Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pineapple Whip

I want ice cream more often than not. Not sorbet-ice cream. Or at the very least a sherbet. But I also want to not be roughly the size of Mount St. Helen.

Pineapple whips are a nice way to satiate that particular beast.  They can be a little tricky though. I learned early on that, while you want to use frozen pineapple, it's best you freeze your own. Unripe pineapple is bitter.

For some reason, pineapple breaks down into a creamy treat. Want it creamier? Add a banana or two. You don't really taste them under the pineapple.

There are lots of recipes out there, but right now I'm enjoying one I've made that's kind of a raspberry amaretto. Best part? It can also be a creamy, vegan treat. Swap out the honey for some simple syrup or go sans sugar all together. Nut allergy? Swap our almond for vanilla or another flavoring. Try adding coconut milk and other fruits for different flavors and textures.

3 cups frozen pineapple chunks
2 frozen bananas
6 oz. raspberries
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
1/4 cup honey (optional)
1/2 tsp almond extract
  1. In your food processor, pulse everything together a bit at a time.
  2. Once smooth, scoop into containers. I'm using your standard Gladware.
  3. Eat yours now, or freeze to store.
  4. Before serving, pull out and let thaw out a bit.
Makes 6 servings at 160 calories each, or 3 at 310.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

National Chocolate Chip Day: Low-Cal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yesterday was National Chocolate Chip Day, and I missed it. But it inspired me.

I'm back on the food train, which means I'm really watching my calories. But after seeing all of those pictures, I really wanted chocolate chip cookies. So, I skimmed through the internet, and couldn't find a single cookie that looked low cal, easy, and edible.

Lucky you.

These sweet, warm and gooey treats are sure to make you sing. Better yet, each has about the same amount of calories as a double-stuffed oreo, but it way more satisfying with their normal cookie size.

6 Tbsp. Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener
2 Tbsp. salted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. plain, fat free Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk drink
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup self-rising flour
1/4 cup quick oats, pulsed in a blender/processor
1/4 cup Ghirardelli's 60% Cocoa Chocolate Chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cream together sweetener, butter, yogurt, milk, and vanilla.
  3. Stir in oatmeal until well combined.
  4. Stir in flour until well combined.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Chill for 10 minutes.
  7. Line your cookie trays with parchment.
  8. Drop dough in gold-ball sized spoonfuls. If you need to do more than one round, keep dough chilled between.
  9. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until edges golden.
  10. Carefully remove. They will still be soft, so slide the parchment off the tray, and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before attempting to move.
  11. Serve warm for best taste.
Makes 10 cookies at 75 calories a cookie.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Angel Food with Lemon Curd

It was my Mama's birthday this week, as well as Mother's Day, so I wanted to do something special and decided to make her favorite cake from scratch. I only thought I knew what I was getting into.

It turns out that Angel Cake makes you pay for its deliciousness, and while the box is indeed quicker, I feel you get what you pay for with this one.

So, I used Alton Brown's Angel Food Cake recipe for the cake, and this pretty much fail proof Lemon Curd recipe from Wicked Good Kitchen. You might recognize it from my Lemon Curd Pie with Shortbread Crust.

12 egg whites, room temperature in the biggest bowl you have
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup warm, not hot, water
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour, sifted

  1. Once your egg whites are room temp, move your oven rack to the very bottom, and preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a small bowl, sift half of the sugar, and all of the flour together. I just use a balloon whisk because I'm lazy.
  3. In the biggest bowl you have, combine whites, tartar, salt, and water. If your flavoring is alcohol based, go ahead and add it. If not, wait until the end.
  4. Using your hand mixer, starting on low, mix together. Once combined bring up to medium and slowly add in the other half of the sugar. Beat until medium peaks form. This is gonna take awhile. Once near the end, you can add those oil based flavorings.
  5. Once medium peaks have formed, dust the top with some of the flour/sugar mix and carefully fold in with a spatula. Repeat until it has all been added. You don't want to stir stir because you'll deflate those whites, but you don't want dry lumps hanging out either.
  6. Spoon carefully into an un-greased tube pan. Smooth top.
  7. Bake on lowest rack for about 35 minutes before checking. Bake until internal temp is between 205F and 209F. Yes, use the dang thermometer, it's better than the stick test. Be careful, don't do it too hard because if it's not fully cooked you could deflate it. You also want to make sure you're between both pan edges.
  8. Remove and cook upside down. I use a glass coke bottle in the tube. Let cool for 3 hours before removing to serve or store.
  9. To remove, run a knife around both edges, and then carefully pry it out. 
  10. Store covered, in an airtight container or saran wrap to keep moist.

Lemon Curd
8 egg yolks
1 1/4 heaping cups sugar
Juice of 4 lemons
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, cold, cut in pats

  1. If you have a double broiler, break that bad boy out and set it up. If not, get your medium saucepan and fill it until it's just below the bottom of your small glass bowl. Remove the bowl, and bring the water to a simmer.
  2. In the bowl, combine yolks, sugar, and juice using a hand mixer on low.
  3. Place carefully on top of pan and continue mixing on low as it cooks.
  4. Once it starts to thicken, change our your hand mixer for a whisk. This will help you feel it thicken. You want it as thick as pie filling. When you dip a spoon in, it should coat it without being all drippy. It can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes.
  5. Once thickened, remove and whisk in butter one pat at a time.
  6. Once all butter is added, toss in the lemon zest. Pour into containers. Makes 2 jam jars worth.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Smokey Black Bean & Mushroom Burgers

I had my big end of the school year shebang for my tutors and TAs, despite the power having gone out, again. Thank you engineers, for the invention of the generator.

This year was tricky, because a large chunk of my staff was vegetarian, and a few were vegans, so the grilled chicken drumsticks weren't going to work.  I scoured the internet for black bean burger recipes, got an idea of how it's done, and then pretty much ignored everyone. One calls for egg, another for cumin, etc.

These were a hit! Even the meat eaters loved them! They ate them all. In fact, they ate so many that we ran out of vegan buns and had to open up my bread for the week, and I don't have a picture! I'll add one the next time I make them.

3-15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups diced baby bella mushrooms
1 cup chopped kale (or spinach)
1 1/2-2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1 small onion finely, chopped
1 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, and more for pan frying

  1. In food processor, combine 1 1/2 cans of beans, half of mushrooms, and all of the kale, garlic, and oil and pulse low then high until seems can't get any more pureed. You'll have to scrape down the sides a few times.
  2. Add in soy, salt, and smoke. Pulse a bit, so you can taste test. Be sparing with the smoke. Too much of a good thing can ruin everything.
  3. Remove into large bowl, and add in the remaining beans, the diced onion, and half the bread crumbs. The remaining beans give it better texture.
  4. Using hands knead in bread crumbs until can form patties. Add in remaining bread crumbs by 1/4 cup at a time, until you get there.
  5. Form a large ball, a bit bigger than you would for a hamburger. On a flat surface, squish down into patty, flip and slightly squish again and fix the edges. You want them on the thicker side, like a restaurant burger, but not super thick.
  6. Pan fry until golden on both sides.
  7. Serve with whatever fixings you prefer. I did mayo and basil.
Makes 16, 165 calories each