Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spelt Scones

I've been wanting to try spelt flour in place of wheat flour. I'd read about its nutritional benefits, and I liked the fact that it's higher in protein than wheat flour. However, I wasn't sure that baked goods made with spelt would have the same texture and consistency as those made with wheat.

I chose cream scones for my first attempt at baking with spelt, using white spelt flour in this recipe, and adding a little grated orange rind and a handful of dried cranberries. Cream scones might seem like an odd choice in light of my interest in the nutritional aspect of spelt, but they were a great vehicle for the flour: the scones rose beautifully, and had a light, flaky texture. I say "had" because, although I made them just yesterday morning, they're already gone.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

In Which We Confirm Our Suspicion That Beatrice Will Put Grated Carrots In Just About Anything

By the book: Jeanne Lemlin's Crunchy Lentil Salad (parsley, red onion, celery, lentils, carrots, and dressing).

Something of an accident: pinto beans with cilantro, red onion, and grated carrots (I was out of tomatoes), topped with avocado.

Gone gone gone: oatmeal with coconut, grated carrots, raisins, and pecans.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Garlicky Kale Mashed Potatoes

Lately, I've been thinking about kale mashed potatoes. I wanted them to be green! I wanted them to be vegan. And, I wanted them to be garlicky.

The result: not as green as I'd hoped, but creamy without milk or butter, garlicky, and good. Much better, unfortunately, than the veg sausages I bought to eat with them... I think that next time, I might try adding a can of cannellini beans to the mash for protein.

2 pounds potatoes, washed, trimmed, and chopped into 1 inch cubes (I used Yukon Gold potatoes and kept the skins on)
1 bunch kale
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic

Place the chopped potatoes in a large pot.
Rinse kale in repeated water baths, until the water is no longer sandy.
Tear the leafy green portion of the kale leaves from the center veins.
Chop the leafy green portion of the kale and place it in the pot with the potatoes.
Add just enough water to the pot to cover the kale and potatoes.
Stir in 1 teaspoon salt.
Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer (still covered) for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Drain the potatoes and kale.
Mash the potatoes and kale, and set aside.
Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet, stirring occasionally.
Once the garlic starts to brown, stir in 1 teaspoon salt, then add the mashed potatoes and kale to the skillet and remove from heat.
Stir to thoroughly combine the mashed potatoes and kale with the garlic.

Makes about 4 generous servings.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pizza With Olives, Peppers, and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I turned my favorite sandwich into a pizza -- and got a nice dose of late-winter color therapy in the process.

This was my first time using the pizza dough recipe from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian." As with his bread recipe, I liked the convenience of throwing all of the ingredients in the food processor, rather than coaxing the yeast and kneading the dough. The resulting crust had a nice tenderness, but was a little bread-ier than I'd hoped. I guess I'm still searching for the perfect pizza dough recipe.

I found myself wanting more cheese, so I topped the leftover slices with a little feta before reheating them - yum. The recipe below reflects the increased amount of cheese.


One batch pizza dough (store bought is fine)
Olive oil for brushing
Flour as needed
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
One batch roasted red pepper sauce
12 to 15 pitted kalamata olives, drained and cut into eighths
1/4 yellow pepper, washed and diced
1/4 orange pepper, washed and diced
1 cup feta or grated/torn provolone cheese - or both

Preheat the oven to 500 F.
Lightly brush a non-stick cookie sheet with olive oil.
Lightly flour a baking mat or large cutting board.
Roll out the dough out on the mat or board (I use a rolling pin) until it reaches your desired level of thinness, turning the dough and adding flour as necessary.
Transfer the dough to the baking sheet.
Lightly sprinkle the dough with sesame seeds.
Spread roasted red pepper sauce evenly over the dough.
Top with diced peppers, olives, and cheese.
Bake for 6-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes before slicing.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dark Chocolate, Coconut, and Sweet Potato Cookies

I generally prefer homemade treats. But lately, I can't seem to stay away from the dark chocolate/coconut/sweet potato cookies at Watercourse and City o City ($3.24).

What do they taste like? The cookies remind me of a giant, vegan, gluten-free Samoa. At room temperature, the consistency is nice and chewy; the texture becomes addictively-crisp after they've been refrigerated for a half-hour or so. The little bits of sweet potato make me feel virtuous, although if I gobble up an entire cookie in one sitting, I get the same sugar rush that I would get from traditional sweets. While slightly messy, the dark chocolate coating is a good compliment to the coconut (and nuts?) inside.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Strawberry Grapefruit Salad

"Salad" might be a bit generous, as this is really just chunks of grapefruit and slivers of strawberry, dressed in grapefruit juice (blueberries or blackberries can be used as a garnish, if you want to add a third ingredient). Although simple, the combination is quite refreshing, and makes for a nice weekend treat.

Ingredients For One Serving
1 small pink grapefruit, washed and cut into halves, or 1/2 large pink grapefruit
4 strawberries, washed, trimmed, and cut into small bits
3 blackberries or blueberries (optional)

Scoop the individual sections of the grapefruit into a small bowl (this is easiest with a serrated spoon or knife).
Hold the scooped-out grapefruit over the bowl and squeeze, to get the remaining juice.
Add the strawberries and (optional) blackberries or blueberries.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Greek Pizza and Spicy Chickpea Soup

I love olives. Often, I eat them right out of the jar; occasionally I'll find the discipline to use them in a dish. Greek pizza is a great olive recipe because it takes less than 15 minutes to make -- meaning that I don't have to wait too long for my olive fix. (Even still, I tend to snack on a few olives while making the pizza...)

The soup came about because I wanted to work another protein into the meal. Pureed chickpeas are added to a blend of red pepper flakes, garlic, cumin, and coriander, to create a smooth, flavorful soup with a good kick. It's one of those dishes that's even better after it sits overnight; for a super-quick meal, prepare the soup ahead of time, and then reheat it while assembling the Greek pizza.

Greek Pizza Ingredients
4 pita
olive oil for brushing
2 thin cross-wise slices of red onion (or more to taste)
16 pitted kalamata olives, quartered
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Cut the pitas in half, and place the halves on a baking sheet.
Lightly brush the top of each pita half with olive oil.
Arrange the red onion, olives, and feta on the pita halves.
Bake at 350 F for 8 minutes, then broil for about 30 seconds.

Serves 4.
Chickpea Soup Ingredients
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups un-chicken broth, divided*
1 tablespoon olive oil
dash red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

Puree chickpeas in a food processor.
Once the chickpeas have reached a sand-like consistency, slowly and steadily pour 1/4 cup of broth into the food processor, while processing, to create a smooth chickpea puree.
Transfer the chickpea puree to a small bowl.
Place the olive oil and red pepper flakes in a deep skillet, and warm over medium heat.
Add the garlic and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
Add the cumin and coriander, and stir fry for another minute.
Pour the chickpeas into the skillet, and stir to combine with the garlic and spices.
Slowly pour the remaining 1 3/4 cups broth into the skillet while stirring constantly, to create a smooth soup.
Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer at least 10 minutes.

Makes 4 small bowls.

*Because the store-bought broth that I use contains an ample amount of sodium, I don't add any additional salt to the soup.