Saturday, February 21, 2015

Peanut Butter Yummery Bars.


Crispy-puffy rice, coconut, chickpea crunchy noodles, raisins, spices, peanut butter-yummery.
Rheumatologist approved.
These peanut butter crunchy bars aren't for everyone. For instance, Dazee does not like them. So, if you plot carefully with the right target in mind, you can make these under the guise of sharing, and then get to eat them up all by yourself. Winnery for you!

I've never had bars like this before, but for some reason I started craving them madly this week. They're not hard to imagine, really. Especially if you're a big fan of spicy Indian snacks like I am.

The trick to these is to find a spicy snack mix you like and to use that. For these, I used some hot fried chickpea flour noodles, but you could easily add Bhuja, if you have some. Or something similar from the Indian market. The key is to make sure there's some heat to counter the sweet, and maybe some fennel. And, don't leave out the curry leaves! MMMmmmm.

Peanut Butter Yummery Bars. 
about 16 bars (fills an 8" square brownie pan)

What You Need:
4 cups rice crispy type cereal 
handful of curry leaves (12-16)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons canola or melted coconut oil
pinch salt

2 cups Indian chickpea flour sticks, or Indian snack mix 
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon cacao nibs

3/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup brown rice syrup

What You Do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly oil an 8" square baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the rice cereal, curry leaves, coconut, and turmeric. Drizzle on the oil and salt and stir until well combined. Spread the cereal onto the baking sheet and bake, stirring every few minutes to prevent burning, until the coconut is golden brown and the curry leaves are brittle, about 12 minutes.

3. While the rice is toasting in the oven, put the chickpea sticks, raisins, peanuts, and cacao nibs into the large bowl. Add the toasted rice mixture and combine well.

4. In a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter, coconut sugar, agave nectar and brown rice syrup. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture just begins to bubble.

5. Immediately pour the peanut butter mixture over the cereal mixture and stir well until the cereal is completely coated in the sticky peanut butter sauce. It's best to work fast, as the peanut butter sauce will quickly stiffen as it cools.

6. Press the mixture firmly into the baking pan and cool to room temperature. Score the bars and refrigerate.

7. Share with no one.

Hater.
I like the combination of low glycemic sugars in these bars, and found them perfectly sweet. But the bars are very user-friendly, so feel free to switch them up if you prefer more spices, and/or other sugars and nut butters. I think they'll still be lovely.

The Teff Lurve virtual door will be at Dianne's Vegan Kitchen on the 24th!

xo
kittee

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Somer-Ball Lovin', Happened So Fast.


"Well-a, well-a, well-a, uh!
Tell me more, tell me more was it love at first sight?"
I've completely fallen for Somer's balls, even more than when I first posted about them. In case you missed them bouncing around the ol' web, Somer's original cheese ball recipe is here on her wonderful blog Vedged Out.

Because I can never leave well enough alone, I decided to culture them. Lo'! These balls of hers have been elevated from kick ace good, to a new kind of wonderful that in my ever so very humble opinion has got some full-blown ass going on too! I mean sass. I mean, yea-um.

With raw sunflower seeds and Mineral Fusion nail polish.
Besides culturing the cheese, I made a few mods to the ingredients because I knew 1.) once the cheese was cultured it would have a natural tang to it, and would no longer need the acid or alchol in the original recipe. And 2.) I added berbere, because HELLO!! Have you met me before?

So anyway, I'm not gonna reprint Somer's recipe here, because I know how to play nicely with friends, and she deserves all the crazy cheese traffic. Vegan cheese ain't no game.

I followed her recipe, but made the following changes:
  1. I soaked the cashews in a quinoa rejuvelac overnight. Then drained the 'shews reserving the liquid.
  2. I left out the dry sherry, apple cider vinegar, mustard powder, and cayenne.
  3. I added ground imported Ethiopian berbere to taste ('twas about a teaspoon)--berbere is salty, so it's also a good idea to reduce the salt a bit. Again, employ your tongue and taste it!
  4. I added 2 tablespoons of the drained cashew soaking liquid, if you have it, you can also add about 1/2 teaspoon of probiotic powder (like acidophilus). I've made it both ways, with no big differences.
  5. Before adding the coconut oil, I scraped the soft mixture into a bowl, covered it with a plate and left it on top of my fridge for 2 days. The temps around here were in the high 40s-low 50s. In hot weather, it will culture faster, so check it a few times a day to get it where you like it in the tang department.
  6. Once the cheese was tang-iful, I scraped the mixture back into my food processor and added the coconut oil. Then I proceeded with Somer's instructions.
Culture with care folks! This cheese should not get moldy or funky in any way while culturing.
With parsley
This cheese is so delightful and has such good texture and flavor-flav. For a party, you could easily get two decent sized balls from the recipe, or three small ones. I made one with chopped jalapeno mixed into the cheese, and I'm thinking pimiento stuffed green olives will be next.

