Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Maple-Banana Bread with Flax

Wow... I was just going through the posts that I had saved but never actually sent out. This one dates back to March of 2010. So I figure that it's probably about time to get it on my blog. At this point, I don't have a picture of it, but really, all banana bread just looks the same anyhow!

I don't quite recall where I got this recipe from... seems to me that it's from Women's Health or Shape magazine. It's one of the varieties of banana breads that I'll make from time to time.

1 3/4 C whole-wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 C ground flaxseed, ground or toasted and crushed
1/4 C toasted chopped walnuts or pecans
2 eggs
1 C very ripe bananas, mashed (about 2)
1/2 C maple syrup
3 tbsp. vegetable oil or melted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla

I threw in a handful of chocolate chips instead of the nuts.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. In a large bowl, stir flour with baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and ginger until well blended. Stir in ground flaxseed (if using whole flaxseeds, toast in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, shaking often, from 3 to 4 minutes. Crush, then stir into flour mixture with nuts). Make a well in the centre.

2. In a mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs, then stir in mashed bananas, syrup, oil and vanilla until blended. Pour into well in flour mixture. Stir just until evenly mixed. Immediately pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in centre of oven for about 50 minutes.

Makes 18 slices.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Grilled Cilantro Shrimp Skewers and Brown Rice Risotto

Mmm... the thrill of being able to bbq yet again. It's so quick and easy. This recipe says to broil the shrimp (which I'm sure is good), but we've always made them on the bbq. We made these shrimp a few weeks ago when the weather started warming up. I usually pick up the major jumbo shrimp when they're on sale for about $10 a bag, so that it's not quite so extravagant of a meal to make. This recipe comes from Simply Great Food, which is the second cookbook by the Dietitians of Canada, after Cook Great Food.

Grilled Cilantro Shrimp Skewers

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
grated zest and juice of 2 limes (I use 4 tbsp. lime juice)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb. extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1. In a small bowl, combine garlic, cilantro, olive oil, coriander, lime zest, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

2. Place shrimp in a shallow dish and pour in marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes of for up to 2 hours. Meanwhile, soak skewers in hot water for 30 minutes and preheat broiler.

3. Thread shrimp evenly onto skewers and place on prepared baking sheet (I always double skewer them or they spin around).

4. Broil, turning once, for 2 1/2 minutes per side or until shrimp are pink and opaque.

Makes 6 servings.

This second recipe comes from The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook, which is a great compilation of recipes made with all different sorts of whole grains - brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, barley, buckwheat, etc. I've made many of recipes from it and have never been disappointed. Leftovers of this can also be frozen, though we usually finish it off in a few meals before there is any left to freeze.

Unlike the instructions in the recipe below, I make this in our rice cooker, as it's less of a hassle. I cook the onion beforehand and then dump everything else in the rice cooker and that's that. It's ready without needing any more work on my behalf.

Brown Rice Risotto

1 C short-grain brown rice
1 C warm water
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 C vegetable stock or chicken stock
1/2 C dry white wine
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. butter (optional - I omit this)
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley (optional - I omit this)
2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional (don't omit this and try to use fresh grated Parmesan if you can, as it really makes a difference - we buy the big block of Parmesan at Costco, shred the whole thing and then put it in smaller portioned Ziploc bags to pull out as need be).

1. In a bowl, combine rice and water. Stir well and set aside for at least 3 hours or overnight. When ready to cook, drain, reserving soaking liquid.

2. In a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add stock, wine and reserved soaking liquid and bring to a boil. Add drained rice and pepper to taste. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes, placing a heat diffuser on the element, if necessary, to keep the mixture to a true simmer. Remove lid, stir well and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Stir in butter, parsley and cheese, if using.

Makes 6 servings.

Just throw in some veggies and you've got a complete meal.

The shrimp isn't freezer-friendly, but the risotto is.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Chocolate Banana Bread

This is a decadent twist on a regular banana bread. I made the mistake of giving some to a client when I made this a few weeks ago, because I was starving and wanted some myself. Now he asks for some every time he comes. But it's not something that I keep on-stock regularly, so he's disappointed every week now.

1/2 C margarine, softened
1/2 C white sugar (original recipe calls for 1 C)
2 eggs
3 bananas, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C flour (I used 1 C whole-wheat flour and 1/2 C kamut flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 C cocoa powder
1/2 C fat-free sour cream (I used plain yogurt b/c I had no sour cream)
1/2 C chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Lightly grease a loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, cream together margarine, sugar and eggs. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Sift in flour, baking soda and cocoa; mix well. Blend in sour cream and chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake for 60 minutes.

