Thursday, March 17, 2011

Exquisitely Delicious Meyer Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Icing

The local stores have been selling Meyer lemons. I chose a four-pack of lemons that were medium skinned with a light orange hue. They were plump and juicy. I got a fair amount of juice from the lemons and even the juice was a richer, deeper color than regular lemons.

These were absolutely scrumptious cupcakes. I ate one right after I frosted them and I was afraid the icing was just a tad too strong for the delicate cake. But the next day, everything had mellowed a bit and they were absolutely yummy. I will make them again and try out a lighter icing to let the cake shine through. Makes 18 cupcakes.

Cake Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup soymilk (or milk of your choice)
1/4 cup plus 2 TB Meyer lemon juice
1 tsp Meyer lemon zest
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get your cupcake pan ready, lined with paper cups. Sift dry ingredients into medium bowl. Add all of liquid ingredients together in large bowl and beat with mixer until well blended. Add dry ingredients and mix with spoon until well blended.

Using a ice cream scoop, scoop into cupcake liners. Bake for about 20 minutes until lightly brown and toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes and place each cupcake on rack to finish cooling.

Icing Ingredients
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp Meyer lemon zest
2 TB Meyer lemon juice
Soy Milk, to thin to desired consistency

Directions for icing
Add first four ingredients and mix until smooth. Thin if needed with soy milk. Lightly ice cooled cupcakes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Make Your Own Bean Burritos

Save some coin and yourself from processed food and make your own burritos. It's rather easy and fun especially if you have help. Then you can get an assembly line going - fast, simple and so much better than store bought! I like to make these and freeze them. When I need food fast I just reach into the freezer and heat up a burrito. It's easier than you'd think. This is a very basic bean mixture. I like to add some greenery if I have it: grated zucchini and fresh spinach are nice to add to the beans after you've mashed them up. Carrots would be good too – just add them when you sauté the onions and garlic.

1 cup pinto beans, soaked overnight
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
1/4 cup salsa
2 to 4 TB of water or broth
flour tortillas, room temperature so they come apart and don't stick together!
vegan cheese, sliced or grated

Pick through beans and discard any rocks or "funny looking" beans. Put in large pan, cover in water and soak overnight. Drain soaking water, add fresh water to cover about 2 inches over the beans and cook beans until very soft. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in large skillet, add onions and garlic and saute until soft. Add beans and mash them up. Add the spices and salsa and a bit of water or broth to thin it just a bit while you cook up the beans. Cook until they are thick and "burrito consistency."

Assemble Burritos
1) Lay down a piece of Saran Wrap and place tortilla on top of it.

2) Add about 1/4 cup of bean mixture to bottom half of tortilla

3) Add a couple pieces of cheese and salsa to taste

4) Fold tortilla UP over the beans; then fold in the SIDES;
then finish rolling up the burrito.

Finally wrap the burrito in plastic wrap and place in freezer bag.

One batch usually makes around 7-8 burritos depending in the size of tortilla and how much bean mixture you put in each burrito. My own personal burritos are rather small. I sue the small flour tortillas because I prefer less tortilla. You could even add some cooked Spanish rice into the bean mixture and make even more burritos.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hot, Sweet & Spicy Garnet Yam Fries

Garnet yams show up regularly in the small but growing organic section of my local supermarket. I'm sure you've heard all about how sweet potatoes and yams are better for you than white potatoes. While I'm still going to be cooking and baking my beloved whites, this is a wonderful, surprising change of pace. The insides of each "fry" is soft and sweet and the outside slightly crisp (depending on how much oil you use) and SPICY! Yummy! The recipe ingredients are for about two servings; figure one yam per person and adjust accordingly.

2 garnet yams, peeled and sliced like french fries
2 tsp olive oil (or more if you like)
1/2 to 1-1/2 tsp chili powder*
salt to taste

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray cookie pan with cooking oil. Toss ingredients in bowl until well coated. Spread onto pan in single layer and bake until easily pierced with fork, about 20-25 minutes, flip half way though. You can take one out to eat and test that way too!

And if you're wondering if you could substitute sweet potatoes for the garnet yam, yeah, you could but I wouldn't. I really do like the garnet yams with their deep orange color.

*I used a seasoning mixture I bought from Summit Spice ( called Susitna Chile Blend. It's a mixture of chilies, garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander, cloves, paprika, cayenne, coriander, garlic, onion, cumin, ginger, oregano, epazoté. It's pretty damn good! But any good chili powder would be good in this recipe.

Garnet Yam

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Susan's Lite Goddess Dressing

It would appear that all I eat is treats - at least that's all I blog about! But I really do try to eat healthy and I'm always scouring the blogs for tasty food to try out. I love salads with healthy, low fat, quick-to-make dressings. One of my new favorite dressings is Susan's Lite Goddess Dressing. I make a batch and it lasts for several days in the refrigerator. This recipe is a knock-off of Annie's Goddess dressing. I don't have to tell you how much commercial dressings cost and you can make this for less than a couple of bucks. Susan always has interesting commentary and great recipes. Here is the link for this fabulous dressing:

One last note: it makes a difference which tofu you use: soft or firm. I'm always switching tofu type depending on what I have on hand. This recipe calls for FIRM tofu (in the box). You can use SOFT, but I warn you, it will be thin and a bit watery. If you follow the recipe and use FIRM, it will be nice and thick. Either way, it's still tasty. Enjoy!