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Monday
Feb272012

BROCCOLINI + CHARRED LEMON FLATBREAD

I went to college thinking I wanted to write for a health and fitness magazine. I would major in journalism, maybe take an internship after school and try not to live in New York City (the hub of most magazine companies) if I could help it - no offense New Yorkers, I'm just not a city girl. But as the story usually goes, I changed my mind at some point in those four years. To tell you it changed to wanting to write a cookbook and dabble in freelance recipe development would be lie. I never planned to be doing what I am doing now. I wouldn't know how to tell someone how to write a book on cooking and I don't even have a concrete answer as to how I learned to cook myself. Sometimes things sort of happen, and you learn the hard way while it's all happening, and it just works out. I've mentioned before that the learning curve with this whole book process has been a rocky one for both Hugh and I. We ate a lot, argued, did a TON of dishes and I cried when frustrated...which may have been often, but it recently occured to me that I'm on the other side of it now. The contents are still in the design process, but the book is available for pre-sale on Amazon. Me! Us! On Amazon! Like the place where we buy all our books and most other items I am too lazy to go to a store and buy myself! This is the thrill I was waiting for - the moment it feels like the learning curve evened out and there is fruit to the labor. I am sure the fear and self consciousness will creep back in at some point, but for now, I am so excited to share with you, party people.

In the way we sort of fall into jobs and oportunities and figure them out as we go, homemade pizza has the same story. I usually just pile things on, flavors that make sense to me, and while it may not be perfectly articulated with a clear expectation, it turns out just fine. And maybe even better than planned.

BROCCOLINI + CHARRED LEMON FLATBREAD // Serves 2 as entree, 4 as an appetizer

No Knead Pizza Dough recipe from Jim Lahey in Bon Appetit

I halved the published recipe to yield two crusts and the toppings mentioned are written for one pizza. I made mine with unbleached white whole wheat flour and it came out a bit dense...as expected. Next time I'd halve it with bread flour or unbleached all purpose flour.

I am giving general amounts for the toppings, but pizza should most definitely be made to your preference, so I suggest winging it. My only tip is to use more cheese than appears necessary, it always seems like less once it comes out of the oven.

Crust Recipe from Jim Lahey

(I halved it and got two 13'' thin crust pizzas)

1 small bunch broccolini

1 small meyer or eureka lemon

2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot

6-8 oz. soft goat cheese

1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan

extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

sea salt and pepper, for topping

// roasted garlic spread //

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper

1 head roasted garlic (helpful instructions here)

Make the crust according to instructions. I usually start it the night before so it's ready for the next day - takes some forethought, I know, but you can do it!

Preheat the oven to 500'.

Steam the broccolini for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Give it a rough chop and set aside.

Cut the lemon into as thin of slices possible with a serated knife. Remove any seeds.

To make the roasted garlic paste, put the olive oil and pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of the head into the oil and smush fiercely with a fork to create a paste. This could also be done in a mini blender for smoother consistency. You want it creamy? Add a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream.

Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface (I used 1/4 of the published recipe I linked to for one pizza). Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal or flour on a cookie sheet and transfer the dough to the cookie sheet. Evenly spread the garlic paste, desired amount of broccolini, shallots, generous amount of goat cheese, lemon slices and the grated parmesan. Drizzle the top with olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and put it in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 13-15 minutes until brown spots start to show on top. Remove, slice and enjoy warm. If you feel you went too easy on the cheese, sprinkle a bit more parm.

Monday
Feb132012

BUTTERMILK FRENCH TOAST

My most valued moments with my love are the morning time. My hair is everywhere and there are creases on my face from the pillow. Hugh wears comfy pants and recently some slippers I picked up for him at Target. The uniform is so decieving for the seriousness with which he takes his coffee process, I feel like there should be a lab coat or at least an apron for all the measuring that goes on. He makes the coffee, I make a quick breakfast, eggs for me and a sweet for him. Sometimes it's a piece of a quick bread or muffin, or other days it's french toast (it seriously doesn't take as much fuss as it sounds). We can't pull it off every day, but most days we breakfast together and it is my favorite part of the day.

It's been a big week. Highs and lows. In all the ideas I thought of posting, breakfast seemed like my safe spot. It's where I get to love him through french toast and be loved through good coffee. It's a small thing, but so big.

BUTTERMILK FRENCH TOAST // Serves 2

I tried buttermilk merely because the use by date is tomorrow, and I really loved the subtle tang. We follow this same ratio for everyday french toast, and simply substitute regular milk or almond milk as desired, so don't feel like you need to make an extra trip to the market.

