lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip

lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tazitiki | A Brown Table

Lindsey's blog Dolly and Oatmeal is one of the prettiest blogs you will find, it's colorful and full of fresh flavors and ingredients. On her blog, Lindsey creates and shares a lot of delicious and wonderful gluten-free vegetarian recipes that stand out from the usual fare you see everywhere. In fact, through her new book "Chickpea Flour Does it All" , Lindsey shows you different and unexpected ways in which you can use chickpea flour, from savory to sweet there's something for every month and elegantly styled photos that accompany each recipe. 

I first met Lindsey on the internet (as most of us bloggers do) and then around a year and half later in person when she came on a trip to San Francisco. And inn case you're wondering, yes, she's sweet in person too! She's got the cutest little dog that I think Snoopy would love to play with. 

To be honest, I had some skepticism when I first saw this Tzatziki recipe. A yogurt/dairy-free one sounded too good to be true, would it look or taste the same? Will I miss the creamy texture and tangy taste of yogurt, will it be noticeably be absent from this beloved dip? The only way to answer this question is to just go ahead and make the recipe and have someone do a blind taste test. Lindsey's method uses a chickpea flour roux and cashews which seriously make it taste and feel like yogurt, neither me nor my blind taste testers could tell the difference! I couldn't taste that characteristic flavor of chickpea flour in the dip, this recipe is a winner. Even if you don't have dairy issues, her book touches upon the versatility of chickpea flour as an everyday ingredient and it makes you appreciate cooking with other non-wheat flours. Indian homes usually stock up on chickpea flour as a pantry staple so I'm naturally a little excited about her book. But what Lindsey shows us is a bunch of unique and tasty ways to use this flour, a non traditional take on traditional recipes we all love, it doesn't matter if you've never used chickpea flour before because she show's you how to. There's cake, there's pizza, there are pancakes, there are tartlets and clafoutis and fresh salads, I could go on and on. This is one of my new favorite books of 2016, thanks Lindsey! 

lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table
lindsey's chickpea based yogurt-free tzatziki dip | A Brown Table

lindsey's chickpea tzatziki dip (from Chickpea Flour does it All by Lindsey S. Love; 2016)

yields: 4 to 6 servings

ingredients

1 medium cucumber, grated with a box grater

1 cup (240mL) water)

1/4 cup (30g) chickpea flour

1/4 cup (45g) raw cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1. Place the grated cucumber in a fine-mesh sieve (I skipped the sieve). Use your palm and push to squeeze out as much liquid as possible; set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, whisk together the water and flour until smooth. Turn heat to medium and continue whisking until the mixture thickens, about 6 to 7 minutes; the mixture will resemble a roux or melted cheese. Remove from the heat. 

3. Place the flour mixture, cashews, garlic, vinegar, oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a high-speed blender; blend for 1 minute until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl; stir in the grated cucumber and dill. Let the tzatziki come to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

4. Remove from the refrigerator when ready to serve and give it a good stir. 

 

milk and pistachio cookies

Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table

Just earlier this week, I was telling you guys about the impending doom of blood oranges going-out-of-season nightmare here but lo and behold, I checked the pot where I planted a dwarf morow blood orange tree and it's full of little flower buds that I'm hoping will bloom and give us some fruit next year! I'll be tending to those oranges like a protective hen watching over her chicks. Squirrels and bugs, stay away! 

This week, I have a little interview with Common Table Co where I'm sharing my thoughts on food and photography. I keep meaning to share this super useful post by Michelle who has made a pretty comprehensive collection of pie baking tips that you should check out and bookmark. 

I like milk flavored things and in cookies with tea, it's a bonus. I did a few experiments when making these whole-wheat cookies. I started with milk, then tried condensed milk and even evaporated milk but the flavor and sweetness from the milk were just not right plus, the more liquid you add the batter keeps getting messed up. I finally tried some non-fat dry milk powder which did the trick. It brought the flavor and natural sweetness of the milk into the cookie. These cookies aren't too sweet or buttery but they've got that nutty flavor from the pistachios along with the hint of milk. They're good with tea and/or coffee or just for those moments when you want a little treat. I strongly recommend adding pistachio extract but if it's hard to find use almond extract, the pistachio extract however really bumps the fragrance and flavor of the cookies. 

Milk and Pistachios Cookies | A Brown TableMilk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table
Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown TableMilk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table
Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown TableMilk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table
Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown TableMilk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when making these cookies;

  • Crush pistachios using a rolling pin in a small ziplock bag, less mess and it's easy. 
  • You can fold the pistachios in the mixer by mixing the final dough at low speed but I prefer the hand method, it gives me better control over the dough. 
  • Chill the dough before you bake, it will make give you a more flavorful and crispier cookie. 
Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table

milk and pistachio cookies

yields: approximately 30 cookies 

ingredients 

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

3/4 cup (5 7/25 ounces) sugar 

1 large egg, cold

1/2 teaspoon pistachio extract or almond extract

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (3/4 ounces) non-fat dry milk powder

2 cups (9 1/2 ounces) whole-wheat pastry flour 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 cup (2 1/8 ounces) pistachios, coarsely crushed

1. Place the butter and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar on medium-low speed for about 4-5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl using a silicone spatula. Then add the egg and continue to mix for another minute until combined. Add the pistachio/almond extract and mix for 10 seconds. 

2. In a large mixing bowl dry whisk all the dry ingredients from the milk powder to the salt. Add half of this mixture to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix on medium-low speed until almost combined. Then add the rest of the dry mix and mix until combined. Remove the dough and transfer the dough onto a cool surface such as a marble pastry board or a non-stick silicone pastry work surface or parchment paper. Flatten the dough with your hands and place the pistachios in the center. Fold the dough gently to combine the pistachios. 

3. Take a clean sheet of 12" X 16" parchment paper. Shape the dough into a log that is around 12" in length. Wrap the roll with the parchment paper starting from one end by rolling the paper over the dough. Wrap the roll with clingfilm, place it on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight. 

4. To bake, place a wire rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 350F.  Remove the cookie dough roll from the refrigerator and using a sharp serrated bread knife cut the dough into 1 cm thick individual cookies. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking silicone mat, about 1 inch apart from each other. Bake one set of cookies at a time in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until the edges just start to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 

indian sweet rice with dried figs and nuts

Indian Sweet Rice with Dried Figs and Nuts | A Brown Table

Let's start this Monday with some exciting news! This Wednesday, October 8th, I will be co-hosting a Supper club in San Francisco along with my dear friends, Phi of Princess Tofu and Alanna of The Bonjon Gourmet! This is a first for me, I've entertained at home quite a bit but never on a professional level, so I am definitely a little enthusiastic and excited about this fun venture. Phi and Alanna were kind enough to ask me to join them and I leaped at the opportunity because it's all about sharing our love to cook and create new recipes.

The entire menu will be centered around fresh figs grown locally and we've come up with some fun and delicious way to use figs in every course of the menu. The girls went to Santa Rosa over the weekend and picked bucket loads of figs of all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes from the trees, my only regret is not being able to join them in their adventures because they had a blast! Do check out their respective blogs for more of their trip. 

Indian Sweet Rice with Dried Figs and Nuts | A Brown Table

Fig season is a good one, full of fat and juicy figs that need to be eaten. Alas, this season is short but thankfully, someone figured out how to preserve figs by drying them centuries ago! This recipe that I am sharing with you today is a sweetened rice pilaf mixed with sautéed dried figs and nuts. I honestly, can't remember the exact first time, I ate sweet rice or "meetha chawal" but I do remember that I love it enough to make it a few times every year. 

Basmati rice is fragrant to begin with but saffron and the other spices add a sweet aroma that makes this dessert truly comforting. One way to describe this rice dessert would be a sweet pilaf. I like to serve this as a dessert after a fairly light meal (and sometimes even eat it for breakfast).  

Indian Sweet Rice with Dried Figs and Nuts | A Brown Table

Here are some of my tips on making this sweet rice, 

  • I can't stress the importance of using a good quality Indian variety of basmati. Not only is the grain long and fine, the starch content is different and the aroma will also be very fragrant. 
  • When cooking basmati rice, I like to wash the rice thoroughly to get rid of any starch that might result in stickiness during cooking.
  • Ghee can substituted with any vegetable oil that has a neutral flavor.
Indian Sweet Rice with Dried Figs and Nuts | A Brown Table

indian sweet rice with dried figs and nuts

yields: 4-6 servings

ingredients

1 cup long grain basmati rice

3 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil

1 cup dried black mission/brown turkey figs (or any other type of dried figs), stalks removed and chopped

1/4 cup raw almonds, sliced

1/4 cup raw pistachios, chopped

6 whole cloves

1 inch piece cinnamon stick

6 green cardamom pods, cracked

1 teaspoon saffron strands soaked in 4 tablespoons of boiling water for 30 minutes

2 cups water

1/2 cup brown sugar

1. Wash the basmati rice under running cold tap water until no traces of white starch can be seen. Soak the rice in bowl in fresh cold tap water for 1 hour. 

2. While the rice is soaking, heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee or oil in a  deep thick-bottomed saucepan ( a non-stick pan can also be used here) on medium-high heat. Once the ghee is hot, sauté the chopped figs for about 1 minute, then add the almonds and pistachios and fry them for another 1 minute. Remove the sautéed figs and nuts and place them on a paper towel to drain any excess oil.

