Sunday, February 28, 2010

Luscious Lower-Fat Chocolate Cupcakes

Recipes are just guidelines, I always say!  In this case, needing a quick chocolate fix, this is what I dreamed up.  Quick and easy recipe inspired in part by the "Lower-Fat Deep Chocolate Bundt Cake" in Veganomicon

1 2/3 cups decaf coffee (skim milk would be a possible substitute)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup plain nonfat yoghurt
3 Tbsp arrowroot powder (you can probably use 4 tablespoons of cornstarch in a pinch)
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp almond extract, 2 tsp orange extract, or 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cups cocoa (use regular, not dutch-processed, which removes many of the valuable nutrients in cocoa)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
sliced almonds (optional)

Separately mix the wet ingredients and dry ingredients well. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients slowly, and blend (with wooden spoon or mixer) just until well mixed. Divide among cupcake cups.  If desired, arrange a few sliced almonds on top of each cupcake.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Salmon Cakes

A slow Saturday morning on the day of the earthquake in Chile. My partner is waiting to hear word from his family, and sits glued to the tv with remote, cell, land phone, and computer arranged before him, hoping that somehow word from his brother and their family can get through soon. It has been nearly 15 hours, and soon the first waves will hit Hawaii... Seeing that he needs to be alone in his restlessness, I withdraw to the kitchen. This has a long tradition in my family, cooking for comfort, cooking to show our love.

2 egg whites
1 can salmon
1 tsp dill
3 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes
3/4 cup crushed crackers
2 T canola oil

Beat the whites lightly with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and flake together with the fork. Heat nonstick pan with oil until sizzlng. Form five patties and fry for about 6 minutes on each side.

I served over baby spinach, garnished with sliced almonds and drizzled with Annie's Naturals Gingerly Vinaigrette.

Red Green Pizza

Monday we get our Door to Door Organics delivery. While unpacking the fresh box with great anticipation, I find myself also needing to use up the last veggies from the week before. Particularly challenging, given my long Mondays and fuzzy brain.

Once upon a time I'd made a habit of making "garbage pizza" out of whatever leftovers were floating around the fridge. Last night I revived my lost tradition. This latest incarnation, emerging from a particularly challenging set of ingredients, proved delicious! Really, can there be any better start to the week than the particular set of smells accompanying a fresh pizza: baking dough, crisping cheese, sauteeing greens...

Prepared pizza dough (1 lb)
1 T oregano
Pepper to taste
1 cup broccoli florets, chopped small
1 cup chopped red chard or other greens
3 T pesto
1/3 cup pizza sauce
1 3/4 cup shredded cheese (I use an asiago/mozzarella/fontina mix)

Spray cookie sheet with olive oil. Spread prepared pizza dough and sprinkle with oregano and freshly ground pepper. Allow to rest for 15 minutes while preheating the oven to 425.

While dough is resting, steam or saute 1 cup broccoli for 15 minutes. Add 1 cup of chopped greens (I used red chard) and saute another few minutes, until wilted.

Pierce crust evenly with fork and prebake for 10-15 minutes - until baked, but not brown.

Mix 3 T pesto with 1/4 cup pizza sauce.

Sprinkle pizza crust with a few Tbs of a mixture of shredded cheese. Then spread the pesto/sauce mixture thinly over the top. Spread chard and broccoli mixture over the top of that, then sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese mixture. Bake until bubbly and cheese just begins to brown, about 15 minutes.