Walking in a mint-ery wonderland

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Happy holidays!

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As much as certain elements of this time of year drive me bananas (having to throw elbows in the grocery store to retrieve the last piece of whatever, extra lines everywhere, no parking, where do all these extra people come from?!), I do undeniably love the run-up to the holidays.

Everything looks festive, even traffic light reflections in wet pavement. And of course I love the excuse to have a tiny conifer in my living room.

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Let’s not overlook holiday baking! Heaven forbid.

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Fun fact! This is actually a giant panna cotta tart. It didn’t really occur to me while I was making it – I was just thinking, la la la cream tart la la but then I got curious and did some googling. I had forgotten that cream stabilized with gelatin is technically panna cotta… so, there ya go! Panna cotta tart, if that’s even a thing.

This one is even grain and gluten free! I suppose you could make this with coconut milk to make it dairy free, but I haven’t tried that yet (next time!) – partially because I have a massive weakness for cream.

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Heavy cream reminds me of being a kid and pouring a bit over my cereal – my grandmother used to do this, and after my dad told me that, I always lurked around waiting for leftover cream to appear the fridge. As I recall, my favorite combination was a giant bowl of honey nut cheerios with about 3/4 milk and 1/4 cream.

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Now I’ve leveled up and adult-ed my cream: it gets baked into cream biscuits, set into a panna cotta tart, or poured into my coffee (omg heaven).

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I love this dessert though: it looks like a mini winter wonderland! Walking in a mint-er wonderland? Ha. And it’s delicious. It actually took a minute to grow on me, but then I couldn’t get enough. Minty, chocolatey & slightly tart from the yogurt-cream panna cotta, it’s a perfect holiday dessert when something light is called for. I couldn’t resist the pomegranate, both for flavor and texture, but also for color. They are always so pretty!

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Happy holidays! Share this with loved ones, since it’s so much better enjoyed in good company :)

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Mint Cream Tart on a Dark Chocolate Coconut Crust

Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free! A perfect wintery dessert, especially since it even *looks* festive. You can even make the whole thing the night before, since gelatin-based things like to hang out in the fridge for awhile. Lightly minty, slightly tart from the yogurt, balanced nicely by dark chocolate. Who doesn’t love mint and chocolate?! This is really a giant panna cotta in a crust, if we want to get technical. Mint cream adapted from Martha Stewart, here; the rest is my brainchild. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves… two ;) Kidding! 2-8, realistically.

For the crust:

1.75 c almond flour
1/3 c unsweetened cacao powder
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
3.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a 9″, deep pie plate with coconut oil. Alternatively, you could use a tart ring with a removable bottom – I needed to transport mine so opted for just keeping it in a less fussy dish.

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 17 minutes.

For the filling:

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup maple sugar*
6 stems peppermint or spearmint, plus more for garnish
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 c dark chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (one envelope)
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup whole milk greek yogurt, plain
pomegranate arils

*I use maple sugar here because it’s lighter in color than coconut or maple syrup, and I wanted to preserve the lightness of the cream filling. But any granulated sweetener would be fine, just keep in mind the filling color may darken.

Make the filling: Bring cream, sugar, mint, and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In a double boiler or in the microwave, heat the 1/3c dark chocolate until completely melted. I am lazy and use the microwave method: 30 second intervals, and stir in between until everything is melty. If you’re using a double boiler, stir continuously until the chocolate is melted.

With a pastry brush (or a spoon, totally fine – this is what I used), coat the bottom the crust with an even layer of melted chocolate. Refrigerate (or leave on the counter in your freezing apartment) until chocolate sets, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small bowl. Let stand until softened. Remove mint from cream mixture, and bring cream mixture to a simmer. Whisk in softened gelatin until it dissolves. Remove from heat, and stir in the yogurt. Pour filling into the prepared crust (if there’s leftover, pour it into a ramekin or two & save for later!) Carefully transfer to the refrigerator. Chill, uncovered, until set, at least 4 hours (or overnight). Garnish with mint stems, pomegranates, and sliced almonds if you’re feeling fancy. Slice and serve!

Chocolate dipped mint leaves are easy too: wash and pat dry nice-looking mint leaves, and dip in melted chocolate. Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet, and freeze until needed.

Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for a day or two.

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Eat, drink and be rosemary

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THIS CAKE.

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OMG.

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Okay okay I know the rule is you’re not supposed to say your own cooking is amazing, but… I’m going to break it. For this cake.

Because, it is OUTSTANDING.

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Probably my favorite cake I’ve ever made, to date. And I’m not the only one – it got rave reviews from the lucky duck who got to eat most of it. So, I consider that a win.

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I am loving rosemary and more ‘savory’ herbs in desserts lately – apologies in advance if there’s suddenly a bumper crop of rosemary or herby desserts on here. It’s just SO good! This cake teeters on the edge between sweet and savory – it’s really not all that sweet, but it’s perfectly satisfying for dessert with some ice cream and strawberries, and perfect for breakfast alongside some eggs and kale (and coffee. obvs).

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I will absolutely be making this again (I think other parties would be amenable to this as well… no, I KNOW they would, they said so!) – it really is my new favorite, go-to cake. It’s also really quick to throw together – the most time consuming part is likely mincing rosemary. But it’s worth it, when your hands and kitchen smell deliciously like rosemary and chocolate and lemon zest.

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In other news, I did some *colorful* art the other day! A short break from my black ink and paper usual beat. It was lovely to paint again – I miss having paint on my hands! I’ll have to rectify that, and soon.

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Do yourself a favor and bake. It’s not so hot right now; the weather is perfect for baking and sharing. Make cake. Feed the ones you love!

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Rosemary, Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cake with Dark Chocolate

This cake is a breeze to throw together; and it’s absolutely beyond delicious for either dessert with ice cream & sliced berries, or for breakfast. Lightly sweet and very aromatic, the rosemary is perfectly complemented by the chocolate and hint of lemon. Coconut oil makes for a slightly denser cake with a moist (hydrated?!) crumb. Easily could be gluten free and dairy free – substitute any gluten free all purpose blend for the whole wheat and non-dairy greek-style yogurt for the whole milk greek I used here. Refined sugar free and whole wheat. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves…. 2! Jk. More like 8 (but save some for breakfast!)

  • 1 c plain Greek yogurt (I use whole milk greek)
  • 2/3 c coconut oil, melted, plus more for coating the pan
  • 1/3 + 1/6 c maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated meyer lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chunks (mine were 70%)

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease an 8″ or 9″ round cake pan with coconut oil (I used 8″ and it was perfect with no spillage; you’ll have a slightly shorter cake if you use a 9″).

In a large bowl, whisk together greek yogurt, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, rosemary, lemon zest, and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, one at at time. In a smaller bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Add dry into wet, stirring until just combined. Roughly chop the dark chocolate chunks (I like how that yields a variety of chunk size) & add them to the batter. Scrape the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes. The top should be golden brown & a tester should come out clean – I took mine out at 40, but realistically it probably could have used another 2-3 minutes to get the center full done (there was a small spot that was less done than I would prefer).

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edge, flip the cake onto a plate and then back onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with ice cream (why not?); sliced strawberries are also excellent.

Store any leftovers covered in the fridge overnight – the cake will solidify a bit & be extra delicious for breakfast the next morning.

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Your daily dose of (nice) inbox snark

I know it’s slightly blurred, but I love this one!

I do apologize for the large gaps between posts (I know, I know, it’s my wittiness that you miss)…

I’ve been busy busy of late and have been eating lots of tasty, albeit fast and non-photogenic, food of late. Like tempeh, for instance. I recently discovered that I do, in fact, enjoy this fermented “textured protein”, in spite of a childhood derision for said food object. Like, refusing to ever eat it EVER again. I suppose I’m eating my words on this one… (but that being said, I seriously WILL NEVER EAT tofurky sausage. Like, EVER. Ranks up there with one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever brought near my face… so unless they radically change the formula, there will be no more  of that). So. Tempeh. Tasty, especially in peanut sauce… but definitely NOT conducive to appealing looking photos… at all. You can thank me later for sparing you the pictures.

cooookies!

SO.

Instead, you get COOKIES! Surprised? Yeah, I thought not. But whatever, these are good and a nice change up from my pb-chia-oat-coconut routine. Except that these do have pb and oats, but there is this crazy addition of this thing called COCOA POWDER! Woah. Really going out on a limb here, aren’t we? Besides, I really obviously have a thing for pb cookies… and I had a jar of that amazing coconut-pb spread begging to go into cookies… and it was less hot… and chocolate and pb are a match made in heaven… so there you go. Chocolate cookies. With pb. And oats. Good(ish) for your health, wonderful for your soul. Be happy. Indulge.

bowl ‘o cookies

These cookies are on the soft side (although they are supposed to be chewy… huh. I’m thinking the reduction in sugar is causing the lack of chewiness, so if you prefer a sweeter cookie, go with the amount in the original recipe), so if you like crunchy cookies (Miss Kira, I’m looking at you), leave these in quite a bit longer so they can harden into rusk-like hockey pucks (just kidding!!). They’re lightly sweet but nicely chocolatey. I used a chunky peanut butter which is kind of funny considering I HATE nuts in my baked goods… I kind of didn’t put two and two together that chunky nut butter = nuts in cookies… but for some reason these are acceptable and pass my nut test. Go figure…?

//

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies

I made a full recipe and got 19 cookies… the original says you can get 36, but I question what kind of weirdo wants cookie that small… pshhh. Ever so slightly adapted from Eating Well. I didn’t have pb chips—if so, I would have used them.

Lezzzz DO IT! Scrounge and procure:

  • 1 c chunky peanut butter (or coconut peanut butter if you’re cool like me)
  • 1/4 c canola oil (I may try half applesauce at some point for kicks)
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt (mine was nonfat)
  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c rolled oats (or quick oats)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4ish cup of chocolate chippies
failed attempts at cookie henge…

Heat the oven to 350, and line two-ish baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, oats, baking soda, and salt. In a larger bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together peanut butter, oil, and sugars until blended. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and yogurt until just combined. Stir in dry ingredients (the dough is on the sticky side) and chocolate chips. Drop by respectable spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets, flattening slightly with your hand or the bottom of a glass (turbinado sugar on the flattened tops is nice, but I was out). Bake for 8-10 minutes, being careful not to over bake. Mine went for about 10, but I was testing the convection settings on my oven, and mine probably could have gone a bit less. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

for some reason I really like this one… It makes the bowl look luminous!

Sixty page thesis beast deserves cookies!

Because, you know, I reeeally like to store things in jars.

I apologize for the blogging delinquency! Between thesising and graduation looming in five weeks (how did THAT happen?!) I’ve been just a little busy… But I’ve been very productive in the thesis realm lately (which is good, since my presentation is two weeks from Tuesday—eeeeep! I’m starting to see Neo-Gothic architecture everyyyywhere, including in movies… and think in architectural terms. This has got to stop!), which needed to happen a little bit more than blogging. But now that my SIXTY PAGE beast of a thesis is edited in entirety, I’m down to just the conclusion! Hooooray, now I have time for some blogging catch up!

SO! Now I can share the tasties I’ve made recently with you. I promise I’ve still been eating (relatively) interesting things lately. Ish. Dinner needs work. But when I get off work and then thesis for a few hours, dinner gets last priority… steamed veggies + protein of choice + quinoa/polenta/oats is usually what happens… delicious, to be sure, but really, I’m getting bored. BUT! In two weeks, I will be DONE WITH THESIS! And therefore have much more free time for the important things (you know, like new active wear Pilates, eating, and cooking).

So. Enough of that… moving ON!

Happy Easter, by the way :) I ate the ears off my dark chocolate bunny, mmm. I’m not sure how to tackle the rest of it, as it’s solid, and I feel kind of mean if I try to stab it with any sharp implements…. Is biting more humane?! Yeesh. Chocolate bunny dilemma.

So besides neo-gothic skyscraper architecture and moral dilemmas regarding humane consumption of chocolate bunnies, I’ve been baking! I promised myself I would share other things besides healthy cookies, but oops. Cookies happened again, and they’re good! Besides, I liked the pictures. So you get cookies again, and THEN I promise something different. Promise! These cookies are lightly sweet and cakey, perfect for breakfast or a snack. The ingredient list is very forgiving, so feel free to substitute with whatever you have on hand.

jars make superior storage devices.

Banana-Yogurt Breakfast Cookies

I made these with Christine (workout and baking buddies! what a great combo, cookies + pilates), and I think we got about 20 smallish cookies. They could easily be made bigger if you want more breakfast-sized cookies. We adapted them from The Hot Plate, here!

Acquire:

  • 1/2 c plain lowfat yogurt
  • 3/4 c mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar (or honey, if you have it)
  • 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 c rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • judicious handful of pepitas
  • sprinkling of chocolate chippies (We had minis, yayyy!)
oh no! it's escaping the jar. time to EAT IT.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease cookie sheet(s). In a medium mixing bowl, combine yogurt, mashed banana, olive oil, egg, vanilla, and sugar. Stir to combine. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, oats, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, salt, and pepitas/chocolate chips. Add wet into dry, and stir to combine. Drop by the heaping spoonful (or two, if you want massive cookies) onto your prepared cookie sheets, and bake for 10 minutes! Easy peasy cookies to appease your snacking gremlins.

mm.

Definitely Leprechauns.

a scone-clover! hehe.

Sláinte! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day :)

So. I had taken a fab set of pictures for today’s post (with natural light, even! Thanks, Oregon, for cooperating) yesterday, and they were all nicely stored on my camera, ready to be uploaded. This morning, when I uploaded them, I swear I put them into my blog photos folder. I know I did. So…

Where are they?! Nowhere to be found, is the answer I’m looking for. Maybe in pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? I suspect leprechaun involvement in this (definitely not user error. DEFINITELY leprechauns). Probably because I didn’t make a leprechaun trap last night… those sneaky little buggers! I better rustle up some green to put on… currently I’m not wearing any (that’s visible, anyway! ha.). I’ve always loved St. Patrick’s day! And yes, I am for-reals Irish (not just 1/365th), which is probably why I’m being targeted by those feisty little green men.

Blurry, but I still like it...

Anyway, after much grumbling, I took another set of photos (sadly not as good as the last ones), so you can vicariously enjoy the soda bread scones Kira and I made to celebrate! They turned out beautifully—the shape almost reminds me of a four leafed clover. Scoring the top of soda bread lets the fairies out (and promotes even baking, but that’s less fun), so I kept to this tradition and scored my scones into triangles… we now have a sprite-free apartment! To me, these scones don’t taste like traditional soda bread, but they are definitely delicious. And not at all bad for you, since they’re made with soda and yogurt rather than eggs and butter. Mmm… and, I have to say, they’re excellent with lemon curd (what isn’t?!)!

yum yum yum

Irish Soda Bread Scones

Very slightly adapted from Eat Drink Love, here! Makes 8 scones.

  • 3 c whole wheat pastry flour (We used half pastry, half whole wheat bread flour)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional but sooo good)
  • 1.5 c low-fat plain yogurt (Kira and I usually keep this instead of buttermilk, but buttermilk works here too)
  • 1/3 c chocolate chippies
  • 1 tbsp turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425, and line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Make a well in the center, and add yogurt and chocolate chips (or other add-ins of choice). Stir to combine: the dough will look shaggy when its close to incorporated. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead into a circle (ish). Place onto prepared baking sheet, and slice into 8 scones (a knife works fine for this). Brush the tops with buttermilk (if using), and sprinkle turbinado sugar onto them for crunch factor :) Bake for 20 minutes, until the tops are golden! Eat. Preferably warm, with lemon curd. Mmm. Maybe share with a leprechaun, if one happens by…

Star Destroyer, anyone??

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!

Holiday Trolls and Mispronunciation

Look at that cornbread. yeah. You know you want some!

I’m in full holiday-mode now.

Well, kind of.

I’ve put myself on Christmas music lockdown. I have a really irrational urge to listen to it, but I’m resisting. December 1st is the acceptable time to start listening. Tell that to Pandora. Trying to sabotage my lockdown, yeeesh… But really, the Nutcracker is obviously not JUST Christmas music, teeheehee!

