Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Red Pepper Alfredo

Sunday's dinner comes from one of my favorite cook books, Cook This, Not That! The No-Diet Weight Loss Solution (the one with the orange cover, Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals) by the same authors of those yearly books, Eat This, Not That! (David Zinczenko & Matt Goulding).  The recipes in this book are always very simple and never take more than 30-40 minutes to make.  Oh, and they always come out delicious!  This recipe combines roasted red peppers to Alfredo sauce to make Alfredo sauce a little healthier.  I think it tastes better than regular Alfredo sauce because it's not heavy.

Here's what you'll need:
10 oz. dried fettuccine (I used spaghetti.)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half
3/4 cup chopped bottled roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic, halved
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and black pepper to taste

First, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente (should be about 30 seconds to 1 minute less than the package instructions recommend).

While that's cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the flour and cook for a minute, until the two are fully incorporated.
(Sorry for the dark pictures, I was using the camera on my phone and the lighting isn't good in the kitchen once the sun's gone down.)
Slowly add the milk and half and half, whisking to help prevent lumps from forming.  Add the red pepper and garlic.  Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Pour the mixture into a blender and puree until smooth and uniform in color.  Return to the pan and stir in the Parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the pasta is done cooking.
Drain the pasta and add directly to the saucepan.  Toss to coat evenly and enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Agave-Sweetened Plain Donut with Agave-Sweetened Chocolate Glaze

On Sunday, I decided to finally use my donut pans that I bought a few weeks ago.  Since BabyCakes in NYC is also known for their gluten-free vegan donuts almost as well as their gluten-free vegan cupcakes, I decided to use one of their recipes.  This recipe comes from Erin McKenna's second cook book, BabyCakes Covers the Classics: Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes from Donuts to Snickerdoodles.  You will need a few unconventional flours, so go to your nearest health food store or places like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Kings.  They carry these things, all by Bob's Red Mill.

The end result was heavy feeling, and tasted like cake, but was still delicious and much healthier than Dunkin' Donuts'.  If you want a more crunchy donut, Erin suggests making the donut recipes with the sugar in them instead of agave nectar (which I will get to another week).  I wanted to try the healthier option, so I did, and they turned out delicious, especially with the chocolate glaze!

Here's what you'll need for the donuts:
3/4 cup rice flour (I used brown rice flour)
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup arrowroot
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/3 cup melted refined (mine was unrefined, I don't think it makes that much of a difference) coconut oil or canola oil, plus more for brushing the trays
3/4 cup agave nectar (light colored)
6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup vanilla extract
1/4 cup hot water

One important thing I forgot to type above, Erin suggests measuring out all the ingredients (even the liquid ones) in dry ingredient cups, it makes a little bit of a difference.

What you'll need for the chocolate glaze:
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup Better Than Milk Rice or Soy Powder (I used a different brand, and it was soy.)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup melted refined coconut oil or canola oil (I used canola this time.)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Brush 2 six-mold donut trays with coconut or canola oil and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, potato starch, arrowroot, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and xanthan gum.
Add the agave nectar, coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla, and hot water and mix with a rubber spatula just until the ingredients are incorporated.  Continue mixing until the batter is smooth.  Using a melon-baller or tablespoon, drop 2 1/2 tablespoons of batter into each donut mold.  Using a toothpick, spread the batter evenly around the mold.
Bake for 8 minutes, rotate, and continue baking until the donuts are golden brown, about 8 minutes more.  Let cool in the molds for 15 minutes.  Run a knife around the donuts in the molds, lift them out, and place them on a baking sheet.

While the donuts are baking, combine the coconut milk, agave nectar, rice or soy-milk powder, cocoa powder, and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor and blend on medium speed for 1 minute.  While the processor is running, gradually add 1/2 cup of the coconut oil and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice and blend until thoroughly incorporated.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup coconut oil and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice and process for 1 minute more.  The glaze can be stored, covered tightly at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Once the donuts are cool enough, dip into the glaze and enjoy!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Potage Parmentier (Leek or Onion and Potato Soup)

 Saturday night I decided to finally cook a recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I've had this copy for a while now, and just have never cooked from it.  I got it from my mother-in-law who had an extra of this classic cook book.  Julia Child is one of the co-authors of the book, and a pioneer chef who taught Americans to cook.  I probably procrastinated cooking a recipe from this book because I was a little fearful of how advanced some of the recipes in this book are.  I've seen Julia Child's show, she makes everything look so easy, even though it isn't!  Turns out this recipe I made was easy enough to make, a little time consuming but easy.  I also got to use my new food mill from Sur La Table

In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the recipe says you can use either leeks or onions, I chose onions.  It also says you can add other vegetables like, carrots, string beans, cauliflower, broccoli, or anything else you think might go with the soup.  I added one cup of carrots to the soup since I had carrots lying around.

