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Thursday
May222014

CHARD + LEEK FRITTATA

Chard & Leek Fritata . Sprouted Kitchen

I am supposedly having a baby today, though I'm aware that date is flexible. It has been the strangest week of waiting for this huge thing to happen. I made sure the plants got extra water, haven't left the house without my phone, washed my hair a little more frequently because I will have this first picture of us forever. I wanted to prep a lot of food for us to have at the ready or in the freezer but I just couldn't do it. It felt like I was writing off all signs normalcy by hoarding food for when life changes maybe tomorrow or maybe in a week or so. All I could muster up this week besides a loaf of berry flecked banana bread was this frittata. I hesitate to post it as I know I am not showcasing anything particularly creative or unique here, but when you are waiting for something huge to happen, all you can really do is normal - the tasks or food or errands you don't even have to think about, and for me, that includes frittatas and banana bread. I sauté up what looks egg-friendly from the crisper drawer, whisk a few eggs and whatever cheese needs to be used and it's the perfect little protein cake to warm up with a piece of toast. Something simple and predictable - just about all we're up for until not given the choice. 

There will be a bit of silence around here but we'll pop in with a few pictures of the wee one when he decides he's fully cooked. Big hugs. 

Chard & Leek Fritata . Sprouted Kitchen

CHARD + LEEK FRITTATA // Serves 4

I used chard and leeks because it was what I had, but any green or onion could work here. I prefer a thicker frittata slice, so I go with eight eggs in an 8" pan. You could get away with six eggs but note it will be even more veggie packed. 

 

  • 1 leek, halved and cleaned
  • 1 small bunch swiss chard, stem and ribs removed (or 5 cups chopped dark leafy green of choice)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or creme fraiche
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • sea salt + pepper 

 

Chard & Leek Fritata . Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 375'. Warm 1/2 Tbsp. of the oil in a pan over medium heat. Slice the leek into thin half moons and add it to the pan. Sauté for 5 minutes until well softened.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and cream well with the cayenne and generous pinch of salt and pepper. Add the leeks into the bowl. 

Warm another 1/2 Tbsp. of the oil and sauté the greens with a small pinch of salt until wilted, about 3 minutes. Allow them cool slightly, releasing the steam pockets. Add the greens to the egg bowl along with half the feta and stir everything to mix. 

In an 8" pan, preferably non-stick, warm the remaining Tbsp. of olive oil over low heat. Add the egg mixture to the pan, sprinkle the top with the remaining feta and cook for about 5 minutes until the edges start to look cooked. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for about 15 minutes until you jiggle the pan (with a mitt, it'll be hot) and the center of the frittata is slightly soft. It will set as it cools. Slice the frittata into wedges and serve with warm buttered toast. 

Frittata will keep covered in the fridge for a week. 

Chard & Leek Fritata . Sprouted Kitchen

Thursday
May082014

VEGETABLE QUINOA BURGERS

Veggie Quinoa Burger . Sprouted Kitchen

I don't typically click over to articles that people post on Facebook, Twitter etc. but every now and then a title catches my eye. It was a piece in New York Magazine recently called The Day I Started Lying to Ruth - written by a cancer doctor husband who lost his wife to cancer. We know a few close people struggling with the disease themselves and when I read things like this, I'm both sad and shocked that there are countless people fighting this fight. It may not be mine personally, but it is always someone's mother or child or parent and it's gut wrenching. The article was thoughtfully written, he draws you into his story. There is a line in the beginning that made me think, and not even about cancer or illness like the article leads. "It was a warm night for early June, the beginning of the winter in Argentina. People crowded the sidewalks, returning from work, stopping for dinner. All the everyday stuff that fills our lives, neither adding particular meaning or taking it away." And I thought about what most of my days are composed of - it isn't really a routine, but something similar to one. Not everyday can be filled with moments like dream travel, getting married, job promotions, the birth of a child, or achieving some huge goal and the like... but is everything between not adding or taking away meaning? I know he was speaking in general terms, but it just made me think of the in-between and how I actually truly value that time when I give it due credit. Hugh and I stayed up late hanging some things in the baby room last night  (I am a recent fan of these wall appliques, I'll post a picture on IG when the room is slightly more finished). I'd consider it an "in-between" evening, nothing particularly special happening, but I will remember us trying so hard to make a special room for the wee ones arrival. Hugh was using a level to place the stickers and my non-crafty self was making a mobile out of a lucky dream catcher I was gifted. The in-between of the big stuff is still good stuff, you just have to pay closer attention, make note of it. In reading the article, his story was marked by all sorts of "normal" moments, the details that make the whole piece interesting really. I don't want to forget that next time I feel in a rut. The in-between has it's own subtle remark.