With the cutest dog on earth, and a rice cracker. His whiskers kill.
Speaking of berbere. The Teff Lurve blog tour is in full effect. One of my hard working testers has a stop on her blog Windy City Vegan today, along with a recipe for Quick Teff Crepes. Please go check it out, and then join Team Kittee and buy a book! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.


Somer-balls make great stress balls for the mind and body.
Oh hey! You can also listen to me talk to Caryn Hartglass on REAL radio here!
See ya!
xo
kittee

P.S. The link to my book is an affililiate link on Amazon, where I make a teeny sum of moolah.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

You Say Injera, I say Enjera.


Eye-filled homemade pure teff injera! 
If you have Teff Love, I've been tweaking the Ye'tef Injera recipe just a little. And, I've been cooking it on a giant 16" wide griddle I picked up online. Scoring gluten-free injera isn't too hard in Portland, but I can't get any on Sundays. Plus, I like the challenge of making 'em myself. The sour flavor comes through so nicely when you ferment the batter yourself, which tastes so-very-good with spicy wot.

I'm also pretty convinced, the GF injera I've been buying locally is not pure teff, so I'll be playing around with combos I haven't tried before, like adding buckwheat.

Ivory teff flour still produces brown injera, just a bit lighter in color--closer to what you might expect to see in Ethiopian restaurants.
I've also noticed that Bob's Red Mill is now packaging different varieties of teff flour under one label. So no worries if you notice your injera changing colors. I've not noticed a real difference in flavor between the light and dark varieties. Also, just so ya know, unlike quinoa, it's illegal to export large amounts of teff from Ethiopia, so any teff flour you buy domestically is also domestically grown.



Wanna see some injera in action? Here's a short video Grant Butler, the food writer of The Oregonian, put together on a recent trip to my kitchen! Using the griddle takes a little practice, but it's really not hard to do. I've noticed the injera comes out much better on this griddle, than when I make small ones on my stove's pancake griddle.

Not perfectly round, but perfectly deelish.
Remember how I said I've been tweaking my recipe? The injera in these photos were made by using an additional 1/2 cup of water on the first day (4 1/2 cups total), when the teff, water, fenugreek and starter are combined. Then on the following day 2, I cooked 3/4 cup of the batter instead of the 1/2 cup stated in the recipe.

The grill pictured on the box is not the one with the Silverstone surface.
Be sure to verify you're getting the correct model! 
Here's the grill I've been gabbin' about! The Bethany Housewares Heritage Lefse Grill with the Silverstone/Teflon coating. You'll also need a wide lid. I use the one from my giant canning pot, but if you don't have one 14-16" wide be sure to add one to your order.

The only places I know to get these grills are on Amazon or Target.com. If you have a great kitchen store in your city, they might be able to order one for you. Before you order through either of these links, be sure to verify you're getting the one with the Silverstone surface, the first one I ordered came with the brushed aluminum top accidentally!
  1. Here's the link on Amazon (this is an affiliate link--I'll make a small commission if you purchase through this link).
  2. Here's the Target.com link
Next stop on the Teff Lurve virtual tour--->Cadry's Kitchen-February 17th.
Sharing is caring folks!
xo
kittee

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Awaze Fitfit to the Rescue.


Spicy, tangy goodness.
I'm not gonna lie. This Ethiopian fitfit is rilllllly schpicy, but it's exactly what I wanted to eat tonight, 'cuz I'm trying to chase off a baby cold by turning my body into an inhabitable burning, gingery-hot volcano. 

I was inspired to make this fitfit from a similar dish I enjoyed at Maeza, an Ethiopian restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia. Whenever I see fitfit on the menu, I always order it (assuming it's XGFX), because I don't see it offered very often, and I love it. Usually if a restaurant has any, it'll be timatim fitfit, which is a simple combo of injera tossed in lemon juice, oil, salt, onion, jalapeno, and chopped tomato--like a refreshing bread salad. It's super good. At Maeza the timatim fitfit surprised me when it arrived at the table, as it was tossed in a spicy-tangy berbere based awaze sauce. I knew right away I wanted to try making some at home.

