DAREBEETS Adventures

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
DAREBEE recipes are back! Now with their own domain: darebeets.com

So much deliciousness posted there already!

In this thread I will be chronicling my adventures with the new DAREBEETS recipes: if I hacked them, how my prep experience compared to the numbers posted, and of course my thoughts on the end result.

If you are also trying out the DAREBEETS recipes, feel free to add your own experiences.

INDEX

Banana Bread: Elocin | Laura
Breakfast Banana Muffins
Breakfast Chickpea Blondies
Breakfast Oat Carrot Cake: Laura | Nevetharine
Butternut Squash with Black Beans
Chickpea & Parsley Falafel
Chickpea Zucchini Nuggets
Coconut Chickpea Curry: Laura | PetiteSheWolf
Eggplant Bites
Eggplant Tomato Pasta
Pineapple Coconut Custard Tart
Roasted Cabbage with Yogourt Sauce: Elocin
Spinach Tofu Spaghetti
Sweet Potato Slices with Chickpea & Avocado: Arwen | Laura | PetiteSheWolf
Tofu Curry
Tofu Onion Quiche
Tofu Strawberry Chia Pudding
Yogourt Naan Bread
 
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Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
BANANA BREAD



I made these last week to take to my friend's house. (I love this friend. But I have no idea how she does not starve when I am not visiting her. There is never any food in her house! I cannot afford and do not like to eat takeout. So I always bring food from home when I visit.)

I didn't have any dates (or rather: I did, but they were scary old) so I skipped them.
I used cashews instead of walnuts since I did not have time to shell my own nuts, and I find walnuts sold already out of their shells always taste a bit rancid. Plus my friend had told me cashews are her favourite nut. And I had some. So that's what I used.
For spices I added 1tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp cloves as well as the recommended cinnamon.

Prep time was longer than posted. I think around 10 minutes.
Cooking time was shorter. I divided the batter into 12 muffin cups, and they were done in I think ~ 30 minutes.

The Verdict: Delicious!
 
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Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH BLACK BEANS



I have been drooling over this recipe since the first time I saw it. Finally got my act together to make it yesterday.

In Canada diced tomatoes come in 796 ml cans. So that's what I used.
Black beans come in 540 ml cans. So that's what went into mine.
I don't have garlic powder so used a minced garlic.
I don't have chili powder, so used 1 tsp ground cayenne. (I like my food to have some heat!)
I used two onions.
I don't have molasses, so skipped that. (I figured with the extra tomatoes I wouldn't need a sweetener. Squash is fairly sweet too, to my palate.)
I skipped the salt and water.
I also skipped the dried cranberries, since here they are only available with added sugar, which makes them too sweet for my tastes.

Prep time was way longer than indicated on the recipe. A little over an hour. Clearly I am not as fast at peeling and dicing a butternut squash as @neilarey ! (I'm not the fastest knife in the west. But I don't think I'm a total slouch.) Of course, I used a whole garlic instead of powder, and I doubled the amount of onion, and the recipe suggests it makes two portions, but I got a full 9 cups of food out of my efforts, which is 6 portions for me. So probably my squash was larger too. These things obviously make a difference.

The Verdict: Delicious! Not hot enough to make me sweat, but pleasantly spicy, and plenty sweet enough.
 
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Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
TOFU CURRY



I love me a good curry. I don't cook with tofu much though, so was interested to try this recipe.

The tofu was sold in a 500g package. So that's what I used.
I used what I had for tomatoes, which was I think 5 cocktail tomatoes. (Smaller than a fist, larger than cherry tomatoes.)
I used two onions.
I used a whole garlic. (I don't cook with part bulbs.)
I skipped the water, cornstarch, and salt, but used half a cup of unsweetened vanilla-flavoured almond & cashew milk with added pea protein
I used ground cayenne instead of the chili powder and 1 tsp curry powder instead of the turmeric.
I had a bunch of arugula that needed to be cooked with or tossed. So I added that.

Prep time was probably longer than indicated. Maybe 15 minutes.
Cooking time was a little less.
I got about 4 cups of food out of this recipe, which gels with the 2 portions indicated.*

*Update: I ended up eating this with some quinoa, which was delicious and spread the meal out to 4 portions.

The Verdict: Delicious!
 
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neilarey

Administrator
DAREBEE Team
Shieldmaiden from Greece
Posts: 501
"Trust The Awesomeness"
That is sooo coooool! :proud: Thank you for the feedback @Laura Rainbow Dragon :please: I got really good at dealing with butternut squash in recent years :chop: I'll adjust the prep time, for sure. The butternut squash recipe is one of my favorites btw! I use cranberries when I have them, otherwise I skip them too. I also use white cheese (plant based feta alternative basically) instead of cashews when I have it. Since I love spicy things too (extreme levels of spicy actually) pretty much all of the food I make for myself comes with a ton of extra cayenne pepper.

Again, thank you for the review :twirl: I loved reading about all of your subs. And I hope to hear more in the future! We need as much feedback right now as possible while we are still adjusting the format. Plus, we are making the recipes again and again to make sure they come out the same every time. I am super glad you enjoyed the ones you made!!!!! :bounce:
 

Nevetharine

Well-known member
Viking from The Depths
Pronouns: She/her
Posts: 868
I made the OAT CARROT CAKE and I have to say that was yummy. But I had to adapt it a little.

I don't use protein powder anymore, so I just used plain yoghurt with a bit of honey mixed in. And then I had this dried fruit and nut mix with brazil nuts, cranberries, goji berries, almonds, and pistachios. I chopped that up for the topping.

I also didn't grate the carrots. I just put everything through my Nutribullet, but did end up having to scrape the cup a few times to get all the carrot pieces.

Will definitely make again if I want something sweet. :gotcookie:

I can make most of the veggie recipes that don't use tofu, because it's not available where I live, and hardly worth the price online plus delivery to my area.
 

bloody dunmeri

Well-known member
Spartan from Samara, Russia
Pronouns: she/her
Posts: 189
"Pick your guts from the floor (c) Goliath by Architects"
I love this friend. But I have no idea how she does not starve when I am not visiting her. There is never any food in her house! I cannot afford and do not like to eat takeout. So I always bring food from home when I visit.
firts of all, i felt personally attacked reading this. i barely have any food and if i got money i do take outs... but i'm changing it lol also good thing mum brings me some homemade food from time to time :D

second, following this thread just to see you make delish foods! i'd love to see pictures tho, it kinda inspires me to make something myself :D

good luck on your DAREBEETS journey :)
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
I made the OAT CARROT CAKE and I have to say that was yummy. But I had to adapt it a little.
This is next on my list to try!
I don't have protein powder either. But I have Greek style yogourt, which is already high in protein and quite thick. (Near as I can tell, it basically is yogourt with protein powder already added to it.)
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
BREAKFAST OAT CARROT CAKE



Make ahead breakfasts appeal to me, because I am an eat-first-thing-in-the-morning kind of gal. (Usually I eat leftovers for breakfast, because I don't want to have to wait around to cook something before eating. Not exactly the way of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, I know. But it seems to work for me.) Anyhow... I decided to give this one a try.

I only had 150 grams of carrots, so I adjusted the amounts of oats and coconut accordingly. I left the nut butter and spice quantities as is.
I don't have almond butter so used cashew.
I don't have protein powder so used zero-fat, plain, unsweetened, Greek-style yogourt. (A very thick yogourt with protein already added to it.)
I don't have pistachios so used chopped almonds.

Prep time was around 10 minutes. My nut butter was pretty firm. (I buy nut butters that don't have any stabilizers in them. So much of the oil separates out and needs to be beaten back in. But the jars come very full. It's hard to mix the full jars up without spilling a bunch of oil over the sides of the jar. So my early servings from any jar end up being a bit more oily and the later servings a bit more pasty. It was definitely a thick and pasty portion I used for this recipe.) So it took a bit of work to get the nut butter spread evenly throughout the dish.

Even though I made a smaller quantity than indicated in the recipe, I think I will get four portions out of this.

The Verdict: This was okay. If I make it again, I will omit the salt and add more spices. Maybe some nutmeg. Mine was not overly sweet. (I used unsweetened products for all the base ingredients, and did not add any additional sweeteners. So the only sugar was what occurs naturally in carrots, coconut, nuts, etc.) To me this is a good thing.

Even though I only ate a small portion, I found this dish quite satisfying and think it will sustain me for a few hours.
 
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Nevetharine

Well-known member
Viking from The Depths
Pronouns: She/her
Posts: 868
Even though I only ate a small portion, I found this dish quite satisfying and think it will sustain me for a few hours.

Well, I'm just a bottomless pit so I ate a whole portion. (Half of the recipe) plus extra food. Hah. This was my carb.

This was okay. If I make it again, I will omit the salt and add more spices. Maybe some nutmeg. Mine was not overly sweet. (I used unsweetened products for all the base ingredients, and did not add any additional sweeteners. So the only sugar was what occurs naturally in carrots, coconut, nuts, etc.) To me this is a good thing.

I like that it's not sweet, probably wouldn't try it without the yoghurt, though. My yoghurt with vanilla and honey is what makes it lightly sweet. And the bit of tartness from cranberries are a nice contrast.

I might actually omit the salt next time. Because I do taste even a pinch of it. But I don't know if that would dull the sweetness from the other stuff. 🤷‍♀️🤔
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
I don't, looked at archives, and found it was Flaxseed crackers, but the recipe is not saved. If anyone has it, it would be fantastic
I also checked the Wayback Machine. Lots of good stuff is still available there, but sadly not this recipe, as you say.
Perhaps it's one of the ones that will make a comeback on DAREBEETS. (Or perhaps something even better will appear there. @neilarey has been cruising at warp speed, adding new and delicious recipes to the new site far faster than I can keep up.)

