Sunday, February 20, 2011

Broccoli Crunch Salad/Tasty Veggie Sauce

I made this for the Superbowl, that weekend that I cooked like 5 different things (and I've barely made anything since), along with the chickpea cupcakes.  The salad was typical, but the dressing... the dressing is amazing.  I just whipped up a little more and bought broccoli slaw at the grocery store (it was a buck for 4 servings, what beats that?) and covered the broccoli slaw with the dressing and it makes a tasty snack or side dish.  And I could practically drink the dressing, and quite honestly, it wouldn't be the worst thing for me.

I found the recipe at 101 Cookbooks.  I'll save you a post about the salad, but I'll include the dressing recipe.  I'm sure a similar dressing would be good with cashews.

Lemon Almond Veggie Sauce
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 cup almond butter (I just blended 1/2 cup blanched almonds until they formed a nut butter consistency because I am not about to spend $8 for a jar of almond butter when I can get a pound of almonds for half that)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey (I used a tasty orange blossom honey, which I am in love with)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I just used a splash)
2 tablespoons hot water

Make the dressing by sprinkling the salt over the clove of garlic. Smash the clove and chop, smash and chop - turning it into a paste. In a small bowl whisk the salty garlic paste with the almond butter, lemon juice, honey and olive oil. Add the hot water and whisk until light and creamy. Taste, make any adjustments and set aside.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mole Chili

It's Superbowl Sunday!  And the Packers are playing!  But nothing feels more like the Superbowl than chili.  Or maybe that's wings.  But I've always had a thing for eating things out of bowls during the various bowls.  And for the Superbowl, it should be something, well, super.  And it's chili time of year.  I was looking for things to bring to for a party, and I bookmarked this recipe a while ago.  It's not a lot different than what I usually make, but cooking the veggies with spices before adding the beans and tomatoes adds depth of the flavor.  I'm found the recipe on Mozzarella and Merlot at some point, and thought it sounded good.  And it is, though I didn't have much chance to savor it since I was trying desperately to find a granola recipe online and then trying to finish before my roommate started the dishwasher so I could put my bowl in.  Usually I think that chili is one of those things you should just wing, but I'm including the recipe since the technique of simmering the flavors first is a worthwhile change.

It was a hearty chili, full of veggies, so it's very healthy, but like I said, just a little more complex than what I usually make, but not that different (except for the extra veggies).  I guess saying "hearty" is a given when we are talking about chili though.  It was good, but probably not ideal with the sourdough I bought yesterday.

To make this more "mole" like, you should probably cook all the spices together for even longer, like a few hours, before adding everything else.

Mole Chili
Adapted (liberally) from Gourmet, when it was still a magazine
1 large dried chili, chopped (you could also you red pepper flakes here)
2 fresh hot peppers (jalapenos, Thai chilis, whatever you got), chopped
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
Pinch of cinnamon (I used my good, complex, sharp Vietnamese cinnamon)
2 medium onions, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 zucchini or yellow squash, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 lb chopped spinach (frozen is fine)
1 tsp grated orange zest
Pinch of sugar
3 tbsp unsweetened baking chocolate (finely chopped) or cocoa powder
1 15-oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup water
2 15-oz cans of beans (I used 1/2 cup dry beans that I cooked yesterday, about a half cup each of red beans, kidney beans, and black beans, since that's what I had on hand)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cilantro/sour cream/chopped chives for garnish
In a large, heavy saucepan/soup pot, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat.  Add onions and cook until they are softened and begin to brown.  Add garlic, and cook for about one minute.  Add chili peppers, cumin, paprika, chili powder, oregano and cinnamon.  Cook for another minute, then add bell pepper, zucchini/squash, and spinach.  Cover the pot and let it cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the vegetables softened.  Add zest, sugar, chocolate, water and tomatoes (with their juice).  Break the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon so that there are chunks in the chili, but notwhole tomatoes. Cover again and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add beans and cook until beans are heated through.  Season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chili Flavored Chocolate Chickpea Cupcakes

Some of my readers may know that I'm currently not eating dairy, but that has made me crave chocolate (particularly in the form of brownies and the like) more than usual.  The good news is dark chocolate (at least true dark chocolate) by definition does not contain dairy.  The bad news is most good brownies use butter.  However in my obsession with looking at pictures of baked goods, I discovered a pretty cool concept: putting chickpeas into baked goods, sometimes instead of sometimes in addition to, flour.  This was a chocolate chickpea cake, which is gluten free and dairy free (as long as you grease the pan with oil rather than butter).  It's like a flourless chocolate cake, only the chickpeas serve as a flour like substance.

