Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies for one!

Single Serving Cookie ++ the pear and plum

just TWO cookies…. one for now and one for later. Or 1/2 for you and the rest for your crying kid. OR you’re being healthy and now you can’t possibly eat too many. Done.

ingredients:

  • 3 T Flour
  • 1 T Oats
  • 1 T Brown Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Cold Butter
  • 1/2  T Almond Milk (Regular milk or Coconut milk are fine too)
  • 1 T  Almond Butter (used to be 1 tsp. Also peanut butter would be great too)
  • 1 T Chocolate Chips or chunks or whatever
  • 1 tsp Walnuts or Almonds or whatever

directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  (I use my toaster oven)
  2. Combine the Flour, Oats, Sugar, Baking Powder in a small bowl.
  3. Cream in the butter . (I just used my fingers.)
  4. Add the Almond Milk and Almond Butter and mix until a dough forms.
  5. Add the Chocolate Chips and Nuts last and mix well.
  6. Roll into balls and fork them flat…. peanut butter cookie style.
  7. Cook in a greased pan or cookie sheet for 10 minutes or till done.

Armenian Bean and Walnut Pate (Oleana)

Armenian Bean and Walnut Pate ++ the pear and plum

A wonderfully creamy rich spread, great on anything from a tomato sandwich to a cracker. This is a regular recipe at our house because its really easy protein on the go.

It comes from my favorite restaurant, Oleana. It’s a part of Anna Sortun’s cookbook, Spice. Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean. I’ve made it a million times and so I’ve come up with some edits and helpful hints that are noted below. You can use dried beans or canned. Honestly, I don’t have the patience to use the dried but if you do, the recipe will probably be better for it. I’ve always use canned and love the result so I’ll include both measurements & directions below so you can decide.

a note about herbs: I’ve used all combinations of the 4 listed below. You don’t need to use them all but you do need to use at least 2 kinds.

(serves 8)

ingredients:

  • Beans: 1 Cup Dry Kidney Beans, soaked overnight and rinsed OR  2.5 Cups Canned Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 5 Cups Water
  • 1/2 Small Sweet Onion, minced (I’ve used onions before that ended up being really bitter so now I always use sweet)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1.5 Cups Walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 tsp. minced Garlic (about 1 small clove)
  • 3 T Butter (original recipe calls for 4 but i didn’t taste the difference with less)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T chopped fresh Dill
  • 1 T chopped fresh Mint or Basil
  • 1 T chopped fresh Parsley

directions:

1. For DRY Beans: In a medium saucepan over medium high heat bring the beans to a boil with the water, onion and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 40-50 minutes until the beans are very tender.

For CANNED Beans: I’m never sure if this step is necessary but I’ve always done it to at least cook the onions and infuse the bay into everything…. Anyways, Cook the canned beans with the onions and bay about 10 minutes.

2. Drain the beans into a colander and discard the bay leaf

3. While the beans are still warm, toss them with the toasted walnuts, garlic and butter in a mixing bowl. Add some salt and pepper. Stir until the butter is melted and then dump mixture into your food processor. Puree 3 to 4 minutes until it is a thick paste.

4. Add Herbs and puree until mixed in. Taste it and add more salt and pepper if it needs it.

5. Now here’s where the recipe and i totally differ. I don’t really need the pate to be pretty. We eat this all week long as a snack and a meal so I’m not looking to impress anyone. I pour the whole thing into a glass bowl with a lid and keep in the fridge. Just spread on a piece of bread and go. However, If I were looking to impress, I’d follow the original recipe:  dump out the mixture onto plastic wrap and roll it up into a log so that you can slice it up for serving. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve with Armenian String Cheese.

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Cashew Cream

Roasted Red Peppers:Cashew Cream

This is my first recipe using the Lemon Cashew Cream I made the other day and it was just as lovely as i had hoped. I roasted the red pepper myself on the gas range top and chopped the kale ahead of time so it was a super fast – kid is crying and i need to get dinner on the table 5 minutes ago – kind of dinner. But it looks fancy and relaxed doesn’t it? I must be awesome. Pretty sure.

The directions on How To Roast A Red Pepper are below.

(Adjust recipe amounts for whom your feeding. I was just feeding myself because the aforementioned crying kid is not as excited by this meal as I am)

ingredients:

  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper
  • A handful of Kale
  • 1/4 Box fettuccine
  • A couple spoon fulls of Lemon Cashew Cream

directions:

TO ROAST A RED PEPPER: Wash the pepper well and then lay it down on the grate of your gas stove and turn the flame to medium-high. Leave the pepper there for a minute or so, until that side is mostly black, and then flip it. Repeat this process until all the sides are charred and black. (Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn your house down. Not really. Well, kind of.) When it’s done roasting, let it sit out and cool. (Avoid the temptation to cool it/peel it under water because you’ll wash off a lot of the smokey flavor and oils) When its cool, peel the skin off, chop up and get rid of the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and then store in fridge until you’re ready to use it. They’ll  last for a week or more.

