Carrie Fehr

Kitchen Garden Inspired By The Season

Pear Ginger Crumble

Pear Ginger Crumble PhotoWhenever I find myself with an abundance of ripe pears, I am powerless to resist turning these little beauties into a fragrant crumble that is perfect for the cooler days of fall, when I crave a little comfort of a warm treat.  Oats, almonds and crystallized ginger give this crumb topping its flavor, along with the extra virgin olive oil.  Simply scatter the topping over the pears, pop it into the oven, breathe and serve!

Ingredients:

Topping

1 cup oats

¼ cup flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup almonds, chopped

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8  cup crystallized ginger, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Filling:

8 ripe Bartlett pears (about 4 pounds), cut into 2” chunks

½ lemon, juiced

¼ cup sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Topping:  Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, almonds, cinnamon, crystallized ginger and salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and stir until evenly moist.

Filling:  Combine pears, lemon juice and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the pears.

Bake the crumble until the pears are tender and the topping is golden, 45 to 50 minutes.

Lemon Energy Treats

Lemon "Energy" TreatWhile “better-for-you” energy bars are part of an on-the-go lifestyle, most are hiding a hefty (and expensive) amount of sugar, oil, and calories.  It is no surprise that obesity rates have increased in a society when meals are a rare occurrence in a busy schedule.

The healthiest nutrition bars do not contain added sugar and are full of ingredients that provide slow sustaining fuel, with whole foods such as nuts, seeds and fruits.  A homemade version is even healthier than almost any energy bar that you can buy in a store, and is incredibly simple to throw together, for a fraction of the cost.

Lemon “energy” treats are primarily dates, sesame seeds, and almonds, and are generously flavored with fresh lemon juice, that add a bit of zing to compliment a blanket of snowy white unsweetened coconut.  The later gives this energy treat its pronounced taste that pairs well with the floral-scented lemon.

The inside of this lemony treat is soft and slightly sweet, thanks to the flecks of creamy dates.  Dates not only replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly, but also contain the right amount of sugar to bring glucose levels up. It is no wonder that Muslims break their daylong Ramadan fast with this nourishing fruit.

The very best energy boost ultimately comes from healthy living.  People who eat real foods, (not processed) drink ample water, and exercise daily will have plenty of energy, the natural way.

Lemon “Energy” Treats

Lemon “energy” treats come from a Whole Foods Recipe that I tweaked, just slightly. I substituted toasted almonds for walnuts, and then added a couple of tablespoons of water to the mixture, using a blender to purée it, instead of a food processor.  A small-sized ice cream scoop is handy to portion these energy treats into even 2 “ round shapes. Oh, and one more thing, these raw energy delights are gluten-free and vegan-friendly.

Adapted from Whole Foods

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped pitted dates, (I used Medjool dates)

1 cup toasted almonds

1 cup toasted sesame seeds

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 lemon, zest

1-2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes

Directions:

Place dates, almonds, sesame seeds, lemon juice, zest and water in a food processor or blender and mix until creamy. If using a blender place 1/2 of the mixture into the blender and mix until creamy and repeat with the other half. The mixture will be slightly sticky.

Using a small ice cream scoop, drop mixture in coconut and roll into a ball shape.  Chill until ready to serve. Makes 2 dozen 2” sized balls.

Roasted Peach Crepes With Blueberry Compote

Is there anything better than savoring the sweet taste of summer with luscious, tree-ripened peaches oozing in flavor, all wrapped up in a French crêpe like a present?  S’il vous plait!

Peach trees are the Chinese symbol for longevity.

Still in season, peaches are brimming with nutrients that make them a healthy snack, breakfast, or treat.  It’s no coincidence that peach trees are the Chinese symbol for longevity.

Even better, roasted peach crêpes are easy to prepare, and with minimal effort, crêpes can dress up any occasion from simple to luxurious with an endless variety of sweet or savory combinations. This classic dish is a true gift from the heart, enjoyed best with the ones you love, to set off a leisurely weekend day.  Click here for the recipe.

