Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes – Two Ways

We’re carrying a fun new (to us) produce item this year – Stokes Purple® Sweet Potatoes.  These sweet potatoes are unique in a number of ways – they are a patented, certified non-GMO crop that used to be grown exclusively on family farms in Stokes County, North Carolina as an alternative to tobacco.  They are now being grown by a number of different farms and growers, including AV Thomas Produce, the largest conventional and organic sweet potato producer in the US, located in Livingston, CA.

We were very excited when the boxes of organic purple sweets started coming in from our distributor, and produce staff took some home and tried them right away.  We thought it’d be fun to feature them in a Thanksgiving demo because not too many people are familiar with them.  Their flesh and skin are both a deep purple, which becomes more pronounced with roasting (boiling them does take away a bit of their vibrancy, but they are still pretty).  They are such a beautiful  deep purple that they are now being used as natural food coloring, and they are also being studied as having anti-colon cancer benefits.  But first and foremost, my, they are tasty!

I decided to cook them a couple different ways for my in-store demo.  Commonly sweet potatoes are served as a sweet side dish, but they really do work as a savory dish as well.  For my more traditional dish I roasted them with a honey glaze and for the other I roasted them whole and served them with a white miso scallion butter that was surprisingly delicious (I’ve never mixed miso with a dairy product before, but this pairing with the scallions really worked well).  Customers really enjoyed both flavors, and many couldn’t decide which they liked better and planned to make both on Thanksgiving!  I personally loved the savory version with the miso butter as it could be an unexpected dish at the traditional table.  These recipes are so easy you can also make them both and decide for yourself!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes with Honey Glaze

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes with Honey Glaze © Sassy Sampler 2013

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes with Honey Glaze

Recipe adapted from http://www.epicurious.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/4 pounds purple sweet potatoes (or any sweet potato), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
  • 6 T butter or margarine (3/4 stick)
  • 3 T honey
  • 1 t fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Arrange sweet potatoes in 13×9 glass baking dish.
  3. Stir butter, honey, and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts.
  4. Pour butter mixture over sweet potatoes and toss to coat.
  5. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake sweet potatoes until tender when pierced with a skewer, stirring and turning occasionally, about 50 minutes.

Makes 6 servings
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey Glaze PDF

Roasted Purple Sweet Potato with Scallion Butter

Roasted Purple Sweet Potato with Scallion Butter © Sassy Sampler 2013

Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes with Scallion Butter

recipe adapted from http://www.epicurious.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 small and slender Sweet Potatoes (or garnet yams) – 4-5 pounds total, washed.  I recommend purple sweet potatoes or Japanese sweet potatoes.
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter or margarine, well softened
  • 1 1/2 T miso paste (preferably white)
  • 3 T finely chopped scallion (green onions)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F with the rack set in the upper third of the oven.
  2. Prick potatoes all over with a fork and put on a foil–lined large baking sheet.
  3. Bake until very soft when squeezed, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. While the potatoes bake, stir together butter, miso, and scallion until combined.
  5. Slit hot potatoes lengthwise and, using oven mitts, push sides in to puff up the potato insides.
  6. Serve with some scallion butter in the center of each potato, with additional scallion butter on the side.

8 Servings
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Scallion Butter PDF

Antipasto Sausage Skewers

Inspired by Skagit Valley Co-op’s great success in making homemade sausage, our Meat departments have perfected their own sausage blends.  We’re using whole pork shoulder from Salmon Creek Farms and a blend of herbs and spices (never any preservatives) to create our mild Italian, Breakfast, and Chorizo sausages – available as links or in bulk packages.  All three varieties are available at both of our locations, plus you can also purchase hot Italian sausage at our Downtown store.

Photo © Sassy Sampler 2013

Photo © Sassy Sampler 2013

For my recipe demo yesterday, I decided to feature the mild Italian sausage.  After searching the web for a fun way to serve it, I ran across a recipe for antipasto (Italian for “before the meal”) skewers and thought I’d put my own spin on it.  Not only are these easy to make, but they look great on a plate and make a fantastic appetizer since you can serve them hot or cold.

I started with a specially made 18″ link of sausage (talk to our Meat department if you’d like make a request like this) and paired it with bocconcini mozzarella (those little balls of fresh mozzarella), Mediterranean Organics sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, and some organic local basil from the Growing Garden.  I pre-sliced the sausage (with a really sharp knife) before cooking it in a frying pan over medium heat, and I let the slices drain and cool slightly before assembling my skewers.  They came together very quickly, and flew off the plate equally fast!  They smell divine and are very eye pleasing – a great combination in any dish!

