Filed under: Desserts, Side Dishes | Tags: chickpea, garbanzo, hummus, lemon, meyer lemon
Valentine’s Day flowers – from our yard!
A few weeks ago, I made a deal with the kids in my after-school program for Wilderness Youth Project: if they brought me fruits/vegetables/food that they had either foraged or harvested, I would make them snacks. A few days later, one of the girls brought me a large bag of meyer lemons from her family’s tree. Lemon bars had definitely been mentioned as a request, but I was feeling a bit of guilt over giving them so much sugar in one dose. But luckily I found this recipe in my searches. It uses whole wheat flour (always a plus) and not nearly as much sickly sweet sugar as other recipes I’ve found. They were a hit!
To counteract the effects of sugar, I decided to make hummus as well, and serve it with carrots and celery from the garden. Most hummus recipes seem to be very similar, so I wasn’t too obsessive over which recipe to use. I was very pleased with the result – and with a food processor, it was a snap to throw together.
Another friend gave me a bag of lemons this past weekend. What shall I do with them? Ideas..?
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup whole wheat flour
Preheat your oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 pan with baking spray (or butter it) and line with foil or wax paper for easy removal later on. Spray again.
In a food processor, pulse flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add butter one cube at a time and process to blend, then pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Dump crust out into pan and press firmly to even out. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, then bake until golden brown, 20 minutes.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the filling is set. Let cool completely. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week. Cut into desired shape.
Hummus (original recipe here)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
14 oz can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup tahini
1 tsp sea salt
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally. To serve, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cayenne pepper.
Our pumpkins got a bit of a late start this year. We didn’t plant the seeds until July, but they grew remarkably fast. And we were rewarded with about 6 small, bright orange, Cinderella pumpkins. They were an heirloom breed, but I think given their short growing season they didn’t attain their normal size. I was still happy – we used them as decoration, and then I did something I’ve always wanted to do – I roasted the pumpkins and made fresh pumpkin puree! While slightly time consuming, it was so worth it. As it always is, when I look at the food on my plate and think, I grew this… from seed to harvest… approximate travel, 20 feet…
I did a bit of google research to figure out method, but it was pretty easy. Like most winter squash, I cut the pumpkins in half, scooped out the seeds, put them in a baking dish face down and roasted them. I scooped out the puree and let it drain overnight. The next day I decided on my plan of attack – first I wanted to make pumpkin bread, because that is our favorite way to use pumpkin puree.
My friend Katie makes a killer pumpkin bread (with the addition of chocolate chips and millet – I may post that at a later date), but I went for something traditional and nostalgic: Mama Dean’s pumpkin bread. My college roommate’s mother was from England (but lived 30 minutes from our college), and she would periodically either make us treats or give us cooking lessons. Each fall we savored her pumpkin bread, usually accompanied with pineapple cream cheese. Best of all, the recipe made two loaves! I decided to make one loaf, and the rest of the batter into muffins.
I had 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree leftover, so I scoured the internet for recipes using such a small amount. I came across one for maple pumpkin cookies -two of my favorite fall flavors and a perfect combination, as cookies are second only to ice cream in my husband’s sweet tooth hierarchy. They turned out to be just right – slightly chewier texture than pumpkin bread, and divine with a glass of milk.
Cut pumpkin in half. Scoop out seeds/membranes. Turn face down in a baking dish, and bake ~ 1 1/4 hours in a 375 oven until super soft. Scoop out the puree into cheesecloth lining a colander, and let drain 2 hours – overnight in the refrigerator. Its now ready to use – it can be frozen for a few months if you have more than you want to use in the next few days.
Mama Dean’s Pumpkin Bread
2/3 c water
1 c oil
4 eggs, beaten
2 c pumpkin puree
3 c sugar
3 1/2 c flour (2 white, 1 1/2 whole wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp each: nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice
Sift dry ingredients together. Mix pumpkin, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Add water and sugar – mix well. Add all dry ingredients. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans (or 1 loaf pan and 12 muffins). Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool and remove from pans.
Pineapple cream cheese: Mix 1 block cream cheese with 1 small can of crushed pineapple. Beat together, and serve with bread.
Maple Pumpkin Cookies (original recipe here)
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream margarine and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, maple syrup and pumpkin. Mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir flour mixture into creamed mixture. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough on cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes.
One final image – the bees just love the borage that is growing so abundantly in the front bed! I had a photo session with one guy the other week.
First of all, I’d like to apologize for taking such a long hiatus from posting. Things just seemed to get really busy – Matt sprained his ankle while climbing (its much better now), coordinating things for my new job, we were in Austin, TX for 5 days for a wedding, then I was trying to catch up once we got back, the garden needed a lot of work, etc. I will do my best to get back to 1x a week though! I also realized I have yet to post a dessert recipe on this blog – which seems odd given that we’re definitely a household of desserts. But I think this one will be a perfect first!
Last summer, we were inspired to plant a plum tree by our friends Zach and Heather. We were lucky enough to indulge in some of their tree’s harvest (several plum crisps worth), and it was so delicious that I decided I wanted a plum tree too! The blossoms came in March/April, and then the little green plums starting showing up – hard to believe that was four months ago. We got a respectable amount of plums for our first harvest – perhaps 30? And they ripened over ~two weeks so I wasn’t too overwhelmed.
I made a few desserts with the plums, although there were never quite enough to make something like a crisp or cobbler. One of the better recipes I found was for a tender cake flecked with orange and topped with plum halves tucked into the batter. The original recipe called for lemon zest, but I only had an orange on hand, which probably made the cake slightly sweeter. Our plums are a little on the tart side, and they got even tarter when cooked, so I think a different variety might be better. This could also probably work with other stone fruits – nectarines, peaches, cherries?
Dimply Plum Cake
1 1/2 cups flour (I used a mix of all purpose and whole wheat pastry flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
5 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup oil
grated zest of one orange (original recipe calls for lemon zest)
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 plums, halved and pitted
Preheat oven to 350. Butter an 8×8 baking pan flour the bottom and sides, and set aside. Using a hand mixer (or stand mixer if you own one), cream the butter with the brown sugar. Add the eggs, beating well, then the oil, orange zest and vanilla. Reduce speed and add the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom, and mix only until just incorporated.
Pour the batter in the prepared dish, smooth top, and arrange the plums on top, cut side up. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean and the top is brown with the plums set well into the cake.
Let cool for at least 15 minutes (the juices of the plums will get sucked back into the fleshy parts of the fruit) before loosening the edges of the cake with a knife and inverting the cake on a baking rack. Return the cake to face up and cool the rest of the way.
Original recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours