100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Recipes, Salads, Vegan

Day 43 – Crispy Spiced Cauliflower Salad with Herbed Dressing

Day43

So this recipe is not a single new recipe, but kinda a combination of two cauliflower recipes I have been holding onto.

I realized I had never made either recipe because each, on its own, seemed a bit too simplistic and bland, but if I combined elements of both recipes together, I thought it could work quite well. The result was certainly worth the experimentation.  One recipe was from Healthy Food and the other one from Treehugger.

Normally, I would use dry chickpeas for a recipe, and soak them over night. Since I was not necessarily planning on making this recipe, I had to use my “emergency ” can of chickpeas that I keep in the pantry, but that is what it is there for.  For most beans I prefer to use the dry version, as it less expensive and usually tastes better (not having been stored in that preservative thick liquid in cans). But sometimes you are making a last minute meal and those emergency cans can be quite handy.

The greens of this salad are Silverbeet, otherwise known as Swiss Chard. This leafy vegetable has been bred to have highly nutritious leaves at the expense of the root, and is subsequently considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables available.

This recipe is another great use for that chickpea flour you may have bought at some point for one recipe, like my Day 42 Panelle post, and are now trying to figure out what to do with the rest.

Crispy Spiced Cauliflower Salad with Herbed Dressing

SERVES:4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium cauliflower, about 1 kg
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 3 tablespoon gram flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 400 grams cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups chopped silver beet leaves (Swiss Chard), stalks discarded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

for the dressing

  • Generous handful of parsley
  • 6 bushy sprigs of mint
  • Handful of basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Break the cauliflower into florets. Boil in salted water for a couple of minutes, and then drain thoroughly.

Blanch or microwave silver beet for 1-2 minutes until tender. Then combine cauliflower, chickpeas, silver beet and olive oil in a large bowl, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the dressing before you fry the cauliflower, so that the cauliflower will still be warm when serving. Chop all the herbs quite finely, and then stir in the garlic, mustard and capers. Pour in the olive oil slowly, beating with a fork to make sure the oil combines with the other ingredients.  Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper. Be generous with the seasoning, tasting as you go.

Get the vegetable oil hot in a deep pan (if you do not want to fry the cauliflower I imagine this would taste almost as good baked).

Toss the cauliflower with the gram flour, a little salt and pepper, cumin, and smoked paprika. When the cauliflower is coated, fry in the hot oil till crisp, a matter of three or four minutes or so. Drain with a paper towel before adding the cauliflower on top of the silverbeet.

Drizzle with the dressing, and serve warm with additional dressing on the side.

ENJOY!!

 

 

 

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100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Party Food, Recipes, Side Dish, Snacks, Vegan

Day 42 – Panelle

Day42Mmmm . . . Deep fried chickpea goodness . . .

A friend of mine posted this recipe, from the New York Times, on her Facebook page, and I knew I was going to have to try making it at some point. Panelle is a type of Sicilian street food that is very similar to polenta, which is made of corn meal. Instead, Panelle is made from chickpea flour (Gram flour), which means it has the added benefit for vegetarians of being high in protein. They make a tasty and interesting and healthier alternative to potato fries, and can be used in the same way for a quick, but filling, snack

These “chips” went extremely well with the left over Warm Chickpea & Artichoke Pâté from my Day 41 post of the 100 Days Project challege.

Panelle

from: The New York Times

INGREDIENTS

  • Vegetable or olive oil for greasing and frying
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Grease an 8-by-8 baking dish or a quarter sheet pan with some oil.

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Put the chickpea flour in a large bowl, and when the water comes to a boil, gradually add it to the chickpea flour, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Scrape the mixture into the saucepan you used to boil the water, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bring the chickpea flour mixture up to a boil, stir in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Only continue cooking for about a minute.

Scoop the chickpea mixture onto the baking dish or sheet pan and spread it into an even layer. Let it cool, and cover loosely with parchment or plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.

Put at least 15mm or 1/4 inch oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cut the chickpea mixture into “French Fries”, about 3 inches long and blot any excess moisture with a paper towel. Working in batches, gently drop them into the hot oil. Cook, rotating them occasionally until they’re golden all over, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain fries on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper. Serve hot, with lemon wedges.

