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Thursday
Aug222013

CITRUS POLENTA CAKE WITH WARM STONE FRUITS

citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen

Complacency is so boring but comfortable, while growth is so unpredictable and trying. Everything I am processing in this season seems so weighty (at least in my sphere), too personal for this space, but talking about food seems so... detached. These sorts of notes here elicit responses of pity and that is far from necessary. In the meantime, we'll just talk about food anyway. Which sounds complacent and comfortable and just what I need in this space for now. 

I'm confidently calling this a breakfast cake. I'm a savory breakfast girl. I love eggs and they feel like a wise choice to get the day going. Maybe out of habit, or because a sweet in the morning makes me feel a tad guilty. I have treats all other times of the day, likely too often, so breakfast is the one time they're easy to turn down. But this cake? It isn't really the guilty sort. It's baked in a cake pan, but has a denser crumb from that cornmeal likening it more to a loaf. For a "cake," it's pretty low in sugar and tastes as such - not bad, but light. I had a bounty of stone fruits in my CSA basket and ripe as they are, I found all they needed was a pat of butter and a breath of heat. If you're using ripe, summer fruits, I think you'll find they don't need added sugar. But you be the judge of that if you get a tart bunch. A little fresh whipping cream makes this totally passable for company, but honey and yogurt work great for the creamy component as well. Or vanilla ice cream! Ok, now it's not breakfast anymore but you get the idea.  

citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen

CITRUS POLENTA CAKE WITH WARM STONEFRUITS // Makes one 10'' cake

cake adapted from Womens Health Magazine

I haven't tried, but I think this cake would be wonderful made with olive oil in place of the butter. Use the applesauce and you have a dairy-free option. You also wouldn't need the mixer, all could be a dump-stir program in a bowl. If you go that route, report back how it goes. 

  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp. orange zest
  • 1 cup fine ground polenta
  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 lbs. assorted stonefruits (plums, pluots, peaches, nectarines etc.)
  • 1 Tbsp. orange juice
  • dash of vanilla extract or one vanilla bean

 honey sweetened yogurt or whipping cream for serving

citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen

Preheat the oven to 325'. Line a 10'' cake pan with parchment and butter the bottom and sides.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides if need be. Add the buttermilk or applesauce, and both zest and mix until combined. Add the polenta, almond meal, salt and baking powder and mix until just combined. Pour it into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (the cake is pretty light, you'll want to pull it on the more underdone side of finished to avoid dryness). Cool to the touch and then invert the cake onto a rack or plate. 

Cut the stone fruits into thin wedges. Heat the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the fruit slices, orange juice and warm for about 6-8 minutes to warm through, stirring only a few times as to not break up the fruit too much. Stir in the splash of vanilla or seeds from the vanilla bean pod. Taste for sweetness. Mine did not need sugar, add a Tbsp. if your mix tastes a bit tart.

Serve the slices of cake with a heaping spoonful of the fruit topping and a dollop of fresh whipping cream of honey sweetened yogurt.  

citrus & polenta cake with warm stone fruits . sprouted kitchen

Tuesday
Aug132013

SHREDDED KALE SALAD WITH TOMATOES, OLIVES + FETA

shredded kale salad . sprouted kitchen

I have spent recent years hating olives. I remember liking them a long time ago. I have memories of taco nights when we were younger. My sister and I would drain cans of black pitted olives and stick them on our finger tips. We'd prance around being fancy, pointing to things for the mere reason of showing our gaudy olive fingertips, like they were big acrylic nails. We got to snacking them off long before tacos were finished. I know those aren't olives in their most natural state, but I don't know when I decided to dislike them. I always order to leave them off a dish at a restaurant, would never touch them on a cheese plate and surely have never purchased a jar until recently. They just have such a strong flavor, and I am one for sweet over salty, so things like olives and chips are not foods I crave. And no, it was not a gradual warming up to them at all, as I suppose happens when people grow out of their food aversions. One day I was so famished for lunch that when I got a salad with olives in it, my hunger would not cease at my pickiness. I ate them because I was too hungry not to, and the rest is history. I am not going to go as far to say I love them or anything, but there isn't a single recipe on this site that has an olive in it, so for those of you who are big fans, this is there official inaguration into the sprouted kitchen. A peace offering of a very simple and lovely kale salad.

