It's Jan. 1, peeps! (Or Jan. 2 for many of you who might not be eyeballing our site on a holiday.) If you're visiting this blog in the new year because you've decided you'd eat more whole, fresh foods, you've come to the right place. Well, at least I think so.
I really do try to keep this blog as healthy as possible. To me "healthy" means a few things:
Whole ingredients — I like to use foods in their natural state, as unprocessed as possible. This isn't always the case, or sometimes I use something out of convenience (case in point: the can of beans below, rather than beans from scratch). But, most of the time, my meals feature whole fruits and vegetables supported by a few condiments.
Good fats — I prefer to focus on fats that are good for the body: seeds and nuts with essential fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids (like the kind in avocados) and medium chain fatty acids (like the kind in virgin coconut oil). Extra virgin olive and grapeseed oils are great too, but don't provide as many anti-inflammatory benefits as the other fats I've mentioned.
No refined sugar — I like to use alternatives to white or brown sugar when possible. Most of the time, I'll tend to use dates, maple syrup and honey.
The salad I'm featuring today is a great example of a healthy dinner that meets all of my guidelines. It contains good fats, plenty of whole foods, unrefined sugar and isn't difficult to prepare.
Note: The picture above also contains mashed sweet potatoes. I'm not including a potato recipe because we were too heavy-handed on the spices and they ended up tasting like a high-end pumpkin pie candle. Not our best experiment.
Portobello Salad with Spicy Mustard Dressing
1/4 cup prepared spicy, smooth mustard
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
8 cups mixed greens
1 avocado, peeled, halved, pitted and sliced thin
1 small red onion, sliced into very thin half-moons
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 recipe roasted portobellos (below)
Dressing: Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Done.
Salad: Throw together all the ingredients except the portobellos in a large mixing bowl. Pour on the dressing and use tongs to toss. When ready to serve, place the dressed greens on plate and add the sliced, warm portobellos. Serves 4.
1/2 cup cooking wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large portobello caps
Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a glass pie plate or small casserole. Place the mushrooms upside down in the marinade into each cap to form a small pool. Preheat the oven to 400 F and marinate for about 20 minutes.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, use tongs to flip the caps over, and cook, uncovered, for another 10 minutes. Let it cool a bit and then slice the mushrooms very thinly on the diagonal and make nice meaty slices.
(Recipe from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)
If you're like me, you've got to restock to your fridge and pantry after the food explosion that is the holidays. My fridge has run the gamut over the past few days, going from empty-ish to stuffed to its frozen little gills to deflated and devoid of anything but leftovers.
If this sounds familiar, or if you're just planning your trip to the grocery store for the week, I highly recommend adding a pomegranate to your cart. This time of year, I can't get enough of these unusual superfruits. They're a great treat, and fantastic in nearly any application.
Back in November, I posted a Thanksgiving recipe for squash that featured pomegranate seeds. The seeds add a nice juiciness and crunch to that recipe, and they can do that to pretty much any other recipe you can dream up. Just this week, we had the seeds three different ways other than just eating them out of hand. Above is a breakfast bowl of 1 cup pomegranate seeds, 2 tablespoons pecans, 1 tablespoon hemp seeds and 1 teaspoon cacao nibs. While I was enjoying that, the hubby had pumpkin pancakes topped with the seeds.
But my favorite way this week is pairing the pomegranate seeds with squash yet again. This time, it's with kabocha squash we roasted in a spicy sauce and then used to top a simple salad. The result is as pretty as it is tasty.
But before we get to that recipe, a few details on the pomegranate, one of the world's oldest recorded fruits. One 4-inch pomegranate has 234 calories, 3 grams of fat, 11 grams of fiber (45 percent of your daily value), 5 grams of protein, 48 percent of your daily vitamin C and 5 percent of your daily iron.
Now to the really important information: How to open and seed the dang thing. The best way to seed a pomegranate is to plunge it underwater. Fill a mixing bowl with enough water that you can submerge your hands and the whole pomegranate. Next, cut the top off the fruit and score the outside into a few sections. Plunge the fruit into the water and then pull it apart along your score lines. Free the seeds with your thumbs and rub off the white pith. The pith will float and your seeds will sink. When all your seeds are free, rinse them in a colander to remove extra pith. Throw out any pale/strange-looking seeds along with the skin and the pith.
