Eggplant + Sweet Potato Curry with Coconut Milk

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It rained last night & all day today
so the lake I can’t quite see
over the tree line is pure frothy white.

 

There is mist everywhere
& I am alone in it.

 

The white light
burns my eyes, sears a holy purpose
in my human frame.

 

I’m setting out
on a new journey, ever faithful.
Early on, I walked away
from everything, from things I loved.

 

But now, when I come to the ocean,
as I know I will, foaming
like some impossible hell,
I won’t despair or surrender.

 

I’ll find a tree, growing from a crag
on the shore & I’ll cut it down
with the force of my loneliness.

 

There is the shape of a boat
hidden beneath the bark,
I know it.

 

So I’ll release it,
using my most tender memories
as tools. I’ll continue.

 

Nothing
will block my way.

- Nate Pritts, from “Mist Everywhere”

 

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We tend to eat curry fairly frequently, and it lends itself to being highly adaptable. I have a recipe that I’ve used in the past, but often choose a random one that looks good from the internet. Recently, I’ve been asked by a few friends if I can share a version that Will and I like, and in the interest of The Recipe Redux challenge of experimenting with spices this month, I decided the time has come to lay down a good base. By that, I mean the vegetables and protein can be changed up depending on the season, but this combination of coconut milk, spices, and sweet raisins will work for all sorts of variations. I’ve had a turmeric root hanging out in the freezer for a few months and finally decided to branch out and actually use it. I frequently use dried turmeric, but just like fresh ginger, fresh turmeric is easy to incorporate into recipes. I like to store both in the freezer as they can be used whenever necessary, and then use a micro-grater on them while still frozen. Fresh turmeric is not always available, so if not, the dried kind can be substituted instead.

 

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 Eggplant + Sweet Potato Curry with Coconut Milk, serves 4-6
1 1/2 Tbs. coconut or olive oil
3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalepeño pepper, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped
1 large eggplant, chopped
1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp.chili powder
3/4 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbs. fresh turmeric, grated (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, grated
11 oz. light coconut milk
2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
2 cups kale, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
fresh cilantro, to serve
cooked long grain brown rice, to serve

Directions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil, moving around the pan to coat the bottom evenly. Toss in leeks, garlic, sweet potato and jalepeño; stir; let cook for about 10-15 minutes, until sweet potato has become slightly soft. Stir in the eggplant and cook for 10 minutes longer, or until both eggplant and sweet potato are cooked through.

Once the veggies are tender, add the spices. Give them a minute or so to toast and then pour in the coconut milk, lemon juice, beans, kale, and raisins. Stir everything together and let the flavors meld for 5-10 minutes more. Adjust seasonings to taste, and enjoy with rice and cilantro.


Moroccan Eggplant Mini Galettes with Chickpeas + Harissa

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There’s a platter loaded with all the things I’ve been holding on to so tightly. I’ve got it in my outstretched arms, hoping the precariously balanced load won’t topple over before I can let it go. My fingers have been clenched so tightly around each item, grasping for control.

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As if brought in by the winds of seasonal change, this last month has come with significant doubt, mental upheaval, physical pain. It’s brought back past issues I thought were well behind me. All month, I have been holding fast to each day, fingers still entrenched in the managing, yet knowing there is something within trying to break free.

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Perfectly situated in this storm are the conversations I’ve been having. They are purely surface conversations and so ingrained are my answers that I toss them out before I think of how I truly want to respond. I’ve spent the better part of 27 years dishing out as little about myself as possible and I purposely avoid asking the tough questions of others because questioning too, might reveal too much. The conversations that haven’t been happening are more honest and they’re haunting me day and night, telling me I’ve got to start being more real.

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I had a moment in adoration a couple weeks ago, bulldozed by a message that broke me completely open, empty, crying, hanging on to a vision and His firm truth. That same message has been bouncing off the cavern walls in my mind ever since and each time doubt comes, the message is there, lurking in the background, telling me to trust the process.

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As I look at the platter, it’s contents are overwhelming. I hold out my arms as far as I can, shoving it further away. All it takes to let go is deciding. I don’t need to be in control anymore. Hand it over. Trust. The lesson is in the unknowing.