I'm actually not cooking much at the moment since my kitchen is ridiculously overstocked with food, and I will very likely need to move out of this house into much smaller quarters at some point this year. The first point of order is to eat all of the food I already prepared into delicious meals and then buried in the chest freezer.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic I was afraid I would get sick and be unable to cook, and then there would be nothing healthy for me or my disabled father to eat. So every time I did cook something I would serve us only one portion each and then portion up and freeze the rest. I did this until the chest freezer was full. And then the chest freezer got buried beneath the increasing pile of clutter in the kitchen.

Both my parents grew up in England during WWII and post-WWII food rationing. They both had hoarding tendencies as a result. Pandemic supply-chain issues exacerbated this, and our pantry ballooned. I now have the chest freezer accessible once again, and the pantry contained within the pantry cupboard (thanks to donating what I could, but mostly throwing out a large volume of factory-manufactured products that were long past their expiry date). So right now I am eating up all of my old cooking from the freezer. Then I will see what's beneath it and hack some recipes to use that up. (I think there's still a bunch of fruit pulp in there, leftover from my vinting days. And possibly still some cherry pie filling I cooked up the year our cherry tree was wildly productive and produced enough fruit to make over 40 pies.) Once the freezer is mostly empty, I can begin working on recipes to use up what's in the pantry.
 

Arwen

Member
Guardian from South East of USA
Posts: 14
"Feeling great!"
Sweet Potato Slices with Chickpea & Avocado

I made the above for breakfast this morning, and it was amazing-good!

I didn't have any apple-cider vinegar, so I used Lime Juice (which worked well, I thought)
And -- I added some sprouts on top, because I had them handy.

Overall, this is a super easy and budget friendly meal! :yas:
Thank you DareBeets recipe makers!
 

PetiteSheWolf

Well-known member
Alchemist from France
Posts: 1,492
Sweet Potato Slices with Chickpea & Avocado

I made the above for breakfast this morning, and it was amazing-good!

I didn't have any apple-cider vinegar, so I used Lime Juice (which worked well, I thought)
And -- I added some sprouts on top, because I had them handy.

Overall, this is a super easy and budget friendly meal! :yas:
Thank you DareBeets recipe makers!
Made them too, and love them. Tasty, filling. Here are my remarks though :
I needed to cook the sweet potatoe slices much longer, something like 40 minutes total. Maybe the sweet potatoes I had are much thicker? Anyhow in the end it worked.
And I put some additional vinegar, but heck, I love vinegar so that's uo to personal taste.

I have cooked one half, and will do the other half probably tomorrow lunch, I may add cumin and report on it. Or not. We'll see!

ETA : I thought the cumin may not be appreciated with the vinegar; so just upped again a tiny bit the vinegar, and cooked the potatoes a good 35 mins again. Still yummy :)
 
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PetiteSheWolf

Well-known member
Alchemist from France
Posts: 1,492
Did a double batch of the Coconut chickpea curry, and loved it! Only change : instead of the 15 mins on the heater, I let it simmer 2h in my crockpot. My parents loved it too (they are not vegetarians, but have always tried my vegetarian dishes quite eagerly). Double batch yelded more like 6 portions, so a single batch is closer to 3 portions than to 2, IMO - but that all depends on your appetite.
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
SWEET POTATO SLICES WITH CHICKPEA AND AVOCADO



Chickpeas come in 540 ml cans here, which is ~ 350 grams drained. I had to use two avocados to bind together so much food. In the future I would use just one avocado and half the can of chickpeas (unless I was making this for 3+ people). Using the whole can + two avocados made twice as much mash as I needed to dress the sweet potato, and leftover chickpeas would have kept a lot better than they will now mashed together with avocado.

I cut my sweet potato in half and then cut each half into eight slices. Each slice was ~ 5mm thick. I did not use oil. I had a new silicone baking mat I wanted to try out, so cooked the sweet potato on that. It worked great! No oil or parchment paper needed. The sweet potato cooked nicely in 20 minutes, as per the recipe, and the half-sized slices were easy to pick up, even loaded and thin.

I did not add any salt.
I did add a generous amount of crushed dried chili pepper flakes.
I did not have fresh parsley so used one tablespoon of dried parsley. That worked okay. But I would definitely use fresh for this recipe if I had it.

