April 24, 2012

Harvest Cake with Vanilla Cream

This might be the healthiest cake I've ever made, based on almond flour and chock full of zucchini, carrots, and apples.  The cake turned out delightfully moist and delicately nutty, and the cashew frosting was surprisingly creamy.  The cake and frosting were sweet enough from the apples and medjool dates that I might actually do away with the honey altogether the next time I make this.

Harvest Cake with Vanilla Cream
via Roost Blog

Harvest Cake
3 cups almond flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup melted ghee
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup chopped apple

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease a 9-inch cake pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl and then stir into the dry ingredients to form a batter.  Pour into cake pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Vanilla Cream
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 medjool dates, pitted
1 tablespoon honey
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

Soak cashews in water for 3 hours, then discard water.  Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Cake will keep for a few days in an airtight container and about a week in the fridge.

April 2, 2012

Beef Pot Roast

 I've been cooking a lot of chicken lately and frankly, I've become bored of eating it.  This pot roast is the perfect dish for using cheaper cuts of beef.  I love cutting into a good steak every now and then, but there's something about digging into a piece of braised beef that's so tender it falls apart under your fork.

I added the parsnip and the accidental turnip as an experiment.  I was originally aiming for a rutabaga since I'd never had one before, but Whole Foods had them right next to the turnips, which I've never cooked before either.  They looked so similar that I assumed they were the same thing, except one side looked cleaner.  Naturally, I grabbed a cleaner piece.  And that's how I ended up with a turnip.  Which wasn't bad, but it's not something I'd toss into a pot roast again, hence its omission from the recipe.

The parsnip was delicious, though.

Beef Pot Roast

5 tablespoons butter, divided
4 lbs boneless beef shanks (or other braising cuts, ie. chuck roast)
salt and pepper
2 large onions, cut into wedges
2 large carrots, cut into 1" chunks
1 parsnip, cut into 1" chunks
1 cup red wine
2-3 cups beef stock (veggie or chicken will work in a pinch)
3 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
5 sage leaves
1 bay leaf

Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large pot over high heat.  Salt and pepper the beef shanks and then sear on all sides.  Make sure to get them good and dark brown, a bit burnt, even.  Once done, remove to a plate and set aside.

Lower heat to medium and add remaining butter to the pot.  Add onions, carrots, parsnip, and turnip and saute, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are slightly browned.  Pour in a bit of wine to deglaze the  pot, scraping to release the bits of beef and vegetable goodness stuck to the bottom, then add the remainder.

Add beef back into the pot and pour in enough stock to partially cover the beef halfway.  Toss in herbs, about 2 teaspoons of salt, and bring to a boil.  Then lower heat, cover, and simmer for at least five hours until beef is tender enough that it falls apart under a fork.