Sunday, July 30, 2017

Squash the Carrot Cookies


People give me food and I make cookies out of it. This time, it was chubby carrots fresh from the garden. This is how it went down:

Number one: set the oven for 350 degrees and forget to turn on the convection. Not my brightest move.

10 small, but chubby carrots
3 small (6”) yellow squash
1 cup water
8 oz applesauce
2 tbl cinnamon

I put the 2 single serving applesauce contents into the Vita-Mix dry container. I thought I should not add the cinnamon now because it would increase the dryness. I needed this part to be more wet, so, of course, I added it anyway. Yep. That’s how I roll.

I washed the veggies and peeled the carrots. I kept eyeing the yellow squash and thinking that should go in first as it’s wetter. Nope. Sliced the carrots and put those in half at a time. This needed to be tamped to get it going. Then it needed the water. 1 cup to get this to blend and seriously macerate the carrots.

The container was full, so I poured half into a bowl before peeling, slicing, and adding the squash. That’s wetter - did I mention that bit? - so it blended beautifully. This mixture got stirred in with the rest in the bowl.

Next time: put the cinnamon in after the blending is done, and add the wetter vegetable first.

I grabbed the largest measuring cup from the drawer and added ingredients to the bowl. A cup of this and a cup of that, only this wasn’t the one cup measuring cup so…

3/4 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup rolled oats
3 cups almond meal (or nut-free flour of your choice)
1 pkg dark chocolate chips

I wanted to put in more than 3 cups of almond meal. The mixture was wetter than I normally work with since I had to add water because I don’t listen to myself. However, 3 cups was the end of the currently opened bag of almond meal, so 3 cups is what it got.

Using my now standard baking method: Cover 1 cookie sheet with parchment paper. Empty the contents of the bowl into the middle of the parchment paper. Spread evenly until about 1/4" thick. Well, however thick it gets when it reaches the edges of the sheet. If you have a bit more ambition, or sense, put this on two sheets.

Score with the spatula using a sawing action to slide the chips and seeds to the side. This works much better when it’s only one chunky item in the way. Having two sets of seeds and the chocolate chips meant there were edges that needed a little pat down after the scoring was done.

Bake it for about 1 hour. Had I remembered the convection switch, this might have been a shorter amount of time or at least a more even baking process. Remove from oven, place the second cookie sheet on top of the first. Flip them together. Remove both the first cookie sheet and the parchment paper. Bake for another hour.

In reality, the edges cooked faster than the middle (next time use the convection switch), the flipping bit threw some small cookie pieces off the edge (next time use two sheets, or less water and therefore less dough), 
The parchment paper didn’t peel easily (next time follow the directions from before about baking more before trying to remove the paper).

In the end, these turned out really good. Satisfying with a mellow sweetness, and then you get a burst of dark chocolate chip. So it’s veggies, nuts and seeds which are protein and good fats, applesauce for the fruit, rolled oats for the grain, and dark chocolate chips for the dessert.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Sweet Zucchini Cookies


This is the sweet recipe version from the gigantic zucchini from my boss’ garden.

Equipment needed:

Vita-Mix with the Dry Container and Tamper, Spatula, 1 cup Measuring Cup, 1 tablespoon Measuring Spoon, Medium or Large Bowl, Knife (and other items for dealing with zucchini), Parchment Paper, and 2 Cookie Sheets

Ingredients:
3 cups Almond Meal (or other gluten-free/nut-free flour)
2 large bananas: ~1 cup when liquified
9 oz Zucchini (washed but not peeled)
2 tbl Cocoa Powder
1/2 package Dark Chocolate Chips

More flavor options:
Substitute applesauce for the banana (1 cup) and cinnamon for the cocoa powder.
Substitute ginger for the cocoa powder. Either banana or applesauce works.
Chocolate chips are optional.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In the Vita-Mix: blend the 2 bananas until liquified. Add the zucchini and blend again. This probably requires tamping. Once this is fairly well blended, turn up the speed and allow the mixture to expand with air - about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Scrape this into the bowl. Add the flour. Stir gently - so as not to lose the air - until well blended. I used the spatula for this. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Cover 1 cookie sheet with parchment paper. Empty the contents of the bowl into the middle of the parchment paper. Spread evenly until about 1/4" thick. Score with the spatula. Use a sawing action to make the chocolate chips move aside.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, place the second cookie sheet on top of the first. Flip them together. remove both the first cookie sheet and the parchment paper. Bake for another 20 minutes. Watch these carefully, they bake up fairly fast. Allow to cool, though eating it fresh from the oven is a good thing.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Savory Zucchini Bars


A lot of my recipes grow out of a desire to use something I have on hand. This time it was two somethings.

1. My boss gave me a gigantic zucchini from her garden - a good 18" long at least.
2. I found this new Teriyaki Jackfruit and, in a fit of optimism, I bought 3 packages with the idea of using them on salad. They are not my idea of salad topper - in their defense, they are not marketed as a salad topper. I tried using one with pasta, but it was too spicy and the texture wasn't working for me. These have soy sauce, so they contain both soy and wheat.

Equipment needed:
Vita-Mix with the Dry Container and Tamper, Spatula, 1 cup Measuring Cup, Large Bowl, Knife (and other items for dealing with zucchini), Parchment Paper, and 2 Cookie Sheets

Ingredients:
2 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup Raw, Unsalted, Shelled, Sunflower Seeds
1 cup Raw, Unsalted, Pumpkin Seeds
2 packages Teriyaki Jackfruit
          [To make this both soy- and wheat-free,
            try using 1 cup of marinade instead]
13 oz Zucchini (washed but not peeled)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In the Vita-Mix: layer the oats and seeds as follows - 1 cup oats, 1 cup seeds, 1 cup oats, 1 cup seeds, and then coarse grind them. This layering of dry/wet ingredients should help limit caking

Scrape this coarse ground mixture into the large bowl. No need to get all of it out of the Vita-Mix yet.

In the Vita-Mix: blend the 2 packages of jackfruit. Add the zucchini and blend again. This probably requires tamping. Open the lid to be sure you have blended in the zucchini fairly well.

Scrape this into the large bowl. Stir the resulting mixture until well blended. I used the spatula for this.

Cover 1 cookie sheet with parchment paper. Empty the contents of the large bowl into the middle of the parchment paper. Spread evenly until about 1/4" thick. Score with the spatula.

Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, place the second cookie sheet on top of the first. Flip them together. remove both the first cookie sheet and the parchment paper. Bake for another 40 minutes. Allow to cool, though eating it fresh from the oven is a good thing.