Review: Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

CIMG_0818ook’s notes: There’s a reason this recipe on allrecipes has more than 8,300 positive reviews. Follow the recipe as written, but reduce the sugar to 1 Tablespoon.

Then, following advice from King Arthur Flour, add 1 Tablespoon frozen blueberries to each pancake after you pour the batter on the hot skillet. Flip gently.

Updated 31-Jul-2016: We had a pancake emergency this morning. I woke up with a craving for these pancakes, but the allrecipes site was under maintenance, and we didn’t have any eggs in the house. I got a backup version of the recipe from a cache on allrecipes, and then found a lovely vegan pancake recipe on cookie and kate  that used the same amount of flour. Revised and combined recipe below.

Makes about 8 pancakes – no egg required!

1 cup milk (almond milk or 2%) and 
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
cooking spray
Frozen or fresh blueberries

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk oil and vanilla into vinegared milk. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture. Stir until combined, so only a few lumps remain (don’t over-mix or your pancakes will be tough).
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat generously with cooking spray.
  5. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, add blueberries to each one, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Yellow Squash Noodles (“Squashetti”)

IMG_0749

“Squashetti” noodles served with brown rice and teriyaki meatballs

Cook’s notes: Make the vegetable “noodles” with a spiralizer device (I use a KitchenAid attachment) or a julienne peeler. Saute lightly in olive oil for a few minutes until tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

You can serve spiralized veggie noodles with any sauce you would put on regular pasta.

Resources:

The Slender Kitchen site describes 3 ways to make these noodles with different tools. The about Southern Food site has a lovely recipe for these noodles with garlic and parmesan.

Review: Easy Rice Pudding

IMG_0744Cook’s notes: An article on epicurious gives directions for making rice pudding with leftover rice. The instructions were easy to follow and the results were delicious. I like that it only used a small amount of sweetener. I also appreciate that it doesn’t call for a lot of extra ingredients, such as egg, sweetened condensed milk, bourbon, or cream. It’s simple and delicious.

This pudding was a great way to use up leftover rice from Thai takeout. I used a can of light coconut milk and added a touch of cinnamon. It would be vegan if you used maple syrup instead of honey.

In case you can’t read my handwriting on the index card in the photo, the ingredients were:

  • Leftover rice (about 2 cups)
  • 15 oz. can light coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Vegan Black Lager Cupcakes

IMG_0424Cook’s notes: I made some amazing Guinness chocolate stout cupcakes, but you know I hate to leave anyone out when we’re sharing food. This version is perfect for your vegan friends. New Belgium 1554 Black Lager is approved for vegans by barnivore.com. You can also reduce the sugar to just 2/3 cup. These terrific cupcakes do not need frosting.

Much like the “Wacky Cake,” which is made without eggs, milk, or butter, these are one-bowl cupcakes. Use a whisk to combine the batter; no mixer is needed.

I adapted the recipe to use espresso powder and black cocoa, which is super-dark cocoa. Use the ratio of 1/3 black cocoa with 2/3 Dutch processed cocoa powder in baking.

Dry:
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup [or just 2/3 cup] organic sugar
2 Tablespoons black cocoa plus enough Dutch processed cocoa powder to make 1/2 cup cocoa total
1 Tablespoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder, aluminum-free
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Wet:
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup vegan black lager or stout (such as New Belgium 1554 Black Lager)

 

Heat the oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with parchment cups.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the bowl.

Have the liquid ingredients measured and ready to go before you start to pour. Pour the melted oil, vinegar, and beer into the well. Stir well – batter thickens quickly.

Pour batter into the prepared cups, filling each only about 3/4 full.

Bake on center rack of the oven for approximately 25 minutes.

When cupcakes are done (toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake will come out clean), remove the pan to a wire rack. Let cool for ten minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan, and let them cool completely on wire rack.

 

Adapted from One Green Planet.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

IMG_2199Cook’s notes: I posted a version of this recipe several years ago that used two kinds of syrup (Peppermint Hot Cocoa, Syrup Version). This version includes two kinds of chocolate. The maple syrup seems to intensify the chocolate flavor. If you don’t have maple syrup, use either 1 Tablespoon honey or 4 teaspoons white sugar (you need to use 1/3 more sugar than maple syrup). Guittard does not add milk to their chips, but if you need certified vegan chips, I recommend the Enjoy Life brand.

1 cup almond milk
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (Droste Dutch Processed Cocoa)
1.5 Tablespoons extra dark chocolate chips (such as Guittard)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

Microwave the almond milk in a glass measuring cup for 2 minutes on High.

