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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries in Recipes: Appetizers & Snacks (30)

Thursday
Oct132011

Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle (gluten-free, vegan, cane sugar-free)

curry coconut pepita brittle

Over the weekend, we had our seventh gathering of the MPLS Food Swappers. The MPLS Swappers is just one of the food swapping groups that has popped up around the world in the last year. I started the group after being inspired by the lovely Kate Payne and her swaps in Brooklyn, NY and Austin, TX. Since then, swaps have have popped up all over the place, and it's a huge trend in the local foods scene. So far we're the only one in the Twin Cities area (and I think all of Minnesota) and we've gotten a lot of local press. I guess you could say that we really love publicity.  

My inconsistent and transitional housing situation lately has not made it easy to keep up with canning, so I'm feeling a little possessive of my preserved food. I was left scrambling to come up with what I would bring to swap. Instead of bringing something from my larder, I whipped up a tasty batch of this Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle using ingredients I had on hand. I was inspired by a recipe in an old issue of Martha Stewart Living which featured a recipe for Coconut Curry Cashews. While it looked great, I wanted something a little different but with the same flavor profile and made without cane sugar. So, I set forth on a kitchen experiment!

It was a total victory, a delightful combination of sweet-salty-spicy-crunchy that always wins me over. And it was a total hit at the swap. In exchange for bags of my lovingly prepared pepitas, I received frozen crappie filets, delicata squash, homegrown horseradish, red pepper jam, pickled garlic, homebrew beer (a great gift for my dad!), roasted pepita-chickpea mix, lemon-herb butter, and a gorgeous bunch of homegrown kale.  I love my swappers.

To learn more about how our food swap works, check out the MPLS Swapper blog. And in the meantime, enjoy some brittle. Happy Thursday!

bags of Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle awaiting bids at the MPLS Swappers food swapwhat I got in exchange for my bags of Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle - score!!!

Coconut Curry Pepita Brittle

yield 6 cups

This makes a very large batch, big enough for a party or perfect for gift giving. Feel free to cut this recipe in half or thirds if you want to make a smaller batch. The spice from the curry powder is tempered by the sweetness of the maple syrup and coconut. And the saltiness combines the holy trinity of flavors to keep you going back for handful after handful. Keeps for two weeks at room temperature, but I promise you, it won't last that long. 

  • 1 cup real maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder (mild or hot, the choice is up to you)
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined salt
  • 6 cups raw unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded coconut

Heat oven to 350º F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place curry powder in a small saucepan and heat over low flame until it is lightly toasted and fragrant. Be careful not to let it burn! Then add maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt, whisk to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. 

Meaure pepitas into a large bowl, then pour maple mixture over them, stirring to mix. Divide pumpkin seeds evenly between two parchment-lined cookie sheets, spreading coated seeds evenly over the surface in a thin layer. Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 7 minutes and rotating between oven racks. Remove from oven, divide coconut evenly between the trays and stir into mixture, then bake for another 15-20 minutes, stirring every 7 minutes and rotating between oven racks, until seeds are golden. I know, I know, it's a lot of stirring and rotating, but you don't want burned seeds and coconut. Then remove from oven.

Place baking sheets on wire cooling racks and let cool completely. The seed mixture will harden as it cools. Areas of the brittle will be very crisp, while other areas will be a little chewy and caramel-like. That's okay! 

Break cool brittle into chunks. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container and consume within 2 weeks. 

 

 

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. Check it out for tons of great recipes!

Tuesday
Jun142011

A Farmers Market Demo with Sweet 'n Sour Rhubarb Pickles and Rhubarb-Apple Compote (gluten-free, cane sugar free, vegan options)


Preparing ingredients for Rhubarb Apple Compote

On Saturday, June 11, I gave a rhubarb-themed cooking demonstration at the Minneapolis Farmers Market during their weekly Market Talk segment. This was my third cooking demonstration at the market, and as usual, it was an absolute blast. Market Talk host (and local food blogger) Emily Noble and I walked the crowd through a brief history of rhubarb, shared suggestions for selecting and storing rhubarb, and gave advice on how to care for plants of your own. Then I demonstrated how to prepare Sweet 'n Sour Rhubarb Pickles and Rhubarb-Apple Compote, recipes that I had developed for the event. Despite the rather chilly temperature and high gusts of wind that nearly took away our tent a few times, it was very sunny and the market was hopping. 

