Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bananas, coconut, chocolate chips cookie

3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm - so it isn't solid (or alternately, olive oil)
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 - 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don't worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes. I baked these as long as possible without burning the bottoms and they were perfect - just shy of 15 minutes seems to be about right in my oven.

Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies.

Maple Grilled Tempeh Recipe

8 ounces tempeh
3 tablespoons soy sauce (I prefer shoyu sauce)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon powdered chipotle (or a couple pinches of cayenne)

optional (version in photo):
1 -2 portobello mushrooms
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa or brown rice
a handful of blanched green beans

Cut the tempeh diagonally into 4 triangles. If possible, thin those triangles out by slicing each in half horizontally - 8 triangles total. Set the tempeh aside while you make the maple marinade by combining the soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, garlic, and chipotle powder in a small bowl. Reserve a few tablespoons of the marinade to use later as a drizzle.

Place the pieces of tempeh flat in a large baking dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the tempeh. Make sure the tops and bottoms are coated and marinate for anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 days, flipping occasionally.

Grill the tempeh on a medium hot grill for a few minutes on each side - Brushing all the while with the marinade remaining in the bottom of the baking dish. When the tempeh is a toasted, deep, maple-y, golden brown remove and enjoy on a sandwich, over rice, or however you like. If you want to try the preparation shown in the photo, throw a big portobello mushroom on the grill next to the tempeh, and brush it with some of the leftover marinade as well. When the mushroom and tempeh are done grilling, slice them into thin strips and serve over a bed of warmed quinoa (or rice) and barely-cooked green beans (broccoli might be nice too). I threw in a few (flowering) herbs from my garden for good measure - chives, thyme and oregano - and drizzled with the reserved marinade.

Serves 2 - 4

Roast Chicken with Spiced Mushrooms and Winter Vegetable Stuffing

Estimated Time Needed:
Est. Preperation: 30 mins
Est. Cooking: 40 mins


(5-pound) roasting chicken
3/4 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe stuffing
1 medium onion, finely chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup chicken broth, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, divided
1 cup parsnips, coarsely grated
1 cup carrots, coarsely grated
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, lightly toasted
1 cup bread crumbs, lightly toasted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Rinse the chicken under cold running water; drain. Salt and pepper inside of chicken cavity. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and add 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, cumin and coriander. Brush mixture over chicken. Tie up legs securely with butcher\'s string, set chicken on rack set into roasting pan and add 1/2 cup chicken broth. Roast for 30 minutes.

While chicken is roasting, in a large saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Stir in onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until translucent. Stir in remaining spices and let them cook for about 1 minute, until aroma is released. Add the mushrooms, parsnips and carrots; cook until all vegetables are tender and any excess liquid has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in hazelnuts, bread crumbs and remaining chicken broth; add salt and pepper. Place in ceramic or glass casserole dish.

Yields: 6

Stuffed Pasta Shells

A flavorful meat-based, Italian-inspired stuffed shell entrée.

Estimated Time Needed:
Est. Preperation: 25 mins
Est. Cooking: 14 mins
Est. Standing: 2 mins


12 - to 16 uncooked dried jumbo pasta shells
1 - tablespoon LAND O LAKES® Butter
1/3 - cup chopped onion
1/2 - teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic
1/2 - pound ground mild Italian sausage
1/2 - pound ground turkey
1/8 - teaspoon crushed dried basil
1/8 - teaspoon crushed dried oregano
8 - ounces LAND O LAKES® Mozzarella Cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 - cups spaghetti sauce with mushrooms
Cook shells according to package directions. Drain; set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in 10-inch skillet; add onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until tender (3 to 4 minutes). Add turkey and sausage. Continue cooking until meat is browned (8 to 12 minutes); drain. Add basil, oregano and 1 cup cheese.

Spread ¾ cup spaghetti sauce on bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish. Stuff cooked shells with meat mixture; place, meat-side down, in prepared dish. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over shells; sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Cover with waxed paper; microwave on MEDIUM HIGH (80% power) 5 minutes. Turn dish. Microwave on MEDIUM HIGH until heated through and cheese is melted (5 to 6 minutes). Let stand 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Oven Method: Heat oven to 350°. Prepare as directed above. Reserve remaining 1 cup cheese. Cover pasta with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. Remove aluminum foil; sprinkle remaining cheese over pasta and sauce. Continue baking, uncovered, until cheese is melted (4 to 6 minutes).

Yields: 6

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte

Beranbaum says this is her favorite way to eat chocolate. It is baked at a high temperature for a short time in a water bath delivering what she calls a result that is like the creamiest truffle wedded to the purest chocolate mousse. Be sure to serve it a room temperature, not chilled. I used Sharffen Berger 70% Bittersweet chocolate. Read through the recipe before starting, it is an easy cake to make, but there are lots of side notes that are important to the success of the cake.

