Friday, November 21, 2014

Baby Brother's Baked Birthday Box

My "baby" brother turned 22 right around the time I had a really bad need to bake, or at least to accomplish something productive (in college this mood hit right around the time of finals when I was slogging through term papers.) So I came up with a list of things I could make with mostly pantry staples (for us.) The results were delicious (we kept a few of each) and very unhealthy. I felt sort of bad sending it since BB has always been concerned with health. I figure he can share them at his weekly yoga/drum/slack line circle (when I wasn't looking he turned into a 6'+ hipster.)

So I shipped BB a large box filled with unhealthy desserts I didn't want in the house. At the very least, I'm sure his roommates were happy.

So the recipes:
Shoo-Fly Cake from Amish Cooking: Deluxe Edition (1992)
Inside of a Peanut Butter Cup Cookies from Averie Cookes
Pumpkin Oatmeal Anytime Squares from Oh She Glows (as is, just follow her instructions and you'll do fine)
Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treat Pralines from Kevin and Amanda's Recipes
Praline Buckeyes

Shoo-Fly Cake

This tastes much better than the pie, especially if you're used to wet bottom shoo-fly. Warning, this cake doubles in volume as it bakes. While the overflowing, crispy top is delicious, the clean-up when it falls in the oven is a pain. Plan accordingly.

You Need:
4 Cups AP Flour
3/4 Cup Shortening
2 Cups brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 t dried ginger 
2 Cups boiling water
1 cup molasses
1 T baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 and a set a kettle of water to boil
2. Line a large casserole or two 8" pans with parchment paper (if you can use a pan with a removable bottom, that makes things convenient.)
3. In a bowl mix the flour, ginger, and sugar.
4. Cut the shortening into the flour and sugar.
5. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture.
6. Add to the remainder, the boiling water, molasses, and soda. Mix well.
7. Pour batter into prepared pan(s). Drop several times to get ride of extra air
8. Top batter with reserved mixture.
9. Bake 45 minutes to an hour, until tester comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Cookies

I did some tweaks to fit my current elimination diet and pantry contents, also convenience. A well-rounded peanut butter cookie, you can roll them in cinnamon-sugar before baking, added an original or peanut butter filled kiss on top instead of the cross-hatch, decorate with chopped peanuts, whatever floats your boat. Hershey's used to stock a "Peanut Butter Blossom" cookie in the Chocolate World bakery that was fantastic - 3-4" wide base with a center original kiss, surrounded by chopped mini cups, and drizzled with peanut butter and chocolate. I always used my free cookie coupon for one of those. Last time we stopped by it was just a plain cookie, I was very disappointment.

You Need:
1 heaping T ground flax
3 T lukewarm water
3/4 cup peanut butter, conventional (creamy or crunchy, depends on your tastes)
8 T butter or butter susbstitute
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 T vanilla
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 t baking soda
1 pinch kosher salt

1. Combine flax and water, set aside for 10 minutes
2. Process rolled oats in food processor until medium to fine flour.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the flax to the processor. Mix until well combined. If you used crunchy peanut butter, reserve half for few minutes to keep some of the texture.
3. Roll the dough into 3/4-1" diameter log. Slice into 1/2" slices. Alternatively, just roll out 3/4" balls.
4. Place slices on silicone mat or parchment paper. Roll in sugar or cinnamon sugar if you want. Use a fork to press a cross-hatch mark into the top.
5. Freeze for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350
6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until slightly browned on the edges and the top is set.
7. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then move to cooling rack to cool completely (if you use a silicone mat, just move that to the counter-top for less dishes instead of using a rack.)

Praline Krispies and Praline Buckeyes

After the failed pralines, I used the remainder of what fell apart (most of them) to make the base of what DH calls Buckeyes. I think adding rice krispies to the buckeye center is weird but it does add some texture and a tiny bit of lightness to an otherwise dense treat.

 You Need:
1 1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup milk or milk substitute (I used quinoa & rice)
6 T shortening, butter, or coconut oil
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2-1 cup smooth peanut butter (buckeyes, only)
1 1/2 cup crisp rice
1/2-1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz chocolate (I used Enjoy Life's mini chips since I had them for the pumpkin bars)
2-3 oz paraffin wax (optional, if you are only going to be eating them from the fridge, you don't need it, otherwise you risk chocolatey fingers without it)

