Vegetarian

Autumn Salad

by Carrie on November 19, 2011

in Main Dish,Salads,Vegetarian

Autumn Salad

I’m currently going through an audiobook listening craze and lately have been listening to books like The Omnivores Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and in listening to these I’ve been inspired to eat more fruits and vegetables than ever before. To expose myself to more tasty, local produce I’m subscribing to a service that delivers locally grown organic produce to my house once a week. Here’s a salad I put together with items from this week’s box of fresh, autumn produce and a few additional things from my fridge.

Autumn Salad

serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lettuce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 persimmon
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin seeds (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 tablespoon goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Toss lettuce with balsamic vinaigrette.
  2. Peel and thinly slice persimmon and add to salad.
  3. Top salad with pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, and crumbled goat cheese.

Disclosure: Bob’s Red Mill provide generous samples to Nancy and Carrie at their request. This post also contains Amazon affiliate links.

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Pumpkin Bread

by Nancy on November 8, 2011

in Breads,Snacks,Vegetarian

I suppose I can admit that we don’t always have pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving anymore. Kinda sad I know but the apples on my tree ripen about a month before Thanksgiving so I often make an apple pie and freeze it so all I have to do is bake it the day before. And then I have a couple of diehards that insist on a pecan pie for Thanksgiving. Carrie is one of them so she bakes the pecan pie, one less thing for me to do. But it still doesn’t seem like fall without something pumpkin with the accompanying spicy aroma.

So to get my pumpkin spice fix I make pumpkin bread and have a slice or two for breakfast with a cup of tea. Many pumpkin bread recipes suffer the same “flaw” as carrot cake (another favorite of mine). To keep the bread moist, the recipes use a lot of oil – 2/3 to 1 cup for an average loaf. I don’t like my pumpkin bread or carrot cake to leave an oil ring on my plate and that oil adds a lot of calories. So I tested several recipes and made a few changes of my own until I came up with a recipe that is moist and uses only 1/3 cup of oil.

Pumpkin Bread

Makes two 3″ x 7″ mini loaves.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
  1. Blend pumpkin, sugar and egg with spoon in 1 quart bowl.
  2. Stir in oil, salt and spices.
  3. Add water, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Mix in flour.
  5. Pour into two 3″ x 7″ mini loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes. Do not underbake.

 

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There are a whole range of grains that have been and can be used as food but are not commonly consumed in the US. Barley is one of those grains. Historically is was grown worldwide but was especially important in northern climates with short growing seasons (such as Iceland) as it doesn’t need a lot of heat to grow. Today it is grown in the US but nearly all of the production goes into animal feed and malted barley for beer making.

Last March my son, Scott, and I went to a convention and did some touring in Iceland. The hotel restaurant served a barley dish for breakfast. It was right next to skyr, a traditional Icelandic yogurt/cheese, and served in the same style container but I never determined if this breakfast barley was considered a traditional dish or not (like several places we visited in Iceland, the staff was seasonal help from elsewhere in Europe and didn’t know). It was the first time I remember eating barley other than those little bits in Campbell’s vegetable beef soup.

The only real challenge to this recipe was finding a source for barley and learning how to cook it. This recipe uses whole grain barley which may also called hulled or hulless barley depending on the variety grown. I can buy barley at my local natural foods store in the bulk bin section. It is also available by mail order from Bob’s Red Mill. Whole grain barley takes a long time to cook and is always chewy even when fully cooked.

We’d like to thank Bob’s Red Mill for providing the barley, dried apples and black currants for this recipe.

Icelandic Breakfast Barley

four 1 cup servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill hulless barley
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon butter or margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill diced, dried apples
  • 1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill black currants
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel (optional)
  1. Place barley, water, butter or margarine, and salt in a 2 quart saucepan for stove top or 3 quart bowl for microwave. (The butter or margarine keeps the water when mixed with small amounts of starch from the grain from boiling over.) Cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 90 minutes. Ideally all of the water should just be absorbed as the barley finishes cooking. Check near the end of cooking time and add boiling water if the barley is too dry or remove the lid if the barley is too wet. When cooking barley in the future, adjust water and/or cooking time as needed.
  2. While still hot, stir in dried apples, currants, honey and cinnamon. If there is a layer of starch on top of the barley when cooking it in the microwave, just stir it in with the apples and currants. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

 

 

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Risotto and Roasted Asparagus

When I was a kid, a family friend gave me a gift of a copy of Alice Water’s Fancy at Chez Panisse children’s cookbook. It’s a beautiful book with great recipes but I was a picky kid and the only thing I wanted to cook out of it was the risotto. The risotto was amazing though and has become a long standing favorite recipe of mine so when my picky eater fiance requested risotto to be on our menu for the week I knew this was the perfect recipe to make for him.

