Archive for October, 2010

October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Garlic Knots

Dad called last week and invited us up to his house for a Halloween dinner.  I already knew that he’d be putting together something fresh, local, and delicious (that’s just his style).  Because he lives off the land, hunts, and dives, I also already knew that most of the food would be meat (because that’s also his style).  As a selective omnivore, I’m open to eating meat if I know where it comes from, but I’m not big on eating huge amounts of meat the way I used to.

In Hawai`i it’s bad style to show up to someone’s house without some sort of offering (usually food). My dad has always been super health–when he was younger he was a well-known boxer on Maui and would run or bike from Hali`imaile to Pa`ia and back on a daily basis.  I used to think he was crazy but now I really appreciate his love for exercise.  Anyway, I wanted to make a side dish for the gathering that would be unique and festive, so I looked through my archives and decided on pumpkin garlic knots (adapted from (neverhome)maker’s recipe).  I wanted to make it a bit healthier so I used half whole wheat flour and half unbleached flour.  I’m pretty sure that is the reason they turned out be a bit tough (in our opinion it was worth the extra nutrients).

This was my first attempt at bread-making, aside from challah, and I’m proud to say that it turned out great!  Ben was really upset that we left all the extra rolls at the party when we left, so I see another batch of these puppies in our near future ;)

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Pumpkin Garlic Knots

[Ingredients]

  • 1 c warm water
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 c canned pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse hawaiian salt
  • 3-1/2 c flour (I used 2 c whole wheat flour and 1-1/2 c unbleached all-purpose)

Whisk together the warm water and yeast in a medium bowl.  Let sit until frothy — about 10 minutes. Then add your agave nectar, olive oil, and pumpkin and whisk until smooth.

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In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt (this is a simpler alternative to “sifting” the ingredients).  Make a puka (hole) in the center that’s big enough to pour the wet ingredients into. Pour in the wet ingredients.

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With a spatula, pull everything together, then use your hands to knead the dough. Add more flour as necessary until you have a ball that’s elastic but not sticky.

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Lightly oil another large bowl and put your dough ball inside it — flipping over once to coat both sides (again — lightly) with oil.

Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours.

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Once the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F, put in a pizza stone (I used a small stone and a pan, but it works best with a stone).

Now would be a good time to freeze half the dough if you only want to make half the batch [you can freeze this dough for up to three weeks].

Roll small handfuls of dough (about two tablespoons or so–depending on your liking) into long strands, one at a time, then tie the strand into a knot.

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Place your knots onto your stone (or pan) and bake until golden brown on top (time depends on size, but will usually take at least 10 to 15 minutes).

In the meantime, mix together 1/3 cup olive oil with 3 to 5 cloves of minced garlic (or in my case, two cloves of massive organic garlic from the Saturday market the other week), and salt and pepper to taste.  You can also add in parmesan, herbs, or nutritional yeast–get creative!

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[front: massive organic garlic / back: conventional garlic]

When the knots are pau, dump them into the bowl and mix well to coat. Crushing the knots a bit helps the oil seep in.

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Enjoy! Entire recipe yields about 24 glorious dinner-roll-sized knots.

October 31, 2010

ABC French Toast

Great November!  I love when new months start on Mondays–and when the first day of the month is followed by a holiday ;) .

This weekend flew by, and although I’m sad to report that I spent my entire Sunday working on grad school homework, I did get some goodness in on Saturday!  Ben stayed in bed Saturday morning to listen to the expressions of his health while I made a solo mission to the Upcountry Farmer’s Market followed by six glorious miles in Kula!

When I started running back in January I was ashamed of my sluggish pace and wouldn’t allow Ben (or anyone else, for that matter) to come with me.  But I’ve become more confident about my running after doing 4 miles in under 40 minutes and have since started running with Ben!  We usually do our long run together on the weekends, and this was the first long run I’ve done alone in quite a while.  Although I really missed the company (and the encouragement), it felt really great to listen to my own rhythm and keep my own pace.

On the way home I started thinking about what I’d be fueling my body with for breakfast.  I’ve been itching to try Caitlin’s Grilled Banana Sandwich since I read about it months ago and decided before I walked in the door that it was about time I tried one for myself!  Of course, I am incapable of following recipes and as such had to create my own version :)

May I introduce to you to ABC FRENCH TOAST!  Yes.  It is delicious.  And nutritious.  Especially after a long run.

[A]lmond milk : my favorite non-dairy milk alternative (which just became available at Costco!  Woohoo!)

[B]anana : specifically, apple banana–Hawai`i’s dense and sweet version of a banana.

[C]hia seeds : most of us can recall the ch-ch-ch-chia pet infomercials from back-in-the-day, but many–including myself, until recently–realize that chia seeds are edible.  Not only that, they’re excellent sources of nutrition!  A great gluten-free source of  protein, antioxidants and fiber, they also help stabilize blood sugar (reducing cravings and allowing sustained energy) and can absorb 10x their weight in water (which helps endurance athletes stay hydrated)!  Chia seeds provide calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, zinc, and even boron.  I buy mine in bulk at Down-to-Earth or Whole Foods and add them to just about anything (shakes, oatmeal, french toast?) since they’re practically tasteless.

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I’ve been hearing a lot about this vegan buttery spread called “Earth Balance” and decided to try some for the first time with this recipe.  Because I just used it as a coating for my skillet, I haven’t come to a verdict yet, but overall the toast was incredible! I also added coconut butter to my ABC French Toast and was so glad I did!  DELICIOUS!

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[A]lmond milk [B]anana [C]hia seed French Toast

[Ingredients]

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp earth balance spread.
  • 5 pieces of whole wheat toast (I used Alpine Valley multi-grain with Omega-3 because it’s a favorite in our home)

Whisk together the first 5 ingredients in a bowl large enough to fit a flat piece of bread.

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Heat pan or skillet to medium high heat with about one tsp of earth balance.

Soak one piece of bread at a time in the mixture, letting it sit for about 10 seconds per side.

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In one pan or one  half your skillet,  cook french toast for a few minutes on each side, until both sides are brown.

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Simultaneously (if can, can –  if no can, no can), cook your sliced banana on the opposite side of skillet/in another pan until both sides are brown.

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Enjoy! I enjoyed mine with coconut butter and the banana over top and Ben ate his straight up (no syrup or anything).  Yeah.  They’re that good.

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Nutrition Facts [2 slices french toast + 1/2 small banana (coconut butter not included)]

Calories 342 • Fat 9g (could be lessened by omitting earth balance and/or egg yolks) Sodium 310mg • Carbs 45g • Fiber 8.5g • Sugar 14g • Protein 14g

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