Sunday, July 6, 2008

Welcome back cookies

This is my first post in a llllllong time. I've been so crazy busy this past month with my yoga teacher training, that the few opportunities I had to cook or bake anything special I didn't have the time to write or reflect about it. It was an amazing month that has truly changed my life and I spent this last week decompressing and basically doing nothing. It was exactly what I needed. While in Seattle, I fell in love with a vegan, gluten-free bakery. Everytime I walked in the door my senses were overtaken. The smell of freshly baked pasteries displayed in such a way that makes them even more desirable. They also list the ingredients for everything they make and those of you who know me understand how much I love that. In place of wheat flours for a majority of their pastries, they use a mixture of chickpea and rice flour. I have no idea of the ratio that they use but I've been planning on experimenting with these alternatives since I got home. I found a vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe that I decided to use as a reference. I substituted 2/3 cup agave nectar for the sugar and then increased the flour to 1 1/4 cup. The mixture of flour I used was 3/4 cup brown rice flour, about 3/8 c. chickpea flour, and 1/8 c. potato starch. They were a success! Not too sweet, kind of cakey. The chickpea flavor comes through a bit and I really like it. You can actually feel pretty good about eating these because they are full of protein and super low in bad fats and sugar. With wheat being the most consumed and overconsumed grain today, I really like that these are wheat-free. These are quick, yummy, and different-try them!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Green ham

I've never made, or even had, green eggs before. The closest I've gotten is probably while learning to read-and that book does a great job of turning someone off to the idea of enjoying eggs in such a hue. I woke up in a creative mood and with the need to finish a bag of greens and some eggs before taking to the road tomorrow morning. I don't know why I thought of green eggs for breakfast but I decided to go with it. Green eggs are really just eggs scrambled with pesto, which actually sounds delicious to me-but I'm not a huge ham fan so my version will fall just short of tradition. I added some Parmesan to the food processor and pulsed a few times to shred it fine. I then added about three large leaves of chard (chopped), fresh parsley, salt, pepper, and a small handful of walnuts. I decided to leave off the garlic, feeling it was a bit early for so pungent a flavor. While the food processor ran, I streamed in a little olive oil-not as much as is usually used in pesto, but just enough to bring everything together. In a bowl, I cracked one full egg and two egg whites, added the pesto and whisked until combined. At this point, I was a bit skeptical of how it was going to turn looked like a lot of pesto to egg ratio. In a preheated skillet, I added some ghee (clarified butter) then the egg mixture and proceeded to cook it like any other scrambled egg. Surprisingly, it all came together and took on exactly the texture of scrambled eggs, but with a vibrant green color! With a couple slices of sprouted sesame bread this turned out to be a super good breakfast. I'll definitely make this again. If I was to add some sort of ham, a prosciutto would be my choice-but honestly not necessary. It could really be done with any greens and it would be really tasty with a sun dried tomato pesto (though that would be red eggs...). Oh, the possibilities!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A delicious summer salad...

Yesterday was hot here. I love hot...when I can spend all day in a bathing suit, by the creek, with a book. I like it less when I have to go places in my truck (with no air conditioning) or walk around in normal clothes that soon become a little damp. On top of it, my apartment has blown up with my attempts to pack for the summer-bleh. A little ray of sunshine amidst all my complaining is the salad I made for lunch yesterday. It truly brightened my day. I cooked some sprouted wheat parpadelle on the stove. Meanwhile, I opened a can of tuna packed in olive oil (SO much better than the water packed stuff!) and dropped it in a bowl with half a squeezed lemon, fresh parsley, sundried tomatoes, a minced garlic clove, chopped celery, salt, pepper, and cayenne. When the pasta was done, I drained it and sprinkled some cold water over them (but not rinsed completely) and them tossed them in the bowl with the tuna mixture. In my serving bowl, I laid down a couple handfuls of organic baby spinach and some sunflower sprouts-then I piled the tuna pasta salad on top. With a glass of iced green tea I was reenergized to finish my long list of to-dos. I was even able to enjoy some the weather in the park downtown. It's probably a good thing I'm heading North soon though!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Brittney!

