Things that are shockingly savory and also green

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Shut the front door.

I spy something savory!!

What. Shocking.

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Good thing I balanced it out with those awesome fudgy brownie cookies I mentioned in the last post. But actually, this is delicious. AND savory. You must feel like a proud parent. Additionally, this flatbread is stupid easy. As in like, whizzbangboomLUNCH. Which is awesome because as we know I don’t really like waiting for my food. Which is why I am mostly too lazy to make yeasted breads even though they’re delicious and not entirely difficult. I’m just impatient. Sigh. Story of my life.

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Anyway. Want to know what happens nearly every time I photograph something?

Actually, maybe you don’t.

But… too bad. I’m sharing anyway [my blog, ha]… Ready?

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I drop my camera in my food.

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For reals. Like a child. A clumsy one, at that. I swear, that camera has three years worth of blog food residue on it (EW GROSS I promise that isn’t true. I totally clean it off after I drop it. Like an adult. Ish.). But in the last few weeks it’s come into closer contact than I suppose it wishes with some really awesome guac, some flan (twice on the same photo shoot you ask?! Um yes. Welcome to my life), and most recently some cookies. No, I did NOT drop in in the flatbread. Ha. At least I am sort of winning at my own game… or not.

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So anyway. Make some of this deliciousness. I’m pretty sure no one is entirely positive where this originated… some say Egypt, the French say France, and no doubt the Italians say Italy. I don’t much care, as long as I can eat it. Mine is a little thicker than the variety you can find in France, which is more like a crepe, but I like it heartier because then I can get creative with what goes on it. I’ve made it once before, Italian-style (here, disregard mildly awful photography), but this one is my new favorite.

Besides that, I made an awesome green sauce to go with it. It’s like pesto, but lighter. And greener. Because, obviously.

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Mushroom and Rosemary Socca

Recipe inspired by Food 52, here! Serves 3, roughly, for an appetizer or a light lunch. Gluten free and vegan.

  • 1 c chickpea flour
  • 1 c water
  • 1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra [divided]
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ~1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • a good handful of white button mushrooms
  • 1 chunk of frozen basil, or a few good sized leaves, chiffonaded
  • a splash of good balsamic vinegar
  • a glug of avocado oil (or other high heat oil)

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In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, water, 1.5 tbsp olive oil, sea salt, and rosemary. Set aside for about 30 minutes, more or less is not a big deal.

Heat a bit of olive oil and basil in a sauté pan over medium. When oil is hot, sauté mushrooms until they begin to release their juices and turn that great shade of golden/brown/sautéed mushroom color. Splash in a bit of balsamic, and cook for a minute more. Remove pan from heat, and pour slightly cooled mushrooms into the batter.

Preheat the oven to 450, and muscle out your cast iron skillet [mine is about 11″, so my socca is fairly thin]. Stick the skillet into the preheating oven for a bit so it gets hot enough that you need an oven mitt to take it out. Pour that glug of avo oil into the preheated skillet and swirl it around so it evenly coats the bottom. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet, and place it back into the oven. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the top is just firm. Remove and let rest for a few minutes before cutting and serving. I took all of mine out of the skillet and let it cool on racks for a bit, as I didn’t want it to overcook. Keeps fairly well in the fridge for at least a day, but is best served right after it’s made.

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Startlingly Green Sauce

I apologize in advance for the vagueness of this recipe. It’s really up to your taste, so use what sounds good and tastes appealing to you! I use whatever I have on hand, but typically the base ingredients are the same. Incidentally, this makes an excellent pasta sauce… Gluten free, vegan. Makes about 1 cup.

  • two good handfuls of mixed greens
  • 1 c frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt+pepper to taste
  • ~1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • ~1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c raw cashews, soaked for a few minutes for easier blending
  • 2 tsp frozen basil, or a good handful of fresh
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or diced fresh
  • perhaps a splash of Bragg’s liquid aminos, if you’re feeling it

Chuck the load into your food processor, and blend the crap out of it! Taste. Like what you taste? Fab! Eat! Not so much? Adjust as needed. More salt… more nutritional yeast… garlic? Why not. The green sauce is your oyster. Spread on whatever it needs to be spread on, i.e. socca and pasta and other delicious things.

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Soup is like my problem child

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Hello invisible internet friends!

I made soup for you, and I apologize in advance because I HATE photographing soup. It can look all cute and aesthetic, and then I stare at it through a camera lens and my first response is always…

Ew.

I LOVE soup. Why is it so annoying to photograph?! You would think that a bowl of chunky veggies and lumpy lentils… oh. Wait. That’s right. Lumpy is not generally considered aesthetic. Problem child.

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Well, whatever. Pictures may be lacking but soup and flatbread are incredibly aesthetic to my stomach, so there. We already know I love lentils an any form, so obviously it’s a give that I love lentil soup. And really we all know that soup is just an excuse for a carby side (ie, BREAD, wheee!!).. and thusly that bread is a convenient conveyance for butter, what a glory. Bread+butter= doesn’t get much better. Oh, right, and add in the side of soup to nicely round things out for a balanced type meal.

In other news, I have eaten some delicious croissants and trout and avo lately… (it was too pretty not to share!)

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Annnnddd  I made what appears to be the world’s tiniest buckwheat cookie. Sorry it kind of looks like… a turd?! It was delicious, promise.

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This soup is also delicious, have I neglected to mention that?! It also comes together in about 20 minutes, or less depending on if you puree (which I did not… lack of immersion blender, blender of any sort, and a leaky food processor notwithstanding). If you like cumin-type flavors, put this on your dinner list… now!

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Simple Lentil Soup

I ate this with the Sri Lankan roti flatbread I’ve made before, here. The soup recipe is lightly adapted, courtesy of Sukarah, here! We got three dinner servings out of it, plus a small bit of leftovers.

  • 1 c red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4-5 carrots, chunked/diced
  • 4 c water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 c fresh spinach, rinsed

Combine lentils, carrots, water, and cinnamon stick in a large-ish soup pot, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, covered, and let simmer until the lentils are cooked, about 15 minutes (they will have absorbed most of the water, but there should be some liquid still left).

In a sauté pan, toss in olive oil and heat over medium. When heated, add in onions and sauté until translucent. While onions are going, chuck in spinach to sauté/wilt. Add cumin and salt, and continue sautéing until onions begin to brown slightly.  Remove from heat. Once finished, add onions/spinach to the lentils, and let simmer for a few minutes more. Remove from heat when ready to serve.

At this point, you can puree it for a creamy texture, or leave it chunky as I did. I like chunks… and, as I said, I have some slight gadgety issues at the moment that prevent mess-less pureeing… soooo… good think I like chunks.

Serve hot, preferably with some sort of bread!

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Carbs are my friends.

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I love carbs.

You know, I used to have a teeshirt back in middle school (high school? Don’t remember) that said “I [heart] carbs!” above a food pyramid composed completely of… carbs. Inspired, that’s what that is.

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If I was to make up a pyramid for the carbs I eat now… hmm… Bottom layer: creamy oatmeal!! And other grains like amaranth and millet. Second layer: definitely toast. Bread, of all kinds. Toast bread… crusty, ciabatta-type stuff, olive and walnut, etc. etc. And then the third layer: flatbreads and tortillas! Because I don’t eat those quite as often. And then the little pointy part [eat sparingly, haha yeah right]: whole wheat croissants from La Boulange and… animal crackers [because I only eat them once in blue moon]. But only Barbara’s oatmeal kind, I’m rather particular. Yessss. Pyramid of carbs. Such a fabulous idea.

So! Because carbs are my friends… I made flatbread again! Except this one is different than the last one and my cat didn’t express interest…

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This one is a Sri Lankan recipe called roti. Super easy to make and so delicious, I made a half batch due to lack of coconut and made 6… annnddd they disappeared within about 10 minutes of actually making them. I think we can safely assume that they were delicious. Especially with butter. Mmm. Butter makes everything better. Maybe that should go in my pyramid somewhere… my pyramid of carbs and butter. Or according to Regina George they’re the same thing: “Is butter a carb?!” haaa.

(Veggies would obvs be in my pyramid too but you’ve heard me expound enough about how it’s ridiculously challenging to keep me in vegetables so let’s just stick to carby wonderfulness).

Anyway. Make these flatbreads! They’re good either savory or sweet, and I’m sure they would be fab with curry,  but too bad we ate them all before I could make anything to eat them with. Whoops.

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Sri Lankan Whole Wheat Roti

Delicious recipe lightly adapted from Curry and Comfort, here! I made a half recipe and got 6 of various sizes; the full recipe (posted below) should yield 9-11.

  • 3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 c shredded unsweetened coconut+milk bev for soaking
  • 1 c cool water
  • salt to taste
  • a bit more coconut oil for cooking

In a small bowl, soak coconut shreds in your milk bev of choice—I would have used coconut milk if I’d had one open; I used rice milk. Use enough milk to just moisten them, but not too much–you don’t want it soupy, just hydrated! Set aside.

Sift whole wheat flour (or don’t, if you’re lazy like me) into a bowl, and add melted coconut oil and salt. Stir in soaked coconut. Start adding water a little at a time until a dough forms. It should be about the consistency of play-dough!
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat with a bit of coconut oil in the bottom. When it’s hot, pat the dough into flattish little shapes (Try not to play with it too much, as tempting as it is…. no one wants tough roti), and pan fry them until they brown on both sides. Serve warm with butter! Or curry, or whatever you have on hand. I think they’re best immediately, but I’m sure they would be just as good reheated.

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Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart!

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Happy December! I love this month. It’s so… festive! And crowded. Sheeesh. Working retail has given me a lovely perspective on people’s shopping habits. Holiday shopping in this country is truly absurd. Where do all these people come from? And where do they hide during the off season??

Alrighty. So I mentioned in my last post that I’m off eggs, and gluten free (due to a variety of things, mostly circulation related. It’s a long story, you can ask me if you’re curious). This means that I’m basically vegan in addition to gluten free. Except I can have dairy and meat. Weird, I know, but just roll with it.

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Um. Yeahhhh. About that. I’m dealing, but it’s requiring a bit of concentration on my part, so that I don’t accidentally consume something I’m not supposed to. At least I was already used to vegan baking, so that switch isn’t too much effort. It’s the gluten free biz that’s killing me—I freaking LOVE BREAD. Arrggg. Ah well, for now it’s only two weeks (and hopefully NOT longer). We’ll see.

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Anyway, at least it’s pushing me to discover new alternatives and diversify my bloglet! I’m trying to keep my costs to a minimum, so that means finding affordable gluten-free flour substitutes. Some I’m familiar with, some not… I promise to only share the tasty ones on here. The flatbread I’m sharing today definitely qualifies as tasty (and cost effective, it only has 4 ingredients!), and ridiculously versatile. It’s made with chickpea flour, which I’ve never used before but is high in protein and fiber (obvi, as it’s made from beeeeeeans!). It’s actually one of the most nutrient-dense flours around: it’s high in folate, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, thiamin, iron, copper, and manganese. Whew! Besides all that, this flatbread has good fats from olive oil. Oh. AND it’s tasty. What more could you want? Yum yum yum. Called Torta di Ceci, this recipe is Italian in origin. I just love it, as you can eat it with pretty much anything (especially cheese, mmmm)—gluten free pizza crust? I think yes.

La la la…. beans, beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat the more you… Well. I’m sure you can fill in the rest of that cute little ditty.

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Torta di Ceci (Italian Chickpea Cake)

Recipe gratefully borrowed from this awesome blog: In Pursuit of More. Makes one sheet, or about 20 playing-card size servings. Plan for a little bit of time, as it needs to sit for 3 hours (at least) before baking. I made mine mid day, so that I could bake it in time for dinner.

  • 2.5 c chickpea flour (also called gram flour, or garbanzo flour)
  • 3.5 c water
  • scant tsp of salt
  • pepper to taste (I like a lot)
  • 1/4 c olive oil (extra virgin cold press, ideally the best quality you can)

Measure out the chickpea flour into a largeish bowl. Slowly pour in the water, whisking continuously to prevent lumps. Once you’ve poured all the water in, add salt and pepper, and give it a few minutes of whisking to make sure it’s smooth. Cover and let sit on the counter for at least three hours.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Skim off any foam from the surface of the batter, with a slotted spoon. Pour the olive oil into a large rimmed baking sheet (mine was about 18″ by 13″ ), tilting the pan so that the oil covers the bottom. When the oven is finished preheating, pour the batter into the prepared pan, in a layer about 1/4″ thick. Carefully transfer to the oven (amazingly I did this without causing a massive disaster), and bake for 30 minutes, until golden. When done, let cool in the pan for a few minutes before serving.

This bread is best hot or warm, and reheats fabulously. I’ve been storing mine in a glass tupperware in the fridge, which seems to work fine. I like mine reheated and sprinkled with cheese. Mmmm.

