Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Black Bean and Avocado Brownies

I know what you're thinking ... black bean and avocado brownies!?  And really, I was right there with you.  Lord knows I'd eat the brownies, but I wasn't sold on the fact that I'd like them.  

Boy oh boy, was I wrong!  

Holy my goodness.  In fact, I have confession.  Are you ready?  These brownies are supposed to serve 12, but Todd and I basically split the whole shebang!!  Needless to say, my "healthy" brownies caused me to gain weight the next day!  Gracious, why are these healthy brownies so good?!  Naturally, there was not enough time to both stuff these brownies in my face and take a picture.  Sorry.

MAJOR NOTE: you can eat these brownies once they're cool from the oven, but they taste BEST if you put them in the fridge overnight and eat them the next day.  Also, these are more like fudgey brownies than cakey brownies ...

WARNING: eating these brownies may cause you to gain weight.  See above.

Black Bean and Avocado Brownies
(adapted from Cara's Cravings, about 2 grams of fat and 100 calories per serving)
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 eggs

1/4 cup agave syrup
1/2 of a ripe avocado
6 tbsp cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons white sugar 
2 teaspoons instant coffee (eeeewwwww)  The real recipe calls for instant espresso, which I didn't have on hand.  However, if I had the option, I would use the espresso.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8" pan with parchment paper.

Combine black beans, egg substitute, agave syrup, and avocado in food processor. Blend for a few minutes, until completely smooth. Add remaining ingredients and continue blending until fully combined, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Spread into parchment-lined baking dish. Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the brownies comes out clean.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shichimi Mushroom Rice Bowl

No more than two minutes before serving this up, Todd sweetly announced that he would not be liking this meal.  Much to his surprise, Todd really liked this mushroom rice bowl.  It’s super cheap, too, especially if you buy dry mushrooms.  Don't forget to season with salt or soy sauce after serving!
Shichimi Mushroom Rice Bowl
(adapted from 101 Cookbooks, 3-4 servings)
2 cups cooked brown basmati rice
2 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced12 ounces shitake mushrooms of your choice, sliced ~1/4-inch thick
12 ounces firm tofu, cut into tiny cubes
1 small bunch kale well chopped
About 8 shakes red pepper flakes, or to taste

1/4 bunch green onions, sliced
Heat skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms in a single layer, stir well, and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid, and then brown, about 5 minutes more. You want the mushrooms to be deeply browned on both sides. Stir in the garlic roughly 20 seconds before the mushrooms finish cooking. If you need to cook the mushrooms in two batches, do so. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate, set aside.
Using the same large skillet, no need to clean it out, cook the tofu along with a couple pinches of salt over medium-high heat until heated through, and until it starts to brown a bit. Roughly one minute before the tofu is finished cooking, stir in the kale. It should collapse and cook down over the next 60 seconds.
Season all the components generously with Shichimi Togarashi and salt to taste. For each serving, dish up a heaping spoonful of brown rice along with some of the tofu/kale mixture and a some of the mushrooms.  Season with salt or soy sauce to taste and sprinkle green onions on top of your serving.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vernacular Revolution's First Gig!

Hey all!  Give it up for Vernacular Revolution, Tucson's lindy hop performance troupe!  We had our first performance yesterday.  The benefit was hosted by the Arizona Theatre Company and proceeds will go to send care packages to our troops.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie

I made this lemon meringue for Todd's birthday.  Todd definitely falls in the birthday pie rather than birthday cake category.  Lemon meringue pies are actually kind of like egg pies because there's egg yolk in the filling and egg white in the top.

This pie is super easy to make, especially if you have an electric mixer so that you can do something else while the meringue whips up.  Just a note, meringue is touchy in terms of measurements, so portion accordingly.  Also, next time I think I will use a different fat for my pie crust, since canned Crisco creeps me out.

Lemon Meringue Pie
(recipe a mix of Todd's mom and Good Housekeeping)

·         2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
·         2 tsp. salt
·         2/3 cup shortening
·         6-9 tablespoons cold water

·         1 ½ cup sugar
·         3 T cornstarch
·         3 T flour
·         Dash salt (iodized, if you have it)
·         1 ½ cup hot water
·         3 slightly beaten egg yolks
·         2 T butter
·         ½ tsp. grated lemon peel
·         Juice of 1 lemon 
·         (2 T of softened reduced fat cream cheese)

·         3 egg whites
·         ½ tsp. vanilla
·         ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
·         6 T sugar

In medium bowl, mix flour & salt.  Cut in shortening with pastry blender until mix the size of small peas.  Sprinkle with water 1 T at a time.
Gather pastry into ball and shape into flattened round on floured surface.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until rough is firm & cold, yet pliable, about 45 minutes.  This will give you a nice and flaky crust!
Heat oven to 475.  With floured rolling pin, roll pastry two inches larges than an upside down 9-inch pie plate.  TIP: fold pastry into fourths; and place in pie plate (no broken pies in transport!).  Trim overhanging edge of pastry one inch from rim of pie plate.  Fold pastry under and press dough into pie plate.  Prick bottom and side of pastry thoroughly with fork.  Bake 9-11 minutes, until light brown.
Reduce oven temp to 350.  In a saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, flour, & salt over medium-high heat.  Gradually stir in water stirring constantly over high heat until mixture comes to boil.  Cook & stir 2 minutes longer then remove from heat.
Stir small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks then return hot mixture.  Bring to boil then cook & stir 2 minutes.  Add butter and lemon peel.  Slowly add lemon juice. 
Lightly coat bottom of pie with cream cheese to make filling stick.
Make meringue: beat egg whites with vanilla & cream of tartar and let soft peaks form.  Just turn on your mixer and going do something for a bit – don’t be stingy with time here.  Gradually add sugar until soft & glossy peaks form.  Again don’t be stingy with time here.  Pour filling into pastry then top and seal with meringue.  Bake at 350 for 12 minutes, until meringue light brown.  Cool away from draft for 2 hours then put in fridge.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Charleston Competition Clip and Old Man Dancing

Warehouse Stomp was this weekend, and it was great time all jam circle, bangin music, and a rockin solo charleston competition.  Check out the clip from the first round of the competition below (I'm the fourth in).  I loved seeing everyone show off their stuff, and the audience was very supportive!  What I think is even funnier is the clip below the charleston clip.  We watched this as a joke in my Legal Research class yesterday, but I actually think this guy would have fared pretty well in our charleston competition!