I have a few tips for the kale haters in your life. I mentioned them at a cooking class recently, so best I document them here as well. First off, you must remove the tough stem. Don't just go chopping the entire leaf up. The stems have a very tough texture and are quite bitter, so cut out the stem and stick with the leaves. If you purchase a bag of the pre-chopped stuff, take a few minutes to pull out the stem chunks. It is worth it. If you can't do full raw kale salads, cut a salad with half of a more tender lettuce. Hugh isn't the biggest fan, so our green salads are often times half well chopped kale and half baby lettuces or butter lettuce or romaine. For this recipe, I chopped the kale up so small you could eat this salad with a soup spoon. The tiny bits are more tender in your mouth and mix well with the other salad goodies, so chop away for small pieces. When all of that fails in the way of raw kale, having it cooked and mixed into an enchilada filling, vegetable egg scramble, soup, etc. doesn't seem to elicit as harsh a reaction.

shredded kale salad . sprouted kitchen

SHREDDED KALE SALAD WITH TOMATOES, OLIVES + FETA // Serves 2 to 4

Inspired by Deborah Madison's Vegetable Literacy

I feel like this salad is a great canvas for little changes to fit your fancy. It would be nice with a fresh torn crouton, maybe a grilled protein of choice to make it a more filling meal, or I've added some cooked black lentils. If you find yourself with salad responsibilities for a summer dinner party, this would hold up well, even dressed in advance, and could sit for awhile without getting wilty.

  • 8-10 large Tuscan/Lacinato/Red Kale Leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh dill and/or mint
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 ounces sheeps milk feta
  • few handfuls of sun gold or other baby tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup pitted and chopped olives, kalamata or other favorite
  • 1/4 of a red onion, minced

shredded kale salad . sprouted kitchen

 

Pull or cut the kale away from the stems. Work in batches and slice them into thin ribbons (alternatively, just go at it with a chop to get teesy pieces). Put the kale in a large salad bowl. Drizzle in 1 Tbsp. of the oil, salt, pepper and roughly rip up the dill/mint with your hands and add that in too. Massage the kale with your hands to soften the leaves until they glisten. In a small dish, mix together the remaining oil, vinegar, mustard and red pepper flakes to combine. Pour it over the kale and toss to coat. Crumble in the feta, add the tomatoes, olives and red onion and toss again. Add more of whatever you wish to taste.

Because kale is pretty sturdy, I find this salad can keep covered in the fridge for a day or two. Totally worth making a double batch.

shredded kale salad . sprouted kitchen

Monday
Jul292013

SUMMER PEACH TART

date pecan peach tart . sprouted kitchen

I catered a small dinner party last weekend. Some things I knew would turn out - a couple dressings and sauces were a shot in the dark, but I was certain they'd pass as edible. Summer produce makes this such an easy season to cook in because the produce needs little done to it. I know where to get the tomatoes I'm faithful to, even mediocre corn is passably sweet and crunchy, and a basic fruit dessert requires little fuss, as the juicy berries and stone fruits can hold their own.

I served a maple-slathered, grilled peach half with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and crumbled gingersnaps, an even easier adaptation of a treat recipe in our cookbook. It was the most basic dish I served and it was the one dish every single person cleared their bowl of (yes, I watch, who do you think is doing the dishes?). Granted, it was a small dessert, but it made me think, how often am I overcomplicating things?

Fast forward a few evenings, we had guests over here for a BBQ. A friend was talking about how a couple invited their family over for dinner and the hostess just ordered a pizza and made an easy green salad. She mentioned how much she respected that - how getting together, eating together, sharing good company and conversation is enough. I stood at the sink cleaning dishes after they left. I had made everything from scratch - dressings, marinades, a crumble, etc. I don't make complicated food, I don't know how to cook complicated things, but what I do does take me a lot of time and I spend even more time just thinking about the meal. Where is my tipping point between making food for people that is special, but still allows me to just enjoy the company? How to channel this effortless effort... I feel like I am narrating to and for myself here, bear with me, think Carrie Bradshaw Sex in the City monologues except we're talking about dinner. Our own heads, my own head, is a rabbit hole. I get down there by over thinking and over complicating when the answer is really up top at the proverbial pizza.