The Verdict: I liked these well enough. They were tasty and filling and came together quickly. I would definitely make them again if I had the ingredients on hand and needed to use them up and/or needed to put together a healthy meal in a short amount of time. I likely would not go out and buy the ingredients specifically with a plan to make these, however, because avocados are expensive here, and I have multiple other ways of preparing them that I like better.
 

graoumia

Well-known member
None from France
Posts: 194
"Doing Fighter codex / Epic Five"
Hello Bees

REgarding this new recipe : https://darebeets.com/recipes/frozen-yogurt-berries.html
This is something i do very often, but only with yogourt, no added protein, no sirup. Sometimes i mix some frozen fruits and fresh fruits, apple, pears...
But i tried to mix yogourt and whey powder, and it doesn't mix well, maybe because it is natural whey? no sweeteners, no flavor
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
TOFU ONION QUICHE



This week the tofu I was able to get was sold in a 454g package. I used a half package for this recipe.
The amount of spinach listed in the recipe is really tiny. I doubled it in mine. I think next time I would add even more, upping the spinach to 90g (which works out to about 3 frozen "nuggets")
I omitted the salt and pepper, and doubled all the spices. I think next time I will go with 1/2 teaspoon each of coriander, nutmet, and cumin.

I did not boil the onions, because I did not want to lose any of their flavour. I just added the onions and spinach to a small frying pan and cooked them as if it was a stir fry. I didn't add any oil either. I just mean I stirred things constantly to prevent them from sticking. I found that there was enough water in the veggies themselves to cook them this way without the need to add anything or drain anything.

For the pastry I used whole wheat flour and "Rainforest Butter" which is a mixture of cashew, brazil nut and coconut. (I love cashew nut butter, and I do have some. I just couldn't bring myself to use it to make pastry. Tree nut butters are ridiculously expensive here. The "Rainforest" blend is slightly less expensive than pure cashew and tastes almost as good. So I went with that.)

The Verdict: Mine was a bit heavy on the coriander. (Hence my note to cut back to only half a teaspoon next time.) Otherwise, I really enjoyed this dish.

The prep was a bit involved for a relatively small quantity of food. I think I would double the quantity next time. That would conveniently use a full package of tofu, and also enable me to make this in my big glass pie dish (which I prefer to the smaller one I had to use to make this quantity).

The nut butter pastry was very easy to work with and it came out well. The price is a bit tough for me to swallow though, these days. I may try this pastry with peanut butter next time, which is significantly less expensive here than tree nut butters. (I expect the nut flavour would be stronger in the end result. But I'm okay with that. I like peanut butter, and I think it would work for this recipe.)
 
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Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
CHICKPEA ZUCCHINI NUGGETS



These have been getting rave reviews from other Bees. So I decided to try them!

A can of chickpeas here is 540 ml. I didn't weigh the drained beans. But I estimate there's a good pound of cooked beans in a can. So I doubled the recipe.
The carrots I used were of a variety I really like called "Nantes". They are sold quite young--about 6" long--so I considered them as "small" carrots.
I didn't have any oat flour or flax seeds. But I got to thinking how these nuggets are basically a baked take on vegetable pakoras. So I used besan (chickpea flour), which is what I would use for pakoras.
Once I started thinking of these as pakoras, I had to have curry spices in them! So I added a tablespoon each of curry powder and ground cayenne.
I omitted the salt and (as usual) used a whole garlic instead of garlic powder.

So my quantities ended up being:

2 medium-sized zucchinis
4 Nantes carrots
1 x 540 ml can of chickpeas, drained
1 garlic
1 cup besan
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp cayenne

I cooked half my batch in my toaster oven with the air fry feature and baked the other half with no added oil.
20 minutes at 400F was a good cooking time using air fry, but for the baked nuggets I increased the cooking time to 30 minutes.
I do like the crispy crust gained from adding oil. But with the extra cooking time the baked nuggets were good too.

Toppings I have tried thus far include:
  • none
  • tamarind date chutney
  • apple butter
  • Greek style yogourt with nutritional yeast
All were good.

I wanted to try these nuggets with mango chutney. I thought I had some commercially-prepared hot mango chutney. But it turned out to be sweet chutney. The hot mango chutney already tastes cloyingly sweet to me. There's no way I could handle the sweet stuff. So I went with tamarind chutney or apple sauce when I wanted a sweet topping. Both worked well. One day I will make my own hot mango chutney without ridiculous amounts of added sugar and try that.

The Verdict: Delicious!
 
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Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
TOFU STRAWBERRY CHIA PUDDING



I used half a pound of tofu (because that was half a package).
I omitted the protein powder. (The nut milk I use is vanilla-flavoured and protein-enriched. And I didn't want a sweetener in my pudding)
I used raspberries instead of strawberries.

The Verdict: Chia pudding is not my favourite thing. Which I already knew before I tried this recipe. I don't mind it. But I don't love it either. I prefer food that I can chew. And I strongly prefer food with strong flavours. Chia pudding is neither of these things. But I do eat it sometimes for its nutritional value.

I liked the addition of tofu in this recipe because it did make the pudding marginally more chewable than straight up chia seeds and nut milk. Also: the pudding was thick enough upon initial mixing that I did not need to worry about a semi-set second mixing to redistribute the chia seeds. One mix and straight into the 'fridge' and the putting was good to go the next morning.
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
BREAKFAST CHICKPEA BLONDIES



This recipe interested me. But I'm not a huge fan of figs. (I don't hate them. But they're a pricey specialty item here. And I just don't like them enough to fork out for them.) I figured they could probably be skipped in this recipe though. So I tried the recipe sans figs. Also, due to the size of cans of chickpeas here, I made double the quantity. So I used:

1 x 540 mL can of chickpeas, drained
2 bananas
1/2 cup peanut butter

Then I threw in some chocolate chips. Because: c'mon! It's banana and peanut butter. I'm not going to not add chocolate!

After 20 minutes at 400F I thought the blondies were still a bit too moist. So I put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

The Verdict: Delicious! I haven't tried them chilled yet. But warm it was like eating a moist, cakey, peanut butter banana chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven. Yum! Will definitely make these again!
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
BREAKFAST BANANA MUFFINS



My oats are quick cook oats (oat flakes). So I didn't bother to grind them.
I used only 1 tsp of baking powder.
I used 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon and nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp of cloves.

I have made a similar style of eggless muffins in the past (with apple in that case) and really liked them when they were fresh from the oven but not so much later on.
I felt the same way about these muffins. Fresh from the oven they were warm and moist and chewy and yummy.
The next morning they were just moist and chewy in a weird way that made me miss the egg. Reheating them did not help.

The Verdict: I might make these again if I had company and we were going to eat the entire batch right away. But probably not even then because I love the previous DAREBEETS Banana Bread recipe, both fresh from the oven and several days later--so I'll probably just make them in the future.
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
SPINACH TOFU SPAGHETTI



My plan had been to make a double batch of this, since packages of tofu here are 400-454 grams. But the tall skinny mixing bowl that came with my hand blender only holds 3 cups, and I didn't know how messy it would be to blend this in a bowl with a wider opening. So I thought I would blend it in two batches. When I did the first half though, the sauce was too runny for my tastes. So I added in the second quantity of tofu and spices, but did not add any more milk.

As usual, I skipped the salt, and I used a whole garlic instead of garlic powder.

I did not boil any of the veggies. (I generally try to avoid boiling my food, other than eggs, which conveniently come in their own protective casing that keeps all of their flavour inside.) I stir-fried the onions and garlic. The spinach I simply defrosted and then added when I mixed everything in together. (Frozen spinach here is already, unfortunately, boiled to within an inch of its life. It would disintegrate to nothing with additional cooking.)

So my quantities were:

1 package whole wheat spaghetti (375 grams dry weight)
3 onions ('cause they were small), sliced (dicing is too much work--I don't need my onion pieces to be that fine)
1 garlic, smashed and sliced
8 nuggets of frozen spinach (~240 grams)

for the sauce:

1 package (400 grams) tofu
1 cup unsweetened vanilla-flavoured almond cashew milk with added pea protein
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon cumin

for garnish:

freshly ground mixed peppercorns
dried chili flakes

Then I added a chopped fresh tomato, and some chickpea zucchini nuggets on top.

spinach-tofu-spaghetti.png


The Verdict: I liked this dish well enough. But the flavour profile was not complex enough* for me to eat it as a dish on its own. With the added tomato and zucchini bites, it was quite tasty. In the future though, I think I would add some additional spices to the sauce. (Maybe nutmeg and coriander? Because I love the tofu onion quiche. But then would this dish just be too similar to that one? The other alternate would be to add more traditional spaghetti spices, like basil, oregano, thyme, etc.) And then I'd still add the tomato and zucchini bites--or other yummy things--on top. The thicker sauce was definitely the right consistency for me.

*Possibly part of my issue was the lack of cheese. In my universe, pasta is supposed to have cheese.

Oh, who am I kidding? In my universe, EVERYTHING is supposed to have cheese. I am a cheese morning, noon, and night kind of gal. Cheese for the appetizer, cheese for the main dish, cheese for dessert, and cheese for snacks in between. My famous Rainbow Day Feast begins with a spread of multiple different types of cheese with crackers, followed by caviar with cheese, bread with cheese, salad with cheese, and soup with cheese. Then for dessert: cheesecake, of course! But I am trying to broaden my horizons.

Sort of.

 
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Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
You're sure you don't have French blood, dear cheese-loving @Laura Rainbow Dragon ?! :muahaha: (or Dutch,I will recognize they're good regarding cheese too!)
Well, all the family names I can trace in my lineage are either Anglo-Saxon or Gaelic. But one never knows, I guess.

The British make some fine cheeses, in my opinion. Lancashire (my native county) cheese used to be a favourite--back when it was sharp and crumbly. (The only "Lancashire" cheese I can get here now is a bland "creamy" Lancashire. Don't know if this is also the case back in the motherland, or if it's simply that the selection of imported cheese here is limited.) Cheshire cheese. Red Leicester (especially Snowdonia's "Red Devil" Red Leicester with added habanero chillies--yum!).

The dairy industry in Canada is huge, and Canadian Cheddar is basically a staple of our diet. (Most people eat the mild stuff, which is the least expensive and easiest to get. I prefer my cheddar to be aged at least 3 years, preferably longer.) Any cocktail party you attend in Canada (at least in southern Canada where I live--I cannot speak for the far north where a lot of foods that we enjoy down here can be very expensive and hard to come by), after-church social, business luncheon, arts/special event reception--basically anywhere a bunch of people are gathered together and there is food--there will be a cheese tray. (Unless it is exclusively a vegan gathering, I suppose. I did volunteer a couple of times at a music festival where the food provided to volunteers was all vegan slop.--But in the next tent over where the paid festival staff ate, there was cheese!) Plus, of course, we invented poutine! Canada is a very cheesy nation!
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
COCONUT CHICKPEA CURRY



I was planning to make chicken curry this week. But then I used half of the chicken I had defrosted for my Pi Day pizzas. So I stuck the other half of the chicken back in the freezer and made this instead.

Due to the size of cans of chickpeas here (540 ml) and the size of cans of coconut milk (400 ml) I made essentially a double batch of this recipe. As usual, I used a whole garlic instead of garlic powder and ground cayenne instead of chili powder. Fresh tomatoes have been ridiculously expensive here lately, so I decided to use canned (since they were going to be stewed anyway). A can of tomatoes here is 796 ml--significantly more than double the quantity of tomatoes the recipe calls for. I was planning to use only half a can. But it was easier to throw the whole thing in there. So I did. I skipped the syrup and salt, and I stir-fried the onions, garlic, and spices, so didn't use any added water.

My ingredients list ended up being:

4 onions ('cause mine were pretty small) sliced--I did not bother with dicing them
1 garlic, smashed and sliced
2 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground fennel seeds
2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cayenne
olive oil (enough to stir fry, I didn't measure it)
1 x 540 ml can chickpeas
1 x 796 ml can diced tomatoes
1 x 400 ml can coconut milk

Once everything had come to a boil, I simmered my curry for 30 minutes, uncovered. (There was plenty of moisture in there to evaporate, thanks to all the tomatoes.)

I ate this over rice. This way, this quantity is likely ~ 6 portions for me.

The Verdict: I love me a good curry, and I enjoyed the flavour profile of this one. The heat quotient was pleasant--not hot enough to make me sweat or cry, but enough to be enjoyable for casual dining. I enjoyed the extra tomato. But I would also have enjoyed this dish with half the amount of tomato. (If I was making double the quantity of this dish I made today, I would likely still use only one can of tomatoes. But if I made it again at this quantity, I would still use the whole can. The tomato quotient is flexible enough to just go with whatever is easiest, in my opinion.)
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
EGGPLANT BITES



I did not try the sauce yet. (It sounds good. But I didn't have any fresh parsley. Also: I planned to eat the eggplant bites with a tomato and spinach sauce I was making, in a sort of knock-off of spaghetti and meatballs--although in this case it was quinoa and eggplant balls.)

As usual I did not add the sugar or salt, and I used a whole garlic (crushed) and a whole small onion (diced) instead of the garlic and onion powders. I also did not have any tomato paste, so I just used crushed tomatoes.

My prep time was longer than noted in the recipe. But of course it would be since I had to peel and mince my garlic and onion.

I tossed the diced eggplant with some olive oil and then air-fried it in my toaster oven.
I also cooked the bites themselves using the air fry feature, although I did not add any additional oil at that stage other than to baste the air fry basket.

My mixture was a wee bit goopy to work with and resulted in rather delicate balls. But they held together well enough. And they toasted up very nicely using my oven's air fry setting.

Here are a few of the finished balls on top of their bed of quinoa with tomato and spinach sauce:

eggplant+quinoa.png


The Verdict: Delicious! The bites were crisp on the outside but chewy and delicious on the inside. I will definitely make these again!
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
YOGOURT NAAN BREAD



I finally made this with my oven-roasted garlic. Since I use 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to roast the garlic, I just used that for the oil in this recipe. (What got absorbed by the garlic during roasting, plus what I could drain out of the roasting cup afterward. Some of the oil does get lost on the garlic peel, which gets discarded.)

I used my regular yogourt, which is a Greek-style, 0% milk fat, cow's milk yogourt.
I used whole wheat flour.

I mixed up the batter with a fork to better mash the garlic cloves into it. Then I kneaded the dough a bit by hand to help mix and hold everything together.

