Entries Tagged as 'flour'

Grilled Pretzel Panzanella Salad + A Summer Stock Up Giveaway

Posted on: June 30, 2014

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If you are located here in the states then you are probably having a hard time getting into the groove of this week knowing it’s going to be a short one. With Friday being a national grill-copious-amounts-of-food holiday (oh and a celebration of the countries birth), I’ve got grilling (and eating. and watching fireworks. and swimming) on the mind.

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Living in a smallish town has it’s perks – it is easy to walk to the local co-op to grab vegetables for dinner. Taking a nightly bike ride is never interrupted by honking cars. You don’t ever have to wait for a table at your favorite local eatery and weekends are spent swimming at the neaby lakes and quarries. The downside is that sometimes resources can be limited – in this case, pretzel bread. I love making homemade bread but it’s not the first activity I get excited about when it’s already 90 degrees in my kitchen. My lack of success after adventuring to 3 grocery stores, 2 co-op stands, and our local bakery to find pretzel bread only made me more determined. If only we had a Trader Joes around here… I kept thinking, which just enraged me more. Finally, I took a deep breath, pulled out my rolling pin, and whipped up 6 mini-loaves of pretzel bread.

Do you need to make fresh bread for this recipe? No. In fact, I may even advise against it since you’ll need to then let it sit for several days to become stale enough to truly be panzanella. But, if you are feeling overly ambitious or lack pretzel bread in your town, like me, then feel free to start on this a few days early with the bread and come back to it when the bread has become slightly stale.

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Dark Chocolate & Apricot Oatmeal Cookies /// The Homemade Flour Cookbook

Posted on: June 23, 2014

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Last July, I hopped on a plane and met one of my best friends, Ella, for an adventurous long weekend road trip up the Pacific coast. She had already spent the last 3 months exploring the US in her little car and I was scheduled to meet up with her for the very last leg of her trip. I flew into San Francisco where I immediately made her take me to Tartine Bakery to pick up two loaves of bread (which I strategically ordered 3 days prior, duh) and an array of baked goods that we couldn’t resists while in the shop. We wondered around the city streets stuffing our faces with fistfuls of pillowy carbs until we stumbled upon the Bi-Rite Market.

It only seemed appropriate that we top this portable feast off with some spreads so we headed inside the market. After picking up 3 jars of specialty jams, some fresh blueberries, and a slab of Humboldt fog cheese to top our bread with, we decided we should just grab a few more items to enjoy on the road for the next 3 days. Fast forward 10 minutes later and we were standing outside the market with 4 bags full of $150 worth of groceries. Although we both had a little bit of sticker shock when we first saw it all rung up, we feasted that week and it was the fanciest camp food I’ve ever had the pleasure of traveling with.

Although the bread was legendary, the cheese was so creamy you could eat it by the spoonful, and the blackberries were as fun to pick off the wild bushes as they were to eat, the flavor I remember the most was from our gorgeous dried apricots we purchased from Bi-Rite. It was the first time I’ve ever had an apricot that I could recall (fresh or dried) and the flavor stuck with me. Everytime I bite into one, it reminds me of smelling the salty seashores, gawking at endless redwoods, laughing at wrong turns, and feeling slightly whoozy from the winding roads. And those small reminders are now why I keep dried apricots around for everyday pick-me-ups.

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As most of you probably have heard from all the reviews online or saw on my instagram, my good blogger friend Erin Alderson of Naturally Ella just released her first cookbook, The Homemade Flour Cookbook, this month. I’m a total DIYer in the kitchen (anything from making my own vegetable broth to flavored mustards to Boozy BBQ sauce) so I was so excited to hear she was covering the topic of making her own flour. It seems like such a no brainer that things like Garbanzo bean flour comes from dried chickpeas, but to learn that it’s insanely simple to whip up your own version instead of spending $8+ on a small bag is just so liberating! I started out simple with just making this oat flour but can’t wait to dig into the more unique flours like lentil and pistachio flour.

These cookies are a slight adaptation of the Cranberry Oat Cookies she has in her cookbook. I had planned to make them word for word but my ability to follow a recipe is lacking and I felt inspired by the other add-in ingredients I had laying around. I’m doubting Erin could be too upset by the adjustments since she herself admits to always needing to turn a recipe into its own in the intro of  The Homemade Flour Cookbook.

