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Showing posts from September, 2011

Cacao Nib-Coconut Granola

The boys asked me the other day why we never eat cereal. Like what? Like other kids do. What are you talking about? You know, Mom, like Cherrios or Corn Flakes. I'm sure that you can find an organic kind of Cherrios. Okay, I get it. What do you think about granola? You can make granola? Sure. And it's organic? Sure.     Here goes... 4 C rolled organic oats 1/2 C sugar in the raw 1/2 C organic unsweetened flaked coconut 1/2 C raw organic cacao nibs 1/4 C organic flax seed meal 1/2 t smoked sea salt 1/3 C canola oil 3 T raw honey dash of ground ginger, ancho chili powder, ground nutmeg 4 t organic chocolate extract* In a large bowl mix oats, sugar, coconut, cacao nib, flax seed meal, and salt. In a saucepan heat canola oil and honey until warm. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate extract. Pour this mixture over the oat mixture and mix thoroughly till everything is completely coated.     Spread this evenly on a parchment covered coo

Cacao Nib Brownie Sundae

I was craving something sweet tonight after reading Belle's post about her creme brulee. Since I still haven't unpacked my torch yet from the move, and in the vein of my chocolate class, I opted to make a brownie sundae. 1 C butter, melted 2 C organic granulated sugar 4 large eggs 1 1/4 C cocoa powder 1 t baking powder 1 T unsulphered molasses 1 t ground ginger 1/2 t ground ancho chili 1/2 t ground cinnamon 1/2 t ground nutmeg 1 1/2 C white whole wheat flour 2 T raw, organic cacao nibs Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan for thick brownies; I opted to split the batter into two pans to make thinner brownies. Place melted butter in a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Add 4 eggs into the bowl and beat in cocoa, spices, baking powder, and spices till smooth. Add the flour and nibs, stirring until just moistened. Spoon the batter into lightly greased pans. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick ins

Rice and Peas

When I saw some shelled English peas this afternoon at Trader Joe's, I remembered having seen a Jamaican recipe for "rice and peas." Turns out it should really be called "rice and beans." The Jamaican recipe doesn't have a single pea in it; they call beans "peas." Go figure! Still, I knew that rice + peas = a complete protein. So, I set out to create my own [REAL] rice and peas recipe for dinner tonight. I started with a recipe for matar pulao (Indian rice and peas) and adapted based on what I had on-hand. sliced leeks fresh English peas olive oil cooked brown basmati rice coconut milk ground ginger curry powder smoked sea salt I sauteed the leeks in a splash of olive oil until they begin to turn translucent. Season with spices then add the peas and cooked rice. Stir in coconut milk and toss rice till coated. Cover the pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow the peas and rice to steam till the peas are tender.

Chili Con Cacao

I've used cocoa powder in my chili recipes for a long time. Check out my Chili al Diavolo that won "Grand Champion" at a friend's 4th of July cook-off a couple of years ago. But today I added some raw organic cacao nibs for some added flavor, nutrition, and culinary intrigue. It was delicious! 1 pound of 96/4 ground beef 3 C cooked black beans 2 strips of bacon splash of olive oil 1 large can of crushed tomatoes paprika cumin ancho chili sea salt unsulphered molasses soy sauce red wine 1/4 C raw, organic cacao nibs Sauté bacon in a splash of olive oil till cooked, but not crispy. Add ground beef and cook through completely. Season with paprika, cumin, ancho chili, smoked sea salt and add in the black beans. Sitr in tomatoes, molasses, soy sauce, red wine, and cacao nibs. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheese. Garnish with a few more nibs.

Cacao Yogurt Parfait

 Remember that scene from Shrek ... "You know what else everybody likes? Parfaits. Parfaits are delicious. You never go up to somebody and say 'Hey you wanna go get some parfait?' They ain't gonna say 'Hell, no, I don't like no parfait.'" Donkey is right on the money with that sentiment. Seriously who doesn’t like a parfait? Layer after layer of deliciousness? I mean, c’mon. Well, we love parfaits. I served this parfait with our applesauce-cacao nib muffins this morning. plain organic Greek yogurt honey raspberries cacao nibs

