Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hazelnut orange quinoa pound cake

After a few days in the 80s last week, guess what’s going today? You are right, it is snowing again! We expect 5 inches of snow tonight. I was sure it wasn’t over yet…. Global climate change? More like global climate chaos. And what do I do? I bake again. Both last cakes, the stout chocolate cake and the Gugelhupf, I took to work, and they were gone in 60 seconds. This time I am only making a small one, a gluten-free one, for a friend of mine who was recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance. It is one of my favorite cakes, gluten free or not --- with quinoa flour, hazelnut flour and orange zest it just has a luxurious flavor and texture. 


Hazelnut orange quinoa pound cake

  • 6 TB of butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large organic free-range eggs
  • 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • zest of one organic orange
  • juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut flour
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fleur de sel
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioner’s sugar

Preheat the oven at 350 F. Spray a small round bundt cake pan with baking spray. In a bowl, mix the different flours, the baking powder, and the Fleur de sel. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the room temperature butter with the sugar until creamy and fluffy (placing a stick of butter in the microwave for 15 seconds brings it to the right consistency if you take it right out of the fridge). Add one egg at a time, waiting until the first one is well incorporated before adding the second. Add in the yogurt, vanilla orange zest and orange juice. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well. The dough will be a bit sticky.

Fill the bundt cake pan with the dough (it will be about 3/4 full) and bake the bundt cake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the blade of a sharp knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out dry. Let cool for 5 minutes before unmolding, leaving the cake to cool on a rack. To serve, dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Quinoa. The tasty version.

Quinoa is a wonderful grain – it is gluten-free and it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it a complete protein source. Now, how to make it taste great? You can just steam it with water, and add flavor later on by making a quinoa salad, but I believe in adding flavor during cooking. This recipes still makes a fairly neutral cooked quinoa but also very flavorful that it could be a side dish on its own.

How to cook quinoa: (makes 2 small or 1 larger portion)

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa, washed and rinsed
  • 1 ts ghee or butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch of salt, optionally

In a small pot, melt the ghee or butter, and once melted and hot add the garlic and mix well, until it browns slightly. Add the quinoa, stir and ‘toast’ it for about 30 seconds. Add the white wine, stir and let it steam off (another 30 seconds). Add the water, stir, turn down the heat to low, cover the pot with a lid, and steam the quinoa until it is cooked and slightly fluffy (ca. 30min). Serve hot or let it cool. It stores well in the fridge for several days.


I typically cook a larger portion for the week, and then make different small sized ‘quinoa salads’ with some quinoa. For lunch today, I mixed the pre-cooked quinoa with pine nuts, pea shots, and cranberries --- a great addition to my salad with balsamic vinaigrette, roasted mushroom and tomato.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gugelhupf, Take 2

Rainy days can have something cozy about them, puttering around in the kitchen, cooking quinoa and lentils for the week, cuddling with the cats, watching old movies, writing letters. And taking glamour shots of the Gugelhupf from last night.  

gugelhupf_baked GH2

Saturday, March 24, 2012


There we go again: late night baking. Ever since I laid eyes on Heidi’s chocolate cake I not only coveted the cake, but also the bundt cake pan. She found hers in an antique store so I made it my mission to scour all of Maine’s antique places along Rt 1 this summer for old bundt cake pans. Since I am not that patient I bought the Nordic Ware heritage bundt cake pan, which is beautiful. Tonight it looked at me like it needed to be inaugurated, with a German bundt cake, the classic marbled Gugelhupf. I made another small one for taste testing. It is wonderfully light. 

4 extra large eggs
 1 1/2 cups (325 g)sugar
1 ts.pure vanilla extract
16 TBS (2 sticks)room temperature butter
3/4 cup + 1 TBmilk (or butter milk)
3 cups (440 g)all-purpose flour
1 ½ ts.
1/2 ts
baking powder
baking soda
1/4 ts salt
1 TBspiced rum
1 ts
 instant espresso powder

baking spray

Preheat oven to 350F. Have all ingredients at room temperature (especially  eggs, butter and milk). Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Also, sift together the cacao powder and instant espresso in a small cup, and stir with the 2 TB of milk until smooth. Using a standmixer with a flat beater, beat the butter until it is creamy and smooth, ca. 30seconds. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is creamy and fluffy (ca. 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time. Stop the standmixer once in a while to scrape down the sides. Once the eggs are incorporated, add in the vanilla extract and the rum. Turn the stand mixer off,  add in the sifted flour in 1 cup parts. Once sifted in, mix in by hand with a silicone spatula. Turn on the stand mixer again, and incorporate. Turn speed to very slow, and add in 1/3 of the milk, and then speed up again. Alternate between flour and milk, and beat each addition until it is fully incorporated.

Pour 2/3 s of the batter into a separate mixing bowl, and mix the remaining batter with the cacao powder/instant espresso/milk mix. Prepare the bundt cake pan with a baking spray and pour in half of the 'white' batter first, then add the 'chocolate' batter and finish with the remaining 'white' batter. Draw a skewer once through the batter for a beautiful marbeling (or not).

Bake the bundt cake at 350F for 55-60min or a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean and the Gugelhupf removes slightly from the sides of the pan. Transfer the cake pan to a cooling rack and let it cool for 10 min. Turn the cake pan, and slightly tip on the pan until the Gugelhupf comes out. Cool the Gugelhupf on the cooling rack for at least 2 hours. Sift confectioners sugar for decoration.  Serve with a side of coffee and maybe some fresh whipped cream with a dash of sugar and vanilla extract.

Makes at least 16 portions. gugelhupf1LR

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chocolate Stout Cake

Ever since I laid eyes on Heidi’s Chocolate Bundt Cake, I knew I had to make it. Today, I finally bought the remaining ingredients I did not have, a bottle of cream stout beer and yogurt, I even made it maple yogurt. After a long day at work it was the best thing to do to relax and take my mind off things: an elaborate rich novel cake. Cake with dark beer and chocolate? Sounds good to me.

I made the original recipe, and since I own only smaller bundt cake pans, I made 2 smaller ones sand 1 tiny one (guess, who ate half of that cake already?). You cannot really taste the beer in the cake, and I think the cake might be best after a few days. But even out of the oven, it is delicious and light. 



Chocolate Bundt Cake:
2 cups / 475 ml chocolate porter or stout beer
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup / 75g natural cocoa powder (non-dutched)
1 cup / 5 oz / 140 g whole wheat flour
1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g all-purpose flour
1 cup / 4.25 oz / 120 g muscovado or dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 large eggs
1 cup maple whole yogurt
3/4 cup / 180 ml pure maple syrup 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
Chocolate Buttermilk Icing:
3/4 cup / 2.75 oz / 75 g powdered sugar
1/4 cup / 25g natural cocoa powder (non-dutched)
2 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F / 180C, with a rack in the center.

  1. Spray a 11 or 12-cup capacity bundt pan with baking spray. Avoid filling the pan(s) more than 2/3 - 3/4 full. Adjust the baking time as well - baking until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, and the center tests clean when you insert a knife.
  2. In a saucepan simmer the beer down to 1 cup / 240 ml. Remove from heat, add the butter and stir until melted. Stir in the cocoa powder, mixing until smooth, then set aside to cool, stirring occasionally to let off heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. 
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, and maple syrup. Whisk well, until nicely blended and uniform in appearance. Gradually add the (cooled) stout mixture, stirring all the while. Stir until well blended. Add the flour mixture, folding until just blended, using as few strokes as possible.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 35 - 45 minutes if using the bundt pan, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. You really don't want to over bake this cake - err on the slightly moist side if anything. Remove from the oven, and turn out onto a cooling rack after seven minutes.
  6. In the meantime, make the icing by whisking together the powdered sugar, cocoa, and buttermilk. Really go at it for at least a minute. The icing should end up smooth and creamy looking, adjust with a touch of powdered sugar or a few extra drops of buttermilk if you want to tweak the consistency at all. When the cake is completely cool, run the icing around the top with an offset spatula and let it set.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Early in the season

