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Cook’s Mission #2

March 27, 2010

The Mystery Basket Ingredients for the week of March 28th- April 3rd are…

cooksmission2 copy

Celeriac (celery root) and apples!

VOTING IS STILL OPEN for the Apricot and Pretzel challenge! The winner will be announced MONDAY MORNING!

Good luck everyone!

Apricot n’ Pretzel Soufflé for One

March 26, 2010
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By Cat from Mish Mash Cat

Ingredients

  • 1 delicious, organic, locally grown Egg, separated and at room temperature
  • 6 Dried Apricots (about, I had extra)
  • 1 teaspoon of Agave Nectar
  • A few tablespoons of crushed Pretzels

Directions

First, put your dried ‘cots in a sauce pan with plenty of water and let them cook for a few minutes. Just to soften them up and add moisture back into the ‘cots. Your call on how long that is.

Meanwhile, crush up the ol’ pretzels, so they are ready to go. Also, separate your egg! The egg white should be in a VERY clean bowl and ready to be whipped into a frenzy. Also prep your ramekin with some sort of non-stick spray.

Once the ‘cots are done, cut them into strips and place in your blender (or food processor, of course). Add the egg yolk. And your Agave. And blend! You will end up with a very pudding like consistency (yum!). Put this aside.

Now, it’s time to whip your egg white to the stiff white-peak consistency. It’s not so bad, just put a little elbow grease into it and think about how you are also getting a workout — win!

Then, take a metal spoon and fold your apricot pudding into the egg white. Be careful and do not over mix it! Even if the apricot isn’t evenly blended, don’t worry — it will turn out fine. Then, flop your mixture into your prepped ramekin, make an X mark in the top of the soufflé — this will help it rise. And then dust the top with your pretzels.

Place into a pre-heated 400 degree oven, set the timer for 10 minutes and patiently wait for your lovely desert to cook. Pull it out of the oven and enjoy! The salty, sweet combo is awesome!

P.S. Apologies for the poor photos; these are via iPhone, due to my camera suddenly being dead as soon as I started cooking — of course!

Apricot Filled Pretzel Crunch Muffins

March 26, 2010

By Mae from OhhMay 

So I’m an idiot. I’m such an advocate for in-season eating and local food, and what do I go ahead and choose for the first Cook’s Mission Challenge? Apricots. My heart was in the right place- last weekend, Upstate NY was in the high 70’s and I was feeling Spring! I associate spring with apricots, so I thought ‘perfect, I’ll make apricots the secret ingredient!’. Are apricots at any farmers markets? No. How about in any grocery stores? No. So was this a poor choice for the tail end of winter? Probably.

So that means dried fruit, which I’m okay with. Actually I’m more than okay with it. I hated dried fruit when I was younger, but when I tasted fruit that wasn’t soaked is sulfur (in my mind, sulfur=egg water) I grew to love dates, apricots, plums and even raisins.

The thing with dried fruit is: less water means a more intense taste, a more intense sweetness and yes, more calories. Fresh fruit will always have my heart, but I do love the occasional candy-like chew, and caramel-esque flavor of dried fruit.

I was thinking the mystery basket ingredients (pretzels and apricots) would be fun in a savory dish, but I hadn’t baked everything in a while so I decided to go for a muffin recipe.

The filling of these muffins is a gooey sweet apricot fudge. It keeps them so moist and is better than any icing!

The actual muffin is a hybrid apricot banana bread  with crunchy pretzels as a topping. They’re vegan to accommodate more people!

apple sauce dried apricots walnuts toasted

Filling

  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Process all ingredients in a blender or food processor until creamy and smooth.   

whole wheat flour almond milkapple sauceflaxseedripe banananas dried apricotswalnuts toasted pretzels chopped

Apricot Stuffed Apricot Muffins

  • 1/4 cup apple sauce

  • 1 tbsp flaxseed, milled

  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or soymilk)

  • 1/4 cup honey or brown rice syrup

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 3/4 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

  • 1 batch of apricot walnut filling, above

  • 1/2 cup chopped pretzels

  • 3 tbsp chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350*

Combine the apple sauce, flaxseed, almond milk and honey. Let mixture sit for fifteen minutes.

Why? Flaxseed has thickening properties that can increase the viscosity of the batter. I believe it’s the soluble fiber in the seed that binds water molecules. Have you ever added Metamucil (soluble fiber) to water and let it sit? It turns into goop! The properties of flax and chia seeds are similar and keep the muffins from falling apart. I let this sit for 15 minutes to give the seeds time to thicken the liquid.

Whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, leavening and apricots. Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and let sit for 5 minutes.

Why? Pouring the wet onto the dry lets the starch molecules in the flour swell before agitating them and producing gluten. Gluten is a protein structure that will be chewy or tough, so you want to avoid that. ‘

Fold together the wet and dry just until the powder disappears.

Why? The more you mix, the more gluten structure is created.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup (or disher) distribute batter into 9-10 holes in a greased muffin tin. Add 1 tbsp of filling to each muffin, then cover with another tsp of batter. Top all muffins with crushed pretzels and walnuts, if desired.

Bake for 7 minutes in the oven. Because the cooking time is so short, there’s no need to open the oven and rotate the pan unless you’re sure your oven has hot spots. Opening the door will actually increase the chances of uneven cooking.

Cool the muffins and then enjoy! They’re awesome with coconut butter, or Coconut cream cheese.

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Nutrition: (per muffin) 174 calories, 5 grams fat (1.6 grams saturated fat), 30 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber) (12.7 grams sugar) and 3.7 grams protein. Provides 7% recommended daily value of Vitamin A, 6% Vitamin C, 6% Iron and 3% Calcium.

Secret Apricot Passion Pudding

March 26, 2010

By Jessie from The Happiness in Health

Ingredients
4 large, soft pretzels, left out overnight (the “secret” ingredient!)
2 eggs
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup dried apricots
3/4 cup milk
Nuts of choice (optional)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter or margarine, melted

The pretzel recipe can be found in Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day, using King Arthur white whole wheat flour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Break the eggs into a large bowl and stir briefly. Add apricot jam and vanilla and stir to combine. If you’re hard-core like Peter, you can use the vanilla extract that you made yourself a year ago.

Chop the dried apricots and add to the egg mixture.

(What’s the expression? Speak softly and carry a big … knife? ;) )

Tear the pretzels into pieces and add to the mixture.

Stir to combine, then pour milk over all.

Try to ignore the little doggle who’s waiting for you to drop anything edible.

A few chopped hazelnuts for crunch:

Add cinnamon and melted butter, and pour into greased pan.

I went for the “4-quadrant” look, which is a great way to try out different toppings:

Clockwise from upper left: whole apricots, plain, oatmeal, and, of course, chocolate.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until nicely browned on top (my whole apricots got a little too toasty).

You can guess which section I went for first.

Verdict? Try it! This unique version of bread pudding is sure to please any apricot lover you know :) Of course, you can always replace the apricot jam and/or dried apricots with your favorite kind of jam or dried fruit.

Pretzels with Maple Apricot Mustard

March 26, 2010

By Katie from Making Food and Other Stuff

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Pretzels with Maple Apricot Mustard

  • 50-75 grams dried Turkish apricots, about 6-9 whole dried apricots (depending on how apricot-y you want it; I used 50 grams, but I’d use more next time.)
  • 2 T yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 T brown mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 T maple syrup (again, depending on how sweet you like things; I used 1 T)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Gluten free pretzel twists

Put all ingredients except pretzels into a glass or plastic container (NOT metal) and soak for several hours or overnight. Blend until creamy. I soaked them in my magic bullet container and then used that to blend it. It worked liked a champ.

This mustard is not for the faint of heart. This is a serious mustard, for serious mustard lovers. I nearly choked on my first pretzel dip, and I’m no sissy. I based the recipe off of what I read here. Apparently it will mellow with time. We’ll see about that. It should keep for a couple months in the fridge, but the way I go through mustard, there’s no way it’ll be around that long.

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Gluten Free Pretzel and Apricot Snack Mix

March 26, 2010

By The Gut Gazette

When I heard that the mystery ingredients were apricots and pretzels, all that kept coming to my mind was some form of trail/snack mix. I was excited that I could put to use my newly bought (as of today) organic dried apricots from the Bulk Barn, and I also now had a reason to go out and buy Mary’s Organic Sticks and Twigs, as I hadn’t tried them until today (product review to come!). Who doesn’t like a good old snack mix? I love snack mixes and one that included apricots and GF pretzels was definitely on my agenda for today.

Gluten Free Pretzel and Apricot Snack Mix:

14 dried organic apricots chopped

1 cup Mary’s Organic Sticks and Twigs Sea Salt, broken into thirds

1/3 cup dried cranberries (mine consist of a mixture of orange flavoured, raspberry flavoured and original)

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup Perky’s Crunchy Flax Cereal

1/3 cup soy nuts

1/3 cup dry roasted edamame

1/4 cup gluten free, dairy free carob chips

Mix all together and store in a re-sealable container.

This turned into this:


I’m storing mine in a re-sealable container and keeping in the fridge to keep it fresher.

Chop your apricots like this.

Roasted edamame


Soy nuts!


This is a great little snack mix, you can put it in a bowl for parties, munch on it during a movie, pack it in your lunch or just pack it for a t0-go snack!

You can also add a whole lot of other ingredients, such as:

– other types of dried fruit (apple, mango, banana, prunes, dates, etc)

– different types of nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, etc.)

– seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, chia, flax, sesame, etc.)

– chocolate chips

– chocolate/yogurt covered raisins

– other types of cereals (corn flakes, rice puffs, etc.)

– cinnamon

– carob powder or cocoa powder to make it more "chocolaty"

The list is endless, use your imaginations and throw anything you wish in!

Crunchy Pretzel Chicken with an Apricot Glaze

March 26, 2010

By Heather from Heather Eats Almond Butter

Ingredients:

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1/4 cup apricot fruit spread

2 TBSP soy sauce

2 TBSP apple cider vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 chicken breasts

1 serving Mary’s Gone Crackers Sticks & Twigs (my pretzels of choice)

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine first 4 ingredients.

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Toss chicken breasts in your apricot sauce and allow to marinate in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.

To bake, pre-heat oven to 350° and place chicken in a greased glass baking dish. Pour marinade over chicken. Place pretzels in a food processor or blender and pulse until well crushed. Top chicken with crushed pretzels and bake for 1 hour or until cooked through.

Along side our apricot glazed crunchy chicken, I served kale sauteed in ghee, salt, and pepper. It was a delicious dinner!

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Many thanks to Mae for creating The Cook’s Mission. It was fun to come up with a new dish based on ingredients I don’t normally use.