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Wednesday
May202015

PISTACHIO PAVLOVA WITH STRAWBERRY + RHUBARB CREAM

Pistachio Pavlova with Strawberry & Rhubarb Cream . Sprouted Kitchen

Curran turns one next week and it brings with it a New Year’s sort of feeling - reflecting back on all that’s happened and what has changed; how I have changed. This time last year, I was waiting for this big thing to happen to me - to have a baby - which sounds so common place from the outside, lots of people have babies, but unbelievably remarkable and life changing in the scope of one’s own life. I felt prepared in the way two dozen washed and folded swaddles, a few different diaper rash creams, and reading multiple perspectives on the birth process can make you feel, but looking back, I truly had no idea what was coming. In learning to become a parent this past year, I’ve been blindsided by some aspects, and in others, beautifully surprised in a way that only happens when you don't know what's coming. I’ve been depleted beyond what I used to think the word depleted could mean and in turn, sometimes the very next moment, my heart has swelled beyond the known side of that end of the spectrum, as well. In one moment, a screaming baby waking from another all too short nap (despite all the will and desire to help him find a schedule) just when I thought I might actually be able to get a few things done, followed by cracking open the door to see his cries turn to his squinty-eyed, gap-toothed grin. No one has ever been so happy to see me. It's enough to make me teary. Hugh and I have so much less intentional time together that I miss him some days even when we're in the same house, but seeing how he loves our boy has made me fall deeper in love with the kind and fun man he is. I feel a bit less like myself and yet somehow more confident in what I am capable of. I am learning to say no sometimes, paring down to focus on what I want my work to look like, and trying to be ok with just sitting and reading Hop on Pop a dozen times over while my other responsibilities wait.

Curran is an active little person, but every now and then, he'll lay his head on me for split second, just to remind me that he sees me even though he has no desire to sit, and I can't imagine a life any different. 

May is the month of birthdays in our family. Both sides. There are at least two per week and thus there is a lot of celebrating. In honor of all the birthdays, and to mark our first year of having Curran around, I made pavlova. Crisp meringue with crunchy pistachios, a light whipped cream with ribbons of tart and sweet rhubarb and strawberries. A classic combination for very good reason. It is so delicate in texture while still being plenty sweet and rich with cream to qualify as a celebratory dessert. I will be honest that I only seem to get the meringue right half of the time, but when I do, this may be in my top five desserts. 

So cheers, to the boy that changed our life. Happy birthday, my baby. 

Pistachio Pavlova with Strawberry & Rhubarb Cream . Sprouted Kitchen

PISTACHIO PAVLOVA WITH STRAWBERRY + RHUBARB CREAM

Adapated from Food + Wine Magazine June 2015 from Gesine Bullock-Prado

Since the natural cane sugar is off white, the pavlova will be a creamy white color instead of the bright white you see in magazines. This makes no difference to the flavor, just the aesthetics. I tried to make this with less sugar and it does not work - it just doesn't crisp up well and tastes like egg, so make this if you're feeling like a treat and have people to share it with. The science doesn't work if you change the ratio. Sarah shares her Swiss meringue method here which sounds delightful. Also, if you need something dairy-free, swap out the whipping cream for a coconut cream

Serves 6

 

  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup pistachios
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch 
  • 1 cup chopped rhubarb, one-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (8 fl. ounces) light whipping cream, chilled
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • toasted pistachios, for garnish

 

Pistachio Pavlova with Strawberry & Rhubarb Cream . Sprouted Kitchen

Pistachio Pavlova with Strawberry & Rhubarb Cream . Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 350' and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt on high until foamy, about two minutes. Beat in the vinegar, then beat in the sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue beating until the whites are glossy and stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. 

In a small bowl, toss the pistachios in the cornstarch and then gently fold them into the egg white mixture. Use a large spoon and dollop the meringue into the center of the pachment and spread it into a 10-inch round with a slight indentation in the center. Turn the oven down to 225' and bake for 1 1/2 hours until crisp. It should be crisp but still chewy on the inside. Turn off the oven and allow it to cool completely in the oven.

Meanwhile, make the strawberry rhubarb cream. In a small saucepan, simmer the rhubarb, lemon juice, sugar over moderate heat until the rhubarb breaks down a bit, about 6-8 minutes. Mash the rhubarb a bit with the back of a wooden spoon. Turn off the heat and stir in the strawberries and vanilla. Let it cool completely. 

Into a mixer, beat the cold whippng cream and mascarpone until light and fluffy. Stir 1/4 cup of the cream into the rhubarb mixture, then fold in the rest of the whipping cream (only a few folds, you want it streaky). Spoon the cream into the center of the meringue and garnish with chopped pistachios. 

