Monday, January 28, 2013

Chocolate Cherry Bran Muffins

I love my blueberry bran muffins, but to mix it up a little bit, and because I'm rather muffin-obsessed of late, I came up with this variation.  Makes 12 muffins.

The Ingredients:
1 c wheat bran
3/4 c unbleached white flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
2/3 c sugar
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/4 c ground flax
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 1/2 c almond milk
1/3 c olive oil
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 t vanilla
1 t almond extract
1 1/2 c frozen cherries

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. Stir in wet ingredients until just combined.
  4. Fold in cherries.
  5. Pour into oiled muffin tins, and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Blueberry Bran Muffins

I think of these as my pregnancy power muffins, with flax for Omega-3s, blackstrap molasses for iron, blueberries for antioxidants, and bran to keep things moving.  If it makes a difference, my (non-pregnant and presumably rather biased) husband will vouch for them, too, though.  Makes a dozen muffins.

The Ingredients:
1 c unbleached white flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c wheat bran
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c ground flax
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1 1/2 c almond milk
1/3 c olive oil
1/4 c blackstrap molasses (or regular molasses for a milder flavor)
1 T vanilla
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 c blueberries

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Whisk together flours, bran, sugar, flax, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together almond milk, olive oil, molasses, vanilla, and vinegar.
  4. Stir together wet and dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Fold in blueberries.
  6. Pour into oiled muffin tins (filled very full) and bake until cooked through, about 24-26 minutes.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

These were the real standouts in my Christmas cookie tin this year.  More coconut than flour makes for a seriously rich and delicious cookie.

The Ingredients:
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c margarine
1/4 c coconut milk or almond milk
1 t vanilla
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 1/3 c flour
2 1/2 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
3/4 c chocolate chips

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream together sugar, margarine, coconut milk, vanilla, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Beat in flour until just combined.
  4. Beat in coconut and chocolate chips.
  5. Place heaping spoonfuls of dough on oiled cookie sheets, and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Hazelnuts

Brussels sprouts have been cheap and plentiful in my local market, so I've been roasting up huge batches of them.  With plenty of maple syrup and about as much nuts and fruit as brussels sprouts, this is the most indulgent way I've prepared them.

The Ingredients:
2 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed, large ones halved
8 oz dried cranberries
1 1/4 c roughly-chopped hazelnuts
1/4 c maple syrup
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T soy sauce
1 T + 1 t olive oil
1 T mirin

The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Whisk together syrup, vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, and mirin.  Pour over brussels sprouts and cranberries in a 9"x13" pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Toss in hazelnuts, return to oven, and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Crispy Tempura

My husband and I stayed in for New Year's Eve last night and were in bed by 10pm, but I still wanted to make our dinner a little bit special.  Tempura is one of my favorite foods, yet I make it only a few times a year.  I think I finally hit on the perfect batter this time around; it stayed nice and crisp yet wasn't too greasy.  I'll eat pretty much any vegetable tempura-style, but what I made was (pictured left to right) onion, sweet potato, mushrooms, tofu, brussels sprouts, and carrots.

My batter consisted of:
3/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 c rice flour
2 T cornstarch
1 1/4 c ice-cold sparkling water

The batter should be whisked together until just combined; some lumps are fine, and over-mixing will make the batter chewy.

I fried the vegetables in a mixture of canola and vegetable oil at around 365° just until the batter was cooked through.  I set a cooling rack lined with paper towels on top of a cookie sheet and kept it in the oven at 175° for the finished vegetables; this way, everything was still warm and crisp when it was time to eat.

Yes, the two of us made it through this entire pile, though we joked that next time we should tempura some Tums tablets as well.

We rang in the East coast's New Year  at 9pm our time, celebrating in proper geek style with cats on our lap and the Scrabble board in front of us.

Later we rallied for some dessert: chocolate mousse made using the pie filling from this recipe on the taste space blog. Rich and delicious.