Over sharing

I’ve been away from this space for far too long, and it’s making me twitchy. Almost every day I think about posting something, but then I realize I don’t have a photo, or wonder if it’s too easy/difficult/ordinary/bizarre to bother sending out into the ether, or I can’t read my notes; and then I get irritable and go into my kitchen and make something that I know someone else out there might appreciate, but I forget to take a picture (or it turns out really shitty because my house of windows is also a house of shade trees and gets almost no natural light), and it starts all over again. Bah!

I don’t aspire to be a fancy pants food blogger. I only think to check stats when I realize I made a big typo in an ingredient list and worry about how many people might have made the recipe. I’m too busy to finish my cookbook proposal. But when someone sends me an e-mail gushing about how much my recipe for something or other made their day, well, it makes my day, too. I use this site as my personal recipe repository – there are dozens of recipes that live in draft status, for the reasons I listed at the top of this post. Once I tweak a recipe to exactly how my family and I like it and I go to the trouble of transcribing it to this site, I guess I could just share it, right? And then maybe I won’t be so twitchy.

CMR-noted

In times of desperation I may simply post this. ^^

Because absolutely no one cares but I can’t stop thinking about it so I’m going to over share: a few things that make me twitchy. The word y’all. Andrea in The Walking Dead. The smell of anything fishy, including seaweed. Intentionally misspelled words. Noisy children. Not being able to tell Nina why I get choked up over certain characters in the Harry Potter series because we’re only midway through book four and oh, so many of them are going to die! Anyone who doesn’t recognize Stephen King as a genius storyteller based on his writing and not the genre.

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Moving on!

So here’s the thing: I’m going to start putting more of my recipes out there. The boring ones, the really complicated why-would-anyone-bother ones, the accidentally genius-to-me ones. Even the one pot meals that I fear my family will have to subsist on once law school starts in a few weeks. If it’s good enough to make my personal recipe archive, it guess it might be good enough to share.

CMR-after

 

Cherry macaroon tart with muscovado and rye

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Muscovado, rye flour, and dark, heady fruit are one of my favorite combinations. I’ve made this tart with blackberries and plums in the past, depending on the season. The crust can easily be made gluten free by substituting buckwheat flour for the rye. I use a tapioca slurry in place of egg white for the macaroon topping, which gives it a nice sheen. Flax-thickened water made with whole seeds (which are strained out) also works well, if you have the extra time; you can add the strained seeds to the crust. I find that arrowroot gets too gummy, and cornstarch makes the topping dull.

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3/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup rye flour (or buckwheat flour for gluten free)
3/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/4 cup muscovado sugar, lightly packed
6 – 8 tablespoons natural cane sugar, depending on the sweetness of your berries
1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and halved

1 1/2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/2 cup natural cane sugar

2 tablespoons tapioca flour
1/2 cup water

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 F / 160 C. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish or tart pan with parchment.

Combine the almond meal, rye flour, shredded coconut, and sugars in a large bowl and whisk to incorporate, taking care to break up any lumps. Add the melted coconut oil and combine; the mixture should be damp and sandy, and stick together when pressed between your fingers. Transfer the mixture to your lined dish and distribute evenly. Set aside the bowl to use for the macaroon topping. Using a silicone spatula or dampened fingers, press the crust into the bottom of the dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Increase the oven temperature to 350F / 180C.

While the crust is baking, combine the additional shredded coconut and sugar for the macaroon topping in your bowl; set aside. In a small saucepan, whisk together the tapioca flour and water. Place over low heat and whisk until it just starts to thicken and turn glossy, one to two minutes. Remove from heat, whisk once more to make sure it’s smooth, and add to the macaroon ingredients, taking care to scrape out any last bit clinging to the sides of the pan. Mix the macaroon ingredients together until well combined; there should not be any dry coconut in the bowl.

Spread the cherries evenly over the crust. Add dollops of macaroon topping in between the spaces, around the edges, and over the top until used up. There should be bits of cherries poking up here and there. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or the macaroon peaks are golden brown. Cool before slicing.

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 40-45 minutes, divided

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Ladies of leisure

Last weekend, Nina and I participated in the 2013 World Wide Vegan Bake Sale, and helped raise funds for our area’s farmed animal refuge.

In preparation, I baked off and on for an entire day; meaning, I began around 8:30 in the morning and finished up as Saturday Night Live came to a close, a mere 17 hours later.

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There were, of course, breaks: for floppy hat adjusting, turtle scouting, Goblin chasing.

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Between bites of cookie, Nina recorded a turtle in her field journal with the seriousness of a National Geographic reporter. Our resident Goblin was introduced to said turtle; she was unimpressed.

