dates

Side, Salad, Gluten Free, Spring

MARRAKESH CARROT SALAD + BOOK PRE-ORDER!

Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen

A few months back I had a lunch date with a wise friend of mine and we got to chatting about this recent cookbook project. She's the sort of friend I don't give general answers to - she asked how I was feeling about it and I immediately shared my insecurities. You see, people have expectations when they buy a cookbook and it is tough, absolutely impossible really, to meet all of them. We are all different cooks with different experience, definitions of easy, too healthy, not healthy, creative, complicated, difficult-to-find ingredients and such. As I told her about the recipes and my worries about how they'd be received, we realized they made sense with what was simultaneously happening in my own life. I was pregnant and moving into our first house and those big life events were affecting how I was cooking. Some recipes were coming up simpler to save time and I seemed to find whipped cream appropriate for each dessert which I blame on the tiny person I was growing in my belly. I became muddled in the trying to do it *right* for positive feedback and lost sight of it being mine. Her encouragement stuck with me and changed my perspective, and I see me, us, in each of these pages. The beautiful thing about blogs, and cookbooks that come from blogs, is that there is more we can know of the story than just instructions on how to make food. Perhaps you become invested in the narrative and the food becomes personal. I think that's pretty unique.

So, if I may direct your attention over to the side bar you will see the cover of our cookbook that comes out at the end of March. March! Three more months! Ah!

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'm stealing a paragraph from the overview:

The seed for this book was planted by an indirect compliment from my husband Hugh about my cooking. Knowing I was an enthusiastic home cook, someone had asked him what my “specialty” was. He and I both know I don’t necessarily have a favorite cuisine. Through trial, error and money wasted, I’m mediocre at cooking meat. I am too unconventional for perfect baking and err on the side of health nut for classical dishes. What I do well, is what I care most about, which is produce. I have an affinity for seasonal vegetables and whole foods with bold dressings or sauces. I crave healthful, colorful foods that taste good. My specialty, per se, is food in a bowl - combinations of vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, big salads - texture and flavor that go together to make a simple, nutritious meal that makes sense composed in one vessel. “Bowl foods” was Hugh’s answer to the question. First I took offense, then I laughed about it, and after telling the story, I came to realize that this is the way a lot of whole foods focused eaters cook. A dish colorful enough to serve when friends are over for dinner, the kind of meal you can bring to the couch with nothing but a spoon or fork, or where leftovers can be packed up easily for the following day. One could argue that food in a bowl has an aesthetic gentleness to it that falls stark on a plate. Ingredients nestled within each other, tangled to make sense as a sum of their parts. I am using the bowl as a point of inspiration for the recipes shared here.

--

There are breakfast bowls and dips and salads and full meals with a whole grain, protein, vegetables and sauce (like you see on the cover) and a brief sweets chapter with a frequent appearance of whipping cream :) The recipe below is one of the side salads. To make it a full meal, we make these herby falafels to have with it. I made the salad here with pretty purple carrots and lentils where the one in the book uses vibrant orange carrots and chickpeas. I think it could be a holiday side if that's what you're looking for but it's also nice to have a bowl prepared in the fridge to keep you from the sweets when you need a nibble. Anyway, it is one of my favorites. Bowl + Spoon is different than our first book in a way I can't quite describe outside of it having a theme. All I know is that I'm super excited for you all to see. I will update the book page after the holidays once I have a hard copy and some more information on events and such. 'Til then, preorder is available at these booksellers:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Google Books

ibookstore

Indie Bound

Powell's

Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen

MARRAKESH CARROT SALAD // Serves 6

This may be a good time for the grater blade on your food processor. It'll save you time. Go with a firmer lentil, like beluga or Puy, so they hold shape in the salad. Chickpeas are written in the original salad so use what you have or prefer. Though you could still make this without, I suggest the good feta cheese, one made with sheeps milk, not cow. It may be an extra dollar or two but it's worth it. Trader Joes sells an incredible one by Pastures of Eden in a yellow and green package. 

  • 4 cups grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup cooked lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 7 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 5 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup toasted pistachios
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice of two limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, lentils, dates, red onion, scallions and cilantro. Break up any bits of dates that are sticking together.

In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, zest and juice of the limes, cumin, nutmeg, tumeric, red pepper, salt and pepper. 

Pour the dressing over the carrot salad and toss to coat. Give the pistachios a rough chop and sprinkle on top along with the feta cheese. Serve as is or cover and chill in the fridge. 

Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
Carrot Salad . A Bowl Food . Sprouted Kitchen
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Dessert, Gluten Free, Summer

SUMMER PEACH TART

date pecan peach tart . sprouted kitchen
date pecan peach tart . sprouted kitchen

I catered a small dinner party last weekend. Some things I knew would turn out - a couple dressings and sauces were a shot in the dark, but I was certain they'd pass as edible. Summer produce makes this such an easy season to cook in because the produce needs little done to it. I know where to get the tomatoes I'm faithful to, even mediocre corn is passably sweet and crunchy, and a basic fruit dessert requires little fuss, as the juicy berries and stone fruits can hold their own.

I served a maple-slathered, grilled peach half with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and crumbled gingersnaps, an even easier adaptation of a treat recipe in our cookbook. It was the most basic dish I served and it was the one dish every single person cleared their bowl of (yes, I watch, who do you think is doing the dishes?). Granted, it was a small dessert, but it made me think, how often am I overcomplicating things?

