Throwback Thursday and the Lentil Life

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AND THEN. I made lentil bars! Because… well, why not?! And then I sort of became the lentil bar fairy and handed out several at work, one of which went to this particular friend who *claims* that she doesn’t like lentils. Uh-huh. Just wait.

Said friend ate lentil bar.

One day later…

Friend commissions an entire batch of lentil bars for eating purposes!!

VICTORY OF THE LENTILS! Muahhahah.

And guess what? I have a new nickname!

I’ll give you one guess…

Lentil!!!

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Naturally. The now lentil-converted friend decided I was henceforth to be dubbed Lentil (always said with some sort of accent, of course), mostly because we have a running joke that she brings meat and I bring rabbit food for lunch…and then when I bring beef it’s like.. WOAH. So yeah. A very apropos nickname, I would say ;)

And one more for your viewing pleasure… Throwback Thursday! I was six. Things haven’t changed much…

HMS 1996

Lentil Bars

Recipe slightly adapted from She Bakes Here! I’ve made this twice—once as a single recipe, once doubled. I used green lentils once and red lentils once, and I think I prefer red, though you can use either. If using green, make sure you cook them just a little bit longer so they’re easily mushable (technical term). I reduced the sweetener a little so these aren’t overly sweet, but perfect for a mid morning or on the go snack. They were a big hit with the work peeps!

As posted, the recipe makes a single batch in an 8 by 8 pan (I used a circular pie dish).

Vegan, refined sugar free.

  • 1/2 c red lentils
  • 1 c water
  • 1.5 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/3-1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes until very soft. Drain, if needed. Mash lentils a bit with a fork (though they should be pretty much like puree already), and set aside in a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 300, and line your baking pan of choice with parchment paper.

Using the same bowl the lentils are hangin’ out in, add oats, whole wheat flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, salt, almond butter, and maple syrup. Toss in chocolate chips and stir to combine (seriously, could this be any easier?). Once incorporated, spread the dough into your prepared pan—I found it easiest to use my fingers to spread it out, as it’s really thick. Get it mostly even and then pop it into the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the oats on top are slightly crispy.

Let it sit in the pan for a few, then pull the whole thing out by grabbing the parchment. Let cool completely on a rack before slicing! These keep well in tupperware at room temp for a few days.

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A whoopsa-too-much-milk almost-fail that wasn’t

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YOU. GUYS.

These cookies are… maybe the best thing I’ve eaten all week. And I really have been eating them all week (whatever, I know it’s Tuesday, my weeks are never normal so be nice to me and just assume I mean last week+the beginning of this week, okay good, now we’re straightened out… continuing on!), since I’ve made two batches. TWO. You know something is pretty freakin’ amazing if I make it twice. Not only twice, but IN. A. ROW.

Whaaaat.

Weird.

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Obviously you should trot off to your kitchen and make these immediately. Not only are these crazy delicious, but they also happen to be ridiculously good for you (okay. It’s still a cookie but if you are a fiend for cookies like me, you can be awesome and healthify when you can) and beyond simple to make. Toss some stuff in a food processor, push on. Push off. Toss in some more stuff. Blend. Stop blending. Add the last bit. On. Off. Throw on cookies sheet. Toss sheet in oven. Bip. Done! …Pause for baking. Attempt to let them “cool”. Do a bunch of push ups (okayyy, I suppose that bit is optional) Stuff face. Repeat.

It’s nice if you share. Or you can share with a caveat, like me, and make some slightly-more-massive ones for yourself and clearly separate them on the cooling rack. With a fork. See? Those two over there are on the “do not eat under penalty of mega cookie deprived wrath” side of the fork. The others are obviously fair game, but I never said I wouldn’t eat those too. Oh no.

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And yes… I know this is about my billionth cookie post in pretty much two weeks, *sighhhh*. Sooner rather than later I’ll get around to blogging about something else, but suffice it to say I a) about eat my weight in veggies everyday, b) I eat lots of cookies and c) my dinners have been quick, nutritious, and visually uninspiring these days. Sooo. Savory things. Eventually.

