It’s been a difficult few weeks for us. A couple of weeks ago we lost our beloved cat, Spade, to a car accident, and we are wrecked with grief. Our grief is, of course, compounded by the results of the recent U.S. election and our concerns about fascism, bigotry, and authoritarianism on the rise. The most healing thing we’ve done was spend time at home with Spade’s brother, Archer, and newcomer kitten Inti. At first they were a bit suspicious of each other, and so we separated them, but gradually we increased their face time and now they are best buds.
Another one of our contributions to the upcoming baroque workshop!
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 mashed banana
3 finely diced ripe peaches
2 tbsp agave syrup
1 tbsp flax seeds
3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup almond-cashew yogurt (or other vegan yogurt.)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grind flax seeds and mix with water in a little cup to create a vegan “egg”. Then mix first five ingredients in a bowl. Combine all other ingredients in another bowl, and then add wet ingredients to dry ingredient, mixing until fully combined. Pour mix into bundt pan or loaf-sized pan. Bake for about an hour, or until a fork inserted into the middle comes out dry.
Next week we’ll participate in a baroque music workshop, and participants have been invited to contribute homemade baked goods to our “sherry hours” in the afternoon.
Enter cantaloupe-ginger mini-cakes!
I got this recipe from Sangeetha’s blog Spicy Treats, with a few small changes.
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cup pureed cantaloupe
2 tbsp agave syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp coconut flakes
Heat up oven to 375 degrees and oil a muffin pan. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, and wet ingredients in the other. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix till combined. Add sunflower seeds and coconut flakes and mix until just combined, fill muffin holes, and bake for about 20 mins or until fork inserted into middle of cakes comes out clean. Wait until the cakes cool to invert and place on drying rack.
The curious object in my hand is a fruit roll piece made of strawberries, mango, and melons, with a generous addition of ground flax seeds. I used to love eating fruit rolls, or as we called them, “fruit leather”, as a kid, and started incorporating them into my feedings as I started swimming long distances in open water: they were flat and easy to pack, and delivered a satisfying sweet jolt. I typically bought the ones with no sugar added, but they came in a fairly limited assortment of flavors; imagine my joy when I figured out I could make some of my own using my new Excalibur dehydrator (buy directly from the factory: they have some great deals.)
This is my second attempt so far, and it has been a partial success. I put ripe strawberries, mango, and melon pieces in the blender with some lemon juice, because I remembered that pectin was an important ingredient in many commercial leathers. I added flax seeds and pureed the mixture. Then, I spilled it over my silicone mats and shook them a bit to guarantee an even spread, and started the dehydrator at 135 Fahrenheit. After about six hours I got what you see here. I suspect that a thicker layer would be more flexible and less brittle, but would take longer to dry; I’ll try that next time. But I should point out that even the mistakes are tasty, and I plan to continue experimenting.
The thing also makes fabulous banana and strawberry chips, and I plan to use it to make seed crackers soon.
It was delightful to host two good friends from Port Townsend, WA, for brunch yesterday! While usually, when I host folks that are used to mainstream food, I try to be non-intimidating in my menu choices, our friends are both avid cooks and one of them is a real expert on pickles and fermentation. So, I proudly served the house kombucha (made from jasmine tea) with the following menu:
- Kale with Oranges and Ginger
- Mushrooms and Vegan Sausage with Caramelized Onions
- Roasted Yams with Rosemary
- Fruit Soup
Another delightful breakfast I’ve come to enjoy recently is a nice chilled chia bowl. This consists of allowing chia seeds to soak in almond milk and turn it into gelatinous goodness. Even better with lots of lovely fruit, and can be mixed with fruit from chilled compote. Here goes:
1 bowl unsweetened almond milk (plain or vanilla)
1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup any fruit, thinly sliced
At night, place seeds in almond milk bowl to soak. In the morning, garnish with lots of fresh fruit. Voila.
After the dire predictions, #hellastorm, the monstrous Bay Area storm, turned out to be far less horrendous than we expected, but any excuse for warm breakfast fare was welcome. And I’ve kept up the habit, even though the drought is back and the days are sunny and cool.
My favorite thing for breakfast nowadays is some warm apple compote with a few bits of dried fruit for taste. I make it in the slow cooker, though I’m sure you could make a very decent version on the stove. Here’s how I make enough for the two of us:
handful of raisins
2 dried apricots or mangoes
In the evening, chop apples into cubes and thinly slice apricots or mangoes. Place everything in slow cooker, cover with water, and turn on to “low.” Wake up in the morning to a fantastic breakfast.
What a terrific little recipe this is; a mix of fruit salad, an oatmealish-substance without oatmeal, and lots of kick from dried fruit. Makes for an excellent breakfast. Feeds four.
Two red apples
five medjool dates
five dried figs
five dried plums
20 macadamia nuts
soymilk or almond milk (plain or vanilla flavored)
orange, apple or prune juice
Soak almonds, macadamia nuts, figs and plums in boiling water first thing in the morning.
Thinly chop apples and oranges. Combine in a bowl with a splash of soy or almond milk and a splash of juice. Strain nuts, figs and plums, and thinly chop or grind. Add to fruit in bowl and mix well until thing reaches cereal-like consistency. Add cinnamon to taste.
This is one of those times in which I wish the internet could convey a sense of smell. I made this compote this morning, and hope to serve it over oatmeal to a brunch guest. I also hope there will be leftovers!
For Chinese medicine buffs: people with “cold” constitutions, who would sometimes find it difficult to eat fruit in the morning, cooking the fruit really helps.
Spiced Fruit Compote
1 fuji apple
2 bosc pears
1 cup cherries
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups apple juice
1/3 cup port wine (optional)
zest from 1/2 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
Core fruit and cut to large cubes. Place in large pot with apple juice, wine, and spices. Cook for about fifteen minutes. Eat over oatmeal or on its own.
This Passover, I’m a guest, not a hostess. My cooking contributions include a slightly modified version of the greens quiche I made last spring (this time, with green garlic in lieu of leeks!), as well as a simple and special dessert: date/pecan/raisin balls.
It is a very simple and easy recipe, and there are countless versions, of course; you could add a bit of wine (port or sherry would work really well), and any sort of nut or dried fruit. I like the spices in this combination, and it looks quite pretty in its little “home” — a pod-shaped Tunisian serving dish.
25 medjool dates (the meaty, squeezable kind)
a big handful of dark raisins
a big handful of raw pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup grated coconut
Pit dates and place in food processor bowl. Process until smooth (it will become sort of a soft ball after processed).
In the meantime, chop pecans to little pieces.
Place date ball on a cutting board, and work pecans and raisins into it.
Add spices and keep working the “dough”.
Make little balls from the mixture.
Roll little balls in coconut.
Place in refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
Happy Spring, and Happy Freedom Holiday. May it bring freedom to many people of the world who are in bondage as we, fortunate enough, get to enjoy a meal with our relatives and friends.