Um, hi, my name is Kim, and I’m a terrible blogger…

30 May

…but I’m really trying to get better. Things have been pretty busy – working, reading, applying for jobs, hanging with bf before he leaves for NOLA for the summer – but the real problem is I’ve gotten lazy. I’ve been making a lot of very quick, very unexciting meals. I’ve also been building up the whole posting process: taking and editing pictures, writing down recipes, coming with clever things to say to you all. Which is to really say that I’ve been a little overwhelmed and a lot lazy (with the blog at least). However, I am back with a kick ass black bean-sweet potato burgers, guac, and gluten-free naan bun recipes, a meager peace offering.

Black Bean – Sweet Potato Burgers

1 15.5 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ 15 oz. can of sweet potato puree (or other pureed veggie)

¼ red onion roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup walnuts

2 tbsp flax meal

salt and pepper to taste – I used about a tsp of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the black beans, sweet potato puree, onion, garlic, flax meal, a little salt and peper, and ¼ each of the rolled oats and walnuts in a food processor. You’re going to need at least a 7 cup one to fit it all in there; if you aren’t lucky enough to have a roommate with top-notch kitchen equipment, you may have to do this in two or three batches. Mix until smooth-ish (thirty seconds to one minute). Add another ¼ cup of oats and walnuts. Mix for twenty to thirty seconds. Repeat until you have added all of the oats and walnuts.
  3. At this point you should have a thick, soft mixture. Give the mix a little taste (the beauty of vegan cooking – you can taste-test at any point in the process without worrying about dying). Adjust seasoning as needed.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Grab a small handful of the mixture. Be brave, and reach in there. It will be squishy, but you should be able to form a 3-4 inch patty without too much trouble (don’t worry if some sticks to your hands; it’s all part of the process). Patty out the mixture. I got eight patties out it, which filled my baking sheet. You may notice that I didn’t tell you to add any oil or coat the patties with oil. You can do this if it makes you feel better (I’m looking at you, Mom), but I didn’t find it necessary. The burgers were moist on the inside and crisp on the outside – pretty much perfect as far as I’m concerned. But do what you need to do.
  5. Bake the patties for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Flip, and cook for fifteen more minutes.

While the burgers are baking, get started on the toppings and buns. That’s right – you’re making your own buns. Yummy, gluten-free naan buns. But first the guac. It is ridiculously easy to make and super tastey. You may want to double the recipe, especially if you’re having friends over for margaritas.

Guac

1 ripe avocado (it should give slightly under pressure)

1/8 or 2 tbsp of onion – red or yellow will work

1 clove of garlic

juice of ½ a lime or 2 tbsp of bottled lime juice

1 small vine ripe tomato or about 5 cherry tomatoes

salt to taste

  1. Cut the avocado in half long-ways, scoop out the inside, and mash with a fork or potato masher in a bowl.
  2. Add lime juice right away to keep the avocado from browning.
  3. Chop the onion, mince the garlic, and seed and cube the tomato (seeding is not necessary if you’re using cherry tomatoes). Throw them into the bowl.
  4. Salt and stir.

By this point, you’ll be feeling pretty good about yourself. You’ve made veggie burgers that could rival anything Amy cooks up and guac that will have your guests fighting over the last bit and licking the bowl. But I’ve got one more trick up my sleeve: buns. Finding gluten-free buns has been a pain in my bum so I gave up and made them myself. They’re pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. The naan buns are inspired by a 5-Minute Naan recipe from Neverhomemaker. The only real changes I made to the recipe were adjusting the flour measurement for gluten-free flour and salting the bread as soon as I flipped and removed it from the pan.

5-Minute Naan Buns

adapted from neverhomemaker

1 ¾ cup to 2 cups of gluten-free all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking powder

2/3 cup water

salt to taste

  1. Heat a pancake griddle on medium-high heat with a little olive oil (about a teaspoon).
  2. Start with 1 ¾ cups of flour and the rest your ingredients in a small bowl. Mix it all together. Your dough should be a only slightly sticky and hold together. Slowly add the rest of the flour until you reach this point.
  3. By this time your dough is mixed, your pan should be hot and ready to go. I got about six small dough balls, which works out to three buns from this mixture. Flatten each ball a little in your hand. Place it in the pan and finish flattening until it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of four inches in diameter. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take much work, and you will not burn your fingers. Just be careful. I tried to roll out the ball on the counter, but to no avail. Hand-flattening was much, much easier.
  4. Cook each bun for three to four minutes a side. Flip when you see the bottom getting golden brown. Swish the oil around when flipping. Salt the cooked side while it’s still hot and has some oil on it.
  5. When the second side is golden, remove it from the heat and lightly salt that side.

For burger buns, I thought these worked really well. They were sturdy enough to hold up to my massive dressing of the burger and some serious squishing as all my fillings oozed out (mostly onto my plate). I’m not sure that I would eat these buns on their own. The taste of the flour comes through a little too much for my liking – hence the salting on each side, which I thought helped immensely. If I were to make these as a flatbread for sandwiches – the thought of sandwiches seriously makes me giddy, sometimes being gluten-free is a little sad – I would definitely use a flour mixture (I’m generally not a big fan of the all-purpose flour on its own, but I was in a hurry and super hungry) and add some herbs (rosemary is my go-to bread/pizza crust herb). All in all, I was super please with my first attempt at homemade buns.

I dressed my burger with some romaine, a slice of tomato, a ring of red onion, a slathering of guac, and a glug of ketchup. Oh, yeeeaaaah. This completely vegan, gluten-free dinner was a-mazing. I added some Terra Chips, baked beans, and a cold glass of organic lemonade (on sale at Wegman’s, woot woot) to round out the meal, but I could hardly eat the sides. The burger was super filling and delicious. I also had some Terra Chips and lemonade while cooking (I was seriously hungry; applying for jobs and dissertating all afternoon will do that to a girl), which could have possibly added to my fullness. One caveat: this is a very, very messy burger…when you are as fanatical about the guac and ketchup as I am. Definitely not first date food. It would, however, be the perfect sploshing food if you’re into that sort of thing. I won’t judge.

And a little something to kick off the official start to summer:

Hello Again

30 Apr

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new. Sorry about the delay. I’ve been a little overwhelmed with work and school so something had to give, but I’m back now. In our time apart, I went to Arizona, baked all day Easter Sunday with my sweetie, and perfected the art of making just one rice crispy treat. I have so much to share with you, but I think I will start with a quick post about the individual crispy treat: it’s short, sugary, and oh so satisfying.

Individual Rice Crispy Treat

1/2 tbsp butter

1/4 cup mini marshmellows

1 cup (give or take) your favorite crispy rice cereal

Microwave butter for 20-30 seconds until it’s melted. Add marshmellows and stir. Microwave for 10-15 seconds. The marshmellows will get puffy, airy, and melty. Stir again, and pour in the cereal. Add a little more or less depending on how dense you like your rice crispy treats. Spray a ramekin with cooking spray, pour in mixture, and allow it to cool; or if you can’t wait, eat it warm and gooey directly from the bowl.

Caramel-Soaked Brownies

4 Apr

Sometimes mistakes are the key to success. I set out to transformed a recipe for coconut caramel brownies into a chocolate-packed, gluten-free masterpiece, but ended up with a gooey, super chocolately, fudgey brownie that exceeded my expectations. I think I erred in my caramel-making. I should have probably allowed it to thicken a little more (and possibly cool some) before pouring it over the warm brownies, but since I was so impatient, I ended up with concoction that has a fluffy, cake-like consistency when warm and a dense fudgey texture when refrigerated. Plus, I had a cup of caramel leftover for topping the brownies, ice cream, and anything else I could think of.

Brownie Ingredients:

-1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

-1 stick of butter

-1/4 cup applesauce

-2 cups sugar

-1 tbsp vanilla extract

-3 eggs

-flour mixture: 1/4 cup sorghum flour, 1/4 cup coconut flour, 1/2 cup hazelnut (or other nut) flour, 2 tbsp tapioca starch, 3/4 tsp xantham gum

-4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

-1/2 tsp salt

Brownie Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350.

2. Combine half of the chocolate chips and the stick of butter (cut into chunks). Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring after each one until the chocolate is just melted. Be careful not to burn it. You could also use a double-boiler to melt the chocolate.

3. Whisk together the dry ingredients.

4. Combine the wet ingredients. Temper the eggs by adding a little bit of the melted chocolate to the eggs so you don’t end up with scramble eggs. If you’re feeling nervous, combine all of the wet ingredients except the eggs; then, beat the eggs and add those to the dry ingredients.

5. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in batches (it took me three). One bonus of gluten-free baking: you don’t have to worry about over mixing. Stir in the rest of the chocolate chips.

6. Pour batter into greased baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. My baking dish was 8″ x 6″; if yours is larger, decrease the cooking time by 5-10 minutes.

Caramel Ingredients:

-1 cup sugar in the raw

-1/4 cup water

-1/2 cup heavy cream

-1 tbsp butter

-1/8 tsp salt

Caramel Directions:

1. Add sugar and water to saucepan over medium heat. Stir, and keep an eye on it. You want it to reach a golden brown without going too dark. This is a little trickier when using sugar in the raw since it starts out light brown. It takes a few minutes, but the color will start to deepen and mixture will begin to thicken. As soon as that happens, remove it from the heat. Like I said above, I was perhaps a little overly cautious and removed the caramel a little early – just as it started to turn golden. However, this mishap is really the key to the dish. You need the caramel to remain a little soupy in order for it to penetrate the brownies.

2. Remove pan from heat, and carefully pour the cream into the caramel. Next, add the butter and salt. Stir, stir, stir.

3. Once the caramel is smooth, pour it over the warm brownies. Mine had been sitting for about fifteen minutes when I poured the caramel over them. You are going to have a lot of caramel. A ridiculous amount. Let the caramel sink into the brownies for about five minutes – you want them saturated, but you don’t want them to get soggy.

4. Pour off excess caramel into a bowl. You may get a few brownie chunks in the excess caramel; don’t worry about it.

Store brownies in the fridge to achieve a fudge-like texture. They return to a cakier consistency when microwaved for 25 seconds. I recommend them on top of ice cream with plenty of caramel, though some purists prefer to enjoy them as they are.

Magnus Bonus

3 Apr

A few more pictures from the trip. I can’t believe that I forgot to put in the moccasin warehouse photo. The focus isn’t the best, but as I hadn’t driven this route before, I didn’t know what kind of wonderfulness was in store for me until I was right on top of it and had to fumble for my camera while trying to stay on the road. Not an easy feat. Next road trip, I call shotgun. Sorry, Iulian; that’s how the saxis crumble.

As promised, the caramel-soaked brownie recipe will be up shortly:)

Coming Home Again

31 Mar

Yes, I know it’s blurry, but I was driving and I dropped my camera earlier in the day – what do you expect? The last week has been crazy busy and just plain crazy. I’ll leave you with some more pictures from the second half of my trip, the tease of caramel-soaked brownies, and the promise to have a more detailed post next time.

On the Road

25 Mar

I’m traveling again this weekend, although this time I don’t think I’ll have much time to discover new foods to recreate at home. Well, I will probably try my hand at recreating a mocha frappuccino, which I finished in record speed and will likely get at least one more of this afternoon – caffeine is essential to my survival today. It was an accidental order but ended up being surprisingly good. Where have you been all life? Oh, right, I was too good to order you with your frivolous-sounding name. How wrong I was. A chocolate coffee slurpee? Sign me up.

Conference sessions are taking up most of my day, and I’m spending all non-session-attending time revising and re-revising my presentation, which I give tomorrow morning. Already this morning, I’ve learned about silent-era stag films – including an animated one (see below –  very adult content), on which all the animated studios collaborated. This afternoon I’m going to hear talks about Hank Williams and the Velvet Underground. Best conference ever? I hope these papers will come close to the paper about Madonna’s music videos at CAA four years ago [“no re-entry!” shout out to k 🙂 ]. After my talk Saturday, I hope to hit up the art museum and Kinsey Institute. Then, off to my parents’ house for a day to visit, see my grandma, and stock up at Trader Joe’s!

In lieu of the dispersal of any culinary knowledge, I will leave you with some pictures of the crazy weather I encountered on my drive. Yes, I took these pictures with my Nikon whilst driving. I am very talent. Or reckless. Probably mostly the latter.

Almond Eggplant Enchiladas

20 Mar

As the main course of the birthday dinner, I served almond eggplant enchiladas with guac (recipe forthcoming) and chips. The enchilada recipe is adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook. The cookbook is amazing, and almost everything I’ve made from it has been a hit. The only downside to it is the amount of fat in many of the recipes. To make this recipe a little healthier, I sprayed a little olive oil on a pan and browned the tortillas instead of deep frying them. I’ve made them both ways, and I definitely prefer this method. The oil comes through a little too much for my liking in deep frying. This way you still manage to prevent sogginess without oil overkill. I also upped the amount of veggies to get more crunch, and the boat-load of black pepper provides a surprising amount of heat. Guac is a perennial favorite, though it rarely lasts long enough to photograph so you’ll just have to wait until the next batch, which will probably be made very soon. We paired the meal with a bottle of Sangre de Toro, partly because it tastes good, but mainly because it comes with a toy (see above). That’s the best way to choose a wine, right?

