Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Roasted Garlic Risotto with Roasted Veggies

My apologies for the incredible delay in posting.  With the beginning of the year I've started several new jobs, going back to school (yes, again) and we just moved this weekend so it's been hectic.  Very, very hectic.  But, we are now settling into our fort o' moving boxes quite nicely.  I appreciate your patience and understanding ;-)
Above, roasted veggies...
Below, roasted garlic...

Roasting garlic is really easy.  I tend to use the stupid excuse of "I just don't have the time" but in reality what it is is that it's 7pm and I think "I SHOULD have been roasting garlic while sitting on my arse doing nothing."  Ok, that's a quasi-lie too, I definitely stay busy, I just forget to get some garlic going and realize when I'm ready to make dinner that I could have been multi-tasking.  Which, is also a misnomer as I wouldn't be doing anything while the garlic is roasting to really make it a "task."  Eh, hindsight is always 1080p...

I've used roasted garlic in previous posts, like here, and here.  Not sure if I have a post strictly about the how-to of roasting garlic... maybe I should check...

Here it is!

For this recipe, I had leftover cooked brown rice, some regular white and sweet potatoes and some frozen broccoli.  Chucked in some onion, tomato and millet with the brown rice and that was superb.

2 servings

2 cups cooked brown rice
2 TBS roasted garlic cloves
1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
2 TBS raw millet
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1/2 cup milk (if you opt out of the nooch, then try 1/4 cup milk and work your way up til desired consistency is reached)
1 large potato, such as a yukon gold or russet, chopped
1 large sweet potato, chopped
2 cups broccoli florets
2 TBS oil
1 tsp each dried rosemary, thyme and parsley
1/2 tsp salt, divided

1.  Toss the potatoes and broccoli in oil, herbs and 1/4 tsp salt.  Bake about 30 minutes at 450F.

2. Meanwhile, put the leftover rice in a medium pot over medium heat.

3. Add the onions, tomatoes, millet, 1/4 tsp salt, nooch (if using) and milk.  Stir well until warmed through.

You'll know it's ready when it's creamy.
Uh oh, TWSS...

4. Toss the garlic cloves in at the end and mix through.  Turn off the heat and cover it, waiting for the roasted veggies.
As an aside, when I'm making roasted garlic, I hate wasting the hacked off garlic tips so I roast those too with some oil in an oven-safe dish.  Don't be wasteful!

5. When the veggies are done, serve over the risotto!  Easy, eh?  Mmmm... Yummy...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

OSG- Pumpkin Pudding

A bit late, but the fall brought the bounty of pumpkins.  Or cheap canned pumpkin.  I love me some squash!  So, when Angela Liddon (code name OSG, or Oh She Glows) went on a pumpkin kick I was ready with spatula in hand.  She's a phenomenal food blogger to whom I subscribe.  She's way better at keeping a daily post going than I am, but I never committed to more than two posts a week, remember?

For many weeks I couldn't WAIT to get my hands on making this recipe.  And when I did it was worth the wait.  I had all the ingredients, except pumpkin.  And when I bought it it was the first thing I made.  That, and the Pumpkin Chilli that will be posted soon.  Hopefully I'll remember to come back to this post and make that a link to the recipe.  That chilli was INCREDIBLE.  And so was this dessert.  I had to sub a couple of things, but it's super simple and really great.  Here's the link to the original recipe.  I'll recap my substitutions...

OSG-Pumpkin Pudding
4 servings... if you have self control.

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 TBS ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
1 TBS agave nectar

1. Measure out the milk and mix with the pumpkin.

3. Add the flaxseed meal, spices and agave nectar.

4. Mix it all together until it's nice and creamy.  Along the way it just looked purdy... 

5. Set it to cool in the fridge at least an hour.  It's torture, but it's worth it.  It was awesome the next morning when I mixed it in with the brekkie muesli.  Hm... delish.

6. To serve, I used these MINDBLOWING Ginger Snaps by Midel.  They're really good.

Crumbled some up and mixed it in, I tried to layer it like the original recipe shows, but it didn't really stay separate.  Eh, it all goes into the same place!
Very delicious!

Very. Very. Yummy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pretzel Rolls

 Soooooo awesome!  This was my first of many attempts.  I'm so proud!  These puppies totally did not come out like pretzels because they puffed up so much.  There were pretzel tendencies, but for the next batch I will definitely be making longer strands.  At least 2 feet long!  How exciting!!

