Monday, May 31, 2010

Quinoa Cake, pg. 271

When I told my husband we were having "cake" for dessert, his eyes lit up.  Notice in the picture, I melted chocolate over his piece and put a bit of carmel on top.  Instantly he knew this was not your Betty Crocker box cake but enjoyed the dessert. 

This recipe was quite simple, quiona, spelt flour, sugar, nuts, eggs, rasins, orange juice, butter, etc.  It called for crystallized ginger but I left this out since I find the flavor too strong.  Next time, I want to make this recipe using couscous.  The quinoa tasted very grassy and I did not get the "light texture"  that Lorna states in the recipe intro.  Marvelous idea! 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Farro, Asparagus and Prosciutto Salad

My fellow culinary students had a birthday gathering last night to enjoy delicious food and have quality "down time" we desperately needed.  These gatherings are one of the best ways to get me excited about cooking something creative and experimental. I turned to the grain book to present the curious foodies with something new and decided on the Farro Salad that uses Asparagus and Prosciutto, with a mustard and lemon vinaigrette dressing.  The recipe had a number of delicious ingredients I thought would go well together, so I was feeling confident.  Strangely enough, another girl brought an asparagus and prosciutto dish (hers was asparagus bundles, wrapped with a piece of prosciutto and grilled)!

Overall the dish was well received.  Everyone knows how much I love to try new grains and are always curious to see what I'm working with this week.  The farro received some compliments, chewy and hearty, holding up well to the asparagus.  One person mentioned it's visual similarity to rice, doesn't translate texturally, which is a bit strange to discover in the first bite. I had a personal issue with the gooey texture of the prosciutto once it's mixed in with the vinaigrette, so I will probably try crisping it up first if I make it again.

Overall I would give it a 3 out of 5 grains. I think in general I need to start salting my grains more & this came out with this dish in particular. According to my nutrition teacher, grains don't taste very well without sodium. As I try to adjust my normally "bland" preparation of variety grains into something other people will enjoy eating, salting is something I need to work on.  Cold salads with grains though...I love these kinds of dishes ;)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rhubarb & a pudding?!

Aahhhh. Glad that's over!
April got a bit stressful for me between school and extra work and Amy with her travel and visitors also had a crazy month.  After a much needed day off yesterday for studying and sunshine, I am feeling well prepared to end this quarter of school strongly. With that, Amy and I are aiming to do 1 recipe each week instead of the original 2.  It's weird that a culinary student barley has time to cook for herself at home, right? Haha.

I started back up with a Pudding made of Rhubarb and Barley because,'s springtime and Rhubarb isn't going to be local for much longer!  The rhubarb is cooked down in orange juice and the barley is used to thicken the whole tart mix of juicy fruitness.  The texture combination (Karen, you might want to skip this part) of squishy/creamy/liquid was too weird, so I pureed the whole bit to get more of a consistent smoothness.  It is an extremely tart "pudding", too strong to eat on it's own.  The flavor is good, but I'm having trouble deciding just how I will eat it?  I'm thinking it would be delicious folded into some yogurt, so I may pick up some plain soy at the store and try that out.

I'm not sure I'll make this exact recipe again, but the principle I picked up here is great! Grain flakes (find em' in the bulk section...only $1.99/lb!) are a great way to thicken a sweet dish. I can imagine a cobbler version of something like this with a sugary crumb topping and extra grains hidden right inside with the sweet stuff. Gotta love that!
Cheers to a beautiful Spring, Seattle is certainly having one. -Vicki

Photos of the blended and unblended versions of tonight's dessert.

Yikes..this was super tart!  Ben and I could only eat one spoonfull and that was it.  He dared me to take another bite but I was not a fan of this dish.  amy w.

We're Back!!!!

Wow, what a busy past few weeks!  Traveling to Florida, Seattle, and having my parents in town for a visit. Now it's back to business!! 

Over the past few weeks,  I've really taken the time to explore cooking with grains and other healthy foods at my own pace without a constant recipe.  I finished reading The Art of Eating In, which fueled my next mission of starting a supper club and continuing the journey of freshly prepared meals at home.  A big thanks to my mom for introducing me to a new magazine called Clean Eating. "The soul of clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible.  It is not a diet; it's a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to an improved life - one meal at a time." 

Homemade orange stir fry with buckweat-rich soba noodles, whole wheat/spelt mushroom and radicchio goat cheese pizza, and black bean fudge cake dessert were a few of my favorites. Each week,Vicki and I continue to build on our passion of cooking wholesome foods while eliminating the tempting refined processed food.  Thanks to Lorna Sass and ALL of our 14 followers for reading about our journey and staying patient as we break!

Be sure to try the recipe I posted below.  Ben had NO idea black beans made up 75% of this recipe until  he finished the last bite.  I love playing cooking tricks on him.   

Black Bean Fudge Cakes - taken from Clean Eating Magazine (Karen.....this one's for you)
Olive oil cooking spray
1 oz dark organic chocolate (70% cocoa or greater)
1 1/2 cups of soft cooked black beans (I used one jar)
2 eggs
1 egg white
2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 heaped cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup of raw organic honey
1/4 to 1/2 cup unsalted walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 and mist an 8 inch square baking dish with cooking spray.  Melt dark chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat with 1tbsp water mixed in. Combine melted chocolate, beans, eggs, egg whites, oil, cooca powder, baking powder, vanilla, applesauce, and honey in a food processor, process until smooth.  Stir in walnuts and pour mixter into baking dish.    Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the sides.  Garnish with Greek-style yogurt. 

amy w.