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Saturday
Feb082014

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Tripple Chocolate Cookies . Sprouted Kitchen

I left a stick of butter out at room temperature knowing cookies were in our future. I usually go for oatmeal chocolate chip. Sometimes I add peanut butter or dried cherries to change it up. They usually end up baked to order in the toaster oven and a la mode in this house, so even if they turn out less than perfect, it is nothing a scoop of ice cream can't make right. I try to bake without wheat when I can and believe cookies are the most forgiving baked good when you're making an educated guess with gluten free flours. Wheat or no wheat aside, I find a mix of almond meal, flax, and rice flour make a beautifully tender crumb. I had been craving brownies but didn't want an entire tray full around, so I attempted a super chocolatey cookie. Experimenting doesn't always work out for me, specifically with baking, but these were spot on first try. As luck would have it, when I wasn't writing things down. I did my best to mimic what I did that first round, and while these aren't exact, it's the closest I can get. The following are not doughy cookies, they are thinner with a bit of chewiness. I suspect they'd make great ice cream sandwiches had they lasted long enough to try. A number of recipe-starved Instagram followers asked for the recipe so I am publishing it here as it seemed there was a need. It's nearly Valentines and while Hugh and I typically make understated plans with an exchange of cards, there will be treats. Because you really must always have treats.

A handful of talented and thoughtful bloggers donated posts on Monday to feed impoverished school children in South Africa via The Lunchbox Fund. I'd venture to assume most of us have not had to go through the day with an empty belly and taking action here is a small step we can take to give that privilege to children in need. You may donate whatever you are able to give should this cause tug on your heart strings.  I hope that one day we can fix the system, with less going to waste and more people recieving adequate food. It is easy to donate if you wish. 

Chocolate Chips & Cocoa . Sprouted Kitchen

Tripple Chocolate Cookie Dough . Sprouted Kitchen

Cookies and hugs and kisses to you, lovelies.  

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES // Makes 15 cookies 

While I typically use the natural/non alkalized cocoa powder, I had some high quality Valhrona powder I have been hoarding and used for these. If you use natural, you'll need baking soda, not powder, though I'm humbly not positive if it would be an exact volume swap. If anyone is a baking scientist or gives it a try, let me know. However, this cocoa is insane...and I love these nibs while I'm name dropping. 

I used a few drops of mint extract and melted a bar of minted dark chocolate for the drizzle topping because I love mint and chocolate together. If you want to skip the mint, a teaspoon of instant coffee in the dough will intensify the chocolate flavor.  

  • 1 stick / 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed muscavado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract (optional - see head note)
  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour 
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 Tbsp.  flax meal
  • 3 Tbsp. dutch cocoa powder (see head note)
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • 3 ounce dark chocolate bar, melted down
  • 1/3 cup cocoa nibs

Tripple Chocolate Cookies . Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cane sugar, muscavado and sea salt until smooth and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and peppermint extract, if using, and mix. Add the brown rice flour, almond meal, flax meal, cocoa and baking powder and mix until just combined. Lastly, add the chocolate chips and chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours in advance. 

On a parchment lined baking sheet, arrange the cookies with 2'' between for spreading. Bake the cookies on the middle rack for 10 minutes until the edges are dry but the centers are still barely wet. They will set as they cool. Remove to cool completely. 

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Drizzle the cookies with the chocolate and sprinkle the cocoa nibs on top to stick as the chocolate cools. 