But right now… go make these cookies!! Seriously. I love you, invisible internet friends, would I steer you wrong?! … Correct answer: no. Cue subliminal messaging: coooooookiiiieeeesssss!!!

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Ridiculously Delicious Date Cookies

Recipe from Power Hungry, here! I got around 17-18 cookies each time.

The first time I totally goofed and doubled the milk. I do have to say, they are delicious that way and I think I might actually prefer them. I’ve made them twice, as I said, once with the goof and once as the recipe originally intended. While I love both, I think my vote is with the softer, flatter (for once!) doubled-milk variety. The original amount of milk yields a taller, slightly craggier cookie, with slightly chewier edges. Both are delicious. These cookies contain minimally processed ingredients and no refined sugar! They’re full of healthy fats (almond butter) and whole grains (oats), fiber (oats+flaxseed), omega-3’s (Flax), and antioxidants (dark chocolate!). Winner, winner, I just ate cookies for dinner. Juuuuust kidding… but seriously. It was a close call.

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Just for comparison, the cookies above are made with 1/2 c milk… and the ones in the eggplant bowl and at the end of the post are 1 c. Just in case you needed a visual like I always do.

Firstly, grab this:

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c semi-packed, pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c organic almond butter
  • 1/2-1 c milk bev (I used 1% milk)*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips

*depending on whether you want taller, chewier cookies (1/2 c), or flatter, softer cookies (1 c)

Secondly, do this:

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet (or two) with parchment paper.

Haul out your massively heavy food processor, and process oats until they are finely ground and flourlike. Add in flaxseed meal and pulse to combine. Add the dates, and pulse until they are finely chopped and incorporated. Toss in almond butter, milk and vanilla, and pulse to blend. Pour/spoon dough into a bowl and stir in chocolate chips. If you double the milk, the mixture will be more like batter than dough (It’ll spoon into little puddles). If you use 1/2 c milk, the dough will be much thicker– flatten the cookies out with a fork before baking. Bake for 10-11 minutes, let cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet (a bit more for the doubled-milk cookies, as they’re a little more delicate), then transfer to a cooling rack. I keep mine in the fridge for freshness. I’m sure they keep for a while, but honestly mine have lasted all of about three days… so good luck with that!

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I really do actually eat vegetables. Promise!

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And now for something completely different in the cookie realm!

Because obviously I haven’t given you nearly enough cookie recipes lately (um. lies?!) And because I’m pretty sure said no one ever there’s such a thing as too many cookies. And if they did, whatever, we obviously can’t be friends. Schaaaawwrryyy! Cookies are the number one principle of my personal philosophy. Life is sometimes tricky, it’s better if you eat a [healthyishkindasortamaybe] cookie!

I think cookies might actually be one of my favorite things to make. Oh really, you say? As if the blog title alone doesn’t prove that!

Cookies on cookies on cookies. One would think this is all I eat…

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Um. I promise I eat vegetables! Like, I actually eat a ridiculous  amount of vegetables. And fruit. And eggs. Ask my mother, she claims it’s difficult to keep me in vegetables… I just… LOVE… SPINACH! Hoooomg. Among other things. I’ve gotten really good at putting spinach where it doesn’t necessarily belong but is undeniably delicious. Like maybe in the banana scramble I made today. So bizarrely wonderful and so perfect for St. Patrick’s day. Hmm. Shield your eyes if you abhor green things, that just might be the next post.

SO anyway. Cookies. Best eaten any time of day, with or without a milk-type beverage.. Eat three, and call me in the morning. Seriously, if medical practitioners gave out this kind of advice, I think the world might be a slightly more magical place.