1. Lay out large sheets of waxed paper near your cooktop
2. In a large pot, combine white and brown sugars, milk, and fat. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to combine then let boil untouched for 3 minutes. Stir in crunchy peanut butter.
3. Remove from heat and stir until mixture looks creamy. Add in Krispies
4. For Krispies Only- Immediately spoon out onto waxed paper and let sit until set, you may need to press to get them to hold together.
The rest of the instructions are for the buckeyes
5. Stir the mixture until smaller clusters form and the remainedr powders.
6. Add in alternating spoonfuls of smooth peanut butter and powdered sugar until the mixture holds together.
7. Form 1" balls of the mixture and freeze for 30 minutes or until well set.
8. In a double boil- shave the paraffin into the chocolate and melt. Using a fork, dip or roll each ball in the chocolate, gently tap off the extra chocolate and lay it on the waxed paper. Let the coating set, if the coat seems to be too soft, shave in more paraffin to the chocolate.
9. Build up a generous coat, letting each coat dry for at least 15 minutes. I used 4 coats.
10. Store in fridge. I wrapped each buckeye in twists of waxed paper like salt water taffy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Empty-the-Crisper Soup with Pesto

I had a craving for a broth-y soup after feeling pretty run down. It was toward the end of the week so the pantry and crisper was starting to look a little bare. So this is a sort of everyday, empty the pantry sort of soup. It is exactly the sort of soup I crave when getting sick too, bonus it's low in FODMAPs so less likely to upset my GI.

You Need:

drizzle olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 tsp herbed poultry seasoning
1 cup chickpeas
1/2 tsp garlic salt
4 cups vegetable broth, low-sodium
2 T parsley, chopped
2 t Worcestershire sauce (or use tamari or vegan Worcestershire sauce to keep it vegan)
2 t lemon juices
1 cup arugula
3 T pesto

1. In a pot, or large sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat.
2. Saute the carrots and celery for two minutes.
3. Add the seasoning, salt and chickpeas and continue to saute until carrots are starting to soften.
4. Add the broth and simmer for 5 minutes, stir in the sauce and simmer for another few minutes.
5. Add the arugula and allow it to wilt, also stir in the lemon juice.
6. Serve with a tablespoon of pesto on top. Yields 3 lunch-sized bowls.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Slightly-Southern Gluten-Free Cornbread

To go with my Smokey Quinoa Chili at the going-away party, I made a loaf of sourdough (King Arthur's Extra-Tangy, as written) and a skillet of cornbread. I'm calling this slightly-Southern because I'm not sweetening but I think the addition of oat flour means it's a little too out there to be true Southern cornbread. For reference, I warmed the loaves up in the oven for a few minutes, wrapped them in fabric napkins and placed them in a bread basket.

I've started using weights for most things that aren't in measuring spoons. It's more accurate. I would ditch the spoons but my kitchen scale doesn't show accurate enough numbers for anything under 1.5 grams. 

This is adapted from Alton Brown's Cornbread No Chaser from I'm Just Here for More Food  and Keepin' it Kind's Vegan, Gluten-Free Skillet Cornbread

You Need:
255 g (1.5 cups) stone ground cornmeal
1.25 cups minus 1 t milk (use your favorite variety, if you have access to buttermilk, omit the ACV and use a full 1.25 cups)
1 t Apple Cider Vinegar
3 T ground flax
6 T lukewarm water
1.5 tsp kosher salt (when I was writing this recipe, DH made a Psalty joke, I'm still confused why)
140 grams flour (substitute your favorite flour here, I used oat)
1 T baking powder
1 t xanthum gum (omit if you are using a wheat flour or don't mind slightly crumbly cornbread)
95 grams (.5 cup) neutral tasting oil (you can substitute 2-4 T for a liquid sweetener if you really want)
1 T solid fat (I used vegan butter, real butter works, coconut would probably work as well, I know lard is a staple back home)

1. Preheat oven with the skillet inside to 425
2. Combine the milk and apple cider vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes, add the cornmeal and let sit another 15-20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine the water and ground flax, let sit for at least 5-10 minutes.
4. Whisk together your remaining dry ingredients
5. Melt the fat in the skillet and swirl around until the bottom is covered, stick back in the oven to keep hot.
6. Add the flax mixture and the oil to the cornmeal slurry, whisk well.
7. Add the slurry to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
8. Quickly pour the batter into the hot skillet and stick back in the oven.
9. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown and tester comes out mostly clean
10. Let it sit in the skillet for 5-10 minutes then carefully remove to cooling rack. Serve warm or cold.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Smokey Quinoa Chili

I've been on a soup kick the last few months. We almost always have 2-8 (yes, really) types of soup in the freezer for lunches or a pick-a-soup dinner. This chili has been made quite a few times - at home, at my parents, on vacation with my extended family, for a potluck fiesta going-away party for church (talk about mixing cultures there.) It's not your typical chili, it has beans and no meat so it violates the Texan definition of chili (and the fiesta was for a couple moving back to Texas, oh well, I wanted something that I could eat.) All the same, it's very good, very filling, and I've even added some suggestions in the end to bulk it up even more that start to take it away from chili-land and into Tex-Mex stew land.