Anyway. Besides settling into holidayish time, I can feel myself going into hibernation mode. Not my fault, since Salem has decided that night will fall around 4:30 pm. Or maybe 4:10 today, as I look out the window… Winter weather makes me want to curl up and eat. All this cold weather and dark starts turning me into a bear. Wait. Do bears do yoga and pilates? Okay. Maybe not a bear.  A troll? Yeah. Probably. Do trolls hibernate? Maybe they style their really cool hair during the winter months?

This is getting ridiculous. Apparently my brain has gone on holiday without notifying  me. I’d be the last to know, I’m sure. I think all that theories studying has gone to my head… but at least the midterm is done and the paper is nearly there (assisted by copious amounts of the bread that this post features).  Besides turning into a bear/troll in the winter, I start wanting things like soup. And baked goods. Ha. As if. In what season do I NOT want baked goods?! NONE. How silly life would be without tasty baked treats. Booooring. Besides, the gremlins would get antsy!

SO!

Let’s get on with the purpose of this post. Sorry for the long hiatus between posts… The eating last week wasn’t cooperating on photogenic levels.

This soup is immensely satisfying on a hibernating troll level. Or on anyone’s level, really… It’s creamy and thick–rich without being terrifyingly bad for you. It also pairs well with cornbread (what doesn’t?!). I’m sure it would also be deeeelicious with a baguette, were you to have one lurking around. The soup is fairly basic, and uses things typically found in your (ok, my) pantry. It has a pretty short ingredient list, which is a plus when you desperately want soup!

I also decided it was time for the world to see my “It’s Willamette, Damn it!” bowl… You see, people have  penchant for mispronouncing the name of my school. In fact, it’s the most mispronounced in the contiguous United States. And it rhymes with damn it. So see? It’s an easy way to remember, for those of you who like to say “Will-uh-met”. NO. It’s Willamette, damn it!

See? I've even puffy-painted it, so that people can get it right!

Coconut Sweet Potato Soup (Bisque?)

Adapted from here! Serves… 3 girls. With leftovers.

Peruse your pantry, and acquire:

  • 2 monster sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups of water, plus 1.5 tbsp
  • 1 can of unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • a hefty sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
  • 1.5 tbsp cornstarch
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, also to taste (spicy soup=cleared sinuses, hoorayy!)

Bring the water in a soooop pot to a boil. Add your sliced sweet potatoes, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, making sure the water doesn’t boil away. Mash the sweet potatoes in the pot (with that potato masher that you insisted that you didn’t need, but have subsequently used about 3 times. Thank you, mutti! And your mutti-skills, that decree that you are ALWAYS right), and add the can of coconut milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon/nutmeg/ginger. Simmer for about another 15 minutes, until it begins to thicken. In a small bowl, add cornstarch and remaining water, and stir into a thick paste. Add the cornstarch and red pepper flakes to the soup, and cook for another five-ish minutes. (I may have added a bit more cornstarch to get it to thicken faster… the soup was still delicious, and I was HUNGRY). Use a blender (or an immersion blender, if you’re one of THOSE lucky ducks), and puree the soup in batches. Return the soup to the pot, and season to taste with salt, pepper, or more spice or red pepper if desired. I’m sure it would be lovely with shredded coconut on top, but I wasn’t on the ball enough for that…

Eat with this!!

Sandy’s Cornbread!

Given to me by an awesome lady who I used to work with (and who is now fully enjoying retirement!), this is a very tasty yogurt-based cornbread. I adapted it a bit from the original recipe, mostly to include whole wheat flour (as we know… I don’t have all-purpose!). I made a half batch of this for Abby, Kira, and I, but I’ll include the full recipe here.

  • 8 oz lowfat plain yogurt (1 cup)
  • 1/4 c olive or canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • scant 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly grease an 8″ or 9″ pan.

Whisk together yogurt, egg, and oil. Combine dry ingredients, add wet to dry, and  mix well. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for about 20 minutes.

If you halve the recipe, the batter fits into a 6.5″ pan, and is done a bit past 15 minutes. I occasionally have trouble with the center of cornbread being done all the way through in the small pans—check it to be sure.

I think the cornbread is about to take a dive off the handle...