So now instead of cruncy-hippie-granola raw cookies, you get [somewhat less crunchy but still kind of, whatever I’m still kind of granola] vegan salted caramel chocolate chip cookies! Cue yummy sound. Did I just make the yummy sound? … No. That was definitely you. Oh no? Well.. if it wasn’t *YOU*, and it wasn’t *YOU*… and it wasn’t *ME*…

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Vegan Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe unintentionally adapted from Keepin’ it Kind. I made biggish cookies and ended up with about 15 or 16, but depending on size you could conceivably make up to 24ish… if you use a smaller scooping technique. Don’t judge, I’m rather a fan of large cookies! These are fab cookies, and the dough is just as good (number one perk for vegan baking: dough eating adventures).

I didn’t have coconut sugar, though next time I’ll be using that as my caramel wasn’t quite what was intended visually. It got the point across though, and tasted amazing! That being said… you *can* make these with regular sugar, as I did, but coconut is preferred (and keeps them slightly less refined).

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Let’s make tasty things:

  • 3/4 c sugar (see above note)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 c full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (mine is the unrefined variety that smells like coconut)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed+3 tbsp water)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chippies

To do so, we…

Make caramel!
Pour sugar and water into a smallish saucepan. Whisking frequently, bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low/simmering, and let it reduce until the water is reduced by half. If you use coconut sugar, the water should be dark brown; if using regular sugar, it’ll be lighter in color. Keep whisking, as it has a tendency to bubble up. Slowly whisk in coconut milk and continue whisking for 10-15 minutes or until (if using coconut sugar) the mixture thickens and is a dark brown. If you’re like me and you attempted regular sugar, it’ll look grey. Not the most gorgeous color, but delicious. Promise. The mixture will thicken as it cooks, more so with coconut sugar than regular. Stir in the salt, and remove from heat. Let it cool while you do the rest of the cookies, or you can store the caramel in a jar in the fridge (it keeps for several weeks, tightly sealed).

Onward! Cookie time:

Mix up your flax egg and let it sit for a bit to thicken.
Mash up the banana, toss in slightly meltedish coconut oil, and use a mixer to beat until fluffy. Whisk in vanilla extract and 2/3 c caramel sauce (save the rest for later). Once the flax egg sets up, whisk that in.

In a larger bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt. Add dry ingredients to wet, stirring until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips, and slightly flatten the dough into the bottom of your bowl. Pop it into the fridge and let it chill for about a half and hour.

Preheat the oven to 350, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the fridge and make several cuts through it with a knife. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the dough, without mixing it in. Drop blobs of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets (whatever size you deem necessary for that particular day…), leaving the streaks of caramel running throughout. The dough will be a bit wet with all that, but just roll with it. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes (I know that’s a huge range, but I did mine on convection so they ended up going a bit longer. Check at 8, and go from there!) Because of the caramel, the cookies can look a bit underdone, but they should be solid to the touch when done—check the bottoms if you’re not sure. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, and then transfer to wire rack.

Do yourself a favor and eat one warm out of the oven!

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Milkshakes happen.

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Sooo…

I made cookies.

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And then I made a milkshake. With cookies. And Bailey’s.

Yes.

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(This was the other night. And then this morning I went to my favorite bodyrock class and now typing is difficult because my arms are shaky and already sore. Bahahah ooooh I love that class so much! See? It’s all about balance. Milkshakes one day, total and complete ass-kicking the next: this is how I roll)

Be jealous… be very, very jealous.

Luckily I had Vaccuum Vati around to test run the milkshake, just in case it was terrible. Except excuse me?! How could molasses-ginger cookies+ice cream+Bailey’s ever be terrible?! That’s right. It couldn’t.

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The cookies are fabulous on their own of course, and actually rather guiltless (Not that I think anyone should EVER associate guilt with food—I’m just using this as a handy turn of phrase. Food is love! Just indulge responsibly…). They are soft and chewy, with an amazing gingerbready-molasses kind of flavor, and actually really remind me of cookies my grandma used to buy when I was a kid: I liked taking three evenly spaced bites around the perimeter of the cookie to make it look like a dress. Yeah. Weird child, don’t even get me started. But whatever, they have a similar taste profile, at least as far as I remember. Apparently all my memory cells regarding that particular memory are taken up with the three evenly spaced bites (I don’t even remember what brand they were…).

