Desserts

176

Ginger Sage Cashew Ice Cream (V, GF)

There are certain times of day where everything feels quieter. Calm. Every now and then it feels like this¬†at six in the evening on warm nights, but only when it’s overcast and just about to rain. The feeling is always there at five in the morning, regardless of weather or temperature. I spent a lot of time awake at five am over the past year or so, but now that I actually sleep through the night, I’ve been missing it. I used to crawl out of bed and walk around and just listen to the calm. The early risers on a morning jog. The all night-pullers just leaving the library with their laptops and exhausted faces. For me, being up at that time wasn’t about going for a¬†run or doing work, it was just about being awake and alive. I kinda miss that. But not as much as I missed sleep.

I like this summer. It feels less hectic than others. Without a doubt, I’m busier than I’ve been in years past, but I like keeping my time occupied. I usually tend to let my brain wander into circles, revisiting every possible scenario and outcome of any situation I find myself in. It gets hectic. I don’t like feeling that way.¬†It’s better to be busy and let things just happen as they may, otherwise who knows what I may trick myself into thinking. Now that I’ve started working, I’m pretty beat at the end of the day. Which, for this job, is in fact four in the afternoon. It sounds early, I know. But you try teaching fifteen 12-year olds how to draft a¬†bodice block pattern¬†or corral them around New York City¬†and¬†then you might get where I’m coming from. I’m never too tired to cook though, which is a comfort. This brings me to the reason for this post: sage ice cream. Yes. Yum.

This recipe isn’t complicated at all, it just involves a bit of planning ahead. You have to give the cashews time to soak and the custard time to chill and the ice cream time to freeze. But it’s soOOooOo worth it, let me tell ya! Side note: I’m sure this would be just as good with a dairy¬†custard base (or perhaps a yogurt one?) but I made this dairy free to enter a contest featured¬†by Food52. I really really RLY want to win a Vitamix. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me!

ps- the fresh sage comes from the herb garden my mother planted and it makes me SO happy. Speaking of which, does anyone need any basil?? Because we have a literal mountain of it..and there’s only so much pesto a girl can make!

A few notes: I recommend using organic cashews, as the nonorganic may be treated with icky pesticides. I know they’re pricey, but I think it’s worth it. But that’s your call! And be careful not to soak the cashews for more than 24 hours, as they can start emitting¬†a weird gel (yum veganism!); it’s easily washed off, but that means you’re getting very close to over soaking, which could turn the nuts rancid. And you don’t want that!¬†

Ice Cream (makes about 1 1/2 quarts)

1 3/4 cup organic cashews
1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (or regular milk if you don’t care about this being vegan)
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 roughly chopped fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup maple syrup/agave/honey
1 cup water
1/4 cup chopped crystalized ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons cocoa nibs (optional, sub chocolate chips if you like it sweeter)

Place¬†the cashews in a large jar and cover with filtered water. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight (highly recommend an overnight soak if you don’t have a Vitamix or other high-powered blender.) Drain and rinse well.

Place the vanilla bean paste, scraped vanilla bean, chopped sage leaves, and milk of choice in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture is almost boiling. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes. Let cool. Pass through a fine mesh sieve.

Place the rinsed cashews, vanilla sage milk, sweetener, and 1 cup water in a blender or food processor and blend into a smooth creamy custard. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

Transfer to the bowl of your ice cream maker and freeze according to the instructions. Once the custard starts to thicken, add chopped ginger, sea salt, and cocoa nibs. Eat it right away or store in a freezer-safe container until snacking time! If it’s frozen solid, let the ice cream thaw for 20+ minutes before digging in.

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Drinks

174

Tahini Date Shake (V, GF)

If you didn’t already know, I’m a big tahini fan. It’s basically¬†grownup peanut butter and it just adds something a little more special¬†to recipes that call for nut butters. Now, I’m not quite ready to whip up any tahini and jelly sandwiches, but I’m very into adding spoonfuls of it to cookie dough, dressing, hot chocolate, and smoothies/shakes! Since it’s now officially summer, I think it’s high time to spend any free moments sitting outside and drinking cold drinks. And that often means cool and creamy tahini shakes. Basically a milkshake for breakfast everybody, get excited! I’ve made a pact with myself to take¬†fifteen minutes every morning to drink one of these (or these) and read a few pages of very important literature¬†and not think about anything else. And then those precious minutes are over and it’s back to writing cover letters and freelance article pitches and crying being excited by the challenge of not knowing what’s ahead.

