18 4 / 2013
A few weeks ago, I spent an amazing week up in the Catskill Mountains in New York. The trip ended up being more than I’d hoped for, complete with farm animals, excessively delicious breakfasts(/lunches/dinners), lots of rest, laughter, and love.
And while I may be terrible at blogging, I’d like to believe that I’m still pretty kickass at making cookies, which is exactly what I did in the Catskills. These are some of the most chocolatey cookies I’ve ever had and have a dense consistency, almost more like a brownie. In the realm of sweets, these are on the healthier side of indulgence, sweetened only with dates, honey, and the tip of my pinkie finger (joking), and held together with pumpkin.
- 1 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1 cup extra dark or Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- about 1 - 1 1/2 cups pumpkin (canned or fresh)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup dates, pitted
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate (you can sub semi-sweet chocolate chips if you prefer)
- Coarse sea salt (optional)
10 7 / 2012
Have you heard?
The city of D.C. has relocated to the surface of the sun. It’s the best! We even get to experience those zany electrical storms. If we’re extra lucky, we lose power and pretend our bodies are actually griddles!
Ok, I’m over it. I’ve also gone into extra diet lock-down mode after a couple months of really struggling with my health. As the last dregs of sugars leave my system, my body has been persistently demanding more. I’ve addressed issues #1 and 2 with the below recipe:
Chocolate Coconut Milkshake
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup low fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon stevia (or 1 teaspoon honey for the glycemically blessed)
1 dash sea salt
6-10 large ice cubes
1 pinch each cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)
1/4 cup soaked cashews (optional)
Add above ingredients to a blender and press blend. Pour into your favorite cup, add straw.
Note: don’t use full fat coconut milk for the entire thing. You will give yourself a stomach ache. Trust me.
26 6 / 2012
This past Saturday was my housemate/life love Jean’s birthday! As the baby of the house, I clearly had to make her whatever she wanted for the day. And usually what Jean wants is meat. Yes, meat. In most forms. So for her birthday I made these bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese and swaddled in fresh basil. I’m not usually a huge meat eater myself but the bacony sweet combo gets me every time. It will probably get you too.
If you’re going for a more animal-friendly recipe, just use the basil as your wrap and cut the baking time to about 10 minutes.
Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese
10-15 dates, slit open on one side and pitted
About 3 oz goat cheese
Fresh basil leaves
4 strips bacon or prosciutto, cut in half
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a butter knife, scoop the dates full of goat cheese and wrap with a basil leaf. Wrap a slice of bacon around the date and place into a baking dish. You may also want to use toothpicks to help hold everything in place if you have them. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bacon is crisp, turning halfway through.
21 6 / 2012
Well, summertime has officially hit in D.C. Or perhaps it would be more aptly named “Swimming in Steam.”
(Maybe that’s a touch dramatic).
But I’ve been battling the flu all week and there is nothing more uncomfortable than having to choose between the evil twins, Frigid A/C and Stagnant Hot Air. When plagued with alternating fever and chills, let me tell you, both feel terrible.
On a more positive note, I’ve found this brilliant summer recipe and got the chance to sit outside for hours last night on a beautiful rooftop catching up with an old friend. There’s nothing better than getting lost in summer nights and suddenly realizing it’s 11 pm and you’re still sitting outside in a dress. I also like to pretend that walking through summer air and the sensation of wearing Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak are the exact same thing. So there’s that…
I found this recipe at one of my favorite blogs, Edible Perspective. It’s super easy and I’ve already made it with broccoli instead of kale and can imagine I’ll use a lot of other veggies to make pestos in the coming months. You can use it on pastas, fish, sandwiches, or just, you know, eat it with a spoon. Not that that’s what I did…
1 bunch kale, washed and de-veined
2 tablespoons walnuts
3 tablespoons almonds
2 cloves garlic, peeled
5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons cooking water from kale
Place kale in a saucepan or pot and bring to boil or until kale is dark green and cooked. This should only take a couple of minutes. Strain the kale, setting aside a couple tablespoons of the cooking water.
In a blender or food processor, process the nuts and garlic until fine. Add in kale, olive oil, salt and pepper and process until well combined. Lastly, add in nutritional yeast and a couple tablespoons of cooking water and process again until you get the consistency you like best.