Pour yourself a glass of wine and  . . .

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Dips, Condiments and Dressings, Gluten Free (with Substitutions), Party Food, Recipes, Vegan

Day 41 – Warm Chickpea & Artichoke Pâté Toasted Baguette Sandwich

Day41

I thought this was just going to be a fancy hummus . . .

I found this recipe for Warm Artichoke and Chickpea Pâté  on the Huffington Post website and thought it would make a good filling for a wintertime sandwich. Much to my surprise and delight, the artichoke pureed with the chickpeas, along with the other spices and herbs, gave the pâté a texture and flavor very different from what I was suspecting. It turned out much creamier, and had a consistency similar to tuna fish salad (if I am remembering tuna fish correctly). In fact, I think this pâté would probably make a great vegetarian tuna melt alternative.

Artichokes are actually the bud of a large flower head before it comes into bloom; once the flower blooms, this bud becomes stingy, coarse, and barely edible. Both the ancient Greeks and Romans ate artichokes, and it is a popular ingredient in Mediterranean cooking. The heart of the artichoke is the softest, the best part to eat, and most often used, but often the outer leaves can be cooked and eaten as well.

For me the surprising ingredient for this recipe was the use of Chinese Five Spice Powder. This mixture of star anise, cloves, chinese cinnamon, sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds is not something I cook with often, and I was unsure how well the flavors would combine with the artichoke. In fact, both fennel and anise are flavors that I do not really like very much, but I figured when it comes to unknown spices,  it is always worth trying a recipe the first time how it is written and you can always change it up a bit later. I am glad I did, because the recipe works very well seasoned with these spices, and it would not normally been something I would have tried.

You can use  this recipe for the chickpea and artichoke pâté on its own, as a topping for crackers, or in a sandwich as I did.  It would be gluten free and vegan without the bread or the cheese I used, and these items can easily be swapped with gluten free or vegan substitutions .

Warm Chickpea & Artichoke Pâté Toasted Baguette Sandwich

adapted from: The Huffinton Post: TASTE

INGREDIENTS

  • 390 gram or 14-ounce cooked chickpeas
  • 200 gram or 7-ounce jar of artichokes packed in sunflower oil or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh coriander,chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 French baguette , for serving
  • roasted red peppers, sliced for topping
  • parmesan cheese, shaved, for topping
  • lettuce, for topping

Preheat oven to 180 C or 350 F.

Drain the chickpeas and artichokes.

Roast the five spice in a hot, dry pan until fragrant.

Blend all the remaining ingredients to a fine purée. I found this easiest to do with my stick blender directly in an oven proof dish.

Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish, if you are not using a stick blender, and then bake for 10 minutes, or until heated through.

Cut a length of baguette to your desired size, and slice it open. Toast baguette in the oven while warming the pâté.

To build the sandwich: Place the lettuce and a thick layer of the warm pâté onto the toasted baguette,  and top with the sliced roasted red peppers and shaved parmesan cheese.

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Baking, Mains, pastry, Recipes

Day 40 – Puff Pastry Pockets

Day40

The right music always adds to the cooking experience . . .

I received in the mail today the new  Fleur Jack CD, who is a Kiwi singer/song writer and friend currently living in The States.  I stuck the CD in my computer, put it on repeat, and danced my way (wine glass in hand) through this recipe for Puff Pastry Pockets, originally from the Baking Makes Things Better blog.

This was the perfect simple recipe for the end of a work day, that used up many of the ingredients I had around the house. The recipe called for filling the puff pastry with feta, pesto, and sundried tomato, but I added spinach and spring onion/green onion into the mix. There are countless other variation you could do on this as well, to help clean out your refrigerator. I can imagine roast pumpkin, potato, kumara, red peppers, capers, carrot, mushrooms, onion, lentils or other beans, chickpeas, and other kinds of cheese all being great alternatives to the filling I chose.

Puff pastry is not something I have ever tried making myself, although it is on the bucket list. Making puff pastry from scratch is a time consuming delicate process that can very easily go wrong, and it is an ingredient readily available in the freezer section of most super markets. As a vegetarian you have to be careful though, as most pre-made versions use lard or other animal fats. In New Zealand, New Way brand puff pastry is the only one that is vegetarian friendly, and even has the New Zealand Vegetarian Society stamp of approval.

