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Wednesday
Oct222014

ROASTED VEGETABLE + QUINOA BOWL

Roasted Vegitables & Quinoa Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

The past few months I have been working as a personal chef for a couple who work long days and want their fridge full of healthy meals to come home to. It's a pretty great situation seeing as I get to do what I enjoy, can stay in my gym clothes, and it's flexible hours with Curran. I don't necessarily come home wanting to cook for my own family, but such is life. The wife was asking for me to leave some of the recipes of the foods I've been making them and I still haven't responded because I don't, um, have recipes to leave. I'm not one for rules, with practice, cooking has become an intuition sort of deal, and I think that's only because I understand the basic principle and can go off on my own from there. Anyway, I've been making big batches of roasted vegetables for them and realize that while it's not always a recipe, understanding a few things about doing them well, is helpful. A few tips I've learned only by doing them wrong a lot of times:

* They need a generous coat of oil. Vegetables are mostly water, and a generous coat of oil creates a barrier between the heat and their water, allowing them to retain the natural moisture as opposed to it cooking off and the vegetables just getting dry. It also dresses them at the end, so while you don't want them sitting in a big pool of it, you should see the oil coating everything.

* You want to use vegetables with a similar cooking time, and cut their size appropriately. For example, here, I know delicata will get soft before the fennel, so I cut the delicata on the large side and the fennel on the thin side so their cooking times balance. Make sense? Autumn vegetables usually need a little more time than summer so if you are cooking seasonal things, your timing should work out. Summer items like zucchini, peppers, eggplant have more water and less natural sugar in them so I find they roast in about half the time. 

* A large, rimmed baking tray is key. Oil and season on the tray and just toss with your hands there for one less dirty dish. A thin lip lets the moisture escape so you get a good crust. 

* Out of the oven, let them sit for a few minutes. Don't smoosh them all in a bowl so fast as they will steam each other and get moosh (technical term). Give them space to breathe before putting them on a serving platter. When I cook for work or make roasted vegetables in advance, I let them cool completely before packing them up for the fridge. 

* Salt enough. Not too much. I can't tell you how much, that's a personal taste deal. But don't get stingy, I'll say that much. 

* The other spices are up to you. I generally throw in something spicy, dried herbs and fresh herbs after baking. But you can be generous with these as well. I love za'atar on carrots, cayenne and maple on sweet potatoes, cumin and cinnamon on squashes, and lemon pepper and Italian herbs on zucchini. I like a little soy sauce or maple syrup on occasion but this adds moisture to the pan so only use a teensy bit to avoid steaming. 

Anyway. I am no master, but a trial-and-error, learn by doing sort of thing has left me with the above constants in my vegetable roasting experience. Feel free to share your tips or favorite spices in the comments, I love to have new ideas. 

Roasted Vegitables & Quinoa Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

ROASTED VEGETABLE + QUINOA BOWL // Serves 6

 

  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 1 small onion, red or yellow
  • 4 carrots, cleaned
  • 2 small delicata squash
  • 1/2 lb. brussels sprouts
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (I used a chile infused one for a bit of spice)
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. everyday seasoning or Italian herb blend
  • pinch of cayenne 

 

 

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • few big handfuls of baby kale
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, to taste
  • microgreens, for garnish

 

Roasted Vegitables & Quinoa Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 400'. Prepare all your vegetables and collect them on a large baking tray. Halve the fennel and slice it into wedges. Peel the onion, cut off the ends, and slice it into thin wedges, cut the end off the carrots and slice 1" pieces on a diagonal. Scoop the seeds from the squash and slice it into thick half moons. Halve large brussels and leave the small ones whole. Drizzle the olive oil, salt, a few pinches of pepper, everyday seasoning and cayenne. Toss to coat well and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Dividing into two sheets if it looks over crowded. Bake in the upper third of the oven for twenty minutes. Turn the heat up to 425' and cook another 20 minutes or until the edges of the vegetables are browned and crisp. 