Antipasto Sausage Skewers © Sassy Sampler 2013

Antipasto Sausage Skewers © Sassy Sampler 2013

Antipasto Sausage Skewers

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package Co-op house made Italian Sausage, cut into ~1/2” chunks
  • sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, cut into quarters—you won’t need the whole jar, just a piece for each skewer
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, washed and dried
  • Fresh mozzarella—either bocconcini or a log that has been cut into small chunks
  • Toothpicks or short skewers

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a skillet, cook sausage chunks until browned and fully cooked, about 8 minutes total.  Use a very sharp knife to make the cutting easier.  You can also cook the whole sausage and slice it afterwards.
  2. Drain sausage on a paper towel-lined plate and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Slide a basil leaf onto your skewer/toothpick.
  4. Slide a sun-dried tomato onto the skewer/toothpick until it almost touches the basil.
  5. Add the mozzarella to the skewer/toothpick.
  6. Finish by setting a flat side of sausage on the plate and skewering it so everything sits up vertically.
  7. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  8. Serve immediately, or chill and serve at room temperature.

Variations:
Try substituting one or more of these items:

  • Roasted red peppers
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Smoked goat cheese
  • Spicy sausage
  • Fresh Roma tomatoes

Antipasto Sausage Skewers PDF

Cherry, Wild Rice, and Quinoa Salad

The end of June is always exciting because it heralds the beginning of cherry season in the Northwest, and this year’s (farmer direct) crop is as delicious as ever.  Although I demo’d a salad for my last blog post, summer is all about salads so I decided to try another one – Cherry, Wild Rice, and Quinoa salad.

This salad is very easy to make, tastes great, and looks pretty as well.  I started with a recipe from the May/June 2012 issue of Eating Well magazine and adapted it to my liking.  I had never had wild rice and quinoa together before, and I’ve got to say that they taste fabulous.  The original recipe had you cooking the wild rice for a half hour and then adding the quinoa and cooking for another 15 minutes, but I’m in the habit of cooking quinoa with short grain brown rice for a full hour when I make it at home (in a pressure cooker, no less).  I cooked both grains together for 40 minutes and they both turned out tender and delicious!

Along with the WA cherries, I also used our locally grown and roasted hazelnuts from Holmquist Orchards in Lynden as well as Beecher’s Smoked Flagship Cheddar, made in Seattle at the world-famous Pike Place Market.  Both added a delicious element to the salad, along with the celery and apple cider vinegar dressing.  All in all, customers thought the salad had a nutty, smoky flavor made richer with sweet cherries…and I heartily agree!

Cherry, Wild Rice, and Quinoa Salad © 2013 Sassy Sampler

Cherry, Wild Rice, and Quinoa Salad © 2013 Sassy Sampler

Cherry, Wild Rice, and Quinoa Salad

Makes eight 3/4 c servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 c wild rice
  • 1/2 c red quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 c halved & pitted fresh sweet cherries
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3/4 c coarse grated aged goat cheese or smoked cheddar (or you can dice it)
  • 1/2 c roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add wild rice and quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.
  3. While the rice is cooking, whisk oil, vinegar, sea salt, and pepper in a measuring cup and prep your other ingredients.
  4. Drain grains and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch; make sure you drain the grains well.
  5. Once cooled, add the rice/quinoa mixture to a large bowl.
  6. Add the cherries, celery, cheese, and hazelnuts and toss to combine.
  7. Add the dressing and toss to combine.
  8. Serve at room temperature, or cold from the fridge.

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is an ancient grain and was a staple in the ancient Incas’ diet.  Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin that needs to be rinsed off the grain before cooking (it can upset your stomach).  Rinse quinoa in cool water until the water is clear.  This is easiest done in a very fine sieve.

Cherry, Wild Rice, and Quinoa Salad PDF

Balsamic Rice and Bean Salad

triple choco mousse cake

Triple Chocolate Mousse cake

May is always a month of chocolate for me – both my husband’s and my birthdays are in May, along with five other family members (plus both of our cats) and everyone is a chocolate fan. For my husband, I made a truly scrumptious triple chocolate mousse cake, and for myself I made ganache filled “ultimate” chocolate cupcakes.   Both recipes came from Cook’s Illustrated and turned out fantastic.  If you would like a copy of either then let me know!  The mousse is (naturally) gluten-free and I adapted the cupcake recipe to be gluten-free.

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

Due to my sweet-filled month, for my first demo in a while I thought it might be good to prepare and share a more wholesome recipe, and I found it in Tracy Hill’s cookbook Delightfully Free (she’ll be at Seattle’s Pike Place market today signing copies, and you can also buy it at the Cordata store).  Not only are the photos mouth-watering, but the recipes are pretty awesome too, and they are all gluten, dairy, and refined sugar-free!  I knew when I saw the photo for this salad that I wanted to prepare it – it would be a great salad to bring to a graduation party or BBQ, and would also serve as a well-rounded main course because of the combination of brown rice, beans, nuts/seeds, and vegetables.

