October 3, 2010

Peanutty Pumpkin Blondies

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I have to say, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself right now, and I don’t mind telling you why. My busy summer put me in rather of a rut food- and fitness-wise, but this weekend I took some steps to bust out of it.

  1. Worked out It has been my habit to use the weekend for rest days, but this time I challenged myself to try something new (I rested earlier in the week) and went out for an interval run both mornings. For an hour. Who am I?
    • Sub-accomplishment: running?!
  2. Spent some QT with my kitchen Not much of this has happened since I moved in June…very little that was noteworthy, at least. This weekend I made almond milk from scratch rather than buying it boxed AND came up with two new delicious dessert recipes, including one that’s gluten-free, which makes me feel good. Believe it or not, 1/3 of my (small) office is Celiac, so we are all challenged to come up with treats that everyone can enjoy.
  3. Cleaned house Self-explanatory.
  4. Socialized I am very comfortable spending time alone, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel like a million bucks when I hang out with quality people. Thank you to Katherine and her Huz for sponsoring Proud Point #4!
  5. Conquered a culinary fear In my last post I wrote about how I came to identify myself as pescatarian. That doesn’t mean I’m comfortable cooking seafood! Last night, as Katherine and I were brainstorming over what to make for dinner, she mentioned crab meat among the things in her fridge. My brain immediately flashed an image of a succulent, golden brown Maryland crab cake. The problem was, neither of us had the foggiest idea of how to make such a thing! But we did it anyway.

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They even came out rather delicious, if I may say so. In the interest of time, we didn’t take notes on the process, but I can give you a rough estimate of what went into our 9 crab cakes (Katherine, feel free to add your commentary):

  • ~ 1 lb crab meat
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 kinds of bread crumbs: traditional style and panko…maybe about 1 cup total
  • ~ 2 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • plenty of Old Bay seasoning
  • a couple sprinkles of salt
  • fresh chopped parsley and garlic flowers

…am I forgetting anything? I mushed all this up with my hands, formed patties and fried them on the stove top in enough canola oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet over high heat: about 5 minutes on one side and 3-4 on the other.

Meanwhile, Katherine prepared our sides: a delicious sautee of collards and mushrooms (baby bella and white)…

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…as well as a green salad with homemade vinaigrette, plus a stunning kalamata olive baguette, which we enjoyed with both freshly roasted garlic cloves and manchego cheese.

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I didn’t get a photo of everything—my hands were pretty gooey most of the time—but I did make sure to capture the crab cakes because they should serve as a reminder to me (and you!) that so much of cooking is learned by doing. Sometimes it’ll be a massive fail (cough3alarmburnedpizzaFridaynightcough), but other times, you’ve just got to stick your hands in the crab meat and try.

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I’m lucky to have a second example of this learn-by-doing principle to share today as well. As I brainstormed desserts to bring to Katherine and the Huz, I looked to some blondie recipes for inspiration. Jenna’s Lazy-Girl blondies and the Fat Witch Bakery’s pumpkin brownie recipes, to be specific. Neither quite provided what I had in mind, however, so I just muttered a prayer to the baking gods and went for it.

Turns out said baking gods were feeling generous that day.

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Peanutty Pumpkin Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp coconut oil (warm enough to be liquid)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry)
  • 1/2 cup peanut flour (found at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. Melt coconut oil if not already liquid and whisk in pumpkin until smooth.
  3. Add brown sugar and whisk.
  4. Add egg, vanilla and salt and whisk.
  5. Add both flours and stir together just until combined—do not overmix.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Spread into a greased baking pan (mine is 8x8) and bake 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely before slicing.

Makes 16 blondies

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Serve with a tall glass of pride.

8 comments:

Danielle said...

You made milk yourself?? Wow, that's great! & I love how everyone's getting into pumpkin themed recipes. I just made one too.

sophia said...

I'd love a tall glass of pride, and a major HUNK of that blondie, please. Goodness. You've overcame several feats. Loved the crab cakes, too! Can you email some over? ;-)

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

omg the blondies. i want them. Now. The gluten and the egg would sadly do me in, I cant even cheat. omg i would love to!

the crab cakes, id go into anaphalactic shock.

why oh why...food allergies suck.

your food is amazing. i want it!!!

here's to you have a bang up goal-accomplishing kinda month(s). And for the recipe gods smiling down on these 2 creations!

Mo Diva said...

spoiler alert: if you invite me to dinner i will NOT say no.

This looks incredible! the blondies look chewy and delish! and if i could eat crab- i would BE ALL OVER THOSE... maybe i can sub with salmon? mmm

elise said...

wow. those blondies look awesome. this peanut flour seems to be all the latest rage. do you think its worth it?

Diana said...

@Mo Diva - Sure, definitely try it with salmon! I think it would work great.

@Elise - The peanut flour has not changed my life, but at $3.99 for about 1 lb it is an economical alternative to protein powder, if nothing else. It's kind of like PB2 in terms of the flavor it adds, just w/o sugar. So far, I've used it in these blondies and in a milkshake. If you want something to have a peanut butter flavor w/o as much fat & calories, you might have fun playing with it.

Shannon said...

totally making those blondies, they look amazing!!! and great looking crabcakes :)

look at all that goal-smashing this past month!!

Gena said...

Good lord, woman. You should award yourself a prize. I see veganized blondies in my future...