Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Homemade Eggnog

As a child, I never liked eggnog.  We would buy eggnog in a carton from the grocery store, but it was too thick and sweet for my liking.  Now I know, from reading eggnog labels the last couple of years, that I probably didn't like the flavors of high fructose corn syrup and thickeners in store-bought eggnog.  

A few years ago I tried Silknog, an eggnog-flavored soy milk.  It's thinner but still has that nice holiday flavor.  We drank it for a couple of years during the holidays, but in the last year I have learned about many problems surrounding soy.  Soy has a very high phytic acid content, and should only be consumed in moderation and properly fermented.  Good sources of fermented soy include natto, naturally fermented soy sauce, and fermented miso.

This year I have been missing my thinner, eggnog drink.  So I started looking around for a real food version of eggnog using raw milk and cream, raw egg yolks (but no raw egg whites, they have enzyme inhibitors!), wholesome sweeteners like maple syrup and raw honey, and as my friend likes to call them "Christmas spices".  Using this recipe as inspiration, I upped the cream and yolks and made delicious eggnog in my blender!  How easy was it? VERY.

You place all the ingredients in a blender, blend them up, and then pour and serve.  If you have seen the way classic eggnog is made, then you'll be impressed with this method.  In the original recipes you are supposed to separate eggs, whip the whites, whip the cream, fold them in at different times, and so on.  I don't have time to mess with that!  And I don't want to eat the raw white anyway.

So enjoy this quick recipe.  It makes delicious, healthy, homemade eggnog that has that not-too-thick texture.  Even R liked it!  And as R would say: "You can really taste the nog."

Homemade Eggnog
1 cup whole milk (preferably raw and grass-fed)
3/4 cup cream (preferably raw and grass-fed)
4 egg yolks (preferably pastured)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of cloves
pinch of allspice
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup or raw honey (I used syrup)
dash sea salt
Bourbon, rum, cognac, to taste (optional)

1. Place everything in a blender and blend for a minute or so.  Pour into glasses and garnish with another grating of nutmeg, or a stirring stick of cinnamon.

Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good

I got this recipe from here and we had it for dinner a few weeks ago. Delicious (even though I'm not a huge savory pumpkin fan), but I think next time, I'll top the dish off with some crumbled goat cheese and pomegranates.

Also, it's categorized as an appetizer, but it's more like a casserole, so I think I prefer it for dinner.

Chicken and Dumplings

I have been looking for a good chicken and dumpling recipe for years, and this one hits the spot (though, I have to admit, I don't consider this recipe easy to quick like the website says). Nate was very excited about it, and my kids loved it. I've put some changes I'll do next time below in italics.

The Ultimate Chicken and Dumplings
Tyler Florence
Food Network website

Chicken and Stock:
1 (3 to 31/2 pound) whole organic chicken
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
4 to 5 black peppercorns
1 head garlic, split through the equator
2 tablespoons salt

Buttermilk-Chive Dumplings: I think I'll halve this part next time; I had a lot of leftover batter.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup chopped chives
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen pearl onions I think I'll chop a regular onion and saute it with the carrots, celery and garlic. Nate and I didn't like the pearl onions, though I suspect it's more traditional this way
1/4 cup heavy cream Forgot to put this in but didn't miss it.
Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
Chopped chives, for garnish

For the stock:
Place the chicken and all stock ingredients in a large Dutch oven and cover with water. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour until the chicken is tender. Skim the surface of fat and scum as it cooks. I cooked my chicken in the crock pot using the same ingredients all day until I was ready to make dinner.

When done remove the chicken to a cutting board. Strain the stock and shred the meat into big pieces - the stock will be used for the sauce and the chicken will be folded into it.

For the dumplings:
Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, using a whisk, lightly beat the eggs, chives and buttermilk together; pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold. Mix just until the dough comes together; the batter should be thick and cake-like.

To prepare sauce:
In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, add the butter and oil. Add the carrot, celery, garlic, and bay leaves and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes to coat the flour and remove the starchy taste. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add frozen peas and pearl onions.

Let sauce simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Stir in heavy cream.

Fold the reserved shredded chicken into the sauce and bring up to a simmer. Using 2 spoons, carefully drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the hot mixture. The dumplings should cover the top of the sauce, but should not be touching or crowded. Let the dumplings poach for 10 to 15 minutes until they are firm and puffy. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season with freshly cracked black pepper and garnish with chopped chives before serving.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Joyous Almond Cups

Whenever I make these peanut butter cups I always end up making these Almond Joy-esque cups as well.  I use the same mini cupcake pan, the same spot in the freezer to freeze the two layers, and we end up with two flavors of cups to choose from for a sweet, but nourishing treat.  This recipe is my version after being inspired, as usual, by a recipe from Kimi over at The Nourishing Gourmet.

Even more so than the peanut butter cups, these joyous almond cups have a lot of coconut oil incorporated into the recipe.  Coconut oil has many benefits.  Coconut oil has a lot saturated fat.  But don't fear.  This saturated fat is good for you.  Yes you read that right.  The saturated fat in coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids, 50% of which are the fatty acid lauric acid.  Medium chain fatty acids are more easily digested, reducing strain on the liver, pancreas, and digestive system.  Coconut oil benefits a sluggish thyroid by this same logic: it takes less energy to digest coconut oil, freeing up your thyroid to heal and function better.  Coconut oil helps with energy levels and weight loss.  Coconut oil heals you from the inside out.

So when you wonder why I go through all the trouble of researching coconut oil, finding different kinds of coconut oil, and then incorporating it into my diet despite my lack of love for it's flavor, this is why.  I feel better when I have it in my daily diet.  I know the science behind it and am more than happy to have it's help healing my body.

Now let's get back to the treat part.  I make these either with or without chopped almonds.  Sort in the vein of sometimes feeling like a nut...But when I do add the nuts I make sure they are from my soaked and dehydrated stash.  Soaking nuts overnight in salt water helps neutralize the naturally-occuring enzyme inhibitors present in most nuts.  Then dehydrating them returns them back to their crispy state.  The almonds I used in this recipe were soaked, dehydrated, and then toasted for 20 minutes at 300 degrees just to bring out their flavor a little before I chopped them and added them in.

Joyous Almond Cups
coconut base:
1/2 cup gently melted coconut oil
1/4 cup gently melted raw honey
1 1/4 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cup chopped almonds, preferably soaked and dehydrated, then toasted for 20 min. at 300 degrees

chocolate topping:
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons raw honey
3/4 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon coffee liqueur

1. Make coconut base: Combine melted coconut oil and raw honey.  Whisk well to combine.  Add shredded coconut and almond extract.  

2. Using a small ice cream scoop, divide among 24 mini cupcake molds.  Sprinkle each one with a little of the chopped almonds, dividing evenly.  Place in the freezer on a level surface for 30 minutes to harden.  

3. In the meantime, make chocolate topping: combine cocoa powder, honey, and coconut oil in a glass bowl set over simmering water.  Whisk until coconut oil is almost completely smooth.  Remove from heat and continue whisking, adding vanilla and coffee liqueur.

4. Remove frozen coconut bases, and spoon a little of the chocolate topping on each cup.  Place back in the freezer for another 30 minutes until frozen and set.  

5. To remove, pop out with a spoon or butter knife immediately after removing from the freezer.  Store in the freezer, or else they will melt.  To eat, I like to remove from the freezer and let sit for a few minutes to soften.  Enjoy with cold, whole raw milk, yum!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Peanut Butter Cups

I love these peanut butter cups.  I made them last February for R for Valentine's Day.  I wrote the other day about looking for candy for Christmas at the store, but coming up empty.  Even in my compromising mindset I couldn't find anything that would work.  So I am making a few different candies and confections to help satisfy M's and E's sweet teeth on that magical morning.

But back to the peanut butter cups.  I have tweaked the recipe just a bit.  I watch Ina Garten on the Food Network quite a bit, and on her show Barefoot Contessa she occasionally shows how she tests recipes.  Ever since she explained how chocolate is enhanced by a little bit of coffee I have been paying attention to how she pairs them in different recipes.  She says that you do not end up tasting the coffee, but the chocolate tastes better.

Sometimes she uses leftover brewed coffee, sometimes it's instant coffee or espresso granules, and sometimes it's coffee liqueur.  I have Kahlua, so I have used that recently in any chocolate recipe I make.  I just eyeball between a teaspoon and a tablespoon.  I don't know enough about how they make instant coffee crystals to use them confidently, and I don't brew coffee at home.  (The caffeine affects my adrenals and such.)

Oh, and one last thing: after I use up the natural peanut butter in the jars in my fridge I want to make my own peanut butter.  It's very handy to have peanut butter around, so I think it's worth the trouble to soak peanuts in salt water, dehydrate them and then put them through the food processor.  The point of doing all of that is to avoid the enzyme inhibitors present in peanuts and nuts in general.  The soaking process neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors, helping you to not only digest them better but absorb more nutrients from the nuts.

Peanut Butter Cups
peanut butter base:
3/4 cup natural peanut butter, preferably from soaked and dehydrated peanuts
1/4 cup gently melted coconut oil*
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup chopped nuts, preferably soaked/dehydrated/roasted at a low temperature (300), optional**

chocolate topping:
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon coffee liqueur

1. Mix peanut butter and coconut oil together until smooth, using a rubber spatula.  Add honey and vanilla and stir until smooth.  Using a small ice cream scoop, divide among the 24 mini cupcake molds in a mini cupcake pan.  Put into the freezer for 20 minutes or so while you make the chocolate topping.

2. In a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stir chocolate, honey, vanilla and coffee liqueur with a wooden spoon until almost smooth.  Remove from the pot and set onto a hot pot holder while you continue to stir until completely smooth.

3. Remove mini cupcake pan from freezer and spoon chocolate mixture onto each peanut butter cup, smoothing a little with the back of a spoon.  Place back into the freezer until solid, about 20 minutes or more.

4. Remove with a spoon or butter knife.  They should pop out with a little elbow grease, as long as they are completely solid.  If they mush together at all, put them back into the freezer for a few minutes and try again.  Store in the freezer until you want to eat them.

5. To eat, I like to take a few out and let them rest on a plate for a few minutes to soften.  And, of course, my favorite way to eat them is with a cold glass of whole, raw milk.  Enjoy.

*You can use virgin coconut oil (which will taste like coconut), or expeller-pressed coconut oil (which will have neutral taste).  I prefer the expeller-pressed, but I have tried it both ways and the coconut flavor does work in this recipe.

**(I didn't add these, E can't chew them very well; he choked on a swiped cashew yesterday when I wasn't looking, scary!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Apple Crepes

Jaxon found Professor Fizzy on PBS He makes healthy food and explains nutrition to the kids in a fun way. (They have lots of cute recipe ideas that kids can help with. Don't try the chickpea cakes, they're terrible)

Our new favorite recipe is for Apple Crepes. Jaxon asks for it every morning.

Crepes (this is my SiL's recipe)

1 C Whole wheat flour (I like white wheat but red works, too)
1 egg
Raw Sugar (I use 1/4 cup but you can use less or none at all)
Milk (we've been off dairy so we used coconut milk or almond milk, but soy and rice would work too)
Orange Zest (if you have it, we haven't used it)

Add milk to mixture until it's a really thin pancake batter. You can make crepes in a frying pan or use a crepe maker like ours (you can borrow it! We got ours for $20 at Tuesday Morning).

Apple Filling (this is also good as a pancake topping)

2 peeled and chopped apples
1/4 C honey
1/2 C juice (we like cherry, but grape or orange work as well)
1 t cinnamon

Cook on med-high heat until apples are soft.

Put on one quarter of an open crepe, fold in half then half again and top with whipped cream!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Okay, so I have wanted to make chocolate hazelnut spread for a long time.  I don't like that Nutella has sugar in it, nor milk powder and soy lecithin.  Plus, I like soaking my nuts before I eat them, that way the enzyme inhibitors are neutralized and they are much easier to digest.

Soaked, Dehydrated, and Roasted Hazelnuts

4 cups raw, organic hazelnuts
sea salt
filtered water

1.  Get out a large glass jar and fill halfway with filtered water.  Add 2 tablespoons sea salt and stir with a wooden spoon.  Add hazelnuts and cover with a cloth or coffee filter.  Let sit at room temperature overnight.
2.  The next day, pour out water and put hazelnuts onto a baking sheet or dehydrator sheet.  If using a dehydrator, dry at low heat, less than 150 degrees.  You can do this in the oven if you oven will set a temperature that low.  Or you can set it as low as possible and open the oven every now and then to let the temperature drop.  Dehydrate either way for 12 hours or more, until the nuts are nice and dry and crisp.  How do you know they're done?  Taste one!

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

2 cups (soaked, dehydrated, and roasted) hazelnuts, cooled
1/2 cup raw honey
1/3 cup organic cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon Homemade vanilla
1 teaspoon coffee liqueur (I used Kahlua)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, gently melted (I used expeller-pressed so there is no coconut flavor)

1.  Place hazelnuts, honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, coffee liqueur, and sea salt to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Then turn on the processor and add melted coconut oil in a slow, steady stream.  Add more or less coconut oil depending on the consistency you want.  Serve.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Taco Seasoning

This is one of my favorite healthy, inexpensive ingredients to use: ground beef.  I buy it in bulk from U.S. Wellness Meats here.  If I could fit 50 lb. into my freezer, I would.  Lucky for me, I have a friend who likes to order with me and we each put 25 lb. in our freezers.

I found a recipe for homemade taco seasoning over at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, and she is right, it does taste just right.  I made a few changes, but it's essentially the same.  I can't tell the difference between this seasoning and the packets I used to buy at the grocery store.  (Except after I eat this real food version, I don't get that sick feeling from the MSG in the commercial kind.  Remember that MSG isn't just in monosodium glutamate.  It is also in hydrolyzed food starch, autolyzed yeast, and citric acid among others.)

I either make tacos out of this recipe or taco bowls.  By using sprouted corn tortillas, shredded raw cheddar cheese, salsa, and cubed avocado, you have great classic tacos with the real food spin.  Or skip the tortillas and layer meat, cheese, salsa, and avocado in a bowl.  You could also add lettuce and diced tomato.

Taco Seasoning
1/2 cup onion powder
1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (this gives medium heat, adjust to your preference)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 cup sea salt
1/8 cup garlic powder
1/8 cup ground cumin

1. Place all spices in a glass jar, then cap and shake to combine.  Use two heaping tablespoons per one pound of ground beef.

Taco-Seasoned Ground Beef
1 pound ground beef, thawed
2 heaping tablespoons taco seasoning

1. Brown entire pound of ground beef over medium-high heat until lightly browned on each side, then break up and cook until no pink remains.  Sprinkle with taco seasoning and optional 1/2 cup water (I don't use it), cover and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Serve.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mushroom Lasagna

These days, it takes a lot to get me to try a new recipe. Back in August, I made a recipe from a trusted blog that turned out so bad that we threw the whole thing away and went to MacDonald's. And, with my energy level so low with pregnancy, it feels easier to stick with tried and true recipes.

But, I couldn't resist trying this one from a trusted (and different) blog and the Barefoot Contessa. These two ladies have never steered me wrong, and I think I now have a new favorite vegetarian lasagna:

I halved the recipe, making this dish in an 8x8 pan, and followed all of Smitten Kitchen's suggestion, except for the garlic. I doubled it and cooked it with the mushrooms instead of the white sauce.

I just wish I had doubled it and frozen an extra pan!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Real Chocolate Chip Cookies

M has been begging me for chocolate chip cookies.  I had not found a good real food recipe yet, so I didn't have one on hand when he asked.  I spent some time perusing Teh Interwebz for a good recipe to modify, but nothing really spoke to me.  Then I remembered that my sister T has a good recipe in the Martha Stewart Cookies book that I had made before.  So I tracked that one down, modified it with real food and it turned out beautifully!

I haven't been making much food in the past several days, since developing a nasty cold given to me lovingly by my boys.  It was nice to mix up some cookie dough and make the house smell warm and homey while knowing that the next morning my little M would wake up to cookies for breakfast.  I didn't worry about the fact that they were eating cookies for breakfast, and here's why:

  • grass-fed butter is good for you

  • palm shortening is good for you

  • sprouted whole grain flour is good for you

  • sea salt is good for you

  • pastured eggs are good for you

  • rapadura is good for you (in small amounts, not at every meal)

  • cacao nibs are good for you

  • I made these cookies, and they were not only good for my kids, but tasted pretty good too.  The recipe yields a flatter, chewy cookie.  The rapadura and homemade vanilla give a nice earthy, carmel flavor.  The cacao nibs give a nice chocolatey crunch.  Enjoy it with glass of crisp, clean raw milk and afternoon snacktime is a big hit.

    This recipe makes quite a bit of dough.  Feel free to freeze half the dough in logs wrapped in plastic wrap and then placed in a freezer bag.  That's what I did.

    Real Chocolate Chip Cookies
    2 sticks (1 cup) grass-fed butter (I used Kerrygold)
    1 cup palm shortening* (I used Tropical Traditions, it's made by non-exploited workers)
    3 cups rapadura, or other whole sweetener* (I used Rapunzel I bought from Azure Standard)
    4 large eggs (I used duck eggs.  Yes, duck eggs!)
    3 1/2 cups sprouted whole grain flour (I used soft white wheat berries)
    1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (I used Celtic Sea Salt)
    2 teaspoons baking soda (I used aluminum-free from Food Wise)
    1 1/2 cups cacao nibs (I bought these in bulk at Whole Foods)

    1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  In a stand mixer, cream butter and palm shortening until creamy.  Add rapadura and cream together until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  
    2.  Into a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda.  Whisk with a wire whisk to remove lumps and sift ingredients together.  Add to wet ingredients in stand mixer slowly.  Mix until combined.  Fold in cacao nibs.
    3.  Drop by large spoonfuls (2-3 tablespoons) either with a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop.  Space at least 2 inches apart to give them room to spread.  Bake two cookie sheets at a time with racks placed in the upper and lower thirds of your oven.
    4.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden.  Remove from cookie sheets and let cool on cooling racks.

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

    A special thanks to Jones family friend Debbie for this classic recipe.
    1 box devil's food cake mix
    1 egg
    1 cube of butter melted
    Mix and roll into quarter size balls.
    Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Look for the tops of cookies to start cracking.
    Let the cookies sit on sheet for a minute and then place on wire rack to cool.
    2 C powder sugar
    1/4 C shortening
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    splash of milk
    Mix and leave filling a little stiff.

    Tahini Cookies

    We've started a multiple food elimination diet at our house (for 7 days only, thank heavens) but I found this recipe that is actually adequately good for a cookie. And my kids loved helping me make it. With no eggs, the dough can be eaten raw.


    • 6 tablespoons tahini
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used sliced almonds)
    • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)


    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
    2. In a medium bowl, stir together the tahini, honey and cinnamon. Mix in walnuts and oats until well blended. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 2 inches apart.
    3. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are slightly brown. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
    (Courtesy of Allrecipes)

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars

    I've had the ingredients for this recipe for about a month, but finally, made them last night. They're really easy (especially if you freeze semisweet chocolate chips and then, finely chop them in a food processor). The cinnamon is an especially delightful addition.

