Back to the Basics

4F71E75C-F2FB-4963-B0A2-3F8B4ADC915DOh, how quickly things can change!

For the past five days I have, in equal measure, sat in catatonic shock staring at the wall while listening to the news, cooked, eaten, and cleaned. Repeat. Go for a walk. Repeat.

The project I thought I was coming home to shut down until further notice, like so many others, and instead of jumping into any number of creative endeavors I thought I would want to begin, I find myself mostly spinning in circles.

Recipes and cooking seem to be the only things grounding me at the moment, so… so be it. Because I want to limit grocery store deliveries, I currently have more food than my small house and cupboards know what to do with, which isn’t saying too much as I am famous for bare cupboards. But, now an overflow of grains, beans, and pasta sit on my counter waiting to inspire.

Yesterday, while outside raking the leaves I never raked in the fall, I noticed green chard sprouting in my raised bed garden. With absolutely zero attention from me for the past five months, these little leaves did what plants do; reseeded, went dormant, and waited until spring to begin to grow again. Just when my fresh produce is beginning to run low, a reminder of nature’s perfection! I proceeded to order several packets of organic vegetable seeds online. I hadn’t planned on planting a garden this year because of upcoming work and travel, but…looks like I’ll be home!

My boyfriend and I have been much better about checking in the fridge to see what needs to be used and being creative with what we have, knowing that just running out to the store is not an option. I am inspired daily by so many friends’ posts of creative ways to use canned goods, bake bread, and hold cooking contests within families self isolating together, everyone looking for a way to make something both fun and delicious and also to ease a bit of anxiety. It is truly amazing how quickly we come back to the basics.

Tonights menu-

zucchini fritters

yeast free bread   (I can’t find baker’s yeast, or toilet paper!)

Leftover lemon chicken

And, I have already made two batches of these almond flour chocolate chip cookies. Kinda chewy, a little bit salty, they are soooo good. And they’re healthy, so you won’t feel guilty eating an entire batch while listening to the news and staring at the wall, in shock.

Be well. Take care of yourselves and each other. Stay home. And remember that this too shall pass.

9AC4BF98-F250-4546-BBC9-B861857A3472

Image seen on my walk today.

 

 

 

Gratitude + WTF

There is something about Thanksgiving that I just really, really love. Besides the pie, the cozy fuzzies, and the tradition. I love the craziness of it all.

I worked until 8 tonight and on what other night would I ever come home after working for twelve hours and decide to make a dessert that had terms I needed to google? When else would any of us drive for hours to argue about politics with people we don’t like very much (but do somehow love) and cook gigantic birds when we order takeout the other 364 nights a year?

I swore I bought everything I needed at the grocery store on Sunday and, yet, where was I at 8:10 tonight? Trader Joe’s.

“Do you sell tin foil?” I asked my cashier, hopefully.

“No, oh my god, I hope my wife remembered to buy some. We should, we really should have it. Do you mind if I have Siri text her while you’re swiping your card?”

Bouquets of flowers, bottles of wine, frozen pumpkin cheesecakes… the store looked like a herd of elephants had just run through, though the festive vibe made it seem like a friendly herd. Most shoppers were carrying baskets rather than pushing carts, the true procrastinators or, more likely, the guests; responsible only for appetizers, pie, flowers, and beverages. Maybe a baguette.

I am currently waiting for my hazelnuts to cool. I was supposed to bake them for 10-15 minutes or until their skin darkened and cracked. At that point I need to wrap them in a clean towel and rub them, so their skin comes off. So far, it’s been 20 minutes and the skin isn’t sloughing, no matter how hard I rub. Like a woman in a Turkish bath, scrubbing away, these guys won’t budge. I’m about to put them in the blender with the rice flour, skins and all, heaven forbid.

But, see what I mean? It’s funny.

I just googled ‘fruit curd’ upon realizing I had no idea what my recipe was talking about.

And all over the country people are stuck in traffic or airports or on the couch next to weird Uncle Joe. They are googling gravy recipes, calling their mom or missing their mom.

I will never forget a newscast I saw years ago on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. “What is it you love most about Thanksgiving?” the newscaster asked a bunch of people stuck in an airport somewhere. Mom was the overwhelming answer. And pie.

But, back to my hazelnuts and curd.

Wishing you and yours a Smagikal Thanksgiving and, whether you’re home alone, with friends or mom, roasting a turkey or making a tuna sandwich, baking a pie or trying that new 26 step recipe that seemed like a good idea last month, may the craziness make you laugh!

If you want to try the New York Times Cranberry Curd Tart with me, let me know how your skin sloughing goes!

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017817-cranberry-curd-tart?grocerylist

Zucchini Deliciousness

It’s like I just got home from a year of crazy. And now, suddenly, it’s fall, the end of 2018, I’m living back in my house, just returned from my trip East, and for the first time in a long time, maybe since last year, I feel settled. Like I can exhale. Like I didn’t know I’d been holding my breath until I no longer was. And, while I think about all of this and it soaks in, I decide that instead of making a fire, because suddenly it’s cold and flannel sheets with tea and slippers seem like a good idea, I decide that instead of that fire, I’ll bake.

Gluten Free Coconut Zucchini Bread

1 C sugar

2 eggs

2/3 C vegetable oil

1 t vanilla extract

11/4 C gluten free flour mix

1 t baking powder

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t xanthan gum

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

2 C shredded zucchini

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1/2 C shredded coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350

Mix eggs and sugar in large bowl. Add oil and vanilla, mixing well.

In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients.

Add dry ingredients to wet ones, mixing well.

Then add zucchini, nuts, and coconut, mixing well.

Transfer to a lightly greased 9×5″ bread pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool. Enjoy!

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Left Over Pumpkin

Want your house to smell like cinnamon and pumpkin? Want super light, flour-free deliciousness? I posted this recipe before but, it’s that good!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Almond Brownies

Ingredients:

1 C almond butter

1.25 C pumpkin purée

2 eggs plus one yolk

1/3 C date syrup (I used maple)

1 t baking soda

1 T cinnamon

1 C semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Mix almond butter and pumpkin until smooth.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until smooth.

Pour into a greased 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish, depending on if you like thinner and or thicker.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Cool and/or refrigerate. Can be frozen too.

Enjoy!

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How I Ground. 

I returned from LA one day ago and have felt epically ungrounded since. With a list of things I should be doing, how to ground and come back to earth after several weeks, months actually, of floating this way and that? 

Chop wood. Haul water. Or, cook, clean, and listen to Bob Marley as the case may be. Tangible, simple, doable things that keep me out of my head and in the present moment. And, I end up with a clean house and delish meal as a result. Bonus! 

Today’s menu is kale and basil pesto over porcini ravioli, thanks to Trader Joe’s, or your local farmer’s market. 

1 bunch kale

1 bunch basil

4-6 cloves garlic

1/2 c olive oil

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup Parmesan

Salt and pepper. 

Put it all in a blender and blend until smooth. 

All measurements are approximate and you should add more or less depending on preference. Bon Apetit. 


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Rhubarb

 Sometimes it raining out, you’re just beginning to feel normal after two weeks of being ill, you are going to a potluck the next day, and while playing Words With Friends the word rhubarb, albeit missing an ‘h’, pops up and you decide to put on your apron and bake.

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumble.. .Super springy and will make your house smell fantastic. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/strawberry-and-rhubarb-crumble-358595

And it’s a great excuse to put on that apron you don’t wear very often. Or, if you need a new one, check out the vintage inspired ones at  fresastudio.etsy.com

Bon Apetit!

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Current Obsession

   
   
Yes, another easy and delicious recipe guaranteed to make your house smell good while simmering! Apple Ginger Sauce. Great as a snack, mixed with nuts and grains for breakfast, or on the side of a stack of pancakes. 

I cut up about a dozen smallish Gala apples, a very decent length of ginger and put these in a pot (unpeeled) with the juice from half a lemon, a couple of tablespoons of honey (Curve Ahead Honey from my mom and step-dad’s bees!) two cinnamon sticks and a few tablespoons of water. All of these ingredients can be played with, adding more or less of what you think tastes good. Let it simmer on low heat until the apples are mushy. Serve hot or chilled. 

Healthy and Budget Friendly Deliciousness. 

  
 In case you couldn’t tell, I’m unemployed, it’s winter, I love good food, and I’m on a budget until a new job presents itself… Time to cook!

This is my newest fave recipe, super easy and delish! Black beans, quinoa, sweet potato, avocado, greens, feta, and green chile salsa. I like to mix it all up in a bowl, but it would be just as good in a burrito! 

As I went through my 2015 receipts recently, I was shocked at the amount of money I spent on supplements. Hundreds spent on iron, zinc, vitamin D, Bs, C, and dozens more. And, I’m not really convinced they did anything. So, I’m making a new resolution and am determined to try to get my vitamins and minerals from my food instead of bottles. 

Bon Apetit! 

Bread. 

 Sometimes (like on a Monday in January when the costuming job you thought you were about to start falls through, and you just watched Downton Abbey’s characters smear butter onto thick cut teatime slices of bread, and it’s really cold outside) all you can do is put an apron on over your overalls and bake some bread!

I’d never actually made bread until today, though I remember the smell from childhood. My friend Alethea’s Artisan Boulè recipe has been sitting in my inbox for over a year and turned out to be simple, delicious, and is guaranteed to make your house smell good while baking, in all of its gluteny goodness.

 Alethea’s Artisan Boulé

(For free form round dinner loaves and pizza crust)
1.5 TBS dry active yeast

1.5 TBS sea salt

1 TBS honey

3 c. Lukewarm water

Stir

Add 6.5 c unbleached white flour

Stir w/ wooden spoon

Cover not airtight for 2 hours

Once the dough has risen, you can refrigerate in an airtight container for about 2 weeks. If you refrigerate, let the dough you are using sit out for 1/2 hr, then bake. You can also freeze loaves for months.

This batch makes about 2 dinner loaves and 1 pizza or  2 big loaves.

When I make the boulé loaves,  wet hands, take the chunk you want to use and toss back and forth and dust with flour till round.

For pizza cover pizza stone with cornmeal.

At about 30 min I cover the top of the bread in butter

Bake 375 for 50 minutes.

Smear with butter, jam, avocado or whatever sounds good. Enjoy!