Tripple Chocolate Cookies . Sprouted Kitchen

Sunday
Feb022014

ROASTED FENNEL AND WHITE BEAN DIP

roasted Fennel & White Bean Dip . Sprouted Kitchen

At work, I have a straight-shot view from my sample corner to the front of the store. The other day, an older man, let's say early 70's, bee lined straight to my back corner with his red grocery basket in hand. He hobbled a little but had a smile on his face. He, of course, took a free sample before giving me his pitch, which from what I could gather was possibly the reason he came into the store in the first place. On the back of a bank deposit slip he had handwritten, all caps, the name of his wife and her self-published cookbook she recently listed on Amazon. "It's all gluten free recipes, you should go there for ideas, we eat her lasagna once a week and it's my favorite." He was sweet and sincere, seemed like the kind of guy I would love to feed - the sort that is enthusiastic and grateful. "I will definitely check it out, sounds great. Tell her congratulations, that is a really wonderful accomplishment." I meant it. Both that I would check it out and that I was impressed someone of her assumed age had the drive to self-publish a book, without pictures, in a well-covered however niche subject, and got it on the internet! "Ok great, and could you please leave a review?" You guys. I spend a lot of time frustrated with the general public while I am giving away free food in the corner of a grocery store. Maybe you've worked retail and that makes humanistic sense to you even though our hearts are compassionate and loving. It is taxing. Most people don't say please and thank you (and I LOVE good manners). But a husband that will come in promoting his wife on the back of a deposit slip and request that a complete stranger also write a review after our two minute conversation - those are the people that I want to come across in my everyday. I am keeping that slip in my purse, if only to remind me how that man made me feel. To remind me that it's never too late, that we ourselves are in charge of doing things we dream of doing. That our people, the ones that really truly love, support and encourage, those are the people I want close and that is the person I want to be for people I love. The kind that runs around town with hand made fliers. 

Hugh and I have had quite the past few weeks whilst deciding on taking the leap into owning a home. Our cost of living will increase significantly, we have weekends full of projects for the foreseable future, and the fact that our income fluctuates is not changing amid this great risk. So much money and paperwork. So many tears and sleepless nights. So much unknown. But even people with 9-5 jobs have unknowns. Nothing is certain. For anyone. Ever. You just try to make manageable decisions from what you know of the present. What I DO know is that I have my person - the one who is scared along with me but also excited to get our hands dirty and make it ours. That unpredictable and risky road, we'll figure it out.

This season of life has turned out to be considerably different from what I thought it would be. I pictured myself six months pregnant, having my feet rubbed, pinning pictures of baby nurseries and eating french fries but it looks more like afternoons in the city library working on my book and collecting boxes from my second job to pack up our apartment. There is some sort of wonderful reality that doesn't often get considered in expectations. It surprises me every time and yet I can't help but build conjectures about what life "should" look like. So much of our story is going to unfold in this next year, best not to make assumptions. 

Speaking of expectations, I thought I was the girl who would get you great dip recipes prior to important weekends where lots of dip is involved. Alas, the Super Bowl has come and gone. This is the dip I brought to a friends house and it's worth sharing for future dip recipe needing occasions. It's a teensy bit spicy and reminds me of warm hummus in the best way - the way that has a thin layer of golden cheese on top and smells of bright fennel and lemon. Better late than never on this one. 

roasted Fennel & White Bean Dip . Sprouted Kitchen

roasted Fennel & White Bean Dip . Sprouted Kitchen

ROASTED FENNEL AND WHITE BEAN DIP // Serves 8

Recipe adapted from Food 52

I like browsing the community picks on Food52 to see what people are making and like to see in recipes. This recipe of theirs had some great feedback. For my own taste, I added a kick of red pepper and simplified the directions a bit to save dirtying one more pan. You can refer to the original recipe if you don't mind dishes as much as I do. 

I have a little leftover and plan to thin it with broth to make a soup. I'll try to remember to report back.

  • 1 large fennel bulb (reserve the fronds)
  • 4 cloves garlic, in skins
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. rosemary leaves
  • 2 cups cooked Cannelinni beans, well drained
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. fennel fronds
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish

roasted Fennel & White Bean Dip . Sprouted Kitchen

roasted Fennel & White Bean Dip . Sprouted Kitchen

roasted Fennel & White Bean Dip . Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 400.

Roughly dice the fennel. On a rimmed baking sheet toss the fennel and garlic cloves in the olive oil with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to coat. Roast in the upper third of the oven for 30 minutes or until edges are browned. In the last few moments, add the rosemary to the tray, toss it around and bake just another minute to soften.

In a food processor, combine the white beans, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper flakes, fennel fronds and parmesan. Add the fennel, rosemary and push the roasted garlic out of its skin into the processor as well. Pulse everything together into a rough puree. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed (we like lots of herbs, lemon and pepper). Turn the oven up to 450. Transfer the dip to a baking dish and sprinkle the top generously with grated parmesan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the dip is warm and the cheese has browned.