We’re still at the beginning of our growing season here in the great Northwest, but I was able to purchase some local garlic scape to use instead of the green onions in the original recipe – I sliced them very thin (garlic scapes are typically cooked, but if you don’t overdo it then they are great in a salad) and they added just the right amount of fresh tasting garlicy-ness.  We have local basil in stock, and I also used some of the local roasted hazelnuts that we carry in our bulk department.

The salad was very popular with customers and those that tasted it wanted to know how soon they could buy it pre-made in the deli (I did give a sample to our Cordata Deli Manager with the feedback…hopefully you’ll see our version soon!).  I’ve included instructions on how to cook brown rice and beans from scratch, but you can always grab some pre-cooked rice from the Deli’s Grab and Go section and a can of beans to cut down on your time in the kitchen.

Enjoy!

Balsamic Rice and Bean Salad © 2013 Sassy Sampler

Balsamic Rice and Bean Salad © 2013 Sassy Sampler

Balsamic Rice and Bean Salad

adapted from Delightfully Free by Tracy Hill

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 c cooked (and cooled) brown rice
  • 1 1/2 c navy or cannellini beans, cooked from dry or 1 can Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 c chopped celery (I sliced them pretty thin)
  • 1 1/2 c chopped yellow or orange bell pepper (about 1 large pepper)
  • 1/3 c chopped green onion or garlic scapes
  • 1/2 c fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped (or chiffonade cut)
  • 1 c halved cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 c Balsamic Dressing, or more to taste
  • 2/3 c chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, and/or pumpkin seeds

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing  (makes about 1 1/2 c)

  • 1/4 c red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c grapeseed oil
  • 1/8 t sea salt
  • 1 t agave nectar
  • 1 small garlic clove, pressed or minced
  • 2 T water
  • Small pinch of paprika
  • Pinch of xanthan gum

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Shake all dressing ingredients together, except xanthan gum, in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Add the xanthan gum and shake again.  For smoother flavors, emulsify the dressing by mixing all ingredients, except xanthan gum, in a blender on high for 30 seconds.  Add the xanthan gum and blend again for 10 seconds.  Store in the refrigerator.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients, with the exception of the nuts/seeds and dressing.
  3. Toss salad with about 3/4 cup of dressing (or more if you like!) – be sure to give it a few good shakes to re-mix.
  4. Sprinkle the salad with the nuts/seeds when it is served, or you can mix them in just before serving.

Note from the cookbook author — This salad is extra tasty made a day ahead of time (keep the nuts/seeds set aside until you serve).  It is also a great topper for green salad.

Note from the Sassy Sampler – Customers commented that this salad would be great with parboiled green beans or with feta cheese sprinkled on top…and I agree!

To cook short grain brown rice:

Thoroughly rinse 3/4 c rice.  Add to a small bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid and cover with 1.5 cups of water and sprinkle about 1/2 t of sea salt.  Allow to come to a boil and then cover with the lid, turn heat down to low and allow to cook undisturbed for 1 hour.  Remove from heat and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes, remove the lid, fluff, and enjoy!

To cook navy/cannellini beans:

Note—beans will expand to 2.5 times their normal size, so you will only need to cook 1/2 c beans for this recipe

  1. Go through the beans on a plate to remove any stones, dirty or damaged beans, etc.
  2. Pour the beans into a medium bowl and cover with water—remove any “floaters”.
  3. Drain beans and cover with at least 1 1/2 c of COLD water.  Soak the beans overnight (you can do this on the counter), or at least six hours.
  4. Rinse the beans three or four times until the water runs clear.
  5. Put beans in a pot and cover with fresh water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 60-90 minutes, until beans are tender.  Add salt (if desired) only in the last few minutes of cooking time or your beans will take longer to cook.
  6. Cooked beans are best the next day and can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Visit Tracy’s website at www.delightfullyfree.com and check out her cookbook of the same name!

Balsamic Rice and Bean Salad PDF

Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies…mmmmmmmmm

I’ve had a pretty busy month and haven’t been able to get a recipe together to sample for a few weeks now, but I’m back!

All month I’ve wanted to try to recreate something I used to eat often before I was diagnosed as gluten-intolerant…Erin Baker’s Breakfast Cookies. They are made within a few blocks of our Cordata neighborhood store, and they were easy to grab on the way to a morning meeting.  I looked at various recipes, and decided on one that I found on food.com that I felt had a good base.

Last weekend I drove to Hood River, OR for a preliminary meeting for this year’s Provender Alliance Conference at the beautiful Hood River Inn.  You may remember that last year I served as the conference kitchen food liaison and I’ve signed up again this year.  Susan (Provender’s Executive Director) and I met with the hotel catering/banquet managers and their head chef to plan another amazing conference buffet.  I decided a test batch of cookies for my trip was in order.