Here's what you'll need for the soup:
a 3 to 4 quart saucepan or pressure cooker
food mill (optional)
3 to 4 cups or 1 lb. peeled potatoes, sliced or diced
3 cups or 1 lb. thinly sliced leeks including the tender green; or yellow onions
2 quarts of water
1 tablespoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons whipping cream or 2 to 3 tablespoons softened butter (I used butter, but I used the amount you'd use for whipping cream by mistake)
2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or chives (or 2 to 3 teaspoons dry parsley or chives;  I used dried parsley)

Either simmer the vegetables, water, and salt together, partially covered, for 40 to 50 minutes until the vegetables are tender;  or cook under 15 pounds pressure for 5 minutes, release pressure, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
Mash the vegetables in the soup with a fork , or pass the soup through a food mill.  Correct seasoning.  Set aside uncovered until just before serving, then reheat to the simmer.

Off heat and just before serving, stir in the cream or butter by spoonfuls.  Pour into a tureen or soup cups and decorate with the herbs.
Enjoy!  By the way not only did this taste delicious, it smelled incredible while simmering.  Add some shredded cheese for a bit more flavor.  :-)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pumpkin Pound Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

Last year I made this cake a bunch of times during the fall season.  I made it after my husband and I bought our stand mixer, I think it was the first cake recipe I made with the mixer, now that I think about it.  I made it a couple of times when I had some new friends come over for dinner.  I made it for Thanksgiving at my aunt's last year, and at my in-laws' Christmas party.  Since it was so loved last year at Thanksgiving, I made it again this year.  I'll probably make it the in-laws' Christmas party as well. 

The recipe comes from my Cooking Light Way to Bake cookbook.  Since it is a pound cake it feels heavy, and comes out nice, moist and very yummy.

Here's what you'll need for the cake:
cooking spray
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
13.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup non-fat buttermilk

Here's what you'll need for the glaze:
1/3 cup non-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon baking soda

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Then lightly coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray and dust with 1 tablespoon flour.  Spread pumpkin over 2 layers of paper towels;  cover with 2 additional layers of paper towels.  Let stand about 10 minutes.  Scrape drained pumpkin into a bowl.

Place 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup butter in a large bowl;  beat with a mixer at medium speed for 3 minutes or until well blended.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in pumpkin and vanilla.
Weigh or lightly spoon flour  into dry measuring cups;  level with a knife.  Combine flour and next 4 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Add flour mixture and 3/4 cup buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Remove from pan;  cool completely on wire rack.
T prepare glaze, combine 1/3 cup buttermilk and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat;  bring to a boil.  Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly;  remove from heat.  Drizzle glaze over cake.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Decadent Double-Chocolate Bundt Cake

 Hey everybody!  Sorry it's been a while since I posted, been busy with a lot of stuff.  I'm trying to decide if I want to keep working where I do or if I should just go back to school in January as a full time student to get my certificate in bookkeeping.  Honestly, I think I rather go back and get the certificate so I can get a better paying job.  I like my job, but it's not something I can't see myself doing the rest of my life.  I know bookkeeping may not sound like the most exciting thing ever, but I'm a very quiet, shy person (around new people), and this would fit my personality.  I was thinking about going to cooking school, but I don't want to make one of my hobbies into a career, because then I may end up hating having to cook when I come home from work.  I tried making music into a career, and I ended up not enjoying playing my piano...which I miss greatly now! Anyway, my husband's birthday was at the beginning of November and I made him this chocolate bundt cake from my CookingLight Way to Bake cookbook.

Here's what you'll need for the glaze:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup chocolate-flavored liqueur
2 tablespoons butter

Here's what you'll need for the cake:
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
13.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate minichips
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

First you'll have to prepare the glaze, so combine the first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.  Cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  To prepare cake, drizzle oil into a 12 cup Bundt pan;  coat pan thoroughly using a pastry brush.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour, shaking out excess, then coat preparted pan with cooking spray.  I know it sounds like a lot to prepare the pan, but you don't want your cake to stick to it while you're trying to get it out of the pan.

