Carrie Fehr

Kitchen Garden Food and Fitness

Tag: citrus

Salty Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal 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, appreciating 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 up-lifting.  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 Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal 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 coconut 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, coconut 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.

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The Science Of Cooking: Citrus Rocks!

 

IMG_0826“If we look deeply into a flower, what do we see? Sunshine, a cloud, earth, minerals, the gardener, the complete cosmos.”-Thich Nhat Hanh

Citrus Rocks the Science of Cooking Class where fourth grade Chef Scientists explore the link between minerals that originate in the soil, to the unique role it plays on the human diet, along with a little citrus history, some fun anecdotes, and a healthy recipe.

Citrus Love: With its sheer variety and profusion of colors, citrus fruit esteemed in many cultures as a symbol of happiness — is not hard to love. Even though many citrus fruits are common, there are a few lesser known examples in our harvest basket that stand out. From the wild-looking, yet extremely fragrant Buddha’s hand, to the tiny oval kumquat with its sweet rind and intense tart pulp — make our lips pucker, to the bowling-ball sized pomelo that hangs on trees spanning across the landscape to an impressive 50 feet high.  The citrus harvest basket is brimming with diverse learning opportunities that weave together lessons about folklore, health, environment, and more.  It imparts a sense of wonder and appreciation that inspires students to retell the citrus anecdotes from memory throughout the year.  Retelling a story is a valuable sequencing skill that supports reading comprehension and writing skills in the classroom, and is notable, since cooking classes only meet one hour a month, and in some cases, less than that.

Good to the Bone:  As we turn our spotlight over to the science lab, fourth graders  discover that minerals come from the earth, and humans absorb these minerals through the plants they eat.  As scientists, they explore the nutrients in citrus fruit, and learn that aside from the immune boosting benefits of Vitamin C, it is chock-full of minerals that help our bones, teeth, and muscles, to name a few.  And last but not least, folate, a nutrient that improves mood by raising the serotonin levels in our body, can help explain why we feel so good after eating citrus fruit.

Getting Pithy:  One of the many virtues of citrus is the entire fruit is usable– the pulp, the juice, and aromatic peel, complete as nature intended, and as it turns out, is the perfect ingredient for the recipe– Fruit Roll Ups.  Click here for the link to the recipe.  Student chefs put their cooking skills into action using four colorful varieties of citrus fruit– the Cara Cara, Moro Blood, and Navel Oranges, along with the Satsuma Mandarin. As they section, slice, zest, peel, and juice, their way through the recipe, our excited chefs discover after eating the soft pulp leftover from juicing, that the hollowed out navel orange morphs into a drinking cup!  Finally, we mix and match citrus vocabulary words, like pithy, zesty, and juicy in a citrus acrostic poem, where students create phrases using the concepts they learned from the Science of Cooking Class.  Mindful eating, along with citrus poetry is a great ending to our class.

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.

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.