Applesauce- Cacao Nib Muffins

The cacao nibs - touted as "chocolate at its wildest and healthiest" - add an intriguing bite to these muffins. Love it. 2 C white whole wheat flour 2 t baking powder 1-1/2 t baking soda 1 t ground cardamom 1 t ground ginger dash of ancho chili powder 4 eggs 1-1/2 C organic raw sugar 1 C unsweetened applesauce 1/2 C olive oil 1/4 C organic raw cacao nib Preheat oven to 350. Whisk all wet ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in cacao nibs. Fold in dry ingredients until just moistened. Scrape batter into cupcake liners and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Shallot-Beer-Cacao Nib Marmalade

When my two pounds of organic cacao nibs arrived yesterday, I began to search for unique ways to use them. I stumbled across a recipe for a shallot-beer marmalade , brain-child of former Chez Panisse pastry chef David Lebovitz. And, thus, begins my culinary adventures with cacao. Of course I can't leave well-enough alone and had to do my usual tweaking. He uses prunes which I will happily skip. And I'll add what Dylan calls "those salty little beans." 8 large shallots, peeled and sliced 2 T olive oil big pinch of smoked sea salt a few turns of freshly-cracked black pepper 1/2 C beer (I used a Mission St. Brown Ale) 1/2 C organic granulated sugar 2 T unsulphered molasses 3 T balsamic vinegar 8 calimyrna figs, destemmed and quartered 2 T capers 1 heaping T organic raw cacao nibs In a medium-sized heavy-duty skillet or saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the shallots over moderate heat with a pinch of salt and pepper, stirring frequently, until they’re soft and wilt

Adventures in Cacao

One of the reasons that I teach elective classes at the boys' school is that it keeps me learning. In seeking to create a fun, educational trimester for a dozen little kids, I get to read, research, and explore on my own beforehand. When I was first teaching, I picked subjects that I knew well; I didn't have to step too far out of my comfort zone to teach a trimester of Italian language and culture, ocean conservation, or silk-painting. Then the boys began requesting things. After we visited the King Tut exhibit at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, Riley asked if I could teach a class about Egyptology; and because Dylan loves all Australian animals, he talked me into teaching an Outback Adventure class. I didn't know much about either of those subjects, but I do now and we had a blast while we all learned! This time around, I wanted to teach a class about chocolate. Being an International School, one of the requirements for the elective proposals is that there be som

Bison Organic Beer

Okay, I'm officially in love. Well, maybe not in love exactly, but I am certainly enamoured with the beer that I'm reading about from Bison Brewery in Berkeley : honey basil, gingerbread, and, an eternal favorite, chocolate stout. Wow. Now I just need to figure out where to get my hands on a bottle or two. If you have any leads - local to me, that is - I'll happily share my six-pack with you. Lemme know.

Red Wine-Olive Oil Cookies

Craving something sweet tonight, I really wanted to bake some cookies. But, alas, I had no butter in the house. What's a cookie-craving gal to do...without having to hoof it out to the grocery store? Make olive oil cookies, of course! Baking with olive oil creates cookies that are more cake-like in texture, but with a crisp outside. Just make sure you use a good, flavorful olive oil. 2 1/2 C white whole wheat flour 1/2 t baking powder Pinch pink Himalaya salt 1 C organic granulated sugar 2 eggs 1/2 C olive oil, plus a little for baking stone 1/2 C dry red wine 1 T aniseed Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs with the olive oil and wine. Use a rubber spatula to stir the liquid mix plus aniseeds into the dry one, just until well combined; if the mixture is too stiff, add a little more wine. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto a lightly baking stone and back for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool a couple of minutes, then remove

Roasted Cauliflower

I decided to roast a head of cauliflower - from our High Ground Organics CSA box - along with my honey-key lime pork tenderloin for dinner. I quartered the cauliflower, drizzled it with honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and sprinkled it with smoked sea salt. I covered the baking dish with foil and placed it in the 350 degree oven along with the meat. After 50 minutes I uncovered the cauliflower and returned it to the oven to let it brown a bit. Easy and delicious...and the best thing: my 7-year-old declared, "I LOVE cauliflower! I like the orange caulilflower, but the white cauliflower is so good. Thanks, Mommy!"

Honey-Key Lime Pork Tenderloin

I love roasting pork tenderloin on a busy school night. All I have to do is heat the oven to 350 degrees, season the meat, pop it in the oven, and - voil à! - an hour later, dinner is ready! Tonight I used 2 T minced garlic, 2 T honey, juice from 3 key limes. I rubbed the mixture over the entire tenderloin, placed it in a baking dish, and covered it with foil. I roasted it in the oven, covered, for 50 minutes, then finished off the hour uncovered. I served this with roasted cauliflower from our High Ground Organics CSA box, steamed beets from Belle's garden, and a fiery tomato-quince chutney .


