Pumpkin Spice Cranberry Muffins

fullsizerender-5This is pretty similar to my pumpkin spice bread recipe, with a few modifications. This recipe and the bread recipe can actually be made into muffins or bread, you just cook it for different amounts of time. I decided to make these because I had a carton of organic pure pumpkin in my pantry so I used half of it for pumpkin waffles and half for these muffins. For both the waffles and muffins I will freeze half of them so with the waffles they can be a quick morning breakfast and the muffins can be popped into my son’s lunch box for a little treat at school. As an experiment I used a combination of whole wheat, buckwheat and almond flours to add some extra nutrients and flavors and I also used coconut palm sugar for the sweetener, which I think made for a really flavorful muffin. The buckwheat flour added a lot of nuttiness. Yum!!!

Pumpkin Spice Cranberry Muffins

  • Servings: 12 large muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Fragrant pumpkin spice muffins that are both healthy and decadent-tasting.

Credit: Inspired by Cooking Light’s Spiced Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal (flour)
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or approximately 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I use non-fat, but use what you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup plain pumpkin puree (canned is what I use)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, juice sweetened or unsweetened (watch out, these can have a lot of sugar added)
  • optional: 1/4 cup of nuts of choice (today I used pine nuts – roast for a few minutes for extra flavor)
  • parchment paper muffin liners

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine flours and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk.
  3. In a small bowl mix  with a whisk the yogurt, oil, egg, pumpkin and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the cranberries and nuts (if using). Stir gently.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, stirring just until moist. Will be pretty thick.
  5. Spoon the batter into a muffin tin lined with parchment paper muffin liners. The parchment liners don’t require any oil, they are non-stick and are an incredible find! If you don’t have these then lightly spray your muffin tins with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. I usually freeze half the batch to put in a lunch box or enjoy at a later date.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

January 22, 2017

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The dry ingredients
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The wet ingredients
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The wet ingredients all mixed up
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The wet and dry ingredients mixed together. Very thick batter.
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The muffins poured into the parchment cups, ready to bake.
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Close-up of the muffin batter before baking.
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The finished muffins.
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Sea Bass with Miso Sauce

Major umami! Sea Bass with miso sauce. I am sort-of obsessed with miso lately. I don’t think I have posted all the miso recipes I have been making lately, maybe because they are not always successful or pretty, but I have been experimenting with it quite a bit lately. In my fridge today I have four types of miso: light sweet miso, mellow white organic miso (nice that it is not very salty), organic shiro miso, and dark aged miso. Crazy, who knew that there are so many different types of miso! They really are very different, and I suppose they have different uses, but I am still learning…

So this recipe is inspired by a New York Times Cooking recipe entitled “Miso-Glazed Sea Bass.” I made some modifications, the big thing being that I didn’t add an egg yolk to the miso mix and glaze the fish, I just used the marinade in the recipe. My family liked it, no raves, but they never rave about fish, they just eat it and move on with life. I thought it had a lot of complicated umami flavor, which I really like and I hope you like it too. I served the fish with some Trader Joe’s Japanese Fried Rice and some cauliflower roasted with olive oil, fresh garlic, a little white balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, a little tiny bit of panko, and salt and freshly ground pepper. Yum! Besides my obsession with miso, I am also currently obsessed with roasted cauliflower.

Sea Bass with Miso Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Fairly easy Asian-inspired sea bass.

Credit: Food and Wine Miso-Glazed Sea Bass

Ingredients

  • 1 -1 1/2 pounds Sea Bass (or other white fish)
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 1 tablespoon red miso
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (or sake)
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or sugar of your choice)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • cooking spray

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix the miso through salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Spread the mixture on the fish and marinate for 20 minutes or longer.
  3. Bake the fish with the marinade for 15 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. I tend to cook my fish a little more than most people, so less time might be right for you.
  4. Serve with vegetables and rice.
  5. Enjoy and let me know how you like it!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

January 19, 2017

 

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Raw cauliflower.
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The Sea Bass before cooking.
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Mushrooms with miso sauce before roasting
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Miso sauce.
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Cauliflower after roasting.

Vegetable, Beef and Farro Soup

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Here in the Bay area it has been cold (by our California standards) and SUPER RAINY so I thought a hearty soup would be nice. I made this soup yesterday and I have to admit it took quite a bit of time but it was really worth it.  The soup was very rich, warm and nutritious (I need to work on adding nutritional stats to my recipes!) and it got a thumbs up from both my husband and son. This is after I made a disastrous meal last night with chicken, vegetables, lemon and herbs that was difficult and laborious and just turned out incredibly BLAND! So disappointing, but that happens. Toss it and watch my husband and son make quesadillas because they were still hungry (no joke- that is what they do when they don’t like dinner or if I really under-fed them).

For this soup I started with a Food and Wine recipe and added more vegetables, a little wine, more herbs and a leaner cut of meat. The recipe called for chicken stock, which I found strange, but followed it anyway, and I regretted it. I think beef stock would match the beef and farro much better. Nevertheless, the soup was still very tasty, I just think the beef broth would be better so I am recommending it for anyone following it. Vegetable broth would also be good (I added some vegetable broth at the end since I cooked it ahead of time and the farro had absorbed quite a bit of the broth). I also think that the beef can be left out completely and with some vegetable broth instead of beef broth it would be a very lovely vegetarian meal as the farro has quite a bit of protein and the soup is full of vegetables. I love the addition of the miso, it gave the soup a lot of extra flavor and excitement!

Vegetable, Beef and Farro Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Hearty vegetable and beef soup for a healthy cold evening meal.

Credit: Food and Wine Beef and Farro Soup

Ingredients

  • canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef (I used grass-fed flat iron steak), cut into 1 inch pieces.
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 9 cups of beef stock (I used chicken stock, but I think that was not a very good idea, beef stock I think would have tasted much better)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 whole head of garlic, cut off the knobby top that was attached to the plant and pierce in several places with a knife.
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut in thirds
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 leek, light green and white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme (or fresh)
  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • 1 small bunch of Tuscan kale, chopped (3 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons of white miso
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish

Procedure

  1. Heat a dutch oven on medium-high heat with some canola oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer meat to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain off the fat and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Pour out any extra oil/grease in the pot and then add the wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits. Add the broth along with the meat, garlic, onion, 2 carrots cut in thirds, fresh thyme and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, arrange the cut tomatoes, leeks, celery and carrots on a lightly greased pan. Sprinkle a little olive oil, freshly ground pepper, salt, dry oregano and dry thyme on the vegetables and roast in the oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and soft. Set aside the cooked vegetables.
  5. After the soup has cooked for 1 1/2 hours, remove the garlic, thyme sprigs, bay leaves and carrot chunks (I actually like to keep the soft carrots). Stir in the roasted vegetables and the uncooked farro and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes over moderate heat, or until farro is tender. Add the kale, miso and paprika and cook uncovered on low heat for 10 minutes. Add any additional salt and pepper if necessary. Serve in bowls with a garnish of the cheese.
  6. Enjoy and let me know how you like it!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

January 19, 2017

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Adding the fresh thyme
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Slicing the leeks
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Browned beef

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Garlic ready to add to the soup
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Carrots, celery, leeks ad tomatoes
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Getting ready to roast the vegetables
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The roasted vegetables
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The finished soup.

Braised Beef Tacos

Healthy Seasonal Cooking

IMG_3189.JPG Aidan’s taco

IMG_3187.JPG I made mine into a taco salad

Re-posting this with pictures! Today is a perfect day for tacos. The air is crisp, but not too cold and not too warm. Perfect Autumn day. I decided I would make short rib tacos for dinner tonight since I can stay home most of the day so all I needed to do was take a quick trip to the grocery store to get ingredients and this morning I chopped the veggies and then threw the ingredients into a pot and I just check on it every hour. I like to cook it all day for the most tender, falling apart beef. The recipe calls for short ribs, and I had previously stopped making it with short ribs because they are really fatty, so sometimes I have made it with brisket, but recently I have discovered organic grass-fed boneless short ribs at Whole Foods…

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Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

I have been eying this recipe for a while and I finally made it as a side dish to go with salmon as I wasn’t sure I could sell it to my family as an entree (my husband is not really a fan of eggplant, but I think it is because he hasn’t had really well-prepared eggplant, so I keep trying!). The recipe was a little time-consuming, but really very tasty and worth the work. I think if I made it again I might add either a portabello mushroom or some chicken to make it an entree.

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

  • Servings: 4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish
  • Difficulty: medium
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Light, grilled and completely untraditional version of eggplant parmesan, no breading and no frying.

Credit: Food and Wine 

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced in 1/4″ thick rounds
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, sliced in 1/4″ thick rounds
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper and salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped green olives
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 6 ounces Fontina Cheese (or mozzarella), shredded or thinly sliced

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spread the eggplant and tomato slices on two large baking sheets lightly greased with cooking spray. Lightly brush each slice of eggplant and tomato with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven for 10 minutes, or until softened and lightly charred. Turn once and check on them often as cooking times vary with ovens.
  2. In a small bowl combine the olives, chilis, and shredded basil.
  3. On a large rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper arrange half of the eggplant in a square, overlapping the slices slightly. Top with half of the tomatoes, olive mixture and Fontina. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, ending with the cheese.
  4. Reduce heat in oven to 425 degrees. Bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and golden. Let stand for 10 minutes. Garnish with basil leaves and serve as a side dish or as an entree with crusty bread. Enjoy!

