Sunday, May 17, 2009

From the Recipe Files...

Cooking is on hold for a couple more weeks for obvious reasons (see pic below). But what better time to share some of my favorite recipes from the Engel household. Blueberries are just starting to make their way to the farmer's market which brings to mind one of my all time fav Blueberry Bundt Cakes. This will be the first Bundt cake added to my blog!

Bundt cakes are great because they can be considered a dessert in the evening or coffee cake in the morning. Dessert any time of the day? Sounds like my kind of cake! If you don't have a bundt cake pan don't fret as this cake can easily be made in a basic cake pan - and you can still eat it in the morning... But I can't promise it will taste as good. Bundt cakes always have a certain density that make them more filling and satisfying than a typical cake. They are a perfect match with your morning coffee or tea. Topped with a light glaze (as you all know I'm not a big fan of thick frostings), you can't go wrong with this recipe!

Lemon - Blueberry Bundt Cake
adapted from Cooking Light

2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 butter softened
1 tablespoon grated lemon grind
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (16 ounce) container reduced fat sour cream
2 cups fresh blueberries

For the glaze...
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
hint of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease your bundt pan and dust with the two tablespoons of granulated sugar. This adds a nice crunchy, sweetness to the outside of your cake.

In one bowl combine dry ingredients and mix well. In a mixer combine the 1 3/4 cups of sugar, butter and lemon rind. Once well blended, add the eggs slowly one at a time. Next, beat in the vanilla and sour cream. Mixture should appear light and fluffy. At medium speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. In another bowl, toss the blueberries in 2 tablespoons flour until coated. Fold into the batter. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes then flip over onto a wire rack to cool some more.

The glaze is super simple. In a bowl combine the lemon juice, powdered sugar and a drop of vanilla. Drizzle over the bundt cake.

This cake is great the next morning with coffee... unfortunately, it doesn't always make it to the next day at my parent's house!

Here's a picture of my mom and me in Sonoma... the trip I've referenced a couple of times in previous blogs. Gotta love Spring flowers!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cooking with Quinoa

Personal trainer, check. Mental commitment to getting into shape, check. Healthy diet, Quinoa! Summer is just around the corner and I've come to realize this new Southern California tan will look a lot better once I get myself in tip top shape. Hell no, I'm not going on a diet, just cleaning up my act. This next recipe comes from a cooking class I took about a year ago in Ojai, CA at the Lavender Inn. The woman who ran the class was such a wonderful resource for all things food - nutritionally speaking.

Quinoa is an amazing grain that you should incorporate into your diet no matter what. Two things that I love about Quinoa: it cooks in less than 20 minutes and it is so easy to prepare. One thing that I don't recommend for quinoa is eating it plain. Instead, incorporate this awesomely complex carb with vegetables and protein.

Summer Picnic Quinoa Salad
Recipe from Suzanne Landry

1 cup Quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup diced carrots
1/3 cup green peas (fresh or defrosted)
1/3 cup cucumber, peeled & diced
1/4 cup fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Optional: 1/2 cup precooked chickpeas

Cook the quinoa in the water on high temp. Once the water starts to boil turn the temperature to low and simmer. Should take about 15 minutes, or until the grain is translucent. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

In a large pot of boiling water blanch the carrots for 30 seconds, strain and drain in cold water to stop the cooking. Add the chopped vegetables and chickpeas to the cooked quinoa and toss together. Lastly, toss in the fresh herbs, vinegar and olive oil.

This dish is great served immediately or the next day!

Psst... Quinoa is a great carb choice if you live your life gluten free!

Quinoa on Foodista