Overnight Mocha Superseed Oats

I have always loved coffee and while I have cut back over the years I still enjoy my daily shot of espresso and one more regular cup of coffee in addition to the herbal and green tea that peppers my day.  Sometimes, I forget to have my espresso/coffee or I don’t have time but I always have breakfast.  That’s where this delicious variation of oatmeal comes in.  It is richly spiked with coffee and cocoa with the tang of some kefir.  It gets another nutritional boost from ground flaxseed and chia seeds.  I sweeten it with a bit of green leaf stevia and throw some dried zante currants in to give it some texture.

Overnight Mocha Superseed Oats
1 serving

1/4 c. whole oats
1/4 c. cold coffee
1/4 c. kefir
1/4 c. water
2 tblsp. dried zante currants
1 tblsp. Wheatena cereal
1 tblsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. freshly ground flaxseed
1 tsp. chia seeds
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/16th tsp. green stevia powder (or use some honey/maple syrup if you prefer)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until combined.  Cover and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Kimchi Turkey Meatballs with Sauteed Cabbage Arame Salad

About ten years ago, I found myself temporarily employed at a nameless accessories company during Fashion Week.  My job consisted of being attired from head to toe in black (easy for me) and to silently follow clients around the showroom modeling the insides and various views of the handbags.  I assure you, it was not very exciting and I spent most of my time fantasizing about what I would have for lunch.

Fortunately, the showroom was located in Koreatown (Midtown area) and boasted a few grocery stores and restaurants.  I loved wandering and then getting food from a take out joint where I would just point to what looked good on others plates.  I gravitated almost every day to a noodle dish that was sauced with a roughly chopped spicy, sweet, and salty (heaven) kimchi sauce with thinly sliced vegetables strewn over it.  Kimchi, if you haven’t heard, is a fermented cabbage (and other vegetables) condiment that most likely originated in Northern Korea for the purpose of preserving vegetables for the long winters.  Kimchi is used as a main dish, side dish, and condiment on Korean home and restaurant tables.  Nutritionally, it boasts being high in fiber, low in fat, rich in Vitamin C, and full of belly healthy probiotics, which aid in digestion.  It has also been suggested that kimchi can aid in reducing cancerous growths.  Allegedly, if eaten in LARGE quantities, kimchi can increase the risk of gastric cancer, so no eating vats of it, please.

I love creating new meatball flavor profiles and these did not disappoint.  The kimchi added moisture and sharpness to the meatballs that I mellowed with a bit of maple syrup.  I baked them and served them a top http://testkitchenette.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1121&action=edit and a sauteed red and Savoy cabbage and arame seaweed slaw.

Kimchi Turkey Meatballs
Makes about 24 meatballs

1 lb. organic ground turkey (I used 94% lean)
1 c. finely chopped kimchi (I used Mother in Law brand)
1 egg
1/3 c. whole wheat matzoh meal (I buy boxes of whole wheat matzoh and grind it in my food processor to make bread crumbs)
1 tblsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground flax seed
few grindings of black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Put the turkey in a large mixing bowl.  Combine kimchi, egg, matzoh meal, maple syrup, sea salt, ground flax seed, and black pepper in a small bowl and add to the turkey.  Mix well until all ingredients are combined.  The mixture will be soft, don’t worry
  3. Form the turkey mixture into meatballs about the size of a walnut.  I used my ice cream scooper.  I’d say it’s about 2 tblsp. per meatball.
  4. Place meatballs on line baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.  Turn the meatballs and bake for another 5-8 minutes.

Sauteed Cabbage Arame Salad

1 tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion (about 6 oz.), finely diced
1/2 red cabbage (about 1 lb)
1/2 Savoy cabbage (about 1 lb)
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 tsp. finely chopped/grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped/grated
1/2 – 1 tsp. sea salt (more/less to taste)
1/4 c. arame/hijiki seaweed soaked in 4 c. water for 10 minutes and drained
2 tblsp. shoyu (soy sauce)
1-2 tblsp. brown rice vinegar
1 tblsp. toasted sesame oil

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the onion until translucent and softened (about 5 minutes), add the ginger and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the salt, then the cabbages and carrots and cook until softened but still holding shape (about 7 minutes).  Add in the arame/hijiki seaweed and turn down the heat to low.  Stir all the ingredients to combine.

Finally, add in the shoyu, brown rice vinegar, and sesame oil and give it another stir.  Taste for seasoning.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

*I also had some collard stems on hand and chopped them up in small pieces and threw them in at the end to give it some extra crunch.

Oatbran Currant Cacao Cookies

My husband Harry and I are participating in a pre-season beach clean-up on the North Fork of Long Island in Jamesport tomorrow with some other people from his company.  The dirty work will be followed with a tour of the Riverhead Aquarium and lunch.  I thought a batch of cookies would keep all of the cleaners happy and energized.  These came together with a base of oat bran (remember that from the 80′s?), whole wheat pastry flour, and some finely chopped toasted almonds and pumpkin seeds.  The wet ingredients are a mix of coconut oil, butter, kefir, two flax eggs, a ripe banana, and a bit of molasses and maple syrup, the zest of an orange, cinnamon, and zante currants found there way in too.  They baked up thick and cake like with just a whisper of sweetness and fragrant from the orange zest.

Dry Ingredients:

2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1-1/2 c. oat bran (I got it at Trader Joes.  Use rolled oats if you don’t have oat bran)
1/2 c. finely chopped almonds (mine were mixed with some toasted pumpkin seeds)
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. zante currants (raisins or dried unsweetened cherries would work well too)

Wet Ingredients:

1 stick butter, melted
1 tblsp. coconut oil, melted
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 c. kefir (or thinned out yogurt)
2 flax eggs (2 tblsp. ground flax mixed with 6 tblsp. water, let sit for 10 minutes to get goopy)
1 tblsp. pure vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Toss in the zante currants and toss to coat with flour so they are not sticking together.

In a large bowl or using an stand-up mixer combine the melted butter, coconut oil, banana, kefir, flax eggs, vanilla, and orange zest.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.  Add in the cacao nibs and stir to incorporate.

Scoop by the tablespoon or by using a small ice cream scooper onto a parchment lined rimmed cookie sheet.  Bake for 14 minutes.  Remove to drying rack and cool.  Makes about 40 cookies.

Butternut Squash Almond Butter Spread

Always looking for another way to use sunny butternut squash, it occurred to me that it would be delicious in a hummus style creamy dip that could be served at room temperature spread over pitas and drizzled with olive oil and toasted pumpkin seeds.  I’ve enjoyed it so far as a spread but also as an impromptu pasta sauce and thinned down into a quick soup.  It could take a sweet dessert like route as well as a pudding with some more creamy yogurt whisked in or folded with some freshly whipped cream or coconut cream.

Butternut Squash Almond Butter Spread
Makes 3 cups

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/3 c. unsalted almond butter
1/3 c. Greek yogurt
6 dates, soaked in hot water, drained and reserved

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Toss the cubed butternut squash with the extra virgin olive oil, cinnamon, and salt.  Spread on a parchment lined or oiled rimmed cookie sheet and roast for about 60 minutes.  Cool.

When the butternut squash is cool, combine in a food processor with the almond butter, yogurt, and dates, and process until smooth.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Having a few eggs and a half a loaf of almost stale whole wheat ciabatta prompted me to make bread pudding.

Chocolate Bread Pudding
adapted from: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chocolate-Bread-Pudding-109128

1/2 whole wheat baguette, cubed (I leave the crusts on)
1 c. whole milk
1/2 c. cold coffee (tea would be lovely also)
1/4 c. coconut palm sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp. fine grain sea salt
2 oz. dark chocolate
3 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325F and butter a casserole dish.

In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, coffee, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom to a simmer.  Add in the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth, cool a bit and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs together and add a small amount of the milk and chocolate mixture to the eggs and whisk vigorously.  Add the rest of the milk mixture to the mixing bowl.

Add the bread and stir to coat.  Pour into the buttered casserole dish and let sit for about an hour to absorb the milk mixture, pressing down occasionally.

Bake in a hot water bath until the center is just set, about 45 minutes to an hour.  Serve warm or cool.

Celery Succotash

 

 

Celery Succotash

Serves 1 (or more if you are not as greedy as me)

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small shallot, finely chopped

2 teaspoons ginger, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, smashed

pinch sea salt

1 celery bunch, sliced on the bias (chop the leaves up too)

2 ears corn, shucked

1 Thai chile, halved and seeded

1/2 sweet potato ( I pierced it and baked it at 400F for about an hour, cool, and cube)

1/4 cup mint, finely chopped

2 teaspoons honey

1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add in the shallot, ginger, and garlic and sweat them for about 2 minutes until the shallots get translucent. Add in the celery and corn and let cook for about 2 minutes, stirring the whole time. Add a pinch of salt.
  2. Add in the Thai chile and the sweet potato and let cook for a minute or two to warm up. Stir in the finely chopped mint, honey, brown rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. Check for seasoning.  Take out the Thai chile.
  3. Serve as a side dish or as a main warm salad dish.

