Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day Productivity

Ahh, snow days. What with a blizzard blanketing half the country in the blowing white stuff, I was stuck at home today. Which is, in reality, no different than any other day. However, snow days just feel different. They're an excuse to do things that I might not otherwise do.

So, after exegeting three biblical texts, organizing my room, vacuuming, finishing my application materials for an internship, I decided to be "kitchen productive."

The recipes follow:

Bratwurst and Lentil Stew

4-5 Bratwurst (I like Turkey Brats)
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups baby carrots, halved on a bias
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb lentils
1 64oz can tomato juice
2 Tbls Italian herbs (I like Rosemary, thyme, basil, etc.) whatever you've got around
3 Bay leaves

In a 5 qt pot, cook bratwurst over medium high heat, searing on all sides. Remove. Slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Add all ingredients to the pot. Fill the tomato juice can with water. Add to the stew.

Cook over medium-high heat until it reaches a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for several hours.

This stew only gets better with time.


5 1/2 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup pineapple juice, apple cider, or other fruit nectar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup currants
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup chopped mixed nuts

Preheat oven to 350*

Combine oats and sliced almonds.

Stir together oil, agave, and juice/cider/nectar until combined. Pour over the oats and almonds. Stir to coat.

Spread on a large cookie sheet, and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until toasted.

In the meantime, combine the dried fruits and remaining nuts. Add the oat mixture. Stir to combine.

Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, and store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Creme-Filling and Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate Cake with Creme-Filling and Chocolate Ganache


3/4 cup Canola oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups potato starch
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp xanthan gum

Creme Filling

1 cup milk
2 1/2 Tbls Potato starch
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla (clear if possible)

Chocolate Ganache

2/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350*.

For the (cup)cake(s), in a large bowl, mix oil and sugar with an electric mixer on low speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the milk and beat to combine.

In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Whisk into wet ingredients.

Add vanilla to the batter. Mix well.

Pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into each of 9 silicone cupcake cups.

Grease a 9 inch round cake pan. Pour remaining batter into the pan.

Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes.

Bake cake for 35 minutes.

For the Creme Filling, while the cupcakes and cake are baking, mix milk and potato starch in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 2-4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until very thick.

Cover thickened milk with plastic wrap, touching the surface, and cool to room temperature.

When the milk is cool, thoroughly cream sugar, butter, and vanilla. Add the milk mixture. Beat until it resembles whipped cream.

For the Chocolate Ganache

Put the chocolate chips in a heat proof vessel. Heat the cream in the microwave until bubbling. Add to the chocolate chips. Allow to sit for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth.

Cool the (cup)cake(s). Using a pastry bag or cookie press with nozzle attachment, fill each cupcake with approximately 2 tsp creme filling. Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache.

Cut the cake in half. Fill with the remaining creme. Top with the remaining ganache.

Cherry Pie

2 3/4 cups GF flour blend
2/3 shortening
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup very cold water


5 1/2 cup tart pie cherries, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cup sugar
5 Tbls corn starch
1/2 Tbls almond extract

Preheat oven to 375*.

For the crust, combine flour blend and salt. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Add water 1-2 Tbls at a time until dough comes together. Divide dough in 2. Roll out 1/2 of the dough and place in a 9 inch pie plate. Roll out the other 1/2 and reserve, covered with damp paper towels and plastic wrap.

For the filling, if using frozen cherries, partially thaw. Add almond extract.

Thoroughly combine sugar and corn starch. Add to cherries. Mix. Allow to sit for 20 minutes.

Fill bottom crust with the cherry mixture. Add top crust. Pinch crust together at edges and crimp.

Vent the pie crust in a nifty design.

Use a foil collar to cover the outside edge of the pie crust.

Bake for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 30 minutes. Cool.

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