Dessert, Gluten Free, Chocolate, Snack, Feeding Babies

DATE + SEED BUTTER COOKIES

Date & Seed Butter Cookies . Mixer

I'll try to do another lunchbox post in a few weeks, as I get ready to send both off to preschool (tear! but also yay!). These would be a perfect addition, but I suppose they are a nice summer treat as well, while we're enjoying the last couple weeks of it. I personally can't wait to get back to a regular routine, while still having the beach weekends, warm nights, watermelon and corn. September here is my very favorite. 

I saw these on Dana's site a few weeks (months?) ago and haven't stopped thinking of them. We make nearly the exact ones, without the oats, and I figured it may be nice to have these in the repetoire here for all the nut-free people either by way of school rules or allergies. I generally prefer peanut butter to sunflower seed butter, but 'tis the season of lunchbox prep. 

Date & Seed Butter Cookies . Rolling
Date & Seed Butter Cookies . Dipped in Chocolate

DATE + SEED BUTTER COOKIES

Makes about 20-24 cookies

Recipe barely adapted from these and  Minimalist Baker

I make these pretty small so I can pack them in a lunch box, or use them for vegetable eating negotiations without bracing for a sugar high. They should be kept in the fridge as they fall apart and the coconut oil melts at room temperature. I'll make them without the cocoa dip for packed lunches to avoid the mess.
 

Ingredients

cookies:
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup unsweetened seed butter
1 Tbsp. chia seeds, optional
pinch of salt
pinch of cinnamon

chocolate glaze:
3 T. coconut oil, to a liquid
1 Tbsp.. maple syrup
3 T. cocoa powder
 

Instructions

Put the dates and oats in a food processor and pulse a dozen times until well chopped and sticky. Add the seed butter, chia seeds, pinch of salt and cinnamon, and pulse a few more times. If mixture looks dry and crackly, add a splash of water or coconut oil, and pulse again until combined.

Line a plate with parchment paper. Roll the mixture into small, tablespoon-ish, sized balls. Press the centers down with the tins of a fork, cross hatched if you wish. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight.

 In a small bowl, stir together the coconut oil, maple and cocoa powder. Dip the cold cookies, halfway, into the cocoa mix. Replace them back on the plate and refrigerate again to chill. Keep them stored in the fridge until ready to eat. 

Date & Seed Butter Cookies . Sprouted Kitchen
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Appetizer, Gluten Free

WATERMELON + CUCUMBER SKEWERS

watermelon cucumber skewers . sprouted kitchen
watermelon & cucmber

Stuck on an app idea that is not a cheese plate or veggies and hummus? Look at these cute little guys! So cute. I much prefer to entertain outside than in (I think we've sat at our dining table maybe twice?), so we've been inviting friends to join us for dinner more often. The appetizer is not the part of the meal I wish to put effort towards, and these little numbers take all of 10 minutes to put together and can totally be prepped ahead and dressed last minute. If you don't find yourself needing tiny things on a skewer, I put the extra bits of watermelon and cucumber over some arugula, add some salmon, the following feta vinaigrette and wa lah, dinner. 

I recently worked with 31 Bits on a shoot featuring some of their new kitchen line. I've been using the indigo plant-dyed napkins for summer dinners and a handful of other pretty items are up on their homepage at the moment. You can read more on their company on the about page, but the they're pretty awesome as a whole. A few local girls run it and their mission is to bring more job opportunities and fair wages to artisans all over the world. Anyway, we're doing a giveaway over here Wednesday through Friday if you want to participate. 

watermelon geometry
watermelon skewers

WATERMELON + CUCUMBER SKEWERS

Makes 12

The skewers shown are available at World Market or here.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. minced shallot
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint, divided
2.5 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 ounces feta cheese
sea salt and fresh ground pepper

1 mini, seedless watermelon, cut in 1” cubes
3 Persian cucumbers

Instructions

In a small mixing bowl, combine the shallot, oregano, half of the mint, vinegar, oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Give it all a stir. Crumble in the feta and give it another stir, a few chunks are ok. 

Shave the cucumbers into strands with a vegetable peeler, lengthwise. Assemble them on the skewer by putting a cube of watermelong, folding a slice of cucumber like an accordion, and then another cube of watermelon on top. Arrange them on your serving tray and drizzle the feta vinaigrette over the top. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh mint, a grind of fresh pepper and serve.

watermelon cucumber platter
watermelon cucumber appetizer
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Entrée, Summer, Winter

PIZZA DOUGH

pizza crust . margherita . sprouted kitchen

Not to be bossy, but you need to read the notes and the recipe all the way through. Lots of words, but I've messed this up enough times that I want to pass down everything I've learned by trial and error of making pizza at home. I typically don’t do fussy, but there are a few steps here and the wait times between them are worth noting before you start. Nothing is difficult, but it's worth a heads up before you jump in.

I know, I’m asking you to plan ahead a day, ideally two if you can stand it... As it sits, the dough ferments, which is the element that adds flavor to a simple mixture of flour, water and yeast. The only way to impart flavor into something as simple as plain pizza dough is time, so while it will still work if you use it a few hours later, it tastes better, and there are more air bubbles the next day and it is best the day after that. The upside of that wait time is how quickly it comes together in the first place. Prep it Sunday, for pizza on Tuesday night. 

