Posts tagged ‘chili powder’

September 2, 2011

Quick “Lettuce” Wraps with Spicy Hummus

by cillefish

I never order lettuce wraps because lots of cheapskate restaurants think iceberg counts as lettuce — and I don’t really relish the idea of something like that falling apart. Here are some “lettuce” wraps I make using Swiss Chard, which is somewhere between baby spinach and bok choy. Like other dark, leafy greens, chard gives the most nutrients if you wilt it before eating, but raw it has a great texture and just enough strength to hold a small amount of vegetables easily.

Quick “Lettuce” Wraps

PER wrap (2 wraps are a light lunch for 1 average-sized female):

  • 1 leaf of fresh raw Swiss Chard, washed, shaken out, and halved lengthwise along the spine
  • 1 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
  • 1-2 Tbsp spicy hummus (see below)
  • About 2 Tbsp (or 1/6 of 1 large) carrot, shaved in thin strips using a vegetable peeler or chopped super thin
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped fairly small (the chard is thick, so it’s ok if this looks a little wet)
  • optional items: sliced olives; 1 very-thin slice red onion or sweet yellow onion; small pinch of black pepper

Spread cheese and hummus halfway along chard leaf. Arrange veggies on top. Roll inward, from leaf edge toward leaf spine. Optional: affix wrap to itself with a toothpick and an olive.

Spicy Hummus:

  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can uncooked or pre-cooked black beans (I use the Cuban style ones from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4+ c sunflower butter
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/8 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 – 1/4 c light vinegar such as rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or both together
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp dried cilantro
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Mexican hot sauce
  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse, scraping frequently, until fully combined.

    As necessary, while mixing:

    Add in up to 1/8 cup water – adjust until hummus reaches preferred texture.

    Add salt and extra garlic, lemon juice, vinegar and spices to taste. Note: the garlic and hot sauce can increase slightly in spiciness as the hummus is stored in the fridge, so do not start out overwhelmingly spicy.

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    December 2, 2010

    Top 10 Best Tofu Marinades

    by cillefish

    Marinaded, pan-seared tofu with kale and cheese-topped bread
    Marinades easily, simply, & brilliantly get tofu to “pop” with flavor. If you get the marinade going ahead of time, they’re also fast.

    Squeeze or drain the tofu very well beforehand, slice it (see below), put in a watertight lunch container with the marinade ingredients, and refrigerate for 1/2 hour or more (1 hour is better), shaking or turning upside-down every 15-30 min (you can even open the container up and rearrange things to help ensure maximum absorption).

    To pan-sear: Cut tofu into 3/4-inch cubes and marinade. Once marinaded, arrange, sans oil, in your favorite super-nonstick, tofu-friendly pan and sear each side until firm and crunchy (should be the color of medium to well-done toast, but not burnt).

    To bake: Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut tofu into 1/2 slices, then slice crosswise into strips 1/4 to 3/8 inches wide and 2 to 3 inches long. Prick on both sides with a fork, marinade, then place in a nonstick or lightly-oiled baking sheet, reserving any unabsorbed marinade if serving tofu on its own. Cover sheet with parchment paper or foil and bake 30-45+ minutes (depending on how dry you want it), turning ever 15 min or so. If serving tofu on its own, after baking, add back the reserved liquid and test seasoning to add more sauce or herbs as necessary.

    The Recipes:

    Bonus Tips:

    • Timing: I like to put together the marinade before going out on a run or hike; after I’ve cleaned up, the tofu is ready to cook for an easy dinner, along with rice (or pasta) and a salad.
    • Tofu: I like Trader Joe’s firm tofu because it’s in 2 containers for easy halving and is more amicable to getting the juice REALLY pressed out of it. For Azumaya tofu I cut out the top label along the inner edge of the tofu container, then use the plastic to press the tofu down while I squeeze from the sides. Instead of squeezing, the tofu-wary &/or faint of heart can just slice the tofu and put it between two plates, bottom plate tilted to drain, with some books on top (takes longer, though).
    • Meat Eaters: Most of these are equally superb with tofu or chicken, but if you’re going with real meat, cut the soy sauce down by half, add another tablespoon of oil, and marinade overnight or up to 3 days, depending on how juicy and tender you want the results to be. For longer-marinaded items slated for the barbecue, be careful not to cook at too high a heat, or the juicy middles will stay undercooked while the outsides burn. Easy solution: halve breasts lengthwise-flatwise before marinading. Obviously, always discard marinade used for meat; never use it for anything afterward. If you need additional marinade, make a separate batch that won’t touch the raw stuff.

