Brown Rice Cake!

If your new year's resolution involves eating more whole grains, I have
some exciting new recipes to share!

Leftover rice from last night's dinner inspired this whole grain dessert.
I've eaten too much already, and it's only 3!

Brown Rice Spice Cake (vegan)

Preheat oven to 325.

In a large mixing bowl, combine:

-1/4 c gluten free polenta (Bob's Red Mill sells a certified GF polenta,
available online)
-1/2 c organic white rice flour (brown rice flour will probably be great
in a 1:1 substitution)
-1/4 c whole grain teff flour
-2 t guar gum
-1/2 t salt
-1 1/2 t baking powder
-1/2 t baking soda
-1 t cinnamon
-1/8 t nutmeg
-1/8 t allspice
-1/8 t cayenne pepper

Add to flour mix:

-1/2 c olive oil
-1/2 c organic unsweetened applesauce
-1/2 c water (or juice or coffee)
-1 c cooked brown rice

Mix thoroughly, and add in a few dried pears or sunflower seeds for
good measure. Spoon batter into a greased cake pan and bake for 35
minutes. As it cools the cake's starches will firm up and pull away
from the edges of the pan. Turn onto a cutting board and serve warm
with a good, plain yogurt.

Goes quickly.


All about ingredients!

I took a trip to the Ferry Building farmers market this morning to restock
our supplies. Expecting to find only piles of dino kale and bags of
potatoes, I was surprised to find some beautiful baby golden beets, an
assortment of chicories, the last of the seasons pluots! Winter in California
is pretty darn great. I spent all the money I had, and went back for more.

When I got home, I cleaned the beets and roasted them for the night's salad:

3 bunches baby golden beets
olive oil

Clean and halve the beets. Toss liberally with olive oil and salt. Bake at 375
for 20-30 minutes, shaking the tray halfway through. Let cool and eat in
salad, or serve straight.

The beets came with some healthy looking leaves. Beet greens are great
for cooking. I find them sweeter than chard, and very enjoyable, if you
can get all the dirt out of them. These greens found their way into a beef
stock that had been cooking for a few hours. The stock came out robust
and delicious, thanks to some local ingredients and a little spice.

Also at the market were these trash-bound pluots and persimmons! The
above fruits cost a total of $4 from a guy named Joe at Twin Girls
Produce. He handed me a pair of plastic gloves and a flat of bruised fruits,
and left me to my dirty work. In a few minutes, feeling like a pro, I had 6
pounds of slightly blemished fruits ready for jam!

Pluot Butter

a decent amount of pluots or plums, washed.

Cut all bruised bits off of your fruit. Put them in a saucepan with water
just to cover one layer of fruit. Cover and bring to a boil. Let the pluots
steam while you tend to your soup stock or your roasting beets. Stir to
make sure all of the pluots get some heat. When the skins have split,
remove from the heat. One at a time, cut the fruits in half to remove
the pits (this should be easy. If the pits don't fall free, keep cooking and
try again.). Place the pitted fruits back in the pot with water and continue
to simmer. In an hour or so, puree the whole mixture in a good blender.
Be careful not to trap steam! If the mix is too liquidy for you, return it to
the stove and reduce it further. If you like it where it is (it will firm up in
the fridge), store it in a clean jar and refrigerate.

Chicory is something I've dealt with only a few times. It's beautiful, with
the palest green flecks as the white base turns to purple. These radicchio
come from County Line Produce, where they grow in place of lettuce
during the cold(er) months.

Roasted Radicchio with Broccoli Rabe and Beans

4 small heads of radicchio
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 lb broccoli rabe
1 1/2 c cooked beans of your choice (I used Jacob's Cattle beans from
Fifth Crow Farms)
1 mandarin or navel orange
a good, aged balsamic vinegar
olive oil

Wash the radicchio and section into quarters. Toss in olive oil, salt and
a touch of balsamic vinegar. Bake at 400 for about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute the broccoli rabe in olive oil with plenty of garlic and
a little salt. When cooked through (2-3 minutes), add some sweet
balsamic vinegar to taste. Remove from the heat, and toss in the
radicchio and the cooked beans. Mix well and taste. If it is too bitter,
add some more balsamic vinegar (the aged stuff is like syrup) or cut
in an orange. Serve luke warm with rice.

And the last project of the day, made sometime after the beets left the
oven and before the persimmon butter tart entered, were the energy
bars. Jesse and I have eaten a lot of energy bars in the recent past, and
these are our favorite so far.

The cubes on either side are made mostly from organic medjool dates.
They are blended with coarsely chopped sunflower seeds and buckwheat
groats, chia seeds, and whatever spices are at hand. The batch on the left
has zest from 1 kaffir lime and 1/2 lemon, plus chopped fresh ginger. The
batch on the right has ground coffee beans for a mid-ride pick-me-up.
They are shaped and baked on parchment paper at 325 for 20 minutes.
Store in the freezer. They will last without refrigeration if you are taking
them out for a trip.

