The first blooms of jasmine kind of make me want to stay in California forever. I love how spring comes alive in a tidal rush here. It’s so different from the trickle of crocus that would spread slowly across our New York garden. I still haven’t quite figured out gardening on our shaded terrace, but I will.
We started our Easter with amazing almond pancakes. I didn’t have the recommended blanched almond flour, but using almond meal. It still worked well. They reminded me of Rhode Island Johnny Cakes, with the texture of coarse cornmeal. The almond meal was perfectly toasty when browned on a well oiled cast iron griddle. This recipe takes a whole tablespoon of vanilla extract. Fortunately, we made tons of bottles at Christmas. It was sort of an investment in our baking future. At least that’s how I justified buying half a pound of wholesale vanilla beans. J is a pancake fiend and loved these cakes. I’m sure they will be added to our Sunday breakfast rotation.
Recipe slightly adapted from Comfy Tummy
1 1/2 cups almond meal (or blanched almond flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup almond milk
oil to brush skillet
Combine the dry ingredients, make a well in the center and add wet ingredients. Combine well and cook over medium low heat using about 3 tablespoons per pancake. Turn as soon as the cakes are firm enough to flip. Serve warm.
I found this recipe made about 11 small pancakes.
I sometimes feel a little silly posting smoothie ‘recipes’ since they are so simple, but I know I am always looking for new ideas. The coconut flour in this makes it a little thicker and creamier. This trick works fairly well as a substitute for yogurt if you don’t eat dairy. I used a strong chai blend of black tea, cardamon, black pepper, cinnamon and other spices.The spiciness of the chai pairs well with the banana and adds just enough sweetness. You could always add a bit of honey if your banana is under ripe or you just prefer it a little sweeter.
Banana Chai Smoothie
1 very ripe banana
1 cup strongly brewed chai (2 teabags or equivalent per 1 cup of water)
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 cups ice
Brew the chai and allow to cool completely. Combine all the ingredients and pulse in a blender until completely smooth! This makes about 2-3 servings.
This was breakfast today. Yes, I broke the yolk. This happens in real life. Yesterday, I dropped a whole omelette on the floor so today was an improvement. These turkey sausage patties are actually better the next day making them perfect for reheating. I have a ton of fresh sage and was thinking of a way to start using some of it. It is one of the few herbs that is loving the partial shade on our terrace. (I, however, am not loving it and am thinking of sneaking my tomato plants in with the apartment’s landscaping…) Sage can be really strong, but turkey can be pretty bland. The combination with the apples and onions give these a great texture. Don’t worry about making flat patties as you are forming them. They will be very delicate before you cook them. I just flattened them once they were in the pan. They will cook quite quickly, and I found frying them to be easiest as two man job if you can recruit the help. Of course, these are great with a sunny side up egg.
I am now somewhat obsessed with the idea on making sausage links. Real sausage. Last night I took the first step: adding the grinder attachment for my standing mixer and natural sausage casings to my wishlist on a certain website.
Apple and Sage Turkey Sausage
1.5 pounds lean ground turkey
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp fresh sage, finely minced
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, form the mixture into small rounded patties. Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Place the patties into the oil and press with a spatula to flatten. They will cook fairly quickly and need about 2-3 minutes per side.
When I saw this recipe for Lentil Granola at Stone Soup, I knew I would have to try it immediately. I used to eat oatmeal and granola all the time before I went grain-free for health reasons a year ago. I made a few changes to the recipe to make it Specific Carbohydrate Diet friendly. This includes soaking the lentils overnight to remove some of the starch. This does change the texture a bit and affect the cooking time so you could follow the original recipe if this isn’t an issue for you. Many people don’t eat coconut on the SCD, so you could also leave it out and this would still work well. For anyone following this diet, you know it can be difficult to find substitutions for grains, but this is really good.
The mellow flavor of the red lentils is absolutely key for this recipe, and you can find them in just about any market. They are my go-to choice for soups so I actually had all these ingredients on hand. You could add dried fruit or other nuts to this granola. I found that I really liked it with just lentils and coconut. I will be posting another variation of this recipe soon that is perfect if you prefer your granola to have more crunchy clusters.
Lentil and Almond Granola
Adapted from Stone Soup
4 cups pre-soaked lentils *see note below
1/2 cup honey
3 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut
1 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the lentil. Cook for about 2 minutes. Drain well and allow to cool. In the warm pot stir together the honey, coconut oil, cinnamon and vanilla. Add the lentils and combine well. You can taste it at this point to check for sweetness. Spread the mixture onto a parchment lined sheet pan and bake for about 15 minutes. Add the almonds and stir well. Bake for another 45 minutes stirring after about every 15 minutes. Add the coconut after 45 minutes have passed. Turn the oven up to 325 degrees and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are golden brown. Allow to cool in the oven for a crispier granola. I kept this refrigerated in an airtight container.
* To prepare the lentils, rinse well in cold water. Soak overnight in the refrigerator and rinse again prior to use. I have an hand held strainer that I can fit into a large bowl to prevent this from turning into a huge mess!
I am a little obsessed with the honey at our farmer’s market. The changeable wildflower flower is probably my favorite. They have so many kinds and each one tastes really different and like something instead of just being cloyingly sweet. The people from the apiary are always eager to let you to taste the different varieties which is: a) always a good sign and b)fun for food nerds like me. I don’t normally sweeten my smoothies, but this needed a little oomph. The flavor of the apricot still comes through with just a touch of honey and nutmeg.