While the vegetables roast, cook the quinoa. Put the quinoa and broth in a pot. Bring it up to a gentle boil, down to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, add a few handfuls of baby kale and leave the lid ajar so it cools. This will barely wilt the kale so its not quite so raw. Once it is room temperature, drizzle in the olive oil, red wine vinegar and a hearty pinch of salt and pepper and toss to coat. Transfer to your serving bowl. Top with the roasted vegetables, pine nuts, feta cheese and microgreens.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday
Oct152014

LEMONGRASS + COCONUT SUMMER ROLLS

Coconut Summer Rolls . Sprouted Kitchen

I have waxed on about how helpful it is to stay on track eating healthfully when you have things ready in the fridge. This usually requires a "cook day," where I just embrace the mess and make about six things that will keep a few days. Always a batch of granola, a treat (recently these! and I'm making these next!), some quick protein like this egg salad or the beach day tuna salad from our cookbook, and a sturdy green salad that can sit like this fabulous kale goodness. I have found this to be especially crucial when working from home (due to frequent grazing) and now having a mini person, simply because I am not always interested in making myself lunch and would rather eat another few handfuls of trail mix and a piece of toast than make a mess and wash dishes. I value home cooked meals, eating wholesome and seasonal dishes, I'm passionate about the art of cooking and the joy there is in feeding people well, but the ebb and flow of life just changes the pace at which I am able to do these things. I know the same goes for you, as I am flattered by the emails I receive from people asking me for recipes that are ideal for travel, to freeze, for sick friends, or to make ahead for busy work weeks. I know our recipe index here is not user-friendly at all and a website make over is totally on the radar, but in the meantime, I will say that summer rolls are sort of amazing for all said circumstances. They keep well for a few days, fit most dietary issues by being gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian and don't need to be warmed which makes them extremely portable. 

The thoughtful couple, David and Luise, write the blog Green Kitchen Stories and I am a huge fan of their first cookbook Vegetarian Everyday. They've created a new (incredibly gorgeous and inspired) cookbook that showcases a collection of photos and recipes from their travels around the globe. It's the sort of book that takes you somewhere else and jump started me out of a bit of a rut that was happening in my own kitchen. I was flipping through looking for something that I could bring to my sister in law and her family who are welcoming home a new baby boy. We ended up keeping these rolls because I ate too many to warrant covering them for a full meal, but I will be packaging up a polenta mushroom situation from the book that is perfect as these nights are cooling down. All to say, I keep my cookbook collection pretty tailored and I'm proud to have this beauty on my shelf. 

Coconut Summer Rolls . Sprouted Kitchen

Coconut Summer Rolls . Sprouted Kitchen

LEMONGRASS + COCONUT SUMMER ROLLS // Makes about 8

Recipe adapted from Green Kitchen Travels

Maybe it is the California girl in me but I would add avocado next time. I like some creaminess with my veggie packed rolls, so just add some thin slices with your collection of other filling ingredients if you wish.  

  • 8 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, smashed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • juice of one lime
  • // dipping sauce //
  • 1/3 peanuts or 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 package rice paper
  • 1 head of butter lettuce, cleaned and separated
  • 1 big handful of mint
  • 1 big handful cilantro
  • 1/2 a cucumber, cut into match sticks
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and cut into match sticks
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, lightly toasted
  • 2/3 cup sprouts of choice or grated carrots
  • sesame seeds, optional

Drain and pat the tofu dry. In a large dish, combine the lemongrass, lime, maple and soy sauce. Add the tofu and marinate for 30 minutes. 

To make the dipping sauce, toast the peanuts and blend all the sauce ingredients together. 

Arrange all the filling ingredients and prepare a large bowl of warm water. Dip a sheet of rice paper in the water to soften, and lay it out on a damp dish towel or cutting board. Layer a lettuce leafs, a pinch of mint, cilantro, a slice of tofu, cucumber, mango, coconut flakes and sprouts and/or carrots. Fold the top over the filling, then the sides and roll tight to close. Repeat with remaining rolls. Serve with dipping sauce. These will keep in the fridge under a damp paper towel for 2-3 days. 

