Ricottacado/Roasted Rainbows

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It has come to my awareness that this blog is trending in certain unintended directions. One of these is “mashup” titles, like Falentil, Squashsagna, Avoziki, Hummole, and Quichetata. Megan is embarrassed by these titles, though she enjoys the foods themselves. Brian is only embarrassed if I come up with something that sounds really ridiculous. He’s home for a few weeks, so he advised me on the title of this one. Well, advised is a little mild. He bullied me into it. And since I am so gaga in love with my kids, they can totally get away with this sort of bullying. I won’t tell you the other contenders for the name of this recipe because it will embarrass both kids, and really, why do that if it’s not necessary?

It was Brian’s idea to make whipped ricotta. Last year, he had some at a restaurant in Washington, and this discovery coincided with the occasion on which I tried my hand at homemade ricotta. Homemade ricotta is delicious, and homemade whipped ricotta is a revelation. Try it some time with truffle oil, salt, and lots of black pepper.

This week, I had some avocados that were less than perfect. You know that I have a secret to increasing the likelihood of ending up with perfect avocados, but this time, the system failed. So, I needed a dish that would make use of slightly funky avos and I happened to have some ricotta in the fridge. The results were so tasty that I went out and bought more ingredients to make another batch the following day.

This creamy, light, smooth, dreamy, stuff is terrific as a savory topping, dip, or condiment. Slightly tart from the citrus, it is best described as a creamier guacamole. For this post, I pair it with roasted carrots and watermelon radish. Brian had some on a wrap with sliced chicken. It would be at home any place you would serve guacamole; with crackers, chips, fajitas, grilled steak, shrimp, or salmon. Try it in your kitchen and be sure to leave me a comment to let me know how you serve it.

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Ricottacado

This keeps well for a couple of days. Makes a little more than a cup.

2 ripe avocados
½ cup whole milk ricotta
1 lime
salt and pepper, to taste
optional: olive oil, for serving

Place the avocados and ricotta in a food processor (I used my mini). Zest the lime, and add both the zest and the juice. Process until smooth. Add salt and pepper, blend, taste and adjust seasoning. Place in a pretty bowl and drizzle with olive oil, if desired.

If you have leftovers, make sure you press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ricottacavo to prevent browning.

Roasted Rainbows

I used carrots and watermelon radish here. You may use this technique for just about any root vegetable: parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, beets…

Wash vegetables and peel if desired. Cut into pieces of relatively similar thickness. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, salt, sugar, and pepper, and toss well. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

You may roast these at any temp you like, the roasting time varies. I’ve done them at 275° for an hour, at 350° for 40 minutes, or at 450° for 25 minutes. When they are done, a knife slips in easily. Or just bite a piece. Serve immediately to enjoy them at their best. But they’re pretty wonderful at room temp or chilled, too.

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Blog note: I am proud to announce that I am a featured seller on Propped, a new on-line marketplace devoted to beautiful handmade kitchenware. Find my Propped Shop here. And, the Etsy Shop is going strong, so you now have two terrific options to shop DebsPots for your own kitchen, or for someone you love.

Posted in appetizer, easy, entertaining, family, gluten free, low carb, picnic, roasted, side dish, snack, snacks, Uncategorized, vegetable, vegetarian, weeknight | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mindfulness Granola

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Granola recipes are a dime a dozen in the blogosphere. Some of my favorite food blogs have 4 or 5 different versions. So. I was reluctant to publish another homemade granola here on DebsPotsBlog. Until the other morning when I whipped up this batch. It was so yummy, I decided I needed to share it in spite of the fact that it causes me, instantly, to become a cliche. Tree hugger. Brown ricer. The blogger equiivalent of a little vegetarian café with spider plants in hanging macrame terra cotta.

My beloved, brilliant, friend and mentor, Robbie Lobell, is on the east side of the country for the famous and phenomenal Pottery Show at the Old Church Cultural Center. Bob picked her up at Newark and she spent the night with us here in Warwick before heading down to NJ to set up for the show. We enjoyed a lovely dinner, and in the morning, I decided to throw together some granola for breakfast.

