In This Issue...
Not too pleased with this week’s food diary. I tried out a lot of new recipes this week, but only had middling success. I made a bunch of beginner mistakes this week (did you know mashed potatoes shouldn’t be put in a blender?) and now I’m feeling kind of stupid.
★ My weekly Food Diaries are a way of tracking what I cook, buy, and eat every day. They provide insight into my eating preferences, allow me to analyze patterns in my spending, and help improve my cooking. And I always share my recipes! ★
Persimmon Pudding Cake
I bought a box of 12 kaki persimmons yesterday (yep, it was a struggle to haul them up to my apartment—I’ve never wanted a car more than in that moment). Of course, my first thought was to use them in baking! I followed this recipe for persimmon pudding cake exactly except for reducing sugar by almost half. It still turned out pretty sweet! I baked it at mostly 325 °F for 47 min, and was still a bit too soft in the middle. Next time I will crank it up to 350 °F. It’s a super chewy, dense, filling dessert, and you get the best texture when you eat them the next day, after letting them sit overnight to firm up.
(EDIT: I froze a few slices to see how well they hold up to freezing. Conclusion: Not well at all. They acquired this weird stale taste and the old persimmon flavour made me a bit nauseous, so I threw all the frozen pieces out. I would try to eat these or give them away to friends within a week of baking.)
I didn’t take any pictures today, but in the morning before work, I made a tofu scramble following this recipe. It was a bit too heavily-seasoned (the mustard especially was overpowering), and unfortunately I didn’t have any kala namak (black salt). However, it’s promising enough and super easy that I hopefully make it one of my staple foods! I ate half for breakfast and half for lunch. Dinner was cauliflower fried rice. I consider myself a fan of cauliflower, but to me, cauliflower rice just isn’t the miracle food its believers think it is. I think I will stick with more traditional preparations from now on!
Taking a break from overnight oats for a while, so tried this Chocolate Covered Katie recipe an overnight “cookie” instead. Spoilers: it’s still basically overnight oats.
The consistency is thicker than the regular overnight oats jars I make, but other than that, it was the same. Looking at Katie’s pictures, it seems to be all a matter of using a shallow plate to give the impression of a flat “cookie” shape. I made mine in the same bowl that I mixed everything in (since I hate doing unnecessary dishes), so it lost that optical illusion effect.
Also, the flavour of the banana comes through really strong, so unless you like your cookies banana flavoured, I don’t recommend giving this one a try.
Persimmon Yogurt Parfait
Here’s a quick lunch I whipped together this morning, since I didn’t prep anything last night. I simply sliced up a ripe persimmon into small pieces and layered that with plain Greek yogurt. It tastes pretty good for 350 calories (270 cal for a large persimmon + 80 cal for 145 g of 0% yogurt), but if you’d like something more indulgent, mix some honey or syrup into the yogurt or add another persimmon (the yogurt layers were too bland for my taste, even with my love for Greek yogurt).
I gotta say I love this layering + mason jar effect. It makes the most effortless of meals look just a touch more classy, like you actually tried!
Garam Masala Egg Muffins
Holy crap these are bad! Again, my own creation led me down this path. My leftover lentil curry from last week was getting old, so I wanted to use them up in another way. I basically mixed a bunch of eggs with some salt and leftover curry until it formed a thick-ish sticky paste, then baked it in muffin tins.
It smelled ok when baking, but wow… garam masala and egg don’t mix well. I also added too much salt, because these made my lips pucker up. I’ve never liked egg cups to begin with (the Starbucks sous vide egg bites are a different story), and these are definitely pretty inedible. It sucks that I wasted so many eggs with this.
Cauliflower Stalk Soup
Here’s another attempt to use up leftovers, except I followed a recipe this time (with olive oil instead of bacon drippings). I made the leaves and stalk from a head of cauliflower into a soup!! Yep, you read that right. Yep, it looks disgusting. But it actually didn’t taste too bad! My only mistake was not adding enough salt (I’m still pretty terrible at estimating how much salt a dish needs, as evidenced earlier today with the garam masala egg cups), but the spices did a good job of hiding the bitterness of the leaves and making the soup pretty palatable.
