Archive for the ‘food/recipes’ Category

summer journal: popcorn for breakfast

popcorn for breakfast

 

Pinterest made me do it. Seems popcorn cereal is an old timey, pioneer treat. It’s also a dead easy breakfast if you have some leftover popcorn from movie night. Sadly only one of my kids liked it, but he liked it so much he ate everyone else’s!

hippie cocoa pebbles

grain free chocolate cereal

My children eat oatmeal all winter long. They never tired of it. I don’t get it. Come summer I can’t even stand to make it any more, though I’m sure they would eat it. I need something cool and quick for hot summer mornings. Last year I discovered this recipe for chocolate granola and it is delicious. Really it’s not like granola at all, it’s more like cereal–real, out-of-the-box cereal, something that rarely shows up in this house.  But a jar of Hippie Cocoa Pebbles is now a staple in my cupboard.

almonds soaking

The first step is extra hippie: soak the nuts overnight. Hippie Cocoa Pebbles are nut based–they contain no grains, no oats, no gluten at all. Super great! but nuts contain a lot of phytic acid, which is an anti-nutrient (I laughed the first time I heard that word too). Soaking minimizes the damage phytic acid can do. You can obviously read more about this on the internets if you are interested, but for now just know that soaking the nuts makes this cereal taste better and be better for you.

soaked almonds and pecans

After the nuts have soaked overnight, you rinse them, dry them, and pulverize them in the food processor. I make quite a big batch, so the nuts fill my food processor up to the top. This involves a bit of stopping and stirring in between chopping, so they don’t inadvertently become nut butter!  You want them to be about the consistency of grape nuts–on the coarser side of finely chopped I’d say.

cocoa + butter + maple syrup

Then you make a delicious mixture of butter and cocoa and maple syrup. I freely admit that I hide from my children in the kitchen and lick the spoon clean.

high fat cocoa powder

About the cocoa powder: buy the best stuff you can find. Really. This recipe uses a lot (1/2 cup) and it is the dominant flavor, so break out the good stuff. I am in love with Penzey’s high fat cocoa powder. It smells like chocolate, rich dark chocolate. Cocoa powder should smell like chocolate, right? Sadly, most smell like ash (I’m looking at you Hershey’s).

hippie cocoa pebbles

Then you take that lovely buttery, chocolatey syrup you just made and mix it with the nuts. If you make a smaller batch you can get away with mixing in the food processor, but for a large batch it works out better in a bowl. This is where I usually forget to add the coconut, so if you don’t care for coconut feel free to forget it. Toasted coconut  (if you have some leftover) would be absolutely lovely.

hippie cocoa pebbles

All of it goes into a warm oven and as it bakes it fills your whole house with the most amazing chocolatey aroma. The temperature of the oven is so low in fact (200 F) that if you have a dehydrator now’s the time to dust it off. I think it would even qualify as raw then. This cereal does indeed come with a lot of buzz words: Gluten free! Grain free! Low sugar! No refined sugar! Paleo!  But there’s only one word it comes with that really matters: Delicious!

hippie cocoa pebbles

hippie cocoa pebbles

adapted from Gourmand in the Kitchen’s chocolate granola

ingredients

  • 3 cups almonds
  • 2 cups pecans (you can easily substitute walnuts, macadamias, or skinless hazelnuts, but if you use cashews only soak them for 2-3 hours)
  • 3/4 cup butter (coconut oil is a good substitute if you can’t do dairy)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup dried, unsweetened coconut (optional)

directions

  1. Soak the nuts in filtered water overnight. Drain and rinse them well. Dry on a clean kitchen towel.
  2. Chop in a food processor until they are the size of little pebbles (cocoa pebbles!)
  3. Melt butter and maple syrup over low heat.
  4. Add cocoa powder and mix well.
  5. Pour the buttery mixture and the nuts into a big bowl and mix thoroughly
  6. Add the coconut and mix.
  7. Spread the cereal on two sheet pans lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake in a 200 degree F oven for 2 1/2-3 hours, stirring now and then.
  9. Cool and store in airtight containers.
  10. Hippie Cocoa Pebbles keep two weeks at room temperature, longer in the freezer.

This recipe makes 5-6 cup cereal. Enjoy!

hippie cocoa pebbles

 

sweet potato salmon cakes

sweet potato salmon cakes

I’m on the fence as to whether or not that is an appetizing photo. You might just have to trust me that these salmon cakes (salmon burgers?) are delicious. Delicious and quick and heathy to boot. At dinner time, checking off two out of those three is usually a win. All three is a freakin home run.

sweet potato salmon cakes

This recipe is my (highly) modified version of this salmon burger recipe. A good friend of mine made it for me, kindly converted it to be gluten free, and it was amazing! I’ve made it many times since and have come up with a few more changes.

making mayo

The first change I made was to swap out store bought mayonnaise for the homemade stuff. Wait! Don’t go! Homemade mayo is not too fancy for you or too complicated for you. Just remember when you [insert thing you did and thought was going to be super hard] and it turned out to be pretty simple. Okay, insert making your own mayo. This stuff is lovely. I’m guessing you wouldn’t really enjoy eating a spoonful of mayo out of the jar. The homemade stuff will have you licking the bowl!

