Veggies on the counter

Gluten-Free Corn and Broccoli Muffins

Posted in baked goods by veggies on the counter on November 29, 2010

I’ve decided, a couple weeks ago, to start experimenting with gluten-free recipes, specially baked goods. I’ve been reading a lot on how to work with different gluten-free flours, and started having fun experimenting with them. Vegan baking is, by itself, a challenge; but baking vegan and gluten-free goodies can be even more challenging, specially when you realize, after some reading, that even rye and spelt flours have gluten on them (until a few days ago, I was convinced they didn’t). But the thing is: once you get succeeded at baking vegan and gluten-free, you know that everybody – vegans, non vegans, and people with food allergies – can happily enjoy what you’ve prepared, and that’s the great thing about it.

So, on saturday, I’ve spent the whole afternoon in the kitchen baking gluten-free muffins and cakes, and was really surprised on how good everything has turned out. These corn and broccoli muffins is the very first gluten-free baked good I’m posting on Veggies on the Counter (and many others will come in the future), and they are/were surprisingly fluffly and tasty – give me them toasted with a little butter, along with a steamy soup, and I’m in heaven. The recipe can be easily adapted too: you can substitute the broccoli for corn kernels, or simply ommit those add-ons, for a simpler, but not less tasty, version. And if you’re not concerned with gluten-free baking at all, just substitute the white rice flour for unbleached all-purpose.

Gluten Free Corn and Broccoli Muffins

(Makes 6 muffins)

100 grams broccoli, cut very finely, plus 6 medium-sized broccoli florets

130 grams (1 cup) white rice flour

140 grams (1 cup) fine cornmeal

3 tablespoons melted vegan butter

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

1 cup (250 ml) soy milk, plus 5 tablespoons

80 grams tofu, crumbled

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180º. Oil 6 muffins cups or a 6 muffin pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.

3. In the bowl of a food processor, add the crumbled tofu and 5 tablespoons of soy milk. Process until smooth and transfer the mixture to another bowl.

4. Add the butter, soy milk, agave nectar, and the finely cut broccoli to the tofu mixture. Mix well to incorporate.

5. Slowly fold the wet ingredients over the dry, being careful not to overmix. The batter will be thick, but that’s how it’s supposed to be.

6. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. When you’re done, insert one medium-sized broccoli floret in the center of each muffin (see pictures above).

7. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let them cool on the pan/cups for 10 minutes before unmolding and serving.

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Chickpea Burgers

Posted in main courses by veggies on the counter on August 4, 2010

chickpea burger

I’ve always been afraid of making my own veggie burgers. With all my previous attempts, some kind of minor disaster had happened: most of the times, the burgers would fall apart while cooking, not keeping the perfect round shape I wanted them to keep after being cooked. So today, I was determined to make the perfect veggie burgers I was dreaming on for such a long time. I had some cooked chickpeas sitting on the fridge, so I haven’t thought twice: I’d be making chickpea burgers.

I came to a conclusion: my previous attempts failed because there wasn’t any ingredient binding  all the other components of the burger, hence their loss of structure. How I wish I had realised that sooner… This time around, not only the burgers kept their shape, thanks to the addition of ground flax seeds and tahini, but were also delicious in their own right. I served these guys on top of a grilled portobello mushroom and topped them up with an homemade apple and zucchini chutney. But feel free to use whatever condiments and fixings you like – I bet they would go particularly well with tzatziki and/or a peach salsa.

Chickpea burgers

(makes 6 burgers)

2 cups cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)

½ cup breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

2 small garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon tahini

2 teaspoons flax seeds

5 tablespoons water

95 grams extra firm tofu, crumbled

½ cup cornmeal

zest of ½ lemon

1. In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, breadcrumbs, ground cumin, coriander seeds, curry powder, pepper, minced garlic, salt and crumbled tofu. Set aside.

2. In a coffe grinder or food processor, grind the flax seeds. Add the tahini and slowly pour the water, processing everything until you get a mixture with the consistency of a thick sauce. This will work as a binder.

3. Add the flax seeds and tahini mixture to the large bowl. Mix well all the ingredients.

4. Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Process until everything comes together. Don’t bother if the mixture isn’t totally smooth; it’s actually great to find some small bits of chickpeas in there, as they add some crunchiness to the burgers.

5. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions. With your hands, form round patties that are about 8 centimeters in diameter and 1 centimeter thick.

6. In a deep plate, combine the cornmeal with the lemon zest. Dip the patties in the mixture, shaking off the excess cornmeal.

7. Put a large grilling pan, previously brushed with olive oil, over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, but not smoking, add the patties.

8. Cook the patties for about 8 minutes on each side, turning them only once.

9. Serve them right after cooking.

Note: The burgers are quite firm and really hold their shape while grilling. Due to the low content of fat in the recipe, it’s really necessary to brush the grilling pan with olive oil to prevent them from sticking. For this very same reason, I don’t think that baking them would be a great idea, as baking usually absorbs a lot of moisture and would make the burgers a bit too dry, even if you brush the baking sheet with oil. On the other hand, and as an alternative to grilling, you could heat a large skillet with 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil and cook them over medium-heat for the same amount of time (8 to 10 minutes on each side) until golden brown on both sides.