Category Archives: Recipe

One

Last week, on July 4th, my son Blaise turned one year old.

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I wanted to write a post about his birthday because it was such a momentous occasion. One year on this planet, 365 days shared with this tiny bright soul… but there’s so much that can’t be put into words about being a parent.

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If you’re a parent and you’re reading this, you know what I mean. Having children is such a humbling, awe-some, terrifying, heartbreaking, beautiful experience. Being Blaise’s mom has ruined my life in the best way possible.

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Our hearts are full. And that’s all I can really say.

We had a small party with our close family and friends. It was fun, and focused on celebrating Blaise, as it should be. I made a banana cake in honor of his favorite food. Everyone loved it, and I thought I’d share the recipe here.

cake

Blaise’s 1st Birthday Cake

Makes 2 6-inch cake rounds

Based on Ina Garten’s recipe for Old-Fashioned Banana Cake

Cake Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

3/4 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup avocado oil

2 tablespoons gelatin + 7 tablespoons water

1/2 cup thick coconut yogurt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups Otto’s Cassava Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

“Cream Cheese” Frosting Ingredients:

1 cup palm shortening, soft

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 + 1 tbsp thick coconut yogurt

*sliced bananas, toasted large flake coconut and candied violets, for decoration

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 6-inch cake pans and set aside.

2. With a hand mixer, cream together the bananas, coconut sugar and cane sugar on low speed.

3. Mix the gelatin with the water and wait 10 seconds, then pour quickly into banana-sugar mixture and blend on low speed until combined. Add in oil, yogurt, and vanilla and combine.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and incorporate them until smooth.

5. Tip the batter into the two cake pans. It should be thicker than pancake batter but not too stiff. Smooth out the top with a wet spatula.

6. Bake for 50 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test. Let the cakes cool before frosting.

**To make the frosting, beat together all the ingredients on medium speed in a small bowl. Frost immediately. If you need to make it ahead of time, make sure to take the frosting out 30 minutes before frosting the cake. Re-whip the mixture if necessary to aid in the fluffy texture.

Eating Seasonally

mulberry treeIt’s a long road to the self sustainable life. For me, it started a few years ago when I stopped eating gluten, dairy, and eggs and started cooking for myself. I’ve become acquainted with gardening, lacto-fermentation, essential oils and herbal medicine, sewing, and a plethora of other traditional crafts we have now woven into the homespun fabric of our daily life. A newer addition to the list has been eating seasonally.

I used to eat seasonally, seasonally. You know –  eating from the farmer’s markets and kitchen garden in the summer but then swinging back to the grocery store in December for raspberries and asparagus because, well, they’re there. I decided this year after reading Gluten-Free Girl‘s blog that I would challenge myself creatively by truly eating seasonally. As of this summer I’ve only been eating what vegetables our garden produces, with a few small exceptions. Right now, in late June, we have spinach, several kinds of lettuce, strawberries, and rainbow Swiss chard. That’s it. And boy are they DELICIOUS! While it’s been boring eating the same rotation of vegetables each week, my mind has been freed, in a way, by having a smaller selection to choose from while meal planning. Instead of having the entire range of the vegetable kingdom available to me at my local Trader Joe’s, all I have are a few humble green tablefellows to consume. The spinach is tender, mild and faintly vegetal without the overwhelming “vegetabley” taste that most kids hate. The lettuce is butter-soft, crisp and dainty. And the strawberries? Like vibrant red jewels, bright splashes of flavor on your tongue.

mulberries

Another aspect of seasonal eating I am trying to implement into our lives is using what we have from our wild plants. I’m still learning about harvesting wild food, but mulberries and stinging nettle are on my radar. Our mulberry tree is quite prolific, and if you walk underneath it your feet are sure to be left splotched with purple stains. I’m not sure how I feel about mulberries. They look deceptively like blackberries, are sweet for sure, but don’t really have much flavor. I’ve found that when used in baked goods they take on a brighter flavor, but otherwise they’re kind of just….meh. The challenge lies in using these free, organic, wild berries because they are here, and not buying the luscious blueberries, figs, apricots at the grocery store. Well, okay, I bought a few, but keeping my focus on what we grow ourselves is the goal.

 I created this recipe for the mulberries because I was tired of using them in sweets. Really, don’t we have enough sweets, too frequently? Plus it is more challenging for me to create a savory recipe using fruit since I am not much acquainted with that type of cooking. This recipe for lamb is really delicious. The meat is so tender, moderately spiced, and falls apart without a hint of dryness. Persian cuisine frequently features mulberries. They are known in that culture as the “king of berries.”

Slow-Roasted Persian Lamb with Mulberries

Slow-Roasted Persian Lamb with Mulberries

Ingredients:

1 4-lb boneless leg of lamb

2 lbs carrots, chopped

1 1/2 cups fresh mulberries

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon ginger

1 slice preserved lemon

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Method:

1. In a food processor, blend together mulberries, preserved lemon, and liquids until completely broken down.

2. Add in other spices and combine well. It should taste spicy and pungent.

3. Place the lamb in your crockpot and cover liberally with mulberry sauce. Place chopped carrots around (but not on) the lamb.

4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, until meat is falling apart and aromatic.

I served this dish with yellow rice, sauteed chard and coconut yogurt.

This post was featured on Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday.