<![CDATA[<br /><br />The Coming Appetite - Recipes]]>Fri, 15 Dec 2017 21:10:52 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Homemade Bagels]]>Sun, 05 Nov 2017 13:58:02 GMThttp://thecomingappetite.com/4/post/2017/11/homemade-bagels.html
I woke up yesterday morning dreaming of bagels. It was nothing short of a voglie. I first discovered that word in Paula Butturini's book, "Keeping the Feast," and I claimed it as my own forevermore.  It's an Italian word that means your deepest desires or hungers or wishes. It's an intense longing that you can't get out of your head. It's pronounced VOHL-yay and I use the word whenever I have a visceral need for a very specific flavor.  And the voglie of my weekend has been bagels. 
To make the bagel voglie even more pronounced, I spent yesterday morning at the farmer's market in Deering Oaks Park in Portland.  When I woke up, the Saturday morning sun was streaming golden slivers through the condensation on our windows.  It was deliciously cold and I knew the days for outdoor farmers' markets were dwindling for the season.  So I called up a friend and we went.  With every sample of homemade bread, every toothpick of marinated goat feta, every steamy waft of coffee from the farmers' cups, I became more enamored with my voglie.  Bagels with coffee, bagels with jam, bagels with brothy soup and with garlicky smear.   While others filled their reusable bags with carrots and kale, all I craved were carbs. "That's it," I said to my friend. "I'm making bagels today." 
There seems to be some unspoken rule that bagels can't be made at home.  We buy them at the supermarket, uniform and pre-sliced, or we pay $5 for them at a coffee shop because they're called "artisanal." I have always believed that bagels must be outside the realm of my culinary skills, because I've never seen anyone make them homemade.  But voglies don't care about preconceived culinary notions - they just care to be satisfied.  And so I did what any great chef would do when undertaking a new venture - I found a recipe on Pinterest. 
From start to finish, the bagels took a couple of hours to make.   Ethan and I stood over them as they boiled in water, marveling at how they puffed up and looked like real bagels.  I peeked in at them throughout the baking process, watching the tops turn crusty and golden.  We tore them apart when they came out of the oven, slathering them in homemade strawberry jam and cheesy goat spread while they were still hot and chewy.  The whole process was an event, a beautiful way to pass a cold November day.  I danced on my toes as I finished my second bagel, my voglie finally satisfied. 
Friends, if you have flour, yeast, salt, and sugar, you can make bagels.  I have come to realize that this life is too short to eat pre-sliced, packaged bagels.  Listen to your voglies and let them lead you in the kitchen, whether it's an insatiable desire for bagels or something else entirely.  And while you're smelling the smells and dancing on your toes, the things that have been weighing you down may not feel quite so heavy anymore. 