Citrus and Cranberry Curd (butter and egg free)

 

Clearing out the refrigerator is something I look forward to doing every couple of weeks.  I open the door and see how I can use up the contents to make way for new ones.  I am the only contestant in my own personal game of Chopped my refrigerator is the mystery ingredient black basket.  I made a stew from some leftover vegetables, chocolate pots de creme that cleaned out my heavy cream and egg yolks, and macaron like cookies sweetened only with dates to use the egg whites that previously went with the yolks.  Left with a tangerine, cut lemons from culinary school, and a batch of http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/sparkling-cranberries-recipe.html (that I halved the sugar), I threw it all (peels, pith, and seeds) in my Vitamix blender with a few tablespoons of honey and blitzed until it was creamy like a curd.  Curds usually have eggs and/or butter in them but I wanted a purely fruit one; which makes this not really a curd so this is really curd-like.    It is bursting with sharp lemon and orange and is slightly sweet from the already sugared cranberries.  Slathered on a muffin or scone or dolloped over a scoop of really good vanilla ice cream, it travels from breakfast to dessert easily

Citrus and Cranberry Curd
makes about 1 cup

2 whole lemons, cut into 6-8 pieces
1 tangerine, cut into 6-8 pieces
1 batch of this:  http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/sparkling-cranberries-recipe.html
2-3 tblsp. honey

Throw the cut up lemons and orange into the blender and blitz until pulverized.  Add the sparkling cranberries and honey.  You may have to scrape down the sides of your blender a lot if not doing it in a high powered blender like a https://secure.vitamix.com/reconditioned-vitamix-machine-64oz.aspx (which is completely amazing) and process until creamy.

Transfer to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.

Yankee Boxing Day

 

Christmas Eve and Day are the culmination of weeks (and sometimes months) of preparation for massive gift giving/receiving and elaborate meals that most of us need a day to recover from.  Enter the British holiday Boxing Day as a day of kicking back and visiting with friends.    Recuperate from your Christmas hangover by throwing a Boxing Day gathering where English inspired food and drink are the center of the show.

Resist the urge to hit the post holiday sales and get back into the kitchen!  Here are 5 dishes sure to waken your inner Brit with some comfort and spice.

http://www.food52.com/recipes/2023_welsh_rarebit_with_prosciutto_tomatoes_and_spinach

http://www.food52.com/recipes/6249_lamb_kebabs_with_mint_chutney

http://www.food52.com/recipes/9945_mulligatawny_carrots

http://www.food52.com/recipes/5291_chocolate_cherry_fool

http://www.food52.com/recipes/14990_cranberry_apple_sparkling_punch

Apricot Bars

I’m a late bloomer in being able to say that I like these.  Now, I am kicking myself for not partaking in them when my grandmother’s hands used to make these during the holidays.  You see, I had an aversion to all dried and candied fruits and refused to eat anything that appeared to have them within.  Oatmeal cookies, wouldn’t touch them (raisins), ditto for cinnamon raisin bread, date nut bread, and so many others that I gleefully eat and make now.  My grandmother made these at Christmas time.  My mother brought the tradition to New York and wooed my father with them while they were dating.  To keep his hands out of them before Christmas, my mom stowed them away in the freezer, doling them out as a special treat.  That’s an added perk, they freeze beautifully.   They appeared on Christmas Eve and Day.  They became what friends and neighbors requested (along with my mom’s fudge) my mother bring when invited to holiday parties and cookie swaps.

Just sweet enough with generous pieces of apricot interspersed with nuts and lightly coated with a snowy covering of powdered sugar, I am now converted from a dried fruit hater to a lover.

Apricot Bars – These are one of my maternal grandmother’s recipes that has been a favorite of my father’s since my mother made them for him in the late 60’s while they were dating.

This is an easy recipe to double.  They go fantastically with tea.

Preheat the oven to 350F

 Apricots

  •  2/3 c. dried apricots, chopped
  1. Rinse and then cover with water in a saucepan, cover and boil for 10 minutes.  Drain, cool, and chop.  Set aside.

 Crust

  •  ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 3 tblsp. sugar (original recipe used ¼ c.)
  • 1 c. flour (I used King Arthur white whole wheat flour)
  1. Butter an 8X8 square pan.  Mix the butter, sugar, and flour until crumbly with your hands or a pastry cutter.
  2. Spread into the pan and pack down and a little bit up the sides.  Bake 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
  3.  Remove from oven and let cool a bit.

 Apricot Topping

  •  1/3 c. flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. + 2 tblsp. brown sugar (the original recipe had 1 cup brown sugar, feel free to play around with the sugar amounts)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ½ c. nuts, chopped (I used chestnuts but you could use any kind you’d like)
  • chopped apricots
  • confectioners sugar
  1.  In a small bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine.
  2.  In another medium bowl, beat the eggs lightly and then gradually beat in the brown sugar.  Add the flour mixture and mix well.  Add vanilla, nuts, and the chopped apricots and mix to combine.
  3. Spread over the crust and bake for 30 minutes.  Cool in pan on a rack.  Cut into squares and roll in confectioner’s sugar while still a little warm.
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