Place 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and 6 tablespoons butter in a large bowl;  beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes).  Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.
Weight or lightly spoon 13.5 ounces flour (about 3 cups) into dry measuring cups;  level with a knife.  Combine the flour and next four ingredients, stirring with a whisk.  Add flour mixture and milk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture;  mix after each addition.  Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Fold in chips.  Spoon batter into prepared pan.  Swirl batter using a knife.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Immediately pour glaze over cake.  Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
Invert cake onto a serving plate;  cool completely.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Shilpa's Spicy Salmon (Penzeys)

This recipe came from another Penzeys' catalogs.  I love salmon and it's very good for you, and instead of broiling or grilling it, like I would normally do, I tried this recipe out.  It comes out hot and spicy with some smoky flavor to it.  It was also quite salty tasting and I didn't add any salt to it.  I enjoyed it a lot, but I did have to take a sip from my iced tea after every to every other bite.

What you'll need:

1 whole fresh salmon or 1 large filet (2-3 pounds)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 1/2 teaspoons Penzeys Minced Garlic)
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger)
2 teaspoons minced green chilies, optional
1/4 teaspoon Smoked Spanish Style Paprika
2 tablespoons Sate Seasoning
1 tablespoon Sweet Curry Powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
1 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup cubed red or yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon Sate Seasoning
2 tablespoons White Sesame Seeds
1 teaspoon Dill Weed
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Place the salmon in a glass 9"x13" baking dish.  In a bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, green chilies, paprika, 2 tablespoons sate seasoning, curry powder, soy sauce and orange juice.  Taste and add salt if desired.  Pour the marinade over the salmon, turning to coat thoroughly.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.  Brush the foil with a bit of olive oil.  Place the spinach, onion, bell peppers and tomatoes on the tray and sprinkle with the 1/4 teaspoon sate seasoning.

Remove salmon from marinade and place on top of the vegetables.  Sprinkle the salmon with sesame seeds and dill weed.  Cover lightly and bake at 400 degrees until the salmon is golden and firm to the touch, approximately 15-25 minutes, depending on size.  Let the salmon rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Don's Mom's Apple Pie from Penzeys done by me, Carly

This was my second apple pie, and this recipe came from the Penzeys' Spice Store.  I've probably told you this before, but when you go in their store, they have recipes all around their displays.  I believe they change them seasonally. 

So this was one of the recipes hanging around the store I decided to try, it's called Don's Mom's Apple Pie.  I don't know who Don is, but I tweaked his mom's apple pie a bit with a couple of different spices.  I made the pie at my parents' house yesterday while doing my laundry and spending time with my best friend.  She's been staying at her parents' place until she and her wife get their power back.

The pie turned out great, the crust tasted just like a Girl Scouts' Shortbread cookie.  I'm really glad I baked it all from scratch.  I also got to use the last of my apples that I picked about a month ago.  I'm also really glad my best friend is allergic to apples because there was more for me and my husband.  :-)

What you'll need for the crust:
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), cold and unsalted
1 1/2 cups flour (I used all-purpose, but I think pastry flour would work well too.)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons milk

What you'll need for the filling:
6 cups apples (I used whatever I had left over, but the recipe lists 4 Macintosh and 2 Red or Golden Delicious)
1/2 cup regular sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar (I used light brown)
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
(1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
Instead of what's in between the lines, I used:
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice (all Penzeys)

1 egg white whisked with 1 teaspoon water (I didn't use this for the top, just the cinnamon sugar)
1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar (Penzeys)

Prepare the crust first.  Cut up the butter, put it in a large bowl, and add the flour, sugar and salt.   Rub it between your fingers until crumbly and pea-sized.  Mix milk in by the tablespoon until the dough just holds together when mixed with a spoon.  Divide into two pieces, one about 2/3 of the dough, for the bottom crust, on about 1/3 of the dough, for the top crust.  Pat each one into a flat disk and wrap in a plastic wrap.  Refrigerate while preparing the filling.

To prepare the filling, peel, core, and slice the apples.  Place in a large bowl, top with sugars, flour, salt and spices. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove the pie dough from the fridge, sprinkle the table with flour, and roll out the larger bottom crust, flipping gently once while rolling.  Place in a glass pie dish.
(I should have brought my own rolling pin, that's my mom's in the background.)

Top with apple filling.
Roll out the second smaller top crust. If you want to use the egg white mix, brush the edge of the bottom crust with egg white mix, and then place the top crust on.  Vent the center of the crust with a knife, and then crimp the edges.  Brush the top with egg white mix, and then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. 
Place in preheated oven and bake until brown and bubbly, about 55 minutes.

Wait about an hour to cool, and enjoy!