Sunday, January 29, 2012

Brussels Sprout Chips

We've all had a potato chip, of this I'm sure.  Who doesn't love a salty, crispy handful of Lays with a delicious sandwich?  I sure do.  And I'm guessing the majority of you have experienced the phenomenon of the Kale Chip trend too.  This is when you bake kale leaves until they are as crispy as a potato chip, but it's a leafy green instead of a starchy root.  Kale, something that is usually cooked down or steamed to tenderness, is now in your mouth with a crunch, and yet oh-so delicate snap.  It plays with your mind, and it's awesome.

What I want to tell you though is that this phenomenon is not just limited to kale.  Oh no, you shall be restricted no more!  You can also use the outer leaves of Brussels Sprouts and still follow the same exact method for making kale chips.  When I roast Brussels sprouts I always remove the looser, outer leaves to maintain a tight head of the sprout to stay intact when roasting.  Not to go to waste, one day I roasted the leftover leaves in the style of a kale chip and they worked out fantastically.  Plus, they are a great appetizer to munch on while you wait for your Brussels sprouts to finish roasting.  Crispy, light, flavorful...these chips are arguably better than anything you can find in bag.  

Brussels Sprout Chips
To roast the remaining whole Brussels sprouts after taking off the outer leaves, trim the stems and cut each sprout in half.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet, placing them cut-side down.  Roast in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until they are done to your liking (in my opinion, the browner and crispier the outer leaves and cut-side, the better!)


1 1/2 pounds Brussels Sprouts
Olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Peel off the outer, loose leaves from each Brussels sprout.  Keep the whole Brussels sprouts to halve and roast for later (directions above).  

Toss the leaves on a baking sheet with about a tablespoon of the oil.  Sprinkle with a good pinch of kosher salt.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes, then watch closely until the chips reach your desired doneness.  Dont be afraid of the browning, the more a leaf is brown and curled, the crispier and more delicious it will be! 

Happy Munching

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rice Hippie Treats

I confess, I have an inner hippie.  I mean, I lived in Vermont for four years, what can you expect?  She loves to frolic around in nature, talk to plants, and, such as in this case, likes to put a twist on certain recipes to make them a little more mind/body/soul friendly.

She surfaced recently when I wanted to make Rice Crispie Treats for a potluck dinner.  I knew I had everything to make a batch at home minus the marshmallows; a pivotal ingredient in this childhood treat.  But in both an effort to avoid the store and to improvise, I started thinking about how I could recreate this treat without including the highly processed white puff of an ingredient.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good toasted marshmallow, s'more, or old-fashioned Crispie Treat.  But if we can avoid ingesting things like, say, tetrasodium pyrophosphate when we don't have to, why not see if something else could do the trick as well?

I had been planning to make a peanut butter version of the treats anyway, so I started with that as a base of the binding ingredients to hold these bars together.  To keep with the theme, I used natural peanut butter which contains only ground up peanuts and salt.  Honey came in next, and some butter to pull all of the ingredients together.  For the dry ingredients, I substituted part of the rice crispies with rolled oats, and added dried cranberries for a contrasting tart/sweet taste, and chocolate chips too because, well, who doesn't like the combo of chocolate and peanut butter?  

I had created an almost granola-ish cousin of the Rice Crispie Treat, with all honest ingredients that we can all pronounce and recognize.  My inner hippie was proud.  And you will be too regardless if you have your own inner hippie or not, since at the end of it all these bars are just plain simple, delicious, and worth making no matter what.

Rice Hippie Treats  
My favorite way to eat these is a little cold right from the fridge. Mmmm


4 cups rice crispie cereal
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries 
1/2 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Butter a 9x13 baking dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Combine rice cripsies, oats, cranberries, and chocolate chips in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  

Combine the peanut butter, honey, and butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir until all is melted and combined.

Pour peanut butter mixture over rice crispie mixture and stir to evenly coat the dry ingredients.  Pour mixture into the prepared pan and pat down evenly with a buttered or non-stick sprayed spatula (or else the treats will stick and the spreading will not be fun).  

Store bars in the fridge to set.  Cut into squares and enjoy.  In your Birkenstocks.  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Oat Soda Bread

There are some days when I wake up and I think; "today, I want bread".  But this doesn't mean I will walk down the stairs and take a slice of bread out of bag from a store bought, no.  These are the days I want bread that I will know from start to finish; that I will make with my own hands.  It's bread that will fill my house with the tantalizing smell of freshly baked goodness, and on which I will promptly smear a slice with butter, only to have the butter melt away from the warm freshness of the dough.  Oh yes, this is the bread I crave when I want bread.  And sometimes, I cant have it fast enough.

This is why I keep recipes like this Oat Soda Bread around.  It is not as time consuming as yeast breads, and the ingredient list is impossibly simple.  It is hearty, nutty and sweet from the oats and seeds, and serves equally well as a breakfast of toast with jam in the morning, or buttered with a bowl of soup later in the day.  But regardless, when you are having those types of Bread Craving days, this can be your quick go-to without any loss of satisfaction.

Oat Soda Bread Recipe

If you don't have oat flour - which I usually don't, but almost always have old-fashioned rolled oats - you can make your own flour by blending oats in a food processor or blender until it forms a fine powder. 
butter, to grease pan
2 cups / 7 oz rolled oats
10 ounces / 285 g / ~2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and kneading
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
1 3/4 cups / 415 ml buttermilk, plus more if needed, and 2T. for brushing
mixed seeds - sesame, caraway, poppy, etc.


Preheat the oven to 400°F / 205°C with a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter and line a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan (or one with ~8 cup capacity) with parchment paper and set aside. Alternately, you can bake this bread without a pan on a lightly floured baking sheet.
To make the oat flour, use a food processor to pulse the rolled oats a few times. Then process into a fine powder - another minute or two. If you are buying oat flour, not making your own, measure out 7 oz / scant 2 cups.
Sift the flours, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the flour and pour in the buttermilk. Stir just until everything comes together into a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead for 30 seconds or so, just long enough for the dough to come together into a cohesive, slightly flattened ball without many cracks or fissures. If your dough is on the dry side, add more buttermilk a small splash at a time. Now ease the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan - see photo if you need a bit of guidance.
Brush all over the top and sides with buttermilk and sprinkle generously with mixed seeds or flour, 2 tablespoons or so. Slice a few deep slashes across the top of the dough. Bake for about 30 minutes, then quickly (without letting all the hot air out of the oven), move the rack and the bread up a level, so the top of the bread gets nice and toasted. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until a hard crust forms and the bread is baked through. It will feel very solid and sound hollow when you knock on it. Carefully lift it out of the pan, in a timely fashion, and allow to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy with a good slathering of salted butter.
Makes one loaf.
Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 50 min
adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Friday, January 6, 2012

Breakfast (or lunch...or dinner) Enchurritos

Enchurrito? Wha?  Well, it’s a creation I just made myself for dinner.  As I pulled it out of the oven, my roommate walked by, stopped, and said: “you better be blogging about that”.  So, here I am.

I was trying to scrounge up something for dinner from my fridge, and once I saw my trusty-always-must-have carton of eggs, I knew it was breakfast-for-dinner time.  I had corn tortillas too, and I knew I wanted them to be involved.  Breakfast burritos?  Yes please.  But wait…then I saw a full jar of peachy green chili made from peaches picked from one of the best places on earth (Excelsior Orchard, which you can read and see more about here) and then I had a smothering sauce that needed to be incorporated.  This meant fork and knife.  Plus, they were corn tortillas and not flour ones.  Yes, this meant enchiladas…and breakfast burritos….as one.  And right then and there, enchurritos were born.  (I thought this was my own crafty creation, but apparently they already exist?  Madness I tell you.  Let me know if you already knew this or have had them before.  That is…before you make these!)

To round them out and make them even more super fantastic, I added a bunch of fresh herbs and cheddar cheese to my scrambled eggs, and layered them with cooked spinach and beans within their tortilla robes.  Hearty, cheesy, eggy, smothered-in-a-chili salsa goodness.  Topped with a whole lot more freshly chopped herbs and a dollop of sour cream, and you’ve got yourself a helluva breakfast…lunch….or dinner. 

Breakfast (or lunch...or dinner) Enchurritos

This recipe is made for one person, but be sure to double, triple, or quadruple to make for as many friends who want in too!


2 eggs
¼ cup (or more) shredded cheese of your choice
½ tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or use any combination of herbs you like! chives, tarragon, cilantro…)
1/2 cup cooked spinach
1/3 cup black, white, or red beans (optional)
1 cup salsa
2 6-inch corn tortillas

More fresh chopped herbs, shredded cheese, and sour cream


Preheat broiler to high and set a rack to one of the highest rungs in the oven.  Cover bottom of a small, ovenproof casserole dish with half the salsa.  Warm up the two tortillas in the microwave, toaster oven, or in a dry skillet just to make them pliable.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a small skillet over medium high heat.  While it heats, scramble the two eggs in a small bowl and add to the skillet when up to temp.  Move the eggs around with a spatula until just cooked; add cheese, beans, fresh herbs, salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.

Divide spinach and spread in middle of each tortilla.  Divide egg mixture and place on top of spinach.  Fold each side of the tortilla to the center over the filling and place seam-side down in the casserole dish.  Top with remaining salsa and shredded cheese, if desired. 

Place under broiler until salsa is bubbly and cheese is melted. 

Top with herbs, and a dollop of smooth, cool sour cream.