I’ve been making granola since before many of my blogging friends were born. The style of my homemade granola goes in phases. Sometimes, it’s very sweet, sometimes more spare. I usually go for big clumps. This version is toasty, less clumpy. It’s lightly sweet, chewy, nuanced, and discernably salty. I think it is the most interesting, addictive, and satisfying granola I’ve ever tasted. I think you’ll love it, too. Let me know if you try it, I really want to know what you think, and what variations you create.

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Mindfulness Granola

You may notice the similarity in ingredients to my Mindfulness Bread, Crackers, and Muffins, and Mini Muffins. They are all loosely based, with kind permission, on Sarah Briton’s (My New Roots) Life Changing Loaf of Bread.

2 cups rolled oats, I prefer Bob’s Red Mill, extra thick, organic
3 tbs. each: chia seeds, flax seeds, millet, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pepitas
¼ cup olive oil (you may use walnut, almond, coconut, or macadamia if you prefer)
3 tbs. agave
3 tbs. maple syrup (I used my own homemade; use good quality syrup here)
1 tsp. sea salt
optional: a big handful of raisins or date pieces

Preheat oven to 325°.

Use a bit of the oil to grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish, lasagna pan, or half sheet pan. It’s a great idea to line your pan with parchment and then grease that. My Cook on Clay pan releases so well that just a bit of oil was all I needed.

Mix the remaining oil, agave, and syrup in a bowl or cup. Mix the dry ingredients (not including fruit) in a big bowl and add the syrup mixture, mixing well. Pour the damp mass out onto your baking pan and spread out into an even layer.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until the granola is dry and slightly brown. Some folks mix their granola while it bakes. I like to leave it in one layer to encourage clumps. And I let it cool completely before scraping it out of the pan, again, to promote clumpage. Add the raisins or dates, if using, after the granola cools. Store for up to a week at room temp if there’s any left over after the first day, which is highly unlikely, especially if you have kids in the house. Or if you have a mouth.

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Blog note: Pots make awesome holiday gifts. Check out Robbie’s work here, and my work here.

Posted in baked goods, baking, breakfast, ceramics, gluten free, healthy, pottery, snack, trail food, travel food, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian, whole grain | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Squashsagna

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We had a wonderful Thanksgiving here in the house in the woods. I hope yours was full of love, laughter, good food, and gratitude!

I’m sitting in the newly open family room with Meg, looking out at the snow, and thinking about Thanksgiving leftovers. Bob and Brian are upstairs; that all four of us are under one roof fills my heart with joy.

We all like turkey-feast leftovers. We tend to graze on them, as is, on Friday. But, by Saturday, we’re ready to change up the flavors and use the rest of the meat in something with a very different profile.

Squashsagna hits all the pizza/ lasagna, baked ziti notes, but without the heaviness or the carbs. You can make it with leftover chicken or turkey, or cook some fresh. Or, leave the meat out entirely.

I did a version of these over on Chickpea and Rutabaga last year, but this is more lasagna-ish, so I’ll give you a whole ‘nother recipe.

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Squashsagna

Use your favorite tomato sauce, or this recipe. You may use leftover or freshly cooked meat, sautéed ground meat, or skip meat entirely for a veggie version.

Serves 4

2 medium Spaghetti Squash, sliced lengthwise, cleaned of pulp and seeds
3 cups tomato sauce, 2 cups for assembly, 1 cup for serving
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 cups shredded turkey or chicken
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 cup grated parm
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375°. Drizzle the cut sides of squash with oil, salt and pepper. Place them face down on parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes or until just tender. Don’t turn off the oven. Let cool slightly, then scoop out the strandy flesh with a fork; place in a big bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix the ricotta with the egg, salt and pepper.

Place half of the squash (divided by four) in the bottom of each squash shell. Do the same thing with the meat, the ricotta, the 2 cups of sauce, the mozz, and the parm (in that order). Now, repeat the process with the remaining ingredients.

Bake the bowls for 50-60 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and the cheeses are golden brown and delicious. Serve hot.

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Blog note: As you begin your holiday shopping, remember to consider the origin and ethics of the products you buy. Consider supporting your local merchants, and buying handcraft. DebsPots make wonderful gifts!