Pomegranate and Roasted Kabocha Squash Salad
1 large pomegranate or 2 small pomegranates, seeded
1 small kabocha squash, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch thick "C" shapes (no need to peel)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the squash pieces in a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, tamari, cumin, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne. Pour the sauce mixture over the squash and stir to coat.
Put the coated slices on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn them over and bake for 15 more minutes.
When the squash is finished, put together salad bowls that include baby spinach, 2 to 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, 2 to 3 tablespoons hummus and 1 tablespoon pecans. Top with warm squash. Serves 4.
Confession: I'm not a huge chili person.
Yeah, yeah, this is a major flaw of mine. I mean, I know people who love chili better than anything else when it comes to winter. Better than snowflakes, hot chocolate or an open fire. Me? Not so much. Heck, even back when I ate meat, it wasn't a favorite. When everyone else was so excited about having a pot of chili, I would just kind of be like, "Meh. Where's the bread."
That said, as of late I might have to change my tune, however so slightly. Because I think I've found THE chili for me.
This chili isn't your cowboy "chuck wagon" variety, but even if you like that, I think you'll dig this. It's hearty, chunky and has a great combination of flavors. Plus, it is amazingly cheap for the amount of food and nutrition you get when you make it. Sweet potatoes, red lentils, onion, bell pepper, beans and spices all play together nicely, don't cost much at all and have great healthy benefits.
Honestly, the hubby and I made it on a weekend and it's all I can do not to make it again, even after days and days of eating it.
My only regret with this chili is that I didn't take a better pic. I was hungry and eager to dig in! Check out the link to the original post to get an idea of just how awesomely pretty the soup is.
Note: We made this in our slow cooker on a Sunday. Check the comments on The PPK post if you want to do it that way. It's slower, but, boy, did the house smell good all afternoon.
Red Lentil Thai Chili
Olive oil (1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons, however much you feel like using)
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, cut into ¾ inch chunks
1 cup dry red lentils
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups vegetable broth
2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 15-ounce can low fat coconut milk
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
½ cup fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Limes for garnish (optional)
Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute onions and pepper in oil with a pinch of salt, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and saute a minute more.
Add chili powder, sweet potatoes, lentils, salt and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When lentils are cooked and sweet potatoes are tender, add the remaining ingredients and heat through.
Taste for salt and seasoning, top with cilantro and lime and serve!
As much as I love salad year round, coming home to a dark house and a cold salad isn't that fun this time of year. Yet, I don't want to miss out on the nutrition that a salad for dinner provides.
Thus, I've really been digging having "warm" salads these days.
I shared my "burger" salad a few weeks ago. It's awesome, but it's also not the only warm salad in my arsenal.
A single warm ingredient can winterize any salad, meaning, depending on the foods you like, your possibilities are endless. Plus, in my estimation, the warm ingredients usually soften the rest of the ingredients and provide texture and flavor, meaning you can probably skip the dressing all together.
The one I'm going to share today has a bunch of texture, flavor and tons of nutrition. This salad is a great source of vitamin A from the sweet potato and spinach, omega-3 fatty acids from the hemp seeds, vitamin B-12 from the nutritional yeast (which also adds a nice, cheesey flavor), while the avocado provides good monounsaturated fats and loads of vitamin E. And the cranberries bring a necessary sweetness plus a bit of fiber, iron and vitamin C.
Yeah, basically, it's a nutritional powerhouse in one bowl. And it's super tasty.
Savory Sweet Potato and Cranberry Salad
Handful baby spinach
1 small sweet potato, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces and steamed
1/2 avocado, chopped
Handful dried cranberries
1-2 tablespoons hemp seeds (or ground flax, if you prefer)
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Pinch black pepper
Line a salad bowl with a bed of spinach, top with hot sweet potato, avocado, cranberries, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast and pepper. Mash the sweet potato and avocado into the greens for a creamy, filling salad. Serves 1.
Last week, I promised a holiday cookie recipe. And, boy, do I have one for you. It’s super tasty, extremely easy and about as healthy as a holiday cookie can be. Plus, it is reminiscent of a holiday favorite: the peanut butter-chocolate yumminess that is the “buckeye.”
Yes, buckeyes without the powdered sugar and butter, but with all the taste. (They’re Megan Stuke/Flying Fork approved, so yeah, they’re GOOD.)
Now, I’ll quit my yapping and cut to the recipe, because I’m sure you want to get started.