This is a great year-round chili. I've made it for my parents and even my dad liked it (he insisted on a burger on side but we're not discussing his eating habits...)

Barely Adapted from Quinoa Chili from D- Delicious

 You Need:
- drizzle neutral oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced (optional)
- 2 t chili powder
- 2 t cumin
- 1.5 t paprika (regular or smoked, smoked is ideal)
- 1.5 t sugar
- .5 t cayenne
- .5 t coriander, ground
- 1 t liquid smoke
- pinch kosher salt
- .25 t black pepper
- 30 oz fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- 4.5 oz fire roasted green chiles, diced
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (or 1.5 cup cooked)
- 2-4 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1.5 cups or 15 oz kidney beans, cooked or drained/rinsed
- 1.5 cups or 15 oz black beans, cooked or drained/rinsed
- 2 cups roasted sweet corn (or 1-2 ears, which ever is easier to obtain)
- 1 lime
Toppings: avocado, sour cream, cheese, scallions

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onion and jalapeno for 2-3 minutes then add the garlic. Saute until onions are soft and garlic is fragrant.
2. Add the seasoning (down through black pepper) and saute another minute or two to toast the seasonings. Careful to not let another burn (you want smokey, not charred)
3. Add the tomatoes, sauce, chiles, and uncooked quinoa. Reserve the quinoa if using cooked. Add 2 cups of veggie broth or water. If it looks too thick, add more liquid. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes (you can reserve the quinoa for the last 20 minutes if you want to ensure slightly firmer quinoa.)
4. Add the cooked quinoa if using, beans, corn, and lime juice. Gently cook until everything is heated through, about 5 minutes.
5. Serve with your favorite toppings and side of cornbread.

- Many of these vegetables, I call for fire roasted, regular will be okay, I just think the extra smokiness is a nice bonus. Alternatively, you can broil or roast your own chiles and corn.
- To make in a slow cooker, follow directions 1-2 then transfer to slow cooker. Follow directions for step 3 but cook on low for 4 hours.
- To bulk it up even more, add a couple handfuls of hearty greens (Russian Red Kale, Collard Greens, etc), maybe saute some chopped bell pepper too.
- This freezers really well. See my above comment on how much soup we have in the freezer.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Super Autumn Stuffing with Wild Rice and Pomegranates

Stuffing is easily my favorite Thanksgiving dish. Particularly cornbread stuffing (mostly because we didn't really have another option growing up. I had planned on making a fall salad with pomegranates and squash but I was craving stuffing. This isn't cornbread stuffing of course but I like the added texture the rice gives. This is everything autumn stuffed (pardon the pun) into one vegan, gluten-free dish.* I ate it with roasted acorn squash (not a fan) but it would be delicious with really any protein. I think stuffed mushrooms would be fantastic. Or turkey or ham, I guess (do people have have with thanksgiving?) With the red and green aspect, this could definitely go Christmas as well... maybe not at my family's rømmegrøt, seafood chowder, and smoked meat table but at a normal table, sure.

This yields about 6-7 cups of stuffing, maybe more, I was snacking while I was cooking

You Need:

1/2 cup uncooked wild rice or wild rice blend
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup (3 stalks) celery, chopped
1 cup (2-3 whole) carrots, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 T thyme
2 t sage
2 t dried parsley or 1 T fresh, chopped
1 t pepper
1/2 t kosher salt
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
1/2-3/4 cup pomegranate arils

1. Cook the wild rice in a pot with a tight lid with the liquids for 45 minutes on simmer, remove from heat and steam for 10 minutes.
2. Heat oil in skillet and saute the onion, celery, and carrots for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften.
3. Add the garlic, saute until fragrant.
4. Add the seasonings and stir thoroughly.
5. Add pecans and rice with any remaining liquid.
6. Cook for several minutes until the vegetables are soft then stir in the aerials and spinach. Let the spinach wilt and then serve.

NOTE: If you leave out the pecans, this is free (I'm fairly certain) of major allergens!

