It’s still pretty cold outside but as temperatures start rising I find myself making less cold weather meals and more salads. The mixed greens or arugula is our salad of choice every evening but we also really enjoy bean and grain based salads, they are good as soon as they are made and definitely improve the next day. I adapted the recipe from here.
I like to soak legumes overnight and always soak aduki beans too but they are an excellent choice for week night as they do not need to be soaked before cooking. It also makes a complete gluten free, vegetarian meal with the millet and the beans.
- 1 cup adzuki beans
- 1 bay leaf
- 3-4 thyme sprigs
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 cup millet
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
Cover the beans with cold water and bring to a boil with the bay leaf, thyme and onion, cook until the beans are tender, drain and set aside.
Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, add the millet and toast it for 3-4 minutes stirring constantly, add 2 cups of water, turn the heat down to low and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, fluff the millet with a fork and let it cool for a few minutes.
While the beans and the millet are still warm, combine them in a large bowl, in another bowl make the dressing by mixing the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and black pepper, add the dressing to the millet mixture. Add the finely chopped parsley and pour the dressing over the salad, mix well and serve at room temperature or cold.
I joined the Daring Baker’s just a few days before the March challenge started, I am so glad I did. My first challenge was so much fun!
The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.
I bake regularly with both wild and commercial yeast, so, when I read yeasted coffee cakes, I had a big smile on my face, then the word ‘meringue’ finally sank in and there started the real challenge. My experience with meringue doesn’t go beyond lemon meringue pie and Pavlova but once I made my mind about the filling, I found myself in the kitchen measuring the ingredients, rolling the dough and finally filling it before baking.
The dough is smooth and elastic and rolls very easily; the meringue brings everything together and just melts into the dough. When it comes to the filling, the options are endless, I tried two, one with orange blossom water, orange zest, pistachios and chocolate and the other one (the one on the photo) with candied chestnuts and dark chocolate.
I am sending this yeasted coffee cake to Yeastspotting.
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- ¾ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 egg whites, at room temperature
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
- 2 cups candied chestnuts (smashed with using a fork)
- 1 cup chopped dark chocolate
- 1 egg, beaten
- Demerara sugar to sprinkle on top
In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 ½ cups flour with sugar, salt and yeast, heat the milk, water and butter until the butter has just melted.
Add the warm milk mixture to the flour, mix for 2 minutes, and add the eggs and the rest of the flour. Knead until smooth and elastic. The dough should not stick to your hands, if it does add a little more flour as you knead it.
Lightly grease a bowl with oil and let dough ferment for about an hour, until doubled in volume.
While the dough is fermenting, prepare the filling and set aside.
Make the meringue once the dough has doubled in volume, beat the eggs to soft peaks, and slowly add sugar one tablespoon at a time until very stiff.
Divide the dough and roll into 20×10 inch rectangle, spread half the meringue over the rolled dough, sprinkle with half the candied chestnuts and chocolate, starting from the longer side, roll the dough like a jelly roll and bring the two end together to form a ring. Repeat this with the second piece of dough and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Cover the coffee cakes with lightly greased plastic wrap or tea towel and let them rise for 45-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F, brush the top of the coffee cakes with the egg wash and sprinkle with a little sugar and make 5-6 cuts with a serrated knife or scissors.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the coffee cakes turn golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Flourless cakes have a special, delicate texture that can’t be achieved with regular all-purpose white flour; they are also a great alternative for people who can’t tolerate wheat or gluten in general.
I like to take a recipe that I like, substitute some of the ingredients to make it gluten free, that makes the cake ever so slightly denser but adds so much flavour.
This recipe is adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks, Ayla Algar’s Classical Turkish Cooking, I usually only use ground pistachios but if you think this would give a strong pistachio flavour to the cake (and it does) then simply use a cup ground almonds or all-purpose flour.
This cake makes 8-10 servings, if you are making it for a small group of people, halve the recipe and bake it in 7 inch springform pan, the baking time will only be a few minutes shorter than the cake.
- 1 cup pistachios
- 1 cup ground almonds or pistachios (or all-purpose flour)
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- ¾ cup yogurt
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 300F and toast the pistachios for about 15 minutes, transfer to a tea towel and rub as much skin as possible, let them cool and grind in a food processor or coffee grinder until finely ground.
