Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lemongrass Quinoa Pilaf

Lemongrass Quinoa Pilaf

This quick meal is not only nutritious, but also flavorful and immensely satisfying. Omit the tofu and it becomes a wonderful side dish as well.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes, plus marinating time
Yield: serves 4


1 cup quinoa, rinsed well in a fine sieve to remove any bitterness
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
dash of cloves
dash of ground ginger
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
1 stalk lemongrass, bulbous end only with outer leaves peeled, minced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 12 ounce package of firm tofu, marinated for 1 hour in soy sauce (or Asian marinade)
1 medium head of broccoli, florets separated and stem sliced thinly
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 bunch of spring onions, washed well and thinly sliced
handful of cilantro, chopped
handful of mint, chopped
salt and pepper to taste


Bring the 2 cups of stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rinsed quinoa and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the broth has been absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the pepper, cloves and dried ginger and stir. Add the ginger, garlic and lemongrass and cook for one minute, until it becomes fragrant. Add the tofu and stir-fry for about three minutes or until it begins to brown slightly. Add the broccoli and 1/4 cup of water and cover the pot. Let the broccoli steam for 3 minutes, then remove cover.

Add cooked quinoa to the broccoli and tofu in the skillet and stir to combine thoroughly. Toss with chopped cilantro, mint and spring onions and serve immediately or at room temperature.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No Knead Soft Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Soft No-Knead Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

I mix and store the dough in the same container...a latch-lidded one gallon plastic storage container I found at Target. Make sure if you do it this way that you incorporate every last bit of flour into the dough. I use my hands to mix it together, which is messy, but effective. Do not latch the lid when storing the dough, or the gasses may cause it to explode off. Also, I never wash my container after I bake off the last loaf of bread. The dried bits that cling to the side, get scraped into the new batch of dough, creating a tangier flavor, not unlike sourdough.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 55-60 minutes, plus rising time
Yield: 3 loaves


5 cups whole-wheat flour (I like so-called White Whole Wheat)
2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast, or 2 packets
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten (available at health food stores and online)
2 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup honey
5 large eggs
2/3 cup melted butter or canola oil


1. In a large bowl of a stand mixer or food processor (14-cup capacity), or your 1 gallon storage container, mix together the flours, yeast, salt and wheat gluten. In another smaller bowl, whisk together the water, honey, eggs and preferred fat. Using the dough attachment, or your hands, mix the wet ingredients with the dry until thoroughly combined. It will be very sticky. Do not knead.

2. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 2 hours. After this, the dough is ready to be formed and placed in a loaf pan, but it is easier to do this if you refrigerate it first for a couple of hours. The flavor improves after 24 hours, so make it the evening before, if you have time.

3. On baking day, lightly grease a standard loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2). Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and grab a large hunk in your hand, cutting it off at the bottom. It should be about the size of a cantaloupe. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Cover the rest of the dough loosely and return to the refrigerator.

4. Form the ball into a thick log shape and place it in the prepared loaf pan. It should be just over half full. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for 90 minutes in a warm place (40 minutes if the dough you are using is already room temperature).

5. Thirty minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the loaf in the center of the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown. Remove the bread from the pan and allow it to cool completely on a rack before slicing.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Double Chocolate Crumble Cookies

Double Chocolate Crumble Cookies

A.K.A. Family Peace Cookies
A.K.A. World Peace Cookies

These small cookies are so achingly scrumptious that you will barely be able to contain yourself. They are so tempting that I found myself eating them straight out of the oven so that they sizzled a little on my tongue. I recommend that you have a cold glass of milk handy, even if they are cooled, to wash down all that chocolate. Bake one batch during the day to enjoy with the kids, but save the other one for your late night snack. Or maybe even share the mind-blowing bliss with your Valentine....nothing says I love you like a homemade treat.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 22 minutes, plus 3 hours cooling time
Yield: 3 dozen cookies


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer is fine), beat the butter until soft. Add the sugars, salt and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, about two minutes.

Carefully add the flour mixture a little at a time, mixing slowly so you don't get flour all over the place. Dorie recommends covering the mixer with a towel for awhile to help with the spraying flour. Mix until the dough looks evenly incorporated, but still crumbly. When you pinch it with your fingers it will stay together though. Do not overmix!

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and pat into two balls. Wrap each ball in plastic and roll it into a log that is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The plastic will help hold it together as it still may be a bit crumbly. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Unwrap the log and cut into slices that are about 1/2 an inch thick. If the cookies break apart, just press them back together with your fingers. Place cookies on a greased cookie sheet (or a silicone lined one) about 1 inch apart. Slide the cookie sheet onto the center rack of the oven and bake for exactly 12 minutes. The cookies will look underdone. That is okay. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes on the pan, then transfer them to a rack to finish cooling completely.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Pretty in pink, and delicious too. What are you making for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day?

Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 5 minutes
Yield: enough to frost an 8-inch layer cake, or 2 dozen cupcakes


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup strawberry jam
5-6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 drops red food coloring


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer), beat the butter with the strawberry jam until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the food coloring and beat until uniform in color. Spread on top of cake or pipe decoratively onto cupcakes.

Devils on Horseback

Bacon Wrapped Dates

These to be quite fashionable some time ago and are making a comeback for good reason--the soft date, almost too sweet on its own, marries beautifully with the tangy melted gorgonzola and the salty crunch of smoked bacon. They taste, in a word, heavenly, which seems awfully appropriate for a fruit born in the fires of heaven, doesn't it?

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen appetizers


5 ounces of soft dried dates, or approximately 24
4 ounces of Gorgonzola cheese
1 pound of apple wood smoked bacon


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Make a slice down the length of each date and remove the pit. Stuff with a small hunk (about 1 teaspoon) of cheese. Cut each slice of bacon in half crosswise and wrap around the dates. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down.

Bake for 6 minutes on one side, remove from the oven and carefully turn dates with tongs, securing any loose bacon with toothpicks if necessary. Return to the oven and continue to bake until the bacon is crisp, another 6-8 minutes. Serve immediately.