Almond Eggplant Enchiladas ~ yields 10 enchiladas

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant cut into small cubes

1 small onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 green pepper, chopped

½ cup sliced almonds, toasted in a skillet until fragrant

1-2 tsp black pepper (I used 12 grinds on my pepper mill, but I would probably give it a few more next time)

salt to taste

10 corn torillas

1 ½ tbsp olive oil

2 cans of red enchilada sauce

1 cup Monterey jack cheese for sprinkling on top

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 ½ tbsp olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions and garlic. Stir frequently, and add salt. Cook until soft (about 5 minutes).
  2. Toss in the eggplant. Stir to combine. Cover and cook until soft (10-15 minutes depending on the size of your cubes). Stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks.
  3. While the eggplant is cooking, sprtiz another pan with olive oil – I used my Misto, but you could also use a brush to lightly coat the bottom of the pan with oil. When the pan is hot, brown up the corn torillas one by one. They only need about 20-30 seconds per side. You want them to begin to turn golden but not get too crispy. As you finish the tortillas, stack them on a plate with a piece of paper towel separating them.
  4. By the time you’re almost finished with the torillas, you will need to add the green pepper, almonds, and black pepper to the vegetable mixture. Stir and cook for five minutes.
  5. Assemble the enchiladas by scooping a ¼ cup of the filling into a corn tortilla, roll it up, and place it seam-side down in a baking dish, ideally one the width of the tortilla. I fit five enchiladas per baking dish.
  6. Top the enchiladas with the red enchilada sauce (or you could use green, if you so desire), and top with cheese.
  7. Cover baking dishes with foil, and bake in a 350-degree oven for twenty minutes. Remove the foil after about 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler for a couple minutes if you like your cheese golden brown.
  8. Serve topped with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.

Birthday Pie

16 Mar

One of the best parts of having a birthday is getting exactly what you want. I’m not talking presents here; I’m talking about dessert. Whether it’s funfetti cupcakes, an ice cream cake, or a giant cookie, there are few things more satisfying than the finale of your birthday meal. Last weekend, as part of a birthday feast, I attempted my very first gluten-free apple pie.

The birthday boy seemed to enjoy it (this is his second piece). The crust didn’t turn out as flakey as one with regular flour, but it held together well and had a good texture. Next time, I’m going to try a non-nut flour mixture and butter instead of crisco to lighten it up a bit.

Apple pie

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • Flour Mixture: 1.5 c hazelnut flour, ½ c sorghum flour, ¾ c all-purpose gluten-free flour, ½ tsp xantham gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c butter-flavored Crisco
  • ½ c water

Filling:

  • 9 apples sliced (I used a mixture of crispin, granny smith, ginger gold)
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/3 c all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash salt
  • 1-2 tbsp butter

Directions:

For the crust, combine the dry ingredients. Next, cut in the Crisco. Slowly add up to a ½ cup of water until the dough reaches a pliable, but not runny, consistency. Refrigerate dough for up to an hour.

While the dough is chilling, slice the apples and combine filling ingredients (except for the butter) in a large bowl. Stir well. Let the mixture hang out for about fifteen minutes until it starts to get juicy.

After the dough has cooled, separate it in half. Roll out the first half and fit it into a 9-inch pie pan. Work the dough with your hands to spread it out. Add the filling. Place nubs of butter over the top of the filling. Now roll out the second half of the dough. I found that the dough held together well, but needed a little coaxing to get it to cover the whole pie. To make things easier, I cut it into strips and crisscrossed them to form a lazy basket-weave pattern. This allowed me to pinch together any bits that fell off much more easily than if I had rolled out the dough and tried to fit it on top of the pie whole. If you decide to do the top crust as one piece, be sure to cut slits in it to let out the steam. If you want, you can paint the top crust with an egg wash to get a little extra crisp and color. I skipped this step, and didn’t really notice a difference. If you want to get really decadent you could apply the egg wash, then sprinkle the top of the pie with some sugar.

Cover the periphery of the crust with foil.

Preheat you oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil – this is going to get messy. Cook the pie for approximately 50 minutes (baking times vary so check your pie at about 40 minutes to see how it’s doing). If you notice the top of your pie is browning too quickly (like I did), cover the top of it in foil. I added mine at after about fifteen minutes. Remove all of the foil after 40 minutes to allow it to turn golden. Remove the pie from the oven, and use all the willpower you can muster to allow it to cool before cutting into it.

Excellent song, but the video is not for the easily disturbed.

Spring Break pt. 2: Reconnaissance Mission

10 Mar

The great thing about being in a city again: food! Finally, amazing food everywhere. Like what, you may ask. How about fries drizzled with truffle oil for one. Gluten-free cupcakes for another [like the chocolate-coffee flavored beauty topped with cream cheese frosting and dusted with cocoa pictured above (captured by my trusty iPhone) from Hello Cupcake]. Oh, yes, my friend, you read those correctly. Look for versions of each of these wonders to be recreated upon my return home.

Spring Break – Woooo! Wait…

10 Mar

Nothing like a research trip on spring break.