Apricot and Honey Smoothie
1 fresh apricot
1 cup coconut milk (or any milk you like)
1 tsp honey, plus a drizzle for the top
pinch of nutmeg
1/3 cup of ice
Blend until smooth!
There is no telling how many unattractive smoothie recipes I am going to post here…just know way to know. But, just look at that gorgeous matcha powder! It is a thing of beauty. Be distracted. The smoothie isn’t as pretty. However, these flavors pair so well together. If you have never had matcha, it is a finely milled high quality green tea powder prized for it’s taste and health benefits. The bright flavor of the matcha still comes through in this smoothie, and it has a touch of tropical, creamy sweetness. It feels like an indulgent treat. It is a nice change from my regular hot matcha coconut lattes.
Here, I strategically put it by the fruit on our table to pretty it up. Better? Oh, its not? Its okay, it is still really, really delicious and the perfect way to start the day.
1 cup coconut milk (I used a blended refrigerated brand)
1 tsp organic matcha powder (Sticker shock may ensue. It is worth it. I promise.)
1/2 frozen banana
1/4 cup pineapple
In a blender, combine ingredients and pulse until completely smooth. You may want to stir in the matcha powder before blending to prevent any little lumps.
Bananas and cinnamon pretty much always sound appealing to me even when I can’t bear the thought of eating most other things. That makes this my smoothie version of comfort food. The tablespoon of coconut flour gives this a creamy texture. Sometimes, I even add a tablespoon of peanut butter. I top it generously (or obscenely) with cinnamon and/or nutmeg as pictured, but this is purely optional.
Banana Spice Smoothie
1 ripe banana (if the banana isn’t ripe enough you can add a drop of honey)
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup ice
Smoothies are pretty much an everyday ritual for me. I make them in every combination, including some slightly strange variations. Using frozen berries means that you can make this anytime of year. Chia seeds are all the rage for containing omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Because they are made of some kind of magic, they form a gel when added to liquid. This makes them great for thickening smoothies. Chia seeds have a neutral flavor, and you wont notice them when they are blended. I actually like the texture they add by sprinkling a few on top. Adding spinach makes this a nutritional overachiever, but don’t worry you will just taste the berries with a hint of banana.
Chia Berry Smoothie
1 cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk
1 cup frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
1/2 ripe banana
1/2 cup fresh spinach
2 tsp chia seeds
2 tbsp water
If you are looking for an awesome green version, try my Tropical Kale Smoothie.
Since we will be moving in a fairly short amount of time, I was forced to forgo a vegetable garden this year. It literally pained me to cover it with weed block, but it just didn’t make sense to plant this year. However, not having pots of herbs on the deck was out of the question. Fresh herbs are a luxury worth having even if I will be giving the pots away mid-summer. My essential herbs are: basil, flat leaf parsley, rosemary, thyme, dill, chives, scallions (technically a bulb) and mint. It may sound like a lot of essentials, but all of these fit in 2 medium pots and one small pot. If you use them often, they can be packed quite tightly. Having too many fresh herbs has never been a problem for me. The thought that we will have a small porch for potted plants and herbs in our new place makes me incredibly happy. I have already thought about how I will maximize my limited space. What are your herb must haves?
These simple omelettes use parsley, basil and scallions. You could really use any combination of the aforementioned herbs. Only rosemary would be too strong to pair with eggs. Omelettes are, of course, the easiest and the hardest thing to make. Like all egg dishes there is no margin of error. If you watch Archer, you may remember the line where he shouts at his butler, “How hard is it to poach an egg?!” as he heaves his clothes over the balcony. Very overcooked (or undercooked) eggs are the worst. I cook my omelettes on medium low heat using either butter or oil in a little cast iron pan. I have a tiny spatula that I use to flip them.
Herb Omelettes for Two
2 tbsp chopped herbs (scallions, basil, parsley)
1 tablespoon of water
salt and pepper
Blend together all ingredients using a whisk and cook in two batches over medium low heat, flipping when they are each 3/4 of the way done. Top with extra salt, pepper and herbs.
I like to mix things up for breakfast. I am always on the hunt for healthful and different ideas that often leave J asking, “What exactly IS this?”. Barley, oatmeal, quinoa, it is all fair game on our breakfast table in savory and sweet variations. This only takes a bit more effort than standard oatmeal, and I think it looks so pretty dressed up with early summer berries. The pudding can easily be made the night before and the parfaits assembled in the morning. Of course, it could also be served for dessert. I think it is best at room temperature or slightly warmed.
Coconut Quinoa Pudding
Adapted from the Quinoa Pudding from Whole Living
3/4 cup rinsed quinoa
4 cups coconut milk (I used an already blended coconut milk as opposed to the canned variety)
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
3 whole cardamon pods
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch
For the parfaits:
2 tbsp dried unsweetened coconut, 1 1/2 cups mixed berries, additional cinnamon if desired
Bring the quinoa and 3 cups of coconut milk and cardamom pods to a boil, simmer stirring often for about 15 minutes. Add vanilla and cinnamon. In a separate bowl combine, eggs, cornstarch, honey, salt and cup of coconut milk. Combine until the mixture is well mixed with no lumps and stir very slowly into the pot over low heat. As the mixture thickens add the shredded coconut and remove the cardamom pods. When the pudding has thickened remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
For the parfaits: Using a tall glass layer 1/4 cup of pudding topped with dried unsweetened coconut, cinnamon and berries, ending with the berries on top. Serve immediately.