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    Watermelon Feta Salad

    I've heard of this recipe, but always thought, "Hmm, that sounds weird." When I saw it on a trusted recipe site, I figured I would take the plunge, but still, I was nervous. I just didn't see how the flavors go together, and truthfully, I still don't see how they do, but they do! A lovely light (mostly) savory side salad.

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    Chicken Tetrazini

    This is a recipe from my SIL Kristen. I have modified it to include pasta I made by soaking the dough overnight to reduce phytic acid. I also added some herbaceous goodness to the sauce with basil and marjoram at the suggestion of my friend G. It came together very nicely when I made it for lunch yesterday.

    I also see that this recipe is nothing like the "Chicken Tetrazini" in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. Who knows what that is all about? So, full disclaimer: I don't know if this is really Chicken Tetrazini, but that's what I call it. Enjoy!

    Chicken Tetrazini

    8 oz. soaked or sprouted pasta (I used durum wheat berries ground up for my pasta)
    3 cups cooked chicken, cubed
    3 cups homemade chicken broth/stock
    ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
    ½ cup Cheddar cheese, grated (I used raw, grass-fed)
    1 cup milk or cream
    5 tablespoons butter
    6 tablespoons sprouted flour
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    pepper to taste
    1 teaspoon dried basil
    1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

    1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta until tender and drain. In a large saucepan, melt butter and gradually whisk in flour to make a roux. Gradually stir in broth, whisking continuously. Add milk and parmesan cheese, stirring with a wooden spoon until all cheese is melted. Cook over medium heat until mixture bubbles and thickens.
    2. Season with salt and pepper, basil and marjoram. Add chicken and pasta into saucepan and combine. Pour into buttered 9x13 pan. Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese over top. Bake for about 30 minutes, until cheese has melted and begins to brown.

    Basic Brownies

    These brownies have such a nice flavor. I can't really describe it, but it reminds me of Cadbury chocolate or something. At any rate, they are easy and yummy. I just sprouted some wheat berries a few days ago and yesterday dehydrated them and ground them up to use for flour. Soooo worth it to make treats :)

    Basic Brownies
    from my friends Taryn and Corey

    2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
    8 T. (1 stick) unsalted grass-fed butter (I used Kerrygold)
    1 cup rapadura/sucanat/palm sugar
    2 pastured eggs
    ½ cup sprouted flour (I used soft white wheat)
    pinch sea salt
    ½ tsp. vanilla

    Preheat oven to 350. Butter and line with buttered parchment paper an 8-inch square pan. Set aside.
    Combine chocolate and butter in a saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally. When just melted, remove from heat and continue stirring until smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in sugar. Beat in eggs on at a time. Gently fold in flour, salt and vanilla.
    Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 20-25, or until barely set in the middle. Cool on a rack completely before refrigerating for at least 4 hours, wrapped. Then remove and cut into even squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Greek Style Pita Sandwiches

    This is one of those summer meals that makes me want to smack my head and say, "Why didn't I think of that?!" I followed the recipe for everything except, I doubled the marinade and let it sit on the meat for most of the afternoon and then grilled instead of sauteed (leave out the meat and it's a vegetarian meal). I also added a bit of lemon juice to my yogurt dressing to thin it out a bit.

    Cool and refreshing...a perfect summer dinner staple!

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Basic Rich Crackers

    These are the basic crackers I make on a pretty regular basis for our family. They are made with four simple ingredients: butter, yogurt, flour, and salt. You combine, cover and soak overnight, then roll them out in the morning, cut and bake them. Simple as that, and you get all the benefit of whole foods, properly prepared.

    To start with, freshly ground flour that has been soaked to rid it of phytic acid is very healthy. Not to mention the vitamin K2 from the butter if it is grass-fed, and the probiotics found in good quality whole milk yogurt. Even the salt is beneficial if you choose a high quality salt full of trace minerals, such as Celtic sea salt.

    I like to use Kerrygold Irish Butter from Trader Joe's because it is the best price I have found. I also get my yogurt from Trader Joe's, or I make my own from whole raw milk. I haven't tried it yet, but since I have milk kefir around, I wonder if I could use that in place of the yogurt in this recipe.

    They are delicious with raw cheese and organ meat sausage (like Braunschweiger, yum!). But enjoyed all by themselves they are still lovely. They are very similar to Cheez-its I think.

    Basic Rich Crackers
    1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
    3 1/2 cups freshly ground whole grain flour (I have used spelt and whole red winter wheat, both with good success)
    2 teaspoons sea salt

    1. Cream yogurt and butter together. Add flour and salt and stir to combine.
    2. Cover with a towel and a plate, find a warm place to soak 12-24 hours (or overnight).
    3. After the soaking period, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    4. At this point you can add any herbs, cheeses, or spices to your dough you might like to try. I have only attempted cracked pepper and parmesan cheese, but it was delicious! The possibilities are endless, but the crackers are truly delicious all on their own. Don't feel you need this step, it is optional.
    5. Use white flour, sprouted flour, or arrowroot powder (because each of these options have no phytic acid) to roll your dough out very thin. Use a pastry or pizza cutter to cut dough into small squares or rectangles.
    6. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. You can put the crackers fairly close to each other, they do not spread. You can prick with a fork, but I have not seen much of a need for it.
    7. Bake 8-12 minutes, checking every minute or so after 8 minutes have gone by to make sure they do not overbrown. You know the crackers are done when they are slightly brown on the edges and the middles of the crackers look drier.
    8. Remove from baking sheet to cooling racks immediately, but be gentle so they do not break. Enjoy!

    Monday, July 5, 2010

    Red, White and Blue (Coconut) Cupcakes

    I have had some coconut flour ready to be used for a while now, so I made these cupcakes over the holiday weekend. The cupcakes were moist and full of berries. I am going grain-free for a little while, so the fact that they are grain- (and dairy-) free was nice so I could have some. I had to have them with a glass of (raw) milk, and they were delicious!

    Red, White and Blue Cupcakes (from The Nourishing Gourmet)

      1/2 cup coconut flour
      1/2 teaspoon sea salt
      1/2 teaspoon baking powder
      3 eggs, gently beaten with a fork
      1/3 cup of honey
      1/3 cup of coconut oil
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
      1/2 cup of fresh or frozen raspberries

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    1. In a medium size bowl, place the coconut flour, sea salt, and baking powder. Whisk to remove any lumps.

    2. Melt honey and coconut oil in a small saucepan, just until melted. (If you have over-heated it, let cool before combining it with the eggs.) Combine wet ingredients (eggs, honey, coconut oil, vanilla), and combine thoroughly into dry ingredients.

    3. Fold in fresh or frozen berries. In papered or lightly greased muffin tins, put about 1/4 cup of batter in each muffin tin. Make sure to have some of the blueberries and some of the raspberries in each muffin indentation.

    4. Bake for 375 degrees until the muffins are lightly browned on the top and a toothpick comes out clean when poked into the middle of the muffin (20-28 minutes).

    Sunday, June 27, 2010

    Delicious Green Smoothie

    When I buy the tub of organic baby spinach from Costco about half of it goes bad before I use it.
    I'm really the only person that likes salads in my house.

    But, everyone likes smoothies. So, I found and modified a smoothie recipe with spinach and aside from the color, my family loved it. If it wasn't green, you'd never know there was spinach in it!


    2 cups spinach (packed down a little)
    1 ripe banana (I peel my brown bananas then freeze them for easy use)
    1/4 to 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
    1/4 to 1/2 cup water (depending on how thick you want it!)

    Use whatever fruit you have on hand: cantaloupe and grapes, and strawberries are great for freezing and make good smoothies. The banana and pineapple keep the color a pretty green. When I added strawberries and a few blackberries it turned darker, pea-soupish.

    Blend and serve!

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Mint Berry Salad

    At a feminist retreat I attended in March, my friend, Brooke, made this lovely fruit salad with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Then, she topped it off with a minty syrup. It looked stunning and was helpful for a queasy, morning sick stomach.

    For Father's Day, I tried to recreate the syrup. Recipe sites like and have suggestions for other fruit that would go well with the mint syrup. I followed Brooke's excellent example for mine, though.

    Mint Berry Salad

    1/2 flat of strawberries
    3 pints of raspberries
    3 pints of blueberries
    3 pints of blackberries

    Mint Syrup

    1/2 c sugar
    1/2 c water
    1 plastic container of fresh mint leaves (mine said .66 oz)

    Take 10-12 mint leaves and set aside. Put the rest of the mint (stems and all) with sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil until sugar dissolves.

    Allow mint/sugar mixture to seep for 10 minutes. Strain and let cool.

    Add 10-12 mint leaves and cooled syrup to blender. Pour to taste over mixed berries and serve within 10 to 20 minutes of adding syrup.

    Eggplant Torta

    I bought this cookbook, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison years ago when we were living in Boston. I have to confess I don't use it often because the recipes require a certain level of knowledge about seasonality of vegetables and access to high quality ingredients. The recipes are very minimalist, designed to bring out the flavors of each ingredient, which is great if one knows how to pick the best foodstuffs in the store (a skill I'm still working on). It's one of two cookbooks that sits on my shelf and doesn't get much use, not because it's not excellent, but because I'm still trying to figure out how to balance vegetarian meals.

    Anyway, this is a recipe that I had in mind when I first started this blog, but I've never posted it because it's so long, which is why it's scanned. It's beautiful, delicious, and will satisfy both vegetarian and meat-eaters. But, it's time consuming (as you can see by the length of the recipe).

    I made it last night for dinner when the swiss chard I planted in October decided to finally grow in May and was getting close to bolting (ok, it kind of did bolt--a little bitter than I cared for). And, I realized that I had about 1/2 of all the primary ingredients: 1/2 a large bunch of chard, and 1 eggplant (this recipe needs about 2 big ones). So, I halved those, but everything else I kept the same (except the saffron, I've never used it) and just made one layer of each mixture. Still tasty and much easier.

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    Gourmet Lemonade Party

    I'm so having one of these next year when we Arizonans have lemons coming out of our ears...

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    Asher and Luke's Favorite Dishes

    I'm going to Europe on Friday and usually, I freeze lots of meals for Nate when I go out of town. But, Nate never thaws out one, which used to hurt my feelings, but then, I realized that I was forgetting that he is a more than capable cook and was completely buying into the stereotype that a wife who is so selfish as to leave her husband with his own children must leave him meals. I'm learning, I'm learning...

    It also helps that I don't have the energy to make dinner every night right now (much less extra meals) and really, dinner for 10 days? That just wasn't going to happen.

    Of coures, even as I say all this, I still feel a little guilty leaving him and I figured this would be an excellent time to put together a link list of my kids' favorite foods that I make and probably won't remember in 10 years. These are the "almost as good as McDonald's burger and fries" for my kids:

    Spaghetti sauce:
    Meat loaf:
    Cracker Chicken:
    Taco Soup:
    Sugar Cookies:
    Wild Rice Chicken Salad:
    Banana Bread:
    Homemade bread:

    What dishes do your kids love?

    Saturday, May 8, 2010

    Asher and Luke's Favorite Pancakes

    I don't love these, but maybe it's because the boys (and often I) have had them for breakfast every morning for the past two years. I've learned that one can add 1/2 cup of applesauce or 1 mashed banana for a delicious change, but don't try blueberries or chocolate chips--my kids like they're pancakes without any colored additions to the mix.

    Asher's and Luke's Favorite Pancakes
    based on Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

    2 c all-purpose flour
    2 T sugar
    4 t baking powder
    1/2 t salt
    2 beaten eggs, we use egg replacer
    2 c soy milk
    1 c vanilla soy yogurt
    4 T cooking oil

    In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and slat. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture; set aside.

    In another bowl, combine eggs, soy milk, soy yogurt, and cooking oil. Add soy milk mixture to dry mixture. Stir until just moistened (batter will be lumpy).

    For standard-size pancakes, pour about 1/4 c batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes on each side or until panckaes are golden brown, turning to second side when pancakes have bubbly surfaces and edges are slightly dry.

    This recipe will feed my kids pancakes every morning for the school week.

    Monday, May 3, 2010

    Stir-Fried Portobellos with Ginger-Oyster Sauce

    I've been sorely neglecting this blog (like so many other things). But, I'm coming through the first trimester and feeling a little more adventurous in my cooking. I have to admit, I was sad to not have enough energy to cook (we used all our freezer meals) and not feeling up to make anything that I didn't already know (delicate stomach and all). I didn't realize how much I use cooking to relax.

    I'm still not that adventurous, but this is a recipe I tried pre-pregnancy and loved. The sauce is so rich, the portobellos and tofu such excellent meat substitutions that my kids totally ate it up, and even my husband said it was a satisfying meat substitute.

    It has tons of steps, but after making it a few times, I suspect it will be rather intuitive and easy.

