September 10, 2012

food & fitness: quickbreads

Besides Sous Vide Cooking (and later on in the semester, Modern Sauces), the other cooking-related class I'm taking is called Food & Fitness. I was hoping to learn more about culinary nutrition than I did in the required nutrition class (that turned out much more science-y than I'd hoped). And so far, I have learned a lot about healthful cooking and what not to eat.

Sadly, I'm not big on avoidance. I'd rather eat less and exercise more than keep a list of what I shouldn't be eating and filter all of my available food options through that no-no list. Because that method requires more work/thinking, and because I believe that it also wears down your available willpower, which could be used to do other things.

Anyway! We alternate between lecture classes and lab classes. Our first lab class involved baked goods, mostly muffins/quickbreads. And the fat in those baked goods were substituted with applesauce and prune puree, which works to some degree because those ingredients provide moisture, which is a big part of what fat does for baked goods.

prune puree in batter

Our group of seven (almost all non-culinary students) tackled prune buttermilk bread and raisin bran muffins. The prune buttermilk bread used some margarine but also chopped prunes. The raisin bran muffins used a tiny amount of oil but also applesauce.

raisin bran muffins & prune buttermilk bread

Another group did banana pecan muffins, which had also a tiny amount of oil but prune puree and nonfat yogurt.

banana pecan muffins

Another group did lowfat fudgy brownies, which only had prune puree.

low-fat fudgy brownies

Everything tasted okay in terms of moistness and sweetness, but the missing fat took away from the savoriness. The substitutions are interesting to me, not because I want to be more healthy, but because it's always interesting to know what different ingredients do for a particular product. I tend to substitute greek yogurt for sour cream, because I think the tastes are similar enough (for a baked good or for a dip), but also because I'm more likely to buy greek yogurt because I can eat it with fruit and honey. I think applesauce and prune puree are ingredients I would add in addition to fat instead of to replace fat. It reminds me of the carrot cake I once made with canned pineapples - the carrot cake came out so moist because of that addition.

I think the star of the session was the apricot blackberry cornmeal kuchen, which had an interesting textural grittiness because of the cornmeal. It was almost like gritty cornbread but very airy, and the apricot & blackberries were delicious. I've never thought of those two fruits as a combination, but I'm definitely going to use it from now on.

apricot blackberry cornmeal kuchen

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