Category: Cooking

Coconut Almond Chocolate Bars

I made a homemade dessert inspired by Almond Joy bars. It’s got three layers – coconut, sliced almonds, and either chocolate or carob.

For the coconut layer, combine the following in a food processor and pulse until you’ve got a somewhat creamy well blended mix.

3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup maple syrup

Line a pie pan with clingfilm and press coconut mixture into pan. Top with sliced almonds.

I then made both carob and chocolate sauce to spread on top. Melt 1/4 cup of coconut oil. Add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Then stir in either cocoa powder or carob powder until the mixture has the consistency of melted chocolate.

Spread chocolate or carob (I made it with half chocolate and half carob). Refrigerate for an hour so the chocolate sets.

Curried Salad

I made a really good curried salad based on a recipe I found online. I omitted the sriracha from the sauce and used a little of Penzey’s Bangkok Blend to add a little flavour and heat. I also poached a salmon filet (for Anya and I) and some chicken (for Scott). Flaked / shredded the meat and coated it in the sauce. Then I made the salad (without cilantro), drizzled with the curried peanut sauce, added the meat, and topped with some crunchy noodle things.

Halloween Flatbreads

We volunteered to make the ‘healthy snack’ for the preschool class Halloween party again this year. We made pumpkin-shaped flat breads with carrot hummus.

Flat Bread Recipe:

4t active dry yeast
1t Penzey’s roast garlic powder
2t Penzey’s italian herbs
1t sea salt
1t sugar
4 cups all purpose flour
2T olive oil
1.5 cups water
1 large carrot, shredded finely

Combine all of the dry ingredients and mix, then add in water and oil. Kneed until it becomes a smooth and stretchy dough. Add carrot shreds and kneed to distribute throughout dough. Allow dough to rise until doubled (at least an hour).

Heat electric griddle to 375 F.聽Roll pieces of dough to ~1/8″ thick and cut with pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Carrot Hummus Recipe:

1c dried garbanzo beans – in a pressure cooker, add about 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and water. Cook at high pressure for 45 minutes. Add聽about a pound of carrots and cook for another 15 minutes.

In a food processor, combine 1/4c fresh lemon juice and 1/4c tahini. Pulse to combine. Fill with garbanzo beans and carrots, and blend until smooth.

We topped the flatbreads with the orange-coloured hummus to make pumpkin flatbreads:

Spent Grain Banana Bread Muffins

We brewed ten gallons using a partial mash technique. Five pounds of spent grains! Four pounds of two-row malted barley and one pound of聽Gambrinus honey malt. This means a lot of baking. Today, I came up with a spent grain banana bread muffin recipe.

Ingredients

6 Tbsp butter, melted
4 over-ripe bananas
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup blackstrap molasses
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 cup spent grains
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter and mash the bananas into the butter. Stir in the honey and molasses. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract.

Sprinkle spices over the mixture and mix. Stir in spent grains. Sprinkle baking soda over mixture.

Gently fold in the flour. Fill muffin tins about 2/3 with batter. Bake for about 30 minutes, until knife inserted into center of the largest muffin comes out without raw batter.

Spent Grain Flour

We have five pounds of spent grains. I’ve used them before as add-ins when baking – essentially take a recipe and substitute some of the spent grains for flour in a recipe. I want to try making some spent grain flour — spread the grains out over a baking tray (or three) and let it sit in the oven for five or six hours at 170 degrees until it’s dried out. Then run it through a food processor or grain mill until it is powdered. Voila, fiber rich flour with a unique flavour depending on the specific grains used in the beer recipe.

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Mmmmm – I made an avocado chocolate mousse that a friend of a friend sent out. I modified the original recipe significantly: used a lot of carob in place of the cocoa, used maple syrup in place of honey, and used coconut milk in place of almond milk.聽

Ingredients:

2 avocados (room temperature)
6 Tbsp coconut milk
5 Tbsp carob powder
1 Tbsp cocoa powder (I used KAF’s triple cocoa powder)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Method:

Dice up the avocado into large chunks. Combine everything in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Eat 馃檪

Fish And Chips

We had watched one of Gordon Ramsey’s cooking challenge shows where contestants made fish and chips using his technique/recipe. Aside: If you grow fresh English peas, you don’t need to add butter to your mushy peas. If you are adding butter, get a new variety of peas!

When we made the grocery list yesterday, Anya volunteered us to make fish and chips too. Interesting idea, it didn’t seem too difficult watching him do it 馃檪 So we picked up some cod, potatoes, and yams (I聽love yam chips, especially dusted with a little cinnamon … doesn’t go well with fish, but if I’m boiling a big pot of oil, figured I’d make some of these too).

Ingredients, per Ramsey’s web site:

  • 4 175g thick cod fillets
  • 120g plain flour
  • 100g rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 130ml soda water
  • 170ml lager
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • vegetable oil for deep fryer

Dredge the fish in flour, then coat in the batter and fry at about 350 degrees F. I was worried that they wouldn’t be crispy and puffy like they are meant to be, but WOW. The batter was super puffy. Spewed oil all over the place too.

