Recipe: Pumpkin Scuffins

What is a scuffin, you ask? A scuffin is the offspring of a muffin and a scone. They turn out roughly scone shaped but have a consistency closer to that of a muffin. And they are delicious.

I found this recipe at ohsheglows.com when looking for vegan dessert ideas. Oh She Glows is a great resource for vegans because the author posts tons of recipes.

These pumpkin scuffins were a huge hit. They came out moist and delicious. I will definitely be making these again!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20-25 minutes
Yield: 12 scuffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash allspice
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/4 agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1 egg substitute (try 3tbs of water with 1 tbs flax meal)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt) together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Bring 3 tbsp of water to a boil in a very tiny pot or pan. Add flax meal and stir. Boil for about 2-3 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In another mixing bowl cream slightly softened earth balance, sugar, and agave together, until creamy.
  5. Add pumpkin puree, egg substitute, and vanilla to the wet ingredients and stir until smooth.
  6. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir. I ended up using my hands to combine at the end. Dough should be slightly sticky.
  7. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray (grapeseed oil).
  8. Form approximately 3-inch patties out of dough and place on baking sheet 1.5 inches apart. Just shape the patties gently, don’t compress them too much.
  9. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  10. Enjoy!

Day 8: Lamb Korma Recipe

Lamb Korma - turmeric with a dash of paprika

Tonight I made lamb korma from scratch for dinner. Our favorite lamb korma comes from a little strip-mall Indian place in Florida called Memories of India. Their korma is much redder than most kormas and isn’t as rich as the white korma. Most recipes on the internet and in my Indian cookbooks were for the white korma… so I had to improvise. Below is the recipe I came up with. The end result was very tasty although not quite a perfect duplicate of Memories of India. The end product had the korma flavor (thanks to the turmeric and coriander powder) but was a little more like curry than korma. It lacked a bit of richness (maybe use dairy-yogurt next time or saute the lamb/onions in butter) and a bit of sweetness (add a few tablespoons of brown sugar?). It also needed more coconut. Next time maybe I’ll add three or so tablespoons of powdered coconut – this might also fix the sweetness problem.

Dani’s Lamb Korma Recipe

Ingredients:

Ginger, one medium knob peeled and chopped
2 small to medium Onions
3 cloves of Garlic
1 Tomato
3/4 cup Plain Yogurt (I used a soy yogurt)
1/4 Coconut Milk
2 teaspoons Garam Masala
3 tablespoons ground Unsalted Cashews
1/4 to 1/2 Unsalted Cashews to include in Korma
1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
2 Cardamom Pods
2 lbs. Lamb
3 teaspoons Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
dash Black Pepper
2 to 3 teaspoons Coriander Powder
Cauliflower
Potatoes
Peas
Carrots

1. Combine ginger (one largeish knob), onion (1 small or medium), garlic (four cloves), tomato (1) in blender.
2. Add yogurt (3/4 cup plain), coconut milk (1/2 cup) garam masala (2 teaspoons), ground unsalted cashews (3 tablespoons) and mix well.
3. In a skillet heat a tablespoon or two of oil over medium-high heat add 2 teaspoons cumin seeds and a cardamom pod, and sizzle for 15-30 seconds.
add extra chopped onion (1 small onion), stir frequently until brown.
4. Add lamb and sauté until lamb is browned and most moisture has evaporated.
5. Add turmeric (3 teaspoons), , paprika (1/2 teaspoon), a few grinds of black pepper, coriander  powder (3 teaspoons).
6. Add sauce, cauliflower and potatoes. Simmer 25 mins.
7. Add frozen peas/carrots and cashews (1/2 cup). Simmer 5 minutes.

Serve on top of basmati rice with a side of roti or garlic naan.

Things to consider next time: dairy yogurt/butter, something for sweetness, powdered coconut

 

Day 6: Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe

Tonight I adapted several recipes together with a dash of my own ingenuity and made a vegetarian lasagna. It was delicious. I will definitely make this again. See below for the recipe.

Official photo-of-the-day: sautéd onions and spinach

Ingredients:

About 9 Pasta sheets (make your own or use fresh pasta from Whole Foods)
1 15oz package of part skim ricotta cheese
3/4 cup mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan
1 egg
Approximately 4 cups of fresh spinach
2 or 3 cloves of fresh garlic, sliced thin
2 zucchini, peeled and sliced thin
1 onion, chopped and browned
olive oil
Italian seasoning (oregano, sweet basil, marjoram, thyme, and rosemary) to taste
about 1 1/2 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium sauce pan, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and sauté until brown, stirring occasionally.

In another medium sauce pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic and sauté until garlic begins to brown, then add spinach and quickly sauté until reduced in volume.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl combine the ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of mozzarella, egg, and Italian seasoning. After the spinach is done sautéing, add the spinach/garlic mixture to the mixing bowl and stir.

Ricotta, mozzarella, and egg

Spray a 9×9 inch pan lightly with cooking spray (I used grapeseed oil). Add a small amount of tomato sauce to the bottom, then line the bottom with a layer of pasta (about three sheets).

