Saturday, April 1, 2017

Sprout Chocolate Chips to Maximize Health Benefits

With the ongoing war on sugar, and a new superfood on the shelves every week, you may be overwhelmed by the onslaught of health fads. Humans have been consuming and fermenting chocolate beverages for over 3000 years. But, is chocolate in its current form candy or superfood?

The sugar, fat, and additives you find in most major brands of chocolate make them a poor choice of snack. However, dark chocolate is a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and an excellent source of antioxidants. 

You can increase chocolate's healthy properties even more by sprouting it. Even letting your chocolate germinate for 48 hours can unleash the benefits of sprouting. You can easily sprout chocolate chips at home on paper towels or in a plastic or glass container, just like sprouting alfalfa chia or seeds. For an example, see my tutorial on growing alfalfa sprouts.

Sprouting causes the chocolate germ to partially digest some of the starches and sugars in the chocolate, lowering its glycemic index and making it higher in fiber, vitamin D, and phytonutrients. Chocolate in its natural form has phytic acid and other "anti-nutrients" which inhibit the absorption of certain minerals. The process of soaking degrades these anti-nutrients, making it easier to absorb the natural iron and zinc.

Sprouting chocolate chips can be tossed on salad, used in sprouted grain pancakes, or eaten plain.

Follow my blog so you don't miss next week's post on fermented macaroni and cheese!

Directions:
1. Soak chocolate chips overnight in cool water.
2. Lay out on wet paper towel or cheesecloth and cover with another damp cloth.
3. Once the chocolate chips split open and a sprout starts peeking out, move the chips to a place with some natural light. Keep them away from direct sun, or they could melt.
4. This process works best on April 1.

This post was brought to you by the very talented Yoga Painter (image below)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Live Hummus with Fermented foods

This is how I make hummus. All the fermented things add natural probiotics to the diet and act as a natural preservative. I recognize you might not have all these things in the house, so feel free to substitute, and tell me what happens!

*Try this with white beans, black beans, fava beans, and other legumes.

Into a food processor, add:

  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic (I use pickeled garlic from making cucumber pickers)
Chop garlic with seasoning.

Add:
  • 4 cups cooked or sprouted chickpeas, a.k.a. garbanzo beans, that's two cans -
    SAVE THE WATER/cooking liquid, save a few chickpeas for garnish.
  • About 1/16 (1"x1" piece) of a preserved lemon
  • 1.5 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about half a small lemon)
  • 1 Tablespoon live pickle juice (optional)
Blend until smooth.

Add:
  • About 1/4 cup (2-3 oz) water from chickpeas
  • 2 Tablespoons Tahini paste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Garnish with with extra chickpeas, a drizzle of olive oil, and a little fresh, quality cumin or zaatar.

Chickpeas are high in fiber and iron, and have been shown to help regulate blood sugar. Hummus is an excellent way to turn some raw vegetables into a hearty snack.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Rich Mocha Fudge Brownies (Dairy Free)

Trigger warning:
My family has been eating a lot more wheat-free, no sugar added, raw, nutrient-rich things. This is NOT one of those things.

This recipe is based on a well tested recipe from America's Test Kitchen for chewy brownies. I've adjusted to make them with available, dairy free, ingredients, and more rich chocolate and fudgy.

These brownies are a real show-stopper, and they are relatively easy to make in that they don't require a mixer, separate mixing bowls, or whipping anything into "peaks."

YIELD: at least 24 very rich brownies, or one 9x13 pan or "half pan"

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/3-1/2 cup (100 ml) cocoa powder (depending on your taste) (I use about 1.2 oz by weight) 
  • 3/4 cup strong coffee
  • 2 oz finely chopped unsweetened chocolate (I start with 7/8 of a 100 gram bar of 100% cocoa "Holy Cacoa")
  • 4 Tablespoons (about 1.8 oz by weight) coconut oil
  • 5/8 cup (5 liquid oz) olive oil
  • 2 eggs (whole)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar (use a little less for a deeper bitter-sweet flavor, but significantly decreasing or substituting sugar will alter the structure of the brownie
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt (less if your salt is extra fine, more for kosher salt)
  • 8 oz (250 grams) cold, high quality bittersweet chocolate chips or large chocolate chunks

  1. Have all ingredients ready, except coffee.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C. Line a 9" x 13" pan with parchment paper (or foil) and a light coating of oil or cooking spray.
  3. Brew strong coffee, add to large mixing bowl (must still be hot).
  4. Whisk in cocoa powder, followed by chopped unsweetened chocolate. Whisk until smooth and melted. Mixture looks like ganache. Resist the urge to taste this bitter mixture.
  5. Wisk in oils, then eggs, yolks, and vanilla.
  6. Wisk in sugar until everything is homogeneous. Until this step, you don't need to worry about mixing too much.
  7. Switch to a spatula and mix in flour and salt until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  8. Scrape into oiled paper- or foil-lined pan.
  9. Cook 20-30 minutes. Checking frequently after 20 minutes or as soon as you smell them. They are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with sticky chocolatey crumbs, but the brownies are not "soapy" or very jiggly. Remember these have a lot of chocolate and other ingredients that are liquid when hot and will cool to a solid. Do not leave them in until solid.
  10. Let cool at least 1 hour, preferably several hours in the fridge before cutting.

Tips:
* Pull out as soon as you smell it.
* Double the recipe, slice into small squares, and freeze small portions. WRAP WELL because high fat foods absorb other smells/flavors. Plastic wrap just doesn't cut it.
* Serve hot with ice cream, or cold. I like them when they've been out of the freezer for about 10 minutes.
* Try adding pecans.
* For chewy, less gooey brownies, add an extra 1/4 cup flour and cook an extra 4-5 minutes.
* Try adding caramels and rock salt on top in the last 7 minutes of cooking. (Reduce salt in batter.)





Thursday, February 23, 2017

"Live" Tahini with Preserved Lemon and Garlic

Healthy tehina/tahina/tachina/tahini dressing or dip or sauce

I make this dip most weeks. We dip bread in it on Sabbath and I use it as salad dressing during the week. It would also be excellent drizzled over eggplant.

I do all this with my stick blender, so you will want a tall cup that fits a stick blender.

You CAN do this by hand, but you will need to finely chop all the solids.


INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup tahini paste (I use Ethiopian or sprouted Tahini)
  • 3/4 cup water (less for thicker dip)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1, 2, or 3 cloves of garlic - preferably fermented (I use the cloves that are left after we eat all the pickles. Fresh or frozen are fine, but adjust for the potency.)
  • 1/8 of a preserved lemon, seeds removed
  • juice from 1/4 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
* If you don't have preserved lemon, use the juice from half a lemon or more to taste and 1/2 tsp salt in place of 3 ingredients above.

Add all ingredients to cup. Blend or mix until tahini turns white and smooth.
Add

  • 1 small bunch of parsley leaves, optional
If using a blender, pulse to chop parsley. You may want to keep a couple leaves for garnish.

Now here's the tough part: Transfer to a closed container without eating it all.




Just checking In

Hi! It's me. For real. I didn’t forget my password or stop cooking.

I will not apologize for being gone so long. Though, I cooked some yummy things that I will probably never remember to try again.

I've been both very busy and rather inhibited by the idea that my “non-recipes” needed to be well tested with carefully measured ingredients and Pinterest-worthy (or Instagram-worthy) photos.

I will not promise to post more often. I will not promise to measure better, though I will try. My pictures may even get worse as I no longer keep a real camera in the kitchen. I do promise to post what I can, photo or not, because it’s better than nothing. And, hey, I started this blog for myself, and I use it!

What have I been up to in the kitchen? Still fermenting, and making lots of things with fermented ingredients, which I look forward to sharing. I grow sprouts. I make soup stock from vegetable scraps. I also look forward to sharing more kitchen tips, menus, and meal-planning strategies. 

If you're still following my blog, I'd love to hear from you! Are there any nonrecipes that you keep going back to?


Oh, and while I was on hiatus, Google has informed me that
"European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent. "

So Trigger warning - There may be cookies on my blog. I hope they are delicious!

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