Tag Archives: baking

Chocolate Amaranth Cookies

I was inspired to make this recipe by the abundant nourishing foods that come from America. (The two continents, not just the united states of). With the globalization of trade, we can now get food that looks the same anywhere in the world. While the ingredients in this recipe aren’t exactly local (Central America is just about as close to Toronto as London, England), I think foods indigenous to America are too often overlooked. Imagine how different Europe would be without potatoes, tomatoes, corn, coffee, or chocolate. These are not only native to America, but the techniques for their breeding, cultivation, and preparation date back thousands of years.

 

The pecans in this recipe are native to North America, cacao was first cultivated in Mexico, and amaranth is an ancient American (super-)grain that is especially high in protein, iron, and calcium. Only the orange zest originates across the ocean, but this could be omitted, leaving the vanilla extract (another Mexican food) to complement the chocolate.

 

 

Chocolate Amaranth Cookies

Mix together in a large bowl:

3 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil

1/4 cup honey or agave syrup

3 tablespoons warm water

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine in a medium bowl:

1 cup amaranth flour

1/3 cup tapioca flour

1/4 teaspoon gum arabic*

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

*(A binding agent which comes from the sap of the acacia tree. This can be substituted for one egg).

Add dry ingredients to honey water and stir. The consistency will be somewhat pastey. Add to this:

1 cup chocolate chips

3/4 pecans

zest from one orange

Form the dough into small cookies (about 1 heaping tablespoon each) and place on a baking sheet covered in parchment. Top each cookie with a pecan half.

Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes, until cookies have slightly darkened on the bottom.

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chocolate checkerboard cake

My grandmother used to make this cake for our birthdays. Because it is so rich with buttery, gluteny, betty-crockery goodness, it’s something to make only for very special occasions. I had been waiting impatiently for one such day, when finally a good friend of mine had a birthday.  And coincidently, this friend happens to love chocolate, butter and sugar! I would like to share this family recipe with you, but with a warning: it is incredibly thick, making it easy  to form the checkerboard shape. Make sure you have lots of people to share it with you.

 

Chocolate checkerboard cake

1 1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 c. all purpose or cake flour
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder

 

 

Grease and flour the bottom of each cake tin. Beat together sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Sift flour and measure.  Add baking powder and salt to flour and mix. Add 1/4  of flour to mix and beat.  Add 1/3 of milk to mix and beat. Repeat until all milk and flour are added to the mixture.

Divide batter in half and 1 1/2 squares of chocolate to half of the cake mix.

pour the batters like a target....I don't know how my grandmother made it look so even

Divide in round pans by creating three circles with each tin as follows- first pan:  chocolate, vanilla, chocolate, second pan:  vanilla, chocolate, vanilla. Bake about 20 minutes at 35o°.  Cool before removing from cake tin. For icing, I used a basic chocolate and butter recipe and added orange zest.

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top five things to do with leftovers

I am an avid composter. We currently have two compost heaps in our yard, and we give a lot away to the city of Toronto. But this is not enough. With the goal of self-sufficiency in mind, waste management standards (read: compulsions) must be higher.

I hate throwing away anything edible. This is why my co-chef and I have come up with many creative ways to use, even improve upon leftovers. These recipes will make you want to make extra portions just so you get to enjoy it again in a new recipe. This way, you get double the labor and attention in one dish.

Also, elderly and wilting fruits and vegetables should be considered valuable as their sugar content is higher. In fact, many people prefer deserts such as banana bread to be made with over-ripe fruits. This is why I usually make banana bread when we have old rejected bananas lying around. Thus, our list covers almost any food item that you may have in excess.

And now, to the top 5 list of our favorite recipes for surplus food:

 

5. Pasta salad

Cold pasta (unless it’s the long stringy kind) tastes amazing with a vinaigrette on a bed of leafy greens. Just about anything that’s not drenched in sauce or curry can be added to a salad the next day: potato chips or home-made fries, roasted vegetables, dry bread (heavily toasted and preferably brushed with olive oil), chicken, ham, beans, salmon…the list goes on.

 

4. Basic soup

Not so much for left-overs, but a great way to take care of all those extra broccoli stems and leaves. Cut the stems into small pieces and simmer for about 45 minutes in a stock mixture. Add some green lentils after about 15 minutes. Right before you eat, add some fresh vegetables such as peas or carrots.

