Spring

Breakfast, Dessert, Spring

STRAWBERRY + RHUBARB YOGURT CAKE

My oven currently smells like it's burning off oil that had dripped to the bottom at some point. I should clean it; it really does interrupt the beautiful waft that comes from a springy cake in the oven. I have a handful of prospective projects I am back and forth about between two email addresses that while made with good intentions to keep personal and work separate, have done no such thing. There are threads regarding a potential cookbook, a recipe and article assignment about avocados, a menu card for our fundraiser dinner and open items to finish filing our taxes. Woven in between are emails about Curran's first (overdue apparently, oops) dentist appointment, follow up on invoices and the receipt for that weird oversized shirt I ordered from Nordstrom that I keep there to remind myself to return it some night after the kids are down. I never feel like doing that once the kids are down... but I also don't like going to the mall with two spirited toddlers so you may find me in a terribly unflattering oversized shirt. Anyway. I get stuck on writing here because the balls I am trying to keep in the air follow no apparent rhyme or reason or lessons learned. It feels like a simple yogurt cake on top of the stove is a constant to a life that seems to be buzzing by faster than I can keep up with. The fruit shrinks in after some time in the oven, and because fruit has a lot of water in it, the result is almost custardy which I don't mind at all once it cools. The jammy fruit and cake batter are almost tough to distinguish. It works for breakfast or an incentive for a moderately potty trained little boy or something to bring along on a date with my nieces. There is no frosting or chocolate or decadence really, it's an everyday sort of cake and the only kind that feels right to make around here lately. 

STRAWBERRY + RHUBARB YOGURT CAKE // one 8" cake
Recipe adapted from Sarah Waldmans Feeding a Family

I swapped in half strawberries for Sarah's exclusively rhubarb cake because I love the combination and my wee people are fans. I also cut down on the sugar slightly from her suggestion and found it to be plenty sweet. If you don't stock spelt flour, completely all purpose is fine, the texture would probably be better, I just like to sneak some whole grains in there.
You can make this dairy free by replacing the yogurt for a plant based yogurt and the butter for a scant 1/2 cup of coconut oil. It's a pretty forgiving cake. 

3/4 cup full fat yogurt
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup/1 stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. grated gingerroot (or twice as much crystallized ginger pieces)
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup spelt flour (or more unbleached all purpose)
1 cup muscavado or brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup 1" diced rhubarb
1 cup diced strawberries

turbinado sugar, for finishing
creme fraiche, yogurt or ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350' and grease an 8" pan (square, springform, cakepan etc.).

In one mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, butter, vanilla and ginger. Set aside. 
In another mixing bowl, combine the flours, sugar, salt, baking soda and stir to mix. Mix the fruit into the dry mix (this helps to keep the fruit from sinking) then gently combine the wet and dry mix together. 
Pour the mix into your prepared pan and generously sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar.
Bake on the middle rack for around 45-50 minutes until the cake is browned on top and a toothpick test shows that the center is cooked through.
Remove to cool so the cake sets. Serve with creme fraiche, yogurt or ice cream.
Cake will keep covered on the counter for two days, beyond that, store it in the fridge as it has a lot of moisture to it. 



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Breakfast, Fall, Gluten Free, Side, Spring, Basics

BASICS : MIXED ROASTED POTATOES

We all come to the kitchen with a different level of experience. Maybe you grew up around the stove with your mom or you've taught yourself through trial and error and many Food Network episodes or you've stayed away completely because you're scared of failing. I think our audience here is largely somewhere in the middle of all that, a practiced homecook, but I thought it'd be nice to incorporate a number of posts that are cornerstones of our families table. This may seem redundant and boring for some or maybe a step forward for those that want to be confident in a few recipes so they can feel good about cooking for other people. I also feel like having basics down helps you to experiment just outside of them. You mastered roasted potatoes? You can do the same thing with cauliflower or other root vegetables, no problem. Now you basically have three sides down, perhaps change up the seasonings next time? Go, you. I took a Food Science class in college and read a book called  What Einstein Told His Cook (wish I knew where that was now) and it helped me to understand the why about food, instead of just blindly following a recipe. I've made A LOT of bad potatoes before consistently making good ones. 


