Sarah Kieffer's Maple-Cinnamon Granola

Sugar is bad. Too many carbs are bad. A diet of mostly vegetables is best. Blah, blah, blah. I know, to some extent, this is all true, and yet, and yet, baking something and sharing it with people just feels so right, don’t you think? In her lovely new book, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, Sarah Kieffer takes this idea even further: “There is something deeper, something soul-full that happens when we slice the cake, when we break the bread. There is taste and smell that draws out memories, binding us to those present, those past.” Yes. continue reading

This easy take on a Spanish tortilla uses tortilla chips instead of potatoes.

Since I handed in the manuscript for Modern Potluck last year, I’ve been helping birth other people’s books in one way or another, including acting as a ghost recipe developer. The creative energy I’ve used for those recipes has zapped me of energy to write my own recipes or even to cook anything new. Now that this project is winding to a close, I’ve been spending some time with my nose buried in new cookbooks, which, if I were truly to live my best life, I would do every day.

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Easy brown sugar buckwheat pancakes with hazelnut milk and coconut oil.

I like to fantasize about baking more than I actually like to do it. I envision the therapeutic feel of the dough, the soothing smells that waft through the house and the delight on people’s faces when you present your results. In reality, however, baking feels messy and cumbersome to me, with all of the sticky bowls and flour-dusted surfaces and the necessary process of measuring. Plus, believe it or not, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so if I take the time to bake something sugary, I rarely eat much of it.

But here’s the thing: Now is an incredible time bake. In this particular health-obsessed, artisan-made, heritage-everything era, flour is no longer just flour and sugar is no longer just sugar. We now have things like stone-ground spelt flour from local mills and honey from the community garden across the street. Also, thanks to brands like Bob’s Red Mill, there are so many new varieties of whole grain flours and other alternative flours widely available that add incredible flavors to baked goods.

I’ve been working on an editorial project that explores some of these ingredients, and it’s put me in the mood to bake more at home. For all of October, I’m going to be playing around with some of these ingredients and trying out some new (and newish) baking books that explore this new world. To kickstart the month, I’m sharing a riff on the easiest ever pancake recipe by Mark Bittman. I swapped out some of the all-purpose flour for earthy buckwheat flour, which works so nicely with melted coconut oil. Instead of regular milk, I used store-bought hazelnut milk (someday, I’ll get around to making my own). Usually when I eat pancakes, I’m hungry an hour later. These actually felt sustaining and kept me satisfied until lunch.  continue reading

Mango-Cashew-Orange-Ginger Smoothie

Scroll through my Instagram feed most mornings and you’ll see at least one person showing off their $10 green juice. I love those fresh juices for their color and for their ability to feel like a boozeless cocktail. But do I think that a $10 juice has miraculous healing properties and is cure for all that ails? No, not really. To me, juice seems like style over substance.

Smoothies, however, are different. They have plenty of sugar, sure, but they also contain fruit and vegetable fiber, slowing down the absorption of all of those good nutrients. Plus, fiber is filling, so a smoothie can stand in for a meal or, at the very least, a large snack. (And it should! The recipe below has about 400 calories.)

I never totally understood the appeal of a smoothie other than it being a way to cram more healthy ingredients into my life. But recently, I came into one of those powerful blenders. You know the type: They can grind grain into flour; puree soups to silk and pulverize coconut meat into milk, should you be masochistic enough to want to open up a coconut at home.

With this blender, leafy greens and hard vegetables, like carrots, become one the other ingredients, leaving no unappealing chunks or flecks. Plus, the blender blades spin so fast, giving the drink a whipped, buying modafinil australia airy texture.

Thanks to this powerful blender, I’ve been on a smoothie kick, feeling much like writer Oliver Strand does in this Vogue article after he acquires a Vitamix. “My Vitamix runs with such brutal efficiency that when I go to the market I look at what’s on the shelves and in the produce aisles and think, I could blend you.” (For the record, my blender is actually not a Vitamix but one from Wolf Gourmet.)

My recent favorite recipe tastes like an Orange Julius after a visit to southeast Asia. Thanks to the richness of the cashew butter, the smoothie drinks like a milkshake but is actually dairy-free.  continue reading

 
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