butternut & sage crackers

I’ve been looking forward to experimenting with this one for a while now, waiting until an appropriately autumnal time. My husband and I have always grown butternut in our gardens (as I noted in last week’s primal pumpkin spice muffin post, they are as vigorous as they are delicious). In the good ol’ days (when buying bananas at a grocery store seemed a little colonial and gluttonous) we were more loyal locavores, and relied on the sweet hearty squashes to help feed us through the winter. I would slice the neck across into a series of 1/2 thick circles, line them in a glass baking dish, and chop a couple fistfuls of fresh sage. I would spread the sage on the top along with sea salt, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil, baking until the edges of the circles (the skin) was crunchy and the interior soft and creamy.  That warmth, aroma, and flavor was what I wanted to replicate in cracker form. These come close, and the curry I added (just because) really comes through. A slight creaminess is courtesy of that mysterious property of a good butternut to resemble, well, butter.

#vegan #gluten-free #vitaminA

Ingredients:  locally grown butternut squash, organic millet, organic flax seeds, organic raw sunflower seeds, organic apple cider vinegar, filtered water, organic dates, locally grown apples, himalayan pink salt,  fresh sage, organic curry

pesto crackers

with fresh garlic, swiss chard, and organic golden flax

Since first bartering with Ben at Little Hat Creek Farm for basil in June 2015, I had an itch to invent a crisp cracker with the intense flavor of pesto. After a couple hours at the city pool the next day, I whipped up a mini-batch test version of these just in time for dinner (bartered Twin Oaks vegetarian chorizo with sauteed onions and greens), and was lucky enough to catch them before burning while juggling everything else. They were an instant hit as we ate them still warm, even with Fionn, who tasted one and asked for another with a mouth still stuffed with the first one.

I’m particularly excited  to include authentic Spanish smoked paprika sea salt from Spanish Food Works in these crackers. Jane Gregg, the maven of la comida de España behind Spanish Food Works, bartered her smoked pimentón salt for crackers during the soggy Saturday storm at City Market in summer 2015, and I suspected it would work well with the basil and garlic. A year later, I’ve made a few tweaks to the original test recipe, I can say that these are now ridiculously tasty and honestly nutritious. Welcome back, basil season!

Local producers: Spanish Food Works (smoked pimentón), Little Hat Creek Farm & Brightwood Vineyard & Farm (basil), Avant Gardens (fresh garlic)

Ingredients: organic golden flax, organic millet, organic raw sunflower seeds, filtered water, fresh basil, Swiss chard, organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar, organic dates, locally grown garlic, organic extra virgin olive oil, smoked pimenton flor de sal, smoked paprika

“the croccoli” cracker with fresh ginger & roasted garlic

Maybe it’s the obligatory recovery period after the Christmas and New Year holiday that’s made me crave green stuff lately, even more than usual. But cold raw salads are not exactly compelling when the temperatures finally start feeling wintry.  I want huge platters of steamed green stuff slathered in some kind of goopy brown garlic sauce a la American Chinese food, in the excessive quantity only an American can appreciate.

Thus, the croccoli was born– a crunchy cracker not shy on nutty broccoli flavor, but matched with fresh ginger and some roasted garlic.

Broccoli is a “no-brainer” health food, packed with compounds found to fight cancer, and in combination particularly effective at detoxifying the body. Read more about that at one of my favorite no-frills nutrition sites, World’s Healthiest Foods.  The croccoli will be available at City Market, The Juice Laundry, and other select retail locations throughout the spring (May-June), and late fall.

ingredients: organic golden flax, locally grown broccoli, organic millet, organic raw sunflower seeds, filtered water, organic dates, Braggs raw apple cider vinegar,  roasted locally grown garlic, fresh ginger, himalayan pink salt

sunny solstice cookies with cacao

If there’s any holiday I can get excited about in winter, it’s the one reminding me that winter, with all it’s darkness and erratic weather, will end. On the solstice, I am all too eager to celebrate, helping push the pendulum towards longer days, and the spring to come.

