Saturday, June 30, 2012

Morocco Meets Italy...

Life has been so busy for me. Unfortunately I haven't been cooking near as often. My brother and my sister had a baby the same week, father's day, work,.. life. It feels good to be back in the kitchen. 
Lately I've been getting bored of the same old dishes. I looked through my folder and found a moroccan side dish with a tahini sauce made with a spice mixture called ras el hanout. It's made up of 10 different spices. I love stuff like this. For some reason I decided to make a pasta dish as the main course. It worked. I used a simple recipe I found in Vegetarian Times magazine. My family is definitely into bread. Instead of running to the store to pick up a baguette, my mom suggested I make these super delicious 30-minute rolls. I did and well, they were quite delicious. Here are the recipes!
Roasted (Vegetables) with Ras El Hanout Tahini Sauce

Vegetables (supposed to be cauliflower)
 3 T. olives oil
 3 T. tahini
 2-3 T. Ras El Hanout (recipe below)
 2 small or 1 large head cauliflower (I used carrots and zucchini), cut into 2" florets
 2 lemons, cut into wedges

Tahini Sauce
 2 T. tahini
 1 T. lemon juice
 2 t. Ras El Hanout

Ras El Hanout
  (makes 1/4 C.)
2 t. smoked paprika
1 1/2 t. ground coriander
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground turmeric
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder (I used salt)
1/ t. ground all spice
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Store in airtight container.

To make vegetables: Preheat oven to 400°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, or coat with cooking spray.
Whisk together oil, tahini, and ras el hanout in large bowl. 
Add cauliflower or vegetables of choice and toss to coat well with sauce. Spread vegetables on the baking sheet and roast 20-25 minutes, or until browned and dry, stirring once or twice.
To make Tahini Sauce: Whisk together all ingredients with *1/2 C. water in bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired. *I would highly recommend slowly adding water. I found it to be pretty runny. In the end, it's okay if it's a little runny though. 
Transfer vegetables to platter, and drizzle with tahini sauce just before serving. Serve with lemon wedges.

Fried Bucatini with Breadcrumbs

10 oz. bucatini or perciatelli (I used bow ties)
1/4 C. pine nuts
1/4 C. olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C. dried italian-style seasoned breadcrumbs
1 t. red pepper flakes
2 T. freshly chopped italian parsley
2 T. capers, drained (I omitted) 
2 small or 1 large red bell pepper, roasted (My own addition!)

First roast peppers, or you can use bottled roasted peppers. I've always done it myself. It's quite easy. Here's some step-by-step instructions
While peppers are roasting (if you are adding them, that is), Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
Heat skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts, and cook 3 minutes, or until browned and toasted. Transfer to plate.
Wipe out skillet, add oil and garlic, and heat over medium heat for 1 minute. Stir in breadcrumbs, and red pepper flakes, and cook 1 or 2 minutes, or until breadcrumbs begin to brown. Add pasta, red peppers and parsley, and cook 3 minutes more, tossing with tongs. Transfer to bowl, and toss with capers (if using) and pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
And now for the rolls...

Quick Dinner Rolls

1 C. plus 2 T. warm water
1/3 C. oil
2 T. yeast
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 t. salt
3 1/2 C. flour (I used 2 1/2 C wheat, 1 C. white)

Preheat oven 400°F. In mixer, combine water, oil, yeast and sugar. Rest 15 minutes. Should be foamy. Mix in salt and flour. Take out and knead a few minutes.
Form dough into 12 balls. Place in greased 9x13" pan, place them in 3 by 4. Let rest 10 minutes. Bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
*I topped half of the rolls with coarse sea salt (I used Maldon)  
Needless to say, it was one of the best meals I've made. For me, the moroccan dish was my absolute favorite. It would be so tasty as a main dish over rice with more vegetables or tofu. I so enjoyed all the flavors of the ras el hanout tahini sauce. Yum yum. I love cauliflower, but I just used what I had in the fridge. We were low on veggies at the time. 
I brought the leftover pasta to work the next day and shared it with my co-worker. He loved it. While it was warming up in the back room, everyone commented on the yummy smells. Because there is no sauce in the pasta, it's on the drier side. If that bothers you, feel free to add more oil, soy milk, water, cream, or anything else that triggers your taste buds. 
As for the rolls, they were soft, chewy, and very tasty. We eat them while they are warm with a little vegan butter. Our favorite is Earth Balance. My mom preferred the unsalted rolls. I liked the salted. My dad didn't say:) 
I hope these recipes made up for lost time :) I also hope they inspired you, intrigued you and hopefully you will try them yourself. Let me know how you liked them and what you may have done differently. God bless you and enjoy your summer.

Until next time,

Chef Teebs

Monday, June 11, 2012

A mother's day luncheon with delicious Berry Dressing

 Mother's Day luncheon. A day to honor our precious mother. She's taught us how to cook, how to be a lady, sewing and craft skills, how to have some good clean fun, house keeping, and so much more. She is the sweetest woman I know. The most beautiful. She is absolutely lovely inside and out. She is a faithful friend, a child at heart... someone who loves Jesus and lives for His glory. I'm so thankful and blessed. She is such an inspiration to me. And this was a special day. My sister and I prepared a healthy, tasty meal for her one afternoon after Mother's Day.  
  We made vegetable sandwiches with mustard and smashed avocado, Tossed spring mix salad with mango slices, strawberries and raspberries, & toasted walnuts, drizzled with a berry dressing. We also had a side of crunchy potato chips on the table (just in case) along with a refreshing glass of citron iced green tea.. our favorite. 
My sister and I will go to this lovely Italian cafe called Tina's Italian Bake Shop, once in a while and get their amazing roasted vegetable sandwich with their "summer salad." It has spring mix greens, grilled pears, goat cheese,  strawberries and a berry dressing drizzled over the top. I started craving it and made a bit healthier version of this salad at home. My mom doesn't really like pears so that is why I didn't use them. This was so delicious. Here's the recipe for the dressing I used.

Berry Dressing

3 T. jam (I like red raspberry and blackberry jams)
2/3 C. canola oil
1/3 C. red wine vinegar
salt & pepper
2-3 t. sugar, to taste

Microwave jam 10-15 seconds or until melted. Add all ingredients to a mason jar, top with lid and shake. OR, whisk in all other ingredients. Refrigerate.

This dressing is delicious with mango, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, raw or grilled, any soft cheese or none, any lightly toasted nut, on top of a bed of fresh greens. 

My mom loved the lunch and we had a wonderful time pampering her with a hand and foot treatment after we enjoyed a slice of homemade berry pie made by my precious sister. Mmm what a perfect afternoon.

God's blessings and goodnight,

Chef Teebs

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pecan Coffee Cake

I used to watch a lot of Friends episodes during high school. As I mentioned in my first post, I started a cooking club in high school. I often used themes and one of them was Friends. We each made a recipe out of this sweet Friends Cookbook I found online. I believe the dish I made was Mr. Geller's Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes which is delicious, by the way. We watched some of our favorite episodes, enjoyed each other's dishes, and played a Friends trivia game. It was a blast! 

I found this in my Friends Cookbook

I was looking for a recipe for a good crumby cinnamon coffeecake and I remembered the Central Perk section in this cookbook with loads of pastries and coffee shop delicacies. I'm glad I found this recipe. It was a huge it. I brought it to a mid-morning women's Bible study and they  raved over it. I was even asked to post the recipe. So here it is. Finally ;) 

Pecan Coffee Cake

Pecan Topping
1/2 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 C. finely chopped pecans 
2 T. flour
1 t. ground cinnamon
2 T. unsalted butter, softened (I used regular vegan margarine and omitted the salt in the coffee cake)

Coffee Cake
8 T.(1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (or vegan margarine)
1 C. firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs (I used Ener-G egg replacer)
1 1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt (omit if using salted butter)
1/2 C. milk (I used soy)

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Grease a 9" square cake pan and set aside.
Mix the topping ingredients with your fingers or a fork until the butter is cut into very small pieces and coated with sugar and nuts. Set the mixture aside.

Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs and beat until the batter is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. 

Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the batter alternately with some of the milk. Mix until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the reserved topping. 
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the ake comes out clean and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes. Cool pan briefly on a rack. Cut the cake into squares and serve warm.  

This was very easy to throw together. I had all the ingredients on hand and it seemed like in no time it was out of the oven and soon to be devoured. 

Yum yum. Give it a try yourself.

Chef Teebs