Notes: Some options/updates – 3/5/19.  I added two small thin chicken breast cutlets and roasted mushrooms. I seared the chicken for a few minutes on each side to brown it a little and roasted the eggplant, mushrooms and tomatoes as a first step. Then I layered all the vegetables and the chicken, used capers instead of the green olives, added some homemade tomato sauce and cheese and then baked it for 20 minutes. Delicious!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

January 12, 2017

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Roasting the tomatoes
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Roasting the eggplant.
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The dish assembled and ready to bake.
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I split the recipe up so I could make a smaller portion without the red pepper flakes and olives for my son. The larger portion in the front was made how the recipe is written. The one in the distance is the modified version.

Quick Brined Roasted Salmon with Lemon Garlic Oil

This is a new Food and Wine recipe that I made recently. It has a pretty quick and simple preparation and my son and I really liked the lemon and miso flavoring on the salmon. The original recipe says that it is great on salmon, cod or hake, but I have only tried it on salmon, although I think any white fish would also taste great with this glaze. Great weeknight dinner alongside some simple rice and either roasted vegetables or a simple salad. The original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of butter that I left out, seemed just fine without it and more heart-healthy.

Quick-Brined Roast Salmon with Lemon-Garlic Oil

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Quick weeknight salmon recipe that has lots of lemon, garlic and miso flavor.

Credit: Food and Wine 

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • four 5 ounce skinless salmon fillets (or hake or any fish you like)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon shiro miso (white mild miso)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh garlic
  • Lemon wedges for serving

Procedure

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the 1 tablespoon of salt with 2 cups of hot water and stir to dissolve the salt. Let cool to room temperature and then add the fish to the bowl and let brine at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile in a small bowl whisk the oil with the lemon juice, miso and garlic until smooth; season with salt and pepper if desired.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain the fish and transfer to the prepared baking sheet; brush all of the fish with the lemon oil mixture. Roast until golden and just cooked through, about 10 minutes for the salmon. Transfer to plates and garnish with a lemon wedge and serve with vegetables and rice.

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January 12, 2017

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Salmon with a mixture of farro, roasted mushrooms and onions, corn and purple cauliflower. 

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The Lemon Garlic Oil
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Made the dish again and served with brown jasmine rice and kale salad with miso and pistachios.

Hot and Sour Soup with Vegetables

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Cooking the onions, garlic, ginger, scallions and mushrooms.

Tonight is the last night that my daughter is home for her winter break and she suggested we make Hot and Sour Soup. What a great idea! I love soup and I think if you add a little protein and extra vegetables it makes such a nice one-pot meal, although tonight I decided I can’t even try to feed this to my spice-phobe son, so I also marinated a little chicken and steak in garlic, ginger, soy sauce and mirin and then stir-fried it and served it on the side along with some roasted broccoli that I tossed with a little olive oil, white wine vinegar and salt and pepper. It all was sooooo warm and yummy!  The soup is basically the recipe from Feedmephoebe.com, with some extra vegetables and I didn’t make it vegan, so thank you Phoebe Lapine for an excellent recipe!

Hot and Sour Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: fairly easy
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Better and healthier than take-out hot and sour soup with added vegetables based on Mushroom Hot and Sour Soup from FeedMePhoebe.com.

Credit: Feed Me Phoebe  

Ingredients

  •  olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated (about a 2 inch piece grated)
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced and white and green parts separated
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 baby bok choy, sliced
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or stock
  • 1/2 cup firm tofu, drained and cubed (or chicken, shrimp, etc)
  • 2 teaspoons sambal olek
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons of warm water
  • 2 egg whites, gently beaten

Procedure

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a medium to large stockpot or dutch oven.  Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger and white part of the scallions for 5 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently.Add a little salt and freshly ground black pepper if desired while sautéing.
  2. Add mushrooms and cook for another few minutes or until the mushrooms has become soft and released a lot of their liquid.
  3. Add the Sambal Olek and stir. Cook another minute.
  4. Add the soy sauce and vinegar to the mixture, stir and scrape up any browned bits that have formed on the bottom of the pot. Add the broth, bok choy and tofu, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer for ten minutes.
  5. While the soup is simmering, mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. set aside.
  6. Add the cornstarch to the soup and simmer for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently.
  7. Remove the soup from the heat. Add the egg whites to the soup by slowly pouring them into the soup and at the same time carefully stirring the soup in large zigzags to form ribbons of egg whites in the soup. Gently stir in the green onions and serve in bowls.

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January 2017

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Cooking the soup. So many vegetables!
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The finished soup