I’d recommend this book for anyone trying to get extra creative in their kitchen or looking to become as self-sufficient as possible. The book is split up into types of flours and the instructions on how to mill each grain / bean / seed is incredibly informative and helpful. Plus, on top of all that, she includes several recipes for each type of flour, so you have endless inspiration from cover to cover.

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Loaded Vegetable Spring Quiche

Posted on: April 23, 2014

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I’d like to pretense this story by mentioning that I am turning 25 this year. With that in mind, I’ve received an Easter “basket” every year of my life (that I can remember) from my mother. Even after I moved out at 18, my mother always managed to ship a box full of colored confetti and festive treats in the form of candy, money, cookies, or whatever else I was into at the time. This year was no exception.

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Our doorbell rang bright and early on Thursday morning when our UPS man dropped off a large package that was over-nighted from Seattle, Washington. I opened it up to find an array of spring foraged foods in the form of ramps, black garlic, blood oranges, palm heart, and mushrooms. This immediately prompted a ‘thank you’ text to my mother which was replied to with a comment about ‘I guess you are officially an adult when you get excited about receiving vegetables in your Easter basket’. That statement would almost be true if it wasn’t for the fact that I was so excited to receive these vegetables so I could play with them. I’d like to think I play with my food as much now, if not more, than when I used to receive dinosaur shaped gummies and candy necklaces (which were my favorite, by the way. I think I may have even rocked those up until the end of middle school).

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This quiche has an Asian flair to it with the fermented garlic giving almost a soy sauce scent. The saltiness of the garlic leaves no room for cheese so I’d suggest leaving it out (just this one time) and let the vegetables shine. If you having trouble finding ramps in your area then feel free to substitute them with chopped spring chives or caramelized onions. The black garlic (also known as fermented garlic) might be the trickiest of ingredients to find on this list but it will be worth the hunt – check your local farmer’s market or asian food market if you are having trouble finding it at your usual stops.

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Baked Vegan Maple Bacon Donuts

Posted on: March 10, 2014

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I’d like to think I live in a pretty progressive town for it being smack-dab in the middle of cornfields (also known as the ‘meat-and-potato region’). Bloomington, Indiana is home to around only 40,000 people (80,000 if you count the students from the university) yet we have 4 co-op grocery stores, an entire street dedicated to ethnic restaruants, a vegan diner, numerous international grocery spots, a bike trail that runs the length of the city, and bakery dedicated to only serving vegan goodies.

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I bring this up because our local vegan bakery specialized in baked (or cake? I’d like to think they are the same thing but my boyfriend said this is 100% false) donuts. Theres always an array ranging from traditional toffee to more unique lavender-lemon. My usual go-to (after the huge cinnamon rolls and buckeyes) is always their maple bacon donut. They are wonderfully sweet with a hint of smoke from the coconut bacon.

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Fresh Spinach Pasta with Roasted Carrot Almond Pesto

Posted on: January 13, 2014

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It’s 13 days into the new year – are you still kicking strong with your new years resolutions? So far 2014 has not just been about being conscious of what I am eating but why I am eating it. Why is it so important to get that green smoothie in every morning? How is my body benefiting from consuming greens, carrots, greek yogurt, and honey? I recently picked up The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murry and can’t seem to put it down. It’s a hefty thing ranking in at a whopping 900 pages (Hey… it does warn you with the word ‘Encyclopedia’ in the title and is often times used as a textbook in holistic nutrition courses) but is brimming with wonderful food insight on every page. The bulk of the book is split up by specific foods and tells you the history, health benefits, research conducted on that food, and potential harmful effects of pretty much any whole food you can think of (spices, fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, etc).

 

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All this new found knowledge has gotten me really excited about eating whole foods. After a breakfast of avocado toast and blueberry oatmeal, I notice myself immediately running to the book to find out the benefits of avocados, oats, blueberries, maple syrup, and almonds (from the homemade almond milk). And then again after lunch. And after my afternoon snack. And so on.

 

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So, as you probably expected, I can’t wait to share all the wonderful benefits of this veggie-centric dish with you (but please remember, I am not a certified health expert of any sorts and all insight shared here is to merely share a few of the engaging health benefits outlined in Healing Foods).