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    September 30, 2010

    Chili-Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Cocoa Buttercream

    by horseradishsauce

    You can't see how fluffy and wonderful the frosting is...


    I found this recipe a while ago and I decided to make it last night because (1) I had a cup of buttermilk left over and I wanted to use it and (2) we had a Brigade Run today so I brought them for post-run morale noms. Nom nom.

    Anyway, while I was writing the list of ingredients at work, I realized that she used a BOX CAKE! Oh noes. Inconceivable! But I didn’t have a list of other cakes using buttermilk, so I just looked through some chocolate cake recipes and they all called for freshly-brewed coffee and I don’t have coffee so I found a chocolate cake recipe on Annie’s Eats that I decided to use. Cos she uses espresso powder. So I used that recipe and added in the chili powder and cayenne pepper. Then I went to actually MAKE the cake and realized that, as usual, Annie was using sour cream instead of buttermilk. I don’t know how replacing buttermilk with sour cream changes it, so long story short and 24 cupcakes later, there’s still a cup of buttermilk in my fridge.

    Now, I also mixed up the baking soda and salt measurements, so they had an extra 1/4 tsp of salt, which I countered with 1.5 tbls flour, which probably made no difference.

    Anyway, everyone loved them but all the girls said there was too much cocoa powder, so maybe take it down 1/3 a cup.
    This was the first frosting I made that didn’t come out more like glaze! It was stiff! Hoo-ray. Anyway, it wasn’t a LOT for each cupcake, but I think it’s a good amount just because it’s a lot of chocolate, all around. And by the way, I like to sift my powdered sugar first. I think it mixes better.

    Chili-Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Cocoa Buttercream
    (Adapted from Annie’s Eats and Gimmesomeoven)

    Yield: 24 cupcakes

    For the cupcakes:

    • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or 2/3 cup)
    • 2 tsp. instant espresso powder
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • ½ cup sour cream
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
    • ¾ tsp. baking soda
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
    • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
    • 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1¾ cups sugar
    • 2 large eggs

    Directions:
    To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).  Combine the cocoa powder and espresso powder in a small bowl.  Add the boiling water and whisk until the mixture is smooth.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature.  Once cool, whisk in the sour cream and vanilla extract.

    Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and chili powder in a small bowl.  Stir together with a fork to combine; set aside.

    Combine the butter and sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.  Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.

    Mix in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternately with the cocoa-sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat each addition just until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Cinnamon-Cocoa Buttercream Frosting

    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (more or less to achieve desired consistency)

    Beat the butter, cocoa and cinnamon. Gradually add the milk and sugar, alternating to get the right consistency. Beat til it’s fluffy. Frost your cupcakes.

    September 25, 2010

    Hot Chocolate

    by horseradishsauce

    I woke up this morning and it was fall outside!

    When I opened my fridge, I saw a carton of milk I had bought this week to use in the red velvet cake. I bought it at Wal Mart because I was in a hurry, and Wal Mart milk always goes bad. So I figured I should drink some of it before it rots. Before I poured the glass, I thought I’d see what a little cinnamon in milk does. Then I remembered one of my friends asking me if you could make hot chocolate from cocoa powder. I’ve seen recipes before but I’ve never really tried. So I added some cocoa powder to the cinnamon, and a bit of honey and chili powder. I poured in the milk and heated it up and out came hot chocolate!

    I bet it would be good with a lil cardamom.

    Hot Chocolate (single serving)

    • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tbsp honey
    • 1.5 – 2 cups milk–regular, soy, rice, almond, etc

    Put everything but the milk in your mug. Add about 1/3 cup milk to the mug. You can stir it a bit; it probably doesn’t make much difference. Heat it on High for 30 seconds. Sir it vigorously until all the clumps are gone and it looks like thick chocolate milk. Now, if you want hot chocolate, add the rest of the milk and heat it up for another minute. If you want chocolate milk, add the rest of the milk, stir and enjoy!

    By the way, you might get some clumps on the bottom just like if you use instant cocoa. You never know…