Fast forward a few evenings, we had guests over here for a BBQ. A friend was talking about how a couple invited their family over for dinner and the hostess just ordered a pizza and made an easy green salad. She mentioned how much she respected that - how getting together, eating together, sharing good company and conversation is enough. I stood at the sink cleaning dishes after they left. I had made everything from scratch - dressings, marinades, a crumble, etc. I don't make complicated food, I don't know how to cook complicated things, but what I do does take me a lot of time and I spend even more time just thinking about the meal. Where is my tipping point between making food for people that is special, but still allows me to just enjoy the company? How to channel this effortless effort... I feel like I am narrating to and for myself here, bear with me, think Carrie Bradshaw Sex in the City monologues except we're talking about dinner. Our own heads, my own head, is a rabbit hole. I get down there by over thinking and over complicating when the answer is really up top at the proverbial pizza.

The peaches for this tart were leftover from that easy dessert I mentioned a minute ago. I didn't have a recipe in mind, I just didn't want to waste the peaches sitting on the counter on their peak day. I remembered a crust I wanted to try and layered from there. It's simple, a fantastic peach is what makes the whole tart, but it is a new favorite. You could merely change the fruit on top or try different nuts in the crust. Summer in all its glory. I can hear Hugh sneaking into the fridge, his fork clattering against the plate as we speak.

There is an Oscar Wilde quote, "The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention." So applicable to cooking, to creating things, to feeding people... the act is often times less complicated than we make it. Here's to the simple things.

date pecan peach tart . sprouted kitchen
date pecan peach tart . sprouted kitchen

SUMMER PEACH TART // Makes one 12'' tart

crust recipe adapted from A House in the Hills

I know some of you will be looking for alternatives to powdered sugar here in the cream layer. It helps set the creme fraiche to not puddle everywhere, a liquid like maple or honey will not work. You could try coconut sugar if you are ok with a little grit, but I can't say I've tried it.

/crust/

  • 9 pitted dates
  • 1 cup toasted pecan pieces
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

/cream layer/

  • creme fraiche option:
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 1/4 cup powder sugar
  • 1/4 cup muscavado sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 3 large/4 small ripe peaches
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • toasted pecans, granola, turbinado etc. for garnish
date pecan peach tart . sprouted kitchen
date pecan peach tart . sprouted kitchen

For the crust, pulse all ingredients in the food processor until crumbly. When you pinch some between your fingers it should stick. Add a tiny splash of water if it needs help holding (this will depend on the freshness of your dates). Press the mixture into an even layer the bottom of a parchment lined, 9'' or 10'' springform pan.

Make your cream layer. Follow the directions for the the coconut whipped cream. Otherwise, whisk together the creme fraiche, powdered sugar, muscavado and corn starch. It will be loose but should hold shape when spread over the crust, if it looks too loose, add another Tbsp. or two of powdered sugar. Spread the cream layer over the crust.

Halve and pit the peaches and slice them thin. Layer the peaches in concentric circles, starting against the outer edge and then starting again with another circle, inside that outer circle. Brush the top with lemon juice and garnish with chopped pecans, granola, turbinado or whatever you wish. Refrigerate for at least two hours to chill completely. Remove the ring of the springform pan and cut into slices.

Store covered in the fridge. Should be enjoyed within 3-4 days. The colder it is, the easier it will be to get clean slices, just fyi.

date pecan peach tart . sprouted kitchen
date pecan peach tart . sprouted kitchen
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Dessert, Snack, Breakfast, Gluten Free, Fall, Spring, Winter

COCO BANANA DATE SHAKE

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There is a little fruit & nut shop en route to Palm Springs that is famous for their date shakes. They only have date or date-banana and they are delicious. They are made with the creamiest of ice creams. I remember getting them with my mom and sister when we'd drive out to see my grandma and we swore we each needed our own. We would drink them fast, the cold sweetness being just the refreshment driving through the hot desert. I could get through about half of it before the heavy cream coated my insides and the thought of finishing the whole shake seemed like a task. I can still see the cup they came in in my memory. A taupe-ish color with swooshes of pink and purple and a big thick straw so the chunks of date could get through. I guess I've always had an affinity for all things ice cream. 

Speaking of, in an effort to cool it on the ice cream habit we've come to around here, I am finding alternatives for a more nutritious frozen treat. We're having some warm days this week, so this coconut-banana-date shake is just the thing for an afternoon snack. I don't usually go for bananas in shakes/smoothies, but it keeps everything cohesive and smooth here. The combination is sweet and creamy, without too much of either. This is the shake I have no problem polishing off. 

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COCO BANANA DATE SHAKE // Makes 2

I included a note for a bit of protein powder here because the times I am needing a shake is usually when I am a just moderately hungry - early morning before a workout or afternoon slump time. Adding a bit of protein to a shake or smoothie helps it "stick to my ribs" until a real meal. It is by no means necessary. I don't want to pump a particular brand of protein powder, but there are a plethora of plant based options, as well as good quality whey proteins (such as Tera's Whey) that don't have a bunch of junk fillers in them. Read your labels and know you usually get what you pay for on this one. I also like the addition of oats in smoothies and think this would pass for a quick breakfast if you added them here. They make a lot of sense with these ingredients. Let me know if you try it.

If you want it similar to a milkshake or ice cream, use regular coconut milk. The light kind will still be creamy, but much thinner and a coconut beverage (the sort you find in the fridge) will be like an everyday smoothie. Up to you. 

2 cups coconut milk

4 large pitted Medjool dates, chopped up

1/2 scoop vanilla protein of choice (optional)

one small banana, preferably frozen

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1-2 cups crushed ice

splash of orange juice

In a blender, combine the coconut milk, dates, protein (if using), banana, cinnamon, ice and splash of oj. Blend everything together well until the dates are in tiny pieces and everything is smooth. Adjust with as splash of this or that as desired. Enjoy cold. 

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