Anywayyy, moving on. Make these! Your body will thank you for the nutrients, and your brain will thank you for tricking it into thinking you’re totally indulging. When you’re really not. Unless you choose the milkshake option, which you totally should. Obviously.

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Molasses Ginger Cookies

The recipe comes from Running to the Kitchen, here! I made only a few slight changes (mostly just flour), but mine did this weird spreading thing. Can’t say I particularly minded, since I obviously have a thing for enormous cookies the size of my face. I got 11 palm-sized, really flat cookies.

  • 3/4 c almond flour (I ground almonds in my food processor until fine)
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 c chopped dark chocolate

These cookies need to chill for at least 2 hours, so keep that in mind before you mindlessly preheat the oven like me.

In a mediumish bowl, combine almond flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt, and stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, molasses, honey, vanilla, and egg. Add wet into dry, toss in chocolate shards, and stir until just combined. Cover the bowl and stick it into the fridge for at least an hour and a half, preferably more like 2.

Now you can preheat the oven to 350 (you impatient little minx), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the dough is thoroughly chilled, drop the cookies onto the prepared cookie sheet, using your fingers to smooth them into nicer-looking shapes. My dough was very sticky, so I advise using spoons rather than attempting with your fingers. Leave enough space between your cookies to allow them to spread, as mine did—or rather, as mine morphed into a giant cookie amoeba. Ridiculously tasty, but they ended up with some flat edges, hhehe. Bake for 8-10 minutes (mine went for 10), then let cool on the sheet for about 5 before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Store in a plastic container between wax paper to retain their chew!

you see what I did there??
you see what I did there??

If you care to try the milkshake (which you most definitely should…), blenderize a cookie, a few blobs of vanilla ice cream (good quality, please), and a healthy glug of Bailey’s. Serves… one. Don’t plan on sharing: trust me, you won’t want to.

oops, caught in the act
oops, caught in the act

Don’t be judgy, it was delicious!

One furry dork and ridiculous cookies: I’m obsessed.

Wow. My cat just stuck his paw up and gently touched my face. As in a… “You are NOT paying enough attention to me, I’m sitting here looking cute, HELLO I’m furry and adorable and I employ tactics just like Simon’s cats so pat me NOW” type of paw to the face way.

We’re talking about the butternut squash pancake-eating cat.

This one.

What a goober. Maybe he wants to do some yoga?

is this like upward facing kitty? kittyasana?

Have I told you about how he LOVES freshly dead spiders? He must be a pacifist, or else he doesn’t like the tickly feeling of eating legs (I can’t say I blame him really)… he waits for Vati to kill one for him, and then he starts purring as soon as he hears the slap of the birkenstock. And then he eats it off the bottom of the shoe. Weird much?! That and crunchy things. Oh. And he snores.

Welcome to the life of Nosh. Sleep a lot, get fed some freshly dead spiders and crunchy things, paw your human in the face until she pays attention to you, purr until you drool, sleep more, purr more, discover your human doing yoga and join in, and then round out your day with more sleeping. Life’s rough, isn’t it?

(Side note. If you haven’t seen Simon’s cats on Youtube, click away from this page and look it up immediately. You’ll thank me later!).

No, I’m not just a crazy cat lady. I promise this post isn’t completely about little furry beings…

Anyway. Before I so rudely distracted myself going off about the ridiculous paw-to-the-face tactics employed by my resident furball (one of two), I was going to tell you about these:

And how you should tote your laptop into the kitchen and make them. NOW. Immediately. Because seriously, these cookies are amazing. Chewy, oaty, and coconutty. Not a word but hmm, don’t care because these are so amazing. I’m contemplating another batch in the insanely near future they’re that good. And besides, we know how ludicrously picky I am about chocolate chip cookies… so obviously these must be good. Nosh hasn’t rendered his opinion as of yet, unless the face-paw was any indication… maybe he was telling me to go grab the leftovers. Wait, what leftovers? Apparently I’ve eaten them all. Do yourself a favor. Make cookies: your house will smell like love!

