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Thursday
Feb262015

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE DATE CAKE

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

I rarely get overly descriptive about the recipes here but because I appreciate a bit of detail when I read other sites, I'm getting chatty. I tinkered with this recipe from Green Kitchen Travels as David and Luise are a go-to for more wholesome desserts. In the treat department, I like to know if I'm getting dense, super sweet, a healthier take, light and airy, or wherever it lies in the spectrum. There is a time and place for each of those sorts of desserts on different occasions. A flourless chocolate cake, classically speaking, is not really cake-like in texture at all. It is dense and rich and more similar to a brownie or fudge than cake and I am perfectly happy with that. This version is more wholesome - the refined sugar being replaced by a thick date paste that contributes a nice caramely sweetness. I thought the dates would throw off the fudge factor, or maybe not make it as decadent and I was wrong. This cake is rich and chocolatey. The date paste actually makes it even more fudgy while not being sickeningly so. Rich but not heavy and even better the second day as it all sank into itself. I appreciate some cream and berries with my chocolate for flavor contrast and also for the color they add. It's so pretty all piled high with hues of red and purple. I'll maybe even double the quantity next time. 

I'm hoping to have some book details to share with you next week. It comes out THIS month. Eep!

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE DATE CAKE // Serves 8

Adapted from Green Kitchen Travels

The original recipe uses ground hazelnuts which I am sure lend a fabulous flavor but almond meal was on hand. I also chose to use buttermilk instead of the orange juice and zest because I have an aversion to citrus and chocolate together. If you are not crazy like me, it sounds really different and surely lovely. The original recipe calls for an 8" springform pan and I only own a 10" and used it anyway. If you have an 8", give it a little more cooking time to make up for the depth of the cake.

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • About 25 (2 cups) soft dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 5 eggs, seperated
  • 3 Tbsp. natural cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter

  • // for topping //
  • whipping cream (8 ounces whipping cream whisked with 3 T. powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla)
  • OR coconut cream (chill a can of full fat coconut milk overnight, scoop off the firm top and beat it with 2 T. powdered sugar or maple syrup)
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed berries, chopped small (I used pom seeds, blackberries and strawberries)

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 350'. Line a springform pan with parchment paper and grease the bottom and sides. 

Put the almond meal and salt in large mixing bowl. Into a food processor, combine the dates, buttermilk, egg yolks, cocoa powder and baking soda and blend until smooth and sticky.

Over a pot of barely boiling water, into a glass bowl combine the chocolate and butter. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water line. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Add the date mixture and the chocolate mixture into the almond meal bowl and stir to mix. 

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture (it will be thick) and transfer it into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-65 minutes until the cake is firm but not dry. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely (just trust me, it's better cooled). 

Spread the whipping cream on top and top with the berries. Serve immediately. The cake will keep for 3 days in the fridge.

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

Flourless Chocolate Date Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

Thursday
Feb192015

BUCKWHEAT BOWL WITH ROASTED ROMANESCO

Romanesco & Leek Buckwheat Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

It took a long overdue (albeit very short) trip to the gym to flip through a few of the food magazines I'd been stockpiling. I am so behind that I was reading December issues, which were all holiday themed, and then we swiftly get into the healthy January issues and then back to somewhere in-between come February. I was dog-earring and reading some of the recipes word for word just to learn. I remember when I was first figuring out how to cook and I would read through a Bon Appeitit or Gourmet like a novel. Even if I didn't want to cook a pork loin or master a cheesecake, I would read the recipes just because I wanted the knowledge. Flipping through those magazines and soaking in some new perspective reminded me how much I love the craft of preparing a meal (yes, I'm aware I was at the gym, slowly burning off a single piece of toast while I was reading but that's besides the point). I've become much less efficient with Curran around and cooking for fun falls towards the bottom of my list in the course of a day. I allow that to happen... and so does the teeny person who has a thing for electrical sockets but I think there is a compromise. 

