Thursday, January 28, 2010

Weird and Wonderful Waffles

waffle bite
I know, they don’t look weird, right?  These waffles are AMAZING!  They taste really, really good. . . while I was eating them today I was thinking that they’re better than my usual recipes for waffles (and believe me, I know my waffles – there are no ho-hum waffles coming out of my kitchen).
Please don’t dismiss them out of hand when you see the ingredients.  Even if you are not a mom trying to sneak extra nutrition into your kids you will like these waffles.  I promise.  If you are a mom trying to sneak extra nutrition into your carb-loving kids you’ll be ecstatic. 
You’ll need a good blender for these, and a little foresight.  Yes, you need to soak something overnight, no it doesn’t take more than 2 minutes to accomplish.  I’m pretty sure you can do this with a regular blender, don’t try it if you know yours is terrible.  If you have a VitaMix you are contractually obliged to make this tomorrow morning, because I am very jealous and have VitaMix envy.   You might need to hit the health food store for some ingredients, but it’ll be worth it.
These come from a little known (perhaps because of it’s awful title) cookbook called Fiber For Life.  They are vegan (just incidental, overlook it if you don’t care), healthy, crispy, flavorful, and delicious.

almonds and chickpeas
Soaking the chickpeas and almonds.

chickpeas and almonds drained
drained and ready to add to the blender.

all blended into a smooth batter.  You can adjust the water if it seems thick.

waffles on the iron
Waffles after 8 minutes.

naked waffle
Naked waffle on a plate. . .see above for proper adornment.

Crispy Whole Grain Waffles (a.k.a. Weird and Wonderful Waffles)
1/2 c. dried chickpeas
1/3 c. whole raw almonds
2 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour*( I use white wheat)
1/4 c. wheat bran
2 Tbsp. sugar or maple syrup
3 Tbsp. flaxseeds (I use golden)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Optional: 1/2 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

The Night Before:  Soak the chickpeas and almonds together in plenty of water.  (If you get up in the morning and decide you don’t have time for waffles you can put the beans in the water in the fridge for a few days.)

In the Morning:
  1. Drain the beans and almonds.  Blend the beans and all of the remaining ingredients in a blender until light and foamy.  This can take a while, and you may have to stir it once or twice to get the stuff on the top to go down.  But eventually it will be a smooth batter.
  2. Let the batter sit while you pre-heat the waffle iron.
  3. Even if you have a non-stick waffle iron spray it with cooking spray before each waffle. 
  4. When the iron is hot pour on a heaping 1/3 c. batter for each 4 inch square waffle.  Close the iron, set a timer for 8 minutes (yes, I said 8 minutes).  Don’t peek.  When they’re done they’ll be golden brown and crispy.  They won’t smell” bean-y”, they’ll smell “almond-y” toasty and mouthwatering.
  5. Serve with butter and syrup.
Apparently these can be frozen well. . . we never have leftovers.  This recipe fills my whole blender, so I have never doubled it. 
*You can use 1 cup of wheat berries soaked overnight in the 2 1/2 cups of water if you want – I do.  Just throw them in the blender in the morning.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pizza with Onion Marmalade, Gorgonzola, and Walnuts

pizza and cheese
This is a pizza I make a lot.  It might not satisfy that “I want pizza” craving because there is no tomato, no mozzarella, it’s not really “pizza-y.”  But it will satisfy those of you who love salty sweet and crunchy.  Actually it’s really delicious and makes a great appetizer if you cut it in pieces, or a nice lunch or dinner if you serve it with a salad.  This is from Peter Reinhart’s American Pie, which (and whom) I have already gone on and on about in the Onion Marmalade post. . .
You need pizza dough. . . I usually use Artisan Bread in Five’s master recipe or semolina dough.   Today I’m using their Healthy Bread in Five’s whole grain master recipe, because that’s what’s in my refrigerator.  The next step is the Onion Marmalade, that needs to have been made a little while (to a few weeks) in advance. 
After you have these two components it’s really simple. 
Roll out the doughpizza balls
rolled out dough
spread it with onion marmalade – be generous
onions on dough
crumble on gorgonzola (or blue, or creamy chevre)
top with some walnuts
Bake, I always put the dough onto parchment paper before I top it, then bake it on the paper.  If you remember you can slide it out about halfway through baking. . . if not, it’s no big deal.  I bake on a baking stone in my oven at around 45o.  You can bake on a cookie sheet, but the crust won’t be as crisp.
pizza on peel

cut pizza

pizza slice_edited-1

mmm. . . you  need some red wine with this.
pizza bite

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sweet and Sour Onion Marmalade

