spinach salad + baked falafel balls

Spinach Salad + Baked Falafel

i’d say in the last 6 months or so
i’ve had a strong feeling
of lethargy.
not physically per se,
but like i’m tired of the grind.
i’m perfectly content to have cereal for dinner,
and more often than not
i’ll turn to dw
and say we’re eating out
or it’s his turn, again, to make something.
i still go through the motions of
being an adult:
menu plan
grocery shop
meal prep.
if i’m really good,
i might even blog about it.
i would say though,
butt-end of 2016 was cereal all day, err’day,
and repeats,
like this spinach salad that is so stupid good,
and some form of bean ball,
whichever i happen to grab from the pantry.
it’s not a hardship when ingredients are good
to begin with,
but it certainly does make for
a quieter food space.

Spinach Salad + Baked Falafel

 

TL; DR:
i’m beat, i might drop off the face of the earth
cus all i eat is breakfast for dinner,
unless it’s this salad,
in which case, it’s dinner for breakfast.

Spinach Salad + Baked Falafel

spinach salad with dates & almonds
adapted from the cookbook jerusalem by ottolenghi
the NY Times has the full recipe

*note: we made this salad all autumn and it looks to be something we’ll be consuming all winter. i’ve used spinach, arugula, kale, or lettuce mix. my vinegar use is also spotty, sometimes it’s generic distilled white, other times it’s sherry vinegar and recently it’s been rice vinegar. i obviously have an issue with following recipes to the T. i also eyeball amounts of everything, because sometimes the fridge needs clearing or the meals needs to be stretched to the next day. it’s whatever tastes good, man.
**note: the butter can be omitted & double down on the olive oil, but if you’re able to consume it, or have access to lactose free butter, DO IT.
***note: the falafel balls are an added healthy protein option, though any meat or hard boiled egg would do. the salad is fine as a stand alone meal. i have taken to par-cooking or full on cooking the garbanzo beans before shaping. soaking is not enough and my stomach rebels if we skip the boiling part. besides, this method offers an almost creamy hummus-y like texture that’s quite pleasing.

3 TBL vinegar, take your pick, you can do whatever you want
1/4 large red onion, thinly sliced
4-6 dates, pitted and rough chopped
Salt
1 TBL unsalted butter, i use Green Valley Organics
2 TBL olive oil, divided
2-3 pitas, roughly torn or cut into 1 1/2 -inch pieces
1/2 cup raw, slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tsp sumac
healthy pinch chili flakes
spinach or greens, aim for like 2 really big healthy handfuls
2 TBL freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional (real talk: i’ve never done this step, and up until i had to type this recipe out, i didn’t even know about it)

in bowl, add the vinegar, onion slices and dates. throw in a pinch of salt and mix. set aside while you prepare the rest of the dish.

in a frying pan, heat up the butter & 1 TBL olive oil. aim for medium heat. add the pita pieces and cook until golden. this step can take up to 10 minutes sometimes, depending on how big the pieces end up being and how crunchy you want them to be. add in the almonds and mix well. take/turn off heat and add in the sumac & chili flakes and a pinch of salt. mix thoroughly.

to assemble, in a large mixing bowl add in the greens with the pita mix with the onion/date dressing, excess vinegar included. drizzle with an additional tablespoon of olive oil and lemon juice if using, and toss well.

BAM!

baked falafel balls
makes 22 balls

soak 1 cup of dried garbanzo beans with a healthy pinch of baking soda overnight
1/4 cup of parsley, WITH STEMS
1/4 cup of cilantro, WITH STEMS
1/4 cup of minced onions
2 tsp cumin
salt/pepper to taste
1-2 tsp almond meal

cook garbanzo beans for about an 30-45 minutes, in the same soaking water. drain.

pre-heat oven at 350F and prep a baking sheet with parchment paper.

in a food processor, pulse the parsley, cilantro and onions. add in the cooked garbanzo beans, cumin and salt/pepper. pulse, you’re not making hummus, it’s a chunky texture that you’re aiming for, there might even be whole beans in there, you’re wanting the mixture to stick somewhat. add almond meal, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture binds enough to make a ball.

using an ice cream scooper, scoop out a portion and rolling to a ball. put on baking sheet and continue.

bake for 20-30 minutes. if you think of it, turn the balls to brown all over. it’s not detrimental if you don’t.

remove from heat. can be eaten hot or at room temp. usually i drizzle bit of miso-tahini dressing, which doesn’t clash with the spinach salad dressing.

BAM!

Spinach Salad + Baked Falafel

1 year ago: chili + fennel seed pork pies
2 years ago: lentil tacos
3 years ago: diy toy kitchen

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kefir biscuits

Kefir Biscuits

the month of december always kicks my ass
the holidays
birthdays
l i f e
on saturday,
when the light in the condo was hazy,
PBS on TV,
and we were debating on if we should
turn the heat on, finally,
dw & i spent the midday making biscuits.
first with lactose free half/half,
then with kefir,
eventually declaring the latter being the better,
and we brought them to share
for a pre-holiday gathering,
because,
it being the season of giving
and sharing,
a time when we need both so dearly.

i know in recent weeks
my posts have been somber in tone,
a realistic reflection of how i’ve been feeling of late.
i talk,
with indignation,
about how things are,
how i perceive them to be.
words, despite what a particular elected official says,
are important,
but equally so,
so are actions.
you’ll notice on the sidebar links
to organizations that i believe in.
donate
volunteer
participate

Kefir Biscuits

kefir biscuits
adapted from local milk

*note: the first time we made this, i used ghee + regular AP flour + homemade buttermilk and they turned out divine. this time ’round we used what was on hand: sprouted spelt flour and it did not rise as fluffily as before, but still turned out delightful, taste-wise.

250 grams sprouted spelt flour, i use one degree
1 TBL baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
56 grams cold unsalted lactose free butter, cut into dice, i use green valley
230 grams whole milk kefir yogurt, i use green valley

preheat oven to 425F. prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.

whisk together the dry ingredients.

add the diced butter to the flour mixture, and using your fingers cut the butter until it’s crumbled to pea-sized.

pour in the kefir milk, stir until no more dry streaks. don’t get overzealous. it shouldn’t be dry, but it’ll still be kinda wet and you’ll freak out, and you’ll be right to freak out. carry on though.

flour work surface and pour the shaggy mess onto it. flour the top of dough and pat it into a rectangle until it’s about an inch thick.

fold the rectangle, rotate dough and gently roll out with a pin.

fold, rotate, and roll out again. be gentle.

fold, rotate, and roll out again. be gentle.

aim for an inch thick.

using square cookie cutter, press down and cut out the biscuits. place on prepared baking sheet, close to each other, as they apparently help with the rising.

bake for 10 minutes, until brown & fluffy.

serve, warm, with assortment of toppings: jam, butter, or honey.

BAM!

Kefir Biscuits

3 years ago: pumpkin challah chips
2 years ago: chocolate chip pb cookies, vegan & gf
1 year ago: chocolate espresso dacquoise – lactose free

sephardic challah with whole spices

Sephardic Challah With Whole Spices

even though i have a netflix list
of shows/movies queued up
i spend an inordinate amount of time
rifling through the various offerings.
same with HBO Go, Amazon
and don’t get me started on my
to-read books pile.
maybe it’s a fear of missing out,
or that non-committal habit of
having something already but
still seeking something better,
i don’t know,
i just know that when i finally do
settle on something,
my mind is pretty made up,
even if i took 30 minutes to get to that conclusion.

Sephardic Challah With Whole Spices

in the case of this challah,
i’ve been on an on/off again search
for the ultimate recipe.
i’ve pinned plenty of options,
with private promises of attempting them
and then perfecting them.
i took a baking break during the warmer months,
and when i went looking at my
queued list,
none grabbed my attention.
back to the drawing board.
it took awhile,
but this came along
and i knew i had to make it,
mind made up.

Sephardic Challah With Whole Spices

sephardic challah with whole spices
adapted from the NY Times
makes 2 loaves

*note: my oven must run hot, or it’s the convection thing, but the loaves became dark around the 10-15 min mark so i would tent with foil for remaining bake time.
*note: toasting and then grinding them would be an excellent way to impart the spices without having to bite into them whole. i don’t mind the whole spices but that’s just me.

scant cup of raisins, soaked in warm water, drained well
4 TBL sesame seeds, divided
1 TBL caraway seeds
1 TBL coriander seeds
1 TBL cumin seeds
1 TBL black sesame seeds
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
5 cups/600 grams bread flour, more for dusting
1/2 TBL cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp/30 grams olive oil, more for rising bowl
75 grams honey (to taste, i was aiming for 50 grams and got a little heavy handed)
2 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup warm water, more as needed
1/2 TBL kosher salt
2 egg yolks + 1 TBL water for glaze/brush

in a pan, toast 1 TBL of sesame, caraway, coriander, cumin and black sesame seeds over medium heat until toasty-smelling. set aside and cool.
in a small bowl, combine yeast with 2 TBL warm water and ignore while it blooms. if it doesn’t, chuck it and get new yeast.

using stand mixer with dough hook, combine the flour with cinnamon, olive oil, honey, eggs and warm water. mix until a soft dough forms. on this particular day, the weather was kinda dry so i did add about 1-2 TBL of water to the dough to make it softer/pliable.

add in the salt and toasted seeds until the dough is smooth. it’s going to take awhile, about 5-10 minutes. original recipe says to add mix in the raisins then. what i did was i poured the dough onto the lightly dusted counter and gently kneaded the raisins in. it was a smidge sticky but you know, deal with it. transfer to large oiled bow. cover with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled in size, up to 2 hours.

line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. set aside.

turn dough onto lightly dusted counter and press down gently to deflate. divide dough in two and rest for 5 minutes.

roll each piece of dough into 18″ long rope and rest for another 5 minutes. then go back and roll into 32″ rope.

take one of the ropes from one end form the dough into a coil, tucking the end under.

repeat for the other rope.

transfer coils onto prepared cookie sheets and cover with large bowl. ignore for 1 hour, until the loaves have doubled in size.

about 30 minutes in, preheat oven to 400F.

whisk the egg yolks with 1 TBL of water. brush the egg wash over the loaves and let stand uncovered while oven warms.

brush with egg wash again and sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds.

if you’re able, bake both loaves side by side, for 30 minutes. i baked them one by one.

transfer loaves to rack and cool before serving/slicing.

can be consumed as is, but i liked it best when slathered with veg butter and drizzled with a bit of honey.

BAM!

Sephardic Challah With Whole Spices

3 years ago: butternut squash & pearl barley risotto, lactose free
2 years ago: inside out peanut butter cups – vegan, gluten free
1 year ago: i didn’t do shit last year

gingerbread house

gingerbread house

you must know about
The Tiny House phenomena?
i talk often about one day
living in a hobbit house,
ideally with a vegetable garden right outside
and maybe mountains out back
until that can happen
i made a tiny house out of gingerbread
and gum.
because movita beaucoup is hosting
ginger 2015
and i wanted to drive my husband
and sister-wife-roomate crazy with my searches
for various gums.
afterall,
a Tiny House built together ….

gingerbread house

for this year’s contestants, hit up movita beaucoup.
voting is now open and if you are impressed
that my Tiny House,
the abode of my dreams,
is on the cover of
Gingerbread Architect,
please do vote for me.
we’re in Group 6