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Strawberry Rhubarb with Ginger Crumb Pie [Vegan]

Posted on: May 12, 2013

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I had making a pie on the mind all week. I don’t get this urge very often (mostly because making a pie for two is just plain irresponsible) but decided to let myself indulge this time. My original thought was a blueberry basil pie but I was going to be open to whatever the farmer’s market would supply me. The only fruit I ended up finding at the market were strawberries and I knew I had to get them. They were petite and had the irresistible rustic appearance that wild strawberries often times have. This led to an internal struggle though…what other flavor combination would I use with strawberries? There was no basil at the market so that was out. I knew that rhubarb was the right choice (being in season and because strawberry rhubarb makes everything taste like a fruit roll up – in a good way) but I didn’t want to admit it at first. The ground breaking culinary discovery that rhubarb and strawberries were made for each other happened long before VV came around. What would make my pie different from the 100 million other recipes out there?

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After racking my brain & running through every spice and herb imaginable in my head, it clicked. Ginger. Ginger had become my BFF over the winter (when I was constantly warding off a cold with Ginger Lemon Tonics). I immidetely imagined a gingerly zing hitting the tongue moments after the strawberry rhubarb kicked in for a second layer of flavorings. And you know what? I was right. I am SO glad I was right. Thank you, ginger. Strawberry Rhubarb pies will never be the same.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Ginger Crumble

Adapted from Vegan Pie in The Sky

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening
  • 4 Tablespoons ice water
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

For the Filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups rhubarb, cute into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 3 1/2 cups strawberries, cut into 1/2 in chunks (fresh or frozen)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan butters or regular butter if not wanting to make vegan)

 

For the crust: Combine the sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter (or your clean hands) cut in the shortening to the mixture until  coarse crumbly dough as formed.

In another small bowl, combine the ice water with the vinegar. Drizzle 1/3 over the water over the flour mixture and stir. Drizzle another 1/3 over the mixture and stir again. Drizzle the rest of the water over the dough and form a soft dough ball. If the mixture hasn’t come together, add another tablespoon of ice water. If it’s too wet, add a tablespoon of flour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Let sit in the fridge for an hour.

For the filling / crumb: Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside. For the crumb, combine the flour, sugar, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. Drizzle in the butter with one hand and swish around the mixture with a spatula with your other hand. Mix until large crumbles form.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll the dough out on floured parchment paper (this will help you transfer it to your pie to the pan). You’ll want to make a 12″ circle with the dough. Quickly flip the dough into your pie pan and remove parchment paper. Add filling over dough and then spread the crumble evenly over the top.

Cover with aluminum foil and poke a few holes to let steam escape. Bake for 20 minutes and then lower heat down to 350 degrees. Remove foil and let cook for another 30 minutes or until the topping has browned.

Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

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Cornbread Waffles with Roasted Vegetables & Chimichurri Ramps

Posted on: May 1, 2013

My daily posts have turned more into weekly posts as thing have become a bit hectic around here. There are so many things I’ve wanted to share without over sharing on a food blog…which then usually just turn into not sharing them at all. So, instead, I’m just going to give off a short list of excuses that have been both tearing me from this blog and keeping me occupied in my “real” life:

1. I got a new day job / promotion. I was promoted from indie-rock-princess to indie-rock-queen. Hah, no. But I did go from a glorified secretary to being in charge of over 200 of our music client accounts. So, needless to say, I’ve been working 9+ hours a day trying to figure out everything that goes along with this new job.

2. It’s spring! And I’ve been putting most of my free time energy into prepping my garden. What good is a food blogger who can’t even grow her own produce to write recipes with?

3. My grandma passed away. I realize that this is a normal occurrence for people over the age of 80 but that does not make it any less unsettling. I don’t care how old you are – it’s very upsetting to watch a wonderful person have everything ripped away from them.

4. My boyfriend is obsessed with the X-Files. And not only is he obsessed but he is determined to watch EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. So starting at season one in Februaray, he has constantly had that on the TV…which has been…very distracting. Do you know how many episodes of the X-Files there are? HUNDREDS. There are NINE seasons. Do you realize how many hours have been wasting getting sucked in by that when I could have been cleaning my stove-top or seasoning my cast iron or making butterscotch cookies?!

5. Remember that Lemon Thyme Butter I posted about last week? OH MY! I’ve discovered that it’s pretty much amazing on everything. Melt it over pasta or spaetzle and thank me later. You’re welcome.

Okay, enough about me. Let’s talk about YOU! I have an ice cream recipe for YOU. Yup, that is right – homemade ice cream. And it’s filled with the most delicious…well I can’t tell you. But it’s sweet and savory and creamy and Middle Eastern. And it’s going to be posted on VV soon…how soon? I can’t tell you that either (can’t ruin the fun now!) – you’ll just have to check back.

