29 August 2011

Gluten-Free Quinoa Chocolate Cake

My friend Koleta brought this to a potluck I had recently and it was awesome. I made it with a cream cheese icing (which I will post soon) and it was super moist.

2/3 cup white or golden quinoa
1 1/3 cup water
1/2 cup goat milk >> I didn't have any of this on hand. My mother suggested I use Half and Half cream, which I kind of regret doing (for caloric reasons). Next time I'll do skim milk for sure.
1 tsp vanilla extract >> I always use more vanilla. I easily used 1 tbs.
3/4 cup melted and cooled butter >> what I usually do is cut the butter into cubes (maybe 2cm x 2 cm), lay them out untouching on a plate, and microwave for two short 10 second blitzes. I find this helps you get evenly softened butter, as opposed to a huge brick that is liquefied on the outside yet still cold and hard in the middle.
1 1/2 cups white or cane sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs

  1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Cover and reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool. >>I was in a crunch for time so I spread the quinoa out over a large dinner plate and put it in the fridge for a bit. It would have taken forever to cool down in a hot saucepan.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two 8 inch cake pans.
  3. Combine milk, eggs, and vanilla in a food processor or blender. Add 2 cups cooked quinoa (>> I found that using 2/3 cup dry quinoa and 1 1/3 cups water produced exactly 2 cups cooked quinoa. How perfect.) and butter and continue to blend until smooth. >> It will still have a few chunks, obviously.
  4. Whisk together the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium/large bowl. Add the contents of the food processor and fold until blended.
  5. Divide the batter evently between the pans and bake on centre rack for 40 - 45 minutes (>> I was fine after 40. The toothpick came out clean-ish and the edges had pulled back from the side of the pan). Cool before icing.

Burrito Stacks

Courtesy of Crazy Plates, by Janet and Greta Podleski (1999). I made this as a vegetarian entree for a potluck I was hosting and it went over really well. These can be done in the oven as the original recipe suggests, but we've also done them on the barbecue on top of tin foil (curled up at the sides) and they were also great.

1 1/2 cups seeded, diced tomatoes >> I did this once with regular tomatoes and once with roma tomatoes (the oblong ones) and preferred the regular ones. The regular tomatoes gave off a lot more fluid in the cooking process, which I think helped soften the tortillas when they were stacked.
1/2 cup of the following:
  • whole-kernel corn>> fresh off the cob is ideal
  • diced onions
  • diced red bell pepper
  • unpeeled, diced zucchini>> any type works. We used the weird yellow flying saucer variety and they were perfect
1/2 cup grated carrots
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2/4 tsp chili powder

1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed >> You can add a bit more if you like, since black beans don't last that long in the fridge.
1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro >> I've forgotten this before and it wasn't the end of the world
1 tbsp lime juice
4 7-inch flour tortillas >> I recently tried using more traditional corn tortillas (the small ones) and this didn't work nearly as well. Stick to the flour grocery store brand (Old El Paso?), as inauthentic as they are.
1 cup shredded, reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese (4 0z) >> I've started eating the PC Blue Menu reduced fat marble cheese and it's awesome. (This is coming from someone who previously had gagged eating No Name low fat cheddar and vowed to never touch it again.)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/3 low fat sour cream
1/2 cup copped lettuce >> I rarely actually use this because I find that the rest of this is usually enough. Also, I'd rather just do a side salad anyway instead.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a medium, non-stick saucepan with non-stick spray (>> very important, because these stick like fiends.). 1 cup tomatoes (>> I usually just add them all), plus next 9 ingredients (>> everything up to the beans). Cook and stir for 5 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Add beans and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Place one tortilla in middle of tray. Spoon 1/3 bean mixture over tortilla, followed by 1/4 cheese. Repeat layering 2 more times. Place final tortilla on top, and sprinkle with last bit of cheese and green onions.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and tortiallas turn golden brown around edges. Remove from oven and slice into 4 wedges. Top with sour cream, remaining tomatoes, and lettuce. >> As mentioned, I usually skip this last step and just serve with sour cream and homemade salsa on the side.