Sunday, September 29, 2013

No-spouse Acai Bowl

While my spouse is away this weekend, I'm taking the opportunity to make foods I love but he can't or won't eat (for this recipe, that means greens & coconut)...

an acai packet, unsweetened (not something I usually buy but I had a coupon)
3 smallish lacinato kale leaves (love this stuff!)
1/2 frozen banana (free from work: one (of many) major bonus of working at a grocery co-op)
1/3 mango (also free from the co-op)
a handful of frozen berries (I've been stockpiling from this summer's farmers market bounty)
a generous splash of coconut milk or apple juice
spoonful of local honey or 1-2 dates
1/2 teaspoon local bee pollen (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cacao nibs (optional)
slice of fresh ginger (optional)

I do not have the uber-expensive vitamix but I do have a quality blender and it handles acai packets like a champ! Add just enough coconut milk (or other liquid) so it will blend well.  Top with fresh fruit (strawberries from JR Organics Farm) and granola. Update: new favorite acai bowl topping - shredded coconut!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sourdough Pancakes

Wow.  It is really unbelievable how good these are.  Who knew?  They sounded pretty weird when I first read about them in Wild Fermentation.

But they are ethereal, quite literally.  And of course delicious; actually, the most delicious pancakes I've ever had.  An if you're the type who wakes up hungry (I am not), there's practically no waiting for these to make it to your plate.

This recipe is adapted from The Tassajara Bread Book:

The night before:
1/2 cup starter
2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or flour of your choice)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons rolled oats (or flour or other grain)
2 tablespoons wheat germ (or flour or other grain)
2 cups lukewarm filtered water

Mix together in a glass bowl, cover with a towel and let stand at room temperature in a draft-free spot overnight.

In the morning:
Remove a cup of the mix (this can be used your starter moving forward).  To the remaining mixture, add
1 beaten egg
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup milk (or more for a thinner batter)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons rapadura sugar
1-2 tablespoons of chia, hemp, or other seeds or nuts (optional)

Mix ingredients gently but thoroughly.  Melt a couple pats of butter in a skillet or griddle on medium high heat.  Pour small (close to silver dollar-sized) pancakes and flip when they bubble and have cooked edges (really quickly).  Cook them about another 20-30 seconds (until cooked).

Serve with your favorite pancake toppings.

This also makes heavenly light, crispy waffles!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Spiced Nectarine Preserves

I recently tried a spiced nectarine preserve (or at least, that's what I'm guessing it was) with goat cheese on a crisp, thin bread slice that had been baked with olive oil.  I was at a wedding and the bride is foodie, urban homesteader, and event planner.  It was, of course, a beautiful, delicious farm reception, complete with handmade marshmallows for fair trade chocolate s'mores we made ourselves over a bonfire during a stunning sunset.  Her brother catered, the groom served a homebrewed saison, and wood-fired pizzas were made, while we watched, with locally grown ingredients.  We ate on locally crafted wood tables with sweet, small bouquets of flowers most likely picked on the farm.  It was an affair after my own heart.

And as soon as I tasted those preserves, I knew I had to try to make them.  And lucky for me, nectarines are in season; so I asked my friend/farmers market vendor selling nectarines if they had any overripe fruit they couldn't sell, picked up multiple pounds of the stuff, did some recipe research, waited for the sun to set and the weather to cool a bit before building up a sweat over a hot stove, and came up with this...

6 cups chopped nectarines (remove pits but keep the skins - the pectin is in the skin), from Smit Orchards
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, from a Schaner Farm lemon
3 cups rapadura sugar
rounded 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
a slightly crushed cardamom pod (try to fish it out before canning)
a scant pinch of ground cayenne, just for kicks
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract

Cook fruit, juice, & sugar at a soft boil for 30-minutes; reduce heat if needed to prevent burning.  Stir often and skim off foam from the surface.  Stir in spices, turn off heat and stir for 5 minutes.  Ladle into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Wipe rims and jars clean with a damp cloth.  Seal each jar with a lid and barley tighten bands.  Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.