recipe

RI: berry beet compote

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I haven’t been cooking much creatively lately as I sort of fell out of line with my one true passion for a while. For a number of reasons, I thought I needed a different hobby; needed to get involved in a new creative venture. I’m slowly getting back into the kitchen, starting with simple, whole foods recipes that don’t require much effort. And, with the move, I’m trying to use up the random things left in my pantry, so I guess things do tend to get a bit interesting!

This RI: Recipe Inspiration series is intended to be a round up of flavor combinations, recipe techniques and ingredient profiles to encourage you to be playful and experimental in the kitchen. I don’t follow recipes very often, and I think it’s a good thing! We can flex our creative muscles and find things to fill up our dinner plate from what we have already lying around. Here we go!

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MIXED BERRY + BEET COMPOTE

Week after week, my CSA box was full of beets. I love beets, but it was a bit much. I steamed and froze some of them for future use, and the future of cleaning-out-the-freezer-before-the-move was coming up quick. Along with a bag of frozen mixed berries, I stewed everything together. Berries are a low-sugar fruit, and beets are a high-sugar vegetable, so #balance, and earthy-meets-sour notes abound. Paired with one the of the many options listed below, the flavor combo is right on. It’s absolutely delicious.

What you will need:

  1. Mixed berries (fresh or frozen), such as blueberries, black berries, raspberries, strawberries
  2. Fresh or frozen steamed beets, chopped
  3. Coconut sugar or other natural sweetener (honey or maple syrup work well)

What to do:

  1. To a saucepan, add berries and beets. There will be juices after a while; continue to stir while it comes to a low boil and the juices begin to evaporate.
  2. Add in coconut sugar. I added one tablespoon per cup of fruit and it’s still pretty tart. If you want it sweeter, add more.
  3. Once the sauce is the consistency you like (I like it not too thick, but not runny), transfer some of the compote (especially the beets) to a blender and quickly blend to chop up the beets. Add back to saucepan and stir to combine.

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How to use:

  • Serve over pancakes, waffles, cereal, toast.
  • Swirl into yogurt, ice cream.
  • Fill crepes, jam bars, thumbprint cookies.
  • Spread on sweet and savory sandwiches.
  • Can be used as a sauce for baked chicken or fish.
  • Shown here stirred into full-fat coconut milk for a yogurt-style snack.

Tips:

  • If your compote is still pretty tart, serve it with fatty, sweet components to mute it down a bit.
  • I like to eat it with plain coconut milk because the heavy, creamy mixture supports VATA balance.
  • If you are feeling KAPHA or PITTA, you might enjoy it with a bit of ice cream.
  • You can make a compote out of any fruit. Fruits that are more ripe and sweet likely won’t need an added sweetener.
  • You can blend it smooth if desired.

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noodle dance

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Did you hear?! Because I almost didn’t; we’ve been California residents for over six months.

We missed our six-month anniversary,
which means time has been FLYing,
which means we’ve been enjoying living together,
which means we’ve been finding things to entertain ourselves,
which means we’ve been settling in.

Which means we are beyond that daunting stage of merely surviving and passing over the delicate landscape that leads to the paradisiacal land of thriving. Which, for us, is a sunny, palm-tree studded skyline and a sandy beach.

Despite leaving behind most of the books we’ve owned, our movie collection, our friends and family, we’re not so disparate. We still listen to our favorite music. We still cook our favorite foods. We still speak for the dog.

So, in honor of our new life, here’s a recipe to roughy follow if you want to be like us and make shit up as you go. Cheers.

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BKK elevated butter noodles for two

1 head broccoli, chopped or sliced into small, bite-sized pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into small strips
1 bundle fresh-made linguini
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup butter from cows that are allowed to graze on sunny, green pastures

  1. Bring a stock pot of heavily salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook 4-5 minutes or as instructed.
  2. Heat butter in a cast-iron skillet. Add broccoli and bell pepper and saute until they begin to blacken on some sides.
  3. Add wine and butter in a small saucepan and boil to reduce to about half it’s volume.
  4. Add cooked pasta to the cast-iron skillet along with the veggies, and pour over the wine sauce. Cook a minute or two to combine. Salt and pepper liberally. Add more butter if desired. Wilt in greens or sprinkle micro-greens over top after plated.

