Coconut Black Sesame Seed Granola

black sesame coconut nola 1

Spring. Spring. Spring. Spring. Spring.

Sun. Picnics. Granola sprinkled on creamy cold yogurt….

Though in my head I am chanting some sort of spring-song (you know, to supposedly bring on the warm weather) the guy on TV says snow on and off for the next week…My reaction? Bake something that gives off sunshine! This granola is a mix of winter spices like cinnamon and ground ginger but has an island-sweetness from the coconut, a satisfying crunch from the walnuts, and a hint of chocolate from the cocoa powder. And lets not forget about the lovely nuttiness from the black sesame seeds..I have a soft spot for these beauties and tend to sprinkle them on EVERYTHING. Basically this morning treat is a combination of many many things that equal one bright and satisfyingly tasty breakfast. When eaten with yogurt and fruit one has complete permission to pretend not to see the late march snowflakes outside the window.

If you have on hand, add in dried cranberries or any other favorite dried fruits.

nola 2

Picture 94

nola 3

nola 6

nola 4

Coconut Black Sesame Seed Granola

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup chopped raw walnuts

1/2 cup raw black sesame seeds, add more if you like them as much as I do

1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 heaping tsp cinnamon

1/2 heaping tsp ground ginger

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/3 cup maple syrup, or honey

If you want a sweeter granola you can add an additional 1/4 cup honey, maple syrup, or molasses

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut flakes

desirable add-ins: dried fruits (cranberries) chocolate chips (after granola has cooled)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix all of the ingredients together until the contents are coated well. Scoop out onto the baking sheet and spread out with a large spoon or your hands. Make sure granola layer is not to thick or it will not bake to a proper crispness. Bake for about an hour stirring every 15-20 minutes. Let cool before transferring to an airtight container.

Eat on its own as a snack, with milk, yogurt, fruit, ice cream…

~ Enjoy! ~

nola 5

~

Apple Yogurt Upside-Down Cake

A Morning Worthy of Cake. Apple Cake.

apple_cake_1I am back! Shall I do a little dance? I think YES. It has been a busy busy past couple of months, the highlight being a romp through the Scottish highlands and Dublin in December. But it is a new year and I can’t wait to start putting more time in here.

This tasty treat is meant for fall, when the leaves are just starting to turn and the first cool breezes make themselves known…but when you have all the ingredients on hand and the exact number of crisp pink lady apples staring at you from the side of the counter…I say go for it. This is the coldest week I’ve experienced yet in New York (I actually NEED one of those face-sweaters..) and this cake is as delicious in the middle of Winter as it is in Fall. Full of warmth and comfort it is meant to be eaten at any time of day, while sitting on the couch, with thirty quilts, a thick pair of woolen socks and a cup of hot tea.

apple_cake_2

apple_cake_3

apple_cake_4

apple_cake_6

apple_cake_5

apple_cake_7

apple_cake_8

Apple Yogurt Upside-Down Cake ~ adapted from Small Plates & Sweet Treats

3 pink lady apple

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp + more honey

2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup brown rice flour + 1 tbsp

1/3 cup almond flour

1/4 cup millet flour + 1 tbsp

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 heaping tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

3 eggs

1/2 cup packed dark muscovado sugar

1/2 cup whole-milk plain yogurt

1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 8 by 8-inch square cake pan (or an 8 by 3-inch round cake pan) and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Core the apples, quarter them, then cut each piece in half once more. Heat the coconut oil, 2 tbsp of honey and vanilla extract in a large saute pan (any soup or sauce pot will work, you may just need to cook the apples for a bit longer) over medium heat. Add the sliced apples and cook for about 10 minutes or until apples are soft but not mushy. Let cool for a few minutes before handling. Arrange the apples on the bottom of the cake pan as tightly as possible and pour any remaining liquid in the pot over the apples.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. In a separate smaller bowl mix the eggs, dark muscovado sugar, honey (I did about 2 tbsp add more for a sweeter cake), olive oil, and yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined. Pour the batter into the cake pan making sure that it is evenly distributed over the apples. Bake for about 50min-1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes before carefully flipping. Allow to cool before serving. Keep in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days or freeze.

Serve warm by itself or with a speckled vanilla bean ice cream.

apple_cake_9

~ Stay Warm! ~

A Rhubarb Fool

I have been away for a bit longer then favorable. Summer can do that to a person. IF you can call the weather in NYC summer, I think we had a few days of it….somewhere….lost amongst the rain, lightening storms, fog, and chilly winds most likely. Not letting this get in the way, however, I am still very much in a sunny mood. Promise. So lets get down and dirty and shall I say ‘foolish‘ with this lovely summer treat.