Coconut Summer Rolls . Sprouted Kitchen

Wednesday
Oct012014

PUMPKIN BREAD WITH TOASTED WALNUT CINNAMON SWIRL

Spelt Pumpkin Loaf . Sprouted Kitchen

Oof. We had a whirlwind of tying up a few loose ends for our cookbook (out this coming spring, so crazy!) and I sort of abandoned this space. While this is a place I want to share good food illustrated by Hugh's gorgeous photos, it is also a place I come to write. In an inevitably vain way, I suppose a blogger mostly has his or her own life story to draw from, and my reality as of late has been about rearranging our work, marriage, schedule, chores, social life, alone time etcetera with Curran in the picture. Most definitely for the better (not to be confused with easier), the day to day looks different now and my story is currently about figuring out who I am now in all of these things. It sounds dramatic and woeful, but honestly, as any big change goes, it just takes a little time to create a new normal. Both my thoughts and iphone pictures used to be all food all the time and now I have a mini person who hijacked all that. Our little baby bug is tall and thin as babies go, so says the pediatrician. He has a big gummy smile, is a little stingy with giggles despite his mom and dad being completely hilarious, rolls and always wants to be grabbing something to put in his mouth. At night, he lays his head between my chin and chest and rhythmically coos as I sing songs from church and/or Beyonce and rock him to sleep... I'm not sure there is any sweeter feeling in the universe. It is all so wonderful and yet so very hard. Many parts of being a new mom are really tough. I didn't anticipate the high highs met with low lows but I can see balance on the horizon. I worry by nature, so 'choosing optimism' is my mantra for this fall. Everything will be OK. It is always OK. 

Don't roll your eyes. Another pumpkin loaf! Just what you needed right? I have a good handful of things bookmarked in Amy Chaplin's gorgeous new book, At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen but I was in need of a fresh start, to ring in a new season, and a hearty, fall loaf seemed just the thing. This loaf is dense, barely sweet, is just the thing fresh out of the toaster with a swipe of good butter or coconut butter. It doesn't taste like dessert - it tastes like a breakfast loaf and that is the side of the loaf-preferences-fence I sit on. Hugh sits on the other side of said fence but nothing a little cinnamon sugar can't fix. Amy's cookbook is so comprehensive, beautifully designed and jammed full of recipes for the vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free and generally health nutty folks. There are a grip of fabulous cookbooks coming out this fall and next spring and I'm so anxious to try things and share them here. 

Spelt Pumpkin Loaf . Sprouted Kitchen

PUMPKIN BREAD WITH TOASTED WALNUT CINNAMON SWIRL // One 9-inch loaf

Recipe adapted from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin

The recipe is great as is, and as mentioned above, it is not super sweet as most breakfast loaves can be. I added a bit more spice and a little turbinado sugar on top for crunch. Amy suggests roasting a squash yourself and using the puree for the bread but canned pumpkin will work as well. 

 

  • // cinnamon swirl //
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. muscavado, brown or maple sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • -
  • 2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin or squash puree
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. almond or soy milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

 

 

Preheat the oven to 350' and lightly oil a loaf pan, lining it with parchment for a cleaner removal. 

Steam your squash for 10-12 minutes if making a puree by hand.

To make the swirl, mix the walnuts, maple, sugar and cinnamon together and set aside. 

Into a large mixing bowl, sift the spelt flour, baking powder and salt. Add the nutmeg and cinnamon. Whisk together the squash puree, olive oil, almond milk, vanilla, egg and maple syrup. Fold the flour mixture into the squash mixture until just combined. Spread half the batter over the bottom of the loaf pan. Layer cinnamon walnut mixture evenly over batter and top with the remaining batter. To create a swirl, run a knife in a zig zag through the batter. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before removing the loaf. 

The slice is served best warmed with a generous spread of coconut butter or real butter. 

Spelt Pumpkin Loaf . Sprouted Kitchen

Tuesday
Sep022014

NECTARINE TART WITH RYE-CORNMEAL CRUST

I'm dog earring interesting recipes in food magazines like a crazy lady. I have a catering job coming up and a particular mini-person has kept me from cooking all that much. Simple things, I have managed to get basic dinners together, but I haven't tried many new items unfortunately. Curran doesn't really like napping, I'm tired, so I eat a lot of brown rice and defrosted wild salmon patties and don't mind because I know this is a season. Ok, actually I cry a lot about it because I want him to get rest so he's happy and his brain grows, but Hugh reminds me it's part of figuring out this parenting thing and we'll turn a corner at some point. You'll miss naps one day, tiny sleep-resister. Anyway, dessert. I've been peeking around to try some new things and I thought these individual tarts in Food+Wine looked great. I haven't had the greatest luck with tart dough, regardless of the printed recipe, so I gave these a run through before putting them on the menu and I approve. I haven't baked much with rye flour but it is perfect here, a tad more flavor than all purpose, and I'm intrigued to try it in other things. The crust is excellent - quite buttery (likely why it's excellent) which makes this perfect for a special occasion.

Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen

Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen

Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen

NECTARINE TART WITH RYE-CORNMEAL CRUST // Makes 4 smallish tarts

Crust recipe adapted from September 2014 Food + Wine 

I used nectarines because the ones at our local farm are still incredible. If stonefruits are gone where you are, the original recipe suggests apples and I'm sure that would be great too. Note, I had creme fraiche on hand so made this creamy garnish but a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream would be just as nice and one less step.

