21 February 2010

Mulberry & Orange Flower Water Muffins

Well, the snow has been falling heavily all day and it looks like Juno the dog and I are snowbound. As soon as the city 'plows' the street, the driveway will be blocked with snow 3 feet high. I'm not sure why the city feels that scraping snow from the road into piles to block driveways is a good idea, but it does seem to be our local snow plan.

So, what's there to do other than watch the Olympics and cook? Unfortunately, there was no pre-snow run for supplies, so what we have is all we are going to have.

While looking for some Australian spices for breakfast, I noticed a small bottle of Orange Flower Water that I had purchased and never used. Since flower waters are used in baking, it made me think of muffins, which, along with bread, it pretty much the only thing I ever bake. I have blueberries in the freezer, but the orange flower water is from Lebanon and I remembered that I had dried white mulberries from Turkey in the pantry.

White mulberries are an interesting fruit. The dried fruits look like small pine cones and have a mildly sweet flavor somewhat between a raisin and a fig. They have very tiny seeds which give a very small bit of crunch. They have more protein than most fruits, and also offer anti-oxidants, vitamin C, and iron. And taste great.

The basic muffin recipe I use, from Tae, uses 1/3 c oil in it. I had some unsweetened applesauce in the pantry as well, so decided to substitute that for the oil.

Orange Flower Water is amazingly fragrant. These muffins smell amazing while you mix them, amazing while you bake them, and best of all, amazing while you eat them. The flavor is absolutely delicious and probably different from your run-of-the-mill muffin you normally make. I'm not a fan of icing, so I had mine with a squirt of Soyatoo vegan 'whipped cream'.

You can get white mulberries from Barry Farms, and the orange flower water from The Spice House.

Mulberry & Orange Flower Water Muffins

1 1/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 c sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c dried white mulberries

3/4 c soy milk
2 t vinegar
1/2c applesauce
1 T orange flower water

Preheat oven to 350F

Spray a 12 muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine dry ingredients
Combine wet ingredients
Mix wet ingredients into dry just until it is combined, then pour into cups. Cups will be about 3/4 full.

Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Check after 20 minutes.

17 February 2010

Southwestern Tofurky Roast

I had apprehensions when I unwrapped my first Tofurky before last Christmas. Expecting something vaguely meat-like, I was confronted with a plastic wrapped softball. I had tried the Tofurky sliced 'smoked turkey' on sandwiches and thought it was pretty good. But a beige softball? Not a good start.

On the package there were two suggested ways to baste to Tofurky while baking it. The orange one sounded like a bad idea for a Christmas turkey, so I tried the other. Unfortunately, althoguh the 'meat' and stuffing was delicious, the basting liquid was salty and used far too much oil. The basting overpowered the quality of the roast itself.

When I had a chance to get another Tofurky at a discount, I jumped at it and now wish I had bought a lot more of them. The package says it has 5 servings, but I was able to eat one 'roast' for days.

In an attempt to add a basting liquid to the roast that was as good as the 'meat', I decided to replace most of the oil with hidden liquid flavor. I roasted some poblano chiles long enough to remove the skin and seeds. I scored the tofurky very lightly and rubbed it with a teaspoon or two of oil. Then I rubbed about a tablespoon of chipotle powder on it. The Tofurky was then wrapped in the poblano chiles and aluminum foil and then baked.

The result was a super tender, very tasty, very juicy Tofurky roast that even offered up some pan juices. Sorry, Tofurky package recipe-writer-people. I win this one big time.

Southwestern Tofurky Roast

1 Tofurky, defrosted as per manufacturers directions
3 large poblano chiles
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbs chipotle powder

Note: if you want even less heat than a poblano, you could use 6 or so Anaheim (Hatch) chiles instead, or even regular bell peppers as long as you roast and peel them

Preheat oven to 350F

Using a gas burner or your broiler, blister the skin on the poblanos, and set them aside, covered, for 15 minutes.

Peel the poblanos and remove the stem and seeds.

With a sharp knife, carefully remove the roast from its package.

Carefully and very lightly score the roast on all sides.

Rub olive oil over roast

Rub chipotle powder over roast.

Lay out a large sheet of aluminum foil and lay one poblano in the center. Add the roast on the poblano. Drape the other two poblanos over the sides and wrap up firmly in the aluminum foil.