Risotto

serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of thyme
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and heat.
  2. Add the Arborio rice, bay leaf, and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring often.
  3. Add just enough broth to cover the rice (1 to 2 cups). Bring to a boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the broth, one tablespoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste and cook for another 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the bay leaf. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

This recipe is pretty basic and plain but like the fried rice recipe my mom posted recently you can throw in any meat or vegetables you have hanging out in your fridge. You can also easily make this recipe vegan by substituing an additional tablespoon of olive oil for the butter, vegetable stock for the chicken broth, and skipping the cheese.

We’re pretty cleaned out on leftovers right now so I made a side of roasted asparagus.

Roasted Asparagus

serves 4

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Wash and trim the ends off of the asparagus.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Get your hands in there and spread the olive oil all over the asparagus.
  4. Spread the asparagus out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes.

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Oat Date Muffins

by Nancy on July 12, 2011

in Breads,Snacks,Vegetarian

About 25 years ago I occasionally worked in southern California, inland near the Salton Sea. On one trip the group I was with stopped for a travel break at Hadley Dates on I-10 near Indio. It was a small run-down building used as a packing house with a gravel parking lot for a half dozen cars. There were about 20 women stationed along 2 conveyor belts sorting and packing dates. On a counter were samples for us to taste and a few items for sale like boxes of dates and mixed dried fruit trays like you see at Christmas. I vividly remember two things about this stop. First, I tasted my first Medjool date. It was the perfect eating date – large, soft, and sweet. Second, one of the products for sale was date sugar. I’d never heard of date sugar. It is just very dry dates ground to a powder and used like sugar. I purchased two items that day, a box of Medjool dates and a pound of date sugar.

With date sugar in my cupboard, I now had to decide how to use it and eventually came up with a recipe for oat date muffins. These are what I call traditional muffins. They are barely sweet muffins that are more like bread and designed to eat with a meal. They aren’t sweet like Costco muffins that are more akin to cake. Not that I don’t like Costco muffins, they’re just a different type of food. My first attempt came out dry so I wanted to add some oatmeal to make them moister. They were still dry so I decided I needed oat flour. I ended up grinding oatmeal into flour in my blender. When I later ran out of date sugar I had to grind dates into sugar too. The process was a lot of work so I didn’t made oat date muffins very often.

Recently while looking for some other ingredients I discovered that Bob’s Red Mill made both oat flour and date sugar and if I couldn’t find them locally where Bob’s Red Mill products are sold I could mail order them. Oat date muffins are now back in my menus!

PS – Last winter I was down in the southern California desert again and wanted to see if Hadley Dates was still there. I really expected that it would be gone or, because it was so small, I would miss it. Not the case! Hadley Dates has expanded into a tourist stop complete with freeway sign, large sales room, snack shop serving date shakes and enough parking for tour buses. Unfortunately the packing operations which were my favorite part have been moved.

PSS – A couple of weeks after I mentioned to Carrie that I found oat flour and date sugar at Bob’s Red Mill, she was attending the BlogHer Food conference where Bob’s Red Mill had a display. The people at Bob’s Red Mill graciously sent us samples of some of their products so we will be mentioning Bob’s Red Mill, using Bob’s Red Mill products, and thanking them for samples in some of our upcoming recipes. Thank you to Bob’s Red Mill!

Oat Date Muffins

Makes 12.

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill oat flour
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill date sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  1. With spoon, mix dry ingredients.
  2. Add wet ingredients and mix just until blended.
  3. Grease muffin tin if not using paper liners. Spoon mixture into muffin cups.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

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