Entrée, Side, Summer

ROASTED VEGETABLE ORZO

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables . Family Style . Sprouted Kitchen

I posted a photo of this in my insta stories a few days ago as part of the meal prep I do for another family. So, per request, it will live here too. This is an older Ina Garten recipe that I changed by adding more vegetables and herbs and using a lighter hand with the dressing. My aunt used to make Ina's version for parties and showers and it was such a hit. The leftovers keep well and go with just about any grilled protein you'd like to add to round out the meal. I like my vegetables to pasta with a 3:1 ratio, so I'll dish this up for myself over some arugula to make a pasta salad-salad. I added a few other notes on alternatives in the recipe headnote. 

I have had quite a few inquiries about meal planning, and a request for more tips on that. I'm thinking of taking on a bigger project along those lines, so stay tuned! But I hear you and I'm totally with you on wanting an easy plan to keep dinners simple, healthy-ish and tasty. I've gotchu... things just take me awhile these days. 

Orzo . Sprouted Kitchen
Vegis for roasting . Sprouted Kitchen
Parsley, basil and chives . Sprouted Kitchen

ROASTED VEGETABLE ORZO

Serves 6

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Wheat-free readers, don't write this off. There are so many gluten free pastas now, and it doesn't necessarily have to be orzo here. Most are made from corn, and I know a number of you are sensitive to that too. You can swap in 1.5 cups cooked quinoa or cauliflower rice that you've just super briefly sauteed. In either case, you want to keep a bit of crunch and texture, be careful not to overcook either. 

If you cannot or are not eating dairy, sub in some pitted olive for the feta to compensate for that rich, salty bite. 

Ingredients

  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 lb. orzo
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting
  • zest and juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup) plus a splash of white vinegar if you like it zippy
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 6 ounces feta cheese, largely crumbled
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1/3 cup chopped chives
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425'. Trim and dice the eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini and red onion into 1" cubes. Collect the vegetables on two, large rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle the vegetables with oil, oregano, a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and toss everything to coat well. Spread them in a single layer and roast for 25-30 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through, until the edges are browned. Remove to cool.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously. Cook the orzo according to instructions. Drain. Rinse. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let it cool. Drizzle on the oil, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir. Add in the cooled vegetables and herbs. Stir again. Crumble in the feta cheese, season to taste (I like it sippy, so I added about 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar).

At this point you can serve it at room temperature, or keep it chilled in the fridge for up to a week.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables . Sprouted Kitchen


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Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Gluten Free

PISTACHIO RHUBARB LOAF

Pistachio Rhubarb Loaf . Sprouted Kitchen

A single scoop from Thrifty was just over a dollar. The ice cream scoop was kind of a rounded cylinder shape, and it made a "click clack" noise when the attendant would release your chosen flavor into the sugar cone or cup. It was more like a scoop and a half, really. I consistently chose apricot-mango (why, young Sara?) and my sister, rainbow sherbet. It was located inside a Rite-Aid that was both across from the city library and in the same center where we went to a weekly math tutoring program, so we were frequent visitors. It may have been dinner some nights? My mom has never liked cooking and we lived to tell the tale so no sense in fretting too much about that. My mom would also get a scoop every now and then, likely something better and chocolatey because she was older and wiser. I have a snapshot memory of the three of us sitting outside the automatic doors, against the taupe-y stucco walls, eating our treats, me complaining I didn't like my flavor and preferred the one my mom chose. She took one more big spoonful and swapped with me. She took my bullshit apricot-mango and gave me her chocolately one and while I hope I at least said thank you in that fleeting moment, I've gone back to that memory a number of times when I par down what this whole motherhood thing looks like. Yes, I hear all the self-care, don't-lose-yourself conversations and I agree, but there is also a huge part of it that is just surrendering. You surrender to the mess and the cost and the exhaustion and work and the worry. You surrender your superior ice cream flavor.  You never know how actions and words are perceived on the other side - sometimes lost or forgotten, or perhaps they stick with someone forever. 

I gave this loaf recipe a test run for our Mothers day brunch plans. The Sweet Laurel cookbook is full of grain and refined sugar free baking recipes - nearly all with almond or coconut flours and maple sweetened. The original calls for six eggs, so I risked scaling that back because we don't like when baked goods taste so, well, eggy. This makes for a looser crumb and a wetter texture and I'll take that over eggy. I added nubs of a quick roasted rhubarb for tiny pockets of tart jam throughout. You could eliminate this completely if you'd like, or maybe use lemon instead of orange and swap in blueberries. 

If you have a mother or are one or want to be one or are struggling with the one you have or can even think of someone else who has been that figure for you, a happy Mother's Day weekend to you. 

