Thursday, November 25, 2010

couscous-stuffed, feta-topped paprikas



not to fear, dear friends and loyal fans, the hobbit is back with a dish that was made last week, but which was so tasty that it took me this long to be able to write about it without shedding a small tear of nostalgic joy.

the days are getting shorter, the nights more frigid, and the rain... well the rain has stayed its constant self (this is bremen after all) (zing!). i notice how my interest in eating salad is inversely related to how many layers of socks i need to survive the day. as such, it's always nice to find warm, healthy dishes that still pack a degree of veggie and vitamins. this dish offers both nutritional value and the endlessly fun task of stuffing one thing into another. and adding cheese!

it's also tres easy, and the recipe could easily be adapted depending on what vegetables you have. i know because we adjusted this (divine-looking) recipe and it turned out simply splendid!

get your hands on:

4 large peppers
veggie cooking spray
1 cup couscous
1 1/4 cup water
1 cube vegetable broth
a few tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 zucchini
2/3 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup fresh herbs
(parsley or chives work great)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 can chickpeas
3 tbsp pureed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a baking dish with cooking spray. cut off the tops of peppers and scoop out seeds (and all that gunk). place the peppers upright in the baking dish and let the roast in the oven for about 12-15 minutes, until they start to soften up.

meanwhile, begin cooking the couscous by bringing your water to a boil, adding in some vegetable broth and then couscous. cover the pan and remove it from the heat to let the couscous cook. in another skillet, cook your veggies! add the onion, zucchini, and mushrooms and let cook for 5 minutes. turn the heat down and stir in your tomatoes, chickpeas, herbs, and tomato sauce (and you can do your salt and pepper now too). combine with the couscous and let cook on low heat for a couple of minutes.

fill the peppers with the couscous mixture, top with bits of feta, and bake for 20 minutes.

eat immediately, but first let your friend assemble them in a beautiful fashion to enhance the dining experience. (p.s. see those orange slivers to the side? those are sweet potato fries! that recipe coming soon….)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

heartffles!



last week, i came home to find a waffle iron on my bed. confused and inspired, i set to work. and quickly realized that life with a waffle iron > life without a waffle iron. this may have more to do with the realization that this heart-shaped treasure will also probably be able to double as a panini maker  (!!) and veggie burger grill machine (!!!!) and less to do with any sort of waffle obsession. that said, it's certainly a HUGE relief to know that waffles are only minutes away if we need them.

we don't normally have butter or eggs stocked in our fridge unless there's a baking session planned, so it was clear that these were going to have to be vegan. fortunately, the thing is: it's really not as difficult as it seems to "veganize" most recipes. mostly, you just need something to substitute for the butter and eggs which adhere the dry ingredients to each other. soy milk works great, as does vegetable oil and a dollop of apple sauce.



die zutaten!

2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups soy milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

begin by heating up your waffle iron so it’s ready to receive batter.
combine all the dry ingredients, and add in the wet. stir it all together, but leave some lumps too. once the iron is nice and piping, grease with cooking spray, and fill er up. with this iron, it only took at 5 minutes to cook. and of course, the first one looked very silly and disfigured. but the rest were stunning.

also, our first batches were sans cinnamon, but we later added the spice to the batter. personally, i preferred them with (heaping amounts of) cinnamon. next time we do it (aka in a few hours, probably..), i think we'll see what happens if we throw an overripe banana or two into the mix.

et bon app├ętit!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

los geht's, a word of warning, and cake!



an honest confession to kick things off: a title which would probably better capture this blog's purpose/imminent fate might be something like,

"experimental kitchen creations that don't necessarily end up looking to-die-for delicious but which (usually) turn out tasting purdy good."

that said, muffins on sunday felt - as a title - crisper.

but let's cut the small talk and get down to the thing on everyone's mind: cake. the first recipe we tried turned out, not surprisingly, to be both over-the-top and really tasty! you've had apple-banana cake, sure, but this takes the fruit ingredients to a whole new level. the recipe is inspired by smitten kitchen's mom's apple cake and the craft begin's banana-pear bread. i've tried and loved both, but i still think this newest creation is my favorite, combining all the pleasures of a banana loaf with chunks of cinammon-y apple in every bite!



ingredients:

3 overripe, mashed bananas
5 medium sized apples (or pears, if that's more your thang)
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup sugar (you can also use 3/4 cup if you prefer it less sweet)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. cinnamon

preheat oven to 350 degrees. grease a tube or bunt cake pan. peel, core and chop apples into chunks. toss with cinnamon and set aside.

in a large bowl, mix together bananas, eggs, sugar, cooking oil, vanilla, and half the apples. beat until well mixed. in another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir with until it’s well moistened but still lumpy.

pour half of batter into the pan. spread about half the remaining apples over it. pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the last apples on top. bake for about 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. enjoy!!