26 December 2011

White Bean Pesto Pate

Dump all of the following into a food processor or blender and blend; the amounts aren't exact, you have a lot of leeway:
  • 2-3 cups of white beans
  • 2-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a fistful of basil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • juice of 1/2-1 lemon
  • 1-2 tbsp pumpkin seed butter OR a small handful of pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • dash cayenne
  • salt & pepper to taste
If you make a lot, you can always use any extra pate as the base for one of my sausage recipes:

04 December 2011

Cuban Black Beans & Rice (GF)

Rice and beans is rather a staple in the vegetarian pantry.  That's the stereotype, at least.  There are so many variations of this dish; some of them are wonderful and some of them are kind of...meh.  This one is sometimes called Moros y Cristianos, and let me tell you something:  Cubans take their black beans very seriously.  Moros y Cristianos is never meh.

You will need to get yourself a big pot and the following (optional ingredients are listed in parenthesis):
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil (you can reduce this by a lot, but I would not omit it entirely—your spices will really bloom with just a little oil)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 jalapeño (or a different kind of hot pepper or some red chili flakes, etc.  Please note that hot sauce is not a substitute for fresh or dried pepper.)
  • 1-2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 cups (or more) cooked black beans (drained)
  • ~2 cups water or stock (depends on what kind of rice you are using)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (any sort you'd like -- I used malt vinegar)
  • salt & black pepper to taste 
  • (lime juice or lime wedges)
  • (chopped fresh cilantro or parsley)
Fry the onion (and bell pepper) in the olive oil until it starts to turn clear.  Then add the garlic, cumin, and jalapeño, stirring everything gently until fragrant.  Stir in tomato paste, then add the rice and stir it up until all the grains are coated.  Add the black beans, water or stock, bay leaf, vinegar, salt, and black pepper.  Give everything a good stir, put the lid on the pot, and let everything simmer until the rice is cooked.  Remove from heat.  Stir in your lime juice and fresh cilantro or parsley (if using) just before serving.  (Garnish with lime wedges.)

02 December 2011

Easy Crusty Bread

Gluten-free people, please avert your eyes.  I have some GF recipes in the works for you, you know I love you, and you know I know how hard being gluten-free can be.

Check out my crusty bread:

I made it using this recipe.  The recipe is really easy, requires no kneading, and produces a FABULOUS crust, which I think is essential for good bread. 

I don't have a baking stone, so I used a cast-iron skillet for the sesame-caraway loaf and an enamelware dish for the bread with the rye flakes on top.  I used about twice as much dough for the rye-flaked one and they both turned out fine.  I preferred the one in the cast-iron skillet.  I also used a spray bottle to add even more steam to the oven.

Thanks go to Lydia over at Small Town Simplicity for the link!

01 December 2011

Wee Rosewater Cakes

This recipe is like the tiny-cake answer to sugar cookies.  I made some earlier this evening and they were pretty much all devoured within 5 minutes of leaving the oven.  If you don't like rose water or don't have any, just replace it with a different flavouring or skip it altogether.  This recipe will yield 12 tiny cakes.
  • 1 c self-raising flour (or 1 c flour and 2 tsp baking powder)
  • 3-4 tbsp sugar (I like them on the not-so-sweet side)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil (any neutral-tasing oil will do)
  • 1/2 c soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/4 t rose water (you may want to consider adding even less than that)
Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C.

Mix the flour and sugar together.  Mix in the oil -- I like to mush it in with the back of a spoon until it is all worked in and the mixture clumps together like coarse meal or soft brown sugar.  Stir the rosewater into the soymilk and stir that into the flour.  You should have something that is half-way between batter and dough -- sticky and gooey, too wet to knead, but not runny enough to drip.

Spoon onto a greased baking tray (if you don't grease it, you will have to use a spatula to remove the wee cakes), ensuring that the blobs of dough are an inch or so apart. 

Bake for about 10 or so minutes—an inserted toothpick or knife will come out clean, but you will know they are done because the cakes will rise and swell like an angry sea and the tops will be a pale golden brown.  You can pretty much eat these straight out of the oven, although I'd suggest giving them a minute or two to cool first.