Beet Ketchup

Beets and ketchup may seem like an unlikely pair, but this intriguing sweet and tangy flavor combination, will truly make your taste buds come alive. If you’re a newcomer to beetroot, it’s a wonderful way to introduce this vegetable, that is by no means fancy, and is often misunderstood.

Bright and zesty with a hint of spice, this home-made ketchup is great slathered on any sandwich, over a side of sweet potato fries, and is a fantastic barbecue sauce for grilling.  Serve, as a dip for spring rolls, or over eggs—the possibilities are endless.

How do you prepare beets?  Do you have a creative way that encourages children to taste them?  I would love to hear your story.

To find out how students in the cooking classroom explore beets, click here.

Beet Ketchup

Beet Ketchup with Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

3 medium-sized beets, diced

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup honey

1 ¾ cups balsamic vinegar

2 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

¼ tsp powdered mustard

Directions:

Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer until liquid reduces by half, about 1 hour.

Remove spices and place ketchup into a blender and purée until smooth.  The consistency will be thick, smooth, and shiny.

Carrot Almond Torte

Carrot Almond Torte

Spring is in the air, and I head to my kitchen filled with thoughts of love.

Perhaps it’s the romantic long-stemmed French tulips of spring, or the seductive perfume of the season’s first strawberries that enliven my senses, or the allure of purple-tinged carrots piled high dangling under the canopies at the farmers’ market that look like a still life painting.

The lightness of spring gives way to the glamour of nature around its passion for love.

In the kitchen, we infuse this passion of love into our recipes.  It might be a dessert, or a dish that will become a family favorite, or even a romantic meal shared with loved ones around the table.

A lively bunch of carrots, mixed with a few ordinary ingredients will turn out a gorgeous Carrot Almond Torte that is truly spectacular.  You’ll fall in love with it!  Don’t even get me started. Trust me.

Made with tender sweet carrots, coconut, and almonds–it’s so rich and moist, it’s hard to believe it has no butter, and is gluten-free.  If you want, drop a dollop of crème Chantilly on it.  A thin layer of cream cheese icing would not be such a bad thing either, though personally, I like it au naturel.

It’s a perfect dessert for Passover, or afternoon tea, and if there is any leftover in the morning, it’s okay to indulge in a slice for breakfast.

In the spirit of love.

Carrot Almond Torte

Ingredients:

4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Zest of 1 orange

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups carrots, peeled and grated

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 ½ cups ground almonds

1/2 cup coconut

9-inch springform pan with sides buttered.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the middle.

Mix together the egg yolks, 3/4 cup of sugar, orange zest, salt, and almond extract. Sprinkle the grated carrots into the bowl, but don’t mix them in.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat on medium until the whites hold a soft shape. Gradually sprinkle in the reserved two tablespoons of sugar, beating at high speed until the egg whites are stiff.

Scrape one quarter of the egg whites on top of the carrots and batter. Using a rubber spatula fold the whites and carrots into the batter. Scrape the remaining egg whites into the bowl and pour the ground almonds and coconut over them. Fold the egg whites, almonds, and coconut into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45 minutes until the torte is golden brown.  Cool the torte in the pan, on a rack.

Honey Chamomile Cupcakes

IMG_1337

Light and fragrant, honey chamomile cupcakes get their distinctive flavor from an aromatic tea infusion. Topped with clouds of honey whipped cream and jewel-like edible flowers, these miniature cakes— are simply divine.  Their taste is as refined as their beauty.  

Honey Chamomile Cupcakes

Ingredients:

¾ cup (1 ½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/3 cup dried chamomile flowers

1 ¼ cups – flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or lemon zest

¾ cup sugar

2 large eggs

Edible flowers or Chamomile flowers, optional

Honey Whipped Cream, Recipe Below

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line mini-cupcake tin with paper liners.  Makes 3 dozen mini-sized or 1 dozen large.

Directions:
Heat butter in a saucepan over low heat until melted, careful not to brown it.  Add the chamomile and let it steep for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it stand for 5 more minutes. Strain the chamomile through a sieve and set butter aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In another bowl, mix milk and vanilla; set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

With mixer on low-speed, add half of dry ingredients, followed by milk, then remaining dry ingredients. Do not over mix.