Place the cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and salt in a mug. Add a splash of  hot almond milk; stir until chocolate chips are melted and the chocolate mixture is thick and smooth.

Add the remaining hot milk, maple syrup, and peppermint extract. Stir to combine.

Top with whipped cream and serve hot.

 

 

Recipe Roundup: Tried and Liked Dec 2014

3 ingredient Eggless Nutella Cookies (link):
Another allergy friendly recipe: eggless, no soy, no flour.Vegetarian, but not vegan, due to the yogurt.

My local grocery store didn’t have Nutella, but they did have a chocolate coconut peanut butter by Wild Friend Foods. I used a gluten-free all purpose flour blend (Cup 4 Cup), fat-free plain Greek yogurt, Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, and the peanut butter. Glorious and gluten free cookies!

Chickpea Cookies (link):
I’ve been investigating cookie recipes that are both gluten-free AND vegan, so that I can bake for friends with food allergies. I tried a recipe called “I Dare You” Chickpea cookies and it turned out well. A similar recipe by Texanerin omits the oil (her version was posted first, and has lots of tips for the baker). These are vegan if you use maple syrup or agave syrup as the sweetener. Definitely use the Enjoy Life brand of dark chocolate chips: they are allergy-friendly and delicious. The batter blends up quickly in a food processor.

A 15 oz. can of chickpeas yields 1.75 cups of chickpeas, and the recipe uses only 1.25 cups chickpeas. Save the remaining half-cup of chickpeas for salad or snacks.

Cranberry Romaine Salad Smoothie (quickie recipe below):
We were out of baby spinach one day, so I made the Goldilocks Smoothie with 1 cup plain, fat-free Greek yogurt; 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk; 1/2 cup water; 2 Tablespoons pecan pieces; 2 Tablespoons flax seeds; 1 teaspoon apple pie spice, 90 g (about 3.2 oz.) chopped romaine lettuce, 1/3 cup shredded carrots, 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks without added sugar, and 1/2 cup frozen cranberries without added sugar. Serves two. It makes a pretty, pink smoothie.

Crispy Salmon (link):
Kenji’s technique for salmon in a skillet cooked to 130F (medium) is so easy. We omitted everything else and only followed the salmon steps in the recipe:

  1. Press salmon filets between paper towels to dry surfaces thoroughly. Season on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add salmon filets skin side-down. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, pressing gently on back of filets to ensure good contact with skin, until skin is rendered and crisp, about 6 minutes. If skin shows resistance when attempting to lift with a spatula, allow it to continue to cook until it lifts easily.

  2. Flip salmon and cook on second side until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120°F for medium rare or 130°F for medium, about 1 minute longer. Transfer salmon to a paper towel-lined plate and allow to rest.

Easy Tuna Casserole from Scratch by the Weary Chef (link):
Another winning recipe from The Weary Chef blog with added vegetables and a homemade sauce (no cream of crap soup in a can). It’s definitely the best tuna casserole I’ve ever had. We used tri-color vegetable rotini. The addition of shredded carrots and asparagus pieces was really clever. Leftovers were still delicious the next day.

I bought actual buttermilk for this recipe (instead of clabbering milk with vinegar). The smallest bottle on sale was 1 quart — I used the leftover buttermilk to bake bread.

Gingered Tuna Salad (link):
I thought this was an interesting take on tuna salad, but it was a little too sweet to me. I had tuna in oil, so I omitted the olive oil. I’d like to try this again with even fewer ingredients: tuna in oil, no added mayo, with 1/2 cup chopped apple and 1 teaspoon ginger powder instead of crystallized ginger.

Holy Yum Chicken … (link):
Holy Wow is what we kept saying. This amazing chicken recipe has a fabulous Dijon mustard and maple syrup gravy with rosemary. We used 2 Tablespoons of rice wine vinegar. The author, Julie Wampler, has a ton of tips.

… served with Roasted Broccoli with Garlic (link):
I have a really good roasted broccoli recipe, but I wanted one that could go in the oven at the same temperature as the Holy Yum Chicken. We used a 12-ounce bag of fresh broccoli florets, lots of fresh garlic, and the extra half-cup of chickpeas from the Chickpea Cookies. Roast it at 450F for 20 to 25 minutes.