How to make something extraordinary out of something ordinary?  Always start with and onion.  The first time I made this it was intended for pizza. . . and while I did make the pizza I also put it on everything else I could think of until I ran out of it.  It’s great on a pizza with gorgonzola or blue cheese and walnuts, but it’s equally great on a grilled cheese, in a wrap with some grilled chicken or steak. . . really it is so nice to have in your fridge, it makes everything it touches instantly better.
The original recipe I used came from the venerable Peter Reinhart (this man is a baking guru and inspiration for bread bakers everywhere) in his cookbook/ narrative American Pie.  This is a book all about his quest to find the perfect pizza, and what that really means to him, to you, to me.  As usual he manages to be philosophical, factual and interesting.  He leaves you with things to ponder and things to cook  - both of which will change your life for the better.  I love Peter Reinhart. 
But this isn’t a love letter to Peter Reinhart, it’s a recipe.  I found the original recipe a little sweet for my tastes, and took the sugar down from 3/4 of a cup to 1/2 a cup. . . it’s still very sweet.  Now that you know that, you can do what you want – go for it with tons of sugar, or scale it back with almost a ton of sugar.   You need to make this at least an hour before you need it.  It has to cool.  And don’t DON”T taste it as soon as it’s finished, it has hot sugar in it and will instantly burn you wherever you touch it.
raw in pan onions
It’s a lot of onions to start with
cooked onions
They really cook down
onions and sugar
Add the sugar
stirring in the balsamic
Stir in the balsamic
finished onions
best pic of onion in a bowl_edited-1
Finished syrupy sweet onions

Sweet and Sour Onion Marmalade
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large yellow onions
1/2 cup sugar (you can use 3/4 cup if you want)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  1. use a food processor to thinly slice the onions (or if you’re really industrious - or lacking a food processor just do it by hand)
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  3. Add the onions and sautee for 20-25 minutes or until they begin to turn a light golden brown. . . you’ll need to stir them.
  4. Add the sugar and continue cooking and stirring for about 3 minutes until the sugar melts and begins to bubble
  5. As the onions turn a richer brown pour in the vinegar and stir it in. 
  6. Cook for a few minutes until the vinegar is a syrupy coating on the onions.   Your spoon will leave tracks when you stir it.
  7. Stir in the salt and pepper and let cool completely before using or serving
  8. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tempeh Tacos

taco shot
Yes, I said tempeh tacos. . .so I’m assuming right now that either you don’t know what tempeh is or you think you don’t like it. . . or maybe you’ve had it and you like it and you’re psyched for another great tempeh recipe (if so, you’re in the minority - I assure you).  Maybe you don’t even know what tempeh is.   Well it’s a fermented soy food – oooh yum now I’ve got you, everybody loves fermented soy foods right?  O.K., well bear with me, there’s a good chance you will like this and it’s really good for you, packed with protein and fiber. 
I didn’t get adventurous with tempeh until probably about 20 years into being a vegetarian, and I’ll say honestly there are only a few recipes that I really like.  I really like this recipe, so does my husband (he usually claims any leftover tempeh for lunch the next day) and one of my kids – that kid actually picks the tempeh out of his taco and leaves the rest.   The other kids eat bean taco’s.
  Aside:  if you’re like me and your refried beans are a convenience food, not a labor of love made from dried let me recommend Ducal brand refried beans.  In my opinion they’re way above the competition, with no notes of dog food in the flavor or aroma.BEANS

So anyway, this is marinated and sautéed tempeh stuffed into a taco shell with whatever you like on your taco to complete it.  It comes from Feeding the Whole Family a cookbook that  has quite a few family favorites in it.
It comes shrink wrapped in plastic
o.k., so it looks a little weird. . .
tempeh cut
Sliced tempeh
 tempeh marinating
Stirring in the marinade
tempeh fried
A little crispy. . . yum.

1 pound tempeh (2 8 oz. packages)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 c. lime juice
1 Tbsp. Mexican seasoning (I use Ortega chipotle taco seasoning, and probably put in 1/2 a package)
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (totally optional)
12 taco shells
whatever you like for garnish,
we like avocado, cheese, refried beans and sour cream

  1. chop the tempeh into small squares (or crumble it)
  2. In a medium sized bowl mix the oil, soy, lime juice and Mexican seasoning.  Mix in the tempeh and stir to coat.
  3. Marinate 10-30 min.
  4. Heat a little more oil in a skillet and sautee the onion until it’s translucent.  Add the tempeh and sautee over medium high heat until some pieces are golden brown.  There’s too much marinade to get it all golden brown, it doesn’t matter.
  5. Stuff into warmed taco shells with the fillings of your choice.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Corn Chowder