This recipe attempts to honor everything about this time of year, when the body craves density and creaminess, and the soul craves color and light. The interweb is bloated with holiday cookie recipes that involve rolling, cutting, sprinkling, or glopping with icing, so I see this as a simple healthy alternative that can save you time but still satisfy the sweet tooth. These guys are dairy, grain, and nut-free (not an easy feat for a cookie), so they can make a nutritious homemade treat packed in a school lunch, or to take to parties in which there may be nut, gluten, and/or dairy allergies. Plus, there’s no messy icing, meaning they can travel or ship without congealing into a disastrously UNfestive mess more unwelcome than a fruitcake. There are people out there I am lucky enough to still call friends who have been in the receiving end of such messes. P.S. I am so sorry guys. I know it was, like, 10 years ago, but I should have known better.

Not only does the sunbutter make the cookie exteriors glossy (the refrain to REM’s ‘Shiny Happy People’) has been running through my head ever since I took them out of the oven), but the little crunch of cacao nibs is like a little surprise inside! If you prefer dried fruits or actual dark chocolate chips inside, swap out the nibs in their favor. Enjoy!

sunny solstice cookies with crunchy cacao
Yields 14
A completely grain and nut--free treat that's creamy, delicious, portable, and fun to eat despite not being covered in sticky frosting.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
38 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
38 min
149 calories
12 g
13 g
10 g
4 g
1 g
39 g
105 g
9 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
39g
Yields
14
Amount Per Serving
Calories 149
Calories from Fat 88
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g
16%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 13mg
4%
Sodium 105mg
4%
Total Carbohydrates 12g
4%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 9g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
3%
Vitamin C
2%
Calcium
2%
Iron
5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sunflower seed butter
  2. 1 egg, beaten
  3. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 1/3 cup local honey
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1/4 tsp salt
  9. 1 cup cacao nibs
  10. 3/4 cup chopped dried dark cherries (optional)
  11. Coarse sea salt, to sprinkle on top (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of your ingredients except the chocolate chunks until they come together and mixed thoroughly.
  3. Once the batter comes together, fold in your cacao nibs and optional dried cherries.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and scoop your batter onto the baking sheet to form 12-14 cookies.
  5. If you're in the mood, arrange a few nibs and/or dried cherries on top to make a smiley face.
  6. If you like a little sea salt on the top of your cookies, sprinkle a little onto each cookie before putting it in the oven.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
Notes
  1. Here is a good resource on making your own sunflower seed butter:http://www.tessadomesticdiva.com/2012/09/homemade-sunflower-seed-butter-extra-creamy.html.
  2. Also, my title is a mouthful (I have a weakness for alliteration), so feel free to change it. Shiny Happy Cookies works, too.
Adapted from PaleOMG
beta
calories
149
fat
10g
protein
4g
carbs
12g
more
Adapted from PaleOMG
https://goodphytefoods.com/

paleo pumpkin spice muffins

Have you seen the “exposés” about canned pumpkin not actually being pumpkin (like this one on the kitchn)? Even as a #snacksnark who can’t resist a good food industry conspiracy, I know there’s a good reason for this, and it’s simple: butternut is better. The color is brighter, the flavor sweeter, and the plants are very productive, something I appreciate as a gardener.  No matter what else I’ve f*$#ed up in the weeding, watering, and composting department, the butternut is forgiving, sprawling across the lawn and giving birth to, in a better year, dozens of large, delicious lunkers I can stow away in the basement for a hungry day.  Pumpkins and what we know as winter squash come from the same genus, and have very similar nutritional contents (lots of vitamin A & potassium). So I will unabashedly tell you that these pumpkin muffins are made with homegrown butternut, though certainly I will also use kabocha squash or seminole pumpkin later in the fall and winter. If you want to geek out a little on pumpkins and winter squash, here’s a nice little piece on a blog called Botanist in the Kitchen.

I’ve never been into pumpkin lattes, but I can understand their appeal– warm, rich, spicy, and entirely seasonal. These hit that same spot. Even the first test batch of these vegan and grain-free pumpkin muffins got high marks from my toddler taste-tester, who would devour three in a sitting before I could take a decent photo. The texture of these more resembles a traditional muffin (whoo-hoo!) than some of the other paleo muffins using grated veggies, which I attribute to the moist binding properties of the squash.

Ingredients: butternut squash, local pastured eggs (Modesto Farm), organic coconut flour, organic coconut oil, organic raisins, organic dates, filtered water, spices (I’ll tell you which ones if you ask nicely), baking soda, vanilla extract

 

carrot chia muffins with coconut & ginger

#paleo, #grainfree, #nutfree, #vitamin a

Early iterations of our paleo mini muffins at City Market were probably a little underwhelming. I have my son’s third birthday to thank for getting serious about making a grain-free cupcake that would pass muster in his preschool class rather than cause a dozen little faces to contort condemningly. Applying some of the cupcake principles to the muffin formula, including eliminating tapioca flour, gives them a little more “lift.” I got a lot of great feedback from customers on August 29th, when I sold these for the first time. The greatest part of these guys, though, is that they are literally mostly eggs and carrot, like a vitamin A-packed frittata, sweetened only with dates and raisins and packed with fresh ginger.

I tell everyone unfamiliar with paleo baked goods to be aware that a truly grain-free muffin will have a denser, moister, eggier texture than the fluffy, cake-ish muffins we’ve grown up on. But won’t sit in your belly like a load of bricks!

Ingredients: local pastured eggs (Modesto Farm), locally grown carrots, organic coconut oil, organic coconut flour, organic dates, filtered water, organic chia seeds, baking soda, sea salt, fresh ginger, vanilla extract, ginger powder

beet thins

These crackers were first inspired by a millet cracker recipe in Ruth Yaron’s Super Baby Food (page 509). As I gushed in my book review back in March, I adore the book’s simple, practical language, and brief, to-the-point recipes. Her style makes it easy to experiment, using her recipes as templates from which to swap ingredients and play around a little with flavors. Some of my experiments are abject failures.  This one is, hands, down, my favorite cracker. Ever.

After making a few batches of these beet crackers with millet and pumpkin seeds (falling quickly in love), I swapped in quinoa, which I have since stopped using because the deep earthy grain flavor overshadowed the other subtle flavors.  The beets (which I’ve sourced from several farms, including Broadhead Mountain Farm, Double H Farm, Lettuce Grow Farm, and Bellair Farm) and figs combine with rosemary and sea salt to generate a sweet and savory quality without any added sweeteners. After making these with local pastured butter for many weeks, I responded to requests for a dairy-free cracker and managed to create a vegan version that should still satisfy crunch-craver. No one wants something that called itself a cracker when the crunch factor just doesn’t hold up to expectation.

These are tasty on their own and even better with some Caromont Farm goat cheese. A groggy post-nap Fionn gobbled several after sneaking them from the still-warm cookie sheet on top of the oven. Enjoy, and thanks for the inspiration, Ruth!

Ingredients: locally grown beets, organic golden flax, organic millet, organic pumpkin seeds, organic dried figs, himalayan pink salt, lemon juice, fresh rosemary

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el cuatro (four seed roasted red pepper cracker)

I have been looking forward to the full swing of red pepper season, and here we are in mid-late August with the staff at Whisper Hill Farm‘s market stand nearly begging people to buy whole flats of the things.  I took them up on the offer last Saturday, bartering a four-pack of superstar omega bars to keep those hard-working ladies fueled as they packed up after market.

On Monday, a visit from the woman who must be the most self-sacrificing friend in the universe found us, with our collective clan of three boys, in our garden. You know that point in late afternoon, about an hour after waking naptime, when toys start to be used a little too aggressively, evidenced by balls hurling through the air, yelps that “so and so hit me with the book,” etc.? At that point, you know you missed some magic window in which smarter moms would have proactively transitioned everyone to an outside activity. Oops. I had been waiting for my first delivery from bulk distributor Dutch Valley Foods, headed my way on a tractor trailer with a vague ETA. Awaiting a call from the driver when he got close, we headed out to the garden. Fionn was eager to show his friends Carter (5yo) and Alan (3yo) how to pick tomatoes, which he is quick to remind you that he doesn’t like (“they are too squirby for me”), but respects simply because red, he now repeatedly declares, is his favorite color.

Carter had the idea to make a salad, so I offered the challenge to see how many colors we could find for it. The eager team waded from tomatoes to peppers to beets to carrots, through knee-high weeds in what other people might refer to as a “lawn.” We got a meager but respectable haul, and I used some of their very carefully-harvested cherry tomatoes (and basil) in the dough mixture.

These crunchy crackers are packed with Vitamin A and C from ripe red peppers and cherry tomatoes, but also chock full of nutritious seeds, including flax and chia.

Ingredients: roasted red peppers (Whisper Hill Farm), organic millet, organic flax seeds, organic raw sunflower seeds, cherry tomato, organic chia seeds, filtered water, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic dates, organic apple cider vinegar, sea salt, roasted garlic, fresh basil, smoked paprika, cayenne