17 Fri, 2011 § 10 Comments
Early mornings are meant for the kitchen. Flours dust the counter tops as the sun slowly reaches its way across bowls & bamboo mixing spoons. Sometimes, 4am (or even 5am) feels too early to be awake & baking breads; but often, I relish this unique perspective of our home as the house fills with light & sweet aromas.
While I enjoy this intimate time with myself, it’s not purely selfish. Dave doesn’t seem to mind waking to smells of freshly baked millet muffins or Summer-infused quick breads. I look forward to sending him to work with a scone, a fresh slice of sweet bread or a muffin.
I have taken to creating more baked goods rather than buying bread from the store, especially as I am delving into gluten-free varieties. Baking my own is less expensive, but more than that, it’s rewarding & sparks creativity. Experimenting with gluten-free flours is becoming more interesting than sticking to whole wheat, though I still rotate in batches made with kamut. There is much more variance & diversity of flavors & textures when you explore what lies beyond all-purpose & wheat flour. Corn. Oat. Rice. Buckwheat. Amaranth. Almond. Each is distinct in its nuances & offers something different to your baking.
I am becoming very partial to the combination of almond & oat.
Orange & saffron as well.
I have just started baking with a scale & following weight ratios rather than measuring by volume (ie measuring cups), which immediately amped up my confidence in creating rather than simply following recipes. Baked goods each have a ratio of flours to liquids to eggs to fats. What makes bread different from pancakes — & these different from pizza dough or a croissant — is not just the ingredients, but how those ingredients work in proportion to each other. Of course, there are still many recipes out there I have fallen in love with which need little to no adapting; but baking by ratio gives me the freedom to make these recipes my own by more easily swapping flours or the type of liquid or fat I use.
Try it. My kitchen scale set us back only $20 & is more than worth it.
To ease you into this, I did translate my recipe back into approximate volume measurements. These will only be useful if you use the exact ingredients I did though, because each flour, oil, etc has its own specific weight. I’m a newby just playing around, having fun & certainly no expert. This is a great post if you are interested in learning more about cooking with ratios.
The ratio for baking quick bread is 2 parts flour: 2 parts liquid: 1 part egg: 1 part fat. To fill a 9 x 5 loaf pan, you would need 227 grams of flours, 227 grams of liquid of any kind, 113 grams egg (2 of them) or egg substitute & 113 grams of fats. This ratio also works for making muffins.
Almond Meal Muffins with Orange Zest & Saffron
makes 12 muffins
or slightly fewer if you want a higher muffin top
- 110 g almond flour (~heaping 3/4 cup)
- 117 g oat flour (~heaping 1 cup)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 131 g orange blossom honey (~1/2 cup)
- 63 g coconut milk (~1/4 cup)
- 34 g fresh orange juice (4T) & zest from one orange
- 2 eggs (113 g)
- 113 g coconut oil, melted (~1/2 cup)
- tiny pinch of saffron, seriously only a few strands
Preheat oven to 350*F.
In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients separately. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients & mix. Fold in zest & saffron. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling to the rim. Bake for 13 – 15 minutes until muffin tops are lightly golden & a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
These are crumby & moist, best eaten with a fork, fresh & warm from the oven.
Do you bake using ratios?
p.s. The first bread is my vegan variation of Marla’s Strawberry Snack Cakes.
2 Mon, 2011 § 8 Comments
Heidi’s Millet Muffins.
They are slightly crunchy, still fluffy & smooth on the inside, not overly sweet & have the perfect kiss of lemon. They are reminiscent of poppy seed muffins, which are my absolute favorite. Next time, I just might toss in a few poppy seeds for fun.
I adapted her recipe slightly to create a vegan version but left the major components untouched; & though they might not be as pretty as hers, I would wager they are just as delicious. We also made the Tinto de Verano from her recipe sampler over the weekend…& plan to enjoy her Avocado with Mustard Seeds later this week. Yes, I really want her new cookbook. I will be swinging by B&N very soon to take a closer peek.
Adapted from Super Natural Every Day
makes 12 muffins
Preheat oven to 400*F. Prep a muffin pan with oil or butter or line with paper liners. I like my silicone baking cups, which I place on a regular baking sheet.
- 2 & 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup raw millet (Heidi’s recipe calls for 1/3 cup, but I like the extra crunch from the millet)
- 1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup yogurt (I used dairy-free coconut Amande yogurt made with cultured almond milk)
- 2 flax “eggs” (whisk together 2 T freshly ground flaxseeds with 6 T warm water & let thicken ~10 minutes)
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
- 1/2 cup agave or honey
- grated zest from 1 lemon & 2 T juice from half the lemon
Combine flour, millet, baking powder, baking soda & salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, flax”eggs”, butter, agave, zest & lemon juice until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients & mix until flour is just incorporated. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling just to the rim.