A friend had made this soup years back, I was a vegetarian and didn’t try it because of the bacon. . .Everyone that did try it was very enthusiastically going back for seconds.  This recipe comes from the Joy of Cooking, and is clearly meant for the middle of summer. . . you’re supposed to boil the corn cobs in the broth to flavor it.  I, however, am much more enthusiastic about a chowder in the dead of winter.  Cold winter days go well with a nice warm pot of soup.  I made this soup this week-end and modified it just a little so I could make it out of season.   If you have the Joy of Cooking this recipe is called Fresh Corn Chowder. .. I’m not going to call mine that for obvious reasons. 

diced celery and onion. . .
sliced bacon. . . ready to be fried
finished, chunky, creamy, savory soup

Corn Chowder
  1. 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 2 medium stalks of celery, chopped
  4. 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  5. 2 bags frozen corn
  6. 4  cups of whole milk
  7. 1 cup chicken broth
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  9. 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  10. 1 Tablespoon butter
In a large soup pot over medium-low heat cook the bacon, stirring until it has rendered it’s fat and is crisp.  Tilt the pot and remove all but about 2 Tbsp. of fat.
Leave the bacon in the pot and add the onion and celery, cook until it’s limp and beginning to brown a tad. . . add the chicken stock and cook until it has reduced a lot. 
Add the corn,  potatoes and the milk to the pot.  Bring to a boil (try not to have it boil over like I did) and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. 
Remove about a cup and a half of the solids and blend in a blender, add this back into the pot to thicken it.
Add the Tablespoon of butter and stir it in once it melts.
Ladle into bowls and eat.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


 finished biscuit
There are so many biscuit recipes around, and each one is ever so slightly different.  I have a kid who is wild about biscuits.  He is also the harshest biscuit critic around. . . frankly it can be annoying.  These are his (and our) current favorite biscuit recipe. 
People can be intimidated by making biscuits, they’re afraid of working in the fat, handling it too much, and I don’t know what else.  My advice is to try it, they’re not really as delicate as all that, and the results are so, so, so much better than those dreadful canned things.  They’re so fast to make too, you have to pre-heat your oven first, wait about 5 to 10 minutes (depending on how long your oven takes to preheat)  before you start on the dough – because the oven needs to be hot and the butter needs to be cold for all the magic to happen.
butter for biscuits
dump in the butter. . .
crumbly mix
This is what it looks like after you’ve
rubbed the butter in
buttermilk in dry
Pour the buttermilk over
scoop in batter
Scoop up the dough
biscuit in flour
Into the flour
biscuits in pan
Into the pan
finished biscuits
mmm. . . done
buttered biscuits
Ready to go

  1. 2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  3. 1 Tablespoon sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 4 Tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4” cubes
  7. 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (shake it)
  8. you’ll also need additional flour for forming the biscuits
Preheat the Oven to 450.  Spray a 9” round pan with cooking spray.
Mix the dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon.  Dump in the butter cubes and rub the butter into the flour with your fingers. . . just squeeze the butter into the flour. . . you can do this.   When you’re done it will be crumbly, and you’ll see some butter lumps – that’s a good thing.
Pour the buttermilk over, and stir briefly with the wooden spoon to combine.  It will not be “roll-able.”
Put some flour in a bowl (a cereal bowl is fine).  Using an ice cream scoop place a scoop of dough into the bowl of flour, gently coat the biscuit with flour and lay it in the pan, flattening ever so slightly.  You want the biscuits almost touching each other so they rise up not out.  Do this with the remaining dough.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on top.  Invert onto a plate, flip them over and tear them apart, enjoy with butter and honey, jelly or whatever you like.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fudgy Brownies with Grown-Up Frosting

edited chocolate brownie pic  A friend of mine emailed me this recipe and asked me to make it and compare notes with her.  I don’t usually try new brownie recipes because I have one I’m quite happy with already.  I’ll post that one at a later date. 
These brownies, which she found on AOL (recipe), are very good.  I was a little skeptical because I don’t usually like brownies with frosting. . . they’re sweet enough on their own for me.   This frosting is so good!  Here’s the kicker: it’s not sweet at all.  In fact, all of the kids who tried the frosting hated it, but all of the adults loved it.  The frosting is like a barely sweet, barely minty chocolate mousse, and it’s spooned generously onto the cut brownie individually right before serving.  This is good on so many levels: the frosting cuts the sweetness of the brownies and adds a creamy element.  The fact that the kids hate the frosting doesn’t matter because you don’t frost the whole pan, kids can have unfrosted brownies and grown-ups can lather on the frosting.
I also have to admit that I didn’t read the recipe carefully and had a million things going on while I was making the frosting. . . You are supposed to infuse half a cup of cream with mint, pour it over the chocolate, wait for it to cool then whip the additional cup and a half of cream.  *I dumped 2 cups of cream into the pot, infused it with mint, poured it over the chocolate, realized my mistake and freaked out.  Then I beat in the chocolate until it was smooth, stuck it in the fridge until it was cold, crossed my fingers and whipped the chocolate cream. . . it totally worked!  DSC_0001
The recipe called for chopped chocolate- but I’ll be honest, I hate chopping chocolate. . . it melts whether you do or don’t when it’s over heat.  Chop it if you’re melting it with cream, be lazy when using heat.