Gingerbread House

pull apart bread – two flavors

Pull Apart Bread

i remember the first time
i successfully made bread
i was smug
oh was i so smug
i declared ridiculous things
like,
it’s so easy, anybody can do it
it’s the best thing, in the world
and the worst:
i’m never buying bread at the store again
the me today would’ve slapped the me then
because that shit’s just silly

i don’t have a kid,
i have a husband
our weekends are usually jammed packed
with social things
like,
wandering the mall before a matinee
and deciding to kill 30 minutes
playing skeeball at Dave&Buster’s
or,
doing nothing
while we watch water boil
most weekend mornings
i spend feeling guilty
for sleeping in past 8am
or
berating myself for not taking advantage
of sleeping in time
it’s exhausting
who has time to bake fresh bread
with all that?

unless one’s husband is sick
and there’s much more time
to spend in the kitchen
and there’s a work event
that requires some smug-like
bread baking —
then bread is made

Pull Apart Bread

pull apart bread – two flavors:
cinnamon sugar + citrus love (dairy free)
adapted from Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker

note: these loaves were made weeks ago, when dw was super sick and didn’t even get a chance to eat any. i will be making this again for him, eventually. my favorite combo was the cinnamon sugar but the smell of orange zest was very intoxicating.
also, these will puff out during baking so have the pans on a cookie sheet to catch any dough that may overflow. i learned this the hard way.

12 1/4 oz AP flour
1 3/4 oz sugar
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup so delicious coconut creamer
4 TBL earth balance vegan butter, melted
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, room temperature

filling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
zest of 2 large organic oranges
2 oz earth balance vegan butter, melted

OR
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 oz earth balance vegan butter, melted
2 TBL cinnamon

cream cheese icing
3 oz tofutti cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 oz powdered sugar
juice of half an orange
splash of so delicious coconut creamer, if needed to thin

in stand mixer bowl, stir together 9oz of the AP, sugar, yeast and salt. in a saucepan, melt the coconut creamer and vegan butter on low, until butter is melted. add in the 1/4 cup water. aim for 120F – 130F.

pour the mixture into mixer bowl, stir with spatula. using the paddle attachment, and the mixer on low, add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until just incorporated. add remaining flour and mix on low until dough is smooth, and slightly sticky. sprinkle counter top with a bit of flour, and turn dough onto it. kneed gently until dough is smooth and no longer sticky. place dough in large bowl, covered tightly with dampened towel, and allow to rise in warm place. (i usually turn the oven to warm for about 10 minutes and then put the bowl in, turning it off but keeping the light on.) it will double in size after about an hour.

meanwhile make the filling, melt the vegan butter. set aside. mix either the sugar + cinnamon or sugar + orange zest.

when ready, take the dough out and preheat oven to 350F. lightly grease a loaf pan.

gently deflate the dough. it will be sticky, dust the counter top with a bit of flour. roll out dough into 20X12 rectangle (honestly, i rolled it out to however long/big my counter space is, without the dough getting too thin. use your best judgement.) using a brush, spread the melted butter over the dough. sprinkle over top with either the orange filling or the cinnamon-sugar filling. with a pizza cutter cut the dough cross-wise into 6 strips, make it as even as possible, or not. carefully stack the strips on top of each other and then cut strips into 5 squares. lift the squares and fit them into the prepared loaf pan. filling the space might be tight lengthwise, i tilted the pan down and let gravity help. there will be space on either sides of the dough width-wise. fret not, the dough will rise again and fill out the pan during the final resting/rising period.

after the final rising, bake bread for about 30 minutes. transfer to wire rack and let cool in pan for about 10 minutes. after that time, i did slide them out to cool completely on the rack before putting them back in the pans for safe keeping.

to make the icing, mix the softened tofutti cream cheese with powdered sugar and squeeze of half an orange. mix until well incorporated. for a nice runny consistency, add a splash of coconut creamer, at your own discretion.

serve warm or at room temp.
i would think they’d last a few days, well covered, in fridge, but honestly, they were eaten up by my office coworkers in one go.

Pull Apart Bread