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Pumpkin Bread for Autumn

24 Oct

I just got a new Kitchenaid stand mixer and I wanted to try out my new toy! I found this recipe for pumpkin bread on epicurious.com. The stand mixer definitely makes it easier to blend butter and sugar together. Though the recipe calls for just all-purpose flour, you can probably play around with using other kinds of flour. I replaced a 1/4 cup of AP flour with whole wheat, and next time, I’ll probably use even more whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose.

pumpkin loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus a bit more for the pan
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • scant 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup water
  • optional: ½ cup dark chocolate chips or chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves in a small bowl.
  3. Beat the butter, sugar, and oil on high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times, until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated.
  6. Mixing on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and 2/3 cup water and mix until just combined.IMG_20151017_185540064
  7. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.IMG_20151017_201346460
  8. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.

 

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Royal (Beet) Hummus

9 Aug

It’s picnic season! This pink hummus is a little detour from ordinary hummus. Its colour comes from red beets; the light beet flavour puts a nice twist on your typical, everyday hummus. You can make this hummus in just a few minutes using canned beets and garlic powder – makes for a fast and simple picnic treat. Or, turn this into a fancy appetizer component by roasting fresh beets and garlic.

Royal beet hummus

Royal beet hummus

 

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained; reserve some of the liquid
  • 1 can (15 oz.) sliced beets OR 1 lb fresh beets
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp liquid from garbanzo beans
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 ¼ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic powder OR 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • salt, pepper to taste

Directions

DSC02257

  1. Fancy Method: Roast garlic and beets in oven. Then peel beets. 
    Easy Method:
    Open can of sliced beets and drain liquid. Find the garlic powder in your pantry.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve with bread, crackers, vegetable sticks, or as part of a salad….this list goes on!

Moroccan Red Lentil Soup

4 Apr

It can still be nippy outside in the Spring….let’s keep making soup! A few weeks ago, I dined at a Nepalese restaurant and had a delicious yellow lentil soup. I was inspired to make my own. But I couldn’t find yellow lentils at the store, only red ones. What’s the difference anyway? It turns out that red lentils are really just a split and hulled version of yellow lentils, and they will turn golden once cooked. So I guess I’m making red-slash-yellow lentil soup. And then I had some trouble finding a Nepalese recipe, so let’s just go with a Moroccan recipe. (Adapted from culinate.com)

DSC02107

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 7 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cups dried red lentils, washed and rinsed
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

 Directions

  1. Wash and rinse lentils until the water runs clear. Unlike larger beans, lentils do not have to be soaked prior to cooking – they cook quite quickly. However, you can soak them for about 1 hour if you wish.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook onions until tender, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, coriander, salt, cumin, turmeric, paprika, black pepper, and cinnamon. Cook for another minute.
  4. Add vegetable broth and crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil.red lentil soup
  5. Pour the mixture into a slow cooker (5- or 6-quart). Add lentils and celery. Cook 4-5 hours on HIGH or 8-10 hours on LOW. If you do not have a slow cooker, finish cooking this soup on the stovetop – it will only take an hour or so. This Moroccan lentil soup smells amazing as it cooks! 
  6. Add in lemon juice, parsley, and cilantro and cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.This Moroccan lentil soup smells amazing as it cooks!

DSC02117I like this lentil soup served with crusty bread and garnished with a bit of parsley.

Spiced Quinoa Pilaf made in a Rice Cooker

6 Jul

I love the pallow rice at The Helmand. At the same time, I’ve been on sort of a quinoa kick lately. I liked quinoa even before it became a trendy “superfood” – yes, it’s a complete protein (with all nine essential amino acids), full of fiber, rich in magnesium and manganese (an antioxidant), among other things. But it’s also deliciously crunchy, has a nice nutty flavour, and combines well with many different ingredients to make creative alternatives to rice dishes. I used some of the spices that The Helmand uses in its pallow rice – cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, to make this quinoa. I also added raisins that plump up when steamed  to add some sweetness to the pilaf (inspired by Moroccan couscous).

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I make quinoa in my rice cooker because it’s easy – no need to supervise or stir the quinoa as it cooks. My boyfriend teases me because I don’t know how to cook rice on a stovetop… and I guess I don’t know how to cook quinoa on a stovetop either. But I’m Asian. No Asian cooks rice on a stovetop – that’s why we invented rice cookers! It guarantees perfectly steamed food and no kitchen fires. If you don’t own a rice cooker, I suggest that you buy one. You can get a basic, 4-cup model for around $10. It’s great for making rice, steamed vegetables, and now, quinoa pilaf too.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ¼ tsp + 1 dash cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 1 dash (⅛ tsp) ginger powder
  • 1 dash (⅛ tsp) nutmeg
  • ½ cup raisins

This recipe calls for 1 cup of raw quinoa. This is about the maximum amount of quinoa that you can cook comfortably in a 4-cup rice cooker.

Using a colander with a fine mesh, rinse the raw quinoa well under cold running water until the water runs clear and isn’t frothy. This carries away the saponin in the quinoa, to ensure that your quinoa won’t come out tasting bitter. Even if your box of quinoa claims that rinsing is not required, I would still do it anyway.

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon, pepper, cumin, ginger powder, and nutmeg.
  2. Put all ingredients except raisins in the rice cooker and stir.
  3. Start the rice cooker.
  4. When the quinoa has just finished cooking (about 25 minutes), add the raisins and toss together. Mix the pilaf well, as some of the spices may have settled to the bottom of the rice cooker.
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