Saturday, February 27, 2010

Daring Bakers Challenge - Tiramisu

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

I have never eaten tiramisu. It must be because I’m not a fan of cheese, and tiramisu is all about the cream cheese. It’s also not the least bit healthy nor vegan friendly, and if you avoid soy as I do, it’s even more unfriendly. Nonetheless, I love these challenges and every month they are indeed a challenge!

Another major component of tiramisu is the ladyfinger cookies. Even though I didn’t use the vegan friendly recipe provided in my version of tiramisu, I did make these cookies. I used applesauce instead of margarine to keep them low fat, and although they were not the melt-in-your-mouth ladyfingers of my memory, they did make a tasty cookie.

My healthy tiramisu was quick and easy – half a banana cut in half, layered with almond cream, and topped with cacao nibs.

This is a delicious dessert I can enjoy and never feel guilty eating!

Here’s the recipe for ladyfingers if you’d like to try a vegan or dairyfree version.

(Source: Adapted from Recipezaar.
This recipe makes about 4 long biscuits (3" long and 3/4" wide).
(I made a half batch and got 3 cookies.)

4 tablespoons/ 55gms sugar
1 teaspoon/ 5ml vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups/ 340gms unsalted butter (I used unsweetened applesauce)
2 cups/ 250gms all purpose flour
1/2 cup/ 40gms coarsely ground almonds
powdered sugar

Blend all the ingredients well and adding the coarsely ground nuts last. Scrape the batter into a piping bag with a ¾-inch plain tip and pipe into fingers about 3 inches long at 1-inch intervals onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake them in a 300 degree F (150 C) oven for 30 to 45 minutes till they start turning slightly brown at the edges.

Take them out of the oven and cool on tray for about 5 minutes and then move the biscuits to a cooling rack. When slightly cool, roll them in powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container till required.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Assorted Eats and Snow Day!

First things first – it snowed all day today! Of course it didn’t stick because it was 80 degrees on Sunday, but it was beautiful. Such a rare sight for Austin and a great pick-me-up after last week’s pilot suicide attack on one of our buildings.

I’m so proud of myself for remembering to take my camera to work. Scenes from outside my office right in the heart of downtown.

I’m still eating and taking pictures, but with the wedding a month away I find myself away from home a lot and when home, on the phone. One of the best things I made myself was a veggie burger pita. I was extra hungry (what’s new) and put two Chipotle Gardenburgers in one of my homemade pita breads with some iceberg lettuce and tomatoes and onions.

I also made a homemade tomato and spinach soup. It’s not very pretty and it wasn’t all that good now that I think about it.

Spaghetti squash with mushroom sauce.

Leftover casserole of broccoli, spaghetti squash, and soup – the soup was good in this!

Some greens from my farm box, lightly steamed with raw carrots and corn.

Marinated raw veggies – purple cabbage, mushrooms, broccoli, daikon, red pepper, zucchini, and green onions – so yummy.

And a spicy homemade slaw with carrots and cilantro.

The wedding plans are all in place. Tomorrow Chase and I are going to pick up his suit and have dinner together. Chase and Cat are moving to their new place this weekend. I’m having so much fun.

And it’s still snowing!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Daring Cooks Challenge – Handmade Pita and Hummus

The 2010 February Daring COOKs challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.

I finally made pita bread, something I had wanted to try for a long time. I mixed the dough by hand and also kneaded for 10 minutes by hand. After the dough had risen, I rolled out eight flatbreads. I think I should have baked them a minute or two longer, but since this was my first attempt I stuck to the recipe instructions of three minutes.

I cut one in half to see if I had a pocket, and I did!

As I am so pressed for time these days, I made this recipe in two parts, making only the required elements of pita bread and hummus. I made the pita bread before I started another diet. (I have my eye on a tiny little dress for Chase and Cat’s wedding!) Since I’ve made hummus at least 20 times already, I decided to make a diet friendly, almost raw zucchini hummus. I followed the given recipe, but subbed in three zucchinis for the can of chickpeas and reduced the tahini to one tablespoon.

It’s not creamy like traditional hummus, but the flavor is good and it makes a fantastic salad topper.

Thanks for all of your congratulations on my son’s wedding. It’s such a fun and busy and happy time. And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Lots of Mushrooms and Joyous News!

There’s excitement in the eat’n veg’n family, but first let’s see how mushroom crazy I’ve been lately.

Along with plenty of the fresh variety, I snagged a huge bunch of dried mushrooms from Costco in Alabama. I don’t love rehydrated mushrooms, but they’ll do in a pinch, especially when they’re rather exotic.

I’ve made all these yummy dishes:

Broccoli and Mushroom Stirfry

Snap Peas and Mushrooms

Purple Cabbage with Mushrooms and Pickled Ginger. Isn’t it colorful!!!
In addition to all the mushrooms, I’ve really been enjoying the seasonal produce.

Roasted Cauliflower with Tandoori Spices

I got this beautiful kale in my CSA box.

I steamed it with some green garlic, also from my box.

I’m eating clean these days, pretty much low fat high raw until at least March 27. What’s so special about March 27? That’s the day Chase gets married!!!!! I’m so excited I can hardly stand it!