I found these cookies to be quite a bit different from a Baker’s cookie, but they were delicious nonetheless.  This oatmeal cookie is light and chewy, and extremely easy to put together.  After I decided on a few tweaks to the recipe (and a new name – they are reminiscent of apple pie), I knew I had a winner to share with everyone!

I would urge you to think about the ingredients you choose to use in this recipe, as they can make a difference in how it turns out.  Make sure you use a thick applesauce to get the correct consistency of batter.  I used Nana Mae’s Organics Mid-Season Heirloom apple sauce because it is made with 100% organic apples – no added sugar (and because it’s delicious).  One other key ingredient are the dried apple slices that I used.  We are now carrying some cinnamon apple slices in our bulk department made by GloryBee Foods, a family owned, natural foods ingredient wholesaler out of Eugene, OR.  While these slices do contain sugar, they are the most tasty dried apples I have ever tasted (besides homemade!) and work amazing in these cookies.  If you can’t find these slices at your local co-op or natural foods store, than regular dried apples will work but I would suggest re-hydrating them a little.

Enjoy!

photo of apple oatmeal cookies

Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies © Sassy Sampler 2013

Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies

makes 36 cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 2/3 c flour—you can use a gluten-free blend or wheat flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 c butter or margarine, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/3 c sugar (can substitute coconut sugar, stevia sugar replacement, etc.)
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c applesauce (thick works best)
  • 1 c chopped dried apples
  • 3 c quick cooking oats (Bob’s gluten-free for GF version of cookie)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Mix the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  4. Cream the butter and sugars together in a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer (in a large bowl).  Scrape bowl as needed.
  5. With the mixer on, add the eggs one at a time and mix until combined.  Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  6. Add the applesauce on low-speed and mix until combined.  Scrape down the bowl.
  7. Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix until combined, scraping bowl as needed.
  8. Add the oats and apples to the now empty flour bowl and mix to combine.  Make sure to break up apple bits so they don’t stick together.
  9. Remove (cookie dough) bowl from mixer (if using) and stir in the oats/apples with a spoon.
  10. At this point, your dough should be moist and very light but very workable; if it seems too wet then add up to 3 T of flour, 1 T at a time, mixing between each addition.
  11. Using a small scoop or tablespoon, drop batter onto prepared cookie sheets.  Flatten cookie slightly, as they will not spread while cooking.
  12. Bake for 12-16 minutes, or until lightly browned along the sides and bottom.  Turn baking sheet halfway during cooking time to get an even bake.
  13. Cool on wire rack for about 5 minutes, then remove cookies from sheet to cool completely.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days.

You can also use coconut butter in place of the butter/margarine, but it will slightly effect the taste of the cookie, and you may need to adjust the cooking time.

Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies PDF

Homemade Peppermint Patties

Keeping with my annual tradition of finding a fun and easy recipe for Valentine’s Day, this week I decided to make one of my husband’s favorite treats – peppermint patties.  I must say, they were a BIG hit when customers sampled them yesterday and I gave out a record number of recipes! 

I found a great recipe on Taste of Home that only used five ingredients – sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, peppermint flavor, chocolate chips, and some shortening (all of which you can buy organic and trans-fat free at the Co-op).  This recipe is fun because you can shape the peppermint dough however you like, something I realized after I had made all my patties for my recipe demo – I’ll pat the dough flat and use a small cookie cutter to shape them as little hearts for the holiday!  It also comes together relatively quickly – it took me about 20 minutes to make the dough and shape the patties, plus chill time, and then it took me about 10-15 minutes to coat them with chocolate, plus chill time.

© Sassy Sampler 2013

© Sassy Sampler 2013

One thing I learned from this recipe is that I will always put a little oil in my chocolate from now on if I am using it to cover candies – I’ve always had difficulty with getting a nice even coating of chocolate when I make things like this, and the shortening added to the chocolate in this recipe really makes a difference.  If you are averse to vegetable shortening (we carry an organic 100% palm oil version), or just don’t have any on hand, I think that coconut oil would be an acceptable substitute.

If you are vegan and are craving some of these homemade candies, I suggest making this coconut version of sweetened condensed milk created by Sunny B on her gluten/dairy-free recipe blog – I think it would work great in this recipe.

…I’ll also mention that our Bakery has developed a vegan peppermint patty that will be available soon – I got to sample one and they are yummy!

Mmmmm...organic peppermint patties! © Sassy Sampler 2013

Mmmmm…organic peppermint patties! © Sassy Sampler 2013

Homemade Peppermint Patties

adapted from Taste of Home

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 c organic sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 t organic peppermint flavor (use less if you use real extract)
  • 3—4 c organic powdered sugar (up to 1#)
  • 3 c (18 oz) organic fair-trade dark chocolate chips
  • 2 t organic vegetable shortening (or organic coconut oil)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a bowl, combine milk and peppermint flavor.
  2. Stir in 3 c powdered sugar, to form a stiff dough. Once you have initially incorporated the sugar into the milk mixture, it is easiest to finish mixing with your hands.
  3. Knead enough remaining sugar to form a dough that is very stiff and no longer sticky.
  4. Working quickly, shape into 1” balls (really compact the dough) and place on a waxed paper or parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Flatten balls into 1 1/2” disks.Place cookie sheet in the freezer for half an hour, flipping them after 15 minutes (don’t freeze them for longer than that).
  6. Melt the chocolate chips and shortening in a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over about 1” of boiling water, stirring frequently. The chocolate is easiest to work with when it remains hot, so once the water is boiling and the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat but keep the bowl on the pot to keep the chocolate warm.
  7. Place a fork under a patty and dip in the chocolate mixture; tap fork against the side of the bowl gently and scrape excess chocolate off the bottom of the patty using the side of the bowl.
  8. Place patty on waxed or parchment paper to harden—you can either do that at room temperature or in the fridge.

These have a great shelf life—keep them in an airtight container (separate layers with parchment paper) in the fridge for up to a month.

Chocolate Peppermint PattiesPDF

Super Yummy Gluten-free Bagels

Baking bread has always been my weak point…until I made these awesome bagels this morning. I haven’t been able to find an acceptable pre-made gluten-free bagel and was about ready to give up – you could hardly call what is available a real “bagel” and it’s one of the few bread items I still crave from time to time since starting a gluten-free diet. I decided that today was the day I would try my hand at making some from scratch, and I am so glad I did!

My bagels before I boiled them. © 2013 Sassy Sampler

My bagels before I boiled them. © 2013 Sassy Sampler

I looked at a number of recipes before I chose one to try, and most were basic bagel recipes that simply had gluten-free flour substituted in for the wheat flour. I didn’t feel that would produce a bagel that was any better than the packaged ones, so I kept looking. I found what I was looking for on Food.com – this recipe contained eggs and milk, which I felt would help with the dryness factor that is so common in GF breads. I was a little nervous since this recipe was so different from the others, but after preparing it (it took about an hour total) I found my nervousness was unfounded – the bagels looked like they could have come from the Bagelry (a local favorite) and they smelled great. I have to say that this is officially one of my favorite recipes now!

Bagels have been boiled, sesame seeds sprinkled, and egg washed. © 2013 Sassy Sampler

Bagels have been boiled, sesame seeds sprinkled, and egg washed. © 2013 Sassy Sampler

They came out of the oven a beautiful golden brown and I couldn’t wait for them to cool before I cut into one…pause for a moment of bliss please! Once they had cooled, I cut into another and ate it un-toasted and with no accoutrements – delicious! I imagine that after the first day you’ll have to toast them like any other gluten-free bread, but that doesn’t bother me one bit. They were so good that my wheat-eating husband asked if I was going to make a batch at home so we could have “eggels on bagels” this weekend (what we call a scrambled egg and bagel sandwich – we used to love to make these on the weekends with Bagelry bagels, pre-gluten intolerance). My enthusiastic answer was YES!!!

Gluten-free Bagels © 2013 Sassy Sampler

Gluten-free Bagels © 2013 Sassy Sampler

Gluten-free Bagels

Note – see PDF version for recipe update

Makes 6 bagels

INGREDIENTS

  • 2/3 c lukewarm milk (plus 2 T)
  • 2 T active dry yeast
  • 3 T sugar (three 1 T portions)
  • 1 c gluten-free potato starch *
  • 1 c gluten-free cornstarch *
  • 1/2 c tapioca flour *
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 2 t xanthan gum
  • 1 t sea salt, plus more for topping
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg
  • 1/2 t apple cider vinegar
  • Sesame seeds or other topping
  • Cooking oil for baking sheet/Cornmeal (optional) – to put on the cookie sheet under the bagels

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, combine the (lukewarm) milk and 1 T sugar. Stir briefly to help dissolve the sugar. Add the yeast (stir to disperse granules) and let sit for about 10 minutes until it is foamy on top.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Put on a pot on to boil, with about an 1 1/2 – 2 inches of salted water in it.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together potato starch, cornstarch, tapioca flour, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, 1 T sugar, and 1 t sea salt. Create a “well” in the middle of the flour.
  4. Scramble 2 eggs in a bowl and add the vinegar; mix to combine.
  5. Add the egg and yeast mixtures to the flour “well” and mix well with a rubber spatula to combine and remove all the lumps.
  6. Flour your hands and divide dough* into 6 evenly sized dough balls. Press a hole into the center of each ball with your thumbs and shape it into a bagel—they will rise, so make sure your hole isn’t too small, it should be about the size of a quarter. You can place them on a sheet of parchment paper.
  7. Add 1 T sugar to the boiling water.
  8. One at a time, gently place a bagel into the boiling water. Boil for about 1 minute, gently flipping the bagel after about 30 seconds—the crust will be thicker and chewier the longer you boil them and the interior will be denser.
  9. Remove the bagel from the water (use a large slotted spoon if you have one or a spatula) and place it on a greased baking sheet (you can also skip the oil and instead sprinkle cornmeal on the sheet).
  10. Sprinkle sesame seeds and sea salt over the bagel immediately once it comes out of the water (or whatever topping you have chosen, or none at all) and brush gently with an egg wash (see below). Repeat steps 9 and 10 for the rest of the bagels.
  11. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  12. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Bagels can be frozen.

