January 27, 2010

DB Nanaimo Bars

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and www.nanaimo.ca

Nanaimos, what can I say? Chocolate, frosting, nuts and graham cracker crust...they are certainly aren't bad but I think the Canadian sweet tooth is just a little too over the top for me. These are sw-EEEE-eet! And even with all the chocolate they can't stand against the greater (in my opinion) Canadian treat, butter tarts. However, I loved that this month's challenge pushed me to finally make a batch of homemade graham crackers. They were insanely good and my husband and I fought over the extras.

For the challenge, I decided to go egg-free and dairy-free but not get the gluten-free flours. I made my typical dairy-free subsitutions: Earth Balance margarine for butter, soy milk for cow's milk, and dairy-free chocolate. Then I replaced the vanilla custard powder with cornstarch plus a little turmeric for color and vanilla extract for flavor. For the egg I mixed up a flax seed egg: 1 tablespoon flax seed meal + 2 tablespoons warm water. I was really hoping these would be a hit with my son and so I also swapped out the coconut flakes (something he won't get near) for rice cereal. Alas, he still chose to drive me crazy by eating only the chocolate and frosting! I should have known.

-Visit Lauren at Celiac Teen for the complete recipes.
-The original (w/gluten) recipe for graham crackers can be found at 101 Cookbooks. Try them, they are FANTASTIC. The flavor of the honey comes through so beautifully! Besides my dairy-free adaptations, I also substituted half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour.
-The honey I used was Sleeping Bear Farms star thistle honey.
-Lauren also gave us this recipe and video for Vegan Nanaimo Bars from Everyday Dish TV. I used it for inspiration to make my adaptations.
-Visit the Daring Kitchen! There you can also check out all the other super-sweet, Canadian goodies made this month by browsing the Daring Baker Blogroll.

The irresistible graham crackersA double dose of my 9 Bean Rows farm share, I've been a lazy blogger.
Winter share week #3 (clockwise from top middle)
bok choy, red kale, Swiss chard, bread, red potatoes, more bok choy/pak choi, eggs, collards and croutons
Winter share week #4 (clockwise from top middle)
bok choy, kale, bread, yellow fingerling potatoes, red kale, red potatoes, eggs, collards, and salad mix

January 10, 2010

Pak Choi and Squash Hot Pot

Ah my beloved DVR, how I love that you allow me to catch the five to ten minutes of valuable information left in the hour long debacle known as the Martha Stewart Show. Without you, I wouldn't have been able to sift through the product plugs and celebrity prattle and I would have missed the segment featuring Japanese hot pot meals from this week.

This gave me a new way to use up the pak choi I've been struggling with from my farm share. Plus, I used up local shiitake mushrooms that I dried this fall and butternut squash left from my garden. Hot, comforting and ridiculously fast and easy to make, this hot pot has me adding yet another cookbook to my Amazon wish list.

Pak Choi and Squash Hot Pot
Serves 3-4
Based on the recipe for Kabocha Pumpkin Hot Pot from "Japanese Hot Pots: Comforting One-Pot Meals" by Tadashi Ono (Note: these adaptions are made to fit what's in my pantry and what needs to get used up)

8-10 dried shiitake mushrooms
1-2 pieces of kombu*
1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari*
1/2 cup mirin*
8 oz (~2 cups) diced, peeled winter squash (butternut, kambocha, etc)
6 oz cubed firm tofu
3-4 cups pak choi, chopped into 1-inch pieces
4-5 green onions, chopped into 1-inch
1 (1.6 oz package) of rice noodles or raman noodles, like these from Thai Kitchen
1 cup boiling water + 4 cups water

*These ingredients are available from the Michigan-based company, Eden Foods, though of course no one is harvesting kombu anywhere near here.

-Cover the mushrooms with a cup of boiling water and let set for 5-10 minutes. You could soak them in all of the cold water overnight but who thinks ahead like that?
-Remove the mushrooms from the hot water, trim the stems and cut any large mushrooms in half. Add the mushroom water to 4 more cups of water, the kombu, soy sauce and mirin in a heavy soup pot, like an enameled cast iron pot. Bring to a boil.
-When the broth is boiling, add the squash and mushrooms and return to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook covered for 5-6 minutes.
-Uncover and add the tofu, pak choi, green onions and noodles. Push the ingredients into the broth, cover and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook for ~3 more minutes or until the noodles are done. Remove the kombu before serving (or see how long your dinner companions will chew on it, LOL!)

Notable variation:
When I made this earlier this week I didn't feel like noodles so I made some sticky rice, IE unseasoned sushi rice. Then I poured the finished soup with the vegetables over a pile of the rice in a large bowl. It was as good or better, depending on your mood.

This week's 9 Bean Rows winter farm share: (clockwise from top middle)
white pak choi, purple pak choi, Leelanau Cheese fromage blanc, wheat boule, potatoes, more potatoes, eggs, lacinato kale, walnuts and Swiss chard
Extra link: You can watch the Martha Stewart Show segments on hot pots, HERE

January 7, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

We ended 2009 with dogs fighting over snowy gloves,Alex smashing the gingerbread house,and baby lemons on my indoor lemon tree.
2010 brought the first winter farm share from 9 Bean Rows
and a week of resting from the holiday house guests.
*deep sigh*
This week's share included: (clockwise from top right)
red Swiss chard, bread, eggs, red potatoes, oregano, purple radishes, yellow potatoes, salad mix, kale and white bok choi