    Stir-fried Portobellos with Ginger Sauce
    Cook's Illustrated

    2 T soy sauce
    2 T sugar
    1/4 c chicken or vegetable broth

    1 T soy sauce
    1 c chicken broth
    3 T oyster-flavored sauce
    2 t roasted sesame oil I used regular sesame oil
    1 T cornstarch

    2 garlic cloves, minced
    4 t fresh ginger, minced
    4 T vegetable oil
    6-8 portobellos, stems discarded, gills removed I left the gills on mine, did 3 portobellos and 1/2 pound tofu, I also sliced the portobellos into strips
    2 c sliced carrots or other longer cooking vegetable like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans
    1/2 c chicken broth
    1 c snow peas or other quick cooking vegetable like bell pepper, celery, zucchini
    1 pound leafy greens like bok choy or napa cabbage I left this out and added extra of the other 2 vegetable types

    1. Whisk glaze ingredients in small bowl; whisk sauce ingredients in separate small bowl. In third small bowl, mix garlic and ginger with 1 t vegetable oil
    1a. Drain tofu by wrapping a firm block in a dish towel and put an even weight on top of it (I use a couple cans on top of a cutting board) for 20 minutes. Cube tofu into bite-size pieces and toss with 1 T cornstarch until covered.
    2. Heat 3 T vegetable oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Put tofu in pan for 3-5 minutes (don't touch for first 3 minutes to get a nice golden crust).

    Add mushrooms to cook, without stirring, until browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. This is the tricky part, the tofu needs about 5 minutes longer than the portobellos, so act like you're cooking two separate dishes in the same pan while timing. The tofu will be golden when it's time to turn; the portobellos require watching the clock. It's not as intuitive for me, at least, to tell when they're done.

    Using tongs, turn mushrooms and reduce heat to medium; cook until second sides are browned and mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.

    Increase heat to medium-high; add glaze mixture and cook, stirring, until glaze is thick and mushrooms and tofu are coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to plate; rinse skillet clean and dry with paper towels.

    3. Heat 1 t oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke. Add carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

    Add 1/2 cup broth and cover skillet; cook until carrots are just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid evaporates, about 30 seconds. Transfer carrots to plate with mushrooms.

    This felt like a lot of extra steps. I transferred the mushrooms and tofu to a plate but cooked all the vegetables slightly spaced apart but in the same skillet.

    4. Heat remaining t vegetable oil in now-empty skillet over medium high heat until beginning to smoke. Add snow peas and bok choy stems or napa cabbage cores and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown and soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add leafy greens and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 1 minute.

    Push vegetables to the side of skillet to clear center; add garlic-ginger mixture to clearing and cook, smashing mixture with spoon or spatula, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds, then stir into vegetables.

    5. Return everything to skillet with sauce. Toss to combine and cook, stirring, until sauce is thickened and vegetables are coated, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to serving platter, top with sesame seeds, if using, and serve immediately.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010

    Chewy Granola Bars

    In honor of the 200th post on this blog, I wanted to publish this delicious, healthy snack that I just made for my family. I've been tired of sending my first grader with PB & J, a cup of water, and a small tub of applesauce for lunch. He needed an extra snack so tonight I tried this.

    1 cup packed brown sugar
    2/3 cup peanut butter
    1/2 cup corn syrup or honey
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    3 cups quick-cooking oats (I used whole oats)
    1/2 cup sunflower kernels
    1/2 cup raisins
    6 tablespoons toasted wheat germ (or raw)
    2 tablespoon sesame seeds
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or raisins)
    1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Stir in the oats, sunflower kernels, raisins, wheat germ and sesame seeds. Fold in chocolate chips. (I thought they would have been just as delicious w/o the chocolate chips, and I am a HUGE chocolate fan).
    2. Press into an jelly roll pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until set and edges are browned. Cool completely on a wire rack (overnight, if possible). Cut into bars.

    Other options include adding 1/4 C egg whites for more protein, adding nuts instead of seeds, and replacing the chocolate chips with other dried fruit, like craisins. You could also use flax seed instead of wheat germ. Some have used light olive oil instead of butter. There are a lot of combinations, but this recipe is so good I couldn't stop eating the mix raw as I was making it. Delicious!

    Credits, although I doubled the recipe. Who only wants an 8 x 8 pan? Crazy, I say!

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Vanilla Oatmeal with Pan-Fried Cinnamon Apples

    Finally, I have made a delicious soaked oatmeal. I have to give a major H/T to my friend G for it though. My problem with soaked oatmeal has been how much honey and maple syrup it took to make the oatmeal good. It never occurred to me that pan-fried apples would sweeten it up without massive amounts of sweetener. Now I can add this to the breakfast staples. The ratio is all you need to know to soak oatmeal: for each cup of oatmeal use one cup of water, one Tablespoon of acidic medium, and one or two dashes of salt. The next morning, cook in another one cup of water for each cup of oatmeal you started with.

    Vanilla Oatmeal with Pan-Fried Cinnamon Apples

    The night before, in a glass bowl:
    3 cups of oatmeal
    3 cups of filtered water
    3 T. whey, lemon juice, whole yogurt, buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, or other acid (I use whey, but Kimi Harris over at The Nourishing Gourmet says lemon juice gives the best flavor)
    1 teaspoon sea salt

    Cover with a towel and let soak between 12-24 hours.

    In the morning, in a cast iron skillet:
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or coconut oil (I do a little of both!)
    3-4 peeled apples, cut into bite-sized pieces
    sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg

    Saute over medium heat until apples are browned and softened, stirring occasionally, and the sauce reduces down to a glaze. In the meantime, start oatmeal:

    In a saucepan:
    3 cups of water
    all the contents of your glass bowl from overnight soaking

    Bring oatmeal to a gentle bubble and stir constantly. It should only take 3-5 minutes to cook your oatmeal because of the soaking process.

    Towards the end of cooking, add:
    2 tsp. vanilla
    sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg (yes, in addition to the sprinkles on the apples)
    up to 1/4 C. honey

    Your apples and oatmeal should finish close to each other. Add the apples from the skillet to the saucepan. Stir all together and serve hot. If you like, add some yogurt on top of each bowl of oatmeal, perhaps with a sprinkling of nuts or dried fruit.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream

    This is very similar to my other recipe for Vanilla-Maple Ice Cream, but in this one I used rapadura for sweetener and added cinnamon. Lovely spicy ice cream, the boys have enjoyed it today.

    Cinnamon Vanilla Ice Cream
    1 1/2 cups cream (I used raw)
    1 1/2 cups milk (I used raw, whole)
    3/4 cup rapadura
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1/4 tsp. cinnamon

    1. Whisk together and set in fridge for 2 hours or so to let flavors mingle and sugar dissolve.
    2. Whisk once more, turn on ice cream maker, and pour in. After ice cream sets up, put into a container and freeze overnight to get firm ice cream. Otherwise it will be like soft-serve.