I picked up a bag of buckwheat groats in an effort to try something new. It took me a couple times to figure them out but I'm a fan. Naturally gluten free, pretty quick cooking, full of magnesium and has a texture that Hugh referred to as "steel cut oaty rice". Maybe this isn't news to you but like I said, we've been in a rut over here. I bagged a gorgeous chartreuse romanesco and a couple of leeks that didn't look nearly as fresh but I didn't care because I love them. It felt so nice to not necessarily have a plan, but to just cook and move with the confidence that at the end, it would in fact be edible. Simple, colorful, wholesome and maybe not something you'd find in a glossy magazine, but dinner in a fasion that got away from me.

Romanesco & Leek Buckwheat Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

Romanesco & Leek Buckwheat Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

Romanesco & Leek Buckwheat Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

BUCKWHEAT BOWL WITH ROASTED ROMANESCO // Serves 2

I made a more moderate portion here but this could easily be doubled if you're feeding more or prefer leftovers. I actually prefer the buckwheat at room temperature or cooled, I was getting a super fermented flavor when they were warm. If the groats are toasted, it's sold under the name 'kasha' and that will work fine here as well. You should be able to find one or the other in the bulk bins of your local health food store. I know romanesco can be hard to find and nubs of cauliflower will do well in it's place. Don't be shy with the olive oil. You'll miss out on the caramelized, toasty edges otherwise and end up with rubbery vegetables. 

  • 1 large romanesco (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. Dried Italian Herbs
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped chives
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • soft goat cheese, for topping

Romanesco & Leek Buckwheat Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 400'.

With the romanesco, cut the florets away from the core. Leave the smaller ones intact and halve the large florets. Toss them onto a baking sheet. Clean the leeks and discard the tough dark green parts. Slice them into 1" coins and add them to the baking tray. Drizzle on the olive oil, nutmeg, herbs, pepper flakes, sea salt and toss well to coat. Make sure all the outsides of the vegetables are covered. Roast in the upper third for 30-35 minutes until the edges are browned.

While the vegetables roast, prepare the buckwheat. Rinse it well in a fine mesh strainer and drain. Bring the water to a gentle boil and add the buckwheat. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for 7-10 minutes until just softened. If groats start to get mushy turn down the heat. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then drain well. Into a mixing bowl, combine the drained buckwheat, olive oil, honey, lemon juice, chives, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. 

I throw my walnuts onto the baking sheet to toast in the last 5ish minutes of roasting or you may toast them on their own if you prefer. Assemble your bowl with the herby buckwheat, a big heap of the vegetables and garnish with a handful of toasted walnuts and crumbled goat cheese. 

Romanesco & Leek Buckwheat Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

Tuesday
Feb102015

GREENY SALAD WITH CRISPY CHICKPEAS + ROASTED JALAPENO DRESSING

Green Things Salad . Sprouted Kitchen

I deleted the words I was struggling through to sum up the responsibility I feel to Curran after listening to my cousins talk about their mom at my aunt's memorial last weekend. I'm not talking making baby food and reading him books, but the big stuff, or the in-between. I have the most intense dislike for the word "supermom" because it always seems to be used in a context which dumbs down the job of being a mother to sewing the best Halloween costumes or having the most crafts at your kids' birthday party while encouraging competition and comparing and blech. I listened to how her boys' spoke of how much she taught them through gracious discipline, humbled generosity, taking them on adventures and quiet listening. If the phrase existed before my generation of parenting, my Aunt actually would have been a textbook supermom, but her boys didn't praise her sewing or baking or gardening or crafts. They spoke of how she made them feel - how she built them up and encouraged them to find a way that made them truly happy. Our parenting is so much more relational than we see in the small picture. To nurture that is a role you don't read about in a baby book, you get a clear picture when you hear young men describe the sort of mother they knew. The honor is mine.

“You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.” 
- Cheryl Strayed

It's been warm here this week and all the plans of stews and roasted this and that don't sound right. I have a salad in our new book that is full of all my favorite green things, and this is similar. It looks gorgeous in all it's monochromatic colors while still having contrast of texture and flavor. The chickpeas are like a teeny crouton and with the snap of the seeds, this is almost closer to a slaw with all it's crunch. Anyway, it's nice to change up the routine I've been in of roasted squash and see spring around the corner.