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I slightly adapted the recipe from the Cooking Actress, here! I got 9 cookies, rather tragically… when (not if) I make this again, I’ll be doubling the recipe. The cookies are chewy and oaty, with a slight taste of coconut and chocolate.

  • 2/3 c + 1/2c oat flour (equal amounts of rolled oats processed in a food processor)
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2.5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil (the kind that smells like coconut when you open the jar—refined doesn’t have a coconut taste)
  • 3-4 tbsp light coconut milk (from the can)
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chippies

Preheat the oven to 380, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine oat flour, rolled oats, both sugars, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. In a smaller bowl, melt coconut oil, vanilla, and 3 tbsp coconut milk together. Add wet into dry, adding slightly more coconut milk if the batter seems too dry. Fold in chocolate chippies, and drop by the spoonful onto your prepared baking sheet. Pop into the fridge for a few minutes, until cold. Bake for 7 minutes (best if they seem slightly undercooked when you take them out), and let cool for a least a few minutes on the cookie sheet. I store mine in a plastic tupperware—as much as I dislike plastic, glass containers will make your formerly chewy cookies go soft.

Eat, preferably with a kitty on your lap and with some loved ones around. Cookies are better when they’re shared! <3

Wait… has it been a YEAR…of cookies?!

Happy Birthdayyyyy to my BLOG! Thanks, Vati, for donating your fingers… 

Okay. Confession time.

Ready?

I missed my blog’s first birthday!! Sheeesh. I feel like a bad parent. BUT. I baked it a cake! And an adorable one (okay, two), at that. I had to celebrate somehow, and besides everyone wins when there’s cake around. But really, I thought wordpress might give me a heads up like, “oh hey, you’ve had a blog for a year, yeahhhh!” or something. Anything. BUT NO. So all of a sudden I realized it was July… and I had, in fact, started  blogging last June. Fail. Oh well! Absolved. By cake.

Candles smell like birthdays….

Besides… I’m quite proud of having stuck with this! A year(ish) ago, I set a goal to start a food blog. I didn’t really have any parameters regarding said goal, just that since I was moving into my own apartment for my senior year at Willamette, I wanted a way to keep my diet interesting and a push to try new things. Besides, I’d kind of wanted to start one ever since I had started reading blogs to begin with! Sooo… Wait are those…Cookies was born! In the summer, natch, so I could iron out any kinks before the crazy of school started. (And figure out creative things to do with mega boatloads of zucchini… heads up, zucchini season is almost upon us in the garden out back… consider yourself  appropriately warned).

AND it’s neon pink. For those who know me… this is an obvious no brainer.

Since I started posting mid June last year, I’ve posted 85 times (pretty good, considering the 92 page thesis beast that I cranked out spring semester), and had an even 4500 hits from across the world (who knew I was internationally interesting?! I certainly didn’t. Maybe it’s the irreverence)! Pretty good, for a blog that got started on a whim (and considering that I don’t really follow a regular schedule for this biz… I only post when the muses move me. Ha.). Anyway… throughout all this ridiculousness, I’ve learned lots of interesting tidbits… How to make lemon curd. And go through a jar of pb a week (oh wait. That is probably innate… never mind). And that you can bake cookies on your dashboard (personal fave). AND that goat cheese, while undeniably delicious, when paired with creme fraiche and tucked into a tart shell, is probably enough to put you and your roomie into an extended food coma for about a week. Whatever. Worth it.

even the aliens off to the right enjoy my cake! Ha. Beaming in?

So. I went from being an incoming undergraduate senior mildly concerned about thesis writing to a fully matriculated real person with a  BA in art history and the best job ever. Yoga benefits + active wear alll the time = too perfect for words. Thanks, not-so-baby food blog (you’re ONE year old!!), for feeding me through my misadventures in the kitchen and in life. Enjoy your cake :)

in profile.

