Virtue by Way of Cake.

My breakfast lately has consisted of a noble mix of hemp, chia, pumpkin seeds and slivered almonds embedded in yogurt and almond milk, with currants, wild lingonberries and just the slightest kiss of honey.
Chia Pudding
I like to follow it up with a handful of Girl Scout cookies. What can I say?
Moving on.
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This past week has left me with little enthusiasm for cooking, however last night found me wanting to bake.
I recalled my friend Lisa serving up a sliver of her grapefruit olive oil cake some time ago. I’d begged her for the recipe, to which she said nothing, then several days later, I received a link to the blog where she’d discovered it. You can find it, here.
Grapefruit and Fennel Olive Oil Cake with Citrus Glaze

Grapefruit and Fennel Olive Oil Cake with Citrus Glaze

So with a ripe grapefruit already on hand, my mind went immediately to this cake. I’ve made it several times, with little tweaks here and there. This time around, I added a whiff of fennel seed to perfume the cake, not overpowering; rather like a silent partner, giving a little boost from behind the curtain.
The glaze evolved from other items on hand, some candied citrus peel, sugar and sweet-tart Meyer lemon juice.
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This is the kind of cake can easily be justified as breakfast with a healthy dollop of Greek yogurt, goes well with afternoon tea, or any other time when the need for a bit of sweetness strikes.
Grapefruit and Fennel Olive Oil Cake
Enjoy, and much love.
J
Grapefruit olive oil cake with Fennel seeds and Meyer Lemon Glaze
Adapted from Sarah’s recipe for Olive Oil Cake at The Yellow House blog
Ingredients:
For the cake:
1 c granulated sugar
3/4 tsp fennel seed (whole, not ground)
1 heaping tsp grapefruit zest
juice of 1 grapefruit (~1/2 cup)
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
3 eggs
2/3 c olive oil
1 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp each baking soda and sea salt
For the glaze:
1/4 c Meyer lemon juice (you may substitute grapefruit juice, as desired)
1/4 cup each brown and granulated sugars
2 tbsp candied citrus peel (optional)
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Brush inside of a bundt or rectangular pan, ~9×5 inches; flour. Shake out excess flour and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients; set aside.
  4. Gather a small bowl and, using hands, rub zest and fennel seeds into sugar until fragrant.
  5. Whisk into sugar the eggs, juice, yogurt and olive oil until well-combined
  6. Pour wet ingredients into dry; quickly whisk together until smooth; about 30 seconds
  7. Bake for ~45 minutes, rotating halfway through. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool for ~5 minutes in pan, then invert onto serving plate.
While cake is baking, prepare glaze:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat over medium-high, without stirring, until boiling.
  3. Allow to boil for ~60 seconds; remove from heat.
  4.  Spoon glaze over top of cake, and allow to cool completely before serving.

Roasted.

What one can do with a tray of roast vegetables? I recall an article in the NYT reviewing this book titled An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler. It seduced me with its practicality and how a bit of advance prep and cooking in the kitchie yield several days’ worth of meals. I don’t know about you, but my tastes can change quite dramatically within the course of a day or so. Exactly how many things can one do with roasted squash and cauliflower? In actuality, quite a bit! I was pouring though my food photos and discovered a bevy of dishes I’d created doing just that.

Roasted veggies, greens, egg and sriracha sammie

Roasted veggies, greens, egg and sriracha sammie

salmon:delicata

Salmon with delicata squash and greens

Egg and delicata squash on arugula

Egg and delicata squash on arugula

I’ll never cook a week at a time; I’m too compulsive. I feel the need to eat it all at once and will perseverate over what to eat first. I found myself doing just that thing last week, with a tray of roasted vegetables, a vat of soup, cooked quinoa and the like.

Melissa Clark’s NYT article on creamy carrot and cauliflower soup was the seedling that tied it all together. I made a simple soup of pureed roast vegetables and coconut milk. Adding curried spices seemed appropriate, as they marry well with the delicate sweetness of squash and cauliflower. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of chili flakes and top with a dollop of creme fraiche or…Greek yogurt – I won’t judge.

Having the veggies already roasted on hand makes for a quick meal, however I’ve included roasting instructions, if you’re so inspired. This soup would also work well with fresh vegetables, however they won’t have the caramelized flavor and complexity that roasted vegetables provide.

Roasted cauliflower and delicata squash soup

Roasted cauliflower and delicata squash soup

Curried Delicata Squash and Cauliflower Soup

For the vegetables:
1 medium-sized delicate squash, halved, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch crescents
1/2 large head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
olive oil; about 2 tablespoons
a generous teaspoon of sea salt
freshly grated pepper nutmeg

Method:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Toss all of the ingredients together; the vegetables should have a light coat of olive oil so that the spices can adhere.
Roast for ~40-50 minutes, giving a toss about half-way through to ensure even caramelization.

For the soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 tsp Madras curry powder
3-4 cups of roasted cauliflower and squash
2 1/2 cups broth (vegetable, or chicken)
1 cup coconut milk
salt, to taste
chili flakes, for garnish
creme fraiche, or Greek yogurt, for garnish

In a large pot, sauté onion in olive oil for ~5 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Add curry powder and sauté for about 30 seconds, then add vegetables, 2 cups of the broth, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower to a simmer for ~15 minutes. Remove from heat and puree, adding additional water or broth as needed to bring to desired consistency.

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Feed Me, Seymour!