Wanting a magical mouthful that showcased the sweet tomatoes from Belle's garden, I decided to whip up a Tuscan salad that features fresh tomatoes and day-old bread: panzanella . There are probably as many versions of panzanella as there are Italian cooks; because the recipe is so simple, the secret to a tasty panzanella is fresh, flavorful ingredients...whatever you put in it. fresh tomatoes, cubed hearty day-old bread, cubed (I used some leftover double chocolate stout dark rye bread ) garlic, minced olive oil smoked sea salt fresh basil, finely chopped fresh oregano ciliegia mozzarella balsamic vinegar In a large flat bottom pan, lightly brown the garlic in a splash of olive oil. Add the cubed bread and stir the bread continuously so that it doesn't burn. Cook till the bread is toasted but not crouton-hard. In the meantime, place the tomatoes and mozzarella in a large mixing bowl. Once the bread is done, add it to the bowl. Season with sea salt. Splash with olive oil a

Pumpkin Molasses Loaf for Danya

Belle had given me a whole pumpkin the other day. So I roasted it, made some puree, and decided to whip up a loaf of wheat-free pumpkin-molasses bread for our favorite gluten-free ten-year-old. Happy birthday, Danya! 2 C sweet sorghum flour 1/2 C ground almonds 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 t sea salt 1 T baking powder 1 t baking soda 1 t ground cardamom 1 t ground nutmeg 1/2 t ground cloves 1 C organic whole milk 2 eggs 3 T olive oil 2 T unsulphered molasses 2 C pumpkin puree Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together all wet ingredients. Mix all dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened. Spoon into a prepared loaf pans. Bake until golden brown (approximately an hour) and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Zucchini Pancakes

Another dinner, another cooking adventure from Secret Recipe Club . Because I have zucchini coming out of my ears - thanks for Pia's gigantic specimen and my High Ground Organics CSA box - I decided to try This Mamma Cooks's zucchini pancakes . Here's my take... • 2 pounds zucchini, grated • minced garlic • 2 eggs •1 1/4 C sweet sorghum flour • 2 t baking powder •1 t smoked sea salt • 1/2 t pepper • canola oil 1. Grate the zucchini. 2. In a bowl, mix rest of ingredients, except the canola oil. 3. Immediately stir in the zucchini and mix well. 4. Heat oil in a large sauté pan or pancake skillet over medium heat. 5. Drop 1/4 cup of batter on to the pan or skillet. Cook the pancakes about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.   Serve with a scoop of fiery tomato-quince chutney topped with crumbled feta cheese.

Molasses Zucchini Bread

When a friend gave me this giant zucchini from his wife's garden, I asked, "What am I supposed to do with that?" You're supposed to make zucchini bread. "You are aware that your wife has an oven, too, right?!?" OK. So, I brought it home. When Dylan saw it, there was no doubt in his mind what I was supposed to do with it. He simply inquired, "How many loaves of zucchini bread will this make, Mommy?" Seven, it turns out. This recipe makes one large loaf or four mini loaves. 2 C white whole wheat flour 1/2 C ground almonds 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 t sea salt 1 T baking powder 1 t baking soda 1 t ground cardamom 1 t ground nutmeg 1/2 t ground cloves 1 C organic plain yogurt 2 eggs 3 T olive oil 2 T unsulphered molasses 2 C grated zucchini Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together all wet ingredients. Mix all dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened. Spoon into a prepared loaf pans. Bake until golden brown (approximately an h

Cauliflower-Chickpea Curry

Another tempting dish on this month's Secret Recipe Club : A Fit and Spicy Life's Chickpea-Cauliflower Curry  that she adapted from Katherine Martinelli's version . As always, my execution of a recipe depends, largely, on what I have on-hand. I still had an orange cauliflower head and potatoes from my High Ground Organics CSA box; I always have a can of organic chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) in my cupboard for when I don't have time to soak and simmer them; and I love coconut milk in my curries. I ditched the tomatoes and the onion. Here's my version of this dinner... olive oil 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 head orange cauliflower, cut into florets 4 small potatoes, cubed 5 carrots, sliced 2 T curry powder 1 t ground ginger 1/2 t ground cardamom 1 can organic chickpeas 1 can light coconut milk Salt and pepper Heat a little oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic, potatoes, carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the caulifl