I have a little extra time this week and wanted to put together some freezer meals for when the babe is here and I don't have time nor want to cook. I ripped out this recipe for a quinoa burger out of the local paper and figured it'd be worth a shot. I'm aware veggie burger recipes are not hard to come by, which is why I think they interest me, like a chocolate chip cookie, always being changed just a little bit to be different or better. I threw this one on a bun with avocado and cheese and a generous slather of mustard. Ask me in a few weeks and it will likely be back on a big mound of salad with an egg on top while I am trying to get back into my pre-baby clothes. Either way, a general veggie burger recipe is always nice to have on hand.

Veggie Quinoa Burger . Sprouted Kitchen

VEGETABLE QUINOA BURGERS // Makes 6

Adapted from The Los Angeles Times from Cafe Pasqual, New Mexico

These are not veggie burgers to be grilled - they are delicate and moist and could not handle a flip on grates. I make a note at the end of the recipe, but they are best pan seared or baked. They would be adorable small and on mini sliders. 

Nutritional yeast can be found at health food stores or online. It is a vegan alternative to a somewhat cheesy flavor. It offers depth of flavor here, but you could certainly make these without it. These are a very basically seasoned burger which I like - add flavor in sauces, spread, slaw, cheese etc. as you wish. 

  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/3 cups broth or water
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large shallot or 1/2 a yellow onion, minced
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce, tamari or Braggs aminos
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup coarse ground oats or breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp. flaxmeal
  • 2/3 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
  • sea salt and pepper

avocado, cheese, mustard, greens and buns of choice for serving

Veggie Quinoa Burger . Sprouted Kitchen

Rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer. Bring the quinoa and broth or water to a boil in a pot. Turn it to a gentle simmer and cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked, about 13 minutes. Stir, leave the lid ajar and set aside to cool. 

While the quinoa cooks, grate the zucchini. Spread it on a kitchen towel and ring out the extra moisture. 

In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot or onion and sauté for 3 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, generous pinches of salt and pepper and sauté another 5 minutes until cooked down and much of the liquid has been cooked out. Stir in the oregano, cayenne and soy sauce and turn the heat off to cool. 

Transfer the quinoa to a bowl, add the nutritional yeast, oats or breadcrumbs and flaxmeal. Once the vegetables are cool, add them to the bowl as well and stir everything to mix. Mash in the cooked sweet potato and another pinch of salt and pepper and stir everything to mix. If it looks super dry, add another drizzle of oil or more mashed yam, but if it is *too* wet, they won't stay together. I know we are making veggie burgers, but you want it to be the same sort of thickness or texture or ground beef or turkey, not wet. 

Heat a layer of oil in a large skillet (I find non-stick works best for delicate things like this). Make patties about 1 1/2'' thick, and cook until golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side. Alternatively, you may form your patties, place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle a little oil on top and bake them at 375' for 20 minutes. Put your cheese on one side after you flip the patty. Prepare your buns with mashed avocado, spread, greens or whatever you wish and serve warm. 

* I overdid it on the yam and mine were very soft throughout. I find that when I do this with veggie burgers, baking helps dry them out better so they stay together better between a bun. If you're eating it plain and you want a crispy crust, pan works great, for something in a sandwich, I prefer to bake them for a sturdier result. You're preference on texture. 

Veggie Quinoa Burger . Sprouted Kitchen

Tuesday
Apr292014

TO MY SWEET BOY.

We've been writing letters to the wee one in a notebook so one day he can read about what we were feeling during this season. When cleaning out an office at my parents house, my sister and I stumbled on letters my mom had written us when we were babies, letters I don't know if she even remembers she wrote, and it was so special to read them. I consider this site somewhat of a general journal of our life, at least in the snippets of writing, so I am including my letter from today just so I have it in this place as well.

--

My sweet boy, 

Three-ish more weeks. Give or take. Your arrival comes in a very full season for us, but it feels like the only thing that matters. We have tried to be working on our new home, finishing up our second cookbook, celebrating the plethora of May birthdays that you will also be contributing to, and staying present with friends and family, but you are what I think about in and through it all. Our life has changed with you in my belly - you've slowed me down, I don't cook as much and I'm blaming you for my grocery basket being filled with chips and ice cream instead of green vegetables; my wardrobe is extremely limited and we're trying to furnish a tasteful and understated nursery for you down the hall. Life has looked different these past nine months, but nothing compared to what is around the corner for us. Our whole life will change in the matter of a day, hours really. You can read and prepare and talk about that, but I don't think we really have any idea.