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Now back to ramps. Yes, that is right. I am posting ANOTHER ramps recipes. Two in a row, really? Well if we compare it to how many pizza or tofu recipes I’ve posted then it’s really not that bad. Ramps are new to me…and I’m pretty obsessed. I know they are going to start disappearing from the Farmer’s Market just as quickly as they appeared. This means, I’ve been cooking them up like crazy while I can!



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Cornbread Waffles with Roasted Veggies & Chimichurri Ramps

Makes 2 generous servings

Cheddar Cornbread Waffles:

  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cups milk
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Roasted Vegetables:

  • An assortment of your favorite vegetables to roast (I used 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 diced onion, 1/2 diced small sweet potato, 2 chopped carrots)
  • 2 springs of fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt/Pepper

Chimichurri:

  • 1 bunch of ramps (about 10 stalks)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 red pepper flakes
  • dash of pepper

 

To roast the vegetables: Preheat oven to 400 and toss the veggies with olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Lay in a even layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until the vegetables have softened and just started to brown.

To make the chimichurri: Rinse the ramps and cut off the roots and any rough tips.  Slice into big chunks. Blend all ingredients in a food processor (or blender) until a smooth paste forms.

To make the waffles: Preheat your waffle maker. Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yokes, milk, and butter. Fold the dried ingredients into the liquid until incorporated. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer until stiff but not dry peaks form. Fold the egg whites and grated cheese into the batter.

Ladle 1/2 cup (more or less depending on how big your waffle maker is) of the batter onto your preheated waffle iron and cook according to manufacture’s instructions (mine usually takes around 3 minutes).

Pile high with roasted veggies and chimichurri.

 

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Sweet Potato Biscuits with Peppered Sage Gravy

Posted on: January 24, 2013

Sweet Potato Biscuits and Sage Gravy

Biscuits and Gravy are a pretty re-occurring theme here on VV (see here. And here. And here). It’s not my fault… It’s my boyfriend’s favorite food to ever exist. And it’s pretty much the only way I can get him to help me in the kitchen. He LOVES making the gravy (probably because it means that I won’t get the chance to change it up). However, that gives me authority over the biscuits and an opportunity to experiment on that end.

Each time I choose a different biscuit recipe, I make a goal…last time I was determined to make sky high biscuits that rise for days. This time? I was feeling biscuits that were big (always an essential for biscuits) and moist. Flaky can sometimes lead to dry and I was determined to have none of that. I had recently read that cooking with potatoes help to keep bread moist… and needed to find out for myself. The verdict? OOOOH YEAHHH! Sky high, flaky, and moist?! Absolute heaven!

Oh, and as for the gravy…my boyfriend knows what he likes and refuses to do anything else besides this sage recipe. I’ve posted it on the blog several times (here and here) but he still claims its a hassle to find so I’m going to post it again. It is pretty delicious…and it’s ridiculously easy. Even your kitchen-illiterate boyfriend will be able to handle it.

PS: If you aren’t into sage then you could try out this mushroom or chickpea gravy!

 

Sweet Potato and Peppered Sage Gravy

 

Sweet Potato Biscuits and Peppered Sage Gravy

For the Sweet Potato Biscuits:

  • 1 small sweet potato, cut into small chunks (the smaller they are the faster they will cook)
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I made my own)

 

For the Peppered Sage Gravy:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups almond milk (or regular)
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the sweet potatoes and cook until you can pierce a fork into them (the amount of time will completely depend on how small you diced the potato…mine took about 15 minutes). Drain and use a fork to mash. Measure out 1/2 cup and reserve the rest for another use.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Use your hands or a pastry knife to cut the butter into the dough until a coarse meal has formed. Fold in the mashed sweet potatoes and buttermilk (the dough will be very sticky – that is okay).

Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead for about five minutes. Continue to add a little more flour if the dough is sticking. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits. Transfer to a greased cast iron skillet or pan (make sure the biscuits are close together so they will rise). Bake for 15 minutes or until the biscuits are browned on top. Serve warm.

 

Sweet Potato and Sage Gravy

 

To make the gravy:  Whisk the flour, nutritional yeast, and milk together in a large skillet. Whisk until a smooth consistency and then add in all the spices. Place the skillet over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Next, add in the butter and reduce to medium low. Whisk often until the gravy has reached your desired thickness. Remove from heat and season to taste.