As usual, I had a wonderful kitchen setup to work with, complete with large stainless tables, utensils, a gas-powered double burner, and a snazzy microphone headset. Emily shopped the market that morning for the freshest, most beautiful rhubarb, apples, ginger, local honey and maple syrup, and a few other ingredients. I came armed with everything else I needed, including one of my favorite vintage aprons. 

Preparing ingredients for Rhubarb Apple CompoteStirring the Rhubarb-Apple CompoteExplaining the process for making Sweet and Sour Rhubarb Pickles

The crowd was highly engaged and interested, asking lots of questions and offering up their favorite ways to prepare rhubarb. They even laughed at my jokes! My assistant (yes, I had an assistant!) passed out samples, which were quickly eaten up by the crowd and received enthusiastic smiles and thumbs-ups all around. And the retention rate was excellent, even though the demonstration went well over an hour.  

Curious about the recipes? The pickles are a sweet and sour pickle, heavily flavored with clove, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger in an apple cider vinegar and honey (or maple syrup) brine. They celebrate the natural sourness of rhubarb rather than trying to cover it with lots of sugar. It's like they say, "I'm sour, love me for it!"  The compote was the sweet counterpoint to the pickles, an aromatic and flavorful mix of apples, rhubarb, raisins, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, cooked together with apple juice. The high amount of pectin in apples allows the compote to thicken considerably, creating a luscious fruit mixture that is ideal eaten on its own, over ice cream or yogurt, or with pancakes or waffles. 

I passed out a recipe booklet of some of my favorite rhubarb recipes from my kitchen and my family's kitchen, which included both the pickles and the compote. The recipe booklet was a hit with the crowd and I will share it with you here on the blog. But first, I need to scan my hand-illustrated cover and attach it to the Word document, then set the whole thing up in Google docs so you can have access to it or figure out how to load a PDF into this post. When I do, I'll be sure to let you know!  

In the meantime, I want to share the recipes for the two recipes that I demonstrated that day. I hope you enjoy them. Happy rhubarb season!

Previous Farmers Market demonstration recaps and recipes:


IMG_2266.jpgIMG_2268.jpg 

Kim’s Sweet ‘n Sour Rhubarb Pickles 

By Kim Christensen

These pickles are inspired by cucumber bread and butter pickles. They are sour, sweet, and heavily spiced, and are a bold addition to a relish tray or served with Indian, Middle Eastern, or North African dishes. A fun and unexpected way to preserve the rhubarb harvest! I like this recipe because it celebrates the naturally tart, sour quality of rhubarb, rather than hiding it below lots of sugar. Rhubarb tends to be a bit fibrous and hard to bitd through, so you may opt to cut your stalks into shorter, bite-size pieces. 

Yield: 2 pints or 1 quart

  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar (I suggest using raw and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, such as those by Bragg's or Eden Organic)
  • ¾ cup filtered water
  • 1 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 ¼ - 1 ½ pound rhubarb, thin stalks if possible (about 1/2-inch thick)
  • 1 ½ inches peeled ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp whole allspice berries
  • 1 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 dry chili peppers

Place vinegar, water, and maple syrup/honey in a saucepan over medium heat. While mixture heats, cut rhubarb stalks into lengths that fit inside the jar with approximately 1-inch headspace (about 4-inches long if using a pint jar). If your rhubarb stalks are much thicker, slice them in half or quarters so they are about 1/2-inch x 1/2-inch before cutting into 4-inch lengths. Set rhubarb aside.

Divide cloves, allspice, and fennel between the jars. Then place rhubarb stalks inside, tucking sliced ginger, chili peppers, and cinnamon sticks between the stalks.

Pour boiling vinegar mixture over rhubarb until jars are full, leaving about ½-inch headspace and making sure rhubarb stalks are fully covered. If you have leftover brine, save to use for salad dressings or other pickling projects.  Screw on jar tops and let cool on kitchen counter until approximately room temperature. Then place in the refrigerator. For best flavor, let sit for 1-2 weeks before consuming. 

