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Deliciously Organic: September 2009

Deliciously Organic

A blog devoted entirely to simple, wholesome, organic cooking.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Whole Food Nutrition Website

I was excited today to find a new website called NTPTalk where you can find all sorts of wonderful in depth articles about whole food nutrition.  The website is a community of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners whose goal is to spread the word about "health and vitality with whole foods".  There are wonderful nutrition tips, resources and links to glean from.  I hope you find this resource helpful!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Spaghetti with Tuna and Lemon

I've always been a fan of tuna and pasta, well, I should say I've been a fan for my adult life.  When I was younger both of my parents were each building new businesses so there were many years where money was tight.  Once a week or so my Mom would make tuna casserole, you know, the kind with cream of mushroom soup?  It always smelled great but left much to be desired.  Honestly, I don't know if any one of us liked it, but it fed the whole family for very little which was the goal.  Since those days, I've discovered that by using simple clean ingredients, tuna with pasta can be a dish to serve not only your family but to guests as well.  The great thing about this dish is most of the ingredients are pantry staples, it's a cheap meal that can feed a lot, and it can be on the table in about 20 minutes.

Spaghetti with Tuna and Lemon
I've been eating mostly gluten-free this year so I like to use Tinkyada pasta. Their pastas are made with brown rice, don't get mushy like other brands, and tastes just like regular pasta.

1 pound whole wheat or brown rice spaghetti
2 cans albacore tuna in olive oil (I prefer Trader Joes)
zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c. parsley
1/8 teaspoon red chile pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt (if using fine ground salt only use 1 teaspoon)

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large stock pot. Add pasta and cook until al dente. While pasta is cooking, sauté tuna over medium heat on large 12" skillet. When tuna is hot add lemon zest, garlic, chile pepper and parsley. Stir for about one minute until fragrant. Remove from heat.

When pasta is done dip a small cup into cooking water to reserve about 1/2 cup of water. Drain well. (If using rice pasta then make sure and rinse the pasta with cold water so it doesn't get mushy.) Add pasta to tuna mixture and add lemon juice, reserved pasta water, and salt. Toss well. Serve immediately.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

September...The first time I hear this word at the end of the summer I immediately wish for changing leaves, sweaters, hot cocoa, and lots of baking. I've never actually lived in a place that had an official fall so I guess my thoughts about September are conjured up from, well, advertising. I have been turning on the oven and doing a lot of baking lately, even though are no changing leaves, or sweaters being worn around here (in fact, this morning I was sitting on the beach watching my kids surf!).

A few weeks ago, while on a date with my husband in Seaside, we came upon a cupcake stand selling salted caramel cupcakes. I couldn't resist trying one since the contrast of caramel and salt is one of my favorites. My husband was laughing at me because while we were eating our cupcakes I was telling him exactly how I was going to recreate it at home with all organic ingredients (I know, a very romantic topic of conversation). So here is my recipe to share with you today. These rustic cupcakes have just enough sweetness with deep flavors of caramel and yummy bits of salt.

Salted-Caramel CupcakesYields 16

These cupcakes keep well for a few days in an airtight container stored in the fridge. The cupcakes (without frosting) also freeze well.
3 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse ground Celtic sea salt or fleur de sel
2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
2 tablespoons molasses
2 eggs and 1 yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup organic whole cane sugar or sucant
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground Celtic sea salt

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup caramel (recipe below)
3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin tin with cupcake liners (I like to use "if you care" unbleached muffin liners).

Over a large bowl sift the flour. (This is a very important step!) You will have approximately 1/3 cup of outer kernels of the wheat left over, discard of this. Add baking powder and salt to flour and whisk together.

In bowl of mixer, with beater attachment, beat butter, whole cane sugar, and molasses for 1 minute on medium until thoroughly blended. Add eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla. With the blender on medium-low speed add about 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by 1/2 of the sour cream. Mix until just incorporated. Scrape the bowl and repeat this process using 1/3 of flour mixture and the rest of the sour cream; finish by adding the rest of the flour. Mix until just incorporated and then finish by mixing with a spatula to make sure all off the batter is incorporated.

Divide batter evenly among cups and bake 23-25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Cool completely.

For caramel: While cupcakes are baking, over medium heat, place water and whole cane sugar in heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer (do not stir) and continue to let simmer until it reaches 240 degrees. Remove from heat and carefully whisk in the cream (the mixture will bubble) and then add the butter. Cool to room temperature.

For frosting: In bowl of mixer, with beater attachment, beat together the cream cheese and cooled caramel until there are no streaks. Gently fold in cream. Spread a generous amount of frosting on each cooled cupcake. Sprinkle with coarse ground sea salt or fleur de sel.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Spicy Pecan-Crusted Chicken

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. Between taking care of the kids, cooking, cleaning, errands, blogging, etc., I have been busy putting together multiple proposal packets to send off to literary agents. It continues to amaze me the hurdles one has to cross when getting a book published and how long the entire process takes! I have gotten several "rejection" form letters, but it keeps putting a fire in my belly. I know that eventually someone is going to love what I am doing and want to help me progress. (I'm actually keeping all of my rejection letters so that when my book is finally published I can look back and remember the hurdles I had to cross.)

So, I've had many days recently when the kids come home from school , my husband walks through the door, and I don't have a clue as to what I am making for dinner. The other night, in my haste, I pulled out some chicken and noticed I had a ton of pecans in the pantry so I came up with this: a thin breast of chicken, crusted in crispy pecans with a kick of cayenne, served over a crispy bed of mixed that's my idea of a delicious quick-to-the-table dinner. It was so good I figured I should share it with you.

Spicy Pecan-Crusted Chicken
Serves 4
If you are in a real hurry you can let the chicken marinate while you get the rest of the ingredients together. Also, if you are gluten intolerant you can use rice flour in place of the whole wheat flour.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
juice of one lemon
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup stone-ground corn meal
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (more if you want your chicken really spicy)
3 tablespoons coconut oil

Marinate chicken breasts in shallow baking dish with buttermilk and lemon juice for one hour at room temperature or in fridge overnight.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Chop the pecans in the food processor until fine. Combine the pecans, with the flour, cornmeal, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne in a shallow dish. Dip chicken in dry mixture. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat for about 2 minutes until very hot. Meanwhile, place a cooling rack on top of a large cookie sheet and then set aside. When skillet is hot, quickly pour coconut oil in skillet and then follow with the chicken. Saute for about 4 minutes per side or until both sides are golden brown. Remove chicken from saute pan and place on cooling rack. Put chicken in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Chocolate Mousse

OK, I have to admit, my husband and I find every excuse in the the book to whip up some chocolate mousse. I make it when company is coming (because it's so quick to make), when my husbands' had a bad day, when I've had a bad day, when we just want some dessert....are you seeing a trend? The richness of the chocolate and the creamy texture of the whipped cream is a combination we constantly crave.

The other night I decided to tweak my recipe a bit to intensify the flavors. My husband and oldest daughter had just left to go running and that left my youngest daughter and I at home to try out some mousse. As we were whipping and folding my daughter would take each spatula or spoon I put in the sink and lick them completely clean. After a while she said, "Wow, I am so glad I stayed home with you tonight!" I looked over and her entire face was covered in bits of chocolate and cream. I have to tell you, these little moments in the kitchen with my kids are the times I cherish the most.

Chocolate Mousse
Serves 6
I would use a coconut oil that doesn't have an intense coconut aroma for this recipe (unless you don't mind the faint aroma of the coconut in your mousse).

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch sea salt
5 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon instant herbal coffee (such as dandy blend)
3 eggs, separated
2 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream

In a medium heatproof bowl combine coconut oil, maple syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla, pinch of salt, and herbal coffee. Set bowl over saucepan filled with 1 inch of simmering water. Whisk frequently until smooth and remove from heat.

Whisk egg yolks, 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup and salt in medium bowl, about 30 seconds, until it lightens in color. Pour chocolate mixture into egg mixture and whisk until combined. Let cool until just above room temperature.

In a bowl of a standing mixer, whisk egg whites until frothy and then add 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup. Increase the speed to medium high and whisk until soft peaks form. Remove bowl from standing mixer. Stir in about 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture then fold in the remaining whites.

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold all of whipped cream into chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain. Ladle mousse into individual bowls. Cover and refrigerate until set and firm, about 2 hours.
note: if you don't have any instant herbal coffee you can use 2 tablespoons of brewed herbal coffee (such as teccino) and reduce the amount of water used in the recipe to 3 tablespoons.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese, and Maple Pecan Salad

Last week, as I was walking through Williams-Sonoma looking for some new supplies, a woman walks up to me, and starts talking about a wonderful dinner she had recently. She described this roasted beet salad and it sounded so good that I went directly to the market, picked up the items needed, and created this dish. The sweet-salty contrast of the roasted beets, the tang of the goat cheese and crunch of the pecans is a delicious combination and the colors are absolutely beautiful.

Beets are a great vegetable to add to your diet if you haven't already. They are wonderful for detoxing your liver, high in folic acid, manganese, potassium, and fiber. Roasting beets brings their sweetness to a whole new level, especially when roasted in coconut oil. Be careful not to eat to many of the sweet pecans before you serve this salad...I had to stop myself from eating all of them so I would have enough for the picture!

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese and Sweet Pecan Salad
Serves 4
The beets and pecans can be prepared earlier in the day and left at room temperature until you are ready to assemble the salad.

2 beets, green cuts off, and skins trimmed
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbled
3 cups mixed greens
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thinly slice the beets (about 1/4-inch thick slices) and toss with coconut oil and season with sea salt. Place on baking sheet in single layer, roast for 15 minutes, Remove pan from oven and turn beets over using a spatula. Return beets to oven and roast for another 10 minutes. Set aside and cool completely.

After beets are out of the oven, lower temperature to 250 degrees. Toss pecans with the maple syrup and spread out on a cooking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stir and then bake another 15 minutes until pecans are dried and crispy. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl whisk together balsamic vinegar and olive oil. In a large bowl toss mixed greens with 3/4 of the salad dressing. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper and add more dressing if needed. To assemble, divide salad greens on four plates. Divide the beets evenly and place on top of greens. Sprinkle with maple pecans and goat cheese. Serve immediately.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Design!

So, as you can see I have had my blog re-designed and I am thrilled! I found Ellie with Rainy Day Templates about a week ago, contacted her, and within 3 days (3 days!) she had this new design up and running for me.

If you have been thinking about a new template for your blog I encourage you to check out her site. She is hard-working, quick to respond to emails and requests, and her prices are very affordable. Thanks again Ellie!

By the way: if you got several updates from me in the past day, sorry about that. As I was working on my blog I didn't realize my unfinished work was being sent out. oops!