Thursday, February 28, 2013

sunny days, keeping the clouds away

ever wake up the on the right side of the bed and go for a run and want to eat carrots for breakfast? finally having one of those days :) hello sun! hello warmth (it's calling for a high of almost 50 today, i feel spring coming)! 

it's a shorter work day today (just the museum) so i got up and went to the grocery store. have i mentioned how much i love the grocery store when it's just me and the morning employees restocking shelves? it's like a whole store for me. so grabbed 4 lbs of baby carrots (they were on sale), a huge bag of kale, yogurt and soy milk (silk now makes an organic unsweetened soymilk which only has 1 g of sugar. it does have 4 g of fat but my diet is usually pretty low in that so i'd rather have it richer than sweeter). 

Carrot, Banana, Kale Smoothie (for 1)
1/2 c soymilk
1 heaping spoonful Greek yogurt
1 small handful kale
7-8 baby carrots
1 small banana

Blend it up! I think if you chop up the banana and freeze it first, the smoothie will taste much creamier. 

For those that buy the extra large bag of kale (like me) i just pop the whole bag into the freezer (last time it may have taken me two years to finish the bag...but this time i'm hoping to cut that time to one year:) 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

bean me up!

sorry, very corny title, but it's all my brain power can give right now. 
since exams are coming up on monday (eek!) it's time to bake my heart out and pretend, as M likes to say, that i'm about to take an exam in baking. i think i would pass with flying colors!

this is adapted from Oprah by Rocco DiSpirito. i'm all about using stuff in my kitchen and i'm not a fan of splenda, so behold-

Double Chocolate Chip White Bean Cookies (right up there w/ the black bean brownies, eum eum)

Makes about 20

·         Nonstick cooking spray
·         1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
·         1/3 cup sweet cocoa powder (Ghiradelli), sifted
·         1 cup canned white cannellini beans , rinsed and drained
·         2 T maple syrup
·         3 large egg whites
·         1/2 cup granulated sugar (can probably decrease to 1/3-1/4 c)
·         1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1/2 of it chopped

Preheat the oven to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray (Make sure to spray even on silpat b/c it will stick!). Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine vanilla, cocoa, beans, and the maple syrup, and blend the mixture until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl halfway through blending.

In a separate bowl whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the sugar. Continue to beat the whites until they are creamy and nearly stiff. Add one-third of the egg- white mixture to the cocoa bean mixture in the food processor. Blend to combine, about 30 seconds. In 2 batches, fold the lightened cocoa mixture into the egg whites until they are almost fully combined. Add chopped chocolate chips to the batter. Fold batter until chocolate are evenly dispersed and cocoa mixture is completely incorporated.

Drop mounded spoonfuls of batter onto the prepared sheets. Spread batter out to form cookies about 2½ inches in diameter. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the cookies.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pans one turn halfway through baking. Using a metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

if today is lunar new year, then yesterday was dad's birthday

it was D's bday on saturday, so of course that meant happy cooking and baking. spent almost two hours at wegman's trying to figure out what to cook for his birthday and ended up making a decision on the spot with the help of a handy smartphone (what did people do before smartphones??)

these empanadas are really straight forward and delicious (it might help that there are 16 oz of cream cheese and two sticks of butter in the crust!) used the crust recipe from simply recipes but changed the ingredients of the filling. i made myself a samosa-esque emapanad with a combination of chickpeas, sauteed mushrooms and onions and this new sauce i got from wegman's. chef sahikh's curry sauces are tasty and good for you (low in sodium and minimal ingredients). here's a link to the nutrition info for the jar i got (the hot curry sauce is really not that hot at all). 1/4 cup of the sauce is only 50 calories and 110 mg of sodium. the meat eaters got chorizo, sauteed mushrooms and onions. 

Chorizo empanadas
(made about 25-30, lots of filling leftover)
1 large onion, diced
1 large king oyster mushroom, diced
olive oil
1 T minced garlic
salt and pepper
3 chorizo links, chopped in small pieces
pastry recipe from simply recipes

Follow recipe for pastry dough.

Saute onions and mushrooms in olive oil and add garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the chopped chorizo. Let cool completely.

Chickpea Indian empanadas

1 large onion, diced
1 king oyster mushroom, diced
olive oil
 1 T minced garlic
salt and pepper
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 c Chef Shaikh's hot curry sauce

Follow the recipe for the pastry dough. Saute onions and mushrooms in olive oil with garlic and salt and pepper. Combine onions, mushrooms, chickpeas and sauce. Follow empanada recipe.

we got lazy and didn't use a 1/4 of the pastry dough from the empanadas, instead we decided to do our usual bake five million desserts and make a apple pie, minus the bottom crust, b/c really, who likes it when the bottom crust gets all soggy? 

roll out the dough and place over chopped peeled apples that are lightly tossed in cinnamon and sugar. the pastry dough with all the butter and cream cheese was absolutely delicious as a pie top.

this is the mother of all desserts- biscoff ice cream cake. and really, it just came down to mixing vanilla ice cream with biscoff. i love that stuff.
i wish you could taste how good this ice cream cake really was
i don't think you can go wrong with biscoff, but this ice cream cake is absolutely delicious, and it's minimal work but so pretty and melt in your mouth yummy.

Biscoff ice cream cake 
(adapted from two peas in a pod, took out the toffee bits to save D's teeth)

1 2/3 cups crushed Biscoff cookies
1 T granulated sugar
4 T unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
*I have a feeling the butter amount for the crust can be decreased

1.5 quarts vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup Biscoff spread
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Biscoff cookies, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Combine the crushed Biscoff cookies, melted butter, and sugar together and press into the bottom and sides of a 10" springform pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until firm and set. Let cool completely.

2. Melt the chocolate chips. In a large bowl, mix together the ice cream and Biscoff spread. Swirl in the melted chocolate. Spread the ice cream mixture evenly over the cooled cookie crust. Smooth out the top and sprinkle with chopped Biscoff cookies. Freeze until firm, about 6 hours or overnight.

3. Remove the cake from the freezer and let sit for 5 minutes. Loosen the pan sides and run a knife around the inside. Carefully remove the cake to serve. 

i'm not sure if i mentioned the black bean brownies i had in gmfr in vt, but they were pretty good for being made w/ no butter, flour and with black beans. i finally got around to making it for the family, and i don't know how it happened but this turned out soooo much moister and tastier than i remember it from vt. it's like fudge brownie. maybe it's the banana. i will have to experiment, how terrible :D 

Black bean brownies (9x9)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
splash of vanilla extract
1/4 c cocoa powder
~3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 to 1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2-2 bananas, sliced (depends how thick this is sliced)
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 9x9 pan with canola oil and line w/ sliced banana. Puree all ingredients except the chocolate chips. Mix in the chocolate chips and pour over the bananas. Bake for about 30 minutes or until set.

happy year of the snake!