Serves 12

Friday, March 5, 2010

Carrot-Cake Cupcakes

I got this recipe from the March 2010 edition of Women's Health magazine. I made this last week and found the remainders moulding yesterday... the recipe makes too much for the 2 of us to eat through and I hadn't gotten around to stuffing them in the freezer. I made the icing, but kept it in the fridge and just iced them as we ate them. My husband has this odd thing about being very against any cakes with veggies in them - carrot cake, tomato soup cake, zucchini cake, etc. So the icing was perfect, because he didn't realize that it was carrot cake until he'd already said that he liked them. Ha!

2 C whole-wheat pastry flour
1 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 C lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 C canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 C plain yogurt
1 lb. carrots, grated
1/2 C golden raisins (I put in 1 C)
4 oz. light cream cheese, at room temperature
1 C confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

2. With an electric mixer, beat brown sugar and canola oil for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time. Stir in yogurt, carrots, and raisins. Mix in the flour mixture until just combined.

3. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

4. Using an electric mixer, whip cream cheese and sugar. Spread over each cupcake. Top with walnuts, if desired.

Freezer-friendly without icing.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Curried Squash and Apple Soup

My sister gave me this recipe, which comes from her husband's mom. It's a bit too spicy for me now that I'm pregnant - I had the joy of experiencing heartburn for the first time in my life after having this soup. But is quite tasty nonetheless. I'll just wait until baby is born to make it again, or will adjust the curry powder a bit. That being said, it really didn't seem to be super spicy when eating it.

I forgot to take a picture of this, but really, all soups look the same, so you can use your imagination.

4 tbsp. butter
2 medium onions, chopped
3 tsp. curry powder
2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut in one-inch dice
3 apples, peeled, cored, roughly chopped
6 C chicken broth

1. Heat butter over medium heat in large soup pot. Sauté onions until soft. Stir in curry powder. Cook 2-3 minutes.

2. Add squash, apples and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, partially covered, until squash is tender, about 45 minutes. Season with salt to taste. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

3. Use a food mill or purée in a food processor. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and swirl a dollop of yogurt through, if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cheese Tea Biscuits

I also made these ages ago, back when we went to Carnaval. I had made them to go with soup for dinner with Ashley's husband and brother-in-law only to realize as they were coming out of the oven that neither of them like cheese... but all of the biscuits except for one or two disappeared between the five of us, so I guess they liked them enough.

2 C flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 C shortening (I used light butter)
1 C shredded cheddar (preferably old)
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 C milk

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in shortening until crumbly. Add milk all at once with cheddar and pepper and stir with a fork to make a soft, sticky dough.

2. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 8-10 times or until smooth. Gently pat out dough into 3/4-inch thick disc. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut into biscuits. (I just rolled mine into balls to simplify my life). Place on ungreased baking sheet. Brush tops with milk.

3. Bake in 400 degree Farenheit oven for 17-20 minutes.

Makes 1 dozen.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chocolate Pie

I'm finally getting around to putting up the recipe for the chocolate pie that my husband had made for our New Years party. A bunch of people had asked for it and I just hadn't gotten around to translating it until now. The recipe is KILLER!! Enjoy. Don't make it unless you're either majorly craving chocolate or have a big group of people around to share it with. It's really rich and a small slice will satisfy any craving - yes Katie, even your love for chocolate ;)

The recipe comes from the Larousse du Chocolat, which is one of two French cookbooks we picked up before my husband moved to Canada from France. Every recipe we've tried from it has been utterly delicious. Unfortunately, French recipes are given in grams rather than in cups. So you'll have to invest in a food scale to be able to make the recipe (or convert the amounts yourself). But a scale is relatively inexpensive. You'll also need a thermometer to make the pie. But again, this is relatively inexpensive to buy.

125g of softened butter
additional butter for pie pan
pinch of salt
115g icing sugar
2g of powdered vanilla
1 egg
4 egg yolks
300g of flour

Pie filling:
250g of dark chocolate (minimum 50%)
1 C of cream (35%)
100 mL of whole milk
1 egg

1. To prepare the pastry, put the butter and salt in a food processor and pulse until it becomes creamy. Incorporate the icing sugar, vanilla, eggs and flour and mix together by pulsing until the pastry forms a ball. Place in a Ziploc bag in the fridge for 2 hours. Be sure not to overmix the pastry.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Use a bit of additional butter to prepare a 24 cm pie pan. Roll the pastry to fit the pie pan. Pierce the pastry with a fork and bake for 15 minutes. Leave the oven on.

3. To prepare the pie filling, chop the chocolate. Bring the cream to a boil, stirring regularly. Place the chocolate in the cream, mixing slowly. Lightly beat the milk together with the egg. Incorporate this into the cream and chocolate mixture, once it has reached 35 degrees Celsius (if you add it too early, the eggs will cook).

4. Pour the pie filling over the warm pie shell. Turn the oven off and place the pie in the oven for 20 minutes with the oven off, but while it is still warm. Let the pie cool before serving.

The recipe says that it makes 6 portions, but in my opinion, you can serve quite a few more people. Enjoy! This is a fantastic recipe.