    Grilled Turkey and Cheddar

    I made this sandwich today and it was so simple and herbaceous that I had to share.

    Grilled Turkey and Cheddar
    (Wednesday April 14th version :D)

    sliced spelt sourdough bread
    butter (I used grass-fed)
    sea salt
    dried rosemary
    sliced turkey (I used organic)
    mild cheddar (I used raw, and wish I would have had sharp)
    yellow mustard
    mayonnaise (I used lacto-fermented)
    dried thyme

    1. Butter two slices of bread, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary.
    2. Build sandwich by placing one piece of bread butter side down in a cast iron skillet and layering on turkey, cheese and then the other piece of bread with the side spread with mustard and mayonnaise and rosemary face down and the buttered/salted/peppered/roasemaryed side up. After it browns on one side, flip and brown the other. Cut in half and chomp. Perhaps with soup? I didn't have soup, but that sounds amaaaazingggg.

    Monday, April 12, 2010

    Mini-egg Brownies (Sophia Gathering Version)

    Mini-egg Brownies

    16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
    8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ¼-inch pieces
    4 large eggs
    2 cups rapadura
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 cup sprouted flour
    one bag Cadbury mini-eggs

    Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
    Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes, and then whisk smooth. If all the chocolate has not melted, return to very low heat and stir constantly until the chocolate melts.
    In a large bowl, use a rubber spatula to stir one egg into one cup of the rapadura. Make sure any lumps in the sugar are dissolved. Add the remaining eggs, one at a time, stirring each in with the rubber spatula in the same way. Stir in the other cup of rapadura, then the vanilla and salt. Stir in the chocolate mixture.
    Finally, fold in the flour, then 2 cups of the mini-eggs.
    Prepare a 9x13x2 pan by buttering it and then lining it with parchment paper and buttering the parchment paper at the very last. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Scatter the remaining mini-eggs over the top of the batter.
    Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick or a small knife inserted into the center emerges clean. Cool completely on a rack.
    Wrap and refrigerate the pan so that the cake solidifies completely, at least 4 hours but overnight is best. This also makes the cake easier to cut.
    Transfer the whole cake to a cutting board and slide a long knife or spatula under it to loosen the paper, and then pull it away. Use a ruler to mark, and then cut the cake into 2-inch squares.
    For up to several days, store the brownies between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a tin or plastic container with a tight-fitting cover. Freeze for longer storage. If you plan to keep the brownies for any length of time, it is better to wrap them individually.

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Breakfast Strata with Spinach and Gruyere

    Lots of steps, but well-worth it!

    Breakfast Strata with Spinach and Gruyère
    from Cook’s Illustrated via Kate H.
    Makes one 8 by 8-inch strata, serving 6

    To weigh down the assembled strata, use two 1-pound boxes of brown or powdered sugar, laid side by side over the plastic-covered surface. To double this recipe or those that follow, use a 9 by 13-inch baking dish greased with only 11/2 tablespoons butter and increase baking times as suggested in each recipe.

    8–10 (1/2-inch thick) slices supermarket French or Italian bread (6–7 ounces)
    5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    4 medium shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
    1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    Salt and ground black pepper
    1/2 cup medium-dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
    6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
    6 large eggs
    1 3/4 cups half-and-half

    1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 225 degrees. Arrange bread in single layer on large baking sheet and bake until dry and crisp, about 40 minutes, turning slices over halfway through drying time. (Alternatively, leave slices out overnight to dry.) When cooled, butter slices on one side with 2 tablespoons butter; set aside.
    2. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté shallots until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes; add spinach and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, until combined, about 2 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl; set aside. Add wine to skillet, increase heat to medium-high, and simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup, 2 to 3 minutes; set aside.
    3. Butter 8-inch square baking dish with remaining 1 tablespoon butter; arrange half of buttered bread slices, buttered-side up, in single layer in dish. Sprinkle half of spinach mixture, then 1/2 cup grated cheese evenly over bread slices. Arrange remaining bread slices in single layer over cheese; sprinkle remaining spinach mixture and another 1/2 cup cheese evenly over bread. Whisk eggs in medium bowl until combined; whisk in reduced wine, half-and-half, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread layers; cover surface flush with plastic wrap, weigh down (see note, above), and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
    4. Remove dish from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Uncover strata and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly over surface; bake until both edges and center are puffed and edges have pulled away slightly from sides of dish, 50 to 55 minutes (or about 60 minutes for doubled recipe). Cool on wire rack 5 minutes; serve.

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    Italian Rice Salad

    I finally made this for dinner last night and it was way more delicious than it sounded. And I already thought it sounded good! A good summery recipe, too.

    Everyday Italian Rice Salad
    from The Nourishing Gourmet

    2 cups of brown long grain rice (soaked 7 hrs before hand in water and 2 T. of whey/lemon juice/buttermilk is preferable)
    4 carrots, washed, peeled and shredded
    4 celery, thinly sliced
    1 cup of frozen peas
    4 eggs
    1/3 cup of raw apple cider vinegar
    2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
    3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced or put through a garlic press
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    plenty of freshly ground pepper

    1-Make rice according to the package’s instructions. I use 4 cups of homemade chicken stock to 2 cups of rice. After the soaking period add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil, cover and turn down heat to the lowest setting. Cook for about 50 minutes.
    2-Meanwhile, put together the dressing. Simply pour and toss everything into a mason jar and put on a lid and shake, or whisk it in a small bowl. Then prepare the vegetables.
    3-When the rice is done, take off of the heat and remove the lid. You will want to combine the rice and dressing while the rice is still warm so that the flavor permeates it, but I don’t like to do it when the rice is too hot, otherwise it starts to cook the vegetables, which you want nice and crisp. If you don’t have time to let it cool a bit, I will sometimes dump it onto a large plate or jellyroll pan and flip the rice mixture every few minutes to let it cool faster.
    4-When the rice is still warm, but not hot. Scramble your eggs. In a small saucepan, add a little olive oil and place over medium heat. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, and pour in the pan. I like to stir my eggs with a fork as it prevents the eggs from clumping into large pieces. Cook until the eggs are still moist, but cooked through and remove from heat.
    5-Put it all together! Add the rice, peas, and eggs to a large bowl. For the frozen peas, simply rinse with hot water in a sieve until they are room temperature and add to the warm rice, which will heat them slightly. Pour in about 3/4’s of your dressing and gently stir. Then stir in the carrots and celery. Taste test, you may need to add the rest of the dressing now, or some more salt and pepper. As the salad sits, it will absorb more of the dressing, so you may need to refresh it with a bit of vinegar and olive oil.
    Enjoy this salad, warm, room temperature, or cold.