The meringue can be made a day or two in advance and the cream prepared when you are ready to serve the pavlova. It is best served the day it is made. 

Pistachio Pavlova with Strawberry & Rhubarb Cream . Sprouted Kitchen

Monday
May042015

FEEDING BABIES. PART 2

Baby Food II . Sprouted Kitchen

When I titled my last post on feeding babies as "part 1," I honestly thought the series would begin and end there. Just Part 1. Thanks for humoring me. But it turns out a good number of you enjoyed those notes I had mustered from feeding Curran and said you were looking forward to said series. So here we are! Our little guy is a huge part of my everyday life and feeding him consumes a good part of his waking hours so I'm learning things along the way.

For frame of reference, Curran is almost one year old (what?! I know). From about 6 to 9 months old I could get him to eat a puree of just about anything. I assumed I had the worlds greatest eater, I coudn't mash up my greens and lentils fast enough, and then he learned he could say no. Around 10 months he got a little more opinionated and now turns his head and spits things out so we are compromising - you still have to eat fruits and vegetables but everyone is entitled to not like things. I try things out a few times, with days between, before I take his refusals seriously. I usually have better luck with things he can pick up himself (cue the baby-led weaning advocates) so am including a few recipes here for finger foods that work well for us and a smoothie for good measure. Again, I know each baby is different. I got away with throwing steamed vegetable cubes on his tray for a couple weeks but he has since caught on that those things are straight up boring and I don't blame him. But you should still try it before your mini person wises up. He was crazy about blueberries for a week and now won't touch them. I think giving things a break keeps them from burning out and then you can try again. I am not a master, but appreciate other moms sharing ideas and feedback so I figured I would throw my two cents in. 

When we were on the road, I used some store-bought organic baby food squeezer packs and he loved (loves) them. Great in a pinch, no junky fillers, but I still find it much more cost effective and less wasteful to make food for him myself. I bought these reusable Squooshi packs and we both get what we want. Other things I find easy for on the go are the Dr. Praegers vegetable patties (they are in the frozen section at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and other grocery stores, and I just let them thaw in the fridge or my bag), clementines and mandarins, blueberries, cooked rice-pasta (the fusilli shape are easy to grab). These are the things I throw in my purse when we head down to the park or are running errands and I know we'll be out awhile. Nothing ground breaking but the gamut of finger foods for someone with limited teeth is trickier than I thought. Anyway. Included are some niblets that Curran will eat (for now) and I hope this may help a few of you out in your quest to feed your little one well. 

Baby Food II . Sprouted Kitchen

Baby Food II . Sprouted Kitchen

Baby Food II . Sprouted Kitchen

Green Smoothie

Makes 2 small

I give him half and then save the other half in the fridge and it keeps just fine for a day or two. The trick to not having chunky greens is blending them alone with your liquid of choice until they are completely smooth. Like spinach milk. Then you add in the rest of the ingredients to blend. Both spinach and romaine are considered 'sweet' greens so their flavor adds no bitterness here. 

  • 1 cup baby spinach and/or romaine
  • 3/4 cup coconut water or almond milk, as needed
  • 1 ripe pear, cored
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/4 of an avocado

Into a blender, combine the spinach/romaine and your liquid of choice. Run the blender until the greens are completely blended in. Add the pear, mango, avocado and more liquid as needed and blend until smooth. 

 --

Mini Sweet Potato Muffins

Makes two dozen minis

I made these for Curran but Hugh has eaten half of them so don't perceive these as strictly kid food. They have no processed sweeteners, so the banana and bit of maple keep these just sweet enough for your little person. Pumpkin puree will work in place of the sweet potato flesh if you have that handy.

  • 1 large, extra ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • flesh of one small steamed or roasted sweet potato (about 1/3 cup)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or warmed coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • turbinado sugar, to sprinkle on top

Preheat the oven to 360'. In a large mixing bowl, mash up the banana with the back of a fork. Add the eggs and whisk well to mix. Add the sweet potato flesh, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, maple and olive or coconut oil and whisk to blend well. Add the whole wheat, almond flour, oats and baking soda and mix gently until just combined. Do not overmix. 

Grease a mini muffin tin well with coconut oil spray or butter. Fill each well 3/4 full and sprinkle a little turbinado on top because even if you don't want them eating a lot of sugar, you have a heart and it's just a teeny bit. This makes two trays full. Bake for 16-18 minutes until just done. Wiggle them out of the holes to let them cool. 

--

Black Bean + Green Bites

Makes two dozen

The first time I made these, Curran loved them. Now it depends on the day. If your baby likes yogurt or hummus, put a little dollop on top of these and it helps hide the green flavor. Parmesan cheese is very low in lactose so even for dairy sensitive babies, this shouldn't cause much of an issue.

