Friday, November 7, 2014

Pumpkin Curry Bisquette

This soup falls into the quick-and-easy category, but it has a certain elegance -- A je-ne-sais-quoi-ness, if you will, even though there's nothing the least bit mysterious about the ingredient list.

Pumpkin Curry Bisquette

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 scallions, chopped.  You can either put the green bits aside and sprinkle on top of the soup, or sauté them with the white part.
  • 1 clove garlic, minced.  This is a case where more is not better.  Use only 1 clove, not 2 or 17.
  • Curry spice of your choice (at least 1 tbsp but probably more)
  • 1 small can (398 mL / 14 ounces) pure pumpkin (don't use pumpkin pie filling!)  You can cook and purée about 2 cups' worth of fresh pumpkin if you just happen to have a Jack O' Lantern lurking by the front door, but expect to spend at least another half hour putting this together.
  • 2 cups light cream (10% half-and-half or 18% coffee cream will both work)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Over medium-high heat, melt butter in a pot.  Add the scallions, the garlic and the curry spice and cook for a couple of minutes.

Dump in the pumpkin purée and combine well.  Continue to stir until heated through.

Gradually stir in the cream until the texture is smooth and velvety.  Add salt and pepper, and more curry if you think the soup needs it.

Bring just to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat and serve immediately in small bowls.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Berry Flaxseed Bread

Here's a very simple quickbread recipe that's based mainly around eggs and ground flaxseed.  If you want to add fibre to your diet, or you want something that tastes a bit like a bran muffin but don't want to eat wheat, try this.

Berry Flaxseed Bread

  • About 300 grams of ground (not whole) flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups assorted berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries will all work; frozen fruit is OK to use, too).
  • ⅓ cup mild-tasting vegetable oil (sunflower, safflower or corn oil are all good)
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅔ cup water
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Next, line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper and oil the paper with a bit of vegetable oil.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flax, baking powder, salt) and then toss in the berries.  Mix thoroughly.

In another bowl or a large measuring cup, beat the oil, eggs, and water together.

Add the oil/egg/water mixture to the dry ingredients and stir quickly with a fork until thoroughly combined.

Pour into the prepared baking pan and press into the corners.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.  You can subdivide this as soon as it's out of the oven, or wait until it's cool.  If you divide it into 10 pieces, each piece will have about 30 grams (roughly 1 ounce) of flax.  This can be eaten as is, or with butter or margarine.  It also freezes very well.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Om Nom Nom! Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

This recipe came off the back of a bag of no-name oats, and on the way to the oven it changed a little bit.  Instead of coconut, it has raisins -- A whole cup of them, in fact.  Oven temperature went down a whole 50°F, from the original 375°F down to 325°F, which is the Official Maximum Cookie-Baking Temperature around here.

On with the show!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups old-fashioned (large-flake) oats
  • 1¾ cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup dark (Thompson) raisins
Start by softening the cup of butter.  If you have a large bowl that can go in the microwave, put the butter in it and zap it for 15-20 seconds, then flip it over and zap it again for another 15-20 seconds.  If you can't use the big bowl in a microwave, put the butter in a microwaveable dish and then transfer it to the mixing bowl afterwards.  It should be just starting to liquefy, a mixture of melted and softened butter.  (The melted butter is is a big part of what gives the cookies their chewy and crispy texture.)

Add the white sugar and the brown sugar to the butter and cream them all together.  Add the egg and then the vanilla.  Mix well.

Now's a good time to start preheating the oven to 325°F.

In a not-quite-as-big-but-big-enough bowl, combine the oats, the flour, the baking powder and baking soda, and a tiny bit of salt.  Because of the oats it won't fit through a sifter, but you can sift it through your hands instead or you can toss it around a bit with a spoon.

Add the raisins to the dry mixture and mix until the raisins have a good coating of flour on them.

Finally, add the dry mixture to the bowl with the butter/sugar/egg/vanilla mixture.  You'll probably have to do this in 2 or 3 goes, adding the dry stuff bit by bit.

Put a piece of ungreased parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Take a handful of dough about the size of a golf ball (or the size of a ping pong ball, if you don't like golf).  Place the ball of dough on the paper and flatten it into a disk that's about half an inch thick.  About 12 of these should fit on a medium-sized cookie sheet.  Don't crowd -- Although they don't spread much, they do spread.

Bake on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until the edges are starting to brown.  When they come out of the oven, transfer them to a cooling rack along with the parchment paper.  If you have a rimless cookie sheet, you can just drag the whole paper onto the rack, cookies and all.  If your cookie sheet has an edge, try putting the rack upside-down on top of the cookies and then flipping the rack and the pan over together so that the rack is on the bottom.

Makes about 30 cookies.