Entrée, Gluten Free

FEEDING BABIES : COOKING WITH MY NIECES

Cooking with my Nieces . Sprouted Kitchen

I could pick out clothes or a new lego set, but what I really wanted was quality time with my nieces, who are turning 7 and 4 this month. My sister-in-law actually came up with the idea, I just needed to plan and execute a cooking class with them. I mentally prepared myself to forget trying to keep everything tidy and I asked them their favorite foods to be sure we made something they'd like. These girls are great eaters, the only request was to not have mushrooms or curry involved, which left me a lot to choose from. After a few attempts in the past, I will be honest that I don't really enjoy teaching. Not cooking at least. It is something I just have a feel for by way of experience and am pretty quick with because of that. I find it difficult to teach things that I've learned by trial and error myself. I can tell when cake batter looks too wet or smell if a vinaigrette is too oily only because I've messed those things up myself. Luckily, a four and seven year old are mostly concerned about when the cookies will be done and who gets to put the kale down the food processor shredder, so they were forgiving students. Leading the girls through this opposed to adults was refreshing. They were eager to touch and work and less concerned with the reasons and science that can be involved in making food taste good. It was so nice to have an afternoon with them even if I'm not sure I taught them anything, per se.

I can't speak as an authority on the subject, but I learned a few things about cooking with kids through this. First, the mise en place thing was huge, especially with baking. I measured and set out all of the ingredients, but they got to do the pouring and the mixing. I basically prepared half of the recipes in advance to keep their attention and for it to not take all day long to make some tacos and cookies. Example: I made the slaw dressing, but I saved the limes for them to squeeze in. Or the fish was cut and set in it's dish, but they were able to oil and season it. Yes, it's slightly more work than doing it yourself, but they were so excited to eat what they made I'd slow down again in a heartbeat. I am in the clean-as-you-go camp but that just doesn't work with kids around. Let the sink pile up and do it later. On recipes. Like I said, these girls, thanks to their mom, eat all sorts of things and are great with vegetables. Curran (2), prefers things a little more hidden and is exercising his own autonomy by using "no" often. In order to make one meal please everyone, I pulled out some crunchy beans on their own for his plate, and made his taco with melted mexican blend cheese, fish, easy slaw, rolled it up and called it a burrito because he'll eat nearly anything if he thinks it's a burrito (so long as any green vegetables are cut very small). 

I realize I was sharing kid friendly recipes based on how I was learning to eat well with a young toddler and then jumped ahead a few years on you but this can still work. On a normal day, I am not making everyone here different meals, we are just rearranging the one meal, to please everyone. 
The taco recipe is below and for the cookies, I worked off this thumbprint cookie recipe from Green Kitchen Stories. Based on my own pantry, I swapped in almond meal for the sunflower seed meal, whole wheat flour for the buckwheat flour and used the whole egg in the dough since I didn't put seeds around the outside. I also used store bought jam to save time and it worked great. 

Cooking with my Nieces . Ingredients . Sprouted Kitchen
Cooking with my Nieces . Sprouted Kitchen

FISH TACOS WITH CREAMY KALE SLAW AND CRUNCHY BEANS
Serves 4

The beans and fish need to be made fresh, but the dressing and slaw can be prepared in advance. I used wild rockfish here, but halibut or salmon would be great as they are in season now. If you are not a fish person, sub in your protein of choice, or even some mashed black beans or sweet potatoes could work. 

1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained and dried
1 generous Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400'. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Spread of the dried beans and drizzle the oil, chili powder, cumin and generous sprinkle of salt. Toss to coat. You want them coated well to get crispy. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes or until crispy. Set aside. 

2 lbs. firm, white fish or wild salmon
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning

2 heads lacinato kale, spines removed
1/2 of a small red cabbage
4 green onions

// cilantro pepita dressing //

1 clove garlic
1/4 cup toasted pepitas
1 tsp. capers
1 jalapeno, seeded
1 larger bunch of cilantro
juice of two juicy limes
2 tsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. agave nectar
2-3 Tbsp. mayonnaise or vegan alternative
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. each sea salt and pepper

8 corn tortillas
crumbled feta cheese
hot sauce, for serving

Cooking with my Nieces . Thumbprint Cookies . Sprouted Kitchen
Cooking with my Nieces . Cookies . Sprouted Kitchen

Put the fish filets in a baking dish and oil both sides. Sprinkle on the taco seasoning and salt if your mix is unsalted. Brush or rub the mix into the flesh of the fish. Set aside.

For the dressing, in a food processor, blitz the garlic, pepitas, capers, jalapeno together until mostly blended. Add the cilantro, lime juice, agave, mayo, oil and salt and pepper and blend for 30 seconds until mostly smooth. Taste it and season to taste. This will be a dressing, so it should be thick, but still easy to distribute. Adjust oil and lime juice as needed. Set aside. The dressing can be made up to a week in advance. 

Shred or chop the kale and cabbage very thin. I use the shredder blade on the food processor to get a fine, consistent cut. You should have about 4-5 cups of shredded vegetables. Cut the onions and add them to the mixture. Toss with desired amount of dressing and set it in the fridge while you cook the fish.
Preheat the grill to medium heat. Grill the fish about 4-5 minutes per side until just cooked. Timing will vary based on thickness of the fish. Note, it may also be broiled if you don't want to grill. Broil for about 8 minutes total.

Heat your tortillas over the grill or stove. Assemble with a piece of fish, slaw, crunchy beans and crumbled feta cheese.

Cooking with my Nieces . Fish Tacos . Sprouted Kitchen

Dessert, Gluten Free, Spring

MIXED BERRY + RHUBARB CRUMBLE

Berry Rhubarb Crisp - Ingredients - Sprouted Kitchen

May is the fullest month we have over here. About seven birthdays within both our immediate families (my own included), mothers day, memorial..it makes for a lot of holidays and celebrating. With celebrating, comes treats. And if ice cream reigns my dessert of choice, brownie or chocolate molten cake a la mode comes second and then it's a berry or stone fruit crumble/crisp...which is usually served with ice cream. I see a theme? I like lots of oats and preferably low on the sugar so I can top it with plain goat yogurt for a permissible breakfast, but the other lead eater in our house prefers his sweet. "Not a breakfast crumble please, like a real dessert kind" was the request, and this recipe here is some sort of compromise. Sweet, but not too sweet and heavy on the crumble. It has oats and almonds and rice flour in the topping and some sweet but tangy fruit beneath that buckles under the heat to soften in its own syrup. I used rice flour in the crumble portion as I was serving this at a dinner party with a few gluten intolerant people, but it makes for such a great texture, I'd use it regardless. It makes for a more delicate topping while still being crunchy from the oat shards and nuts. You would get more cookie-like chunks with all purpose flour so feel free to swap that in. Personal preference I suppose. Either way, happy May my friends. 

Berry Rhubarb Crisp - Ingredients - Sprouted Kitchen
Berry Rhubarb Crisp - Ingredients - Sprouted Kitchen
Berry Rhubarb Crisp - Process - Sprouted Kitchen

MIXED BERRY + RHUBARB CRUMBLE // Serves 6

The full recipe is available on the Electrolux site Live.Love.Lux

Berry Rhubarb Crisp - Sprouted Kitchen

Gluten Free, Dessert

MAPLE PECAN CRUNCH ICE CREAM

Maple Pecan Crunch Ice Cream - Chocolate Shards - Sprouted Kitchen

I took the base of my ice cream maker out of the freezer because it was taking up too much real estate only to put it right back in. I love ice cream but don't make it that often. I'm really not very good at it and a pint of something is always on sale at the market to completely validate not going through the hassle. I wish I were the person whose affection for ice cream sprang up in the warm summer months but I don't discriminate based on weather. I love it, always. But now that our nearly two-year-old sees and wants every treat we reach for, I thought it was appropriate to try this coconut and cashew based recipe sweetened exclusively with maple. I've also gotten better at stashing cookies out of sight. I've made fully coconut milk-based ice creams before but adding the cashew cream was a really nice touch; breaking up the coconut milk flavor while still being super creamy. The thing is, sure it tastes different, but it is creamy and sweet with crunchy bits and a scoop with a sprinkle of granola on top is just the thing. 

Maple Pecan Crunch Ice Cream - Ingredients - Sprouted Kitchen

MAPLE PECAN CRUNCH ICE CREAM // Makes one pint

Recipe barely adapted from Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet by Christine Chitnis

As it goes with dairy free ice cream, the result is a little more icy than the real stuff. After it's completely frozen, let it sit for 10 minutes before scooping.
Note that the cashew cream requires starting a step the evening prior. 

3/4 cup real maple syrup, divided
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pecan pieces
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup full fat coconut milk, divided
1 Tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
1 cup cashew cream*
seeds of half a vanilla bean, optional
2 ounces dark chocolate, well chopped

In a cast iron pan over medium heat, warm 1/4 cup of the maple syrup and vanilla until thin. Add the pecans, sea salt and cinnamon and stir to coat. Transfer to parchment to cool completely. 

Mix the arrowroot or cornstarch in a large bowl with 2 Tbsp. of the coconut milk to dissolve. Once dissolved, stir in the remaining coconut milk, remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup, cashew cream and vanilla beans if using. Put the mixture in the fridge to chill for a couple hours. 

Churn the ice cream according to your machines instructions. In the last couple minutes, add in the mapled pecans and chocolate. Freeze for a couple hours to get a firmer, scoopable state. 

* To make cashew cream, soak 1 cup cashew nuts, covered, overnight in cold water. The next day, drain and rinse well. Blend the nuts in a high powered blender for a couple minutes with a fresh cup of cold water until completely smooth. You can adjust the amount of water for how thick you want it, for an ice cream base, you need it pretty thick. 

Maple Pecan Crunch Ice Cream - Sprouted Kitchen