Summer

Entrée, Gluten Free, Summer

LENTIL-CAULI TACO MEAT

cauliflower and lentil tacos 'meat'

Ok. I had to double post on both SKCC and here because so many of you asked me for this recipe. The first time I made this, I was literally grasping at what was left in the fridge. It made a wet gross mush in a pot that I had no interest in eating, so I tried to save it by drying it out in the oven because I HATE wasting food. It had crispy edges and a deep tomato flavor and I ate it for three meals straight. To be honest with you, I cannot get it as good as it was the first time. Below is something pretty damn close.

My family does eat meat, but in an effort towards sustainability and health, we eat a lot of vegetarian meals. Love a good mushroom taco, or even some saucy tempeh, but this mixture has the crumbly, spicy, crisp edges I remember from the ground beef tacos of my youth. Chili, sloppy joes, tacos, hamburger helper, any other babies of the 80’s know that dinner rotation?

If you give it a whirl. Let me know your thoughts. I’ve used it in tacos, as shown, but also sprinkled it in a salad with avocado and peaches and pepitas, and put it in burritos for my wee ones. You could add rice and stuff it into bell peppers (there is a recipe in my story highlights). Anyway, you get the idea.



LENTIL-CAULI TACO MEAT

Makes about 4 cups / Serves 6

If you need to cut a corner, use the steamed lentils from Trader Joes. I actually prefer them - they are drier than the ones I cook at home. Keep an eye on it while it’s in the oven, and stir it around. We want to dry it out to get some crunchy edges.

Try it in tortillas with smashed avocado, cabbage and taco sauce below.

Quicky Taco Sauce

  • Blitz Together:
  • + 1 cup plain, whole greek yogurt
  • + 1 jalapeno
  • + 1 large garlic clove
  • + zest & juice of 1 lime
  • + small bunch cilantro
  • + salt & pepper

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. avocado or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a yellow onion, roughly chopped 
3 garlic cloves
1 (1.5 lb.) head of cauli, leaves and core removed, broken into florets (or 12 oz. fresh, not frozen, riced-cauli)
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt/ 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. coriander
1 cup canned tomato sauce (I like Muir Glen!)
1 cup cooked lentils, drained

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Preheat the oven to 400’ and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.

Into a food processor, add the onions and garlic. Pulse a few times to chop well. Transfer to the pot with the hot oil and give it a quick stir. Put the cauli florets into the food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides every few times until it is in tiny rice-like pieces. Add it to the pot along with salt and pepper, sauté about 5 minutes until things soften and get golden in places. 

Add the cumin, chili powder, coriander (or about 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning) and stir. Add the tomato sauce and lentils, stir again. You’re going to think it looks like a soggy mess, but press on! Turn off the heat, let the mixture cool down. 

Transfer the cauli mixture to the prepared baking sheet and spread it in an even layer. Let all the steam off, then bake it in the upper third for 35 minutes, stirring once or twice during the baking time. Turn the oven up to 450’, and cook another 5-10 minutes. Turn off the oven, but leave the tray in there for another 10-15 minutes to dry it out further. The moisture level will be different per person because some cauli can be pretty watery, lentils can have different textures etc. It should look a little charred in spots. Stir it around to cool.

Assemble as you wish - into a taco or roasted sweet potato or room temp into a taco salad. We didn’t make it super spicy so it would be kid-friendly too. 

Store covered in the fridge for up to five days, or freeze for up to a few months.

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Bread, Breakfast, Gluten Free, Feeding Babies, Snack, Summer

GLUTEN FREE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

gluten free zucchini muffins

Loves! I posted about this zucchini loaf/muffins I've been working on over on Instagram and you were like hungry little wolves insisting that I post the recipe asap. So, here we are, a few weeks later, which is as asap as it'll get around here. 

Because most of the cooking I do is simple assembly and layering basics rather than advanced skills and technique, the dishes I write for work *usually* turn out by the second time I test them. I can often run this success rate with baking by just tinkering with other recipes and changing the flavor profile. However, I have made about 8-10 rounds of zucchini carrot muffins, all edible, but certainly not eligible to post on the internet with my name on them. I tried to make them maple sweetened (too much moisture), all almond flour (too heavy, also wet),  I squeezed the moisture out of the veg and still, resembling a frittata more so than a muffin, and so on. I mentioned in this peanut butter oatmeal entry a couple weeks ago that my kids are all about baked goods, so I will not rest until I can pack vegetables in them!

I'm not going to say what we have here is perfect but I am happy with where they are and I need the tweaking to just be done. I have a painter friend who says sometimes she just needs to call the piece finished. Lacquer it, take a picture, and move on, even when she knows she *could* keep working on it, because she can end up ruining it instead. I listen to podcasts of entrepreneurs who suggest to put things out there; let people see them and use them and respond, instead of keeping your project quiet, hoping you get closer to perfect. So, if you do make these, tell me what you did or what you would change. I love chatting about food in this space with ya'll, so if you have tips, share them with others in the comments.  

gluten free zucchini muffins - shredded zucchini

GLUTEN FREE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

Makes 10

I have used super fine brown rice flour in a baking before and many of you noted that it is a bit tricky to stock. I buy it here, but there are alternatives. If you do not need these gluten free, simply use unbleached all purpose flour in its place. I would still suggest using the almond flour or meal in combination, as it keeps the muffins more tender. These are on the low end of the sweet scale, if you want them more of a treat, add a few more tablespoons of sugar. 

The timing is written for 10 muffins, and I find their delicate nature is best in that format. You can bake the batter in a greased loaf for closer to 45 minutes, sticking a toothpick in the center to make sure it isn't too wet.
This muffin tin is my favorite forever and ever.

Ingredients

2 eggs
1/3 cup avocado or coconut oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt

3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup superfine rice flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 cup grated zucchini, about 1 medium/large
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chunks

turbinado sugar, to finish, optional

Instructions

Start by grating the zucchini (I do a blend of small holes and large holes on a box grater because I can't decide). Put them in a fine mesh sieve and press out excess water. Preheat the oven to 360' and grease a muffin tin. 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, vanilla, vinegar and buttermilk or yogurt, until well combined. Add the almond flour, rice flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, sugar and stir until combined. Add the zucchini and chocolate and fold it in.

Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 full (they don't rise much) and sprinkle turbinado sugar on top, if using. Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes, or until golden around the edge and a little tap on the center bounces back at you. 

Remove to cool completely. Keep covered at room temperature for 2 days, or in the fridge any longer than that.

A split and toasted muffin is the best muffin, but straight out of the hand is delicious too. 

gluten free zucchini muffin
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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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