Sometimes the hardest part of the market is talking about food all day………
This is true. Five in the morning is too early to eat for me. By noon, when the market ends, however, I cannot seem to get food fast enough. The struggle is real to be surrounded by food. All morning I’ll eye people carrying a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Add to that, that my neighbor has gorgeous asparagus. And you know it’s good because he sells out by 10:30 every weekend.
All morning my brain races with dishes I want to make. I am constantly conceptualizing. And talking with people who stop by my booth, typically leads to more food conversations (I am a baker, this should be expected). I am talking and creating at the same time. My excitement for a new recipe grows as the day goes.
When I was brainstorming Easter recipes I had thought asparagus tart.
And every Saturday as I sit next to my neighbor I think: asparagus tart.
Finally we bought some asparagus. And finally I have made a tart.
There are some vegetables, which are so good, I could eat them all the time. One woman claimed that by the end of asparagus season, she is over asparagus. Blasphemous.
I think I have started each post this week with a food that I love (or have loved previously, as with potatoes). But I really do love coconut, which I have found in my years of baking, is a hit or miss. Often people love it or they hate it.
But I do a pretty good job of using different coconut products with turning people off. Because I bake with a lot of different coconut products: coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut cream, and shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut. Usually the flaked and shredded are the ones I get the most feedback for, although I do with coconut flour sometimes. But I’ll confess I like the nutritional value of coconut flour more than almond flour, but it is tricky to work with. It can get chalky or dense. I have found it lends itself well towards cakes.
This last year I have done a decent amount of coating chicken in different flavors. I’ve made chicken tenders. Parmesan chicken. And my personal favorite, buffalo chicken strips.
So why not make a coconut chicken?
What pairs better with coconut than lime?
I’ve been wanting to play with making some jicama rice for awhile now. Why not now? Why not add some lime zest and juice? Maybe a little cilantro…..
Granted I ate this one solo, my husband is a trooper in my recipe experiments (I can’t tell you all the ways I am blessed to have such a man by my side), but there are certain things he doesn’t like. Coconut is one, he’s not a big fan. So I can respect that. Buffalo for him, coconut for me.
This was AWESOME. I loved the flavor combination. The crispiness of the coconut. It was pretty easy to make. And it was filling.
I loved potatoes growing up. My amazing momma was a meat and potato girl. Bake potatoes were my jam.
However, I’ve read so much about potatoes, it’s added a stigma about eating them. This has created a barrier about eating them, and although I see some Paleo sites including them, I just can’t pull the trigger yet.
However, in the last 15 years, since I’ve cut them, I have discovered and experimented with an array of other tubers. I have grown fond of sweet potatoes, which I claimed to hate as a child (I was a super picky eater and most of the time I claimed to hate something, when the truth was, I had never tried it). I really like parsnips (as does my husband, so we really dig a root hash with them). Turnips, I tried but they seemed bland compared to the others and I didn’t go beyond trying them. Plantains= love (read yesterday’s post on plantain chips). And rutabaga. I found I really enjoy rutabaga. I tried them first as fries. Yum. Delicious. I mashed them. They were good, but mashed cauliflower I think is still the best after 8 years of trying all tubers, I pick the cuneiform veggie. They are super good in a hash.
But then I saw a recipe for a crispy potato cake and boom I knew I wanted to try it with rutabaga. My husband has a mandolin slicer at work, so I was able to get a nicely stacked cake. This wasn’t very hard to make either, and it was full of flavor.
I had never had them until I was about 25. I was hooked on the first bought. And man have I taught and had loads of conversations about them since them. It usually starts at checkout, where many cashiers don’t know what it is or how to ring them up. I have learned to tell them to look up bananas first. From here the conversations generally turns to asking how it tastes. Upon which I respond:
It does not taste like a banana
It is not sweet, it is starchier
No you can’t just peel it and eat it
I suggest slicing it thinly and sauteing it in coconut oil with sea salt
I also introduced a lot of my friends and my husband to plantains, making them taste them for their first time. My friends are lucky, I usually introduce them in the form of pizza crust and taco tortilla shells to them. Zach, though I had him taste just sliced and sauteed ones (as described them). He is a BBQ chip kind of snacker, so he thought they didn’t have a lot of flavor and he only likes them very thinly sliced.
I however, have found I really enjoy the tastes of the plantain. And I like them pretty simple and plain. Just sea salt. Because I was thinking about being creative and making all these different flavors of chips, but then I skipped it all, sea salt is good. Since it isn’t broken, I am not fixing it.
I will also tattle on myself here. I think sometimes people think I am in the kitchen all the time. Or I want to be there ALL the time. This is not try. Look at last week, where I only had one post. Sometimes I need a break. Sometimes I am like everyone else and I don’t want to prep or make a bunch of food. Sometimes I like meals that are quick and easy. Like lettuce wraps, I love a lettuce wrap (which is what i ate with these chips). So making vegetable chips (cabbage are my favorite) has been a favorite method of mine in the past, to have on hand for those non-cooking days. It is true I love baking. I love cooking. But sometimes you need a break. And the next day I may be in the kitchen all day, completely joy-filled. Breaks are nice to refresh the work we’re doing.
