Breakfasts, Snacks

173

Zucchini Carrot Muffins (GF)

In the past few days, I’ve realized it’s completely possible to lose hours upon hours in the food internet world. I’m home alone for the most part now, which was an extreme rarity at school. Someone was always around to break up my excessive perusal of food blogs and goodfoodjobs.com and Grub Street and Eater and Munchies and– I think I should stop there. The moment of realization came the other day when I sat down at my computer with a giant mug of coffee at 9 in the morning and was in a media haze until my phone rang well past noon. Not the best. And while baking can break up the day to an extent, even that can get a little cumbersome. There are only so many cookies I can bake before I need to either get a bigger freezer or more friends to help me eat everything (speaking of which, if anyone is hungry and in Montclair, there are at least three brownies or compost cookies with your name on them. I’ve gotten rave reviews by the smart folks who’ve taken me up on this so far, just saying.)

I want to get into more ambitious kitchen projects now that I’m no longer a full-time student. Recipes than don’t have to come together in less than an hour and then are just dumped in the freezer. That always seemed to be the case this past year as I did my best to keep up the blog and an acceptable GPA and some semblance of a social life. I really want to throw a fancy food party complete with lots of unique kitchen experiments and some sort of festive theme (something like this or this. Or this if I really dreamed big/had more than ten square feet of table space.) But planning a food party takes a lot of time and energy. And cleanup. So the few parties we ended up throwing turned out much more akin to a typical college soiree..the only food that was ever present was Jello shots. And one time someone who worked at a bakery in town showed up with freshly baked bread and cookies. As proud as I am of my Jello shot makin’ skills, I’m just dying to tackle a more intense food party. Hopefully this summer I can make it happen. Not to brag or anything, but I do have a very snazzy fire pit in my backyard soooo.

Some things I plan to make for these food parties that may not actually ever happen:

This Fig And Walnut Bostock. Looks like if french toast and bread pudding got together inside a really trendy cafe.

A fluffy, crunchy (two adjectives you didn’t think go together, I bet) Pavlova with strawberry rhubarb cream and pistachios.

I think I’d forget how on the fence I am about tomatoes while making this heirloom tomato tart..it’s just so pretty.

These savory cheddar waffles are also making me question my tomato ambivalence.

I’m 100% invested in learning how to grill and these jerk chicken kebobs are calling to me. As are these shrimp skewers.

Who isn’t a fan of anything cooked in beer? I want to make these mussels asap. They’re also apparently the best thing to serve at a dinner party anyway so I think I’m on the right track.

And also because I’ve spent so much of this post talking about food parties, I think it’s only fair you all watch a few episodes of this, as that is its title. And it is the weirdest, coolest thing ever.

Until I can gather up some people to actually eat all the things I plan to make for these food parties, I’m sticking with recipes that can be easily frozen and defrosted as family and friends want to indulge. Hence these muffins. Don’t be scared by the veggies in the title, cooked carrots are super sweet and zucchini has essentially no flavor alone, and when baked up with sugar and coconut oil and cinnamon it has no flavor at all! Some baked recipes that involve zucchini instruct one to squeeze all the water out of the veggies before adding them to the batter. Not the case here; the water helps loosen up the very thick batter and ultimately makes a more tender muffin. Also, don’t be afraid of garbanzo bean flour. It may seem weird to use a chickpea-based ingredient in a sweet breakfast item, but it’s really just mild and creamy. And it’s full of protein- in fact, it has the same amount as almond flour, so it’s a really great alternative if you’re looking for an alternative to putting nuts in everything, as I’m currently attempting. I also used coconut sugar, which has the same ratio as regular sugar when swapping, but is infinitely better for the body. I felt like they were sweet enough with 1/4 cup of sugar (mostly because I love slathering jam on muffins, which obviously adds a lot of sweetness,) but you do what makes you happy. I also feel like 1/4 cup of cocoa nibs or chocolate chips would be extremely good thrown in here for good luck. Happy breakfasting!

Muffins (makes 12-15)

1 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (depending on how sweet you like muffins)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
1/4 cup raisins or craisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin with solid coconut oil or cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl combine both flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, and spices.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the melted coconut oil, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla; stir to combine. The batter will be thick, resembling cookie dough.

Add the shredded carrots and zucchini (and raisins if using) and combine. F

ill the muffin tins halfway-3/4 of the way full and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are golden. Devour with butter, honey, jam, date cream, yogurt, or au naturel!

 


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Main Dishes, Sides

162

Carrot Salad w/ Tahini Dressing and Roasted Chickpeas (V, GF)

Can I tell you about my new all-time favorite thing? Productive procrastination. AKA anything that isn’t incredibly necessary to being a functioning human, but still is very useful/important/meaningful. Taking a walk. Writing a blog post. Making cookies. Doing laundry (okay, that one might actually be a little more essential.) But I am all about it. If I spend all my time doing what NEEDS to get done and letting the stuff that makes me feel good fall to the wayside, it always ends the same way: me lying awake at night, making lists, obsessing over all the things that still need to get done. I’ve been stuck in this pattern for easily the past month. I know, a month doesn’t sound like very long at all in the grand scheme of things. And I do like being busy. But recently, finding a free couple hours to bake or go downtown has been nearly impossible, except for the middle of the night/wee hours of the morning. And the more I do, the harder it is to turn my brain off. And as much as I like to churn out a good pan of midnight brownies, the idea of doing all those dishes after writing a paper until 10 pm is just not the dream. So while cooking might be on the back burner, I’ve really been trying to take at least 20 minutes a day to breathe deeply and do some good old fashioned procrastinating. You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I’m so committed to making this happen I’ve actually started setting my alarm earlier. If I’m up earlier, I can get a little bit of homework done and still have some time to write a blog post or read a few pages of something I actually care about.  Let’s see if I can keep this up once we Spring forward this weekend?

So anyway, speaking of 20 minute things, this salad. As long as your oven doesn’t take 45 minutes to heat up (ahem, Smith college apartments) you have plenty of time to throw this together! It’s a large recipe, so it can either feed several people for one meal as a side dish, or one person for almost a week! It lasted me for quite a few meals (which is impressive, considering I nearly devoured the whole thing at 7 am while taking pictures…), but just remember if you’re not eating it all in one sitting, add the chickpeas and sunflower seeds right before munching so they stay crunchy!

PS- the Saveur Food Blog Awards are coming up….can you think of anyone you’d like nominate? Heh.

Salad (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained patted dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1  garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2+ tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound carrots
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds (or pepitas)

For the chickpeas: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss chickpeas with oil, salt, and spices until coated. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast until they’re browned and crisp (about 15 minutes) tossing occasionally. Listen for the sound of them popping up out of the pan, and tent the pan with foil if need be. There are more than you need for the salad, so take this opportunity to much on a few, you know you wanna. Set aside remainder.

For the dressing: Whisk all ingredients together, adding a scant 2 tbsp of water first, then adding more as needed. Set aside.

For the salad: Grate the carrots and toss in a bowl with parsley. Add most of the dressing and coat evenly, adding more to taste. Top with sunflower seeds, a handful of crispy chickpeas, and a grind or two of pepper!

 

 

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Main Dishes, Sides

146

Black Rice Pasta Salad (V, GF)

I got really into black rice pasta this summer. What started out recipe testing for variations on Pad Thai turned into so much more. The texture and flavor is different from pasta, but not in the least bit unpleasant way! Basically, it’s really rad. Obviously like normal pasta it’s extremely versatile, and can be enjoyed hot or cold, but I don’t know, there’s something about one’s pasta being roughly the color of asphalt that’s very inspiring, food-wise. It leads to a great many OBD’s (see definition and subsequent rant about dinner dishes here). This dish is essentially a conflation of several OBD’s I planned on making over a recent weekend. I started with the idea of making a broccoli slaw, but upon realization I was lacking in mayo and plain yogurt -and had no desire to walk to the store because it was raining, even less yearning to experiment with making my own mayo- decided I would do a mustard based slaw. Then that turned into a mustard ginger soy sauce. Which led me to slice in a few carrots and sesame seeds and boom! It was delicious! But a little lacking in terms of a full meal. So the perfect compliment to the flavors all up in my slaw was obviously black rice pasta! Of which I have seven -yes, seven– packets. I’m honestly not sure how or why I have so many. I think every time I go to Whole Foods I put a package or two of it in my cart, forgetting about the others I still have yet to eat. But I’m not complaining.

So backing up to making the broccoli slaw. I bought my broccoli at a tiny local market in town that sources a lot of local produce. So when I opened the farmer-not-machine-plastic-wrapped vegetable and began to rinse my broccoli I noticed something in the sink that was broccoli colored, but not broccoli. It was a little green bug. Here’s something about me: I don’t like bugs. I really don’t like bugs. I don’t like bugs so much that when I see one in my room I tape my windows shut, which is probably terrible because fresh air is more important than a few critters on my wall, but as I mentioned I really don’t like bugs. So imagine my reaction to the little green inchworm making its home in my vegetable. Yeah. My friends convinced me that this was a good thing: that the broccoli was picked and packaged and arrived at the market so recently that the little creature managed to stay alive means it’s super fresh. That it means the farmer who grew the vegetable very likely doesn’t use harmful pesticides in their crops. That at the very least, it’s protein, right? Um. Cut to me soaking the broccoli in salt water for a while, then spritzing it all over with veggie wash, then bathing it in cold water, then hot water. I mean, it WAS $4 I wasn’t going to get back. And also I’m fairly certain if I’d run back to the market hoping for a refund I would’ve gotten a “who’s this city girl upset about her garden-fresh broccoli? She probably uses a lot of hand sanitizer and eats yogurt with aspartame” kind of look.  I’m not that girl, I swear! I just…prefer to get my daily protein from, y’know, beans and quinoa, not multi-legged inch-long critters. Suffice it to say, this was an ordeal (read: I live in the first world with a good dose of privilege, in case you couldn’t already tell from the fact that I write a food blog and am enrolled in college). This is an example of an ordeal in my sheltered life and probably not the best thing for me to be upset about. But anyway. I ate the broccoli and lived to tell the tale. I did not get some sort of bug-to-broccoli-to-mouth illness, and if anything, now I really know how to wash a vegetable. This probably means I should be a farmer when I grow up, right?

PS- if you’re not into black rice pasta/can’t find it, this salad would be just as good with soba noodles, which I’ve been able to find at most grocery stores (though they’re made from buckwheat, not rice, just so we have the facts straight)! But honestly, any noodles would work in this! Pasta rocks!

Salad (serves 1 but easily doubled, tripled, etc.)

1 bundle black rice noodles (I use these)

2 c broccoli

1/2 shallot, minced

2 carrots, peeled

Dressing

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

1/2 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper

squeeze lime or lemon

Toasted sesame seeds

Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside. Combine the first seven ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar, give it a good shake (with the lid on!!), and set aside. Using a vegetable peeler or a mandoline slicer slice up the carrots and bottom part (stem? trunk?) of broccoli. Give the top part of the broccoli a rough chop and place in a bowl with the shallot. Add pasta and dressing, then toss everything together. Top with a squeeze of citrus and sesame seeds!

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