Welcome to Abundance

Welcome to Abundance.

Here you will find simple, healthy ideas about feeding yourself, your family, your universe.

Although the emphasis is on organic, local and vegetarian food, you don’t have to be a vegetarian, locavore or health-nutty to benefit from Abundance.  If you like to feed people or just need to, check out the recipes.  If you want to learn more, see the Abundance Library page.  If you want a good laugh, read about my feeding adventures in the Abundance Feed Bag.  You have ideas?  Feed me Feed Back.  Whatever your reason for being here, enjoy your stay.

We don’t just cook…We  feed…ourselves, our families, our world.  Share in the abundance!

Cranberry Bread

It’s that time of year again! Cranberries, oranges, and cinnamon make this autumnal bread flavor the whole house with Fall aroma. The kids love to help bake this bread as the batter turns a bright pink when the cranberries are mixed in. The recipe comes together quickly, once you have the cranberries chopped (use a food processor, if you have one).

1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 tspn cinnamon
1 1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 cups cranberries (1 bag)

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter or oil two 9×5 inch loaf pans.

Using a food processor with a rotary blade, whir the cranberries around until they are roughly chopped. This should only take a few pulses. Alternatively, chop the cranberries with a large knife on a cutting board.

In the large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until well combined.

Add the eggs, one at a time, continue mixing.

Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) and mix until just barely incorporated into the batter. Some lumps are ok. Try not to overmix at this stage.

Pour in the orange juice, add the cranberries, mix until the ingredients are just barely incorporated into the batter.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake approximately 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a loaf comes out clean.

Notes:
Cranberries keep a long time in the freezer. Stock up on fresh cranberries and freeze in them in their produce bags.

The batter may also include 1/2 cup of chopped nuts, coconut or dried fruit, such as apricots.

This batter makes excellent muffins, use 36 cupcake liners and bake for 30 mins.

Red Pepper Walnut Spread

OK, it’s not really red pepper/walnut spread, it’s really a Turkish dip called mahammura, and is widely known throughout the Middle East.  I love it for its “pantry” quality.  I can keep the items in my pantry and can dance the ingredients around in my food processor at the last minute, creating a fun and tasty dip or sauce or spread…you get the idea.

Try this on ciabatta bread with some green olives; stirred into vegetable soup at the last minute to heighten flavor; or simmered with a fillet of salmon or halibut.  Very quick and easy!

Mahammura

1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, juices reserved

2 slices of toast, torn into pieces*

1/3 cup walnuts, toasted lightly

2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 juice of one fresh lemon (seeds and all!)

2 teaspoons honey**

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Place everything into a food processor, add the reserved red pepper liquid to get the consistency you desire.  For a sauce, use more liquid.  For a dip, use less.

* To make this gluten free, use rice crackers in the place of toast.

** Traditional mahammura calls for pomegranate molasses.  I use honey, as I prefer the taste.

Bakery!

Well, it has been a while since I’ve posted, my friends.  I have been very busy.  As of January 1, 2013, California has made it legal to sell baked goods from home.  The Cottage Industry Law AB 1616 was enacted this year and I have applied for my commercial license.  Provided that I follow some simple rules, I will now be able to sell my baked goods, including bread, through local venues and to individuals.  This is wonderful news and I’m so happy to share with you my plans to open Abundance.  Stay tuned for more updates and the grand opening!

Thanksgiving Day Stuffing

ImageI, like most Americans, have my prejudices around what constitutes a proper Thanksgiving Day meal.  Stuffing is almost a religious experience in my house.  I have no use for the fancy-shmancy stuffing that is showcased on magazine covers this time of year.  Don’t even talk to me about goat cheese!  Stuffing is the ultimate tradition (along with the canned cranberries that look like jelly) and should be revered as classic American comfort food.  This is my mother’s recipe and has been served at every Thanksgiving that I can remember. Now, someone please pass the canned cranberries.

This recipe will stuff a 12-pound turkey.  Feel free to cut this in half or double it, if you are feeding a crowd.

Makes 12 cups stuffing – enough for a 12 pound bird

2 Sticks Butter

2 large onions, chopped

1 cup minced celery  (about 4 stalks, leaves removed)

1 cup chopped nuts of your choice (walnuts, pecans, pine nuts)

8 to 10 cups fresh bread crumbs (see below)

1 teaspoon dried sage (fresh is nice if you have it, use 2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Using a large pot, dutch oven or casserole, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the nuts, cook stirring constantly until they start to brown, about 3 minutes.

Add the bread crumbs and herbs, and salt to taste, if you use salt.  Stir the bread crumb mixture for another minute or two and remove from the heat.

You can do this much ahead of time and the stuffing will last in the refrigerator, tightly sealed, for a couple of days.

Pack the stuffing into the prepared bird and roast according to your turkey recipe.  If you prefer, you can put the stuffing into an ovenproof dish and bake, for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Bread Crumbs:

This recipe calls for almost 2 loaves of bread.  Of course, the bread that you use will determine the amount of crumbs.  A batard or ciabatta will render more crumbs than a standard white loaf.  If I don’t have homemade bread for the crumbs, I use Acme Bread’s sweet batard for this recipe. It’s available in most grocery stores and is quite good, for store-bought bread.