Yesterday was Brittney's birthday so I made her a cake in celebration. She said she had no preference as to what kind. I did some usual pre-baking/cooking research and found a really yummy looking carrot cake recipe made with agave nectar. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose, but followed the recipe exactly. I don't really like cream cheese frosting but I definetely wanted some sort of topping; here was my opportunity for creativity. There's a restaurant in Sedona that does a carrot cake with some sort of vegan coconut frosting-it's amazing. In my attempt to recreate such flavors I threw some dates, a spoonful of almond butter, a handful of coconut and a squeeze of agave nectar in the food processor. I also added a splash of water to smooth it out. The dates could also be soaked ahead of time to create a smoother texture. I turned on the machine and came out wonderfully. A kind of coconut almond paste that had the perfect consistency and sweetness. It was just enough to spread on top of the cake-as I am anti-frosting overkill. Then I sprinkled some more coconut on top and voila...a cake worth having a birthday for. The cake itself is moist and almost pudding-like and the topping just adds a creamy coconut complement. I loved it-but more importantly-so did Brittney.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It all started with a wedge a Brie...

The other night a friend of mine surprised me by showing up with a lovely piece of Brie. From there we created a wonderful little feast. Here's what we had:

Baby artichoke-I trimmed all the dark green leaves and the stem, then steamed them for about 10 minutes. Then I tossed them will olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted in the oven at 400 degrees for another 10 minutes. I had never had artichoke this way before but they turned out really good. I like anything roasted in olive oil.

Rainbow chard-This I sauteed in olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Simple and delicious.

Beluga lentils- These were Trader Joe's pre-cooked lentils so they were easy-just warm and serve. Nice earthy taste.

Dried apricots- A definite favorite.

Sliced apple

Kiwi-We decided this was the only element that we could have done without. A bit tropical compared to the rest of the spread. Now we know.


Marinated Olives

Garlic Baguette-Toasted, of course.

Brie-We kept half as-is and then baked the rest with cranberries and pecans on top. I'm partial to the cold variety-preferably with a nice glob of black current jam (as I was taught by my mom).

Extra-sharp cheddar


White cheddar


Cabernet Sauvignon

Not bad for an impromptu little din-din. We were pretty happy with how it all came together. Good converstion, happy tummies, and beautiful, simple food.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Flan Patissier

This is a pastry I have yet to find in the United States. It's pretty much amazing. Flaky pastry filled with a pastry cream and baked until firm and caramelized on top. Yum! French patisseries consider this a standard in their display windows and I just can't figure out why we haven't caught on. That just means I have to make it myself, which isn't so bad because then you have the whole Flan rather than just a piece. It's best cold but we rarely wait that long, assuming we'll be able to eat it cold several times in the days to follow. The recipe is in metric units since it is a French recipe so it's helpful to have a scale.
Flan Patissier
For the pate brisee(crust):
250 g flour
5 g sea salt
40 g sugar
125 g unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
5 cl room temp water
Mix the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until crumb-like.
Mix the water and yolk and add to the flour/butter mixture to form the dough. (I usually have to add a bit more water to make the dough come together). Wrap and refrigerate 30 min.
For the creme patissiere (pastry cream):
3 eggs
150 g sugar
70 g corn starch
2 tsp. vanilla
15 cl heavy cream
60 cl. whole milk
Whisk the eggs and half of the sugar (75 g) and stop before the eggs whiten. Sift the corn starch into the bowl and add the vanilla and the cream. Heat the milk and the rest of the sugar until just boiling. Remove from heat. Add a couple ladles of the hot liquid to the egg mixture while whisking to temper the eggs. While whisking, add the tempered egg mixture back into the hot milk. Replace on the stove at medium heat and stir continuously until the cream just begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and pour into a glass or stainless steel bowl to cool a bit.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees .
Roll out the dough and lay in greased and floured spring-form pan. Pour in the pastry cream and bake 20 minutes. Raise the oven to 400 degrees and continue baking another 10 minutes. If the top doesn't brown on it's own I usually turn the broiler on at the end of baking to make sure the top gets caramelized.
Let cool and then refrigerate...if you can wait that long.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Dinner for Maman