 

Sweet Potato and Peppered Sage Gravy

 
Track of the day:

Gluten Free Caramel Pecan Tart with Chocolate Genache & Mascarpone Drizzle

Posted on: January 18, 2013

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This is Ella. She is one of the best things in my life. She has put up with my nonsense for more years than I would like to admit. She didn’t strangle me after us living together for a year and she still encourages my crazy adventures (like moving down to Nasvhille to chase my music dream. And starting a food blog. And adopting a puppy even though I can hardly take care of myself). Oh, and did I mention she makes me bruschetta… bruschetta that looks like this…

 

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..every September. It’s oh so amazing. It’s also what sparked my Winter Bruschetta post yesterday. But anyways, monday was her 24th birthday (Hey, Ella…we are getting old!) and she doesn’t know where she will be in 4 months. Maybe it’s still here with me in Bloomington. Or maybe she will disappear into the wilderness that is Wyoming or maybe she’ll serve a non-profit programs in Washington, DC. Whatever she chooses…I plan to support her since she supported me all those year. And I didn’t want to support her in the form of gifting another thing to carry across the country. Instead, I made this tart. And I made it gluten-free because I am also trying to encourage her gluten-free food adventures! So much support and encouragement around here, huh?

 

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So here it is. Ella’s birthday tart. The Gluten-Free Caramel Pecan Tart with Chocolate Genache & Mascarpone Drizzle (WOAH. SUCH A MOUTHFUL). I started with an almond flour crust…which gave it the tiniest hint of nutty flavor and then did a date/caramel layer followed by a VERY rich chocolate genache and a mascarpone drizzle. Dayum. It was intense and oh so delicious.

Lastly, I’d like to note that this tart LOOKS daunting because there are 4 components BUT you only cook the crust and there are a lot of repeated ingredients. Do not fear – with a little bit of time and a few fresh ingredients, you will have a delicious and decadent tart in no time! Okay, enough chatting…let’s get baking!

 

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Caramel Pecan Tart with Chocolate Genache & Mascarpone Drizzle

a weird love child of this recipe and this one

For the crust:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

For the filling:

  • 10 dates, pitted and soaked in 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped (+more for garnish)

For the genache:

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup / agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 vanilla bean

For the drizzle:

  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • ~1 Tablespoon milk (dairy or un-sweetened nondairy)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Combine the dates with 1/3 cup of water and let soak for one hour.

Make the drizzle first so that the mascarpone has time to absorb the vanilla/honey flavors. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrap out the seeds. Discard the pod and set half the seeds aside for the genache. Whisk together the mascarpone, honey, and vanilla bean seeds. Stick in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the tart.

To make the crust: Whisk together the almond flour and salt. Add in the agave/maple syrup and coconut oil and whisk until a crumbly dough forms. Grease a 4×14 tart pan (with removable bottom) and press the dough into it. Use a fork to pierce the dough through-out the pan. Transfer to the fridge and let chill for 30 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake 15 minutes (or just until it starts to firm up and turn slightly brown). Remove from oven and let cool completely.

In a small food processor, combine the dates (including the water they were soaking in), vanilla, and salt. Pulse until well combined and then fold in the pecans. Pour into the prepared crust and stick in the fridge while you prepare the genache.

To make the genache: In the small food processor, pulse together the coconut milk, cocoa powder, vanilla seeds, and maple syrup / agave nectar. Pour over the caramel mixture and smooth with a spatula. Stick back in the fridge for at least an hour (so that all the layers can set).

Right before serving: Whisk a tablespoon of milk (1 teaspoon at a time) into the mascarpone filling until its thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over the tart and garnish with chopped pecans.

 

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Serve to all your chocolate and pecan loving friends!

 

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Ella —– Me

 

 

Something for you to dance to while baking:

Homemade Pumpernickel Loaf

Posted on: January 3, 2013

As I mentioned yesterday in my post on Pear, Brie, and Spicy Brown Mustard Grilled Cheese, this is the first time I have ever tackled making homemade pumpernickel bread. I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor complexity that went into this bread. Whoever first invented this must have either seriously known what they were doing or was trying to clean out their kitchen cabinet in the form of throwing everything into a loaf of bread. I like to think it may be my second theory.

This bread is not for the impatient. It has 2 rising cycles so I recommend whipping this up on the weekend when you are planning to be hanging around the house anyways. Or even if you weren’t planning on hanging out around the house all day maybe this can be your excuse? Don’t want to go visit that weird uncle you’ve been putting off seeing in St. Louis? Tell him you’ve got some bread to make that just can’t wait another weekend. He will…probably not understand but at least you’ll get some amazing bread out of it and your home will smell like a fresh bakery!

 

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Cheddar Corn Biscuits

Posted on: December 5, 2012

How has your week been going? Mine has been fine but I know it’s been a little quite around here. I’ve done a bit of traveling this week and have more to go which is a nice change of pace but can also be exhausting. It’s the type of exhausting that makes me want to just curl up on the couch with my leftover chili and watch Veronica Mars (corniest 90s show ever but we are addicted) all night. Sorry VV, you take up too much energy for me right now.

But I promised and I usually like to be a girl of my word. So here I am! And as I promised, here is the buttery and addictive biscuit recipe that complaints that healthy Black Bean & Wheatberry Chili recipe perfectly. If you missed the chili recipe, it’s featured on The Kitchn today so hop on over and check it out!

We even used leftover biscuits to make biscuits and gravy with Wyatt’s favorite Sage Gravy! Mmmmm. And I have a feeling that breakfast sandwiches are in our very VERY near future. Breakfast for dinner? Well hello evening plans!

 

 

Cheddar Corn Biscuits

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup frozen corn (or fresh!)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cubed
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I made my own out of the milk I had on hand)

Grease a baking sheet (it may take 2 sheets depending on how thick you make the biscuits). In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, black pepper, baking powder, and baking soda. Next, add in the butter and use your hands to incorporate the butter into the dough until it resembles a coarse meal.

Next, fold in the cheese, onions, and corn. Finally, add the buttermilk and mix until just combined (don’t over mix or the dough will become tough).

Transfer dough to a slightly floured surface and roll out to about an inch thick (more or less depending on how you like your biscuits) and use a cookie cutter or glass to circle cut outs. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

Stick the cookie sheet (with the prepared dough) into the fridge and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Let the biscuits chill while it is preheating because the cold butter will help to make the biscuits flakier.

Bake for about 25 minutes (mine took 30 but my oven ALWAYS takes longer than what a recipe recommends so check often).

Serve warm with soup or gravy or by themselves with a little butter!

 

 

Searchable Saturdays

Posted on: December 1, 2012

Okay, let’s try something different. So I’m a visual person and there is a good chance that you are too. I resisted using photos in my Searchable Saturday’s posts for a long time because 1. I feel uneasy about using other people’s work and like to try to keep it strictly original around VV and 2. I am very particular about all the photos being uniform and the same size, shape, etc.

But you know what? Screw it. There are some REALLY gorgeous photos from the links this week and I’m going to show them off.

1. Already prepping for the Holidays? Me too! Click here are some beautiful (and free!) printable gift tags for all your holiday gifts!

 

 

2. I call myself a baker but have never made a pie with a lattice top. Shameful? Probably. Perhaps this tutorial is just what I need to push my baking boundaries….

 

 

3. This week I have been enormously inspired by Cannelle et Vanille’s food photography. As I continue the journey to find my aesthetic and grow my photography, I’ve noticed (thanks to Pinterest) that I am drawn to “busy” food photography overloaded with colors, shapes, and textures.

4. I’ve been craving some DIY projects in my life. Adding making this geometric garland to my weekend goals!

5. Don’t know the difference between bread and pastry flour? Check out this great quick flour reference for all your flour needs!

Well, I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! I’m off to pick up my winter CSA box…

Tuko Turns 1 // Homemade Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

Posted on: November 20, 2012

Woah, time has really flown fast since I posted about Tuko turning 6 months. Since then, we’ve moved into a new house, I graduated from college, and Wyatt started a new full time job. Also, I should mention that Tuko has doubled (if not tripled) in size since then. And he just keeps growing!

For his birthday, we got him a cute little American Apparel sweater and made him some homemade dog biscuits. Spoiled little thing.

 

 

These dog biscuits are packed full of pumpkin and peanut butter. Peanut butter is his favorite…in fact he thinks it is exclusively his food. I cannot pull the stuff out of the cabinet without him pawing at me to get a spoonful (again, spoiled little thing).

 

 

Homemade Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

adapted slightly from A Beautiful Mess
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup orangic peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup water

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until a thick dough forms. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Once the dough has chilled, roll out onto a floured surface (roll the dough to about a 1/2 inch thick) and use cookie cutters to make desired shape. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes or until the treats are golden on top.

Shower your dog with warm treats and then store the rest in an airtight container for up to a week.