The peaches for this tart were leftover from that easy dessert I mentioned a minute ago. I didn't have a recipe in mind, I just didn't want to waste the peaches sitting on the counter on their peak day. I remembered a crust I wanted to try and layered from there. It's simple, a fantastic peach is what makes the whole tart, but it is a new favorite. You could merely change the fruit on top or try different nuts in the crust. Summer in all its glory. I can hear Hugh sneaking into the fridge, his fork clattering against the plate as we speak.

There is an Oscar Wilde quote, "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention." So applicable to cooking, to creating things, to feeding people... the act is often times less complicated than we make it. Here's to the simple things.

date pecan peach tart . sprouted kitchen

SUMMER PEACH TART // Makes one 12'' tart

crust recipe adapted from A House in the Hills

I know some of you will be looking for alternatives to powdered sugar here in the cream layer. It helps set the creme fraiche to not puddle everywhere, a liquid like maple or honey will not work. You could try coconut sugar if you are ok with a little grit, but I can't say I've tried it.

/crust/

  • 9 pitted dates
  • 1 cup toasted pecan pieces
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

/cream layer/

  • creme fraiche option:
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 1/4 cup powder sugar
  • 1/4 cup muscavado sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 3 large/4 small ripe peaches
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • toasted pecans, granola, turbinado etc. for garnish

date pecan peach tart . sprouted kitchen

 

For the crust, pulse all ingredients in the food processor until crumbly. When you pinch some between your fingers it should stick. Add a tiny splash of water if it needs help holding (this will depend on the freshness of your dates). Press the mixture into an even layer the bottom of a parchment lined, 9'' or 10'' springform pan.

Make your cream layer. Follow the directions for the the coconut whipped cream. Otherwise, whisk together the creme fraiche, powdered sugar, muscavado and corn starch. It will be loose but should hold shape when spread over the crust, if it looks too loose, add another Tbsp. or two of powdered sugar. Spread the cream layer over the crust.

Halve and pit the peaches and slice them thin. Layer the peaches in concentric circles, starting against the outer edge and then starting again with another circle, inside that outer circle. Brush the top with lemon juice and garnish with chopped pecans, granola, turbinado or whatever you wish. Refrigerate for at least two hours to chill completely. Remove the ring of the springform pan and cut into slices.

Store covered in the fridge. Should be enjoyed within 3-4 days. The colder it is, the easier it will be to get clean slices, just fyi.

date pecan peach tart . sprouted kitchen

Monday
Jul222013

CURRY ROASTED ALMONDS

curry roasted almonds . sprouted kitchen

I'm not incredibly interested in shopping or putting together the cutest outfit, she would rather go out to eat than cook. My sister and I have a mutual respect for the creative work the other does. I find it pretty special that people can come from the same parents, same house, and be different in so many ways. Sure there are similar mannerisms, but we're different people, which is why I find her consistently interesting. We recently exchanged clothes for snacks - which means I am going to be making A LOT of snacks. I thought I would share part of the recent care package that went out to her today. Care package snacks need to be things that will last a few days in the mail and then a few more days after that to be enjoyed. I also made these peanut butter bites and coated the outside in cocoa powder hoping that would keep them from sticking too much. There are often occasions to give edible gifts that need a longer shelf life than a cookie or loaf cake, both of these options travel well. These nuts are a tiny bit spicy, sweet and textured from the flakes of coconut. There is a kick of salt, as any good nut snack should have. I made the first round with all maple as the sweetener and roasted them at 350'. The coconut burnt before the nuts dried up and nothing stuck together. Second round, as reflected below, I tried them at a lower heat to keep the coconut from burning, as well as a bit of cane sugar to help everything adhere to the almonds. I used the dried coconut I had on hand, but I suggest some of the big flakes if you're heading to the market.  

curry roasted almonds . sprouted kitchen

CURRY ROASTED ALMONDS // Makes about 3 1/2 cups

Watch these closely as the coconut can burn on you pretty quick. I say around 30 minutes but keep your eye on them after 15, turning the heat down if need be. The coconut flakes will be more forgiving on timing than the shredded.

