Thursday, January 26, 2012
I have a hard time purchasing cookbooks these days. It seems like a waste of money since so much is available online. However I have been coveting Rupal’s copy of Heidi Swanson’s new cookbook Super Natural Every Day and those recipes aren’t available online. When I received another copy of A Snowy Day for Xavier for Christmas, I didn’t hesitate to return it and purchase the new cookbook for myself. (What? Xavier has a lot of books!)
I plan on cooking my way through this awesome cookbook one meal at a time. The idea behind it is that all the recipes are for weekdays and should take minimal time and effort but still be healthy and delicious. Ideal. Yesterday I started with the Millet Muffins. If you can make muffins before work with a toddler clinging to your leg, it’s a good recipe.
I hadn’t baked with millet before and I didn’t know what to expect. The millet makes these muffins crunchy and the yogurt and honey keep them moist. Serve them warm with more honey and butter.
Makes a dozen muffins
2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup raw millet
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup barely melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
Grated zest and 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the top third of the oven. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.
Whisk together the flour, millet, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, butter, honey, and lemon zest and juice until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until the flour is just incorporated. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the muffin tops are browned and just barely beginning to crack.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Cooking for friends brings me a lot of pleasure. I research recipes, shop for fun ingredients and think about what I want to drink with the meal. I start imagining the house filled with friends, clinking wine glasses and the aromas of some masterfully prepared meal. In reality, I often find myself running back and forth between the computer where the recipe is and the kitchen where something is burning (usually nuts) and catching bits and pieces of conversation.
Easy one pot meals avoid this phenomenon to a certain extent and I rate a recipe highly if it tastes great, but also allows me to chatter away. This week I made a North African Fish Stew that I cut out of a recent Food and Wine. It came together very easily and I never once had to ask Deirdre or Amie to repeat their gossip!
The recipe calls for the Moroccan spice blend ras el hanout so I just combined nutmeg, ground ginger, all spice cinnamon and a few other spices that were hanging around. The sautéed raisins crisp up with the cashews for a delicious salty sweet combination that pairs nicely with the mild fish and couscous. The only downside to fish recipes is I don’t do fish leftovers so it’s meant a lot of cereal for lunch this week!
Sunday, January 15, 2012
I woke up Saturday morning and literally leapt out of bed, threw on 44 layers of clothes and ran across the street and bought the only missing ingredient in the recipe doing circles in my head. Bananas. Every once in a while a recipe gets stuck in my mind and when I decide I want to make it, I don’t really want to eat anything else.
If you are like me, you want to like oatmeal. I have ancient relatives (Great Great Uncle Stan) who swear it’s what kept them alive. I find it unsatisfying though, especially 20 minutes after I have eaten it. It’s a tease. I feel full and then soon thereafter I could eat eggs benedict. There was something about baked oatmeal that sounded heartier – more like a meal and less like a cereal.
I followed Heidi Swanson’s recipe that is only in her cookbook but has been discussed online on various blogs.
You can play with the fruit and nut combination, but I recommend sticking to the bananas on the bottom since it ensures that the oatmeal comes off the pan easily. You can adjust the butter and sugar to match your dedication to your new years resolution. Don’t ask.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Many people talk about how delicious kale chips are and how even their kids will eat them. I always thought these people were slightly delusional or had never had a real salt and vinegar potato chip. I have now joined the ranks of the roasted kale chips fanatics. These things are really good!
Ryan has whipped up a few batches in the past week to balance out our diet of stocking stuffer chocolate. He tosses the fresh kale with salt and olive oil and bakes them on a cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes at 350. They melt in your mouth...especially given Ryan’s definition of ‘tossing them in olive oil.’ They are so suspiciously good that I wonder if baking them somehow zaps the healthiness out of them. I’m not going to research that. Instead I’m going to congratulate myself for eating kale chips and - I mean instead of - chocolate.
Monday, January 2, 2012
Xavier was 8 weeks old last New Year’s Eve and I spent most of the evening curled up in a sobbing ball! I vaguely recall planning the NYE menu, but I didn’t stay awake to eat it. This year we left the little bugger behind with his grandparents and headed up to LA to enjoy a night off with friends. We opted to cook dinner at Dan's house and in an effort to reign in our growing list of recipe possibilities, we choose a theme for the night. Ginger.
It started since we wanted to make the ginger shrimp we had in Senegal. From there it was easy to move on to avocado salad with ginger carrot dressing and homemade pork and ginger pot stickers. The obvious choice for dessert was gingerbread but we had stumbled upon some Coachella dates at the farmers market, and I was determined to incorporate them. I googled date and ginger and came up with a bunch of sites about dating redheads in the UK. However, buried among those links was a recipe for Sticky Ginger and Date cookies.
To be honest, I was not expecting much. The blog itself is irritating and written by a woman with way too much time on her hands in my opinion. Don’t read her entry on how all gifts should be thoughtful, personalized and homemade or look at the pictures of her perfectly dressed children going to the Nutcracker. But do make this recipe. Use high quality, gooey delicious dates and fresh ginger. Serve with ice cream and a fresh date on the side. Happy 2012!