  • 6 ounces baby spinach (or any other tender green)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1 cup cooked and drained black beans
  • pinch of salt and garlic powder

Just barely steam the spinach. Let it cool and squeeze out the excess water. Into a food processor, add the squeezed spinach, egg, olive oil, parmesan, flaxmeal and beans, and a pinch of salt and garlic powder. Pulse a few times to combine. Preheat the oven to 375'. Line your baking tray with parchment. With damp hands, roll the mixture into small 1/2" balls and place them on the baking tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes to cook and remove to cool. The bites will keep for a week in the fridge or half may be frozen. 

Baby Food II . Sprouted Kitchen

Baby Food II . Sprouted Kitchen

Monday
Apr272015

HUEVOS A LA PLAZA DE MERCADO

Seven Spoons Tostada . Sprouted Kitchen

There has been some well-deserved chatter about Tara's book. I'm adding my cheers and high-fives and big hugs because it is remarkable and sincere and just dang good. You see, Tara and I were working on our books at the same time, and I felt like I had a pal struggling along side. Thousands of miles away she may be. But I knew then, in those texts, that this girl cared far too much to be producing anything less than wonderful. She took this project seriously and it comes through on each and every page. It's not just that the recipes are unique, but she writes head notes and directions more beautifully and thorough than any I've seen. I feel like I can hear her talking me through it - anticipating my questions. That is what makes a great cookbook author. I skimmed through the book soon as it came and am currently spending evenings doting over every word because I just love how she writes. I'm throwing down a good amount of praise but this book deserves it. I have made the raspberry rhubarb rye crumble twice now, subbing strawberries in for the raspberries on her forewarning that it is quite tart and I wanted to reign that in a bit. This may be her debut in the cookbook world but it sure doesn't read like it's Tara's first rodeo by any stretch.

I can make a breakfast tostada. I know my way around an egg and a good sauce but these! These were just really special and have me jonesing to host a backyard brunch. I generally don't go futzing with charred vegetable sauces and fresh salsas first thing, but think these are the perfect to make the night before. Even a few days prior. You can't shortcut this step because the sauces are what make these exceptional. I've been thinning out the charred green onion one with more citrus and using it as a green salad dressing and am using some of the salsa for a brothy tortilla soup tomorrow night. I'm just saying they're really great. 

So proud of you, Tara. xo

Seven Spoons Tostada . Sprouted Kitchen

Seven Spoons Tostada . Sprouted Kitchen

HUEVOS A LA PLAZA DE MERCADO // Serves 4

Recipe from Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Everyday by Tara O'Brady

The sauces took a bit more time than I would spend on an average morning breakfast but are worth every moment. Consider making one or both the evening before and this dish will come together in minutes. 

  • / RED SAUCE /
  • Small bunch of cilantro, leaves and tender stems
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 jalapeno, mostly seeded and chopped
  • 1 can (15 oz) whole, fire roasted tomatoes
  • (4-6 ounces chorizo or sausage - this is included in Tara's recipe but we skipped the meat here)
  • Salt and pepper, as needed
  • / CHARRED GREEN ONION DRESSING /
  • 6 green onions
  • 2 serrano or jalapeno chiles
  • generous pinch of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, not nonfat
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (or more greek yogurt but the mayonnaise makes for great texture)
  • small bunch of cilantro, leaves and tender stems
  • zest and juice of one lime
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • / EGGS + TOPPINGS /
  • mild olive oil or ghee for cooking the tortillas and egg
  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • 4-8 eggs
  • 2 avocados pitted and diced small
  • baby tomatoes, halved
  • 4 ounces queso fresco
  • Mexican-style hot sauce
  • 2 limes, cut in wedges

To make the red sauce, in a blender, combine the cilantro, shallots, garlic, jalapeno, tomatoes and their liquid and buzz to make a puree. 

Tip the tomato puree into a hot pot with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook, stirring regularly, until the sauce is thickened and tastes cooked. Around 30 minutes. Check for seasoning and keep warm. 

For the green onion dressing, heat a large, cast-iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook the green onions and chiles, turning often, until charred all over. About 10 minutes. Let the vegetables cool on a plate. Trim the roots off the onions, as well as any leathery parts of the green end. Stem the chiles and remove some, most or all of the seeds depending on your spice preference.

In a blender or food processor, buzz the green onions, chiles, paprika, yogurt, mayonnaise, cilantro, lime zest and juice, agave and oil until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Chill for at least an hour for flavors to develop. 

Heat a touch of oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Working in batches, warm the tortillas (or over an open flame if you prefer). Keep the tortillas warm in a preheated oven. Cook your eggs to order. Assemble your eggs over a warm tortillas with some of the red sauce, avocado, sliced baby tomatoes, queso fresco and some fresh cilantro. Drizzle on the green onion sauce and hot sauce if using. Tara suggests throwing them under the broiler for a quick minute just to give everything one last char. Serve the eggs right away with lime wedges on the side. 

