It’s Not Easy Being Green

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It’s an Open-Up-Your-Taste-Buds-to-New-and-Exciting-Tastes Day at BigLittleMeals.com.  And it’s also an Isn’t-Spring-Wonderful Day.  The fires which devastated Sonoma in October are still a part of almost every conversation around here.  It’s mind-boggling how many people we meet who lost their homes.  The massive re-building has barely begun.  But re-birth in nature is already evident, as you can see in this gorgeous green field just above our little neighborhood.

While green seems to be just right in that field, green in food can be tricky.  Or as Kermit sang, “green is the color of spring.”  Yet, “it’s not easy being green.”  Actually, Andy looked a little green recently – while we were eating grilled oysters….see Andy’s Corner.

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 8.30.20 AMMoss (how apropos his name is for this topic 🙂 ) and Silas, our grandsons, have always liked Odwalla’s “Original Superfood Fruit Smoothie” and I’ve always winced at its color.  But when we went to Ixtapa, Mexico, for the first time a number of years ago, I fell in love with the new and different green drink we were served on the beach.  Well…maybe it was being on that beautiful Pacific beach, but I think I’d have loved the drink no matter what.  Jugo Verde – a name so much prettier than Original Superfood – and way more delicious too.

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Our version of Jugo Verde

Moss also loves Snickerdoodles and I’ve made them frequently in his honor.  Since I already had a tin of ground green tea (Matcha), when I saw a recipe for Matcha Snickerdoodles I was intrigued.  Even more intriguing was the fact that the recipe came from a patisserie in San Francisco which is in the same building as the office for Tacolicious.  The patisserie’s name? Craftsman & Wolves.

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The cookies, after baking, looked….well, kind of weird, to put it nicely.  But I’m now wondering whether there is something slightly addictive about matcha.  I’ve been sneaking these amazing and unusual cookies all morning long – and still haven’t gotten my fill.  They’re like perfect.  Not too sweet.  Kind of delicate.  And the flavor doesn’t resemble anything you’ve had before – in a very good way.

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Craftsman & Wolves’ Matcha Snickerdoodles

Ras el hanout may not be a spice mixture that you routinely have in your cupboard but it’s what makes the Watercress, Spinach and Chickpea Soup, a riff on a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe, unique.  And if you don’t want to bother to make it (I actually did – a combination of at least 13 spices!) or buy it (Amazon, of course), you can substitute the easily-found Garam Masala spice mixture, making it more Indian than North African, but still delicious.

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Watercress, Spinach, and Chickpea Soup – before adding the yogurt

And one final green-ish new-ish thing to try: freekeh.  It’s a young, green wheat, high in protein and fiber – those things we want and need – that has been roasted.  Freekeh, which dates back to around the 13th century Middle East, is delicious…better than barley or quinoa IMHO.  I combined some cooked freekeh with slivered red and green cabbage and mango for a delicious, healthy salad, using one of Ottolenghi’s dressings.

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Cooked freekeh

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I got this from Amazon but some Whole Foods carry it

Jugo Verde

  • Servings: 4 - it will make about 32 ounces total - but the recipe can easily be halved.
  • Print
This drink, as served in Mexico, will be thick; I’ve read you can put it through a strainer to make it more liquid-y, but we like it thick.

  • 3 c fresh pineapple chunks (I used 1/2 of a large pineapple)
  • 1/2 bunch parlsey
  • 2-3 cups loosely packed spinach
  • 1/2 peeled cucumber, cut into chunks (if you’re using a mini cuc – put a whole one in.
  •  1 stalk of celery, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 c orange juice (add more if you want the drink a little lighter)
  • juice of 1 small lime or 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Put all the ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth.  Serve, drink, enjoy, and feel very very healthy!

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann

Craftsman & Wolves' Matcha Snickerdoodles

  • Servings: 25-30 cookies
  • Print
Recipe adapted ever-so-slightly from Craftsman & Wolves, a SF patisserie which sits immediately below the Tacolicious office on Valencia St.

  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Diamond kosher salt
  • 1 T plus 3/4 tsp matcha, divided (matcha is ground green tea powder and should be found in most well-stocked grocery stores in the tea/coffee section)
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp finely-grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 oz white chocolate – chopped
  • 1/4 c sugar

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and 1 T of matcha in a medium bowl.  With an electric mixer beat the butter, brown sugar, and honey until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and lemon zest and beat again until very pale, 4 minutes or so.

Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until it’s well incorporated.  Fold in the white chocolate pieces.

Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for several hours – or up to 5 days.  If it’s been in the fridge for more than a few hours, let the dough come to room temperature before baking.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk the 1/4 c sugar with the remaining 3/4 tsp matcha.  Scoop the dough by scant tablespoonfuls onto 1 parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 1″ apart.

Bake the cookies until the edges are slightly golden – about 10-15 minutes.  Take them out of the oven and let sit for no longer than a minute or two, then gently toss the cookies in the matcha sugar mixture.  Place on a wire rack to cool.  Store at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

Watercress, Spinach, and Chickpea Soup

Recipe adapted from Jerusalem, A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp garam masala – divided;  Ottolenghi’s recipe calls 2 1/2 tsp of “ras el hanout” (yes, I know you always have that on hand, but if you don’t, you can always buy it on Amazon, sometimes at Trader Joes and Williams Sonoma)
  • 1 can or jar of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed – about 1 1/2 -2 c – divided
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 T peeled and shredded ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 1/2 c vegetable stock
  • 4 oz watercress (or reverse this and use about 8 oz watercress and 4 oz spinach, depending upon what you’ve got available.  Or add 1 c of frozen green peas)
  • 8 oz spinach
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Diamond kosher salt
  • Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Mix the carrots, 1 T olive oil, 1/4 tsp garam masala, and 1/2 of the chickpeas with a generous pinch of salt; spread them in a roasting pan lined with parchment paper.  Roast for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Rewarm when ready to dish up the soup.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add the onion and ginger and saute until the onion is soft and slightly golden – about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute another minute or so.

Add the remaining chickpeas, stock, watercress, spinach, and sugar, and 3/4 tsp salt, stir well, bring to a boil, and cook until the leaves wilt.  Blitz the soup with either a blender or food processor (a little at a time).  Pour back into the pan and reheat before serving.

Serve warm with a spoonful of the carrot mixture on top and a generous spoonful of yogurt.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

  1. theRaggedys says:

    Andy here. If you think that is weird, consider that Ann taught at the Louisiana high school from which Stormy (aka Stephanie Clifford) graduated. Stormy very well could have been one of her students. That is nothing to snicker about.

    Like

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