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Breads and Desserts

Black Bean Brownies

Black Bean Brownies

Black Bean Brownies

Total time:  1 hour.

Gluten-Free intrigues me, and I couldn’t help but try making my own version of these. I thought that substituting some brown sugar in place of white sugar would help with some “stickiness”, but I still feel these could have held together better. The key might be xanthan gum or guar gum; if you’ve got either, try adding a teaspoon.

2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp instant coffee (optional)
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease your brownie pan, and set aside.

In a small microwave safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate chips. Stir every 20 seconds.

In a food processor or blender, combine beans and melted chocolate until it forms a smooth paste. You can add the rest of the ingredients and blend well, or you can transfer the beany chocolate to a large bowl and mix everything in the large bowl.

Transfer to an 8×8 brownie pan (or 7 x 11 glass pan), and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Today, I am using a packet of Starbucks Decaf Italian Roast VIA, which measured 1.5 tsp. I shouldn’t have put the whole packet in, as you can definitely taste the coffee. Maybe espresso powder or just cutting down to 1 tsp would make a better flavor. I don’t mind tasting the coffee, though. <3 coffee.

Overall, these were delicious and awesome. If I bake brownies from scratch again, I’ll be using this recipe. I might add some flour or guar gum to bind the brownie together better (it’s kind of crumbly), but I wouldn’t change anything else.

Day 2: They’ve been in a covered pan all night, and the top is now “sweaty” and they seem to be pretty dry. You can definitely tell it’s beans today. Very interesting.

Day 6: Don’t keep these for this many days. They developed a stench, and I had to throw them out.

Breads and Desserts, Cuppylicious!, Eastern Mediterranean, Ethnic Foods, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Pita Bread

My mezze consisted of olives, piyaz, hummus, pita bread, cucumber raita, and tabouli.

Olives, piyaz, hummus, pita bread, cucumber raita, and tabouli.

Total time:  Approximately 5 hours.

The 2010 February Daring Cooks Challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to present a mezze table. The required recipes were pita bread (here) and hummus.

Recipe adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

2 teaspoons regular dry yeast (.43 ounces/12.1 grams)
2.5 cups lukewarm water (21 ounces/591 grams)
6 cups all-purpose flour (17.5 -21 ounces/497-596 grams)
1 tablespoon table salt (.50 ounces/15 grams)
2 tablespoons olive oil (.95 ounces/29 ml)

1. In a large bread bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in 3 cups flour, a cup at a time, and then stir 100 times, in the same direction to activate the gluten. Let this sponge rest for 90 minutes.
2. Sprinkle the salt over the sponge and stir in the olive oil. Mix well. Add more flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is too stiff to stir. Let the dough rest 10-15 minutes.
3. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Rinse out the bowl, dry, and lightly oil. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until at least doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.
4. Place a pizza stone, or two small baking sheets, on the bottom rack of your oven, leaving a 1-inch gap all around between the stone or sheets and the oven walls to allow heat to circulate. Preheat the oven to 450F (230C).

Pita Bread

Pita Bread

5. Lightly flour the top of the dough and both sides of your hands. Gently punch down the dough. Divide the dough in half, and then set half aside, covered, while you work with the rest. Divide into 8 equal pieces and flatten each piece with lightly floured hands. Roll out each piece to a circle 8 to 9 inches in diameter and less than 1/4 inch thick. Keep the rolled-out breads covered until ready to bake, but do not stack.
6. Place 2 breads, or more if your oven is large enough, on the stone or baking sheets, and bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or until each bread has gone into a full balloon. If for some reason your bread doesn’t puff up, don’t worry. Wrap the baked breads together in a large kitchen towel to keep them warm and soft while you bake the remaining rolled-out breads. Then repeat with the rest of the dough.

Makes 16 large pitas.

Shown here with kalamata olives, Almost Turkish Piyaz, hummus, cucumber raita, and tabouli.

Cuppylicious!, Eastern Mediterranean, Ethnic Foods, Sauces and Dips, The Daring Cooks' Challenge




Recipe adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

Prep Time: Hummus can be made in about 15 minutes once the beans are cooked. If you’re using dried beans you need to soak them overnight and then cook them the next day which takes about 90 minutes.

1.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or substitute well drained canned chickpeas and omit the cooking) (10 ounces/301 grams)
2-2.5 lemons, juiced (3 ounces/89ml/6 Tbsp)
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (2 tsp)
a big pinch of salt
4 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) OR use peanut butter or any other nut butter—feel free to experiment) (1.5 ounces/45 grams)
2 tsp ground sumac

1. Drain and boil the soaked chickpeas in fresh water for about 1 ½ hours, or until tender. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.
2. Puree the beans in a food processor (or you can use a potato masher) adding the cooking water as needed until you have a smooth paste.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

I normally like to edit the Daring Cooks recipes to make them more understandable outside the DK, but in this instance, I thought I’d keep all of the extra notations in the ingredients. Really, if you’re using dried garbanzo beans, your directions are different than if you’re using canned beans. And sometimes your canned beans are too firm and need to be boiled anyway. It’s something you’ll just have to decide each time you try to make hummus. If you’re lucky like me, you have a pressure cooker that does all the work for you, in 30 minutes or less.

Cuppylicious!, Eastern Mediterranean, Ethnic Foods, Side Dishes, Soup and Salad, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Almost Turkish Piyaz

Almost Turkish Piyaz

Almost Turkish Piyaz

Total time:  Approximately 15 minutes.

Adapted from Burcu’s Antalya Bean Salad (Antalya Usulü Piyaz) on Almost Turkish Recipes.

2 cups of cooked northern beans
1/2 onion, cut finely in half-moons
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp crushed pepper
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced or diced

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced

Mix together dressing ingredients, set aside.

In a small bowl, knead onion slices with 1 tsp salt. Rinse and drain.

In a medium large bowl, mix together beans and onions. Stir in dressing, coat well. Fold in parsley and eggs. Sprinkle with crushed red peppers.

Serve chilled or room temperature.

Cuppylicious!, Eastern Mediterranean, Ethnic Foods, Side Dishes, Soup and Salad, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Mama Fatima’s Tabouli



Total time:  35 minutes.

Adapted from Holy Land Brand’s website.

2 cups dry bulgur wheat
2 cups very hot water
1 cucumber, chopped and blotted with paper towel
1-3 small tomatoes, chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 cups fresh chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

In a small bowl, mix together dressing ingredients, set aside.

Soak the wheat in the hot water until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Drain any excess water, if necessary, and squeeze dry.  I normally take this time to chop up all my vegetables.

Combine the salad ingredients, including wheat, in a large bowl. Gently stir dressing into the salad.

Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes about 8 cups, 12 to 16 servings.

This made a whole lot of salad. We ate it for almost 4 days, with lots of help from friends, in pita bread with other assorted yummies. I’ll definitely be halving this recipe in the future (I don’t think quartering it will work very easily).

Cuppylicious!, Eastern Mediterranean, Ethnic Foods, Sauces and Dips, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Raita

Total time:  15 minutes.

Recipe adapted from The Indian Grocery Store Demystified by Linda Bladholm

1 medium cucumber, peeled and most of the seeds removed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (.1 ounce/3 grams) OR use a small pinch of dried cumin—to taste
2 cups plain whole milk or Greek yogurt (17 ounces/473ml)
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
fresh cilantro, chopped, a couple pinches or more to taste
cayenne pepper, just a pinch to use as a garnish (optional)

1. Peel cucumber, de-seed, and dice. Blot off moisture with paper towels.
2. Toast cumin seeds for a few seconds in a small, heavy frying pan over high heat.
3. In a bowl, stir yogurt until it is smooth.
4. Mix in the cumin, garlic and coriander leaves.
5. Stir in the cucumber and sprinkle with cayenne. Chill before serving.

Beef, Cuppylicious!, Meat, Sauces and Dips

Braised Bolognese Sauce (or Casserole)

Braised Bolognese Sauce

Braised Bolognese Sauce

Total time:  1.5 hours.

After doing the pork satay for the January DC Challenge, I thought I’d give this book another go. Adapted from Five-spice Lamb in 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1 cup beef stock
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp ginger root, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp five-spice powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of chopped vegetables (optional)
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
1 dollop of tahini paste (optional)

Preheat oven to 325.

Brown beef in a large skillet. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Maintain the grease in the pan to saute onions, garlic and ginger root. Cook on medium-high heat until onions turn translucent or even golden.

Add the meat back to the pan, as well as tomatoes, stock, hoisin, soy sauce, and five-spice. Mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to a casserole dish and bake, covered, for 60 minutes. If you’re using the optional vegetables, bake for 45 minutes, stir in vegetables, then bake for another 15 minutes.

Stir in cilantro and tahini just before serving.

The original recipe calls for minced lamb and lamb stock, as well as toasted sesame seeds instead of tahini.

I skipped the vegetables and served this (with a full 1/2 cup of cilantro) as a bolognese sauce on top of Elise’s Spanish rice. I think it would have tasted great on top of soba noodles… maybe next time.