Healthy Free-Form Buckeyes
1 cup puffed kamut or brown-rice cereal (I used Arrowhead Mills Puffed Kamut)
½ cup smooth peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter)
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup chocolate chips
Cacao nibs (optional)
First, cover a cookie sheet in parchment or wax paper OR fill a mini-muffin pan with liners — you will be freezing your buckeyes either on the paper or liners, it’s up to you.
Next, in a food processor, mix together the maple syrup and peanut butter until smooth.
Add cereal and process, taking care to stop the machine and scrape down the sides when necessary. Process the dough until it gets to the “ball” stage.
Next, use a teaspoon to scoop out loose balls onto your parchment or into your mini-muffin liners.
Once all the dough has been used, pour your chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl or Pyrex and melt them in the microwave, going at 30-second intervals and then 15-second intervals as you get closer to all the chips being melted. Stir in between stints in the microwave. When your chips have all melted into a thick liquid, use a teaspoon to drizzle the chocolate on top of your buckeye balls. Top with cacao nibs if desired.
Next, put them in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes. The chocolate should get hard, while the dough will stay chewy. Enjoy!
The most popular question I think nearly any vegan/vegetarian gets after the ubiquitous “But where do you get your protein???” question is this: “But don’t you miss _?” And, this time of year, that blank is more often than not filled with something related to holiday food.
“But don’t you miss turkey? Gravy? Pumpkin pie???”
I could say this is because there are vegan/vegetarian answers to pretty much anything that ends up on the table at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Which is totally true, but in my case I don’t miss any of those things because, I never really ate them in the first place.
Everyone is different, of course. That goes for you, too, omnivores! No one thinks to ask you, "But don't you miss _?" just because you don't eat something. Thus, not every omnivore eats every single thing on his or her Thanksgiving table. Example: Thanksgiving is my sister’s absolute favorite “food” holiday, but even she only eats turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. No pie, no stuffing, no cranberry sauce. The woman likes what she likes, even if she could eat all of it.
The same thing goes for vegetarians. Just because we don’t choose to eat everything on the Thanksgiving table doesn’t mean we miss every single thing that won’t pass our lips.
Back when I ate animal products, my Thanksgiving meals were still vegetarian, if not vegan. I pretty much just at cranberry sauce, squash/sweet potatoes, rolls (yes, plural) and plain mashed potatoes. Yep. Pretty much from the time I have a memory on up until now. My favorite part of the holiday was always the family fun time and football, and never the food. In fact, I always wished there were some good restaurant open, so I could load up on anything BUT the normal holiday fare.
Of course, this isn’t true for every vegetarian or vegan out there. Some may sit through the whole dinner, pining away for a piece of dark meat beached in a pond of gravy or a slice (or three) of pie.
So, with all that in mind, I’m going to tell you exactly what I had for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s not the norm, but it was fabulous and I didn’t feel the need to hop in the car for a last-minute Tofurkey (which, to be honest, I’ve never had and probably will never want to have).
This was my plate:
Yep. That’s it. Two things. My Butternut Squash with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans and Real Simple’s yummy Sautéed Brussels With Poppy Seeds recipe.
No Tofurkey, mushroom gravy, vegan pumpkin pie. Though, I did have a massive amount of chocolate (Hey, I’ve got to get those guilt-laden holiday calories from somewhere.).
And, chances are, I’ll have something similar for Christmas. With a side of vegan Christmas cookies. Because, honestly, that’s one “But don’t you miss __?” blank that I must fill.
Therefore, next week, I’m planning on sharing a yummy holiday cookie recipe. Get excited!
I’m a sucker for squash in pretty much any form — summer, winter, grilled, roasted, baked, steamed, pureed, etc. While my hubby tires of it before winter has hit halfway, I could have it pretty much every night and be happy.
To try to keep him from rejecting it too early, I try to use as many different types as I can, and try to vary how I cook them. Butternut, red kuri, kabocha, acorn, spaghetti, carnival, buttercup, pumpkin, blue hubbard, etc. — I buy pretty much every type imaginable. But, no matter what kind I buy, there’s not that much you can do differently. I mean, squash is squash.
So, I continue to play around with it. And that’s how I created this recipe, which is perfect for pretty much any cold night, but would be an epic addition to a Thanksgiving table. It combines one ubiquitous and yummy squash, butternut, with a treat that only comes for a few winter weeks fresh: the pomegranate. Mix in spices and crunchy pecans and you’ve got yourself a great side dish. Seriously, it is SO good.
