Showing posts with label after surf food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label after surf food. Show all posts

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Chewy Vegan Gluten-Free Brownies

Last night after a full day of surfing and our weekly family grill night, Rich said he was craving brownies. I love having a stocked pantry that allows me to whip up whatever sounds yummy at the moment. Good quality cocoa powder is a must. My favorite is Equal Exchange Baking Cocoa, which is fair trade and has such a profound impact on all of my baked goods. A baking cupboard full of gluten-free flours is helpful, too.

The foundation for this recipe came from my much loved (and smeared with lots of chocolate) copy of Babycakes by Erin McKenna. However, I changed the recipe substantially, skipping the applesauce, chocolate chips, and xanthan gum. I also used palm shortening instead of coconut oil and used brown sugar in place of white sugar because the complexity of brown sugar complements chocolate so beautifully, which I learned about 10 years ago from Nigella Lawson in How to Be a Domestic Goddess.

These brownies are crispy on the edges and decadently chewy on the inside. We ate them straight out of the pan while they were still so hot they burned our mouths and crumbled everywhere. Hey, surfing burns a lot of calories. We were hungry! They are even better once they cool off a bit.

Yields 15 small squares 
1 cup garbanzo (chickpea) flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
3/4 cup brown sugar* or coconut palm sugar  
2 teaspoons double-acting, aluminum free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 scant teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup palm shortening
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water
1 tablespoon powdered sugar* (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a 6x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. 
  2. Combine the garbanzo flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. 
  3. Add the palm shortening, vanilla extract, and hot water and stir until just combined. 
  4. Spread the mixture into the baking dish and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 27 minutes. The top will still be slightly jiggly. 
  5. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before sifting powdered sugar over the top, slicing and serving. 

*Note: If you are vegan, look for a vegan brown sugar and powdered sugar. Alternately, use coconut palm sugar and skip the powdered sugar.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Paleo Energy Bars

While some people choose the paleo diet for weight loss, many more choose the lifestyle for improved performance in sports and recreation. For the latter, getting enough calories from ancestral foods can be challenging. I mean, how many chicken thighs can you eat? Okay, don’t answer that one. The point is, nutrient and energy density are desirable when you’re expending a significant amount of calories in a CrossFit box, paddling out to the lineup, or wrestling with rambunctious kiddos.

Yesterday we took the boys up to Zuma to surf. The thing about surfing is that you don’t really feel like you’re exercising, but it burns through so much energy… especially if you spend more time paddling for waves than actually catching them.

Fortunately, I planned ahead and made these amazing paleo energy bars adapted from Dannielle Walker's Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great. By the way, this cookbook was instrumental in helping me transition to a grain and dairy free lifestyle. I highly recommend it.

The kids love these bars and they kept the hunger gremlins at bay until we got home and enjoyed salmon and kale salad for dinner.

Yields 12 bars
½ cup almond butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
Pinch sea salt
2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
½ cup raisins
¼ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
3 ounces roughly chopped dark chocolate, 80 percent cacao preferred

1. In a small saucepan, bring the almond butter, maple syrup, salt, and coconut oil to a gentle simmer. Stir until well combined. Remove from the heat.
2. Combine the nuts and raisins in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is roughly chopped and thoroughly integrated. Add the shredded coconut and pulse one or two more times.
3. Dump the nut and raisin mixture into a mixing bowl. Pour in the sweetened almond butter and stir to combine.
4. Add the chocolate pieces and stir just to combine. The residual heat of the almond butter mixture will slightly melt the chocolate, but should leave some pieces intact.

5. Dump the mixture into a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Use another sheet of parchment to press down on the mixture.
6. Place it into the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and slice into squares. Store in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Easy Baked Chicken with Fennel and Sausage

This chicken drumstick recipe strikes the perfect balance between ease of preparation and depth of flavor with fewer than five ingredients! As it cooks, the fennel caramelizes and produces a soft,  creamy texture that complements the savory Italian sausage and chicken legs beautifully.

If you're concerned about the nitrites in the sausage, you may want to read Chris Kresser's post on processed meats. I read it while working on a cookbook for a client who challenged my use of sausage in a recipe. Before my research for that book, I believed that purchasing nitrite-free bacon was important. However, I've come to believe it's akin to purchasing a product simply because the label says it's gluten-free. Don't get me started.

Kresser explains the issue well, but in a nutshell, our bodies produce nitrites in far greater amounts than we could obtain from food. Moreover, processed meats contain fewer nitrites than do foods that we'd never think to restrict, green vegetables for example. While processed meats shouldn't form the basis of your diet, they're a delicious complement to an ancestral way of eating.

serves 2
1/4 cup olive oil 
4 chicken drumsticks
1 fennel bulb
2 hot Italian sausages
Freshly ground pepper
Sea salt 

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Slice the fennel bulb into quarters and then into 1/2-inch thick pieces. If you wish to leave the base of the bulb intact, it will keep each of the slices held together but is too tough to be palatable.
3. Slice the sausage in 1- to 2-inch-long pieces.
4. Arrange the fennel, chicken, and sausage in a large baking dish.

5. Drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat.
6. Season with pepper.
7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the fennel is soft. If the chicken and sausage cook more quickly, you may remove it to a serving platter and continue cooking the fennel for another 10 minutes.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Mofongo and Eggs

The problem with becoming a professional food writer -- and hear me say, I am so not complaining -- is that you spend all your time cooking for a camera and sending your recipes off to an editor. I miss just sharing them with you, getting to tell stories about the food, launching into brief but satisfying political diatribes, and talking about food simply for the sheer pleasure of cooking and eating.

So, after working full time in Santa Monica as a staff writer and editor for the last several months and helping launch a new online magazine, I'm thrilled to be back to my freelance career with a bit of time to spare indulging in this blog. This is my first post since March, so I thought it should be good -- no pressure -- and waited until I had something worth sharing.

A couple weeks ago Rich and I went on a surf date at Venice Beach and then hit up this adorable brunch spot called Sunny Spot. Nothing is more satisfying that a strong cup of coffee and a huge messy platter of savory food after two hours in the ocean. Topping the brunch menu was Muh-F'k'n Mofongo and Eggs. (Yes, that's it's actual name.) Mofongo is native to Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic and typically contains mashed, fried plantains and garlic with pork. Sunny Spot took mofongo to the next level though with caramelized fennel, applewood smoked bacon, fried eggs and Sriracha. Seriously. Really, really, really good.

Plantains look like large, angular bananas, but they're starchier and less sweet, making them a perfect ingredient in savory cooking. So, get your hands on some and whip up mofongo.

For each serving
2 slices applewood smoked bacon
1/4 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ripe plantain, peeled and sliced on a bias
1 egg, fried  
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Cilantro, for serving

Cook the bacon over medium-low heat until it renders a significant amount of fat and is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the meat and reserve two tablespoons of grease.

Cook the fennel and ginger for about 5-7 minutes, until fragrant and soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove the mixture to another dish, leaving as much of the oil in the pan as possible.

Add the reserved bacon grease and turn the heat up to medium-high. Fry the plantains, browning them on each side. Remove them to a large mortar and pestle and mash together with the garlic and fennel mixture. Cut the bacon into small pieces and add to the plantain mash.

 Meanwhile, return the skillet to the stove and cook an egg sunny side up.

To serve, place the mofongo in the center of a serving bowl, top with the egg, garnish with cilantro and drizzle Sriracha around the plate.

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