Posted in chicken, dinner, family, gluten free, healthy, low carb, main, main course, main courses, main dish, poultry, supper, thanksgiving, Uncategorized, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Chocolate Icebox Cake

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Wait ‘til you see the super charming recipe I have for you this week!! Sometimes, the most fun, adorable, and delightful things happen when we’re just playing around, and the evolution of this dessert was such a thing.

It was Tuesday, a week after the election, and it was one of those dark, cold, pouring rainy kinds of days. I was still feeling sad and quiet about the election, wanting nothing more than to curl up under a blanket with a book. I had studio chores to do, work for the dr deb practice, and some photo editing crying for my attention. More importantly, the gauge on the fridge was pointing in the direction of empty.

I thought about getting under an umbrella and toddling off to the market, but then I decided to play one of my favorite little games. It’s the Necessity Being the Invention of Mothers Game. Don’t we all get a little more creative when we have to? When we don’t really want to go out in the rain? When we’d rather play with porcelain than deal with those credit card machines that are always so persnickety?

I had some heavy cream leftover from a recent batch of Caramel Almond Ice Cream. And my mother gave me a box of graham crackers when she packed up to head to Florida for the winter. I gave my brain a little nudge and it took off in direction of a homey, old-fashioned, unglamorous, comforting dessert: icebox cake. Mom taught me about icebox cakes; there were a few versions in the family, so this seemed like a perfect use for the heirloom grahams.

Icebox cakes are related to trifles and charlottes. They can be made with any kind of cookie or biscuit and either pudding, or whipped cream. The basic concept has to do with sogginess. In a good way! Some people make them with fruit, which I imagine would be extremely lovely.

So, the resulting confection is not particularly photogenic, nor is it healthy in any way. But it is utterly wonderful. It’s rich without being over the top, dense and light at the same time, chocolatey in the milky way of good hot chocolate, sweet, but not cloying. And, it stores well, so if you don’t eat it all up right away, you can enjoy it at your leisure. Or make it to take to an event, a pot luck, or a holiday dinner. Perfect for, say, Thanksgiving!!!

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Chocolate Icebox Cake

Vegans, you may use coconut or cashew cream and vegan graham crackers.

Serves 6 or so

You’ll need a standard 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

2 sleeves plain graham crackers
1 ½ cups heavy cream
3 tbs. cocoa powder
½ cup sugar (I use organic cane)
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch salt

Place the chocolate chips and ¼ cup of the cream in a soup/cereal bowl and microwave on high for 45 seconds, until the cream is just hot. Let stand a couple of minutes and then stir well to make a smooth sauce.

Whip the remaining cream in a stand mixer or with a hand held mixer until soft peaks form. Add the cocoa, vanilla, and salt and whip to combine. Under no circumstances is it ok to eat all of this before you construct your cake. A little taste is permitted, but be warned, it is not easy to control the urge to go in with a huge spoon!

Put a couple of tablespoons full of the chocolate whipped cream into the bottom of the loaf pan, and cover with a single layer of grahams, breaking the crackers to fit. Top the crackers with a thin layer of whipped cream, and then a drizzle of chocolate sauce; spread each with an offset spatula.

Make layers in this fashion until you run out of everything; make sure you have a nice layer of cream topped with chocolate at the top. You’ll have a few crackers left over for munching.

Cover the loaf pan with foil or plastic wrap. Or do what I do. Enclose the whole thing in a plastic produce bag. Make sure the wrapping doesn’t touch and mess up the chocolate glaze. Refrigerate the icebox cake for at least 6 hours. Overnight or a couple of days are fine.

When you are ready to serve, cut slices and free the edges with a blunt, serrated bread knife and then use a spatula to lift out of the pan. The chocolate will crack, but that’s what we call rustic.

 

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Posted in chocolate, dessert, easy, family, sweets, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Roasted Carrot Hummus

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Contemplating the recent turn of events in the world has me deeply troubled, discouraged, worried, disappointed, and sad. It is too soon for any of us to fully process the implications of the election results. I am still hoping it was a nightmare, and I’ll wake up soon.