 

3. Stir-fry

Great for leftover rice. Add sesame oil, any vegetables you have around, and stir. At the end, crack an egg in it and scramble it up. Possibly the most delicious thing you can do in under 5 minutes.

 

2. Frittata

This tastes great with pasta, vegetable dishes, any meat, or even rice. Heat left-overs in a skillet, beat 1-2 eggs person with a little milk and seasonings, pour into skillet. You can broil it for a few minutes to finish cooking the eggs. If you want to go all out, add some cheese on top right before broiling.

 

1. Crumble

The perfect place for soft fruit. Apples taste amazing baked. So do peaches and pears. Just toss with a little cinnamon and cardamom (maybe some brown sugar or maple syrup) and bake. You can add nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans to the fruit. For the topping: 2 parts oats to 1 part butter or coconut oil. Add sugar or honey to taste. Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350°.

 

We are curious about your creative recipes for surplus food. Please, leave us a comment!

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mushroom broccoli mini quiches

This is the perfect recipe for winter because you can literally substitute any vegetables in and it tastes great, thanks to all the cheese. The more vegetables you add, the more exciting each serving will be. My favorite variation includes brusell sprouts cut into fourths, green onion and  bacon. Needless to say, this recipe can be quite easily converted to fit an herbivore diet. I like an egg-heavy quiche, but if you want something a bit lighter, add an extra 1/2 cup of milk and leave out a few eggs.

The crust comes from one of my favorite food blogs: chocolate and zucchini. To make the mini-crusts, follow the dough recipe*, divide the dough in half, roll it out and cut it into twelfths with a sharp knife. It takes a little bit of manipulating, but each piece will fit it into a muffin hole (muffin cavity?). This recipe will make crusts for 24 mini-quiches.

*It calls for 250 g of flour, but 2 cups is pretty close.

 

Mini-quiche filling:

  • 7 eggs
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 3 slices of prosciutto, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup broccoli flowers
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower flowers
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • dried sage
  • salt and pepper

 

Lightly fry the vegetables in butter, salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sage or oregano right before you turn it off. Lightly beat the eggs, milk and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add most of the cheese, and the prosciutto.

 

 

Arrange the vegetables in the crusts and pour the egg mixture on top. Here, I used less shredded cheese and put chunks of soft cheese in with the vegetables. Sprinkle that extra cheese you put aside on top. Bake for 25 minutes at 400°.

 

 

 

 

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gluten-free banana super bread

 

 

 

Gluten-free banana bread


  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup teff flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2 cups ripe mashed banana
  • 3/4 cup nuts
  • 1/2 cup fig or apricot chunks
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Mix the dry ingredients first, then add the oil, honey and banana pulp. The last three ingredients can be substituted with just about anything that’s not too moist; oatmeal, raisins, candied ginger, sunflower seeds…You may also substitute 1 grated lemon rind for the cinnamon, maple syrup for the honey, or grated pear for the banana.

Bake for 50 minutes at 350°. For muffins, bake for 35 minutes. Makes two loaves or 24 muffins.

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olive rosemary focaccia

For our inaugural post, we chose a recipe that represents our cooking philosophy: simple, gourmet food made at home. The dough (which is actually a modified pizza dough recipe) gets better with age, so if you have the luxury of planning three days ahead your bread will be soft and chewy. However, if you let your dough rise for at least an hour, it will taste fine.

 

 

Olive Rosemary Focaccia

Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 packets (1 1/2 tablespoons) dry active yeast
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

 

Toppings:

  • Olive oil or olive juice
  • Olives
  • Feta Cheese
  • Rosemary
  • Tomatoes
  • Any vegetable in season

 

Making the dough:

Dissolve the sugar in the water and add the yeast. Allow yeast to activate (you will see bubbles) for 1-2 minutes. Mix the flour and salt together. Add the yeast mixture and oil and stir until a ball forms. Sprinkle a flat surface with flour and knead the dough for about 8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover with a wet towel or greased plastic wrap and allow to rise one hour, or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough, cover, and place in fridge to rise at least overnight.

 

When the dough is ready:

Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Place on a greased baking sheet and poke some holes with a fork. Add whatever toppings you like (plain olive oil, salt and rosemary taste wonderful) and place in a 550° oven for 9-11 minutes- until cheese melts.

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