It was a beautiful mild day, unseasonable warm for mid March, but warm enough to sit outside and have a St. Patrick’s day drink. Mount Desert Island, had not caught up with the early spring this year, and most stores  and restaurants in Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor and Bass Harbor were still boarded up. The carriage roads in Acadia National park are also still closed, but this did not keep people still hiking the trails. 

It was quiet, low tide on the tourists, high tide on the locals, and many, many lobster cages, but not many lobsters. 


Friday, March 16, 2012

Pan-fried Pizza

TGIF – yes, thank god it is Friday. It’s been a looong week, the weather turned from spring-like on Monday with an outdoor lunch to snow to rainy and cold again, but the outlook for the next few days is great: sunshine and warm weather. With this, Friday does not only feel like gearing up for the weekend but also for spring weather. Double reason to celebrate with Friday activities. Chanelle’s Friday activities include curling up next to me, on his back, waiting for an extended belly rub. 

The mailman delivered “Hugo” in a Netflix envelope this morning, so the Friday night movie is ready, and lunch today was pizza --- a quick, pan-fried pizza. I found the recipe on the GF Bisquick mix, and scaled it down to a single serve pizza, first fried the crust on the stovetop, then covered it with tomato sauce, tomatoes, olives, mushroom and feta cheese and placed under the broiler. It would probably have been better to bake instead, the ‘crust’ was a bit floppy, but it just took about 10 min to make from start to finish.

Pan-fried single serve pizza:
  • 1/3 cup GF Bisquick mix
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 TB egg beaters (optional)
  • 1 ts herbs des provence
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 TB tomato sauce (I used the delicious new Prego light-smart sauce)
  • 1/2 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 2 mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 4 kalamata olives, thinly sliced
  • 1 ts herbs de provence
  • 2 TB herbed feta crumbles (or mozzarella or cheddar)
In a bowl, mix the crust ingredients with a fork (Bisquick mix, water, eggbeaters, herbs, salt). It will be quite liquidy. Heat a oven-save small pan (I used a small cast iron pan) on the stove and spray with canola spray. Once the pan is piping hot, pour in the batter, and wait until it thickens, then flip to bake from the other side. 

Preheat the broiler. Slice the vegetables, and once the crust is cooked and browned from both sides, cover with tomato sauce on one side, and layer the vegetables and cheese. Put under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the mushroom are browned. (alternatively bake at 400F for 10-15min)


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rainbow salad with carrot, red and golden beet

Today, I went into weekly salad preps: overnight I soak a bunch of chickpeas and black navy beans, and cooked them (separately) this morning, drained and now cool them in the fridge (likely will freeze many small ziplock bags of black beans). For lunch, I decided to get out the food processor with the grater inset. I peeled one carrot (the last one left), a small red and a large golden beet and grated them in lightening speed.


It looked rather picturesque, bright rainbow colors and all.


Lunch salad was quick: lettuce with home-grained balsamic vinaigrette, rainbow salad, chickpeas mixed with toasted sesame oil, salt and pepper, and a few black beans with pistachios.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chickpeas in tomato sauce

Spring made an appearance, it is sunny, warm enough to not have your face freeze to an icicle on the bike, the streets and most everything else is snow and ice-free, and I’ve been on the bike twice already. All we can wait for now…. is for everything to turn green again. ---


I have a new favorite lunch: sauteed lacinato kale, with a dash of white wine, orange juice, salt and pepper, and a side of pre-cooked chickpeas reheated in tomato sauce with a tiny, dried hot pepper, salt and pepper and a dash of maple syrup. Delicious!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fish en Papilotte

Farmers market day! It looked sunny and spring-like and I was about to unearth my bike for the year to pedal to the farmers market, but then it was still too cold and it was back to the car again. It definitely does feel like spring and Easter cannot be too far off. The farmers market is still on the winter program, i.e. the year-around available organic chickens, eggs, goat cheese and also fresh caught fish from Stonington. Among other things I bought a 1/2 pound of hake, a light white fish similar to haddock. 


