Archive for ‘Baked Goods’

June 6, 2011

Savory Broccoli and Spinach Cheesecake

WHOA! Hold the phone! What’s that I read? CHEESECAKE?

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… “Sonia, didn’t you just say you were going to keep your calorie intake in check and cook more light and low cal dishes for a while? And yet, here you are, making CHEESECAKE? Are you, like, out of your mind or something?

Well, not exactly! 😉 While cheesecake isn’t exactly you typical low cal dish, believe it or not, one serving of this baby will only set you back about 425 calories.

Not bad for such a rich and decadent dish. While eating it, you would never guess that it was so healthy and surprisingly light. It definitely feels super rich and creamy and oh so cheesy.

You see, I was initially planning on making a quiche, but I suddenly remembered that I had bought about a million packages of low fat cream cheese last time it came on sale (I know, I have to work on that…) and so my mind immediately went “SAVORY CHEESECAKE” and this huge grin came across my face.

Then I remembered: “-Low cal”. D’OH!

I had to think of a way to make this happen. HAD TO!

And I did!

How? I remembered that one could also use cottage cheese to make cheesecakes! Bingo, problem solved. I used one package of low fat cream cheese, one container of 1% cottage cheese and a little bit of Feta cheese for added flavour and texture.

All in all, I am EXTREMELY happy with the results. The texture is rich and creamy with nice chunks of vegetables and the pie as a whole doesn’t feel heavy at all despite being loaded with cheese. The taste? Hard to describe… but definitely YUMMY!

There’s only one tiny little detail that didn’t quite work out… the crust isn’t of the cuddly kind and doesn’t seem to want to cling to the cheese filling. That’s why I decided to garnish with arugula leaves, to hide the gap that had formed between the crust and the filling. Problem solved? Not quite that easily…

The slices are a little tricky to cut, but if you make a small “starter” indentation in the crust, the rest goes pretty good. However, once a slice is cut, the “gap” transforms into a drawbridge, so you sort of have to hold it in place with a toothpick.

Not sure how to solve that problem… I will have to think of something… Edible superglue?

Anywho, that won’t stop me from making this wonderful savory cheesecake again, or even from bringing it to an eventual party. I am truly happy with this experiment and the way it turned out.

And, now that I’ve got a good base, I can play with different flavour combinations!

Oh! food, how I love thee!

INGREDIENTS

Crust

  • ¾ cup spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup no fat plain yogurt
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp oranic no salt seasoning
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 140g spinach, chopped
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 250g low fat cream cheese
  • 500g 1% fat cottage cheese
  • the zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 whole eggs
  • ¼ cup egg whites (equivalent to 2 egg whites)
  • 100g Feta cheese, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS
(serves 6)

Crust

  1. Whisk flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a measuring cup, whisk oil, yogurt and egg; pour over flour.
  2. Stir to form fairly smooth dough.
  3. On floured surface, knead until smooth, 2 minutes.
  4. Press into disc; wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. On floured surface, roll out dough to form a 12-13 inch disc. Fit into 9 inch spring form pan, letting excess hang over edge. Set aside.

Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. In a skillet coated with cooking spray, cook onion, bell pepper and seasoning over medium heat, until fragrant and onion becomes translcent, about 2-3 minutes. Add broccoli and continue cooking for another minute or two.
  3. Add water and balsamic vinegar. Cook until all water has evaporated. Turn off the heat and add chopped spinach and nutmeg. Stir until the spinach is wilted. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a food processor, blend cream cheese and cottage cheese together until smooth. Scrape the sides once or twice during process to make sure all cheese is well incorporated.
  5. Add lemon juice and lemon zest, Dijon mustard and give a quick stir.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, blending until smooth between each addition. Add the egg whites and take the mixture for a final spin.
  7. Transfer cooked vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Add crumbled feta and creamy cheese mixture. Fold delicately until well combined.
  8. Transfer this mixture into the reserved crust. Immediately put in the oven and lower temperature to 325F.
  9. Cook for 55-60 minutes, until cake is set.
  10. Allow cake to cool completely before unmolding.
  11. Garnish with arugula leaves right before serving.

May 30, 2011

More Power Walnut, Carob and Banana Bread

I love banana bread! Not only does it taste amazingly good, but it’s also a very efficient way to use up those super ripe bananas that you inevitably end up with week after week. Well, if you’re like me, that is, and buy bananas every week but only eat them when they are a beautiful bright yellow and then completely lose interest in them as soon as they start to develop the tiniest of brown spots… although I have gotten much better and now eat my bananas a lot riper than I used to, because I know they are in fact better for me when they are good and ripe. But still, I must end up throwing at least one, if not two per week in the freezer to use in smoothies or banana bread, mini loaves or muffins.