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Boatloads of rain? Make mountains of curry!

mountains of curry in exchange for boatloads of rain!

The best way to combat boatloads of rain?

Make boatloads of curry!

Since Salem and the Willamette Valley are in the process of attempting to become the new Atlantis and submerge completely under water, we’ve had (by some estimates) about 6 inches of rain in the last 57 hours. Apparently the weather gods have gone completely nuts… there are creeks flooding all over the place, and according to the Statesman Journal, this is a once every hundred year occurrence, where the Willamette River rises about 30 feet. Excellent. At least I live on the second floor… Perhaps I should start constructing an ark? I’ve rather resigned myself to being damp for the foreseeable future. Forget about wet feet, I’ve been damp all over for about 4 days! Yeeesh.

Anyway, because I didn’t work today (the kiddies at Bush Elementary, where I work, got sent home due to extreme weather) I ended up with a strange amount of free time. And a headache. Which meant that I wanted nothing to do with my thesis. Consequently… baking/cooking explosion! Why would I spend the afternoon doing anything else when it’s beyond nasty outside? Right. That’s what I thought too.

Which means that mega dinner happened. Because boatloads of rain calls for boatloads of curry! And because curry is spicy, sweet, and warming all at the same time: a good thing to consume when it’s semi-monsooning outside. And then flatbreads. And cookies. I wasn’t just going to make curry, with no accoutrements, now was I?! How boring. I am now feeling quite productive and refreshed. And full. (I would perhaps like to digest just a wee bit faster… I want cookies!)

So. Without further babble, here is tonight’s din din! Deeeelicious. Go make yourself some. I would invite you over to eat some of mine (since Kira and I will now be eating curry for the next million years, hahah oops. I made a lot!), except you might have to locate a boat to come see me… maybe paddle upriver like a salmon?

curry isn't curry without a HUGE BLOB of chutney

Mega-ton of Chicken Coconut Curry, with Oregano-Yogurt Flatbread

Curry adapted from the blog Including Cake, here! Flatbread recipe adapted from here! This makes… a lot of curry. Which is a good thing! Helloooo, leftovers! And look how good it is for you! Lots of beta carotene from the sweet potatoes and orange pepper, and garbanzo beans are high in fiber, antioxidants, and minerals like molybdenum and manganese. Plus coconut is good for you on all levels :)

For the curry:

  • 1 large, 1 small (or 2 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp Madras curry powder (only the best!)
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced (or whatever color you have)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 can of light coconut milk
  • cornstarch mixed with water, if needed to thicken
  • cooked chicken (if you want. I added a broiled chicken breast to mine for extra protein)
  • I would have added spinach, if I’d had any! Next time :)

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add onion, cooking for a few minutes until soft. Add curry powder, stirring to combine. Cook for a minute more. Toss in sweet potato chunks, bell pepper, chickpeas, and coconut milk! Simmer for about 15 minutes. At this point, add cornstarch if not thick enough for your taste. I tossed in my chicken pieces and let it simmer for about 5 more minutes. Serve hot, over flat bread, naan, or rice. And be sure to top it generously with shredded coconut (if you like that sort of thing), and mango chutney. I like me some spicyyyy curry!

Oregano Yogurt Flatbreads

I made half the recipe, which yielded 4 cute little breads. I would definitely make the whole recipe if not cooking this for just two people, so I’ll include the full measures here. I also used oregano tonight, but any spice is fine! It appealed to my olfactory sensibilities tonight :) AND it went well with the curry, bonus!

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2.5 tsp herbs of choice (I used oregano)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 c yogurt (I used nonfat plain, not greek, as it was what I had on hand)
  • a bit of canola oil, for cooking

Whisk together flour, herb of choice, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add in yogurt, and stir to combine. The dough will be shaggy-ish, so add a little yogurt if it looks to dry. Mine seemed fine with the amount given, but I might make it again, and see what happens with a bit more. I found my breads to have a nice consistency as is.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it holds together and is not sticky. Divide it into the number of breads you want, and roll it into balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.

Swirl a bit of canola oil in the bottom of a nonstick skillet. When the oil is hot, plop the flattened dough into the pan, and cook until golden brown on each side. Serve hot, preferably with a mountain of curry!

Best dinner for a rainy day/week!