Monday, May 31, 2010

Chickpea Dip

This is great for added protein and yummy on whole grain crackers! Its also tasty with Tuna in Olive Oil.

15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Pinch salt, or taste
¼ tsp dill
3 tsp lime juice
Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients minus the oil in a food processor. Slowly add oil until you get the desired consistency. The less oil you add, the thicker it will be, the more you add, the smoother and creamier it will be.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Witch in the Kitchen: Sweet pastry in a pan

10 tbsp shortening
2/3 c brown sugar
1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour

Melt shortening over low heat in a saucepan, then add the sugar and stir until blended. Sift in flour and stir with wooden sppon until a ball forms in the pan. Let it cool, chill and then press into am 8 inch tart pan. Press lovingly into pan, raising the sides as you go.

This crust is perfect for cream cheese andc jam, for pastry cream and fresh fruit or cooked fruit!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oatmeal Brownies

I was reading “Fatally Flaky” by Diane Mott Davidson and she was making oatmeal lace cookies. They sounded delicious. I, however, was feeling lazy and scooping, baking and cooling a bunch of cookies sounded like a lot of work.

I made a few little changes, doubled the recipe and am delighted to report that these magical brownies are not only delicious, but gluten free as well! I did several trial runs of these and I have to say, I prefer them best when they are thin and crispy with a hint of Meyer lemon, extra chocolate and made with turbinado for a deep rich flavor. I hope you like them!

Oatmeal Brownies, adapted from Diane Mott Davidson’s Fatally Flaky Cookies

2 sticks butter

1½ cup brown sugar + 2 tbsp (set aside for topping)

5 tbsp cocoa powder

3 c quick cooking oats, toasted

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp sea salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten with 2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp oat flour

Optional: ½ c Marcona almonds, zest of half a Meyer lemon, 2 oz of chopped dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.

Melt butter on low, then add sugar and stir about 3 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cocoa, oat flour and oats. Mix together, then add baking powder and salt. Mix together just to dissolve and distribute dry ingredients.

In a glass, use a fork to beat the eggs with vanilla. Fold quickly into cooled oatmeal mixture. (You don’t want to overwork this.)

Luna’s Note: If you want to add lemon zest or some chopped chocolate, do it was you fold in the eggs.

Spread mixture into pan out to the edges. If you like them thinner and crispier, only use about ¾ of the blend and bake the rest separately.

Bake 12-15 minutes and allow to cool before cutting, even though this is nearly impossible!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hank Shaw: hunter, fisher, forager, teacher

Please note, all photos featured in this blogpost are (C) Holly A. Heyser-Field to Table Food Photography  Thanks Holly!

When Hank Shaw said on our blogger list that he would be happy to teach a group of us to break down a lamb, the excitement was palpable. When he said he would do it for the cost of the lamb, the reaction was ‘Really?!’

I was one of the people who had never actually met Hank, though I can tell you I knew him by reputation. My friends Elise and Ryan think so highly of him that I naturally assumed he must be absolutely wonderful.

To my great and utter joy, I was not disappointed.

When someone welcomes you into their home, as Hank and Holly did, they don’t do it lightly. And when the offer you homemade yogurt cheese (labneh) marinated in olive oil, thyme and sumac, they are just really amazingly nice people. With very good taste.

If you have ever been in a room with a bunch of food bloggers, you know that there were cameras, note taking and way more jokes than might be acceptable to those who don’t believe allusions of any sort should come with their meat.

Watching my friends attack a half a lamb was really quite interesting. Watching someone with a knife tells you a lot about them. I am terribly convinced that Biggie has a dark past with a saw (no really, she’s way too good with that thing.)

“A dull knife is a lazy servant.” Hank Shaw

As Hank broke down the first half of the lamb he told us what each cut was called, and how you can slightly alter your cuts. I know this is the part where you want the copious note taker in me to have gotten all of this down, complete with charts and drawings, but alas, there I failed you.

I did however get some great tips to make it easier:

*Use a boning knife to cut tissue, using the natural gravity of the motion

*Don’t use a saw for anything but bone. Otherwise you just gunk up your saw

*If you hit cartilage while cutting, move around it, not through it. If you find yourself at a wrong angle, stop yourself and reset.


*Look for the natural breaks

*Make sure you regularly dry your hands!

*Lamb fat is very hard. Hank recommends using very little if you make sausage, lest you destroy your grinder

If you really want to know HOW to do it, I suggest you check out Hank’s blog and twitter. If you get the chance to meet him, even better. Hank loves to share his knowledge and he is so passionate about eating real fresh food, it is easy to get swept into his excitement.

What I took away from the adventure was the essence: when it comes to being social about food and sharing, the community of it, some people are very adept.

I walked out of Hank’s house feeling blessed to be a part of a community where we could have an event like this. Not with chef rock stars charging a lot of money, but with a man who is so passionate about teaching, he would do it for the joy of doing it.

Now, I am not against chef rock stars charging an arm and a leg. That is their choice to charge it and mine not to pay it.

The things I would change about the experience are minimal: I wish there had been some sort of introduction at the beginning as it might have been slightly easier to communicate with some of our fellows. Being in big groups, people naturally laugh, joke and then break back off into known groups.

I also feel that when you are invited to someone’s home, you should bring something. This is just how I was raised. (So half the group did and half the group didn’t. This is disproportionate when people are hungry!)

Hank talked about fishing and I’ll be honest: for the first time in 20 years, that actually sounds interesting to me. (My dad took us fishing a couple times as kids, but I think Hank’s idea of fishing and my dad’s sound quite a bit different!)

Interestingly, the question that has been popping up more and more among my friends is, “You eat it, but could you kill it?” I like that Hank Shaw answers this question in such a simple way. He is not a malicious man, he is a hungry man. He is not a cruel man, he is an honest man. He has no fear of working hard for what he gets and if that includes hunting, killing, foraging and cleaning his own food, well then he’s going to do it.

I look forward to foraging with Hank in the fall, and learning more about the essential elements and processes of life that we have gravitated so far away from. It will be interesting become closer to nature and move the other way; toward the past, which seems, for many, to be the way forward.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Witch in the Kitchen: "Damper" Bread

When I made this recipe a few years ago, it was a total disaster. Our oven broke in the midst of me making Thanksgiving dinner for two. The nice part is that we had such a small cut of meat, that it was cooked, and the potatoes were on the stove.

Keeping the door closed and allowed the heat to stay in long enough to let the bread finish, but it was a rather irritating experience. I think I am much more prone now to say, oh well, there's always skillet bread!

4 tablespoons butter (you'll need extra for greasing pots)
1 3/4 c self rising flour*
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (do not use cheap table salt!)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, IE rosemary, chives, sage etc
2/3 c milk
2/3 c water

4 small, clean flowerpots

Preheat oven to 400 F and lightly butter the inside of the flowerpots, dust with flower and set aside.

Sift or whisk together flour and salt. Rub in butter (mixture should look like crumbs) and add herbs. Punch a well into the center of the mixture, then add milk and water. Stir lightly using a fork. Once the mixture is fairly cohesive, turn out onto lightly floured board or counter.

Knead, thinking of all the love you want to go into the bread. Divide the dough into four pieces and roll into balls, one for each pot. Bake in hot oven for 15 minutes. This bread is perfect warm, served with soup, stew or even a really lovely salad!

*Luna's Note: Self Rising Flour is 1 c flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/4 tsp salt

Monday, May 17, 2010

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

My Nana loved white chocolate and had some special dietary needs that inspired me to create this recipe for her. Originally I used soy butter, but if you are watching your salt intake, I suggest using salt free butter or shortening.

4 oz White Chocolate (I like El Rey)
4 oz Peanut Butter
10 oz butter or shortening
8 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups brown sugar
2 c flour

preheat oven to 325 F and grease and parchment a 1/2 sheet pan.

 Melt chocolate and peanut butter smooth, set aside. Beat eggs, salt and sugar until fluffy. Beat in cooled chocolate mixture. Add flour and don't over mix!

Pour onto sheet pan and bake 18-20 min or until a knife comes out clean.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Busy, fun and all that's in between

Last weekend, the gang and I were lucky enough to head to Sacramento and meet the amazing Hank Shw. This involved a fun card ride with @Biggie, @Jeters and @HeatherHal.

If you ever have to take a long car ride, you wanna do it with these ladies. It's a comedy fest with music by Panjabi MC and others.

Upon entering Sac, we tried to locate a farmer's market, which turned out to be so elusive, we never found it!

and the

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Panna Cotta Pandemonium

After seeing that Tish Boyle had made Coconut Panna Cotta, it sounded too good not to whip some up myself. I had coconut milk, passion fruit, sugar and gelatin and was ready to rock. At the last moment, I thought, “what if I infused some tea into this?” And Pandemonium was born.

My friend Chris Peralta, awesome guy & founder/guitarist of punk band Dead Panic is always nice enough to let me force food on him and give honest feedback. You can thank him for the name, which he used in his excited description of how much he liked it!

1 c coconut milk
1 c whole milk
½ c brown sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Coconut Tea from ChaCha Tea
2 sheets gelatin
Passion Fruit Puree

Pour milks and sugar into a pan and simmer until heated through.

Add tea and let steep to the desired taste.

Rinse gelatin until it softens. I didn’t soak it. Since I am not using very much, I wanted to make sure I got the most of it. Stir in to mixture if still warm, or reheat lightly if you need to.

Set up about 4 to 5 small glasses. This looks really pretty with the passion fruit swirling through! Put about 2 tsp of puree per glass in the bottom, or more if you love the tarty taste as I do. Each glass can hold about ½ c. let stand until cool, then put into fridge to set.

This is fantastic served with green figs, which are gorgeous and flavorful, complimenting this rather than overpowering it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fennel Brown Sugar Cookies

Getting a sample of Fennel Pollen was interesting for me. I wanted to make a savory dish, yet my mind kept saying, 'coooookies....brown sugar.....' So I finally gave in and made some.

I took them to work last week to get my friends to test them out and the reponse was excellent. Then yesterday, one of my co-workers begged me to make them again. So there you have it folks, these cookies are good and they linger in the memory!

Fennel Pollen Brown Sugar Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 F

2/3 c vegetable shortening (I like Jungle)
3/4 c C & H brown sugar
1 egg
4 tsp almond milk
1 tbsp Fennel Pollen Spice
2 c WW flour
1½ tsp baking powder

Thoroughly cream butter, sugar, & Fennel Pollen Spice. Add egg; beat fluffy. Stir in milk. S

Sift dry ingredients; stir in.

Chill at least one hour, though two is best.

On a lightly sugared surface (I used a Fennel Pollen/sugar mix I made) and roll 1/2 the dough to 1/8” thickness, cutout with cookie cutters.

Chill remaining dough until ready to use. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, making
sure they are not touching. Bake 6-8 minutes until light brown.

P.S. There will be a savory recipe with the pollen, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I am lucky to have a lot of really cool friends that I have made on Twitter. One of them, Shaheen, the delightful @PurpleFoodie has agreed to the be the guest blogger for samosas! So here she is!

Hot Samosas and Friendship

I’ve known Luna for a few months over twitter now and it’s been lovely knowing her. On one such occasion over a twitter chatter, Luna asked me if I had a nice samosa recipe. Now here in Bombay (Mumbai), samosas are found at the corner of every other street. I just have to walk down my lane for a minute and I can get some delicious, piping hot samosas. That’s the reason why I hardly ever make them at home. But since it’s Luna, I just had to make it for her. :)

If you’re not already following her on twitter, then go do that right now! You will then know what thoughtful she is. I especially remember the time she gave me all the moral support I needed to venture out in alone in New York City when I went there a few months ago. Thanks, sweetie!

So back to the samosas - when I made them they took a lot lesser tie than I had anticipated so the long list of ingredients shouldn't stop you! Everyone at home loved them. The samosa was flaky and crunchy all at once and the flavour of the spicy potato filling was kicked up a knotch with the addition of fennel seeds. Try it, you will love it

Samosa recipe

Yield: 6-8

For the dough

1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup ghee or vegetable shortening
2 Tbs. plain yogurt, stirred well

1/4 cup water (or as required)

In a wide, shallow bowl, mix the flour with the salt and baking soda.

Rub in the ghee or shortening, whichever you’re using into the flour.

Rub the fat and the flour together until the flour is evenly coated; there shouldn’t be any lumps.
Add the yogurt-water mixture a little at a time. Add just enough liquid until the dough comes together in a mass.

Knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic. The dough is ready when it's no longer sticky and feels nice and supple (after about 5 minutes of kneading).

Wrap it in plastic, and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

For Potato and Peas Filling

1 tbs. cooking oil

3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped

½ tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. coriander powder

1/2 tsp. dry mango powder or amchoor

½ tsp turmeric

¼-1/2 tsp. chilli powder (depending on how hot you want it to be)

1 cups very coarsely mashed potatoes

½ cup peas, boiled

Salt to taste

Canola oil or any flavourless oil for deep frying

Heat 1 tbsp oil and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant. About 2 minutes.

Next add in the whole seeds – mustard, cumin and fennel and cook until they sizzle. Another 1 minute.

Now add all the powdered spices, coriander, dry mango, turmeric, chilli.

Once it is all incorporated, add the potatoes and peas and mix well. Add the salt.

Let this potato mixture cool.

Assembling the samosa

Divide the dough into about 6-8 portions.

Roll them out into strips of 1/8th inch thickness.

Place the potato filling in the middle and seal the sides as shown in the photo.

Heat the oil for deep frying the samosas.

Drop 2-3 in at a time and dry till they are golden brown.

Drain on paper towel and serve hot!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Love Potion #9 Cake

I tried out this cake on my friends and it ended up paired with figs & goat cheese that had been baked & drizzled in balsamic. The cake is light and moist, the liqueur flavor unique. I know it was a hit because the Cheese Princess kept drifting over for more! The only addition we would have liked might have been little Love Potion #9 laced Chantilly cream.

2 c flour
2 tsp b powder
¼ tsp salt
½ c milk
½ c Love Potion #9
½ c sugar
¾ vegetable shortening
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine dry ingredients, set aside. Combine milk and Love Potion #9, set aside.
Cream shortening & sugar, add eggs. Starting & ending with flour mixture, alternately add flour mix with milk mix. Do not over mix! If you have some flour that doesn’t blend in, use a spatula.
I used four 6 x 3½ loaf pans, baked for approx 25 minutes.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Molasses Whoopie Pie

Last week, overcome by the urge to make whoopie pies, I used this recipe by Vegan Visitor:

I have made the cookies previously with great success. The whoopie pies got their seal of approval from Monkey, from the SO and from my friend Chris, who gobbled it down about 2 minutes after I handed it to him. Make and enjoy!

I think the next batch is gonna be chocolate....!