If you want this less spicy, reduce the berbere! And, be sure to pair it with cooling foods like avocado and kik alicha (mild, creamy split peas), or if you have Teff Love, with a big scoop of ayib (soft, uncultured cheese).

Be sure to use an Ethiopian berbere, because domestic berbere is mostly cayenne, and not only will you get the wrong flavor from it, it will blow off your top. 
Ye'awaze Fitfit Be'timatim
Fitfit is a great way to use up day old injera.

3 tablespoons ground berbere
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, plus another tablespoon or so to taste
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tequila, gin, whiskey, or table wine
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
1/4 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

2 1/2 cups torn injera
1/2 red or green pepper, diced (1/2 cup), or if you want this even hotter, slice up a jalapeno
small tomato, diced (1/3 cup)
2-3 tablespoons minced red onion or green onion
Salt, to taste
Avocado, for garnish

Make an awaze sauce: put the berbere, water, lemon juice, oil, booze, agave nectar, granulated onion, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl and stir until smooth and well combined.

Combine the injera, pepper, tomato and minced onion in a larger bowl and add the awaze. Stir well to thoroughly coat the injera. Season to taste with salt and extra lemon juice, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until the injera has soaked up the sauce and is cold. Toss before serving and eat with lots of avocado.

**************
Next stop on the Teff Lurve virtual tour--->Vegansaurus--February 12th.
xo
kittee

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Teff Love Launch Party and Virtual Tour!


Up, up, up and away!
Michelle dressed for partying in a cute little scalloped wrap skirt I made for her, when we first landed in PDX.
My brand new Ethiopian cookbook baby, Teff Love has been out for a couple of weeks, and things have been busy and fun! It's slowly getting stocked into stores, and right now it's available from all the regular online places you'd expect to find books. If you can't find it in the local bookstore where you like to shop, please help me build a demand for it by requesting it!

Also, if you want more info about the book, the virtual book tour starts tomorrow (scroll to the end of this post for the calendar)!! Folks will be posting about Teff Lurve for the next three months with pictures and experiences cooking from it.

Here's where you can find Teff Love online:
Amazon (this is an affiliate link where I make a small commission)

This week, my friends over at Herbivore hosted a book launch to help me celebrate Teff Love's release. Michelle and Amy both helped me whip up food for the event, plus I bought the most delicious XGFX injera from Emame's for showcasing a few warm recipes from the book.

We also helped raise almost $50 dollars to send to Born Free, a UK based organization campaigning to help save the wild Ethiopian wolf. Sadly this beautiful animal is quickly facing extinction (there are only 500 wolves left in the wild).

Dolloping wot.
Me, wearing a fancy new vintage frock I sewed for the occasion--Simplicity 8612. Plus one of the only surviving photos of Somer's cheese ball. I adapted her recipe by culturing the cheese and modifying the flavors to have some Ethiopian flare. One was seasoned with berbere, and the other with a mild, minced jalapeno. They flew, so I will be sharing my adaptions soon!

All the things.
Roasted chickpeas in little cups, Ethiopian Style Hummus (made from toasted sunflower seeds), pure teff injera with misser wot and kik alicha, Special Kitfo (soft cheese and seasoned roasted beets), Mac 'n' Cheesie and Teff Snickerdoodles.

Emame's pure teff injera is so good! Topped with Ye'misser Wot and Ye'kik Alicha.

Starting tomorrow and running through April, Teff Love is going on a virtual blog tour! I'm super excited to see what folks will be writing and saying about the book, and also chewing on my knuckles in anticipation. Because WHOA.

I'll be posting updates as the tour progresses, but here's the calendar so you can follow along!

February
Hipster Food-February 9th.
Vegansaurus--February 12th.
Cadry's Kitchen--February 17th.
Windy City Vegan--February 19th.
Dianne's Vegan Kitchen--February 24th.

March
Vegan Miam--March 1st.
Vedged Out--March 4th.
Olives for Dinner--March 8th.
Vegan Richa--March 15th.
A (Soy) Bean--March 20th.
Vegan Runner Eats--March 26th.

