Tag Archives: winter

Butternut Squash Tahini Spread from Jerusalem: A Cookbook

15 Jan

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On Tuesday I picked up my first ever Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box of produce from Corbin Hill Farm. Corbin Hill picks the produce based on what is in season, and all of the produce is grown in New York State using sustainable farming methods. There are options to add “extras” to the order, such as dairy, eggs, meat, bread, beans or extra fruit.

In my January box of produce, I received apples, butternut squash, cabbage, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, shallots, sprouts, arugula and an enormous Macomber turnip.

While I like to go to the markets and pick out my own fruits and vegetables, I thought the CSA box would be a nice mini kitchen challenge.

First up: butternut squash. Continue reading

Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread

26 Mar

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Do I really need another banana bread recipe? No.

But, when I had some extra lemons on hand from last week’s Earl Grey Spiced Fruit Compote workshop, and when an “accidental” two bunches of bananas were sprawled on the counter that needed to be immediately eaten, frozen, or baked with, my wheels started turning.

Currently, my top three go-to banana bread recipes include Smitten Kitchen’s Jacked-Up Banana Bread, Cookie and Kate’s Honey Whole Wheat Banana Bread, and my Peanut Butter Banana Bread.

My rule of thumb? Always better with chocolate chips/chunks. And, just saying, a little whole wheat flour makes chocolate-studded banana bread okay to eat for breakfast, too. Finally, don’t mash to oblivion; just lightly mush the bananas with a fork so you have some puree and some small pieces.

IMG_2245Classic Figs In My Belly Loaf Shot

I bookmarked Heidi Swanson’s version of Melissa Clark’s Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread a while ago, and this was the perfect opportunity to try a new spin on my obsession with banana bread, and quick breads in general.

The taste is classic banana bread, with a subtle hint of lemon zest and a little zing of olive oil at the end. I love it.

There is an optional glaze that you can whisk up (Swanson uses a mix of confectioners’ and brown sugar [I found the granules of the brown sugar too “crunchy” for my taste] and Clark just uses confectioners’ sugar), but I tried it and found that when it comes to banana bread, I prefer mine naked and de-glazed.

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This Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread is definitely going on my list of favorite go-to banana-breads.

Oh boy, do I love a good loaf.

Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread

recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks, Originally adapted from Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now

1 cup / 125g all-purpose flour
1 cup / 140g whole wheat flour
3/4 cup /125 g  dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup / 4 oz / 115 g coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate (leave some bigger chunks!)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups / 340 g mashed, VERY ripe bananas (~3 bananas)
1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used 2% low-fat yogurt)
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F, and place a rack in the center. Grease a 9- by 5- inch loaf pan, or equivalent.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate pieces and combine well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, zest, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. Swanson says, “You want to get that beautiful color on the cake, but at the same time you don’t want to bake all the moisture out of it. So the minute you’re in that zone, pull it. Erring on the side of under-baking versus over.”

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.

Overnight Steel Cut Oats Method

5 Mar

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Steel-cut oats can take 20-30 minutes to cook, so I usually save them for the weekend or for a lazy morning when I have a lot of time.

Last night, though, I stumbled upon The Kitchn’s method for making creamy steel-cut oats overnight. Starting the oats the night before make them virtually instant the next morning! Just heat, eat, and run off to wherever you have to go.

I made enough for two servings, but you could certainly make a batch that will serve four. Steel-cut oats reheat well as leftovers.

I ran out of milk, so I added a hefty scoop of pumpkin puree and accompanying spices upon simmering my oats after their overnight stay. For serving, a drizzle of maple syrup, a small splash of cream, and a swoosh of sunflower seed butter. A perfect breakfast with black coffee on yet another COLD day in New York City.

Here is the basic method:

Overnight Steel-Cut Oats Method

method adapted from The Kitchn

makes 2 servings

Ingredients

1/2 teaspoon of butter or olive oil

1/2 cup steel-cut oats

1 1/2 cups water

small pinch of salt

For the next morning: 1/2 cup pumpkin puree + spices (1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 pinch each nutmeg, ginger, cloves) + 1 teaspoon vanilla + 2 tablespoons maple syrup + splash of cream + sunbutter

(you could also just add in 1/2 cup of milk in the morning instead of the above pumpkin accouterments)

Method

1. Start this the night before. You want to have steel-cut oatmeal. Measure out your oats. This quantity will make about 2 servings.

2. Heat about 1/2 teaspoon butter or olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Add the oats and fry them for about 3 minutes, or until they start smelling toasty.

3. Pour in the water and add the salt. Stir.

4. Bring to a rolling boil.

5. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Leave it on the stove, and go to bed!

6. The next morning, uncover the pan and bring the oatmeal back up to a simmer. If you would like creamier oatmeal, stir in the pumpkin puree and spices before reheating. Add a splash of vanilla.

When the oatmeal is warm, scoop out and enjoy with maple syrup, a splash of cream, and sunbutter!

Additional Notes:

• Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
• Re-heat leftovers in just the same way: warm up on the stove, or in a bowl in the microwave.

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Butternut Squash Bake + Kale Chips

11 Feb

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Last night, I had a spontaneous dinner with my new housemate and his girlfriend. We were cooking two separate dinners, and just decided to combine them and dine altogether at our little table.

