Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lost in Translation

It is always a risk baking first thing upon rising in the morning as your brain might not be firing on all cylinders quite yet. But what is even more dangerous is attempting to bake with a recipe not written in your first language at the crack of dawn.

Having had several successes and failures with beating egg whites, I felt pretty confident translating -- battre le 3 blancs d'oeufs en neige -- to: beat them until they look like the soft, fluffy snow on mountain peaks. Not that dry, powdery stuff that makes it impossible to create snowballs... Then you've gone too far.

But with the beaten egg whites still standing ready on the mixer podium, I quickly took incorporer le melange avec blancs d'oeufs the wrong way and dumped the melange of mascarpone, sugar and egg yolks into the egg whites and whipped on the mixer. Flat. Splat. Runny whipped topping for my tiramisu. Something was wrong.

Oh yes, you're supposed to carefully, by hand, INCORPORATE -- this shouldn't have been so difficult since we do have a similar word in English, but for some reason I was thinking MIX, the first word I learned to translate from the French word incorporer.....aaaand probably because I do love to use my mixer so -- le melange avec blancs d'oeufs. Not to mention, I had messed up this process before and knew the quick-mix method with egg whites destroyed their foamy peaks.

But, never fear, I was saved by the leftover coffee from soaking les biscuits I had been drinking.

After a split second of panic when I realized that was the only mascarpone I had, I grabbed three more egg whites and beat them en neige, carefully incorporating the two mixtures together.

So I apologize if the tiramisu is a bit eggy and there are no eggs left in the carton for breakfast. I knew there was good reason for taking advantage of that 'buy one, get one free' sale on eggs at the grocery last week....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pumpkin Protein Bars

A huge fan of granola bars, my only beef with them is the quantity of sugar and the lack of protein they provide. I discovered these tasty bars in a quest for a cheaper and healthier replacement. They keep you satisfied for a long time and the recipe is quite versatile if you want to change up your flavors. I've been making them with pumpkin, but feel free to replace that with plain yogurt, adding also either 1/4 c. canola oil or peanut butter to your batter. You can add dried fruit instead of chocolate (but who wants to do that!), or nuts of any variety. Whatever suits your fancy.

Okay, not the prettiest...but I promise they're tasty! ;)

Pumpkin Protein Bars
Adapted from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe
1 c. soy or whey protein powder (I used vanilla flavored whey)

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

2 c. rolled oats

1/2 c. oat bran

1/2 - 3/4 t. cinnamon

3/4 t. salt

1 c. sweetened coconut

1/2 c. brown sugar (to taste)

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1 c. pumpkin

3/4 c. plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)

2 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a glass 9x13 dish.

Place all dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix together. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Add to dry and blend together well. The dough will be thick so use those muscles! :)

Spoon into baking dish and distribute evenly. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and cut into bars. Place on baking sheet and bake another 15 minutes or until browned around the edges.

These are hearty bars so lil' ones go a long way. I like to freeze them in Ziplocs and snack on them cold straight from the freezer. They serve excellent as an afternoon snack or pre/post-workout fuel.