  1. Cook pasta according to directions on box.
  2. While pasta is cooking, saute kale for a couple minutes until it begins to wilt.
  3. In the mean time, chop up the previously roasted red pepper.
  4. Drain the pasta when its done and toss with the Cashew Cream. (I had to heat up the Cashew Cream because mine came straight from the fridge. You can add more water if you want a thinner sauce.)
  5. Toss in vegetables and  top with Salt and Pepper. I’m a parmesan cheese addict, so I added that too.

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tags: Vegetarian, Vegan, Fast Dinner, Quick Meals, Dinner, Lunch, Appetizer, Dressing, Pureed Nut Sauce

Lemon Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream

with roasted red peppers over pasta? yes.

over farro with roasted root vegetables? yes.

atop an arugula salad with apricots and nutritional yeast? YES.

ok. Honesty time… I’ve never tried any of the above, but now that i have this lovely stuff in my fridge,

I . can’t . wait.

(fills almost to the top of one small mason jar)

ingredients:

  • 1 Heaping Cup of Raw Cashews (soaked for a couple hours)
  • Zest of 1/2 to 1 full Lemon (Depends how much of the lemon flavor you want)
  • 1 T Lemon Juice (You could add more. Taste as you go)
  • 1 Cup Water
  • Sea Salt

directions:

  1. Combine cashews and zest and 1/2 Cup water in a food processor and hit go.
  2. Keep adding water and scraping down the sides until you get the consistency you want.
  3. Taste it and add salt if you want.
  4. Store in the fridge and use for tons of different things.

[notes for next time: Instead of water, I’d like to try unsweetened coconut milk. Also, Garlic and Lemon Thyme would probably be great. Tahini?  Aleppo for some spice?]

tags: dressing, condiment, appetizer, dinner, lunch, vegetarian

Middle Eastern Markets

Spices & Things

Theres a magical place in Watertown, MA that has THREE Middle Eastern Markets almost right next to one another…. They’re filled to the ceiling with olives, grape leaves, Armenian string cheese, rose and orange blossom waters, jars upon jars of tahini, honey and piles of giant flatbreads covered in za’atar….. and the reason we went: endless piles of herbs and spices. We try to get to the markets at least once a year to refresh our stash and we were long overdue this time.  I’ve got plans people. Some great recipes are in the works.

If you wanted to visit the markets….

Arax Market
585 Mt. Auburn St.
Watertown, Ma
 
Massis Bakery & Specialty Food Store
569 Mt. Auburn St.
Watertown, Ma
 
Sevan Bakery
599 Mt. Auburn St.
Watertown, Ma
 

Homemade Butter

Butter

Butter for this bread i posted yesterday.

It just makes sense people.

Just like the ease of that homemade ricotta I discovered a while back… You can totally do this and its totally worth it. Use a food processor (takes about 15 minutes ) OR your two year olds endless enthusiasm to shake the hell out of a jar of liquid. (time varies). And from here, you can blend in spices or jams or zest and have super fancy butter for all your butter eating needs. (I followed this very helpful site as a guide.)

(Serving Size: You end up with about 1/2 as much butter as the amount of cream used  plus you get “buttermilk”)

ingredient:

  • Heavy Whipping Cream [I used a pint which made a really nice beginner amount. A couple sticks maybe]
  • Salt (optional)

directions:

  1. Pour Cream in a bowl.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat cream on medium speed past the whipped cream stage, all the way to when it starts to turn more yellow and buttermilk puddles in the bottom of the bowl. [I used my Kitchen Aid Mixer and had to scrape down the sides a couple times. I wonder if I had the mixer going too fast? I’ll update when i make it again.]
  3. Stop the mixer and pour off as much milk as possible. Store the buttermilk in the refrigerator and use it for cooking. [When i figure out how to use this, I’ll add it to this post]
  4. Use a rubber or stiff metal spatula to press the butter up onto the sides of the bowl to squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible.  Mix down the butter and add about 1/2 cup ice water on top of it. Use the spatula to press the butter and water against the side of the bowl. (Original recipe says “This step, called washing, is important to keep the butter from spoiling.”) Pour off the extra liquid and throw away. Add more ice water and repeat the process two or three times until the water becomes less cloudy.
  5. Continue kneading butter against the side of the bowl until all the liquid has been pressed out. Sprinkle with sea salt, if desired.
  6. Store a weeks worth in an airtight container in the fridge. [Freeze the rest in chunks for easier use]
  7. Refrigerate 1 week or freeze for 6 months.