To make egg wash:

  1. Beat one egg in a small bowl.
  2. Add 2 T milk or water and beat the mixture until combined.
  3. Spread egg wash over the top of the uncooked bagels with a pastry brush.

* Be careful when measuring your flours – if you use even a little more than what is listed then your bagels will turn out dry. If your dough seems a bit dry when you are done mixing, add more milk (start with 1 T) – your dough should be (slightly) sticky and feel kind of delicate when shaping the bagels.

Using an egg wash will give you a shiny and crunchier crust.

Gluten-free Bagels PDF

I haven’t made these, but here is a link to a vegan gluten-free bagel recipe that I thought sounded promising – I wouldn’t recommend adapting the recipe above to be vegan.

Kevin Gillespie’s Root Vegetable Soup

Last summer Top Chef Kevin Gillespie came to our co-op because he was hosting a video series sponsored by Stronger Together, being filmed for the International Year of Cooperatives.  Our co-op was chosen to take part in the series because of our involvement with our community.  He attended our summer party and visited Heritage Lane Farm, Misty Meadows Farm and Bellingham Urban Garden Syndicate (BUGS) to talk about their relationship with our co-op and our community.

Kevin Gillespie 7.31.11Before he left town, I got to go out to dinner with him and the film crew and we talked a lot about food (of course!) as well as his upcoming (and now published) cookbook Fire in my Belly.  It’s a great read – lots of photos, a fun layout, and anecdotes from the author.  He told me I could demo any of his recipes any time and with the icy fog abounding in our region, I thought his Root Vegetable Soup recipe would be just about perfect for my recipe demo this week.

© 2013 Community Food Co-op

© 2013 Community Food Co-op

This is a recipe he created based on a dish his grandma used to make.  It is very simple to make, although it does require some knife skills as all the veggies need to be cut into the same size pieces to cook correctly.  I must admit that it was my first time preparing some of the root vegetables in this dish, and it was also a great excuse to use some of the delicious local produce we still have in stock (organic Jerusalem Artichokes, aka sunchokes, from Rabbit Fields Farm in Everson).  The recipe calls for turnip greens, which we do carry occasionally but are out of currently, so I substituted collard greens.  Other than that I was pretty true to the original recipe, except for cutting it down to 4 servings (you can find the original recipe for 8 servings in Kevin’s book).

ChiffonadeOne of my favorite cutting techniques is chiffonade – you roll your leafy greens into a roll and cut thin little ribbons.  They are so pretty and you can cut through a pile of greens in no time.  As for cutting the various root vegetables into a small dice, you will have to expect some waste as you first have to square off the edges of the veggies so you are left with flat edges to cut your dice from.  If you need a little guidance for safe and effective cutting techniques, you can check out the video and photos at Stella Culinary.

Root Vegetable Soup © 2013 Community Food Co-op

Root Vegetable Soup © 2013 Community Food Co-op

Root Vegetable Soup

adapted from Fire in my Belly by Kevin Gillespie with David Joachim, used with permission

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz Pancetta or unsmoked bacon, diced into 1/4” pieces (vegetarian option below)
  • 1 1/4 c onion, diced 1/4”
  • 2/3 c rutabaga, peeled and diced 1/4”
  • 1/2 c celery, diced 1/4”
  • 1/3 c carrots, peeled and diced 1/4”
  • 3/4 c sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichoke), peeled and diced 1/4”
  • 3/4 c turnips, peeled and diced 1/4”
  • 1/2 c parsnip, peeled and diced 1/4”
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (a mandolin works great for this task)
  • 3 c chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 pepper
  • 1 t sea salt
  • ~ 2 c Turnip greens or Collard greens, sliced into chiffonade (thin strips)
  • Juice from one lemon

GARNISH

  • ~1/8 c Italian parsley, minced
  • ~1/8 c chives, very thinly sliced
  • ~1/8 c celery leaves, minced

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat a large enameled cast-iron pot or other soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the pancetta, stir, and cook until the pancetta is golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the onions, rutabaga, celery, and carrots and cook until the vegetables start to soften and the onions become translucent, about 6 minutes, stirring now and then.
  4. Add the sunchokes, turnips, and parsnips and cook for an additional 8 minutes, stirring a few times.
  5. Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  6. Stir in the chicken stock, pepper, and salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then cut the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.  The vegetables should be just tender.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the turnip greens and about 1 T lemon juice.  Taste and season as needed with additional salt and lemon juice.
  8. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the parsley, chives, and celery leaves.