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Interspersed with all this internal struggle is the art of everyday living, and in that we’ve been eating these mini galettes. They are extra-spicy, sweet, and comfortable all in one. Our garden’s eggplants finally got ripe and the makings of this recipe have been in the back of my brain for months waiting oh-so-patiently for those plants to yield. The first batch had cayenne and a healthy dose of black pepper, and only jalepeños in the harissa, and it was a touch spicy without enough sweet balance. We threw in raisins because raisins-go-in-everything-round-these-parts, and ditched the cayenne and black pepper. Will complained they lost too much oompf, so the black pepper is back. Seriously, no, we don’t really need to eat black pepper, jalepeño, spicier-harissa and cayenne-infused pie. So we’ll just stick with the first three and it’s perfect. If you’re not such a spice-fan, ditch the jalepeño all-together, cut back on the black pepper, and if you’re purchasing harissa, taste it before adding the entire amount! Do make these though–or request an invite to dinner–because the time has come, both for eating rustic little Moroccan-inspired pastries and getting comfortable in the unknowing.

 
 
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Moroccan Eggplant Mini-Galettes with Chickpeas and Harissa, makes 8
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 small eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 1/4 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 jalepeño, diced
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup raisins 
1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup harissa
1 recipe Quinoa and Olive Oil Pastry
 
Quinoa and Olive Oil Pastry, adapted from “Small Plates and Sweet Treats”
1 cup brown rice flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup quinoa flour
2/3 cups almond flour
1/2 cup garbanzo-fava flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup water
 
For the pastry:
 
1. Combine the first six ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to aerate the ingredients.  Add the olive oil and 1 cup cold water. Pulse until the dough comes together.
 
2. Transfer the dough to a work surface, knead it a couple of times and press it into a disk. Wrap in parchment paper, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.
 

Make the filling:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook eggplant, garlic, jalepeño, and onion, stirring occasionally, until tender and slightly golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the beans, raisins, apricots, and spices, and harissa. Taste to adjust seasoning, if necessary.

2. Divide the pastry dough into 8 equal pieces. Dust a work surface with brown rice flour and roll each piece into roughly an 8-inch circle. Spoon 3/4-1 cup filling into the center and pile the edges up around it, pinching it as you go. Transfer the galette to a baking pan, and follow the same process with the remaining 7 pieces.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Bake for about 10 minutes, and then turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. Cover the galettes as necessary with foil to prevent excessive browning and bake until done, about 20 more minutes. Let the galettes cool slightly before eating.
 
Harissa, adapted from “Jerusalem”
1 red sweet pepper
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds, toasted and ground in a spice grinder
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsley chopped
3 serrano chiles, coarsley chopped
1 1/2 tsp. tomato paste
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
 
For the harissa:
 
1. Place the pepper, on foil, under the broiler in the oven, turning it occasionally for about 10 minutes, until it is blackened on the outside and completely soft. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to cool. Peel the pepper and discard the skin and seeds.
 
2. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat, and fry the onion, garlic, and chiles for 10-12 minutes until they start to become caramelized.
 
3. Now turn the sweet pepper, onion/hot pepper mixture, and remaining ingredients into a food processor. Blitz everything together until it becomes a smooth paste.

The Fall Flavors Raw Brownie

 

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I loaded up on Italian plums at the farmers market last weekend. Their sign said “last of the season” and I sighed because we’ve moved so quickly into the autumn months. It was a game day and all the college students have arrived back in town. These past few days, the temperature still got uncharacteristically up into the ’90s ’round these parts, but the mornings and evenings say summer has ended. It’s dark until 7:00 am. It gets dark at 7:00pm. Blink and those last few plums will be missed. The remaining local peaches sold out early at the market a week ago and the melons are on their final hurrah.

 

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Well and truly, though I’m reluctant to transition at this time every year, I’m a sucker for each new seaon. There are new-again flavors to be savored and weather and beauty in the natural world to be appreciated. Fall is my MOST FAVORITE of all because of the crisp mornings, colorful leaves, and the natural bent of light that slants just so each afternoon. Plus, I like comfy sweaters, hugging my cuppa throughout the day, the return of the rain, and warming spices that mean more in this season than all the others.

