Saturday, March 28, 2020

ChezCindy: Simple Roasted Cabbage Planks

If you have never roasted cabbage planks you are in for a real treat.  Roasting vegetables brings out the best in all vegetables, including the humble cabbage.  The leaves soften and lose all bitterness, bringing out a gentle sweetness and golden buttery flavor.  I used green cabbage here.  Both red or green cabbage are equally delicious.  

I can eat the cabbage planks as a snack straight from the pan.  Or to be more civilized, they can be an unexpected side dish for roast chicken and mashed potatoes.  

If you want to stay lighter for a meatless meal, serve the roasted cabbage with fettuccini pasta tossed with crumbled feta cheese, chopped parsley and olive oil.  All good.  

Roasted Cabbage Planks
1 medium head of cabbage, red or green
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  

Working with a large sheet pan, drizzle the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. 

Cut the cabbage in half through the core.  Set each half flat-side down onto the cutting board.  Leaving the core in place, cut through the core for each half to make 3-4 wedges (6-8 wedges in total).
Place each wedge onto the sheet pan, drizzle the remaining oil over the planks, turning over to drizzle both sides.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and a bit of black pepper to taste.  

Place the sheet pan into the hot oven, roasting the planks for 20-30 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven, carefully turning each plank over to brown the second side.  The first side should be nicely browned and crisp at the edges.  Roast for another 10 minutes to brown the second side.  If you have cut the planks into thick wedges, you may need more roasting time.  The planks are done when the leaves are tender and the edges are browned.  Serve hot or room temperature.

Monday, March 23, 2020

ChezCindy: Easiest Baked Bread

I made this bread.  It's gorgeous, right?  And it's not one of those products that looks great and tastes like cardboard.  This has great taste and texture.  The reason I am being so boastful is that you too can bake this bread.  The recipe comes straight from  King Arthur Flour .  I followed their recipe and process step by step, as so greatly illustrated on their web site.  At this time of staying at home, it is a good idea to complete a task that will make you feel proud and productive, and also nourish you and your loved ones.

The recipe is titled  the easiest loaf of bread youll ever bake .  And it is.  I have been baking bread for years.  I don't do it frequently, but I am always amazed at how simple ingredients come together and rise into a loaf of bread.  If you have never baked with yeast, kneading and creating bread from scratch, baking this recipe will surprise and delight you.  Give it a try.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

ChezCindy: Spanish Chorizo Brunch

This dish feeds a crowd and is packed with a lot of flavor.  Spanish chorizo, smoked paprika and roasted peppers are the key ingredients.  I served this as a brunch dish topped with an egg, but it can easily be dinner paired with naan bread or piled into lettuce cups.  I used cauliflower rice, but any rice preference works here, basmati or brown.  Have the rice cooked and cooled, then reheat it with the cooked chorizo to absorb all of the flavors and spices.  Make this when you want something that is quick to come together with big flavor.  

Spanish Chorizo Brunch
8 ounces fresh chorizo
1/2 large red onion
2 large roasted peppers, jarred
4 ounces chickpeas, about half a can - drained
2-3 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Fried or poached eggs

Working with a large skillet, add the fresh chorizo to the pan cooking over medium-high heat.  Stir the chorizo breaking it up into small pieces until browned and cooked through.  Add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil if the chorizo has not rendered much fat.  Slice the onion into vertical strips, add to the pan cooking until the onion slivers soften and begin to brown.  Remove 2 large roasted peppers from the jar, drain off the excess liquid onto paper towels.  Slice the peppers into strips, add to the pan stirring to combine.  Stir in the chickpeas and cooked rice, using the full 3 cups if you have a lot of people to feed.  Add in the fresh herbs, salt, pepper and smoked paprika, stirring to combine.  Stir in the remaining olive oil to loosen and flavor the mixture, cover and cook for roughly 5 minutes to allow all the flavors to come together.  Serve hot, topping each portion with a cooked egg.  

Saturday, March 21, 2020

ChezCindy: Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Muffins

I ate four of these muffins in one day.  Maybe I was craving the comfort of carbs, but each muffin made my taste buds very happy.  They are kind of "healthy" but are so moist with great flavor of banana, chocolate and ground nuts.  The original recipe inspiration is from a cookbook titled Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce.  Ms. Boyce is a talented pastry chef with her book focusing on using whole grains in her recipes.  Some of the grains featured are gluten-free, while others are ancient grains, with all recipes balanced and full of flavor.  She demonstrates tips and techniques for every level of baker.  It is a go-to book for me when I want to bake, but also am trying to bake something a bit less indulgent but tastes like a dream.  This muffin offers a dream come true.

You may have read one of my previous posts that this household has no shortage of bananas that become too ripe for cereal eating.  Bananas  The frugal person I tend to be does not allow me to easily throw away the over-ripe bananas.  I often freeze them or bake with them.  I have frequently made Ms. Boyce's recipe for Banana Walnut Cake, which was my start for the recipe below.  This time I didn't want to commit to a cake.  I wanted something more snackable.  Her recipe could easily be turned into cupcakes.  Without icing, I am calling them muffins.

Don't be put off by the recipe calling for quinoa flour.  You can easily substitute whole wheat flour or use 100% all-purpose flour.  I used coconut oil in place of the butter called for in the original recipe.  Banana, coconut and chocolate go together very well in this recipe.  Just try to eat only one.  Maybe two.

Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, or a mix of each
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup softened coconut oil or unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 ripe bananas, medium in size
2 eggs
1/3 cup yogurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Makes 18 muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the oven rack in the center of the oven.  Prepare standard cupcake trays with paper cupcake liners or spray with baking spray.

Place the toasted nuts into a food processor.  Pulse to grind the nuts into a fine-ground texture.

Place the dry ingredients into a small mixing bowl, quinoa flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix to combine.  Add the ground nuts to the flour mixture.  Set aside.

Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the softened coconut oil and both sugars to the mixing bowl.  Mix on medium speed to cream the ingredients together.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add in the peeled bananas mixing for a minute or so until the bananas are mashed and combined.  Add in the eggs, one at a time mixing until just combined.  Add in the yogurt and vanilla to combine.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Transfer the flour/nut mixture to the wet ingredients mixing on low speed just until combined.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl to ensure all ingredients have been combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a 1/4-cup spring-loaded ice cream scoop, scoop out level scoops into each cupcake liner.  Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs.  Remove from the oven, allowing the muffins to cool in the trays for about 20 minutes.

The recipe can also be baked as a 9-inch single layer cake.  Grease the cake pan with butter or baking spray, line the bottom of the pan with a 9-inch round parchment paper.  Transfer the prepared batter into the cake pan, baking for 50-60 minutes until the cake is golden brown and fully baked in the cake center.  Cool in the pan for 35 minutes.