I contributed this butternut squash bake and some kale chips and nice salami, and they contributed a hearty spinach salad, some cheese and bread, and cheap “wine” from our nearby corner store. They are from France and Switzerland, and had never eaten butternut squash or kale chips before, so it was fun to introduce them to some of my favorite vegetables.

I love that we don’t have wine glasses and that our cutlery and plates don’t all match. I’m all about not matching.

I’ll admit that most nights, I cook dinner and watch a television show while I eat. It was a nice change to sit at a table and schmooze with the people I share an apartment with.

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This is the kind of recipe where all I want to do is pick off the crispy cheesy topping. I was dining with company, though, so I had to restrain myself!

This squash bake was super simple, and you could use any variety of winter squash. The natural sweetness of the butternut squash and onion with a light cheesy mix keeps the dish healthy but still full of decadent flavors. You will need to reserve about an hour of time to complete the recipe, but most of it is hands-off as the squash bakes. I also made this earlier in the day and just reheated it when time came to eat dinner, so it is a good make-ahead.

Serve the squash bake with some sautéed greens or kale chips for a nice color contrast!

Butternut Squash Bake

adapted from Jackie Newgent’s 1,000 Low Calorie Recipes

makes 4-6 servings

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I had a very large squash so I had to use a bigger baking dish)

1 onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2/3 cup milk (I used 1% lowfat milk, you can also use soy or almond milk)

2 teaspoons cornstarch (or arrowroot)

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

pinch of cayenne or old bay

1/3 cup grated fontina or white cheddar

1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I made my own with some old sourdough; bake in the oven until toasted and blend to fine crumbs)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese or Asiago

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine the cut squash and onion in a baking dish (Newgent recommends a 2-qt dish, but I used a 3-qt pyrex because I ended up with a lot of squash). Drizzle and toss with the olive oil. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the squash is tender all the way through.

Meanwhile, whisk together the milk and cornstarch. Whisk in the egg, salt, pepper, and spice. Set aside.

Stir the squash-onion mixture. Sprinkle with the fontina/cheddar cheese and evenly pour in the milk mixture. Sprinkle the top with the breadcrumbs, Parmesan/Asiago cheese, and an extra pinch of cayenne/old bay. Roast until the squash is tender the cheese coating is crisp and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Let stand for 10 minutes to complete the cooking process, and serve.

Approximate nutrition facts per 1 cup serving: 240 calories, 12g total fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 65mg cholesterol, 530mg sodium, 27g total carbohydrate, 6g dietary fiber, 8g sugars, 9g protein

Kale Chips

1 bunch of kale, stemmed and torn into pieces (or enough to fit a baking sheet)

1-2 tsp. olive oil

salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lay the kale on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until it is crisped but still greenish. Be careful not to overdo it or you will get burnt pieces.

Morning Glory Steel-Cut Oats

13 Jan

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Over the last year, I have really grown an appreciation for a morning bowl of oats. Maybe because New York City (vs. my old stomping grounds in California) has real seasons, so I crave something hot in the morning during the inescapable winter chill. Even during the beating heat of summer, I ate cold “overnight oats” or “muesli” for breakfast.

Rolled and steel-cut oats my go-to choices, but I have also enjoy a porridge made from farina, millet, amaranth, or barley. When I have an early morning shift at the bakery, I sometimes take along a packet of instant oats for breakfast, but I only buy the original or plain versions where the ingredient list only says “rolled oats” and not much more. No need for those extra fake ingredients when I can simply add my own sweeteners and toppings to plain instant oats.

I used to heat rolled oats in the microwave, which is totally acceptable and tasty, but when I can take the extra few minutes, I now prefer to cook my oats on the stove. I use a mix of milk and water to cook the oats because I like how creamy they get from the milk.

I saw that Cookie and Kate posted these Morning Glory Oats the other day, using coconut milk for some of the cooking liquid. I recently made Split Pea Soup that used only 1/2 cup of coconut milk, and I have been trying to find ways to use up the leftover milk. Perfect.

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I modified her recipe, which is a modification of the original recipe from Megan Gordon’s new cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings. This recipe uses steel-cut oats, but you could also make this with rolled oats, quick oats, or another breakfast grain.

Shredded carrot strands and wintry spices make this hot, creamy breakfast feel like dessert. Orange zest adds zing, and a swirl of yogurt at the end cools the oats and adds to the healthy decadence (omit the yogurt and use nuts or nut butter if you want this recipe to remain vegan).

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Morning Glory Steel-Cut Oats

adapted from Cookie and Kate, originally from Megan Gordon‘s Whole Grain Mornings
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots (from 1 large carrot)
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground ginger
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest (from slightly less than 1 orange)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 or more tablespoons maple syrup (or honey or agave nectar or brown sugar)
  • yogurt, for serving
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Stir in the oats, carrots, dried fruit, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Bring the mixture back to boil, then decrease the heat to low and partially cover the pot.
  2. Cook the porridge, stirring only occasionally, until it begins to thicken and the oats are soft yet chewy. Check for doneness after 25 minutes* of cooking (it might need a few more minutes of cooking).
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest and vanilla. Add maple syrup (or other sweetener), to taste. Cover and let the oatmeal rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  4. Serve the oatmeal with a swirl of plain yogurt.

*Rolled or quick oats will cook much faster than steel-cut, anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes.