Monday, April 18, 2011

Best Black Beans - EVER

I have a history of loving black beans- Cuban style, Mexican style, you name the bean, I love it.
This week I finally decided that it was time really eat Mexican food again, and since I can't buy it in France, I'd have to make it. In the spirit, I decided to use a new recipe to see how it turned out. Rick Bayless' Everyday Mexican, is the MAN. I twisted one of his recipes to suit my ingredients and cooking options. It ROCKED! Even the kids were asking for more. Next time I will double the batch.
I am sure this recipe will work with dried garbanzo beans (chick peas), pinto (burlotti) beans or dried fava beans too.

Oven-Cooked Black Beans

2 1/2 cups (400grams) black beans, soaked overnight or all day, change the water whenever you rememeber.
2 Tbl vegetable oil
1 large white onion, roughly chopped
2 bay (laurier) leaves or dried avocado leaves
2 inch (10 cm) piece dried Kombu seaweed

Large Dutch oven (large cocotte)

Soaking and changing the water of the beans helps thier hard cover open and cracrack, getting thenm ready for sprouting. Doing this, and cooking with them with kombu greatly increases thier digestibility. No matter what anyone else says to me, this is years of my personal experience.

Pre-heat oven to 275F/140C

Place Dutch oven on stove on medium heat. Add oil. When hot, add chopped onions. Fry until transparent. Turn off heat.

Place kombu under the onions. Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Place on top of the onions and kombu. Fill with water until water level reachs apprximately 1 inch (5 cm) over the beans. Add the bay(laurier) or avocado leaves.

Place on stove at high heat and bring to a boil.
Cover and turn off heat.
Place in pre-heated oven.
Let slow cook for 2-3 hours. I always go out!

Remove from oven and taste a bean to make sure it is soft. Season with seasalt.
Note: NEVER add the salt before the beans are soft. If you do they will stay hard no matter how long you cook them!

Serve with creme fraiche or sourcream, chopped onions, chopped cilantro (coriander), fresh salsa or just some chopped up tomatoes and cucumbers!
You can have these as a meal, or as a side dish with chicken or pork, if you eat it.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla-Coconut Frosting

This is by far been my best dairy free, sugar free chocolate cake recipe ever. And the frosting! To die for. No more too sweet, to rich buttercream. I knew there had to be a filler, a bit like a flour-milk base is the thickener for soup or salad. Full credit goes to me finally really looking at a book I bought years ago, The Vegan Cupcake, by I.C. Moskowitz & T. H. Romero. Two of the original cupcake heroines, before it became so trendy. I love this book as it still using the basic ingredients you can find at any grocery store.
Makes and Frosts 12 cupcakes.

Simple Chocolate Cupcakes

2/3 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup agave syrup
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use de-aromatized Sunflower Oil, or melted coconut oil)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour (I use white spelt, you can use whole spelt)
1/3 cups cocoa powder (unsweetened)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Mix soy milk with Apple cider vinegar in a large bowl and let sit 5 minutes to curdle.
TIP: If you are doubling or tripling the recipe DO NOT increase the vinegar in the same fold. DO NOT exceed 1 tsp vinegar. It works the same and won't make the cakes asidy tasting)

Meanwhile, line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Pre-heat oven to 325F/160C.

Into milk/vinegar mixture, beat in oil, agave syrup, and vanilla extract.
Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Mix until smooth.

Fill liners 2/3 full.
Bake 20-22 minutes until a knife or toothpick put in center comes out with a very few crumbs on it. DO NOT over bake or they will be dry. If baking more than 1 tray at a time, be sure to switch the trays top/bottom-bottom/top after 12 minutes.

Let cool FULLY.

Vanilla-Coconut Frosting

This frosting is not quite as fluffy as a real buttercream, it has a creamy, custard like consistency. Make sure you cool the milk/flour mixture FULLY to ROOM TEMPERATURE, not cold refridgerator temperature, before you add the coconut oil, or you'll get... soup. If the mixture is cold from the fridge, it won't blend into the coconut oil properly and will look a bit curdled. Although it won't be curdled and tastes fine, and you will have a few small lumps of pure coconut oil in there. It happened to me today, and I could not get them out. I sent them onto my daughter's Pony Club anyway! Covered with a few sprinkles...

2 TbL white flour
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup margarine or butter or coconut oil (the margarine or butter makes it creamy-er, I usede all coconut oil)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup superfine sugar or castor sugar

In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together flour and soy milk. Stir constantly until it starts to thicken, about 3-4 minutes. If you under cook or your frosting will taste like raw flour. Remove from heat and let cool 2 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap so the custard doesn't get that skim on top. Let cool FULLY, at room temperature. Do not refridgerate. It will take time. Therefore, I did this before I started making my cupcakes!

With a mixer, as coconut oil is pretty hard, cream together coconut oil, margarine/butter, vanilla and sugar. Watch out! When you taste this mixture it becomes addictive!

Then beat in the COLD custard. Beat with electraic mixer for 4-6 minutes. It should get lighter in color and have a very creamy texture, similar to very thick whipped cream.

Frost on cooled cupcakes and decorate as you love!