Preheat the oven to 350F; line a 10 inch springform with parchment paper on the bottom and sides.
Mix the ground nuts, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, gradually add half a cup of sugar and beat to firm peaks.
Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the other half cup of sugar until the mixture looks pale and thick, mix in the yogurt and the olive oil.
Add the dry nut mixture to the wet ingredients, mix to combine, fold in half the egg with a large whisk working as quickly as you can, then using a spatula gently mix in the rest of the egg whites and pour the batter into the prepared springform pan.
Bake for 50-55 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Serve the cake while still warm with thick honey sweetened yogurt or whipped cream and or fresh fruit.
My mother came to visit us about three days after baby Sara was born, it was December and the coldest one since we moved here. Our outings were brief and usually involved shopping for food. Being a newborn, Sara slept a lot while my mom, between her jet lag and admiring her first grandchild didn’t. So, that meant a lot of cooking and baking for her.
About 12 hours after her arrival, my kitchen was working like a well oiled machine; my already filled to the brim commercial size freezer was somehow being filled with more food, not any food, my mom’s food.
Since we had lots of friends coming to visit and meet the new addition to our family, the food was greatly appreciated. She made everything from cakes to cookies to stews to salads. This cauliflower salad with cashew butter vinaigrette turned out to be one of our favourites; after tasting it, I started using nut and seed butters to make salad dressings. Nut butters perform amazingly well in salad dressings, all you need is some vinegar or lemon juice, salt and sometimes garlic or shallots.
- 1 large broccoli
- 2 tbsp sunflower seed butter
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- Sea salt
- Toasted sunflower seeds
Wash and cut the broccoli into florets, steam until tender but still has a bite. Meanwhile make the dressing by mixing the sunflower seed butter, apple cider vinegar and grated garlic, once the mixture looks smooth, add about a tablespoon of water or oil to bring it to the desired consistency, season with salt.
While still warm, pour the dressing over the broccoli and toss well until the florets are coated with the dressing, sprinkle with sunflower seeds and serve at room temperature or cold.
Purim is a very joyous holiday, one that involves a feast, and lots and lots of sweets. The most common food associated with Purim is the hamantaschen. It is customary to give food or food baskets to friends, family and relatives; this is known as mishloach manot. Growing up, my brother and I received baskets made of candy that were filled with candied fruits. The baskets looked very pretty but we barely touched them, that is, until the week after the holiday. To use up the fruit in the baskets, my mom would finely chop them and make the most delicious fruit cake.
If you still have some holiday baking ahead of you, I really recommend you try this challah or rosca de Purim, I can assure you that it’ll rank very close to the prune or poppy seed filled hamantaschen, and there will be no leftovers next week to turn into something else. The egg and butter enriched dough is silky and smooth; it’s also very easy to work with. The dough is rolled into two large rectangles, the filling made of onions and poppy seeds are spread over it, then formed into ropes and finally twisted to give it a crown shape which represents Queen Esther’s crown.
This recipe is my favourite, you can see all the step by step photos for making the challah. If you have leftover challah, freeze in a plastic bag for up to three months.
- 2 ½ cups bread flour
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 large egg (use only half in the dough)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp black pepper
To make the dough place the bread flour in the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor, add the instant yeast and mix for a second to incorporate it into the flour, with the motor running, add the warm water, half of the egg, melted butter, salt and sugar. The dough should be soft, silky and easy to knead. It shouldn’t stick to your hands; if the dough looks too dry, add water one tablespoon at a time, if it sticks to your hands and looks too wet, continue kneading and add flour about half a tablespoon at a time.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let it ferment for about an hour. Meanwhile prepare the filling by putting all the ingredients in a small saucepan, cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, and let it cool.
Cut the dough in half; roll each piece into roughly 10 by 8 inches rectangle, spread half the filling on each piece of rolled dough leaving about an inch space on each side. Roll the dough and pinch to make sure it is sealed well, repeat this with the second piece of dough.
Lengthen the ropes by gently rolling them; each piece should be about 20 inches long. Twist the ropes, not too tightly, and bring the two ends together. Transfer the loaf to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover the dough with lightly oiled plastic wrap or a clean tea towel, and let it proof for about 50 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F, brush the challah with the reserved egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds, bake for 35-40 minutes, the loaf should look golden brown. Let it cool and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.