Blackberry Basil Jam

Blackberry Jam 3

When Kroger has blackberries on super cheap sale, you buy all of them and figure out what to do later. Here’s what I did …

Blackberry Jam 6

I am mildly obsessed with combining fruit and herbs, so when I decided to make jam I naturally had to think about what herb would go well with it.

Blackberry Jam 4

I was torn between basil and thyme, and don’t think I could have gone wrong either way, but basil turned out to be just perfect.

Blackberry Jam 5

Toast with salted peanut butter and blackberry-basil jam. :::drool:::

I found a good Giada recipe, but cut the sugar down because I enjoy the tartness of blackberries. This jam is perfect with peanut butter, on a cheese platter, with a spoon or on crackers, a la Joey Tribbiani style (:45).

Blackberry Basil Jam 

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients:

  • 3-6 oz. cartons of fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 oz. basil leaves (or as much or as little as you like)
  • Juice from 1 large orange
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon

Preparation:

Place fresh blackberries in a medium saucepan and turn to medium heat. As the blackberries warm and soften, mash them lightly (and carefully) with a fork. In a food processor, combine the basil, sugar, orange and lemon juices. Blend until smooth. Stir the mixture into the blackberries and bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until the mixture is thick, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow the jam to cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. Serve on bread, with cheeses, on top of peanut butter, layered in desserts … the opportunities are endless.

Advertisements

Banana Sweet Potato Bread

Banana Sweet Potato Bread 4
Some things you just get a gut feeling about. When you have too many bananas, and too many sweet potatoes and get that gut feeling about a sweet potato banana bread, you go with that feeling.
Banana Sweet Potato Bread
I had no reason to believe that this recipe would turn out even mediocre, because I was sort of making it up as I went, but it turned out marvelously! I love naturally sweetening by using sweet fruits and veggies. Nature has so many options. Sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, beets … the list goes on and on. Can’t wait to see where the next surplus of produce takes me.Banana Sweet Potato Bread 2
Banana Sweet Potato Bread
Recipe heavily adapted from The Minimalist Baker
Ingredients:
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 3/4 cup sweet potato puree (I just bake mine whole until tender and scoop out the flesh)
 Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease or spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray. I like to put a strip of parchment paper that extends above the top of the pan for an easier removal at the end.
  2. Mash bananas and add all of the ingredients except the oats and flour, whisking to thoroughly combine.
  3. Add flours, oats, bran and flax. Stir to combine.
  4. Pour batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. I added chopped pecans on top. Feel free to do the same, or chocolate chips stirred in would be wonderful.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool on a rack. Then slice and serve.

Banana Sweet Potato Bread 3

Strawberry-Banana Spelt Muffins

This is a guest post from a talented chef with a great recipe for a unique twist on banana muffins.

Banana Strawberry Spelt Muffins

From Chef Thomas:

“I love eating bananas raw, but I am very specific about my raw bananas. They have to be all yellow, or yellow and green; no spots! Once the brown spots start to form, I just don’t like the flavor. But I can’t throw spotty bananas away, so what should I do? I guess I could make some sort of baked good… *twist my arm!*

But baked goods typically have a ton of butter and sugar … what about my diet? I decided to take a basic banana bread recipe and try to put a healthy twist on it.

As I started to throw ingredients together, I became bored with the idea of just plain old banana bread. I started to think of things that are usually combined with bananas and it hit me. Strawberries!! My first go at it, I used almond flour, strawberries, bananas, maple syrup, honey, coconut oil, etc. I used the measurements from an online recipe I found. I had really high hopes. I put the mix in the oven for sixty minutes. I was so excited as I paced back and forth, waiting for the bread to be done. The buzzer went off and I strutted to the oven, confident I would find an amazing loaf of strawberry-banana bread! I swung the door open and was greeted by a goopy mess. Disheartened, I left the loaf in for several more minutes before giving up…for the day. I would make this work!

I told Maggie what had happened and we began to brainstorm about how to make this recipe work. She told me not to use only almond flour because it well make for a very wet bread. Maybe we could put some oatmeal in there to soak up some of that moisture. Maybe add a bit more flour. Sunday she came over and we began to put our recipe together. We added a bit of lemon zest and some oatmeal to the banana mixture. We  used two cups of spelt flour instead of a cup and a half of almond flour. We put some chopped cashews in there for some texture. The mixture looked great, we had high hopes. Then we started talking about how we would cook this mixture. While banana bread is great, it is not the most practical form of food for those of us on the go. We decided muffins would be perfect! We threw them in and enjoyed a beer while we waited. As we swung the oven door down we were met with an intoxicating smell and the sight of perfectly cooked muffins. We put the muffins on a cooling rack and they taunted us, daring us to take a bite …

The next thing I knew, our friend Ruth was taking a bite of one and her face said it all. Maggie and I joined Ruth in pure muffin bliss. We had done it! We came up with an amazing strawberry banana muffin recipe. I hope it brings you all the same amount of happiness that it brought us!”

Strawberry-Banana Spelt Muffins

Yield: 20 muffins 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 7 strawberries, diced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews (or any other nut you prefer)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin tins.

In a small bowl, combine bananas, strawberries, lemon zest, and oatmeal. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, honey, and pure maple syrup in a stand mixer and blend together for one minute, or until creamed. Mix in eggs, salt, vanilla, and then add oatmeal mixture. Slowly, add dry ingredients into the wet ingredient, mixing only until combined. Fold in cashews.

Pour batter into greased muffin tins, about 3/4 way full. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 mins, but keep an eye on them. The muffins are done when the tops spring back when touched.

Spaghetti-Squash Pizza Crust

Using vegetables as pizza crust might have changed my life forever.

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust 2

Here was the situation: it was two days before Fall break, no food in the fridge, no point in buying more food for the fridge, I had just cooked a spaghetti squash the day before, and had more squash than I knew what to do with.

A quick Google search of “new things to do with spaghetti squash” yielded me results which led to this tasty pizza.

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust 3

I didn’t follow the recipe to a T because, again, I had almost nothing else in my fridge. But the crust still turned out really yummy and crispy on the edges. This crust is not as sturdy as other vegetable crusts, and certainly not traditional pizza crusts, but it was a really fun experiment and delicious dinner.

I simply topped with olive oil, raw cheddar, and jalapeños, because that’s what I had. It turned out really well, but you can get really creative with the toppings. Think of what might go well with squash … fall herbs like rosemary and thyme, mushrooms, caramelized onions, chorizo, pesto …. the options are endless!

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust

Recipe adapted from Shared Appetite 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of cooked spaghetti squash
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used raw cheddar)
  • 1 tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese (I didn’t use this)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Roast spaghetti squash and scoop out the flesh.
  3. Wrap measured-out squash in a cheesecloth, clean kitchen towel, or layers of paper towels and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. I just squeezed it plain over a strainer. The drier the squash, the crispier the crust.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the squash, garlic, olive oil, egg, cheeses, and season with oregano, red pepper, salt and black pepper. Press squash in a thin, even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and form into an approximate 10-inch circle.
  5. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from oven, carefully flip, and cook for another 10 minutes.
  6. Add desired toppings and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until done.

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust

Farmer’s Market Saturday

Farmers Market 10.18.14 3

Simple pleasures are the best. I love watching the produce at the Farmer’s Market change with the seasons. It’s all about squash, beets, and eggplant right now, and I’m not complaining.

Farmers Market 10.18.14 2

The beauty of beets. With matching fingernail polish ❤

Farmers Market 10.18.14

Curried Acorn Squash Soup

Curry Acorn Soup 3

Sweet Acorn squash. Spicy curry. Roasted garlic. Nutty Parmiggiano. Salty, toasted seeds.

Oh, and warm, homemade bread.

Curry Acorn Soup

This soup is an edible embrace of Fall. So colorful, so flavorful, so warm and yummy.

I learned this trick to bake the garlic inside the squash halves from the one and only, Mr. Guy Fieri. (I mean, not personally, I just read it in one of his recipes.) I had my doubts about Guy at first, but over the years he has earned my respect. Him and his white crunchy hair know what’s up. Maybe that’s the source of all his powers …?

Baking the garlic this way imparts a nice flavor into the squash, while drawing out that unmistakable sweet, roasted garlic flavor. Total sidenote: I love that acorn squash, when cut, look like big cartoon flowers. ❤

Curry really brings out the best in squash, in my opinion, so this recipe is a real winner. It’s a little spicy, and very well spiced, sweet, and just a touch salty. I toasted the seeds from the squash and sprinkled them on top. That will be another recipe for another day. A grate of parm and a slice of fresh bread and you’ve got a knockout meal.

Curry Acord Soup 2

Curried Acorn Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth, low sodium
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Sambal (Asian chile sauce)
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut milk (not light)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
  • Pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the squash in half and remove seeds. You can discard or set them aside to roast later. I highly encourage the latter. Cut a flat spot on each end so the squash will sit flat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the squash, cut side up.

Add a peeled garlic clove (or two if they’re small) in the cavity of each squash half. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast until very tender and starting to caramelize and collapse, approximately 1 hour. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the squash from the skin. Reserve the garlic with the squash.

In a large saucepan, add the other tablespoon of olive oil. When oil is hot, saute shallots until tender then add curry powder and other spices. Let the spices toast for a minute or less and then deglaze the pan with half of the stock.

Add squash and garlic into the pot and allow the flavors to meld. Add in the rest of the stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, carefully puree soup until smooth and creamy. Return to pot and stir in coconut milk. Cook over low until heated through.

Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano, toasted squash seeds, and fresh bread.

Curried Lentil Kale Soup

Lentil Soup

I’m a lover of lentils. They know it, I know it. We have an understanding. I use them all the time because they taste good PLUS, they are a great source of protein and fiber. They give me the nutrients I need, while not weighing me down like meat often does.

Soups like this are perfect for when you don’t have much in your kitchen, but still need to make a meal. I pretty much always have lentils and some sort of greens around, so this is a staple for me. It’s spicy and spiced, silky from the coconut milk, and rich with legumes. It’s lovely on its own, but paired with some crusty French bread it would be perfection.

Curried Lentil Kale Soup 

Recipe adapted from 40 aprons 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 4-6 cups stock
  • 1 scant tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (more or less to taste)
  • Handful of torn or chopped kale (I used a mixed assortment of greens from the farmer’s market)
  • Splash of coconut milk (amount dependent on preference)
  • Salt to taste
Preparation:

Rinse the lentils in a colander and pick out any stones. Combine with 4 cups stock  in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet and sauté the onion over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened and slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes or so. Add the garlic and spices and fry until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Scrape into the lentils and add coconut milk and kale. If soup is too thick, add up to 2 more cups stock.

Bring soup back up to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until soup is reduced slightly and kale is tender. Add salt to taste.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pasta

When it starts feeling like Fall, I get that pumpkin fever. I got the fever, and the only cure … is more pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pasta 7

I decided today, spur of the moment, that I wanted pumpkin pasta for lunch and nothing else would do. I’m not high maintenance at all …

I don’t have a Kitchen Aid or a pasta maker, so I needed a recipe that was simple and easy to make without fancy equipment. I found the perfect one.

I only changed the recipe slightly – swapping in whole wheat flour for some extra nutrition, and omitted one of the egg yolks to lower the cholesterol. I also just happened to have homemade pesto in the fridge which I knew would taste wonderful atop this fabulous noodle (I was right). This pasta was incredible! Like, O-M-G good. It is so satisfying and hearty, delicious and flavorful, while still being simple and healthy. It’s basically the embodiment of everything I strive for in my life, in the form of a noodle. This pasta might be my soul mate.

The original recipe called for all-purpose flour, which would definitely make the dough much lighter. I used all-purpose for dusting but stuck to whole wheat for the substance of the noodle. The choice of flour is all yours. If you’ve never made or tried fresh pasta, you should know it tastes completely different than boxed store-bought pasta. It’s ten times more flavorful! It also takes hardly any time. I only boiled my pasta for 1 minute each batch. Don’t forget to salt your water – it makes a huge difference, I promise!

Pumpkin Pasta 4
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pasta 
Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour (could also use all-purpose flour) + extra for dusting
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • Water
Preparation:
Add flour and salt to a food processor and pulse. Then add in egg yolk and 1 whole egg, and the pumpkin puree. Pulse until well combined. Then drizzle in water until a dough forms.
Pumpkin Pasta 1
Transfer to a very lightly floured surface, sprinkle with a little flour, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 30 minutes to rest.
After the pasta has rested, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously.
Cut the pasta into four pieces and begin rolling out into a loose rectangle, sprinkling on only as much flour as it takes to keep it from sticking. Mine was a fairly sticky dough (I might have added too much water), so I needed quite a bit of flour to hold it all together.
Pumpkin Pasta 2
Once the dough is nearly paper thin, cut it into any shape you want. I used a pizza cutter to cut mine into fettuccini-like strips.
Pumpkin Pasta 3
Cover with plastic wrap until ready to cook. Add pasta to boiling water and stir just to make sure they don’t stick together. It should only take 1 to 1 1/2 minutes to cook.
Pumpkin Pasta 6
Drain and transfer to serving plate. Top with pesto and parmesan cheese, like me, or you could toss with tomato sauce. Roasted chunks of pumpkin and sage would be a yummy combo, or just plain olive oil, red chile flakes and cheese would be great too!
Pumpkin Pasta 5
Usually I eat the same amount that 3-4 people would, but this pasta was pretty filling, so I had leftovers. Hooray I get pumpkin pasta round 2! 🙂
Pumpkin Pasta