 

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The Recipe Redux folks requested a recipe this month with dehydrated food. I don’t have the equipment or the space these days to go all DIY and and get my dehydration-station on, but I do have grandparents that have stocked my parents’ freezer with no small shortfall of prunes. My mom never uses them. I’m the only one who ever takes a random bag home, and even then, I’ve only developed one recipe over the years that I really like to eat prunes in. No longer. They go well with hazelnuts, chocolate, and spices. Plus, they can be enjoyed all season long, since you know, they’re dehydrated and all.

 
 
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This brownie really is lovely and boasts a huge plus: it’s nutrient-dense. I know all my friends and relatives roll their eyes because I make desserts that always have some form of health benefit, but raw desserts are simply the best. These brownies have all the good flavors, natural sugars from the fruit, and are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats from the raw cacoa and hazelnuts.

 
 
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Fall Flavors Raw Brownies, adapted from Oh, Ladycakes
2 cups roasted hazelnuts
6 Tbs. raw cacoa powder
pinch salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
8 medjool dates
1/2 cup prunes
1-2 Tbs. water
 
  • In a food processor, blend the nuts, cacoa powder, salt, and spices until they are all finely chopped and incorporated.
  • Next, toss in the dates (pitted and halved), and the prunes. Process until a paste begins to form, and add 1-2 Tbs. water until the mixture just begins to form a dough, but isn’t too sticky.
  • Line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper, and scoop the brownies in. Flatten them across the whole pan, and then stick in the freezer to harden up for about 30 minutes. They can then be removed and cut into square. If you’re not going to serve and eat them all right away, store them in the fridge or freezer in a covered container. This batch makes about 16 brownies.
 
 


Roasted Vegetable Pizza with Golden Tomato Sauce

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There are few people I respect more than those who live each day in truth with their whole selves. I’m in awe of these folks and admire how they stubbornly live in their brassy, blunt, comfortably imperfect beings.

I am not of those personalities. I tend to be quiet, small, and gauge how much I share with how well it will be accepted. If feathers will be ruffled or judgement passed, I opt to keep my mouth shut. I’m one that avoids controversy and negative attention. I like to be perceived as put together.

 

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These last few months I’ve been working on letting go a little: Being me without so much filter. Wearing less camoflouge. Going out in public in whatever I happen to have on. Saying things I mean. Sharing parts of me that I previously shoved away into dark little corners.

 

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In my food-world, I liken this process to embracing the ugly vegetables.

 

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William is working on an awesome organic vegetable farm this summer and he brings home bags of crooked carrots, too-ripe peppers, and weedy leaves.
 
If truth be known, I have a fondness for the most interesting produce cast-aways. A perfectly straight carrot? An apple that has more beauty than flavor? A purely symmetrical tomato? Perfection in the botanical world is boring, sterile, and dare-I-say-it, industrial. Blemishes have their own unique beauty and the taste, what’s inside that really matters, is rarely sacrificed.
 

If it’s so exciting to embrace ugly produce, why is it like hurdling mountains to get along with personal imperfection?

Tough experiences leave scars which make the good days shine all the more brightly. They leave a life rich with experience. And wisdom.

Exposure to another viewpoint and belief encourages acceptance and understanding.

Having a different opinion is some sort of individualistic awesome.

Critisism can be a catalyst for growth–Or expelling bad juju.

Casting aside worry of another’s judgement is liberating.

Self-acceptance is the best form of freedom.

 

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Back in the kitchen, I’m working with golden heirloom tomatoes of an unknown variety–they were too ripe to sell. I’ve seedy, scarred eggplants, and yellow summer squash from my garden. My squash plant is dying so these are likely the last ones for the summer. I’ve Jimmy Nardello peppers that didn’t come up to size and missshapen bell peppers, still green, which came off with a broken stem from overenthusiastic weeding. There are gorgeous red onions too. I’ve no idea why but they didn’t pass the farm’s to-market test.

 

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As for me, I’m working on being real,worrying less about measuring up or missing out. I’m working on embracing the ugly vegetables in my personality, the crooked roots and misshapenness. I’m working on letting the unique beauty that is the real me overpower the pursuit of being perceived as polished as a tasteless red apple.