The fish is delicate so I decided to make it en papilotte. En papilotte means steamed in a parchment paper wrapper, but I had my quick version in mind, using a silicone steamer. I sliced a third of an small onion, julienned a third of a carrot, added a 1/4 cup of frozen broccoli, and about a 1/4 cup of white wine in the bottom of the steamer. On top, I placed the hake, and seasoned it with salt and pepper. Additionally I added the juice of a 1/2 orange over the fish, and covered it with the steamer top. It was microwaved for 6 min, and ready to serve. 

Fresh food fast, as Emeril would say.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Vegan Eating and Calcium

My health insurer wants me to voluntarily disclose health information with the perk of halving my monthly contributions. Well. You could also say if I don’t disclose I pay twice as much as I did so far. One of the items requested was “which supplements do you take? how many milligrams?” This is how it all started.

I have been taking calcium and vitamin D supplements for a few years, but I never quite checked how many milligrams do I actually take? When I checked to type in the number I realize the supplement that I take (a calcium magnesium citrate) actually only has 200mg per tablet so I would have to take 5 over the course of the day. Say, what? (I only take one in the morning. But it is also a fact that you can only take so much at a time because the body cannot process higher amounts and will just discard it, so taking them in regular in intervals is key). I started to investigate calcium rich foods, and it looks like dairy products are on the top of the list. But with mostly vegan eating, I have to resort to the greens and almonds and beans, which only have about a fourth of the calcium amounts (e.g. 1 serving of kale has about 80mg of calcium, but daily recommendations are 1,000 mg). That is a lot of kale to eat. 

I immediately ate a Greek yogurt.

But Greek yogurt, although it has much higher amounts of protein and lower sugar than regular yogurt, it has less calcium than regular yogurt (200mg instead of 300mg per 6oz). This morning I researched some more (Harvard public health, the only ones who do not make dairy as required food group), and it looks like non-dairy milk can be fortified with calcium (as can orange juice etc) and that might be sufficient. I checked my Silk almond milk in my fridge, and ta-ta, it is actually fortified. The stats are very good: 35 kcal per cup, and that one cup deliver 45% of the daily required value for calcium. No dairy necessary. 

silk_fr_LR SILK_back_LR

So, I mixed a cup of almond milk, 1/2 banana and 1 TB of chia seeds. Goodness in a glass. Calcium I mean. And potassium. 


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Meatloaves in ramekins

Today, I revived an great, comfort food recipe: individual meatloaves in ramekins! Great for dinner guests, pretty for the kids, and great for reheating and to take to work as lunch. They are even good cold. 

makes 4 small ramekins:
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 1/3 packet vegetable soup mix
  • 3 TB Trader Joes red pepper eggplant spread
  • 2 TB harissa (optional)
  • 1/4 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 4 TB panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup eggwhites (or 2 eggwhites)
  • 4 ramekins
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, slices
  • glaze 1: ketchup or
  • glaze 2: BBQ sauce mixed 1/2 ts brown sugar and garlic
Preheat (toaster) oven to 400 degrees. 

Mix all ingredients (beside the tomatoes) in a bowl. Place the  slices of a 1/2 Roma tomato in each of the 4 ramekins, and portion the meatloaf mix among the 4 ramekins. Optionally cover with a glaze of your choice (BBQ or ketchup). Bake for 45min at 400F.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Salad with baked fennel

The weather is still trying to hold on to winter despite longer days and warmer temperatures. Another round of morning snow today, and it might just be enough for another end of season ski. My salad looks more like spring, Florida strawberries, baked fennel, baked beets and pine nuts with balsamic vinaigrette.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Vegan Reuben Sandwiches with Pumpernickel Waffles.