Peach and Plum Galette

Peach plum galette 4

You might recall from my recent Farmer’s Market post that I came back with quite a few peaches and plums; and since stone fruit is basically born to be made into desserts, specifically pies … I brought their destiny to fruition.

Peach plum galette 2

Galettes (or crostadas) are like free-form pies. They’re so pretty and reeeally hard to mess up.

Peach plum galette 9

Peach plum galette 8

Since I have been pretty busy lately, my plan was to just buy pie dough at the store. But when I got there and read the ingredients on the label, I made other plans. I dramatically threw down the “hydrogenated lard” in my hand and marched towards the natural butter while whispering under my breath, “Screw it, I’m doing this thing the right way.”

Peach plum galette 7

Peach plum galette 6

Note: In the picture above you will see that it sort of looks like the dessert is not coming together, but like magic, it will!

With a food processor, a crust is about the easiest thing to make anyway, so I really had no excuse in the first place. The recipe I used for the pie dough is pretty foolproof. It’s from the book, The Pastry Queen. I almost made a pate sablee, but didn’t have any ground almonds, or almonds in general, and they’re a little expensive. So I stuck to the basics.

Peach plum galette

This pie is so good it’s unreal. The peaches and plums are sweet and juicy, and the crust is the perfect flakiness. Guaranteed crowd (or single person) pleaser. 

Peach plum galette 5

Peach & Plum Galette

Pie Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 11 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 4-6 tbsp cold water

Filling Ingredients:

  • 6 small plums, skins on and sliced
  • 2 peaches, skins on and sliced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water
  • Extra sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp apricot or peach jam

Preparation:

To make crust …

Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. If you’re using a food processor just put all the dry ingredients in together and give it a quick whirl to mix. Cut butter in by hand or toss all into the processor, until the mixture is crumbly and about the size of small peas. Add 4 tbsp very cold water and mix. Only add the rest of the water 1 tbsp at a time if needed, just until the mixture holds together easily.* Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk shape. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour.

To make the filling …

In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon flour, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. In a large bowl gently toss together the plums, lemon juice and zest. Sprinkle the flour mixture over plums; gently toss until evenly coated.

To finish galette …

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take dough out of the fridge and roll out to about 10 inches in diameter on a floured surface. Place dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Transfer the plum mixture on top of dough, leaving a 2-inch border all the way around. Fold border over plum mixture, overlapping where necessary and gently pressing to adhere the folds.

Beat together the egg and teaspoon and water and brush over the edges of the dough, then sprinkle a little sugar over the crust. Place galette on the bottom rack of oven and bake until the crust is golden and the fruit is soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly on a baking rack. While pie is cooling, carefully brush jam over the fruit. It will give it a little extra sweetness and beautiful shine.

Can be served warm or at room temperature. Also, would be delicious with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

*Note: I only needed 4 tbsp of water.

Peach plum galette 3

Farmer’s Market Saturdays

I’m that girl at the Farmer’s Market who takes awkwardly up-close-and-personal pics of each stand and then dashes away before someone can stop me …

IMG_4093 IMG_4089 IMG_4092 IMG_4090

We stopped first at the coffee stand and then got a pastry from our favorite cute German baker lady before we began shopping in earnest, because, how could we possibly function before we’ve had iced coffee and pastries?

IMG_4094 IMG_4096

In addition to the usual folk band, there was a harpist. Our Market is very fancy.

IMG_4098

There is so much beautiful produce in season this time of year, so we came away with quite a haul …

IMG_4100

Acorn squash, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, plums, apples, basil, fresh pasta, and the most flavorful Concord grapes I have ever had. 

IMG_4107

Until next weekend …