 
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We are all glorious in our imperfection. Let’s celebrate a little more of that today. And eat pizza loaded with a bunch of ugly vegetable cast-aways.
 
 
 
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Roasted Vegetable and Golden Tomato Pizza, serves 2-3
Roasted Vegetables:
1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped
1-2 medium yellow summer squash, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1-2 sweet red peppers, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
8-10 kalamata olives, diced
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
fresh thyme, optional
 
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a 13″x9″ baking dish lined with parchment paper, layer in the chopped eggplant, squash, onion, and peppers.
- Drizzle the mixture with a tablespoon of oil, fennel seed, freshly ground black pepper, and salt.
- Give it all a good stir and then roast for about 20-25 minutes.
- When the vegetables are sizzling and soft, take it from the oven and let cool slightly.
 
Golden Tomato Sauce:
2 1/2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 lbs. yellow or golden tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
 
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil sizzles, add the garlic and sauté until just golden.  
- Add the tomatoes and spices and turn to low. Simmer for 45-60 minutes.  
- Let the tomatoes cool for a few minutes and then puree in a blender for a smooth, pizza-sauce consistency. If the sauce is still quite thin, put it back on the stove and simmer a bit longer to thicken up.
 
Crust:
The ingredients below make enough for two 10-12″ crusts. Each pizza usually serves two to three. You can refrigerate the dough for the second crust up to two days. Due to the differences in the flours, I like to weigh them with a kitchen scale to get an accurate ratio of 70 percent whole grains and 30 percent starches. I’ve then put those weights into cups so it will be easier to measure without a scale, but if in doubt, I’d use a “short measurement,” rather than an overflowing cup.
 
1 1/2 Tbs. flax seed, ground
3 Tbs. hot water
40 grams (a short 1/2 cup) garbanzo & fava bean flour
80 grams (3/4 cup) brown rice flour
80 grams (3/4 cup) sorghum flour
80 grams (3/4 cup) millet flour
40 grams (1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. tapioca starch
40 grams (1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. arrowroot starch
40 grams (1/4 cup) potato starch
2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
~2 Tbs. olive oil, separated
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/3 cup warm water, divided
cornmeal
 
- Combine the flax seeds and 3 tablespoons of very hot water in a small bowl until a slurry is formed; set aside.
- Combine the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the yeast, 1 Tbs. olive oil, sugar and 1/2 cup warm water. Allow it to rest for 3 minutes or so until the yeast is activated.
- Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture, and stir it all up. Then add the flax seed slurry to the dough and a portion of the remaining water; mix until the dough comes together in a ball. If it is too dry, add enough water to for a tender, pliable dough.
- Cover the dough in the mixing bowl and set it aside to rest for 1 hour.
 
Putting it all together:
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Separate the dough into two equal portions. Sprinkle your pizza stone or baking sheet with a light sprinkling of cornmeal. Roll one of the dough portions out to desired thickness directly on a pizza stone or baking sheet. 
- Spoon a hefty couple of ladlefuls of the golden tomato sauce over the dough and smooth it out. Then, layer on the roasted vegetables followed by the kalamata olives. If desired, crumble a sprig of fresh thyme over the top. Fold the crust edges in when done, and with your fingers, lightly dab the edges with the last tablespoon of olive oil. Pop it in the oven and bake for about 16 minutes.

Turmeric Ginger Seed + Nut Bars

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Oats are one of my favorite foods of all time, and over the years they are probably the most common ingredient in many of my recipes. Aside from porridge, I really love to try out new variations of homemade granola bars. Recently, I’ve been using bars as a quick form of recovery after hard runs or races. With races especially, I often find it difficult to eat anything offered at the post-race party that might help me start the recovery process in a timely manner. Common post race offerings include bagels, bananas, pancakes, and sometimes pizza, which are all great carbohydrate-rich foods that I cannot eat. Making these bars and stowing them in my bag are the new way to go!

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The Sports Nutrition literature recommends eating a post-workout recovery meal or snack with a ratio of carbohydrate to protein of 3 – 4:1. Eating a food or meal in this range helps with muscle glycogen re-synthesis. That’s science speak for sugars in the muscle. Adding amino acids (the building blocks of protein) to the carbohydrate mix also help with muscle protein synthesis. If the muscles begin getting re-fueled and rebuilt quickly, they will recover and be ready to get back out there sooner!