The squares in the middle are mostly buckwheat groats with just enough
date paste to stick them all together. I added cinnamon, chia seeds and salt,
and a little bit of kumquat syrup leftover from making jam. Spread the mix
out on parchment in one block, and bake at 325 for 20 minutes. When it is
still warm, cut the block into small squares and let cool before tasting. These
should keep a very long time, and pack more protein and less sugar than the
date cubes. Use any nuts and seeds you like to make your perfect energy bars.
But don't be surprised when you get addicted.

(the above batches were made with 1.25 lb. unpitted organic fresh dates)


Whey to go

Whey energy bar cookies! Immensely pocketable. These kept me going
strong on our Christmas Eve ride down the coast.

Gluten Free Oats
Whey (leftover from making cheese or straining yogurt)
Dried fruit (I used dried Serendipity Farms plums)
Honey (above honey from friend Robert of City Bees)

Soak the oats in whey for 30 minutes or so. The oats will soak up most
of the liquid. Strain the oats and squeeze them lightly to remove excess
whey. Mix these with dried fruit of your choice and the remaining
ingredients. Add honey until you reach your desired sweetness.

Heat the oven to 250. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour
the mixture evenly on the paper and spread it flat. Bake for 30 minutes
and check on it. If the top is crusty, flip it to cook the bottom. Bake it for
another 30 minutes. The cookie should be pretty dry but still flexible.
Cut it into rectangles and store in the freezer. Bring a few cookies with
you on your next bike ride!


I jar what I can

Persimmon season is drawing to a close, and I scooped up the last of
the fruits at last Wednesday's Castro Farmers Market.

To keep them around a little longer, I made a batch of persimmon butter.
It was my biggest canning project yet.

Persimmon Butter

40 fuyu persimmons
10-12 lemons, juiced
chopped fresh ginger to taste
cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice to taste
sugar to taste (1-2 cups, reassess after the mixture reduces)

Chop the persimmons and cover them with water in a large soup pot.
Let them boil for a while with a lid before adding the rest of the
ingredients. Remove the lid and boil for a long time. When the liquid
has evaporated a little and the persimmons are starting to get soft
and stringy, puree the whole mixture in a blender. Put the puree back
on the stove and start to reduce on a low flame. Stir occasionally. This
should take a few hours. When the mix has reduced and thickened,
taste and add sugar, spices and lemon juice accordingly (the lemon is
for acidity for safe canning practices). When it is just right, transfer to
sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for at least 10 minutes,
or store in the fridge immediately! Eat it with toast, with yogurt, as a
filling for donuts, or a smoothie filler!

Spiced persimmon smoothie:

1/2 c plain unsweetened yogurt
1/2 peach, frozen
1-2 T spiced persimmon butter

Blend thoroughly, enjoy immediately.


Clean Beets-Drying your vegetables!

Exciting things are happening here in my part of the world! Firstly, outer
space pizza dough. This was topped with parsley and butter beans as an
accidental falafel pizza.

I visited an allergy clinic a few weeks ago, hoping to figure out why I've been
so sick this year. It seems I can't eat tapioca, garbanzo, or potato, three of the
most popular GF flour substitutes (Tapioca is the main ingredient in most of my
breads). The pizza dough was made with arrowroot and quinoa flour in an effort
to learn the ways of some new ingredients.

This bread had amaranth and quinoa but no starch. It taught me a few things
about baking with eggs, something I haven't done in months.

It's been a treat to be excited about food these days. I've been canning
jams and drying fruit, so I thought I'd experiment with root vegetables.

I snatched these beets from Happy Boy Farms last week and roasted them
with turnips and Serendipity thumbalina carrots, salt and olive oil. I
wanted to make an energy bar from vegetables instead of dried fruits, so
I shredded the roasted veggies in my food processor, along with some
braising greens, rosemary, ginger and garlic, and spread it all out on a
baking sheet to dry in the oven. They bars are a little fragile, but really

Finally, it's the first night of Chanukah, and I wish you all a warm
and filling holiday.


Chocolate Coffee Loaf

This was served to a well-lubricated crowd at this season's first holiday
party. It went quickly.

Chocolate Coffee Loaf

1/2 c tapioca starch
1/2 c white rice flour
1/2 c brown rice flour
1/2 c gluten free cocoa powder
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 t guar gum
2 T finely ground (decaf) coffee (use up to 1/4 c for stronger taste)
1/2 t salt

3/4 c sugar
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
3/4 c whey (use buttermilk if you don't have whey)

Preheat oven to 325. Mix ingredients together and pour into a loaf pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes. If you slice your cake and it isn't fully baked,
spread pieces on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes.
Call it cake toast.

Polenta Cake

Known as cornbread in the real world, this polenta cake is spiced, so I call it cake.

Polenta Cake

1/2 c tapioca starch
1/2 c brown rice flour
1/2 c white rice flour
1/4 c gluten free polenta
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 t guar gum
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t allspice
1/8 t nutmeg

1/2 c sugar
3/4 c buttermilk (to make it vegan, substitute your favorite milk, plus 1 t apple cider vinegar)
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 325. Mix all your ingredients together, snack on
some applesauce, add 1 t orange zest if so desired, snack on the
orange. Pour batter into a cake pan or cast iron pan and bake for
35 minutes. Let cool slightly before taking it out of the pan. Slice
and serve warm with yogurt.