31 July, 2009

Whip it Up, Week Five

Bulk foods are a beautiful thing, my friends, and Canada has this wonderful little store called The Bulk Barn. It has everything from ground chipotle pepper to gummy bears, cherry pie filling (yes, in a huge vat) to organic coconut flour. Which brings me to the second new recipe I tried this past week: Cinnamon Sugar Cookies. If my understanding is correct, they're gluten-free; maybe somebody out there who's more familiar with these ingredients can confirm that for me.

When we were last at The Bulk Barn, I was hunting for soy flour and came across the coconut flour and handily enough, there was a recipe card attached to the bin. Here's the recipe!

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
4 eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, melted
3/4 c. coconut flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine eggs, sugar (reserve 1 tbsp.), vanilla and butter. Mix well. Stir in coconut flour. Let mixture rest for five minutes (try 10) to allow it to thicken (really, it looks like pancake batter before it thickens). Combine cinnamon with 1 Tbsp sugar in a separate bowl. Form dough into 1-1/2" balls and roll in cinnamon mixture, coating thoroughly. Place on cookie sheet 1" apart. Flatten ball to a diameter of 2" (I used the bottom of a juice glass). Bake at 375F for 15 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

The Big Three:
Was the recipe easy to follow? Yes but with some revisions. I ended up adding at least an extra 1/2 cup of coconut flour because it just wasn't getting thick. I also had to let it sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes before it was solid enough to form into a ball without making a complete mess, and I only baked them for about 10 minutes.
Was it tasty? My four guinea pigs (LJ and his parents and the Little Goat) all agreed they were great (particularly noted for flavour and texture). On the other hand, the LG isn't exactly picky when it comes to cookies. She just loves that she's actually getting a cookie! I thought the taste was good but could have been more coconutty; maybe using some extract would help. They also didn't hold up well with time. Eaten fresh they were fine, but a day or two later I felt they were overly crumbly.
Would you make it again? I'm undecided on this one. I thought these were just okay. If I knew we were having company where gluten was an issue, these would definitely be quick and easy to make and I wouldn't be at all ashamed to serve them. I don't know if I'd make them again just for us to eat though.

I did do a little extra research and found lots of other recipes using coconut flour so I might buy a little more and try something else - maybe these coconut brownies.

Whip it Up, Week Four

My inlaws left this morning so now I'm playing catch-up posting recipes for you.

Pie is not new to me and I love making it but I've never actually attempted a Strawberry-Rhubarb pie (sorry, no pictures - both pies are long gone!).

The pie crust recipe I used is my Mom's and is as follows:

1 lb. lard (yes, people, lard. I'm a recent convert - thanks, Mom! - and it really does make a difference. So just use it, okay? Okay.)
6 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 Tbsp. white vinegar

Using either two forks, a pastry blender, or a mixer (like a Kitchen Aid), mix the lard, flour and salt until it resembles pea-sized bits. Crack the egg in a coffee mug (roughly 6-8 oz.), beat it lightly with a fork, stir in the vinegar and fill the cup the rest of the way with cold water. Pour that in the lard/flour mixture and continue mixing until you get a soft-ish dough and I'm sure you can figure out the rest from there. The yield for this recipe is roughly two 9-inch pies (bottom and top crust).

Now for the filling. Go to the store and buy a small box of Kraft Minute Tapioca. Use the recipe on the back of the box for Strawberry-Rhubarb pie - or this one from the Kraft website. You'll only need pie crust for one pie unless you double the filling recipe to use up all the crust and either bake two pies right away, or assemble them both, bake one and freeze the other (unbaked) for another time....like two days later when the first one is gone.

The Big Three:
Was the recipe easy to follow? Reasonably. Pie takes time and I never really know how long to bake it and this one wasn't any different. Thankfully, my mom was here when we made the first one. She didn't scold me too terribly when it ran over in the oven and the smell of burnt filling lingered in the house. She did determine that it needed an extra 20 minutes beyond what the box said. Then it was just a matter of letting it stand long enough so it would thicken up when it was cut. I'll say it might've taken about a half hour to 'set up'.
Did it taste good? Of course! It's pie! It was great!
Would you make it again? I'm not sure about strawberry-rhubarb exactly. It was good, but not my favourite flavour. I prefer just plain old rhubarb but LJ, the husband, loves strawberry-rhubarb, so I might make it again sometime - just because I'm that awesome a wife!

