The first “what to expect in your box” email arrived today!
We’re looking forward to:
lots of greens
honey puffed spelt or corn
Any suggestions for soup recipes for the greens?
I’ve been eating Soup Nancy’s Spinach with Feta and Pine Nuts this week, which has been AMAZING.
Well, folks, this is it. The last post for Community Cucina.
No, I’m not quitting blogging, but I am moving! All of this content PLUS all the content from my travel blog will now be available at my NEW blog: Don’t Forget to Eat!
While I’ve loved focusing on local eats here at Community Cucina, it’s time to broaden the blog and just go nuts (but not eat nuts).
What you’ll find at Don’t Forget to Eat:
Food! Recipes! Restaurant reviews!
Travel! Pittsburgh! The World!
Diseases! (Crohn’s! Anemia! Asthma!)
Fewer exclamation points!
So come on over and check it out! There are already a couple of new posts for you over there.
Resubscribe with the button in the upper right corner.
And bear with me over the next few weeks as I try on some new designs (feedback welcome!).
See you on the other side:
So, the only downside to juicing has been cleaning the big pile of pulp out of the juicer and throwing it away. For the most part, I just don’t have a choice. Fibrous kale particles, strawberry seeds, and apple skins are a recipe for disaster.
But the other day I made plain ‘ol carrot juice (for the Carrot Risotto recipe in Dirt Candy – aaaaamazing). And carrots are pretty harmless. They’re one of the first cooked veggies I was able to eat on a regular basis. So, how to use the pulp?
The popular and healthy carrot salads were obviously out. As was the idea of throwing it atop a salad. It soon came clear that I should perhaps have just mixed it into the carrot risotto for ease of use and maximum health. Because after that, it’s pretty much muffins, quick breads, and carrot cake. And while I love those, most recipes for carrot muffins etc. are extremely sugar dense.
With all that in mind, I found myself stuck with throw out the pulp or make bread.
So, I set about writing a bread recipe. I wanted it to be low on sugar, but still taste moderately sweet.
The catch? Because of the raw carrots I couldn’t taste test the bread batter.
Kevin was home to taste test it, but his reactions are often the following:
- It’s okay.
- Oooh, that’s really good! Yeah!
- Have you tasted this yet? (generally akin to yuck)
While I’ve learned the adjustments I usually need to get from “yuck” to “that’s really good,” I usually get to taste it to guess on the ingredients.
Which is why I was shocked when this turned out to be one of my favorite breads of all time!
I started out with no sugar for taste test number one.
Kevin: It’s okay.
Me: Does it need more sugar?
Added two tablespoons of brown sugar.
Kevin: It’s better.
Me: But not great?
Kevin: Not really.
Back to the kitchen. Contemplated adding more brown sugar, but then I thought about the different spices and flavors that usually imply sweetness or are just a little sweet. And then it hit me: vanilla. It would be a subtle but welcome addition, I thought.
Kevin: It’s good.
Me: But not great?
Kevin: It’s bread.
Me: Fair enough.
Kevin doesn’t like bread or muffins very much.
I put it in the oven and figured it would be good enough. I was shocked when I fell in love with it. I don’t even put butter on it at this point. I’m just snaking slices every time I feel a little bit hungry.
Thank goodness Kevin doesn’t like bread very much.
Carrot Pulp Muffins
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup carrot pulp, tightly packed
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a loaf pan. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, butter, milk, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Fold in carrot pulp. Bake for 40 – 5o minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Well, I already managed to sneak the broccoli into Kevin’s juice.
Feeling good. Might make a second round of juice tonight.
Ate a small cup of 4-bean chili on Thursday – no Crohn’s symptoms. Progress!
Is it the juice? The Remicade? Time? My strict adherence to the low residue (mostly)? A combo?
But I do know that I ate broccoli this morning for the first time since a stir-fry last June that sent me to the couch with a hot pack and a medication for muscle spasms. Awesome.
