Carrie Fehr

Kitchen Garden Food, Fitness and Lifestyle

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemon 1

Preserved lemons add a bright fragrant flavor to a variety of dishes that are common in Moroccan or North African cuisine. With just two ingredients, they take no time to prepare, store almost indefinitely, and are economical, especially if blessed with a neighborhood lemon tree.

There are endless ways to enjoy preserved lemons. They can be chopped and added to vinaigrettes, salads, or salsas, or pureed in aioli, as a spread for sandwiches. I like to pair diced preserved lemons with a little goat cheese or fresh ricotta, and slather it on crostini, topped with toasted pistachios.

Homemade preserved lemons also make great gifts for friends, not to mention look stunning on the kitchen counter.

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Ingredients:

3-4 Organic Meyer lemons, cleaned with both ends trimmed

¼ cup Kosher salt

Pint-sized Mason jar

Directions:

Put a teaspoon of salt in the bottom of pint-sized mason jar.

Quarter lemons leaving ends attached.

Sprinkle salt on the inside of the quartered lemon.

Place the lemon into the Mason jar, open end down. Press down to release its juices.

Sprinkle salt over the top of the lemon.

Repeat the process until the Mason jar is filled with lemons.

If necessary, squeeze more lemon juice over the lemons to cover. Close the Mason jar.

Leave for several days. Open up the Mason jar and press lemons down. Close it and leave in a cool place for 30 days.  Before using, remove the pulp and rinse under cold water to remove the salt. Store in the refrigerator.

 

Yoga in Costa Rica

Dancer In Costa RicaPracticing Dancer Pose at the Nicoya Peninsula, a Latin American Blue Zone in Costa Rica.

Coconut Chia Pudding

Chia 2 photoNeed a little breakfast inspiration? Throw together some chia seeds and coconut milk. Add a swirl of honey and voilà— you have a great start to the day.  These magic little seeds are nutritional superstars loaded with omega 3’s and protein that make this creamy pudding ideal as a pre or post workout snack.  A crown of summer berries or any other seasonal fruit is delicious on top of this cloud of chia seeds.  I enjoy it as a morning, noon, or evening treat.  And I’m certainly not above mid-morning or mid-afternoon too.

Coconut Chia Pudding

Ingredients:
2 cups coconut milk
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Directions:

In a medium-sized bowl stir ingredients together.

Set aside in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours or overnight until the seeds puff and expand.  

Serve with your favorite fruit, nuts or seeds.

Lemon Olive Oil Madeleines

ImageWhen Marcel Proust dipped his madeleine into his cup of tea, a powerful memory from his childhood emerged that led him to write the classic novel, “Remembrance of Things Past. “ Imagine such a table from nostalgic past, set for afternoon tea, bursting with memories, sparked by the delicate flavor of this simple yet elegant, shell-shaped cake.

Lemon Olive Oil Madeleines

Ingredients:

2 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup olive oil

Zest of lemon

½ teaspoon vanilla

Glaze:

3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar

½ lemon, juiced

Directions:

Lightly coat the madeleine mold with olive oil.  Preheat oven to 350°

In a bowl of an electric mixer, whip eggs, sugar, and salt until thicken, about 5 minutes.

Sift in the flour and baking powder.  Use a large spatula to gently fold in the flour, do not over mix.

Drizzle the olive oil into the batter and mix to incorporate.  Add the vanilla and lemon zest.

Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Make the glaze in a small bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Mix until smooth and creamy.

Scoop batter into madeleine mold, filling 2/3 full.  Bake for 10 minutes and unmold on a cooling rack.  While still warm, brush glaze on scalloped side.  Cool and serve with tea.

Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Salty Oatmeal Choc ChunkMy Saturday morning ritual begins with tea and some reading to get into the right mindset before starting the day. I linger in bed, holding on to every precious minute of solitude, as I appreciate the power a single moment can bring.

Under the watchful eye of my dog, I rise to the sound of his tail wagging in a rhythmic beat against the wooden floor.  Excited and hungry, I feed him.  I grab my gym bag and head out the door for a workout of spinning and yoga, a routine that will put a smile in my mind and rejuvenate my body.  I can’t think of any better way to celebrate the weekend.  Seriously.

Ready to greet the festive atmosphere of music and local food, can only mean it’s time for the farmers’ market stroll. The street is bursting with color, flavor, and the sweet smell of spring that is so uplifting.  I snag a sunny spot outside at a nearby café, and order a tall glass of New Orleans style iced-coffee, à la Blue BottleBien sûr!  Blue Bottle, famous for its coffee, carefully selects their beans from growers around the world, and use each batch within 48 hours after it’s been roasted.  Can it get any better?

I return home and settle in the kitchen with a cooking project that will feed my soul.  Baking cookies is a weekend thing, and although my kids are grown, it still fills up my heart to set a plate of cookies out for them. Even, if only in spirit.

I open my cupboard and reach for some leftover pecans, a chocolate bar, and a container of oats.  Hmm, looks like a great beginning for an oatmeal chocolate chunk cookie recipe. Before I pop them in the oven, I sprinkle a little kosher salt over the top, as an afterthought.  Sweet and salty is always a good combination.

The sweet aroma of deliciousness coming out of my kitchen sends a wave of nostalgia over me.  I break open a warm cookie and take a bite.  The melted chocolate, crunchy pecans, and chewy oats bring me comfort like a hug from my kids, and yet, at the same time,  reminds me of everything I love about my day. I reach for another cookie.

What is your weekend ritual?  Do you have a special recipe you make every weekend?

Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This is a lovely vegan cookie recipe that is easy to prepare.  Try substituting the flour for oats or pecans, if you prefer gluten-free.

Ingredients:

2 cups oats

½  cup all-purpose flour

1 cup finely ground pecans

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

¾  cup maple syrup

½ cup canola oil

zest of an orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup raisins

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Kosher salt or fleur de sel

Preheat oven 350˚

Directions:

Combine oats, flour, ground pecans, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.

Stir in maple syrup, canola oil, orange zest, and vanilla extract.  Add raisins, chopped chocolate and mix to combine. The batter will be sticky.

Using an ice-cream scoop, drop the cookie dough form on to a parchment-lined sheet pan.  Sprinkle a little bit of kosher salt or fleur de sel over the top of the cookies.

Bake at 350˚ for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from pan to a cooling rack.  Makes 2 dozen.

Lakeside Condo

Christmas came early this year for my buyer, who landed a gorgeous condo, in the heart of Oakland.

20141210_0596 Fav Lake MerrittFrom the entrance steps, this pied-a-terre boasts views of Lake Merritt that look like a still-life painting, and features a private balcony, perfect for al fresco dining that is as sweet as a valentine.  Lakeside Patio

It overlooks an inviting courtyard surrounded by arch motifs, exposed brick and wrought iron details that combine architectural interest with Mediterranean flavor.

Lakeside fixturejpg

 

It is walking distance to Oakland’s hottest Uptown neighborhood with excellent restaurants, art galleries, and lively entertainment options, as well as historic treasures like the Fox and Paramount theaters.  

20141210_0614 Paramount

Its location makes it an ideal spot to enjoy numerous outdoor activities such as boating, jogging, or cycling, or a casual stroll around the water’s edge that is home to a variety of birds, plant life and trees.

20141210_0573 Jogger

 

Congratulations and Happy Holidays!

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)

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.

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