Wednesday, September 8, 2010

ABC of the Month & CEiMB - Healthy versus Chocolate~!

ABC of the Month is suppose to be on the first Tuesday of every month AND this month was my pick. I am actually 1 1/2 days late! I feel terrible. My choice: All-American Choc Cake with Divinity Frosting and Milk Chocolate Paint. (CEiMB is posted just below.)

I did not have two 6 x 3 - inch pans so I used three 6 x 2 - inch pans and boy am I glad that I did (the cakes puffed to the very top of all three pans). Flo Braker's cookbook, Baking for All Occasions, has us baking a dark chocolate cake mixed with 1 cup of coffee, unsweetened melted chocolate, sour cream, brown sugar and a few other ingredients to combine into one of the moistest, flavorful chocolate cakes I have ever tasted. Am I the only one that did not see where in the directions to swirl in the melted chocolate? I added the chocolate in just before the coffee and used a spatula to swirl it in.
The divinity frosting went together like a breeze and painting on melted chocolate was a wonderful visual touch. I have met my chocolate cake match and LOVE this recipe. Flo, you and Evie Lieb (mentioned in recipe dialog) are both brilliant!

Hanaa and to the rest of the group, I sincerely apologize for being late! Everyone else, Flo Braker's book is stunning and well put together. Definitely worth every penny and Amazon has used copies at great prices. With this said, on to CEiMB!

Elina of Healthy and Sane chose this week's recipe: Baked Felalfal Sandwiches (recipe found on the Food Network site here.)

I have never eaten a falafel ~ ever. No idea what one should taste like. Then I start looking for Tahini paste ( recipe calls for the sesame seed paste for the sauce). Nope! Not happening. Now what? Invent my own sauce. BTW, we like this but I definitely altered a few things, listed below.

**Sauteed pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Crushed Macadamia Nuts**
**CEiMB's Baked Falafel Sandwich w/Creamy Roasted Garlic Yogurt Sauce**
**Sweet Potato French Fries Roasted with Lemon Olive Oil and a Roasted Red Pepper & Cheese Dip**

Sauteed Pear Salad
(adapted from the
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 firm-ripe Bosc pears, cored, peeled and cut into slices
2 tablespoon honey
4 cups of salad greens and/or baby spinach leaves, rinsed and chilled
1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
2 ounces Bleu, Gorgonzola or goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped roasted macadamia nuts
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
salt and pepper to taste

Heat large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and allow to warm. Add pear slices and saute in oil for 2 minutes on each side. Turn off heat and drizzle honey over pear slices, and gently turn pears so that it coats them on both sides.

While pears are cooking, put greens and vegetables into a large salad bowl and mix well. Add warm pears, cheese, nuts and gently mix.

Mix salad dressing ingredients, add juices from pan and pour over salad. Serve right away. (Or you can arrange salads on each plate individually instead of mixing everything in a bowl.)
Falafel Sandwich Sauce was created by mixing 1 cup of non -fat plain Greek yogurt with 1/3 cup of Roasted Garlic Hummus and 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice. I thought this tasted pretty good.
Next change: I only baked the falafel ball for 10 minutes on each side. The comment reviews from a few other people stated 20 minutes per side may cause the falafel balls to be dry.

I used a mixed green salad combo with the tomatoes and cucumbers too. The flavor was great but the falafel balls need to be layered in the pita pocket and not all on the top, like the one I made myself. I was totally overwhelmed. Now I know.

I also wanted to share the Roasted Red Pepper-Cheese Dip. Low calorie Dip found in my Cooking Light cookbook:
1 large red bell pepper
1 small onion, peeled and halved
Cooking spray
1 whole garlic head
1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1/2 cup (4 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat Broiler.

Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise, and discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove peel and discard. Set roasted pepper aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 400°.

Place onion halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Remove white papery skin from garlic head (do not peel or separate the cloves). Wrap in foil. Place garlic on baking sheet with onion. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes; turn over onion halves. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until onions are soft and begin to brown. Place onion halves on a plate. Return garlic to oven, and bake an additional 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Separate the cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins.

Place roasted pepper, onion, and garlic pulp in a food processor; process until fairly smooth. Add yogurt, cheese, cumin seed, and ground red pepper; process until smooth. Spoon dip into a bowl, and stir in parsley. Cover and chill.

2 Tablespoons = 20 calories. (Great for dipping veggies in too. I used this recipe for my sweet potato FF dipping sauce.)

Thank you Elina for widening my flavor vocabulary. I really enjoyed this sandwich and loved the healthy options.


Beth said...

What a fabulous post with lots of great photos and recipes! I am really tempted by the falafels. I'm always looking for new recipes to make for my family, and I think they'd love this one!

Vicki said...

I LOVE your cake! It is adorable made in these pans. This cake was incredible and I never in a million years would have attempted it on my own. So glad you chose it. As for falafels, I never met one I didn't like so I'm excited about this baked version. The pear salad looks delish.

Joanne said...

That divinity frosting is amazing!

There's so much good food there.

The Felafel was a bit dry for us but had a lot of flavor so we enjoyed it. Just couldn't do the left overs. The little bit of moisture in those things dissipated in air. :)

Eliana said...

What a great post and amazing cake. I am craving a slice of it right now. Any way we can arrange for you to get that to me?

Flourchild said...

Your cake is perfect! ALl the good looks amaze me all the time..I love your cooking style and I want to live with you!

Hanaâ said...

Yay, you made it! Ooooh yum, a three layer cake. It looks beautiful, Shandy!! I’m glad you enjoyed this cake as much as we did. My husband couldn’t stop talking about it. That chocolate cake is a great base for any type of frosting. It’s a keeper!

Your dinner looks pretty tasty too. I never had falafel but that's mainly because I can't eat Tahini (sesame seed allergy).

TeaLady said...

I have never had falafel either but still haven't had a chance to make this yet. But I will. Love your dip. I'm thinking maybe hummus would be good too if cannot find tahini in Podunk USA.

Looks great.

TeaLady said...

Oh, and cake is gorgeous!!!

ButterYum said...

THAT CAKE!!!!! Wow... and that bowl of frosting - love it!!! Great photos, great food. You're making me very hungry!


Chef E said...

WOW, you taunt me with that cake, its okay I confess I have a chocolate doughnut in front of me a friend brought over, lol, not on my exercise program, but hey I have eaten salads for dinner all week!

Love your blog!

Thanks for following me...


Liz said...

Great looking recipes! I wish I had read the reviews for the falafel balls before baking them as mine turned out a bit dry. Good tip for next time though :)

Bri said...

I'm glad to know that baking the falafel for only half the time worked out for you. Now we all know for next time that we don't need to cook them into dust!

By the way, ALL your food here looks amazing! I'm especially jealous of how beautiful you made that cake look. Awesome!

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