April 20, 2013
As fuel for my first roller derby bout as a Hiram Stalker, I decided to simplify my protein snack formula somewhat. While the last batch of bars I made were easy and delicious, the texture was still a little odd, kind of a combination between gooey and brittle, if you can imagine such a combination. I wanted to try again without baking, which meant two changes: no water in the mix, and smaller pieces.
There’s no real recipe, just a bunch of good things thrown together and formed into little balls, but I’ll try to give an approximation of what I did. Start with nuts and dried fruit in a 1:1 ratio in the food processor, and pulse it
until you think your food processor’s motor is going to burn out and then a little more* until you get a mixture that clumps and follows itself around the blade. I used a cup of almonds, a cup of walnuts, a cup and a half of dates and half a cup of raisins. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add whatever you want to it. I divided my mixture into thirds, adding about a tablespoon each of hemp hearts, hemp protein powder, and sesame seeds, and about a teaspoon** (in retrospect, probably too much) chia seed to each. Then handfuls of shredded coconut to two batches and a handful of chopped (roasted, salted) peanuts to the other. Roll it into tight little balls of about a tablespoon then roll in your toppings to coat. I rolled mine in shredded coconut, toasted sesame seeds, and cocoa. I made a more carb-laden second batch, not shown here, that was basically all the same ingredients plus a couple of handfuls of rolled oats, and enough peanut butter to keep them together (mixed in a bit at a time with a pastry blender in order to keep the peanut butter as scant as possible).
Lay them all out on a parchment lined baking sheet and pop them into the fridge to cool, and you’re done!
Now share a whole bunch with your teamies and then go play some roller derby or do something else rad.
*EDIT: while this first batch seemed to take hours, and involved opening up the food processor multiple times to pry blobs of date and pieces of nut out from under the blades, the batch I made a few days later took only 5 minutes. Two major differences: there was only half as much material in the food processor, about a cup each of nuts and dried fruit; and unlike the first time around, this time I put the nuts in on the BOTTOM and the dates on the TOP. Dates are just way too sticky to go on the bottom.
**EDIT, AGAIN: use less than this, a lot less, unless you really need to clean your colon out well, if you catch my drift. Use a quarter teaspoon or less for 1/3 of the “2 cups nuts, 2 cups fruit” amount. You can also use psyllium seed husk or ground flax seed instead of chia seed; all will have the same effect of helping to glue the balls together and also of helping you be regular.
Posted by jodi on April 20, 2013 at 8.31am
April 12, 2013
Here is the best way I have come up with so far for eating the salt-preserved grapefruits: thinly sliced and generously piled on top of a bowl of frozen (or fresh) berries, plain full-fat yogourt, a drizzle of maple syrup, handful of walnuts, tablespoon of toasted kasha, tablespoon of hemp hearts. The flesh of the grapefruits is beautifully tart and salty, so it’s first scooped out and dumped onto the yogourt, then the bitter pith is scraped out and discarded and the outer rind sliced and piled on top of the bowl.
Grapefruit doesn’t seem to be the right flavour to substitute for preserved lemons in cooking, so it seems I’ll be eating a lot of this. The brainstorming and experimentation for these is now moving away from food and towards cocktails; stay tuned!
Posted by jodi on April 12, 2013 at 8.33am
February 25, 2013
5 grapefruits, freshly put up in salt, their own juices, the juice of one lemon, and a bit of fenugreek seed and black peppercorns. It should be a relatively gentle introduction to preserving food by fermenting, which seems a little bit terrifying after more than a decade of very careful hot water processing. But life is full of little everyday dangers, and I know people who ferment their food and do not die from it, and oh! heaven, is this stuff going to taste brilliant over a bowl of thick, plain yogourt. Eventually. Fermentually. Hah.
Posted by jodi on February 25, 2013 at 5.01pm
February 20, 2013
I’ve tried my hand at homemade protein bars before, with mixed-to-poor results, using mixtures of mashed beans, fruits, quinoa flour and loads of other ingredients that just don’t add up to something I enjoy eating. There are plenty of commercial protein bars on the market that have too many ingredients and taste half-gross without going to the trouble of making them at home, so I gave up for a while, until it dawned on me that the perfect recipe should satisfy the rule I use when shopping for food at the grocery store: 5 ingredients or less* or I don’t eat it. So with simplicity in mind, I whipped up a little bar with just the basics. They came out delicious, if a tad gooey; this could be rectified by baking a little longer, or by adding quinoa flour or something similar to cut down on the goo factor of the dates. I’ll try grinding some quinoa (and perhaps shredding a bit of coconut) into it next time and let you know how it goes, but in the meantime these are well worth making as is.
Of course I don’t measure anything but this is a close approximation of what I did. As long as there’s enough gooey stuff to hold everything else together, it doesn’t have to be exact. Feel free to change any of the nuts to different nuts that suit you better, but if you don’t use any that are salted you may wish to add a little salt.
Date Nut Bars (makes approximately 15 bars)
-3 cups pitted dates, soaked for a few hours and drained well
-1 tbsp ground flax seed
-3 servings** of your preferred protein powder (I used 12 tbsp of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 70)
-1/2 cup chopped raw almonds
-1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts
-3/4 cup chopped oil roasted salted peanuts
-1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
Purée the dates in a food processor until smooth. You will likely need to add a bit of water to get the job done, but use as little as you can get away with.
Transfer the date purée to a bowl and mix in your protein powder and flax seed until well blended.
Fold in seeds and nuts and scrape it all onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, smoothing the mixture out to about 1cm thick. You will want to oil your parchment very lightly; I didn’t, and when I flipped the bars at the halfway point the parchment stuck quite a bit.