In other news, Emily and I are currently up to our ears in blue¬†frosting and chocolate chili cupcakes because we got a catering gig! And I must admit, getting paid to chop cilantro and whip buttercream and marinate shrimp is not at all a bad thing. In fact, it kinda really rocks. So general announcement, if you ever are in the market for someone else to make your food for you, drop me a line here because we’re a bargain and the food is slammin, if I do say so myself. And now for some links that made me smile:

A breakfast sandwich crawl sounds like my kind of adventure.

Goals

Food52 featured my Minty Orange Gimlet in a cocktail roundup to toast summer hooraaaay~

Co-owner of Tartine Chad Robertson’s ideas for the future: eco-robotic bread baking. ‚ÄúYou can source your grain from a regional economy, you can fresh-mill it, and you can bake 20,000 loaves using robots.‚ÄĚ yes ok.

The other owner of Tartine (incidentally, Robertson’s wife) Liz Prueitt has some pretty fucking fantastic things to say about women who want to work and have a family and not be questioned about how they “do it all.” She does not mention robots.

I can’t stop watching this video idk idk idk.

O’Neill’s rant about red velvet cake on OITNB was probably the funniest thing that’s ever happened on the show.

Someone buy me tickets to the Saveur cookout for my birthday even though my birthday isn’t for five months plz?

ps- Happy Father’s Day to any dads out there! So glad mine was happy to take me back in after graduation (although I have a sneaking suspicion it’s mostly because I make dinner every night…)

Shake (serves 1)

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup date water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pitted deglet noor dates
1/2 frozen banana
ice
1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional, for added energy boost)
1 shot rum or kahlua (also optional, you might not want to have it for breakfast with this addition) 

Soak the dates in hot water for ten minutes and chia seeds in warm water for five. Combine everything in a blender and really let it rip for a while to break up the dates (unless you’re super lucky and own a Vitamix, in which case the whole thing will take about 20 seconds.) Consume solo or with your favorite breakfast cookies (pictured: Laura Wright‘s Ultimate Breakfast Cookies!)


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Breakfasts, Desserts

171

No-Bake Seedy Mocha Coconut Slice (V, GF)

First post back in my trusty Jersey kitchen! I’ve missed it so. The weirdly yellow speckled floors. The full-sized food processor. THE DISHWASHER. I can’t even describe how many times in the past few days I’ve started washing things¬†by hand and then remembered I can just toss it in a thing¬†that will clean the dishes for me!! No more waking up to a sink full of things I was too lazy to clean the night before. Truly a miracle.

As much as I love having certain things¬†back, it sure is weird being in a real house again for the long haul. I realize like four times a day l have yet to turn off all my alarms telling me about work shifts at the museum and production meetings at the theatre. I can’t remember where I left my bag or shoes or iPod or sunglasses because I can’t just throw them into the same corner of my apartment every time I come home anymore (my roommates totally loved me, can you tell?) I’m taking a big risk if I leave my computer plugged in unattended because a certain member of the household likes to sharpen his fangs on electrical cords when no one is watching. On the other hand, it’s a dream come true to be able to jump in the car and be five minutes away from Whole Foods. It’s actually going to become a problem soon. I like grocery shopping way too much, don’t judge meeee. I’m also growing quite fond of this whole waking up to a¬†pot of coffee already brewed thing. And having a big tv instead of my tiny laptop to re-watch all of Mad Men explore important documentary films. I’ll start my summer job soon enough, but until then I’ve really been getting into having nothing to do. And I’ll continue being a big fan for maybe another week, then I’ll start to go insane and probably begin crafting again. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Let’s talk about food. Specifically this recipe. It originated¬†from a recipe by my all-time favorite vegan blogger¬†Ashlae of Oh, Ladycakes. While rummaging in the fridge for dates, I found a container of prunes. And because I’ve been trying real hard to broaden my food-horizons lately I ate one. I was not a fan. Que sera, sera. However, the texture was very promising, as in it resembled a perfectly moist date. Lo and behold, pruney date crust is slammin’! And while I’m not too fond of them on their own, when blended with super sweet dates and nuts and coffee and chocolate, they add a whole new world of flavor. So don’t knock it til you try it, trust me!¬†The greatest thing about this treat is that it’s totally substantial enough to be breakfast, but decadent enough to have for dessert (with a healthy dollop of whipped cream, duh.) PS- if you have a nut allergy, omit the almonds and almond milk; bump up the oats to 1 1/4 cup, the pepitas to 1/4 cup, and swap the almond milk for the water your dates/prunes have been soaking in! Also thx to Emily for being my hand model extraordinaire~

