Monday, January 31, 2011

Maple-Baked Beans

I'm still not completely in love with beans, but I'm trying! Baked beans is one of the few ways I enjoy eating them. I've tried a few recipes and these two are my favourite. I don't have a photo of the second recipe but I remember really liking it, so I wanted to include it. They're pretty similar so you can't go wrong either way. The first recipe is from my new go to cookbook, Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection. The recipes in this book use easy to find ingredients for the most part and there's a really good variety of recipes. I usually try at least 1 new recipe from it every week. I just bought Cooking Light - Way to Cook Vegetarian, hoping that it would be as good as the Canadian Living one but I'm not sure it will be. Haven't tried anything yet from it though, have you guys?

Abby playing on the couch with her favourite cow toy.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Black Bean and Zucchini Chilaquiles
Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Dill and Lemon
Frijoles, Etc. Casserole
Refried Beans

Maple-Baked Beans
Adapted from Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection

3 cups dried navy beans
1 tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dry mustard
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (500 mL) tomato sauce
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp molasses
1 1/2 cups bean cooking liquid, vegetable broth or water

Rinse and soak dried beans overnight in three times their volume of water. (Or for quick-soak method, bring to boil; boil gently for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 1 hour.) Drain.

In saucepan, cover beans again with three times their volume of water and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking liquid.

In saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, apple, garlic, mustard, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper until softened, about 8 minutes.

Stir in tomato puree maple syrup, vinegar and molasses; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Scrape into food processor; pour in bean cooking liquid and puree until smooth.

In bean pot or 16-cup (4 L) casserole, combine beans and sauce. Cover and bake in 300F oven for 2 hours. Uncover and bake until thickened and beans are coated, about 1 hour.

Baked Beans
Inspired by Dinner & Dessert & Lisa's Kitchen

1 1/2 cups dried navy beans, rinsed and picked over
1/2 cup boiling water
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt

Soak beans overnight. Drain, then cover with water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Be careful not to overcook the beans as they will turn to mush when you bake them.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Drain the beans and reserve the cooking liquid. Combine the beans in a casserole dish with remaining ingredients. Bake covered for 2 to 2 1/2 hours; uncover for the last hour of cooking. If they become too dry, add a little reserved bean water.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

When it comes to pumpkin I can't help myself so I'm sorry if you guys are totally pumpkined out. I greedily collect all the pumpkin recipes I find and buy extremely large cans of pumpkin that are way too big to be used up in one recipe. I found this healthier version of pumpkin muffins on A Fat Cat Created a Vegetarian and of course had to make them. (Hers look cuter with pumpkin seeds on top!) I love how these muffins rose up so beautifully and have nice domed tops. They might be my new favourite pumpkin muffin. I also want to try making Ellie Krieger's apple muffins.

In other news, it sounds like there's some sort of animal in our ceiling. I didn't think it was an animal before (though I heard sounds) but then another woman who lives in our building said she thought it was a squirrel, so now I think it might be an animal. How appropriate that I'm currently taking a pest management course!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Morning Glory Muffins
Oatmeal Raisin Muffins
Spiced Carrot Muffins
Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from Ellie Krieger

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk (or 1 tbsp vinegar + milk to make up 3/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, molasses, oil and eggs until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Whisk just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Take the muffins out of the pan and completely cool on a rack.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Unbloggable Part 2

Thanks everyone for the congratulations and kind words. :) It's nice that you guys are interested in seeing wedding photos so I think I will be sharing some soon!

I mentioned that I've stopped taking photos of food that I didn't think was really yummy, but you know I think I will keep taking pictures of all my food. Because I think it's interesting to see what people have tried and why they didn't like it, so I can avoid making it or know how to modify something. The point of sharing these is definitely not to put down any cookbooks or recipe creators, just to share my cooking experiences. Everyone has their own taste - maybe you guys have tried these dishes and loved them! So here begins my second series of unbloggable food.

Easiest baked mac-and-cheese, found on Smitten Kitchen. I loooove and cheese and am always intrigued by and wanting to try any new version I see. In this recipe, all you do to make the sauce is puree the sauce ingredients, add it to uncooked macaroni, add extra cheese on top and bake. Very simple. And we didn't really enjoy it. I didn't keep the recipe when I printed it out so can't remember why. I think it was way too heavy and just not delicious.

Creamy macaroni salad, from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. I just went back to look at what I wrote on the recipe and I wrote "good, make again". Not sure why I never felt the need to blog about this one then. I think it wasn't quite the macaroni salad I wanted (mostly because this one is healthier with more veggies and I wanted more of the deli version). Anyone have any favourites from this cookbook?