(flavor ideas: Cinnamon/Cardamom, Apple, Fig, Blueberry, Strawberry, Lemon Zest, Green Onion, Honey, Orange-Honey)

Saturday Crusty Bread

Crusty Bread

This bread is wonderful for sandwiches (not too many holes so your fixings stay put), french toast, smothered in cheese or nutella, oooo I bet it would make a great bread pudding…. It kind of kicks ass. Just mix it up. Let it sit overnight. Cook it.

Thank you, thank you for posting this recipe  Simply So Good.

(serving size: 1 Loaf)

ingredients:

  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour (I’m gonna experiment with part wheat flour next time)
  • 1  3/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Yeast
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water

directions:

  1. In a large bowl, [I used my Kitchen Aid mixer bowl] whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Add water to the dry, put in the mixer and mix on low until combined and it all sticks together.
  3. Cover with a really damp dishtowel and leave out on the counter to proof for 12 – 18 hours [I did 20 hours because thats how our day was going and it worked out fine. Dont let the cloth dry out too much]
  4. Heat oven to 450 degrees and preheat your pot and lid for 20 minutes. [Original recipe uses those lovely Le Creuset pots. I used my 8 inch, oven proof, All Clad stock pot.]
  5. While pan is preheating, dump dough out onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a neat lump. Cover with a damp dishtowel and let rise until the 20 minutes is up for the pot in the oven.
  6. Move dough to parchment paper (it will be sticky so you can flour the top if you want) and drop into pot. Remind yourself over and over again that the pot is really H O T. You should probably leave a potholder on top of the lid to remind yourself.
  7. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, then remove lid and cook for 15 more to brown it up.
  8. Cover in homemade butter and jam…. wowza.

Other Versions:

Whole Wheat Flax Bread ++ the pear and plum

3.25.13 Update:  I Just made a Whole Wheat Flax Seed Version of this which was great. I might add honey next time because while its really nice and nutty tasting, I’d like it to be a tiny bit sweet. The directions are the same but heres the ingredient list:

  • 2 Cups White Flour
  • 1 Cup Wheat Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted Flax Seeds
  • 1  3/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Yeast
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water

tags: Saturday food, Dinner, Appetizer, Lunch, Soup Bread, Sandwich Bread, Dip, Quick Bread, Yeast Bread

Chia Almond Date Bars

Chia Almond Date Bars

Not only a yummy snack but also a way to occupy a 2 year old inside when theres a snow storm outside. Just dumping ingredients into a food processor and pressing buttons. Perfection. Also, the ingredient possibilities are endless! Expect some additions to this post.

3.29.13 Recipe updated and overhauled. I nixed the Raisins and added dates instead. Also added Pecans and Coconut Oil.

ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Dates
  • 1/4 Cup Pecans
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • chia seeds (for the top)

directions:

  1. Dump the almonds into the food processor and process for a minute.
  2. Add the dried fruits and process until everything is chopped fine and sticks together when you press it.
  3. Form into bar shape or roll into balls. Pour chia seeds on a plate and press into them.
  4. Store in the fridge.

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tags: Energy bars, snacks, toddler activity, cooking with kids, kids in the kitchen, kitchen aid food processor

Chia Pecan Granola Bars

Chia Pecan Bar

These are based on my fabulous friend Kathy’s granola bars. I’m always searching for fast breakfasts because well… ahem… breakfast bores me to death. (yea, I’m working on that).  These, on the other hand, make me excited to eat in the morning.

note: While very customizable, the big thing to remember when choosing additions to this recipe is watching the balance of sweetness. Dried fruits are super sweet – nuts, not so much.

ingredients:

  • 1 T Coconut Oil
  • 3 T Nut Butter [I used my homemade Sun Butter]
  • 1 Banana, mashed
  • 1 T Real Maple Syrup
  • 2 Cups Oats
  • 1/4 Cup Almonds, chopped fine
  • 1/4 Cup Pecans, chopped fine
  • 2 T Chia Seeds
  • 5 Whole Dates, chopped (around 1/3 Cup)

directions:

(You’re not going to cook anything, we just need it all warmed up so its easier to mix SO we’re going to do all our mixing in a medium sized saucepan, on the lowest heat)

  1. Put Coconut Oil, Nut Butter, mashed Banana and Maple Syrup in the pan. Mash until its all combined.
  2. Add in Oats and mix well to combine.
  3. Add Almonds, Pecans, Chia Seeds, Dates and mix up really well.
  4. Push mixture into an 8×8 square glass pan and refrigerate.
  5. Put them in the fridge until they are ready to be cut into bars. Store in fridge.

(future ideas: apricots, honey, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, sesame seeds, wheat germ, almond butter)

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tags: Snacks, Breakfast, Healthy Bar, Breakfast on the go, DIY Granola Bar, Chia Bar, Energy bar, protein bar,