Green Things Salad . Sprouted Kitchen

Green Things Salad . Sprouted Kitchen

Green Things Salad . Sprouted Kitchen

GREENY SALAD WITH CRISPY CHICKPEAS + ROASTED JALAPENO // Serves 4

The smoky chickpeas adapted from The First Mess

This should yield enough dressing for a second salad. When I ate the leftovers of this, I added on some pom seeds and sheeps feta (my staples) and they work so well here. If you want a little color, sweetness and salty cheese, they're a welcomed addition.

 

  • / smoky chickpeas /
  • 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and towel dried
  • 1/2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • few pinches of sea salt and pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 400'. On a parchment lined baking sheet, toss the chickpeas with the maple, oil, paprika and a few picnhes of salt and pepper. Spread in a single later and bake for 20 minutes until crispy. Set aside while you prepare the rest of your salad.

 

  • / roasted jalapeno dressing /
  • 1 roasted jalapeno*
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped shallot
  • 1/2 cup (a handful) roughly chopped cilantro
  • juice of one lime (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar or honey
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

 

Stem the jalapeno and remove all, half or none of the seeds depending on your spice preference (I used half and found it plenty spicy). Into a blender or food processor, combine the roasted jalapeno, shallot, cilantro, lime juice, white wine vinegar, agave, olive oil and salt. Blend until well combined. 

* To roast the jalapeno, coat the outside in oil and roast at 400' for 20 minutes. This can be done while you're baking the chickpeas. 

 

  • 4 packed cups baby kale
  • 2 cups shredded brussels sprouts
  • 3 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup finely diced cucumber
  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and quartered

 

 In a large salad bowl, combine the baby kale, shredded brussels, green onions, cucumber and half of the pumpkin seeds. Toss with desired amount of dressing and top with the remaining seeds, crispy chickpeas and avocado. 

Green Things Salad . Sprouted Kitchen

Thursday
Jan292015

BUTTERNUT + GREEN CHILE ENCHILADAS

Winter Veggie Enchiladas. Sprouted Kitchen

We lost Aunt Suzy this week. It has felt strange and sad and I am in no place to speak on grief here. My heart hurts for her boys and husband, my mom and grandma and the gaggle of friends she had who adored her. Talking about anything else feels cheap right now, so excuse my brevity.

I did however want to share this enchilada recipe. You see, this is the recipe (and I use that term very loosely since I make them different every time) I make when I deliver food to friends in need. Mostly families with a new baby. I got extra ingredients this week to make a batch for friends who are battling cancer with their baby girl, and I passed off a plate today to a friend who stopped by who has been sick with a flu this whole week. It feels good to feed someone. I read my pal Ashley's post this week and saw much of myself in her words. Of course I like food; I enjoy eating and I find it somewhat of a challenge to make wholesome food more tasty, but, BUT, I like cooking because I'm a nurturer. It's what comfort I have to give when there are no words. In my language, it says I care for you when a gesture is the only thing that can fill silence. I made a few notes on details below, but enchiladas are pretty forgiving. These are not particularly authentic. They have more vegetables than cheese and a fresh, green topping for color and contrast. Use more sauce if you like them saucey or more cheese if you want a little more decadence.

Give extra hugs. Make your wrongs, right. It's a fragile life we lead, friends. xo

Winter Veggie Enchiladas. Sprouted Kitchen

Winter Veggie Enchiladas. Sprouted Kitchen

BUTTERNUT + GREEN CHILE ENCHILADAS // Serves 4

If squash are no longer good, or available, sweet potatoes are a great alternative. I would say about two large potatoes will give you the same yield as the squash here. Spice level is subject to what sort of sauce or salsa you use.