Spread half the ricotta mixture on top of the pasta. Next add a layer of sautéd onions, then lay out the thinly sliced zucchini into a third layer. Cover with a layer of tomato sauce.

Repeat: pasta, ricotta mixture, onions, zucchini, and more sauce.

Layer in progress

Top with a layer of pasta. Add a bit more sauce to keep the top moist during cooking. Then add the remaining 1/4 mozzarella and parmesan to the top.

In the oven (overexposed)

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, checking occasionally. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with garlic bread!

Have extra veggies? Consider adding some sautéd red or yellow peppers in addition to the onions.

Finished product! (some slices have been removed - seconds were in order)

Day 99

Happy Easter! Today we had friends over for a late lunch that extended for most of the afternoon. Anakin and Sharon brought sweet potatoes au gratin and a cake shaped like a lamb. Laura brought a loaf of homemade bread, as did Mike and Violet. Zoe contributed berries. I baked a small ham with a Dijon mustard and brown sugar glaze. Collaboratively Rachel and I made hot cross buns (featured in today’s photos). There was also homemade hummus, a cheese plate, pineapple, and lots of chocolate. After our feast we all played telephone pictionary, which is the greatest game ever. All in all this was a very good day.

Hot cross buns, pre-baking

Hot Cross Buns (from Easy Living magazine)

  • 7 g sachet fast-acting dried yeast
  • 450 g white bread flour
  • 50 g wholemeal bread flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar (or 50/50 white sugar powdered sugar)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of mace, cloves, and all spice
  • 50 g unsalted butter, diced
  • 150 g raisins
  • 3 tbs chopped dried apricots
  • 250 mL tepid milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp plain flour

For the glaze

  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar (2 tbsp powdered, 1 tbsp white sugar)

1. Place the yeast, flours, sugar, salt, and spices into a bowl, add the butter and rub it in. Stir through the dried fruit. Add the milk and egg and mix well. Add a little extra water if the dough is too dry or extra flour if it’s very sticky. Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 1o minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size. (TIP: the dough for hot cross buns can be made the night before and given its first rise in the fridge. In the morning, remove from fridge, punch down the dough, make the buns and let it have its second rise in a warm spot in the kitchen).

2. Punch down the dough with your fist to expel the air, then knead on a lightly floured surface for 2-3 minutes. Divide into equal portions and shape each into a ball. Spray baking tray(s) with non-stick spray, then place the balls of dough on it, spacing well apart (2 to 3 inches). Cover with damp paper towel and leave for another 45-60 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.

3. Heat oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit. For the cross, mix the plain flour to a smooth paste with 1-2tbsp of cold water. Spoon it into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each cun. Bake for 10-20 minutes (depending on size) or until golden brown. Heat the milk and sugar until dissolved and then boil for 1 minute. Transfer the buns to a cooling rack and brush with the milk glaze.

Other pictures:

Anakin with lamb cake

Almost everybody who came to lunch today

Mike and Violet playing telephone pictionary

More Pictionary

Even more pictionary

Cut lamb cake... it looks so accusing

Day 87

First Tuesday Night Dinner of Spring Quarter!

Rachel made vegetable risotto and I made dessert. I attempted to recreate an Engadiner Nut Torte I had over break. It was a fairly successful recreation, although it ended up with more liquid caramel in the center. I might try tweaking the recipe a bit next time to reduce the amount of caramel and also mixing the nuts 50/50 with walnuts and pecans. Also, caramel is so much easier to make than I thought. It just requires a lot of patience and a lot of faith. But really if you just put sugar in a pot with a tiny bit of water it turns into caramel eventually.

Anyway, recipe after the photo.

Photo of the Day

* 2 ½ cups sugar
* 2 ¼ cups shredded walnuts
* 1 1/3 cups cream
* 1 tbsp honey
* 4 cups white flour
* 1 cup softened butter
* 1 egg
*1 pinch of salt
*1/4 cup water
*dash nutmeg
*dash cinnamon

Combine 3/4 cup sugar and flour in large mixing bowl. Add butter, salt, and egg and mix (hands work best). Add water as necessary to achieve pastry consistency. Divide dough into 2/3 chunk and 1/3 chunk and refrigerate while preparing filling.

Put 1 and 3/4 cup white sugar in medium sauce pan and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of water. Heat on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Caramel will form in about 30 minutes or less. Sugar begins to brown at first, then melts, forming amber colored liquid.

Remove from heat and add honey and cream. Return to heat and boil approximately 1 minute. Remove from heat again and add nuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take dough out of refrigerator and roll out to approximately quarter inch thickness. Spray pie pan with grapeseed oil. Line pie pan with larger piece of dough. Spoon filling into pie and cover with smaller piece of dough. Trim edges and seal as attractively as possible. Cut small hole in center of pie to vent.

