Thursday, April 28, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I love these muffins. They are one of my favorite baking recipes. Not only are they delicious, but they are full of a secret ingredient. The secret to these fabulous muffins? Cauliflower. That's right. These are quite healthy and a sneaky way for me to get some veggies into my picky eater. I originally found this recipe at Once Upon a Gourmet Gin. I decided it was time to post it myself as I've adapted it a little. She uses self-rising flour, something I never have in the house. It's very easy to find a substitute. The secret formula is for each 1 cup of self rising flour, use 1 cup all purpose flour plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. That's it.

Here's my adapted recipe.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups steamed fresh cauliflower, mashed and cooled
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400*. Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray (or line with muffin cups) In a large mixing bowl sift together the dry ingredients (1st 5). In a mixing bowl stir together the eggs, milk, melted butter, mashed bananas and cauliflower. All to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Add the chocolate chips. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them 2/3 full. Bake approximately 15-20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and remove from pan. ENJOY!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Brother, the beer expert!

My brother has published his first guest post on a city blog. The topic is beer. (And not in a bad way). He knows a lot about different kinds of beer (and other alcoholic beverages) from his job at a liquor store. It's well worth reading. Check it out here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Peanut Butter and Honey Tofu

During my Lenten vegetarian journey I've been making a lot of my favorite chicken dishes using tofu in place of chicken. This dish was a take on one I remembered from when I boarded with a vegetarian family back in university. I remembered that they would make peanut butter tofu with soy sauce as a stir fry quite a bit. I used the peanut butter part as an inspiration for this dish. Here's what you need to know about cooking with tofu. Tofu comes in a variety of firmness degrees. If you want to stir fry it, the firmer the better. Firm to extra-firm if possible. Medium or soft will just fall to mush. Also tofu takes on flavor really well so marinate it for at least 1/2 hour before cooking. Tofu on its own is pretty bland. I remember the university residence's 'veggie' burger way back when was just a slab of plain tofu between a bun. That is just wrong. Fortunately vegetarian cooking has come a long way in North America since then.

I didn't measure any of this, I just played as I went along. The result was so tasty that I made it again within a week (a true sign I've made something right). Slice the tofu into cubes. I cut 1/4 a brick as I was the only one eating it. You could do a whole brick if you are serving to others. Put the tofu into a small bowl and add some hoisin sauce (I used about a tablespoon or so). Mix it up so the tofu is coated. Put in the refrigerator to marinate it for at least 1/2 hour.
Heat a frying pan to medium/high heat with a little bit of cooking oil, or non-stick spray. Add the tofu to the pan plus a tablespoon or 2 of peanut butter and a tablespoon or 2 of honey. Mix in well. Stir fry for a few minutes until everything is heated through. Serve with rice or noodles. I served this along with a veggie stir fry with noodles. As a side note, I did the exact same thing to some chicken meat for the rest of my family. They liked it. I haven't had the chicken version yet, I'll let you know after lent.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lentil and Mushroom Loaf with Savory Potato Filling

When my college roommate Ang heard I was going vegetarian for Lent, she remembered this dish I made back in the day and asked for a copy of it. I'll admit I haven't made this in years, but I remember loving it. Like all good recipes it comes with a back story. I ate vegetarian for about 10 years. When I boarded in college I lived with a vegetarian family for 2 years. They had some fantastic cookbooks. This recipe came from Vegetarian Celebrations. This book was dedicated to finding delicious holiday vegetarian dishes. This recipe is one I would often make at Christmas and Thanksgiving in lieu of Turkey. When I started cooking on my own I wanted a copy of this book. Unfortunately by then it was no longer in print. One bookstore was able to find me a copy an order it in (remember this was before the days of Amazon) and I'm glad to have this book in my collection now.


1 cup raw lentils
1 tbsp canola oil
2 cloves minced garlic
6 oz white mushrooms
5 oz thawed frozen spinach
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2 tbsp wheat germ
freshly ground pepper to taste
dash nutmeg
1 cup firmly packed grated Stilton or Gruyere Cheese (or sub. mozzarella style soy cheese)

1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 cup coarsely mashed potato (from about 1 medium cooked and peeled potato)
1/2 tsp each: seasoned salt, dried thyme, and dried basil
freshly ground pepper to taste
curly parsley for garnish

Rinse and sort lentils. Combine in a heavy saucepan with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain.
Preheat the oven to 350*
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute over medium heat. stirring until the mushrooms are wilted. Stir in spinach, lentils, soy sauce and wheat germ. Grind in some pepper and add the nutmeg. Cook, stirring unil the mixture is heated through, then stil in the cheese.
Lightly oil a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Pour in about 2/3 of the lentil mixture. Press some of the mixture up the sides of the pan to create a shell about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer the remaining lentil mixture to a small bowl and reserve until needed.
Rinse the skillet and heat the oil. Add the onion and saute until golden brown. Add the remaining filling ingredients and saute, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Transfer into the lentil shell, then cover the top with the reserved lentil mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is crusty.
Remove from the oven and let the loaf stand for 15 minutes. Slide a spatula or knife around the edges to loosen it. Cut slices and arrange them on a serving dish, Garnish with parsley and serve.