Ingredients (all at room temperature):
bittersweet chocolate: 1 pound or 5 1/3 (3-ounce) bars or 454 grams
unsalted butter: 1 cup or 1/2 pound or 227 grams
6 large eggs: 1 1/4 scant cups or 10.5 ounces or 300 grams (weighed without shells)
* Beranbaum note: Two of my favorites are Lindt Courante and Tobler extra bittersweet. If using Courante chocolate, add 1/3 cup (2.25 ounces/66 grams) sugar to the eggs while beating. If using extra bittersweet, add 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces/37 grams) sugar.
note: I added 3 tablespoons superfine sugar to the eggs when using the 70% Sharffen Berger.

Prepare pan: One 8-inch springform pan at least 2 1/2 inches high, buttered and bottom lined with buttered parchment or wax paper; outside of pan wrapped with a double layer of heavy-duly foil to prevent seepage. One 10-inch cake pan or roasting pan to serve as a water bath.

Finished height: 1 1/2 inches.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In large metal bowl set over a pan of hot, not simmering, water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) combine the chocolate and butter and let stand, stirring occasionally, until smooth and melted. (The mixture can be melted in the microwave on high power, stirring every 15 seconds. Remove when there are still a few lumps of chocolate and stir until fully melted.)

In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water heat the eggs, stirring constantly to prevent curdling, until just warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and beat, using the whisk beater, until triple in volume and soft peaks form when the beater is raised, about 5 minutes. (To insure maximum volume if using a hand mixer, beat the eggs over simmering water until they are hot to the touch, about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and beat until cool.)

Using a large wire whisk or rubber spatula, fold 1/2 the eggs into the chocolate mixture until almost incorporated. Fold in the remaining eggs until just blended and no streaks remain. Finish by using a rubber spatula to ensure that the heavier mixture at the bottom is incorporated. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth with the spatula. Set the pan in the larger pan and surround it with 1 inch very hot water. Bake 5 minutes. Cover loosely with a piece of buttered foil and bake 10 minutes. (The cake will look soft, but this is as it should be.)

Let the cake cool on a rack 45 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 hours.

To unmold: Have ready a serving plate and a flat plate at least 8 inches in diameter, covered with plastic wrap. Wipe the sides of the pan with a hot, damp towel.

Run a thin metal spatula around the sides of the cake and release the sides of the springform pan. Place the plastic-wrapped plate on top and invert. Wipe the bottom of the pan with a hot, damp towel. Remove the bottom of the pan and the parchment.

Reinvert onto the serving plate.

Tip: If you have an oven with a pilot light, it can save you a lot of time. The night before baking, place the chocolate and butter in the oven along with the eggs still in their shells in another mixing bowl. (Eggs should weigh about 12 ounces/340 grams.) The next morning, the chocolate and butter will be fully melted and the eggs the perfect temper- ature. Stir the chocolate and butter until smooth and be sure to remove it and the eggs from the oven before preheating oven!

Store: 2 weeks refrigerated. Do not freeze because freezing changes the texture.

Serve: Room temperature. Cut into narrow wedges with a thin sharp knife that has been dipped in hot water.

Pointers for success: For a moist airy texture, be sure to add beaten eggs to chocolate mixture and not the chocolate to the eggs. Wrapping the pan with foil keeps it watertight. Chill thoroughly before unmolding. Use the plastic-wrapped plate when unmolding to protect the surface of cake if you're not planning to use a topping.

Another note from Beranbaum: An 8- by 2-inch solid cake pan can be used instead of a springform-or an 8- by 3-inch pan if adding other ingredients from the variation section (pages 86 and 87). Once in San Francisco I made this cake for my newly married brother and his wife using a straight-sided Calphalon saucepan because they had no cake pans. The handle worked well to unmold the cake! To unmold, run a thin spatula around the sides, place the pan on a heated burner for 10 to 20 seconds, moving it back and forth, and then invert. If the cake does not release, return it to the hot burner for a few more seconds.

Understanding: Just as for cheesecake, baking the Oblivion in a water bath keeps the texture creamy throughout. When this cake is served at room temperature, you get a rush of chocolate from the moment it enters your mouth. The full flavor of chocolate can best be appreciated only in a softened state. (A chocolate bar, for example, has to start melting in the mouth before the flavor comes through.) The butter and eggs do not distract. Instead they contribute structure and the desired creamy texture.

Serves 16.

The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum (Morrow Cookbooks, September, 1988)