Black bean millet patties

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Last year, a few times, I made some black bean millet sweet potato burgers. I do not have the patience for this (mostly the sweet potato part since you need to fully bake the sweet potato first), especially when just cooking for myself, so today I attempted something similar – Sunday dinner. Not pretty but relatively tasty. It’s missing something I cannot pinpoint but is still quite edible.

1 cup cooked millet
1.5 cups drained and rinsed black beans
1 small red onion, shredded
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
pepper, to taste

Cook the millet, or use leftover millet. Slightly mash the black beans. Mix the spices together in a separate bowl. Mix everything together, mashing slightly. Form patties and cook on a medium-high griddle or pan in olive oil or another preferred oil.

Naturally you can experiment with the spices and with a topping (tomato salsa? guacamole? mango salsa?). I just used a blob of slightly spicy mustard to dip it in.

It’s vegan and it’s easy.

Mini pecan pies

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It’s been a long time since I bothered to make miniature pies, but suddenly the urge was there. Mini pecan pies were born.

Here’s how you can go for it as well:

Crust:
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chilled butter
3 tablespoons ice water

Sift flour and salt. Cut the butter into the flour until crumbly. Stir in enough cold water with a fork until it is just moistened. Form a ball and roll out on a floured surface. (For a regular pie, you would roll into a 12-inch circle for a 9-inch pie. For mini pies, just cut circles about the size of the outer edge of your tins). Fit the rounds into your mini tins and set aside.

Filling:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup corn syrup (I used golden syrup)
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350F. First pour pecans into the bottom of the pie crusts. Pour the syrup over the top. (Pecans will rise to the top.)

Cover the tops and crusts lightly with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes. The filling should not be overly runny/jiggly, so continue baking until it is relatively solid.

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Raspberry walnut swirl cookies

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It’s a good damn thing I am not trying to bake today – all weekend the power at my house has been going on and off, on and off… I don’t quite know what is happening because these are unplanned outages, according to the power company’s website. But it’s not weather-related. It’s still and not stormy (which is what normally knocks the power out).

Anyway things do not always go to plan. That’s kind of the point. I planned some time back to make some raspberry walnut coconut cookies, but the dough was meant to be rolled out, with the filling spread on top and then cut into slices. No. The dough was so crumbly and impossible to roll that it was hopeless.

All is not lost, though, even when things do not go to plan. I pressed about three-quarters of the dough into a pan, spread the raspberry mixture filling on top and sprinkled the rest of the dough on top and baked these into bar cookies. They seem to have worked fine.

Crust
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Mix together. Press three-quarters of dough into a square 8×8 or 9×9 glass pan.

Filling
¾ cup raspberry jam
½ cup coconut
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

Spread filling on crust and sprinkle the remaining one-quarter of dough across the top.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool and slice into bars.

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Gluten-free cupcake ideas

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Some time ago, I determined that I would expand my gluten-free baking repertoire. I never get very far because I am wrapped up in the regular baking and am paranoid about ensuring that the gluten stuff does not touch gluten-free stuff. I know there are a lot of people who eat gluten-free by preference, so gluten is not going to hurt them. But there are a few with tremendous sensitivity and for their sake, I try to be as careful as I can be in a kitchen in which both gluten and gluten-free baking takes place.

In any case, my bakes, as anyone who knows me knows, are industrial in their size and breadth… meaning that once the regular stuff is done, I don’t have a lot of energy left for expansive gluten-free experiments. Now I always make gluten-free/paleo coconut flour brownies because they are easy and I know they work… and often make stuff like coconut macaroons (also easy and foolproof). But cupcakes are a new area. I’ve been told that these were delicious.

Vanilla gluten-free cupcakes (makes 12)
1/2 cup (125 grams) butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (115 grams) gluten-free all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 175C. Bake 12-15 minutes.

Line cupcake pan with paper liners.

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs – sift dry ingredients together and mix into wet ingredients alternately with coconut milk.

Fill cupcake papers just over halfway. Bake. Remove from oven after 12-15 minutes, when toothpick inserted in center of center-placed cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for five minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Next up to try in my adventures in gluten-free baking:

Chocolate gluten-free cupcakes (makes 12)
210 grams gluten-free all-purpose flour
70 grams cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup sour cream
3 to 6 tablespoons coffee

Preheat oven to 175C. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Line cupcake pan with paper liners.

Cream eggs and sugar, add coconut oil – sift dry ingredients together and mix into wet ingredients in three rounds, alternately with the sour cream. Add in the coffee last of all, using as much as you need to make the right consistency batter and flavor you like.

Fill cupcake papers just over halfway. Bake. Remove from oven after 15-20 minutes, when toothpick inserted in center of center-placed cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for five minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

(I used chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream and gluten-free sprinkles.)

Apple ricotta pie

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Finding myself with a container of soon-to-expire ricotta on my hands, not having used it for another planned recipe, I decided to make a pie to get a lot of various leftover ingredients off my hands (an overabundance of graham cracker crumbs, cream, etc.) In the end this was not such a great concoction – would be better perhaps if the apple mixture had some butter mixed into the sugar and cinnamon to make the apple layer more like apple pie. And the ricotta layer was also a bit dry and bland. I don’t know quite how I would combat the dryness (and it might not be necessary if the apples were more filling-like) but for better flavor, I might consider adding lemon zest.

Apple ricotta pie
Apple layer
3 cups sliced or diced apples
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon

Ricotta filling
2 eggs
1 cup ricotta cheese
½ cup sugar
½ cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the crust you can either use a regular pâte brisée/shortcrust pie-pastry dough or a graham cracker crust (use about ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter – mix together and press into a pie pan/tin. Bake ten minutes on 180C. Fill.)

For apple layer, peel apples and slice. Mix with sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Place in the prepared pie crust.

For the ricotta filling, beat eggs, then add ricotta, sugar, cream and salt. Pour over the top of the apples.

Bake at 220C (425F) for 10 minutes; reduce the heat to 175C and bake for 30 additional minutes.

Let cool. Serve.

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