Garlic Ranch Mashed Potatoes
I finally found a way to use my extra garlic ranch dip: to flavour mashed potatoes! Mashed potatoes used to be my favourite food for the longest time. I know, my palette used to be so boring! They may not be the most exciting food, but I still love them. The mom of one of my friends growing up used to give us these lunch containers full of the creamy, rich, delicious stuff. It must have left an impression on me, because to this day that is still the best mashed potato I’ve ever tasted. My own attempt at garlic and ranch mashed potatoes today can’t even be compared. They weren’t so much “mashed” as pureed, after I tossed them in the blender because I was too lazy to mash them myself.
It took on this sticky, gooey texture that I’ve never known potato to have, but you know what, whatever, because it was still tasty warm carbs. My mistake, other than blending it, was not using enough butter. To get that yummy addictive flavour my friend’s mom achieved, I think the secret is lots and lots of butter! And even though I enjoy mashed potatoes, I don’t think I’ll be trying them again anytime soon. They feel like empty calories to me, because I can probably eat my body weight in mashed potatoes and then some, without getting complete nutrition. Mashed potatoes is one of those things you eat at other’s people’s houses at Christmas and for potlucks, anyway. 😀
Yeppp, I’m back for more non-cookie scams.
This time I followed a PopSugar recipe for a No-Bake Cookie, which is just a spin-off of Katie’s recipe. Um! How can all these recipes get away with calling cold oatmeal a “cookie”?! Where is the structural integrity?! What kind of cookie is as scoopable as a bowl of yogurt?
Just like yesterday’s diary, these were overly-banana-y, and they were even runnier.
After the disappointing things I’ve made the past few days, I was really happy to stumble onto these cookies. They may be the best protein baked treat I’ve ever made. The recipe from iFoodReal is so simple, with so few ingredients, that I didn’t dare to raise my hopes. The whole thing can be mixed together with one fork in one bowl, and you end up with a suspiciously runny mixture that is scooped onto parchment paper. During baking, though, they firm up nicely and develop a quite chewy, fibrous texture, like a real oatmeal cookie, and actually taste pretty satisfying! (I suspect the 2 tbsp of peanut butter in the recipe provides just enough fat to do the trick.)
The chocolate chips here were delicious too. I usually don’t like chocolate chip cookies very much, but I’m beginning to think this is because I’ve just been eating the wrong kind. For reference, I used to buy the Great Value brand chocolate chips, which are kind of hard and bitter in cookies, but last month I bought a bag of PC “The Decadent” chocolate chips instead. These are so much softer, sweeter, more buttery… I never thought I’d say this, but I could probably snack on just the chips themselves! They work their magic in this recipe as well.
(EDIT: These keep ok, too. They taste best when warm, so I would reheat them in the microwave for about 20 seconds before eating them out of the fridge.
Strawberry Tea Bread “Muffins”
I had some strawberries to use up, so this weekend’s first baking project became a strawberry quick bread! Since I wanted individual-sized servings, I baked them in ramekins and muffin tins rather than in one loaf pan as “muffins” rather than “bread.”
I used this recipe but didn’t make the whipped strawberry butter to go along with it. When baking for myself, I hardly ever bother with the glazes, icings, toppings, etc. that accompany a recipe, but for this one I think it’s necessary. Don’t get me wrong, this quick bread tasted wonderful out of the oven, but a day or two later and the taste becomes quite flat. It also doesn’t look too appealing without the strawberry butter. The strawberry pieces lose their bright red colour when baked and turn a dull, almost grey shade of pink, which, together with the white specks of oat flakes in the dough, make the whole thing not too pretty to look at.
The other issue with having chunks of fresh fruit in your baking? It seriously ups the water content. I like a nice, moist muffin, but these were a little too soft in the centre for my liking.
Falaffles (or Fawaffles)
I just made the most perfect batch of falafel waffles! The first time I made these was last term, but since then, I’ve made a number of improvements to arrive at what I think is the ultimate waffled falafel. Here’s the recipe:
- 1 15-oz can of chickpeas (or 130 g dried chickpeas, cooked)
- 70 to 90 g chickpea flour
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- handful of spinach (40 to 60 g)
- 1/2 red onion (70 to 100 g)
- 1 garlic clove (or 1 tsp minced garlic)
- Add all the ingredients except the canned chickpeas to a blender or food processor, and pulse 5 times or until well combined
- Add the chickpeas and pulse until chickpeas are broken up (but leave some chunks)
- Scoop up a big spoonful and drop it onto a preheated waffle iron.
This makes 12 falaffles and they can stay in the fridge for up to a week! They can be very durable and taken to lunch with you (that’s what I did), and eaten hot (reheat in a toaster) or cold.