December 31, 2013

Hot Chocolate with Coconut Milk

This hot chocolate is much thicker than traditional. You'll only need a small mug to satisfy.

Hot Chocolate with Coconut Milk

1 15-oz. can coconut milk
1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tsp. maple syrup

Pour the coconut milk into a pot and turn the heat on medium-low. Pour in the chocolate and stir constantly. When the chocolate is melted, remove from heat. Add vanilla extract and maple syrup. Use a whisk or immersion blender to completely combine, if needed. Serves 3-4.

December 7, 2013

Chicken Enchiladas with Green Salsa

My new favorite enchilada recipe.

Chicken Enchiladas with Green Salsa
adapted from Tyler Florence

one recipe Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 c. chopped cilantro leaves
3 c. shredded cooked chicken
freshly ground black pepper
10 medium-sized corn tortillas
1/2 pound (2 c.) Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, shredded
sour cream
chopped tomatoes and cilantro leaves, for garnish

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and caramelized - this should take 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin then cook for a further minute. Sprinkle on the flour and stir, and gradually add the chicken stock while stirring. Continue stirring over a low simmer until the flour cooks and the liquid thickens. Turn off the heat, add half of the roasted tomatillo salsa, 1/4 c. chopped cilantro and fold in the shredded chicken meat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and begin assembling the dish. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread some of the reserved tomatillo salsa. Warm the corn tortillas under a damp towel in the microwave. Put a scoop of the shredded chicken-enchilada mix on top of a tortilla followed by a sprinkle of the shredded cheese. Fold the tortilla over the filling and roll up to enclose it. Place the tortilla in the baking dish and continue to do the same with all the tortillas. Finally pour over some more of the salsa and top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cracked on top. Garnish with sour cream, chopped tomatoes and cilantro.

December 3, 2013

Asian Bowl with Kimchi

I LOVED this dish. I have tried several dishes similar, but this one was by far the best. The kimchi makes it shine.

Asian Bowl with Kimchi
adapted from Nourish the Roots

2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked black beans
1 large clove of garlic
1 small piece (about 1 inch) fresh ginger
2 carrots
small bunch of kale
olive oil
avocado, diced
black sesame seeds for garnish
splash of rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, tamari or soy sauce
one sheet of nori seaweed, cut or torn into small strips

1. Distribute cooked rice and beans between two bowls. Set aside.

2. Chop the garlic. Peel and chop the fresh ginger. Set aside. Julienne the carrots (or shred/grate them). De-stem the kale and chop into thin ribbons. Set aside.

3. In a large frying pan, add some olive oil, chopped garlic, and ginger. On medium low heat, warm the garlic and ginger until it just begins to be fragrant. Add the carrots and kale and a pinch of salt. Stir continuously just until the kale begins to wilt. Remove from the heat.

4. Add a splash of rice vinegar, more salt, and a little bit of toasted sesame oil, and some tamari (or soy sauce), to the greens. Season to taste. Arrange the greens in the bowls with the rice and beans. Top with kimchi, nori, and diced avocado. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

November 30, 2013

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Every time I make this cake my photo is absolutely horrible.  The cake is delicious, despite my inability to photograph it.

Lemon Yogurt Cake
from Ina Garten

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the coconut oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Banana Chocolate Oat Clusters

These are a perfect snack for my toddler. I keep them in the freezer and just pull out what I need.

Banana Chocolate Oat Clusters
from Once a Month Meals

3 ripe bananas
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon
dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mash bananas in a large bowl, then stir in remaining ingredients. Let batter stand for approximately 20 minutes, then drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

2/3 c. maple syrup, grade B recommended
1/3 c. water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
dash cloves
12 oz. fresh or frozen cranberries

Add all ingredients except cranberries to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 5 minutes. Add cranberries and cook for 15 minutes. The berries will burst and the sauce will thicken up. Let cool and store in the refrigerator.

November 19, 2013

Roasted Acorn Slices

I'm still learning to love squash, but these roasted acorn slices were a pleasure to eat.

Roasted Acorn Squash Slices

1 acorn squash
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Wash the outside of the squash and dry. Cut squash in half through the stem. Scoop out seeds. Lay squash half flat on a cutting board and cut 1/4-inch slices, so that the pieces are half-moon shaped. Toss the acorn squash in olive oil and spread in a single layer over a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn and spread the acorn squash again and roast another 10 minutes.

Lemon Poppy Seed Granola

Oh my, this granola is so good! Very zingy with tons of lemon flavor.

Lemon Poppy Seed Granola
adapted from Dessert for Two

1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened, if possible)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. honey
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a small cookie sheet.

In a small bowl, stir together the oats, coconut, lemon zest, poppy seeds, salt and sunflower seeds.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter, honey, lemon juice and almond extract. Once thoroughly melted, add to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Spread granola evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 9 minutes. Stir well (the edges of the pan will brown faster). Bake for another 7-9 minutes until golden brown. Check often so it doesn't burn. Serve with yogurt.

Apple Cake with Honey Glaze

My mom recommended I try this recipe and it was delicious!

Apple Cake with Honey Glaze
adapted from Paula Deen

3 cups diced, peeled apples
1 cup lightly toasted chopped walnuts (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups coconut oil, melted
3 eggs

Honey glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a Bundt pan or tube pan.

In a bowl, mix together the apples, walnuts, vanilla, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Using an electric mixer beat the sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl. Add in the dry ingredients and beat until completely combined. Fold in the apple mixture.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60 - 75 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cake to fully cool in the pan, about 1 hour, and then turn it out onto a plate. Meanwhile, whisk together glaze ingredients until smooth.

Drizzle the apple cake with some of the honey glaze, serve and enjoy. Wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator.

November 5, 2013

Pumpkin Puree - whole squash method

I've been making my own pumpkin puree for a few years now using this method. I've recently discovered a much easier way to do it! Cutting squash is hard work and always seems a bit dangerous. Instead cook the pumpkin (or try other squash) whole, and then cut it. I usually cook two pumpkins at once.

Wash and dry pumpkin. Place one drop of olive oil into palm of hands, then rub hands onto dry pumpkin. Place pumpkin on a foil covered sheet into a 350° oven; do not poke or pierce with a knife. Bake for one to two hours, depending on size of the pumpkin. You'll know it's ready when the pumpkin is slightly browned, dents easily with a wooden spoon, and there is a pumpkin aroma filling the kitchen. Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Cut in half with a serrated knife. Remove and discard seeds (or save them for roasting) and stringy center. Now scoop the flesh from the skin and put into a large bowl. Whip with an electric mixer or immersion blender until smooth. Refrigerate or freeze until needed.

October 14, 2013

Spelt Biscuits

Use freshly ground spelt flour for a hearty take on the biscuit.

Spelt Biscuits
from So Good and Tasty

3/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 1/2 cups spelt flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the milk and vinegar (alternatively you can use buttermilk), set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Using your hands, rub in the butter into the flour mixture until you have roughly little pea size bits.

Stir in the milk mixture with a wooden spoon. You should have a shaggy doughy mess, don't worry if it seems dry at this point. Dump everything out onto a clean surface and knead the dough 10-15 times just until all the flour is worked in.

Flatten the dough out into a 1" thick circle and use a biscuit cutter to make neat rounds of dough. Gather together any remaining dough scraps and repeat until you have 8-10 biscuits cut out. Place them on a baking pan and bake for 18-20 minutes. Serve warm.

September 10, 2013

Garlic Dijon Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin has to be my favorite cut of pork. This recipe was very simple and full of flavor. My pork looks undercooked, but I did check the temperature to ensure it was high enough.

Garlic Dijon Pork Tenderloin
from Handle the Heat

1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Dijon style mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the tenderloin in a shallow baking dish.

Combine the olive oil, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, rosemary, and thyme in a small bowl. Rub the mixture evenly onto the tenderloins. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer registers 155°F. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into thick slices and serving.

September 4, 2013

Ginger Cake

I love ginger, so I've been dreaming about making this cake forever. It is delicious and I suppose like a gingerbread cake.

Ginger Cake
from Epicurious

4 ounces fresh ginger
1 cup mild molasses
1 cup sugar
1 cup coconut oil, melted
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs, at room temperature

Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 by 3-inch round cake pan or a 9 1/2 inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper.

Peel, slice, and chop the ginger very fine with a knife (or use a grater). Mix together the molasses, sugar, and oil. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper.

Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan, stir in the baking soda, and then mix the hot water into the molasses mixture. Stir in the ginger.

Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the batter. Add the eggs, and continue mixing until everything is thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 1 hour, until the top of the cake springs back lightly when pressed or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If the top of the cake browns too quickly before the cake is done, drape a piece of foil over it and continue baking.

Cool the cake for at least 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Remove the cake from the pan and peel off the parchment paper.

September 3, 2013

Fermented Pickles

These fermented pickles were easy to make and are very tasty. I was determined to make my own pickles this summer when I discovered the brand I had been buying had food dye in it.

Fermented Pickles
adapted from My Humble Kitchen

about 24 small 4"-5" pickling cucumbers
6 cloves garlic, ends removed and smashed
6 bay leaves (2 bay leaves per jar)
2 1/2 Tbsp pickling spice - see below
fresh dill, cut into smaller sprigs
6 Tbsp kosher salt

Properly clean 3 quart sized mason jars.

Gently clean and remove flower ends from cucumbers.

To each quart sized mason jar, stack the bottom with as many cucumbers as you can fit.

Divide the pickling spice between the jars.

To each jar, add 2 garlic cloves, and 2 bay leaves.

Add a good amount of dill to each jar, then fill each jar with as many more cucumbers as you can fit. Do not allow the cucumbers to go up into the band area. Make sure there's 1" headspace between the top of the jar and the lid.

On the stovetop, heat 1 quart of filtered water with 6 Tbsp of salt until it dissolves. Once the salt dissolves into the water, remove from heat. Add 1 1/3 cups of the salt solution brine to each jar.

Fill the remainder of the jars with enough filtered water to cover all the ingredients.

Place a lid on each jar and give it a good shake to mix the water and salt brine solution. Make sure to check after shaking that all the ingredients are submerged. Place the jar in a cool dark place.

After one week, open the jars to allow the gases to escape. Close up jars and return to a cool, dark place.

After two weeks, move the jars to the refrigerator. They will last at least 6 months.

Pickling Spice

1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 Tbsp whole allspice
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp whole cloves

Combine ingredients.