Bake for 15 minutes until muffin tops are golden brown & just beginning to crack. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Have you ever baked with millet? What do you think of Amande yogurt?
26 Tue, 2011 § 2 Comments
Did you miss us? No? Did you even notice we had left? No? 😛 Tricky aren’t we?
(even despite the rain.)
Are we really back?
We are, but now I can reminisce over our adventures with you.
We should always start with food though; don’t you agree?
I love quinoa granola & have found its perfect match: molasses. Try it. You’ll never look back.
Molasses is a rich source of iron & calcium — important for those following a plant-based diet — as well as magnesium & potassium, providing 20% of the daily recommended value for each of these nutrients.
Sprouted Quinoa & Pear Granola with Molasses & Nutmeg
Preheat oven to 250*F.
- 1 pear, diced
- 1 C quinoa, sprouted
- 1/2 C almonds, chopped
- 1/2 C ground flaxseeds
- 1/2 C black sesame seeds
- 1/4 C sunflower seeds
- 1/4 C pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 C buckwheat groats
- 1/2 C hemp protein powder
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- cinnamon, optional
- 1/4 C coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 C molasses
- 2 T apple juice
Stir together dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients separately. Stir wet ingredients into the quinoa mixture & mix together. Spread granola onto a parchment-lined baking sheet & bake ~1 hour. Allow to cool completely before breaking into pieces & storing in an airtight container.
Homemade granola — especially quinoa granola — is great for camping, backpacking or hiking. It is the perfect way to cram a lot of nutrients into a light-weight, easy-to-pack & store snack. Along with pieces of banana, this was delicious, light fuel in the mornings. Dave enjoyed it so much, I’ll be sure to make enough to share next time. 😉
Do you cook with molasses?
18 Mon, 2011 § 3 Comments
Meet one of the random dishes that triggers a good amount of teasing.
Did I mention it is breakfast?
Dave — & most people — find it bizarre I can eat greens in the morning.
I feel completely nourished & balanced when I start the day with something like this though.
Immediately after a good swim & moderate bike ride, I had a recovery drink of coconut water, maca, blue berries, half a banana, a tablespoon of hemp protein, ground flax & carob powder. About an hour later, braised collard greens tasted perfect.
Cashew cheese complemented the collards & is a quick & simple condiment to make. I have found the ratio I like for a small batch using 1/4 C raw cashews : 2 T nutritional yeast : 1/2 T flax oil. I use the “chopping” attachment of my magic bullet to first grind the cashews to powder, then add the nutritional yeast & process to mix. Add the oil & combine till slightly moist & crumbly. This lasts 2 – 3 servings for me. You can make a larger batch: simply use half the amount of nutritional yeast as cashews & a quarter the amount of oil compared to the nutritional yeast. I am going to try it using sunflower seeds next time.
Prepare the collard greens by slicing the leaves from the stems; discard stems (or give to your dog to munch on). Roll each leave in on itself & slice thinly into ribbons. Heat a small amount of coconut oil in a medium pan on medium to medium-high heat; add the collard ribbons & toss using tongs. Cook until the leaves are lightly braised (seared), tossing occasionally. Splash with balsamic vinegar & toss again. Cover & reduce heat to low. Cook until leaves wilt; add currants & chickpeas. Cover & continue to cook, tossing so it wilts & braises evenly, until collards are soft. Serve in a wide bowl & top with hemp seeds & cashew cheese. A mochi waffle on the side provided a nice, contrasting crunch.
I felt fueled for our day of climbing — our first trip to the Pit!
Do you ever like greens in the morning?
12 Tue, 2011 § 3 Comments
Have you ever had kamut berries? I am in love. They are much bigger than wheat or spelt berries & have a nutty flavor with nice, “pop” texture.
Sometimes I do not plan or prep my workweek meals very well & end up hungry mid-day, stranded without sufficient calories. My blood sugar drops, my mood turns c.r.a.z.y & I “nearly ruin the night” — or so I have been told. 😉 Harsh? I certainly hope so. He assured me “once you get food, everything is kosher again.” I am definitely one of those eat-something-small-every-couple-hours kind of girl…otherwise Hyde emerges.
A big batch of grain salad made over the weekend is perfect to last throughout the week & gives me one more snacking option to keep my blood sugar level. I was determined to plan my work meals better this week; so when I saw kamut berries at the store on Sunday, I knew what was going in the pot that afternoon. This salad has been my mid-morning or early afternoon snack.
It is pretty simple & basic, but like I said, I’m in love.
Kamut Berry Salad with Cranberry Beans, Raisins & Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Rinse ~1.5 cups kamut berries & add to 4 cups boiling water [I like my grains a bit chewier, so I use less water than the 4.5 cups recommended but check on them to make sure they don’t run out of water]. Simmer 1.5 – 2 hours until water is absorbed & kamut is cooked. Allow to sit covered ~10 minutes, then fluff.
Mix with cooked cranberry beans [I soaked & cooked ~3/4 cup dry beans], 1/4 cup raisins & 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds.
You can stir in a dressing or leave it “naked” like I did. This way I can customize each serving so I don’t get tired of one strong flavor throughout the week. I like it with champagne-tarragon vinaigrette, simply a little flax oil & sea salt or maybe a splash of white balsamic; & sometimes, I just leave it as is [“naked”]. I also have artichoke hearts & citrus-stuffed olives on hand I can add on a whim. You can always play with other herbs, like basil, or reheat it with a bit of milk, cinnamon & maple for an alternate to the usual oatmeal breakfast.
I highly recommend making big batches of meals that stay fresh or develop flavor before your busy week starts.
It is only Tuesday, but so far, we’ve only seen Jekyll. 😉 [I think — I don’t know, ask Dave.]
Have you tried kamut berries?
Do you plan or prep any week-day meals during the weekend?
7 Thu, 2011 § 5 Comments
By 7AM, Dave & I had both dropped the F-bomb.
Mine slipped out because Eisley was sick this morning. She tried to make it outside but only got as far as the door: my fault for not realizing. If only more of it had ended up on the linoleum instead of the carpet, maybe I would have kept my cool. I try not to act mad at her; it’s not her fault…but it’s really really gross cleaning up dog…well, you know…first thing in the morning. So I guess I thought I would feel better if I tried to push blame onto Dave:
“Why didn’t you tell me she was sick last night?”
“Uh, because she wasn’t sick last night.”
Even after my immature blame-shifting, he still made me a morning smoothie. He often spoils me with a protein shake & this was one of the best! F-bomb-dropping worthy in fact. Dave does not use the word often & never out of anger (something that is slooowly rubbing off onto me); so when he says “ready to have your world f*- in’ rocked?”, I know I am. 🙂
Strawberries can only make me happy, especially when served by the man I love.
He combined coconut water, banana, maca powder, strawberries, hemp protein powder & topped it off with about 1/4 cup vanilla soy milk before blending it to smooth & creamy perfection.
Strawberries are finally coming in season, so do yourself & someone you love a favor by brightening your day with the simple, fresh treat of these precious berries.
Thanks for brightening my morning, Dave. You did, even if it was delayed onset. 😉
30 Wed, 2011 § 6 Comments
My diet has not been balanced this week. My mouth & tummy are seeing primarily carbs.carbs.carbs. Ridiculous because heavy carbs are not even what I am really craving. All I actually want is to dine on fruit & vegetables. I wasn’t staying hydrated either — & that was before I started bike commuting again — now I’m really feeling the thirst. When I am dehydrated, I crave fruit & juice. Does anyone else experience this? I don’t have a juicer, & we try to eat seasonally, which limits fruit right now. On hand, we have apples, lemons & oranges [citrus is in season here — well, in Phoenix which is only a couple hours away]. Are melons in season yet? 😦 I really want a cantaloupe.
Since I’m actually craving light fruit & veggies, I decided this Wednesday was going to be all about planning & prepping to better fuel & cleanse myself for the rest of the week [& on]. After all, Wednesdays are about me. 😉 I try not to be an “on Monday, I’ll start…”-kind-of-gal. If I want & need to make a change, I should do it now. It’s easy to put it off but resist!
Natalie reminded me of one of my favorite salad toppings; then Angela went one step further & inspired me to make it my salad. Tonight I threw together a big serving of her Spring Clean Raw Beet, Carrot & Apple Salad with extra beet. I also added extra lemon juice, so my chopped apples will survive until tomorrow [plus, I like lemon]. In the future, I will make this with white balsamic vinegar to keep it looking fresher. Dark balsamic made everything slightly brown: not so pretty. I think white will complement the flavors a bit more as well; champagne vinegar would be good too — oh with tarragon! Looks like I’ll be making more of this soon. I plan to top it with hemp seeds & maybe even some toasted almonds.
Some days I miss the shredder/grater attachment on my food processor; then I remind myself I do like the experience of connecting with my food through simple kitchen tools.
If you want practice in presence, grate your own carrots by hand.
— otherwise you lose part of a finger or nail ! which isn’t good for anyone.
A good sweat in the morning & fresh, simple foods should have me feeling my best again soon!
What helps you get back to feeling balanced & cleansed?
Beet fan? yea or nay? I think you either hate them or love them. I am obviously a YEA; Dave is a resounding NAY. This may be one I’ll never win. 😦