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Wednesday
Jun242015

GRAPEFRUIT + WATERMELON AGUA FRESCA

Grapefruit & Watermelon Agua Fresca . Sprouted Kitchen

I am motivated by the "summer bucket lists" I've been hearing about or seeing on Instagram. With Curran and the work we have to do around the house, I've thought the fun parts of this season would fall to the wayside but that is silly thinking. There are local weekend trips to take, pizza down at the beach at sunset, farmers market hauls for peach crisps, and apricot jam to swirl into plain yogurt. There may be a fence to build, a storage area to fix up, and a kitchen that needs updating but those tasks can blend in with the things that make us feel alive too. I forget that sometimes. Head down, responsibility, get things done... it's never that stuff that lightens my heart and fills me up even though it's my default setting. Time for a summer list. 

It started warming up around here this week and I'm not great about drinking water. My goal is to reward every two tumblers of water with a more tasty drink - I have a cucumber, apple, kale juice in the fridge which I like over ice or this super refreshing grapefruit and watermelon juice with a splash of sparking water for fizz. Sunkist sent me some California Star Ruby grapefruits that were super juicy and the watermelon juice cuts the tartness just right. I went for a 50/50 blend this round, but you could alter that based on preference. Also, it makes a dreamy cocktail mixer. The happy hour fix is crushed ice, this juice, a tiny tip of triple sec and a glug of tequila for the best summer margarita. Maybe a little extra lime if you have one around. This recipe makes enough juice to make about six cocktails so it'd be great for a small party. All said, I hope your summers have started off in the best way. 

Grapefruit & Watermelon Agua Fresca . Sprouted Kitchen

Grapefruit & Watermelon Agua Fresca . Sprouted Kitchen

Grapefruit & Watermelon Agua Fresca . Sprouted Kitchen

GRAPEFRUIT + WATERMELON AGUA FRESCA // Makes one generous liter

I use a juicer for efficiency sake, but I understand not everyone has one. For the grapefruit and lime, you could squeeze the juice by hand or with a citrus juicer into a bowl. The watermelon pieces can be blended in a food processor and then strained to get a smoother juice. You basically need about 2 cups of each grapefruit and watermelon and the juice of one lime. Use whatever grapefruits you like, I find the red varieties produce more juice.

 

  • 4 California Star Ruby Grapefruits, peeled
  • 1 small watermelon, cubed and peeled
  • 1 lime, cut in quarters
  • crushed ice
  • sparkling water, optional
  • tequila and triple sec, optional

 

In a juicer, juice the peeled grapefruit, watermelon and lime. Stir together to mix. Add more lime to taste. 

As an agua fresca, enjoy cold over ice. I add a splash of sparkling water. It also makes an excellent margarita with a bit of triple sec and a shot of tequila. 

Grapefruit & Watermelon Agua Fresca . Sprouted Kitchen

This post is sponsored by Sunkist Growers. Fruit and compensation provided by Sunkist, all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday
Jun102015

GRATIN OF ZUCCHINI, RICE + ONIONS

Brown Rice & Zucchini Gratin . Sprouted Kitchen

I am finding that the romance of cookbooks isn't really in flipping through for inspiration, but when I surrender to a recipe's every word. The page is marked with a little post it and I keep referencing back to it's open pages to make sure I'm doing just what it directs. Hopeful it comes out as delicious as the photo leads me to believe and refreshed to have a dish so different than my everyday normals. I am in this strange but wonderful phase where I am not feeling particularly creative in the kitchen, so I am either cooking from cookbooks or resorting to my staples (scrambled eggs, bean and cheese tacos, roasted vegetables, ice cream and an occasional kale salad once I feel guilty enough about too many bean and cheese tacos and an unnecessary ice cream routine). I'm not calling it a rut, it is just a different season and I actually think it's healthy if the work you do is creative. I just want someone else to tell me what to do. I have freelance jobs where I need to pull myself together, but for the most part, I'm just trying new things... except when I'm eating the same thing for the millionth time. 

The Food52 Genius Recipes book came out a couple months back and it is precisely the book you need if you want someone to tell you what to do. The recipes highlight a technique so there are little secrets and tricks that not only help you with the shared recipe, but make you a better cook in general. I am not a detailed or perfect cook myself, so when I find a book that is dedicated to finding the best - the genius recipes - I am all ears. It is everything I am not and I am loving it. In an effort to try to feed all three of us the same thing, I started with my bookmark on Julia Childs' Gratin of Zucchini, Rice and Onions with Cheese. It sort of reminds me of a risotto without the stirring. The only swap I made was brown rice for the white and I don't think it made any compromise of the dish, just needed a smidge more cooking time which is reflected in the recipe below. I know I've been talking a lot of books around here lately, but this would make for an excellent gift for you or the other cooks in your life.

Wishing you a warm weekend!

* House Business. I will be up at The Madewell store at The Grove in Los Angeles next Thursday 6/18 from 6-8pm for a denim happy hour with cookbooks. There is a 20% discount on any purchase over $125 and snacks and drinks so I would love to see you there. Please come be my friend!

Brown Rice & Zucchini Gratin . Sprouted Kitchen

Brown Rice & Zucchini Gratin . Sprouted Kitchen

Gratin of Zucchini, Rice and Onions with Cheese // Serves 6 as a side

Recipe barely changed from Food 52's Genius Recipes

When the recipe says "zucchini juices and milk" it isn't an exact amount of either. I just squeezed the zucchinis of their liquid into a measuring cup after they sat in the salt and then made up the difference in milk to get to the called for 2 cups which was about another cup. Mine took longer in the oven than the recipe led me to believe but that may have been because of the brown rice. The recipe suggests the oven at 425' but I went with 400' since it needed to be in there a good 35 minutes and I didn't want it to burn. The extra moisture in my finished shot is because my zucchini yield was short, yours should look drier. 

 

  • 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. zucchini or other summer squash
  • 1/2 cup short grain brown rice (or white rice, as published, if you prefer)
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour
  • about 2 1/2 cups warm zucchini juices and milk
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (save a few Tbsp. for the top)
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Brown Rice & Zucchini Gratin . Sprouted Kitchen

Brown Rice & Zucchini Gratin . Sprouted Kitchen

Shred the zucchini, toss them with a heaping teaspoon of salt and drain in a colander. Reserving the juices. Meanwhile drop the rice into boiling salted water, bring rapidly back to a boil for 8 minutes; drain and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400'.

In a large frying pan, cook the onions slowly in 3 to 4 Tbsp. olive oil for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender and translucent. Raise the heat slightly and stir for several minutes until just browned. Stir in the grated and dried zucchini and garlic. Toss for 5 minutes until the zucchini is almost tender. Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for a minute and remove from the heat. 

Gradually stir in the 2 1/2 cups warm liquid (zucchini juices plus milk heated gently in a pan). Make sure the flour is well blended and smooth. Put the pan over moderately high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from the heat again, stir in the blanched rice and 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan. Taste carefully for seasoning and add your salt and pepper. 

Butter a 6-8 cup baking and serving dish that is about 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep. Turn the warm zucchini mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top. Dribble the remaining olive oil over the cheese. 

Bring the gratin to a simmer on stove top as long as your dish is flame proof. Bake in the upper third of the oven until the gratin is bubbling, top is browned and appears most of the liquid has absorbed. Mine took about 30-35 minutes. Serve warm. 

Brown Rice & Zucchini Gratin . Sprouted Kitchen

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