19 6 / 2012
Pho Ga, or Vietnamese chicken noodle soup, is one of my all time favorite meals. In college, I worked at a Vietnamese restaurant in Los Angeles that had some of the best pho I’ve ever eaten. With clean, flavorful and refreshing broth, light rice noodles and an array of mix-ins that include basil, bean sprouts, lime, onion, fried shallots and cilantro, pho is a really healthy and refreshing meal. You also get to say pho (pronounces Fuh) as much as you want. There is no pho police. Some people also say pho is hydrating which is perhaps why I observed so many people slurping it down on 100+ degree summer days in Los Angeles.
Josh, my housemate (Josh’s edit: and best friend), also shares my excitement about pho. Can’t you tell by his face and rapid blurry hand movements? Josh and I went to his native Kentucky this past week for his brother’s wedding and got to visit lots of friends and family (and one bourbon distillery).
It was such a beautiful and special adventure and I got to spend a lot of it playing silly games with toddlers, staying up late to visit with new friends, and enjoying live country music in a raucous bar. An unfortunate side effect of all of this fun, apparently, is coming down with a gross flu. I’ve been a hacking mess since we got back and a delicious bowl a pho is exactly what I wanted.
For those of you daunted by making homemade pho broth from scratch, you can use Pacific Organic Soup Starters. Disclaimer: there is no gluten-free label on this broth so Celiacs should probably steer clear for the time being. I’ve yet to make the endeavor into pho stock-making myself and clearly remember giant cauldron-like pots of chicken parts, anise, and five spice stewing for hours in the restaurant that I used to work in. Mark my words, some day I will tackle this whole process from scratch but not under the fog of a flu bug.
The best part about eating pho is deciding what you’re going to mix in. It’s like a choose-your-own-soup-adventure. Any time you order pho in a restaurant you will get a big plate of bean sprouts, jalapeños, basil, and limes. It’s accompanied by Sriracha and hoisin sauce which can make your soup spicier and/or sweeter. This is the ultimate customizable dish that’s a fun one to make if you’re having a lot of people over for dinner and want to give them some options.
Chicken Pho or Pho Ga
2 boxes of Pacific Organic Chicken Pho base or 8 cups Vietnamese chicken stock
3 chicken breasts, sliced to 1/4 inch thickness
2 handfuls dried rice noodles (I used linguini-style noodles)
Half of one white onion, very thinly sliced
One bunch green onions, sliced
3 cups bean sprouts
2 limes, sliced into wedges
1 jalapeño, sliced
Gluten-free hoisin sauce
Bring a pot of water to boil, add in rice noodles and remove from heat. Let sit for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until noodles are cooked al dente. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water. Divide the noodles into the bottom of large bowls.
There are two ways to cook the chicken. Either sautee the chicken in oil until almost fully cooked and then add to boiling broth, or heat the broth to a rolling boil and pour over chicken and noodles already placed in bowls to thoroughly cook. The latter is the traditional way that pho is served but not for the folks worried about properly cooking their meat. Add a bit of sliced white and green onions to each bowl.
Arrange the bean sprouts, lime, cilantro, jalapeños, and basil on a plate. Serve your pho hot and with large soup spoons, chopsticks or forks.
12 6 / 2012
There are just so many puns to make, I don’t even know where to start…
So maybe I won’t. Though I will say that dates are one of my favorite treats — and I do consider them a treat since they are too sugary for me to eat too often. I once played a trick on my roommate by leaving date pits on our windowsill and feigning ignorance when he repeatedly asked me what they were. When I would reply “I have no idea what those are,” he would always stare at the pits sternly with a confused look, look back at me, look at the pits, and then drawl/giggle, “Oh, Mushhhhh” (that’s what we call each other) and continue laughing as if he got the joke. He never got the joke. And he still doesn’t know what those date pits are.
This is probably one of the easiest and most adaptable snack foods to make. Even better if you have a sweet tooth like me. If you’ve ever had a Larabar, that’s exactly what this is, except made with more love and less plastic. For these I simply used dates, chopped almonds, cocoa powder and a smidge of salt but I give you full permission to go wild and try other combos. As long as you start with some dates you should be good to go!
12-15 dates, pitted
1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a food processor, blend dates until nearly smooth. Toss in almonds, cocoa powder and salt and pulse until combined. Transfer into a tupperware container or small 8x8 square pan and compress using the back of a fork or a spatula. Chill in the fridge and, when you can’t wait any longer, tap the date mixture onto a cutting board and cut into squares.
