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Wednesday
Mar122014

CAULIFLOWER + BROWN RICE GRATIN

Cauliflower & Brown Rice Gratin

I've said for years now that I hate moving and after the past few weeks I can confidently say I still stand by that sentiment. I know there are certain crazy people who like finding new places for things and the boxes and fresh starts but I am not that kind of crazy person. I am a different kind of crazy person - the kind that figuratively looses her shit when things are out of control and messy and expensive and in flux. It probably doesn't help anyone that I am pregnant and extra emotional so the tears seemed to sit right behind my eye lids at the ready for a quick breakdown. My beloved husband... My parents would praise him when I would call upset that the gray paint looked too blue (so tragic!), they wouldn't entertain my over-reacting, just a "God bless that Hugh." It didn't change the gray, but I started to catch on that I was the only one who was taking things like the size of a rug or the density of curtain fabric so seriously.

Hugh showed me a few photos he shot of my belly a few weeks ago and I got shuffled back into perspective. In short, he said "I'm afraid you're missing all the good things in front of you because you are so concerned with the house looking a certain way." He's right and I am. I mean, I was, because I am trying to calm down starting today. We will create a beautiful home in its time. These sorts of projects take months and years, not a couple weeks. I've been throwing meals together but in an effort to get back to work on both the blog and book, I actually cooked cooked - as in not just scrambled eggs or grilled cheese. I oiled the cutting boards and Hugh and his dad fiddled with the oven to get it up and running again. It was today, cooking and working in this new kitchen, that both of us said it felt like our home. I threw together a strawberry-lemon breakfast cake and we danced when familiar songs came on Pandora and I felt a little less crazy. I was reminded that it's the comfortable rituals and familiar idiosyncrasies of the days and the people you spend them with that make a place feel like home, not the paint color or ideal curtains. My usual answer when people ask why I like to cook is because I like to serve people in this small way, but I also love that it is a cozy skill - a skill that can warm your own heart when you need it to.

I had a gigantic head of cauliflower from my recent CSA basket and went the warm and cheesy route because I wanted the kitchen to smell delicious and the 30 week-old person in my belly likes warm and cheesy things. A well charred tray of garlicky-roasted cauliflower is my tried and true, but folding the florets and brown rice in with some milk and cheese offered a pseudo mac n cheese situation. I think you could add in some chopped spinach for greenery or mix in a dollop of horseradish to give it a kick. Either way, it's vegetable comfort food and it was just what we needed.

Cauliflower & Brown Rice Gratin

Cauliflower & Brown Rice Gratin

CAULIFLOWER + BROWN RICE GRATIN // Serves 4

Recipe adapted and mashed up from Smitten Kitchen and Naturally Ella

I know someone will ask about making this gluten free and with a little searching it seems you can substitute cornstarch in the roux. I haven't tried it, but it sounds to me like it would work. I think this would also look adorable in individual ramekins or gratin dishes. Those would likely cook in under 20 minutes.

 

  • 2 lbs. cauliflower
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 of a red onion, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt and pepper, more as needed
  • 2 Tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Italian herb
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus more for topping
  • 3/4 cup shredded gruyere, plus more for topping
  • fresh chopped, parsley for garnish

 

Cauliflower & Brown Rice Gratin

Cauliflower & Brown Rice Gratin

Cauliflower & Brown Rice Gratin

Preheat the oven to 400' and grease an 8x8 pan.

Cut up the cauliflower into small chunks. Steam for 5-7 minutes until softened. Combine the cauliflower and brown rice in a mixing bowl and set aside (I ripped up any larger cauli pieces at this point).

In a saucepan, warm the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Saute until softened. Add the flour and cook another minute. Slowly start adding the milk, continuing to stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low and let the roux thicken. Add the nutmeg, cayenne and Italian herbs. Stir in the parmesan and gruyere until just melted in. Pour the warm cheese mixture (it will be pretty thick) over the cauli and rice, add another few pinches of salt and pepper and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into your baking dish and sprinkle the top with another handful of grated gruyere, parmesan and fresh ground pepper. Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes or until the edges start to bubble. Turn the heat up to 500' and cook another 6-10 minutes until the top is golden brown. Remove and let it cool for a few minutes.

Sprinkle the top with fresh chopped parsley and serve warm.

Cauliflower & Brown Rice Gratin

Monday
Feb172014

POWER GREEN SALAD

Power Green Salad . Kale, Lentils, Apple

It was funny how similar in sentiment Hugh and my Valentine's cards were. They essentially said "I don't know how the hell we are going to pull all of this off, but I have you, and that's the only reason I believe we're capable and I won't die in the next few months." We get the keys to our house tomorrow and it's safe to say both of us are equal parts scared and excited. This apartment, my first home with Hugh, is tough to leave. I'll miss the excessive pantry space here and my favorite routine beach walk. There are quirks here that in their own weird way contribute to it feeling known and ours - like all the stray cats that hang out in the front area, especially when they're mating (it's true, we call it the cat brothel, you've never seen anything like it), or the little old lady whose kitchen window looks right into ours who I try to not make eye contact with while I am eating something standing over the sink. We made our first book here and I showed Hugh my long awaited positive pregnancy test on those front steps. I just wrangled down the Christmas lights we've had framing our front door since our first month here, which we intentionally left up year round because every once in a while it was nice to come home to a sparkly welcome. The ice cream truck that consistently makes a neighborhood round at about 6pm. I assume it's his second job with those hours. They aren't exactly prime time for street-side ice cream purchases. I wish I had bought something from him just to show support. We built a life here and established roots in our first few years of marriage. I know this home well and in the throws of change, it makes leaving the familiar that much harder. We are on to new pages of another chapter, and moving forward offers its own set of rewards I'm looking forward to knowing. My thoughtful friend posted this quote on her blog and I love it, I keep going back to it. I am a lady who likes a plan, a substantial nest egg and having a general grasp on what to expect. They're bad habits, really, when you hold on to them too tight. I think there will be some sort of freedom from releasing those safeties as this settles into my bones. 

"We think the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, room for relief, for misery, for joy." - Pema Chodron

Because this week will mostly be between places, moving and cleaning and painting and such, I tried to stock the fridge with foods that can be assembled in five minutes. Sandwich goods, granola bars, cut fruit and veggies and a salad like this one that will hold up well for a few days of quick meals. It's crunchy and filling, and while simple, is just the thing I need on hand right now. It takes about 7 minutes to put together and maybe that is the sort of time frame you're cooking in these days, as well.

It may be a little snoozy around here for the next couple weeks as we get things up and running in a new kitchen but we're excited to emerge on the other side. Until then.

Power Green Salad . Kale, Lentils, Apple

POWER GREEN SALAD // Serves 4

Inspired by An Edible Mosaic

This salad is pretty crunchy. I'm still eating from the bowl on day three and don't find it soggy at all. That said, it would be great for a plane ride or delivering to a new mom/sick friend etc. It's a sturdy one. I added parmesan because it holds up, but feta or goat cheese will work here too. It's pretty simple, change as you wish.

  • 3 cups ribbed and chopped kale
  • handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 cup cooked black lentils
  • 1 green apple, diced
  • half an english cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pepitas
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan
  • dressing
  • one clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seed oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Power Green Salad . Kale, Lentils, Apple

In a large salad bowl, combine the kale, parsley, lentils, apples, cucumber, pepitas and parmesan.

For the dressing, blitz everything in a food processor or blender, with salt and pepper to taste, until the garlic is smooth.

Pour the dressing on the salad and toss well to coat. Garnish with more parmesan if you wish. The salad will keep in the fridge for a full day and slowly loose it's crunch from there.

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