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Monday
Sep092013

MUSHROOM BURGERS WITH ASIAN SLAW

mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen

Caroline, 

I remember when I first got your email. It was the week after some negative comments had gotten the best of me, I mentioned it here and you'd written just to say hi. You appreciated my work; the food, yes, but also the way I wrote. I don't consider myself a "writer." I like writing, I can write letters, and I err on the side of vulnerability... you could classify me as a journaler, perhaps. Anyway, I keep coming back to your email because you remind me that I want to be relatable here. Even when vulnerability feels risky.

"I found your blog a year or two ago, and bookmarked it just for salad inspiration. But recently I've realized that your blog has become to me inspiration not just for salads and "bowl foods" and good food in general, but for good LIVING too. In the past 3 months, I've graduated college, gotten married, started a 9-to-5, and moved to a depressed inner-city. Our car has gotten broken into, we've started paying bills, we've learned that good communication in marriage is a full-time job, and, and, and, -- you know: real life happened. The better and the worse."

That's a lot to soak up in 3 months, lady. It wasn't the fluffy pep-you-up type of email, but the real-life-happened part of it that reminded me that we're all in a mess of things. I stop writing in fear of judgement but those aren't the people I'm writing to. We went to the beach late in the afternoon last weekend in search of a bit of perspective. I had let the prospect of a house purchase swallow me up and I needed out of my own head. I had gotten home from work in time for a late afternoon in the sun, and after a weeks-long-swell-drought there were finally some waves, so Hugh was eager to get in the water. He had been working at home all day and needed time in the waves with his buddies. I had been with people all day, so I needed to sit by myself and stare out into the ocean whose endlessness always puts things in perspective. The house was a massive decision, but not the most important we will ever make. And while it certainly comes into play, it is not the single point at which our future happiness and success will teeter upon. It is a house. Sitting there at the edge of the Pacific, so much that I had not thought about all week while I'd been wrestling with the "right decision" filled my heart.

My aunt who continues to fight cancer for the fourth time, sick and discouraged.

Friends with babies in their bellies and friends who desperately want babies in their bellies.

Health. Marriages. Lonliness. Divorce. Loss. All of it right in front of me or just a degree away.

I've re-read your email a dozen times now, Caroline. I keep the entirity of it in my personal email folder to remind me why I love this space and the awesome people I'd have never met if not for this website. Thank you for reminding me that there are people on the other side of this blog - some of whom are here for recipes or maybe the pretty photos, but most that are simply other people doing their best to craft a beautiful, meaningful life. 

I hope more better than worse for you, lovely.

Best,

me.

mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen

MUSHROOM BURGERS WITH ASIAN SLAW // Serves 4

For the slaw, I have this julienne peeler and think the quality is excellent. It is easiest to use when the vegetables are fresh and cold, the firmer the better for peeling purposes. A regular vegetable peeler works fine as well, your shreds will just be thicker. A great thing about marinating vegetables or tofu is that unlike meat, you can put them back into the marinade after cooking to soak up a bit more of the flavors. That said, chicken or fish, salmon maybe, could work here too if you're making food for a more omnivorous crowd.  

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce/tamari
  • 2 Tbsp. maple 
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil/ extra virgin olive oil
  • squeeze of lemon or lime
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small english cucumber
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 tsp. low sodium soy sauce/tamari
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 avocado
  • sriracha mayo*
  • 4 buns

mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen

Wipe the mushrooms clean and remove the tough stem. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. In a shallow pan, mix together the soy sauce/tamari, maple, oil, splash of citrus and pepper. Add the mushrooms and rub the marinade into all of the surfaces. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes to soak it up. 

Using a julienne peeler or vegetable peeler, shave the carrots and cucumber into thin or thick shreds respectively. Put them in a large mixing bowl with the red onion. Make a quick dressing by whisking together the tahini, soy sauce/tamari, sesame oil and vinegar. Pour it over the vegetables and toss to coat. Add the chopped mint and cilantro and give it all one more toss. 