You may absolutely use unbleached all purpose flour for this recipe. My tests came back with more bubbles and a lighter feel when I used either bread flour or tipo “00”, both available at Whole Foods, well stocked markets, and online. You want a high protein content for bubble characteristics and these flours deliver. I really enjoyed this pizza article, regardless that it scolded me for my lack of using a scale. See that photo with the cold ferment?! That's what we're doing here. 

Homemade pizza will never turn out like a shop with a legit pizza oven, because it is impossible for a home oven to get that hot. When we moderate our expectation for such, the results are delicious. The photos here don't show any beautiful dark marks on the crust because I used the toaster oven for this pizza, which was the least hot choice. It's so hot and humid here I just couldn't blast the oven mid day :/ I put a few notes below on what we do on the grill versus the oven too. I like keeping the meal outside whenever possible, but a grill doesn't get the top as hot as the bottom so the toppings don't get at much heat and the cheese doesn't really brown. For that reason, I always vote a piping hot oven over a grill. 

For company? I'll have a big, light salad ready to go (usually arugula, shaved fennel, toasted pinenuts and golden raisins with a mustardy vinaigrette). One pizza goes in, out, rests a few minutes while the other cooks, and I just serve them straight off the cutting boards. 

pizza crust . dough in the mixed . sprouted kitchen
pizza crust . sprouted kitchen

PIZZA DOUGH

Makes about 3 medium-ish pizzas

I know. I should be using weights. Real cooks use weights. I'm a shoot-from-the-hip sort of cook, not a chef, and therefore have not been weighing my flour. Sorry. I leave mine to ferment on the wetter, stickier side, and assume that more flour will incorporate during the roll out phase. 

Ingredients

1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups warm (not hot) water
2 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
3 1/2 - 4 cups bread flour or tipo “00”, plus more for rolling it out
1 tsp. sea salt

Cornmeal or semolina, for cooking

Instructions

Combine the yeast and warm water, and let it sit a couple minutes for the yeast to activate. If you don't get any bubbles or fuzz layer, your yeast may be bad. Stir in the honey and olive oil. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, add the flour and salt. Turn the mixer on low and stream in the water mixture. Mix the dough for 2 minutes. Scrape the dry flour down into the mix if you need to. Let it rest for a minute, then mix it another minute. The dough should look sticky but still resemble a loose ball. Add a tablespoon of water or flour accordingly, it is safer to lean towards wetter than drier as you won’t be able to work water in later, but you can always use more flour to roll it out. When you touch it, your hands will get messy, but you should be able to transfer the lump into an oiled bowl.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it, and keep it in the fridge for one (minimum) to three days (ideal). 

Don’t even give it a second thought. Its just hanging out in there, needing zero attention.

On the day of pizza making, pull the dough out 3-4 hours before cooking. Cover a surface with a generous dusting of flour. Divide the dough into three parts, roll them through the flour and into balls, cover them with a dish towel and let them rise for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Weather and humidity pending. Preheat your grill or oven as hot as it will go. Preheat the pizza stone or baking sheet if using. Prepare your toppings.

When ready to cook, use your hands to push and stretch the dough super thin. Use a rolling pin if needed, but that pressure pops all of the bubbles. It poofs as it cooks, so the thinner the better. Try not to touch the outer 1/2” in hopes of keeping the air bubbles in tact. 

Sprinkle cornmeal or semolina onto the hot stone or baking sheet. Have your toppings ready because you need to work fast here. If you have a pizza peel, sprinkle cornmeal on that, then your dough and assemble on the peel (we don't have one, so I do this on a cutting board and scoot it onto the stone). Shuffle your pizza from the peel to the hot stone/pan. 

Bake it in your 500 oven for about 10-12 minutes. Remove to cool slightly before slicing. Save any fresh herbs and a sprinkle of parm for finishing. 

* If I'm going with some heavier or wetter toppings, I'll par bake it for a few minutes, then dress with sauce and toppings from there for safety against a soggy center.


Grill it!

On the grill, most of the heat is coming from the bottom. Preheat the grill on high for at least 30 minutes. When you’re ready to go, create a space for indirect heat by leaving one or two burners off (where your pizza will go, so this will depend on the size of your grill). Oil the grates, push out your dough and toss it on the side where the burners are ON. Let it get some grill marks, about 1-2 minutes. Flip the dough over onto the indirect side (burners off but still quite warm). Decorate the par-grilled side of your pizza, this is the time for extra easy sauce and extra easy toppings so they get the chance to warm through with that lower heat. Grill about 7-8 minutes until toppings are melted and warm. Remove to cool slightly before topping with fresh herbs. 

recent favorites:

- pizza sauce, grated zucchini (that has been salted and moisture squeezed out before using), fresh mozzarella (not water packed, preferably), parm, lots of herbs

- pizza sauce, goats milk cheese, roasted tomatoes, barely dressed arugula after cooling

- pesto, peaches, baby tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, red pepper flakes 


pizza crust . slice . sprouted kitchen
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