The sauces can be kept covered in the fridge for a week. 

Seven Spoons Tostada . Sprouted Kitchen

Monday
Apr202015

ROASTED SWEET POTATO WEDGES WITH AVOCADO CHIMICHURRI

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

I ordered a diet coke on the plane ride home and Hugh gave me a wide-eyed side glance when he heard me ask the stewardess. It was a silent understanding that I was needing my routine back. I'm not a soda drinker so Hugh knows when I order one, I'm not particularly feeling myself. One could think of a few worse vices, no? I had a just barely sleeping, teething baby on my chest and I was so tired. So tired from not sleeping well and stressing about the book and hosting a workshop and talking in front of people and being super social that I was one more night away from a melt down. I ordered a diet coke because there was really no other way to rebel against my own self in that moment. I love being away but being away and working with a baby is just...different. Different as in I needed wine but took the free diet coke instead and called it even.

I had the sweetest time at the book signings meeting a handful of you. This space feels real and communal for me but there is nothing like some good ol' fashioned face time. I hope there is more of it to come, cross your fingers. We taught a photography workshop while in Seattle at Aran's dreamy studio and I felt the spark to be cooking more. I have a bundle of new cookbooks and I'm just going to surrender to other peoples' instructions to coax me back into cooking. I do it for work and because I need to feed my family, but it has lost a bit of its romance as of late. It was so refreshing to talk about what we/I do with other people. I think I felt outside of it for a season, if that makes any sense. So it goes with the value of community, I needed other like-minded people to get my wheels turning. How one can feel so depleted and filled up in a given week is beyond me but that is life and I'm still learning. 

I have been doing some recipe development for Electrolux as they build a pretty neat food blog for prospective customers and curious home cooks. There are a few more springy dishes coming up next week as well if you remember to pop over. I know there are a grip of sweet potato recipes that I've shared here, but I need to add this one to the list because I love having them with a solid dipping sauce. Also, the leftovers in a tortilla with a handful of fresh greens - instant lunch. Think guacamole with an extra bit of heat and generous amount of herbs. I leave mine pretty chunky but you could mash it more smooth and perhaps thin it with more lime juice or olive oil. I hope you don't mind one click over - the site is worth a peruse aside from these tasty potatoes anyway. 

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

ROASTED SWEET POTATO WEDGES WITH AVOCADO CHIMICHURRI // Serves 4

The recipe can be found at the Electrolux blog Live.Love.Lux

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Monday
Apr062015

BOWL + SPOON LAUNCH PARTY

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

What I do is not a typical job. I don't exactly have an official title, my paychecks are random and my schedule is both amazingly flexible and annoyingly inconsistent. I have loved this program before, but find it a bit more complicated with a mini person around. It's not just the time management aspect. I have Hugh around who is an expectional father and so supportive that I am able to take the time I need to get my own work done, but it has made my identity as a mother confusing. Perhaps for only me, but our sense of self can be so key - so pivotal and nocuous if left unencouraged. Who I am as a worker versus who I am as a mother has been tough for me to fuse as I feel like society tells me you can only excel at one or the other. In short, only because I still don't think I am on the other side of understanding where I am in all this, I needed this book to come out. I needed all the recipe deliberation, days at the library to concentrate, emails to testers, and fights with Hugh over final photos to be held in my hands, to show other people, to see my work. I am proud that this is my job and that some days I allow my son to tear through all the kitchen cabinets to entertain himself so I am able to do it. This work is something to celebrate.

I wanted to share a few photos from the launch party we hosted for the cookbook last week. It was family and friends and a good handful of local SK readers. I had about four times as much food as I needed and I was so stressy my legs were shaking the whole time BUT I am so glad we did it. I had dear friends help me set up and sell books, my sister and her best friend bartend and my mom help me make it pretty. The Ecology Center is a really special place, they are doing great things, inspiring really, and being in that space felt just right. 

"...When you realize that the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways, that you could tell it over and over as a tragedy, but you choose to call it an epic, that's when you learn what celebration is. When you see that what's in front of you is so far outside of what you dreamed, but you have the belief, the boldness, the courage to call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong...THAT is celebration."

- Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party

This party was possible because of a few very generous sponsors. Our local Laguna Niguel Whole Foods supplied me with the groceries so I could prepare a few recipes from the book, we served Seven Daughters Wines , House Beer and a sessions beer from New Belgium. I had bowls full of Justin's Dark Chocolate PB Cups that went just as quickly as you'd think they would while a few handfuls may have gone home with us. THANK YOU for making it possible to do this! 

Sprouted Kitchen . Bowl & Spoon Launch party