Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Black Quinoa Cakes and PaperChef Giveaway

Featured Ingredient: Black Quinoa














To say that quinoa is hot is an understatement. A slew of cookbooks devoted to the South American grain have recently come out speaking to its popularity. Just a mere decade ago, only hard-core grain lovers had even heard of it. The good news is that quinoa is now increasing the nutritional value of more and more diets.

Billed as a superfood, quinoa is laced with fiber, vitamins and protein. You probably have seen the beige grain in grocers, but now red and black hues are popping up in more shops. It’s believed that these cheery versions of quinoa contain an extra dose of antioxidants courtesy of their colored pigments. And they can really add wow appeal to meals such as these individual frittata style cakes made with black quinoa.

The quinoa adds a very interesting texture (and visual appeal!), while the mushrooms and Parmesan cheese deliver some umami flavor. If I worked away from home, I’d definitely pack these for lunch.

I think that fanciful recipes such as this deserve to be wrapped up in a fancy package. That is why I made them using the excellent lotus cups from PaperChef. If you’re preparing a muffin tin creation for a soiree, potluck or your local book club, the PaperChef lotus cups are sure to elevate the presentation. Made from parchment paper, they are completely non-stick and biodegradable.














It’s time for another Muffin Tin Mania product giveaway. The kind folks over at PaperChef would like to award one of my readers with a some of their parchment lotus cups to help show off your made with love muffins or other treats.

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post that says “I want to be a chef using PaperChef” along with some way of identifying yourself such as your initials, name or email address and I will use this online tool to randomly select a winner. I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday October 31st, so if you entered write the date down on your calendar and check back in then for a chance to claim your prize. This contest is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

Congrats to Jenna Z who was randomly selected as the winner of the PaperChef contest. 


Quinoa Mushroom Cakes

















2/3 cup quinoa, preferably black
6 large eggs
2 cups finely chopped cremini mushrooms
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
3 tablespoons white wine (optional)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place quinoa in a saucepan along with 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 12 minutes, or until tender and water has absorbed.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add in quinoa as well as the remaining ingredients and mix together.

Divide quinoa mixture among 12 standard sized paper lined or greased muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes, or until set. Let cool before unmolding.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sweet Potato Coconut Oatmeal Cups


Featured Ingredient: Coconut Butter

A couple weekends ago, I attended a big health food show up here in Toronto. Let me tell you, it was all things coconut. Coconut flour, coconut sugar, coconut water, etcetera, etcetera. Coconut is definitely is a hot food trend at the moment.

Generally, that is a good thing as it’s not nearly the health pariah once thought. Tabi and I spent several weeks in Sri Lanka this past winter and if the fat in coconut is bad for your ticker, the entire country should be keeling over from heart attacks. They eat prodigious amounts of the stuff, yet data indicates such coconut loving nations have lower rates of coronary woes.

For the time being, coconut also remains a sustainable crop. However, with so many products now on the North American market you hope that rainforests are not going to be felled to plant coconut trees.

One of my favorite whole food coconut products on the market is coconut butter. It’s made by pureeing coconut flesh and is ridiculously good when slathered on a piece of toast. It can also add richness to baked items such as these sweet potato oatmeal cups. These are a great alternative to a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. The sweet potato puree adds earthy sweetness, while the triple shot of coconut will give your morning a bit of tropical flare. Look for coconut flour to become increasingly popular as it’s low glycemic and laced with dietary fiber.  

To punch things up, I made a berry coulis (a fancy word for a sweet dessert sauce) to accompany them. IMO it’s a dynamic duo.

As is the case every Wednesday, it’s time for another Muffin Tin Mania product giveaway. The kind folks over at Nutiva would like to award one of my readers with a jar of their very own Coconut Manna coconut butter to try out in this recipe or other kitchen creations. This stuff is seriously awesome. They have a bunch of other coconut products such as oil, flour and sugar as well.














To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post that says “I’m going nuts for Nutiva coconut” along with some way of identifying yourself such as your initials, name or email address and I will use this online tool to randomly select a winner. I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday October 17th, so if you entered write the date down on your calendar and check back in then for a chance to claim your prize. This contest is open to U.S. residents only.

Congrats to Stephanie who was randomly selected as the winner of some of the Nutiva Coconut Manna. Stephanie, just send me your shipping details using the contact tab above and I'll get some coconut butter sent your way. 


Sweet Potato Coconut Oatmeal Cups with Berry Coulis

















1 lb. sweet potato, about 1 medium-large sized potato, peeled and chopped
1 1/4 cup large flake oats
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons coconut butter
1/2 cup coconut milk or other milk of choice
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coulis:
1 cup berries of choice, chopped
2 tablespoons honey, agave syrup or sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Steam, boil or roast sweet potato until very tender. Remove from heat and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place oats in a large bowl along with coconut flour, dates, cinnamon, cloves and salt.

Place sweet potato, eggs, coconut butter, coconut milk, honey and vanilla in a blender container and blend until smooth.

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine.

Divide oat mixture among 10 standard sized greased or paper lined muffin cups. Cook for 20 minutes, or until set. Let cool several minutes before unmolding.

To make the coulis, combine berries, honey and lemon juice food processor or blender container and let sit 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water to berry mixture, and purée until completely smooth. Strain berry mixture through a fine mesh sieve, stirring and pressing with wooden spoon or spatula to remove seeds and any skins.

Serve oatmeal cups warm with berry sauce. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Feta Sage Muffins


Featured Ingredient: Olive oil + California Olive Ranch Giveaway

I think I may adore savory muffins just as much as sweet ones. There is just something about biting into a warmed savory muffin in the middle of the afternoon that lifts the spirits.

I’ve posted a few other savory morsels in the past such as these and these, so here is another version that is a winner. So moist and full of savory deliciousness, it’s really hard to eat just one of these feta infused muffins. Sage lends them a fall flavor, whereas I added the chickpea (garbanzo) puree to make the muffins more nutrient dense and a healthier snack overall. As does the extra virgin olive oil, which is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds.

As is the case on Wednesday, it’s time for another Muffin Tin Mania product giveaway. The kind folks over at California Olive Ranch would like to award one of my readers with a bottle of their wonderful extra virgin olive oil to try out in this recipe or other kitchen creations. What a prize! 















Through my research for magazine articles on culinary oils, I’ve really come to appreciate the quality of olive oils being produced in California. Generally, just as good as anything coming out of Europe and with stricter regulations.

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post that says: “My muffins need an oil change” along with some way of identifying yourself such as your initials, name or email address and I will use this online tool to randomly select a winner. I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday October 10th, so if you entered write the date down on your calendar and check back in then for a chance to claim your prize.

Congrats to MamaMcf who was randomly selected as the winner of some great olive oil from California Olive Ranch. MamaMcf, just send me your shipping details using the contact tab above and I'll get some olive oil sent your way. 

Feta Sage Muffins
















1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoon coconut palm sugar or other granulated sugar of choice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned (drained and rinsed) or cooked dried chickpeas
3/4 cup low-fat milk
3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh sage
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a blender or food processor, whirl together chickpeas, milk, yogurt, oil, sage and garlic until smooth. Pour chickpea mixture into dry ingredients and mix gently. Fold in feta. Divide mixture among 12 standard sized greased or paper lined muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool several minutes before unmolding. Best served warmed.