Raised from Scratch

growing up outside the box: alternatives to processed food and television

New Orleans Granola with Roasted Chicory February 4, 2013

granola inside jar

close up single pecan

In America, chicory is not widely known or utilized in the kitchen, its primary use being a coffee additive. Chicory is a perennial tap root, similar to the dandelion, with stems that grow up to 3 feet in height. The leaves can be used in salads, and roots harvested while young and tender can be cooked like carrots or parsnips for vegetable dishes. To create the ground chicory Café Du Monde familiarized me with years ago, the cultivated root is sliced, dried and roasted before being ground. Adding it to coffee produces a darker, drier, more economical cup of joe. Though multiple trips to New Orleans’ Café Du Monde cultivated a nostalgic appreciation for the chicory used in their Café au Lait, I’m more of a coffee purist myself.

I didn’t sip my way through America’s finest small coffee roasters just to blend my favorite single origin finds with chicory, but I did acquire a small box of ground chicory as a gift at one time and it has been sitting neglected in my pantry. But I love how this granola turned out, and everyone I’ve shared it with wants more, so it’s time to share. Now I can reminisce about New Orleans at breakfast while keeping my Metropolis Coffee unadulterated.

Still curious about chicory root?

Sweet Maria’s coffee cupping reviews, where you can find freshly roasted imported chicory for $5/lb instead of the canned/boxed stuff that’s been sitting on your grocer’s shelf for who knows how long.

Botanical.com will tell you all about the plant’s history and uses.

 New Orleans Chicory Granola with Toasted Pecans

2 1/3 cups rolled oats

1/3 cup honey

2 Tablespoons molasses

¼ cup unsalted butter

2 teaspoons finely ground chicory root

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup pecan halves

Preheat oven to 325°.

Place oats in a medium mixing bowl. Heat butter, honey and molasses in a small saucepan until melted and simmering, then immediately pour over oats. Add chicory, salt and pecans and stir until thoroughly combined.

Pour mixture in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Allow to cool on sheet pan without stirring if you like some clumps in your granola.

After cooling, store in air-tight container for one week.

Recipe adapted from “Coffee Roasted Carrots with Chicory Granola” at splendidtable.org

Homemade Yogurt – it’s easier than you think!

We go through a lot of yogurt in our house, and prefer plain, organic whole milk yogurt (Stonyfield brand was my preferred choice before I began making my own), which gets expensive. A quart of Stonyfield costs me $4.99 at my local grocer, while organic whole milk costs $3.69 for a half gallon (yielding 2 quarts of yogurt). That’s a savings of $6.29.

I didn’t believe making yogurt would be quite so simple, but if you’re a yogurt lover, give it a try and you’ll probably be as pleasantly surprised as I was. My homemade yogurt tastes sweeter and less acidic than store-bought.

Here’s a wonderful step-by-step guide with illustrations which I used to get started. Expect to spend 20-30 minutes in your kitchen, then 7-8 hours of allowing your yogurt mixture to sit and cultivate before chilling.

How To Make Yogurt Step-by-Step Guide

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Buckwheat Flax Crepes & Spiced Raisin Mascarpone (gluten-free) October 20, 2012

I have to thank Andrea Drugay for posting a recipe for Easy Flaxseed Wraps on her blog, which inspired a week-long obsession and several new recipes. The original recipe called for 100% flax, and it’s a delicious wrap, but in order to create a gluten-free crepe that I was happy with for breakfast or dessert, I decided to try using a little buckwheat flour as well. And because I’m always looking to incorporate more vegetables into my family’s diet, I tried first grated carrot, then grated zucchini and settled on the latter for this recipe. The crepes are simple to make, and the mascarpone makes them quite memorable, but it’s totally optional – the crepes are marvelous on their own, or filled with fresh peaches and cottage cheese or just bananas and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a healthy breakfast. No sugar is called for in the crepe batter, but a little pure maple syrup is of course a tasty complement if you’re in the mood for a sweeter treat. At the bottom of this post you’ll find a recipe scaled down to serve 1 person (2 small crepes), and more pictures of some of the many crepes I made this week.

Buckwheat Flax Crepes:

Crepes are gluten-free, sugar free and dairy free if using coconut oil

 

¼ cup buckwheat flour

½ cup flax seed meal

1 t. baking powder

1 t. ground cinnamon

¼ t. sea salt

2 T. coconut oil, earth balance or butter, melted

4 eggs

½ cup finely grated zucchini (about 1/3 medium zucchini)

2 T. water

Spiced Raisin Mascarpone Cream:

½ cup raisins

¼ t. cinnamon

1 whole clove or a dash of ground cloves

3 T. water

3 T. unsweetened pure apple juice, or water

½ cup mascarpone (Italian cream cheese)

In a small saucepan, combine raisins, cinnamon, clove, water and juice. Bring to a simmer and cook 6-8 minutes, until raisins are plump and liquid has been absorbed. Assemble crepe ingredients while raisins are cooking. Remove from heat, remove and discard clove and let cool.

In medium bowl, whisk together buckwheat flour, flax meal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Pour in melted coconut oil or butter, add egg, water and zucchini, and mix well. Preheat a small nonstick pan over medium heat and lightly coat with coconut oil (a couple drops will do). Once pan is hot, pour ¼ cup crepe batter into the pan and quickly tilt the pan to evenly distribute the batter over the pan. Crepes should be thin – use just enough batter to cover your pan. Cover the pan and cook approximately 1 ½ – 2 minutes or until the batter has cooked through (no need to flip). Move crepe to a plate, lightly oil your pan again and repeat. Recipe yields 8 crepes.

Once you’ve given the raisin mixture a few minutes to cool (Remember to find and discard the clove!), pulse in a food processor 30 seconds. Move to a small bowl and fold in mascarpone, mixing well.

Serve crepes with the raisin-mascarpone cream, sliced bananas and a drizzle of maple syrup. Or forget the bananas and create a crepe cake, spreading the raisin-mascarpone cream between 4 or more layers of crepes and slice like a cake.

Amounts for 1 serving (makes 2 crepes):

1 T. buckwheat flour

2 T. flax seed meal

¼ t. baking powder

¼ t. spice (mix it up depending on your fillings)

Generous pinch of sea salt

½ T. coconut oil, earth balance or butter, melted

1 egg

2 T. finely grated zucchini

1/2 T. water

For Carrot Crepes: substitute finely shredded carrots for the zucchini

For 100% Flax Crepes: replace buckwheat with flax meal (3/4 cup total for full recipe)

 

Healthy Addictions: Chocolate Kale Smoothies October 4, 2012

Did you know that kale and chocolate both rank in the top 5 most nutrient dense foods on the planet? Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef, and more calcium than milk, it’s high in vitamin A (300% daily recommended value), C (89% daily value) and K (1,000% daily value), anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, is believed to help lower cholesterol, help with detoxification, and contains 10% of the recommended daily omega-3 intake.

Read more about this awesome green here and here.

So kale keeps you healthy, and chocolate, naturally, makes you fall in love. Chocolate raises serotonin levels, provides magnesium, improves blood flow, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. Just don’t mix your dark chocolate with regular cow’s milk because it negates the antioxidant benefits. I use almond milk in the smoothie for this reason and for taste, and haven’t read anywhere that almonds inhibit the absorption of chocolate’s nutrients.

I created this recipe because my 3 year old loves dark chocolate but is not likely to chow down on a full serving of kale if served for dinner, so a smoothie felt like a promising way of delivering this powerful grow food, and anything containing chocolate is automatically viewed a “treat”. She asked for thirds, so we’ll be making this a lot in the future.

Create a healthy addiction in your life…start making more smoothies!

Chocolate Kale Smoothie

16 oz almond milk

¾ cup frozen blueberries

2 bananas, peeled and frozen

1 T. honey

¼ t. vanilla extract

1 ½ T. soy protein powder (optional)

1 T. unsweetened cocoa, sifted

1 ½ cups fresh kale, washed and torn into large pieces

Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Pour into glasses or mugs and sprinkle with sifted cocoa. Serves 2-3.