Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Big Batch Crumble Bars

This isn't really a new recipe but it's so much more convenient to have my doubling already done! Especially since I've been lowering the amount of sugar I use. Original EATS recipe at http://eatseats.blogspot.com/2015/05/berry-crumble-bars.html

I always double this recipe now (the quantities you see below) because I then cut it into squares and freeze, ready to take out for breakfasts. One 9x13 pan makes enough for at least a month or two.

INGREDIENTS

Filling
2 12 oz bags berries of any type, fresh or frozen--I don't bother to thaw first (24 oz total)
1/3 c sugar (I used coconut sugar but any type would do)
1/4 c ground flax (or you could use 6 TBSP flour)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Splash of water if the berries are frozen

Crumble crust
(these are rough guidelines--mix and match to the same number of grams with the nuts and grains you've got)

100 g rolled oats
200 g rye flakes (or any combination of any flakes)
120 g almonds (Gordon specifies sliced but I've used whole with no issues; I just pulsed them a few times before adding the other ingredients)
60 g pepitas, pecans or sesame seeds
240 g whole wheat flour (soft or hard wheat or spelt though the bars might be a bit crumblier with spelt)
125 g sugar (Gordon calls for light brown sugar but I've also used just plain sugar with no problems)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
16 TBSP (225 g, 2 sticks, 1 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
2 large eggs, beaten
4-8 TBSP ice water

DIRECTIONS
  1. Grease a 9x13 in rectangular pan and preheat the oven to 350F 
  2. Place all of the filling ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium, stirring a few times, until the mixture is bubbly. If you're using frozen berries, add a splash of water to help them not stick to the pan and stir more frequently at the beginning. Set aside
  3. If using whole nuts, process them briefly in the food processor until they're chopped medium fine
  4. Add the remaining ingredients up to the butter and pulse together until blended and chopped fine
  5. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like small peas
  6. Add the beaten eggs and pulse until combined
  7. Add the water and pulse, starting with 2 TBSP. Expect the mixture still to look crumbly but it should be clumping together
  8. Press about 2/3 of the crumble crust as evenly as you can into the bottom of the prepared pan
  9. Pour over the berry filling
  10. Distribute the rest of the crumble mixture over the berries somewhat evenly
  11. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the topping is browned

Monday, June 12, 2017

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Birthday time again. And while my go-tos are black bean brownies and chocolate zucchini cake, the birthday girl requested something different, though still chocolate. So I returned to a chocolate cake recipe my friend Valerie made for us years ago. She made this gorgeous parfait thing with this vegan chocolate cake, tart cherries and whipped cream. Mmmmm. I knew she'd used a recipe from her favored Joy of Cooking, so I got out mine.

Fortunately, the recipe works extremely well with home-milled 100% whole wheat flour and converts to cupcakes perfectly. Even better, a small friend of ours with some food allergies was able to eat the cupcakes with no special modifications!

The only other change I made to the recipe was to add some mini chocolate chips. Those Enjoy Life ones are great because they are free of the most common allergens.

Each batch made a baker's dozen cupcakes. I put the extra in a greased glass ramekin and the family use it as a tester to make sure they were edible.

This recipe is extremely forgiving. The second time we made it, we accidentally added baking powder instead of baking soda. I compensated by adding an extra 1/2 tsp of soda to make sure we'd get enough reaction with the vinegar. The second batch was lighter in color but equally tasty and a bit fluffier in texture.

Someday I'll see if the proportions really need to be so tedious. My guess is that a generous 1 cup of sugar is fine, and I'd go the whole hog and add a full 1/2 cup of cocoa powder.

INGREDIENTS
7 3/8 oz soft white berries (or 1 1/2 cups all-purpose or whole-wheat pastry flour)
1 c. plus 2 TBSP sugar
1/3 c. plus 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 c. cold water
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 TBSP distilled white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
1 c. mini chocolate chips, optional

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin and one additional ramekin with liners or grease 
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
  3. Whisk in the wet ingredients one at a time, scraping the bowl and mixing til smooth
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips
  5. Portion out into the muffin cups--I filled mine 3/4 full
  6. Bake starting at 20 minutes then test. If a skewer comes out clean with maybe a few moist crumbs clinging to it, they're done
  7. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack then decorate as desired. We used a blueberry version of our new favorite fruity whipped cream from Serious Eats

Garlic-Crusted Pork Roast

Here's one we don't make every day, but we thoroughly enjoy it when we do! Thankfully the whole family loves garlic, because I don't think I could get through many meals without it except some breakfasts. The garlic crust on the roast is just delightful and worth a splurge.

The original recipe comes from Bruce Aidell's and Denis Kelly's The Complete Meat Cookbook and I believe this may be the only recipe I've used from there. We are definitely carnivores but most often meat is not the center of the plate so I have little experience with roasts and steaks and chops.

We get a roast from our favorite farm, the only downside being I have to thaw it first so this meal takes a bit of planning ahead. Other than that, it is extremely simple. I use my Simplest Everyday Pan Sauce with the drippings and we all slurp up the results. Today I'll serve along side farro and asparagus, but mashed potatoes also do a great job of soaking up every last bit of goodness.

You'll need at least 2 hours for the meat to marinate.

INGREDIENTS
1 4 to 5 lb bone-in pork loin roast or 3.5 to 4 lb boneless (they specify center-cut but I usually don't have so many choices. The only important thing is that you don't want pork tenderloin). I just go with the size I can get at the farmers' market, or split up a regular roast so we can enjoy two separate times

6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP finely minced sage or 2 tsp dried sage
1 TBSP finely minced rosemary or 2 tsp dried rosemary (I often use less rosemary because I find it such a strong flavor, so use the herbs to your taste)
1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1 TBSP olive oil

For the pan sauce, you'll need an additional 1 cup of stock and 1 cup of white wine or vermouth

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare your roast. Usually for me this means not doing much of anything but you could separate the meat from the bones and then tie the bones back on after applying the marinade
  2. Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor or mini chopper, mince the garlic and salt together to form a paste, then add the herbs, pepper and olive oil
  3. Slather all over the roast, place on a rack in a roasting tray (bone side down if applicable), cover with plastic or foil and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight
  4. If you've refrigerated for more than 3-4 hours, bring the roast out of the fridge for an hour before roasting
  5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, once heated, place roast in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Then lower the heat to 300 degrees F and roast an additional 1-1.5 hours. If you have a probe thermometer than can stay inside the roast, use that and take out when the inside reaches 145 to 150 degrees F
  6. When the meat is done, remove from oven and tent loosely with foil for 20 minutes or so. You can make the pan sauce while you wait
  7. Carve and serve