Love well and eat well,
Homemade Bagels
Recipe adapted from  A Farmish Kind of Life
  • 4 1/2 cups flour 
  • 2 packages instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups very warm water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (separated)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Crusty sea salt, cheddar cheese for toppings (optional) 
  1. Mix about 1 1/2 cups of the flour and yeast together in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the water, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and salt.
  3. Pour the water mixture into the dry mixture.  Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat ingredients for about 3 minutes.  This should form a sticky dough.
  4. If using a stand mixer, gradually add more flour as you continue to beat on low speed.  Keep adding flour until dough comes together and the sticking to the sides of the bowl is minimal.   After about 8 minutes, a springy ball of dough should form.  If you don't have a stand mixer, knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 8 - 10 minutes, adding flour as needed until you have a smooth ball.
  5. Cover with a clean dish towel, and let dough rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Separate dough into 12 balls.  Use your finger to make a hole in the middle of each ball, spreading the dough out to form the shape of a bagel.  Cover with a clean dish towel, and let dough rest for another 20 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, bring a gallon of water and a tablespoon of sugar to boil in a large pot. 
  8. Once bagels have rested for 20 minutes, you will begin to boil them.  Bring water to a simmer before you put the bagels in! Once the water is at a simmer, place bagels into the water 4 at a time.  Boil them for 7 minutes.  Flip them halfway through. Remove them after 7 minutes and place them on a cooling rack over a towel to drain.  Then, start the next batch of bagels.
  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  10. Once all the bagels have been boiled and drained, place them on a greased cookie sheet.  Salt the tops generously. If you are adding cheese, add to the bagels when there is 15 minutes left of baking time. 
  11. Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then devour. 
<![CDATA[Zucchini Bread ]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 20:18:13 GMThttp://thecomingappetite.com/4/post/2017/08/zucchini-bread.html
The poem in my heart today is fall, fall, fall. I know we're only halfway through August.  But I can feel things changing.  The sun seems as though it is shining through a creamy grey filter. The vibrant edges of nature are being softened. The crickets are chirping still, but to a more lethargic tempo.  The birds have been visiting the feeder often.  I think they feel a keener hunger in their bellies. They can sense the change, too.  
And I can feel myself winding down.  This has been a fantastically free summer - free of alarm clocks, free of crunched time, free of tedium.  But after all that freedom, I can feel my mind and my body drawing themselves toward routine again.  Though I don't quite want to admit it, the deep parts of me are yearning for fall and its cool, steady ways. 
So what does a girl do with all this pent-up autumnal desire? Naturally, she bakes. 
Now is the perfect time for zucchini bread, because zukes are in season.  Being married to a farmer and all, I have more zukes than I know what to do with.  If one ever topples out of its box at the shop and gets bruised or broken, I am the heiress. 
There are some recipes with which I refuse to tamper, and zucchini bread is one of them (chocolate chip cookies are another).  In cases such as these, I always defer to my main girl, Betty Crocker. And so the recipe you'll find below is taken from "The Big Red Cookbook," page 104.  There are only a few minor adaptations, mainly the omission of nuts or raisins. Perhaps you have one of these ruby cookbooks in your own kitchen.  If it's anything like mine, the pages are stuck together with strange substances and the covers are coated in flour.  If you and Betty are particularly close, the binding is probably falling apart, too. 
This recipe makes two glorious, spongy loafs of bread.  I suppose you could freeze one for later, but in our house we eat one while it's hot and the other within the next few days.  The flavor is amazing - each slice has a crunchy outside and chewy, not-too-sweet inside.  And it's even better with a slab of butter melted over the top.  But the smell is the real clincher.  After fifteen minutes or so in the oven, your house will be filled with a heavenly warmth.  Its autumn spiciness will make you want to sing, and then go put on wool socks.  I'm telling you - once you smell this bread, you will feel the change I'm talking about. 
Summer is beginning its sad and sweet transition into fall. Whether the changing air enlivens or dismays you, I encourage you to embrace it properly and bake some zucchini bread. It always makes things better. 
Love well and eat well, friends. 
Recipe for Zucchini Bread 
Recipe adapted from "The New Edition of the Big Red Cookbook" by Betty Crocker
  • 3 cups shredded zuke (2 or 3 medium)
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup veggie oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottoms of 2 (8 by 4 inch) loaf pans.
  2. In large bowl, mix zucchini, sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients. Divide batter evenly between the 2 pans.
  3. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pans on a cooling rack.
  4. Flip the pans and place top side of the loaves up on the cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely (about 2 hours, but let's be real... that never happens) before slicing. 
<![CDATA[Purple Basil Pesto ]]>Tue, 11 Jul 2017 23:30:16 GMThttp://thecomingappetite.com/4/post/2017/07/purple-basil-pesto.html
On the last day of school, I drove to Andy's Agway in Dayton, Maine and rewarded myself for a year well done by picking up a handful of already started plants.  I then brought them home and planted them in a tiny planter box, much unlike my sprawling garden the last couple of years.  The soil was poured out of a bag and there were no rocks to work.  I didn't have to agonize over tiny seeds, living in fear that one downpour would wash them all away.  I only saw one bug the whole time I was planting. And, can I tell you the truth? I rejoiced in how easy it was. 
I don't know if it's my Aroostook County grit or just an inherent stubbornness, but in my mind taking the "easy" way out has always meant that you can't hack it; you aren't tough enough and you'll never experience the satisfaction of doing things the long way, the hard way, the right way. 
Oy vey. There is a time and place for hard work, and for doing things by hand.  But I have come to realize that we also need to know when to be kind to ourselves.  And, when we are, it is not a sign of weakness.  It is a sign of wisdom. 
And so, I didn't even feel the tiniest pang of guilt this year when I planted my little raised bed.  I laughed and wondered why I hadn't done it sooner.  
Because I had a much smaller space to work with, though, I had to be choosy about the veggies I planted.  Lettuce, arugula, and spinach are old standbyes. They always grow no matter what the conditions and save us a boatload of money. And I couldn't possibly go a summer without fresh tomatoes, so I bought six.  I also picked up a couple zuke and cuke plants, some seedlings for long, slender eggplants, and - my most exotic purchase - purple basil. 
Am I the only one who had never heard of purple basil before? When I first saw it in the greenhouse, I sniffed it just to make sure it wasn't mislabeled.  And then, just to be certain, I ripped off a leaf and sucked on it.  Sure enough, it tasted basil-ly. It looked so much prettier than the green kind, with its delicate stalks of purple flowers growing from the top, that I bought a carton of them without hesitating for even a moment. 
And now they are growing like crazy.  My favorite use for basil is as the topper for a caprese salad, but after going through a few mozzarella logs already this month (and we're only halfway through July), I figured I better take it easy.  So, I tried mixing it with another cheese - parmesan.  And olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest, and salt. The result? A zippy pesto that is rich in flavor, quickly made, and super versatile. 
We hardly ever have pesto because it is so expensive to buy in the store.  Like, a teensy tub for $5.00. But I was able to buy the pine nuts for $6.00, and used less than half of them in this pesto.  And, it's perfectly yummy if you choose to use another nut, like almonds, cashews, or dry-roasted peanuts to save even more money. The batch I whipped up tonight made about a cup of pesto, which was enough to cover two gorgeous plates of spinach and ricotta ravioli, plus left plenty for our scrambled eggs in the morning. 
When it comes to doing some things, like planting a garden, it pays to be kind to yourself and take into account how much time and energy you have to invest in it.  But when it comes to sauces? I say homemade is always best.  Especially when all it takes is one quick pulse of the food processor!

