I've been nursing an obsession with the Cleveland Food Co-Op's freshly ground almond butter for about a year now. Not one to remain mystified by food, I resolved to come up with a simple recipe for this site. That is, until I saw how expensive it would be to buy almonds just to make butter.
But Behold! Next to the almonds were these humble sunflower seeds, $1.50 for a pound. Accompanied with some salt and Ari's mom's maple syrup, the sunflower seed butter has what Ari says is a caramel flavor and consistency.
You can do this with any type of nut and many kinds of seeds. I once made a rewardingly green pistachio butter and might try pepitas next.
As much as I'd like to say the recipe is exact: it's not. Just keep tasting until you find it.
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tbsp unsalted butter (you could also try different nut oils or olive oil)
2 tsp kosher salt (adjust to taste)
2 tbsp real maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey (adjust to taste)
Note: this makes a little less than a cup, so I might double the recipe next time. And for those of you who like to study with a spoon and peanut butter, this version has a comparable amount of fat and calories.
Preheat your oven to 350F. Melt the butter in the McWave and toss with the sunflower seeds in a bowl. Add a dash of the salt and toss again before spreading out onto a baking sheet (lining it with parchment makes transfer easier later). Toast for 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes with a spoon or spatula to avoid burning. When you smell nuttiness, transfer the warm seeds to a food processor. Starting on low and gaining speed, process the seeds. Watch as they release their oil and change from seeds to nut meal to butter (this may take a few minutes). Scrape down occasionally and add the salt and sweetener as you taste it. Keep processing. Add water if the consistency seems too thick. When you love it, it's done.
Stored in the fridge, your butter should keep well for a few weeks.
"It’s hard to believe that just a little while ago this was nothing but ingredients." - Phoebe (Friends - The One with the 'Cuffs)
One of my favorite things about cooking is that it's an opportunity to be creative. I've discovered that some of the best dishes I've ever cooked were created using the random items left in the kitchen. This recipe is a perfect example of creating a meal with whatever you've got lying around. It started with two hungry med students, a pound of chicken, and no motivation to study for block 4 exams. We added to the mixture some tomatoes, onions, a LOT of basil, a little more procrastination and ended up with an very tasty, yet very easy, pasta recipe.
What you need (this makes about 6 servings): 4 cloves of garlic (diced) 1/4 cup olive oil crushed red pepper flakes (to taste) 3 tbs chopped basil (or more if you like) - you can use dry or fresh 1 1/2 tbs sugar 2 1/2 tsp salt 3 medium to large tomatoes (diced) 2 medium vidalia onions (diced) 1 cup cooking wine (white) 1 1/2 lb of chicken (cut into small pieces) 1 1/2 lb bowtie pasta grated parmesan cheese
What you need to do: 1. Heat the olive oil in a large (very large) frying pan with high sides, and saute the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. 2. Add the onions and tomatoes to the oil. Cook down for about 4-5 minutes. 3. Add the chicken and cooking wine to the pan. If it doesn't seem like there's enough fluid in the pan (you want the ingredients to be at least half covered), you can add more wine and/or olive oil. 4. Add the basil, salt and sugar to the pan. 5. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Set the "sauce" aside. 6. Boil a pot of water (with salt) and cook the bowtie pasta according to the instructions on the box. 7. Strain pasta, return to pot and add the sauce. 8. Let it sit for a few minutes so the pasta can soak up the extra fluid in the sauce. 9. Serve with grated parmesan. 10. Enjoy!
Photos by Gayan DeSilva (http://thebrownbearrr.shutterfly.com/)
This week Ari and I planned a special meal for my sister and brother-in-law, who were moving from a suburb of Philly to St. Louis. Priya and Andrew are accomplished and, at 29, technically adults, so we decided that their pit stop in Cleveland should involve a dinner with some pomp and circumstance. We laid out Ari's china, poured over our new Bible, and fired up the burners. And the theme? In the end, I guess the theme was Green.
Photo by Michael Cover
The first post installment is the Green Galette, a variation of the Smitten Kitchen edition. The galette is a rustic pie that should yield a comforting filling and a satisfyingly stable crust without the fussiness of a pie pan or a lattice top. It's "Green" because it makes the dish sound invitingly fresh and invigorating, so readers aren't scared away by the 6 cups of cabbage it bears.
Don't be afraid of cabbage.