3. In the same pan, heat the rest of the ghee on medium-high heat. Add the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom and fry the spices for 30 seconds. Drain the excess liquid from the soaked rice and add the rice to the pan with the spices, stir and sauté for about 2 minutes with constant stirring. Add the saffron mixture, water and sugar to the rice, increase the heat to high and bring the contents to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and cook until the liquid evaporates. The rice will be long and tender once cooked which should take about 35-40 minutes. Remove from stove and allow to cool with the lid on for about 5-6 minutes. Fluff the rice up with a fork and stir in the fruit and nuts. Serve warm. 

fig and zucchini bread

fig and zucchini bread #dessert #wheat #foodphotography #foodstyling #zucchinibread #baking

Where do I begin! The first time I baked this bread, the dog stole it and ate the entire thing! I left the freshly baked bread out to cool on the kitchen counter and stepped out to take care of a few errands, boy was I in for a shock! By the time I came back, it was gone and there were no traces of any crumbs! I thought perhaps, I was being absent minded as usual and had stored the cake in the refrigerator or kept it some odd place. In the 4 years since I've had Snoopy he has never eaten anything off the table and we never feed him table scraps. My suspicions were confirmed later that day, as he voluntarily skipped his usual dinner begging routine. As you can probably imagine, Snoopy never skips a meal, he starts begging an hour before and when I do feed him, he munches his food down in a few seconds. I was worried he would throw up or fall sick and that is no fun. Thankfully, the bread was still in its testing phase and I knew that none of the ingredients in the first version would be deadly to him. Snoopy was just overstuffed and I knew that I would need to be more vigilant and careful when it come to him and our food. Lesson learned!

fig and zucchini bread #dessert #wheat #foodphotography #foodstyling #zucchinibread #baking
fig and zucchini bread #dessert #wheat #foodphotography #foodstyling #zucchinibread #baking

After Snoopy stole the first version of the bread, I knew a repeat was going to happen soon, there were several things I needed to fix to make this a good bread, I wanted it to be the best zucchini bread I have ever made in my kitchen to date. I wanted the bread to have some amount of whole wheat in it and I didn't want the bread to a soupy overly wet mass and it needed a little spark of flavor. I also wanted the bread to be simple, zucchini bread is comfort food and comfort should not be tedious to prepare, it should be easy, comfortable to make and comfortable to eat.  

fig and zucchini bread #dessert #wheat #foodphotography #foodstyling #zucchinibread #baking

I tried a trick I learned from watching America's test kitchen (this is what they do with bananas for banana bread), I microwaved the zucchini to force out the excess liquid. I got a little over a cupful of liquid from the shredded zucchini which made a huge difference. The rest of the recipe, is all about stirring the ingredients together, the hardest part is probably grating the zucchini! 

fig and zucchini bread #dessert #wheat #foodphotography #foodstyling #zucchinibread #baking

 

fig and zucchini bread

yields: 1 loaf (8 1/2 " X 4 1/2") 

ingredients 

1 tablespoon walnut/olive oil + a little all purpose flour for coating the loaf pan.

1 lb zucchini

1 cup dried figs, chopped 

2 large eggs

1/4 cup minus 1 tablespoon walnut oil/olive oil (I tried both separately)

1 teaspoon madagascar bourbon vanilla extract

3/4 cup ( 5 7/25 ounces)  raw brown sugar

1/4 cup plain low-fat greek yogurt

4 1/4 ounces all purpose flour

4 1/4 ounces whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon dried ginger powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup (2 3/5 ounces) chopped walnuts

6 whole figs dried, thinly sliced across their length

1. Place a wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F. Coat a 8 1/2" X 4 1/2" loaf pan with a little oil and dust with a little flour.

2. Trim the ends off the zucchini and grate them into fine shreds. Place the shredded zucchini into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Transfer the zucchini into a larger strainer lined with two layers of cheesecloth/muslin. Allow the zucchini to drain for about 30 minutes or until you have about 1 cup of liquid. Bring the ends of the cheesecloth together and squeeze the zucchini to release as much as liquid as possible. Discard the liquid (you can use this liquid to prepare smoothies/juices or stocks) and place the shredded zucchini in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add the 1 cup of chopped dried figs to the zucchini along with the 2 large eggs, oil, vanilla, sugar and yogurt. Stir the contents together with a wooden spoon until combined. 

4. In a separate bowl, quickly whisk the flours, ginger powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Quickly stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients in the large mixing bowl until combined. Fold the walnuts into the batter and then transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Tap gently to release any trapped air bubbles. Place the thinly sliced whole figs in a single center row on top of the batter in the pan.

5. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, rotating the cake 180 degrees once during the baking process. The bread is done when the center is firm to touch or a knife should come out clean from the center of the bread. Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes in the pan and the run the edges of a knife around the cake. Remove and allow the bread to cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve as needed. 

Note: This is a quick bread recipe. I recommend proceeding as quickly as possible to the baking stage as soon as you prepare the wet and dry ingredients. This will prevent excess liquid being released from the zucchini.