Facades of faces and people I’ve known. I’m the person you want in an emergency: level and cool, decisive–fast to forge ahead. But that’s not who I am in your life. The gut wrenching scars are deep and raw at times; biding the quiet moment to snap and crackle their way through the night when all you want to do is sleep. But that’s how it is, and how it always has been. If our demons can’t make friends, we can’t sleep in the same bed.
Yucca fries are one of my guilty indulgences. And frankly, they aren’t all that bad as they are oven baked with minimal oil; but I can’t stop eating them when I make them. It never occurred to me to actually write it up as a recipe, but every time I buy yucca in the store, or mention yucca fries in conversation (it comes up), I end up explaining how I prepare it.
You can buy yucca frozen already, but it’s about 100 times less expensive to just buy a yucca and prepare yourself. It takes about 10 minutes longer.
1 pound yucca root
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt
- Peel yucca (a potato peeler works well) and cut into sections about 3-4 inches long. Quarter the sections (for larger yucca, cut into eights).
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Add yucca to pot and boil until slightly fork tender. This should take around 5-8 minutes depending on the thickness of your pieces.
- If you want, you can freeze yucca you aren’t ready to bake at this point.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Lay yucca pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment, or nonstick spray. (I often use a large cast iron pan for this.)
- Drizzle with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake 10-12 minutes and then carefully turn the pieces. Bake another 8-10 minutes until golden.
Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce, or plain if preferred.
Blueberry season is upon us; and though I’ve yet to go on my annual sojourn to collect copious quarts of berries, I still picked up a good number of New Jersey’s finest to hold me over until I can pick. It’s also zucchini season and the farm was offering up several small squash that I just couldn’t resist. I wanted bread; toasty zucchini bread, smothered in sweet Biscoff spread, or jam, or just warm and spicy from the toaster oven. And then, a late game time decision was made when the big muffin pan came flying out of the cupboard–and I made muffins. Great big giant muffins–that were even better than toasty, spicy bread. Though it is important to note that there is nothing better than anything smothered in Biscoff spread. Why shouldn’t cookies be pureed into a spread? It’s freaking brilliant, if not probably a huge mistake among people with spoons.
Anyway, the recipe can make bread, too, but I’d cut back to about half the amount of blueberries–otherwise the larger size of the bread might not hold up as well. But I’d do the muffins, and keep all those sweet juicy berries.
Blueberry Zucchini Muffins
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon stevia or additional 1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon hemp seeds
1 Tablespoon flax seed meal plus 3 Tablespoons luke warm water
1 1/4 cup almond milk
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/4 cups shredded zucchini
2 cups blueberries
1/3 cup shredded coconut (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add flax seed meal to water, mix and set aside until it gels (about 4-5 minutes).
- Combine all dry ingredients, and make a well in the center.
- Add flax mixture, milk, lemon juice to the dry. Mix until just incorporated.
- Fold in hemp seeds, coconut, zucchini and blueberries.
- Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray and spoon in batter, filling the cups with batter.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden. Tops will feel firm to the touch, and spring back.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes in the pan before carefully transferring to cooling rack.
At first, I couldn’t remember having been to that neighborhood; but the pieces of a memory–one after another sprinkled the day as coffee was sipped, squirrels flew, and Brooklyn rocked. The Slavic accents echoing off crimson colored doors–a welcoming warning.
It could have been any place. Anywhere, really. A cup of bad coffee always lends itself to hearing your smile, “But, oh, it’s still coffee.”
It could have been the N train, and a large coffee on a Queens to Brooklyn local heading to Coney Island.
It could have been either of you, maybe both. The street art, the people watching, the Americano, the bridge–we weren’t alone.
Sometimes I still see his eyes staring back at me… such a clear blue it reminded me of a summer blossom. Ironic to have such a thought for someone so evil. I wish I remembered more, like his name–or why he did what he did. The alleged, I supposed. Still (un)wanted. There is no way I’d recognize the face, but the eyes sent chills down the back and into my ankles; cramping, rendering immobile the innate desire to flee. That’s probably what happened. Honestly, I never think of him, except when I am missing you.
Glitter never stays, she mused to no one in particular. Just a thought that popped into her head as the frayed ends of something electric burned inside her body–at least, that’s what it felt like. Creeping around the entrails, winding like cords choking off the air from the inside out; suffocating the more she struggled for air. Words and sounds just gathered, laying on her skin–unshakable, smearing the way mud does, messier the faster you brush it off.
Just close your eyes, she told herself. Just stop; imagine the glitter of water, of the stars, of the dancing disco ball. Just breathe one breath, then another. Try to remember… yourself.
I’m always on the quest for the perfect cookie… and cupcake. But this is a cookie post. More specifically, this is about bar cookies. I never understood the bar cookie–maybe because we just didn’t make them often growing up. A cookie is a cookie, after all. But I’ve found that if I make bar cookies, I don’t eat as many at once. Perhaps the thickness of them ward off the notion that it’s just one little cookie? Questions for philosophers with more time on their hands than me.
This week, I wanted a bean-based cookie that was jam packed with all kinds of goodies. To that end, I raided the trail mix bar at Whole Foods… trail mix is another little indulgence I rarely do, so why not add it to a cookie?! Admittedly, I was skeptical of success when I put them in the oven, but the resulting product turned out to be fantastic. I immediately ate two. (So much for thickness being a deterrent!)
Chunky Chickpea Trail Cookies
2 cups cooked (or canned) chickpeas
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons brown rice syrup (maple syrup or agave would also work)
1 Tablespoon molasses
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 rolled oats
2 Tablespoons (heaping) flax seed meal
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 – 2 1/2 cups trail mix (almonds, walnuts, chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seed, coconut, raisins, cranberries, dried apple, etc)
- Preheat oven to 350. Line a 6×8 baking pan with parchment paper or use nonstick spray.
- In a food processor add everything except the trail mix. Blend until creamy.
- Remove the blade from the food processor and fold in the trail mix until evenly combined.
- Spread mixture into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the edges are golden and (carefully) touching the top has a slight firmness.
Let cool completely in pan and cut into 20 bars. Store covered in refrigerator.
This isn’t quite Thug Kitchen, but I’m not one to shy away from profanity… I spent too much time with my grandmother as a kid to be able to filter that much now. But in writing the title to this post, I was reminded how some use cutesy puns in place of Ass… like Ace or Amp’d, or some other such nonsense. Kick ass; it’s a totally valid descriptor. And let’s face it, I’ve said much worse.
And before you really notice, there are no pictures of this recipe… yeah sorry about that. I accidentally deleted them before downloading, and well, the thing is, this bake is so damn good, it was gone before I realized and could take more pictures to satisfy your visual taste buds.
This recipe is how I do my enchilada bakes, but it is wide open to add the things you love, or more of something else. In other words, it isn’t rocket science, and you should feel obliged to play a little with the flavors. Consider this a starting point and adjust where you like.
Kick Ass Enchilada Bake
1 package corn tortillas (~18)
1 recipe Enchilada Sauce
3 cups cooked lentils (or chickpeas)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup chopped green chilies (canned are good)
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup Vegan Shreds Mexican blend (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a large baking dish by spraying a little nonstick cooking spray along the edges.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the lentils, corn, chilies, olives, and onion.
- Ladle enchilada sauce along the bottom of the dish until thinly covered. Add a layer of corn tortillas, slightly overlapping the edges.
- Add a layer of the lentil mixture to cover (about half), top with sauce and half the Vegan Shreds (if using).
- Repeat the layer of tortillas and lentil mixture, top with sauce and another layer of tortillas and sauce.
- Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook another 5-10 minutes until bubbly.
Allow to cool and set up for about 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro or avocado, or both if you want!
When the weather gets hot so, apparently, does my food. Nothing spells pre-summer fair like a plate of spicy enchiladas, tacos, or burritos. I know, it makes no sense but it is a true seasonal pull. It just tastes better!
This week, I wanted enchiladas and taco salad without the need to have to make a lot of different things. So, I made up a batch of enchilada sauce–enough for both wants. The enchiladas turned into a beautiful baked lentil masterpiece, of which the photographic evidence was accidentally deleted but the recipe will still be posted for week 26, along with some reviews of other recipes I’ve explored on the interwebs (since I will be traveling and have limited kitchen time).
But here is the low down on the sauce, which is so good, I literally ate spoonfuls of it like it was soup. #guilty.
Bring me some spicy sauciness!!!
1-28 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes, or about 4-5 large beefsteak tomatoes, coursely chopped and roasted
4 ounces tomato paste
1/4 cup whole wheat flour + 1/4 cup water
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons chili powder (I used 2 Ancho and 2 regular chili powder)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, add onions and garlic. Dry saute for about 1 minute and then add a few sprinkles of water to prevent sticking. Let cook about another minute until onion starts to get translucent.
- Add in tomatoes and tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium.
- Add in all the spices, cocoa, and sugar and mix to incorporate.
- Bring to a simmer. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Alternately, you can carefully transfer to a regular blender and then return to the pot.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and water until mostly smooth. Use a little more water, if needed.
- Whisk in the flour mixture to the sauce.
- Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. If you desire a thicker sauce, you can simmer longer.
Enjoy in your favorite recipes!
There is a song, he told her, that’s just beyond the superficial
extent, harboring the perimeters where the light fades
cold darkness tendrils in flashes of color to the symphony.
It sounds dangerous, she said with breathless excitement.
And they were quiet.
And she knew he would follow the song.
And he knew she would let him.
(Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/n2artscapes/19556342)