The other day I made these delicious pumpernickel waffles. On the vegan gourmet I found an involved recipe for Reuben sandwiches with dark rye bread. The key in the recipe is to replace the corned beef with tempeh slices marinated overnight in a spiced raw beet marinade, and then saute them in a pan with the marinade. Delicious! The combination of pumpernickel waffles, spiced beet juice marinated tempeh, veganaise, melted Daiya mozzarella and unpasteurized sauerkraut, all baked in the oven and eaten warm, was surprisingly scrumptious. 

The original recipe calls for a vegan Russian dressing and horseradish mayonaise, but I left out the Russian dressing and used plain fat reduced veganaise since I did not want to buy all the ingredients for one sandwich. --- I made slight changes to the preparation of the marinated tempeh so that the process is a bit simpler. (In hindsight, I should have reduced the baking time or temperature ;-) it was still delicious although extra crispy). 


Marinated ‘corned beef’ tempeh:
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup fresh organic beet juice (see my note below if you cannot find or make fresh beet juice)
  • 4 tablespoons maple or agave syrup
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/3 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons organic tamari
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
In a hot dry pan, roast the all  the spices until they get fragrant, then take them off the heat. Mix all the wet ingredients in a small bowl, add the spices, and blend the juices with the spices in the vitamix (alternatively, grind them in a spice grinder or mortar, and mix with the juices).  Slice the tempeh into thin slices, and marinate with the spiced beet juice overnight. For rest, i.e. frying them, follow original recipe

Note: I could not find fresh beet juice, so I mixed the juices of 1 can of canned beets and a 1/3 grated raw beet.  I also left out the olive oil of the original recipe. 

Since I used waffles for the sandwich, a baked version would work better than a pressed sandwich. I built the sandwich the following way: waffle bottom, marinated tempeh, veganaise, daiya mozzarella, and sauerkraut. Top with 1/2 waffle. Bake in oven at 4ooF for 15min or until cheese is gooey (I used 430F, which left the waffles slightly burnt).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dark Rye Pumpernickel Waffles

I have been experimenting with savory waffles for a while (e.g. rice waffles with miso, and cinnamon bacon waffles). Yesterday,  I experimented with adding lentils und hummus to a basic waffle recipe, but this recipe still needs a little bit of tweaking. However, today’s dark rye waffle recipe came out great; the waffles taste like fresh dark rye bread with a distinctive flavor. I had some with hummus for lunch--- fabulous! They would be great for Rueben sandwiches or just with some butter and cheese, or an omelette.


Dark Rye Pumpernickel Waffles (makes 7 small waffles):
In a mixing bowl, add the flours, baking powder, cumin seeds, and sea salt and stir well to mix. Add the warm water to the flours and mix it in so that there are no lumps in the dough. In a small saute pan, melt the butter and add the cacao, espresso, and molasses, and mix it all through (the molasses will melt, too). Don’t let it get too hot or cook too long – it is enough for the butter to melt and the molasses to just mix it and thin out via the heat (alternatively, place these ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 90s, stir and microwave for another 10s). Take off the stove, cool for 5min, and mix into the waffle dough mix. This mix will give the waffles their distinctive deep rye flavor. Mix well with the dough – it already smells wonderful.

Heat a waffle iron on a higher setting (mine has settings 1-8, and I chose 6), and preheat the iron. Spray with a baking spray (it has some flour in the spray). Once the preheating is finished, fill a 1/4 cup of the mix in the middle of the waffle iron. Slightly center the dough, press iron down, and time the ‘baking’ for 5 min. If you use a waffle iron that makes thicker waffles, increase the baking time. These waffles are best if they are well-baked and slightly crispy since it is more of a bread than a waffle dough. Continue with the rest of the batch in the same way. Should make 6-7 waffles using a 1/4 cup or 3 waffles using 1/2 cup.

Bl_waffles black_waffle_dough