Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"The Wind In The Willows"

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Today was a marvelous 79 degrees and it's only March! God help us all when summer comes around but for now I'm enjoying these warmer days. The weather was so beautiful today that I didn't really feel like spending too much time in the kitchen. Well that not exactly true. I was in the kitchen today but the recipe I was working on didn't really turn out because I spent too much of my prep time sort of gazing out the window at the sunshine.

Once I realized that any work indoors would be fruitless, I decided to answer the call of the wild, make a light lunch and just go for a run (maybe not in that order).

White Bean Hummus

16 ounces ( 2 cups) cooked great northern beans ( either canned and drained or home cooked. I prefer to cook my own because it leaves your digestive system a bit less... ackem, worse for the wear)
3 Tbsp Tahini
1 Tsp Cumin
2 Garlic cloves
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and lemon juice to taste

Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and swirl until fluffy and smooth. Enjoy warm or cool. Serve smeared on toast  topped with cucumber and a side of iced green tea with lemon and mint.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"Peanut Butter Fudge Chocolate Chip Pie" or "How To Ace Your Nutrition Midterm"

I'm pretty sure that before this week I never truly understood the terms "spring break" or "midterm exam". I'd heard them thrown around a lot before but until I started college, the meaning was completely lost on me. Last week was madness, I thought about nothing but the human digestive system, glucose, fructose, galactose, tryglycerides, amino acids and omega 3s. I started calling my boyfriend a monosaccharide to get on his nerves if he tried to talk to me while I was studying (as a joke) but struggled to remember to call him by his proper name when I wasn't studying. Things got ridiculous, so ridiculous in fact that I have no idea how in the midst of all that nutrition cramming I managed to come up with this chocolate explosion of a recipe.

My boyfriend's birthday happened to fall on the day after my last midterm exam. I asked him what he would like to eat since he's an freak and a cake hater, and he asked for chocolate cream pie (again) which was kind of a problem because of my dairy restriction but I had other things to worry about (my test!) so I put solving that problem on the back burner. Like way in the back burner since I didn't really bother to think about it until it came down to the wire.

When the day actually came for me to produce this dessert I started to worry when a quick search determined that my best bet was some melted chocolate swirled around with some silken tofu. Um, tofu? Really? How was I going to get my boyfriend to eat that? It didn't even sound like something I could trick myself into eating. But it was my only hope, so I would trust the vegans and lie to my boyfriend.

My mind raced trying to think up ways I could stealthily pull this off.

I would go shopping while he was asleep of course, and hide the tofu away in the fridge,and sneak the empty containers out to the dumpster so he'd never know they were involved. Then, I'd change the pie around a bit, maybe some smores action. A little graham cracker crust, maybe some marshmallows on top. Yeah, yeah this was sounding good.

So I  waited until he was asleep,ran out to the store, gathered my disguises and headed back to the apartment to get stared on my evil scheme. Things were going well until I realized that the graham crackers I'd bought for the crumb crust were expired. Like way expired. You can smell how rancid they are when you open the package kind of expired.

I was... upset.
I had about a sliver of a window before he woke up where I could deal with this whole tofu madness and I did not have time to go running back to the store.

My overstimulated textbook brain spiraled into  a problem solving mode fueled by stress, nutrition facts and rage.

 I may have blacked out.

I have memories of growing three times my size, breaking free of my t-shirt and jeans, and ransacking my kitchen pantry in a fit of amazonian fury. But I can't be sure what truly went down.

All I know for sure is that when I came back to my senses these little miniature peanut butter fudge chocolate chip pies were daintily chilling in my fridge and I may or may not have been laying on the kitchen floor in my alltogether atop a pile of rags that used to be my clothing.

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The pies, however it was that they came to be, were a hit. Tofu or no there is so much going on that even the most stuck up of boyfriends would never be the wiser. Chocolate and peanut butter atop a crispy chocolate chip cookie crust, who's going to argue? The pies disappeared about as quickly and mysteriously as they came into being. 

Happy Birthday Alan, I totally meant to do that. I think.

Peanut Butter Fudge Chocolate Chip Pie (dairy free, egg free,gluten free)

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie crust

1 cup Earth Balance dairy free butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground golden flaxseed + 3 tbsp boiling water left to sit for 10 minutes)
1 cup All purpose gluten free flour mix* (learn how to make your own here)
1 1/8 cup sweet white rice flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt ( omit if using salted dairy free butter)
1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Semi Sweet chocolate chips)

1. In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, sugars, vanilla and the flax egg until well combined and fluffy.

2. in a separate bowl sift together the flours, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

3. Divide the dough into four equal portions, and press into the bottoms of four 5" ramekins, making sure to work the dough up the sides to form an even crust. Poke all over with the prongs of a fork (so it doesn't puff up in the oven). Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and bake for 12-14 minutes ( until it's the level of crispiness you like, or don't bake it at all  since there's no egg and leave it cookie dough if you like!). Let cool for at least 20 minutes before adding the filling.

* for my GF AP flour mix I used sorghum+teff+brown rice for my grains and tapioca+potato+sweet white rice for my starches

For the filling

13 ounces semisweet chocolate chips ( I used Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/3 cup coffee liqueur ( I used 1/4 cup homemade vanilla extract and 3 tbsp freshly brewed coffee)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound silken tofu, drained
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey (or more to taste)

1.In a double boiler, or a large microwave safe bowl add the chocolate pieces and the coffee liqueur and melt until creamy and smooth.

2. Add melted chocolate, vanilla extract, silken tofu, peanut butter and honey to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Divided into the four prepared pie crusts and let chill in the fridge for at least an hour (or more) before serving.