Archive for November 2013

Recipe ReDux: The merriment of mixes – chocolate chip banana scone gift mix

Blink and you might miss the end-of-year holiday season. Before you know it, the pumpkin pie pan will host nothing but crumbs, smoke will waft away from the blown-out menorah candles, and you’ll be considering launching a search & rescue team to find Little Timmy in the avalanche of ripped-open wrapping paper.

But thanks to the Recipe ReDux, you can feel good about gifts that will endure right into the new year – for this month’s theme, we’re doing shelf-stable food mixes that you can share with hostesses, friends and family alike.

Scone mix2

Now would be the time to get your name on my gift list, because I think you’ll like what I’m giving out: a mix to make warm, moist but crunchy, banana chocolate-y scones.

Scones1

These are the same tasty little guys with which I kicked off this blog; with a pedigree like that, you know they’re good. But I don’t want to be that jerk who gives the gift of a grocery-shopping trip, so I changed up the ingredients (dry vanilla powder in the mix instead of liquid extract) and the method (chocolate chips added before butter, not after) to try to minimize the effort needed to bring the dry mix to scone-y life.

Scones2

Do you know someone who likes a little something special for breakfast? Then package up this mix and check some gifts off your to-do list.

Chocolate chip banana scone mix

(8 servings, approx. 310 calories each)

Dry mix:
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp dry vanilla powder
½ cup chocolate chips

Combine all the dry mix ingredients and package in a sealable, present-y container.

Scone mix1

Write or print out the following instructions to accompany your scone mix gift:

Ingredients to add to the dry mix:
½ cup (1 stick) of butter, softened slightly
2/3 cup buttermilk (or 2/3 cup 1% milk with 2 tsp vinegar; let sit 5-10 minutes)
½ banana, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Put the scone mix in a large bowl. Use your fingers to squish the butter into small pieces & drop them into the dry mix. Using your fingertips, blend the butter into the dry mix until it resembles wet sand and the butter is evenly distributed

Add the buttermilk to the butter/dry mix and blend with your hands until they just come together. Add the banana pieces and mix until evenly distributed.

Divide the dough into eight balls and transfer them to the baking sheet. Press gently on the tops to flatten them a little, then pop them in the oven for 20-25 minutes (the magic number is 22 in my oven). When done, let them cool for a few minutes on a rack before eating

Have a big gift list this year? Never fear – my fellow ReDuxers have got you covered with a bunch more shelf-stable gift mix recipes:

No-Theme Week: Goat cheesy, roasted zucchini pasta can’t be penned in, man

Pasta with roasted zucchini, goat cheese and basil just doesn’t give a damn about weekly food themes.

Roasted zucchini & goat cheese pasta

It’s a standalone. It follows the beat of its own drummer. Could it be part of a Simple Veggie & Pasta Dishes post? Sure. A New Ways to Use Goat Cheese post? Yep. Is it going to play any of those games?

Nope.

This pasta is just doing its own cheese-creamy, lemon-squeezy, roasted zucchini thing, thank you very much. And sure, you can rope it into a list of Things A Blogger Ate This Week, but it’s not even going to break stride for that.

So while the pasta keeps on keeping on, here’s the list of weekly hangers on just trying to get a nod from the main attraction:

  • Pasta with roasted zucchini, goat cheese and basil (recipe follows below)
  • Butternut squash & black bean enchiladas, from Wendy & Brian Tie the Knot (here)
  • Curried lentils and sweet potatoes, from Smitten Kitchen (here)
  • Mushroom & black bean tortilla casserole, from Martha Stewart (here)
  • Egg, avocado, tomato & basil breakfast salad, from Seasoned to Taste (here)

Pasta with roasted zucchini, goat cheese and basil

(2 servings, approx. 400 calories each)

2 servings bite-size pasta (like penne), dry – depends on the pasta, but usually 1.5 cups dry
1 zucchini
1 summer squash
½ Tbs olive oil
Pinch of salt
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Juice of ½ lemon
4-6 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Quarter the zucchini & squash lengthwise, and cut into bite-size pieces. Toss with the olive oil and salt, pour into a foil-lined pan and roast for 25 minutes or until the edges jus start browning.

Roasted zucchini

Meanwhile, put a pot of water on high heat & cook the pasta per package instructions. When the pasta is done, reserve ½ cup of the water and drain the rest.

Return the pasta to the pot, and add the roasted vegetables, goat cheese and lemon juice. Stir to melt the cheese and add reserved pasta water as necessary to get the cheese well-distributed.

Divide the pasta between two bowls, and top each with the basil and some freshly ground black pepper.

Stir-Fry Week: Tempeh, mushroom & cabbage stirflunk

Stirflunk is the sound made by a recipe that didn’t quite cut it.

stirfry2

After a weekend of successful stir fries thanks to Kate Sherwood’s recipes in the most recent Nutrition Action newsletter, I decided to try my hand at it with tempeh. I love that protein-y, fermented brick of soy, but it tends to taste acrid if only quickly cooked.

So there was the dilemma, because quickly cooked is the crux of stir-frying. I thought instead I’d give the tempeh separate treatment in the slowcooker, where I could also make the rice. The veggies and sauce got the standard fast, hot, constantly-moving stir-fry treatment in the pan.

veggies cooking

When everything came together in the bowl, though, it wasn’t quite as rich-tasting as I’d hoped, although the tempeh did mellow out considerably. It wasn’t sad-trombone bad; it was a mild stirflunk.

stirfry

So I’m a little hesitant to share this, but since I did end up eating this for several meals, maybe I’m being a little hard on it. Give it a try and let me know how it tastes (and sounds):

Tempeh mushroom stir fry

(4 servings, approx. 410 calories each)

1 cup short grain brown rice, uncooked
3.5 cups water
1 package tempeh, cubed (or rectangled, if that’s a thing)
2 + 1 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
2 tsp molasses
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbs dry sherry
1 + 1 Tbs peanut or canola oil
2-3 cups mushrooms, diced
4 cups finely cut red cabbage
6 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces

Add the rice, water, tempeh, 2 Tbs soy sauce, vinegar and molasses to a slowcooker. Cook on high for 3-3.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

Combine garlic, sherry and 1 Tbs soy sauce in a small bowl.

Heat 1 Tbs of oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic/sherry/soy sauce to the pan along with cabbage and scallions. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Remove contents from the pan.

Heat another 1 Tbs of oil over medium-high heat. Add the cooked rice and tempeh; stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Combine with the veggies to mix and heat everything through. Remove from heat and serve in 4 bowls.

If that recipe also lands with a thud in your kitchen, here’s a week’s worth of stir-fry recipes to make up for it:

  • Coconut curried pork, snow pea & mango stir-fry from Cooking Light (here)
  • Mushroom, pepper & basil stir fry from The Simple Veganista (here)
  • Bay scallop stirfry from Martha Stewart (here)
  • Ginger coconut peanut tofu & veggie stirfry from Lunch Box Bunch (here)
  • Cantonese-style shrimp and cabbage from Cooking Light (here)
  • Three-pea, cashew & tofu stir fry from Eating Well (here)