Bake for an hour in a 200° F oven. Oil a new piece of parchment paper and lay it oil-side down on top of the bars. Then carefully flip the whole thing over onto the new parchment. Remove the first piece of parchment and discard. You may wish to score lines for cutting at this point, but you don’t have to. Bake it for one more hour, remove from the oven and let cool a bit before cutting it into 15 equal pieces. It will all seem rather floppy at first but will firm up on cooling.
Calories per bar: 199
Fat: 9 grams
Protein: 8 grams
* yes, I realize this recipe has more than 5 ingredients. It’s not a hard and fast rule, just a way to make sure I’m eating mostly whole foods most of the time.
** go ahead and use more than this if you want in order to up the total protein per bar. The hemp protein I use has a strong flavour and so I added it a bit at a time, tasting as I went, and stopped at the point where it seemed like it might take over the flavour of the bars too much. But next time I make them I’m going to use a lot more.
Posted by jodi on February 20, 2013 at 12.51pm
December 5, 2012
Posted by jodi on December 5, 2012 at 4.25pm
October 30, 2012
The Macintosh apples have been scarce this year, owing to some unseasonably warm weather in the spring that coaxed many of the province’s orchards to start putting out buds, only to be destroyed a few days later when temperatures plunged down to freezing. Our regular supplier didn’t have any at all, and we had to go north of London to find some. On Thanksgiving weekend we picked up a half bushel of small, slightly hail-damaged apples. Macs are the only apples I eat, and only while they’re in season, so after the last few disappear I won’t get any more until next fall.
I found this recipe in an old binder in the attic while searching for a recipe for a curry pickle that I made one time back in the 1990s, with a mind to adapting it for pickling Brussels sprouts (more on that later). I used to make these cakes a few times a year but haven’t made them since before we moved to Windsor in 2001. We don’t eat sweets very often, but it seemed a worthwhile use of our precious few remaining apples, if only for nostalgia’s sake. It’s a German recipe, handed down in the family of an old friend of ours named Erinhilt, with whom we drifted out of touch some time in the late 90s. I hope she wouldn’t mind my sharing it with you now.
This is the sturdy German farm girl* of the cupcake world, uncomplicated and only slightly sweet in flavour, with a crisp, buttery bottom and a nice substantial density in the middle. The eggs and butter provide the only moisture, so I like to soften the butter until it’s partially melted to make it all easier to mix together. Normally I would tweak a recipe like this to make it a little healthier, but given that I haven’t made it since I was in my 20s, we can afford to eat a little white sugar and white flour this one time. Substitute flax eggs for the eggs (1 tbsp ground flax seed + 1 tbsp water per egg) and margarine for the butter if you want to make it vegan (I used to make them with margarine and they were just as good).
makes about 15-20
-4 to 6 apples
-4 eggs, lightly beaten
-1 cup sugar (white sugar, or your preferred sweetener)
-1/2 lb butter, softened
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tbsp baking powder
-3.5 cups all-purpose flour
-small amount of brown sugar and cinammon for dusting, mixed together in a small bowl
Skip the apples and mix all other ingredients in order. The dough will be very stiff and sticky, like this:
Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with butter and fill the cups 3/4 full.
Quarter, core and peel just enough apples for the first dozen if you only have one muffin tin; if you have to do a second batch, it’s better to prepare the apples fresh so they don’t have time to brown.
Make four lengthwise slices in each apple quarter, ending about half a centimetre or so from the ends.
Then roll the outside of the apples in the cinnamon and sugar mixture, and put one on top of each cup, coaxing the gaps open slightly as you gently press them down into the tops of your cakes. You don’t need to actually open the gaps, just get them ready to open; they should spread out once the cakes rise around them.
Bake at between 350° and 375° Fahrenheit (I used 375°, but my oven runs a little to the cold side) for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean.
*“sturdy German farm girl” is how I always describe my genetic physique, strong and solid like my grandmother, a Pennsylvania Dutch descended farm girl who still lives on her own and takes care of herself and hauls her washing machine across the kitchen floor to do laundry and still works at her home tailoring business into her 90s and is my inspiration for old age.
Posted by jodi on October 30, 2012 at 3.50pm
October 19, 2012
Just when it looks like the canning is almost finished for the season, another great idea or low price on produce presents itself and out comes the kettle once more. We are so close now to everything that is going to be put up being finally put. But there will be one more (different) batch of pickled Brussels sprouts yet, plus the garlic still to pickle, plus some chutney. I’ve been waiting until the season’s canning is done to give a full recap, but the way things are going it may be the dead of winter before that happens.
Posted by jodi on October 19, 2012 at 8.08am
October 10, 2012
It’s become too cold most days for us to eat our suppers, as is our warm weather custom, out on the front porch. Now that we’ve been driven indoors I find myself craving easy summertime meals like this gorgeous lunch we ate quite a few times at Pennsic this year.
Strips of eggplant and red pepper, sliced zucchini and yellow crookneck squash, and thinly sliced onions fried in olive oil for a very long time until they’re fully caramelized, with a splash of soy sauce thrown in at the end. It’s tastier if you do the onions on their own so their flavour doesn’t mix with everything else as much. Serve on whole wheat hamburg buns fried in the leftover oil, with broccoli sprouts, black pepper and loads of French’s mustard.
Posted by jodi on October 10, 2012 at 8.08pm
September 30, 2012
Ready for roasting, and so pretty.
Posted by jodi on September 30, 2012 at 9.10am
September 15, 2012
A little more of the season’s preserving: this is about a quarter bushel of sweet red bell peppers, roasted and packed in oil. Best enjoyed, if you’re the vegan hippie type (hint: I am), like this:
Atop slices of wheat-free flax “bread” (recipe from Ani Phyo’s Raw Food Kitchen) spread with a gingery cashew pâté.
Posted by jodi on September 15, 2012 at 9.13am