smoked paprika mayo

Add some smoked paprika and it gets even better.

sweet potato salmon cakes

I had never bought a can of salmon before, tuna, yes, but never salmon. Wow they shove the whole fish in there: bones, skin,  fat, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a rogue eyeball one day. After you get over the initial eww, turns out it is a lovely and cheap way to enjoy salmon. The can I bought up there is “wild alaska salmon,” which I think is fancy ad talk to trick you into believing it’s wild caught. Since then I’ve found the same large size can at Whole Foods that really is wild caught. At 2.99, it’s two dollars cheaper too.

sweet potato salmon cakes

sweet potato salmon cakes

ingredients

for the salmon cakes:

  • 1 14oz can of salmon
  • 1 small sweet potato, cooked (in the oven or microwave), cooled, and mashed.
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons homemade mayo (recipe below)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • small handful of parsley, minced
  • zest of one lemon*, and juice of half that lemon

for the smokey mayo:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • about 1/2  cup oil (light olive oil is very nice. I used a mix of macadamia nut oil and olive oil because that is what I had. Please don’t use canola oil, it’s really no good.)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more) of smoked paprika
  • salt to taste

sweet potato salmon cakes

directions

to make the smokey mayo:

Combine egg yolk and mustard in a small bowl (the french do it in a tea cup, or so I’ve heard). Whisk until blended. Add a tiny bit of oil to yolk mixture, a few drops at a time, and whisk whisk whisk. Keep adding drops of oil and whisking until the mixture looks emulsified (i.e. not weird and oily). Gradually add remaining oil in very slow thin stream, whisking constantly, until mayonnaise is thick. If you keep whisking, it’s hard to go wrong, but the internet is there if you do. Add the lemon juice and salt, whisk. Set aside 2 teaspoons for the salmon cakes. Stir the paprika into the rest. Voila!

to make the salmon cakes:

Drain the can of salmon. You can, in theory, eat all the salmon bones, but I remove the larger backbones. I suggest dumping the salmon in a small bowl and removing the bones. Then combine all the ingredients (including the salmon) in a large bowl. Mix with a spoon or your hands. Shape into small patties. They will be a little wet (if you don’t like this, use a larger sweet potato). Melt some butter in a non stick pan (cast iron, teflon, or my new favorite blue steel). I’d say about 5 minutes a side, maybe less.  Serve with your lovely homemade mayonnaise.

sweet potato salmon cakes with smokey mayo

*it’s easiest to zest the whole lemon, then cut it in half. I speak from experience, people. Then you can use one half for the mayo and the other for the salmon cakes.

 

cooking the books at things for boys

cookbooks from the library

 

Abby from things for boys asked me to be a part of her Cooking the Books series. The idea is that we all have (or in my case check out from the library) an enormous amount of cookbooks, but we don’t always cook the recipes in them. I love a good kick in the pants challenge like this series! Head on over to Abby’s blog to see which book I picked from that huge stack!

smokey, roasted eggplant

two eggplants

I’ve never been a picky eater. Partly because picky eaters were not allowed in the house I grew up in and partly because there is just so much delicious food out there I don’t want to miss. But eggplant, well eggplant never did it for me.

eggplant before

I always looked at it as the vegetarian’s meat. And not being a vegetarian, I chose the actual meat. Eggplant sat there spongy and tasteless. Yes, eggplant parmesan is delicious, but if you accidentally breaded and fried your kitchen sponge, then doused it in tomato sauce, it might be delicious too.

eggplant after

This past year, I waged a food war with my pickiest eater, my youngest. I’m happy to say I won (and have been thinking of posting about it–would you be interested?) but part of the battle involved looking at the food I ate. Was I picky? I didn’t think so, but I had fallen into a food rut. I bought the same things every week, so we ate some variation of the same things every week.  I went out and bought 2 eggplants.

smoky, roasted eggplant

Then I had to figure out a way to cook them. I found a good recipe, messed with it a bit, and have made it at least ten times. I eat eggplant–willingly! This eggplant is smoky and bold, bright and fresh, a little winter-y and a little spring-y. It is lovely warm, but equally as good cold.  Can you tell I love it? I love it even more the next day with a fried egg on top.

egg and eggplant

 

smokey, roasted eggplant

adapted from this recipe on the kitchn

ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika (don’t substitute regular paprika, go get the smoked stuff)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional, but good)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 cup flat parsley leaves, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon

directions

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Cut the eggplant into cubes (1 inch or so) and sprinkle with the salt
  3. Whisk the oil, vinegar, paprika, cumin, and maple syrup together
  4. Add the garlic and the eggplant.
  5. Mix everything up and spread it out on one sheet pant (it looks like a lot for one sheet pan, but the eggplant shrinks considerably)
  6. Put it in the oven for 1 hour–stirring now and then. Really it can stay in for even longer, it just gets better.
  7. When the eggplant is done, take it out and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the top.
  8. Stir in the parsley and eat!