Monday, November 26, 2012

Crêpes with coconut flour

We invented these crêpes and served with berry filling:
- 1 cup vanilla almond milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup unbleached white flour
- 3 tablespoons coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons ground flax
- 1 tablespoon local raw honey

These were delicious.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Crazy Southwest Pizza

I saw something similar to this on the back of a can of Del Monte corn at work.

I made one of my multigrain pizza crusts, this one with organic white flour, unbleached white flour, whole wheat flour, dark rye flour, sorghum flour, and corn meal.

For the sauce, we used Archer Farm raspberry salsa. Then we piled on spinach, pinto beans thawed from the freezer, and leftover turkey.

Someone ate all the black olives so that's out.

We topped with some of my home-canned corn salsa and a cup of grated cheddar cheese from the farm. We intentionally kept the cheese minimal because of girlie's ears.

It's now baking and before I serve I'm going to sprinkle with the crumbs of organic blue corn tortilla chips.

Grain free holiday loaf

Edible Harmony's Cranberry Pumpkin loaf was such a hit in this house that I decided to try a variation of it inspired by the multiple pieces of Starbucks holiday gingerbread loaf that I ate at work last night.

I also decided to use my kitchen aid mixer for the first time. This beast intimidates me.

Into the bowl I placed:
- six eggs
- about 1/3 cup coconut oil which I should have melted
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- about 2.5 tablespoons local raw honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup ground flax
- 1/4 cup sourgum flour
- ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup finely diced candied ginger
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries

Place in greased loaf pan. Sprinkle heartily with pumpkin seeds. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes.

I had to bake it for more than an hour, but good stuff!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Grain Free Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Ah, the beauty of food via Facebook... Just Eat Real Food posted this recipe from Edible Harmony. The original recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free.

I thought to myself, "Gee, it's thanksgiving morning. This would be a fantastic seasonal breakfast and fun for child and I since it's simple."

And since the doctor removed her right ear tube Monday, I'm keeping her dairy free.

If you want the real recipe, go to Edible Harmony. If you want horrible misadventures in the kitchen, by all means read on.

Preface: I am finishing my last semester of college classes, after this I just need to finish my honors thesis. We're broke (like most of America). And I have a part-time job at Target which means I work full-time this week because of Black Friday. So right now this instant, I'm stressed.

And holidays tend to push my over the edge anyway.

I am an opening cashier tonight, which means I go in at 8:30 pm and cashier until 1:30 am. Then I go in tomorrow at 5 pm to close the café. To reset my body clock toward working late, I stayed up and watched a James Bond movie after punching out of work at 10:07.

My internal alarm clock woke me up at 7:15. Child was reading to herself out loud, so I got up and closed everyone's bedroom doors. Then, the cats started scratching at the door which went from annoying to amusing when one cat started attacking the cat who was scratching at the door.

So maybe baking wasn't the best course of action for a morning that started this way.

Child got the eggs. I called up the recipe on my phone. Six eggs. Left from out last trip to the farm. Exactly what we needed. And in my head I still have this reaction of "That's a LOT of eggs." I understand coconut flour requires gads of eggs but it's still a shock.

Especially when you've only had a 1/2 cup of coffee.

Child cracks all the eggs and puts them in a bowl. The recipe says to combine eggs, 12 pitted dates and 1/3 cup coconut oil in the food processor.

We dump in the eggs and the dates and child starts measuring 1/4 cup oil because I don't have a third. I let her jam the oil (coconut oil is a solid at room temp) into her cup and I fling some extra into the food processor.

When it's ready, I let her pulse forgetting that the edge of the food processor is broken and this stream of eggs and coconut oil spews onto the counter. Like the Incredible Hulk, I turn into stark raving mad lunatic mom.

What to do? I have to get those dates pulverized. Husband gets blender. With my sunny optimism, I remind him that this won't work and we're doomed.

It works for the dates. Child measures the coconut flour. I add 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce to replace the egg mixture now on my counter. We blend. Blender stops. Coconut flour jams blender.

We reassemble poor food processor. Transfer mix to food processor. Realize blade isn't all the way down. Fiddle and twist.

Add remaining ingredients. Pulse. Recipe a for 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon. I love cinnamon. And my coconut flour bake goods tend to be bland, especially since I have taste buds so attuned to refine sugar.

The only cinnamon we have is in a grinder. Child grinds for what feels like an eternity.

We pulse. I add some local raw honey. Taste buds. Need to wean off sweet. We stir in cranberries. Plop into loaf pan. Batter seems to disappear.

We sprinkle unsalted pumpkin seeds on top. We bake.

Verdict: I need to get toothpicks so I don't keep using random household objects to poke baked goods.

This is delightful!


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cute lunch

Another variation of my salad wrap:

- small tortilla shell
- Italian salad green blend from wegmans
- Bulgarian feta
- olives
(No dressing)

And a homemade strawberry soda:
- strawberry syrup imported from Beirut
- carbonated tap water via my SodaStream

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday night decadence

Last night after a successful round of holiday shopping while the child was in dance, we put her to bed and I prepared this "flight" of Bulgarian feta, Klein Farm cheddar and mozzarella, baguette from Wegmans and goodies.

The goodies included hummus, extra virgin olive oil from Beirut with zaatar spices, black olives, almonds, roasted red pepper dip from Forks Mediterranean Deli, dried mango, and Harissa.

We opened a bottle of côte de Rhônes French red wine and celebrated our Friday evening.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Multicultural cheese pocket

This turned out super yummy:
- 1 tortilla
- roasted red pepper dip from Forks Mediterranean Deli (red peppers, garlic, pine nuts or something)
- mozzarella from Klein farm
- cheddar from Klein farm
- Bulgarian feta

Spread tortilla with red pepper spread. Add cheddar and mozzarella to taste.

