Friday, February 26, 2010

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yes, it’s true: All that yumminess in a gluten-free muffin. (For those of you who get along just fine with gluten, I imagine you could replace the rice flour with all-purpose flour since it usually works the other way around.)

For the record, this recipe made more than enough batter for my standard-size muffin pan, hence the rather unattractive photo.

(Adapted from

3 ripe bananas

2 eggs

½ cup natural cane sugar

½ cup natural creamy peanut butter

1 ¾ brown rice flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup melted butter

½ cup buttermilk

heaping ½ cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a muffin pan liberally with cooking spray.

2. Combine bananas, eggs, sugar and peanut butter in a food processor. Blend for 1 minute.

3. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Mix well.

4. Add dry ingredients to food processor. Blend.

5. Add buttermilk and butter to food processor. Mix well.

6. Add chocolate chips and pulse.

7. Pour batter into muffin tins.

8. Bake for 18-25 minutes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Soba Noodle Stir-Sizzle

Meet the soba noodle—an exceedingly yummy noodle made of buckwheat. Now, meet buckwheat—a shrub that is totally unrelated to wheat. In the 18th and 19th centuries, buckwheat was a popular crop in the United States. Farmers used it to diversify their crops, to break up clay soils, to prevent erosion and to eat (grinding the seeds into buckwheat flour). In the 20th century, farmers began using synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. Corn and wheat flourished in the chemically-treated soil, but buckwheat responded poorly. Buckwheat yields declined and farmers shifted their fields to produce more corn and wheat and less buckwheat.

Okey, dokey. Now that you know the history of buckwheat, eat it.

1 package soba noodles

2 red bell peppers, diced

a whole bunch of green beans

1 package extra-firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cubed

2-3 carrots, peeled and grated

1 bunch scallions, sliced into 1-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1/3 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup natural peanut butter

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 packed tbsp brown sugar

½ of a small red onion, minced (about 2 tbsp)

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp ketchup with a pinch of red pepper flakes

1. Combine chicken broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, red onion, rice vinegar, lime juice and spicy ketchup in a food processor. Blend until well combined, about 30 seconds.

2. Cook soba noodles according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.

3. Heat sesame oil over medium-high heat in a large non-stick skillet. Add tofu and cook until starting to brown, 3-5 minutes.

4. Add scallions, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute.

5. Add carrots, green beans and peppers. Cook for 2-5 minutes, until peppers and green beans become crisp-tender.

6. Add soba noodles and peanut sauce to the skillet. Toss to coat everything with the sauce.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cherry Burgers

This may not be the prettiest burger (especially when plopped atop a “bed” of sweet potato “fries”), but it sure is the yummiest burger we’ve ever made.

(Adapted from Eating Well)

12 oz. lean ground grass-fed beef

½ cup dried cherries, finely chopped

½ cup breadcrumbs of your choosing (see step 1 of this recipe for instruction on making your own)

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat grill, broiler or skillet.

2. Combine beef, cherries, breadcrumbs, garlic, vinegar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl.

3. Form into patties.

4. Grill or broil until center registers 160° (5-6 minutes per side on a grill, 3-4 minutes per side under the broiler).

*To make oven-baked sweet potato fries, follow our recipe for regular fries (using sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes, obviously). Sprinkle with brown sugar.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Penne alla Vodka with White Beans and Zucchini Ribbons

Like most of the recipes we post, this recipe has been Healthy-ish-ified. That doesn’t mean it’s healthier than the original recipe (from Cook’s Illustrated), just that it’s tastier—in our biased opinion. Despite our snobbery, we still adhere to one piece of advice from the Cook’s Illustrated folks: don’t use crappy vodka. They found that nine of their ten taste-testers preferred sauce made with the most expensive vodka. We use Absolut—not the most expensive brand, but not the swill we drank in college either.