*I'm currently going through an elimination diet to see if we need to add wheat to the list of things I really shouldn't be eating. However, my future with bread is looking pretty good. It never hurts to build up my mom-safe dish library.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Slow Cooker Dal with Chickpeas and Wild Rice

I've started developing a taste for at least mildly spicy food. I can't handle "Vietnamese Hot" level of spicy as we called at one of our favorite Waco restaurants (which now delivers! That would have been dangerous when we lived in the area, although there's nothing terribly unhealthy there) but one chili pepper level, maybe two. You can play around with the chiles, curry powder, and mustard powder for a spicier dish. I didn't want to have to make a separate pot of rice, so I include it here. It's probably not authentic but it works for a weeknight meal. I really like the texture of soaked chickpeas in this and the crunch of wild rice (the brown rice is for DH.)

You will Need:

Drizzle of neutral oil
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 head shallots, peeled
6 cloves garlic, peeled
3 T ginger, peeled
2-3 cups chickpeas, soaked, not cooked (see note if using canned)
4 cups vegetable broth
15 oz light coconut milk
28 oz crushed tomatoes
3 T tomato paste
2 dried chiles de arbol
2 T garam masala
1 T curry powder
2 t salt
3 t tumeric
3 t cumin
1 t mustard powder
2 t fenugreek, ground
12 oz baby spinach
1 cup wild rice (or wild rice blend)

1. Either finely chop or pulse in food processor the onion, shallots, garlic, and ginger. Heat oil in skillet and saute until soft.
2. Add to the onion mixture all the spices, including the chiles de arbol, as well as the tomato paste. Saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
3. Combine remaining ingredients, except the baby spinach in the slow cooker. Reserve the chickpeas if using canned. 
4. Stir, cover, and cook on high for around 4 hours, 8 hours for low (on the stove this should take around 45 minutes on medium heat on the stove but I haven't tried that.)
5. Stir in the spinach (and if using canned, the chickpeas), cover and let wilt for 10 minutes.
6. Serve topped with yogurt or raita.

Note: If using canned chickpeas add those for the last hour to 45 minutes. I used my falafal chickpea stash right from the freezer, these are soaked but not cooked to hold up to the falafel and seem to do better when cooked for a long time in the slow cooker. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fruity Oaty Bars (Almond Butter and Jelly Bars)

DH insists on calling these Fruity Oaty Bars after the commercial in Serenity. I introduced them at church as simply Almond Butter and Jelly Bars. I don't think we have many Browncoats in our class...


Based off of Oh She Glows's Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Oat Crumble Squares

This was a slightly panicked creation when a Honey Nut Apple Cake was a spectacular fail. Lesson learned, only make one fundamental change in a recipe at a time, not 5. I made a couple changes here but they were much smaller (premade jam, added a dash of honey, used almond butter and vegan butter instead of brown rice syrup and coconut oil, a few measurements were slightly changed.) I needed something to go right that day - my Bears lost, recipe failed, didn't make either of the Howl-o-ween events we planned on going to, my sinuses starting draining the middle of my run making it impossible to breathe, and my previous go-to trouser pattern has completely the wrong curve for my now-much-fitter body. These bars made the day much better.

You Need:

2 cups fruit preserves/jam, as low sugar as you can find (I used Spreadable Fruit Cherry, fig would be delicious)
2 T coarsely ground chia seed
6 T water
1 stick butter or butter substitute
130g natural almond butter (close to one ingredient as possible, sub other nut butter as desired)
1/3 cup maple syrup (A or B Grade)
3 T honey (use very full 1/2 cup syrup if you do not eat honey)
2 t vanilla extract
1 t baking soda
1 scant t table salt
224 g almond flour (2 cups)
5 cups rolled oats
1 heaping cup oat flour

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Line casserole dish (9 x 18) with parchment paper with a lip to lift out later
3. Mix the water and chia grounds and let sit for 5-10 minutes until congealed
4. Add in all liquid or semi-liquid ingredients and mix.
5. Slowly add dry ingredients. Add more almond butter or honey to bind if it isn't sticky, and it should be fairly sticky.
6. Spoon 2/3 of the mixture onto the parchment paper and try to smooth out. Smoosh it with a pastry roller or your hands.
7. Spoon the jam on top and spread.
8. Top with the crumbled remaining 1/3 of the oat mixture.
9. Bake for 25-30 minutes, tent with foil if needed to stop browning.
10. Cool in pan for another 30 minutes
11. Use the parchment paper to carefully lift the bars out and cool completely on wire racks before cutting into bars. While warm there is some flexibility in the bars when you pull it out.
12. Store in fridge/away from heat (or crumble over yogurt or ice cream)

These are delicious straight out of the freezer.