In the meantime, I do what I always do. Today, I will go to the dr deb office and offer comfort and what wisdom I can muster, to the people who trust me to care for them. Tonight, I will make a beautiful supper, unload the kiln, and talk to my husband and two wonderful grown up kids. Tomorrow, I will run in the woods. My intention is to strive to be kind, compassionate, fair minded and loving. At this moment, this is the best I can do. Perhaps, it is the best any of us can do.

When I planned this post, I was anticipating that things would go a different way. And so, I thought it would be inoffensive, maybe even funny, that Roasted Carrot Hummus is orange. I am so horrified and embarrassed that I am tempted to delete the pictures and never think about this again. Except…

Roasted Carrot Hummus is freaking delicious!! Why has this not become a thing before now? Yes, I know, humans are deeply flawed. But, we do have the capacity to learn from our mistakes. So, if you haven’t been making and eating Carrot Hummus until now, it’s time to correct that tragic mistake!!!

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Roasted Carrot Hummus

Makes about 1 ½ cups of hummus.

2 large or 3 medium carrots, quartered lengthwise
1 large garlic clove, unpeeled
1 tbs. olive oil
1 can chick peas, drained*
¼ cup tahini
juice of ½ lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

*Save the liquid for making Magic Meringues!

Preheat oven to 425°. Place the carrots and garlic on a parchment lined baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 5 minutes; remove and reserve garlic. Continue roasting carrots for an additional 10-15 minutes or until they are tender when pierced with a paring knife. Let cool slightly. Pop the skin off the garlic.

Place carrots, garlic, and remaining ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until smooth, scraping bowl several times.

Serve warmish, room temperature, or cold. Keeps well for several days.

I like this hummus with a variety of cooked and raw veggies. It is a terrific addition to an abundance bowl, as a spread on a wrap or sandwich, or as a dip for pita, chips, or crackers.

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Blog note: Keep a close eye on my Instagram and Facebook pages for upcoming news about an exciting new way to shop for DebsPots. And make sure to check out my Etsy Store for terrific stoneware and porcelain pots for your table! Remember, pottery makes great holiday gifts!!

Posted in appetizer, gluten free, healthy, main, main course, roasted, side dish, snack, supper, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, workout | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Brilliant Kale Salad

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How do you feel about the color red? As I photographed this post, I realized I have a lot of mixed feelings about it, myself.

I’ve been told I look good in red, that it is a good color to use as an accent in a room. But I never, ever wear colors in the red family. No pink, no burgundy, no purple. And you won’t find any red throw pillows or artwork here in the house in the woods or in my office in the village. Red is a difficult color to achieve in ceramic glazes and many potters seek a good fire engine surface. Not me. Couldn’t care less.

I’ve always thought it has to do with my preference for earthy colors. I live in the woods, prefer to look at greens, golds, browns. But…this week, I am reminded that for a few gaudy weeks a year, Our Mother gets all tricked out and carnival on us! And I love it!

And of course, I LOVE all the red foods. Apples, tomatoes, berries and radishes are gorgeous and delicious. Look at my Instagram feed and you’ll see plenty of bright color.

So, why my seeming aversion? I think it’s really about intensity. It scares me. It’s why I am having such a difficult time with the election. My own temperament is intense. I spend my life and my life’s work learning to sooth, to calm, to reach for what is most humane in my humanity. We are wired to live in nature, which is primitive, often dangerous. We are naturally reactive, combative, fearful. I believe that to truly live well, we must practice being peaceful and peaceable. We must consciously focus on getting along with others, letting things go, resolving inevitable conflict with friendly intent. This election season reminds me of the ugliness of human reactivity, and it is painful. I hope when it is over, we will all move toward healing.

So, I resolve to embrace red and cherish its intensity without anger or fear. Intensity is a part of us; it needs to be expressed. I will express my intensity by cutting open beautiful red fruits and vegetables while being as kind as I can to the people around me.

This salad embraces the intensity of red while celebrating the freshness of green. The tart sharpness of pickled radish and bitter depth of kale, and sweet/sour charm of pomegranate are met and mellowed by creamy goat cheese and toasty nuts. And while it’s delicious as is, the addition of tahini sauce makes it truly unusual and delightfully nuanced.