17 July, 2009

Whip it Up, Week Three

I'm not even going to wait to post pictures because my in-laws are coming tonight and if I don't post this now, it might not happen until after the deadline.

This week, we attempted this delectable dessert and when Joy said, "This changes everything," she wasn't kidding! This Dark Chocolate Sorbet is amazing and if you have an ice cream maker or access to one, you better try it, quick! The best part? It tastes creamy and looks creamy, but it's completely dairy-free!

The Big Three:
Was the recipe easy to follow? Yup, it only took us maybe 20 minutes from the time we started chopping chocolate (we used dark Callebaut - 51% cocoa) until the time we put the mix in the fridge to chill overnight before churning. Churning took 25 minutes and after resting in the freezer all afternoon, it's perfectly ready to eat! Yay!*
Was it tasty? It's dark. It's chocolate. What's not to love?
Would we make it again? We better, because this batch won't last long...

*As a note, we used 1/2 'regular' cocoa and 1/2 Hershey's Special Dark.


It only took:
2 years
1 month
23 hours
and 50 minutes:



08 July, 2009

Whip it Up, Week Two

I'm not a huge fan of cooking. Baking, I love. LOVE. There's a comfortable rhythm to the science of combining flour, sugar and butter in just the right way. There's less of an urgency to baking and conveniently, the heat is restricted to the confines of the oven as opposed to radiating throughout the kitchen via an element on the stove.

That said, I'm also a fan of eating tasty meals that require no cooking OR baking. Give me a sandwich or hummus and veggies or a big dinner salad and I'm there, particularly on a hot summer evening.

This weeks recipe is that - a salad and dressing. Officially, my Whip it Up Week Two submission is this balsamic vinaigrette dressing, but I'm also going to tell you how we used it just in case you need a little extra inspiration. Important Note: We used regular balsamic vinegar instead of white because we haven't bought a new bottle since we moved.

First, we tore up a whole head of romaine lettuce. If you have some baby spinach to add, that would be lovely too. Then I botched a half-cup batch of honey-roasted pecans and they mostly stuck together in clumps. They still tasted just fine though and had just enough stick and crunch to work in the salad. We also threw in about a half-cup of dried cranberries and oh, let's say, six ounces of crumbled feta cheese. Toss all that with a half recipe of the balsamic vinaigrette dressing and you have yourself quite a lovely meal for a summertime weeknight.

The Big Three:
Was the recipe easy to follow? Yup!
Was the recipe tasty? Yes. I wouldn't change a thing. Uh, other than the substitution we made in the first place.
Would you make it again? Yes. It was easy enough and I'd sooner have a homemade dressing than storebought any day: It's fresh, I know exactly what's in it, and there's not usually enough of it to get sick of before it runs out!

As usual, click on the W.I.U. 2009 button over on the right for weekly wrap-ups and more recipes.

02 July, 2009

It's Back!

I haven't even posted to let you know that I signed up to do Whip it Up again this summer! Because yes, it's not like there isn't enough to do already; a newborn is sitting beside me (sleeping, thankfully) and a newly minted two-year-old is flipping over chairs across the room as I type this.

Here's a refresher on the rules of the challenge: Try one new recipe per week for eight weeks. Post about the recipe (including a pic if you have one) and answer the three questions as seen below.

Incidentally, since the challenge started last Sunday, we've already tried three new recipes. Okay, well, one was on Saturday night.

My official entry for this week is this Hot Fudge Sauce.
Was it easy to follow? Incredibly.
Was it tasty? Quite, though I added a good heaping tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa.
Would I make it again? I have another recipe I usually use for a mocha fudge sauce and it's delectable. It takes quite a bit longer to make though. With this recipe, I put everything in a two cup glass measuring cup and microwaved it for two minutes and voila! Hot fudge sauce! The mocha fudge sauce is still my favourite, but this is great to fancify a last-minute dessert or when you really need to satisfy a craving, like, NOW.

We also made this Greek dressing (scaled down to six servings) and aside from being easy, it was delicious on our - wait for it - GREEK salad! *gasp*

For more stupendous recipes, click on the logo over there on the right. Weekly wrap-ups, listing new recipes from each participant, are posted on Sundays.