Slice (adapted from Ashlae Warner, via eHow)

1 cup raw almonds
3 tablespoons pepitas
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon coffee grounds
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
heavy pinch vanilla sea salt (or just normal, I won’t tell)
12 deglet noor dates
3 prunes
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
1/4 cup almond milk (or date water)
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (optional)

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons maple syrup

shredded coconut, chopped almonds, cocoa nibs, crystalized ginger, dried chopped fruit, etc. (for topping)

Make the crust:¬†Place the dates and prunes in a bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside for at least ten minutes. Drain, reserving the water to replace almond milk in this recipe (or for adding further deliciousness to a¬†smoothie!)¬†Blend the almonds, pepitas, coconut, oats, coffee, cocoa powder, and salt in a food processor until it turns into a fairly fine meal. Add the dates, prunes, cocoa nibs, and extract (if using) and blend until combined. Add the almond milk or date water and pulse until the mixture forms large crumbs. Press the mixture into an 8 or 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (or if you’re me and just moved all your kitchen equipment from one home to another, use whatever you have hanging around that vaguely resembles said tart pan; in this case, a spring form pan. See, they’re not just for cheesecakes!) and¬†put it in the freezer to make it bake.

Make the topping:¬†Whisk together the coconut oil and cocoa powder until smooth, it will resemble melted chocolate. Add the maple syrup and whisk well. (Spoiler alert: this is the BEST and easiest vegan chocolate frosting if you’re ever in a pinch.)

Put it all together: Take the crust out of the freezer. Working quickly, spread the topping over the crust with an offset spatula and sprinkle with additional desired toppings! Good luck getting this to last over two days, but Ashlae assures us it will keep in the freezer for up to 6 weeks!


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Breakfasts, Desserts

170

Basic Chia Pudding (V, GF)


I’ve been training myself recently to like foods I’ve been weirded out by in the past. So far I’ve succeeded with mushrooms, the outside (but not insides) of zucchini and tomatoes. Jello too- though does it count if I only consume it when raspberry flavored and mixed with vodka in shot form? Aheh. It’s all because of¬†the texture. I’m not really about gelatinous things, but I’m working on it. Next on the list: chia seeds. How do you feel about these bad boys? I’m okay with them as egg replacers in vegan baking for sure, and recently have come around to throwing a tablespoon or so in my morning oatmeal and granola bowls, where the food gets eaten before the seeds fully gel. Since it’s a huge thing all over the blogosphere, I figured I kinda had to give chia pudding a try. So I did. And I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it. I made it unsweetened first, just to experiment. That was pretty bleh by itself, but very good in oatmeal and smoothies.¬†However, when drowned in maple syrup and nuts/seeds I was a big fan, as it was fairly comparable to rice pudding. But really, what isn’t good with syrup? I also discovered that it’s totally a thing to blend it up, which is much more¬†attractive to me (see above re: texture issues.) I think I’ll try that next time, along with the chocolate. I definitely still have some experimenting to do in this category, so stay tuned.¬†In the meantime, check out these things:

This is everything.

I had a rice burger the other night from a Korean food truck- literally two sticky rice patties filled with spicy pork, kimchi, and veggies wrapped up tightly in an aluminum foil blanket. It was sweet and spicy with a side of sweet potato chips and oh my goooodness it was slammin. From what I can gather on the internet, it’s called a “bob burger,” (no, not because of the tv show..) as rice is Žį• in Korean and was then Romanized as ‚Äúbab‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúbob.‚ÄĚ Is this correct? Someone inform me! Anyway, I could’ve eaten about twelve of them and will be devoting a great deal of my time to making my own in the future. I’m a big, big fan of burgers one can eat with a fork.

Ikea has PLANS for our future and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

I can’t wait to be back home -in¬†8¬†days (?!!!??)- purely so I can take full advantage of this quiz all the time.

New Anthony Bourdain cookbook coming soon !!!! sadosidjahuisdoisdpd I’m only a little excited

Wes Anderson designed a cafe, because apparently Milan wasn’t already trendy enough?

PS- Happy Mother’s Day to any Moms reading today!