When I told Joe my mom was coming to visit, he decided we should make dinner for her. As friends who share the love of food, we spent the next few days deciding what to make. It all came together after Joe took a nap and dreamed up exactly what he wanted to make: Salmon baked in Pinot Noir with a yogurt-dill sauce. Not quite the Southwestern theme we were originally planning but it sounded delicious none the less. With a side of Isreali couscous and sauteed wax beans with garlic and our meal had perfect flavor complements. We critiqued ourselves on the lack of color variation on the plate but got over it quickly after the first bite. The dill sauce was refreshing and the wax beans perfectly cooked.

I don't have a recipe for the salmon because there isn't one really-but, here is the recipe for the Chocolate Pots de Creme that I made for dessert.

They came out amazingly smooth and rich. My mom was very pleased. Another successful dinner gathering with good food, good friends, and good laughs.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Green Smoothies

For the past couple weeks I've been incorporating Green Smoothies into my diet. It's amazing the amount of fruits and vegetable servings you can consume per glass. Many people have seen marked health improvements by just adding one drink per day. Things like clearer skin, better digestion, and improved energy are just some of the claims. I have noticed clearer skin and less sweet cravings since drinking them. They taste really good-much like Odwalla Superfood and you can play around with the green to fruit ratio and with many different combinations. I've been making them in the food processor, which works fine, but we've just acquired a blender that I'm looking forward to using. I fill up the processor with as many greens as I can fit. Any combination or baby spinach, kale, chard, sprouts, or parsley is what I use most often. Some people use romaine or other lettuces but I really don't enjoy their flavor so I stick to the ones I listed. It's good to change which greens you use because some are high in oxalic acid that can be harsh on your system. So one day, use just kale or a mixture or kale and spinach and then change it up the next. Once I've crammed the processor with the greens I add a little water and blend-adding more water if necessary to get the smoothie consistency. Then I add one banana, an apple, and a handful or two of berries. You can add smoothie supplements at this point too-I'll throw in some Maca Powder sometimes...EFA blends, bee pollen, or hemp seed would also be great additions. Then I blend it again until it's smooth. This makes about a quart of smoothie so 2-3 days worth. If I'm replacing breakfast with it then I'll drink 16 oz. but if it's in addition to cereal or toast I'll have only 8-12 oz. It's a good idea to chew a little while you're drinking them because this will begin the digestion process and make your tummy happier. Here are some more sources that I've used while researching this topic:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chai Apple Cake

My lab got out early today so I found myself with an extra hour and a half of free time. What did I do with that time? Shockingly...I baked! I've been thinking lately about making a tea infused cake. Early Grey is the kind I've been hearing about most recently but I was more in the mood for chai. Unfortunately, I had neither of these exciting tea flavors in my tea basket today so I settled on a chai-spiced cake because I always have a healthy supply of those essential Indian cooking elements. I've also been trying to stay away from refined sugar so this cake is sweetened with fruit juice and a little agave nectar. The recipe base is a sugarfree cake recipe that I tweaked to satisfy my cravings and the ingredients I had on hand.

I started by mixing up the spices that I wanted to use. They included 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. fennel, and 2 tsp. cardammom. Some clove and black pepper might be a good addition in the future but I thought I'd keep it simple today. I added these to my motar and pestal and ground it until everything was evenly combined. It made more than I needed but it's easy to find another recipe to throw in the rest. The recipe called for apple juice concentrate but I only had unconcentrated-so, I poured about 2 cups into a saucepan with a couple squirts of agave nectar and reduced it until it was about 3/4 cup. This allowed enough for the 1/2 cup in the cake and then I added 1 Tbsp. of butter to the last 1/4 cup as a glaze for the top.