If you treat it nicely and don't leave it on the heat for too long, cooked cabbage doesn't have to look like a B-movie sea creature.
Raw cabbage keeps for quite a while in the fridge, making it as likely a staple as ramen.
1 large yellow onion, chopped into nail-sized pieces
1-2 tablespoons fresh dill (this was city fresh windfall, you can use dried)
1/2 zucchini, chopped as per the onion
6 cups (1/2 head) green cabbage cut into thin strips
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
2 tbsp cider vinegar
pepper from a grinder
Pull the pie dough out of the freezer to give it enough time to thaw. Melt the butter in a large skillet, then add the onion, dill, and zucchini and saute until softened (10 minutes). Add the cabbage and 1/2 tsp of salt, and turn all of the vegetables together with tongs or a spatula. After 2 minutes, add 1/4 cup of water and cover so that the cabbage can wilt down a bit. I'm not going to tell you a time for this -- just keep testing the cabbage so that it remains green but you can pick up a piece you can bite into it easily. Don't cook it for too long or it will turn grey. Add more water if necessary, but when you are done the mixture shouldn't be very wet. Turn off the heat and add the cottage cheese, egg, vinegar, and salt/pepper to taste. Preheat the oven to 400F, unroll the pie dough, and put the filling in the center leaving 2-3 inches on all sides. Then use the remaining dough on the perimeter to make pleats that will hold in the filling. You should get 6-7 pleats before you're done. Bake the galette on a flat pan (parchment is a nice touch) for about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, and cut into wedges.
It's a Sunday night and we're watching Friends reruns (best show ever). The characters are sitting in Central Perk, drinking coffee and eating muffins...mmmmm....muffins.
What you need: 3 tbs melted (unsalted) butter 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 tsp salt 3 tbs baking powder 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1/2 tsp ground clove 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1 egg 1 cup milk 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate chips (add more if you want more chocolate)
What you need to do: 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 12-cup muffin tin. 2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to mix the dry ingredients (you want to make sure the spices are evenly distributed). 3. Beat the egg in a separate bowl, and add it, along with the milk and melted butter, to the dry ingredients. 4. Fold and stir (not beat) the wet and dry ingredients together. 5. Once they're thoroughly mixed, add the raisins and chocolate chips. 6. Continue to fold the new ingredients into the mixture. 6. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin (we recommend using an ice cream scooper). 7. Bake for 20 min. 8. Enjoy!
Photo by Hannah Zhou (http://hannahsphotomenagerie.shutterfly.com/)
One of the many awesome things about Cleveland is the program that I will lovingly refer to as City Fresh. Every Tuesday we head over to the City Fresh stand with our empty grocery bag and pick up a bountiful bevy of beautiful b(v)egetables (sorry, I really wanted to use an alliteration). The majority of the produce is stuff we're comfortable using in recipes (eggplant, cucumbers, lettuce, apples, etc...), but every once in a while we get an item that we've never seen before. The garlic scape is perfect example of one of these vegetables. While it looks like something you should be afraid of, it tastes like a combination of garlic and green onions...basically, it's delicious.
When we first saw this awkward looking vegetable in our bag, we weren't entirely sure what we were going to do with it. After a very helpful suggestion from our friend Sarah, however, we decided to make a pesto! Here's how we did it...
What you need:
Cuisinart/blender/magic bullet/some kind of chopping machine
11-13 garlic scapes
1/2 cup tightly packed basil
2-2 1/2 cups of parmesan cheese
1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste
crushed red pepper (if you like it hot)
1 lb of farfalle (bowtie) pasta
Side note: Pesto is one of those things you can take a lot of liberty with. If you love cheese, add more cheese. If you love basil, add some more of that! Same goes for walnuts, scapes, etc.
What you need to do:
1. Cut the garlic scape just below the seed pod, and throw away the top part.
2. Roughly cut the garlic scapes so they fit easily into the cuinsinart.
4. Add some of the olive oil to make the blending process a little easier.
5. Add the basil, parmesan and remaining oil.
6. Blend (If the paste seems a little too...well...pasty, you can add more olive oil to loosen it up).
7. Add salt and crushed red pepper to taste, and set pesto aside.
8. Boil pot with water (don't forget to add salt!) and cook 1 lb of bowtie pasta according to instructions on packet.
9. Add pesto to pasta and enjoy!