Saturday, January 15, 2011

Granola with Yogurt


I made a triple batch of my granola this week and have been eating it regularly with yogurt. It's one of my few go-to pregnancy meals. Ok, snacks. A bowl of plain yogurt, a scoop of strawberry jam, and some homemade granola mixed in. Any time of day or night - delicious :)

Flourless Chocolate Cake



I did this for a baby shower this last week. I always forget how delicious it is until I make it again. And then it's so rich, I vow not to make it for another year. haha. Seriously, one small piece fills my chocolate quota for the day. Which is good. It's a hybrid of a couple of recipes off of epicurious.com so I'll actually write out the recipe here instead of just posting a link.


Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
6 large eggs

Glaze
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
9 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped



For cake:
Stir butter and chocolate in heavy large saucepan over low heat until melted. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan. Line bottom with parchment paper. Mix sugar and cocoa briefly in large bowl. Add eggs; whisk until well blended. Whisk in chocolate-butter mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake completely in pan. The cake will deflate while cooling. This is normal. Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Release pan sides. If making a day ahead, put on serving plate, cover and refrigerate at this point. If making day-of, continue to glaze when cake is completely cool.




For glaze:
Bring cream and corn syrup to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Place cake on rack set over baking sheet. Spread 1/2 cup glaze smoothly over top and sides of cake. Freeze until almost set, about 3 minutes. Pour remaining glaze over cake; smooth sides and top. Chill until glaze is firm, about 1 hour. Store in the fridge, bringing the cake back to room temperature before serving or store at room temperature for up to 1 day. Garnish with chocolate shavings or leaves. Serve with whipping cream and/or ice cream.




Thursday, January 6, 2011

Roasted Root Vegetables



There are a ton of versions of this out there but V and I both really liked the one we came up with tonight.

2 garnet yams
2 red potatoes
6 carrots
1 small onion
4 cloves garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 dashes of cinnamon
salt to taste
olive or coconut oil

Heat oven to 425'. Peel yams and carrots. Chop vegetables and onion into medium-small pieces. Smash garlic to peel and chop into 3-4 pieces each clove. Pull leaves off rosemary sprigs. Combine all together in a large bowl and add cinnamon and salt. Pour in oil and mix until everything is well coated. Spread on 2 baking sheets and bake 45-60 minutes or until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Be sure to stir them around and switch the racks they're on half way thru.

Honey Dijon Salmon


This recipe came off of the package of frozen wild salmon I got from Trader Joe's. It was really simple and delicious.

1 lb salmon, fresh or thawed
2 TB coconut or olive oil
2 TB butter
2 TB dijon mustard, with seeds
pepper to taste
1 TB honey
2 TB water

Heat a large skillet with the oil and butter. When butter is melted, add mustard and stir 1-2 minutes. Add fish to the hot pan and sprinkle with pepper. Cook for 3 minutes per side to brown, turning once. Turn a second time and drizzle honey all around the pan and on the fish. Cover the pan and cook until the fish is cooked but not overdone - probably about 2 more minutes. Remove the salmon from the pan and add the water. Turn pan to high and deglaze, stirring, until the sauce reduces by half or thickens to your taste. Pour pan contents over salmon and serve.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Whole Grain Breads by Peter Reinhart

I got a fantastic bread baking book for Christmas and have been trying out some recipes. I highly recommend checking to see if your library has Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads. I'm sure there are others out there, but this is the first book I've liked that is really, truly for whole wheat. He has a few 'transitional' recipes in there (50/50) but everything else is actually whole wheat or multigrain. I'm so excited to have so many recipes to try that I don't have to 'tweak' to make fit my ideals.


This is my first loaf out of the book and I am super impressed. I have to say, it's the best loaf of whole grain sandwich bread I've ever made. It was honestly hard to believe it wasn't a 50/50 loaf - except that I'd ground the wheat myself!

For copyright reasons, I'm going to limit myself on posting recipes from the book and I don't know that this will be in my top three choices yet since it's only my first try. So for now, I'm just going to describe the method he uses. As far as I can tell, it's the same method for all of the recipes in the book.


You begin the night before by making a 'soaker' and a 'biga'. The soaker is pretty much what I'd been doing to soak my flour for my soaked wheat bread recipe. It's just flour, yogurt or water, and salt. The biga is just like a poolish. It's just flour, water, and yeast. You leave the soaker on the counter overnight and the biga goes in the fridge. The next day, you mix both of them in with the remaining ingredients. You only have to mix for like 3 minutes to get a really nice dough because of the overnight magic that happened earlier.


Sprinkle with some flour, knead for like 2 minutes - yeah 2 minutes! Let it rise, shape it, let it rise and bake it. Bam, bread. I love that there is very little hands on effort for this bread. It doesn't tax my poor kitchen aid or my weak hands at all. The dough was amazingly soft and easy to work with. The downside is that only half of the flour actually gets 'soaked' but I think I'm fine with that since the other half is getting a long-rising time in the fridge.


I could not believe how fluffy the final product was for a whole wheat dough and V really liked it too. I am a little hesitant to sign off on this being 'the one' though, because I did read the author's newer book that I got from the library last month and his new method appears to be to mix everything together the night before and then do the rising and baking in the morning. So I'm curious to see the difference in texture and read up on any benefits or disadvantages nutritionally for that method. I also am not thrilled with the high amount of yeast used in this recipe though he does say you can substitute a sourdough starter for the biga and allow for longer rising time instead of adding more yeast the next day. I will definitely have to experiment with all of that eventually as well.

Disclaimer: Please note that I am super simplifying the methods in the book. There is a ton of scientific reasoning behind what's actually going on that the author does a fantastic job of explaining, and I've only made a few recipes from one of his books so I am really no expert here. I mostly just wanted to sum up what I've been learning the last few weeks.