Chai Apple Cake
2 eggs
1/2 c. reduced apple juice and agave or
thawed apple juice concentrate
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. non-aluminum baking powder
3 tsp. chai spice blend
1/2 tsp. salt
1 McIntosh apple
1/4 c. apple glaze

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a springform pan or other round cake pan. In a bowl, beat eggs and whisk in apple juice concentrate/reduction and vanilla. Slowly whisk in butter. In another bowl combine flour, baking power, spices and salt and mix to evenly combine. Blend dry ingredients into liquids and stir until completely incorporated. Core and thinly slice apple (with our without skin). Pour batter into pan and arrange apple slices in a circular fan-ish pattern (the technical term I'm sure).
Brush apples with a little of the glaze and place in the oven. Bake 35-40 minutes until firm and golden on top. Remove from the oven, poke some holes in the top with a fork and pour the rest of the glaze evenly over the top. Allow to cool completely before removing the springform if using.
I'm not a real cake person. I definitely lean towards pies or cobblers...but I love this cake. It's just sweet enough and it can be made more or less sweet just by altering the amount of agave added. The spice isn't overpowering so you can still taste each of the very few other ingredients. Apple and chai spices are a perfect complement to each other and with a cup of green tea or coffee it's a lovely afternoon tea-type cake (which is how I had it today while writing this post). Gotta love labs that get out early.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Oatmeal season is gone for sure. No more need for a steaming bowl of goodness to keep me warm all morning. I eat oatmeal literally every morning from fall through winter-but around this time each year, the thought of oatmeal for breakfast doesn't sound appealing at all. So, the natural alternative is granola...or muesli. Unfortunately, granola doesn't have the bulk of being cooked with water to be super satisfying...unless you eat a lot. It's kind of up there in the calorie realm so most servings should only be about 1/4 c.-which never really does it for me. To accomodate my need for a larger portion I made up a batch of granola, sweetened with apple juice and using only a few tablespoons of oil. It's really not sweet at all but adding a little vanilla to the milk or a squirt of agave nectar helps without straying from the original purpose.

The recipe is from the Rose Bakery cookbook. In itself, this is a beautiful cookbook from a Paris cafe I would LOVE to visit. They give two granola recipes-one being this sugarfree version and also a honey granola recipe. Both are delicious but naturally the one with honey is great in a wow-I'm-having-dessert-for-breakfast kind of traditional granola way.
My favorite part is the toasted almonds...oh, and the dried apricots that I use. I also added some shredded unsweetened coconut because I like how subtly it flavors the milk. While part of me is sad to see the comfort of oatmeal be tucked away for awhile, I'm totally prepared to embrace the onset of this granola season.
Sugar-free Granola
from Rose Bakery
4 c. rolled oats
1 c. whole almonds
3/4 c. sunflower seeds
1 c. pumpkin seeds
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1 tbsp. wheat germ
1/2 c. apple juice
4 tbsp. sunflower oil
dried or fresh fruits
*shredded unsweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 325-degrees.
Mix all ingredients, from oats to oil, together in bowl.
Spread out evenly on a baking tray.
Bake, turning often, for 45 min. to 1 hr.
Remove from oven and leave until cool.
Add dried fruit and serve with yogurt or milk.
(I use vanilla almond/rice milk)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sprouted Garbanzo Bean Burgers

Lately I've been experimenting with sprouting my own grains and beans. My first attempt came after reading an article in Yoga Journal about how healthy and easy sprouting can be. One of the recipes was for these burgers so I determined it my project for the week. I started with dry garbanzo beans that I soaked for about 12 hours. I used an old yogurt container as the sprouting jar and poked holes in the lid for proper drainage. After soaking, I continued to rinse and drain the beans 3-4 times each day. The jar was stored upside down in the dish rack next to my sink. After a couple days the sprouts were visible and by day four they were about an inch long. It was kind of fun and MUCH easier than I ever expected. Here's the recipe I used for the burgers.