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I made the trip down to San Diego (in the biggest rain storm southern California has seen in maybe a decade …) to meet up with a dear friend from Denver.  We trotted all over the rather expansive city and tried to experience as many neighborhoods as we could!  This is the infamous La Jolla beach (above and below) with all the bored sea lions.  Sometimes – SOMETIMES – we do touristy things and aren’t mad about it.

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non-recipe: pumpkin pancakes

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I find it amusing that one of the first and only recipes I bring to you on this non-recipe food blog is a pumpkin recipe.  At the risk of passing unnecessary judgment to utilize the term “basic”, I’ll just point out that this might be “standard” blog fare for the season.  It goes without saying that for every person in line at a conglomerate coffee emporium waiting for the seasonal PSL, there’s another person who cannot, for the life of them, bring themselves to click on Making a Murder on Netflix, which the entire media world seemed to be talking about at one point.  I love zealotry.  When people are enthusiastic and passionate, it reminds me what life is all about.  Some people get excited about things and then  r u n  w i t h  t h e m.  Some people get excited about changing it up every day.  I fall into the latter category.  I don’t think it’s all that bad for a lot of people to get excited about the same thing; I just cannot relate.

For the most part, I’m quiet about my dissent.  I just slip quietly out the backdoor of the party while everyone is hovering around over something.  It’s generally not that big of a deal.  Where I do feel the need to step in is when it’s a big pile of hubaloo.  Avocado toast, however outdated as it may now be, is not necessarily the villain.  Pumpkin spice lattes and autumnal baking is another story.  I crave warming spices as much as the next person this time of year, and pumpkin flesh is delicious when paired with them.  Where the whole ordeal makes less and less sense is when we wait all year for these delicacies, and when the time finally rolls around we accept that pumpkins come from cans and PSLs from pump jars laced with chemicals that have no business infiltrating our precious bodies.  We grow up, most of us Westerners, knowing pumpkins come into our lives around Halloween, and we eat them at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Even I didn’t associate what it takes to get pumpkin flesh until I started shopping on my own and mostly at farmers markets, where you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.  Eating locally and ethically is important to me for reasons you can read about here.  I’m shocked (and, as a foodie, a little hurt) when cherished bloggers and food creators of the farm-to-table, slow food movement, settle for canned goods as the way to introduce vegetables to readers/homemakers.  I’m the human form of the “smh” tagline.

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Welcome to the Bad Kid Kitchen, where you get an unsolicited dose of reality with your amateur food photos!  Let’s get on to the dandiest part of the piece, since we all came here to eat.  Since I love what I love, and seasonal activities hold a special place in my heart, as they do with many privileged individuals the world over, we went pumpkin patching.  My menus of late have been laden with meal assignments for the Academy, so when the pumpkins stared patiently and concentrated at me from the kitchen table, I allowed myself to start dreaming up their destinies.  This morning: pancakes.

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Pumpkin Pancakes
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour*
1/2 rounded tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 flax egg* or real egg
1 cup water or milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp pumpkin puree*
2 tbsp ghee, melted (+ more for frying)

Toppings:
chopped walnuts
vanilla maple apple butter (recipe follows)
coconut cream (recipe follows)

  • Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix together wet ingredients and stir into dry.
  • Heat cast-iron skillet with a few tablespoons of ghee.
  • Scoop 1/4 cup batter (or less or more depending upon space in your pan/how big you want them) into skillet and cook until small bubbles have formed all the way around each cake.  You should also be able to see a bit of definition in the edges, the underside getting darker in color.  Flip each cake at this point and fry another minute until base is cooked.
  • Plate, add more oil to the pan and continue on with the rest of your batter.
  • Top with apple butter, coconut cream, and chopped walnuts

*Notes:

  • Gluten-free flour: choose a blend without additives or make your own.  I don’t bake enough to know the results of different types of flours, so when I’m modifying an existing recipe, I just go for an easy, store-bought blend.  I’ve found most of the store blends are brown rice based, just FYI.
  • Flax egg: 1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp warm water and allowed to set for a few minutes.
  • Pumpkin puree: To make your own, it’s so simple!  Use a pie pumpkin for standard results.  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Cut pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds (save and make this recipe).  Turn pumpkin halves upside down in a pan and roast for about 40 minutes, until the tops start to darken in color.  You can check the pumpkin by flipping if over and scraping with a fork.  If it’s all mushy, it’s done!  Let cool and peel off skin.  Transfer to a blender or food processor just to get it even smoother, but you can skip this step if you’d like.  Refrigerate and use in recipes all week!

