Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Zen Apple Bran Muffin Recipe Success!

Those of you who have been following my blog since day 1 know that I have been on a mission to replicate the Zen Bakery bran muffin recipe since they are a) muy expensive to buy and b) not available in all varieties here in San Francisco. Their apple bran muffin is one of my favorites and also not available here in SF (though I've searched high and low). After several test runs I've come up with the following recipe that matches the calorie count and is only shy of the whopping 10g fiber per muffin by 3g. I still can't achieve Zen's monstrous tops, but taste-wise, these are pretty close. Here's one key I've discovered with baking with whole wheat: they taste much better the next day. I think it has something to do with letting the wheat settle and absorb the flavors.

Apple Bran Muffin Recipe
2 cups boiling water
1 cup wheat bran
1/4 cup (30g) white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (60g) medium whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum free)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
2 tablespoons agave nectar (honey would probably work fine)
2 tablespoons walnut oil (canola would be a cheaper alternative)
1 large or 2 small granny smith apple(s)
1/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 400F and spray 5 large muffin cups with olive oil.
In a medium bowl, pour 2/3 cup boiling water over the wheat bran, stir, and let sit to absorb.
Pour the remaining boiled water over the raisins, separately, and also allow to sit.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, powder, soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until mixed.
Grate the apple(s) with the skins on, saving the juice.
Add the oil, and agave to the wheat bran and stir until well mixed.
Add the wheat bran mixture to the dry mix and stir only until combined.
Strain the raisins well and add them, the apple and its juice to the mix, stirring minimally until combined.
Fill the muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy THE NEXT DAY. Trust me, they'll taste much better then!
217 calories and 7g of fiber per muffin

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tofu Bulgur Autumn Special

Now that I've discovered such an easy way to make pomegranate seeds ready to eat, I love the flavor combination of them with walnuts in pretty much any dish. They're in season now (so reasonably priced!) and packed with antioxidants and Vitamin C to fight off those loathsome winter bugs. Just slice into quarters and submerge in a bowl full of water to peel. The seeds sink to the bottom while the thin skins float to the top. Easy, no mess pomegranate seeds. I used to avoid buying them just because they were such a messy hassle - and now they're a winter fruit bin staple. I usually peel 3 at a time and store the seeds in an empty glass jar so they're ready to eat for the rest of the week. A 1oz serving is 25 widdle calories.

Here is a recipe I adapted from Heidi Swanson's (http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/bulgur-celery-and-pomegranate-salad-recipe.html), substituting Swiss chard for celery and adding tofu.

2/3 cup (100g) bulgur
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (or pressed)
3/4 of a standard sized carton firm tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup (50g) chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
Italian parsley (to garnish)

Pour 1 1/3 cup boiling water over the bulgur and let it soak until all the water is absorbed (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Swiss chard and cook until wilted (about 3 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for an additional two minutes. Add the tofu and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook an additional 3 minutes or until the tofu is heated through.

Top the bulgur with the tofu mixture and sprinkle the remaining ingredients on top.
4 servings at 326 calories and 7.9g of fiber each.