August 31, 2013

Rye Waffles

Rye Waffles with Black Raspberry Sauce
from Naturally Ella

2/3 cup rye flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup regular or greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk or almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup black raspberries (or substitute blueberries)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat waffle iron and preheat oven to 200˚.
In a bowl, combine rye flour, wheat flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, molasses, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Pour some of the batter into a waffle iron and cook according to iron’s instructions. Remove from iron and place on a baking tray. place tray in oven and keep waffles warm while making the rest.

While waffles cook, combine black raspberries, maple syrup, and lemon juice in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer until ready to use.

August 28, 2013

Gazpacho with Croutons

from Ina Garten

1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess!

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.


stale, crusty bread
olive oil

Cut bread into crouton-sized cubes. Place in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, salt and a little pepper. Toss to coat. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add bread and stir occasionally, cooking until croutons are browned.

August 27, 2013

Key Lime Pie Gelato

Key Lime Pie Gelato
from Cookin Canuck

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Key lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
3/4 cup crushed graham crackers, frozen

In a medium saucepan, combine milk and cream and heat over medium-low heat until small bubbles start to form around the outer edge of the pan, stirring occasionally. While the milk and cream are heating, whisk together egg yolks and then add in sugar, continue to beat until pale yellow.

When the milk and cream have reached 170º F temper the egg yolks by adding a cup or two of the hot cream to them and slowly while constantly whisking. Add the mixture to the pan, pouring slowly and whisking. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick enough to cover the back of a wooden spoon and reaches 185º F, without allowing it to boil.

Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any possible lumps. Slowly add in lime juice, vanilla extract and lime zest. Cool slowly to room temperature, stirring every so often, and then cover and refrigerate until cold.

Once the gelato mix is cold, freeze it in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. Stir in frozen graham cracker crumbs and transfer immediately to an airtight container. Freeze until firm and serve.

August 26, 2013

Pureed Beet Soup

So long time, no post. I've decided to make some changes to the blog. My main purpose is to catalog recipes I've made so I can easily find them for future use. So to help me do that, I may post recipes with no prose or photo. I don't want to let the fancy extras get in my way of recording good food! I do have some words and a photo for you today, though.

It's beet season in my CSA, so I reluctantly tried this beet soup. I'm still on the fence about beets, but I seriously loved this soup! It's creamy and sweet and probably a good introduction to beets for those who are just getting to know this gorgeous vegetable.

Pureed Beet Soup
adapted from Dishing Up the Dirt

1 tbsp coconut oil
3 large red beets, scrubbed clean and cut into 1/4 inch pieces (if organic, no need to peel)
1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk
4-5 cups of vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pan heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beets, garlic and ginger. Cook for about 3-5 more minutes stirring often. Add 4 cups of vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer for about 25 minutes. Add cayenne pepper. Make sure beets are fork tender, and then carefully with a blender or immersion blender, puree the soup. Add more stock or water if it is too thick. Add coconut milk. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

July 30, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

These bars whip up and bake in a jiffy and are delicious. The original recipe says do not use natural peanut butter. So many recipes say that, and I'm beginning to doubt that it's a problem. I've made these several times with natural peanut butter (the kind where the oil separates), and they are totally fine.

Another ingredient swap I make now - I no longer buy brown sugar. Brown sugar literally is granulated white sugar with molasses added back in. I buy organic sugar from Costco for a decent price, so when I'm not using a better sugar, like maple syrup or sucanat, I feel good about this brand of organic sugar. It's slightly less processed (larger granules and a little brown in color), and it's not GMO. Did you know sugar is one of the common GMO crops?

In a recipe like this, where the brown sugar gets mixing time, I just add the sugar and molasses separately. If you need brown sugar and don't have a mixing step in the recipe, go ahead and mix the sugar and molasses together with a mixer or food processor. I don't usually measure the molasses, but you should add anywhere from 1 1/2 Tbsp. to 1/4 cup molasses per cup of sugar.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars
adapted from Averie Cooks

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1 large egg
1 c. organic sugar (or try 1 c. sucanat and omit the molasses)
2 tsp. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup creamy, natural peanut butter
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt, to taste (depends on the salt content of the peanut butter)
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with some butter; set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. Allow the butter to cool for a few minutes. Add the egg, sugar, molasses, vanilla, and stir vigorously to combine, for about 1 minute.

Stir in the peanut butter. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and stir until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until center is just set and golden. Bars will firm up more in pan as they cool.

Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Store extra bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

July 23, 2013

Indian Dry Rub Chicken

This is a fabulous recipe with lots of flavor for chicken thighs. I like serving it with rice and an easy vegetable, like sauteed greens.

Indian Dry Rub Chicken
adapted from Maya Adam

8-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tsp ground coriander
1.5 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder (mild)
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
Less then 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
juice of 1 small lemon
2 tsp fresh ginger
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 green serrano chili
1/2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp olive oil for searing
cilantro for garnish (optional)

Place chicken thighs in a large mixing bowl. Add in ground coriander, chili powder, cumin, dry mustard powder, ground turmeric, salt, sugar, and lemon juice.

Use a garlic press on the cloves of garlic (or just mince finely), adding them to the bowl of chicken. Use garlic press on a small knob of ginger (or grate or mince it finely) and add it to the bowl. Lastly, use the garlic press on the serrano chile (or mince it finely) and add to the bowl.

Mix everything together with your hands to evenly distribute all the spices. Cover and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours, or up to 24 hours.

Heat up a skillet on medium-high, add olive oil and lay the chicken on the pan in a single layer (may need to do several batches). Cook until the chicken is golden brown, and then flip over. Cook this side until golden brown. Test if it is done by cutting into one to make sure there is no pink meat. If chicken is browning too fast, turn down the heat. Serve with rice and vegetables.

July 19, 2013

Black Bean, Rice, Guacamole, and Salsa Burritos

I've found an easy, delicious combination that I keep returning to - black beans, rice, guacamole, and salsa.  Pictured below are these items gathered for a simple lunch with a friend for assemble your own.  I also had sour cream, but I really think these burritos taste better without the sour cream.

When I plan my menu for the week I purposely plan at least one meal around beans, and this one is quick and yummy, so we have it a lot.  In the winter I like to use grape tomatoes, but in summer use any kind that are ripe.  Also, I've worked in cooking up a large pot of beans and then freezing them in smaller quantities for later use to my routine.

Black Bean, Rice, Guacamole, and Salsa Burritos

2 cups home-cooked black beans or 1 can black beans
olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper
cooked brown rice
guacamole (1 avocado, lime juice, salt, cilantro)
salsa (tomatoes, lime juice, salt, cilantro, green onions)
shredded cheddar cheese
flour tortillas

Add a drizzle of olive oil to a large skillet.  Heat over medium heat and add onions and garlic.  Saute until onions are translucent.  Add beans (drained, but can leave some liquid), cumin, chili powder,  and salt and pepper to taste.  Use more salt if using home-cooked beans.  Stir to combine and cook until beans are heated through.

Make guacamole by peeling and removing the pit of one avocado.  Mash with a fork in a bowl.  Add freshly squeezed lime juice, salt, and chopped cilantro.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

Make salsa by chopping 1 large or a couple small tomatoes.  Chop cilantro and green onions and add to tomatoes.  Add freshly squeezed lime juice, salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Stir to combine.

Assemble burritos: Over one tortilla, layer cheese, a scoop of beans, rice, salsa, and guacamole.  Roll up or fold in half like a taco.

July 18, 2013

Fried Green Tomato Salad

Anything breaded and fried (in this case, just pan-fried) usually tastes amazing. These fried green tomatoes are no exception. The original recipe said to fry them in a half inch of oil, but I find that just a generous coating of oil is good enough to get a crunchy crust and to soften the inside. Also warm, breaded tomatoes over salad is the perfect combination.

Fried Green Tomato Salad

2 large green tomatoes
1 egg
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
lettuce, washed and chopped
cucumbers, peeled and sliced
blue cheese or ranch salad dressing

Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-size bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs and salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat. In a large skillet, pour olive oil and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels. Serve Fried Green Tomatoes over a bed of lettuce and cucumbers with blue cheese or ranch dressing.

July 16, 2013

CSA Week 4 and Garlic Scape Pesto

Week 4 of my CSA: kale, baby bok choy, lettuce, cucumber, scallions, garlic scapes, green tomato, and a tomato plant. (tomato and tomato plant not pictured)  I'm a little behind on posting, so I actually can't quite remember how I used up all these delicious veggies.  I will share a fried green tomato salad later.

I overheard someone at the farmer's market talking about garlic scape pesto and decided I would try it. Um, delicious! It's very garlicy, but different than regular garlic cloves. It's strong, but possibly a little more mellow. I ate the pesto over pasta and gobbled it down. The next day I put on top of salmon.

Garlic Scape Pesto
adapted from Food 52

1 cup garlic scapes, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste

Add the scapes and pine nuts (or walnuts) to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until everything is broken up a bit. Then turn the processor back on, and with it running, add the oil a little at a time until it's fully incorporated. Add cheese, pulse, then season with salt and pepper to taste. This won't brown like basil pesto will, so if you're not using immediately, just store in a container in the fridge for up to a week.

July 11, 2013

Chicken, Bell Pepper, and Kale Stir Fry

A good stir fry is hard to beat. I wish I could just throw something together, but when I do, it's never very good. So when I make an amazing stir fry recipe, I have to keep it around. This one was so tasty. The kale cooks down enough that my husband didn't mind it.

Chicken, Bell Pepper, and Kale Stir Fry
adapted from I Food Real
serves 4

3 bell peppers, medium (any color), thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, sliced in rounds
5 cups kale, roughly chopped
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, medium, crushed
2 tbsp sesame seed oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
Splash of water
Sesame seeds and chopped green onions for garnish (optional)

1/4 cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp hot pepper flakes, crushed

2 cups cooked brown rice

Preheat wok or large skillet on medium high and add 1 tbsp sesame seed oil. Add 1/3 of crushed garlic and 1/2 of grated ginger. Stir fry for 10 seconds. Add chicken and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally; draining the liquid. Remove from wok and set aside.

Add remaining 1 tbsp of sesame seed oil, 2/3 of crushed garlic and 1/2 of grated ginger. Stir fry for 10 seconds. Add kale, bell peppers, carrots and water. Cover and cook until vegetables are crisp tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small bowl whisk with a fork all ingredients and set aside.

Add the sauce to the wok. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately with sesame seeds and green onions over half cup rice per serving.

July 10, 2013

Barley Crepes with Bananas

L-O-V-E my grain mill and all the possibilities it opens up for different flours. Freshly ground flour is more healthful and usually lower cost as well. I have made baked goods with spelt, rye, barley, and buckwheat flours that I ground, and I have always been pleasantly surprised at the end product - lighter than I expect and very tasty. I enjoy trying different flours because of the variety - in taste, but also nutrition.

I've recently been following the blog Naturally Ella, and she loves different flours and recently announced she will be a releasing a cookbook focusing on various grains/flours! These crepes are amazing. The topping is almost too sweet, but the yogurt balances it out.

Barley Crepes with Bananas
adapted from Naturally Ella

1/4 cup barley flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1 cup whole milk greek or regular yogurt

2 medium bananas
4 teaspoons honey
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Whisk together barley flour, salt, eggs, milk, and oil until smooth. Heat 8″ skillet and lightly grease with oil. Place a scant fourth-cup of batter in pan. Quickly tilt the pan so that the batter covers the entire pan and cook for about 30 seconds. Flip and cook for another 15 seconds. Remove to a plate and repeat until all batter is used up.

Peel and cut banana into half-inch slices. Combine with honey and cinnamon in a skillet over medium heat. Let simmer, turning bananas at least once, until bananas are tender, 3-4 minutes.

To assemble crepes, spread a fourth-cup of yogurt on one side of the crepe, layer a few bananas, and fold in half. Repeat with remaining crepes. Drizzle remaining banana mixture over top.

July 9, 2013

CSA Week 3 and Quinoa Patties

Green vegetables all around!  Two bunches curly kale, red spring onions, bok choy, cucumber, swiss chard, two lettuce heads, and a bunch of basil.

This week's recipes have left my memory.  I know I made a frittata that used potatoes, red onion, chard, and blue cheese.  Other than that I made these quinoa patties from 101 Cookbooks.  I made another version of these from her cookbook, Super Natural Every Day, that I've been meaning to share, but this version wins because of the added kale.  I eat them with a little sriracha, but they would probably taste good on top of a simple salad as well.

Kale Quinoa Patties
adapted from 101 Cookbooks

2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh dill or 2 tsp. dried dill
1 cup finely chopped kale
1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon (toasted) cumin
1 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
water or a bit of flour, if needed

1/3 cup crumbled feta

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or clarified butter

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, dill, kale, onion, garlic, and cumin. Stir well.

Add the baking powder and bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture.

Gently stir in the feta.

At this point, you should have a mixture you can easily form into twelve 1-inch / 2.5cm thick patties. If needed, add more bread crumbs for if the mixture is too moist, or if too dry, add a bit more beaten egg or water. If you're still having trouble getting the mixture to hold - mix in flour, a couple tablespoons at a time.

Oil a baking sheet, and arrange the patties with a bit of space between each. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the bottoms are brown. Flip and bake for another 5 minutes.

Enjoy hot, or allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.

Makes about a dozen patties.

June 29, 2013

CSA - Week 2 and Kale, Onion, and Garlic Pizza

CSA Week 2 - red chard, dill, cucumber, parsnips, lettuce, purple kale.  I've been adding the chard without stems to our nightly smoothies instead of spinach.  With the parsnips, I made a pureed parsnip and potato soup that was delicious.  I used the dill in our favorite Tuna Nicoise Salad.  The lettuce and cucumber were eaten in salad.

I am so excited about this pizza with kale.  I can't wait to make it again - it was delicious.  I'm sure it would work with any variety of kale.

Kale, Onion, and Garlic Pizza

1 bunch kale, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, sliced thin and cut into inch-long pieces
1 large clove garlic, minced
olive oil
3 oz. fresh mozzarella, shredded or torn into small pieces
1/4 c. shredded parmesan
1 pizza crust

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 500.

In a skillet over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil and the onions. Saute until softened, about five minutes. Add kale and saute until wilted, just a few minutes. Remove from heat.

Over rolled out pizza dough, brush on a tablespoon or two of olive oil and minced garlic. Add kale and onion mixture, and top with both cheeses.

Transfer pizza to stone in oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is starting to brown and cheese is melted and golden in spots.

June 28, 2013

Chocolate Cherry Tarts

Summer fruit is in full swing - berries, stone fruits, and cherries! These chocolate cherry tarts were so fun and delicious. I really enjoyed the cherry flavor enhanced by the dark chocolate. I also added a little almond extract to the mousse of one of the tarts, which was good too. Another variation is to sprinkle some unsweetened coconut flakes on top, but the basic version is plenty exciting.

This is yet another in my coconut milk spree. I am so impressed by its versatility and ability to substitute for dairy in an amazing way.

Chocolate Cherry Tarts
adapted from Flourishing Foodie

1 can full-fat coconut milk
3/4 c. chocolate chips
almond extract (optional)

4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
14 Tbsp. flour (1 cup minus 2 Tbsp)
1/4 c. cocoa powder

1 c. cherries, whole, or pitted and chopped or halved

For chocolate mousse:
Chill can of full-fat coconut milk upside down in the fridge overnight. When ready, flip can over and open with can opener. Pour off the water and save it for another use. Scoop the remaining solid white coconut cream into a small saucepan. Add the chocolate chips and gently melt the coconut cream and the chocolate chips together over low heat. Stir frequently and be careful not to burn. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight until it firms up. When ready to assemble the tarts, you may need to let the mousse sit out for a bit till it softens and is spreadable.

For tart crusts:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease four 4" tart shells lightly. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, coconut oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until just combined. Add the egg yolk. Turn the speed to low, add the sifted flour and cocoa powder. Mix until all of the ingredients have come together.

Turn the dough onto the counter. Knead together with your hands into a ball. Divide the dough into eight sections. With your fingers, press the dough into the 4" tart shells, starting with the base and then pressing up the sides. Trim away the extra with a knife. Prick the base of the shells with a fork. Place the tart shells onto a baking sheet and place into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and press down the base of the shells with a fork, if they have puffed up. Set to the side and let completely cool.

Once the tarts have cooled, gently pop them out of their molds by squeezing the edges lightly and then pushing up from the bottom of the mold, or tap gently on the bottom of the mold. They should pop out with no fuss. If you are having difficulty, try using a tooth pick to pry them out. Set to the side.

Assemble the tarts by spreading the mousse filling into the tart crusts. Top with cherries.

June 27, 2013

Strawberry Ice Cream with Coconut Milk

I have been making this strawberry gelato recipe every year now and love it. The key is to use the ripest strawberries you can find, preferably freshly picked. This year I tried a coconut milk version and was very pleased! Coconut milk ice cream is a little icier than regular ice cream, but just let it sit out a little before scooping it.

Strawberry Ice Cream with Coconut Milk

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 can full-fat coconut milk
2 1/4 cups sliced hulled strawberries (or 2 cups pureed strawberries)

Stir sugar and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in coconut milk. Whisk over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into bowl. Cool over ice, stirring occasionally.

Puree strawberries in processor. Stir into ice cream base. Chill for a few hours. Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to container. Cover; freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.

June 25, 2013

CSA - Week 1 and Sauteed Kale with Salmon

In 2010, I documented my CSA (community supported agriculture) share each week and the ways/recipes I used to prepare the produce. I am going to do the same with my CSA this year as it helps motivate me to be creative with the vegetables and fruits I receive.

It's been a cold, rainy start to the summer, so the growing is slow to start.  The first week I received kale, blue potatoes, cucumber, lettuce, green garlic (looks like green onions), and chives.

I thought it would be fun to make a mixed potato dish by making Roasted Potatoes with blue potatoes, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes.  I also used some chives.  This was a fun dish, but didn't taste as exciting as it looked.  It's still just roasted potatoes (which are good!).

My husband still won't eat seafood, but I recently decided to make an effort to eat salmon for lunch once a week with my toddler.  This lunch was so good - one I gobbled up.

Sauteed Kale and Green Garlic with Salmon and Rice

1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 bunch green garlic, white and light green parts, sliced or 1 clove garlic, minced
olive oil
salt and pepper
salmon fillet
white and black sesame seeds (optional)
fresh lemon juice

Heat olive oil in a pan (cast iron adds a lot of flavor) over medium heat. If using green garlic, add to pan and saute for a few minutes before adding kale. If using garlic clove, add garlic and kale at the same time. Saute, stirring frequently until kale is slightly wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Salmon: Season with salt and pepper and white and black sesame seeds (optional). Add to pan with a splash of olive oil (make the kale, and then use the same pan). Allow salmon to cook for a few minutes until golden brown. Flip over and cook a few minutes more until the flesh flakes easily with a fork. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top and garnish with chives (optional). Serve on top of the kale with brown rice.

June 24, 2013

Coconut Whipped Cream

I absolutely love berry picking. I went to a fabulous berry farm and picked strawberries, and they were beautiful. They are fabulous just eaten plain, but I also enjoy a little extra sweetness too. I topped a bowl of sliced strawberries with coconut whipped cream and cacao nibs, and it was heaven.

I've recently discovered coconut whipped cream and am delighted with its prospects (another recipe coming using coconut milk as cream). There is a slight flavor that gives away its true identity, but if you're not looking for it, I think it's pretty undetectable. I don't have anything against real cream (especially organic, grass-fed cream), but I like having options. This is an easy way to reduce animal/dairy products and is a perfect option for those with lactose intolerance.

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 can full-fat coconut milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
powdered sugar or maple syrup, to taste

Put the can of coconut milk upside down in the fridge for at least several hours to help separate the cream from the milk. Flip can over and open it. The watery milk should be at the top. Pour it off and save for another use. The firmer cream should be left in the can. Scoop into a bowl. Use a mixer to whip the cream to a nice consistency. Add vanilla and sweetener (start with just a few teaspoons) and whip to combine. Taste and add more sweetener if necessary. Store the whipped cream in the fridge, because as it warms up, it will start to melt.

June 19, 2013

Bulk Obsession and Farro and Roasted Sweet Potatoes

I have a bulk foods obsession. There are several reasons why, but one of the primary reasons is long-term storage. I'm working towards building up a usable supply of food, and dry items that store well make up the majority of it right now. I also love being able to buy small amounts of an item that I don't use that much or might expire before I use it up. Honestly, I find it down right exciting to browse the bulk bins and see the variety and usually good prices.