A side note: The best way to seed a pomegranate is to plunge it underwater. Fill a mixing bowl with enough water that you can submerge your hands and the whole pomegranate. Next, cut the top off the fruit and score the outside into a few sections. Plunge the fruit into the water and then pull it apart along your score lines. Free the seeds with your thumbs and rub off the white pith. The pith will float and your seeds will sink. When all your seeds are free, rinse them in a colander to remove extra pith. Throw out any pale/strange-looking seeds along with the skin and the pith.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate Seeds and Pecans
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 pomegranate, seeded
½ cup pecans, broken or chopped
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a large glass lasagna pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, coat the butternut squash with the coconut oil. Spread the coated squash onto your parchment-lined pan and set in the oven to roast. Set a timer for 45 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.
When there’s 10 minutes to go, pull your pan out and season the squash with a pinch each of sea salt and black pepper and about a half teaspoon to a whole teaspoon of cinnamon (just eyeball it). Stir to mix and let cook the final 10 minutes.
To serve, top with pomegranate seeds and pecans. Serves 4-6.
I have a secret to share. And I bet you anything you probably have the same one.
I totally sneak treats into the movie theater.
I don’t do it all the time, but occasionally, I want something they don’t have at the movies. Hey, it’s not my fault theaters don’t have the healthier options I crave. If they had tubs of pomegranate seeds or packages of dried figs stuff in there between the Twizzlers and the Junior Mints, I’d gladly pay out the nose for them. Seriously.
But, because that’s not a reality (yet, anyway), I’ve resorted to turning back to my teenage years to totally sneak in my favorites. (Though, back then it was copious amounts of Jelly Bellies that I kept undercover. Oh, how times change.) Of course, I DO feel guilty when I pull it off, so it’s probably a good thing that I barely ever go to see a movie in the theater these days (Hey, with a sitter added in, it’s really expensive to do dinner and a movie.)
That said, we decided to make this weekend one of those rare ones where we try for a night out. We really wanted to see “Skyfall” and our babysitter was available, so we gave it a go. And, in case you’re wondering, the new James Bond flick was totally worth the final price tag for the night: $85.
I knew I’d want something to munch on, even after dinner out, so I opted to smuggle in my new favorite version of homemade trail mix. I’m calling it “Super-Duper Superfood Trail Mix” because it’s full of antioxidants, minerals, amino acids aka the building blocks of protein, healthy essential fatty acids and, oh, yeah, TASTE. (Though, I’ll admit, it’s a far cry from the Jelly Belly mixes I could concoct as a 14-year-old. Le sigh.)
My mix’s star is the goji berry. These little red dried fruits resemble raisins, though they’re not as sweet. These little suckers are high in iron, calcium and protein. In fact, they have more than 20 trace minerals and 18 amino acids. Plus, they’re antioxidant superstars.
Next, I’ve included raw pumpkin seeds, which are also known as pepitas. They are chock full of zinc, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and they have been shown to work as well as non-steroidal drugs and reducing inflammation. Oh, and they’ve been shown to protect your liver.
Adding to the mix’s staying power and nutrition are raw almonds, which have been shown to reduce spikes in blood sugar that often accompany a meal by working to lower the glycemic index.
And, finally, I almost always round out my trail mix with chocolate — home to high-quality antioxidants and minerals like magnesium and copper. I prefer to chop up an ounce of dark chocolate so that I can keep the variety up. In the mix pictured above, I used a high-quality dark chocolate that had been infused with orange peel. But this mix is good with pretty much any dark chocolate bar (try to get 70 percent cocoa content and up so that you get the full range of antioxidants available).
So, there you go, a healthy alternative to the M&M/peanut/raisin trail mix (or the espresso-jalapeño-watermelon-buttered popcorn-marshmallow jellybean mix) of your childhood. Enjoy!
Super-Duper Superfood Trail Mix
4 tablespoons goji berries
2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 tablespoons raw almonds
1 ounce good-quality dark chocolate, chopped
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl or sandwich-sized baggie. Makes about a half cup or two servings.
Ever since the cold snap a few weeks ago, I’ve been drawn to dinner bowls that are basically half salad, half fresh-from-the-stove goodness.
And my most favorite version of this hybrid dinner bowl gets its inspiration from my favorite meal at the now-shuttered Local Burger: The burger salad.