Using an ice cream scoop divide batter into prepared muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full.

Bake 13 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Cool cupcakes on a rack before frosting.  Ice with honey whipped cream. Sprinkle crushed chamomile over the top and decorate with edible flowers.

Honey Whipped Cream

1 ½ cup heavy cream

3 Tablespoons honey

Pour heavy cream in a bowl and using a wire whisk whip the cream until it thickens slightly.  Add the honey and mix until it holds soft peaks.

Mac N’ Greens

Mac N' Greens

There’s nothing like steaming hot macaroni, spiked with sautéed greens piled high like Mount Everest, to ward off the winter chill.  This twist to the classic Mac N’ Cheese, is a healthier kid-friendly version that is soul-satisfying comfort food at its best.  If you like, add some sharp cheddar cheese to the macaroni, or throw in a handful of sultanas to counterbalance the bitter greens, and for a little crunch, top it with toasted breadcrumbs.  Sublime.

Mac N’ Greens

Ingredients:

4 bunches of assorted greens, such as dinosaur kale, rainbow chard, broccoli rabe, or collard, stems removed, leaves thinly sliced into strips

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

¾ pound macaroni, cooked and drained

Salt

Parmesan, 2 ounces or 1 cup finely grated

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan, add greens, garlic, and a pinch of salt.  Sauté over medium-high heat, about 5-7 minutes until soft.

Add the macaroni to the greens and combine.  Add a generous pinch of salt and Parmesan to the macaroni and greens.  Taste and adjust  seasoning.

Related articles:

The New American Classroom:  Farm to School Cooking

Winter Greens

Soft Glazed Gingerbread Cookies

Springerle IMG_0079Soft gingerbread with a peppery kick!  This hand-pressed cookie formed from a traditional Springerle wood mold, rivals an artisan ceramic tile.  An absolute work of art, it is truly a spice lover’s favorite that will steal the show at any holiday treat table.

Springerle

Soft Glazed Gingerbread Cookies

Adapted from Elisabeth Prueitt’s Tartine cookbook.  Springerle cookie molds can be purchased from House on the Hill.

Ingredients:

3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon white pepper

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

1 egg

½ cup molasses

2 tablespoons rice syrup

Glaze:

Mix ½ cup confectioners sugar with 1 tablespoon water until smooth.

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and white pepper.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix butter until creamy.  Add sugar and mix until completely incorporated.  Add egg and mix well.  Add the molasses, rice syrup and then mix until combined.  Gradually add the flour mixture, and beat together until fully incorporated.

Remove dough and flatten it into a rectangle about 1 inch thick.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate over night.

Springerle dough

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place dough on a floured work surface.  Using a rolling pin roll out the dough about 1/3 inch thick, then lightly dust with flour.  Using a cookie mold, press over the dough and trim the edges using a knife.

Springerle tiles

Set the cookie shape on the prepared baking sheet leaving about a 1-inch space between each one.  Bake 7-12 minutes, remove from baking pan and set on a cooling rack.  While still warm, brush the glaze over the cookies with a pastry brush.  Makes 12 cookies, (3 by 3 inch size)

The Taste Of North Berkeley

taste-of-berkeleyJoin us for The Taste Of North Berkeley to support our local Cooking and Gardening program.  Get tickets.

 

Butternut Squash Muffins

Photo Butternut Squash MuffinWhen the first brisk, cool days of autumn come calling, I head to my kitchen with thoughts of squash and spice. Butternut Squash Muffins are a great way to bring out the best of the season.

The bright orange flesh of butternut squash, with its thin rind, makes it easy to peel, plus it’s rich in fiber and loaded with nutrients that can help make your skin shimmer and hair shine.

Butternut Squash Muffins are full of fall flavor and have an irresistible soft moist crumb with a sprinkling of a pumpkin seed topping that adds a nice crunch.  These cake-like delights are habit-forming, so be forewarned!  Click here for the recipe.

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