Tag Archives: heidi swanson

Buttermilk Oat Soda Bread

24 Nov

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There was an abundance of buttermilk hanging out in my refrigerator this weekend (I used some to make pie crusts for Thanksgiving!), and I wanted to use it up. I thought about making buttermilk ice cream, but it sounded too cold. Scones or a quick bread sounded tasty, but I’ve been there, done that. Then I stumbled upon Heidi Swanson’s soda bread.

A bread that requires no yeast? Shoot, let’s give it a go. Continue reading

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Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread

26 Mar

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Do I really need another banana bread recipe? No.

But, when I had some extra lemons on hand from last week’s Earl Grey Spiced Fruit Compote workshop, and when an “accidental” two bunches of bananas were sprawled on the counter that needed to be immediately eaten, frozen, or baked with, my wheels started turning.

Currently, my top three go-to banana bread recipes include Smitten Kitchen’s Jacked-Up Banana Bread, Cookie and Kate’s Honey Whole Wheat Banana Bread, and my Peanut Butter Banana Bread.

My rule of thumb? Always better with chocolate chips/chunks. And, just saying, a little whole wheat flour makes chocolate-studded banana bread okay to eat for breakfast, too. Finally, don’t mash to oblivion; just lightly mush the bananas with a fork so you have some puree and some small pieces.

IMG_2245Classic Figs In My Belly Loaf Shot

I bookmarked Heidi Swanson’s version of Melissa Clark’s Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread a while ago, and this was the perfect opportunity to try a new spin on my obsession with banana bread, and quick breads in general.

The taste is classic banana bread, with a subtle hint of lemon zest and a little zing of olive oil at the end. I love it.

There is an optional glaze that you can whisk up (Swanson uses a mix of confectioners’ and brown sugar [I found the granules of the brown sugar too “crunchy” for my taste] and Clark just uses confectioners’ sugar), but I tried it and found that when it comes to banana bread, I prefer mine naked and de-glazed.

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This Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread is definitely going on my list of favorite go-to banana-breads.

Oh boy, do I love a good loaf.

Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread

recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks, Originally adapted from Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now

1 cup / 125g all-purpose flour
1 cup / 140g whole wheat flour
3/4 cup /125 g  dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup / 4 oz / 115 g coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate (leave some bigger chunks!)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups / 340 g mashed, VERY ripe bananas (~3 bananas)
1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used 2% low-fat yogurt)
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F, and place a rack in the center. Grease a 9- by 5- inch loaf pan, or equivalent.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate pieces and combine well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, zest, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. Swanson says, “You want to get that beautiful color on the cake, but at the same time you don’t want to bake all the moisture out of it. So the minute you’re in that zone, pull it. Erring on the side of under-baking versus over.”

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.

Red Lentil Soup

9 Oct

The weather is turning here in New York, and that means it’s soup and stew time! Soups and stews are a treat because I can stretch a pot out for a few days, guaranteeing a healthy meal in a pinch.

Last week I made a rendition (with purple potato, romanesco, turnips, turnip greens…) of the always satisfying Tofu Panang Curry.

This week I made a riff on a soup by my favorite soup/stew queen, Heidi Swanson. She always gets her veggies in, with some sort of plant-based protein (tofu, lentils, quinoa, beans, nuts…), and then tops everything off with nuts or olives and a spoon of yogurt or a sprinkle of cheese. Her soups and stews have a little of everything, just the way I like.

I made her very simple red lentil soup. It has brown rice for texture and substance. I added in some veggies from my Sunday farmer’s market trip. To top things off, I sprinkled a hefty amount of queso fresco on top (you could use any cheese you want, or if you are vegan you could use chopped avocado and/or sliced almonds…). I also added on the side some roasted delicata squash, my absolute favorite because it is super easy to cut, and you can eat the skin!

Heidi explains:

Red lentils collapse and lose structure quite quickly – and in this case they shift color a bit. Don’t let that throw you. And it’s actually the rice that retains it’s texture here, while the lentils provide the body for the soup. So don’t be alarmed when your lentils stop looking like lentils after about ten minutes in the pot.

Red Lentil Soup

adapted from Heidi Swanson

serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

Optional: 2-3 shallots, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

6 cups liquid (I used 2 cups broth, 4 cups water)

1 1/3 cups red lentils, picked through and rinsed

1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed

salt, to taste

Optional: 1 chopped medium red potato (or sweet potato), large handful of chopped greens (kale, turnip greens…)

Toppings: queso fresco (or feta), roasted delicata squash…

In a big soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium and add the onion, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Let them brown, and caramelize a bit, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the water/broth, bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and rice. Add the potato and kale, if using. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is very tender, and not at all toothsome. By this time, the lentils will have collapsed into a thick slop of sorts. If you need to add more water/broth at any point do so a splash at a time, until the soup thins out to the point you prefer.

Unless you used a salty broth, you will likely need to salt generously, until the the soup no longer tastes flat. Serve each bowl topped with queso fresco and roasted delicata squash. You can also top with avocado, olives, sliced almonds, yogurt…

Green Split Pea Soup With Curry Brown Butter Drizzle

22 May

I have a week and a half left until I go from being a full time pastry cook to a full time nutrition graduate student.

A week and a half left of lifting a gigantic hobart mixer, hauling muffin batters in and out of  low-boy refrigerators, running up and down the stairs to access the various walk-in freezers and refrigerators, getting blasted by the oven fans.

A week and a half left of standing on my feet for 9+ hours straight, scooping ice cream until my wrist hurts, slicing through 20 pound wheels of cheese, folding whipped egg whites into a cake batter.

A week and a half left of nibbling at the corners and edges of brownie scraps, sitting with the servers during the 4:30pm “family meal” before the restaurant opens, sporting my checkered pants and chef coat and clogs.

What a whirlwind year. I have gotten very strong, physically and emotionally.

Here’s to all of the amazing folks who make a restaurant run smoothly, both in the front and the back of the house.

Pretty soon I will be back to cooking dinner most nights (as supposed to my 1 night right now). This green split pea soup is healthy, filling, and gets fancy with a brown butter curry drizzle. So fragrant and comforting.

I quickly toasted some whole wheat bread croutons to accompany my soup. Snipped chives and paneer cubes as per Heidi’s recommendations sound lovely as well.

Green Split Pea Soup With Curry Brown Butter Drizzle

from Heidi’s Super Natural Everyday (you can also find the recipe on her blog, 101 cookbooks)

serves 4-6

Green split peas (and green lentils) are cholesterol-free, low in fat, high in fiber and protein, and provide potassium, iron, and thiamin

Note that leftovers thicken up in the refrigerator; just add a splash of water, broth, or coconut milk to thin out the soup as you reheat it.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

5 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups (10.5 oz or 300 g) green split peas (or green lentils), picked over and rinsed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon Indian curry powder

1/2 cup coconut milk

salt

optional:

1 bunch fresh chives, minced

                   2 slices of whole wheat bread, cubed and baked into croutons**

                   paneer cubes, lightly pan-fried

Combine the 2 tablespoons coconut oil, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the water and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This could take 20-30 minutes, or as long as an hour (my green split peas took about an hour to fully cook).

In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and saute until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute.

When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and puree with an immersion blender (I don’t have an immersion blender, so I dumped my soup into my blender…it all fit in one swoop). You can leave the soup a bit chunky if you like, or puree until it is perfectly smooth (I chose the latter). Stir in half of the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt, if needed (I added a few more teaspoons worth of salt because I used water instead of broth).

Serve the soup drizzled with the remaining spice butter and sprinkled with chives and/or whole wheat croutons.

**To make whole wheat croutons, cube some bread. Toss the cubes with about 1 teaspoon of the curry brown butter and 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Salt and pepper then place into a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, until crisp and golden.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Casserole

30 Jan

Gruyere cheese and mushrooms were made to go together. With onions and garlic and a small dash of whole grain mustard, your nose would have flipped out last night as I was making this casserole. You’ve got your grain, protein, and vegetable all in one with this dish.

Browsing through Heidi’s book, I saw a photo of this casserole and my mouth immediately started watering. Her photo is to die for and the chopped fresh tarragon makes all the difference. I was too cheap to go buy tarragon, one day I will have a giant herb garden and I can just tear off a tiny sprig to garnish my dishes. Until then, I’m ok neglecting the herb.

Also, my casserole turned purple from the wild rice. No big deal, it still tasted fantastic. I have not had that much experience cooking wild rice, and I can’t wait to experiment more.

Two of us ate half of the casserole in one sitting, it was that good. Tonight’s dinner will be leftovers with some oven roasted broccoli. Cheers to healthy comfort foods!

Wild Rice and Mushroom Casserole

adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday 

Heidi says that you can prepare the casserole a day or two ahead and bake off when needed…

2 large eggs

1 cup/ 8oz/ 225g cottage cheese (I used 1%)

1/2 cup/ 4oz/ 115g sour cream (I used regular)

1 teaspoon Dijon-style or whole grain mustard

Kosher salt or sea salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or unsalted butter)

8 ounces/ 225g cremini mushrooms, chopped

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 cups cooked wild and/or brown rice, at room temperature **see note

1/3 cup/ .5 oz/ 15g freshly grated Gruyere cheese

optional: 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon or thyme

**NOTE: First, make sure that you have your rice cooked and ready before starting on the casserole. I used a combo of brown and wild rice, as Heidi recommends, to get “the creaminess of the brown rice playing off the individual wild rice grains.” Out of laziness efficiency, I threw 1/2 cup dry brown rice and 1/2 cup wild rice with roughly 2 1/2 cups water into my rice cooker. After an hour, both rices were ready. Granted my brown rice turned purple because of the wild rice bleeding its color, but it all got cooked and I was ready to begin the casserole. Make sure to take the top off of your rice cooker so that the rice has time to come to room temperature. Also, just for reference, brown rice is typically 1 part dry rice to just shy of 2 parts water. Wild rice is typically 1 part dry rice to 3 parts water. 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rub a medium-large baking dish with a bit of butter or olive oil. I used a 9-inch pie pan and it worked great.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, mustard, and a scant 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet over high heat, combine the olive oil with a couple pinches of salt. Stir in the mushrooms. After the initial stirring, leave the mushrooms alone until they release their water and the water evaporates, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook and stir every couple minutes until the mushrooms are browned. Add the onion and cook until the onion is translucent, another 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute, and remove from the heat. Add the rice to the skillet and stir until combined.

4. Add the rice mixture to the cottage cheese mixture, stir until well combined, and turn into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with two-thirds of the grated cheese and cover with aluminum foil, or in my case if you do not have aluminum foil, just place a baking sheet on top of your casserole dish.

5. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil/baking sheet and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until the casserole takes on a lot of color. The finished casserole should be hot throughout and golden along the edges. Let it stand for a few minutes and then serve sprinkled with the chopped tarragon (if using) and the remaining grated cheese.