These potatoes look pretty basic at first glance, but it's a few details that make them delicious every time. A few notes from the field:

- I use a mix of potatoes for flavor and texture and because they look pretty. You can use all one kind in the same volume with the same results. I wouldn't use more than one sweet potato if you go for the mix because they have a higher water content which means they'll cook faster and keep the potatoes from crisping. This is also why I par boil any other potatoes besides the sweet, it allows the potatoes to get ahead so you can roast them at a higher heat for browning without burning them before the centers are cooked through. 

- Do not overcrowd! Leave the potatoes enough space for the edges to brown. Overcrowding = steaming = no crisping. It's also good to let them give off a little steam before transferring to a serving dish if you're going to pile them on top of each other. We usually just scoop from the sheet pan because we're very fancy.

- Potatoes love salt, don't be shy, but remember it's always easier to add than take away so I will finish with a little more if I didn't add enough before the roast. I use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic because the later burns with 40 minutes in the oven. The herbs are better after for the same reason, and because the vibrant green is pretty on brown foods. 

In other news, I am hosting a book event with Heritage Mercantile in Costa Mesa, CA on 11/13 from 3-5pm. You can sign up on that link so we can get a head count. Would love to meet you if you're in the area!

MIXED ROASTED POTATOES // Serves 4

This recipe can be doubled but you will for sure need two large sheet pans. The garlic here will roast with the potatoes to be smooth and delicious, we smush some out of the skin and dip our fork in it before taking a bite of potato.
The par boil and chopping may be done in advance. I don't like to keep them in the fridge but you can do this morning of or even the night before and let them sit out at room temp until you are ready to roast. 
These love a little sprinkle of parmesan in the last minute of roasting too if you're into that sort of thing. 

2.5-3 lbs. mixed potatoes*
3 whole garlic cloves, whole, in peel
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste

3 Tbsp. rosemary
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
zest of one small lemon

In a large pot, combine the baby red, white, purple potatoes and the larger fingerlings - if they're the volume of a ping pong ball or more, the smaller ones can stay raw. Bring the water to a gentle boil and cook for 10 minutes, drain and cool to the touch. Preheat the oven to 400'.
Peel the sweet potato and cut it into larger 2" chunks. Leave smaller fingerlings whole and hack larger ones in half or thirds. Cut the remaining baby potatoes into 1" and 2" chunks - go for uneven, imperfect chunks for lots of edges. Collect all the potatoes and the garlic cloves on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil, garlic powder, smoked paprika, pepper and salt and toss everything to coat. The potatoes should be generously coated, add a little more oil if needed. Sprinkle a little more salt on top.
Bake in the upper third of the oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring once, gently, halfway through, until browned on the edges and the largest potato chunk can be easily pierced.
While the potatoes roast, chop your rosemary, parsley and lemon zest. 
Pull the potatoes and let them cool for a moment. Add the herbs and lemon zest to the baking tray and stir to mix. Taste for salt. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy warm. 
 

* I use one medium sweet potato, and the rest a mixture of baby red, baby white, baby purple and fingerlings. Trader Joes sells a small medley bag.



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Entrée, Summer, Gluten Free, Spring

