Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Years ago we used to get these muffins as a treat at the local health food store's bakery. My mom begged and pleaded for several years before they relented and gave her the recipe. We've enjoyed them ever since. :-) Don't ask me why they are considered "healthfood" because I think they have more sugar than any other muffins I've ever made. But, every once in a while you just have to overlook the sugar content and enjoy a treat.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Makes 12

2 beaten eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. pumpkin
1/2 c. oil

3-1/2 c. unbleached white flour
1-1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. soda
1/2 t. coriander

2 softened cream cheese blocks
2 eggs
1/4 c. sugar

Mix filling in food processor until smooth. Filling works best when refrigerated overnight or until completely chilled.

1) Combine wet ingredients first so sugar can dissolve for a while.
2) Combine dry ingredients.
3) When wet ingredients beat smooth, fold dry ingredients into wet ones.
4) In oiled or paper lined muffin tins, put about a T. of batter into each cup.
5) Make a "well" in each cup by swirling the batter around with the back of the spoon.
6) Fill each "well" with about a T. sized dollop of cream cheese filling.
7) Place another spoonful of batter on top of the filling. Smooth the top and "seal" it so the filling won't seep out.
8) Top with a little finger smear of filling.
9) Bake at 350 for 25 min, rotating between racks after 13 min. (I don't remember for sure, but I highly doubt I ever did the rotating thing.) Filling smear on top will be lightly browned when the insides of the muffins are done.

Black and White Bean Soup

I haven't tried this recipe yet, although it is on the menu for later this week so stay tuned....However, I mentioned it to Sarah because of the creative way it is served. It looked like a great company conversation starter. Not to mention that beans are cheap and healthy, too! So since she really wanted me to post this recipe, here it is. :-) Enjoy!

Black and White Bean Soup

Makes 4 Servings

3/4 c. dried black beans
3/4 c. dried great Northern beans
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small poblano chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped (my cookbook recommends wearing gloves for this....)
1 small rib celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1-1/2 t. chopped fresh thyme leaves
8 c. chicken broth
1 t. chili powder
1 t. groun cumin
1 t. chopped fresh sage
Roasted-Pepper Cream (recipe listed below)
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Place black beans and great Northern beans in two separate large bowls, cover with cold water, and soak overnight in the fridge.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, chile pepper, celery, garlic, and thyme and cook for 8 min, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove half of the vegetables to another large pot.

Drain the beans. To the first pot, add the black beans, 4 c. of broth, the chili powder and the cumin. To the second pot, add the great Northern beans, the remaining 4 c. broth, and the sage. Heat both pots to boiling and cover. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer the black bean pot for 1.5 hours and the white bean pot for 1 hr. Keep both warm over low heat.

To serve, ladle 1 c. black bean soup into each of 4 serving bowls. Tilt the bowls and ladle 1 c. white bean soup into the other side of each bowl. Drizzle with the Roasted-Pepper Cream and garnish with the cilantro leaves.

Roasted-Pepper Cream

Makes about 1 cup

1 jar (7 oz.) roasted red peppers, drained
2 T. fat-free sour cream
1 t. apple cider vinegar
groun black pepper

In a blender or food processor, combine the peppers, sour cream, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Chicken-Black Bean Salad

This is one of the few salads I've ever had in a restaurant that was tasty enough and cheap enough to make a regular staple at home. It's my favorite summer dinner and is easy enough to make even during the first trimester!

2 c. chopped cooked chicken. (If it was cooked with taco seasonings to begin with, all the better. If not, you might want to mix up extra dressing and marinate it for a few hours.)
1 head shredded leaf or Romaine lettuce
1 can black beans, drained
1-2 cups frozen corn, rinsed (you could used canned, but I like the frozen texture better.)
8 medium (Roma) tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c. fresh cilantro leaves
Any other veggies that sound good; cucumber and cauliflower would be tasty.