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed to a liquid
  • 1 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons natural cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sweet curry powder
  • pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup large coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, white and/or black

curry roasted almonds . sprouted kitchen

Preheat the oven to 325'. In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, agave or maple, cane sugar, curry powder, red pepper flakes, salt and mix together. Stir in the almonds to coat. Stir in the coconut and sesame seeds. 

On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread the nuts in a single layer and bake for 20-30 minutes on the middle rack, until the coconut is just browned. Stir them halfway through, being careful to pull them if the coconut starts to get too brown. 

Remove to cool completely before eating. (They may taste chewy at first, let them cool all the way!)

curry roasted almonds . sprouted kitchen
Thursday
Jul182013

GRILLED SERRANO SALSA

grilled serrano salsa . sprouted kitchen

This all started when a good friend brought over a package of gluten free oatmeal apricot mini cookies and told me to please read the back and recreate them. In some way, I was flattered that she found me capable of unraveling a recipe like that. She has my complete empathy at the moment for some tough stuff she's going through, so of course I did it. I took my favorite cookie recipes, read the ingredients on the back, did some very scientific exchanges of sweeteners, flours etc., tested one cookie at a time and added from there making sure they'd hold together. They didn't have nearly the same texture as the package, a more homemade shape and tenderness (which I prefer, even if they didn't mimic the suggested cookie) and the taste, while not the same, was close enough. I apparently gave a mouse a cookie, literally, because then she asked me to please write a recipe for salsa. So here we are. Apparently my bleeding heart takes recipe requests.

I've written about the tomatoes at our local farm in summers past. I'd guess you have a place for great tomatoes too, and this is the time to use them. For something as simple as salsa, the better the ingredients, the better the end result. Something tells me you've heard that before? There isn't much to cover up a mediocre tomato here. I charred most of the vegetables, and leave a few raw to stir in at the end. This gives some of the sweeter tomato and onion flavor, while also including the sharpness of the raw onion and texture of tomato and pepper chunks. Take liberties to play around with the amounts depending how you like it. Just promise me you'll find great tomatoes.

grilled serrano salsa . sprouted kitchen

GRILLED SERRANO SALSA // Makes about 2.5 cups

I hesitate to call this mild because so much will depend on the heat of your chiles. Mine were not that hot, so even with two and their seeds, this salsa was very mild. With the quantity of other vegetables, it should keep things from getting too spicy, but you could add one at a time to your processor if you know you are super sensitive to heat.

 

  • 1 1/4 lbs. tomatoes (roma, beefsteak, heirloom - whatever smells amazing)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 serrano chiles
  • 3 cloves garlic, in their peel
  • 1 tsp. smoked salt or sea salt
  • 1 large, juicy lime
  • 1/3 cup well chopped cilantro

 

Clean and heat your grill to medium high heat or preheat the broiler.

grilled serrano salsa . sprouted kitchen

Slice the tomatoes, onion and bell pepper into large wedges. Pull aside one wedge each of the tomato, pepper and two of the red onion. These will get added at the end. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes, onion, pepper, serrano and garlic cloves in a thin coat of oil with just a pinch of salt. Grill the items over direct heat for about 10-15 minutes until charred on the edges, keeping the garlic cloves in a little foil pouch to soften. If using the broiler, set the tray in the upper third and broil about 15-20 minutes until the edges char, but the vegetables to do not completely break down.

Set everything aside to cool completely. Discard the stems of the serranos, leaving the seeds in tact and push the garlic out of it's skin. In a food processor, pulse the cooled, grilled vegetables with the serranos and garlic until just chopped up. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Finely chop the reserved raw tomato, pepper and onions and add them to the salsa. Stir them in along with the salt, lime juice and cilantro. Adjust seasoning to your taste - a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes aren't super tasty, chipotle powder if you like it smoky/hotter, more cilantro if you are me, etc.

Salsa will keep for about a week.

grilled serrano salsa . sprouted kitchen

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