Monday, June 27, 2011

Immitation Lara Bars

I've recently upped my bicycling mileage quite a bit, and I've had to make an effort to add more calorie-dense food to my diet (I know, I've got it rough).  These definitely fit the bill.  They're also quick, portable, and delicious.

The Ingredients:
2 c dates, pitted
1/2 cup dried fruit (I used cherries)
1 1/3 c nuts (I used a combination of Brazil nuts and peanuts)
2 T nut butter (I used almond)
1 pinch cinnamon

The Process:

  1. Put all ingredients in the food processor, and blend until it is crumbly with no pieces larger than a pea.
  2. Dump out onto waxed paper, and pat into a rectangle.  Top with more waxed paper and firmly press, or roll with a rolling pin, until you get a firm slab about 1 cm thick. (Don't be gentle with it...really smash it together hard.)  Straighten the sides with the back of a knife or a spatula,  and cut into rectangles.  You can cut the used waxed paper into pieces to individually wrap each bar.  Store in the fridge.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Agave-Sesame Granola Bars

These granola bars are soft and on the gooey side, but the seeds give them some nice crunch.  Wrapped in foil, they make great fuel for long hikes or bike rides.

The Ingredients:
3 T margarine or coconut oil
2 1/2 c rolled oats
1 t cinnamon
1/3 c pumpkin seeds
2 T sesame seeds
1/3 c dried fruit, in small pieces
1/3 c ground flax
1/2 t salt
1/2 c + 2 T agave (or brown rice syrup, or a combination of both)

The Process:
  1.  Preheat oven to 350, and lightly oil a 8"x8" pan.
  2. Melt margarine in a medium saucepan.  Add oats and cinnamon. Toast over medium heat about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add sesame and pumpkin seeds and continue to toast for 2-3 more minutes, or until oats are golden-brown.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in fruit, flax, and salt until well combined.  Add agave and stir until oat mixture is coated. Press very firmly into pan, and bake 16-20 minutes, until edges are golden.
  4. Let cool completely before serving, or they'll fall apart.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pan-fried zucchini

This is my first year growing this type of zucchini.  It's a small, speckled variety called "Lolita," and they're the most mild, creamy-fleshed zucchinis I've ever tasted.  They're delicious sliced into 3/4" thick rounds and fried in a cast-iron skilled brushed with a little olive oil, eaten right out of the pan while sizzling hot.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes

Strawberry season is never long enough, so enjoy it while it lasts!

The Ingredients:

2/3 c almond milk
1 t apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/3 c agave nectar
1/3 c vegetable oil
1/3 c pureed strawberries
1/2 t almond extract
1 t vanilla extract

3/4 cup pureed strawberries
5T margarine, at room temperature
4 T shortening
1/4 t vanilla
3 1/2 c powdered sugar

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Whisk vinegar into almond milk and set aside.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Whisk together almond milk with agave, oil, strawberries, and extracts, then add wet ingredients to dry and whisk until combined.
  5. Pour into cupcake papers and bake about 22 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make the icing:  beat margarine and shortening until soft. Add vanilla, strawberries, and 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and beat until combined, then gradually add in the rest of the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy.
  7. Allow cupcakes to cool on a rack before frosting.
  8. (I recommend refrigerating these; they're really good cold.)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summery Spread

My favorite summer-time meal is pesto and assorted bits of vegetables with toasted baguette rounds.  It doesn't feel much like summer here, but at least the food was still good:  a heap of pesto, grilled sugar snap peas, and sauteed crimini mushrooms and olives.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Waffle Tostadas

Behold the waffle tostada: a sturdy cornmeal waffle topped with whatever tostada toppings your hungry heart desires.  When I ate this for the first time, I was compelled to refer to myself as a genius an annoying number of times throughout the meal.

The Ingredients
Tostada toppings (I used refried beans, lettuce, salsa, green peppers, and cashew cream.  Avocado, olives, black beans, and shredded "cheese" would also be good.)

1 c flour
3/4 c cornmeal
1/4 c corn flour
1 T + 1 t sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 c almond milk
2 T vegetable or canola oil
optional: 1/2 a green bell pepper, minced
chili powder or cayenne to taste

The Process:
1. Prepare toppings and set aside.  Keep hot toppings hot in a 200° oven.
2. Make waffle batter: whisk together dry ingredients, then add milk and oil and stir until combined.  Stir in peppers if using.
3. Make waffles according to your waffle maker's instructions or according to your preferences.  Keep finished waffles hot by putting them straight on the oven rack in a single layer in a 200° oven.
4. When all waffles are finished cooking, spread with beans and pile on other toppings.  Serve immediately or the waffles will get soggy.