Heat until cheese is melty.

Add Bulgarian feta crumbles.

Fold. Eat.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Butternut squash ravioli and sushi

So, tonight was child's night to cook dinner. She wanted to make ravioli. I got her some vegan butternut squash ravioli.

She opted to make a cream sauce with vanilla almond milk, which came to a great consistency but had a flavor way too sweet for me. She also selected broccoli to serve in the sauce with the ravioli and also a side of Sushi from Wegmans.

Our seven year old neighbor cams over to help us cook, which was a tad much for my nerves. He also ate almost a whole loaf of my freshly baked, specially purchased bâtard bread.

Since my child shouldn't have dairy, I served the bread with extra virgin, cold-pressed olive oil with basil and parsley.

Her cream sauce was roughly:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin oil
- 2 tablespoons flour
- pepper, garlic pepper, basil, parsley, Italian herb seasoning, mustard and nutmeg
- 1 cup vanilla almond milk

It was edible, but not something I would repeat. I suggested some olive oil drizzled on them.

Bâtard and quince

A few more weeks and my last full semester at Lafayette will end. My daughter is drowning in her phlegm and her ear tubes are falling out. Target opens at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving. We're still barely making ends meet.

But hey, no sense complaining. This is life.

Today I stopped at Wegmans because my poor daughter wanted ice cream and I'm restricting her dairy right now because of her allergy/ear issues.

I got her coconut milk cookies and cream ice cream.

She also wants to cook dinner tonight so I got vegan ravioli, one butternut squash and the other roasted red pepper. She suggested ravioli for the meal.

I also got salad greens and Health is Wealth Pizza Munchees which are also vegan.

And sushi. Because I can't make it through Wegmans without a serious impulse buy.

I also got bâtards, a small type of French bread, because I've craved a bâtard with butter and quince jam for months. A few weeks ago, I discovered Lebanese quince jam at the Mediterranean Deli. Imagine my delight when I found bâtard bread today. The flavors bring me back to Tunisia.

I also made myself a smoothie of vanilla maple yogurt from Klein Farm, frozen pitted dark cherries, a fresh banana and a splash of sour cherry nectar from Turkey. (Another find at the Mediterranean Deli.

My belly celebrates.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Vegan Paleo fruit "cookies"

I'm neither vegan nor paleo when it comes to eating but I appreciate recipes focused on unprocessed foods with minimal animal products.

This recipe is very clean. No added or refined sugar. No gluten.

It's based on a recipe from Against All Grain, posted on Paleo Parents. I have adapted it to what is in my pantry.

- 2 ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 4 madjool dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil

- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- about 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons each: raisins, dried cranberry and dried cantaloupe

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine first block of ingredients in food processor and combine until a fine purée like baby food
3. Add next block and pulse until just combined
4. Add dried fruit and nuts and mix just enough to incorporate
5. Place golf-ball sized cookies on cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper) and press into cookie shapes
6. Bake about twenty minutes, carefully flipping after the first 15

Mine got a tad dark, and are still very soft but so delicious. I think I need a touch more coconut flour in my mix.

But that said, I could eat the whole dozen.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Brussel sprout broccoli dish

I wanted to make this:

But ran out of Brussel sprouts, didn't have tarragon or pistachios and doubled the bacon.

I used 3 tablespoons of coconut oil since broccoli loves to suck up cooking fats...

But here we go:

In my cast iron skillet, sauté 12 ounces broccoli and about six ounces Brussel sprouts in 2 tablespoons coconut oil.

Sprinkle with generous garlic pepper, fresh ground black pepper and parsley. Add bacon broken into bits and another tablespoon coconut oil. Toss to coat.

Bake about 30 minutes at 375 adding cranberries in the last five or so minutes.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pumpkin coconut squares

Today marks my first attempt at baking with coconut flour. With my tendency to not follow directions, this could end badly.

I based my recipe on one from my coconut flour supplier, Tropical Traditions, who had a lovely buy one get one free sale on coconut flour and coconut oil with free shipping. So I got almost 4 pounds of coconut flour and two 32-ounce bottles of expeller pressed coconut oil for $44.

Preheat to 350.

Grease 8 x 12 pan with coconut oil.

Ingredients (my version, not the original):
- 1/2 cup organic coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
(Mix those two and set aside. Then mix remaining.)
- 3 farm fresh eggs
- 15 ounces pumpkin
- 1/4 cup raw milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves

Spread in pan. Cook 45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before slicing.

I didn't stir the batter enough. I was warned this was an issue with coconut flour. They are a tad on the bland side, but not inedible so for a first attempt...

Friday, November 2, 2012

In the aftermath of Sandy

We were lucky. We lost power for 48 hours but we sustained no damage. School and work have been closed all week. Restaurants and gas stations mobbed. Traffic terrible.

We lost power at Target, but opened the store on generator. Didn't have enough power to juice all the fridges and freezers so all the café and Starbucks food plus all the grocery department. Trash.

Today I went in at 7 a.m. to help restock those empty shelves. Pallets upon pallets of it. Yogurt. Cheese. A pallet of milk. Frozen vegetables. Ice cream.

What did I stock specifically? Shredded cheese. Greek yogurt. Gelato. Amy's Organics. Kashi. Archer Farms appetizers and fancy desserts (yup, I got to stock the crème brûlée) and frozen vegetables.

I smashed a fingertip and broke a few nails, but I hope it helped get food back to the people who need it.

And our store has power strips in the café so people can charge their devices. For the first few days, the place looked like a refugee camp.