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Was waiting for public transpo in the freezing rain. Lost my gloves. Then recognized an old friend. She is back after living in India on a mango farm. Somehow, we now work in the same building. She tells me stories full of community and beauty…and mangoes. We laugh a lot and feel much less cold. Not a bad end to the day.
So I’m finally home and soggy and need to get a little more done before bed, so I am making a hearty espresso chili: black beans, tomatoes, cup of strong coffee, chili powder, brown sugar, onion, water. Voila.
Not only is this plant-based combination high in iron, but its spicy-sweet flavor will keep your tummy satisfied with its substantial amount of fiber and protein.
Spoon the chili on top of steamed kale for extra vitamin K, which aids in the incorporation of calcium into your bones.
Simple. Sweet. Hearty. Healthy. This day has been a fortunate series of events. Learning to walk with the eyes a little more open, even when it’s dark and rainy. Never lose faith, life is full of surprises. And maybe even mango for dessert.
This time of year, I am almost certain that I physiologically crave salt water. Not drinking it per se (which I’ve certainly done on skis), but swimming in salty water, breathing in salty air, searching for salty clams with our feet in low tide, and in turn, eating salt water bagels. Childhood summers.
Every stretch spent on Long Island promised a few giant sacks of fresh bagels. They waited for us in the morning after our sun-burned faces and sandy feet made it down the wooden staircase from the guesthouse and into the kitchen. A staircase that ensured a few f-bombs from whoever got the job of pulling a month’s worth of luggage for 3 girls up it. I was never given this job, for some reason.
Reality: the Midwest is a far cry from the New England coast that serves them up to perfection, but luckily, these bagels are not hard to make on your own. A true water bagel is poached in a kettle of boiling water, and then baked. This makes it thick-crusted and crisp on the outside, warm and chewy on the inside. Perfecto.
If you’re interested in the full recipe, check out the comments tab. If not, read a book on the continental shelf.
The simplicity lies in the main ingredients: bread flour, honey, and yeast. Just knead and shape. Boil them in your biggest pot and bake. Bagels are the stiffest dough in the bread kingdom, so they can be boiled without becoming flat mush. Rocket science.
Maybe I have a nostalgic bias, but these are inarguably good.
So pull out a big mixing bowl and make some joe. You can always feed your messy bagel creations to the seagulls.
Sweet Potato Hummus. Full of beta-carotene, a cancer fighting compound naturally found in plants, sweet potatoes are considered a super food. What more could you ask for? Pull out your blender, some pita chips, and dip in!
Find the full recipe at http://nutritionunplugged.com/2011/02/super-power-foods/.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” It’s one of the oldest prepared foods: a staple in Europe, then brought to the Americas. Whether it’s a bagel with a cup of coffee and the paper or a crusty baguette shared over a rich meal with family, bread brings people together. This is a tribute to my uncle Jeff, who gave me the confidence to start baking my own.
If bread is a metaphor for life, our basic necessity, then it makes sense to me to close out 2010 with my favorite loaf. Simple, toasty, salty, and sweet, the English muffin is probably my favorite “everyday” bread out there.
If you’re thinking “I can’t make stuff by hand”, put that mentality in your pocket my friend. This is simple and requires minimal ingredients. Baking from the basics (from scratch sounds intimidating) not only allows you to enjoy a fresh product that was made by your own hands, but it also reduces overall cost of purchase and eliminates the packaging that you’ll toss.
Put on some great music, clean a counter top, get out a medium size bowl, and get after it.
Step 1: Mix together in that medium bowl 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 tablespoon sugar, 3/4 tsp salt, 1 1/4 tsp instant yeast. Stir in 1 tablespoon room temp butter and 3/4 cup room temp milk of choice (microwave it if you need to).
Step 2: Clean the counter and sprinkle flour on it. Transfer the dough onto the counter and knead for 10 minutes. Turn your music up. Sprinkle in more flour to make it tacky…It will feel kind of like sticky-tack when it’s right.
Step 3: Spray or oil a large bowl, put the dough inside, and roll the dough to coat it in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the warmest place in your house for 90 minutes or until it doubles in size. (It will take forever to rise if your house is at 68…try the inside the microwave, near the heater, get creative.)
Step 4: Wipe the counter with a damp cloth and move your dough onto it. Rip the dough into 6 or 8 equal pieces and shape them into balls.
Step 5: Dust a baking pan with cornmeal and space the dough on the pan. Spray the dough with oil and sprinkle the tops with cornmeal. Cover the pan with a towel and put them in a warm place to rise for another 60 minutes or until they swell up.
Step 6: Heat any old skillet on medium and pre-heat the oven to 350. Spray the pan and gently transfer the muffins to it. Fill the pan so that the pieces aren’t touching. Keep the dough you aren’t presently cooking covered with the towel, so they don’t form a skin.
Step 7: Cook the muffins 5 minutes on each side or as long as you can without burning it, the bottoms will be a dark golden brown. The dough will flatten in the pan and spread slightly and the pieces will puff a bit. Don’t turn them too soon or they’ll fall when you flip it!
Step 8: When the dough can’t be cooked any longer and both sides are dark brown, bake for 8 minutes in the oven to make sure the center is baked. Return to the uncooked pieces and cook&bake them like you did the first round. You’re pretty much a professional.
Voila, you have made English Muffins. Get your coffee and make a breakfast sandwich for the New Year.
(Jeff, the most awesome man ever, about to bring us French Press in bed. Love abounds.)
Heidi Swanson is my favorite Northern Californian.
Not only is she a solid photographer and world traveler, but she knows what she’s up to in the kitch’. She cooks naturally and is non-pretentious. I like her style.
If you’re thinking of jump-starting your cookie ambitions on this snowy day, her website is a great place to start: Heidi’s List
If cookies aren’t your thing, check out photos from her last trip to Rome.
It’s almost mid-July! Time for no-hassle ideas on what to do with all of that blooming produce sitting on the counter.
I have a problem with using tomatoes before they go bad. Seeing the skin crinkle or darken where they have been resting means it’s prime-time (past time!) to cut them up. If you’re not up for roasting them in the oven and working against the A/C, this gazpacho will do the trick.
Gazpacho is a cold, refreshing soup that originated in the Mediterranean and was found useful to field workers during the long, hot summers . It’s known for quenching thirst and its high nutritive value. Plus, it requires no cooking. What more could you ask for?
Gazpacho variations can be red, white, or green, but since we’re talking tomatoes here, red is our color. There are limitless adaptations you can make, so find your preference and take your pick. I love Tex-Mex flavor and happen to have unused cilantro, so when I saw this recipe roll through this month’s Real Simple, I made a few changes and had to share; here’s a classic with a twist!
TEX-MEX GAZPACHO…all you need is a blender
- 2.5 pounds tomatoes, chopped
- 2 kirby cucumbers (the baby ones), chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 2 limes, juiced (or 3 tablespoons of the bottled…more economical!)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup pepitas (these are pumpkin seeds; if these aren’t available, roasted sunflower seeds work too)
- Cilantro sprigs
- Salt and course pepper
In a blender, puree tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, and onion. You’ll have to do this in batches, so transfer to a big bowl or storage container as you work.
Stir in the lime juice, oil, 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until chilled (or pop in the freezer for 5!)
Get your bowl, pour in soup, top with pepitas, tear off cilantro leaves to lightly cover.
Serve with warm tortillas, tortillas chips, or whatever crusty bread that’s around. Get out the tabasco!
In honor of the World Cup and my recent fetish with Brazilian music (seriously, it has the perfect amount of summer flair), I have decided that Brazil is definitely the team I’m rooting for. No, I have never followed soccer, but I do love any reason to celebrate, so this is my super simple Brazilian Breakfast at Wimbledon.
Brazil plays tomorrow at 8:30 pm against North Korea, so you have plenty of time to whip up a power breakfast. Or lunch. Or even dinner. Don’t kid yourself, pancakes are amazing any time of day.
Ingredient of interest: Brazil nuts. They come from one of the largest trees in the Amazon Rainforest and are an incredible source of Selenium, which our bodies use as an antioxidant to prevent cell damage. Totally necessary with all of that beautiful sun in Brazil, right?
Top these pancakes with sliced bananas and pass the maple syrup (or agave)!
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup finely chopped brazil nuts….don’t tell anyone but walnuts or almonds will totally work
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 and 1/3 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 large sliced banana
Large bowl: combine the first 6 ingredients, then stir in the oats.
Small bowl: combine last 3 ingredients.
Pour small bowl’s contents into large bowl and stir until just combined. Then, lightly fold in banana slices.
Lightly oil a skillet, pour in a few spoonfuls; flip when bubbles form, and don’t scorch them. No one likes the burnt ones.
Brazil nuts can be found at most grocery stores in the bulk aisle, and 1 pound of them costs around $5. That’s enough to make 7 to 8 batches of this recipe! Batches keep well in the fridge too, just in case you find out Brazil is playing on short notice…