The Verdict: These were yummy. But next time I will use more garlic. I'm thinking this quantity (200g yogourt, 200g flour) could easily take 3 oven-roasted garlics. I'll likely dump in all the oil from the 3 garlics too, as a lot really does get lost on the skins.

As I'm only cooking for myself these days, I did not eat the entire batch right away. I shaped all the breads, then wrapped two of them up and froze the raw dough. The other four I cooked, eating two while they were still hot from the pan. The other two I will refrigerate and then re-heat to eat later this weekend. I will test which method--freezing the raw dough to cook later, or cooking the dough fresh and then re-heating--works best for leftovers and report back.
 

Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
PINEAPPLE COCONUT CUSTARD TART



A lot of the numbers were way off for me in this recipe. I'm not sure if it's a difference between products in North America versus in Europe?

For starters: I'm not entirely sure what the DAREBEETS recipes are calling for when they list "coconut cream". I think they mean what we call in Canada "coconut milk" which is basically coconut juice. (Press a coconut through a masticating juicer, and you will get coconut milk.) I read one source that claimed coconut cream is just the thick part of coconut milk that has been allowed to separate. That's not sold as a product here. At least not specifically. (Sometimes the contents of a can of coconut milk are separated when one opens the can. Other times they are not. I think this has to do with the stabilizers used in the product.) I have a masticating juicer and can make my own coconut milk. So I could try doing that and then just leaving it in the fridge to separate. I don't know how long that would take. And coconut milk that has separated is basically water and paste. The "cream" part is very thick. (It's literally a paste. It's not liquid, like the cream that separates off from cow's milk is.) We also have a product here called "creamed coconut" which comes pressed into blocks/cubes, and one adds hot water to them to cook with them.

(You can see a picture of the different products we have here at: https://gracefoods.ca/product/coconut-products/ . As you can see, the "creamed coconut" sold here comes in a cardboard box. It's not a liquid.)

The amounts (and even proportions) of ingredients given for the pastry in this recipe differ from those given in the Tofu Onion Quiche recipe--even though it's the same type of pastry and meant to cover the same size of dish. Since I'd made the quiche recipe previously and liked how it turned out, I used those amounts for this recipe too. (1/4 cup nut butter, 1/4 cup water, 1.5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.) I used whole wheat flour and the "rainforest butter" (which contains coconut, so I figured it would be appropriate for this recipe).

The amount of cornstarch given in the recipe for the custard layer was, to me, way off. I'm thinking European corn starch must be a very different product from Canadian cornstarch. The recipe calls for a 1 to 4 ratio of cornstarch to milk, which would be wildly too high for our cornstarch. I usually work with closer to a 1 to 16 ratio to make custard. In this case, I used canned coconut milk. Canned coconut milk is sold here in 400 ml cans. So I used one can of milk and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. I did not add any syrup or vinegar. (Pineapple is already plenty sweet and plenty acidic, in my opinion.) If I made my own coconut milk and then used only the cream... I don't know, but I think it would require very little corn starch to achieve a custardy consistency.

Because I was using twice the quantity of coconut milk/cream the recipe calls for, I thought I might get two tarts out of my efforts. So I made 2x the quantity of pastry as well. But 400 ml of coconut milk only produced enough custard for one 8" tart. (So I used the other crust to make Tofu Onion Quiche again--not a bad problem to have!) If I had used only 200 ml of milk, as specified in the recipe, that would have made for a very thin layer of custard.

The pineapple I used was not very big. Also: I'd had it in for a couple of weeks, and I had to cut part of it off due to spoilage. Still: the amount of pineapple I ended up with was a lot more than what is shown in the photos on the recipe. I used 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg, and did not add any syrup. I cooked it for over 50 minutes. And still it was quite juicy. Mine never got as dry as shown in the recipe photos. Also: I easily had enough pineapple to cover two tarts. But since I only had enough custard for one tart, I piled all of the pineapple onto it. I was just about able to get it all to fit--and nothing fell off or spilled out of the tart during the cooking--and I was happy with the proportions of pineapple to custard in the finished tart.

The Verdict: I enjoyed this. Although the coconut flavour was not strong. I think next time I will make my own milk and try to get it to separate and then use only the "cream" and see if that results in a stronger coconut flavour. The pineapple flavoured with the spices was really nice. (And definitely did not need any added sugar!)

P.S.: Often, instead of folding in the edges of pastry that overhang a dish, I cut them off and make a chocolate chip shortbread cookie out of them. (Roll out the pastry, sprinkle--oh, who am I kidding? pile on--a bunch of chocolate chips, fold the pastry in half--folding the chocolate into the centre--then roll out again to a nice cookie thickness, and bake.) I tried that today with some mint-flavoured chocolate chips. It was very yummy. If I make this pastry again in the future with peanut butter (as I have been meaning to try), however, I think I would use plain dark chocolate chips. (The mint chocolate worked great with this pastry, but with a peanut-flavoured pastry I think I'd go with plain dark.)