  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for coating foil
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint sprigs, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Line a 9-inch square baking pan with 2-inch-high sides with foil. Butter the foil.  (this is kind of annoying to do, but boy is it worth it when the brownies are done)
Dump the chocolate and the butter into a bowl that you can use as a double boiler.  Melt over simmering water, stirring to combine.   Cool until mixture is nearly room temperature.
Whisk in the sugar, vanilla and salt. Whisk in the eggs 1 at a time. Stir in the flour just until blended.
Stir in the 3 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and the walnuts.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30 minutes. Cool the brownies on a rack.
Combine 1/2 cup of the cream and 1/2 cup of the mint in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. *(see above)
Place the finely chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Set a strainer over the chocolate in the bowl. Pour the minted cream through the strainer and over the chocolate; discard the mint leaves.
Stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is well blended. Cool to room temperature.
Whip the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form.
Gradually fold the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream until well blended but still light and airy.
Using the foil as an aid, lift the brownie from the pan. Remove the foil.
Cut the brownies into squares. Spoon the frosting generously atop the brownies.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Whole Wheat Boule and Baguette

So as many of you know I am crazy about this bread baking technique that was introduced in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  Basically you mix up the dough (or get your 4 year old to do it for you - it's that hard).  Let it rise, put it in the fridge and lop off a hunk whenever you want to bake some bread, make a pizza, calzone, anything you can make out of bread.  This year the amazing authors of that book came out with a new book. .  Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day.  This was my first attempt at making the master recipe. This link is to the recipe, just scroll down on the page and when they stop talking about releasing the new book you'll get what you want.
Click on this link to see how others are using this recipe.  Michelle at Big Black Dog is hosting our Healthy Bread in Five bake along.

I dragged out my flour mill and tried to figure out which barrel in the basement had which kind of wheat in it. . . I think I used white wheat.  You definitely don't have to mill your own wheat to make this bread, but like I said I had buckets of the stuff pining away in my basement. . . Then I dumped everything into the bucket.  This new book gives weights, and since home-milled flour is often not as packed as store bought, I threw the bucket on the scale and weighed my ingredients.  That was pretty much the first time I had ever done that.  I would definitely do that again, very easy. My 4 year old mixed up the dough.  This dough has a "batter-y" feel to it when it's mixed up.  I am assuming that's because whole wheat absorbs more water than white flour, many whole wheat doughs are slacker than their white counterparts.
 I shaped the dough into a boule, then got all motivated and dug out my old banneton (which is just a willow basket) that hadn't been used in a year or so, floured it up and dumped the dough in.  Then I made a baguette just to have a little more bread on hand. 
Well a little later all the kids at my house demolished the baguette in about 5 minutes. . . This was good.  The bread was not at all dense or heavy, and had a fresh clean flavor.  Really good.  We're having the boule with dinner tonight.  I'm sensing my grain mill might get used a little more now. . .

This Is the wheat. . . unlike Little Red Hen,
 there were far too many people willing to help me

This is one of them, he's mixing up the dough

Finished dough (that's a dough whisk, in case you're
 wondering.  No, you don't need it, but it's fun and pretty)
see how "batter-y" the finished dough it? 
You couldn't knead this if you tried. . . good thing you don't have to.

It rises so high

look at all the beautiful air

dump the flour in the banneton (or just shape the dough into a ball
and let it rise on parchment on the counter. . .
once again it's fun and pretty.. . I'm sensing a theme with me)

Press the flour into the creases or it will never come out.
It still won't want to come out and you might panic for
a minute. . . but don't worry it will all turn out alright

dump the dough boule inside

You can also go this route: a shaped baguette. .
. kind of like using playdough,but gentler please or you'll have no air

Freshly baked baguette

Inside yummy crumb. . . quickly disappearing baguette
inside the boule. . . and of course the salad I can't stop eating
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