Up until now, I’ve always used the same recipe, but this week, I decided to play with the Pumpkin, Rasberry and Buckwheat Loaves recipe and to turn it into a More Power Walnut, Carob and Banana Bread.

Basically all I did is replace the pumpkin puree with banana puree. It took 3 bananas to make the required cup and a half.

Of course, I left the cinnamon, ginger and all spice out of the equation. Oh, and I added 100g of carob chips, which ended up being an enormous waste of time, since they all sunk right to the bottom, and I think they also decided to gang up and have a little party right in the middle of the loaf!

I mean, look how sad! All you can see in the picture is a mere dark spot, a lonely chip that got lost or something… I guess when I get more towards the other end of the bread, I will get a mega dose of crazy happy carob chips all bunched up together!

They’re probably having a good laugh right now at this great prank that they pulled on me.

Maybe next time I will use a little bit less milk to make the batter a tad on the firmer side, that way, the carob chips won’t get to sink that much. Still, the loaf has a very good texture as it is, so you can feel free to go ahead and use that exact recipe.

If you are the kind of person who loves their toasts in the morning, this makes for an absolutely gorgeous breakfast. Just cut a couple of slices and pop them in the toaster, then spread some good all natural peanut or almond butter on them.

Of course, this would also make an excellent afternoon snack!

INGREDIENTS
(for one large banana bread)

WET

  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup soy milk
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup egg whites
  • 1½ cup banana puree
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

DRY

  • 120g vanilla flavored whey protein powder
  • 1½ cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/3 cup black chia seeds
  • 2 tsp baking powder

ADD-INS

  • 100g carob chips (entirely NOT necessary!)
  • 75g walnuts, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425F and line loaf pan with parchment paper
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix wet ingredients together and whisk until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients and whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients and stir until well incorporated. Fold in carob chips and nuts. Mix to combine, no more.
  4. Pour batter into loaf pan. Put them in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 375.
  5. Cook for 40-45min until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan then cool completely on a cooling rack.
  7. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to a week

May 6, 2011

Rustic Salmon Pie

My daughter baked this one while I was at work, so when I came home, it was all done and ready to eat.

As soon as I set foot in the doorway, I was floored. I just could not believe the smell that was emanating from my oven. I tell you, chocolate cake itself has NOTHING on that one. It was UN-BE-LEE-VA-BLE! I thought I had just died and went to heaven. Seriously, I never thought salmon pie could smell THAT good!

I think it has a little bit to do with the crust. This one is now my official alternative to pie crust. The fact that it was my daughter who made it probably helps too… you see, I think she has a special gift when it comes to making pie crust. Hers is always soooo much better, and this time was no exception. I mean, the thing was almost flaky, despite the fact that it contains close to no fat! I don’t know how she does it, but I sure wish she would share her secret! 😉

As for the filling… oh my yum! All those chunks of tender potatoes, and big pieces of salmon, the subtle taste of the cheese, the occasional crunch from the peas and corn, all this brought together by the creaminess of the potatoes that were mashed with buttermilk and plain yogurt. OOOOH! Wow. I’ve never tasted salmon pie that good before. From now on, for me, THIS, is salmon pie. Let’s just say that never again, I will wonder what to do with that leftover salmon!!!

And you know what the best part is? I think even Mr. Shy Salmon realized just how good a dish he had just served in creating, because this time, he accepted to pose proudly for the camera! YAY!!! (although my batteries did die half-way through the shoot and I had to give them a quick charge… did anybody say jinx?)

I chose to serve this with a super quick and easy fennel salad. I shall give you that recipe in a separate post.

 Ingredients
Serves 6

Crust

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 700g (about 6-7) Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on, quartered
  • 500g cooked salmon
  • 1 cup low fat plain yogurt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 100g sharp cheddar cheese, grated

 

Instructions

Crust

  • Whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk oil, milk and egg; pour over flour. Stir to form fairly smooth dough. On floured surface, knead until smooth, 2 minutes. Press into disc; wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Filling

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until nice and tender. Drain and transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
  • With a potato masher, give them a quick smash but don’t over do it. You want really chunky mashed potatoes.
  • Add plain yogurt, buttermilk, salt, pepper, parlsey, peas and corn. Stir gently until well combined.
  • Very delicately fold grated cheese and cooked salmon into the potato mixture. You want to have nice big chunks of salmon.

Assembly

  • On floured surface, roll out dough to form a 18 inch disc. Fit into greased (brush with olive oil) 9 inch cast iron skillet, letting excess hang over edge.
  • Mound filling in center; lift pastry up over filling, letting it fall naturally into folds and leaving 2-3 inch opening in the center. Brush dough with egg white, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Bake in bottom third of oven until pastry is golden and filling is steaming, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 – 15 minutes before cutting into wedges.