    Roasted Vegetable Torte

    Is the Barefoot Contessa going to need to sue me because I keep retyping all of the recipes from her book on this blog?

    This is such a fun recipe because so much of the recipe is just approximations and there are so many things you could layer into the torte (pesto, goat cheese, fresh mozzerella, oh my!), but it's just as good on its own.

    I halved the recipe because we had a small group for lunch today, and it involves much less layering :)

    Roasted Vegetable Torte
    Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

    2 zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices I grated mine
    1 red onion, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
    1 t minced garlic
    Good olive oil I ended up using about 1/4 cup total
    Kosher salt
    Freshly ground pepper
    2 red bell peppers, halved, cored, and seeded
    2 yellow bell peppers, halved, cored, and seeded
    1 eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/4 inch slices (1 1/2 pounds)
    1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    Cook the zucchini, onions, garlic, and 2 T olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat for 10 minutes until the zucchini is tender. Season with salt and pepper.

    Brush the red and yellow peppers and eggplant with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast on a baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes, until soft but not browned.

    In a 6 inch round cake pan, place each vegetable in a single overlapping layer, sprinkling Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste between each of the layers of vegetables I didn't do this, I figured I had salted and peppered enough while I cooked the vegetables.

    Begin with half of the eggplant, then layer half of the zucchini and onions, then all of the red peppers, then all of the yellow peppers, then the rest of the zucchini and onions, and finally the rest of the eggplant.

    Cover the top of the vegetables with a 6 inch round of parchment paper or waxed paper. Place a 6 inch flat disk (another cake pan or the bottom of the false bottom tart pan) on top and weight it with a heavy jar. Place on a plate or baking sheet (it will leak) and chill completely. Drain the liquids, place on a platter, and serve at room temperature.

    Tuesday, March 30, 2010

    Ann Arbor's Finest Molasses Crinkles

    I made these tonight, and even though they are more likely enjoyed in the fall I am sure they will disappear quickly from the cookie jar.

    Quick notes: grass-fed butter gives you vitamin k2, sprouted flour reduces phytic acid, rapadura is whole cane sugar with all the vitamins and minerals found in the plant.

    Ann Arbor’s Finest Molasses Crinkles
    from The M Den in Ann Arbor

    ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened (I used Kerrygold, it is grass-fed)
    1 cup packed brown sugar (I used rapadura)
    ¼ cup molasses (I used unsulphured)
    1 egg
    2¼ cup sifted flour (I used sprouted flour)
    2 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. ginger
    ½ tsp. cloves
    ¼ tsp. salt
    ½ cup granulated sugar, for dipping (I used rapadura)

    Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; combine. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to the mixing bowl and blend well. Remove bowl and chill for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. (I skipped the chilling, and just scooped directly onto the cookie sheet with a small ice cream scoop.)
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove dough from fridge and roll into 1-inch balls. Put sugar into a shallow bowl and dips the tops of the balls in. (I just sprinkled the rapadura on top.) Place on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy! Go Blue!

    Simple Kid-Friendly Spaghetti Squash

    In our quest to reduce our meat intake and include more vegetables in our diet, I found a delicious recipe that is really kid friendly.

    First, you start by taking your kids to the produce market. "I heard there is a squash that looks like a watermelon, but it's yellow, and when it's cooked, the inside is like spaghetti!" Then they can help you find it. Pick the most yellow squash without any soft spots or bruises.

    I didn't know how easy it is to cook a spaghetti squash. Just prick it with a fork and bake it at 350 for an hour. (You're supposed to put it in a baking dish, I guess to catch any drips, but I forgot this step)

    • 1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
    • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
    • 1/4-1/2 Cup Butter or Olive Oil (I used olive oil)
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
    After you bake the squash for 1 hr, let it cool until you can touch it. Cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Use a fork to shred the rest of it into a bowl. Add the other ingredients.

    Tonight I served this with Caesar salad, and a marinara sauce (a little pasta noodles for the kids in case they didn't like it). I used the Cherry Tomato sauce from Fresh and Easy.

    I liked the sauce on top of the squash. It's way better than I expected.

    I will definately be using this recipe again. It's one of the few that's, delicious, easy, and cheap. (It's also low prep.)

    Monday, March 29, 2010

    Curried Couscous

    I'm not usually a huge fan of couscous, but I love this recipe and was so excited to have a new summer recipe. This with the Indonesian Ginger chicken grilled will be a mainstay for us this summer.

    1 1/2 cups couscous
    1 T unsalted butter I used olive oil
    1 1/2 cups boiling water
    1/4 cup plain yogurt I think full fat Greek yogurt made this dish
    1/4 cup good olive oil
    1 t white wine vinegar
    1 t curry powder
    1/4 t ground turmeric I left this out
    1 1/2 t kosher salt
    1 t freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 cup grated carrots I was missing this, so I used 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
    1/2 cup dried currents I used craisins
    1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
    2 scallions, thinly sliced
    1/4 cup small-diced red onion I dropped this and used a bunch of scallions instead

    Place the couscous in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in the boiling water and pour over the couscous. Cover tightly I used Saran Wrap and allow the couscous to soak for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

    Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt and pepper. Pour over the fluffed couscous and mix well with a fork. Add the carrots, parsley, currants, almonds, scallions, and red onion. Mix well and tase for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.

    Indonesian Ginger Chicken/Tofu

    I kept putting off trying this recipe because it asks for 1 cup of honey (expensive!) and 1/2 cup of peeled and grated ginger (time intensive!), but really, it's worth it, especially if you half the recipe. The recipe has the chicken baked, which I did, but I think it'll be equally tasty grilled (I'd reserve the marinade and boil it for 5-10 minutes and serve over the chicken). I also can't wait to try this with tofu!

    Indonesian Ginger Chicken
    Barefoot Contessa

    1 cup honey
    3/4 c soy sauce
    1/4 cup minced garlic (8-12 cloves)
    1/2 cup peeled and grated fresh ginger root
    2 chickens (3 1/2 pounds each), quartered with backs removed

    Cook the honey, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger root in a small saucepan over low heat until honey is melted. Arrange the chicken in a large, shallow baking pan, skin side down, and pour on the sauce. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 1/2 hour. Uncover the pan, turn the chicken skin side up, and raise the temperature to 375 degrees (oops, I forgot to do this, but it turned out fine). Continue baking for 30 minutes, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh and the sauce is a rich dark brown.

    Try this with Curried Couscous.