Carrie Fehr

Kitchen Garden Food and Fitness

Category: Uncategorized

Butternut Squash Soup

butternut-squash-soup-jpgOn stormy weather nights when I crave something warm and comforting, there’s nothing like a steaming bowl of butternut squash soup to assuage the winter chill. This soup is easy to prepare and with a handful of simple ingredients, it will turn into something creamy and soothing. A sprinkling of pomegranate seeds adds a little burst of color and crunch. Soup On!

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

6 cups vegetable stock or water

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 pound sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

6 cups vegetable stock or water

3/4 cup coconut milk

Season with salt and white pepper

Directions:

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat, add the onions, and sauté about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook until the onion is very soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock or water to the onions and bring to a boil. Add the butternut squash and sweet potato, return to a boil then, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the squash and sweet potato is soft.

Pour the soup into a blender and purée until smooth. Add the coconut milk. Return the blended butternut squash and coconut mixture to the saucepan, then, bring it to a simmer. Remove from heat. Taste and season with salt and white pepper.

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Pear Ginger Crumble

Pear Ginger Crumble PhotoThis wonderful crumble, fragrant with pears, 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.  It tastes amazing when still warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

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.

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 its 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.

French Apple Cake

French Apple CakeTender chunks of apples layered over silky custard-like cake, is what makes this rustic French dessert, completely melt-in-your-mouth.  One of the easiest dishes to prepare, this fall favorite bursts with so much flavor, you could never imagine it uses a few ingredients that are likely already in your pantry.  Voila!

With apple season in full swing, it’s the perfect time to stop by your local farmers’ market and take advantage of this fruit when it’s truly fresh picked.  A mixture of sweet tart apples such as Pink Lady, Black Arkansas, Granny Smith, or Fuji will give this cake a more interesting taste, and a wonderful fragrance that will make your home feel like autumn.

French Apple Cake

Adapted from David Lebovitz, and Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients:

3/4 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

4 large apples, a mix of varieties, (4 cups)

2 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF

Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Peel, core, and dice the apples into 1-inch cubes.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy, then whisk in the sugar until thick and creamy. Mix in the vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, and gently stir in half of the melted butter.  Add remaining flour and the rest of the butter.

Using a spatula, fold in the apple cubes until coated with the batter and pour into the prepared cake pan.  Smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, and remove the sides of the springform pan.

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 use 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.

Carrot Almond Torte

Carrot Almond TorteSpring 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 simply the allure of purple-tinged carrots piled high, dangling under the canopies at the farmers’ market that remind me of 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 could be a dessert, or a dish that will become a family favorite, or 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, feel free 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.

Soft Glazed Gingerbread

Springerle IMG_0079A classic glazed 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)

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.

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:

4 tablespoons powdered sugar

½ lemon, juiced

Directions:

Lightly coat the madeleine mold with cooking 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. (Batter may be chilled for up to 12 hours.)

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, dip both sides of each cake in the glaze.  Cool and serve with tea.