After a weekend being in good company of friends, being nourished in both body and heart, I find myself in the kitchen today. It feels like I’m making up for lost time. The week has been bubbling over with activity, so cooking a meal has been little more than an afterthought.
So, gifted with an extra hour in my day, I found myself laying in bed dreaming up what I wanted to make.
Something hot and stew-y, for sure, something sweet, and something with raw elements.
Garbanzo Bean Stew with Preserved Lemon
I wanted to create an unctuous, meat-free stew and had been pouring over recipes that paired game-y meats with fruit. I’ve had this thing for Moroccan spices lately and was dying to test out my recent batch of preserved lemon. I use garbanzo beans frequently for hummus and in salads, however I rarely use them in soups, preferring the many varieties of lentils available. Garbanzo beans are firm, nutty and can hold their own in a soup with lots of competing elements. Adding a bit of harissa heightens the flavors and adds extra heat.
This stew is stellar, and can be served with couscous, bread or another grain. I served it over quinoa to give it a bit of a protein boost and keep it a bit lighter, as I always like to keep room for dessert!
Garbanzo Bean Stew with Preserved Lemon
2 onions, sliced thinly
1/4 cup olive oil
3 c cooked garbanzo beans
2 32-oz cans whole plum tomatoes, chopped, juice reserved
1 preserved lemon, insides removed, chopped
3/4 cup dried Turkish apricots, quartered
1 Tbsp harissa
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
2 cinnamon sticks
2 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1 bunch kale, chopped
Method
1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add onion and cook ~15 minutes, giving a stir every few minutes to evenly caramelize.
3. Turn the heat up to high, and add all remaining ingredients except kale.
4. Once boiling, turn heat down and simmer for ~40 minutes.
5. Toss in kale, allowing it to steam for ~5 minutes, then fold into the stew.
6. Serve over cooked quinoa or couscous; with cilantro and harissa as garnish.
pomegranate arils

pomegranate arils

I also had this pomegranate I’d been meaning to break into. As I was waiting for my press to steep my coffee, I spotted the pomegranate and popped myself up onto the counter, knife in hand. A colleague taught me a fancy technique for scoring pomegranate so as not to bruise the fruit. I peeled back the flesh to reveal the plump juicy jewels inside. After plucking away for about 10 minutes, I had a nice full bowl of seeds. I could have easily gone with a simple arugula salad with pomegranate and toasted pistachios, however I also wanted to do a bit of roasting and satisfy my squash addiction. What I ended up with was truly gorgeous and flavorful as well; kale marinated in a lovely vinaigrette and tossed with roasted delicata squash and pomegranate seeds.
Kale and Delicata Squash Salad with Pomegranate Seeds

Kale and Delicata Squash Salad with Pomegranate Arils

Kale Salad with Delicata Squash and Pomegranate Arils

2 delicata squash, halved, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch crescents
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 large head lacinato (flat leaf) kale
Vinaigrette:
4 T olive oil
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tap salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Toss squash with a bit of olive oil (~2 tbsp), a generous pinch of salt and several grates of pepper. Roast for 40-45 minutes, giving a toss about halfway through so that the squash caramelizes evenly.
Wash kale and chop into ribbons. Set in a large bowl.
Combine vinaigrette; massage into kale. Add delicata and mix lightly. Fold in pomegranate seeds and garnish with pistachio seeds and chèvre.
Pear and Almond Cake

Pear and Almond Cake

Moving on to dessert. Initially, I’d planned to do something with pear and ginger, and then I recalled having a bit of almond flour in my larder. I discovered a recipe on food 52.com, which you can find the link here:
I made few deviations from the recipe, with exception of increasing the proportion of almond flour to baking flour and substituting olive oil for canola oil. This made for a dense, moist cake, which I served with some vanilla-scented creme fraiche. It was truly divine.
Much Love,
J

Feed Your Brain…

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Hemp-Walnut Olive Oil Granola

 I am in need of some serious super foods right now. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve really run my reserves down. Studying, fun with family and friends, running (outdoors, ya’ll!). All the beautiful things I love to do. And so, I find myself in the kitchen yet again, digging through pantry and cooler, in search of something to make that’ll bathe those brain cells and keep me alert and focused.

I love the addition of olive oil to granola. Not only is it an incredible source of healthy unsaturated fats, it adds a flavor dimension that is unique from other granolas I’ve tried. The addition of hemp seeds provides not only essential fatty acids (omega-3’s and 6’s), it supplies trace minerals and is a good source of protein, one of the few vegetarian foods that supplies all 9 essential amino acids.

Ditto on the omega-3’s provided by the walnuts.

I don’t typically add fruit to my granola, rather I prefer to add fresh berries/peaches/etc. or frozen, if out of season. If you’re really into the dried fruit thing, I recommend adding it after the granola has finished baking, as the fruit tends to dry out and become excessively chewy. Figs might be a good option here, or mulberries.

Fold it onto yogurt, or add almond milk, or simply enjoy by the fistful. Yes, it’s that good.

Greek yogurt with granola and berries

Greek yogurt with granola and berries

Hemp-Walnut Olive Oil Granola

2 c oats

1 c hemp seed

1.5 c walnuts, chopped

1/3 c olive oil

1/3 c honey

2-3 tbsp sugar (I use raw, unprocessed)

freshly grated nutmeg, about ¼ teaspoon

1.5 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts and seeds.
  3. To a small saucepan, add all liquid ingredients, sugar, salt and spices. Warm gently at low temp, until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  5. Toss dry mixture with wet and put in a shallow roasting pan or lined cookie sheet and bake for ~40 minutes. Give a toss every 15 minutes or so to encourage even browning.
  6. Let cool, then store in an air tight jar.

It should last for about a month, however I challenge you to let that happen.