Roasted Eggplant on Salad (vegan)

Made this a while ago and forgot to post it! Roasted eggplant (either broiled in the oven or you could toss on the BBQ with a spray of olive oil) amps up the umami of any salad. 

Here I've combined the roasted eggplant with asparagus (pour boiling water over the asparagus and let sit for 3-4 minutes then drain), and drizzled balsamic vinaigrette over the top.  For a more summer-appropriate pairing, use local eggplant and green beans (par boiled).

Slow Cooker Brothy Black Beans

I'm pretty crazy about black beans.  This is a modification of an old NY Times recipe, halved and done in a slow cooker.  With the 1/2 lb quantity, this feeds 2-3 adults, depending on what you serve it with.

Depending on how fast/hot you cook the beans they will either be whole or mushed up. The slow cooker did a nice job of keeping the beans whole but soft. When I cook on the lowest setting on the gas stove, they start to fall apart and get more mushy texture.
Soak 1/2 lb black beans in water overnight.

Drain and add soaked black beans to slow cooker pot with 1 diced yellow onion and 4 minced cloves garlic and enough water or veggie broth to cover by 3/4".

2 hours on high in a modern slow cooker. This gets it up to simmering.  At this point, add and stir: 
minced cilantro
minced oregano
epazote leaves
more garlic

Cook for 2 more hours on low.

Use a slotted spoon (depending on how much water you added there may be too much liquid). 

Serve these black beans over cooked brown rice or green rice and garnish with avocado. Or in a black bean bowl with rice, pico de gallo and tali sauce. Or just simply over brown rice with cotija cheese and avocado (pictured).  Or rolled in a burrito or enchilada.

Even simpler fried rice

I've made all kinds of fried rice in my day.  Fried rice is a great way to use up odds and ends of veggies from the produce drawer. Here's the striped down version. 

Simpler Fried Rice Methodology: 

Saute minced onion, garlic and salt in olive oil.  Add thinly sliced veggies (carrot, celery, mushroom, cabbage etc.) and cook until softening. 

Push stuff to side of pan to clear up space.  Fry up beaten eggs, thne mix into the veggies. 

Toss cooked (and preferably cold/refrigerated) rice with a bit of oil (sesame or olive oil), break up large clumps.  Pour into pan and mix with veggie/egg.  Stir to combine. 

Finally add frozen green peas, and soy sauce to taste.

Lori's Banana Cake (whole wheat)

This reminds me of the banana cake at New Seasons bakery that I adore. I bet if you topped it with whipped cream/sour cream frosting it would be fantastic and just like the ones in the dessert case.  I like it as a snack cake, just plain.  This is best with ripe (or overripe) bananas. Lori found the recipe but I just had to post it again-- it's that good.

85 g butter (less than 1 stick)

20 g coconut oil

Beat oils with 200 g sugar (white or coconut palm sugar) until fluffy. Add 1 egg and continue beating.

Add and stir:
110 g buttermilk (less than 2/3 C )
1 tea vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, chopped (approx 225 g)

Finally add and stir until combined:
225 g whole wheat flour
3 g baking powder (approx 1 tea)
3 g baking soda (approx 1 tea)
2 g salt (approx 1/2 tea +)

Pour into 10"x10" (or larger) pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes at 325 F.

Freezes beautifully.

Summer fruit!

I'm loving the summer fruit! Topping homemade granola with Veteran peaches from Jossy Farm, and blueberries and strawberries from Crawford's farm (no web presence but this place rocks! From Hillsboro take HWY 219 out, and take a right on Tongue Lane- drive a bit and you'll see the sign on your right).

DIY Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

 Ok this isn't typical for me. I don't eat hamburger- just can't stand it actually.  But I've discovered that hamburger buns are great for all types of sandwiches, the banh mi being my favorite. After spending way too much on hamburger buns at the store, I had a "duh" moment-- why not bake 'em myself?

I'm a fan of this book on easy artisan-style baking, so pulled up their recipe for whole wheat hamburger buns. You could easily adapt this to hotdog buns.  Just looking at them I could see them transforming to an anko-filled sweet sometime in the future (an-pan).  Yum!

Hamburger Buns
Mix in a large bowl:
2.5 C whole wheat flour
1.25 C unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 TB yeast
1/2 TB kosher salt
1/8 C vital wheat gluten

Dissolve 1/4 C honey in 1.25 C warm water.  Add 2 or 3 eggs and 1/3 C olive oil and stir.

Pour liquid into dry ingredients, stir. It will be quite wet- that's how you want it.

Cover and let sit for 2 hours at room temp. After 2 hours, move to fridge. The dough can stay in the fridge for up to 5 days (freeze if it will be any longer).

When ready to bake, cut dough into 8 pieces. Gently shape into flattened rolls with extra flour. Don't overwork the dough- it will be really soft but that's ok.  Place on cookie sheet and let rise for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Brush buns with egg wash (1 egg beaten really well), then sprinkle on sesame seeds.

Bake buns for 20 minutes.  Makes 8 buns.


Apple Chunk Muffins (whole wheat, vegan)

Great way to use up apples! The original recipe had a ton more sugar- glad I reduced it. Feel free to further reduce sugar- I bed removing the 1/3 C brown sugar wouldn't impact it too much.

1.5 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C oats
1/3 C brown sugar (or omit for less sweet muffin) 
2 tea baking powder
1 tea baking soda
1/4 tea salt
2 tea cinnamon
1/4 tea nutmeg
1/8 tea ground ginger

Now add and stir to combine into a batter:
1 C unsweetened applesauce
1/8 C maple syrup

Fold in 1 C chopped or diced apples.

Pour into greased muffin pan.  Optional: top with turbinado sugar or oat flakes.

Bake at 350 F for 18-25 minutes.

Freezes well- good as a lunch box treat or brunch/breakfast. 

Kale/Swiss Chard Wheat Berry Salad with Raisins

This would be good for potlucks or packed lunches as it keeps well and actually improves as it sits in the dressing.  Use any leafy green like kale or swiss chard (mustard greens or similar greens from the farmer's market would do well).

Here's the general idea:
Cook 1 cup wheat berries (use slow cooker or pressure cooker or boil) and drain. Chill.

Finely chop leafy greens (kale, swiss chard, mustard greens etc) and toss in a vinaigrette:
lemon juice
white wine vinegar

Toss the chilled cooked wheat berries along with raisins (or dried currants etc) into the bowl with kale and dressing. Toss and serve, or refridgerate and serve later.

Canned Vanilla Bean Applesauce

My favorite applesauce apples are Gravensteins, which is heavily influenced by my grandmother who is an avid apple conneiseur. This is a quarter batch of a larger recipe, because my largest pan is 6 quarts, and can only hold 4 lbs of apples at one time!

I realized after the fact that the silky thick texture was due to using the apple peels. Since the apple peels were blended instead of removed, they add their pectin, which gave the resulting applesauce body that normal applesauce lacks. Happy accident!!

Sterilize 4 pint jars.

Core and quarter 4 lbs of apples.

Add cut apples and 1.5 C water to large pan (6 quarts) and simmer with lid on for about 20 minutes, smooshing apples and stirring occasionally, until apples are soft and falling apart.

Process the cooked apple mixture and 1 vanilla bean (whole) in blender (in two batches) until smooth.

Return mixture to the pan, add 1.5 TB lemon juice and bring up to a small boil. Optional add cinnamon or peeled ginger.
Pour applesauce into sterilized pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal with lids, and boil the filled pint jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. 

Blackberry Walnut Buckle

This is a summery cake, and if you make it in a brownie ban you can cut it into bar cookies. And be warned: this is quite addictive stuff. The original recipe called for doing these in ramekins which would be cute. But I like getting to cut a slab off! This would be excellent for a party or potluck, or a brunch or breakfast splay.

Process to a paste in food processor:
1/4 C walnuts
4 TB butter
1/4 C sugar
1/4 tea salt

Now add to food processor and mix until smooth:
1/3 C buttermilk, non dairy milk or cream
2 eggs
1 tea vanilla

Finally add 3/4 C whole wheat flour and 1/2 tea baking powder.

Fold in 3-4 C blackberries.

Pour into baking dish (8x8" or 8x11" would work).  Optional: dust with chunky turbinao sugar.

Bake at 375 for 20-35 minutes or until golden brown and not wobbly.

Best eaten when it cools slightly (too hot and it doesn't taste as sweet). Would also be fabulous with vanilla ice cream on top (ala mode).

Peach Chia Cobbler

I did this with leftover home-canned peaches and some blueberries. Great way to use up buttermilk too.  It was a hit!

Pour a few cups macerated fruit, or canned peaches (or a combination) into a large baking dish or pie pan. If it's liquidy, add 1-2 TB chia seeds and stir (or substitute tapioca pearls).  Set aside.

Pulse to combine in food processor: 
1 C whole wheat flour
1.5 tea baking powder
0.5 tea salt
5 TB butter

Add 1/2 C oats and 1/2 C buttermilk to food processor mixture, pulse to combine.  Spread this crumb topping over the top of the fruit in the pan.

Sprinkle 1-2 TB sugar crystals ("sugar in the raw" or turbinado) over the top of the dough in the pan. 

Bake for 45 minutes or more at 375 F until golden on top.