Puff Pastry Pockets

adapted from: Baking Makes Things Better

MAKES: 4 pockets

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 square sheets of pre-made puff pastry
  • 200g or 7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • 4 large sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 packed cup of baby spinach
  • 1 green onion/spring onion
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Black pepper for seasoning

Preheat the oven to 200 C of 400 F, use the fan bake setting if you have one.

Brush a baking sheet with olive oil.

Cut each of the pastry squares in half.

In a medium bowl mix together the feta, pesto, sun-dried tomato, spinach, green onion, plus a sprinkling of black pepper.

Divide the feta mixture between the four pieces of pastry, and hen fold over the pastry to encase the filling. Press down on the edges with a fork to seal the
filing in. They should look like giant ravioli.

Brush the tops with the egg then bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Serve, while warm, with a simple side salad, or these will also make a great lunch for the next day.

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Baking, Breads, Cakes, Desert, Recipes, Uncategorized

Day 39 – Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Day39

There is a Facebook group called Baking Our Blues Away, that has declared Monday July 15th , 2013 as an international day of baking goodwill.

The idea is simple . . .  “everyone is encouraged to take a moment and give someone they know or don’t know, be it a loved one, a work colleague or perhaps a stranger on the street, a bit of baked or handmade love.”  I have browning bananas in my fruit bowl just asking to be made into banana bread, and so in honor of this, today I am baking this Peanut Butter Banana Bread recipe, which I found on the Sweet Pea’s Kitchen blog but originally comes from Cooking Light magazine.

PicsI can not imagine a better combination than peanut butter and banana. Being an American, I grew up on peanut butter, but I know most Kiwis are brought up on and are more partial to Vegemite or Marmite (for the uninitiated they are very different things and you must have a preference for one or the other).  Sadly, When I moved to New Zealand could not find anything on the grocery store shelves that tasted remotely like I expected peanut butter to taste like. They were all too sweet and sugary with chemical artificial sweeteners, and you could not taste any real peanut in them. Thank goodness for Pics Peanut Butter!!! I only discovered this peanut butter, made in the Nelson region, after being here for over 2 years. It used to only be sold at the Nelson weekend markets, and I was visiting a friend who had moved down the line. Honestly for the last 4 years, Pics has been the only peanut butter I will buy, and until someone can convince me there is another acceptable alternative, I will continue to be forever grateful to Mr. Pic.

So even though it is no longer July 15th, try baking something to share with others. In my experience from this 100 Days Project, where I have been sharing most of what I have been making, it makes you feel good and brings a smile to someone else’s face.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

adapted from: Sweet Pea’s Kitchen and Cooking Light

INGREDIENTS

For the Bread:

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy depending on your preference
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed or ground almonds
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts

For the Peanut Butter Glaze:

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 180 C or 350 F.
Grease bottom and sides of a loaf pan and dust with flour.

In a large bowl , beat together the bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, butter and eggs at medium speed until combined. Add sugars and beat until blended.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, flaxseed/ground almond, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Add the dry ingredients to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in nuts, and then scrape batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth surface with a rubber spatula.

Bake until top is golden and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

To make the peanut butter glaze: In a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar, milk and peanut butter until smooth. Drizzle glaze over bread. Make sure it is completely cool when you do this, or you will wind up with a runny mess, like I did on my first attempt.

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Gluten Free (with Substitutions), Party Food, Snacks

Day 38 – Crispy Potato & Parmesan Puffs

Day38

Continuing this weekend’s theme of finger-food, tapas, small plate type recipes . . . I present the Crispy Potato & Parmesan Puff.

This recipe, originally from the How Sweet It Is blog, caught my attention because they idea of potato and parmesan cheese combined together into a crispy bite sized treat was just too good to ignore. It was the perfect thing to make on a rainy sunday afternoon, and combined with the Feta & Pesto Stuffed Peppadew Peppers , the Dolmades, a glass of wine, and some bread, these little puffs make a great lunch or dinner to graze your way through while chatting with a friend or two.