Cook in bottom section of oven for 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and firm. Cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Things to try differently next time:
*Caramelize 50/50 walnut/pecan mixture in honey before adding to caramel
*Reduce amount of caramel and increase amount of nuts.
*More cinnamon
*Sprinkle powdered sugar on top

Finished Product

Day 60

Tonight I made dinner for our friend Kaitlin. It was a bit of an experimental dish but it turned out quite well. I made sauteed chicken over rice with mixed vegetables and drizzled a balsamic reduction over the whole thing. The only problem was I forgot to take a picture of it before it was consumed… However, Kaitlin graciously agreed to endorse my cooking. Recipe included after the picture.

Balsamic Reduction:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 smashed (not chopped) garlic clove

Mix ingredients in a small (very small) sauce pot. Bring to a boil, gently stirring. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Sauce will thicken as it sits. Without refrigeration it never becomes syrup-like but definitely does get thicker.

Rice and Vegetables:

Cook 2 portions of rice according to package directions. After rice is done cooking, pour in approximately 1 cup of frozen vegetables (corn, peas, carrots) and allow to steam for about five minutes. Do not remove from heat until vegetables are hot.

Sauteed Chicken:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into strips (1in x 1in x 2in)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Italian seasoning (read any green herbs you like)

Pour olive oil into pan and heat. Add some salt, pepper, and herbs to the oil. Add the chicken. Add more salt, pepper, and herbs to the top of the chicken. Cook approximately 6 minutes on a side or until done.

Suggested Serving:

Serve chicken over rice/veggies and ladle balsamic glaze over the top.

Day 57

I am so proud of myself. I made fried rice from scratch tonight. I thought it was going to be really hard (from years of watching flashy Benihana chefs do it). It turns out it’s actually really easy and it tastes just like what you get at Chinese restaurants!

I cobbled together several recipes from online and came up with this:

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 green onion chopped finely
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, and corn mixture) thawed
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • soy sauce (to taste, approx. 2 tbs)
  • pepper
  • butter
  • olive oil

Cook rice according to package directions (for me that was 1/2 cup rice, 1 cup water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes).

Next, take out large skillet (or wok). Add butter. Pour in the eggs and the green onion. Add a little pepper and scramble until eggs are cooked, but still moist.

Scrape eggs to the side of the skillet and add about a tablespoon of oil to the other half. Add fluffed rice and veggies. Stir egg in and mix thoroughly.

If veggies are still somewhat frozen cover with a large lid for about a minute. Uncover and stir rice. Cover again. After two or three minutes add soy sauce and continue cooking for another two minutes.

Makes two meal-sized portions.

And here’s the photo of the day to prove how well it turned out!

Fried Rice

The stats:

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Tonight I baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which are delicious!

Here is the recipe, which I adapted from a couple I found on the internet:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
Not quite 1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
chopped pecans
semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Cream softened butter and sugars together with electric mixer. Stir in vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. stir with a wooden spoon until moistened. Add oats. Stir and add chocolate chips and/or pecans to taste. Drop heaping spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 18 minutes or until tops begin to crisp.

Yield: 2 dozen

Enjoy!

 

Day 10

Today’s photo was taken while being silly in our kitchen after making no-bake chocolate/peanut butter oatmeal cookies.

From left to right: Ethan, Dani, and Rachel

The picture’s stats:

Also, for anyone who is interested here is the recipe Rachel made up for the cookies. They are quite tasty but very filling. Also, they are best served with a glass of milk!

  • 3 cups of oats
  • 3 tbsps cocoa
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Heat butter milk and sugar in a small sauce pot on the stove. Let boil for one minute and then remove from heat. Place cocoa and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Pour heated mixture into the bowl and stir. Add the peanut butter and stir until melted/dissolved. While stirring, add the oats. Place heaping tablespoon sized portions on wax paper. Allow to sit for several minutes until cookies have “gelled.” Enjoy!

Note to self: remember to try this recipe with a handful of craisins sometime…

 

 

Tonight’s Dessert Creation

Tonight we made a beautiful dinner (which we forgot to photograph). We made balsamic-marinated chicken breasts, pumpkin dumplings (which turned out a little more like pumpkin gnocchi but which were still delicious), roasted asparagus and Brussels sprouts, and saffron rice.

For dessert I made Spiced Applesauce Cupcakes. They are quite good, but the Cinnamon-Nutmeg Cream-Cheese Frosting was the event.

Here is the recipe I used:

For cake
2 cups (8 3/4 ounces or 250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt
3/4 teaspoon (2 grams) cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 stick (4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (7 3/4 ounces or 218 grams) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (about 13 ounces or 365 grams) unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup (about 1 3/4 ounces or 50 grams) walnuts (optional), toasted, cooled, and chopped

For frosting
5 ounces (142 grams) cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces or 42 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (4 ounces or 120 grams) confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8- or 9-inch square cake pan. I had no trouble getting my cake out of a nonstick pan by just buttering it, but if you don’t have a nonstick cake pan or are a little nervous, line the bottom with parchment paper and butter that too.

Make cake: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined, then stir in walnuts (if using). The batter will look a little curdly and uneven but don’t worry, it will all bake up perfectly in the end.

Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely. You can speed this up, as I always do, in the fridge. OR recipe makes about 16-18 cupcakes. Cooking time approximately 20 minutes.

Make frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated. Spread frosting over top of cooled cake.