Tu B’Shevat Treat – Seven Species Muffins

Seven Species MuffinsThis post is taken from Tori Avey, aka The Shiksa in the Kitchen. She has a great site that I encourage you to visit at www.toriavey.com.

Typical foods served on Tu B’Shevat include fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables. The almond trees bloom at this time of year, so almond-laden foods often make an appearance on the holiday table. Those who partake in a Tu B’Shevat Seder will eat at least 15 different types of fruits and vegetables. Chocolatey carob pods are sometimes included in the meal. It is also customary to include the Seven Species mentioned in the Torah: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates.

Ingredients:

¾ cup golden raisins
½ cup dried figs*
½ cup dates*
1 ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup applesauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
2 eggs
⅓ cup light olive oil
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (¾ cup all-purpose + ¾ cup whole wheat flour will work too)
½ cup barley flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup pomegranate seeds
½ cup chopped walnuts
Nonstick cooking spray or paper muffin tin liners

Topping Ingredients (optional)

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

* To learn how to properly inspect these fruits, click here.

You will also need:

Blender or food processor, large mixing bowl, medium mixing bowl, standard muffin tin, ice cream scoop or small ladle, cooling rack

Directions:

  • If your raisins are particularly dry, cover them with water and bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat and let the raisins sit in the water to plump for 10 minutes. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. If your figs have tough stems on them, remove them and discard.
  3. Roughly chop dates and figs. Set aside.
  4. Use a blender or food processor to blend together the following ingredients until very smooth: dates, figs, almond milk, applesauce, cinnamon and allspice.
  5. It may take a couple of minutes to blend all ingredients to a smooth consistency, depending on the power of your blender. The end result should be similar to the texture of apple butter or smooth fruit preserves. Set mixture aside.
  6. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, light olive oil, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, barley flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  8. Gently mix the pomegranate seeds into the dry mixture, making sure the seeds are well coated with flour.
  9. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the fruit mixture from the blender into the well.
    Add the egg mixture to the well.
  10. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the dry ingredients are just moistened and a lumpy batter forms. Do not over mix – if you do your muffins will turn out heavy and dense.
  11. Fold raisins and chopped walnuts into the muffin batter with a light-handed stir.
  12. Prep your muffin pan by spraying a small amount of non-stick cooking spray into the bottom of each muffin tin (not the sides), or use paper muffin cup liners. Divide batter equally into muffin cups, filling each cup to the top and mounding the surface slightly. I’ve found that it’s easiest to do this using an ice cream scoop.
  13. If you’d like to top the muffins, mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl using a fork. Sprinkle about a ½ tsp of cinnamon sugar mixture evenly across the surface of each muffin.
  14. Place muffins in the oven and immediately turn heat down to 375 degrees F. That extra heat blast at the beginning of the baking cycle will help to activate the baking powder and baking soda. Bake for 25-27 minutes until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let muffins cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling on a rack. Do not let the muffins cool completely in the tin, they are quite moist and may stick to the tin if you leave them there too long. Serve warm.

Gluten-Free Fresh Egg Pasta

GF Egg Pasta
Ingredients:

1 cup gluten-free rice flour, plus extra for dusting
¼ cup potato starch
1 tablespoon corn flour
2 tablespoons xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large free-range eggs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Place the ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a rough dough. Tip out onto a rice flour-dusted surface and knead for 3 to 5 minutes, or until smooth.

Cut the dough into four pieces, then carefully press a portion out flat with your fingertips and start to roll it out using a pasta machine (cover the remaining portions with a lightly damp tea towel to avoid them drying out). If you are not using a pasta machine, then use a rolling pin and keep plenty of flour on hand to dust with if things become sticky. Try and roll the pasta out as thin as you can without breaking or tearing it. If you are using a machine, then start at the widest setting and roll the dough through it, lightly dusting with the rice flour if it sticks. Roll the pasta through the widest setting a second time, then click the machine down a setting and roll the dough through again.

Now, start clicking the settings down, rolling the pasta through each setting twice – gluten-free pasta isn’t as elastic as standard pasta, so make sure you avoid using the two narrowest settings, otherwise it may rip. Once you have a thin sheet of pasta (about 2mm thick), set aside on a flour-dusted surface and cover with a damp tea towel to avoid it drying out, then continue with the remaining dough.

Now’s the time to transform your dough into whichever variety of pasta you like. If you want to make tagliatelle, roll the pasta through the tagliatelle setting on your pasta machine, or use a sharp knife to slice the pasta sheets length ways into long strips (roughly 7mm thick), placing on a flour-dusted tray as you go. To cook, place in a pan of boiling salted water for around 3 minutes, or until al dente, then serve how you like it.

Who Can Forget Pasta?

Home Made PataSo in my search for different gluten-free foods and recipes, I tried to think of what would be most in demand. No one wants a recipe for gluten-free steak or mashed potatoes, because by their very nature, they are gluten-free. I consider those recipes to be almost cheating! But what about things like, breads, cookies, pancakes and cakes? What about… pasta! Now there is something that isn’t a “cheat” recipe that I know gluten-free eaters would definitely want. Today’s recipe is for a fresh egg-noodle pasta. The only real trick I find between the gluten-free and regular versions of homemade pasta, is that because the pasta is missing the gluten in one, it’s not as flexible and “bend-y”. This can cause the pasta to crumble or break apart. I suggest working with it the same way that you would with fyllo dough. When you are not actively using the dough or noodles, cover them with a damp tea towel. I would also suggest not getting too fancy with the types of shapes that you make with your pasta, at least not until you’ve made the dough a few times. You don’t need to try and make agnolotti (curved, stuffed pockets of pasta with a crimped edge), the first time… stick with linguine or fettuccine.

I also find that for the best homemade pasta, at some point, you need to work it by hand, if not from the very beginning. Today’s recipe starts in the food processor and then moves out onto a floured counter top. If you want to go old school though, here’s how:

  1. In a bowl, mix together all of your dry ingredients so they are fully incorporated.
  2. On a clean counter top, empty the bowl, and form a “volcano” shaped mountain i.e.: a mountain pile with high sides and a hole in the middle.
  3. One at a time, add the eggs into the centre hole that you made, mixing in each egg before adding the next.
  4. To mix, move your fingers around the hole you made, gradually making larger circles and bringing in a little more of the flour at a time.
  5. Then add the oil the same way. Add the water a little at a time until the dough comes together. You may not need all of it, or you may need a little more.
  6. Need the dough together for a few minutes to allow everything to bind, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in a cool place (or fridge) for at least a half an hour.

That’s the old way, without using a food processor or pasta maker to bring together a dough. If you think you’re going to make pasta often, you may want to invest in a pasta maker to roll out the dough once it has been made, as this will make your life significantly easier than rolling the dough out by hand!

All this talk about pasta however is making me think of sauces… so next week? That’s right, it’s sauce week people! I’ll show you the five “mother” sauces and some variations on each. Until then, enjoy the pasta recipe and have a great weekend.

 

Sweet Corn Quiche in Teff Crust

Teff Quiche

This yummy quiche will serve 4-6 people and would make a great brunch or dairy dinner dish!

Ingredients:

⅓ cup water
⅓ cup sesame oil
1 ¼ cup teff flour
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh corn kernels*
¾ cup milk
4 large eggs
hot pepper sauce, to taste
¼ teaspoon salt
4 oz. gouda cheese, shredded
¾ cup onion, chopped
⅓ cup green pepper, minced
2 cherry tomatoes, sliced thinly

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” pie plate. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the water and oil until they become white and frothy. Add the teff flour and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Mix together and then press into the prepared pie plate.

Place corn kernels and milk into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add the eggs, hot pepper sauce and remaining salt. Blend until combined.

Sprinkle the cheese onto the unbaked teff pie crust. Add the corn mixture. Sprinkle the onion and green pepper over the surface of the pie. Arrange the tomato slices around the edge of the filling, creating and nice pattern.

Bake until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean and the centre of the pie is set, about 45 minutes.

* Click here to learn some tips on how to remove fresh corn kernels from the cob.

Gluten Free Cheddar Cheese Crisps

GF Cheese CrispsWho says you can’t have a yummy snack when you’re Gluten-Free? These cheese crisps will give you both the crunch and the salt that you crave! This recipe will make about 50 bite size crackers. Note: You do not have to use organic products to make this recipe, however, it couldn’t hurt, could it?

Ingredients:

½ cup organic coconut flour
½ cup organic brown rice flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup unsalted butter (melted)
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
2 tablespoons organic brown flax seeds

Directions:

Heat your oven to 275 degrees. In a food processor blend all ingredients together except the flax seeds. Once dough comes together turn it out onto a floured surface and knead in the flax seeds. Roll to desired thickness and cut into bite size pieces. I suggest 1/16 inch thickness. Distribute pieces onto a parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, turning at 12 minutes. Crackers will be brown and hard when done. Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to a week, or until they are all gone 🙂

Rava Laddu

Rava LadduRava Laddu is a traditional sweet found in Western India. Authentic Rava Laddu is made using Rava (hence the name) which is a wheat husk product. This recipe calls for the use of semolina, as it is more commonly available in North America. This is a popular laddu prepared almost in every household for all the festivals. Rava laddu is a simple and easy recipe but still exotic. This recipe will make about 14 laddus.

Ingredients:

1 cup semolina/rava
⅓ cup coconut powder ᶲ
¼ cup clarified butter or ghee*
¾ cup fine sugar
2 tablespoons crushed cashews ᶲ
1 tablespoon raisins
¼ teaspoon crushed cardamom ᶲ
approx. ¼ cup milk, boiling hot*

Directions:

Heat one tablespoon of clarified butter in a small pan over medium low heat; roast the cashews for about 2 minutes until they are light golden brown. Add raisins and roast for another minute, raisins will be puffed. Turn off the heat and transfer them in a bowl. Set aside.

Heat the remaining clarified butter in a frying pan over low medium heat; add the semolina and roast until it changes the color lightly this should take 6-7 minutes. It is important to stir continuously making sure the semolina roasts evenly. Add the coconut and roast, stirring continually for about 2 more minutes. Add nuts, cardamom, and sugar stir until everything is mixed well. Turn off the heat.

Add about 2 tablespoons of hot milk to the dry ingredients. Mix it well to combine. The mix should be moist add more milk as needed. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.

To form the laddus, press about 1 ½ tablespoons of the mixture between your palms. Add little more milk if you are unable to hold the mixture. Press and squeeze to form a round golf-ball like shape. Let them sit for at least one hour before serving. Laddus can be stored in air tight container for about 10 days.

ᶲ If you can’t find coconut powder, crushed cashews or crushed cardamon, simply grind them in a coffee grinder or food processor. For the coconut, I would suggest using unsweetened coconut flakes.
* To make this recipe non-dairy, simply substitute margarine for the butter/ghee and use soy/almond milk instead of cow milk.

Spicy Black Bean Vegetable Soup

Spicy Black Bean SoupThis spicy soup definitely counts as eating healthy! With onion, green pepper, celery, carrots, corn and of course black beans, it has you on track for upping your veggie intake! This soup will serve 6-8 people.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cups vegetable stock/chicken stock
3 (540ml) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (341ml) can whole kernel corn
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (796ml) can stewed tomatoes
Lemon/lime juice to serve

Directions:

In large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, green pepper and carrots, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add the chili powder, thyme and cumin; cook for about a minute, stirring occasionally so nothing burns. Add the stock, 1 ½ cans of the beans, corn, and pepper, and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in food processor or blender, puree together tomatoes and remaining 1 ½ cans of beans. Add these to the pot. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serve hot, with a quick squeeze of lemon/lime juice to each bowl.

Latkes – 3 Ways

Potato LatkeRegular Potato Latkes

Ingredients:

4 medium potatoes
1 onion
2 eggs
½ cup flour or matzo meal
1 teaspoon chicken soup mix (bullion)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
Oil for frying

Directions:

Shred potatoes in a food processor. Rinse and drain the potatoes shreddings very well. Take half of the shreddings and puree them along with the onion. Add the eggs, flour, chicken soup mix, baking powder, salt and pepper to the puree. Mix the puree together with the remaining portion of shredded potatoes. Pour oil to about ⅛” depth into a large skillet. When hot, drop in potato mixture by large spoonfuls to form pancakes. Brown well on both sides. Drain well on paper towels. Yields about 2 dozen or 5 dozen miniatures.

Sweet Potato LatkesSweet Potato Latkes

Ingredients:

2 lbs. sweet potatoes or yams
2 tablespoons matzoh meal or flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 – 2 teaspoons cinnamon (to taste)
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
Oil for frying

Directions:

Shred potatoes in a food processor. Rinse and drain the potatoes shreddings very well. Take half of the shreddings and puree them. Add the eggs, flour, baking powder, and spices to the puree. Mix the puree together with the remaining portion of shredded potatoes. Pour oil to about ⅛” depth into a large skillet. When hot, drop in potato mixture by large spoonfuls to form pancakes. Brown well on both sides. Drain well on paper towels. Makes about 18 – 20 pancakes.

Zucchini LatkesZucchini Latkes

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini
1 large potato
1 small onion
3 tablespoons matzoh meal or flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Oil for frying

Directions:

Shred the zucchini and potato in a food processor. Rinse and drain the potato shreddings very well. Remove the excess water from the rinsed potato shreddings and the zucchini shredding as well (you can put them in dish towel or cheesecloth and squeeze out moisture). Take half of the shreddings and puree them along with the onion. Add the eggs, flour, baking powder, and spices to the puree. Mix the puree together with the remaining portion of shredded potato/zucchini. Pour oil to about ⅛” depth into a large skillet. When hot, drop in batter mixture by large spoonfuls to form pancakes. Brown well on both sides. Drain well on paper towels. Makes about 12 – 18 pancakes.