Ground Hazelnut and Rice Flour Muffins

 

hazelnutMuffin

Happy Monday every one.  I have a co-worker/manager who is allergic to gluten.  So every time I made muffins, cookies or other baked goods she could not eat.  So I was searching for a nice recipe that is gluten free and tastes so good.  Finally I got this recipe and I was a bit afraid since it uses rice flour instead of all-purpose flour.  Also I replaced butter with vegan butter to satisfy some friends who has lactose problem. I was a bit reluctant since I have never baked with rice flour.  But to my surprise it came out really good – soft and fluffy as any other muffin.

hazelnutmuffin1

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz vegan butter at room temperature
  • ¾ cup castor sugar
  • 4 medium sized eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups ground hazelnuts
  • ½ cup sweetened desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • Pinch of salt (only if you are using sweet cream butter. I used salted vegan butter)
  • 12 whole hazelnuts

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin cup pan with paper casing
  • Mix together rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (if using salt). You don’t have to sift since rice flour is very light and powdery and will not clump as all-purpose flour.  Set aside
  • Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until soft and light. Add eggs one at a time and beat until just combined.  Now add lemon grind and vanilla extract
  • Stir in ground almonds, coconut, and flour. Mix well
  • Stir in blueberries and combine. Make sure you don’t over mix and crush the blueberries
  • Divide mixture into paper cases and add a single hazelnut in the middle of each muffin
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted near the middle comes out clean
  • Leave muffins in tin for about 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Greens with Green Dressing

KiwiSaladBig

Spring is here – means lots of fresh veggies, fruits, and salad on my menu.   Making salad dressing is no rocket science, but what I love is making some thing so different which comes out of the blue.  I have seen strawberry vinaigrette, Tangerine dressing but has never seen a salad dressing made with Kiwi fruit.  So I thought of giving a try with this fruit and for my amazement it came out pretty good.  The sweet and sour taste of salad dressing compensates the bitter tangy taste of Arugula.  Now I am in a role of making salad dressings with different fruits or veggies or what ever comes to my mind.  I will definitely be posting more.

 

kiwi_vinegrette

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • ½ of a small fennel bulb
  • 6 grape tomatoes
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 very ripe kiwi fruit
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon champagne vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Toasted almonds for topping

 

Method:

  • To make the salad dressing, peel and roughly cut kiwi. Put cut kiwi, vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper in a food processer and puree until smooth.
  • Thinly slice fennel bulb and just roast for five minutes without any oil in an oven toaster
  • Quarter cherry tomatoes. Peel and cut avocados into thick slices.
  • Add all the salad ingredients into a large bowl and add prepared salad dressing and mix well
  • Divide into 2 salad bowls
  • Top with toasted almonds
  • Yields: 2 servings

Sweet and Spiced Almonds

spicedAlmonds

I love almonds especially when roasted.  Instead of spending a lot of money, I thought of making my own spiced almonds.  They are expensive.  Since this is the first time, I thought of going a bit easy on the spice side.  Just cinnamon to give a nice flavor.  Since this came out so good, I will definitely be making different ways with different spices and different nuts.  They will be posted as soon as I make them.  Until then enjoy this simple one.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole almonds with skin
  • 1 teaspoon butter at room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and spread evenly on a cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes
  • Let cool and store in an air tight container.

Pistou – AFrench Vegetable (Vegan) Soup

Pistou

Pistou originated from the south France.  This is one of the most easiest soup I have ever made.  Serve this delicious and light soup for dinner with your choice of garlic bread or with French bread spreaded with extra virgin olive oil and toasted until lightly golden and crisp.  I served this soup with whole grain multi seeded bread.  I placed a few slices of bread on a plate and brushed with olive oil on one side.  Then I toasted until crisp and sprinkled with garlic salt. Viola my garlic bread was ready.  If you omit the Parmesan cheese when serving the soup, (which is optional) this can be a delicious Vegan Soup

Pistou1

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup zucchini cubed (about ¼ inch cubes)
  • ½ cup diced potatoes (about ½ inch cubes)
  • ½ cup green beans cut into about 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ chopped carrots
  • 4 oz tomato roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 pearl onions chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup frozen green peas
  • ½ cup pasta shapes

For serving:

  • Basil pesto
  • Parmesan Cheese (optional)
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Method:

  • Add zucchini, potatoes, green beans, tomato, onion, tomatoes to a large saucepan and add vegetable stock and cover and cook for about 10 minutes or vegetables are ¾ cooked
  • Add tomato paste, green peas, and pasta shapes and cook for another 10-15 minutes. If the soup becomes too thick, add a little water
  • To serve, ladle soup to a bowl and add a little bit pesto and stir slightly into the soup. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and black pepper (optional)
  • Yields: 2 servings as a main dish.