Because I think this is a great meal to deliver to someone in need, it can be made halfway and finished off by the receiver of said enchiladas. Prepare everything and simply don't bake them, just cover in foil and leave the directions for the cook temp + time. You can replace the black beans with two small shredded chicken breasts if you're looking for something more omnivorous but I venture to claim these are plenty filling for the meat eating sort. The cilantro topping can be made in advance but I wouldn't suggest salting it if it will be eaten more than a half day later. The salt makes the vegetables get a little mushy.

 

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. chili powder 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 5-6 ounces soft goat cheese, divided
  • milk or broth as needed to thin
  • 1 1/2 cups/ 15 oz. can cooked black beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup/ 4oz. can mild, fire roasted green chiles
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 12 oz. green salsa or enchilada sauce*

 

 

  •  // cilantro topping //
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • juice of one lime
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 avocado, diced

 

Winter Veggie Enchiladas. Sprouted Kitchen

Winter Veggie Enchiladas. Sprouted Kitchen

Winter Veggie Enchiladas. Sprouted Kitchen

Winter Veggie Enchiladas. Sprouted Kitchen

Winter Veggie Enchiladas. Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 400'. Peel, seed and cube the squash. Line a baking tray with parchment. On the baking tray, toss the squash with the oil, chili powder, smoked paprika and salt to coat. Spread in a single layer and roast on the middle rack for 30-40 minutes or until nice and soft. Turn the oven down to 350'.

Put 4 oz. of the goat cheese in a mixing bowl, reserving the rest for garnish. Add the squash to the mixing bowl with a generous splash of milk or broth and mash until roughly smooth. 

Mix the black beans and green chiles together. Char the tortillas over the stove. Gather your assembly line with the tortillas, beans, and squash mash. In a 13x9 baking dish, spread 1/3 cup of the enchilada sauce to cover the bottom. Into the tortillas, spread about a heaping 1/4 cup of the squash mash and a few spoonfuls of the beans on top. Roll the tortilla and put it in your dish, seam side down. Continue with remaining tortillas for as many will fit in your dish. Spread remaining enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle on remaining goat cheese. Lightly cover with foil and bake at 350' for 20 minutes to warm through. Take off the foil and broil another 5 minutes to char the tops. 

While the enchiladas bake, make the cilantro topping. Roughly chop the cilantro and put it, the green onions and pom seeds in a small mixing bowl. Add the lime juice and a pinch of salt and stir to mix. When ready to serve, gently stir in the diced avocado. Serve the enchiladas with a scoop of the cilantro topping on top.

* I use a jarred enchilada sauce or salsa but you could make your own should you have the desire and time. This batch I tried the hatch valley salsa from Trader Joes but I also really like their red enchilada sauce. I am anxious to try Laura's next time (those enchiladas look amazing). 

Winter Veggie Enchiladas. Sprouted Kitchen

Friday
Jan162015

FEEDING BABIES. PART 1

Baby Food . Sprouted Kitchen

My sweet boy! I love this first photo because if you peek beneath the table, that is Curran mid leg flail. When he gets in his little eating seat he starts swinging his legs around like he's getting ready for take off. The kid is quite the enthusiastic eater and it may be one of my favorite qualities about him. In his limited communication skills, when he is not kicking his legs, he is squawking at me to feed him quicker and not dare leave my post as spoon manager.

I know this post will only appeal to a fraction of you, but when I started making baby food I figured it'd be no big deal. I cook, I can mash up food. But turns out it does take a second thought. It's not necessarily rocket science, but I figure the more I expose him to now, before he realizes he has a choice, the better. I'm not a master by any means, but thought I would share a few notes that have worked for us in case they may be helpful for anyone else. Curran is almost 8 months old and pretty close to eating the same things we're eating (generally speaking) but here are a few things I've learned so far:

--

- I've mostly been using my immersion blender to get things smooth. I know there is special equipment to make baby food but I think that's a gimmick. Outside of baby food, I use my immersion blender for soups all the time and think it's a great tool to have. 

