Friday, February 24, 2012

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars- UPDATED

I like these a lot—a very lot.

And even though the creator of this recipe calls them blondies (which is inaccurate because blondies are technically butterscotch brownies and these are not butterscotch), I still love her cookbook. It’s called “Desserted: Recipes and Tales from an Island Chocolatier” and it’s by Kate Shaffer, the owner of Black Dinah Chocolatiers on Isle au Haut. It’s a cookbook filled with stories about chocolate and chickens and life on an island in Maine. In other words, it’s the kind of cookbook that you actually read. In case you haven’t gathered as much, I highly recommend it.

(Adapted—minimally—from “Desserted: Recipes and Tales from an Island Chocolatier”)

1/2 cup natural peanut butter
4 dates (pits removed)
a couple gloobs of honey (no more than 2 tbsp.)
1 egg (at room temperature)
1sweet potato, cooked and mashed 
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350° and line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper.

2. Plop the peanut butter, dates, honey, egg, sweet potato and baking soda in a food processor. Process until smooth.

3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the chocolate chips. Stir.

4. Pour the batter into the baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pretty Little Bowls of (Nutritious) Yumminess

We obviously don’t excel in food photography (see exhibit A, which reminds me of Oscar the Grouch, and exhibit B, which looks like compost), BUT this looks pretty, don’t ya think? It also happens to be quite nutritious and, of course, it’s absolutely delicious (we have very high standards of deliciousness, fyi).

(Inspired by a recipe from Tri-Marni)

1 cup black rice
2 cups water
2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry with paper towels
2 green peppers, diced
1 onion, diced
olive oil
Plain organic fat-free Greek yogurt (we like Oikos)

1. Combine black rice and water in a medium saucepan and cook according to package directions.

2. Heat 1 tbsp. (more or less) of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chickpeas and cook, stirring and shaking the skillet occasionally, for about 10 minutes (until the chickpeas start to brown).

3. Dump the chickpeas into a bowl and set aside.

4. Add a little more oil to the skillet (another tbsp. or so) and reduce the heat to medium. Add the peppers and onions and cook, stirring, until the veggies begin to brown.

5. To serve, layer the black rice, chickpeas, peppers and onions in a bowl (in whatever order you like) and top with Greek yogurt.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Baked Hot Chocolate

There’s delicious food (like the stuff created by all the recipes in this blog) and then there’s food that’s beyond delicious—the type of food that leaves you speechless. Food-induced speechlessness comes in two types: 1.) giddy, smiley, happy speechlessness (passion fruit sorbet has this effect on me) and 2.) moaning speechlessness. This dish, this mug of holy f***ing wonderfulness is guaranteed to cause type 2 speechlessness.

(From the Wall Street Journal)

9 oz. high-quality semisweet chocolate chips
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 eggs
¼ cup organic sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Set up a double boiler with barely simmering water in the bottom part of the double boiler and the chocolate and butter in the top part. Stir the chocolate mixture until it is melted and smooth. Set aside.

3. Combine eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl.

4. Set the heatproof bowl atop the barely simmering water and whisk gently until the egg mixture is warm to the touch.

5. Transfer the egg mixture to a medium mixing bowl and beat (using an electric mixer) until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.

6. Gently fold the chocolate into the egg mixture. Stir (gently!) until the mixture is fairly uniform in color.

7. Pour the batter into four heatproof mugs. Set the mugs in a baking dish and pour recently-boiled water into the baking dish until it comes halfway up the sides of the mugs.

8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are no longer glossy.  

Friday, February 10, 2012

Breakfast Quinoa

Today is a rest day, which means I slept in (until 6:08), took a shower even though I wasn’t sweaty or chlorinated and decided to ditch my normal pre-workout breakfast (two pieces of gluten-free toast, one with peanut butter and one with jam) in favor of something a little more, ummm, seasonal.

(Adapted from “So Easy”)

1 1/3 cup quinoa
2 2/3 cup water
2 apples, peeled and cut into chunks*
½ cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
½ cup skim milk (plus more for serving)
2 tbsp. honey (plus more for serving)
½ tsp. cinnamon
unsalted butter

1. Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

2. Add the apples and cranberries, put the lid back on and continue to simmer for 10 more minutes (or until all of the water is absorbed).

3. Add the cinnamon, 2 tbsp. honey and ½ cup milk. Stir and cook over low heat for one minute.

4. Divide the quinoa mixture into serving bowls and top each serving with toasted almonds and a thin sliver of butter. Stir to combine. Add as much additional milk and/or honey to each serving as you like.

*Next time, we’ll use 3 apples (2 for cooking and one for topping the cooked quinoa). 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Things I Learned: 2/1/12

-It’s illegal to text the phrase “monkey crotch” in Pakistan.

-It’s also illegal to use the term “glazed donut” when texting in Pakistan.

-One of the first ads for the cup sold it as the best way to protect “the floppy man parts.”

-Popovers get their puffiness from steam. (Wet batter + hot oven = steam => puffy popovers)

-The horns of Ankole cows cool the cow’s blood before returning it to the rest of the body. (This helps the cow stay cool in sweltering heat.)

-David Letterman used to be a weatherman. So did Pat Sajak.

-Tetris was created in Russia.

-Pistachios are seeds.

-Almonds, pecans and walnuts are the seeds of drupes. (Drupes are pitted fruits like olives and peaches.)

-There’s no meat in mincemeat.

-20% of men have participated in a conference call while in the bathroom.

-Nuts are indehiscent fruits (fruits that don’t open at maturity).

-Figs aren’t fruits. They’re clusters of flowers called inflorescences. The crunchy little seeds are the flowers.

-Marie Curie’s notebooks are radioactive.

-Iguanas sneeze more than any other animal.

-The scientific term for a sneeze is sternutation.

-Geese “whiffle” (they flip upside down to slow down before landing).

-Smokey the Bear was originally called “Hotfoot Teddy.”