Pistachio Rhubarb Loaf . Sprouted Kitchen

PISTACHIO RHUBARB LOAF

Makes one 9x5 loaf

Recipe adapted from Sweet Laurel

This recipe will not work with a 1:1 swap for a regular wheat flour or any whole grain flour for that matter. Coconut flour is super absorbent and the liquid ratio will not translate. They sell small bags at Trader Joes, most larger grocery stores, or a handful of sizes and brands online.

Roasted Rhubarb

  • 1 cup diced rhubarb
  • sprinkle of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. coconut or avocado oil

The Loaf

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp. flaxmeal
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • zest of one small orange
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (about 1 juicy orange)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup raw pistachios, divided

Instructions

Oven to 375', line a sheet with parchment. Toss the diced rhubarb with a sprinkle of sugar, teensy bit of salt and coconut or avocado oil. Roast for 10-12 minutes, just enough to take the crunch off. Remove to let it cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 350'. Line a loaf pan with parchment and grease it with coconut oil or what have you.  In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, flax, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, eggs,  orange zest and juice, maple and vanilla. A little at a time, stir the wet and dry ingredients together. Fold in the rhubarb and 1/2 cup of the pistachios. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Chop the remaining pistachios and sprinkle them on top of the loaf. I like to add a bit of turbinado sugar on top too.

Bake the loaf for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Remove the bread and set it on a rack to cool completely. Cut it into thick slices and toast before serving. 

Pistachio Rhubarb Loaf . Sprouted Kitchen

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Entrée, Gluten Free, Spring, Summer

ANCHO CHILE MUSHROOM TACOS

Ancho Chili Mushroom Tacos . Portobellos . Sprouted Kitchen

I came across this quote from Rob Bell via my friend Stacy's blog :

You and I were raised in a modern world that taught us how to work hard and be productive and show up on time and give it our best...
We learned lots of very valuable skills, but we weren't taught how to be here, how to be fully present in the moment, how to not be distracted or stressed or worried or anxious, but just be here, and nowhere else - wide awake to the infinite depth and dimension of this exact moment.

 As someone whose work and personal life come with an extreme amount of overlap, I have a tough time enjoying things for what they are. My husband is also my work and parenting partner. I feed my family, but testing and writing recipes is also my job. When I am with the kids, I feel like I should be working on something - often irritated because I know I have to hustle for my own living. Or if I am working, I feel like I am missing moments with my kids. I don't know any of us come equip with how to just be here - it's cultural, often generational, the extent of which indicative of ones' personality.  When I feel the most at ease, is when I am simply doing whatever it is I need to be doing. If it is working,  then I just live in that time, cooking or writing, going through the motions of something I understand how to do, being grateful that I have flexibility and generally enjoy what I am doing. Or if I'm corraling my kids at a park or building block towers, that I may see the "depth of that exact moment". How do you practice that in your own life? I have to make those decisions consciously, does it ever become a habit? Asking for a friend ;) 

I figured I would make obligatory tacos this Saturday for Cinco de Mayo. Maybe we'll have some friends come over, do bean and cheese burritos for the kids, make margaritas with fresh grapefruit juice. Having people over, sitting around a table in the backyard, may be the easiest place for me to just be in the moment. It is the place where my mind does not dart around between which bills I need to pay or how dusty the open shelving is or how I may grow my brand or researching Kindergarten options. Even if we can't be savoring every little thing, our angst pulling our brains to other places, I think there is always at least one place that it feels easy to just be there. For me, that is the table. Hope you can name where that is for you, and be in it or doing it, soon. I've found that recognizing it is the biggest step forward. 

Ancho Chili Mushroom Tacos . Roasted Portobellos . Sprouted Kitchen

ANCHO CHILE MUSHROOM TACOS

Serves 2

I assume about 1 larger portobello per person, once sliced, it gives you two full tacos with all the garnishes. Multiply as needed for however many you are serving. If you do not stock these spices, your favorite taco seasoning is fine, just be mindful if it includes salt or not.

The Tacos

  • 2 large or 3 medium portobello mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. orange juice (apple cider vinegar will do)
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder

  • 4 corn tortillas, warmed 

The Garnish

  • pickled onions
  • fresh lime
  • avocado
  • cilantro
  • shredded cabbage, optional
  • queso fresco (or soft goats cheese)

Directions

Stem the mushrooms. In a small bowl, combine the oil, maple, salt, cumin and ancho chile powder. Arrange the mushrooms on parchment and brush the spice mixture on both sides of the mushroom. This can be prepped a few hours in advance.

Preheat the oven to 375'. Roast the mushrooms for about 20 minutes or until they are browned and collapsed down (they should look wet and shrink in size). If the weather permits, you can grill the mushrooms over medium heat for 6 minutes on each side (or until they collapse a bit).

When cool to the touch, cut the mushrooms into slices on a diagonal. Arrange the tacos with some smashed avocado (lightly salted), a pile of mushrooms, pickled onions, cilantro, shredded cabbage (if using), cheese and a squeeze of fresh lime. Enjoy. 

Ancho Chili Mushroom Tacos . Sprouted Kitchen


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