Sunday, July 18, 2010

A vegetarian taco that everyone can enjoy! Lentil Tacos

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried green or brown lentils, rinsed
1 package (2.25 ounce) taco seasoning (or more if you like spicy)
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped (optional, use half for less heat)
2 teaspoons adobo sauce
8 taco shells
1 1/4 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat (2 percent) cheddar or Monterey jack cheese

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic and salt until onion begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add lentils and taco seasoning. Cook until spices are fragrant and lentils are dry, about 1 minute.
3. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
3. Mix sour cream, chile and adobo sauce (if using) in a bowl.
4. Uncover lentils and cook until mixture thickens, 6 to 8 minutes. Spoon 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell.
5. Top with 2 heaping teaspoons sour cream mixture, lettuce, tomato and cheese.

This recipe is my second submission for this month's My Legume Love Affair, one of my favorite events brought by Susan from the Well Seasoned Cook and hosted by Siri's Corner.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mulberry Muffins


Mulberries, I don't even remember the last time I enjoyed them. It was probably twenty-two years ago when I was 10 years old. My grandfather had a giant mulberry tree in his backyard and each summer when we visit him we spent hours up on that tree eating fresh mulberries with the neighborhood kids. Those were the best times of my childhood. Every year we waited for that time of the year. My father would arrange for great beach vacations and private villas with pools and we would still want to go to grandfather's house and climb up that mulberry tree, play with the neighborhood kids all day long. I remember how much my parents would get upset each time we left them alone at the vacation house and went to grandfathers. Then my grandfather passed away, and someone cut that tree. We never visited that house again. We started to spend summers at the beach, and it was never the same...

Recently, my dear friend Tammy had her mulberry tree cut down. Knowing how much I like them she brought me so many of them! that we wouldn't be able to finish them just by eating, so she gave me the idea of making muffins with them. I used my blueberry muffin recipe and replaced the blueberries with mulberries, if you don't have mulberries you can use blackberries they will be just as good.

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup low fat milk/or buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mulberries


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick spray.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

3. In a large bowl, stir together the milk, oil, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract until well-blended. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Do not over mix. Gently fold in the berries.

4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Remove to the rack to cool completely.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Banana Walnut Loaf - Healty Tastes Better!

The best part of this recipe is the smell of bananas baking in the oven and it is also a perfect way to use your very ripe bananas (Another tip I learned from Alton Brown is to wrap them with plastic wrap and freeze for smoothies, they are really perfect for smoothies!). I would rather have my daughter eat the actual banana itself but if she is going to eat the banana bread, I want her tastebuds to get used to healtier options. Unlike the tradional recipes this recipe doesn't call for butter and it is made of whole wheat flour. And it is another proof that healty tastes better!

11/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 bananas)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup fat-free milk
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 cup rolled oats

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9"x 5"x 3" loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a fork to mix.
3. In another bowl, combine the sugar, flaxseed, and eggs. Stir to mix. Add the bananas, oil, milk, walnuts and vanilla extract. Stir to mix. Add the flour mixture. Stir just until all the flour mixture is absorbed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle with rolled oats.
4. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely.

Dermason Beans (Kurufasulye)

1 cup dried Dermason Beans (or navy or cannellini beans if you can't find dermason)
1 large onion (diced)
1 banana pepper or pablono pepper (diced)
2 tbs of canola oil
1 tbs of tomato paste
1 tbs of red pepper paste (if you can't find pepper paste use 1 1/2 tbs of tomato paste)
1 can (14 oz) tomatoes, petite diced
2 cups of boiling water
1 tsp of black pepper


1. Soak the beans overnight (1 cup dried beans yields 2 1/2 cups cooked beans), if you are using dried beans change the water 2 times while soaking, next day boil them until soft. To save cooking time you can skip the soaking process and pressure cook the beans for 30-40 min.