I think it all started with 101Cookbooks, an amazing, inspiring blog. For one so seemingly modest and quiet, somehow Heidi (the author of 101 Cookbooks) has influenced my kitchen life in so many ways. She does not push any trends or ideas; she is just herself, and that is the trend. She just leads her quiet life, and slowly I absorb it all. She is vegetarian, cooks in season, shops at farmers markets and small shops (ethnic or bakeries), cooks from scratch, shuns processed foods, stocks a variety of grains and flours, leads a simple life, and admires the everyday beauty of life.

I mainly use canning jars for storage, but have also mixed in reused jars. My labels are either cut from the package and stored inside the jar or written on a piece of masking/scotch tape on the outside of the jar. I don't like making permanent labels because I mix up the jar I use depending on the quantity of the item. Sometimes items are bought in traditional packaging, but once open I find it easier to store in an airtight container, like a jar.

This is a list of what is pictured above:
masa harina
7-grain cereal
golden raisins
real salt
sunflower seeds
cocoa powder
large flake coconut
turbinado sugar
shredded cocunt
poppy seeds
semolina flour
mung beans
steel-cut oats
brown basmati rice
corn meal
yellow split peas
red lentils
pearled barley
soft wheat berries
spelt berries
risotto rice
black beams
pinto beans
dried red peppers
cannelini beans
sesame seeds

So in that vein, I finally found farro in the bulk section of my local health food store. I have been searching for it for years. Having seen it several times in a sealed bag, I always passed it up because it was so expensive. Farro is a grain common in Italy, but I've usually seen that barley is a good substitute. Well, I'll tell you the truth - barley and farro are very similar, in looks, taste, and texture. So now that I know, I'll probably stick with barley most of the time.

Farro and Roasted Sweet Potatoes
from 101 Cookbooks

2 cups farro, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
5 cups water (or stock)
3 cups sweet potatoes OR butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large red onion cut into 1/8ths
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup walnuts, deeply toasted
3 tablespoons toasted walnut oil (or more olive oil)
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine the farro, salt, and water in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender, 45 minutes to an hour, or about half the time if you are using semi-pearled farro. Taste often as it is cooking, you want it to be toothsome and retain structure. Remove from heat, drain any excess water, and set aside.

While the farro is cooking toss the squash, onion, and thyme with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a couple big pinches of salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer and place in the oven for about 20 minutes. Toss the squash and onions every 5-7 minutes to get browning on multiple sides. Remove from the oven, let cool a bit, and mince just 1/2 of the red onions.

In a large bowl gently toss the everything (except the goat cheese) with the toasted walnut oil (or olive oil). Taste and add a bit of salt if necessary. Serve family-style in a simple bowl or on a platter garnished with the goat cheese.

June 11, 2013

Beet Bliss Salad

This salad was one of the first things I ever made with beets. It was buried in a CSA post from 2010 with no accompanying photo, and I thought it deserved its own post. If you don't like beets or have never tried them, I recommend this recipe. Maple-sweetened dressing, goat cheese, and pecans really make this salad fabulous!

Beet Bliss Salad
adapted from Eating Well

3 medium beets
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 c. baby spinach or mixed salad greens
1/2 cups Maple-Mustard vinaigrette
2 Tbsp. chopped toasted pecans
2 ounces crumbled goat cheese

Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette
1/2 cup walnut oil or olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. coarse-grained mustard
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Make the vinaigrette by combining all ingredients except oil. Mix well. Slowly whisk in the oil. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Rinse the beets and trim off any leafy tops. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in the oven. Roast until tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel using a paring knife or by pushing the skin with your fingers.

Slice the beets, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To assemble the salad, combine spinach and beets (cold or slightly warm) and top with vinaigrette, pecans, and goat cheese. Gently toss and serve.

June 8, 2013

Cocoa Brownies

I have plenty of brownie recipes already on this site, but I wanted one that used cocoa instead of chocolate. Even though I buy chocolate very frequently, it still seems like a precious commodity. So a brownie made with cocoa sounded like a good idea. These brownies were very rich and fudgey, but in a different way than, say, these fudgy brownies. I'm not even sure how to describe it. At first I thought they were cakey, but then they seemed fudgy, so maybe the longer they sat out (which wasn't very long), they turned more fudgy. Not sure, but I guess I'll have to make them again to find out!

Cocoa Brownies
from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold, large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 325℉. Line the bottom and sides of a 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

3. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

4. Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely on a cooling rack.

5. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

June 7, 2013

Meyer Lemon Pancakes

Since my last Meyer lemon spree, I bought another bag, knowing it was only a matter of time until they disappeared till next year. These pancakes are fluffy and lemony and excellent topped with fruit. Here I threw some frozen blueberries and a splash of maple syrup into a small saucepan and simmered for a few minutes until juicy and thawed. I can't wait for local, fresh berries to be available.

Meyer Lemon Pancakes
adapted from Olla Podrida

1 cup all-purpose flour (or whole-wheat pastry flour)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
1/3 cup almond milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tbsp. Meyer lemon juice (or regular lemon juice)
1 tbsp. Meyer lemon zest (or regular lemon zest)
1 tbsp. unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together egg, yogurt, milk, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, and melted butter until smooth. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir batter until combined. Batter will be thick.