Even though Local Burger shut down at summer’s close, Hilary Brown’s fabulous “World’s Greatest Veggie Burger” have been on sale for quite some time under the brand name “Hilary’s Eat Well.” I used to buy them in bulk back in the day at Local Burger, but now you can pick up two-packs of the yummy burgers at pretty much any Lawrence grocery store (plus nationally at Whole Foods, if you happen to be reading this anywhere but Lawrence).
Anyhow, when Local Burger was open, you could get any burger on top of a salad. It was a great idea that not only upped the satiation factor but also the nutritional value of each salad. Maybe it was nostalgia, or the cooler weather, or both, but for some reason, I wanted to make my own burger salad at home.
After many attempts and combinations, I think I’ve found my absolute favorite. It’s a sweet/salty/hearty mix that’s just perfect for a weeknight fall or winter dinner.
Of course, this recipe works with my own homemade veggie burgers, but I thought when I shared this recipe, I’d share it with the burger that was the inspiration for it.
Fall Burger Salad
1 frozen/uncooked veggie burger
1 small sweet potato
5-6 Brussels sprouts
1 handful baby spinach
¼ cup sauerkraut or kimchi
Dijon mustard (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. De-stem (cut off the little bottom “nub”) the Brussels sprouts and half them, and peel the sweet potato and chop it into ¼-inch rounds, halving the largest of the rounds.
Rub the tops of the Brussels with a bit of coconut oil and place them, cut side up, on a parchment lined baking sheet. Make sure to line them up on one half of the sheet, as you’re going to use the other half for the burger in a few minutes. Put the sprouts in the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the sweet potato pieces in a steamer pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and steam the sweet potato on the stove.
When your 10-minute timer goes off, take the sprouts out and flip them with tongs. Then, before putting them back in the oven, add the frozen burger patty to the open side of the parchment. Set your timer for 5 minutes.
When the 5 minutes are up, flip your burger and put the baking sheet back in the oven. Next, check on your potato. If you can cut through the rounds easily with a spatula, they’re done. Take them off the heat to cool a bit while your sprouts and burger finish.
Check on the burger and sprouts and either pull them out when the timer goes off, or a bit earlier.
In a bowl, put your spinach on the bottom. Next, layer with sweet potatoes and sprouts. Top with your burger, cut into eighths. Add your kraut or kimchi and top with a dollop of Dijon and a bit of black pepper. Mash it all together and eat. Serves 1.
Well, the CSA season is over for another year, folks.
I kind of can’t believe it. Because my CSA season (and hopefully yours, too) is 26 weeks. That’s half a year. Meaning half of 2012 was filled with delicious, local veggies, picked up once a week like some sort of mineral-filled Christmas present.
In celebration of a good season (and in mourning of its end), I’ve compiled the best of the best from my CSA experience this spring, summer and fall. I hope you all got a chance to make some of the recipes, and if you haven’t, that you give them a try. There were definitely some good eats this year that will be added to my menu, despite my rut-loving tendencies.
So, without further ado, my favorites of CSA season 2012:
New favorites, still easy to do in winter:
Pretty (and pink) drinks:
Recipes to save for next summer (or brave out of season):
What was your favorite dish you made with your CSA goods this year?
Last week in our CSA, we received whole-wheat flour, pea greens, spinach, salad greens, chives and green onions.
You might look at that list and think it looks like one giant salad after another. And you might be right. We did use the salad greens for its intended purpose, while the spinach and pea greens went into smoothies.
But when I saw our pickup choices, one of the first things I thought was, “pizza.”
The local heritage winter wheat is just perfect for cutting with some regular old white/bread flour to make a heartier pizza crust. Add in the benefit of throwing leftover CSA goodies willy-nilly on top (green onions, spinach and chives were perfect for this) and you’ve got yourself a really useful medium for polishing off some of your CSA ingredients.
Later in the summer, pizza dough is even more helpful when we’re up to our ears in peppers, eggplant, zucchini and basil. If you think it’ll go well together, you can put it on top of your pizza. The whole dinner is super easy, especially if you make your dough ahead of time, freeze it and actually remember to pull out the frozen dough before you leave for work in the morning. (Sometimes I forget, and it makes me crazy sad.)
If you’ve never made homemade pizza before, you’re really missing out. It’s totally customizable, delicious, easy and incredibly cheap.
We have two favorite pizza crust recipes. Both are fabulous and have turned out well for us. So, pick whichever one you like and go for it!