PPS- I made a Twitter, because one of my post-grad goals is to understand all the social media things. Someone help me learn how to do this!

Chia Pudding (serves 2-4) 

scant 1/3 cup chia seeds
1 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup, honey, agave, etc. (optional)

Whisk up all the ingredients and pour into a jar/your desired vessel. Place in the fridge for at least several hours, preferably overnight so the seeds fully gel (I know- ick) and achieves pudding consistency. Top with nuts, dried/fresh fruit, and maybe even some coconut whipped cream!


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Drinks

169

Coffee Ice Old Fashioned (V)

So yesterday I had my last classes at Smith. The final ten minutes of my very last class consisted of listening to people read a scene from the short play I’ve been working on this semester. I’ve written a lot of short scenes before, for this course and when I took playwriting I two years ago, but I’ve never done a fuller-length piece. I wanted to actually commit to something this semester. I wanted to make something that wasn’t food or a drawing, because I’ve made a whole lot of those and it’s time to try new things already! I wrote a 37-page play, and apparently it was not bad at all! Spoiler: I’m very self-conscious about my writing. About my place as a person who does any academic work, honestly. I guess I know the source of that problem, and I probably shouldn’t let it get to me, but that’s not a story for the blog- at least not today, anyway. This is a meandering way of commenting on how pleasantly surprised I was to hear people laugh at the lines I wrote to be funny; to hear someone actually refer to one of my characters’ actions from a scene read earlier this semester; to listen to my professor’s encouraging comments about words I wrote for the sole purpose of just making something. It was kind of a beautiful way to finish my work here. #feelings, amirite? Class ended and I left the theatre building (geesh, how many times have I done that this year?) and had one of those weird moments where I stopped and realized that was it. I’m done. Okay, technically, I still have to write five more pages of a paper and finish up a few other things, but really, I’m done. Done with college.¬†I honestly don’t know whether to cry with joy or genuine fear. Mostly it doesn’t feel real at all. So while I’m figuring out how to feel about the fact that I graduate in -count ’em- seventeen days and then find my way back to Jersey, let’s talk about this cocktail I made last night.

If you’ve been a reader of Spices and Spatulas for a while, you’re well aware of the fact that I’m a big fan of coffee. A true caffiend, as I’ve mentioned. While deep down I know that the best way to start the morning is with a big glass of water, I never do it. If I don’t have coffee within the first 15 minutes of being awake, I start to get a little grumpy. If I don’t have more later in the day, I’ll start to get a really terrible headache. Which, honestly, is actually probably really bad and I should work on weaning myself off it a bit. But that day is not today. Today, we will be putting coffee in liquor (again) and everyone will be buzzing out of their skin and it’ll be delicious. PS-¬†I know the brown ice isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but just accept it; it tastes AMAZING. Also, yes, I did I fact use a $1 nip of Jim Beam because I am classy.

Cocktail (serves 1)

3 coffee ice cubes (see below)
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 ounces Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
2 dashes bitters
orange slice

Make the coffee ice cubes:¬†Brew a strong pot of coffee and let it cool to room temperature. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. If you’re really on your cocktail game you should make them in this tray; much prettier than the tiny ice. You’ll only need 3 for this drink, so throw the rest in a freezer bag and to cool iced coffee without it getting watery! (and maybe make yourself a frozen mocha¬†or throw a few into a milkshake.)

Make the cocktail: Put a¬†rocks glass in the freezer.¬†Dissolve the brown sugar in 1 tablespoon water and set aside. Remove the glass from the freezer and place¬†3 coffee ice cubes in the bottom of it. Pour the sugar mixture over the ice, then do the same with the Bourbon/Rye and bitters. Swirl it all together and garnish with an orange slice, adding a little extra squeeze of juice if you so choose. Sip slowly for a mellow but intense buzz, sip fast if you’re tryna get weird. Either way, you just got a bit¬†closer to being¬†this guy.

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Breakfasts

168

Fruit and Grain Breakfast Bowl
(V,GF…but only if you want it to be)

A few mornings ago¬†I woke up and went about my routine¬†as usual. I fumbled around with the coffeemaker, put away some dishes; you know the drill. But the greatest thing happened when I opened the living room door/window: instead of being greeted with the usual chilly 7am wind, there was a -dare I say it-¬†warm¬†spring breeze!! I honesty can’t describe how happy it made me. So, being a weirdo, I dug out my *shorts* from the bottom of my pile of winter leggings and ran around outside for a while with a giant smile on my face (c’mon, let’s be real, running > homework.) And then, to make things even better, when I got to my favorite park, I found that ALL THE SNOW HAD MELTED! Now, I understand¬†that most of the snow has been gone for weeks, I’m not that unobservant. But since I’ve been living in the theatre for the past month, the last time I ran outside was easily back in early March. I couldn’t even¬†see¬†the asphalt path in the park, let alone run on it. So it was a really big moment for me, as you can likely tell.¬†I got back home and realized¬†that I didn’t need a steamy bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I could have something cold and it wouldn’t even matter! So I gathered up my trusty oats and about a million different fixin’s and set out to make a giant bowl of happy spring food. It’s not really cooking, but I thought I’d share the “recipe” with you guys anyway. Make it with all the things I suggest, or don’t; it’s up to you!

Spring just feels right. Don’t get me wrong, summer is where it’s at -I’m a large proponent of Birkenstocks and cutoff shorts and falling asleep in the sand on a beach- but spring has some kind of weird power. I can’t completely place it, but it’s wonderful. I keep saying this over and over because it’s kind of a revelation. But, y’know, one that obviously happens literally every year and is probably not super exciting to others. It is to me, though. In fact, I was talking about¬†this very feeling the other day. Walking along the Northampton bike path, it was windy and the sun was warm on my face and I just kept feeling that I’d been in that exact moment before, but at the same time it was completely new. The resolution for what exactly spring feels like? It’s deja vu mixed with hopeful anticipation, and perhaps a small side of nostalgia. Don’t you agree? Think about it over a bowl of the following recipe while I go drink this cup of coffee in the sun on my patio.

Breakfast Bowl (serves 1)

1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup your favorite cereal (I’ve been very into this and this¬†lately)
1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
handful dried cranberries and/or raisins
1 tablespoon cocoa nibs
1 large piece crystalized ginger, diced
1 tablespoon roasted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons dried shredded coconut
1/2 large green apple, chopped into tiny pieces
2 tablespoons cooked quinoa
your preferred type of milk or yogurt

things I did not have in my kitchen, as it’s been quite a while since I’ve been grocery shopping, but would be slammin in this:¬†
banana
grapes
fresh or dried raspberries
strawberries
dried apricots
toasted pepitas
other nuts, raw or toasted

I like to build this bowl starting with dry ingredients and ending with the wet/damp, but you should do whatever your heart desires. Top with milk or yogurt and enjoy, preferably outside!


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Breakfasts, Desserts, Snacks

165

Almond Fig Oat Bars (V)

I’ve realized recently that no matter what time I actually get up (and it’s usually a full two hours before I actually need to be anywhere,) I¬†spend way too much time casually drinking coffee. I’ll even admit to waking up a half hour earlier than those two hours¬†simply to have the time to sit and sip for a while. But even on those mornings when I give myself more time, I’m still scrambling to throw everything in my bag and wrap¬†my comically large scarf¬†around my face at 8:53, with just a few minutes to run halfway across campus for class at 9. So obviously that whole lunch thing often gets forgotten. I’ve mentioned it before, if you can recall. My newest mission: to fill my freezer with so many granola bars all I’ll have to do is reach¬†and grab a few, even during the pre-coffee moments before my eyes begin to focus. Sounds like a foolproof plan, amirite? Since my fridge is already crowded with homemade larabars, I’m getting anxious to change up the routine.

So basically this post is a way of admitting I’m way¬†too into searching for granola bar recipes.¬†There are SO MANY things happening with this particular kind of food on the internet it’s nearly impossible not to find myself with eighteen different tabs open trying to make sure I pay proper attention to each and every recipe/photo aaaahh. But chaos aside, there are probably about a hundred billion different granola bar recipes out there and with you guys as my witness I will make them all.¬†It may take a few years, but I will do it.

Here are just a few of the bars I’ve been eyeing:

these superfood granola bars (because deciding to mail order dried green healthy things is infinitely more appealing when said healthy things come in the form of chocolate.)

quinoa and cherries are one of my favorite combos so I’m v into these¬†seedy cherry granola bars.