1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved

2 tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil

½ small-ish onion, minced

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 large garlic cloves, minced

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

1/3 cup vodka

½ cup heavy cream

1 box penne (we use brown rice penne)

2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves

1 can white beans (cannellini or great northern), rinsed

2 or 3 zucchinis, sliced into ribbons using a vegetable peeler

1 tbsp butter

1. Puree half of the tomatoes in a food processor. Core and dice the rest of the tomatoes.

2. Combine the pureed tomatoes and the diced tomatoes in a measuring cup and add the reserved liquid until you have 2 cups of tomato stuff.

3. In a large pot, start boiling water for the penne.

4. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the onion and tomato paste.

5. Cook, stirring until onions just start to brown, about 3 minutes.

6. Add garlic and pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

7. Stir in the tomatoes.

8. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and add the vodka. Return to medium-high heat and simmer 8-10 minutes.

9. While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta. Then drain it.

10. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter begins to brown, then add zucchini ribbons and cook, stirring 2-3 minutes (until softened). Set aside.

11. When sauce is done simmering, add cream. Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Set aside.

12. Add 2 tsp olive oil to the pasta pot (while the pasta is draining in the sink). Add the beans and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

13. Add the pasta and the beans to the sauce in the Dutch oven. Toss over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Stir in basil.

14. Divide penne alla vodka among pasta bowls and top each serving with zucchini ribbons.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Molten Chocolate Mint Cakes

I usually try not to post two recipes from the same source back-to-back, but because Janet asked so nicely, here is our Valentine’s Day dessert.

(Adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray)

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes

3 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

¼ cup, plus 2tbsp granulated sugar

4 ½ tbsp flour (we used brown rice flour)

6 After Eights OR 18 little rectangles of Green and Black’s Organic dark chocolate mint

Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Spray six 6-oz. ramekins with cooking spray, then dust lightly with flour.

3. Set up a double boiler. Melt the butter and chocolate over simmering water, whisking until smooth. (For us, using a double boiler means placing one saucepan inside another. The bottom saucepan holds about an inch of water, while the top saucepan holds the chocolate and butter.)

4. Beat the eggs, egg yolks and granulated sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Beat on high for about 8 minutes, until the mixture becomes pale and very thick.

5. Whisk in the melted chocolate and butter.

6. Stir in the flour until just combined.

7. Divide the batter among the ramekins and then plop three rectangles of Green and Black’s mint dark chocolate or one broken After Eight in the center of each batter-filled ramekin. Be sure to submerge the solid chocolate. (You might get batter on your finger in the process…aw, shucks.)

8. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes. The cakes should be set, but jiggly.

9. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and enjoy!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Portobello Lasagna with Almond Pesto

This dish looks funny and sounds weird, but it’s really yummy. It’s also really filling so plan on having a few meals’ worth of leftovers.

This recipe is adapted from Everyday with Rachel Ray.

½ cup EVOO

2 tbsp olive oil

5 Portobello mushroom caps, thinly sliced

Two 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes with Italian herbs

3 cups sliced almonds

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 large cloves of garlic, chopped

1 lemon, zested and juiced

lasagna noodles

2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Toast the almonds either in batches in a dry skillet over medium heat (or all at once if you’ve got a ginormous skillet) or on a baking sheet in the oven. Toast until fragrant (3-5 minutes in a skillet, 5-8 minutes in the oven).

3. Combine toasted almonds, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and ½ cup EVOO in a food processor. Blend until it becomes a paste. Set aside.

4. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 3-8 minutes. Set aside.

5. Add tomatoes to the skillet. Cook, scraping up any mushroom tidbits, until softened (6-8 minutes).

6. Spread half of the tomatoes along the bottom of a lasagna pan. Cover with the appropriate number of lasagna noodles (either 2 or 3). Layer a third of the pesto over the noodles, then half of the mozzarella and half of the mushrooms. Top with lasagna noodles, a third of the pesto, most of the remaining mozzarella and the rest of the mushrooms. Add a final layer of noodles, the rest of the pesto and the rest of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella.

7. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

8. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes.

9. Once again, there’s this rule about letting lasagna sit for 10 minutes before serving. We say, screw it and dig in.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ginger-Lime Tilapia with Banana Ketchup

I’ve always felt strongly that ketchup does not belong on fish (tartar sauce is totally acceptable in my book), but this banana ketchup* is a delicious complement to the ginger lime tilapia.

As we’ve said before, choose U.S.-farmed tilapia or Central American-farmed tilapia. If neither of these options are available in your local store, consult the Seafood Watch guide for your area to find a sustainably-harvested, healthy alternative whitefish.

This recipe was adapted (and moderately modified, of course) from Clean Eating Magazine.

*While most ketchups are tomato-based sauces, using bananas or some other fruit or vegetable as the base for ketchup is apparently totally legit. From “The source of our word ketchup may be the Malay word kchap, possibly taken into Malay from the Cantonese dialect of Chinese. Kchap, like ketchup, was a sauce, but one without tomatoes; rather, it contained fish brine, herbs, and spices. Sailors seem to have brought the sauce to Europe, where it was made with locally available ingredients such as the juice of mushrooms or walnuts. At some unknown point, when the juice of tomatoes was first used, ketchup as we know it was born. But it is important to realize that in the 18th and 19th centuries ketchup was a generic term for sauces whose only common ingredient was vinegar.”

1 cup red quinoa

2-4 tilapia fillets

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

¼ cup + 2 tbsp water

3 tbsp honey

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp olive oil

1 small white onion, finely diced

3 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

½ tsp ground allspice

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Prepare quinoa according to package directions.

3. Combine lime juice, 2 tbsp water, 2 tbsp honey and 1 tsp ginger in a small bowl.

4. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and put the tilapia (or alternative sustainable whitefish) in the dish. Spoon the lime juice marinade over the tilapia.

5. Bake fish for 12-15 minutes, or until the fish is opaque and flakes easily.

6. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.

7. Add onion and ginger. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

8. Add bananas, ¼ cup water, 1 tbsp honey, white balsamic vinegar and allspice to the saucepan.

9. Bring the ketchup to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low and let the ketchup simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

10. Serve tilapia on top of quinoa and top with banana ketchup.

Note: Despite its deliciousness, the banana ketchup was ugly so we took the photo before we added it to the plate.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Feta Dip

This dip tastes like spring. We modified the original recipe (from Ellie Krieger’s So Easy cookbook) just a teeny bit.

5 oz. crumbled low-fat feta cheese

4 tbsp fat-free plain yogurt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tsp dried oregano (plus more to taste)

1 heaping tsp finely grated lemon zest

1. Combine all ingredients, mashing big chunks of feta with a fork.

2. Start dipping. (Suggested dip-ables: cucumbers, carrots, celery or sturdy crackers like Mary’s Gone Crackers original seed crackers.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cranberry-Walnut Brie

There’s not much to say about this gooey, yummy, fruity, nutty dip other than YUM! This recipe was inspired by Cooking Light, then made fruitier and nuttier by us.

8 oz. round of brie

dried cranberries (as many as you can fit on top of the brie)

walnut pieces, chopped (as many as you can fit on top of the brie)

½ tsp. dried thyme

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Toast walnut pieces in a dry skillet over medium heat until they’re fragrant, about 3 minutes.

3. Cut the rind off the top of the brie.

4. Place brie in a small oven-proof dish or a brie baker (yes, there is such a thing).

5. Sprinkle top-less brie with dried thyme and cover with as many dried cranberries and walnut pieces as possible.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the brie is sufficiently gooey.

7. Serve immediately with crackers, bread, apple slices or whatever you deem dip-able.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jennie's Guacamole

In honor of the Super Bowl, we’re declaring this week “dip week.” (And by “dip,” we mean a delicious substance into which one dunks chips and vegetables, not a stupid person or a disgusting tobacco product.) For starters, we bring you what we think is the world’s best guacamole.

2 ripe avocados

4 tbsp fat-free sour cream

2 tbsp mayonnaise

2 tsp lemon juice

4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup finely chopped onion

1. Combine all ingredients in food processor. Blend until smooth.

2. Transfer to a bowl.

3. Dip.