Monday, March 20, 2017

Lemon Almond Cake

I've starting making almond milk so now I need to figure out what to do with the leftover almond paste.  Yes, I can compost it or feed it to the chickens but it's still edible and almonds from the farmers market aren't cheap.  So I remembered my mother-in-law making a cake using store-bought almond paste.  My almond milk paste waste worked perfectly.  I tweaked the recipe a bit.  It turned out phenomenal! Moist, super light, and a little lemony:

1 1/2 cups evaporated cane sugar
8 ounces (weighed) almond paste from making almond milk
1 cup unbleached flour
1 cup butter, at room temperature, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
zest of 1 large lemon (or orange or limes)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 eggs from the backyard chickens

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9- or 10-inch cake or spring form pan with butter, dust it with flour and tap out any excess. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse the sugar, almond paste, and 1/4 cup of flour until it looks like sand. 

Add the butter, zest and vanilla extract, and process until the batter is smooth and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides as needed.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of flour, baking powder and salt.

Add half the flour mixture and pulse until just combined, then add the rest, pulsing until just combined (do not over mix).

Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for 65 minutes, or until the top is deep brown and feels set in the center.

Remove the cake from the oven and run a sharp or serrated knife around the perimeter, losing the cake from the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Once cool, tap the cake out of the pan, remove the parchment paper, and set on a cake plate until ready to serve.

Lovely on it's own or serve with mulberry compote, sliced strawberries and whip cream, or drizzle with a lemon glaze.

Adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts & Lindsay Remolif Shere

Friday, December 23, 2016

Ian's Latkas

Chag Urim Sameach!

2 cups Yukon potato, grated
1/2 onion, grated
1 egg from a backyard chicken
1/4 flour
sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
safflower oil

In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil on medium-high.

Squeeze liquid out of the grated potato and onion.  In a bowl, mix the potato, onion, flour, egg, salt and pepper together well (don't be afraid to use your hands).  Form a handful into tight balls, place in oil and press down to 1/2 inch height.  Cook until the edges are golden brown and flip, about 5 minutes per side.  Serve with applesauce.

Makes 6 latkas

Friday, July 8, 2016

Calamondins in the Giant Forest

I just figured out that those are not super sour kumquats growing in my backyard.  Thanks to a fb post in the San Diego Backyard Fruit Exchange, I found that I have calamondins!  Not that it makes a difference but it's nice to know.

It's so hot and I'm prone to heat-induced vertigo.  With this in mind, I stocked up on white tea for the summer.  And I wanted to bring a beverage for our camp trip in the Sequoias.  This was the perfect thirst-quencher while I soaked my feet in the deliciously icy river.

1/2 oz white peony tea leaves from the co-op
3/4 cup evaporated cane sugar (or sweetener of your choice) from the co-op
3/4 cup fresh squeezed juice from my backyard lemons
1 cup calamondins from my backyard, cut in half, seeded if you like
spring water

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, remove from heat and add the tea leaves.  Stir briefly to submerge the leaves and let steep for about 10 minutes, to taste.  Stir in the sugar until dissolved.  Strain into a 1/2 gallon mason jar and allow to cool.  Add in the lemon juice and the kumq..., I mean, calamondins.  Add more water to fill to 1/2 gallon.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Beans Revisited

After reading Decolonize Your Diet I had to revisit how I cook beans.  Now I'm skipping all the soaking, water changing, need to plan the day before and it doesn't take that much longer to cook.  This method is so flavorful, you can eat it as a soup as is.  Here's my version:

sunflower oil from the bulk section at OB People's Co-op
1/2 yellow onion, diced from Schaner Farms
3 cloves garlic, minced from Schaner Farms
1/2 poblano chile, seeded and diced from Suzie's Farm or JR Organics Farm
small sprig of oregano from my garden
1 cup dried pinto beans, rinsed and sorted from the bulk section at OB People's Co-op
spring water from Palomar Mt
1/2 tsp sea salt from the bulk section at OB People's Co-op

Heat a medium-sized heavy pot (I like enameled cast iron) on medium-low heat and lightly cover the bottom of the pot with oil. Stir in the onions and cook with lid slightly askew until soft.  Add the garlic and chile and saute until soft.  Add the oregano and beans and cover with a 1/2 inch of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook covered until the beans are soft (a couple hours), checking occasionally and adding water as needed to keep them covered.  When the beans are almost done, add salt and cook until soft.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Herbed Chevre Spread

Now that I've got my hands on a goodly quantity of local goat milk, I can try my hand at cheese!  I've made mozzarella from cow's milk a few time before, which is a little more involved than this recipe. Chevre is surprisingly simple to make. I justed heated the milk to 86 degrees, sprinkled in the chevre culture, stirred it a bit, let it sit over night and then drained the curds in cheese cloth for a few hours, then mixed in 2 tsp sea salt.

Now I have a ton of goat cheese to play with!

1 cup chevre
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp fresh grated lemon zest (from my tree)
1 clove fresh garlic, minced (from Schaner Farms)
a handful of fresh herbs from my garden, minced: parsley, thyme, chives

Mix ingredients together.

Serve with Prager Brothers bread, olives, and almonds from Terra Bella Farm.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Pumpkin + Fungi + Goat Milk = Puppy

Recipe for a stuck puppy:
  • Take a front yard that doesn't get much sun
  • Spread a dash of low-temp compost
  • Wait a few weeks until several volunteer pumpkin vines appear (note: do not add water because these are volunteers and you don't know if they're edible and you just want to see how they do)
  • Let grow for several weeks until powdery mildew appears (which is why you don't grow squash on purpose in the first place)
  • Remove all mildewed leaves
  • After doing some online reseach about natural remedies, take 2 cups old goat milk that you traded your backyard chicken eggs for but didn't use up fast enough and spray it all over the pumkin vines
  • Stir briefly, in your mind, wondering about what new pests or problems the fragrant goat milk will bring.  Wait 30 seconds...
...and the neighbor's puppy wiggles under the wood fence and get stuck between that and a chain link to lick the leaves and cry.

Next, break into the neighbors yard and try to cajole the puppy back into it's yard.

...and that was my morning.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Tiger Butter Cookies

I've never had tiger butter before, and I'm not even sure where I heard about it, but once I learned that it was white chocolate/peanut butter, I had to make it into cookies. Here is the recipe I came up with.

1/2 cup butter (from Spring Hill)
1/2 cup peanut butter (fresh ground in the bulk section of the co-op)
1/2 cup cane sugar (fair trade of course)
1/3 cup rapadura
1 egg (courtesy of our backyard flock)
1 tsp homemade vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips (fair trade of course)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream the butters and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Fold in the chips, and drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a baking sheet covered in parchment and bake for 8-12 minutes.

Makes about two dozen cookies.