WEEKNIGHT VEGETABLE CURRY

Weeknight Vegetable Curry . Sprouted Kitchen

Weeknight dinners. These are looking different than they did pre kids. I remember thinking that people with meal plans were inflexible and rigid but I understand the intrigue now. It’s far more efficient and I loooove efficiency. I see now that it does not have to be about creativity, or lack thereof, but rather reducing your market runs. So sensical, you meal planners. I stay pretty adaptable within my plan, but paused are the days of wandering multiple grocery stores grabbing whatever looks good. They say there is a season for everything. I repeat meals far more often than I used to and I take a handful of shortcuts but I am still fumbling through my days with the wee people at my feet (or on my hip and in the cupboards, more specifically). I plan for two easy staples, try two new things and then leave room for something impromptu, going out or having people over. There are usually burrito bowls with lots of grilled vegetables and avocado, a chopped salad night, something in a big pot like tortilla or lentil soup and we’ve started weekly grilled pizzas. It's simpler and that's alright. I have also taken to making more than we need so I am halfway through another meal. For example, the leftover rice and grilled portobellos from burrito night, get blitzed with a few other things in the food processor for veggie burger patties. I find it some sort of personal challenge to use what I have. Anyway, this curry was from one of my big pot situations and I just kept adding vegetables to stretch the great sauce. It is creamy, full of spices and there is just enough peanut butter for richness without making it a “peanut sauce” - I got that idea from the True Food cookbook. I am aware it is not authentic in any sense of the word but it makes for a flavorful bowl of food and a pretty quick dinner.

I don’t get asked frequently about kitchen equipment, but when I do, it is for my opinion on high powered blenders. They are quite expensive and take up a lot of cupboard real estate; I understand wanting to do your due diligence. But until KitchenAid® sent me their new ProLine® model, I actually didn’t own a blender. Well no, I have a NutriBullet which is great and has done everything I’ve needed in a blender, but that’s not the answer people are looking for. So much depends on what you use a blender for, I think. I smoothed this curry sauce in there and good gracious that thing is powerful. I knew I didn’t need to chop the garlic or ginger or worry too much about the size of my onions because the blender would take care of that. And as far making enough for two meals, this sauce was better the second day. I added another handful of vegetables, lentils and a bit more broth to stretch it with success. 

This post was created in partnership with KitchenAid® and their new ProLine® Series Blender.

Weeknight Vegetable Curry . Sprouted Kitchen

WEEKNIGHT VEGETABLE CURRY
Serves 4

The heat here will largely depend on your curry powder. I buy some from Penzey’s but know people are partial to paste versus powders as well. If you prefer paste, sub in about 1 tsp. red curry paste. Long as you use a sweet curry powder, the sambal oelek (chile paste) here should offer enough heat but adjust to your taste. You may add a pinch of cayenne if that is what you have. Taste as you good, I suppose. 

1 Tbsp. ghee or coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 inch nub of peeled ginger
1 tsp. sea salt, to taste
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. muscavado or brown sugar
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
1/2 tsp. fish sauce, optional
3/4 cup canned, diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups coconut water or vegetable broth, as needed
1 tsp. sambal oelek (chile paste)
handful of cilantro and basil leaves
juice of one lime 

14-ounce package of extra firm tofu, drained well
3 medium carrots, 1” thick sliced on a diagonal
2 shallots, peeled and sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, cut in 2” pieces
8 ounces mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
3/4 lb. snap peas, larger ones halved

cooked brown rice, for serving

whole milk yogurt and cilantro, for topping

Weeknight Vegetable Curry . Sprouted Kitchen

In a dutch oven over medium heat, warm the ghee or coconut oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and salt and saute until softened but not browned. About 5 minutes. Add the cumin, curry powder, turmeric, muscavado or brown sugar and saute another minute. Add the peanut butter, coconut milk, fish sauce (if using), tomatoes and coconut water or broth and stir to mix. Let everything simmer on low for 15 minutes. Add the chile paste and cilantro and basil and transfer sauce to a blender. Run the blender until the sauce is smooth and then transfer it back to the pot. Stir in the lime juice. Taste for seasoning. It should be somewhat thick, but still thin enough that the vegetables will cook in it’s heat. Add broth or coconut water if needed. 

Cut the tofu into 1” cubes and prepare all your vegetables. Add the carrots and shallot to the pot first and cook for 5 minutes, then add the tofu, bell pepper, mushrooms and snap peas and cook another 10-15 minutes until all the vegetables are just tender but not mushy. 

For serving, serve each bowl with a scoop of rice and a generous portion of vegetables and sauce. Garnish with whole milk yogurt and cilantro. 

Weeknight Vegetable Curry . Sprouted Kitchen


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