IMG_2255.jpgRhubarb Apple Compote served over organic yogurt is a wonderful breakfast or light dessert.

Rhubarb-Apple Compote 

By Kim Christensen

Sweet and aromatic, this compote is excellent served warm or chilled. For a simple fruit dessert, it can be served alone, or spooned over yogurt (as in photos above) or ice cream. It is also very good served over pancakes or waffles. For a savory twist, serve alongside grilled or roasted pork or chicken. The flavors of this dish are perfect for autumn, so freeze some of your rhubarb to use later on this year when the seasons change!

Yield: approximately 1 quart

  • 3 cups rhubarb, sliced in 1-inch x ½-inch pieces (about 1 pound rhubarb) - use either fresh or frozen (not thawed)
  • 3 apples, quartered, cored, and chopped in 1-inch x ½-inch pieces (about 1 pound apples)
  • ½ cup raisins or currants
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup (or more or less, to taste)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare rhubarb and apples as directed. Place in a saucepan with raisins/currants, apple juice, and spices. Bring to a high simmer over medium-high heat, then turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove cover and stir in honey, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Replace cover and let sit for 3-5 more minutes. Let cool slightly before serving, mixture will thicken as it cools. This is also excellent served chilled. 

Wednesday
Mar232011

Lemon & Herb Chicken Liver Paté (gluten-free, grain-free, ACD)

Lemon & Herb Chicken Liver Paté

Liver tends to be a rather polarizing food - either you love it or you find the idea of eating it absolutely appalling. Back in my veg*n days, I would go on and on about how "nasty" liver is, stunned that people would even consider eating it (although I'd never tried it, of course). Once I started eating meat again, I vowed to appreciate the whole animal from snout to tail. After getting comfortable with the basic cuts, I started by buying more unsual cuts of meat and using bones and skin to make stock. Thanks to a trip to France a few years ago, I saw the glory of liver. Not long ago I had my first run-in with tripe and tendon (not bad!). And I've been eyeing up bison blood sausage, duck fat, and leaf lard at the co-op.  My journey is slow, but I'm trying, and enjoying every delicious minute.  Culinary curiosity beats out hesitancy every time. 

Hey, if that animal is dying for me, I want to do what I can to ensure that nothing is wasted. To guide me along the way, I am reading The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Thomas Keller. I read cookbooks like novels, and these books are genius. I am finding the subject matter absolutely fascinating, and love learning about where each cut of meat comes from and how the organs and other animal parts can be used.  Somehow, this book has made me excited about the prospect of making gluten-free kidney pie and finding an opportunity to butcher a chicken myself.  As Anthony Bourdain would say, bring on the "nasty bits"!  

Where did that veg*n girl go? Whoa.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar072011

Sesame Adzuki Bean Dip (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

IMG_1026

This dip packs a surprising amount of flavor - warm, nutty, spicy, pungent.  And it couldn't be easier to make! I am including this recipe in this month's SOS Kitchen Challenge, the monthly recipe challenge from Ricki from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs and me. This month our featured ingredient is none other than the versatile adzuki bean, one of my favorite legumes. 

I often use adzuki beans for various bean dips, often highlighting them with the flavors present in Asian cuisine. This dip is no exception, featuring toasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and scallions. It is rich and creamy, and is a great way to jazz up raw vegetables, crackers, or collard or brown rice tortilla wraps.  Or, if you're anything like me, you'll enjoy a scoop of it served on a plate with brown rice, sauerkraut, and sauteed greens. 

Want to participate in the adzuki bean fun this month? Simply cook up a new recipe–either sweet OR savory (or both)–using adzuki beans, following the usual SOS guidelines for ingredients and submission requirements.  Then submit it by linking up to your blog post with the linky tool, below the recipe.  Be sure to add a link to this page on your post, and if you wish, include the SOS logo. 

Your recipe will be displayed on both Ricki's and my blog in the Linky, and will be featured in a recipe roundup at the end of this month.  We look forward to more of your delicious, creative, enthusiastic entries this month!  

In the mean time, here's a few other azuki bean recipes from my blog for inspiration:

IMG_1031IMG_1022

Sesame Adzuki Bean Dip

yield approx. 1 1/2 cups

  • 2 cups cooked adzuki beans
  • 2 Tbsp roasted sesame tahini
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil (plus more for garnish, if desired)
  • 1 Tbsp South River Azuki Bean Miso (gluten-free and soy-free) or other tolerated miso 
  • 2 tsp umeboshi plum vinegar
  • 1 small very fresh garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger root
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 4 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds (plus more for garnish, if desired - I used black sesame seeds to garnish for a pretty accent)
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped (plus more for garnish, if desired)

Place beans, tahini, oil, miso, ume vinegar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. If too thick for your liking, add leftover bean cooking liquid, broth, or water until it is the desired consistency. Then add sesame seeds and scallions and process briefly to mix in. Serve! If using as a dip in a serving bowl, garnish it with sesame seeds and finely chopped scallion, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, if desired.

Refrigerate leftovers in a well-sealed container for up to 5 days.

 

March SOS Kitchen Challenge: Adzuki Beans

Sunday
Mar062011

Socca with Rosemary and Cumin (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

socca with rosemary and cumin

Once you make socca, you'll never want to live a life without it. Socca is a thin, unleavened flatbread or pancake made from chickpea flour.  Known in Italy as farinata or cecina, this chickpea pancake was founded in Genoa and became a popular food of the Ligurian Sea coast, from Nice to Pisa. Socca couldn't be easier to make - simply chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt and spices. It is cooked in broiler or open oven until crisp and charred.  Socca has gained popularity all around the world; depending on where you are in the world, it might be garnished with more olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, harissa, or even jam. 

I like it hot out of the broiler, brushed with olive oil, and sprinkled with French grey salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Despite traveling throughout France multiple times and Italy, I've never eaten socca at the source - my experience with socca is limited to my kitchen.  For a great write up about socca, check out this post by David Leibovitz. I often default to him for just about anything, especially anything French. My default socca recipe is tweaked from the version in that post, and I think you'll love it as much as I do.  It is a great snack, especially for parties, and makes a lovely appetizer for dinners. 

This recipe is also linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free.

socca with rosemary and cuminsocca with rosemary and cumin

Socca with Rosemary and Cumin

yield 5-6 10" socca flatbreads | slightly tweaked from David Leibovitz

I adapted David's recipe slightly, adding rosemary and including a longer soaking period for the chickpea flour with a little acid to help break down the phytic acid in the chickpeas and make it more easily digested. 

If you are concerned about heating olive oil to the temperature required in a broiler, feel free to use ghee or another high temperature oil of your choice. Using melted ghee creates a wonderful, rich nutty flavor - but I often use olive oil, to be honest. I'm willing to take a few free radicals here and there, especially for something as tasty as socca. 

  • 2 cups chickpea flour
  • 2 cups + 1/4 cup water
  • optional: 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar, raw coconut vinegar, whey, or lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp dry rosemary leaves, lightly crushed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • freshly-ground black pepper, plus additional sea salt and olive oil for serving

Mix together the flour, 2 cups water, and acidic medium, and whisk until totally smooth. Let batter rest for 8-12 hours lightly covered with a towel at room temperature (on the counter is perfect!). It will begin to bubble slightly and become lighter and airier. Then whisk in salt, cumin, rosemary, remaining 1/4 cup water, and 2 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

socca with rosemary and cumin

To cook, heat the broiler in your oven. Oil a 9- or 10-inch (23cm) pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil and heat the pan in the oven.  I used my 10" cast iron skillet, which worked perfectly.

Once the pan and the oven are blazing-hot, remove from the broiler, pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom, swirl it around, then pop it back in the oven. Thinner batter yields a lighter, crisper socca than heavily applied batter.

Bake until the socca is firm and beginning to blister and burn. The exact time will depend on your broiler.

socca with rosemary and cumin

Slide the socca out of the pan onto a cutting board, slice into pieces (I use a pizza cutter!), then shower it with coarse salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Cook the remaining socca batter the same way, adding a teaspoon or two of oil to the pan and heating it slightly again in the broiler before adding the batter and cooking.