Preheat a nonstick griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat, until a drop of water will skitter around the surface of the pan. Lightly grease and then, using a fourth-cup measuring cup, spoon batter onto hot surface. Cook until golden, then flip the pancakes and cook until golden on the other side. Makes 6-8 pancakes.

June 6, 2013

Turnip Soup and Vegetable Broth

So what did I do with my turnips from my farmer's market visit? This fabulous pureed turnip soup, which was so simple and so good.

I was able to use a vegetable broth I made and froze a few weeks earlier, and it did not disappoint. This will be my go-to vegetable broth recipe from now on. I love how it uses vegetable scraps - which I collected after just a few days (green part of leeks, onion skins and roots, carrot tips and peels, herb stems, etc. - just wash the entire vegetable before using, that way the scraps will be clean). If you know you will make the broth within a few days, you can store the scraps in the refrigerator. Otherwise toss them in a ziploc bag and store in the freezer until you make the broth.

Turnip Soup
adapted from Pitchfork Diaries

2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
3 cups cubed turnips
6 c. vegetable broth
white pepper
chives, chopped (optional)

Melt butter in heavy bottomed soup pot. Sprinkle flour over melted butter and stir to combine. Gradually whisk in stock until all incorporated. Add cubed turnip, bring to a gentle boil, and then reduce to a simmer until turnip is tender, about 20-25 minutes.

Puree soup either in a blender or with an immersion blender. Return to low heat, and then season with salt and white pepper. Top with chopped chives.

Vegetable Broth
from Spain in Iowa

2 onions, sliced 1/4"
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 quarts water
3 large cups extra vegetable pieces (bits, ends, and scraps)
Stems of one bunch of parsley
fennel sprigs (optional)

In a stockpot, bring 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Saute for 3-5 minutes or until the onions just begin to turn transparent.

Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and sweat for 30 minutes or until the onions caramelize and turn a nice golden brown.

Add 3 quarts of water and vegetable pieces. Cover, lower the heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Turn the heat off, then and add the parsley and fennel sprigs to the stock. Cover and allow to cool. Once cooled, strain the stock from the vegetables making sure to compress the vegetables to get every ounce of stock out of them. Store in the refrigerator or freeze for a later use.

June 4, 2013

Nori Wraps with Tempeh

I've been feeling a bit uninspired recently about food. Lately there's not much in my kitchen that is screaming "make me." But while my pantry is plenty stocked with grains, flours, pastas, lentils, legumes, etc., my refrigerator has been pretty devoid of fresh vegetables or fruits. I'm pretty picky about grocery store produce (in season and mostly organic is what I prefer), so I've relied more on canned (tomatoes) or frozen, which is very boring.

Our local farmer's market opened up this weekend, and I found a reason to cook again. Only a few vendors had vegetables as our growing season starts later here in Vermont, but I found plenty to keep me happy for a few days. My CSA starts in a few weeks, and seeing how much I am looking forward to it helps me realize how I have actually changed my diet and tastes in a fundamental way. Slowly, I really have come to love vegetables instead of forcing myself to eat them because I know I should. I so hope my daughter can grow up in a place where vegetables are the center of our diet. I used to start my meal planning focused on meat, but now I really do start with the vegetables. I have more confidence and skills now that I can go shopping for vegetables, and then plan a way to use it, instead of the opposite order. So when I bought the following items at the market this weekend, I knew I'd have no problem using it up, even though I didn't specifically have a plan.

Green lettuce, spinach, turnips, green onions, and radishes:

I came home from the market and made some nori wraps using the radishes and green onions, and some carrots, cucumber, barley, and tempeh I already had. I've been making these often lately, and always crave them. They are very versatile - choose any grain, vegetables, and herbs. I've had several delicious combinations and never been disappointed.

Tempeh is my choice of protein for these wraps. Tempeh is a fermented soy product like tofu, but I prefer it to tofu (and I don't mind tofu). Firmer in texture than tofu, tempeh has a chew to it. It's sold right next to tofu in my grocery store, is very affordable, and keeps a long time.

Nori Wraps with Tempeh

Serves one

1/2 package of tempeh
soy sauce, tamari, soy-free aminos, etc.
olive oil
2 nori sheets (usually sold for wrapping sushi)
1/2 c. cooked grain (any kind of rice, barley, quinoa)
julienned vegetables (carrot, red bell pepper, cucumber, green onion, radish)
fresh herbs (cilantro, chives)

Slice the tempeh into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Lay the slices flat in a shallow dish. Drizzle soy sauce and a little olive oil on top. Toss to coat.

Heat a skillet (cast iron recommended) over medium heat. Add the tempeh in a single layer. Cook for a few minutes, and when golden brown, flip over. Cook the other side until golden brown. Remove tempeh to a cutting board and when cool, slice in half to create a skinny slice. (the more rod-like the tempeh and vegetables, the tighter the wrap can be)

Lay out a piece of nori on a flat surface. On one end, add half the grain, tempeh, vegetables, and fresh herbs. If desired, drizzle with a little soy sauce. Roll, starting with the filled end, wrapping as tightly as you can. When rolled, seal the nori to itself with some drops of water. (Alternately, you can try the hand roll style - see this website for instructions).  Serve with some fruit for an amazing, refreshing meal.