I tear up when I imagine you being laid on my chest for the first time. I am so fearful of the process but so anxious for you - to hold you and know you. Your dad and I just lay in bed and watch my belly at night, your most active time, and guess what body parts of yours we're feeling. We pat your buns (which could be your head and if so, we're sorry) and tap your legs (or arms, who knows), trying to guess if you're going to be tall like your dad. I think you are but that's just a suspicion based on the appendages I feel you jabbing into my rib cage. You will be lucky to acquire traits from your dad - I know I repeat that in these letters, but may it further convince you of how madly in love with him I am. He is such a wonderful person. My favorite. You will grow up to admire and trust him, and oh, will he make you laugh. He will teach you things and care for you deeply, so I just ask that you respect him. I now share his heart with you and it is our duty to love him well. We are so lucky to have him. 

I have two close friends who are in the throws of medical appointments and surgeries with their sick babies. It breaks my heart, and while I desperately pray for their families, for miracles and healing of these babies, I am so hopeful that you are healthy in there and getting everything you need. The truth is, and what I have witnessed from these brave mothers, is that you are not my own, and I will not always be able to protect you. I have learned that hurt and sickness and disappointment and terrible things happen and that is part of the world we live in, unfortunately. I believe we are called to live faithfully here, to be gracious characters in our own story and live generously even when things don't seem 'fair.' You'll realize soon enough that things rarely are but life is incredibly better when you get over that and see how special and beautiful it can be anyway. I hope to live a life that sees the beautiful and positive - to be a good example of that for you. I imagine you will make that easier for me as I get to bear witness to your life. Gah, I can't wait!

Your room is not done and I don't think we have enough socks for you but we are as ready as we'll ever be. We're imperfect people who are going to love you like CRAZY.

Hope you're well and snuggled and snoozy in there. Enjoy your alone time. You're a few short weeks away from so many people who are dying to hold you. You're really in for something great, my sweet boy. 

I love you, 

Mom

Thursday
Apr242014

BUTTERMILK BERRY CRUMB CAKE

Buttermilk Berry Crumb Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

I'm reading a few different baby books. I read a little of one or the other each night. Just enough to gather a bit of advice I find helpful, tell Hugh about it, and then doze off. One is about pregnancy, and while I have gotten pretty lucky by way these 10 months go, these last few weeks have been more trying in regards to how I feel physically. So tired and fatigued merely from the task of carrying around a mini person in my mid-section all day. While these books bring up pretty obvious points, I am fascinated by how innate and instinctive the qualities are that take over in the last month or so. The nesting, cleaning, preference to withdraw a little bit... In my moments of fear and angst, I try to remember how natural this is, how we've been making babies since the beginning of time. Maybe part of some womens' nesting includes cooking, but I assure you it is the absolute last thing I feel like doing. Ironically, our cookbook manuscript is due next week so food is powering through this kitchen regardless. Head down and go. I also really wanted to stay in the habit of having people over and enjoying a meal with friends, so this season has been... intresting. 

We have friends coming for coffee tomorrow, another couple for dinner, and my parents here helping in the yard on Saturday (yea, about that whole final month recluse deal...). I needed a breakfast snacking cake that would last through a few days of visitors. While I do prefer it, my grain-free baking is hit or miss, so I went a more traditional route for this recipe. This cake has a tight crumb, almost dense in the most charming of coffee cake ways. A cake that requires you to take small bites between sips of coffee. We ate it with some loosely whipped cream and extra berries because if you're going to have cake, you must really have cake. Maybe even a la mode for the evening crowd. However, aside from the personal whipped cream preference, this coffee cake is relatively lowfat with some of its classic butter content being replaced by the mashed banana. It's these everyday sort of cakes I like in my back pocket for cooking and non-cooking days alike. 

(update: for the few of you that asked in the comments. I have really liked the Dr. Sears books. I read The Pregnancy Book and The Vaccine Book by them and have The Baby Book as well but have only read the first two chapters. A friend recommended The Birth Partner and while dense and detailed, it has a lot of information for natural childbirth. I just started Happiest Baby on the Block and while it's a bit corny, I think there are some helpful tidbits.)

Buttermilk Berry Crumb Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

BUTTERMILK BERRY CRUMB CAKE // Serves 8-10

Loosely adapted from 101Cookbooks

For the sake of substitutions, I think you could replace the buttermilk with a non-dairy milk and a tablespoon of lemon juice. As for making it gluten free, I would try a blend of almond meal, oat flour and flaxmeal but I hesitate to given proportions without trying it myself first. I am sure an all purpose GF flour would be worth a shot as well. 