Payatram Paniyaram

payatam_paniyaram

Today is Sri Lankan New Year.  Happy New Year to all my friends.  New Year means sweet milk rice, payasam, sweets, spicy snacks and lots of traditional processes.  One of the most common sweet-snack made is Payatram Paniyaram. These are also traditionally made for special occasions such as weddings, Tamil New Year and any other auspicious events.  In different parts of Jaffna, the name slightly differs.  Where I am from, my parents and family calls these “payatram paniyaram”.  In other areas or places these are called “payatram urundai”, “thoippan” etc.

I have always wanted to make this since I left Sri Lanka.  But every time I tried, it did not taste the way my mother makes.  So after a while I thought to give it a try and focus on the measurements.  For the hard work, these came out absolutely delicious.

payatam_paniyaram1

Some Tips:

  1. Traditionally we use red rice flour.  But it may be replaced with white rice flour since red rice flour is quite expensive outside of Sri Lanka (it depends on where you live).
  2. When you make the dough, make sure that you do not add a lot of water.  The less water these has will enhance the taste and flavor.  Also these will stay longer compared to those that have more water added
  3. When you fry these drop one at a time into the hot oil.  In this way they won’t stick together and come out as a big batch.  It is alright if 2 or 3 stick together in a batch in the oil.
  4. The real secret of making the outside crispy depends on what flour you use.  Traditionally all purpose flour is used.  But for some reason, it becomes soft after a day or two and loses the taste.  So I mixed in all purpose flour and rice flour with coconut milk.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unroasted mung bean flour (payatram ma)
  • ½ cup roasted red rice flour
  • ½ cup castror sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • About 3 tablespoons Hot water
  • Oil to deep fry

Dipping batter:

  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon steamed all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon roasted white rice flour
  • 2 tablespoon coconut milk
  • Water
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  • Mix together all the dry ingredients
  • Add 1 tablespoon water at a time and mix with your hand. You have to continue to mix so that the sugar will melt into the flour.  The dough should be loose and not sticky.  Once you reach the consistency where when you able to make a ball of the size of marble, you have reached the right consistency.
  • Take a small amount and with your fist tightly squeeze to clump the loose dough. Once you have clumped, just squeeze them into a ball with one hand.  If you try to use both hands to roll, it will fall apart.
  • To make the batter mix the batter ingredients with water until the batter has the consistency of think pancake batter.
  • Heat oil in a large wok. Once hot, dip each ball in the batter and drop in the hot oil.  Depending on the size of your pan, you can add any number at a time.
  • Once lightly golden drain on paper towel. Let cool completely
  • Store in an air tight container. This will keep for about a week or 2.

Vegan Crepes with Grilled Pineapple and Orange Sauce

pineappleCrepe_Small

With the arrival of spring, I am already in the mood of making anything tropical.  I love tropical fruits like mangoes, papaya, pineapple etc.  All of a sudden I got an idea of making crepes with a tropical fruit.  Why not?  So drove to the grocery store and found a container of fresh cut pineapple.  That’s it; I decided this is going to be my breakfast the following morning.

You can also use fresh pineapple for this recipe.  But me being a bit lazy and to avoid all the peeling and cutting, I thought of going with an already cut pineapple – that is why they sell these right?  Anyway, I have been trying to make vegan dishes lately and decided make these crepes vegan.  So I used almond milk and no eggs.  I added a pinch of cream of tartar to give a texture which is similar to a crepe made with regular milk.  I also found almond milk consistency is quite similar to regular milk as opposed to soy milk.  Also it’s best to use the refrigerated almond milk (meaning the fresh ones) instead of those from the shelf.  Consistency of soy milk is a bit thick and has a distinct smell even in the crepes.

Even though it took some time to make the crepes, it was worth the time.  When it comes to the almond filling, the orange sauce and pineapple, the amounts are not carved on stone.  You can reduce or increase the amount of these ingredients.  It all depends on how much filling you want to add for a crepe and how much sauce you want to sprinkle.  So let’s get to the recipe.

pineappleCrepe_large

 

All the ingredients for this Crepe:

PineappleCrepe_Ingredients

Ingredients:

 For the crepes:

  • ½ cup all purpose white flour
  • 1 ½ cups almond milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cream of tartar

For the almond filling:

  • ½ cup ground almond/almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons castor sugar
  • 3 tablespoons almond milk

Pineapple topping:

  • 1 ½ cups pineapples cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ teaspoon vegan butter or margarine

Orange Sauce:

  • Juice or 2 large orange
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vegan butter or margarine

Extra topping:

  • About 2-3 tablespoon flaked coconut roasted
  • About ½ tablespoons walnuts chopped and toasted

Method:

To make the almond filling:

  • In a small bowl add ground almond, almond milk, and sugar and mix well to make a paste consistency. If the filling is way too sticky and thick, add more milk.  Set aside.

To make the Pineapple topping:

  • Add butter to a skillet and once the foam subsides add pineapple and roast on high flame until they are browned on almost all side – probably 5 minutes. If the skillet start smoking, reduce the flame and once the smoke subsides, you can increase it back.  Alternately you can grill the pineapple as well – I think it will give a much greater flavor.
  • Set aside

To make the Orange Sauce:

  • Add butter to a skillet and add brown sugar. Once it starts sizzling add orange juice slowly and boil on low flame until sauce thickens.

To make the crepes batter:

  • Sift flour, salt, and cream of tartar into a large bowl
  • Add a little almond milk at a time and mix well until there are no lumps until all milk are used and the consistency of batter smooth and slightly thick.
  • Heat a large skillet and add a little butter. Once butter starts sizzling add a spoonful of batter to the skillet and swirl to coat the pan.  Cook until lightly browned.  Flip and cook until golden or brown dots form
  • Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Continue making crepes until all batter is used.

To Assemble the Crepes:

  • Divide almond filling and roasted pineapple into 6 portions
  • Place a crepe on a plate and add a little bit of almond filling in the middle (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Fold crepe into a rectangle by bringing the edges together.
  • Place on a separate plate with folded side down.  Place 2 crepes on a plate
  • Add pineapple on the top and sprinkle with orange sauce
  • Sprinkle with toasted coconut and walnuts

Yields: 6 thin crepes

Spinach Jicama Salad with Champaign vinaigrette

JicamaSalad

I have seen this vegetable (actually it is a root/tuber) in the farmers market with n other varieties of yams and had been thinking of buying.  I first got introduced to this at the Whole Foods Market lunch buffet.  They always make a salad out of this which is so delicious.  Finally I decided to buy this and make a salad out of it based on the taste I had at Whole Foods Market.  Since I could not identify each and every element of the ingredients, I modified it with my own mix of fruits and vegetables and salad dressing.  I really loved the texture and taste of this yam and planning to make more recipes which I will definitely post here.

Jicama

Jicama has a nice crunchy sweet texture which is similar to the Asian pears.  Jicama is a yam bean (Don’t ask me why they make it such bean and yam) native to Mexico.  You can read more about here. Hope you will enjoy this recipe as well.

This salad is so easy and worth making.  You can mix and match with different ingredients.  One example is I was thinking of using fresh pineapple instead of orange but unfortunately didn’t have it.  So let’s get to business.

JicamaSalad1

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • Quarter of a Jicama (4 oz)
  • 1 orange (I used navel orange)
  • 1 ripe avocado

For the salad dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Champaign vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • With a sharp knife peel orange and cut the bitter pith from the orange. Cut in between the membranes to release the segments.  Just take one or 2 segments to make one tablespoon of juice.  Cut the rest of each segment into half diagonally and set aside
  • In a small bowl whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, Champaign vinegar, crushed pepper and salt and set aside for about 10 minutes
  • Meanwhile wash and drain spinach and dry thoroughly
  • Peel Jicama and cut them into thick strips – about less than ¼ inch thickness and about 1 ½ to 2 inches long.
  • Half the avocado and remove the seed. Scoop out the flesh carefully and cut them into thin slices
  • To serve divide spinach into 2 bowls and arrange them in the bottom of each bowl. Now add orange segments, Jicama slices, and avocado over the spinach bed.
  • Sprinkle salad dressing over the salad and serve immediately
  • Serves 2
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