Tips from the Top Chef:

  • Don’t be tempted to mince the garlic here.  It should be sliced. If you mince it, the small pieces will cook faster and develop a bitter taste.  The slices also contribute to the texture of the soup.
  • If you want to make the soup ahead, prepare it up to the point of simmering the vegetables in the seasoned stock.  Cool it down, and refrigerate it for up to 2 days.  Then reheat the soup and add the greens and lemon juice just before serving and garnishing.
  • If you don’t have the root vegetables listed, then you can substitute with what you do have.  The most important thing is to dice all the vegetables the same size so they cook quickly and evenly before the liquid is added.  The vegetables retain better shape and flavor this way.

Root Vegetable Soup PDF

For a vegetarian version, use vegetable stock in place of chicken stock; sauté 4-5 shiitake mushrooms (cut into thin slices about a 1/4″ wide) over medium heat in 1-2 T butter or a fatty oil until they are soft, about 7 minutes, and proceed with the rest of the recipe.  Alternately you can use vegetarian bacon, prepared and cooked just like the pancetta in the recipe.  Neither will give you the same rich flavor of the pork, but either should add some umami to the dish.

Homemade Almond Milk

Almonds are one of the healthiest “nuts” you can eat (they are related to the peach, and are technically considered a seed). They are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, as well as protein, and they also contain amino acids, manganese, and Vitamin E.   The US is the world’s leading almond grower, and essentially 100% of those almonds are grown in California.

Commercial versions of almond milk contain preservatives (which I feel affect the flavor), although they also tend to be fortified with calcium and Vitamin D which is a plus.  The biggest downside, however, is the sugar that is added to them.  Keeping this in mind, I set out to create a simple almond milk recipe that didn’t require any special equipment and didn’t have any added refined sugar.  After looking at dozen different recipes/methods, I decided to get into the kitchen and get working!

I started by soaking the almonds overnight in the fridge, covered.  This is an important part of the process because the soaking really brings out the milky-ness quality of the almonds and also makes them more digestible, resulting in better absorption of nutrients.  Another great benefit of soaking almonds (or any nut) is that it removes the tannin from the skin, which gives nuts their bitter flavor.

The next morning, I halved and pitted some Medjool dates to use as a sugar alternative, and also set them to soaking (so your blender is able to process them).  Once those had soaked for about 45 minutes, I got out the blender and started processing – first a heaping cup of soaked almonds went in, then 2 cups of water.  It only took a minute or two for the almonds to grind down, and then I added the dates (tasting the concoction after every two dates to see how the sweetness was progressing).  I decided that five was the perfect sweetness – not so sweet that it was overpowering but sweet enough to compliment the amazing almond flavor.  You can choose to omit the dates entirely, or add up to seven if you really like the sweetness of commercial almond milk.  The nice thing about using dates as the sweetener is that they are also high in fiber and are easily digested.  I added the last two cups of water, plus a pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt (my favorite) and I was ready to strain my milk.

You can strain the milk in a number of different ways, or if you are going to use the almond milk strictly in smoothies, then you can choose to omit this step (leaving the almond pulp in the milk gives you the full benefits of the almonds and is protein rich).  I chose to use a jelly straining bag, as it fit perfectly over the opening of my pitcher and has a super fine weave so I knew that my milk would be very smooth.  You can also strain the milk using a nut milk bag or a fine mesh metal strainer (I would suggest putting a few layers of cheesecloth in the strainer – that way as you finish you can gather up the corners and squeeze the last of the milk out of the pulp that is left over.  The almond/date pulp that you are left with can be used in many ways, including adding a bit to your morning oatmeal, adding it to smoothies, or dehydrating it and using it as a flour alternative.

Success – for about $1.33 a serving I had four cups of the most delicious organic and fresh non-dairy milk I have ever tasted!