April
Vegan Crunk--April 2nd.
An Unrefined Vegan--April 8th.
Bonzai Aphrodite--April 15th.
Allyson Kramer--April 29th.
Julie's Kitchenette--TBA
The Little Foxes--TBA

Bye!
xo
kittee

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Teff Love Winner is...


Chris!
Thanks to everyone who entered the contest to win a copy of Teff Love! The random number was THREE and the winner is Chris. Keep your eyes peeled here for more chances to win Ethiopian spice kits and more books!
xo
kittee

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review and Giveaway: Laurie Sadowski Pies! Desserts! Tarts!



Laurie Sadowski makes lots of yummy pies and desserts.
I have a rheumatic kind of arthritis in my lower spine, so I'm not supposed to be eating refined sugar, but seriously there was no way around it last month. If you can't make and eat sweets during the freakin' winter holidays, then pffft. I'm still being really good, so don't rat me out to my rheumatologist--just a bit of dates and coconut sugar here and there, with the very occasional fair trade chocolate chip.

That's one of my favorite things about Laurie Sadowski's baking books (she has three). She recommends using unrefined sweeteners (Sucanat, dates, maple syrup, agave, etc.), but her recipes are fun, unique and super creative. Not dreary at all like these short winter days of ours. But if you prefer to use unbleached cane sugar, go for it. That's how I used to do it, and that works too. And now, I've been using coconut sugar, and still they work. Good times abound.

I've reviewed all of Laurie's books, because they're all XGFX to the MAX and full of seriously creative recipes. You can read about her bread book here, her cookies and cakes book here, and right now I'm gonna get you on track with the last in her Allergy-Free-Cook-Makes trilogy which is dedicated to Pies and Desserts.
Baking is super fun, but baking gluten-free is really only entertaining if you have good recipes to follow. Otherwise it can be brutally frustrating and painfully expensive. Most everything I've ever made from Laurie's books is stellar. And if you're new to baking with natural sugars and gluten-free flours, her recipes steer you along with loads of information and very structured and detailed instructions.

Her latest book is probably my favorite in this series--the recipes are crazy inventive. So far I've baked her Carrot Cake Tart, Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie, Teff-Sorghum Pie Crust, Peanut Butter Blondie Pie with Cocoa Crust, and Peanut Butter and Jam Tart (twice when berries were in season, 'cuz it's earth shattering delicious--I wish I had a photo to show it off).

The Teff-Sorghum Pie Crust is my new go-to pie crust. I made it twice using Miyoko's homemade butter, and it's seriously the easiest dough to work with. I'd say it's just a fraction harder than a regular wheaty pie crust. I did have issues over-baking the apple pie recipe my first go round, but I think it's a typo in the book, and not a reflection of the pie crust. It came out great baking at a lower temperature when I used it for an apple-raspberry-chocolate chip galette (riffed off the same recipe).

Peanut Butter Blondie Pie with Cocoa Crust.
The PB Blondie Pie is just what it sounds like--a very chocolate-y cookie bar baked into a cocoa flavored crust. This sets up very solidly and would be great traveling to a party or bake-sale.

Carrot Cake Tart, up close and personal.
I wish the books in this series had pictures, 'cuz it can be challenging to imagine how a recipe is gonna come out, especially when it's something unique. This Carrot Cake Tart was a happy surprise and a crowd favorite, when I brought it to the Herbivore Holiday Pop-up Shop. It's basically a carrot cake-like batter tucked into a crunchy crust and is seriously a cool recipe that I will be revisiting regularly.

Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie
I burnt the crust on my Apple Crumble Pie, which didn't deter it's demolishment one bit. Plus since I'm a drizzler, I added a bit of Peanut Butter Caramel from Ms. Smlove, and it was delish city. I tried this crust and filling again (but baked it at a lower temperature and for a shorter period this time), but turned it into a galette with chocolate chips and raspberries and it was great.

A few of my favorite things about The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts:
 Each recipe tells you how much of each flour and starch you need. No commercial mixes are called for anywhere in the book, and Laurie doesn't make readers mix up a flour/starch combo to use (and thus store) for the cookbook.  

 Laurie uses some of my favorite XGFX combos. Nothing beats sorghum, teff and tapioca, plus teff and chocolate together forever.

 This book has thorough information on the basics of xgfx scratch baking. My mom could easily handle these recipes. I feel like she'd be able to pop into her Whole Foods, grab what she needed and bake with success.

