Sunday, September 22, 2013

Moroccan Spiced Hummus

When I was a chef at the Ravens', one favorite starter on the menu was the grilled mushroom salad, or more formally, Grilled Moroccan Spiced Trumpet Mushrooms over fresh cut romaine, red bell pepper, celery, red onions, and olives with lime-cilantro vinaigrette. The mushrooms were marinated in fresh squeezed orange juice, tons of garlic and paprika and grilled to perfection. I was so taken by these flavors and then this hummus was born.

More recently, I occasionally can be found preparing it in 5 gallon quantities at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY. To day at lunch we served over 600 people - this is how I've spent my summer, making hummus, dressings, and all salad bar essentials for the dining hall. This adds up to about 500 gallons of hummus that I've made personally.

Five hundred gallons of hummus. That's enough to fill this fish tank:

And I'm still not entirely sick of it. The secret is the many variations that hummus can be a canvas for. This one here is definitely my favorite.

Moroccan Spiced Hummus

1/4 cup garlic cloves
4 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cans organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas) (15 ounces each)
6 tablespoons tahini
6 tablespoons orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
dash of salt
dash of black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper

In small pan over low heat, gently cook garlic cloves and olive oil until garlic is golden brown. Drain out the oil and let both the oil and the garlic cool separately and completely.
(*Alternatively you can roast the garlic in the oven, or just use raw.)

In a high-speed food processor, puree garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, orange juice, paprika, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper until perfectly smooth. If it is too thick, add more orange juice. When at desired consistency, slowly stream in olive oil while food processor is running. Serve with crudite, crackers, in a sandwich, however you do your hummus!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blueberry Peach Oat Muffins (vegan)

Two weeks from today I will be in Ireland.

In other words, my family has only two weeks left to enjoy being spoiled by a private chef.
I get to cook all day, they experience the good life, you get all the recipes.
It's a Win-Win-Win.

But they are seriously burned out from oatmeal, with still over a month of winter left.
And waking up while it's still dark to make them breakfast isn't likely to happen.
Luckily these Blueberry Peach Oat Muffins can be whipped together the night before
and ready when the sun comes up.
Or, in this case, before.

Peach and ginger add a burst of warmth to these hearty blueberry oat muffins.
Enjoy while counting down the days until spring!

Yields 1 dozen muffins
Add some sunshine to these gray winter mornings.

3/4 cup soymilk plus 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons flaxmeal mixed with 6 tablespoons warm water

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of ground ginger

1/2 cup baking oil (I use sunflower)
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup diced peaches

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare muffin baking tin with paper liners.

In one cup, whisk together the soymilk and the apple cider vinegar, and in another cup, the flaxmeal and warm water. Let both set for ten minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir the oats, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, salt, nutmeg, and ginger. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the soymilk/vinegear mix with the flaxmeal slurry and stir in the baking oil, blueberries, and peaches. Add to dry ingredient mix, stir until no large flour lumps remain. Distribute batter equally among the lined muffin pan and bake until lightly browned and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy warm or cooled.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pecan Brownies & other vegan teases

Hello All! 2012 went fast and now I'm back home with hundreds of sweet recipes to share with you! First and foremost you must try these Pecan Brownies. If you haven't found a decadent vegan brownie yet, well the search is over.
Pecan Brownie

Before you preheat your oven, let me take a moment to apologize/defend for my absence. I got the opportunity to spend the year in an incredible kitchen, elbow-deep in whole wheat pastry flour and chocolate chips as the pastry/salad chef at the award-winning Ravens' Restaurant.

The Ravens' is attached to the eco-friendly Stanford Inn by the Sea. Along with included breakfasts, guests can enjoy a complimentary dessert every afternoon during what we referred to as "Tea Time". Skeptics, believe me when I say that dreams come true: I got to live on the scenic Mendocino coast in Northern California and bake something new each day with the fresh, organic, vegan ingredients

When I had a free moment (which wasn't very often), I got to photograph some of the lovely desserts:

Carob Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Strawberry Basil Mini Layer Cake

S'mores Bar with Cocoa-Dusted Banana Slices
Trio of Macaroons: Almond, Toasted Coconut, Strawberry

Mexican Hot Cocoa Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream

Strawberry Shortcake with Peanut Butter Mousse and Chocolate Ganache

Some Tea Times were just too good to be served once and made an appearance every month or so. The favorites included Double Fudge Brownies (a la mode) (keep scrolling for recipe!), Huckleberry Orange Bundt Cake, Chocolate Marble Banana Bread, Tiramisu (which made it to the dessert menu for a month), Lavender Lemon Bars, Italian-Style Cheesecake with Pomegranate Sauce (for the holidays)...

Old-Fashioned Ginger Molasses Cookies

Speaking of holidays, what better way to spend December than having a Christmas Cookie of the Day? Pfeffernusse, my dear-to-heart Italian Anisette Cookies, Gingerbread, Walnut Apricot Jam Dots, Mint Chocolate Chocolate-Chip, there was room for all to be enjoyed alongside a cozy fireplace and Christmas tree at the Inn. I taught a Christmas cookie baking class (along with a couple healthier classes too). I can only hope Cookie Season 2013 will be half as whimsical.

As I promised, here is the recipe for the Brownies. There are many variations with this recipe. Pecan Brownies are always a favorite, a bit more indulgent than walnuts, (but many times I went nut-free and threw in some orange zest and cinnamon for a Mexican kick). I made these for my family and they went so fast, I was lucky to get one to take a picture.

Note: For extra fudgy brownies, underbake slightly - remove from oven when top crust has formed but insides are still soft, about 30 minutes of baking.

Yields 1 8"x8" pan, about 16 servings

1/4 cup coconut milk (or other nondairy milk)
2 tablespoons flaxmeal
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegan buttery spread, melted
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup nondairy chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup hot coffee
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 8"x8" square baking pan.

In a small bowl whisk coconut milk and flaxmeal until thick. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl and add sugar, melted buttery spread, and vanilla.

In a small bowl mix chocolate chips with salt. Pour hot coffee over, stirring until chocolate has melted.
Add to wet ingredients and mix well.

In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Add wet ingredients into dry mix and stir until no flour lumps remain. Use a rubber spatula to even spread brownie mix into prepared pan. Bake for 30-3 minutes, until top crust has formed and edges have browned. Let cool in pan before cutting.