Cinnamon Quince Puff Pancake

I will definitely be cooking through several of the entries from September's Secret Recipe Club . So many delectable looking dishes. I'm pleased to be part of this group of talented foodie bloggers. One that caught my eye was a Puff Pancake with Caramelized Cinnamon Apples  by Grumpy's Honeybunch whose origins were derived from Cookin' Mimi's Apple Puff Pancake . A single word came to mind when I read through those recipes: breakfast! So this morning I whipped up my own puff pankcake. I was about to chalk it up to a kitchen flop because it didn't appear to be puffing. But in the final minutes in the oven, it puffed up beautifully.  Here's my version... 1 C white whole wheat flour 4 eggs 1 C coconut milk 1/4 t pink Himalaya salt 2 T olive oil cinnamon poached quince powdered sugar for garnish Preheat oven to 400 degrees.In a medium bowl mix together the flour, salt, eggs, and coconut milk until smooth. Butter a round baking dish. Pour

Molasses-Rye Bread

I did not feel like going to the store for a loaf of bread. So I kneaded a molasses-rye dough for 10 minutes. The store was looking better and better as each minute passed. But this will, wihtout a doubt, taste better! I started with the Honey Rye Bread recipe in my trusty Country Breads of the World cookbook by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake...and made some changes. Surprise! Not really...I can't follow a recipe to save my life. 2 T unsulphered molasses 1-1/3 C hot water 1 T dry active yeast 3 C white whole wheat flour 1-1/2 C dark rye flour 1/2 t Hawaiian red alaea salt 1 t fennel seeds extra molasses for finishing Dissolve molasses in hot water, stirring well. Add yeast and let it bloom for 5 minutes. In the meantime, blend the flours, then make a well in the center. Pour in the yeast mixture and gradually mix in the flour to make soft but not sticky dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead thoroughly for 10 minutes. Return dough to a bowl a

Sesame Wilted Chard

I needed something as both a visual and flavorful foil to my Garlic Sake-Soy Tenderloin  for dinner tonight. I had some chard from my High Ground Organics CSA box so I opted for a wilted chard sprinkled with white sesame seeds. I rinsed and chopped the chard into 1" lengths. Then dropped it into a hot pan with a splash of olive oil. Minced garlic and a splash of soy sauce mirrored the flavor of the pork. Cook till just wilted and serve with a sprinkling of white sesame seeds.

Garlic Sake-Soy Pork Tenderloin

Roasted pork tenderloin is my go-to dinner on a busy school night. I can season the pork, stick it in the oven, and leave it to roast while I help the boys with their homework. Tonight I rubbed the tenderloin with 2 T minced garlic and splashed it with some sake and soy sauce. Then I popped it, covered with foil, into a 350 degree oven and roasted it for approximately an hour. I let it rest for five minutes before slicing it and serving it with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds. So moist and so flavorful...and relatively painless to make.

The Risotto of Your Dreams

As today was reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club, I anxiously scrolled through all 75 entries wanting to see who had my blog and what recipe was chosen. I have to admit, I probably blushed scarlet from Heavenly Treats and Treasure's comments: "Her fearless approach to baking is refreshing and inspiring - it encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and try new foods and combinations I hadn't thought of previously." Wow. Thank you. That is exactly why I blog. Click here to see her version of my Creamy Chocolate Risotto . I love the changes she made - adding a splash of Frangelico, dark chocolate, grated orange zest, and a little mascarpone cheese for an extra velvety texture. A dollop of vanilla whipped cream tops it off, along with some toasted hazelnuts and cocoa nibs for a deliciously crunchy contrast. I am definitely going to have to give her adaptation a try!

Secret Recipe Club (SRC) Reveal: Meet the Swans

This being my first month of participating in the Secret Recipe Club , I hope I'm doing everything correctly. What's the Secret Recipe Club, you ask? It's a group organized by Amanda of Amanda's Cookin' . Each month, every participant is assigned to someone else's blog from which they pick a recipe - or two - to make and post, but it's all a secret until the big day. Today's the day. I always love a kitchen challenge and some culinary adventure, but I'm a little bit nervous here. I was assigned the  Meet the Swans blog and immediately got to work perusing the "Kitchen with Krista" section. So many treats, so little time. From her Easy and Elegant - Double Chocolate Ice Cream Waffle CupCakes  to her Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars , everything looked delectable. But being the savory gal that I am, I decided to try my hand at her Beer Bread.  I loved the simplicity: three ingredients, or four if you don't have self-rising flour. B