In addition to fitting within the recommended carb to protein ratio range, these bars also contain turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. Turmeric has been used for centuries in India. It contains a compound called Curcumin which has often been lauded with potent anti-inflammatory actions. Ginger also has been known to reduce inflammation and it helps settle the stomach. I’ve been struggling with a minor injury all summer and my stomach often begins to feel like I just stepped off a carnival ride after a hard run, so the addition of turmeric and ginger help the recovery process just a little bit more. With the addition of cinnamon, the flavor combination also just plain tastes good, and for that alone, I’d mix these spices in!

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These bars are healthy, filling, easy to make, and can be eaten any time of day, even if you’re not an endurance athlete. I’ve also been throwing them in my lunch box all summer to eat between meals when I need a snack.

If you’re really interested in the bars’ nutrient break-down, I’ve included it at the end of the post. For more on healthy inflammation-fighting foods, check out this article from Runner’s World.

 
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Turmeric Ginger Seed + Nut Bars
These can be adapted in infinite ways by changing up the types of dried fruits, seeds, and nuts. I used heaping measuring spoons of the spices, so err on the side of more.
  • 3/4 unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/8- 1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a square baking dish (approx. 8″ x 8″) or line with a piece of parchment paper so the bars are easier to lift out.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the vanilla and applesauce.
  3. Place the oats into a food processor and pulse until they are coarsely chopped, but still have a fair bit of texture. Then stir the oats into the applesauce mixture.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients into the applesauce-oat mixture until thoroughly combined.
  5. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan. Press down until it is compacted and even.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes until the bars are firm and lightly golden along the edge. Wait until the bars are cool and then slice into squares or rectangles. This makes 16 small bars (~100 calories each) or 8 larger bars.
Nutrition Information, (for a larger bar or two small ones)
208 calories
10 grams fat – 13% Daily Value
1 gram saturated fat – 5%
0 grams trans fat
0 mg cholesterol
32 mg sodium – 1%
27 grams carbohydrate – 8%
9 grams sugar
4 grams fiber – 12%
6 grams protein – 14%
 
Vitamin A – 0 %
Vitamin C – 2%
Calcium – 2%
Iron – 13%
63 mg magnesium – 20%
217mg potassium – 5%
 
 


Carrot + Zucchini Oat Bran Muffins

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I am a struggling carrot farmer. Packets of seeds. Different locations within the space. Different weather patterns, sowing dates, and groups of planting hands. Gorilla planting at random when watering. Watering frequently. Pre-sprouting. Row covers. Gleaning scraps of information from the successful carrot farmers I know. They’ve all been attempted.

Let me explain. I coordinate a school garden. I plan the crops, the rotations, the amendment schedule and IPM techniques and timing. I coordinate the students, the teachers, the garden club, and the irrigation. Somehow, I can’t quite coordinate the soil to grow a substantial crop of carrots.

The carrots we’ve managed to grow were fat and tasty, and there is a meager amount of later-planted carrotlings still pushing their way through their sparsely sprouted rows. There’s progress. But carrot farmer, I currently am not.

 

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I see this carrot-failure as a small metaphor for the general way of things lately. I’ve been in a real mental funk, feeling like no matter the new tools I gather and employ, the result is still the same. Lackluster. Not the success I had envisioned.

 

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In light of the set-backs and failures, both personal and carrot-related, I’ve been taking stock of the situation(s). I have a few more tools up my sleeve, a little more determination and knowledge with each new attempt. I tend to not give up easily. In fact, I’m more likely to summon the kind of rage orange-haired people are known for and use it to my full advantage.

Those carrots will grow in that garden. They’ve got great soil and an ideal microclimate. If they’re willing to grow in my home garden with its frequently neglected and weed-infested clay beds, those carrots must grow in the school’s garden. I’m insistent.

Harvesting at least one substantial row of carrots is my personal gardening mission for the season. We will have a good and healthy carrot crop come autumn. I’ve the rage on my side. :)

 

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Carrot + Zucchini Oat Bran Muffins, makes 6 large muffins
These muffins are from a recipe in The Sprouted Kitchen that I’ve been slowing adapting and refining for months now. We keep coming back to it and each time the muffins turn out better. They are a perfect way to begin a laidback summer breakfast AND they use up summer squash or zucchini and carrots–because let’s be real, I have five summer squash in my fridge from the last two days harvests, at least six more growing rapidly on the plant, and tons of squash blossoms and bees making more magic happen. I’ve EVEN managed to grow a successful crop of carrots in my home garden. If you’re a gardener, know one who shares, or have a CSA box, you too are probably trying to sneak veggies into anything and everything at this stage of summer! 
 
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
3/4 cup grated carrots (about 1 large carrot)
3/4 cup grated zucchini or yellow summer squash (about one small squash)
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour with teff (see below)
3/4 cup oat bran
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 heaping tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, pour in almond milk and vinegar. Whisk and let sit for a couple minutes. Then measure in the oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the carrots, zucchini, and chopped dates.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, bran, sugar, baking powder, soda, xanthan gum, salt and spices. Then pour into the wet mixture. Let the whole mix sit for about five minutes.

Scoop out evenly into a prepare muffin liner, and bake for 20-25 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F.

 

Gluten-Free Flour with Teff
If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can take the flours and measure them out in 1/10’s. I’ve done this before and it works out to be roughly the same (not quite as exact though, due to the different weights of the flours). The mixture measures out to be 1000 grams or 1 kilo, so if you want to make enough for 1 1/2 cups for the recipe above, use slightly less than 1/3 cup each brown rice, sorghum and millet flours, and a little less than 1/6 cup each teff and tapioca flour, potato and arrowroot starches. 
 
200 grams brown rice flour
200 grams sorghum flour
200 grams millet flour
100 grams teff flour
100 grams potato starch
100 grams arrowroot starch
100 grams tapioca flour 

Apricot-Carrot Muffins

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During the summer of 2009, I ventured off to northeastern Washington, to spend a week at an educational cooking school at Quillisascut farm. It was a Slow Food Youth experience, and the week is ingrained in my memory. Myself and a dozen or so other 20-somethings came together from all over the country to spend a few days harvesting fresh produce, making delicious meals from scratch, baking bread in a wood-fired oven, milking goats, making cheese, and learning about the domestic arts in general. For me, it was paradise and the kind of experience that in an ideal world I’d like to recreate for other people on my own farm someday.

During this time of the summer when local apricots are in season and soon-to-be-gone for another year, I remember those few days at Quillisascut. That week, in addition to all of the above, I ate a lot of apricots.

The farm is located in a remote region of Washington state, hours from any major metropolis, and the experience was all about living off what the local region produces. Aside from the foraged huckleberries for breakfast, the only fruit to be had that week was apricots–and there were A LOT of them! I am a snacker by nature and in addition to apricots in our meals, I probably downed between 15 and 20 a day just in passing, because they were uber ripe and in need of being used–and I like to eat!

 

Prior to that experience, I had never had much of a thing for apricots. Sure, I like all fruit and I grew up with grandparents who would bring us boxes of whatever was in season from their nearby orchards. We definitely had gluts of apricots growing up, and my mom would make apricot upside down cake and jam. Yesterday, I called her and she was doing just that!

These days, since Quillisascut, I’m all into the apricot season. In the last couple weeks, I’ve had them in savory grain salads, in breakfast porridge, in these muffins, in a coming-soon vinegar concoction, and I’ve been downing them just as is–which is often the best way!

 

Apricot-Carrot Muffins, makes 6 large or 12 standard muffins
This recipe is an update of one I posted a few years back. It is now gluten and dairy-free. Use the ripest apricots and the sweetest carrots that you can find–you will taste the difference. Feel free to use the original recipe if you have no dietary restrictions. 
 
1 cup gluten-free flour 
3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup oat flour
3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup diced fresh apricots
1 cup grated carrots
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. canola oil
3/4 cup almond milk
 
1. Make oat flour by grinding 1/4 cup oats in a food processor until fine.
2. Bring together the flours, oats, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, and milk. Pour into flour mixture.  Give the bowl a couple of turns with a spoon and then stir in the carrots and apricots. Only stir until mixture is just incorporated.
4. Spoon evenly into muffin tins.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes or until the tops are golden and the insides are set.

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