Other possible combinations:
Dates + ginger + shredded carrot + walnuts
Dates + peanuts + cocoa
Dates + sunflower seeds + dried cranberries
Dates + wine + love = babies
OK that last one was a pun! Ijustcouldn’thelpmyselffff.
06 6 / 2012
Or: “How to Eat an Entire Bunch of Kale in 15 Minutes or Less.”
I think kale is the pretty much the perfect vegetable. It’s pretty, it’s green, it tastes good cooked, raw, or in chip form. The only problem is that there never seems to be quite enough of it.
This recipe was brought to me via the friendways but was adapted from the one over at Joy the Baker. It combines the saltiness of tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) with the sweetness of shaved toasted coconut and has a gentle garlic bite. If you like spice, you can also add sriracha to the mix (I opted out since it has sugar). I think this recipe is best when you bake the kale just enough to be cooked and the coconut is totally, but not quite to the point of kale chips. I would otherwise never advocate for soggy anything, but you’re probably going to want this a little bit on the saucier side.
Toasted Coconut and Kale
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons tamari
1/2 teaspoon sriracha
scant 1/3 cup olive oil
5 cups kale, ribs removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup unsweetened large flake coconut
I served mine with a warm chickpea millet salad (recipe forthcoming).
05 6 / 2012
Considering my fairly nomadic lifestyle, it might be hard to believe how many kitchen appliances I have. When I made the move from Chicago to DC this winter, I was determined to bring my food processor safely with me. I gave away 5 bags to Goodwill and shipped 5 boxes to make way for it. It took up 1/4 of the space in suitcases which may seem a little extreme when you consider the amount of more essential items (like, say, clothes) that needed to come with me but, believe me, it was totally necessary.
Lately, I’ve been making almond butter like the apocalypse is coming and I need some extra stores. It’s infinitely better than store-bought almond butter and (I think) a bit cheaper. I’ve made it using both roasted and raw almonds — raw is a bit sweeter but takes about 2-3 times as long to process fully.
Normally when I make almond butter I keep it simple. I just grind the almonds until smooth and add a bit of salt. But I’ve had this recipe idea on my mind for a while and am just now getting around to trying it out. Brown butter is one of my favorite things to make because it makes everything takes like toffee…kind of.
Brown Butter, Almond Butter
3 cups whole almonds, roasted or raw
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon stevia, honey, or agave nectar (optional)
In a food processor or hefty blender, process the almonds and salt for 5-15 minutes (raw takes much longer) until smooth. If you want chunky almond butter just remove about a 1/2 cup of the coarse almonds.
In a saucepan, heat butter on medium until it turns slightly brown and gives off a warm, nutty smell. Add the butter and sweetener to almond butter and blend.
12 12 / 2011
A few months ago, my sister gave me the super natural every day cookbook by Heidi Swanson. It’s so beautifully photographed and a lot of the recipes are perfect for this chilly Chicago winter.
Speaking of winter, part of my blogging dilemma lately is being able to capture food in any sort of light. So, while I promise this recipe is insanely delicious, it doesn’t look quite as appetizing via photo.
This soup has a lot of layers of deep, nutty flavors, owed in part to a brown butter and curry sauce that you drizzle into the blended lentils. It will also make your kitchen smell like Paula Deen’s house and/or Krispy Kreme.
If you have some guests coming over and want to impress them with your fancy cooking skills, this is a great dish to serve. Just put on your Top Chef hat, pick out a nice soup pot and, with a spoon and a little extra flair, drizzle your curried brown butter over the soup and sprinkle with chopped chives.
Green Lentil Soup from Super Natural Every Day:
2 tbsp unsalted butter, ghee, or coconut oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups green lentils, picked over and rinsed
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp Indian curry powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
Fine-grain sea salt
1 bunch fresh chives, minced
Combine the 2 tablespoons butter, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large soup pot over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the onions soften, a couple minutes. Add the vegetable broth and lentils and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, but can take as long as 50 minutes.
In the meantime, warm the 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and let it brown. When it starts to smell nutty and fragrant, stir in the curry powder and sauté until the spices are fragrant, less than a minute.
When the lentils are finished cooking, remove from the heat, stir in the coconut milk and 1/4 teaspoon salt and puree with an immersion blender (I used my food processor). Stir in half of the spiced butter, taste, and add more salt if needed, typically a couple of teaspoons if you used water instead of a salted broth. Serve drizzled with the remaining spice butter and sprinkled with chives.