I still don't completely trust the oven at our new place so you'll have to report back if you try this and come up with a different baking time. My oven and thermometer say different things and I don't exactly trust either. Bare with me. One day I will fix its uncertainty or my lack of faith. 

 

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup / half stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  •  
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup muscavado sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • little grate of fresh nutmeg
  • 2 cups mixed berries, chopped small, divided
  •  
  • / crumble /
  • 1/4 cup / half stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup muscavado sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of salt

 

Buttermilk Berry Crumb Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

Preheat the oven to 325'. Line a springform pan with parchment and grease the bottom and sides. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, mashed bananas, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix well to combine and set aside. 

In another bowl, mix the white whole wheat flour, all purpose, muscavado, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and stir to mix well. Add one cup of the berries to the dry mix and toss to coat. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine in as few stirs possible. Being careful not to overmix to keep the cake tender.

In another bowl, make your crumble. Mix the softened butter, oats, flour, cane and muscavado sugars, cinnamon, ginger and salt together and mash everything with the back of a fork to combine. It will be sandy in texture. 

Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle the remaining berries on top. Distribute the crumble on top of the berries. Put the springform on a baking sheet (just in case it leaks, I prefer to play it safe) and bake on the middle rack for 55-60 minutes until golden on top and you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean. The cake is fairly low in fat, be careful not to overbake and dry it out. 

Buttermilk Berry Crumb Cake . Sprouted Kitchen

Wednesday
Apr092014

LEMONGRASS TOFU BOWLS

Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

I had my baby shower this past weekend with so many of my favorite people. I felt extremely loved and celebrated. While making the rounds to fifty-plus people that I truly care about wore me out, it was incredibly special. Even if you have a few babies, you do it for the first time just once, and it's sort of a surreal thing, growing a tiny person. My sister went full throttle with her "camping" theme. There were arrows and cactus, southwestern printed pillows, and a tee pee for the gifts. Even the food was in theme with grilled skewers and mac n cheese and a smores dessert on wooden plates with adorned utensils. If your shower can be "cooler" than you, mine certainly was thanks to my little sister. My mom's garden was decked out and in full bloom and my dad played bartender for all the ladies. Obviously I was thrilled to get set up with a lot of the equipment we need along with a good loot of books and mini clothes, but I was most humbled by how many people stepped up to help out and the lengths my sister went to to make this day thoughtful and special. There is nothing that inspires generousity more than being on the receving end of it. I am not the most awesome gift giver and I know I could not match my sisters party throwing skills, but giving time or skill or words... there is always a way to give something. Be it in very small but significant ways, I resolve to pay closer attention to celebrating and anticipating what may make someone feel special. 

I contributed a few recipes and a couple of quotes for the special issue of Epicurious: America's Best Recipes, which came out this month. The issue has some gorgeous looking recipes (Hugh has requested those blueberry handpies a few times now) and it's neat to see our cuisine divided by region. These bowls stuck out to me as a riff on the tofu bowls we make around here often. I love lemongrass and the unique freshness it brings to a stir fry as well as anything that can be topped with a ripe half of an avocado. It is clearly delicious warm out of the skillet but leftovers the next day were just as welcomed. It's definitely worth taking a peek at the issue if you come across it. 

Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

LEMONGRASS TOFU BOWLS // Serves 4

Adapted from Epicurious: America's Best Recipes

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 12-14 oz. package extra firm tofu, drained
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and outer stalks removed 
  • 2 tsp. thai chile paste or sriracha
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 2 cups-ish broccoli florets
  • 2 large carrots, julienned or sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, to taste
  • toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • 2 avocados, for garnish

Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen

Rinse and cook the brown rice according to instructions. 

Cut the tofu into cubes and set it on a few paper towels or dish towel to drain. 

Smash the lemongrass with the back of a knife and mince it well. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lemongrass, chile paste, lime juice, vinegar, ginger, pinch of salt and stir to mix. Add the tofu and stir everything to coat. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. 

Warm the coconut and sesame oils in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the tofu and it's marinade and saute for 4-5 minutes, until edges are browned. Add the broccoli, carrots, coconut milk, remaining Tbsp. sesame oil and soy sauce and saute until the vegetables are warmed through. About 3 more minutes. Add the greens onions, stir and taste for seasonings.

Serve each bowl with a scoop of the brown rice, the tofu vegetable mixture in sauce, a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a half of avocado, sliced, on top. 

Lemon Grass Tofu Bowl . Sprouted Kitchen