Upside-down caramelized onion pan bread, from dinner with Julie. I don't think there's anything wrong with the original recipe, but I think I probably used at least half whole wheat flour, if not all and it didn't really work well in the recipe. Plus I am really not a fan of upside down cakes/breads of any sort. I hate how moist the bottom gets.

Black bean and sweet potato almond burgers, from ExtraVeganZa. Again, I don't think there's anything wrong with this recipe, I just messed it up by forgetting to add the almond butter or something. They kind of fell apart, but that's been my experience with most homemade veggie burgers.

Curried potato salad, from Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special. I remember looking forward to trying this dish and being really disappointed. The dressing has curry powder, cream cheese, yogurt and lemon. And then you add in some extra veggies. Just didn't all quite mesh well together. I really want to like this cookbook but have only liked a small handful of things I've tried from it.

Pumpkin challah, from Martha Stewart. I love pumpkin anything and was so excited to try this pumpkin challah. Looking back at the recipe I can't believe I used 12 eggs on this!! I really didn't like it because, not surprisingly, it tasted really eggy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Light Brioche Burger Buns

I held off posting about these burger buns for a long time because I thought my brother and I were going to post about them on our now defunct bread blog, Sibling Bakery. (I'm still hoping my brother will want to get back into bread baking and we can continue!) Anyway so last summer my family had a burger competition. My stepdad and sister in law made burgers, and my brother and I made buns. (We made mini burgers and buns, and my sister in law made me mushroom burgers that were delicious! Sadly no recipe to share as she's one of those amazing cooks that just makes things up as she goes.)

We totally didn't plan on making the same burger bun recipe, but it turned out that we did! The more interesting thing was that the buns turned out differently. Which makes sense because bread is not the most exact thing. Both were delicious, I think mine were more soft and his were a bit more dense (not in a bad way at all though). I added Parmesan cheese on top of mine to try and help secure my win. But no clear winner could be determined! And we concluded that we must make homemade burger buns more often (but neither of us have again since then). I hate making vegetarian burgers because they always fall apart.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Hot Crossed Buns
Buttermilk Honey Bread
Basic Focaccia

Light Brioche Burger Buns
Adapted from Comme Ça restaurant in Los Angeles, via the New York Times (found on Smitten Kitchen)

Makes 8 4 to 5-inch burger buns

3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be on the sticky side so it can be a bit messy, but keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will get. Try to leave them tackier than you would a round loaf.

3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours. (In my freaky, warm apartment this only took an hour.)

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours. (Again, this only took one hour in my apartment and I suspect, you’ll also only need an hour for a second rise.)

5. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dark and Dangerous Triple Chocolate Cookies

Wow it's been a ridiculously long time since I've updated! And I've been putting off updating because I feel like I have to come back with something super exciting, which I don't have. I've been debating whether to continue with my food blog or start more of a daily food/healthy living type blog where I'd still share recipes. Hm. I guess I'm not sure how much I'm comfortable sharing in such a public place. (Healthy living blogs seem to share a lot more just due to the nature of them though I know it's up to me how much I want to share.)

Anyway, so I'm married now! Hurray. :) Everything went really well. We get our official photographer photos back next weekend so perhaps I'll share some then.

I know I said I didn't have anything really exciting to share, but actually these cookies are stupendously delicious and that's exciting. I'm sure many of you have made chocolate dough cookies, and I usually don't like them, but there's something about these that is completely perfect. The 3 kinds of chocolate definitely help - cocoa powder, semisweet chips and white chocolate chips. Usually I give away most of my sweet baked goods but I kept a bunch of these for myself.

I have a ton of food photos back all the way to October that I've yet to post about, so I was thinking about challenging myself to post everyday for a couple of weeks to catch up. I'm not sure how that will go though. I've also stopped taking photos of everything I make, unless it's really yummy. Alright, onto the recipe!

Oh and I know this photo is totally out of season now but I have to share Abby with her reindeer outfit (antlers and a red collar with bells)!

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Sugar Cookie Bars
Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows
Cowboy Cookies
Double Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Dark and Dangerous Triple Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book: The Essentials of Home Baking

Makes about 50 cookies

1 cup butter, unsalted
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I ran out of regular cocoa so I used 3 tbsp regular, and 5 tbsp Dutch process)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate

Prepare baking sheet; set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter with granulated and brown sugars until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time; beat in vanilla.

In separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture, stirring to combine. Stir in semisweet and white chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls, about 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake in middle of 350F oven until firm to the touch and no longer glossy, about 8 minutes. Transfer to racks; let cool completely.

Note: I baked 1 tray at a time for 8 minutes. If you do 2 trays maybe you'd need to bake them longer. The original recipe suggests 12 minutes.