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calabaza en tacha

4 Nov

calabaza en tacha I just don’t know why I made this. I hadn’t had sugar all month (Halloween included!) and now I’m WholeWhateverNumberofDaysUntilThanksgiving-ing (I started after making this, don’t you worry). Someone please remove it from my house. I didn’t even do a single thing for El Día de los Muertos, which is the holiday that made me decide to make this candied pumpkin, so I have no reason to have made it. Yeah, candied, sugary, syrupy pumpkin. Starring the world’s driest (and most absorbent?!) pumpkin that was prob sitting in some storehouse all winter and summer just waiting for some sucker like me to purchase it. I knew it felt a little light for its size… and the other one I bought feels even lighter. Fine, all the better to absorb any (clarified) butter I put on it after I roast it. Because, no I’m not going to make pumpkin pie with shortbread crust with it, like I really, really, realllllyyyyy want to. Except I’d use rice flour because it makes the shortbread all kinda grainy and I LOVE it. Okay, I’m done. No more sweets.
sugar pumpkin halved sugar pumpkin

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coconut milk kheer

17 Feb

real food coconut milk kheerI’ve had some pretty terrible rice puddings. Thin and anemic, the rice somehow devoid of any starch. And something about it being served cold, more often than not, just magnifies how watery and uninspired the “pudding” is. Gross. But I’ve also had some really delicious ones. Spiced just right, not too sweet, and so thick serving it cold might be hazardous. Kinda like this recipe here.
natural value organic coconut milk no guar gum coconut milk I finally took the plunge and ordered a case of coconut milk online. I’ve of late been refusing to use the guar gummed coconut milk. I’ve been fairly convinvced it makes me feel terrible after an objectionable run-in with some commercial coconut milk ice cream, and while I’ve had some non-ice cream canned stuff in recent past and been alright, I’m still done with it. Enter the unfortunately titled “Natural Value” coconut milk. I’m not entirely sure it’s not an off-brand from Family Dollar. But hey, the placebo effect is a real thing, ya know?
arborio rice rinsing rice rinsed arborio rice I cut my hair! Bangs! Ugh, what was I thinking. They’re the worst! Now I actually have to style my hair. Now I actually have to wash my hair regularly. I have this big dumb cowlick in the front of my head that makes my hair look real dumb if I don’t comb and brush and curl and blow dry it. Also, I need to stop eating so much dessert. I shouldn’t have made this pudding. I think my chin and neck have come together to meet in unholy matrimony.
saffron cardamom pods boiling pudding Instead of arborio rice as I use here, jasmine rice is also a great rice to use, as is basmati. Jasmine’s flavor makes up for any difference in starch content between it and arborio I think. Golden raisins are also a nice addition, as are other nuts as garnishes – toasted almonds or toasted cashews. The saffron is optional. I have some from a Middle Eastern market and it was really inexpensive, but I know normally it’s not. And please don’t think you can make this with cauliflower rice or some other such nonsense. I mean you could, but I can think of way better things to use cauliflower for. You could use sprouted brown rice if you’re so inclined, but just decrease the amount of coconut milk you use since it’ll cook so quickly. I might try that with some brown Jasmine rice I have. I like sprouting things.
clarks local colorado honey pistachios chopped pistachios coconut milk kheer
serves about 6 – 8

1/2 cup arborio rice
2 cans coconut milk
6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
generous pinch saffron
4 tablespoons honey
shelled and peeled pistachios

1. Wash and rinse the rice until the water runs clear.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the rice, coconut milk, cardamom, salt, and saffron over medium high heat until it starts to boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently, especially toward the end as the mixture gets thicker.

3. Stir in the honey and cook an additional few minutes, stirring frequently.

Serve with chopped pistachios on top. If you can wait until it’s closer to room temperature (aka prime mouth-shoveling temperature) then it’s supreme.

honey almond cake

27 Jan

paleo spanish honey almond cakeWhoa look, something sweet on here! I told you I failed my Whole30. I’m going out with bang. A somewhat Paleo-friendly bang, with a whole food, deliciously ethnic cake to celebrate my impending trip to Spain. That’s right, I’m turning 30 and I’ve decided I can’t stand not having seen the world anymore. I even signed up for a Spanish class, which I would have done regardless of my decision to go to Spain. I always regret not having continued my years of middle and high school Spanish. I was so happy to drop the class when I did, but only because I was so overworked. But I’m determined to get back into speaking Spanish and how convenient it will be in Spain when I can ask “¿Dónde puedo conseguir una Torta de Santiago?” and not have to consult Google Translate.
room temperature eggs local honeyThis morning when I opened up the front curtains, I saw that the neighbor’s and our lawns were flooded. At first I thought that perhaps he was just smarter than I and thought to water his lawn in the midst of this winter drought, while our lawn withers away. But I went out to investigate and after tromping barefoot through our pond-yard, saw that all the water was coming from an irrigation pipe under his yard. Sweet! Have fun sucker! How wonderful it was to find our sump pump in the basement spewing water, our downstairs bathroom flooded, and the little closet in the basement where we keep all our outdoorsy gear equally flooded. Awesome. The backyard looked pretty great with sleeping bags and backpacks hanging on branches out to dry.
raw almonds raw almond mealI first made this cake back in Boston for a ridiculous tapas party where I cooked for hours. There was so much food you would think I would’ve learned my lesson never to make approximately ten times what any one person could ever eat. Nope, I’ve replicated that kind of spread many times since – Thanksgivings, Christmases, Super Bowl parties… on and on, and the more I’m thinking about it right now, the more I want to have a tapas party. It’s been so long! Chorizo! Mackerel! Shrimp! Potatoes! This cake! Because it’s lovely and impressive and it’s grain-free and that’s so hip.
beaten egg whites paleo honey almond cakeI hate blanching almonds. I’m just not fussy enough about that kind of thing. And when I really should be using Marcona almonds anyway for this cake, I feel okay about leaving the skins on. Besides, the almonds are ground fine enough that you don’t run the risk of getting sheaths of skin suctioned on your teeth. If you’d rather buy pre-blanched almonds in almond flour form, that’s cool. Are all almonds you buy pasteurized? That’s so irritating.

honey almond cake
adapted from lots of recipes for torta de Santiago

6 eggs at room temperature, separated
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 lemon
9 oz almonds, finely ground

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks, honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until combined. Mix in the ground almonds.

2. In a separate mixing bowl, and with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the almond mixture.

3. Line a springform cake pan, or just a regular cake pan, with parchment paper. Grease the sides. Pour in the batter and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.

Now, you can top this cake how you’d like – you can get fancy and make an egg white frosting or dust with powdered sugar (if you make your own of course – or not, if you love that GMO cornstarch) or you can go nice and simple and drizzle extra honey on top. That’s my favorite.
paleo spanish almond cake slice

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