Archive | November, 2011

Roasted Garlic Beer Bread

22 Nov

It’s funny how our taste buds change over time.  Like most little kids, I remember how disgusted I was after my first sip of beer.  How does Dad even drink that?!, I thought to myself.  The taste was appalling, even in pancakes.  No matter how much maple syrup I used, nothing could mask the awful taste of beer in beer batter pancakes.

Thankfully, many years later I have come to appreciate the slightly bitter yet incredibly refreshing taste of beer.  I’m certainly no connoisseur– very hoppy or dark brews still make me cringe a bit but over time I hope to train my palate to enjoy them.  For now, I will stick to my lagers and wheat beers.

Now onto food.  No longer ten years old, I can now appreciate the depth of flavour that beer lends to the food with which it’s cooked.  I came across an article on the health benefits of beer (yes, there are some) about a year ago and clipped the accompanying recipes because they looked so interesting.  This one, a roasted garlic beer bread with rosemary, was not nearly as labour-intensive as a yeast bread but did require a significant amount of time for roasting the garlic and then baking the bread.  On the bright side, there is very little hands-on time so you can keep yourself occupied while the oven is doing its thing.

Garlic: Before

...After!

The beer taste was subtle, as was the sweetness of the roasted garlic.  The fresh rosemary was definitely the dominant flavour in this bread, in a good way.  Texture-wise, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this bread.  It was dense and slightly crumbly, more closely resembling cornbread than yeast bread.  Pair this bread with a hearty vegetable stew for a delicious meal to combat the cold weather.

Roasted Garlic Beer Bread... with local beer!

 

Roasted Garlic Beer Bread  (from Women’s Health Magazine)

2 whole garlic bulbs
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 tsp salt
1- 1/2 cups lager or pilsner beer

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove the papery covering of the garlic and slice off the tops. Wrap heads in foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until garlic is very soft. Let cool.
  2. Grease a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan. In a small bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl, squeeze out the soft garlic pulp and mix sugar, olive oil, and rosemary.  Add flour to garlic mixture and stir to combine.
  3. Add beer to flour/garlic mixture and stir until just combined (don’t overmix). Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before unmolding and slicing.

Makes 10 servings.  Per serving: 190 kcal, 3.5 g fat, 3 g fibre, 340 mg sodium

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Nutritious and Delicious Kale Slaw with Red Cabbage, Carrot, and Apple

14 Nov

In the summer, I discovered that raw kale is far superior to cooked kale.  If left to marinate long enough, raw kale goes from being “grassy” (in the wise words of E) to fairly neutral in taste.  Best of all, it’s a sturdy green that keeps its texture days after being dressed.

The most recent addition to my cookbook collection, the Moosewood Collectives, is full of tasty, nutritious, and hearty recipes.  I’m itching to try each and every one of them… if only there were more hours in the day.  Last week, I came across a delicious sounding recipe for a “Raw Slaw.”  Kale, red cabbage, carrot, and apple.  It sounded easy enough, plus it was another way to lessen my apple stockpile.  The recipe also called for the addition of fresh thyme, which I was hesitant to purchase.  Not because I don’t like thyme (in fact, I love it– the smell reminds me of my Mom’s old garden), but simply because I knew the leftover thyme would sit in my fridge and spoil.  As it turns out, the thyme was a nice addition but does not make the salad.  Feel free to include it or omit it as you see fit.

All in all, this salad was deeeeeeeeelicious!  So delicious that I made it not once but TWICE last week.  Partially because I now have a massive head of red cabbage in the fridge that needs to be used up.  Rotkraut anyone?

Kale Slaw with Red Cabbage, Carrot, and Apple

 

Our Favorite Raw Slaw (from Moosewood Restaurant: Cooking for Health)

3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1-1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
dash of cayenne pepper
3 cups shredded kale, ribs removed
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1-1/2 cups grated carrots
1 cup grated apples

  1. In a cup, whisk together oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, thyme, and cayenne.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the kale, cabbage, carrot, and apple.  Add the marinade, stir well, and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Makes 6 servings.  Per 1 cup serving: 92 kcal, 7 g fat, 1 g fibre, 212 mg sodium

 

Heart Healthy Apple Muffins with Oat Bran and Dates

4 Nov

As many of you know, apples are one of my favourite foods.  Crunchy, sweet-yet-tart, and very satisfying.  I won’t ramble on about the health benefits, but you know what they say: an apple a day…

When my friend Steph asked if I wanted to go apple picking with her earlier this fall, I enthusiastically gave her a big YES!!!! I’d never been apple picking before but it has been on my autumn “to-do” list for several years now.  So, a couple of weekends ago we braved the GTA traffic and drove up to an orchard in Brampton to spend the afternoon picking (and eating) apples with our other friend Steph and my sister J.

Random lady who wanted her photo taken + the girls with Mutsu apples

I was surprised by the size of the trees– I fully expected that ladders would be involved!  Instead, the trees were relatively short and most of the apples were within reach.  First we picked some large, crisp, sweet Mutsu apples that were practically the size of our heads.  Then we moved on to the Ida Red trees, which yield a tart apple that is great for baking.  Although I wasn’t planning on doing a ton of baking in the near future, these apples keep for 6 months in the fridge so I picked quite a few.  Finally, we moved onto one of my favourite eating apples: the Empire.  They taste just like a nice crispy version of the MacIntosh apple… none of that mealy nonsense that you sometimes get with Macs!  For useful info on various apples and their uses, click here.

Mutsu trees

Ida Red apples

I now have 2+ drawers full of apples in my fridge.  Maybe I was a little overzealous with my picking, but at least this means I won’t have to lug home apples from the grocery store for another month or two.

Recently, a recipe for reeeeeeally healthy-looking muffins caught my eye and tonight I was eager to give them a try.  I must admit, the recipe looked almost TOO wholesome to be true.  No oil, lots of oat bran, and no brown or granulated sugar.  I was also a bit skeptical as the batter came together– it did not look like anything I’d ever seen before!  It was loose rather than cohesive… but I packed the “batter” into the muffin tins and popped them into the oven, hoping for the best.  In the end, everything seemed to meld together in the oven and the muffins turned out wonderfully.  There was just the perfect amount of sweetness from the molasses, dates, and apples, and lots of that hearty whole-grain texture from the oats and oat bran.  Something tells me these muffins won’t last long… I’ve already eaten 3 tonight!

Apple Muffins with Oat Bran and Dates

 

Apple Muffins with Oat Bran and Dates  (from Moosewood Restaurant: Cooking for Health)

1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp molasses
3/4 cup finely chopped dates  (or chopped raisins/dried cranberries)
1 cup oat bran
2 cups finely chopped apples
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt   (I would reduce this to 1/4 tsp next time…)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp ground flaxseed

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and molasses.  Stir in the dates, oat bran, and apples.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, rolled oats, and ground flaxseed.  Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture until just combined.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool in tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from tin and allow to cool fully on rack.  Muffins will keep in an airtight container for several days.

Makes 12 muffins.  Per muffin: 110 kcal, 3 g fibre, 2 g fat, 276 mg sodium