Serve warm with crostini, crackers, crudite, flatbread etc. 

roasted Fennel & White Bean Dip . Sprouted Kitchen

Monday
Jan132014

ASIAN NUGGETS WITH SAUTEED VEGGIES + TAHINI SAUCE

Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen

“It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools - friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty - and said 'do the best you can with these, they will have to do'. And mostly, against all odds, they do.”
―Anne Lamott

I feel very adult this week. We bought a crib and we made an offer on another house and our health care got more complicated and expensive and I'm trying to read books about birth without my chest tightening so much I feel faint and that quote makes me feel better about the normality of all this. There is a beautiful mess in the figuring out of things. I'm scared. About everything, and mostly without reason, but when I do get stressed, I can typically trace it back to fear. Fear of failing, of loosing or of being in pain. My dad met with me a few nights back so I could show him my numbers for our potential house purchase and he could confirm it was a good idea... at least on paper. I think I just wanted his blessing for the biggest purchase of our lives, even if this whole thing doesn't go through. I get a lot of my worry tendencies from my dad, and it felt nice to have someone of like mind, 30 years ahead in this game, tell me it was going to be OK. Maybe we'll have super tight months or there will be a huge leak in the floor or our new neighbor will be creepy or maybe this will be the house we slowly make ours and grow old in, but no matter how the story goes, it will all be OK. How come that is so easy to overlook? Today, I will believe it.

A sweet mom-to-be asked me for a few suggestions on freezer meals she could prepare in advance while waiting for her wee one to arrive. I realized that while clicking through our site, I don't have many options. A good handful of breakfast baked goods that could freeze well, but a limited amount of stone cold meals as I look back. I had a pretty good response to the lentil meatballs from years ago which also made it into the last cookbook, so I figured I'd try something similar to that. In the same way I make my veggie patties, I start with nearly a 1:1 ratio of cooked grains and legumes (in this case, brown rice and lentils) and then I build from there. Always garlic. Usually onion, either raw or cooked. I use egg to help bind here, but I'll often use cheese for binding power as well. I blitz in a ton of herbs, a cooked vegetable and bold spices and flavor to doctor them up. For this Asian nugget, I went with soy sauce, sesame seeds and chili sauce. Miso would be great in there too but I wanted to save that for the sauce. All veggie balls need a good sauce. A veggie ball is really only good with a sauce, if you ask me, but I think you could put them along with anything that sounds good to you. 

Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen

ASIAN NUGGETS WITH SAUTEED VEGGIES + TAHINI SAUCE // Serves 4-6

The Asian nuggets can be completely cooled and frozen in plastic bags until needed. I got about 26 nuggets. This just leaves you with needing to prepare veggies and sauce which could be whipped up in 15 minutes. 

As for substitutes, I think you may be able to replace the egg with flax meal and a little water but they may come out a little drier. To keep them gluten free, replace the panko with a coarse oat flour but note they will be more delicate to work with. If going the GF route, I would try to keep the egg in, if possible, to keep everything together. 

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek (chili paste)
  • 2 cups cooked and completely cooled brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked and cooled lentils (a few varieties will do though I'd avoid red and green, they get too soft)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • pinch of salt
  • sesame seeds, for garnish
  •  / veggies /
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, as needed
  • 3 green onions, roughly chopped
  • 5 ounces shitake mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
  • 1 head broccoli
  • splash of rice wine vinegar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • / tahini sauce /
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 teaspoons white or yellow miso
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice or splash of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • fresh ground pepper

Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 375'. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a food processor, combine the garlic, onion, eggs, sesame oil, tamari or soy sauce and chili paste and pulse a few times until the onion and garlic are well chopped. Add the rice, lentils, panko, cilantro, pinch of salt and pulse a few more times until just combined. You want to still distinguish nubs of rice, but it should look pasty enough that you could roll it in a ball. Let the mix sit for ten minutes. 

Roll the dough into 2'' balls and line them up on the baking sheet. Brush them with a thin coat of oil and sprinkle them with sesame seeds. Bake on the middle rack for 15-18 minutes until browned and dry on the outsides. 

For the veggies, in a large skillet, heat the sesame oil. Add the green onions, mushrooms and a pinch salt and saute for 4-5 minutes until just softened. Roughly chop the broccoli and add it to the pan along with a splash of rice vinegar and saute another 5-10 minutes until softened to your taste.

For the sauce, whisk all ingredients together until smooth and set aside. The sauce can be made up to three days in advance and kept covered in the fridge. 

Assemble your meal with a scoop of veggie, some asian nuggets and a generous drizzle of tahini sauce. 

* All photos in this post were shot with film

Asian Nuggets with Sauteed Greens & Tahini Sauce . Sprouted Kitchen

Wednesday
Jan082014

OLIVEY CAESAR DRESSING

Olivey Caesar Dressing . Sprouted Kitchen

I work part-time at a grocery store, so I am aware of consumer buying trends based on season and weather. We sell twice as much soup when it's raining out, more pre-packaged food is sold during the week for the work crowd as opposed to weekends, we'll sell out of sea salt caramels first, without question, out of all the holiday treats, and as soon as January 1st hits, the "lettuce wall," as we call it, needs to be completely replenished every hour for the resolution setters. But don't worry, that only lasts through January and then we can bring the chip and cookie numbers back up. We are a predictable people group, I'll say. Next year when I am working off the pregnancy nachos I may be more motivated to construct a program to post here. I contributed the recipes to this article in Oprah magazine this month if you're looking for ideas until then. 

How to react to the lettuce binging? Well, it sounds like there may be a need for a flavor-packed dressing. Cooking has been simplified around here lately. If I am in the mood, I try to take full advantage and make a few things in advance while I am making the mess. Yesterday I made two dressings, washed and chopped all my salad greens, a batch of Ashley's cookie dough with almond, flax and oat flour (which while more crumbly, still taste amazing), a big batch of brown rice and lentils to add in salads, warm up under a couple poached eggs or blend up for a veggie burger base if it doesn't get consumed in a few days. Like I said, if we're cooking, we are cooooooking. I was pretty happy with this new dressing I tried from one of the cookbooks I got for Christmas and wanted to pass it on. Having a few dressings on hand is the easiest answer for me to keep out of a salad rut. I'll also use the thicker ones for sandwich or wrap spreads or drop a dollop on a hard boiled egg for a snack. Anyway, hope the new year has left you feeling hopeful and excited for new experiences. And hungry for lots of salad of course. 

Olivey Caesar Dressing . Sprouted Kitchen

Olivey Caesar Dressing . Sprouted Kitchen

OLIVEY CAESAR DRESSING // Makes 1 1/4 cups

Recipe adapted from The True Food Kitchen Cookbook

They do make vegetarian worchestershire sauce without the anchovy that can be found at health food stores or online. The printed recipe adds salt, but I felt there was enough salt in the other ingredients to contribute plenty of salinity for my taste. Adjust to your preference. 

 

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp. worchestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

 

Olivey Caesar Dressing . Sprouted Kitchen

In a blender of food processor, combine the garlic, Worcestershire, olives, Dijon, parmesan, vinegar and lemon and blend into a smooth paste. Add the parsley, pepper and olive oil and pulse a few more times to combine. 

Dressing will keep covered in the fridge for up to two weeks. 

salad // purple kale, savoy cabbage, shaved yellow beets, lentils, this dressing and a dusting of grated parmesan

pita // I stuff the above salad into a pita with a little extra dressing 

other ideas // on baked tofu spears, classic romaine salad with fresh baked croutons, pasta salad with artichoke hearts, arugula and sun dried tomatoes, a dressing for the lentil meatballs