I also learned something... I found this recipe when I was searching for bread machine soft-pretzel recipes.  Though it did not use the bread machine at all, it was too interesting to pass up on.  It's mostly flour, which, again: iiiiiiiiiiinteresting.  Who freakin' knew?  I can't wait to make more!  This made about 14 rolls, and they're pretty filling, so I didn't eat all of them in one sitting.  Could have had something to do with the fact that the salt ran out (gasp! I know!) and I didn't get to sprinkle any on top... but for the second batch I sprinkled on garlic powder.  Yep! Good call!

Oh, but what did I learn?  Yes, you'll see that the recipe asks to dunk the dough after it's formed in a solution of  baking soda and water.  I thought, how odd, but who am I to question a multi-star recipe?  Well, turns out there's some interesting history to it!

Old world Germans used to dip their "brezels" (pretzels) in a solution of sodium hydroxide (lye) and water before baking.  Lye is a very strong and caustic alkaline.  Because most people aren't comfortable mixing lye and water to make pretzels, baking soda - a much weaker alkaline - is now used in most pretzel recipes,  Once the pretzels begin baking, a 'Maillard reaction' occurs.  This is a chemical reaction sort of like carmeliation, which allows the exterior crust to become a deep rich brown color.  The reaction accelerates in an alkaline environment, which - you guessed it - has been provided by the baking soda bath.  The baking soda, and resulting reaction, is also responsible for the unique taste of a pretzel.  Without the baking soda bath the pretzel exterior ends up pale/white, and tastes more like bread.  This baking soda / lye bath step is paramount in making a pretzel and pretzel.
- taken from a review on Allrecipes.com

And let me tell you, they are right!  Only 8 minutes in the oven and they were so toasted, I was shocked!  It also made a nice dent in my giant flour bag... I'm trying to use it up, so I think there will be several variations coming up soon.  Cinnamon sugar?  Yes, please!  Rosemary garlic?  Why not! Cheddar? Heck ya!

Makes roughly 12-14 rolls.

4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar (not brown)
1 1/4 cup warm water

5 cups AP flour
1/2 cup [white] sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS vegetable oil
water by the tablespoon if needed... I ended up adding 3 extra TBS of water

1/4 cup baking soda
2 cup hot water
something to sprinkle on top if you'd like!  Rock salt, garlic powder, etc...

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1 tsp sugar in the warm water.  Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.  I let it go a few more minutes as I was mixing the flour up and it just kept growing!

2. In a large bow, mix together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar and salt.

Make a well in the center and add the oil and yeast mixture.  Mix and form into a dough.  If the mixture is dry, add water by the tablespoon but be careful not to add too much.  Knead the dough for several minutes until smooth.  Lightly oil the dough and the sides of the bowl (which is hopefully relatively clean because the dough would all be clumped together).

Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place to rise til doubled in size, about 1 hour.  As it is winter, I put it in the oven at the lowest temperature for 10 minutes and then turned off the oven and let it sit there.  Totally doubled and was fluffy!
(Photo taken after I started breaking off parts of the dough... but you can see that it expanded to fill up the whole bowl.)

3.  Preheat oven to 450F.  In a large bowl, dissolve the baking soda in hot water.

When the dough has risen, break off a piece onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll into a rope  and twist into a pretzel shape.

The longer the rope the better, I learned!  Or, you could just have funky shaped rolls :-)

Dip the pretzel into the baking soda/water solution and lay on a greased baking sheet.  I placed foil down and then oiled that... worked great.  Sprinkle with topping of choice!

4.  Bake 8 minutes--seriously!  Place the sheet in the middle, not the lower rack, in the oven or the bottoms will singe.  Another lesson learned that I pass onto you...  Since they didn't fit on one sheet, I used two, while the first baked I made the second batch.  I could do that all day!

The rolls were totally delicious, browned on the exterior, chewy and soft interior... amazing.

Total yum.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

PB Bulgur Brekkie

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you know.  And though oats are a great morning porridge, bulgur trumps it in my book.  It has a near-crunchy texture when cooked, and its packed of nutritional goodness. Mmm, delish...

Another ingredient I love is peanut butter.  Oh, but let's face it, peanut butter doesn't have to be an "ingredient" to be good.  Just give me a jar of natural crunchy and a spoon, put me on the couch with a marathon of good TV and I'm set.  Knowing that the next day I will feel guilty, I try to avoid this.  So I compromise with myself by scooping one extra spoonful right before I put the jar away and just enjoying it's PB goodness.  