2. In a large pot, heat the oil, add onion and pepper and saute until soft.

4. Add tomato paste and pepper paste and stir for 3 min. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 3-4 min.

5. Add the beans, salt and water, cook on medium low for 35 min. If you prefer spicy, you can add dried chili peppers.

This recipe is my first submission for this month's My Legume Love Affair, one of my favorite events brought by Susan from the Well Seasoned Cook and hosted by Siri's Corner.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Essential EatingWell Chocolate Bundt Cake

Researchers have discovered that eating moderate amounts of flavanol-rich dark chocolate has a blood-thinning effect, which can benefit cardiovascular health, and it may also boost the immune system by reducing inflammation. I am not really trying to find an excuse to showcase my favorite indulgence,  many studies have linked eating chocolate with a growing list of health benefits. But not all chocolate is created equal. Dark chocolate has far more antioxidants than milk or white chocolate. (Dark chocolate has 65 percent or higher cocoa content). So Indulge and enjoy!

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, or walnuts
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened “natural” cocoa powder
1/3 cup whole flaxseeds, ground
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup rice bran oil, or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup prune puree, prune pie filling or Sunsweet Lighter Bake
1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate, or chocolate chips
Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)


1.Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray and dust with flour (or use cooking spray with flour).

2.Spread nuts in a small baking pan and bake until golden and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

3.Whisk flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, ground flaxseeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add buttermilk, brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Mix hot water and prune puree (or pie filling or Lighter Bake) in a measuring cup; add to the batter and whisk until incorporated. Fold in chocolate and the nuts with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.

4.Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto the rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Recipe is adapted from "The Essential EatingWell Cookbook (2004)"

Almost Guilt-Free Chocolate Cake!

I helped my daughter to bake this cake for our daddy day! I wish I set my timer before I served it because two of them finished the whole cake literally in minutes!  I adapted this recipe from "The Eating Well Diabetes Cookbook (2005)". We really enjoyed this recipe, it is very moist and needs no frosting. For me hot strong black coffee in a chocolate cake is a winning combination!!

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour,
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used turbinado sugar)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk,
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot strong black coffee
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

1.Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with a circle of wax paper.

2.Whisk flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, brown sugar, egg, oil and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add hot coffee and beat to blend. (The batter will be quite thin.) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

3.Bake the cake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from the pan, peel off the wax paper and let cool completely. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar before slicing. 

Zucchini Borek (Kabakli Borek)

40 phyllo dough sheets (1 packet)
2 medium zucchinis, grated
1/2 cup crumbled feta (you can also use ricotta )
3 eggs
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup finely chopped dill
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint or 3 tbsp dry mint flakes
1 tbs red pepper flakes (or paprika) - optional
1 tbsp black pepper
nigella seeds and/or sesame seeds


1. Preheat oven to 375F. Thaw phyllos according to the instructions on the package. Generally speaking, you want to thaw the dough slowly, in its box and wrapping bag. Some companies include microwave thawing instructions. This is very risky. Thaw too quickly or at too high a power and you will end up with a gummy wet mess instead of separate sheets. Keep stacks covered with a dampened clean kitchen towel (Do not place the towel directly on top of the dough.)

2. Mix zucchini, dill, mint, pepper(if using) and feta in a bowl. Set aside for 10-15 minutes, then drain and discard the liquid.

3. In another bowl beat the eggs and add yogurt and olive oil. Mix well.

4. Grease a pan that's approximately the same size with phyllo sheets. Layer half of phyllo dough sheets in the pan by brushing every single layer generously with the liquid mixture.

5. On the 20th phyllo spread zucchini mix. Keep layering the rest of phyllos by brushing each layer with the mixture.

6. After putting down the last phyllo, pour the rest of the egg mixture on top. Sprinkle with nigella seeds and/or sesame seeds.

7. Bake in a preheated oven 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. When cooked sprinkle 1 tbs of cold water over the pie, right after removing from oven and cover with a kitchen towel. Wait for 5 to 10 min. and then cut and serve.