Okay: now I want an excuse to make another batch of the pastry, with peanut butter this time, so I can try this! 😋
 
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Laura Rainbow Dragon

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Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
CHICKPEA & PARSLEY FALAFEL



I love falafel and so decided to give this recipe a try.

As usual, I used a whole garlic and a whole onion instead of the powders. I did not add salt, but I did add 1 tsp of baking powder (mixed in at the end, right before cooking).
I also added 2 teaspoons ground coriander and 1 each of cumin and cayenne.

I wasn't sure what the purpose of the corn starch is in this recipe. Normally I would just use wheat flour, or maybe besan as a binding agent. But I'd read other recipes for falafel that claimed flour and/or egg binders were not necessary if one chilled the batter before attempting to shape it. So I skipped the corn starch.

When my batter looked as coarse as it does in the recipe photo I thought it would be too difficult to shape, so I processed mine some more until it was quite fine and pasty. Then I refrigerated it for 1 hour.

After refrigeration I stirred in the baking powder. Then I shaped the falafel into small patties, brushed olive oil on both sides, and air-fried them. I flipped the patties after 10 minutes and cooked them for a further 5 minutes on the second side. 15 minutes total cooking time was sufficient using my toaster oven's air-fry feature.

The yogourt sauce called for in this recipe made me think of tzatziki, and how I have been planning for some time now to develop a nice, garlicky tzatziki recipe of my own. So I did! I had my falafel on a bed of quinoa, topped with the tzatziki and some fresh tomato.

The Verdict: Yummy! After chilling, the batter was very easy to work with, and held together well even when brushing with the oil and flipping the raw patties to baste the second side. Air-frying worked great as the cooking method. Loved these with the tzatziki and fresh tomato too. Will make again.

2nd Batch Update: I made these a 2nd time and left the batter coarser (more like it looks in the recipe photos) the 2nd time. The texture of the finished falafels was lighter made from the coarser batter, and I preferred it to that of the denser falafels I got from the pasty batter. But the coarse batter was much more difficult to work with. Even after refrigerating it overnight. I could not make balls or round patties but ended up with spoon-shaped half eggs. I had to lightly dab the oil on them too. They weren't robust enough for brushing.

I did manage to cook half the batch using my toaster oven's air-fry feature. But it was messy. I lost falafel crumbs everywhere. The second half of the batch I baked, with no added oil, on my silicone baking sheet. The baked falafels still got a nice toasty crust on the outside and tasted just as good as the air-fried ones.

Next time I will definitely stick with the coarser batter, but I think I will try adding a bit of flour to make it easier to work with. I still don't think I would use corn starch. But maybe a bit of besan or whole wheat flour.
 
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Laura Rainbow Dragon

Well-known member
Bard from Canada
Posts: 1,766
"Striving to be the change."
EGGPLANT TOMATO PASTA



I did not get to eat pasta much over the past 15 years because the person I was cooking for never wanted it. But I love the stuff. So now that I am finally free to eat what I want when I want, bring it on!

As usual, I used a whole garlic and whole onions in place of the powders, and I skipped the added sugar and salt. (I do sometimes salt my eggplant and then let it sweat before cooking. But I did not in this case.) I used crushed tomatoes since there was a brand on sale last week for a lower price than the store brand I normally buy, and that brand offers a no-added-salt option for their crushed tomatoes, which I wanted to try. (The store brand offers no-salt-added for diced and whole canned tomatoes, but not crushed.) I also added some cayenne pepper to the sauce.

For packaged ingredients I used the size of package that is available here. So my quantities were:

375 grams (dry weight) whole wheat penne
2 eggplants
olive oil
796 ml crushed tomatoes
1 garlic, smashed and sliced
3 onions, sliced (they were smallish)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne

I did not make the cashew topping because I eat cheese. I like cheese. (Okay, okay. I love cheese.) If I hadn't just used up the last of my Parmesan to make a smoked salmon quiche the night before, I totally would have put some of that on this dish. It would be good with aged cheddar too, which I did have. But I decided to try the dish without. (Something something about moderation, because I had already made the quiche and had plans to make pizza later, and you all have seen my pizzas.) Anyhow... I like cashews too. But cheese replacements are not so much my thing. They'd just make me wish I'd used cheese. (Plus, of course, I don't have any garlic powder.)

I used my toaster oven's air fry feature to cook the eggplant. I had to cook it in two batches, and even at that I'm not sure what I did qualifies as air-frying since the eggplant was still about 3-layers deep in the basket. But it tasted yummy and had a nice, chewy texture.

The Verdict: Yummy! Would be even better topped with some nice, multi-years-old cheese. But I liked it just fine without too.
 
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