Lemon Chiffon Cake with Lemon Curd and Whipped Cream Frosting

I made a half recipe in a 9 by 9 pan, and then cut rounds out for two baby, two layer cakes. The full recipe makes two 8″ or 9″ round cake layers. These can be sliced in half for a total of 4, if you like. I’ll include the full recipe here—halve if you want smaller cakes like mine. Don’t try to stack them too high though—I found the lemon curd to be mega slippery and one of my cakes was less than structurally sound. oops. I frosted mine with whipped cream, because it’s delicious. And pretty. Cake and lemon curd slightly adapted from Whole Living, here!

This cake is also decently not horrible for you: the cake (minus cream) is cholesterol free with skim milk, and has heart-healthy canola oil + lemons (ridiculously high in Vit. C and antioxidants). YAYY! A wonderfully summery cake, when you don’t want something heavy. It’s just sweet enough to satisfy without putting you in a coma…

lemon currrrrd

Putz around in your kitchen until you’ve acquired the following:

For the cake!

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour, sifted*
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 c milk (whatever you have is fine, I used 1%. Non dairy I’m sure is okay too)
  • 1/3 c canola oil
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 egg whites

*use the spoon and level method to measure: spoon flour into measuring cup, then scrape off the excess with the flat of a knife. Since this is a sponge cake, you want maximum lightness/airiness. Too much flour= heavy cake!

Frosting: 1 pint of whipped cream (or 2 pints for a full-sized cake), plus powdered sugar and vanilla (to taste)

For the curd*:

I’ll include the recipe for the curd I used for this cake, but I really prefer the curd I made before, even though it’s slightly less good for you. If you’re avoiding butter, use the one below, if not, I highly recommend this one!! If you don’t have Meyer lemons, that’s fine: just use regular.

  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 and 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1/2 c fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons, depending on size) + 1.5 c water
  • 1/3 c cornstarch (organic, if you please!)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
I recommend making the curd earlier in the day before the cakes, so that it has time to chill. (Or you can be like me and do it the morning a water main explodes at the top of your street, meaning no water for you! That was interesting…). Lightly beat egg yolks in a heatproof bowl, and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, lemon zest, cornstarch, and salt, and whisk to combine. Add in lemon juice and water, whisk until sugar and cornstarch have dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Cook two minutes. Reduce heat to low, gradually whisk a ladle-full of the lemon mixture into the egg yolks, then pour this mixture back into the pan (still constantly whisking!). Cook over medium heat for about 2.5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Let cool in a bowl with plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin; when cool enough, put it in the fridge to chill (at least an hour).
//

For the cake: preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease your desired pan. Cut parchment paper to line the bottom, and then grease that.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 c sugar, milk, oil, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice. In a smaller bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Put egg whites into a non reactive bowl (I like to use the bowl of my Kitchenaide, plus a handheld electric mixer), and beat on medium speed until foamy. Raise speed to medium-high and gradually add remaining 1/4 c sugar + 2 tbsp, continuously beating until stiff peaks form.

Add half the flour mixture to the milk mix; whisk until smooth. Fold in remaining flour in three batches, alternating with the beaten egg whites (Try not to over-fold the batter; since the idea here is a light cake! But neither do we want pockets of flour… fold with purpose!). Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Mine came out perfectly at 18 (my gas oven runs *very* efficiently). Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. Remove parchment paper, and invert again (so the cake is right-side up). Let cool completely.

While cake is cooling, whip yo’ cream! In that same non reactive bowl (hopefully cleaned of egg white reside, thanks), beat cream until it starts to hold shape… then add a few spoonfuls of powdered sugar and a glug of vanilla. Beat until it holds stiff peaks (not too far, no one wants butter!). It can chill for a bit in the fridge before frosting, but not necessary.