Paleo Spiced Nuts (link):
Elana’s Pantry shared this recipe for spiced nuts with no added sweeteners: no sugar, no honey, and no syrups. I made a batch for a friend who is on the Whole30 program. Nuts are still considered a “sometimes, not every day” treat under this program. These spicy, savory nuts are quite tasty.

Warm Almond Milk with Spices (link; quickie recipe below):
Similar to a vanilla hot chocolate. This drink was absolutely delicious after a cold night walking to look at Christmas lights. The recipe authors say, “The combination of almond milk and warming digestive spices balances your blood sugar and stabilizes your metabolism. The extra protein boost from the almond butter helps curb hunger pains. Serves 1.” I omitted the cayenne pepper, changed the method, and put the ingredients in order from most to least.

Heat 1 cup vanilla almond milk, unsweetened, in the microwave for one minute. Stir in 1 tablespoon almond butter, 2 teaspoons maple syrup, 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon powder, and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger powder. Delicious!

Black Velvet Banana Muffins

Deep, dark muffins

Deep, dark muffins

Cook’s notes: These eggless muffins have a very intense chocolate flavor and are just sweet enough. I used a blender to pure the banana and wet ingredients together to get them really smooth, instead of mashing them by hand. The ingredients come together quickly in a stand mixer.

Yield: 12+ muffins (I got 15)

Whisk together:
1-1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup black cocoa powder from King Arthur Flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend together: Bananas to vanilla
2 over-ripe bananas, cut into chunks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Fold in:
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with liners or grease muffin pan.

Use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Set aside.

In a blender, whirl together the banana, sugar, olive oil, milk, and vanilla extract. Slowly pour the banana mixture over the flour mixture. Whisk together with just a few strokes, until there are no lumps. Fold in pecans.

Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake muffins for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Source: Adapted from The Novice Chef. Modifications: I cut the amount of sugar in half and swapped out a lot of other ingredients (white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, black cocoa powder instead of regular cocoa powder, olive oil instead of vegetable oil, unsweetened vanilla almond milk instead of regular milk, and pecans instead of walnuts).

Best Recipe: Cinnamon Skillet Pecans

2 cups raw pecans

2 cups raw pecans

Cook’s notes: You can use pecans, almonds, cashews (or a mix of nuts) in this recipe. I’d also like to try these with the Chai Spice Mix. I like that this small-batch recipe only makes 2 cups of nuts, which is just enough to enjoy without being too tempting.

I made these pecans for a friend’s birthday, and this was her reaction: “Deliciously addictive. I love ‘em! Lots of flavors going on with slightly sweet at the beginning, then salty, and a little heat kick at the end…. I am enjoying these nuts tremendously. Thank you so much!”

Spice mix:
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups pecan halves
1 teaspoon sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling

Make the spice mix: Combine salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice in a small bowl.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat; stir in the the spice mixture. Stir in the pecans, and cook for 3 minutes.

Sprinkle the pecans with the sugar. Continue to toast the nuts, stirring often, until the color of the nuts deepens slightly, for a few more minutes (6 to 8 minutes total). Transfer the nuts to a bowl and sprinkle with a little more sugar. Spread the coated nuts on a plate to cool.

Adapted from The Frugal Girl (reduced sugar; reordered ingredients) http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2010/05/how-to-make-spiced-pecans-or-cashews-or-almonds/

Chewy Pumpkin-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cook’s notes: I adapted a recipe to make it gluten-free and vegan for a friend of mine. The dough is a little sticky, but it’s easy to use a tablespoon scoop to shape the cookies. They are just delicious. I wasn’t sure if the spices would be overwhelming, but they are not. I used the Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips, because they are dairy, nut, and soy-free

Gluten-free, nut-free, vegan, eggless

Chewy and delicious cookies

Chewy and delicious cookies

Makes 40 cookies

1 stick (1/2 cup) Earth Balance vegan margarine, softened
3/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

Dry blend:
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1.5 cups oat flour (ground oats), plus 1/4 cup

1 cup mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand, sold in 10 oz bag)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars for 5 minutes on medium speed. Add vanilla and pumpkin and beat 3 minutes more.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry blend ingredients (cinnamon to oat flour). Start with the 1.5 cups oat flour, and mix dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture.  If dough seems very sticky, add up to an additional 1/4 cup of flour.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Use a tablespoon scoop to drop level tablespoons of the dough onto ungreased cookies sheets.

Bake for 11 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to brown. Cool the cookies for a few minutes on the sheet, and then transfer to racks to finish cooling.

Source: Adapted from a recipe by Let’s Dish