Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate



I'm not going to get too verbose today. It's cold and blustery, and the snow is coming down in those big flakes that renew your love for winter, as long as it is being experienced through the window while curled up on the couch. The only thing that can make it better is a cup of hot chocolate, and a puppy at your feet.


This is the hot chocolate I have been making for myself all winter. It's fairly simple, and composed of ingredients I generally have in my kitchen at all times, with all natural sweeteners and good quality chocolate. I like to amp it up a notch with a dash of peppermint extract to give it a minty kick.

Try to enjoy a mug full without shedding a layer- I dare you.

Dairy-free Hot Chocolate
Serves 1

Ingredients

1.5 cups unsweetened plant-based milk (I like a mixture of almond and soy milk)
1-2 tbs. maple syrup (depending on your sweetness preference)
1 tsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. dandy blend or other herbal coffee substitute
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract (optional)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Whisk to dissolve powders into milk, until completely smooth. Warm over low-medium heat until hot, uncovered. Taste, and adjust with extra syrup if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Relax. Eat Well.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Foolproof Granola Recipe


I posted a Cherry Pecan Granola recipe a few years back, which I still enjoy, but have found that I'm keeping my granolas even simpler these days. I ditched the apple juice, amped up the maple syrup and paired down the spices, to create a "foolproof" granola recipe that can act as a base recipe and later customized to any individual whim.



Each time we run out, the lazy side of me is tempted to simply buy some locally made granola at the coop, but once I get there and start comparing ingredient lists and prices per pound, I am always convinced to pick up some $1.49/lb organic rolled oats and set off to make my own.


The ingredients are simple and the process is a breeze. Not too sweet, but with a hint of maple- if you crave more, feel free to add an extra tablespoon or two. At my house, we like to add our dried fruit into our bowl when serving, instead of mixing it into the stored granola- that way each morning's bowl can be different, and there is no chance of moisture sneaking it's way into the batch.



Enjoy this over yogurt, with fresh, frozen or dried fruit, an extra sprinkling or ground flax or hemp seeds, and whatever else your heart desires. Or kick it up a notch and serve it for dessert by melting some dark chocolate, drizzling it into a bowl of granola, tossing to coat and hardening it in the freezer. Your very own chocolate covered granola bites (or granola covered chocolate bites?)


My only two heads of warning: Don't skimp on the salt, and make sure you buy thick cut rolled oats. 

Basic Granola Recipe
Makes about 5 cups

Ingredients

4 cups thick rolled oats

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

4 tbs. maple syrup

2 tbs. grapeseed or olive oil

2 tbs. chia seeds (optional)

1 cup large coconut flakes or raw almonds (or walnuts/cashews etc.)

Optional additions:

Spices: ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cardamon etc. - to be added in before baking

Dried fruit: apricots, quartered figs, sliced dates, cranberries, currants, apple, mango etc. - to be added in after baking

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss everything but the coconut/nuts and dried fruit in a large bowl, and stir well to combine. Spread mixture evenly on 2 standard baking sheets- one of the tricks is to make sure you have a thin layer, to optimize toasting and eliminate the sog-factor. 

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove, stir, add almonds/nuts or coconut flakes and bake for another 8 minutes, or until beginning to get nice and toasty.

Cool and transfer to an airtight container to be stored at room temperature for up to a month, or in the freezer indefinitely. At this point you can choose to add in your dried fruit of choice, or leave it out to keep it simple and customize by the bowl. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sage and Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing



Phew, I made it before Thanksgiving. I'm telling you- this decreasing daylight thang is really messing with my game! Since we all know camera flash/artificial light and food photography don't get along, it has been challenging to find a time to photograph my food while I am actually cooking! Thus the reason for the string of breakfast recipes as of late. Hopefully this one will break the trend.



OK, so who doesn't like a good 8 ingredient recipe for the holidays? This one is beyond easy, especially if you have some leftover cornbread, as I did, from a pre-holiday Friendsgiving.


The cornbread I used was nice- I included a link to it in the recipe below. If I made it again to enjoy on its own, I would amp up the sweetness with 2 extra tablespoona of honey, and throw in an additional 1/2 teaspoon or so of salt. But I have to say, for the stuffing, it was pretty near perfect. It is gluten-free as well, which helps when feeding a crowd of diverse eaters.



Thanks to the chickens, these eggs were beyond fresh and so golden they were almost orange. Those chickies are definitely on the list of things I am thankful for this year.


You can use either fresh or dried cranberries here- the dried ones will add a touch more sweetness, and the fresh will give you a burst of tang. I did a combo, and really enjoyed what each had to offer.

This is certainly a more indulgent recipe, given the amount of butter, but with high quality ingredients it can certainly still fit into a healthy meal. Tis the season, right?!? Using fresh cranberries boosts the antioxidant load, particularly in the form of manganese and vitamin C.



Luckily my gorgeous little sister stopped by just in time to do a little last-minute modeling with the cornbread. On Saturday she leaves for a big move out to California, so this week has been a bittersweet goodbye.

Whether this dish graces your Thanksgiving table or makes it's way into the week of leftovers, I'll feel nothing but honored to be part of your holiday celebration.

Sage and Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing
Serves 6
Adapted from Claire Robinson of the Food Network

Ingredients

5 tbs. cultured butter, salted, divided
1 large yellow onion, chopped
12 or so sage leaves, fresh or dried
5 cups cornbread (I used this recipe, with honey instead of sugar)
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tbs. dried cranberries or 1/4 cup fresh (or both!)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup water

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large saute pan, melt 2 tbs. of butter over medium heat. Add chopped onions, and cook, stirring often, until soft and beginning to brown. Remove into large bowl.

Heat remaining butter in the same pan over low-medium heat, until beginning to brown and separate. Add sage and let sizzle. Remove from heat.

Cut cornbread into cubes and add to the large bowl with onions, along with beaten eggs, salt, pepper and cranberries. Drizzle with browned sage butter and toss to coat. If more moisture is needed, add 1/2 cup of water to the butter pan to deglaze. Add, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing in between, until stuffing is soft but not wet.

Butter a 8x8 pan, and fill with stuffing. Bake for 20 minutes, rotate and continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Relax. Eat Well.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Fiddleheads Cuisine Kitchen Tour and Open-Faced Egg Sandwich



This week I thought I would give you a behind the scenes tour of the backstage of Fiddleheads Cuisine: the KITCHEN.


My trusty camera, while perfect for the up close food art I normally practice, is less apt at capturing wide angle shots of larger spaces. So you will have to be happy with the details- my favorite nooks and cranny's, worn wood from daily chopping, and colorful accents that warm the space. Hopefully you'll enjoy piecing it all together in your head- or be inspired to come visit for a cooking class soon, to see it all in action.


I love old wood, repurposed and salvaged finds, white mixed with brights, and a touch of industrial.



A cobblers shelf holds my catering platters, evening wine, a touch of living green, and last season's garlic harvest.




I tried not to clean up too much before taking these shots- instead opting to show you a glimpse of my lived-in kitchen: aprons stained with chocolate, wood turmeric-yellow from last week's curry, chalk faded and smudged from wet hands.




The way light catches the glass, feeds the succulents on the windowsill and brings me out of my dream-state each morning over a mug of coffee.



And because I have never left you without a recipe to share, I'll end this post with a glimpse at today's lunch. Nothing fancy or time-consuming, just simple flavors and fresh ingredients. I wasn't feeling particularly vegan or gluten-free today, so I assembled a few of my favorite ingredients and threw them together, open-face style: eggs from the backyard, kale from there too, creamy avocado, chèvre, whisper-thin red onion and a half of my favorite bagel, Myer's Montreal Spice. Made in Burlington, these bagels are wood-fired, doughy but small and slathered thick with peppery spices and herbs.


Open-Faced Egg Sandwich
Serves 1

Ingredients
1/2 a bagel- my favorite is Myer's Montreal Spice
1 tsp. butter
1 farm-fresh egg
a handful of kale, chopped
Sea Salt
1/2 oz chèvre
1/4 of an avocado, sliced thinly
a few uber-thin slivers of red onion

Directions

Set your bagel half to toast. Heat a cast-iron pan over medium heat, with a teaspoon of butter. When hot enough to sizzle when spritzed with water, add kale and cracked egg. Sprinkle with a touch of sea salt. Cover and let cook for a few minutes. Flip egg (breaking yolk if desired) and stirring kale. Continue to cook until egg is done and kale is beginning to crisp. Add chèvre to kale and stir to incorporate.

To assemble sandwich, top toasted bagel with the egg, then chevre-spiked kale and finish with onion slivers and sliced avocado.


Relax. Eat Well.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Roasted Spaghetti Squash in Butternut Cashew Cream


Two winter squash in one dish?!? Yup. I did it. And I'm not even sorry.

Winter squash might be the only reason I make it through the fall months. I know, I know, fall is everyone's favorite. Not this girl's. To me, it is another harbinger of winter's impending arrival- which is just difficult for me to get excited about. I'm trying harder this year though, with lots of foliage hikes, garden sessions and crisp air runs. We'll see how it goes.


Anyway, there are so many reasons to love winter squash. Nutritionally, it is stuffed full of Vitamin A and C, fiber and potassium, which is needed to balance sodium levels. This combination makes it a super star for immune support. Never a bad thing as the air gets cooler. More importantly, it is sweet, starchy and just plain delicious. L.O.V.E.



This dish could be likened to a lightened-up version of fettuccine alfredo. That is a bit of a stretch, since it is both gluten-free and vegan, but gets you in the ballpark. Hopefully you aren't too intimidated by the ingredient list- it really isn't too scary. Just save it for a rainy fall Saturday sometime soon. Just don't forget to set your cashews out to soak in the morning, so you are all set and ready to go for a yummy lunch or dinner.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash in Butternut Cashew Cream 
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 small/medium spaghetti squash
1 tbs. oil

6 cups butternut squash
1 tbs. oil
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs. nutritional yeast
1 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk, plus more as needed
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp. mustard
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper, to taste

1 tbs. oil
8 medium crimini mushrooms
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups spinach
1/4 cup fresh sage, minced

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut spaghetti squash in half, remove seeds and drizzle interior with 1 tbs. oil. Place, cut-side down, on another parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Peel butternut squash, scrape out seeds and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss with 1 tbs. oil, 1/2 tsp salt and spread on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake both squash sheets for 20 minutes. Remove to check butternut squash- if browning and soft, remove and set aside. If they need a bit more time, just rotate the pan and keep checking every 10 minutes. Rotate spaghetti squash and continue to roast until the shell is easily pierced when poked with a fork, another 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the squash. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.

Drain and rinse cashews. Place cashews through ground pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Measure out 2 cups of roasted butternut squash cubes, add to blender and continue to process until smooth, adding additional soy/almond milk as needed to reach the desired consistency. Taste, and adjust seasonings with additional salt + pepper.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 tbs. oil. Clean and slice mushrooms. Add to skillet and sauté until golden, about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt. Scoop spaghetti squash into the hot skillet, using a fork to loosen the strands. Add cashew cream and spinach. Cover skillet and cook until heated through and spinach has wilted.

To serve, spoon spaghetti squash into 4 bowls. Top with remaining roasted butternut squash cubes, sautéed mushrooms and fresh sage.


Relax. Eat Well.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Green Eggs and Yam



I view breakfast as my chance to start it all off right. A lot rides on this meal, and I take it seriously. I'm only sort of kidding- I find that if I somehow miss breakfast, I tend to over-snack and if I eat something too sweet or full of white flour, sugar cravings plague my day.



There are a few things I aim to include in my morning spread. Not every meal includes them all, but hopefully at least one or two. Here goes:

Greens- preferably hearty (think kale and spinach). Brain food.
Turmeric- for a morning antioxidant boost.
Flax (or hemp/chia)- to get in those pesky little Omega-3's.
Protein- usually in the form of eggs or raw nuts. Thanks chickies!
Fiber- to fill up that fasting belly!

Today's meal has the hearty greens, protein and fiber thang goin' on.




The chickies say "hi" It was a bit grey out for their taste today, but they're troopers and are enjoying a free-range recess.



Fair warning: If your kale is anything like mine right now, it might have some freeloading' caterpillars hanging on tight. Extra protein? (Ew, no. For me, this means quadruple washing those buggers until there is no chance one remains).


I've been trying to take a bit more time composing my visuals lately. It is actually a lot of fun. The downside? My blog meals usually end up a bit cooler than intended by the time I sit down to eat. The upside? They look so pretty on my plate! Other things I have noticed: breakfast posts usually involve a few more cups of coffee than normal. I mean, it has to be steaming right? Today I had four. Oops.