2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T olive oil
1 t. granulated garlic
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. thyme
1 t. chili powder

I like to have an equal mix of salsa and plain yogurt to serve with it, either to go on the salad or for chips. It feeds the two of us with a little bit left over, so it would probably feed four people of normal appetite.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Vegetarian Wrap

This is for my own benefit more than anything else. I stumbled upon this while picking out the menus for some upcoming workshops I'm planning and it sounded tasty (and healthy). I'm posting it here so I'll be able to find it again. :-P

If anyone gives it a try let me know how it turns out.

Vegetarian Wrap
Hummus, shredded carrots, red onion, cucumber, lettuce and pine nuts wrapped in a flour tortilla.

WDIDWT? Cooked Egg Whites

D1 has started on egg yolks this week, according to proper introduction-of-food procedures, whereby one delays introducing the egg whites for some time yet. And she loves egg yolks. So this leaves me with a hard-boiled egg white a day to consume. Plain with salt is rather uninspiring. Any ideas on what else one can do with hardboiled egg whites?

DOB suggests I could separate the eggs and then poach the yolks, but I am not positive this would work, and even if it did I don't think I'm quite inspired enough to fix enough meringues or macaroons to use up the raw whites. I guess I could throw them into scrambled eggs, but that seems too uninspired.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Orange White-Chocolate Cheesecake

Can you tell I was suffering from Lent-imposed baking deprivation? Here's the other Easter treat I made. I probably won't make desserts this fiddly until next Easter.

Formatting note: Notice all the italics in the last post? How nice it looks? Since my browser doesn't let me do that automatically, so I have to type in all the <'s and /'s. So formatted posts are almost as rare a treat as orange white-chocolate cheesecake. And less enjoyable to make.

1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup orange juice
1 envelope (7 grams) unflavored gelatin
2 cups (12-oz pkg) white-chocolate morsels
2 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees.

COMBINE crumbs and butter in medium bowl. Press crumb mixture onton bottome of ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 min., cool in pan on wire rack.

COMBINE orange juice and gelatin in small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, till gelatin dissolves.

MELT morsels in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute; STIR.

BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large mixing bowl until combined. Gradually stir in gelatin mixture and morsels.

BEAT whipping cream in small bowl until soft peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream and orange peel into cheese mixture. Pour filling over crust. Cover; refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours or until firm.

Allow to stand at room temperature for a few minutes before removing side of pan.


-- SJ

Gumdrop Cake

This is a recipe of Darren's grandmother's, and one of Darren's favorites. Always a risky undertaking for a wife, to attempt to reproduce a matriarchal specialty; but I tried it anyway. Success!

Gumdrop Cake

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

1 lb. gumdrops (cut in half or third -- do not use purple or black, as they discolor the cake)

1 cup golden raisins (which I forgot to put in)

1/2 cup red & green cherries (which we couldn't find, as they're seasonal, so we used dried cherries instead)

2 dried pineapple rings or fruit of your choice (we couldn't find rings, so used a package of dried chunks. It was a small package; can't remember the exact size.)

Cream butter and sugar well. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat after each addition. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed mixture, alternating with milk (flour first, then milk, in small amounts, mixing after each addition. End with flour.) Add extracts. Flour fruit (in small amounts, so it doesn't fall to bottom of cake) and add to batter. Add gumdrops.

Bake in a greased square or tube pan at 325 degrees for 1 1/4 hours, till done.

Note from Darren's grandmother: She -- and so I did, too -- bakes it at 300 for about an hour to see how it's coming along, then raises the temperature if it's not getting done. I baked it longer than I expected, but it came out nicely done. Take it out of the pan once it's cool enough, or it'll stick horribly.

-- SJ

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Fast Lemon Chicken and Rice

This is an easy chicken recipe. The cooking time is short, and it is a favorite with my husband.

Cooking spray
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 strips
2 1/4 C chopped onion
1 C chopped red bell pepper
2 C instant rice (I use brown)
1/4 C lemon juice
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 14-oz can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 14-oz can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
2 T grated Romano (or Parmesan) cheese (optional)

Heat a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken, chopped onion and red bell pepper; saute 5 minutes. Stir in rice, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in artichokes. Cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes 4 good size servings.