Homemade Almond Milk © Sassy Sampler 2012

Homemade Almond Milk © Sassy Sampler 2012

Homemade Almond Milk

Recipe by Sassy Sampler

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 c raw, organic almonds
  • 4 c filtered or spring water (cold)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3-7 fresh Medjool dates  (optional, for sweetness), split in half and pit removed, soaked for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours
  • Vanilla bean, cut in half and one side scraped and reserved (optional) OR 1/2 t pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Soak almonds in fresh water for at least six hours or overnight (if you choose to soak overnight, then cover and refrigerate the almonds).
  2. Drain and rinse soaked almonds.
  3. Using a blender or Vitamix, add almonds to blender with 2 cups of water.  Blend until it is relatively smooth (all the noticeable chunks are gone).  Add the sea salt.
  4. Add dates and blend to fully combine—3 dates will be slightly sweet and 7 dates will be similar to store-bought almond milk sweetness.
  5. Add remaining 2 cups of water and blend to combine (depending on the size of your blender, you may need to hand mix in the remainder of the water).
  6. Add vanilla bean seeds or extract if using and blend to combine.
  7. Strain mixture into a large bowl or pitcher, either using a metal fine-gauge strainer set over the bowl or a nut milk bag/jelly strainer bag.  If using a strainer, I recommend adding a square of folded cheesecloth and straining through that—you can gather up the corners and squeeze out all the milk much more quickly than using just a strainer.
  8. If using a strainer and no cheesecloth, use the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to gently push the milk through the strainer (don’t push down too hard or you will get some of the pulp in the milk).
  9. Refrigerate for up to 4 days in a covered container.  Because this is a raw drink, there may be separation after it sits—just mix and enjoy!

Almond Milk PDF

You can use the leftover pulp in many ways:

  • Put it in a dehydrator and you will get almond flour
  • Mix a tablespoon or two into your oatmeal/hot cereal.
  • Mix with a little honey or agave and spread it thin on a baking sheet—bake at 350°F until crunchy.
  • Add to smoothies
  • Check out Pinterest for more almond pulp ideas!

Almond milk is a tasty way to add heart-healthy fats to your diet!

Your leftover dates can be used for future batches of almond milk, or can be made into a yummy “caramel” dip…or you can just eat them!  I recommend pitting them and then putting a walnut in the center (great suggestion for an appetizer from a customer).

Flourless Chocolate Cookies, and a Bellingham Gluten-free Restaurant Guide

Chantel holding a plate of yummy chocolate cookies made with Dagoba organic and fairly traded cocoa powder.

Chantel holding a plate of yummy chocolate cookies made with Dagoba organic and fairly traded cocoa powder.

We’ve been busy over the last year redesigning our website, and one of the new things we are doing is picking a staff favorite item to feature on the site as well as in our print ads – for December, long-time staff member Chantel was selected (who is our Membership Coordinator and also works on the Front End at our Downtown store).  She loves to cook and bake, and one of her favorite recipes features her staff pick of the month – Dagoba Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Powder.  We thought it would be fun to tie that into the Sassy Sampler blog this month, so the recipe was an easy pick since Chantel had already chosen it!

These flourless chocolate cookies are scrumptious – they come together very quickly and contain no added fats (although plenty of sugar, so don’t get too excited about the basically fat-free status!).  They taste like a meringue brownie – they are a delicate cookie that is packed with chocolate flavor and only contain a few ingredients.  They are similar to the Triple Chocolate Cookies that I have blogged about before, but these are much easier to make and don’t contain any flour at all.  Customers loved their flavor, and also loved their simplicity…and the fact that while they contain egg whites, you don’t have to whip them for this recipe!

One other new addition (to my blog) is that I have created a list of restaurants in town that offer gluten-free selections/substitutions.  I urge anyone to comment on them and to offer suggestions to add to the list – you can either email me (address is located on the bottom of the About page) or use the form – most of the restaurants listed are ones that myself or my coworkers have personally eaten at so it is by no means a comprehensive list.  You can find the PDF document (and places to comment) here.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies © Sassy Sampler 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cookies © Sassy Sampler 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

adapted from www.kumquatblog.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 c organic powdered sugar
  • 2/3 c organic cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 4 large organic egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 t organic vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4—1 1/2  c organic semi-sweet chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper (and sprayed lightly with oil) or Silpat mats.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and sea salt.
  4. Stir in the egg whites and vanilla until the batter is well combined (if the batter seems too thin you can add more powdered sugar until it reaches school glue consistency).
  5. Spoon thick fudgy batter onto cookie sheets in 12 small, evenly spaced mounds (about 1 T).  Chill for 5 minutes or so to keep them from spreading when they bake.  Refrigerate remaining batter.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked.
  7. Slide the parchment onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before removing from the sheet.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 with remaining batter.

Cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to three days and taste just like brownies!

There are many variations of this recipe on the web—you can use anywhere from 2-4 eggs (depending on how thick you want the batter—I definitely think the thicker the better) and some recipes use as much as 2 cups of chocolate chips.  Nuts can be added to these cookies as well—hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans would be a great choice.

Flourless Chocolate Cookies PDF

1/3/13 – Since posting this recipe I’ve made a batch using Dutch processed cocoa powder.  They turn out much darker (in color) and have a slightly richer chocolate flavor – give it a try if that is your preference!

I just have to mention that when I made the cookies, three of my four eggs had double yolks!!!  Just thought that was weird...

I just have to mention that when I made the cookies, three of my four eggs had double yolks!!! Just thought that was weird…