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{Our grumpy-faced Goblin is neither grumpy, nor a goblin. Discuss.}

Clover fields. Floppy hats. Turtles. Diligent and completely necessary does-this-taste-gluten-free? treat sampling. Meyer lemon sugar cookies with orange blossom icing. Tartlets. Spiced apple hand pies. Jammy dodgers.

Being ladies of leisure suits us just fine.

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Coconut almond tartlets with chocolate ganache

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This crust recipe makes approximately 30-35 mini tartlets, by way of mini muffin tins.  If you want to make one large tart, there is enough crust for an 8×11-inch rectangular, or 9-inch round tart pan.  If you’re making one large crust, be sure to poke a few holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork.  The baking time will not change.  If you’re making the minis, there will be leftover ganache.  You’re welcome.  If you’re making one large tart, you’ll end up using most/all of the ganache.

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Crust:
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup almond meal
2/3 cup natural cane sugar
Small pinch fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
4 – 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 350F/180C with racks in the top and bottom thirds. If your mini muffin trays are not non-stick, lightly oil them.

In a large bowl, sift all of the dry ingredients together. Add the almond milk and 4 tablespoons of the melted coconut oil, stirring until the dough is crumbly and holds together when pinched. If the dough is too dry, add the remaining coconut oil one tablespoon at a time. Scoop out a scant two teaspoons’ worth of dough and press into one of the mini muffin molds, completely covering the bottom and all sides. When all of your dough has been used, pre-bake the crusts for 12-14 minutes, until just barely golden. Set aside to cool while you prepare the ganache.

Chocolate ganache:
1 1/3 cups best quality semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup coconut cream
12 ounces silken tofu
1 teaspoon almond extract

Using a double boiler over low heat, melt the chips, stirring continuously. When the chips are almost completely melted, add the coconut cream. Continue stirring until the chips and coconut cream are fully incorporated. Remove from heat. In a food processor or blender, puree the silken tofu, chocolate mixture and almond extract until completely smooth.

Add a large dollop of ganache to each crust, and refrigerate overnight. The remaining ganache will keep in an airtight container for several days.

Yield: 30-35 mini tartlets (with leftover ganache), one 8×11-inch tart, or one 9-inch round tart

Prep time: 60 minutes | Cook time: 14 minutes | Refrigeration time: overnight/6+ hours

Swoonworthy

On this Hallmark-designated day of love, I give you a list of some of the things I find swoonworthy.

Before Sunset, #1: Celine singing A Waltz for Tonight, and Jesse realizing that it’s about him.
Before Sunset, #2:The last two lines of the movie:
…”Baby, you are gonna miss that plane.”
…”I know.”
Reading about my hometown in the Time Traveler’s Wife.
Singles; Roger Dodger; Big Night; basically, Campbell Scott.
Coconut lattes.
“Cause she’s the cheese and I’m the macaroni.”
The cinematic boys of my youth: Troy Dyer; Lloyd Dobler; Ronald Miller.
Taylor Kitsch in Friday Night Lights.

This cake.

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The inspiration for this recipe comes from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s HomeBaking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition around the World.  I’ve tweaked it a bit to suit my family’s tastes, subbing olive oil and yogurt for the butter and reducing the sugar.  The result is a rich loaf cake that tastes divine straight out of the pan, or sliced thick and lightly toasted.

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Coconut rum banana cake

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The trick to this loaf cake, I believe, is to purée – not mash – the banana. No rustic lumps and bumps for this batter; a smooth slurry makes all the difference. A dark, large grain sugar is preferable for sprinkling on top but not necessary. The demerara this recipe calls for will fill all the nooks and crannies of your batter, giving the top of this bread a nice bit of caramel-y, sugary crunch. A fine grain natural sugar tends to melt along the edges and crisp up down the center of the bread and tastes just as good. I suspect sucanat would be too dry. Lastly, frozen bananas are fantastic in this recipe.

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3 large, overripe bananas
2 cups spelt flour (I use 1 cup each of whole and white spelt)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of fine grain salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/8 teaspoon apple cider or distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon rum (dark or light, your preference)
1/2 cup dried shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tablespoon demerara or turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C with a rack in the center. Line a standard-size loaf pan with parchment paper or lightly oil.

In a blender or food processor, purée the bananas and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat together the oil, yogurt and sugar until fluffy. Add the vinegar and rum, and beat to mix well. Add the banana purée and the flour mixture alternately, about 1 cup at a time, beginning with the banana and beating to just incorporate. Use a spatula to fold in any flour that has not been absorbed, and stir in the coconut. Do not overmix.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top, and sprinkle evenly with the demerara sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes; then turn the loaf out of the pan and allow it to cool completely.

I suspect this loaf will keep, wrapped well, for a few days; however it never lasts more than 36 hours in our house. I find it best the second day, cut thick, lightly toasted and dotted with homemade vegan banana butter.

Yield: 1 loaf

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 60 minutes