21 May, 2016

Plum and Nut Slice

This idea of a "slice" is very different from the previous two examples and comes from the book Lord Brocktree. For this version, I combined fruits, nuts, and seeds in a food processor to make a thick paste that could solidify into something similar to fruit leather without all the cooking time. Sliced into squares, it makes a great chewy snack

Plum and Nut Slice

Prep time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 50 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Yield: 9 pieces

Ingredients


  • 1 cup dried plums (ie prunes, preferably unsweetened)
  • 1 cup sticky dried fruit of choice (I used cherries)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • Optional: 2 tbsp seeds, such as chia, poppy, or caraway
Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor.
  2. Run the food processor for about 5-10 minutes, scraping down the sides if necessary, or until all of the ingredients have formed a smooth, shiny paste.
  3. Press the paste into an 8x8" pan lined with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill until solid.
  4. Cut into slices.

14 May, 2016

Fruitloaf

When I read about the "fruitloaf" in the book Triss, my immediate first thought was of banana bread. I don't think bananas are a thing in Redwall, though, so I decided to take a similar approach with a different fruit puree -- applesauce. If you wanted, you could also add a cup of chopped apples or nuts, but I left it plain other than the spices.

Fruitloaf

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients


  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine the milk, oil, applesauce, and vinegar in a large bowl.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and gently stir until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into a loaf pan lined with aluminum foil and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.

07 May, 2016

Arrowroot and Almond Slice

I know that I just posted a recipe for an almond slice, but my group had an experiment, so I needed to come up with a dessert to share that could sit out at room temperature and that everybody could eat. This one is very different from the last one, but no less delicious.

Arrowroot and Almond Slice

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Yield: 32 servings

Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot (or cornstarch), dissolved in 6 tbsp water
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, almond meal, baking soda, and salt.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugars, and vanilla until light in color, smooth, and fluffy. 
  4. Add arrowroot liquid and stir in -- this will NOT come together, but don't worry. All will be well in the end, I promise.
  5. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until you have a smooth dough.
  6. Line a 9x13 baking pan with aluminum foil and press the dough into the pan. I put my hand into a plastic bag and used that to press it down evenly.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. 

30 April, 2016

Dandelion Root Tea

It's spring! Or at least so say the dandelions around my apartment. I decided to take advantage of the situation to make dandelion root tea. I unfortunately didn't gather many roots -- I was out for about 15 minutes when I was struck by a horrible headache and went back inside. Before I got the chance to dig up some more, the landscaper had mowed the grass and the dandelions with it. They'll be back soon, but I decided to just make a small batch while I wait.

Dandelion Root Tea

Prep time: 10 minutes (not including time needed to dig them up)
Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes or 1 day rest followed by 20 minutes cooking
Total time: About an hour and a half

Yield: 20 roots will yield one serving of tea

Ingredients


  • Dug up dandelions, roots intact
Directions

  1. Remove the dandelion roots from the rest of the plant. You can use the rest if you like (the greens can be added to a salad and the flowers can be used to make cordial). Rinse the roots several times, until all the mud has been removed.
  2. Either spread the roots out in the sun for a day (my method) or bake at 200F for about an hour, or until dry.
  3. Bake the roots at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or until roasted brown.
  4. Either chop up the roots or grind them in a coffee grinder or food processor. I opted for the last choice and make a coarse powder the consistency of coffee grounds.
  5. If you chopped the roots, steep them in hot water for 10 minutes to make tea. If you ground the roots, place them in a coffee maker and use them the way you would coffee grounds. 

23 April, 2016

Vegetable Soup

I know it's spring now, but we had a random weekend of snow here, so I decided to make some nice, warming soup to make myself feel better. I used water as a base, but feel free to replace it with a can of vegetable broth.

Vegetable Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-5 servings

Ingredients


  • 1 tbsp olive or canola oil
  • Bell pepper (green or red are best for this recipe)
  • 2 russet potatoes (about 1 pound total)
  • 12 ounces frozen corn
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 cup milk
  • 12 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions

  1. Chop the bell pepper and the potatoes
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat, then saute the bell pepper until tender, about 4-5 minutes
  3. Add the potatoes, corn, water, red pepper, and thyme and raise to high heat
  4. Boil, covered, for ten minutes or until the potatoes are beginning to soften
  5. Stir in milk and cheese and serve

16 April, 2016

Almond Slice

I actually have no idea what a "slice" is in the context Redwall uses. I believe it's basically a "bar," or something sweet that is made in a square or rectangular pan and sliced into portions. For the almond slice, I decided to base the recipe off of a no-bake cheesecake. It came out pretty nicely. Leftovers can be frozen, but I don't recommend keeping these around for too long after making them.

Almond Slice

Prep time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 16-24 servings

Ingredients


  • 8 graham cracker sheets
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Directions

  1. Place the graham crackers in a zipped bag and smash them with something heavy until you have fine crumbs
  2. Pour the crumbs into an 8x8 baking pan. 
  3. Melt together the butter and the 1/4 cup of ricotta, mix into the crumbs, and press everything into an even layer in the pan. 
  4. With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, cup of ricotta, honey, and vanilla until light and fluffy. 
  5. Pour the cheese mixture into the pan and smooth into an even layer
  6. Top with the sliced almonds
  7. Refrigerate for an hour before attempting to cut. After cutting, you can store these in the freezer and either thaw before serving or just serve frozen -- they're good both ways.

09 April, 2016

Deviled Barley Pearls

Deviled barley pearls were introduced to us right off the bat in the book Redwall. Now the only food I've ever heard as being "deviled" is deviled eggs. I wasn't certain what exactly makes deviled eggs deviled, so I looked up the definition. Apparently, "to devil" in cooking means "to prepare food with hot or savory seasoning." Well, that pretty much covers anything I could to barley, so I decided to prepare it risotto style. This recipe takes a lot of hands-on time, but it's simple. Most of the time is just taken giving the pot an occasional stir, so don't be intimidated. If you have the time, it's well worth it.

Deviled Barley Pearls

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients


  • 1 tbsp oil (I used olive)
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 cup pearled barley (I found this in the kosher section, not in the grains section)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (I didn't try it, but I bet sage and rosemary would be nice additions, as well)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms (I used portobello, but use your favorite)
Directions

  1. Dice the onion and slice up the mushrooms
  2. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat
  3. Add the onion and saute until it starts to turn translucent
  4. Stir in barley and thyme
  5. Add about a cup of the broth
  6. Allow barley to cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed
  7. Continue steps 5 and 6 until the broth is gone and barley is tender
  8. Stir in the mushrooms and heat through