Apple Latkes

Posted on: October 17, 2012

Latkes for dinner?! Yes, please! My family is very German and every December we go up to the German market (Christkindlmarket) which takes place in downtown Chicago. The market runs for the whole month of December and people from all over Germany fly in to sell authentic goods which include candies, food, music, and decor items. To me, Christkindlmarket consists of warm mulled cider, loads of German chocolate, and potato pancakes lathered in apple sauce or sour cream (also known as latkes!). And although the chocolate is…well chocolate (need I say more?) and the cider is alcoholic enough to warm you from the inside out…it’s the latkes that get me oh so excited every year. There is nothing better than warm, fried potatoes lathered in apple sauce (this may sound weird to non-Germans but have you tried it? It really is amazing!).

Okay, that is enough day dreaming about winter already (yuck, what was I thinking?!). Not my fault though…I totally got the new ‘Thanksgiving’ edition of the Food Network Magazine in the mail today. Too warm out to be thinking about Mushroom Gravy and Stuffed To-furkeys? I’d say so. But, a craving is a craving so in an attempt to cool down my potato latke need…I made a fall version! Apple latkes! What a perfect idea! I, of course, did not top them with applesauce (wayyy too much apple in there) but did lather them in butter and maple syrup (since anything in pancake form has the right to be enjoyed with maple syrup. period.)

These little pancakes were awesome. They were flavorful, moist, fluffy, and full of fall spices. I would recommend these for a crisp fall breakfast served up with a batch of mimosas (or if it’s too early for you to start drinking then why not some sparkling cider?).

 

PS I had never been to the Christkindlmarket website until today – woah! I promise there are no giant fairies in wigs or bad typography to be found! Just lots of chocolate, alcohol, and fried foods.

 

 

Apple Latkes

  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg, cloves, and allspice
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup grated apples, about 2 apples (peeled and grated) – spritz a little lemon juice to keep from browning if you peel ahead of time
  • Vegetable oil

Whisk together the eggs and yogurt. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in the egg/yogurt mixture and apples. Fold everything together until incorporated.

Oven medium heat, warm enough oil so that there is a thin layer of oil in your skillet. Add about a 1/4 cup of mixture into the hot oil (I cooked 3 at a time but it will depend on how big your skillet it) and make the latkes in batches. Let them cook for about 4 minutes on each side (this will completely depend on how hot your oil is so watch them closely and adjust accordingly). Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Serve warm with lots of butter and maple syrup!

 

Feta and Chives Beer Bread

Posted on: October 8, 2012

I’ve been feeling very inspired today. Do you ever have those days where you go to check your “inspiration feed” [mine is bloglovin' but any sort of RSS feed is what I am referring to] planning to look for ten minutes and then one blog leads to another which leads to an idea which leads to lots of online “reasarch”? Of course you do…I mean you are on a blog right now reading this and there is a good chance if you stumbled upon VV that you were also on some sort of blog journey at one point.

Anyhow, I stumbled upon ‘Going Home To Roost’s’ monthly membership (that is only 5 dollars, might I add) where you get weekly newsletters filled with tutorials, e-courses, designs, etc. This led to me (of course) signing up and reading her e-courses triggered thoughts of the classes that I’ve taken in the past (Blogging Your Way and A Beautiful Mess) so the afternoon turned into lots of reflecting on concepts and ideas that were brought up in those classes. Anyhow, I bring this up because you should hop on over to Going Home To Roost if you are looking for some inspiration and consider signing up for her monthly plan. A lot of bloggers say that paid subscription for extra content in the way of the future for bloggers. It’s sort of a cool concept (who doesn’t like exclusivity?) and at 5 bucks a month…I bet we could handle it!

 

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And now, let’s talk about food. This is probably one of the easiest recipes I have/will ever posted. I’ve actually made beer bread way more than any food blogger should EVER admit [ but it's totally not my fault!]  I could make the fanciest truffle pasta or elegant french soup with Gruyere croutons and Wyatt would reply “are we having beer bread with that?”. Seriously, anything that you can dip bread in…he requests beer bread as the side. I’ve made fresh baguette and seasonal Foccaccia but he always goes back to asking about the beer bread. And so here we are, it’s probably the trashiest American bread to ever exist but it’s SO easy (no rise time) and actually can be rather addicting.

Another thing that is great about beer bread is its super versatile. I added feta and chives because that is what I had on hand but in the past I’ve added sun-dried tomatoes, basil, oregano, sage, cheddar, etc etc. The options are pretty endless! All you have to do is think of a combine that goes well together and do it!