The recipe makes about 70 puffs, but it is easy to halve. Honestly though, I do not think 70 of these puffs would be all that hard to get through.

This recipe would be easy to make gluten free by substituting the panko bread crumbs with a gluten free bread crumb alternative.

Crispy Potato & Parmesan Puffs

MAKES: 70 puffs

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg or 2 lbs of russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onions/spring onions
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-2 cups seasoned panko bread crumbs

Add potatoes to a large pot of boiling water and cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and then mash them with salt, pepper, butter and milk. Then stir in parmesan and onions, then place the mixture in the fridge to cool for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 C or 400 F. I would recommend using the fan bake setting, if you have one on your oven.

Remove potatoe mixture from the fridge and roll into golf ball sized balls. Dip each potato ball into the beaten egg, then cover in bread crumbs. Place them on a baking sheet about 20mm or 1-2 inches apart, and hit each with a quick spritz of olive oil or cooking spray.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until outside is crispy.

Serve them while still warm with a lemon garlic aioli, pesto or other dipping sauce.

ENJOY!!

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100 Days Project, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Party Food, Recipes, Side Dish, Snacks, Vegan

Day 37 – Dolmades

Day37

Since I started off last night with my Day 36 Feta & Pesto Stuffed Peppadew Peppers post, I decided to keep up the theme for the weekend with recipes for small plate tapas type dishes. Dolmades seemed like the perfect fit!!

Dolmades or Dolma are a stuffed vegetable dish common in the Balkans and surrounding regions of the Middle East. The word Dolma comes from the Turkish for “stuffed thing”. Generally, grape or cabbage leaves are wrapped around a rice based filling, that can be meat or vegetarian, and includes onion, herbs like dill, mint or parsley and spices. While meat Dolma are served warm, vegetarian ones are often served cold or at room temperature. There are numerous variations of ingredients and fillings across the many countries that make a Dolma-like dish.

I first made and had Dolmades as a pre-teen at summer camp. Two kids from every cabin had to help out the kitchen staff with food prep every day. Probably not hard to believe that this was one of my favorite tasks on the chore rotation. I remember one day when we came in, there was a big industrial sized bowl of rice filling and all these grape leaves. I had never thought about eating an actual leaf before (not including lettuce) and thought this was a bit strange. I followed instructions on how to fill and roll the grape leaves into Dolmades, and was pleasantly surprised when it came to dinner time that this strange dish was actually quite yummy!! Although I have eaten Dolmades many times since then, this was probably the last time I tried making them myself until today.

Dolmades

adpated from: Kitchen Classics – Gourmet Vegetarian

MAKES: approx. 40 Dolma

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 spring onion (green onions)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup long grain rice
  • 15 grams or 1/2 ounce fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup artichoke hearts, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted.
  • 235 grams or 8 1/2 ounce packaged pickled grape leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, extra

Heat the oil in a medium sized sauce pan. Chop the spring onions and add them to the pan, cooking them over a medium heat for only one minute.  Stir in the rice, mint, dill, half the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Dry roast the pine nuts until they are toasted and golden brown.

Remove the lid, and fork through the currants, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and toasted pine nuts. Cover with a paper towel, then the lid, and leave to one side to cool.

Gently rinse and separate the grape leave, then pat dry with a paper towel and trim any thick stems off with scissors.

Line the base of a 20cm or 8 inch pot with any torn of misshapen leaves. Choose the larger leaves for filling and sue the smaller ones to patch any gaps.

Place a leaf shiny side down, vein side up,  on a cutting board. Spoon a tablespoon of filling into the center of the leaf.  Bring in the sides, and roll up tightly from the stem end of the leaf. Place seam side down in the base of the leaf lined pot arranging them close together in a single layer.

Pour int he rest of the lemon juice, the extra oil , and enough water to just cover the top of the dolmades. Cover them with an inverted plate and some sort of weight to firmly compress the dolmades and keep them in place while cooking (I had trouble finding something for this, but a tin of canned vegetables might work). Cover with the lid, and bring the liquid up to a boil reducing it to a simmer for 45 minutes. Let them cool and serve at room temperature.

These would make a great side dish to go with my Lebanese Red Lentil Soup.

ENJOY!!

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