  • // Dough //
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup rye flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 Tbsp. natural cane sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 14 Tbsp. cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • // Filling //
  • 3 ripe nectarines
  • 2 ripe plums
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • quick grate of fresh nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup natural cane sugar, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour
  • Turbinado Sugar, for sprinkling
  • // Maple Creme Fraiche //
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 Tbsp. real maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp. almond extract

Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen

Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen

Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen

For the dough, in a food processor, pulse both flours with the cornmeal, sugar and salt. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with flecks of butter. Sprinkle the ice water over the mixture and pulse until it just comes together (you should still see flecks of butter). Transfer to dough to a work surface, gather it together, quarter it and form four small disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and chill at least an hour. This can be done a few days in advance. 

For the filling, slice the nectarines and plums thin. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cut fruit with the vanilla bean, lemon juice, a quick grate of nutmeg, 2 Tbsp. of the cane sugar and toss to combine. 

Preheat the oven to 400' and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the 2 Tbsp. of flour and 2 remaining Tbsp. sugar in a ramekin. On a well floured work surface, roll out the dough balls 1/4' thick into roughly 6" circles. Spread a little bit of the flour/sugar mixture in the center of each dough circle, leaving a 1/2" border. Place a pile of fruit on top of the flour circle (be generous and pile high, it'll shrink down). Gently fold the edges of the dough up around the fruit, leaving the center open. Pinch the tears of the dough together to seal and transfer them to the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the dough with a little water and generously sprinkle the whole top with turbinado sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the tops are golden brown and crisp. Let them sit for a minute and then transfer to cool completely on a baking rack.

While they cool, stir together the creme fraiche, maple and almond extract (a little goes a long way, you need just a couple drops). Serve each tart with a dollop of cream. These are best enjoyed the day they are made but they will keep covered for two days and could even be freshened up in a toaster oven when needed.

Nectarine Tart . Sprouted Kitchen

Thursday
Aug212014

GREEN SALAD OF NECTARINES, CORN + PEANUTS

Green Salad of Nectarines, Corn & Peanuts . Sprouted Kitchen

Not in the head space to write much, but I wanted to share this salad we had at a backyard dinner with friends last week before another weekend passed. It was the perfect late summer salad - a place for those sweet nectarines that I cannot get enough of (also been throwing them in my morning steel cut oats with cardamom and salted pistachios. Recommended). It was one of the better salads I've thrown together, perhaps because I wasn't expecting it to be such a delicious and easy combination. I feel like a much better cook when I am not trying hard to be a good cook...that must make sense for those of you who write recipes and blogs about food. It's annoying really, and maybe the demon of people who do creative work for a living. Anyway, here is the recipe, give or take, and I'm wishing you all a full weekend ahead. Heidi's salad looks amazing, I want these wraps, Ashlae's cookies and will never pass up a berry crumble. Go eat outside!

Green Salad of Nectarines, Corn & Peanuts . Sprouted Kitchen 

GREEN SALAD OF NECTARINES, CORN + PEANUTS // Serves 4

The first time I made this, I used a mix of baby arugula, kale and romaine. You really can use any greens you like, but if you go with something sturdy like kale, cut it with another soft lettuce as well. For aesthetics and texture contrast, I'm a proponent of mixing lettuces and greens. 

When a dressing is this simple, I (lazily, because I don't want to wash another bowl) drizzle everything on top and just toss it well to distribute. Do as I say, not as I do and whisk it all before it that sounds a little haphazard to you. I like to live on the edge and risk a mouthful of mustard in one bite. 

 

  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 4 cups chopped red leaf lettuce
  • 4 cups mixed greens (I used a 'power green' pack)
  • handful of roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 ripe necartine, diced
  • 1 shallot, finely minced (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted peanuts, plus more for garnish
  •  
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • sea salt and pepper

 

Green Salad of Nectarines, Corn & Peanuts . Sprouted Kitchen

in a small pan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Cut the corn kernels away from the cob and add them to the hot pan with a sprinkle or salt and the smoked paprika. Saute, only moving once or twice so the edges char, for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the corn cool completely. 

In a large salad bowl, combine both greens, cilantro, the diced nectarine, shallot and half of the feta, peanuts and cooled corn. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, white balsamic, agave, mustard and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Dress the salad as desired and sprinkle the remaining feta, peanuts and corn on top. Serve immediately. 

Green Salad of Nectarines, Corn & Peanuts . Sprouted Kitchen