- To not make myself crazy and feel like a short order cook, I try to have one bulk baby food session that gets us through most of the week, maybe takes me an hour if I have the groceries. A little squeeze of lemon juice preserves them for a week no problem. I prepare a decent size container for the fridge and freeze another small bag full for back up. Then sometimes when I make meals for Hugh and I, Curran has some of whatever we're having to try new things. For example, I made us a minestrone soup a few nights ago and just whizzed some with the immersion blender for him. It sounds obvious, but babies can get bored of foods too, so giving them some of yours changes things up AND it starts the habit of everyone eating the same thing. 

- I can get Curran to eat most things but if I've made him something he's not thrilled about, I just hide it in with something he does like so I don't waste it. He will eat anything with a sweet potato or banana so I make the super green mash below and while he doesn't love it plain, mixed into a little potato or banana, I can get tons of greens into him. 

- On the go. I was gifted these and they work great. Hold a decent amount and don't leak. Bananas have also saved me in a pinch and you don't even need a container. I just slice it in half and dig out of the banana itself like it's own little bowl. Because I mentioned he is a yeller when he's hungry, I also keep the Happy Baby snacks (the happy creamies and puffs) in my bag. It also helps him pick things up. And speaking of feeding himself, halved blueberries, ripe pears, bananas and avocados have gone over well. Roll them in flaxmeal, oat flour or crushed rice cereal to keep them from getting too slimy to grab or just expect a mess and be ok with it. 

The recipes below are general amounts. A mash can be pretty forgiving but it's always easier to add water than take it away. If you've made it too thin, a little mashed sweet potato can help thicken things back up. 

Baby Food . Sprouted Kitchen

CARROT LENTIL MASHIES // Makes about 2 cups

I've used turmeric in here but it stains both his fair skin and clothes so use at your own discretion. 

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup cooked lentils
  • 1/2 tsp. everyday seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, cilantro or parsley
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Boil the carrots and garlic clove in the water until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils, seasoning, herbs and salt and pepper. Use the immersion blender to puree chunky or smooth as you need. Stir in the coconut oil while it is still warm. 

BERRY OATS // Makes 2 cups

I can leave this chunky for Curran's age. If your baby is younger, blend it with an immersion blender after you add the coconut milk. I also add flax meal but know that can sometimes be an allergen so add when appropriate. I also eat this in the morning on occasion so doubling it has never gone to waste.

  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen berries, slightly mashed
  • pinch of salt and cinnamon

Bring the water to a boil and add the oats. Cook until softened and most water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and berries and cook another 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in the salt and cinnamon.

Baby Food . Sprouted Kitchen

SUPER GREEN MASHIES // Makes 2 cups

You want to steam everything until just soft enough to blend but not to the point it gets brown and mushy. Just keep an eye. A squeeze of lemon helps it stay fresh. Double this recipe if you want a bag full for the freezer. Curran doesn't love this plain, but I sort of use it as a concentrate of goodness to mix into other things. I put a spoonful or two with some mashed avocado and he eats it no problem, or I'll just mix it into any other food he's eating. More greens the better!

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 lb. green beans
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 a pear, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups packed spinach
  • 2 cups roughly chopped kale

Bring the water to a gentle boil. Add the green beans and broccoli and boil for 2 minutes. Add the pear, spinach, kale, cover and steam another 2 minutes until wilted. Add a squeeze of lemon and blender everything until chunky/smooth. 

SQUASHY QUINOA // Makes 2 cups

I roast whole acorn, butternut or kabocha squash and mash half for him and I eat the other half for lunch. To roast, preheat to 400', halve the squash, scoop out the seeds, rub the flesh with oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and roast for about 25-35 minutes depending on the squash. Whatever it takes until very soft. 

Goat dairy is much easier for them to digest than cows milk. They sell it at Trader Joes, Whole Foods and health food stores.

  • 1 half a roasted acorn squash
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup goat yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • grate of fresh nutmeg
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Scoop out the squash flesh and mash it with a fork. Stir in the quinoa, yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir to blend. Thin it with a little water if the mash is looking super thick. 

Baby Food . Sprouted Kitchen