Stack with layers with lemon curd in between (beware slippage!), and frost with whipped cream. Can be stored in the fridge for a few hours, but try to eat as promptly as possible (whipped cream frosting looks prettiest when eaten sooner rather than later).

Eat. Love. BLOG!

heh heh

 

 

Tarting up February!

mmmm, CRUST!

I like to think I know myself pretty well, in terms of food-type oddities and  proclivities. As such, I know that February irritates me. It’s such a bleh month in the middle of everything, and there is a distinct lack of interesting produce. I’ve already gone nuts over squash, waaaay back in the fall… I love sweet potatoes but I eat them all the time anyway…and there is a depressing amount of fruit available. As in, local and seasonal fruit, if you please (Besides, strawberries in winter just look sad. All pale and anemic. I would much rather eat them in the summer, thankyouverymuch).

BUT.

I discovered a solution to this problem.

Waaay back in September, over Labor Day weekend, I procured some fresh peaches (thanks, Dave Lakey!). I fought the urge to eat them immediately, and instead sliced them up and threw them into the freezer. All neat and nicely labeled, I was determined that they would remain in there, until the dead of winter (aka February), when nothing grows and I was itching for some summer fruit. Genius, clearly.

Over the weekend, when I spent a bit more time thinking about/researching/drooling over pie and tart recipes than actually thesising, I realized the time for peaches had arrived! And oooooh was that a good decision…

THIS. Is what happened.

peeeeachesss!

Fresh peaches in February! Can you ask for anything better? It’s like summer in a bite. And a healthy bite, no less! The crust has healthy fats from olive and canola oil, and the custard is made with yogurt instead of cream. And fruit is the most important part! It’s totally justifiable to have this for breakfast.

okay, so the pictures of this weren't super fantastic... but the crust was beautiful! clearly my favorite part.

Peach Custard Tart

Crust is slightly adapted from the Garden of Eden blog, and the custard is adapted from Eating Well, here. Makes one 11” tart.

For the crust (most low maintenance tart crust EVER):

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 2 tbsp milk of some kind (I used plain soymilk)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl, stir together flour, salt, and sugar (no need to sift). In another small bowl, whisk together olive and canola oil, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Add liquid into dry, and gently stir until just combined (be careful not to overstir). Gather this up and plunk it down into your tart pan (in the absence of a tart pan, a pie dish is fine)… then flatten the dough on the bottom and up the sides by pressing gently with the flats of your fingers (this is the fun part!). Try to get it to an even thickness all around and up the sides, about 1/8″.

messy, but delicious.

For the filling!

  • 4-5 peaches, sliced (mine were frozen. I ran them under cool water until I could separate them into slices, but didn’t defrost the completely to prevent peach mush)
  • 3/4 c turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 c lowfat plain yogurt*
  • 3/4 c milky beverage (soymilk again for me)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp organic cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

*The original recipe called for greek yogurt… but Kira and I, being the frugal/practical types that we are, decided to try it with regular yogurt, since that was what we had on hand. Excellent decision, as it turned out deeelicious. Either type is fine!

This is ridiculously easy: dump all the above ingredients in a bowl (except peaches), and whisk until smooth. See? Easy.

I told you the crust was pretty!

Preheat the oven to 400. Arrange the peaches around the bottom of the crust (they don’t have to look pretty). Pour the custard over the top, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover the edges with foil to prevent excess browning (I did a rather ineffectual job, but I like the rather caramelized edges, so… not a big deal!). Reduce oven temperature to 350, and pop it back into the oven for another 40 minutes to an hour. Mine was done at about an hour and 10 minutes—I checked it at 40, and then put it back in for 15 minute intervals. You want a knife to come out clean when inserted into the center. Let cool before eating, about an hour and a half, to make sure the custard has time to set.

This is EXCELLENT cold. In fact, I think it might be better cold the next day, once the flavors have had a chance to get to know each other. It is also excellent with a blob of vanilla ice cream, of course.

uh oh... evidence!