2 servings

1/2 cup dry bulgur
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 TBS dry, unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt, if the PB is unsalted

1. Bring the water and bulgur to a boil, then lower heat to simmer about 7-10 minutes, stirring often.

2. When most of the water is absorbed... like so:
then add the peanut butter and stir well.

3. Turn off the heat and add the coconut and cinnamon.  Stirring well to blend.

4. Serve!  Quick and awesome!

Yum... doesn't seem like much much it's really filling thanks to the awesomeness of peanut butter.  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Puffs

You know when you hear the description "melt in your mouth"?  These little bundles of joy do exactly that... Baked to perfection, if you like chocolate and peanut butter, I think you might want to give these a go.

They came about after a friend posted on facebook that she was having Nutella on waffles.  Not to be left out of the loop, I frantically scoured the interwebz for a homemade nutella recipe.  Surprisingly, it's already vegan and really simple.  Not cheap, as filberts/hazelnuts aren't native to Florida (I miss you Oregon!) but I'm sure they will be enjoyed.  I will do my best to keep the cost in mind and not devour the whole batch.

But I am getting ahead of myself...

So, for the rest of the morning and into the afternoon I was thinking of peanut butter and chocolate--logical leap.  I had just bought a jar of peanut butter, and it called to me from the pantry.  I didn't have chocolate chips but what I did have was cocoa powder.  Chocolate cookies... peanut butter cookies... swirl them together! Yes!!

Success.  My first taste tester said they were effin' delicious.  Even Stitch was interested!  I appealed to another species, now that's pretty cool.

I'd like to pretend that these are also somewhat healthy.  They aren't insanely sweet, I seriously reduced the amount of sugar that could have gone in there and didn't miss it.  I also used applesauce mostly instead of oil.  All in all, when consumed in modest quantities, they aren't terrible!
makes approximately 48 cookies

*Peanut Butter half*
1 cup Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
6 TBS flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract

*Chocolate Half*
2 1/2 TBS apple sauce & 2 TBS oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 TBS ground flax
1/4 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/4 + 2 TBS dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (optional, the PB had salt so I didn't use any)

1. Get out two bowls and a small one.  In the little bowl, mix the flax and milk, set aside to thicken.  In one, mix the wet ingredients for the peanut butter half, then add the dry. Mix well and set aside.

2. In the other bowl, mix the wet ingredients for the chocolate half when the flax/milk combo has thickened up a while.

Then add the dry ingredients and mix well.

You should get a nice, somewhat fluffy chocolate batter/dough concoction.
 And a nice, slightly denser peanut butter batter/dough concoction in the other bowl.

3.  Heat your oven to 350F and either lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.  This was the day I ran out of parchment paper!

I couldn't photograph this mixing part because my hands were too sticky but basically take some of the peanut butter half, some of the chocolate half and roll them together.  They will be different consistencies, the chocolate half was lighter and stickier.  They should end up smaller than a golf ball... if that helps gauge it...  After the first batch I figured out the trick...

Take some of the peanut butter half, roll it up and then flatten it out in the palm of your hand.  Then take some of the chocolate half and flatten it against the peanut butter half.  Roll the peanut butter bit over the chocolate part and it's good if it's about 2 or 3 times the size of the final dough ball you want to bake.  Tear off half or a third, depending on how much you have and roll that part up and you're good!  This helps keep the peanut butter part along the outside which holds it all together well. 

I had envisioned swirls, but patches work as well. 

4. Bake about 10-12 minutes but no more.  They will come out soft but will firm up more after they cool.  They'll be crumbly though!

There was a collision as I retrieved the first batch from the oven... hit the side of the oven and they went careening forward.
 I could honestly hear the faint screeching of peanut butter tires and the mushy crash sound.  It was terrible!  I promptly consumed them to hide any evidence of the crime.

Let them cool a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack and/or plate.

and/or... I only have a tiny wire cooling rack... came with the mini donut maker :-)

I had some extra chocolate dough so I just made those into plain ol' chocolate cookies. That's that dark spot on the back right of the plate above...

Truly fantastic!  And because it's basically two recipes put together, you get a whole lot of cookies!!

Also, as you can tell, I was really proud and kept taking pictures.
Teehee... yummy.....