli rabe and 1 T salt and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
2. Make Sauce: heat oil in empty pot over medium heat until shimmering. Cook onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add raisins, vinegar, orange juice, and sugar and cook until syrupy, 3-5 minutes. Add drained broccoli rabe to pot to cook, stirring occasionally, until well coated and just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lemon Curd

For Suzanne :)
Another Gourmet Cookbook recipe and a lovely way to use up extra lemons. Yes, it's tough to winter in Arizona--it's all lemons and pistachios around here.

My friend, Kate H., introduced me to the delicacy of lemon curd one Easter long ago. It's delicious on bread (in place of jam and butter), but it has extra versatility. It can be put in a tart crust and topped with berries for an instant dessert, or even easier, warm it and thin it with a little milk for an easy glaze over angel food cake (a la Rachael Ray).

1 T plus 2 t finely grated lemon zest a reason along to invest in a microplaner
1 c fresh lemon juice 4-5 big lemons
1 1/3 c sugar
4 large eggs
pinch of salt
1 3/4 sticks (14 T) unsalted butter cut into tablespoons

Whisk together zest, juice, sugar, eggs, and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Add butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking constantly, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisks and first bubbles appear on surface, about 10 minutes. (If you have small children around, this task may prove impossible. I turned up the heat to hurry the process along and ended up with a bit of fried egg. Not to worry, though, everything comes out smoothly once it goes through the sieve.)

Immediately force curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, then refrigerate in an air-tight container until cold.

Enjoy quickly! This makes a lot of lemon curd and it only keeps refrigerated for about a week.