Serve with tea or iced tea. 


Indian Rice with Cumin & Green Peas

I've been drooling over photos of rice concoctions with green peas for a couple weeks and finally got around to trying it out.  It's pretty simple, especially with left over rice. This is totally something I would have adored as a kid.   And it is a fancier side dish than plain rice.
Heat butter in a skillet until melted.  Add spices/flavorings and stir to toast in the butter for 30-60 seconds:
1 tea cumin seeds
bay leaf
scant 1/2 tea salt
minced garlic
black peppercorns*
whole cloves*
optional: cardamom

*you may need to remove or warn guests about the whole spices

Add 1-2 C cooked rice (I used white basmati) and a sprinkle of frozen green peas and stir to coat.  Let it warm through then serve.

Indian Mustard Seed Cabbage

I tend to get a heap of cabbage left over in the veggie drawer. I think it's because I don't have recipes that use solely cabbage (besides cole slaw of course).  Most of the times I use cabbage it plays a supporting role, like in egg fried rice or stir fries.  I'd seen Indian recipes for a cabbage dish with spices and decided to try it out. While it isn't quite on the favorites list yet, it's still pretty yummie. And it comes together quickly, so it will be showing up as a side to indian meals!

I pretty much followed this recipe.

Here's the gist:

Heat a pan to medium hot. Add olive oil and 1 TB brown mustard seeds until they start popping.

Add 1/2 tea cumin seeds, 1/2 tea ground cumin, 1/2 tea ground turmeric, and optional red chiles or cayenne pepper.  Stir to coat spices in oil.

Add 2-3 C chopped green cabbage and 1/4 - 1/2 tea salt, stir to coat. Let cook for 5 minutes or until it reaches desired wilty-ness or crunchiness.

Peach/Cherry Almond Smoothie

I'm kind of obsessed with light fruit smoothies with almonds.  It started with the peach almond mylk smoothie from Frog Hollow farm.  Then I started using white cherries.  I apparently tried a smoothie recipe with almond butter before but now that I have a high speed blender it's easier to use plain almonds!

Blend on high until smooth:
1/8 C almonds
1 C water
1-2 C peaches and/or white cherries
optional: agave, medjool dates or other sweetener
optional: quarter of a vanilla bean

Heidi's Black Bean Brownies (half batch)

These are a slightly less sweet half batch, without the coffee, of the recipe at 101cookbooks. 

You actually can't tell these are free of flour (gluten free I think?!) and you certainly can't tell they have beans.  These are light and airy and everything you'd want in a brownie.  And they are fabulous cold straight out of the fridge or freezer.

Spray large pyrex pan (12x7") with olive oil (or line with parchment if you want them to look pretty when you remove from the pan!).

Melt in glass bowl in microwave then stir until liquid:
1/2 C butter
2 oz dark chocolate (chopped)

Blitz in food processor until smooth:
1 C cooked black beans
1/4 C walnuts
1 tea vanilla extract and/or half vanilla bean pod
1/8 tea salt (or more if using coarse salt)
some of the melted chocolate from above

Beat 2 eggs and 1/2 C agave syrup (or slightly more, up to 2/3 C if you like it really sweet) with a hand mixer for about 1 minute.

Combine the chocolate mixture, bean mixture and egg mixture, stir until well combined. 

Optional: reserve 1/4 C of egg mixture to drizzle on top and drag a knife through to make marbled texture.

Optional: stir in 1/4 C chopped walnuts for chunky nutty brownies.

Pour into oiled pan, bake at 325 for 40 minutes or more, until set in the middle. Let cool. Store in the freezer for chocolate emergencies :).

Whole Wheat Sourdough Cheddar Biscuits

This is a quick recipe for serving with soups or salads, and it's a great way to use up "old" sourdough starter before feeding the starter again.  The whole wheat, cheddar and sourdough flavors go well together. Inspired by this recipe.

These aren't beautiful-- if you needed them to look pretty I'd suggest rolling out and cutting into rounds. Or try using non whole wheat flours and more orange-y cheddar for the color contrast.

Combine until smooth:
1/2 C sourdough starter
1/4 C rice milk
1/4 C olive oil

Now add and stir until comes together as a dough:
1 C whole wheat flour (or whole wheat white)
1/2 tea baking powder
1/4 tea baking soda
1/4 tea salt

Cut 1-2 oz sharp cheddar cheese into small cubes/dice.  Fold into the dough.

Drop by small mounded spoonfuls onto baking sheet (mine made 8-10 biscuits).

Bake 18-20 min at 400 F.

Optional: drizzle with olive oil or butter and seasoning salt (or salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika etc.) before or after baking. 

