To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1940's Snickerdoodles

Here's a little recipe I rescued from 1941 in honor of the current show I'm doing - Noel Coward's Peace In Our Time. It's not exactly my usual offering - not remotely vegan or low calorie, to be sure - nor is it my own invention (as I wasn't alive in 1940), but it is delicious and makes a great offering to potlucks and friends. To be enjoyed in moderation, with a cup of Earl Grey or Irish Breakfast (for dipping and sipping). The italics are my notations.

1940's Snickerdoodles
(makes ~50)

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup baker's sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
a sprinkle of ginger (1 tsp)
a scrape of nutmeg (take a whole nutmeg, then scritch off about a tsp of it with a small grater or zester)
additional sugar and cinnamon to taste (~tbsp each, for the outside of the cookies)

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Melt the butter in a saucepan (or microwave). Cream together butter, eggs, and sugar until you have a smooth texture.

(In a separate bowl) Sift the dry ingredients together and stir into the sugar mixture (making sure each addition of the flour mixture is combined before adding the next). Chill the dough for two hours.

Roll chilled dough into balls the size of uncracked walnuts. (Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on a flat surface.) Roll each in the cinnamon sugar (covering the outside). Place three fingers apart on a (parchment paper covered) cookie sheet. Bake for twelve minutes.

So there you go. I don't generally go in for so much butter - or any at all (I actually choked a little bit as I added it), but I will say that these are excellent dipping cookies. They cool to a hard, crispy cookie that softens in tea instantly. As with all things good and bad, use discretion when enjoying these. I've been making them to sell at the concessions booth for my play, which is a good way to keep them away from myself. When my schedule loosens up a bit, I will play with making a more guilt-free version of these.

Go on, have a peace! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ghoulish Goulash

Ghoulish Goulash
(Serves 4)

olive oil
1 lb ground turkey meat
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
2 cups chicken stock
3 large handfuls spinach, steamed
sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Brown the turkey meat in the bottom of a large pot with some olive oil. Once the meat is cooked through, remove the meat to another plate or bowl. Brown the onions in the pot for about three minutes. Then add the garlic and bell pepper and cook them all, stirring regularly, for about five minutes over medium heat.

Add the turkey meat back to the pot and add the paprika, salt, pepper, tomatoes (and the juice), and stock. Let cook on stove top for a few minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a steamer tray (this one is my favorite) and steam your spinach for about six minutes in the microwave. Add the steamed spinach to the pot.

Place a lid on the pot and transfer to the preheated oven. Let the stew cook for about two hours and remove to serve. There will be a delectable, hearty stew waiting for you that has the suspicious look of brains and mildew. A lovely addition to any Halloween themed feast. Go on. Have a peace.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Devilish Digits

October is my favorite month of the year. Between the seasonal shift (finally!) into fall and the wicked fun of Halloween, I'm hooked. One of my favorite things about this time of year is experimenting with new recipes to gross out/enchant my friends and family. This is one such. And this time, I share the blame with my grandmother, who had the wisdom and foresight to send me this for my birthday.

Now, me, I'm not really into food coloring. The idea of putting something with the suspiciously vague ingredient "Red 10" in it into my body really weirds me out. Still, I thought these cookies would be really fun if they were all gooey and green. My solution: spirulina.

What the devil is spirulina, you ask? Well, I'll tell you! Spirulina, or Athrospira, is a blue-green algae  made up of 60% proteins (zounds!) as well as a healthy amount of beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (which is one of those nifty essential fatty acids). There have been medical studies that suggest spirulina can boost the immune system, help protect against allergic reactions, and have antiviral and anticancer properties. All this is well and good, but the best thing about spirulina is this: it tastes awesome and it's green. I use this stuff in my steel cut oats, in soups, in baked goods (clearly...), and in pretty much anything else I can think of. It's just plain good.

This cookie dough ends up pretty thick, so I'm fairly certain you can make an equally creepy 'finger-shaped' version of these, even without the mold. If it's not thick enough for you, just add a little more flour until it reaches the texture you desire. Here's what you do.

Devilish Digits
(makes 16)

1/3 cup margarine
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
3 tsp spirulina powder
1/2 cup dried cherries
16 raw almonds

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

In a mixing bowl, cut your margarine into small pads and melt until liquidy (about 50 seconds in the microwave). Add powdered sugar and stir with a fork until they're well combined. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat again with the fork until they're blended together. Add flour, baking soda and powder, whip again with fork until the texture is the same all through. Add spirulina, stir until the color is a uniform witchy green. Add cherries, make sure they're all through the whole mix.

With the mold, I sprayed with a Baker's Joy and then put the almonds down in the 'nail' portion of the mold before pouring in the dough. Without a mold, I would suggest prepping a cookie sheet with parchment paper and laying out your dough first in little gooey worm lines (about 3 inches long and a finger width's thick), then sticking the almond on top at one end.

Bake for ~10 minutes until browned and remove.

Enjoy!! Go on, have a peace!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Spaghetti Spesto!

All right! More in the vain of easy to prepare, slow to indulge meals for the busy week. This one is wondrously simple, healthy, and satisfying. And, even more fun, you can do the main portion and then add different things to make it a slightly different meal so you don't feel like you're eating the same thing every day.

Spaghetti Spesto
(makes ~5 servings)

1 spaghetti squash, ~ 3lbs

Spesto sauce:
2/3 oz basil
~1 oz baby spinach
4 tbsp olive oil
3/4 oz fresh grated reggiano cheese
6 cloves garlic
1/2 oz sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
~1/4 tsp salt
small handful walnuts

Put about 1 cup of water in your crockpot and settle the spaghetti squash in, covering with a lid. Set to low and let cook about 9 hours. When done, remove the squash (carefully with a pot holder - it's hot!) and cut lengthwise. Remove the seeds and goopy innards (to a separate bowl if you like - squash seeds are as yummy as pumpkin seeds) and then, using a fork, break apart the 'noodles' of the squash and dump them into a nice sealable container.

For the sauce, place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree until everything is well combined.

Pour the sauce over the spaghetti squash noodles, mix thoroughly, and enjoy.

I tried a few variations on this: adding quick-roasted chicken tenders, adding extra sundried tomatoes, making chicken meatballs and adding those to the mix. The possibilities are endless. Let me know if you think of more. :)

Go on! Have a peace! Enjoy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fabulous Fall Farrago

A farrago is a 'confused mixture' or hodgepodge - isn't that a fabulous word? And equally fabulous is this particular farrago, which is a hodgepodge of different delectable and healthy tidbits, all piled together into a slow cooker for an easy, tummy-pleasing meal with delectable fall flavors. And, like all wonderful soups, this one smells so good that people will look up from what they're doing just to ask you what you're eating.

Fabulous Fall Farrago
(serves 6)

1 lb ground turkey meat
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 large zucchini, diced
1/2 eggplant, cubed
8 oz baby carrots, shredded
1 red onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 bottle pumpkin ale (I used Buffalo Bill's brand)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/8 tsp white pepper
1 can unseasoned diced tomatoes, with juice

Are you ready for how easy this is going to be? Add all ingredients to crock pot, turkey last. Stir to make sure everything is well combined. Set on low and let cook for ~9.5 hours. Serve warm. Enjoy.

Your kitchen is going to smell amazing and your taste buds will thank you.

Go on! Have a peace!