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Archive for the ‘spring’ Category

How fun! I recently accepted a challenge to make a recipe for my blog using coconut flour.

And I made for you a cake roll. A rather ugly but really tasty cake roll. 

I had never used coconut flour before. I tend to be all old-fashioned and not stray from my typical ingredients. I do it for many reasons but one being that I like to use as much local food as possible and coconut isn’t exactly local. Not that I don’t use it, but when I do, it’s mostly the flaky stuff in my granola and occasionally coconut oil to saute some veggies. 

Local or not, I am loving playing with this flour. Coconut flour I s high in protein and fiber and makes delicious baked goods. I was worried that I would be able to taste the coconut in my cake but couldn’t at all. So have no fear in using it if you don’t love coconut.

I’m excited to use the rest of my bag in all sorts of ways. Perhaps some pancakes with those raspberries ripening out in the garden? 

Cherry Cream Roll

6 eggs, separated

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 t baking soda

1 t vanilla

Cherry Cream (below)

Beat the yolks with the honey until thick and frothy. Add the coconut flour, baking soda, and vanilla and beat well.

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into the yolk mixture. Pour into a parchment-lined jelly-roll pan. Spread out as flat as you can with a spatula as it will not even out much in the oven. I could have done a better job of this.

Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes. As soon as you take it out of the oven, remove it from the pan using the edges of the parchment. Roll it up and place it in the fridge, seam side down, to cool. Meanwhile, make the filling. When it’s cool, unroll it (it will probably start to fall apart but easily goes back together when re-rolling), spread the filling on, and then roll it back up, removing the parchment as you go. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to one day.

Serves: 10

Cherry Cream

1 1/2 pounds semi-sweet cherries (1 1/4 pounds once seed are removed)

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 t almond extract

Lightly mash the cherries and place them in a skillet. Add the sugar and simmer, stirring often, until reduced to about a cup. It will take about 30 minutes. Chill completely before proceeding with whipped cream.

1 T cream cheese

12 oz heavy whipping cream

1/2 t vanilla

1 T sugar

Place the cream cheese in a large bowl. Pour in a few drops of cream. Smash around with a spoon. Add a few more drops of cream and smash again. Keep doing this until the cream cheese is thinned out enough that it won’t lump up when you add the rest of the cream. When you reach that point, pour in the remaining cream and beat until frothy. Add the vanilla and sugar and beat until stiff. Fold in the chilled cherries and it’s ready to be spread on the cake.

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This morning I cooked three pounds of dried beans. Then we had to go away before I could get them frozen. 4 o’clock found me needing something quick for supper and what do you know, the beans were still sitting out so I hunted down a salad recipe. Vegetarian recipe books are good ones for the bean recipes so i checked in my Fix-It and Forget-It Vegetarian Cookbook. Jackpot!

Cilantro is a relatively new herb for me. I did not grow up eating it and only really tried it when Brad requested that I make guacamole and the recipe I chose called for it. I ended up buying one of those sad grocery-store pots of the stuff. It made delicious guac so I bought an actual plant and, much to the children’s dismay, planted it. And the stuff readily reseeds itself so we will forever have cilantro. Sorry kids. 

The original recipe calls for half a bunch of parsley and half of cilantro. I cut way back since nobody is a fan of that many herbs around here. Nobody really likes bean salad either (except me) but sometimes I ask them deal with it. Sorry kids.   

(Other similar bean salads I’ve blogged: here, here, and a bean salsa here.) 

All that to say, this is quick, fresh, and delicious!  

Puerto Rican Bean Salad

Adapted from the aforementioned cookbook

4 cups cooked dry beans (I used black, kidney, and navy)

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 bell pepper, chopped (I used frozen)

1 rib celery, chopped

2 T fresh parsley

2 T fresh cilantro

Couple of T pineapple juice

1/2 t lime zest

Good drizzle of olive oil

Good drizzle of red wine vinegar 

1 t salt

Drizzle of honey

3/4 t chili powder

1/4 t oregano 

Mix everything together and chill several hours before serving. 

Yield: about 5 cups 

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Every now and then I have a (slightly) genius idea.  

This salad is one of them. The fresh asparagus is lightly steamed just enough to take away the raw edge. Then frozen peas (or fresh!) are cooked just enough to freshen them up a bit. Throw on the dressing and you have spring in a pretty bowl!  

Asparagus and Green Pea Salad

1 handful fresh asparagus, diced

a generous cup of peas

1 T fresh chives

a good drizzle of olive oil

a splash of red wine vinegar

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Steam asparagus and peas just enough to take off raw edge. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve room temp or chilled.

Yield: 2-3 cups? 

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Oh deary me. Having my brother around is not going to be good for my post-baby waist. Look at the things he requests!

 Here’s to practicing restraint and self-control!  

Cherry Squares

Adapted from Fix-It and Forget-It Best of Mennonite Fellowship Meals

1 cup + 3 T softened butter

2 1/4 cups cane sugar

6 large eggs

3/4 t vanilla extract

1 t almond extract

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

3-4 cups cherry pie filling

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating well after each one. Add extracts and mix.

Stir flours, baking powder, and salt together. Add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Butter and flour a half-sheet pan. Pour batter in and spread it out. Drizzle/dollop cherry pie filling over batter. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in a cake-y part comes out clean.

Cool in pan. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving, if desired. 

Serves: 24

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I made this today for a quick lunch. It was refreshing on this muggy day. It would also make for a lovely light supper. I would love to try this salad with wheat berries or something similar in place of the pasta but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to get other family members to eat it so pasta it was! Switch up the green veggies if you don’t happen to have what I used.  Sesame and Spring Veggie Chicken Pasta Salad

Adapted from Simply in Season

1 1/2 cups (or a bit more) chicken stock

1 t soy sauce 1 t toasted sesame oil

3/4 cup small pasta, uncooked (orzo, ABCs, etc)

1 cup chopped asparagus

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup frozen red pepper

1 cup cooked diced chicken

1 cup cooked white beans

3 T lemon juice

2 T soy sauce

1 T olive oil

1 T chopped chives

1/4 t fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

1 T toasted sesame seeds

Bring stock, sesame oil, and 1 t soy sauce to a boil. Add pasta and cook until almost all of liquid is absorbed. Add asparagus and cook a few more minutes or until pasta is al dente and asaparagus is crisp tender. Add more stock if it’s getting too dry.  Put peas and peppers into a bowl. Dump the hot pasta over top and stir. Add chicken and beans.   Stir together the lemon juice, oil, soy sauce, chives, and black pepper. Pour over the salad and stir. Chill or serve room temperature, topping with almonds and sesame seeds just prior to serving.

Serves 3-4

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I had watercress for the first time last spring. My grandma served it to me on butter bread. A simple way to use some of the first spring greens! 

I also have spinach early this year thanks to my cold frame. We’ve been eating it in large salads (or sautéed with butter and salt) because we are almost out of green veggies in the freezer. Only two meals of beans left!

(But the asparagus is up! We shall soon feast on garden goodies every day.)

My current favorite spinach salad has toasted almonds, cheddar cheese, and raisins on top. I use this dressing or just a balsamic vinegar and walnut oil. 

So there you go. A simple spring lunch.   

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What a lovely spin on a classic biscuit.

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This recipe has been in my “must try” recipe box ever since I started collecting recipes when I was young. I have no idea where it came from but the writing is mine so I must have copied it from somewhere.

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Quick. Before frost takes your fresh herbs. Make these!

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Garden Fresh Dinner Biscuits

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all – purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 T minced fresh parsley
2 T minced fresh chives
2 T finely grated carrot
4 T cold butter
3/4 cup cold milk

Combine the flours, baking powder, salt, and herbs/veggies. Cut in the cold butter with a fork and knife until it resembles fine crumbs. Gently stir in the milk to form a ball of dough. Lightly flour the counter and form the dough into a 7 inch square. Cut into nine squares and place them one quarter inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 450° oven for about 10 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Yield: 9 medium biscuits

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