Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Herbivoracious Cookbook Review

Herbivoracious Cookbook Project
Herbivoracious is a vegetarian cookbook authored by Michael Natkin. I've been following him on social media and his blog before this cookbook came out and even tested out the otsu noodles recipe. I did a little video to go along with each of my blog posts for this project, something I hadn't done in any of my previous cookbook projects. For my projects I take at least one recipe from each of the sections, photograph it and blog about it.

Herbivoracious is filled with beautiful photography though not all recipes include photos. Michael was nice enough to put photos up on his blog for all the recipes in the cookbook that didn't include them so if you really want to know what the dish looks like before you make it, you can look it up on his Missing Images blog post. A lot of his recipes can also be found on his blog but there may be some variations to what was printed in the cookbook.

I can't really think of much I didn't like about this cookook. It was well written and put together and there are some recipes I tried that I keep going back to. I've made the beet tartare recipe several times and is one that I will continue to make over and over again.

Pros:

  • recipes are easily noted if they are vegan and/or gluten free
  • serving size and amount of time noted on each recipe
  • each recipe has a few paragraphs of commentary with a description, tips, history and/or side dish recommendations
  • sample menu plans (I personally didn't use this but some people may find it helpful)
  • sections for ingredient and cooking equipment notes
  • pages of notes scattered throughout the cookbook printed in maroon color such as knives, salt, flavor profiles from different countries, dried herb and spice storage and many more

Cons:

  • I would like to see more gluten free recipes
  • I found some of the recipes took longer than indicated on the recipe
Below are the recipes I tried.

appetizers and small dishes 
     smoked asparagus and panko crusted eggs
     aloo tiki with banana raita
soups
     pozole rojo de frijole
salads
     beet tartare and gluten free rosemary mayo toast
main-courses sandwiches and tacos
     mushroom tacos with pear slaw
main-courses pasta and noodle dishes
     sicilian spaghetti with pan-roasted cauliflower
main courses from the stovetop
     quinoa cakes
main courses from the oven
     chermoula-stuffed eggplant
side dishes
     brussels sprout and apple hash
desserts
     maple pickled pears
breakfast
     huevos ahogados

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Wreath Treat for Chickens Recipe

Buff Treats 
This is a recipe I made for my chickens for Christmas. I have been hanging it up for them every day while they are free ranging and bring it in at night to keep the rats away from it. It's a quick and easy recipe I found via Fresh Eggs Daily which is a great resource for any poultry keeper. At first I hung it up fairly high to make them work for their treat but decided to lower it later to make it a little easier for them and the little ones to get.

Christmas Wreath for Chickens


Ingredients:

Cooking Spray
Unflavored Knox gelatin, 3 packets
1/2 Cup cold water
1 1/2 Cups boiling water
1 Cup coconut oil or bacon grease, melted
8 cups scratch, seeds, nuts, grains and/or dried fruit
24 fresh cranberries

Instructions:
  1. Spray bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Stir gelatin into a measuring cup with the cold water and set aside for 1 minute.
  3. Pour boiling water into medium sized bowl and whisk in the gelatin.
  4. Add 8 cups of scratch, seeds, nuts, grains and/or dried fruit to a large bowl. I used 7 cups scratch, handful of mixed dried fruit (raisins, cherries, cranberries) and a little farro.
  5. Add melted oil and gelatin to the bowl of seed mixture and mix well.
  6. Place 3 cranberries in a row in each crease of the bundt pan.
  7. Carefully add the mixture to the bundt pan and press to compact.
  8. Place the bundt pan in the fridge overnight.
  9. Remove from fridge and turn pan over onto a cutting board and tap lightly.
  10. Tie ribbon around the bundt pan and hang for your chickens to enjoy.
Chicken Treat

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Huevos Ahogados en Salsa Verde

TomatillosSalsa Verde This is the last recipe for my Herbivoracious Cookbook project. It came from the breakfast section as one of the only gluten free recipes in this section. In Spanish, huevos means eggs and ahogados means drowned. I had to look up that last one. So I guess in English this would be eggs drowned in green salsa.

Instead of going the easy route and using store bought green salsa I decided to make my own. Luckily I was able to find some tomatillos at Fred Meyer though I doubt they are local. They aren't in season so I couldn't be too picky.

My salsa ended up being a little more spicy than I would have liked. I used two jalapenos but they were really big ones so one probably would have been enough. I scraped out most of the seeds and ribs which helps lessen the spiciness. I ended up overcooking the eggs a bit so the yolks weren't runny. It's a little difficult to get the egg just right. My eggs ended up sinking down into the salsa so the eggs aren't as pretty looking in the finished photo as what was in the cookbook. Will have to try this one again with a little less heat and try to get the eggs cooked a little better. Instead of cooking the eggs in the salsa I might try making the poached eggs in my sous vide machine.

Recipe: Salsa Verde

Yield: 2 servings
Total Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 1.5 lbs tomatillos
  • 1 1-2 jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Handful of cilantro

Instructions:
  1. Cut tomatillos in half and pulse in blender until smooth
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth
  3. Add mixture to a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes or until desired consistency
  4. Serve hot or cold

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Honey Apple Plum Butter

Brooks Plums 
My Brooks plum tree produced tons of plums last year and left me with more than I knew what to do with. I ended up making plum smoothies for breakfast, freezing some, giving some away, selling some to the nearby farm stand and made two batches of plum butter. My cardamom plum butter recipe is also on my blog.

For this recipe I wanted to try using a slow cooker as I've seen many use this method for making butters but I have to admit, I do not prefer this method. Even after 8 hours in the slow cooker the butter seemed as thin as when I put it in. I was running out of day light and decided to scrap that method and finished it off on the stove top which took another couple hours to finally thicken to my desired consistency. So I don't think I'll be using that method again in the future.

Fruit butter can be used for a lot of things whether it's spread on toast, slathered on pancakes, spread on your sandwich,  baked in cookies or as I've done most recently, spread on Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisp crackers with cheese.  I got this package of cranberry hazelnut crisps from IFBC this year and they are some of my favorite crackers. They are indeed crispy and are perfect topped with fruit and cheese. They even make a few "wheat free" crackers made with oat flour. 

I created a video this time showing each step of the process including the canning of the plum butter.

Recipe: Honey Apple Plum Butter

Yield: approximately 8 pint size jars
Total Time: approximately 3 hours

Ingredients:
  • 90 oz apple/plum purée
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 orange, zest & juice
  • 1 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 orange, zest & juice

Instructions:
  1. Cut plums in half and remove seeds. Peel and core apples. Add plums and apples to blender in batches and blend until you have 90 oz of purée, adding water if needed
  2. Add all ingredients to a bowl, stir and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight to allow flavors to meld.
  3. Taste the mixture and add more honey, spices and/or plums if you'd like.
  4. Pour the pixture into a large sauce pan and bring to a gentle boil and then reduce to a simmer. Or heat on low in a slow cooker for hours and hours and hours. If it doesn't thicken as quickly as you'd like, transfer to a sauce pan to thicken.
  5. Stir the mixture often and more frequently as it gets thicker. After about an hour you may use an immersion blender to make it more smooth
  6. Continue cooking for another hour or longer or until desired consistency. You can put a bit on a plate and refrigerate a few minutes to check consistency as it does thicken more when cool.
  7. Store in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks or process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes for longer storage.
  8. My batch ended up making about 8 pint sized jarss of butter. You may get more or less depending on how thick you make it.