Hidden Broccoli Juice
1 cup broccoli
2 large leaves of Swiss chard
Note: Broccoli pulp stinks. Discard immediately for your own well-being.
The juicer obsession continues.
I’m in love with tasting all things fresh! The novelty still has not worn off, in fact, I think I’m becoming more obsessed and more interested in different combinations. Last night I threw in leftover fruit salad from a party and a lemon. Delicious. Fresh lemonade is coming this weekend. Also more blood orange juice. If you have not tasted the delight that is a blood orange, you must do it.
Just to prove to Kevin that I’m not more in love with the juicer and fresh fruits and veggies than I am with him, I made us a special dark pink (fuchsia?) juice as an early, healthy Valentine. It’s full of berries! And he couldn’t even taste the red chard I put in there! (By this time next year, I’ll be juicing broccoli without him noticing.)
For those of you with juicers, here’s the recipe:
Red Apple-Berry Juice for 2
4 small apples
4 leaves of red chard (thick stem removed)
8 – 12 strawberries
1 1/2 cups cranberries
It might be the lack of fresh stuff talking or that the juicer and I are still thoroughly in the honeymoon phase of our relationship, but this juice just tasted so indulgent and sinful. The emotional response was akin to eating a piece of really good dark chocolate.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
The sweetest gift I received for Christmas 2012 was a yellow Pyrex mixing bowl. My brother received one, too. They are both identical to the mixing bowl that we grew up baking cookies in with our mom. We call it The Big Yellow Bowl. It was a gift to her from her mother many years ago. Pyrex doesn’t even make these bowls anymore, so Dad had to track them down on eBay.
Over the years, many Hutton family traditions have changed, we’ve all moved around often, and I live a solid day’s drive from my family. But one thing has made it through every move and stayed the same: we always bake cookies in the Big Yellow Bowl. It’s the perfect size for a big batch of cookies, easy to clean, and special to all of us because it came from my grandmother. Every year, it becomes a little bit more special. And every time we bake it in, we’re more aware that it’s a special old piece and I’m always afraid to break it. But we’ll never stop baking in it.
So when we opened our bowls, simultaneously on Christmas morning, both joy and relief ran through us. There were now three Hutton family Big Yellow Bowls in existence. While it will still be sad if Mom’s breaks, we now have perfect cookie-making bowls of our own. And Ryan and I will no longer have to argue about who will inherit the Big Yellow Bowl. That’s one argument that could have gotten heated.
You see, I learned most of my lessons about baking with Mom and her Big Yellow Bowl. And most of those were learned baking chocolate chip cookies.
So, naturally, when I broke in my Big Yellow Bowl, I did it with chocolate chip cookies. Like most Americans, we bake the Nestle Toll House recipe developed by Ruth Wakefield in the 1930s. I’ve made these so many times, that I know by the first bite whether or not someone uses the Toll House recipe for their chocolate chip cookies. But making them in my new Big Yellow Bowl was the first time that I felt they turned out right in my grown-up, Mom-less kitchen.
All my baking lessons came back to me as I went:
1: Make sure to get all the lumps of butter out when you cream it with the sugar.
2: Level off your measuring cups for consistency.
3: Break your eggs in a separate bowl and check for shells.
4: Add dry ingredients gradually to the wet.
5: Sneak a few chocolate chips to snack on.
6: Never share your secret ingredient.
See, everyone thinks their Mom’s chocolate chip cookies are the best, and I’m exactly the same. It’s a combination of magic from the Big Yellow Bowl and her secret ingredient. We add it at the end, to taste. And that’s all I’m going to tell you.
7: Nine minutes is not a long time, but when there are cookies in the oven, it feels like a long time.
After I finished the cookies, I made a special spot for my Big Yellow Bowl in my kitchen cabinet. I can’t wait to see the cooking adventures that come with it. In my Mom’s, I invented some of my first cookie recipes, stirred up the batter for birthday cakes, and punched down bread dough. I never made brownies in it – I used a purple plastic mixing bowl for that, no idea why.