 These recipes show an impressive amount of creativity and inventiveness..

 There are plenty of fresh fruit recipes for summer months, and more pantry friendly recipes to perk up the colder times of the year.

My wee critiques:
 Since I'm rough with cookbooks (especially baking books), I don't need a book to be gorgeous, but this book could really use photos! I think there are some real gems in here, and I'm afraid I'm gonna miss 'em.

 If you're sensitive to xanthan gum, you'll probably want to play with adjusting the amount in some recipes. 

Peanut Butter Blondie Pie with Cocoa Crust.
  • Title: Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts
  • Author Laurie Sadowski
  • Blog:   Whisking and Writing
  • Publisher:  The Book Publishing Company
  • What I've Tried:  Carrot Cake Tart, Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie, Teff-Sorghum Pie Crust, Sweet Cherry Cobbler, Peanut Butter Blondie Pie with Cocoa Crust, and Peanut Butter and Jam Tart.
  • Photos:  None
  • Focus:   Vegan and gluten free pies, tarts, cheesecakes, cobblers, puddings, and desserts.
  • 6 Recipes to Intrigue:  Cherry Pie with Cacao Nib Pastry Crust, Chocolate-Hazelnut Truffle Pie, Chocolate Mousse and Brownie Pie, Pistachio-Cherry Ganache Tart, Strawberry Rhubarb Snickerdoodle Cobbler, Strawberry Ice-Cream Sandwiches, and Double Chocolate Raspberry Cobbler.
  • XGFXness:  100% Vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free.
This giveaway is open for a week! If you have a U.S. or Canadian address and wan to enter, simply leave a comment on this post with a way I can reach you. I'll pick a random winner by Midnight Friday, January 23rd. Good wishes for this goooooood book!

Congratulations Josiane! You won a copy of this cookbook!
More Carrot Cake Tart Art.
Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie.
Disclaimer:  I requested and received a free review copy of The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts from Book Publishing Company.  No compensation or gift was exchanged for this review, and the opinion posted here is my own.

xo
kittee

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The First Teff Love Giveaway!


I'm giving away the first copy! Right now.
Hi! Hi hi hi! I'm pretty excited to announce my publisher, Book Publishing Company, is expecting a warehouse fully stocked with Teff Love (affiliate link) on Monday! This means that Amazon will soon be shipping pre-orders to friendly and menacing doormats alike, and that stores near you will hopefully have the book in neat piles waiting for you to come and purchase it. There will also be an e-book coming shortly!

Pickled beet and potato salad, homemade cheese, stewed cabbage and split peas with a toasted sunflower seed milk.
All the Mmmmz.
In the meantime, I'm so excited to share Teff Love that I'm giving away the first copy here! So many exclamation marks!

To enter to win, please have a snail-mail address either in the U.S. or Canada and comment below by January 18th! If you want to be extra awesome, you could like my page on Facebooook or subscribe to my posts (on the left side of the blog), but since I love my readers, I will never force you to do that.

Scrambled chickpea tofu, split peas, and chickpea flour crackers in a spicy onion sauce.
I'm also working on a virtual book tour which will be taking place starting next month and going into April, so if you want more info about the book before you take the plunge, there'll be lots of pictures, recipes, and reviews coming soon. I'll also post a calendar of the tour with participating blogs/sites to follow, as soon as I have the details all starched and ironed out.

Homemade 100% teff injera.
Please be sure to comment by midnight PST on January 18th to win, and include a way for me to get in touch with you. The winner will be chosen at random, and the book will be given away at my own cost and expense.

xo
kittee

Monday, January 5, 2015

Another Noro Knockoff!


This post goes out to my crafty, yarn lovin' friends out there. 
I whipped into Jo-Ann's yesterday for sewing supplies with my buddy Amanda, and accidentally stumbled upon another acrylic Noro knockoff. I'm so pleased!

You can read about my obsession for Noro yarn here. And if you're wondering why I don't advocate knitting or wearing wool, please read about the practice of museling and you will hopefully stop purchasing it too. Or, at the very least, make sure you don't buy Merino wool or other wool from Australia.

The yarn namers need to step it up a bit. 
The low-down on the yarn is it's made by Lion Brand and is called Landscapes. The colorway shown in these photos is Boardwalk, and it's the only one I found that didn't have a muddy look to it.

I think I'm gonna make a striped cardigan!
xo
kittee