We made the fries using a method from Cooks Illustrated that starts with cold oil. I used carola potatoes. Wash potatoes, dry them, and cut them into batons (nice if they are close to the same size. I got some smaller super crunchy ones, medium sized ones cooked perfectly, and larger ones that didn’t crisp as much). Place in a dutch oven & fill with oil to just cover. Turn burner on high and bring to a boil (~5 mins) and then leave ’em alone for fifteen or twenty minutes to cook. When they start to get browned, scrape anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. When they reach the desired color, net them out with a slotted spoon or scoop. Salt immediately and eat.

fish and chips

Cannoli Recipe

We watched people making cannoli on MasterChef tonight, and Anya wants to make some now. I am trying to sort a good recipe.

Shells:

  • 7ozall-purpose flour
  • 1ozcocoa powder
  • 1ozsugar
  • 2eggs
  • ozbutter
  • saltto taste
  • 1tablespoon聽Marsala wine

Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, melted butter and eggs in a bowl. Then add the Marsala. The dough will start out quite sticky. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth, about 15 minutes. Form into a flattened disk and wrap in plastic wrap. 聽and let it rest for half an hour.

Roll out the cannoli dough to about the thickness of a penny. Cut it into circles with diameter of about 2.5″ for smaller ~1/2″ diameter forms, 3.5″ diameter circles for larger ~7/8″ diameter forms. Wrap the circles around the metal tubes to shape the cannoli and seal with a little dab of egg white. Heat a pot of oil to 375 degrees F. Fry the dough, still wrapped around the tubes, for about one minute. Use a skewer to remove the form from the hot oil. Let the cannoli cool on paper towels. Once cool, slide out the metal tubes. Fill shells immediately before serving – pipe filling into center and top with chopped pistachios, hazelnuts, or chocolate.

Honey Ricotta Filling:

  • 15 ounce whole milk ricotta, drained and squeezed dry
  • 录 cup honey
  • 录 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 陆 cups heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks

Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer to stiff peaks and then set aside in the refrigerator.

Combine the ricotta cheese, honey, powdered sugar, and the scraped seeds of the vanilla bean.聽 Fold in the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Chocolate Mascarpone Filling:

  • 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta, drained and squeezed dry
  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for decoration

Beat ricotta, mascarpone, confectioners sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt together until smooth. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Corn Bread

Finally stashing my cornbread recipe somewhere because I can never find it. Scott wanted to make corn dogs this week – which is essentially coating sausage / veggie sausage and then dropping it in hot oil.

Ingredients:

路 1 cup all-purpose flour
路 1 cup cornmeal
路 2-3 tablespoons honey
路 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
路 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
路 1/2 teaspoon salt
路 1 egg, lightly beaten
路 1 cup sour cream
路 1/3 cup milk
路 1/4 cup butter, melted

Method:

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine the egg, sour cream, milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

2. Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Stromboli Recipe

I made, well not聽quite a stromboli (as I understand it, stromboli have tomato sauce inside, and this was completely without tomato sauce). The bread part is easy enough — you can use whatever pizza dough recipe you fancy. I had purchased KAF’s Artisan Bread Flour when it was on sale a few months ago. Or their French style flour and used a traditional baguette recipe (3c flour, 1t salt, 1c or so water, and 2 1/4t yeast kneaded for a long time to make a chewy bread. Normal bread process – mix/knead, sit until doubled in bulk). For additional flavour, I added 1T of Italian spices to the flour. Once the dough has finished rising, preheat the oven to 550 F.

Take a chunk (I used about a quarter of the dough) and roll it out onto a silicone baking mat. The dough shouldn’t be too thick – somewhere around an eighth of an inch. I made very large stromboli to be cut when served, so the rectangle of dough was about 12″ x 9″. Brush the dough with roasted garlic butter (1T melted salted butter, 1-2 cloves roasted garlic)

Spread filling in the rectangle – leaving some dough on either side to fold in, some dough on the bottom to seal the thing, and a lot of dough on the top to fold over.

Fold the sides along the line shown below — this will seal the ends.

Fold the large piece of dough down to cover the filling. Then stretch the small piece of dough up over stromboli and seal it to the other piece of dough.

Place on a half sheet pan seam side down. If a glossy, crunchy crust is desired, brush with egg wash (mix an egg with a splash of water), let sit for a minute, and then brush again with egg wash. For a softer crust, brush with roasted garlic butter or butter.

Using a sharp knife or bread lame, slice five diagonal lines along the stromboli. I sliced almost completely through the dough and allowed it to split open as it baked.聽Bake for 10-15 minutes.

What can you put in a stromboli? Traditionally, you cover the dough with tomato sauce, sprinkle on cheese, add Italian meats, then sprinkle more cheese. I wasn’t in the mood for tomato sauce. I made two fillings – 1c ricotta cheese, 1/2c shredded sharp cheddar, and 1c shredded broccoli (this is a great way to use up broccoli stems if you have some left over from another recipe). The other filling was 1c ricotta, 1/2c shredded sharp cheddar, 1c shredded chicken, and 2 diced peaches.