2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. honey
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
4 slices whole grain bread (1/2'' slices if using fresh, left out over night to dry out)

2 tsp. extra virgin coconut oil or butter
2 tsp. natural cane sugar
1 large banana, sliced on a bias
toasted pecan pieces
powdered sugar, optional
maple or agave nectar, optional

In a glass pie pan or square pan whisk the egg and vanilla very well. Whisk in the honey, cinnamon, salt and buttermilk until completely combined.

In a cast iron or pan of choice, warm a small pat of butter or coconut oil over medium heat, to coat the bottom of the pan. Dredge the pieces of bread in the custard, flipping a few times to be sure they're coated. Allow any excess to drip off, and add the bread to the hot pan. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes on one side, when the bottoms are golden and toasty, flip it to the other side, cover and cook another 2-3 minutes until the bottom is toasted dry and when you push on the center, you can tell it's not soggy. It will be tender, but no liquid should squish out.

While the toast is cooking, in another pan, warm the 2 tsp. of coconut oil and sugar. Add the sliced bananas and give them a quick saute just to warm through, about 1-2 minutes.

Serve each portion with some of the bananas and their sauce, pecan pieces and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Depending on the breads moisture, add a drizzle of agave or maple as desired.

Thursday
Feb092012

HEY THERE.

I don't like routine. Never the less, I settle into one to a certain degree. The days change between working at home and away from home, meeting up with friends, and getting some exercise, but give or take, the pace is pretty similar. I was under a bit of pressure this past week, as far as responsibilities raining on me/us a bit, and I am relieved things are starting to clear up. Amongst other things, Sprouted Kitchen got kicked off the internet. We got booted by our old host, and Hugh managed to transfer everything to this wonderful new place (the fact that he teaches himself how to do these things is beyond impressive in my opinion, as all the back end stuff seems like a foreign language). You will notice the design is quite simple and parts will be updated as we figure things out, but we at least wanted to have the existing content up for you. There will likely still be some glitches in the next month, so bear with us. It feels refreshing, and while not exactly what we hope for the site to be yet, it exists! So that's a start.

We are heading to Mammoth Mountain for the weekend with some friends, and next week we'll be back on our game with a new post that has nothing to do with pink and red valentines things.

Michael Chan!

Wednesday
Jan252012

BLACK BEAN + BUTTERNUT SOUP

I spent the evening with my grandma last night. I gave her tickets to see the LA Philharmonic for Christmas, as she mentioned years ago that she had always wanted to see the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It really is a gorgeous building with impeccable architecture. When I picked her up, she told me she spent the entire day getting ready - polished her jewelry, painted her nails, trimmed her own hair, tried on all her clothes and took in her pants. I couldn't say the same for myself. I'm trying to grow my hair back out and we're at an incredibly awkward stage of shoulder length curls. And my outfit? A collection hand-me-downs from my younger sister.

It took just a moment, as she was telling me about her day, to recognize how the perspective of time is so relative. I try to accomplish as much as I can in a day - to make a list and cross things off so that I feel success when the day is done. Maybe it's her age; at 82 you have neither the need nor the energy to hustle around. Or possibly the wisdom that those lists aren't the things she tells me about when she talks about her younger years. She was an only child, but on the ride home, she reminisced about Sunday dinners with extended family, poker nights and her favorite uncle who had a garage with all sorts of gadgets and toys. The cheer in her voice was never about privilege or a life of luxury, but how great it was that her dad was close to his brothers and their families spent time together. "It was a really good life."

It put me in my place. Whatever I am trying to prove to myself by being busy, is not necessarily the mark of success. Could I spend an entire day primping myself for a night out with my grandma? It's unlikely, but every so often, some circumstance like this nudges me to cool it just a bit. I'm not saying I'm the most task oriented person in the world, but I do allow those tasks to qualify a good day. Something tells me a long list will not be what I tell my granddaughter about when I recall it being "A good life."

This soup is easy to pull together and a nice change from the smooth soups I've been making. It's almost stew like, and I felt like I could pour some over a bowl of quinoa or brown rice, like a curry of sorts. I do love my beans, but it is different to have the chopped cabbage and butternut to break up the texture. With enough garnishes, you can shine a bowl of this up to really look like something great, cause last time I checked, a chunky soup wasn't much of a looker.



BLACK BEAN + BUTTERNUT SOUP // Serves 4-6
Inspired by Coconut and Quinoa

Some of my measurements are pretty vague, but in a stew-like soup, perfection is not necessary. Taste as you go, add more spice if necessary but beware that both chipotle and cayenne are SPICY, so start small. You can cook your beans from scratch or used canned for the sake of time.

1 Tbsp. coconut or extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 a small head of cabbage, chopped (heaping 2 cups)
3 cups cubed butternut squash (sweet potato would be good too)
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cocoa powder
pinch of chipotle powder or cayenne pepper
2 cups cooked, black beans (about one can, rinsed and drained)
salt to taste

avocado, for garnish
cilantro, for garnish

// tortilla crispies //
3 corn tortillas
scant 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt



In a heavy bottomed pot, warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until just beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, cabbage, squash and broth. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 15-20 minutes for the vegetables to cook.
Add the spices and the beans and stir. Let everything continue to cook another ten minutes for the flavors to blend. Salt to taste. At this point, I did a few pulses with my immersion blender through the soup, because I wanted to thicken up the broth a bit. This is optional, but makes it seem a bit thicker. You could alternatively, run just a bit of the soup through a blender or food processor, and add it back in to the pot. OR a sprinkle of cornmeal will help thicken it as well.

For the tortilla crispies, preheat the oven to 375'. Stack them and slice into thin matchsticks. Spread on a baking sheet, dirzzle with the oil, sprinkle the salt and toss gently to coat. Spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes until they are light brown and crispy, giving the pan a shake halfway through.

Garnish each both with some diced avocado, a handful of chopped cilantro and some of the tortilla crispies! A sprinkle of goat cheese would be quite nice as well.

Wednesday
Jan182012

WILD RICE SALAD WITH MISO DRESSING



I've gotten into the habit of keeping some sort of non-lettuce based salad in the fridge, so I have the option to make a smarter lunch or snack choices. While I do enjoy cooking, I don't feel like doing it all the time, so making a big batch of a salad like this, gets me through the lulls. The beauty of a grain salad is that you can pack it full of vegetables, even dress it, and it doesn't go soggy on you. Some days I mix my trusty grain salads in with some lettuce to bulk it up and get more greens. So handy.

The following isn't necessarily an earth shattering combination of asian flavors, but they are all things that hold up well for a few days. Wild rice does take a bit longer to cook than short grain rice, but I find the smoky, nutty flavor unique. The rice, which is actually edible grass, is packed with fiber and other vitamins and minerals. I typically reach for yellow miso, but recently picked up a jar of the white and am loving it's subtlety. You could substitute quinoa or millet or even serve the whole thing warm for dinner if that sounds more appealing. If tofu is not your thing, some shredded chicken or shrimp would be a nice alternative. Now that I've given you just about every option to alter the original, it's time for a bowl of goodness.



WILD RICE SALAD WITH MISO DRESSING // Serves 2 as an entree, 4 as a side
Inspired by the NY Times Recipes for Health

The following makes a decent portion, but if you want it to last you, I would double or triple the amounts. You could get away with less tofu, but increase the amounts of rice and vegetables to ensure leftovers.

1/2 cup wild rice (any rice works, timing will vary accordingly)

14 oz. block extra firm tofu
2 tsp. coconut oil
2 tsp. soy sauce or tamari
fresh ground pepper

1 heaping cup thinly sliced carrots
3/4 cup cooked, shelled, organic edamame
3 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
Handful of Chopped Cilantro or Pea Sprouts

// Miso Dressing //

2 Tbsp. white miso
2 Tbsp. agave nectar or brown rice syrup
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 shallot, minced
Juice of half an Orange



Rinse the wild rice. Bring two cups water to a boil. Add the rice, turn the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (about 35-40 minutes), adding a bit more water if necessary to finish cooking. You will see a tuft of white pop from the center.
Wrap the tofu between a few layers of paper towel or a dish cloth and set it aside to drain for 10-15 minutes. Cut it into a 1/2'' dice. Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat (I love the crust I get in a seasoned cast iron pan). Add the tofu and saute for about five minutes. Sprinkle the soy sauce and a few grinds of fresh pepper over the top and saute another few minutes until the edges are browned. Turn off heat and set aside.
Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together (Don't be tempted to add salt, miso is pretty salty).
In a large bowl, combine the rice, tofu, sliced carrots, edamame. Toss everything with the dressing. Add the sesame seeds and cilantro and give it another toss. Serve room temperature or chilled.