This recipe is from Laura at thefirstmess. I love every single one of her recipes and her photography is all sorts of crazy awesome. I might even go as far as to say I have a bit of food-blog-crush going on. Yes food-obbsessed people should know what I am talking about…when good recipes and pictures combine I hear angels sing….

…..But Back to the Fool. This is basicly a very tart rhubarb compote. Can you believe this was my first time ever trying rhubarb? It will not be the last. I layered mine with yogurt and paired it with banana coconut bread in the morning. It would be great on ice cream and probably a million other tasty combinations.

Click here for the original link.

Combine the chopped rhubarb (only the pink pieces), orange juice, cardamon, and ginger in a sauce pan and cook over medium heat for around fifteen minutes until the rhubarb has broken down and the fool will resembles a compote. Use more/less honey or other liquid sweetener depending on your own level for sweetness. The link above goes into detail on why this dish is called a fool.

Go let yourself loose in these summer days. Be Foolish.

Sweet Citrus Acorn Squash with Ginger & Honeyed Goat Cheese

Have you had enough squash yet? I admit I’m about ready to give it a rest for a while..BUT this, this is something differnt. A fresh look on squash with a citrus zing. Butternut squash is the new soup staple, from spicy purees to stuffed ravioli it’s everywhere. However there are many other varieties out there just waiting for your love and care! Welcome acorn squash.

I went for a sweet take with hints of citrus and ginger topped with a soft honeyed goat cheese. Now don’t be scared, but you can eat the skin. When cooked long enough it becomes soft and gives the dish an earthy flare.

Sweet Citrus Acorn Squash with Ginger & Honeyed Goat Cheese

One acorn squash, sliced

1 tbsp olive oil + extra for drizzle

1/2 tsp ground ginger

zest of one lemon

juice of half a lemon

ground sea salt

1 tsp dark muscavado sugar

sesame seeds

8 ounces of honeyed goat cheese (regular is fine)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, then slice and set aside. In a bowl whisk together all ingredients except sesame seeds, salt, and goat cheese. Lay the squash out in a pan or baking dish (grease if necessary) Pour sauce over the squash, grind a little sea salt on top and bake for around 30 mins or longer. When the squash is cooked through and the edges are beginning to brown they should be done. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with the honeyed goat cheese.

I was able to find honeyed goat cheese at my local grocer, to make it yourself simply stir honey to taste into a soft goat cheese.

I ate this simply with a salad but it would make a wonderful side dish.

Apple Tarts

Apple Tarts

I picked up the cookbook, La Tartine Gourmande, a couple weeks ago and am obsessed. I am constantly finding myself flipping through its beautiful pages wondering what I will make next. I have mentioned this before but this book speaks to me, I am in love with everything from the recipes to the images. The one recipe I couldn’t wait to try is Bea’s take on the apple tart. With a strong taste of lemon, spicy ginger, walnuts, and sweet pink lady apple on a thin crumbly crust there is no way one can go wrong.

As spring approaches I am finding myself cooking more with apples and roots, funny the foods you can crave sometimes. I Experimented with a celeriac apple soup earlier this week with hints of sweet potato (also inspired from La Tartine Gourmande)

But lets get back to these delicious tarts. They are supposed to be made into a larger size, so the apple can be fully fanned out. Is anyone else an admirer of fanned food? You can slice almost any ingredient paper thin, fan it out on a plate, and you are instantly a food style master. Try it sometime. Due to a lack of baking supplies I ended up baking my tarts in various sized muffin tins. I thoroughly enjoyed ending up with a large plate full of mini-apple-tartlets.

Apple Tarts ~ {From La Tartine Gourmande, Recipes for an Inspired Life}

I ended up using more almond flour and less sugar. I highly recommend picking up this book…Even if just to make a plate full of apple-tartlets.

Blueberry Lemon Ginger Compote

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day. Savory to sweet the options are endless.

This weekend it was a blueberrylemon and ginger compote over plain yogurt.

1 cup blueberries

2 tsp honey

1/8 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

rind of half a lemon

half the juice of a half a lemon.

In a small saucepan over low-medium heat add 1 cup blueberries (I used frozen, not sure on the result with fresh yet), honey, ginger, lemon rind, and lemon juice. If you like things sweet add another tsp or two of honey, this would also be wonderful with fresh grated ginger. Once sauce starts to bubble turn off the heat and let cool a minute. Spoon over tart plain yogurt and top with toasted nuts for a delicious breakfast any day.

Keep extra sauce in the fridge, I ended up using it on bread the next day.

Cheers to another week ~

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

It’s still not to late for soup.

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

Spring is around the corner, you can smell it in the air. I find myself daydreaming at work of beach towels and lemonade.

Unfortunately, at least here in New York, the weather has not completely caught up with my mind yet. So pull out that soup pot and take advantage of our last few chilly weeks. This soup is simple and warms you from the inside out, the ginger gives it a spicy kick and when topped with chopped pear the combo of chilled/sweet with spicy is quite pleasant.

This recipe was scribbled down on a piece of scrap paper at work, I cannot remember where I found the inspiration for this wonder, but will update if I come across it again.

Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup

Olive oil

4 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 minced garlic clove, or 1 to 2 tsp of already minced garlic

3 tbsp diced and peeled fresh ginger (use less if you don’s want your soup to have a kick)

1 cup cubed peeled butternut squash

1 peeled and diced apple (I used pink lady)

4 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

12 ounces coconut milk

diced pear

In a large soup pot heat about 2 tsp of oil (I used olive oil) over medium heat. Saute carrots and onion until soft, then add the garlic, ginger, butternut squash, and apple. And continue to saute for another couple minutes. Add broth, and salt if desired, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered for around 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Blend, then stir in coconut milk and add any additional spices to taste. Serve hot topped with fresh cut pear.

Have a lovely Sunday ~

A Very Hearty Cookie

It has been way too long since I’ve written on here. Way to long.

And the thing is that I have been concocting new things, from hummus to smoothies, but getting it all on here is the extra step I have skipped lately. Living in a post graduation world can be difficult, back home with all of my possessions in boxes, I day dream of new places as the job applying continues on. I am very optimistic about the fall, however. My imagination gets the better of me as I picture thousands upon thousands of fresh graduates storming the job market in June  like a pack of wild animals. With that in mind, waiting till the fall seems like a very smart idea.

During the summer wait I decided to get out of the 110 degree Georgia heat index and visit a friend in Canada. To no surprise I arrive at their hottest point of the season and didn’t see a temp below 90. Needless to say my story begins at the airport returning from my warm escape. I never have very good luck in airports, I hear it is hereditary for my Uncle has similar issues. My all-star moment was when returning home from studing abroad in France but I’ll leave that story for another time.

You can go ahead and guess I had lots of spare time on my flight home from Canada and was finally able to read Molly from Orangette ‘s memoir ‘A Homemade Life’. It was amazing. In every way a book centered around life and food can be. What I loved most would have to be the addition of ginger and dark chocolate in so many of her recipes. I have become quite a ginger snob lately, in my pantry you will currently find organic crystallized ginger, powerful natural ginger ale, ginger chews, mango ginger chews, the list goes on. When you need a boost though, or even as an after meal treat, the warm and spicy zing of ginger does the job nicely.

So when a cookie became in high demand a crystallized ginger and dark chocolate cookie was the highly approved result.

Personally I feel these lovelies should be called mounds instead of cookies. Thick, bready, not that sweet, and almost scone like they can be eaten as a snack, dessert, with peanut butter for breakfast……I can’t tell you the shelf life because they haven’t lasted more then a day and a half before my mom asks when I’ll be making another batch.

Crystallized Ginger and Dark Chocolate Mounds {Cookie}

Ingredients:

1 cup unbleached flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp orange peel/zest

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup milk, or almond milk

1/2 to 2/3 of a small container of applesauce (roughly 2-3 ounces)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

splash of maple syrup

Large handful raisins

Large handful chopped crystallized ginger

large handful dark chocolate chips/ or pieces

I like to use a lot of dashes and handfuls when cooking. Exact measurements tend to be challenging because I will always want more cinnamon, oats, raisins or chocolate then any recipe will ever call for. So get a little creative when cooking and add something the recipe doesn’t call for! Cookies are great practice for this moment on the wild side. Once you have a basic dough the possibilities can be endless…

To start:

Mix the ground flax and water in a bowl and set aside (let this sit for a few minutes), I’m using flax instead of an egg, I’m sure either one would be fine. Then Mix all the dry ingredients together in a seperate large bowl except for the brown sugar. In the bowl with the flax mixture add the sugar, vanilla extract, oil, and milk then stir till combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir, then add your raisins, ginger, chocolate, applesauce, and splash of maple syrup and stir again. The applesauce helps add a natural sweetness along with making these ‘mounds’ extra moist.

Ignore the countless dirty bowls that now surround you

And scoop out the dough into roughly 12-14 ‘mounds’ on a sprayed cookie sheet.

Bake a 350 degrees for about 12-13 minutes. Let cool, forget your worries, then enjoy!

mmmmmm…ginger…