I once read a blog about an obsession with cumin that even beats mine and the author said she puts cumin with chocolate.  This intrigued me and I've been meaning to try it since, but haven't had a good opportunity (actually, I was thinking about making cumin truffles this year, but ended up making lavender instead).  I think that the chickpeas kind of encourage play with savory flavors, but I could see where some people might find these extremely weird.  They are kind of reminiscent of a chocolaty chili, more than a chocolate cake, especially since I used my magic bullet to "puree" the chickpeas and it missed a few.  But I made these to bring to a Superbowl party (go Pack go!) tomorrow and had to try one to make sure they were acceptable and not super weird to serve to other people.  I ended up eating 2.  Whoops!  I adapted a recipe from Serious Eats.  I'll let you know how they go over at the party tomorrow, they might not be as good cold.  However, I think they do a good job of incorporating Superbowl-y flavors, that is, chili, in a chocolate cake.  I had a picture that I deleted right after I sent it to my computer, but it apparently did not make it to my computer.  Maybe I'll add one tomorrow.  Maybe i should frost it with avocado buttercream (and maybe something gold?), but i think that may go to far.

  • 5 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 1 (19-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • dash cayenne pepper


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 12 muffin tins in your preferred method.  The recipe suggests butter and cocoa, I just used baking spray.
  2. 2
    In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate by microwaving in 15-second intervals, stirring with a rubber spatula each time until melted. Alternatively, heat, stirring constantly, over double boiler until melted.
  3. 3
    Puree beans, eggs and vanilla in a food processor (or using an immersion blender) until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar, baking powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt and blend to combine, about 20 seconds.
  4. 4
    Add melted chocolate and blend to combine, scraping down sides of bowl well as necessary. Batter will have a thick, pudding-like consistency. Transfer batter into prepared pan and bake until knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
  5. 5
    Allow cake to cool for 15 minutes on wire cooling rack before inverting onto serving platter. Cool completely. Dust with confectioner's sugar just before serving.

Tofu with Brussels Sprouts and Apples

So this is a dish that contains two ingredients that most people avoid, but that's a shame.  This is one of the first times where I actually enjoyed the tofu I cooked.  And the bitterness of brussels plays nicely with the maple syrup.  However, I thought the dish as a whole was a little bland, so I would probably add more garlic next time.  For the record, I halved the amount of brussels and apples to make it for one, since it doesn't work well for leftovers (but 4oz of tofu is roughly a serving, I may have used slightly less than that).  However, I set aside the other half for a quick already prepped dinner on Monday after my run.

But it's a healthy, quick and tasty (vegan) dinner.  I found it as a one pan recipe on 101 cookbooks.  I did  prep everything a little ahead so that I could cut up the tofu and let it dry on a cloth for a little while and then it came together quickly when I decided I was hungry.  I just ate it with some sourdough bread that was on sale.  I was planning on having chili tonight, but decided that was probably too similar too my lunch and dessert, which I'll post about in a little bit.  But my point is that sourdough bread is not the ideal accompaniment.  I'll make chili tomorrow.
1 large, crisp apple, cut into bite-sized wedges
1 lemon, juice only
4 ounces extra-firm tofu cut into tiny-inch cubes (see photo)
a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
a couple splashes of olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
a scant tablespoon of maple syrup
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped (I used walnuts because I already had them toasted and they are cheaper, but I didn't chop them)
12 ounces (3/4 pound). brussels sprouts, washed and cut into 1/8-inch wide ribbons
Soak the apples in a bowl filled with water and the juice of one lemon.
Cook the tofu in large hot skillet with a bit of salt and a splash of oil. Saute until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, wait a few seconds, now stir in the maple syrup, and cook another 30 seconds or so. Drain the apples, and add them to the skillet, cooking for another minute. Scrape the apple and tofu mixture out onto a plate and set aside while you cook the brussels sprouts.
In the same pan (no need to wash), add a touch more oil, another pinch of salt, and dial the heat up to medium-high. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the shredded brussels sprouts. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring a couple times (but not too often) until you get some golden bits, and the rest of the sprouts are bright and delicious.
Stir the apple mixture back into the skillet alongside the brussels sprouts 1/2 of the pine nuts - gently stir to combine. Remove from heat and enjoy immediately sprinkled with the remaining pine nuts. This isn't a dish you want sitting around, the flavors change dramatically after ten minutes or so, and I think that is part of the reason brussels sprouts get a bad rap. Even I don't like them after they've been sitting around.
Serves 2 - 3 as a main, 4 as a side.