And, if like us you get your hands on some local wheat through your CSA or the Farmers’ Market, try cutting it in. You don’t want to make a whole pie out of it (that would be a bit too dense) but try cutting it with half regular flour or two-thirds regular flour.
Note: You can use the first recipe with a pizza stone or a cookie sheet, while the second one, we only used with a cookie sheet.
Mark Bittman’s Pizza Dough (Adapted from www.markbittman.com)
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the oil through the feed tube.
Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is still dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. (In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time.)
Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let rise until the dough doubles in size, one to two hours. (You can cut this rising time short if you’re in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator, for up to 6 or 8 hours.) Proceed to Step 4 or wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap or a zipper bag and freeze for up to a month. (Defrost in the bag or a covered bowl in the refrigerator or at room temperature; bring to room temperature before shaping.)
When the dough is ready, form it into a ball and divide it into two or more pieces if you like; roll each piece into a round ball. Put each ball on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle with flour, and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rest until they puff slightly, about 20 minutes.
Roll out, top and bake at 500 degrees until cooked through. We usually make two pies plus a little one for the kiddo with this recipe, baking each pizza for about 10 minutes. Note: To make pizza dough by hand or with a standing mixer, follow the directions, but use a bowl and a heavy wooden spoon or the mixer’s bowl and the paddle attachment instead of the food processor. When the dough becomes too heavy to stir, use your hands or exchange the mixer’s paddle for the dough hook and proceed with the recipe.
Chloe Coscarelli’s Pizza Dough (Adapted from www.chefchloe.com)
1 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose flour and half whole-wheat flour), plus extra for rolling
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar or maple syrup
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until bubbles form, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine flour, oil, salt, sugar and the yeast mixture. Using lightly floured hands or an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix until a stiff dough has formed. If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle extra flour 1 teaspoon at a time as needed. Place the dough in a large, well-oiled bowl and rotate the ball of dough so it is completely covered with the oil. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the bowl as it rises. Cover with a dry kitchen towel and place in a warm part of the kitchen until it has doubled in volume (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Place dough on a lightly floured work surface, shape into a disc, and knead for five minutes. Use dough immediately or cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze for a later use. Thaw to room temperature before using.
When ready to use: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a large rimmed baking sheet (approximately 9-by-13 inches) with oil.
Stretch pizza dough into a rectangle and fit it into the prepared baking sheet. Spread sauce and toppings on oiled dough. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, rotating midway, until the crust is slightly browned or golden.
Note: If crust is thick, you may need to leave it in for 30 minutes or more.
What’d we get at our CSA pickup this week? Red lettuce, spinach, pesto, garlic chives, green onions and carrots.
Last week, in our very first CSA pickup of the year from Rolling Prairie, we received spinach, green onions, salad mix, dried mushrooms and tofu (Central Soy's local tofu). It was a great and versatile mix of items we could’ve used in a number of ways.
Because it’s a total habit, I used most of the spinach and all of the salad mix in green smoothies during the week, though one turned out a bit brown (cocoa powder was a must that morning).
But the majority of our CSA went into an epic scramble that fed us for days. We had it both over spinach, wrapped in a tortilla and just plain.
And what’s great about this recipe, besides the major leftovers, is the fact that you can pretty much throw anything into it and be set. We used a bunch of half bags of leftover frozen vegetables, plus a bunch of our CSA goodies, including the spinach that didn’t make it into a smoothie. It really was the perfect way to clean out our fridge without even really trying. Plus, it tasted good.
Kitchen Sink Tofu Scramble
1 package Central Soy tofu
2 cups of spinach, separated
1/2 cup chickpeas (or other beans)
2 cups mixed frozen vegetables
1/2 cup dried mushrooms (not reconstituted)
Green onions, sliced thinly, to taste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper, to taste
Avocado and salsa for serving
Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic and vegetables. Add spices — tumeric, cumin and salt — and mix it up for 15 seconds or so. Add 1/4 cup water and deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom to get all the garlic and spices.
Crumble in tofu and mix well, but leave it chunky. Let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding splashes of water if necessary to keep it from sticking too much. Lower the heat a bit if you find that it is sticking. Add 1 cup of the spinach and the garbanzo beans and mix. Add nutritional yeast and mix it up. If it seems too dry add splashes of water. The moistness really depends on how much water the tofu was retaining before you added it.
Serve over a bed of spinach with salsa and slices of avocado. Serves 4-6.
This week, we got another great mix of items: parsley, green onions, pea greens, spinach and pesto.