Brazil Nut and Date Bread with Honey Butter

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Brazil Nut and Date Bread with Honey Butter

(Serve for breakfast, snack, cheese plate or dessert!)

Yield: 1  9-inch pie

Unsalted butter, to prepare the pie pan
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon orange zest, grated on a Microplane
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup finely chopped Medjool dates, pits removed
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 cup raw brazil nuts, chopped roughly
3 large eggs

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 325ºF.

Butter a 9-inch pie pan, then dust with flour, tapping out any excess.

Mix together the flour, cinnamon, salt, cocoa powder, zest and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl.

Add the dates, milk, nuts and eggs and mix very well using a wooden spoon. Get in there with some elbow grease, and really stir until well combined. It’ll be thick and chunky, but that’s a good thing.

Pour the date batter into the prepared pie pan and or use the back of the wooden spoon to level off the batter.

Place the pie pan on a sheet pan and transfer to the oven.

Bake, uncovered, 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is light to golden brown and the center springs back when pressed.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. Once cool enough to handle, remove from the pie pan, slice (using a bread knife) and serve with a slathering of honey butter.

Honey Butter:

1/2 stick unsalted butter (4 tablespoons), softened
2 tablespoons honey, preferably orange blossom

Mix the butter and honey in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.

Photo: Ronald Tsang

P.S. This recipe was recently featured in an issue of Clean Eating Magazine and my new online cooking course with Clean Eating Magazine, “Clean Cooking & Nutrition: The World’s Healthiest Proteins & Advanced Vegetable Prep” will be starting on April 3! It’s gonna be so. much. fun! Check out the course trailer/preview to see for yourself!

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Easiest Scrambled Eggs

Super Sous started making her eggs this way because, in her words, she says, “I’m lazy!” Why pre-scramble your eggs (read: another dish to wash) when you can just do it all in the pan.

Watch and try it out next time you’re in the mood for perfectly scrambled eggs! P.S. Don’t forget to use a nonstick pan.

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Drought Friendly Eggless Shakshuka

On March 18, Super Sous and I posted a blog about the California Drought and how it affects the entire United States via the food grown in California (50% of California fruits and veggies are exported across the US – not just to grocery stores, but to restaurants, institutions, hospitals, schools, etc.).

Another thing that we mentioned in the blog post, is that we (Super Sous and I) have decided to create some “Drought Friendly Recipes”. Since 74% of all water in California is used for agriculture, our idea is that we can incorporate foods into our day-to-day lives that have a lower water footprint (than others).

For example, if the Water Footprint Organization says (global average) that it takes 28 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of lettuce, this might be a better drought friendly food choice than, say, eating a pound of figs which they slate at 401 gallons of water per pound.

Of course, figs and lettuce have different nutritional properties (and you are probably not going to eat a pound of either in one sitting!), but these drought friendly recipes aren’t about completely re-arranging your diet or skipping out on the nutrients you need. It’s about being aware of the drought and what each of us can do to conserve our precious water. If we can substitute a “water heavy” meal (like beef which is calculated to take anywhere between 1500 to 2000 gallons of water per pound), for a drought friendly recipe even once a week, it will make a difference in terms of conservation. (Fun fact: Did you know that 1 pound of goat meat takes only 127 gallons of water to produce?)

Now, this is not a perfect science/water calculation and we know it.

This is about having a conversation about the drought and dialoguing about conservation and solutions.

Our first “Drought Friendly” recipe is an Eggless Shakshuka. Shakshuka is a North African egg dish with tomatoes, onions and spices. Here, Super Sous and I substitute eggs with goat cheese and avocado. You can add both goat cheese and avocado or choose one or the other. Whatever you like best.

1 egg is cited by National Geographic to require 53 gallons of water to produce, whereas 1 pound of avocados (2-3 avocados) takes  237 gallons. Shakshuka would normally call for 6 eggs. So, this dish, (eggs alone) would take 317 gallons of water to produce. The 1 avocado used is 1/3 of that. And whereas a typical American breakfast might be eggs and bacon breakfast or a cup of greek yogurt or grabbing something on the go, this is a great alternative.

Since I began on my culinary journey, from learning how to garden with my grandparents as a child to working at farmers markets for over 10 years to cooking on television, I have always told people to shop locally as much as possible. Go to farmers markets, shop in season and support your local farmer, when you can. If you live outside of California, for example in Virginia where I’m from, and you are buying all of your meat and produce locally, and you are cooking all your meals at home, then wow! you are amazing and Super Sous I want to come over for dinner! But seriously, if you are able to do such a thing, than these recipes will be more food for thought than drought friendly conservation efforts. However, most of us don’t cook every meal at home. And most people don’t shop solely at farmers market nor even have that option depending on where in the country we live and what time of year it is. So, there’s a good chance you are shopping at grocery stores and eating at restaurants that are using California produce.

The last thing I want to mention is about food waste. This recipe calls for beet greens. There are so many recipes for beets out there, but less so for beet greens (although they are so tasty). Super Sous and I want to utilize as much as possible of the fruit and/or vegetable we are cooking with. 40% of all food goes to waste in the United States which translates to trillions of lost gallons of water. No need to discard the beet greens next time you grab a bunch of beets – here’s a great way to enjoy them.