Approximate nutrition info for 1/8th recipe (1 biscuit): 170 cal, 5 g protein, 17 g carb, 10 g fat

Jam-Filled Muffins (gluten-free vegan)

The combination of almond and corn flour was awesome, and a great counterpoint to the sweet jam inside.  I figured I'd try filling muffins with jam when I found a cache of old freezer jam just waiting to be used up!  These are elegant and would be pretty on a brunch platter or at a potluck or birthday party for dessert.

Jam-Filled Muffins

Mix 1 TB flax meal with 3 TB water. Set aside.

Stir together in mixing bowl:
1 C corn flour (not corn meal)
1 C almond flour or finely ground almonds
2 tea baking powder
1/2 tea salt
optional: almond extract

Add the flax/water mixture and following liquid ingredient, stir to combine:
4 TB coconut oil
1 C rice milk (or other non dairy milk)

Scoop some batter into greased muffin tins until they are half full. Plop in a spoon ful of jam into each muffin.  Cover with more muffin batter.

Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes or longer if the jam was frozen.


Sexy Blackberry Jam (from 3 ingredients)

Surprisingly beautiful blackberry jam. No pectin; just three ingredients, and not too much sugar either.  It is cooked to 200+ degrees to make the sugar set the jam. The result is plump with nice pieces of blackberry.  These will be awesome to pull out in December; I already know they're delicious on brioche challah bread!
This is a super small batch- enough with even a modest blackberry picking.  Mine made almost 3 half pints.  Since I don't go through much jam at a time, I canned these in precious quarter-pint jars ( half the size of the normal half-pint jam jars).

Sexy Blackberry Jam:
Combine in a container and refrigerate overnight to macerate:
2 lbs blackberries (approx 6 C)
1/2 C sugar
1 TB lemon juice

The next day, prep a boiling water bath, get out 3 half pint (or 6 quarter pint) jars and lids. Sterilize the jars.

Pour the macerated blackberries into a pan and bring up to a boil.  Stir occasionally. Using a thermometer, check for the temp to hit 212 F.

Pack into sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace, wipe tops and apply lids. Carefully place into boiling water bath and process for 10 minutes.

Oven Roasted Chicken (with veggies)

Of all the crazy things I've cooked, it's surprising I've never roasted a whole chicken.  I did Thanksgiving turkey once, but never a whole chicken. With the veggies/potatoes, it's a one pan meal.

This was incredibly delicious- as good as a rotisserie chicken even! I think the brining made all the difference.  The veggies that had cooked in the chicken fat were downright awesome. Next time I'd push the potatoes closer- they were far enough away they didn't get as much fat as hte onions and carrots sitting under the chicken.

Did lots of research- this may be helpful for you:
Combine 1/2 C kosher salt, 1/4 C sugar and 1 C hot/boiling water. Stir to dissolve.  Let it cool. Then add 3 cups cold water.

Find a bowl large enough to fit the chicken but small enough to fit in your fridge. Make space in fridge for the bowl.

Remove giblets and innards from chicken cavity. Place chicken in the bowl along with:
1 TB black pepper corns
4-6 cloves garlic
fresh thyme sprigs
bay leaves

Pour the liquid brine over the chicken in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8 hours, turning the chicken over once at the mid-point.

Check the spacing in your oven and rearrange the racks if necessary- make sure you've got enough space for the pan + chicken in height.

Find roasting pan large enough for the chicken and deep enough (>=2" deep).

Chop up veggies in large chunks and arrange as a "rack" inside the pan for the chicken to sit on:
fingerling potatoes

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Rinse the chicken of the brine and place chicken on top of the vegetable mound inside the roasting pan. I'm not sure which way the chicken should be facing- breast up look more stable but the breast meat cooks quicker...

Spray chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle cracked black pepper and coarse salt over the chicken.

Stuff lemon wedge and optional herbs (peppecorns, parsley, onion, garlic etc.) in the cavity of hte chicken.

Cook for 45 minutes at 400 F.  Check the chicken- inner temperature should be 160 F. Continue cooking if needed.  Use aluminum foil if any areas are burning or cooking too quickly.

Once chicken is cooked, remove from oven. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.


UPDATED NOTES 8/23/2012: consistently taking longer than 45minutes to cook- approx 1 hour 15 minutes.  Possibly reduce the amount of salt in the brine- try 1/3 C instead of 1/2 C.

UPDATES 10/24/2012: Rinse off brine, then pat dry (helps reduce saltiness).  Parboiled potatoes to help them cook all the way through, then transfer cooked potatoes to the roasting pan with chicken. Next time will also parboil the carrots.  Celery and onions cook through fine.

Leftover cooked chicken ideas: