Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sun-day Dinner

Vegetarian Meatballs with Pistachio Pesto 

Vegetarian Meatballs

1 c cooked pearled farro
1 c coarsely chopped bread crumbs (I used country sourdough) 
* 5 whole portobello mushrooms, chopped (~2 cups chopped mushrooms)
1/2 c chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic

1/2 c chopped parsley
a few sprigs of thyme
a few sprigs of rosemary 
1 can of chickpeas (or lentils or any type of bean)
1 egg
1/2 c parmesan
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
red pepper flakes

* I happened to be using the smoker the day I made these, so I threw the portobellos on the smoker for 30 minutes. 

Pistachio Pesto

2 c fresh basil
1/2-1 c olive oil
2 tbs white wine vinegar (or lemon juice, or both)
1/4 c shelled roasted pistachios
1/4 c parmesan
red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients in a food processor and add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl mix the cooked farro, bread crumbs, half of the mushrooms, onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, and rosemary. In a food processor blend the chickpeas and the remaining half of the chopped mushrooms and blend into a chunky paste. Add chickpea and mushroom mixture to the bowl with the initial ingredients, add egg, parmesan, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and use your hands to mix. If the mix is too wet add more bread crumbs. If it is too dry add water or vegetable broth. The mix should form into balls easily without falling apart. Oil a baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes, turning 20 minutes in. Serve with pesto. 

I additionally spiralized some zucchini to serve with these. Pasta or risotto would be great as well.

It's supposed to be cold. Really cold. It is February after all. Warm, filling, comforting meals are in order right? Well it was close to 70 degrees this past weekend. While I simultaneously smoked a pork belly, it felt right to pursue a plant based version of what is typically considered a cold weather comfort food. Plus there's that whole carbon footprint thing. Weather aside, I will be making these again. Soon.    

Friday, February 3, 2017

for the love of cinnamon

Honey Cinnamon Sourdough

This recipe was inspired by and modified from the King Arthur Flour Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough recipe, which I had made many times prior to trying 100% wild fermented sourdough. Coincidentally londonbreadbaker (who I recommend you check out) very recently posted a naturally leavened version of this recipe from King Arthur as well, as they were inspired by someone they follow, and so on and so on. Go ahead and try it, everyone's doing it, haha. My modifications below:  

3 1/2-4 c white flour
1 1/2 c warm brewed cinnamon tea (chai would be nice too)
1/2-1 c starter (unfed)
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 tbs butter
1 egg

1/4 c honey
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/2 c raisins (optional - Billy doesn't love raisins so I resisted)

Dilute the starter in the tea. Add the flour, salt, egg and butter and mix with your hands until it comes together to be tacky but not too firm. Cover it with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and leave it alone for 8-10 hours in a room temp-warm place.Once it's doubled in size, turn it onto a floured towel and stretch into a large rectangle about 1 inch thick (gluten free or rice flour prevents sticking). Mix the honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove and drizzle in an even layer across the dough, avoiding the edges by about an inch. Quickly and carefully (yes this is tricky) roll the dough, folding the edges inward as you roll to avoid the filling leaking over the side, into something that resembles a loaf. Place in a bowl or basket and cover it with a kitchen towel for another 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Preheat your oven to 500 with a cast iron dutch oven inside. When ready to bake, flip the dough into the cast iron, remove the towel, score the top (I forgot for this bake sadly), and bake with lid on at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes take the lid off and reduce heat to 450 for another 15 minutes. Cool on a rack and enjoy.

I must admit, it wasn't pretty...forgetting to score the dough and the elongated shape the dough took after rolling it left some room for improvement. Also the fluidity of the honey made the swirl effect uneven. The sugar, cinnamon, flour on egg wash recommended in the King Arthur recipe makes for a much nicer swirl, but I have been attempting to replace processed cane sugar with more raw alternatives, so here we are, with a slightly ridiculous looking but absolutely delicious naturally fermented cinnamon sourdough. February, the month hosting Valentines Day, I decided it's a good month to be a little kinder to myself and to others and to just enjoy the way things are. Maybe that happens to be slightly ridiculous but delicious. I'll take it.   

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