Monday, May 30, 2016

Three Beans Plus Salad

I want to post this recipe but I don't know what else to say in the post :)

A lot of times when I'm blog hopping, looking for interesting recipes, I find that the post that accompanies the recipe is very long.  Lots of words, most often telling story about what's happening in the writer's life.  I'm not that kind of person.  This blog will not become a personal journal but rather will stay as food notes of what I make.  So sorry for not having story to tell most of the time.

But hey, here is the recipe for the beans salad that I like.  It's a good source of plant protein with a refreshing vinaigrette.  If it were just for me, I'd add lots of cilantro and jalapeno because I love the herbal flavor and spicy kick from both!

Three Beans Plus Salad

Serves 8 to 10

3 15-ounce cans black beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained, rinsed and patted dry
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 cup chopped yellow or red bell pepper
1 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

4-5 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled or broken into small pieces

To make the salad:  Place all the beans in a large nonreactive bowl.  Add tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and jalapeno, and mix well.

To make the dressing:  Whisk together oil, vinegar, and cumin in a small bowl.  Pour over the bean mixture.  Add cilantro, parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.  (The salad can be prepared 5 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before serving.)

To serve, mound salad in a large shallow bowl and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.

Source:  The Big Book of Backyard Cooking by Betty Rosbottom

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Bitter Orange and Poppy Seed Cake

My ideal weekend would be doing something that doesn't require my brain to work.  I can be very energized during weekdays but when it comes to weekend, my brain suddenly switches to off mode.  I actually looking forward to Friday afternoon when I know I will be done with chores and obligations.  Saturday is usually spent at church and baking activities, this is the day when I want to be busy in the kitchen.  Sunday is family time, whether we go out to eat, swim, hike, or bike.  Don't we all love the weekend?

Sometimes even having game night during the weekend is too much for me.  I see it as an exercise, i.e. I have to use my brain and I have to interact with people.  I'm just about done with people after church :)  I want to decompress and stare at nothing.  So don't be offended if I say no to anything on the weekend.  It's just my way of saying I want to spend time with family and stay at home.

Speaking of doing baking on the weekend, this easy loaf is one of things I love to make.  It's simple and quick but yet it's tasty and keep for a few days for afternoon treats.  When I made this, I wanted to eat a poppy seed cake and I found a recipe that used Seville orange marmalade and poppy seed.  I love citrus, both in food and as a fragrance.  It's fresh and uplifting which cheers up my mood right away.  Anyway, this cake is moist and delightful!

Bitter Orange and Poppy Seed Cake

Makes 1 loaf

For the cake:
3 tablespoons Seville orange marmalade
150 g plain Greek yogurt
3 large eggs
175 grams sugar
200 g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
175 g unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
Zest of 1 orange
2 teaspoon poppy seed

For the glaze:
1/4 cup orange juice
5 tablespoons Seville orange marmalade

Heat oven to 325F.  Butter a 8 x 4-inch loaf pan, then line the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper.

Put the marmalade into a small pan, heat gently until melted.  Beat in the yogurt, then let cool for a few minutes.

Put the remaining cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat with a hand held mixer until smooth.  Quickly beat in the yogurt and marmalade mix, then pour into the prepared pan.  It will be quite runny.  Leave the mix mounded in the middle of the tin rather than leveling the top, to help it rise.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes until golden and well-risen; a skewer should come out clean.  Take a look at the cake after 45 minutes; if it browns too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil.  Meanwhile, heat the orange juice and marmalade in a small pan over a gentle heat until the marmalade melts.  Set aside to cool, stirring now and again, until you have a thick, but still runny glaze.  When the cake is ready, cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto a rack.  Spoon the topping over the cake while it's still warm.  

The cake is best served the day it's made, but will keep for up to 3 days tightly wrapped in an airtight container.

Source:  adapted from BBC Good Food, by Jane Hornby