Quinoa Apple-Coconut Breakfast Porridge

Let’s just pretend that I never stopped blogging here, shall we?

This is a vegan breakfast porridge inspired by a yummy-looking meal my co-worker had at work last week. I’ve recently been advised to avoid oats (which I’m doing, against my better judgment), but I’ve wanted a warm, porridge-y breakfast during the recent spot of cold weather. This came together quickly, and makes 4 portions, so it’s a quick batch that makes several breakfasts.

Quinoa Apple-Coconut Breakfast Porridge
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 c. quinoa
  • ½ c. water
  • ½ c. coconut milk (canned variety, light is fine)
  • ½ c. non-dairy milk (can add more coconut milk, if desired)
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened flake coconut
  • 2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
  • 1 medium apple, chopped in large dice
Instructions
  1. Heat medium-sized saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add quinoa, and stir to toast, approximately 3 minutes
  3. Remove pan from heat and add milks and water. Be careful, as the liquid is likely to spit.
  4. Replace pan on burner, and add coconut, flaxseed, and apple
  5. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low
  6. Cover and cook for 15 minutes
  7. Remove pan from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes
  8. Fluff, and enjoy!
  9. As desired, you can add additional toppings, such as chopped nuts, maple syrup, cinnamon, and more.
Notes
Nutritional data via SparkPeople Recipe Builder. Caveat lector.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Scant 1 cup Calories: 244 Fat: 7.5g Saturated fat: 3g Unsaturated fat: 1.2g Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 38 Sugar: 3.6g Sodium: 49mg Fiber: 5.4g Protein: 8g Cholesterol: 0mg

 

My Favorite Muffins

Banana muffinI admit, I’m on the anti-pumpkin spice bandwagon. I like my pumpkin spice goodies to contain actual pumpkin, and these muffins are my favorite pumpkin spice carriers.

This is my go-to muffin recipe, and it works well with either pumpkin or banana. They aren’t vegan, but I like to use “flax eggs” in place of eggs in the recipe for a great texture, extra fiber, and some good Omega-3s. They can easily be adapted for vegans using sugar or another liquid sweetener of choice and an equal amount of soured non-dairy milk. My King Arthur’s Baking Companion recommends 1 cup sugar : 3/4 cup honey for substitution. This recipe is so moist I wouldn’t increase the liquid, but if it seems too dry, add a couple tablespoons water or whey if you have it on hand. This is an original recipe, inspired by recipes I’ve tried over the years, from Cooking Light to Nancy Silverton.

 

 

Flax Pecan Muffins
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Baked good
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • ⅓ c. warm water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin or 2 large bananas, pureed
  • ½ cup plain yogurt OR whey
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 pecan halves, chopped and toasted
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease muffin tin with coconut oil.
  3. Allow yogurt or whey to come to room temperature to prevent coconut oil from solidifying when mixed.
  4. Mix flax seed with warm water and set aside.
  5. While mixing ingredients, toast pecans for 5 minutes.
  6. Combine dry ingredients (flour through ginger) in a large mixing bowl, whisking well.
  7. Combine the remaining wet ingredients, including the flax mixture, in another bowl, whisking well.
  8. Add wet ingredients to dry, stir just until moist.
  9. Lightly stir pecans into the batter.
  10. Divide evenly among 12 prepared muffin cups.
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until muffins test done with a toothpick.
  12. Cool in tin for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from tin and cool completely.

 

My Best Recipe: Honey-Flax Granola

Honey-Flax GranolaMy Best Recipe is definitely becoming a series! If you haven’t read my original post, the idea of a “best recipe” is one that is consistent, uses just a handful of staple ingredients, is easy to remember, and comes together with a minimum of fuss. This granola recipe fits nearly all those requirements, but it does take a bit of attention to make sure it doesn’t go from toasted to roasted while you weren’t watching.

As I mentioned yesterday, when I first started making this recipe it was kosher for Passover, made with matzo farfel, which is essentially rolled oat-sized bits of matzo. The original recipe came from Streit’s Matzos, and it’s terrifically flexible for Passover and any time of year. For the record, the other recipes on the Streit’s site look a bit…odd, but the mandel bread recipe is gold standard.

Once I started making granola on a regular basis in Uzbekistan, I became a frequent customer on the honey aisle in our local bazar. Vendors there had honeys collected from various parts of Uzbekistan and other countries in the region. Last year I had the great fortune to visit a beekeeper’s association in the Ferghana Valley where I purchased a liter of honey directly from the beekeeper and found this little guy when I opened the jar:

Bee spoon

I haven’t encountered any stowaways in my local Good Flow honey yet, but there’s a first time for everything!

This recipe is what I’d call a base recipe–it’s one you can build on and modify with any mix-ins you like. To prevent any nuts and dried fruits from burning I add them all at the end, after the granola comes out of the oven. It’s hard to say how many servings this makes–that all depends on how many mix-ins you add to the base recipe.

Finally, I’ve recently started making the granola with coconut oil. I haven’t tried a blend of oils, but I suspect it would work pretty well. My only hesitation in using 100% coconut oil is the expense, but it is super delicious and so far it’s been worth it. If you’re gluten-free and can eat oats, just be certain to use certified gluten-free oats.

Honey-Flax Granola

6 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup ground flax meal
Ground cinnamon and ginger to taste
Pinch salt
Mix-ins of your choice (I usually add about 1 cup total of nuts and fruits, and toasted seeds and coconut would work well)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a half-sheet pan or two cookie sheets with sides with foil or a silicone baking mat. Spread the oats evenly over the baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly toasted, stirring 2-3 times while baking. Remove oats from oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees.

Combine oil and honey and heat until bubbly. Carefully pour oats into a large, heat-resistant mixing bowl, reserving baking sheets. Pour oil/honey mixture over the oats and mix until the oil and honey are absorbed. Add the flax meal, salt, and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon and/or ginger. Stir to combine and taste to adjust seasoning. Return the mixture to the reserved baking sheets.

Continue baking at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes longer. Remember to stir every 5-7 minutes to prevent uneven baking, taking care to make sure the edges don’t burn. When nicely toasted, place in a large bowl and the mix-ins. Let the mixture cool and then store in an airtight container.

NOTE: This recipe will go from just perfect to overdone in a flash. Be very vigilant in the last 5-7 minutes of baking to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Honey-Pecan Granola

Honey Pecan granolaOr honey-almond granola. Or honey-coconut granola. Or honey-cranberry granola. Or honey-flax granola. Basically, you can add almost anything (and everything) you like and this granola is divine.

I won’t post the recipe right now, but I’ll add it in the next few days, so you’ll just have to come back.

I made this granola all the time while we were in Uzbekistan because the ingredients were plentiful and relatively affordable. While pecans aren’t locally available there, walnuts, almonds, and pistachios are widely available (though pricey), and they frequently found their way into the mix. Dried apricots, too, were common additions. And the honey. Oh, the honey. More on that to come.

When I originally found this recipe I was looking for a Passover-friendly granola recipe since most breakfast cereals aren’t permitted during the holiday. For several years I only made it at Passover, and then one day I realized I could make an everyday granola using the same principles and ratios.

More to come when I post the recipe, but my current mix involves gluten-free oats, coconut oil, toasted slivered almonds, dried cranberries, local honey, and flax seed. We just picked up a giant bag of pecans, so I’m already concocting the next combination in my head. You can trust it won’t be pumpkin spice.

Cookie Bites (Part 2)

Cookie CollageToday’s cookie recipe was given to me by a baker friend who took pity on my total lack of gingersnaps while we were living in Uzbekistan (pictured bottom right). Most of the key ingredients for gingersnaps are easily available there, with the exception of molasses, and fortunately we squirreled a couple bottles away when we headed overseas so we could make a few of our favorites.

I love ginger cookies of all sorts. Commercially, Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps and the old-school Mi-Dels are my faves. Of my own recipes, my favorites are the triple-ginger biscotti I developed about ten years ago. There’s another one I like from an old cookbook, but they tend to bake up chewy rather than crispy. To date, though, I haven’t tried a GF version of either of those recipes.

This recipe from Cook’s Illustrated makes small, crisp snaps not unlike the Mi-Dels and the TJ’s cookies. I’ve since made a gluten-free version of these cookies using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour. When I made the dough and tasted it, as I usually do with any cookie dough, I was shocked by the bitter flavor. It turns out that the Bob’s blend has a fair amount of garbanzo and sorghum flour in the blend, which have a very strong taste in raw batter, and I was scared that I’d just made something pretty gross. However, once the cookies baked all trace of bitterness disappeared and I ended up with beautiful and spicy crispy gingersnaps.

The list of ingredients is impressive and the baking rotation always confounds me. But they are worth the effort to get the depth and spiciness that makes them such a favorite. Also, about a dozen-and-a-half of these beauties crushed into roasted banana ice cream is amazing.

Cook’s Illustrated Gingersnaps

For the best results use freshly opened packages of dried spices.

2 ½ cups (12 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½  teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups packed (8 ¾ ounces) dark brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch cayenne
1 large egg, plus 1 large yolk
½ cup granulated sugar

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in bowl. Place brown sugar, molasses, and fresh ginger in second bowl. Heat butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until melted. Lower heat to medium-low and continue to cook, swirling pan frequently, until foaming subsides and butter is just beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, and cayenne. Cool slightly, about 2 minutes. Add butter mixture to bowl with brown sugar and whisk to combine. Add egg and egg yolk add whisk to combine. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Dough can be refrigerated for up to two days, or frozen for up to a month.)

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 300 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place granulated sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate. Divide dough into heaping teaspoon portions; roll dough into balls. Working in batches of 10, roll balls in sugar to coat. Evenly space dough balls on prepared baking sheets, 20 dough balls per sheet.

Place one sheet on upper rack and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, transfer partially baked top sheet to lower rack, rotating 180 degrees, and place second sheet of cookies on upper rack. Continue to bake until lower tray of cookies just begin to darken around edges, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Remove lower sheet of cookies and shift upper sheet to lower rack and continue to bake until beginning to darken around edges, 15 to 17 minutes. Slide baked cookies, still on parchment, to wire rack and cool completely. Cool baking sheets slightly and repeat step 3 with remaining dough balls.

Yield: 80 1 ½-inch cookies

Cookie Bites (Part 1)

Cookie CollageOver the next couple of days I’m going to share some awesome cookie recipes, starting with my all-time number one favorite cookie in the world.

In 1998 I moved to San Antonio and became addicted to Central Market‘s Chocolate Crispy Cookies. For nine months I bought one package of six cookies for $4.99 each week. I was working at the McNay Art Museum as a graduate intern and my tiny stipend meant that my splurges had to be modest and meaningful. Since I ate every meal at home and took my lunch to work most days, my chocolate crispy cookies were a guilty pleasure and indulgence.

After my internship ended I moved back to California and left the chocolate crispy cookies behind. I missed them terribly and every so often I would try to suss out the secrets of the gooey inside, the crispy outside, and the rich chocolate flavor. I usually ended up with some version of a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie or a brownie bite. The cookies were fine, but they weren’t my beloved Central Market sweetness.

In 2004 I bought the New York Times Jewish Cookbook in preparation for the upcoming Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana. As I sat on the sofa leafing through the book, admiring the depth and breadth of the recipes, my heart started pounding when I saw it: Chocolate Chewies. The recipe was contributed by Joan Nathan, one of the grand dames of Jewish cuisine, and adapted from the cookbook Gottlieb’s Bakery–100 Years of Recipes. I knew immediately that this was the recipe. With only 4 (or 5, depending on if you use the flour) ingredients, it remains a mystery how they can be so tremendously delicious.

You can double this recipe, but since these cookies are very susceptible to drying out so I prefer to make the small batch unless I know I’m baking for a crowd.

Chocolate Chewies (or Chocolate Crispy Cookies)

3 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. good quality unsweetened cocoa
2 Tbsp. flour
3 egg whites
2 c. chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place sugar, cocoa and flour in bowl of an electric mixer, and beat until well blended. Beat in egg whites one at a time, scraping bowl as necessary. Beat at high speed for 1 minute. Stir in pecans.

Drop heaping tablespoons onto cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Bake 15 minutes on center rack, turning sheet halfway through baking time. Remove from oven. Cool, then peel cookies off parchment.

Store in airtight container or freeze.

Yield: approximately 10-12 cookies

As printed in the New York Times Jewish Cookbook