Finally, Super Sous and I would love to hear from you. Comments, questions, thoughts, ideas, etc. Like I wrote, this is not an exact science or a strict dietary plan or about restricting your meals or nutritional needs. This is about a conversation that needs to be happening a lot more.

So, let’s gather around the communal table and discuss. I’ll bring the bread, you bring the shakshuka.

Shakshuka Goat Cheese

Shakshuka with goat cheese only

Shakshuka Goat and Avocado

Shakshuka with goat cheese and avocado

Drought Friendly Eggless Shakshuka

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced medium (1½ cups)

10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (3 tablespoons)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika

¼ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (chile flakes)

2 cups roughly chopped beet greens, rinsed but not dried

2 large fire-roasted red bell peppers, diced medium

1 (28-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 small avocado, pitted and sliced

3 tablespoons fresh goat cheese (chevre)

20 fresh cilantro leaves

1 baguette, sliced into large pieces

Place a large sauté pan over medium-low heat and add oil, onion and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add garlic, cumin, paprika and chile flakes. Stir and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add beet greens and stir. The remaining moisture from rinsing the greens will release any brown bits from the bottom of the sauté pan. Continue cooking and stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the greens have softened.

Add the peppers, tomatoes and black pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for approximately 10 minutes, until the liquid has thickened slightly.

Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Remove from heat.

Arrange slices of avocado and dollops of goat cheese on the shakshuka. Sprinkle over fresh cilantro.

Serve on plates with a slice of fresh baguette.

Switching it Up. From Sweet to Savory Breakfasts. And this Morning’s Sticky Rice with Bok Choy and Pickled Cucumbers

One of our (Super Sous & I) favorite things about our time in Asia was breakfast.

As luck would have it, the hotels we stayed in had huge buffet breakfasts (this seemed standard for hotels) and while there was a handful of sweet items available, the majority of choices were savory. Dim sum, pho, fish, salad, soup, congee, noodle dishes, stir fry vegetables… The choices seemed endless! There were western items as well: bacon, eggs, beans (British), breads, but the real gems were the local/regional specialities. 

What we came to experience after 2 weeks of savory breakfasts was that starting our day with savory instead of sugar was not only a great way cut sugar consumption, but to keep ourselves energized until lunch as we felt much more satiated. 

Even though we are used to eating a healthy breakfast, like nonfat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, that breakfast alone can contain the equivalent of several tablespoons of sugar. 

It takes a little more forethought to eat savory for breakfast, but you can pull together something quick (photo below) like my sticky rice dish with pickled cucumbers and sesame stir fry bok choy. 



And… don’t forget about last night’s leftovers! How quick is that?!

Here’s to savor(y)ing the mornings… 

Shirred Egg with Prosciutto

Tired of the same old sunny side up eggs? Try this egg recipe and “wow” your family and friends. Simple and delicious, shirred eggs are easy to make and when you add some prosciutto – it’s a total winner.

Fun fact: You can watch me make this recipe on my Youtube channel!

Shirred Egg with Prosciutto

Shirred Egg with Prosciutto

Yield: 1 serving

 

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 slice of prosciutto di parma, chopped roughly

1 large whole egg

½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

½ tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1/16 teaspoon Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon heavy cream

 

Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease the bottom and sides of an oven-safe ramekin with olive oil. Place ramekin on a sheet pan.

Place the prosciutto in the ramekin. Crack the egg into the ramekin, whole. Add the salt and pepper, herbs and cheese, then top with the cream.

Place the baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes (if using a shallow ramekin) or 11-12 minutes (if using a deeper ramekin) until the egg white is just set but the yolk still runny.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Waffle with Honey Butter

You may  want to make an extra sweet potato or two this Thanksgiving.

Watch me make this recipe on my Facebook page.

Sweet Potato Waffles with Honey Butter copy

Sweet Potato Waffles with Honey Butter

Yield: 12 waffles

 

Waffles:

1 sweet potato (about 3/4 pound)

1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 large eggs

1¼ cups 2% or whole milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

¼ cup pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B

1 tablespoon orange zest (zest of 1 large orange), grated on a Microplane

Extra-virgin olive oil, for preparing the sweet potato

Nonstick spray

 

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 400ºF. Rub a thin layer of olive oil on the sweet potato, set on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted through the skin doesn’t stick.

Peel and mash the baked sweet potato. Measure 1 cup and place in a large bowl. Using a small spoon, eat any extra mashed sweet potato when no one is looking.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, butter, maple syrup, and orange zest into the bowl with the mashed sweet potato.

Slowly whisk the flour mixture into the sweet potato egg mixture until just combined. It will be on the thick side, so don’t worry.

Place two sheet pans in the oven, and preheat the oven to 200ºF; this will keep the waffles warm as you make them.

Heat a waffle iron until hot and spray lightly with nonstick spray.

Pour in just enough batter to nearly fill the iron, but do not overload it.

Cook the waffles until done, about 5 minutes.

As the waffles finish cooking, place them in the oven, uncovered, on the warm sheet pans. To keep the waffles from getting soggy, do not stack them.

Serve with honey butter and maple syrup.

 

Honey Butter:

1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons), softened

¼ cup honey, preferably orange blossom

 

Mix the butter and honey in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.