Olivey Caesar Dressing . Sprouted Kitchen

Monday
Dec302013

PEAR AND HAZELNUT MUFFINS

Pear & Hazelnut Oat Muffins

The holiday week came and went and after one more party to ring in the New Year, I think we're just about toasted. A week full of good things, albeit it busy and expensive and generally full. We're so lucky that both families are close and we have friends here we've had for decades, but it makes for a very social season. There is a Rainer Maria Rilke quote that continues to pop into my head when I think about loving Hugh well. “I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other.” He is an introvert, one who recharges by being alone, depleted by too many parties and get-togethers and I want to nurture this need while it may not be one that functions the same way in me. Our home, because we work here often as well, doesn't exactly feel the sanctuary it may for most people who return there after a day away at work. So we've gone to the sea the past few early evenings, just the two of us, to take a breath and get out. I can see Hugh's spirit lighten there, something I will try my entire life to give to him, by way of trips to the sea or otherwise. What a huge responsibility we have to love people - to not just show up, but to be present and aware of someone else. I'm not just speaking of marriage, but the truth of it welled up in me as I thought back on the whirlwind of a week. As my sister beyond spoiled our family for Christmas with her phenomenal taste and generous gift giving skills, or how we all drove 4 hours round trip on Christmas day, ate lunch a la gas station mini mart, to spend one hour with my grandma who wasn't feeling well, that a few people gave gifts to our baby boy in my tum who is merely the size of a large heirloom tomato (so I'm told, though he seems to be taking up a lot more real estate), and that his dad was able to feel him kick (or high five as he's claiming it to be) for the first time on Christmas morning and told every person he saw that day about it. We give gifts and time and words and hugs and infrequently stop to feel how truly huge it is, really. What you give, how you give it and to whom. I hope to be more thoughtful about this in 2014.

These feelings of the giganticness of life are on par for the year's end. This evening we'll go to our ritual new years spot and talk goals, likely shed tears relating to how we fit into said giganticness and admit how in even looking forward to a new year, I may be seized with impotent fear. The small things within the big things are what this beautiful life is built out of and I hope to see and experience the minutia of the day to day when the big things feel like too much.

My friend Megan of A Sweet Spoonful has a charming cookbook that came out today and these muffins are from it's pages. It's a breakfast cookbook but so much more than that as you'll see when you get drawn into her storytelling and impeccable granola recipe that truly extends beyond breakfast to one of my favorite ice cream toppings. I chose these muffins due to the pears I had in perfect condition to be grated, but the book is filled with a variety of breakfast ideas. I appreciate how these recipes seem to have come so naturally from her life onto the printed pages of a cookbook. Congrats, Megan, I'm excited to try more recipes!

Anything can happen, anything can be. - Shel Silverstein

The loveliest new year to you all.

Pear & Hazelnut Oat Muffins

Pear & Hazelnut Oat Muffins

PEAR AND HAZELNUT MUFFINS // Makes 12 standard muffins

Recipe barely adapted from Megan Gordons Whole Grain Mornings

I halved the recipe with success, hence why you see six muffins in the photos. I do believe these could be made gluten free with a quick swap of the flours, you just won't get as much of a dome. I'd go equal parts almond, oat flour, brown rice flour to equal the 1 1/2 cups and just expect they'll be more crumbly, but this doesn't bother me. Maybe throw a splash of flax meal in there too for binding support and make up for the fact that these flours aren't quite as absorbent as wheat. Can you tell I'm big on precise baking? I also think the whole thing could work great in a loaf pan with a longer baking time.

 

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2-3 firm pears
  • 2/3 cup natural cane sugar or muscavado
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts

 

Pear & Hazelnut Oat Muffins

Preheat the oven to 425'. Butter a standard 12-cup miffin tin (or line with papers. I wish I'd done the former).

In a bowl, combine the oats, flours, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Mix well and set aside.

Core the pears and grate them into a bowl using the large holes of a box grater. You should have a heaping cup of shredded pear.

Put the sugar in a large bowl. Melt the butter and stir it into the sugar until well combined. Whisk in the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and shredded pear until you have what resembles a loose batter. Add the flour mixture and fold it in gently, being careful not to overmix. Reserve 1/2 cup of the hazelnuts but stir the other half into the batter.

Fill the muffin cups nearly to the top and sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts. Put the muffins in the oven and immediately decrease the heat to 375'. Bake until the tops are golden brown and feel firm to the touch, 25-27 minutes.

Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the tin. Serve warm or room temperature. They will keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container.

Pear & Hazelnut Oat Muffins

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