Category: pepper

Smoky Superfood Stuffed Portobello

Hello loyal readers,

Apologies for the hiatus, and a big thanks for understanding – it’s been a very busy summer over at Savoury Sweets! Weddings, events, and birthdays galore – as well as a wonderful two-week vacation to the (very underrated) west coast of Canada. I’ve finally managed to find a few minutes, so I’m here to continue sharing healthy, plant based recipes to bring some colour to your plate, and variety to your diet!

I’m going to start by sharing something that I’ve been dreaming about since I made it – a quinoa & veggie-stuffed portobello cap. (Side note – Portobello? Portabella? Portobella? However you spell it, it’s a giant, delicious mushroom.) I posted a photo on Facebook and immediately had multiple requests for the recipe – you ask, I deliver!

During my travels, I stumbled upon many secondhand bookshops, each one more adorable than the next. It was very hard not to take everything home with me. I did snag a wonderful book called Grain Power (Green & Hemming, 2013), which is what inspired this creation. Not only is this dish colourful, flavourful, and quite photogenic – but it’s also filling enough to be a standalone meal. Bonus – the whole thing comes together quickly, and the filling can be prepared in advance – so it’s great for a quick weeknight meal, or for a last-minute vegetarian or vegan dinner guest. Double bonus – it’s gluten-free, and can be vegan if you omit the cheese, or use vegan cheese!

Smoky Superfood Stuffed Portobellos

ingredients

  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 cup quinoa 
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice from one fresh lime
  • 3 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup herbed goat cheese, crumbled
  • smoked Tabasco (optional)

method

Remove stems from mushrooms, setting the caps aside. Chop mushroom stems.

Bring quinoa and water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer about 15 minutes, until all water is absorbed, and quinoa is fluffy. Set aside.

Heat 3 tbsp oil in large saucepan. On medium heat, cook onions, stirring intermittently, about 15 minutes, or until they start to brown. Add garlic and stir. Add peppers and mushroom stems and cook until soft, about 10 mins. Add spinach, continue cooking until wilted.

Add quinoa to saucepan and stir, combining everything. Drizzle with remaining oil, lime juice, tarragon, paprikas and turmeric. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Scoop mixture into portobello caps and sprinkle with cheese, if using. BBQ, or place on a tray and low broil, until cheese is melted, about 4 to 6 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with smoked Tabasco, if desired.

You Want This

I proudly present to you my latest creation obsession, Spiced Pepita Cake! Now, you may be wondering, “Pepita cake? Why would I want that?” Trust me, you want this. Just imagine ooey gooey chocolate that melts in your mouth with every bite. Now, imagine that chocolate wrapped in fluffy cake that’s sweet and salty and the slightest bit savoury. I’m telling you, you want this. 
Not quite sold? Let me ask you a few questions. 
1. Do you like cake?

2. Do you like chocolate?

3. Do you like easy recipes?
4. Do you like things that are delicious?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above,  you want this.
This recipe is a heavily adapted version of chef Rick Bayless’ Mexican Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Seed Cake. While Rick uses Mexican chocolate, I used dark baking chocolate and I added some of my own spices into the batter. I also subbed out the butter for Earth Balance Spread, and I added in some sunflower seeds to the mix. Now, without further adieu… The one, the only…
Spiced Pepita Cake with Chocolate
makes one 8″ cake, recipe adapted from Food and Wine

ingredients
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
3/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds
250ml Earth Balance Spread (or butter)
3 eggs
1 tbsp tequila
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate 
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground anise (optional)
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper 
pinch black pepper
pinch salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter & flour an 8″ round cake pan. (I also like to put a parchment circle at the bottom of mine!) Sprinkle 1/4 cup of seeds + 2 tbsp of sugar directly into pan. In food processor (Robot Coupe), pulse the remaining seeds with sugar until sandy. Add eggs, shortening, tequila and pulse until homogenous. Add dark chocolate and pulse until incorporated. Add all dry ingredients and pulse again slowly, but do not overmix! Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden and cake tester (toothpick) inserted in centre comes out clean. 
Once cake is slightly cooled, invert to serve. 
Dust with powdered sugar and more cinnamon if desired. 

CooCoo for Coconut

Last week started off on quite a poor note for me: on top of having to deal with a broken bed and a wintery slap in the face in the form of an ice storm,  I had to deal with some less-than-pleasant stomach issues which landed me in the dreaded waiting room of a health clinic. The cherry on top of it all: I was instructed by my new doctor to stay away from both gluten AND dairy for “a couple of weeks.”

Is he aware that gluten and dairy are the basis of my comfort-food diet every winter?
Is he aware that the temperatures dipped below freezing this week?
Is he aware that denying me of bagels and cream cheese is not good for my mental health?

Attempting to keep my mental health in check – for the good of everyone around me – I decided to make the best of things and turn this into a cooking challenge! (While grinding my teeth and forcing a smile!) At first, it was tough to think up ideas. (On that note, it’s also been tough trying to ignore the brand new chocolate milk container and the three containers of yogourt in my fridge. But I digress). I began to get quite creative in the kitchen.

And that my friends, is where my fabulous coconut shrimp stir-fry was born.
I must admit, I had some inspiration from my good friend Lisa, so thank you!
The boy and I both reached for seconds. And then thirds. We then had to restrain ourselves, because I was insistent on getting a photograph in before it was all devoured…


Coconut Shrimp Stir Fry with Rice Noodles

what you’ll need

•    2 eggs
•    ½ Spanish or Vidalia onion, finely sliced
•    1 cup sliced mushrooms
•    4 shallots, cut into long pieces
•   1 yellow pepper, sliced
•    ¾ cup sugar snap peas
•    ⅓ cup frozen peas
•    ½ cup cooked, peeled de-veined frozen shrimp
•    ⅓ cup water

•    ¾ small can tomato paste
•    ½ cup coconut milk
•    3 tbsp lime juice
•    3 tsp fenugreek
•    3 tsp sea salt (or more, to taste)
•    2 tsp hot pepper sauce (optional)

•    2 cups broad rice noodles, cooked according to package directions

how to do it

Cook rice noodles according to package directions, ensuring that they are slightly al-dente (otherwise, they will fall apart later on – you’ll see).
Scramble the egg in non-stick fry pan (or in 1 tbsp of oil / cooking spray). Set egg aside.
In same pan, cook onions and mushrooms in water over medium-high heat until reduced.
While you are waiting for the mixture to reduce, in a small bowl, combine coconut milk, tomato paste, hot sauce, lime juice and spices. Set aside.
Once the water in the pan is completely evaporated, add yellow pepper and cook until slightly softened. Add shallots, peas, shrimp and egg to the mixture.
Pour sauce into the pan and mix well.
Cook until shrimp are completely defrosted.
Once the mixture is ready, empty it all into a bowl with the rice noodles and toss to coat.

Serve immediately, garnished with lime slices, shallots and toasted coconut if desired.

Move Over, Martha!

I’ve had the most splendid week in the kitchen and I must tell you ALL about it! I began my cooking extravaganza by making my very first buttercream icing. Fun to work with, easy to make, lovely to look at, but unfortunately, not so lovely to eat. I just don’t see the appeal of eating something that tastes like a stick of butter. Deciding then to stick with familiar classics, I made the absolute best banana cake in the history of the world. Marie Antoinette, eat your heart out. My friend Lisa, an equally exuberant foodie, suggested that I pipe some butter down the centre of the cake to create a perfect “crack.” Simple trick, fabulous results. Not only did the cake look fantastic, it had an extra hint of buttery flavour throughout. Perfection. However, my ultimate kitchen success came last night when I stirred up a delightfully velvety vodka sauce – caramelized onions, crushed garlic, plum tomatoes, fresh basil and a splash of vodka to enhance all of the flavours. By special request, I served a baked brie wheel as an appetizer, smothered in a slow-cooked peppered cranberry sauce. But the ultimate show stopper was the dessert – a layered vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel mousse, as pleasing to the eyes as it was to the palate! Two things about this mousse were most exciting: the first was the creation of the caramel. As simple as you can get, this rich caramel was created by simmering sugar and a couple of tablespoons of water over HIGH heat. Yes, high heat surprised me, and scared me, as I do not own a “heavy bottom” saucepan, so I decided to put my lovely Lagostina’s life on the line. It worked like magic! As the sugar began to dissolve, a lovely cotton-candy aroma filled the air, and then, almost instantly, the colour morphed from a silvery white to an amber yellow. At this point, I poured in the heavy cream and WHISH! An unexpected bubbling and sizzling happened, and the amber yellow transformed to a deep perfect caramel colour. While I waited for that to cool, I prepared my mousse base, which consisted solely of egg yolk, vanilla, sugar and milk. Gently folding whipped cream into the base and slowly adding the flavourings created sweet toothed bliss.

Vanilla, Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mousse Cups
recipe adapted from Tartelette

What you’ll need:
for the caramel
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp water
½ tsp kosher or sea salt
¼ cup heavy/whipping cream (35%)
2 tsp unsalted butter

for the vanilla mousse base:
4 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
½ vanilla bean, or 2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp powdered gelatin dissolved in 3 tbsp water
1 cup heavy/whipping cream (35%)

for the chocolate:
¼  cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips

How to do it:
Prepare the caramel first, as it will need to cool to room temp.
Place the sugar and water in a small/medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to cook just until light amber color.  Watch it the entire time, the colour changing process happens VERY quickly and you must remove it from the heat immediately at this point. Once it it removed slowly stir in the heavy cream (watch it bubble!) and then add butter, stirring constantly.

Prepare the mousse base as the caramel is cooling:
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until very pale. In the meantime, in a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk and the vanilla bean (split open and scraped over the milk) to a boil. Slowly pour the milk over the yolks, whisking constantly. Make sure you do not pour too quickly, as this will cook the eggs. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium low heat and cook until the cream coats the back of a spoon. Add the softened gelatin and stir until melted completely into the cream. Let cool to room temperature.

Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks and fold it into the cooled cream base. Divide the base into three equal portions. One portion is the vanilla mousse.

For the caramel mousse: fold a little bit of one portion of the mousse base into the caramel. Slowly add the rest of the base, folding lightly. If you find the mousse is too watery (as mine was), whip a little more cream and fold it in until you reach your desired texture.
For the chocolate mousse: melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for one to two minutes on high. Add the allotted mousse base to the melted chocolate chips and fold.

Layer the three mousses into glass serving dishes as demonstrated in the photo. The caramel mousse should be on the top as it is the lightest. Garnish with a sprinkling of cocoa or chocolate shavings. Freeze for an hour, then serve, and succumb to heaven in your mouth. (Can also be frozen for future use, just remove from freezer and thaw for 15-20 minutes before you serve it.)