Green Eggs and Yam
Serves 1

Ingredients
1 tbs. butter (or oil), divided
1/2 a small yam, about 1/4 cup sliced
1 large kale leaf
1 tbs. guacamole, or smashed avocado with a pinch of salt, dash of lime and smidge of minced garlic
1 farm fresh egg
1/8-1/4 tsp. salt
favorite hot sauce (I made this Creamy Chipotle Sauce, which I am kind of obsessed with)

Directions

Melt 1/2 tbs. butter over medium heat in a large frying pan. Wash yam and slice into 1/2 inch slices. It is important to keep these slices thin, so they can cook fairly quickly.

When pan is hot enough to sizzle when spritzed with water, add yam circles. Leave to cook for 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Flip and cook until tender, another 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan, set aside and sprinkle with salt.

Wash kale well, remove stem, and chop finely. Turn up heat, add kale and stir-fry until wilted. If you spread it out thinly and let it cook for a few minutes untouched, it will begin to crisp on the edges, which is how I like it. Add 1/8 tsp salt and guacamole and stir to incorporate. Push to the side of the pan. Add remaining 1/2 tbs. butter to the clean half of the pan, crack egg and cook as desired (I like mine over medium).

To serve, plate guaca-kale, egg and sweet potato slices, drizzled with your favorite hot sauce and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Relax. Eat Well. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Herb and Ricotta Egg Waffles


I have a new favorite way to prepare my morning eggs. It is super simple, fun and totally versatile.

A few months ago, we adopted a few neighborhood laying hens, and my life has not been the same since. I love them. They are so fun to watch, they love my leftover kitchen scraps, and they give me 2 beautiful eggs a day. LOVE them.



2 eggs a day doesn't seem like a lot, but it adds up quickly! I love farm fresh eggs and have been eagerly finding ways to enjoy them in our everyday meals. Such a wonderful protein source. My chickies love dandelion leaves and flax seeds as well, and their yolks are a rich orange. Don't you dare skip those yolks in favor of the fat-free whites. Sure, they have some calories, but the yolks also contain pretty much ALL of the nutrition that the egg has to offer. Rich in vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and iron, they are the most valuable part, for sure. Plus- we eat food to consume calories (a unit of energy) not avoid it, right?



Anywho, this is simply a fun way to enjoy your morning egg, made completely in a waffle iron. Feel free to play with the herbs used, and replace the ricotta with any cheese you prefer, or leave it out completely. It is certainly a light meal, but could easily be doubled to fill both waffle stamps.



Herbed Egg Waffles

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 large egg
1 tbs chives
1 tbs. ricotta
1 tsp water
1/8 tsp sea salt
a crank of black pepper

Directions

Preheat waffle iron. Beat all ingredients together in a small bowl. When iron is hot and ready to go, pour in egg batter. I have a small belgium waffle iron, and this mixture filled one side perfectly. Set timer for 4 minutes. Lift top and make sure you are beginning to see a slight brown  color developing. You are good to go! Of course, the topping options are endless, but I enjoy them with extra minced herbs and a dash of hot sauce.



And now for your bonus recipe. I had so much fun playing with the waffle iron, that I have to share my other creation: Hashbrown Waffles with a Fried Egg. This recipe is a bit more involved, with a few extra steps, but perfect for a weekend morning. Plus, this is my new favorite way to cook hashbrowns- they are so much crispier than any other method!




Hashbrown Waffles with a Fried Egg

Makes 2 small portions or 1 large

Ingredients
1/2 cup shredded potato- 1 small/medium potato
1/8 tsp chipotle powder
1/4 tsp salt
crank of black pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
2 eggs

Directions

Preheat waffle iron.

Shred potato using a grater. Place shredded potato in a bowl of ice cold water. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain and spread out on a clean kitchen towel. Fold towel over and press dry. Like, really dry.

Mix dried potato with the chipotle powder, salt, pepper and oil in a small bowl. When waffle iron is ready, spread mixture out in a thin layer, avoiding gaps. This will depend on your waffle iron, but mine covered both stamps. Cook for 14 minutes, or until very crisp along all edges.

In the meantime, heat a small pan over medium heat with a dash of oil. Crack both eggs into a small bowl. When pan sizzles when spritzed with water, add both eggs and fry for a few minutes, until whites are almost set. Flip, and continue to cooke for 30 seconds.

Serve hash brown waffles topped with the fried eggs, and a sprinkle of your favorite herb garnish.