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Friday, April 8, 2011

Recipe! Whole Wheat Coconut Rolls

Coconut, like pumpkin, happens to be one of my food obsessions. I love it so much in so many different incarnations...perhaps most of all in curries...or ice creams...but the list hardly ends there. When I saw this coconut bread recipe on Whole Foods, I was completely enamored with the thought of it. However, it calls for white flour, and one of the reviewers said that replacing even one cup of the 3 1/2 with wheat flour made the rolls turn out badly.

Of course, baking with whole grains can be a bit of an art, and there's more than one type of whole grain flour, so I figured that I would give it a shot. For these rolls, I used whole wheat pastry flour. It's rather expensive compared to white whole wheat flour or regular graham flour, but when you need a white flour consistency? It's the only way to go. I found that the "more for kneading" was quite a bit more, so make sure that you have plenty of flour on hand.

Anyway, the dough rose beautifully and the rolls turned out gorgeous and delicious. We ate them with Cabbage-Leek "Latkes" and Coconut Curry Sauce and spread them with butter and honey. DELICIOUS!

Like most yeast breads, this takes a little bit of time. I would allow about three hours to prepare it, although only about half an hour of that is spent actually working with the rolls. The rest of it is rising time! Also I adjusted the cooking time from the original recipe; whole grain rolls seem to take a bit longer. Since no unsweetened coconut was available at my market, I used sweetened.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Recipe! Cabbage-Leek "Latkes"

This recipe is one that makes a perfect base for almost any savory topping you can imagine! Not only is it incredibly low in calories (50 per cake!) but the natural flavor of the cabbage and leek can be played up with whatever spices you desire! Leave it simple if you're going to use a strongly flavored sauce, but if you want to use a less spiced sauce, feel free to make the latkes pack a punch!

They are even delicious on their own, perhaps as a side dish. In face, I wished I had served them that way after trying a piece of a "naked" griddle cake....but I'll know better next time, right? The recipe as relayed here is vegetarian, but if you have some leftover ham or bacon, they would taste delicious in these!

I made them with a coconut curry sauce and served them with whole-wheat coconut rolls, recipe to come! The original recipe came from Whole Foods. I tweaked my own recipe just a bit and added more spice, but I imagine the recipe is very good as-written too. Also, I found that my batter was too dry and I added an additional egg and approximately another tablespoon of whole wheat pastry flour. They turned out perfectly!! This recipe is very easy. The prepwork was time consuming for me, as cutting two leeks into matchsticks seemed to take forever, but if you know a quicker way to accomplish that, it would be quick prep as well.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Recipe! Black Bean Quesadillas with Chipotle Carmelized Onions

"Great Mexican food" has different meanings depending on what part of the country you occupy. In the Southern Midwest, we have a fair share of tex-mex restaurants, closer to the border (an out West) they have even more, as well as many authentic Mexican places. But n just about every part of the country, Mexican food means tons of grease, lots of calories, and portions so big to roll out the door afterward. In other words, it's not a friendly cuisine for anyone trying to watch their waistline or eating for a calmer mind.

However, done right, Mexican food can be healthy...and all of those spices and seasonings make a great cuisine to experiment with, to make your own delicious flavor combinations. (I mean, as far as I am concerned? Sweet potatoes and chipotle are a match made in Heaven.) The trick is cutting out the fried food, the extra grease, and on maximizing flavor with spices and whole, high quality ingredients.

When I make Mexican dishes, I love cooking the individual elements separately and then combining them at the end. Using this method achieves the most complex, delightful flavors without adding too much fat. (This as opposed to the Asian wok-style cooking, where everything is cooked in one pan to maximize flavor, usually cooked all together.)

I have included instructions on cooking each element of this dish, and then how to assemble and cook the final product. Make sure that you use an oven proof skillet!

I should be back in full capacity next week. Make, eat, enjoy!!!