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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

Friday
Dec132013

SLOW-COOKED KALE OMELETTES

Slow-Cooked Kale Omelette . Sprouted Kitchen

My parents have lived in the same house for 28 years. I have spent nearly every Christmas morning in that living room. I recall being deterred from peeking over the stairs when my sister and I woke up as to not see the gifts that Santa didn't wrap. One year there was a foam-top surfboard and another a swivel desk chair. Yes, I always peeked. I had to! My mom would start the heater, coffee, and holiday tunes, and get the camera ready so my sister and I could prance downstairs in our coordinating pajama sets. I still can't keep track of the names of people I have worked with for three years, but I have vivid, sweet memories of Christmas with my family. Selective, I suppose. 

Last year I made cinnamon rolls for the family and they turned out great - tender, extra pecan filling, cream cheese glaze - I'd declared them a new tradition. I don't get baking right most times, but the stars had aligned just long enough for that breakfast treat. This year there is request for waffles and eggs, which would make that cinnamon roll "tradition" short lived. The eggs, despite the pastry decision, need to be something besides the ordinary. I came across this kale recipe with suspicion as I generally prefer my vegetables on the raw or al dente side. Cooking the greens for 30 minutes?!? That sounds so... brown. But Suzanne Goin has an impressive handful of very successful restaurants and cookbooks so it's likely not prudent to question the recipe against the basis of my raw kale salad habit. You just follow the directions and realize doing things someone else's way is often times the fresh perspective you needed. I may have heightened senses at the moment, but sizzling rosemary, garlic and onions have never smelled so incredible. I could have stood over the pan and finished it, just myself, the fork and that glorious kale. I saved a handful for omelette filling and I believe it will be the perfect thing to dress up holiday morning eggs. Even on its own as a side this would be great, and I would assume it's enough for four if they aren't quite as greedy with their greens.

Wishing you and yours a sweet holiday. 

Slow-Cooked Kale Omelette . Sprouted Kitchen

SLOW-COOKED KALE OMELETTES / Makes 4

Kale recipe adapted from Suzanna Goin via Bon Appetit and likely in her latest  a.o.c cookbook

I use a 10'' non-stick for a one-person omelette. I think you could make a frittata in a 12'' if you weren't up for making individual omelettes. You want a really hearty sized bunch of kale as it shrinks down significantly after the blanch. Too little and you'll only wish you had more, too much and there won't be enough room in the pan for it to fully crisp up on the edges. You'll want to weigh the bundle to get this just right and use your largest pan either way. 

 

  • 1 heaping pound kale, ribs removed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil  
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
  • 1 dried chile de arbol, broken into pieces OR 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1 cup sliced yellow onion (about half a whole onion)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. ghee (or more olive oil)
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 8 extra-large eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 6 ounces soft goat cheese

 

Slow-Cooked Kale Omelette . Sprouted Kitchen

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the kale for 1 1/2 minutes, drain, let it cool, and squeeze out excess water. Chop it up and set aside. 

In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the rosemary sprigs and chile and cook for one minute. Reduce the heat to low, add the onion and salt, cook for two minutes, and then add in the garlic slices and stir. Cook for about 8 minutes until the onions are soft and starting to brown. 

Turn the heat to medium-low, add the kale and ghee or oil, stir to coat. Cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the kale is almost black and charred at the edges. Remove the rosemary sprigs and chile de arbol, if using. Pepper flakes stay. Sprinkle some fresh ground pepper, taste for salt, and set aside. 

Heat a 10'' pan over medium-low heat with a small pat of butter or ghee at the bottom. For each omelette, beat 2 extra-large eggs with a Tbsp. of milk. Add the eggs to the pan and let them cook for about a minute and a half. Use a spatula to lift up one corner of the eggs, tilt the pan, and let the liquid egg on top, run underneath. When the top is still soft but the omelette mostly set, put a few spoonfuls of the kale down the center and a generous sprinkle of goat cheese on top. Gently fold the omelette into thirds, like an envelope, and slide it onto a plate. Repeat with remaining omelettes.

* For the frittata, preheat the oven to 425'. Warm the kale in a 12'' skillet over low heat. Whisk the eggs and milk in a bowl and pour them on top of the kale. Cook on the stove for about 4 minutes. Crumble the cheese on top and finish it in the oven for another 6-10 minutes until you shake the pan (careful, hot handle) and the center looks just a tad jiggly. It will set as it cools. 

Serve with a handful of fresh greens on top and some crusty toast. 

Slow-Cooked Kale Omelette . Sprouted Kitchen

Thursday
Dec122013

HOLIDAY GOODS

"Have yourself a merry little christmas, let your heart be light"... you know that song lyric? It keeps replaying in my head as I'm already starting to feel stressy about a few more gifts I need, how expensive this season is, the full calendar to keep straight. I can keep my heart from feeling light, when indeed it very well should be as we surround ourselves with cards in the mail, giving, service, parties, family, friends visiting and lights. I'm taking a break from work, heading out to walk near the sea to calm the chaos and noise in my head. Hope you find your peace this month too - to stop and feel it cover you. 

I venture to guess you've seen your fair share of gift guides by now, but I still wanted to throw one out there for the last minute shopper. I enjoy giving and receiving gifts, but I am not so great at thinking of ideas. I go for practical, which only speaks to a certain person (read: me). Looking through other peoples' favorite things gives me better ideas. This is a mash up of tools I love, things I want and fun gift ideas, and a couple picks from Hugh at the end. We'll chime in with another edible item next week, but until then, may your heart be light. 

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1. Benriner Mandoline - I have owned four mandolines. Three have been donated to friends, this is the one I'll keep forever. The negative reviews are that it's sharp and can take a finger off. Sold.

2. Stone Cold Fox Robes - So much classysexiness. That's a word. I have the white. I love the rose print and black. 

3. Marge Granola - There are so many sweets going around, this top-notch granola makes a perfect edible gift. I would get the three pack because you will want to keep a box for yourself. 

4. Pallares Kitchen Shears - I've had my eye on these scissors for months (maybe a year now?) since Heidi opened her beautiful shop. I don't know if I can swallow the price tag for a pair scissors I likely won't treat as gingerly as they deserve, but I still dream of them. 

5. Real Deal Vanilla - Quality vanilla, adorable packaging, and the perfect stocking stuffer for any level cook. Everyone needs vanilla. The good kind. 

6. Tiny Beautiful Things - Forever and always a Cheryl Strayed fan, this book is beautiful, with stories that can reach nearly anyone. It has been referred to and gifted often. 

7. Quince and Apple Syrups - For cocktail making or spritzing up pregnant-lady-sparkle-water on the rocks. I like the Tart Cherry and Rhubarb Hops. 

8. Baggu Dipped Tote - I wanted to order one for my sister, seems the perfect farmers' market bag. They are out of stock for a little but the right person may be alright with an IOU. Baggu makes an excellent quality bag. 

Hugh's Contrbutions:

9. Aeropress - This little press is what initially perked my interest in coffee a few years back (beyond it being a hot, caffienated beverage). It's quick, easy to clean, travel friendly, and can yield a great little cup of coffee.

10. Porlex Mini Hand Mill - If you don't have one, a decent grinder is a great first step towards better coffee. This isn't the best mill money can buy, but it's affordable, works well, and bonus: fits snugly inside the Aeropress for modular travel packing!

11. Shantaram - This is, arguably, the best book I have ever read. Click the "Look Inside" link on the Amazon page and read the first page.

12. The Problem of Pain - This is the other book that's involved in the above-mentioned argument. Incredibly powerful and deeply relatable. 

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