Wrap the entire ball in another layer of aluminum foil and put in a shallow oven proof dish.

Bake for 90 minutes.

When serving, open the foil and remove the poblanos to the side. Remove roast and slice. Serve slices over pieces of the roasted poblanos. There will be several tablespoons of 'pan drippings' in the bottom of the foil, so spoon that over the slices.

09 February 2010

Kate's Methi Curry

Day after day, Tae raved about an Indian curry that her roommate, Kate, was making for them. She called it 'Kate's Methi Curry'. I had never heard of methi and had no clue what it was. Tae said is was a fresh green herb and the recipe called for 2 bunches of it. They are living in an area with a diverse ethnic mix, and have access to an array of fresh produce that makes a snowbound Midwesterner like me drool...

After a few days, Tae emailed the recipe to me and I went in search of 'methi'. Any dish that makes Tae rave like that really has to be spectacular. I had no luck finding any source for fresh methi leaves, even online. Finding dried leaves turned out to be pretty easy. One email to the online Indian store I use, Indian Blend , and they sent me the links to various versions of methi, which turned out to be fenugreek leaves. A few days later, India Blend had dried fenugreek leaves, fresh ginger, fresh turmeric and tons of garlic sitting on my doorstep.

If you want your potatoes to hold their shape, choose yukon gold or red ones. White potatoes are fine (and what I use) but they tend to fall apart if you stir them too much.

The traditional recipe uses potatoes as the vegetable. With this recipe, I have added optional vegetables. When I last made it, I had lovely fresh Brussels Sprouts, so added those. I also had some cauliflower that needed using up, so I used the florets of half a head. You might also consider broccoli, several types of potatoes, baby onions, green beans, or whatever you like. If you aren't interested in a traditional dish, the sky is the limit.

I use fresh turmeric in this, and if you can get it, strongly advise that you use it. Be careful, because it will stain anything instantly, but is well worth the trouble. It has a totally different flavor and texture than the powdered yellow stuff in a jar. Would you make a tomato sandwich with a re-hydrated dried tomato powder instead of a ripe fresh tomato, if you had the fresh available? Fresh and dried turmeric are that different.

I cut the salt in the original recipe from 3 teaspoons to 2 teaspoons in this version. When I make it for myself, I only use a single teaspoon. There is so much flavor in this mixture, you really won't miss the salt.

There is nutritional information from Menu Magic for this recipe at the bottom but it should be used only for general guidance, and does not include the extra vegetables or the brown jasmine rice I strongly suggest you serve this over.

I made a few changes in the recipe to reflect what I had or what I had access to, so if you love the recipe, all the credit goes to Kate; if you hate it, it's my fault. This recipe is superb, and a great change from a lot of our ordinary American dinner food. I haven't met Kate, but thanks for the recipe!

Kate's Methi Curry
Servings: 6

1 onion diced
3 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoon(s) ginger root, grated
2 tablespoon(s) canola oil
3 tablespoon(s) Turmeric - Fresh grated or 2 tsp dried
1 1/2 pound(s) red potato diced
2 jalapeno finely diced
2-3 c chopped vegetables (optional: cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, green beans, etc)
1 teaspoon(s) chili powder
1 teaspoon(s) cumin powder
1 teaspoon(s) coriander seeds, ground
2 teaspoon(s) salt
4 tablespoon(s) Fenugreek Leaves Dried - Methi

In a large non-stick pot, heat oil
Add onion and garlic and saute several minutes.
Add turmeric and potato and saute 2-3 minutes
Add all other ingredients EXCEPT the methi/ fenugreek leaves
Add 1/4 c water
Cook the curry over low medium heat until the potatoes are cooked through.
Add water 2 Tbs at a time if it starts to stick. The potatoes should NOT brown, just cook .
When paotaoes are done, add methi and another 1/4 cup of water.
Mix well and cook another 5 minutes
Serve over jasmine brown rice

Nutrition Facts
per serving Nutritional Percentages
Calories 225 Percentage Fat 22.8
Total Fat (g) 5.69 Percentage Carbohydrates 68.6
Saturated Fat (g) 0.36 Percentage Protein 7.9
Cholesterol (mg) 0 Sodium (mg) 978
Total Carbohydrates (g) 38.61