I’ve never had sesame snaps (probably because I don’t live¬†in Canada like the author of this post), but these sesame snap granola bars have a lot of tahini in them so I am a happy camper.

homemade kind bars > paying $1.99 each for the real thing at the campus center, stomach growling for all to hear

I already make these 5 Ingredient Granola Bars¬†(really it’s more like 8-12 ingredients, what with all the pepitas, cocoa nibs, and dried cranberries I add) on a regular basis. You should too. The Minimalist Baker seriously gets it when it comes to granola.

then I got into a much healthier corner of the blogosphere with sweet potato buckwheat bars¬†(I’m more nervous about this, but usually the best food things come in strange packages)

Until I can get to the store to buy all the nuts + seeds, here’s a fun fig bar recipe~

Almond Fig Bars (adapted from Healthy Happy Life)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
good pinch sea salt
1/2 cup warm water + 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1 1/4 cups¬†unsweetened¬†coconut milk (use the drinkin’ stuff in a carton, make your own, or use a well-shaken¬†can)
1 large banana (the riper the better)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
coconut oil (for greasing pan)

1 cup dried figs
2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
juice of one orange

topping options: toasted oats, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped nuts, cocoa nibs etc

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Thickly grease a baking sheet with a tablespoon or two coconut oil. Combine the water and flaxseeds, stirring briskly. Set aside to¬†thicken for a few minutes. Combine the rest of the dry ingredients and spices, then fold in the wet ingredients, including the seed water (AKA the flax egg – I know, yum) Add an extra splash of coconut¬†milk if the batter seems too thick to pour. Thinly slice the figs and toss them¬†in the¬†maple syrup and orange¬†juice. Pour the batter into the baking sheet and drop the figs on top,¬†pour any excess liquid right over the figs. Sprinkle with desired topping and bake 20-25 minutes! I found these to be realllly great warm topped with coconut whipped cream. That’s not really a breakfast or to go option, but do what you can with this information.

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Desserts

164

Mocha Whiskey Mousse Pie for
Pi[e] Day 2015 (aka the Pi Day of the Century)

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Happy Pi Day!! Honestly, this is probably my favorite of the food themed holidays. It’s a close race between pies and chocolate¬†but I think pie may have a little edge. This year is extra special because it’s 2015, meaning the date is 3/14/15, and ŌÄ = 3.1415 (the next few digits are 926, so I could be extra insane and make sure I’m eating a bite of pie at exactly 9:26 AM and PM, but we’ll see.) Since it’s so important that pie be consumed on this high holy day, I’ve been thinking about what exactly I’d be making for quite a while. As much as I wish it were summer, so I could make a really good fruit pie with all the fresh peaches + berries, we can’t always get what we want. So I settled (and by settled, I mean I was perfectly happy to select) chocolate and cherry preserves.¬†As long as these decadent things exist, life will be pretty good. So grab a fork and cup of coffee and dig in!¬†Also read¬†this article¬†real quick.

Check my pi day post from last year for more treats, but also definitely pay attention to what the rest of the internet food world created:

last year’s¬†Mini Cherry-Blueberry Pies¬†(Ashlae makes a lot of pie, she’s a goddess)

Food52 has all the suggestions for savory as well as sweet pies

This Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie from Smitten Kitchen is obviously breakfast, yes?

Buzzfeed has a lot of suggestions, although I’m wary of a pie milkshake..

NPR has featured recipes in addition to¬†a math-y video with v dramatic¬†music (it’s currently playing as I type and it’s making everything feel¬†like a fight sequence in an action movie.) Also I’m not sure what’s going on with their “pizza pie”, but it’s not what I was expecting

Just reading the words¬†Blackberry Balsamic Pie with Sea Salt Walnut Crumble¬†made my day, so you bet I took note of this one for the summer (actually, I “pinned” it..do you hate me?)

I actually originally intended to make a Crack Pie today, but that dream got away from me, so just salivate over the recipe!

This project is called 31 Days of Pie, and while it did not overlap with pi day, I think you understand why it’s on this list

If you’re in New York today, there are some pie shops celebrating with discounts and specials! Four & Twenty Blackbirds is also running a 3 slices for $14 deal~

Also if you want to eat pie for all the meals today, look at these adorable little savory hand pies, this Guinness Beef Pot Pie, and this whole list..but especially that artichoke, kale, and ricotta pie yes yes yes

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch Waitress and eat the following recipe straight out of the pie pan!

