Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

For those times you crave a little something sweet that isn't complicated to make or requires a trip to the store...

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In a small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon; set aside. 

In large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 1 cup sugar. Combine egg, milk, and oil; add to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. 

Pour half of the batter into pan. Sprinkle with half the reserved cinnamon/sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining batter and cinnamon/sugar mixture. Draw a knife through batter to marble. 

Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap in foil and let sit overnight before slicing.

Tine's Changes: The only edit I did was use 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup coconut milk just to give it a little kick. I did notice that the bread was a little tougher than I would have preferred, maybe bread flour next time. It forms a nice crispy crust though!!

Butternut Squash Mac n' Cheeze

This recipe comes from the Oh She Glows blog which is a vegan blog I found in my recipe hunting adventures. Although I am not vegan, I was drawn to try this one out. Below is her unedited recipe. I'll share my changes below.

Butternut Squash Mac N' Cheeze

1 fresh butternut squash* (peeled and chopped) OR 1 cup canned butternut squash OR canned pumpkin
Extra virgin olive oil, S & P
1 tbsp Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter replacer)
3/4 cup unsweetened & unflavoured almond milk (revised from 1 cup)
1 tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
6 tbsp nutritional yeast, or more to taste
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4-3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2-1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2-1 tsp kosher salt (to taste) & ground black pepper, to taste
4 servings brown rice macaroni (8oz or half a 16oz package) makes 3 1/4 cup cooked
Mix-ins of choice (e.g., kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, pumpkin seeds, etc)

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a casserole dish with tin foil. Mix chopped squash with EVOO, S & P. Roast for about 40 minutes, uncovered, or until tender.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the cheeze sauce in a pot on the stove top. Add Earth balance over low-medium heat. In a bowl, whisk together milk and arrowroot powder (or cornstarch or flour) until clumps are gone. Add into pot and whisk. Stir in remaining ingredients (nutritional yeast, Dijon, garlic, S & P) and whisk over low heat until thickened (about 5-7 minutes or so).

3. Cook your pasta according to package directions. The sauce makes enough to cover 4 servings of pasta.

4. In a blender, blend the sauce with 1 cup of roasted squash (or if using canned, simply stir 1 cup into the pot).

5. Add cooked, drained, and rinsed macaroni into pot, along with cheeze sauce & mix-ins. Heat and serve.

Notes: 1) My 3.5 pound squash made 5 cups cooked squash, so I had about 4 cups leftover. 2) The sauce does not cut in half well (the blender has a hard time blending it up), 3) I tried this recipe with canned pumpkin and it was awesome!

Tine's Changes: I did use a fresh butternut squash for this recipe. It was a pretty common vegetable around the house growing up. As I am NOT vegan, I used regular butter, but I did use almond milk. I used cornstarch and no nutritional yeast (which I hear is more for texture than flavor anyway). As for the pasta, I used regular old macaroni. I added peas for an additional veggie.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Baked Zucchini Sticks with Sweet Onion Dip

You know when you have spare zucchini and don't know how else to use it? Yeah, that rarely happens to me. For some reason, even all through college, I always managed to have zucchini at my apartment. It was easy to cook and throw into stir frys with a protein and I had dinner. Lately, I've been reading about all kinds of uses for zucchini in breads, muffins, etc. I will get there soon. First, let's just enjoy it by itself.

Baked Zucchini Sticks with Sweet Onion Dip

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium sweet onion, about 1/2 pound, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Zucchini sticks
3 medium zucchini, unpeeled, cut into 3"-long stick
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
scant 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Pizza Seasoning or mixed Italian herbs
olive oil spray
1/2 cup egg substitute; or 2 large eggs; or 3 egg whites, lightly beaten

1) To make the dip: Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over moderate heat, and add the sliced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, then caramelize. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes. The lower the heat, the longer it takes, but the less likely you are to burn the onions.

2) Once the onions are a medium brown, remove from the heat and add the vinegar.

3) Place the onions and vinegar into a small food processor. Add the honey and mustard, and process or blend until smooth.

4) Add the mayonnaise and salt and pepper to taste, stirring to combine. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

5) To make the zucchini sticks: Place the zucchini sticks in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt. Let the zucchini drain for 1 hour or longer; rinse and pat dry.

6) Combine the Panko, Parmesan, and pizza seasoning; set aside.

7) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and spray the parchment with olive oil.

8) Dredge sticks a few at a time in the egg, then roll in the crumb mixture. Place the sticks on the prepared baking sheet.

9) Bake sticks for 12 minutes, turn over, and bake for an additional 8 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

10) Serve immediately, with sweet onion dip.

Yield: about 3 dozen zucchini sticks, and 1 1/2 cups dip.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is it. That recipe that has been making the rounds on the internet thanks to the New York Times.

Jacques Torres' Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 pound unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.

- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars.

- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

- Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined. [Your choice: continue with baking the cookies or pause and refrigerate the dough for 24 hours]

- Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

- Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies.

- Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes twenty-six 5-inch cookies or 8 1/2 dozen 1 1/4-inch cookies

Tine's Notes: The original recipe recommends refrigerating the dough for 24 hours (or even 2-3 days) before baking, but really who waits that long for cookies?! I baked 3/4 of the dough and saved 1/4 in the fridge. You can see the difference in my cookies, on the left was the immediate cookie. On the right, is my aged dough cookie. I will say that although the right-away cookies are REALLY good, the aged-dough cookies were slightly better. The outside had a great crisp to bite into and the inside is still perfectly soft cookie innards. Also, they spread out less so the cookies remain a little more upright than sprawling. Ok fine, I might wait for these cookies again. The color is also pretty as well. Also like the original recipe, I used disks of chocolate instead of chips. More chocolate in each bite! As for the flours, I used all-purpose all the way. I just can't justify having multiple types of flour on a limited budget.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hummingbird Cake

Disclosure: No actual hummingbirds were harmed in the making of this cake.
I found this recipe browsing through my Big Oven app on my phone. Marked it 'Try Soon' and I have already made three of them. Only one stayed at the house, the others to mother's work and brother's work. I suppose I am good for something after all.

Hummingbird Cake
from Big Oven

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz. can crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, well beaten
3 medium bananas, chopped
1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 325F.

Generously grease a 10" tube or a fluted tube pan.

To make the cake: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Next remove 2 Tablespoons of juice from the can of pineapple. Set this juice aside for the glaze

To the flour mixture, add the can of pineapple, the oil, eggs, banana, nuts, and vanilla. Stir until just blended. Do not beat.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the 325 degree oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and remove the pan from the cake. Cool completely.

To make the glaze: In a small bowl combine the melted butter or margarine with the powdered sugar. Add enough of the reserved pineapple juice to make a glaze of drizzling consistancy. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. For a glaze with a whole new dimension, try substituting rum for the pineapple juice.

I'm not the most patient of people so I have tried to glaze a warm cake and the frosting melted into the cake. Yeah, don't do that. Be patient and you will be rewarded with a cake that looks store bought. I added rum to one of the glazes plus the pineapple juice. It was about 2 tsp so it wasn't overpowering at all. I sent that cake to my brother (of course).

Tine's Notes: It'll take a couple of hours to completely cool. I KNOW. If pressed for time, make the night before and leave to cool overnight. This recipe makes 14 servings, you can freeze the cake if you need to.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Veggie Pizza with Tofu Ricotta

 You already know I'm a fan of pizza. All kinds of pizza. I've constantly been on the hunt for a better crust recipe and I think I've finally been able to settle on one. The best part? It only requires 30 minutes to rise rather than the HOURS that many other homemade crust recipes called for. I'm all about that now.

You'll see that this pizza was actually a combination of three recipes: pizza crust, veggie pizza and tofu ricotta. The best part? Three different sources. Let's get to the pizza!

First the dough. I scoured Allrecipes and finally decided on Pizza Dough III.

Pizza Dough III
from All Recipes

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 cups bread flour (I used all purpose)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white sugar

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups bread flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Cover with your favorite sauce and toppings and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Tine's Notes: What I love about making your own crust is that you can flavor it yourself. I added 1 tsp of basil leaves and 1 1/2 tsp of oregano. Those are the flecks in my dough

So I wanted pizza and had no tomatoes or sauce in sight. And I wasn't going to the grocery store. I googled alternatives to pizza sauce and found this Tofu Basil Ricotta recipe. I adapted it for what I had on hand and I have to say, I am totally doing this from now on.

Tofu Ricotta
adapted from

1/2 package firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic salt
black pepper, to taste

Crumble tofu in a small bowl until consistency is of ricotta cheese. Add lemon juice, oil and salt. Add black pepper to taste. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Tine's Notes: The original recipe called for basil leaves, garlic and nutritional yeast. I already had seasoned my dough so I decided not to add anything else. I didn't have nutritional yeast available either. I used the entire serving to top my pizza dough. Turns out, I should have pressed my tofu a little more as it was just a tad runny.

I have made vegetable pizza before, but with some different vegetables. And finally the actually toppings for my veggie pizza: celery, bell pepper, red bell pepper, onion, broccoli, mushrooms and spinach. I also did a sprinkling of Italian cheese blend. I added the spinach about 8 minutes before I took the pizza out of the oven. You want them to be just wilted.

What I love the most is that homemade pizzas are never drowning in oil thus my stomach does not get upset at me. And I definitely don't feel guilty for indulging in this veggie goodness.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Korean BBQ Tofu

I've been using a lot of tofu lately and wanted to find new ways to cook it outside of pad thai and spring rolls. This recipe highlights the fact that tofu loves to take on flavors of spices you marinate it in. Although this doesn't have the texture of meat, it's delightful Asian flavor will win you over.

Korean BBQ Tofu

2 tsp onion powder
5 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dry mustard
garlic powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c soy sauce

Cut tofu in strips 1/2 inch thick and marinate in spices and soy sauce for 2 hours or more. Then fry and garnish. I use a cast iron grill pan to make beautiful grill marks.