As I mentioned, I did sea salt because that’s what I like, but feel free to play around with other flavors, or dips maybe. But I am also not a chip dipper or guac person (raw avocados actually make me nauseous), so I just eat them on their own.
I saw little bites like this, probably about a year ago. I have been waiting for the perfect moment to try them. I think part of what held me back was uncertainty. I wasn’t sure if my dough would hold up. Sometimes it is softer, so I wasn’t sure if the shape would hold.
I put it on my market menu, holding myself then for actually making them.
I was determined. So I started brainstorming on how to remedy my problem. I cut down the amount of butter. And refrigerated the dough long enough. And this did the trick. I was able to shape them perfectly. I placed them in the freezer to keep the shape. Filled each little well with strawberry filling. And stuck them back in the freezer. I have learned with making gluten-free pies, freezing is my friend. I freeze to keep shape. Plus this helps me stay organized. I prep my pies during the week, working on them a little here and a little there. Then on Friday’s all I have to do is bake them fresh. This means I no longer spend all day prepping and baking. I feel less rushed. And I am able to give greater focus and energy to what I’m making. Plus I get to give each pie the attention it needs each time I work on them. I walk away feeling like I have truly done my best.
My vote is that I loved these little bites, if I did them again I would probably make them a tiny bit smaller. But I like the proportion of filling to salty, flaky crust. It’s my kind of thing. Plus one little bite, makes you feel treated without feeling guilty.
You know you are in the right profession when you have withdrawals. I haven’t baked anything in a week. I’ve been hard at work on my computer designing my 8-week program and cookbook. I felt great accomplishing my goals for these things, but there is the creative part of me that yearns to make things. Luckily, I have two markets this weekend and Zach and I have a brunch for the SAE mothers. I had a hard time not baking anything for my market today, the urge was definitely strong, however, I do like to make things as fresh as possible. So that will have to wait until Friday (I did measure all my dry ingredients out into containers though with notes, so all I have to do is add a few wet ingredients and mix. I have become a master at prepping ahead of time so I am not over-worked and stressed on Friday’s. Being able to take my time, not feel rushed, and do my best is essential to the taste of my products). I was excited to realize I had a little extra flour left over. Granted it was coconut flour. I was determined to make to it work. I really wanted a new recipe to blog. And I really wanted to make something. And I’ve had my heart set on making brownies. Its been on my to-do list for a month now, ever since I realized I do not have any brownie recipes, here, on my website.
Also I couldn’t just settle for making plain brownies. Yes, they’re good, but I have been creative deprived for a week, I needed more. So I decided to make two with caramel. To make the last two into Samoa style brownies. And to save one of the plain brownies to make a little brownie ice cream. Plus a brownie in a mug. That was my mother’s inspiration. She has been into making little mug cakes for my nephews, so why not a brownie in a jar. It’s easy and perfect for one solo person to make. A little indulgence, without having a whole tray of brownies in your face, taunting them to eat them. The pressure to eat them would be real.
So sit back and enjoy this week of brownies! Time to fix their void on this page!
(note the Samoa are my favorite, but they are also my favorite Girl Scout cookie from childhood).
1/2 cup coconut flour (if I did this again I would use almond flour, but the coconut was still good)
1 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup butter (or coconut oil or ghee, I had more butter than extra oil), melted
My father is an interesting character. One whom cannot be explained in words. But apparently, my husband, Zach, and I must be as well. When my father has an idea or something that may seem weird, he calls us. Not my mom or sister or my brother, who is probably too busy, but us. Probably because he knows we’ll say yes. We’ll say yes to hunting adventures. Drone lessons. Trying new meats and things. So when my father got a whole goat, he called us to see if we wanted to partake. Of course! In this country it may seem odd, but we are actually the only country to consume so much cow’s milk and meat. Most of the world drinks goat’s milk or eats goat. We have to learn to get over our initial reaction of trying something new. Of the anticipation. I have learned this in life, the anticipation is often worse than actual experience. We build everything up in our heads before hand, so when it comes time to do something new, eat something different, or have what we think is a conversation, it is actually a relief when it’s not as bad as we thought.
When I went sky-diving I was so focused on not anticipating. I had told myself my whole life that I was terrified of heights. I have vivid memories, passionately saying sky-diving was nuts and I would NEVER do it. And then I grew into this time of my life, where I worked really hard on tearing down walls. Of letting go of the limiting perspective I had of myself. Someone told me they were going sky-diving and I jumped, I WILL go with you. And we arrived. Every time I caught myself imaging or anticipating how being in that doorway would feel and the first leap, I would catch myself and stop. I got in that plane and I just did it. I didn’t think about how it would feel, I only experienced how it actually felt. Presence, this was huge for me. Learning to live in the now. Being able to catch myself and change my perspective in the moment. This is when I stopped holding myself back. I caught myself in fear and conditioned behavior. And I changed it.