Pie (inspired by Oh, Ladycakes)

2 cups pretzels
5 cinnamon graham crackers
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
6-8 tablespoons solid coconut oil

1 batch chocolate mousse
2 tablespoons whiskey
2 tablespoons espresso

1/4 cup cherry preserves (or berries, if you can find good ones this time o’year!)
1-2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
chopped walnuts and cashews
shredded coconut
1 batch coconut whipped cream

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a removable bottom tart pan (I use canola spray) Combine pretzels, graham crackers, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor and grind until they reach flour-like crumbs. Add the coconut oil and pulse until crust resembles wet sand. Press into tart pan with your fingers, then use the bottom of a measuring cup to really press it all in. Bake 7-10 minutes, checking for the last three minutes to make sure it’s not burning. Remove from oven and set on a baking sheet (in case anyone happens to move your pie, we won’t have no surprises re: removable bottom pan/pie all over floor/etc) to cool.

For the filling: Make the mousse according to these directions, swapping out 4 tablespoons of almond milk with the espresso and whiskey. Or you can use the normal recipe, live your life as you please. Pour mousse into pie crust and refrigerate.

For the topping:¬†Spoon the preserves over the chocolate layer of the pie.¬†Sprinkle one tablespoon of cocoa nibs over the preserves. If you’re good at planning ahead, make a batch of coconut whipped cream, adding a tablespoon or two of¬†whiskey, because yolo and such (I¬†am¬†on spring break after all..) and spread a thick layer over the chocolate. Stud the top with more cocoa nibs, chopped nuts, and coconut. Ready your forks and toast to pi day!

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Winter Farro Salad (V)

Hi guys, it’s Emily, here to share another guest post! I was first introduced to farro last spring while studying abroad in Italy. During the colder months, we had soup for lunch almost every day. It was the perfect thing to warm us up after site visits in the rain (which happened a lot). As the weather warmed up though, we switched to salads. One day, after a long morning of running around Rome looking at all of the antiquity (life was rough, guys), my classmates and I were famished. You can imagine the joy we felt when we had farro salad made with cherry tomatoes, arugula, mozzarella, and basil dressing for lunch that day. It was fresh yet filling, and I have never been so sad to see a lunch end.

When I came home I made it my mission recreate this perfect food. Maybe when it gets warmer out I will share my version of that salad with you (*hint* *cough* hey Becca!). Thus began my extensive experimentation with possibility of grain salads. Farro, wheat berries, wild rice, quinoa, millet, and other hearty grains are perfect for showcasing seasonal vegetables and flavorful dressings. Even better, they only improve as they sit and the flavors get to know each other.During the warmer months, these types of dishes are perfect for barbecues and light lunches. They can be made ahead and are great at room temperature. Once the weather began to cool off though, I stopped making grain salads. I poked around for recipes that utilized winter flavors, but never really found anything that struck me. This was until I was gifted David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen over the holidays. His wheat berry salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and pomegranate fit the bill. During a season that is ruled by hearty stews and anything with tomato sauce and loads of cheese, this salad is much needed. Now, I love stuffed shells probably more than the average person, but sometimes I just need something a little brighter and lighter. I made this for dinner one night as a side to a roasted chicken. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t eating it out of the bowl with the serving spoon while the chicken cooked. The next day, I mixed some with shredded leftover chicken and brought it to work for lunch. Everyone was jealous.

Winter Farro Salad (Serves 6 to 8; barely adapted from My Paris Kitchen)

1 c. uncooked semi-pearled farro
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 pounds mixed root vegetables (I used carrots, parsnips, and turnips) and winter squash
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
4 cups coarsely chopped radicchio
1/2 c. chopped parsley
seeds from 1 pomegranate (I use this method to remove them)
fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
1/4 c. olive oil

Cook the Farro: Rinse farro and put in a large saucepan. Add bay leaf and cover with water. Cook until tender according to packaging instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Remove bay leaf and place farro in large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Roast the Veggies: Preheat oven to 375o F. Peel vegetables and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in ovenproof dish (I used a large pyrex pan). Coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until fork tender, about 35 min. Spread radicchio over vegetables and return to the oven for another few minutes, until the radicchio is wilted.

Make the Dressing: Combine all ingredients in a jar, cover, and shake until combined. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Put it All Together: Put vegetables in bowl with farro and stir together. Toss with dressing. I like to use about two thirds of it to start, taste, and adjust to my liking. You can always add more dressing, but you can’t take it away. Any extra is good on a salad tomorrow. Gently toss in parsley, pomegranate seeds, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a few grinds of pepper.

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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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