2 large loaves bread torn into chunks

Using a food processor or blender, work in small batches to process the chunks of bread into crumbs.  Don’t worry if the bread crumbs don’t process into uniform sized crumbs.  The inconsistency is part of the charm of stuffing.  Bake on a rimmed baking sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Measure out 8 – 10 cups and freeze the rest.  You can do this ahead of time and freeze the crumbs in a ziplock bag. Frozen bread crumbs are a nice thing to have on hand and they keep forever.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese for Grownups

When I was a kid, I envied my friends who got the mac ‘n’ cheese that came from a box.  It must be good… it comes from a box.  Well, my mom would have none of that!!  She made homemade mac and cheese with real cheese and white sauce.  Here is her recipe.  It comes together quickly, once you have the pasta cooked and the cheese shredded.  Use whole wheat flour and whole wheat pasta to make this a little bit healthy.  Feel free to add 1/4 cup white wine to the sauce when it’s finished for extra flavor.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese for Grownups

2-½ cups milk

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour

2 Cups shredded cheddar, emanthaulier, swiss or combination

½ cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese

1-teaspoon thyme

1-cup breadcrumbs

1 lb cooked pasta noodles (elbow, rottini, ziti,)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9×13 casserole pan (spray oil or melted butter).

Place cooked pasta noodles in a large bowl.

Heat the milk in a microwave safe dish until it starts to have small bubbles on the surface, about 3 minutes.

In small saucepan on medium heat, melt butter.  When the butter bubbles, stir in the flour.  Whisk until smooth.  Mixture will thicken and brown after about 3 minutes, reduce heat to low.

Remove the bay leaf from the milk and slowly whisk the warmed milk into flour/butter mixture.  Stir until mixture is smooth and creamy.  Cook about 5 more minutes.  Remove mixture from heat and add the cheese and thyme, stir until combined.  Pour over the cooked pasta and toss to combine.  Place pasta into 9×13 dish, cover with breadcrumbs and bake for 15 minutes.  Serve hot.

Curried Pumpkin Lentil Soup

Curried Pumpkin Lentil Soup

This is a great throw-together-at-the-last-minute soup (ask me how I know!).  Most ingredients can be kept in your pantry.  I used canned pumpkin, but fresh pumpkin is wonderful.  Also, I used a small amount of curry and turmeric.  If your household prefers stronger flavors, use more!

 Coconut oil or olive oil

1 onion chopped

2 tsp “muchi” curry powder or to taste

½ tsp turmeric

1-tablespoon garam masala

14 oz can pumpkin puree or 2 cups fresh pumpkin chopped

1 apple peeled and chopped or 8 oz applesauce

1 ½ cups red lentils (other lentils are ok, such as green or black)

1 32-oz container vegetable broth

1 14 oz can coconut milk (optional)

Chopped peanuts or lime for garnish

 

Sautee onion on medium heat with the oil.  When onions are translucent, add spices then the pumpkin.  Sautee for a few more minutes, then add apples (apple sauce) and red lentils.  Mix everything until lentils are coated and pumpkin is heated through, about 3 more minutes.  Slowly stir in the broth and bring to a gentle boil.  Simmer for 10 minutes until the lentils are tender.  Add coconut milk at the end, if using. Garnish with lime or peanuts.  Can be eaten cold.  Serve with a dry white wine and a crusty whole wheat bread!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin, Apple, Raisin Muffins

I’ve been searching for a moderately healthy whole wheat pumpkin recipe.  I didn’t want all nuts-and-berries-granola, and I didn’t want a recipe that called for two pounds of butter and a sack of sugar, either.  So, I came up with this recipe, which uses just a touch of white flour (feel free to us all whole wheat) and while it has sugar, it’s not too much for a muffin or quick bread.  If you need a cupcake for a potluck, this would serve nicely.  My family likes them for breakfast or midday snack. 

Whole Wheat Pumpkin, Apple, Raisin Muffins

 Ingredients:

 2 cups whole wheat flour

¼ cup all purpose white flour

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp allspice

1 tblspn baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

pinch salt

½ cup vegetable oil

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

3 eggs beaten

¼ cup shredded apple (including skin)

2 cups pumpkin (canned or fresh)

½ cup raisins

¾ cup milk

 To Bake:

 Preheat oven to 350.

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Beat oil, eggs and sugars together until blended.  Add apple, pumpkin and raisins.  Add dry ingredients alternating with the milk.  Mix until just blended, lumps are ok.
  3. Place paper muffin cups in muffin pan and fill each with a third cup of batter.
  4. Bake 20 mins.  Let cool on wire rack.

Yields 24 muffins

 Variations:

  • Use 1 Tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice in lieu of individual spices
  • Substitute 1 stick butter for the oil, less moist muffins, but they taste better
  • May add nuts (almonds or walnuts are nice), about ¼ cup
  • Can be used as a quick bread batter, simply pour batter into a greased 9×5 loaf pan, bake approx. 40 mins.