 

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Vanilla Maple Apple Butter

5 pounds peeled and chopped apples
1/2 – 1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 vanilla bean pod (slice it lengthwise and run a knife along the insides to scrape out the seeds)

  • Add apples to a slow-cooker or heavy-bottomed pot on stovetop (over low heat).
  • Stir together maple syrup, coconut sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and salt.  Pour over apples.
  • Cook low and slow until apples are all mushy and the whole pot is aromatic.  Stir and taste occasionally.  Apples will turn dark brown.  Taste and add extra sweetener if necessary.
  • Transfer to a blender to smooth it out a bit.

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Coconut cream

One of my favorite oatmeal toppings ever is stirring maple syrup into coconut milk.  It’s just delectable.  If you want to go more robust, switch it for molasses, or do a half-and-half thing.

1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (the thick, creamy part; not the water)
2 – 3 tbsp molasses or maple syrup

  • Stir it together and you’re done!

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collected iii

The next time you see me, I’ll officially be a student at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.  Words can barely describe how elated I am to begin this journey; pictures of food do a little more justice.  I have been waiting for this experience since I discovered the program shortly after it had begun last year.  Meghan Telpner has been a sort of personal hero – if not for her advocacy for an ethical lifestyle, than for unabashedly spreading her vibrant personality wherever she goes.  I am giddy for the day I can add a professional stamp to my love of food and find a way to turn my passion and, more integrally, my way of life, into my livelihood.

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CURRY NOODLE SOUP: I feel very strongly about leftovers.  There are obvious implications of food waste, and most pertinent to my current life is $$$$.  So I’m willing to eat leftovers all week.  And if the original flavor isn’t as tasty on the third day, I find a way to revamp the dish rather than feed it to the garbage monster.  This soup started as your standard vegetable – kind of bland, but good for a meal.  Then it was curried (always a good idea when you don’t know how to alter the spices appropriately).  THEN I threw in some ramen noodles and topped it with sesame seeds.  Next level.

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OAT CACAO SHAKE: I must confess, despite my appearance as a “health food” blogger/person, my life is made up of very few smoothies, shakes, and salads.  GASP!  You can’t join the mathletes, it’s social suicide!  This Bad Kid brand is ringing true more and more every day…

Allorah, they do surface every now and then, and I definitely don’t regret them.  This shake contains the following.  Why no measurements, you ask?  Everyone likes their blends a different consistency and flavor, and I don’t even own measuring spoons…

almond milk | oats | hemp seeds | maca powder | cacao powder | honey | coconut oil | ice cubes

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I can officially say I now enjoy the texture of watermelon after being exposed to the organic variety we carry at work. It’s always been too mushy and watery. Maybe it’s the overstated anthem of the age – to “go organic” – but when you can see/taste/love the difference, it makes all the difference.  Jared even said the other day, “I do think we should only buy market strawberries. They just taste so much better!” I was like, A+, brother! So we’ve been on the hunt. BUT you still have to be careful at the market because conventionally-grown produce sneaks its way in, confusing shoppers and disappointing die-hards who seek farm-to-table options. More on that in a later post.

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So it’s probably apparent, and should be by the end of this post, that I’ve been cooking almost exclusively out of Heidi Swanson’s Near & Far cookbook. It has so many wonderful interpretations of global dishes and I am hooked! It doesn’t help that I only own three cookbooks anyway… This is the Root Donburi from the Japanese chapter. It has introduced me to umaboshi (pickled plums) and I am in love!

*I’ve linked to Heidi’s book via BKK so many times that it reads as an unofficial ad.  #SNS

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Also from Heidi, the best turmeric tonic I’ve had to date. It starts with a honey-turmeric paste (shown above) which I think makes all the difference. I’ve been drinking this in the AM after our rigorous hikes as turmeric is anti-inflammatory and our muscles be achin’!

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Making sauerkraut at work!  How do you get your ferment on?

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The image above and the rest that follow are pieces of our “weekend.”  With our overlapping schedules, the only times Jared and I have to adventure together are between my shifts on Wednesdays, and Thursday evening.  The days are exhausting and leave me with that sweet Zen Zone where everything is righteous and golden.  Here we are exploring from Montecito (just outside Santa Barbara), up to San Luis Obispo.

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