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Brilliant Kale Salad

Feel free to substitute any radish, turnip, or beet, for the watermelon radish here. You may slice the radish on a mandoline or use a very sharp knife. Alternatively, you might like to grate it, which isn’t quite as pretty, but potentially easier and just as tasty.

Vegans, dairy-free, and paleo folks: This salad is perfectly delicious without the cheese.

Serves 4

6-ish cups baby kale, or equivalent*
1 watermelon radish, sliced paper thin
3 tbs. white balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. cane sugar
¼ cup pomegranate arils
1 ½ oz. soft goat cheese, crumbled
¼ cup toasted pepitas
3 tbs. xv olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
optional, but very lovely: Tahini Sauce with Herbs

*or use a similar quantity of sliced curly or tuscan kale.

Variation: Use orange slices instead of or in addition to the pomegranate.

Make the pickled watermelon radish: Place the sliced radish in a soup/cereal bowl, add the salt and sugar and toss. Pour over the vinegar, toss again. Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a day.

Assemble the salad: Drain the pickled radish, reserving the liquid. Place the kale in a salad bowl and drizzle with the reserved vinegar mixture and the oil. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale. Or use my stand mixer trick. I use my hands if I’m making the salad with baby kale (needs much less encouragement to wilt), the mixer if my kale is more mature.

Now, top the salad artfully with the remaining ingredients. This is terrific served right away, but may be refrigerated for a few hours or even overnight with perfect results.

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Posted in appetizer, easy, entertaining, gluten free, healthy, low carb, paleo, pottery, salad, side, side dish, thanksgiving, Uncategorized, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Mindfulness Crackers

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Recipe testing is a challenge when you’re cooking for one! I’m not one of those cooks who eats a bowl of cereal for dinner when no one else is around, but I don’t make lasagna, either.

As you probably know, our kids are grown up and have kitchens of their own. And Bob has been away for 10 days, making this the longest span of time I’ve lived solo in 35 years!

These have been busy work weeks in the dr deb office, and I’m preparing for a wood firing, so lots of studio time. So, I kept my cooking simple. A big pot of turkey soup with lots of veggies kept me well fed for several nights. And on the remaining days, I threw together big bowls of kale with various cooked and raw vegetables, nuts, cheese, and sometimes an egg.

But I wanted a little carb with my soup or salad. Something to nibble alongside. And I wanted that something to be healthy and nourishing. And not go stale after a day or two.

When my beloved friend and tech angel, Mary, came over to play, we discussed the options and decided on Mindfulness Crackers. They were actually the first version of Mindfulness baked good I tested after reading Sarah Briton’s brilliant LCLOB recipes.

Mary and I rolled up our sleeves and got right to work. Well, that’s not exactly true. First, we ran over to her house to get oats. So, these are Mary’s hands you see here in the pictures. Beautiful, right? Mary is beautiful through and through!

These crackers are loaded with healthy grains, seeds, nuts, and fruit. Like my Mindfulness Bread, they are vegan and gluten free. Happy munching!

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Mindfulness Crackers

If you’re purely GF, make sure you use gluten free oats. And if you want to go refined sugar free, sub agave, honey, or maple syrup for the sugar; or omit sweetener. I use all organic products for this recipe and hope you will, too.

2 cups oats

¼ cup each:
flax seed meal
sesame seeds
millet
chia seeds
sunflower seeds
walnuts
pepitas
currants

1 tsp sea salt
1 tbs. cane sugar
1 ½ cups water

Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse to combine. Let mixture stand 5 minutes and pulse a few times to mix. Go away for an hour to let the seeds absorb water and turn this mess into dough.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Give the mixture another few pulses. Cut two pieces of parchment so that they fit inside a half sheet pan: 18 x 13 inches. Place one piece of parchment on the counter and spread the dough out on the parchment. Place the second piece of parchment over the dough and use a rolling pin to form a thin, even rectangle even with the edges of your paper.

Bake the crackers for 30 minutes, then turn the oven off and allow them to sit for an additional 20 minutes to crisp as the oven cools. Let stand for 30 minutes to cool at room temp before breaking into pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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Posted in baked, bread, breakfast, brunch, gluten free, healthy, lunch, snack, snacks, trail food, travel food, Uncategorized, vegan | Tagged , | 2 Comments