Grill the mushrooms for 5 minutes on each side or until they are soft throughout. Grill or warm the buns.

To assemble the burger, smash half of an avocado on the bottom of the bun, top with the grilled mushroom and a big scoop of the asian slaw. Spread a bit of sriracha mayo on the top side bun and enjoy. 

* For the sriracha mayo, I use 1 part homemade sriracha to 2 parts veganaise or mayonaise. Stir and spread. The bottled stuff works just fine but try the homemade stuff at some point, it's a treat and has no preservatives. 

 mushroom burgers with asian slaw . sprouted kitchen

Tuesday
Aug272013

PEANUT BUTTER GRANOLA BARS

peanut butter granola bars . sprouted kitchen

Besides that I adore it staying light much later, I regret it hasn't felt incredibly summery over here. We have done a few picnics by the beach, my shoulders are tanned and I'm eating my weight in fruit, but I can't say I have felt this season. I think it's easier to see summer with kids or a school schedule, as these three months are marked by a break in routine. Now it's nearly Labor Day, the holiday that reminds us summer is fading, I just now feel called to be more present in this time. Maybe I'm not in school and my work demands carry on just as they did in the spring and winter past, but I want to be here. It's likely not just summer I'm needing to witness, I think it's the curse of the (primarily) self-employed that there is always something to do, which takes away from rest and presence. There is so much wonderfulness to take in if we'll stop and pay attention. I wish I'd stop and pay attention. Luckily September and October are my favorite months around here. Time to suit up and jump in. 

I keep tinkering with granola bar recipes to find just the right texture. Typically, I use brown rice syrup in granola-type bars, but wanted to try the maple route this round. I will say that the rice syrup creates a stickier bar, making everything hold together more easily. The maple is great, but expect the bars to be more loose and fragile. I added a few more dates and peanut butter in the written recipe than the photos reflect so they stay together a bit better. I toast the oats for a little extra favor, but otherwise these guys are no-bake, so they yield a chewier bar, not the crispy shattering sort. You can play around with the nut or seed butter, maybe a different dried fruit besides dates, but it's nice to have a tasty snack for your beach bag or lunch box. 

peanut butter granola bars . sprouted kitchen

PEANUT BUTTER GRANOLA BARS // Makes 12 in an 11x7 pan

An adaptation from Minimalist Baker

I used a 7x11inch dish. Try to use something close, they will be thinner bars in a 9x13 or super thick in an 8x8. 

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 2 Tbsp. chia, buckwheat, flax seeds or a mix of these (I used this blend)
  • 2 cups pitted dates (about 14 large Medjool dates)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter (or nut or seed butter of choice)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate

 

 

 

peanut butter granola bars . sprouted kitchen peanut butter granola bars . sprouted kitchen

Preheat the oven to 350'. Toast the oats on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the crisp rice, almonds, seeds, cooled oats and stir to mix. Chop up the dates well to make a chunky paste (this could be done in the food processor but I hate cleaning it for one small task). If your dates seem dry, add a splash of warm water to get them tacky. Think toothpaste sort of texture.

Warm the maple, peanut butter, cinnamon, salt and stir to mix. Pour the PB mix and dates over the dry ingredients and mix everything together, breaking up the date clumps with your hands to disperse. Just get your hands dirty, you need a big sticky heap.

Line a 7x11inch pan with parchment paper. Press the mixture down in an even layer, using the bottom of something flat to push the mixture down tightly as possible.

In a double boiler or a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate until smooth. Drizzle the chocolate (or spread it evenly) on top of the bars. Chill in the fridge for one hour before cutting. Keep covered in the fridge for optimum freshness or wrap them individually and store in the freezer.

The bars will keep for about 5 days in the fridge.

peanut butter granola bars . sprouted kitchen

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

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