Good morning! This is what I woke up to today, as did many of you here in the Willamette Valley/Portland.
This past week we’ve been pelted with snow, rain, ice rain, and generally winter like conditions – and its still fall.
And what is the BEST thing to do when its snowy and cold……bake and cook, of course.
I’ve been doing both with a vengance and have created a few tasty off-white treats that I will share with you. Something about the serenity of the blanket of snow coating my world right now awakens my creativity in the kitchen. Naturally, Christmas provides many good reasons to break out the flours and sugars, and hopefully share some of the treats you concoct. If I can shovel my way out of the driveway, I too will share.
The second motivation for being creative in the kitchen right now has more to do with the economy and being resourceful. For instance, Matt and I found a recipe to make our own rice milk (see below) because the cost of a small container of rice milk is $2.29 and we can make the stuff for about 25 cents. Many people are looking for ways to save money on groceries and still eat well. More on that later too.
Okay, on to the recipes:
Chocolate peppermint Biscotti
This Recipe was motivated by the fact that I had purchased some candy canes (yes, white sugar -a special breach from Off-White) for a work event that did not occur due to weather. Hmm… what to do? I surveyed the contents of the fridge, and found a great recipe in Bob’s Redmill cookbook to modify. I chose to use coconut oil instead of butter, but I would suggest butter because the coconut makes the dough spread too thin. The log-shape you really want for biscotti just doesn’t quite happen with coconut.
2 cups of spelt flour (or whole wheat)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unrefined sugar
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) butter, melted and then cooled
1/2 + 1 tbsp crushed peppermint candy canes
In a large bolw, sift or whisk flours, baking powder and salt.
In another bolw, cream eggs with sugar, until light lemon-yuellow, then beat in the butter until blended. Add the candy cane and mix well. Stir in flour mixture until a dough forms. Cover the bowl and drefrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a baking sheet. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into two 10″ logs. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes, or until just beginning to brown. Remove the logs from the oven and leave them on the sheet to rest for 10 minutes. Cut each log into 1/2 inch thick slices, return slices to baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Turn slices over and bake for another 2 minutes or until golden brown.
NOTE: make sure the candy cane pieces are totally crushed, as they will otherwise stick to the baking sheet!
We love ethic food. When its too cold and you can’t drive to get a tasty middle-eastern treat, you can make them at home. This method is both healthier and more cost effective than restaurant eating.
1 can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup spelt flour
1 tsp each: cumin, coriander, turmeric
1 tbsp chopped cilantro or parsley
1 egg, beaten
flour for rolling the dough in (you can also use garbanzo bean flour for this)
oil and salt for cooking
In a food-processor, blend chickpeas, onion, garlic, slour, spices and cilantro for 30 seconds, or until well blended. Shape mixture into walnut size balls.
Heat 2-3 tbsp in a large skillet, making sure the oil does not smoke.
Place beaten egg in a shallow dish, and dip each ball into egg. Next, coat ball with extra flour.
Cook in the skillet with oil/salt (I use as little as possible and just turn the falafels frequently). Don’t let the falafel sit too long in the skillet, as it will burn.
Serves four, with about 4-5 falafels per person. I served mine over cooked collard greens, and drizzled with plain yogurt and curry sauce. YUM!!!
The final recipe does not come from me, but was in inspiration from Delicious Wisdom, another fabulous Whole Food Blog. We’ve been curious about making our own rice milk and almond milk, given their high price tags at the grocery store and how often we use them. Just now we tasted our final product and its not half bad…….. we didn’t have any vanilla (so much baking, I used it up) so its a little plain but will be great for baking and cooking:
1/4 cup of brown rice
4 cups water
1-2 tsp vanilla and/or small pinch of stevia
In a saucepan, bring rice to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add spices/flavor when cooking on simmer. Once simmered and rice is cooked thoroughly, blend on med-high in a blender for 1 minute. Let col and then strain in a cheese cloth or fine metal strainer until it obtains the consistency you prefer.
Enjoy and happy holidays!