The recipe is the same as the one from the magazine, but here the burgers are actually split and used as the bun-I used the burgers as burgers. The variation could be fun to try though.

The burgers are moist and flavorful-kind of beany if you can imagine. I served it open-faced on sprouted bread with cheddar, avocado, and sprouts...I think I met my quota of sprouts for that day. These are great for lunch and the recipe makes about 12 patties-most of which I frozen for later.

Another fun thing I did was to meet with some of the walkers from The Longest Walk. The group of about 130 people came through Flagstaff over the last weekend. A couple walkers met with my boss and she decided to make dinner for all of them one night. Saturday night we got together and prepped all of the ingredients for Kitchari, Hippie Popcorn, and green tea for the large group. We also made dinner for ourselves, which included molded rice balls wrapped in sesame leaves, a very thrown together soup with a tumeric and ginger broth, peanut noodles with fresh basil, and an aloe vera and grape juice cocktail. The walkers were amazing to talk to and we all kind of fell in love with their beauty. It's such a great cause they are walking for and I wish them the best of luck in the rest of their long journey.

For this week...I just started sprouting some barley to try a pizza crust recipe listed in the same Yoga Journal magazine. I'm pretty excited about that one. It will likely show up in a post sometime soon.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mmm Soup

I definitely found a new favorite soup recipe. It's a recipe I've been want to try for a while and now I'm really glad I did! Everything is really simple but the flavors come together perfectly. The lentils make it smooth and creamy while the quinoa lends its light nutty taste. The dark leafy greens (kale...but I used chard) provide a yummy taste and some of the most readily absorbed calcium, iron, and protein available. To serve, a spoonful of tahini in the bottom of the bowl (the swirl you see in the photo) adds another layer of flavor and texture. This is perfect for spring and is just one of those feel good soups. A nice piece of bread, or indian flatbread as in the photo, make a very satisfying meal.

Another exciting friend Joe is teaching me to brew beer. We make a batch just the other day and it's happily fermenting in my pantry as I write this. It'll be bottled in another week and then sit for a month to carbonate.
Joe did an apprenticeship at a brewery in New Mexico last semester-so, I'm hoping to learn his ways. I'll take some photos when we bottle and follow up with a little critique when it's finished. It's an IPA so here's Joe with his little ball of hops.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Cleanse

So...this post is not going to be very exciting, which means there will be no pictures. I promise to make up for it in the next one though. I was gone last week, visiting family in California, and while I did do some cooking I, naturally, forgot to take pictures of any of it. Such is life. Quick descriptions of what I made: seared scallops with sauteed asparagus and saffron couscous one night and macaroni and cheese with wilted rainbow chard another. I was able to go to a nice farmer's market with my mom (I'm jealous of all those people who have farmer's markets year-round or at least this early in the season). We stocked up on organic cheeses, radishes, chard, basil, tomatoes, eggs, rhubarb pie, and strawberries that make my mouth water just thinking about them. After doing some other shopping in downtown Ventura we came home and I made some mayonnaise (with one of the beautiful eggs) for my mom to use in some amazing tomato basil sandwiches. The simplest meals are often my favorite.
Now that I'm back and the spring equinox has past, it's time for a spring cleanse. Basically, I'm eating really simple foods for the next week. Oat, corn, or rice porridge for breakfast with a green smoothie ( I may get addicted to these!) and soup and a light salad or Kitcheri for dinner. Kitcheri is an Indian dish of basmati rice and some variety or lentil (red, yellow, or mung beans) cooked into a porridge with a combination of spices. In Ayurvedic medicine it's traditionally used for the very young or old and for those that are sick. It's very easy to digest, which is why it is a perfect meal when doing a cleanse. I can eat as many vegetables and fruits as I want to fill my belly. No dairy, little to no wheat, nothing processed, and lots and lots of water. For everyone that knows my sweet tooth...this isn't so easy for me. I'm craving more pizza and Thai food than anything though. Ah, well it's just a week. If anyone has any questions or advice to offer on cleansing please share.
I will return with my next post refreshed and anew; ready to celebrate the new season with flavor.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Leek and Mushroom Quiche

There are some things that really just make food better. For example, a sandwich jumps a few points by simply toasting the bread. Sun dried tomatoes are another element that make foods like pizza or pasta go from good to great. Pastry, I think, is the ultimate. A meal is so much more enjoyable set in a crust or wrapped in a hearty layer of flaky pastry. With this simple addition, stew (delicious in its own right) becomes the comforting satisfaction that is pot pie. Custards and fruit, also quite nice on their own, are raised to pie and tart status with just a little flour and butter. Last night, with the same ingredients, I could have made a lovely omelette. Instead, I decided not to settle and went for the all out quiche. A spinach salad on the side, complete with vinegrette a la Maman, provided a crisp balance to the richness of the quiche.
Here's how I did it:
I began with a simple Pate Brisee made in the food processor.

Pate Brisee
1 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter
ice cold water

Add the flours, salt, and sugar to the food processor and pulse until combine. Cut the butter into chunks and add to them to the bowl. Pulse until the texture is of a coarse meal. Add about
3 tbsp water and pulse, adding just enough water to hold the dough together. Don't overmix or the dough will become tough. Wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Meanwhile...start on the filling. I didn't follow a recipe so I'll just explain. Wash and slice one leek-then, sautee in olive oil until tender. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Wipe two handfuls of mushrooms with a damp paper towel and slice-sauteeing in the same pan with a little more oil and some Herbes de Provence. Remove to a separte bowl. Whisk 5 eggs with just under a cup of cream or half-and-half, salt, pepper, and cayenne.

Now for the layering...roll out the dough and lay into a greased and floured pie pan. Evenly disperse the leek in the bottom of the crust.

Pour the egg mixture over the leek. Scatter the mushrooms on top, followed by shredded Swiss Cheese and pine nuts. Instead of cutting off the excess crust (did I mention that's my favorite part?), I just folded the edges over the filling. It give it a kind of rustic look.

Bake at 375-degrees for 50-60 minutes.
I won't lie-it was pretty amazing. Leeks are a great substitute for people like me who don't like onions. Their sweetness is tasted throughout the egg filling. The mushrooms provide a nice savory balance and the pine nuts added that toasted element. This is one of those dishes that sun dried tomatoes could have really done something for-but that might just lead to overwhelming goodness. Is that so bad?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pizza, Banana Cake, and a Concert was a busy day, which made up for my hibernating the rest of the weekend. I really just didn't want to dig my truck out of the snow-so, I restricted myself to go only places that I could walk. That meant work and yoga. I did a lot of movie watching and reading in my papasan chair wrapped in a blanket. And of

So, back to Sunday...we had tickets for the Ingrid Michaelson and Josh Radin concert which was happily a block from my house so it, too, required no driving. Brittney's friend was going with us so she came over for dinner with a bottle of wine and I made two kinds of pizza and Mexican Monkey Cake.
The pizza was on a whole wheat crust that I made in the bread machine. On one I put homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, and sauteed baby portobello mushrooms. The other had olive oil, mozzarella, artichoke heart, roasted bell pepper, sundried tomato, and kalamata olives. The crust was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside-I was a little scared with using only whole wheat flour-but it had really good balance. I love pizza so this meal made me happy.

We've had overly ripe...I mean black....bananas around for about a week and I was just waiting to be inspired by a recipe. The Monkey Cake came out amazing-in my opinion, Ghiradelli chocolate chips alone bring any dessert up about two points. The only change I would make would be to omit the sugar in the "topping". I think the cake is plenty sweet without the added sugar. The cinnamon in the recipe is essential though. All around delicious.

The concert was great-both artists are wonderful live. If anyone has the chance to go see them it's definitely worth it. I was a little bummed that my poor planning caused me to miss the Oscars but the alternative ended up being a really good time.

I don't really ever make sandwiches anymore. They used to be a daily meal but since I don't really eat meat anymore-they take more effort to be exciting. Don't get me wrong, PB&J are always wonderful but I guess it's a lot easier to make a nutritious vegetarian burrito than a sandwich. Yesterday, however, I felt compelled to put in that extra effort and it was definitely worth it. It's a recipe I used to always make with tuna-but I'd forgotten about it until I came accross this curried egg salad recipe. I toasted some locally made wheat bread and rubbed it with garlic-then along with the egg salad, mounded avocado and sprout. After some leftover monkey cake I went to my afternoon class very satisfied.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Pink Cookies?

I'm snowed in. Class was canceled(yay!) due to the 8-14 inches of snow that fell around Flagstaff last night. I'm kind of hibernating anyway because I've been sick(I have never sneezed so much in my life!) It's been a lot of lemon, ginger, honey tea and warm, yummy foods. Yesterday, I made an Indian Biryani(pilaf) and Aloo Paratha(potato-filled whole wheat flat bread) from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian. It was spicy and delicious; but I didn't take any pictures...
This morning I woke up and made some carrot and beet juice. At Tap Root in Anchorage, I've had carrot cookies that use the left over carrot pulp from their juice bar. They are cakey and slightly sweet and totally satisfying. In an attempt to recreate these little treats I , per my norm, googled a recipe to work from. I found a carrot pulp cookie recipe and looked forward to the brilliant color the beets would add. Sure enough, these cookies carry the signature pink of fresh beets, which translates to: very good for you. I love that they're whole wheat and could be made vegan with an easy egg and honey(I used turbinado sugar) substitute. Basically, these won't last long around here.
So, for the rest of the day I will enjoy not having to take the test that was scheduled in my first class today and maybe I'll do some reading. Should be relaxing and wonderful.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Catch up

So, it's been a while since I've posted anything. It's been busy getting back into school and balancing my schedule-plus, I haven't been feeling very expressive lately. I am finally ready, however, to share some of the things I've been making lately. Nothing too exciting...and a few that I didn't photograph.
It's been chilly here lately so breakfast has been steel cut oats just about every day. I LOVE oatmeal...but get bored with it some days. So while it cooks I look through every food containing cabinet or shelf that I have in order to spice up my bowl of warmth. On most days I chop up some apple and add it in as soon as the pot starts to boil. On one particularly inspired morning, I found a can of pumpkin and some unsweetened shredded coconut. I toasted up the coconut and stirred in the pumpkin and some cinnamon when I added the milk towards the end of the cooking process. I topped it with banana and the coconut; transforming a bland bowl of oatmeal to a super-nutritious, extra-flavorful breakfast treat.
Brittney had a project in her aromatherapy class that required her to research an essential oil of her choice. She chose vanilla and asked me if I would make vanilla cupcakes for her to bring to class as part of her presentation. The first batch was a failure-I still haven't perfect high altitude baking and I think there was too much batter for the 12 cupcakes that the recipe was supposed to make...they came out tasting delicious but pretty ugly. So, I tried another recipe from the Joy of Baking. They came out perfect and I whipped up some vanilla frosting and drew a vanilla flower on all of them. I was told they were a hit.
Tonight I made a Spicy Winter Squash Galette from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I've had a small pumpkin, two actually, since Halloween and it's taken me this long to do anything with them. I originally saw this recipe on The Today Show and then I bought the cookbook...which is my favorite cookbook at the moment. The galette has a very deep savory flavor and a perfectly flaky crust. In the future I would probably use a little less squash...or perhaps more liquid-the pumpkin cubes at the top didn't stay as moist as the ones closer to the crust. A drizzle of olive oil over the top before putting it in the oven would probably correct this, also. Sweet potatoes would be great for a substitution. Some whole milk yogurt and cilantro on top rounded out the flavors quite well.
Here are some pictures of my apartment since we've added some decorations...
Other than that...I'm totally excited about my new job at a cafe a block from my house. School is going to keep my VERY busy for the next few months-so, I'll be trying to cook and do as much yoga as I can to keep my sane. Wish me luck.