So whip this up next time you are planning to spend hours making a soup (so then you don’t ALSO have to worry about an elaborate bread to go with it) or need some spongy bread for warm gooey grilled cheese.

 

 

Beer Bread with Chives and Feta

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 12-ounce beer
  • 2 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives

Preheat oven to 375 and grease a small loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Add in the beer and stir until just combined. Fold in the feta and chives.

Cook for 50 minutes or until the top is crusty.

Serve warm with soups and sandwiches!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Swirl Cocoa Brownies

Posted on: October 5, 2012

I was doing so good in September…constantly cooking with fresh produce, little butter, and smaller portions. And the yoga…2…3….4 times a week! It was excellent. But then my fall taste buds kicked in. The first time I gave into the apple crisp because it was my way of welcoming in Fall. But then I made those pumpkin cinnamon rolls…and then the persimmon pudding. And here I am again with ANOTHER sugary, buttery, delicious fall dessert. It’s like my taste buds are saying ‘yeah…that summer eggplant was good…but now it’s time for mounds of sweets disguised as fall.’ Ah well, I own a food blog for goodness sake…can I really beat myself up for cooking [baking] delicious treats? Oh..I’m going to use that excuse more often!

 

 

All guilt aside, these brownies are super rad. I LOVE chocolate (Hey, I am a girl…) but these brownies give chocolate a whole new meaning. They aren’t the over dense, gooey bars that force you to slurp down a giant class of soy milk afterwards. They are airy, melt-in-your-mouth, and the pumpkin keeps them from becoming overbearingly sweet. AND they are seasonal so it’s totally acceptable to make them now before it’s not fall anymore! Plus, it’s Friday. Who doesn’t want to treat themselves with a big batch of brownies on their Friday night? Have I convinced you to pull out your baking supplies yet? Come on, seriously, what are you waiting for?

 

 

Pumpkin Swirl Cocoa Brownies

Adapted from YumSugar

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of cayenne (optional but highly recommended!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar + 2 Tablespoons
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 by 9 inch square baking pan.

In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup chocolate chips and butter over medium-low heat until it is melted and smooth (stir frequently to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn). Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer [I know, we are using LOTS of dishes for this one], combine the eggs, vanilla extract, and sugar. Beat until incorporated (about three minutes). Turn mixer down to low, slowly add in the dry ingredients, and then turn back up to medium for another minute.

Divide the batter in half and split it among two bowls. First, add the chocolate mixture into one bowl and add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and oil to the other bowl. Mix each batter until everything is incorporated.

Alternate between the two batters by pouring a combination of both bowls into the prepared baking pan. Use a toothpick to “swirl” the pumpkin into the chocolate and then sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.

Serve warm with ice cream or apple cider.

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Naan

Posted on: February 10, 2012

I’m really sorry if you are a returning reader and keep coming back to a new website layout (this could be rather confusing. Is this the same site it even use to be? same writer? same purpose?)…I assure you it is but I’m having an image crisis. Not really…I’ve just become rather obsessed with design layout and am constantly being inspired for a new design every week…I feel like I already have a new idea in mind by the time I finish the last layout. Anyways, please don’t mind the constant experimenting going on around the site. Im sure…one day…I’l be completely satisfied (hopefully!). But until then, I’ve got quite an 80′s theme going (not intentional. just love those colors)…

Anyways, naan….mmmm. Not sure if you dig the indian bread but if you dont have much experience with it…get acquainted. It’s so yummy and amazing dipped in everything. I actually made it the other night to go with the creole j (weird cross of cultures, I know, but it was fantastic). This stuff was surprisingly easy to make in the bread maker and oh so yummy with all kinds of stews/curries/soups/dips.

Oh and I topped mine with garlic but feel free to top it with whatever you’re feeling.

Garlic Naan

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

+whatever you’d like to top it with: minced garli, more clarified butter, parsley, thyme, whatever!

 

Place the ingredients in the bread maker in the order that I’ve listed.

Set it to ‘dough’ and let it do it’s thing. Go read some blogs, watch some tutorials, do some yoga, and play with your puppy.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Once the cycle is complete, flour a counter top and divide the dough into four pieces. Roll out each piece until it’s a thin, formless sheet of dough. Lather on a thin layer of melted butter and then stick your topping on.

Place on a greased baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 1 minutes. If you’d like the top of brown than switch it to broiler and let it cook for another minute.

Remove from oven and munch down with your stew/soup/curries.

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