Love well and eat well,

Recipe for Purple Pesto Basil
*When it comes to pesto, your taste buds are the best judge. Use this recipe as a guideline, but taste it along the way.  Add more of this and that as you go to make it perfect for you. My recipe is adapted from the blog "Little Spice Jar." 

  • 3 cups fresh purple basil (green basil is just fine if you can't find purple)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • A grating of lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (toasted if you are feeling fancy - I wasn't)
  • A squirt of lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • A pinch of sea salt

To Make
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until the pesto is as smooth as you would like it. Taste, then add cheese, pine nuts, lemon or salt as needed. Pour generously over pasta, eggs, pizza - it's good on pretty much anything. 
<![CDATA[Green Goddess Smoothie]]>Wed, 28 Jun 2017 13:40:27 GMThttp://thecomingappetite.com/4/post/2017/06/green-goddess-smoothie.html
If you've been following The Coming Appetite for a while, you may remember a certain "Green Goddess Guac" that I concocted.  Apparently, whenever I see green, I want to turn it into something a goddess would eat. It just sounds so much more exciting than "Kale, Pear, and Banana Smoothie."
I've been making smoothies daily this week.  You see, right now I'm doing something only crazy people do.  I'm running. A crazy girl I love named Alyssa talked me into signing up for the Maine Half Marathon with her, even though I vowed to never do that again. And when I've been getting back from my runs, I've been ravenous. I've wanted to eat healthy stuff.  On Monday, thanks to this runner's hunger, magic was born. I grabbed everything that I could find in the fridge (which, to be honest, wasn't much), tossed it into my Magic Bullet, and pulsed it together. The result was a frothy beauty, not too sweet but also not too earthy. I've made one every day since then. 
I did a little research on the health benefits of the different ingredients in this smoothie. Kale is full of fiber, which helps with digestion and helps you feel full.  It's also full of Omega-3's, which are anti-inflammatory.  Bananas are full of antioxidants and help regulate blood sugar.  Pears do, too.  Plus, they help prevent heart disease. I also like to toss in a little flax seed, which helps lower cholesterol, among many other things.  In other words, this smoothie is a cancer-kicking heart-boosting, digestion-aiding powerhouse. And it's such a yummy treat on a sunny, summer day. 

Love well and eat well,

Recipe for Green Goddess Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1 green pear
  • 1 handful of kale, ribs removed
  • 2 tablespoons of flaxseed or protein powder (optional)
  • a splash of water
  • a handful of ice cubes
  1. Toss all the ingredients into a blender and blend thoroughly!
<![CDATA[Better-Than-Larabar Breakfast Bark]]>Mon, 29 May 2017 19:46:05 GMThttp://thecomingappetite.com/4/post/2017/05/better-than-larabar-breakfast-bark.html
Life is a funny, busy, heartbreaking, joyful thing.  As I write this, I am sitting on the couch for the first time in a very long time.  Pablo is laying on the back of the couch, peering down over my shoulder and sighing sleepily.  He's felt it, too.  This month, this long May month, has been out of routine.  It's been out of my comfort zone.  There haven't been nearly enough nights spent eating ice cream and watching Netflix together (the preferred evening pastime in the Braley household). 

And yet, now here we are. With only a few weeks left of school and in between loads of laundry, we have found a moment to rest. And, as I slow down long enough to think a complete thought or two, I realize it's been a while since I have stopped to take stock of things. It turns out I'm more tired than I thought. And out of all the ways busyness takes a toll on the body and mind, I think the worst is its ability to make you drop what you love most so that you can accomplish more, more, and more. 

And the thing I have dropped is writing to all of you.  I need to get back to taking pleasure in the methodical measuring of ingredients.  I need to return to the creation of dinner being the main event, not just an annoyance which must be squeezed in and cleaned up so we can get somewhere on time. 
In the midst of this busy May, though, I have made one fabulous discovery.  Breakfast bark. It is hearty enough to keep you full all morning long, and just sweet enough to make a wonderful after-work snack. It is easy to make, ripe with good-for-you ingredients, and in my eyes, entirely guilt free. Plus, it's way cheaper than a Larabar and, dare I say...way yummier? 

If you want a perfect rectangle, you'll need to look elsewhere.  There's a reason I call this bark. It's because it is toasty and crumbly and misshapen.  If any pieces fall apart, just scoop them into a mason jar and you have the loveliest granola you can imagine. 
Breakfast is important.  If you are like me this month, you need to slow down and collect your thoughts.  You need to remember to savor flavors and savor moments.  I hope that we can both find our way to that gentle pace.  But, until we get there, we will have breakfast bark sitting in our refrigerators, ready for us to grab as we fly out the door. 

Love well and eat well,

Recipe for Better-than-Larabar Breakfast Bark
(Inspired by Thug Kitchen's "To-Go Breakfast Bars") 

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup uncooked white quinoa
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups mixed nuts and seeds (I use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sliced almonds)
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (I use dried Craisins and/or yellow raisins)
  • A generous pinch of salt
  • A shake of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (or any other nut butter)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • A splash of vanilla

What to do: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper. 
  2. Toast oats, quinoa, and flax seed in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, just long enough to make a toasty smell. Stir frequently.
  3. Put oat mixture in a large bowl.  Add coconut, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, salt, and cinnamon and mix well. 
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, almond butter, coconut oil, and vanilla and stir over medium heat until everything is melted. 
  5. Then, pour mixture over the dry mix and stir until everything is well-coated.
  6. Press mixture tightly onto cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, then put sheet into fridge to cool for cutting. Cut bars however you like! 
<![CDATA[Ruby Falafels with Homemade Whole Wheat Pitas]]>Thu, 18 Aug 2016 13:03:08 GMThttp://thecomingappetite.com/4/post/2016/08/ruby-falafels-with-homemade-whole-wheat-pitas.html
It's 7 AM and all the windows were open when I got up this morning.  It was so chilly that I had to put on socks and a sweater, and now I'm sipping hot coffee, thinking .... (close your eyes, cold weather haters)... that it's beginning to feel an awful lot like Fall. 

I always get this feeling when Fall is coming on.  It's like a sweet and sad nostalgia, remembering soccer games with greasy grilled cheeses and leafy hikes followed by hot chocolate long passed.
It is both an ending - of the long coffee mornings and beachy goodness of summer, and a beginning - of the routine of school, warm things bubbling in the CrockPot, and really great wool socks. 

But even though I love the season that follows, I spent most of the summer dreading it's end - I woke up lamenting the fact that someday, I would have to wake up at 6 AM again and be an active member of society.  I mean, I would have to brush my hair. Much to my frazzled schoolteacher surprise and dismay, however, summer didn't turn out to be just a time to watch Gilmore Girls until 10 AM and cuddle shamelessly with Pablo (although there was plenty of that). It was a season of waiting, worrying, praying, preparing, and wondering. 
Now, before we get all hot and bothered, it wasn't all as dramatic as it sounds.  My entire world wasn't a tumultuous mess. In fact, God blessed us with a new sweet baby niece, Quinn - isn't that just the cutest name? He gave us some amazing time with our family, on my side and Ethan's. He answered every single one of my prayers for safe travels for my family and friends.  And he overflowed our weeks with friends and good, real conversation.  And good food, too. 

It was mostly just my insides in tumult. Ethan and I made an offer on a house - a one that we love and that needs love.  And we have been about to close on it "any day now" for 2 weeks.  With school and the end of our lease looming in the very near future - like, in a week and a half -  being patient is becoming increasingly hard. We've also had some serious car struggles - a burnt-out transmission in mine and a dead engine in his.  Sadly, I have become quite familiar with the process of towing a car. 
There's Pablo, worrying if we'll have enough money to buy dog food. 

We still don't know when we will get to close on the house.  And we haven't found a car for Ethan to drive.  I also still struggle with going back to certain aspects of school.   And at times, all of this built up waiting and worrying and simply not knowing is so infuriating I could use it as ammo to get me through a really intense kickboxing class (oh wait, that already happened...). But I've come to realize something.  God has prepared this struggle for me.  Yep, he allowed this stuff to happen. Is it because he is mean and loves to watch me squirm? No, although I have done my fair share of squirming.  I think it's because he saw that I always like to be the one in control, and that I can't wait for anything to save my life, and that I have some things about my deepest me-ness that really need some work.   I was talking with a sweet friend of mine last week about some of the craziness that is going on in me, and she said, "Do you believe that you are clay, and He is the sculptor? That He will not stop sculpting until you are perfect, just like He intended you to be?"

Whoa, people. Do you believe that? I am trying to. It certainly beats being grumpy and bitter. 

Now, let's talk about these falafels.  Besides the fal-awful mess I made (ha, see what I did there?), these puppies were incredible! 
The star of the show? Beets.  Yep, the very roots I used to detest as a small girl I am now purchasing from a grocery store to make falafel.  Who am I?  Ethan asked himself the same question last night at the dinner table.  He took a giant bite of his falafel and contemplated it with a quiet, concerned upper brow.  
"Well, what do you think?" I blurted out.  "You don't like it, that's why you're looking all weirded out." I prepared myself to eat the remaining 15 falafel balls on my own.
"No," he replied slowly.  "I'm all weirded out because I do like it!" He proceeded to finish his and get seconds. 
The beets need to be grated and mixed with finely chopped shallots and garlic.  The chickpeas need to be processed - quick shoutout to my NutriBullet, which literally ROCKS MY WORLD - and then blended in with the other ingredients.  Then you add a very healthy smattering of cumin, caraway seeds, and salt and pepper.  By the time I had all of these components in one bowl last night, it looked like my kitchen was actually the scene of a murder. And with my hands stained bright red, I was the prime suspect. 
I also made the pita bread, but if you are pinched for time, just buy them.  I'm a teacher on summer vacation, remember? If you do make your own pita, though, it is actually very simple.  I used the same recipe I do for pizza crust, plus a little cumin.  Then I just divided the risen dough into four quarters and rolled them out into small circles to bake and puff up for 10 minutes. 
The final and most crucial component of the dish is - as always - the SAUCE! The sauce is the boss, peeps. 

It quite possibly might be the easiest sauce in the world.  Greek yogurt.  Cucumbers. Mint.  That's all I have to say about that.  
The finished product is a wholesome, vegetarian handful of awesomeness that will fill you up as much as a steak dinner.  Seriously, I didn't even eat dessert last night. 
Love well and eat well, friends.  And if you are struggling a little like me today, remember - you are the clay!
xo Deidre
Ruby Falafels with Homemade Whole Wheat Pitas
**Adapted from The Clean Eating Kitchen

  • 2 raw beets, grated
  • 2 (15 oz) cans chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • shredded greens, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  
2. Blend the chick peas until they make a paste.  Combine them in a large bowl with the beets, shallots, garlic, cumin, caraway seeds, baking powder, and salt and pepper.
3. Brush a large baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat in oven for five minutes while you prepare the falafels. 
4. Meanwhile, form the falafel mixture into 20 balls.  Coat with bread crumbs.  Place on the heated baking sheet and brush the tops of the balls with the remaining olive oil.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the balls can be moved on the sheet without falling apart.
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra to dust
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 packet fast-rising yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup warm water

1. Stir together dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.
2. Add the olive oil, then slowly mix in water until dough becomes soft but not sticky.
3. Knead on a flour-dusted work surface for 5 minutes, until dough becomes springy.  Then, grease your mixing bowl and put the dough ball back in.  Let rise for 1 hour in warm place covered by clean dish towel.
4. Dust large baking sheet with flour and heat in the 425 degree preheated oven for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut dough ball into 4 quarters and, on a lightly flour-dusted work surface, roll with a rolling pin into four small circles about the size of your hand. 
5. Take baking sheet out of the oven and place dough circles on it.  Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until pitas puff up and are slightly brown and crispy to the touch.  Wrap in a dish towel to keep warm.
Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
  • 1/2 cucumber, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint (GOTTA BE FRESH!), finely chopped

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. 

To Serve: 
1. Slice pitas along half of the edge and open up.
2. Layer with shredded greens, yogurt sauce, and 3-5 falafel balls. 
3. Eat in delight and accept that you will not look pretty doing it. 
<![CDATA[Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers with Fetacavo ]]>Sun, 03 Jul 2016 00:32:42 GMThttp://thecomingappetite.com/4/post/2016/07/sweet-potato-black-bean-burgers-with-fetacavo.html
It's been a while.  I just logged onto my site and the friendly little gator mascot in the corner reminded me my last post was in April.  April... May... June.... I counted in my brain. And now it's July.  That makes three months. Yikes. 

It's funny how time sneaks away from us.  I always think there is going to be more time tomorrow, or next week, but unless I make time for what I intend to do, somehow the day is lost in laundry and Pablo and a coffee with a friend and, suddenly, a sleepy episode of Friends on the couch with the hubby before bed. 

But here I am now and here you are, and how good it is to be back! In the last three months a lot has happened.  My first year of teaching is finished. It ended in a water gun fight with the kids before sending them away on the busses. Yes, my school is awesome.  Pablo has made all sorts of doggy and people friends and has gotten into all sorts of trouble (yesterday he ate a stick of butter).  One of mine and Ethan's best friends got married in a beautiful wedding filled with love last weekend in Otisfield, while in Aroostok County family on my dad's side flooded in to celebrate the life of my amazing Aunt Becky.  And in kitchen news -  I've gotten a renewed love for veggies. 
I'm gonna just go ahead and put it all out there - I used to think veggie burgers were lame. Wimpy.  A pathetic excuse for a meal. A poor replacement for a juicy hamburger.  A thing that healthy people ate that made them feel sad inside. 

But then Ethan suggested we be healthy people. 

This sweet potato burger is healthy - I promise - but it isn't wimpy or pathetic and I don't feel sad when I eat it.  Actually, Ethan was full after eating just one last night (not that he could resist a second, though).   And the whole time we ate we were "mmmmmm"ing and licking our fingers and doing those sighs you can't help but do when you know you have discovered a recipe that is pure gold and you never want to stop eating it
Look at those beauties.  So fat and juicy and golden-y.  Wanna know what's inside of them? Five simple ingredients. Sweet potato. Black Beans. Salsa. Taco Seasoning. And a BIT of flour. Yup, that's it.  

And then when you add the avocado and feta mixture on top - dubbed "fetacavo" by Ethan - you are literally holding a handful of superpower health food.  Vitamins abound. You probably get younger and healthier with every bite.  And even if you don't, you'll get happier. Because these things rock. 
You can serve these burgers on anything you like, really.  Or you can eat them bun-less. But if you have never tried eating a burger with an english muffin for the bun, I urge you - no, BEG you - to toast one up and try it.  Holy moly.  The buttery flakiness will just blow your mind.  I have now started eating ALL of my burgers on them.  Even the meaty ones. 
As it turns out, Ethan's suggestion that we try to eat healthier turned out pretty darn good. It got us out of the tired routine of "How many times can we eat chicken in a row?" that we had fallen into from the busyness of life these last three months. Thanks to his suggestion, we've eaten creamy curries and spicy stir-fries and fresh fruity desserts.  And of course, we discovered this burger.

This Independence Day, first remember that the day isn't about food.  It's about our wonderful, amazing, freedom in this great country of America.  Be thankful.  Then, cherish the fact that you have the freedom to eat any food you want with your family and friends.  And use that freedom to choose this burger. Happy Fourth, friends! :)

Love well and eat well,

Recipe for Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers with Fetacavo
Adapted from Hannaford Fresh 
Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 1 large sweet potato - between 2 and 2 1/2 cups
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can low sodium black beans 
  • 2 Tbsp salsa
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 avocado
  • 4 Tbsp feta cheese
  • 6 english muffins

  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, peel and chop the sweet potato into small pieces.  Then, boil the sweet potato until soft and easy to mash, about 8-10 minutes. Drain the water.
  2. Combine sweet potato, black beans, flour, salsa, and seasoning in a medium bowl and mash until the sweet potatoes and black beans are mostly all smushed. Pop the bowl in the freezer to allow the sweet potato to cool down.
  3. Peel and cut the avocado and put it in a small bowl.  Add the feta and smash it together. 
  4. Take the burger mixture out of the freezer.  Form 6 large patties. 
  5. Pour the bread crumbs into a small bowl.  Coat the patties lightly with bread crumbs 1 at a time. 
  6. Once the patties are coated, heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  When it begins to pop, place the patties into the pan and cook on each side until they are golden and heated through, about 3 - 5 minutes.
  7. Toast the english muffins.  Place the patty and a generous helping of fetacavo inside the english muffins.  Then ENJOY!

<![CDATA[Saturday Morning Popovers]]>Fri, 15 Apr 2016 17:32:14 GMThttp://thecomingappetite.com/4/post/2016/04/saturday-morning-popovers.html

Saturday mornings are glorious. I relish the chance to sleep in a little later, snuggle the Pablonater a little longer, and breathe a little deeper. Sometimes I will welcome the start of the weekend with a sweaty yoga sesh at the gym, but more often than not I can't resist the temptation to sit in my puffy green chair in the living room and sip coffee while reading a good book. 

But the best way of all to enjoy a Saturday morning is to have breakfast with a dear friend.  My friend Karita came over last weekend for an early breakfast and coffee-drinking date.  I was so excited to have an excuse to cook something other than microwave oatmeal - my weekday morning staple. But it had been a busy week and we didn't have a lot of food in the refrigerator.  Thinking about what I could whip up in a flash and with very few ingredients, I decided to make popovers. 
Popovers are extremely simple - the batter is just made of eggs, flour, milk, and salt.  
I add just a touch of vanilla for a hint of sweetness, too.  

Besides being exceedingly simple, here's what I love about popovers: They feel like an extra-special treat when you pull them out of the oven and they are all squishy and warm and flaky and steamy and yummy-smelling. They go well with butter, jam, nutella, honey, or just about anything else you can think to put on them. And they are hollow on the inside so they are perfect for filling and you don't feel guilty about eating 2 or 3 or... 4 (ok, maybe a little guilty about eating 4). 
Also, everyone loves them.  Especially this guy. 
Saturday mornings are special.  They deserve more than microwave oatmeal. Whether you are cozying up alone in your comfy chair or sharing time with a close friend, make it a glorious morning.  Treat yourself with a little extra-special kindness for doing the best you could do all week long. And enjoy the gift that your day is

Love well and eat well,

"This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!" Psalm 118:24
Recipe for Saturday Morning Popovers
Adapted from All Recipes

(Makes 6 Popovers)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease muffin tin or custard cups. 
  2. In medium bowl, whisk eggs.  Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to whisk just until batter is smooth.  Fill muffin tin or custard cups 1/2 full. 
  3. Bake for 20 minutes.  Then, reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 20 more minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately - the hotter the better!
<![CDATA[Beef and Broccoli, Baby]]>Mon, 04 Apr 2016 01:26:41 GMThttp://thecomingappetite.com/4/post/2016/04/beef-and-broccoli-baby.html
Well, I'm happy (and slightly ashamed) that after two and a half long months, I am finally getting around to sharing another recipe with you. January, February, and March in Maine are a quarter of the year with which I can never quite reconcile. My thought process during those months goes something like this:
  •  January - I will OWN this new year.  I will keep up with my blog, I will cook healthy, and I will be a nice, always-dressed-in-real-pants wife.  And I will be a stellar teacher. 
  • February - Well, I went to the gym twice.  And what's so wrong with wearing leggings? It's not so bad to eat a whole loaf of garlic bread. When is vacation?
  • March - Hot, cold, snow, sun. What are these feelings I am even having? This "Spring Forward" crap is baloney.  I needed that hour of sleep. I've been robbed - now I'll never catch up. I'm grumpy. I guess I'll just go eat a block of cheese. 

And so when April 1st finally came, I welcomed it with a newfound sense of hope (and a touch of caution....being an elementary teacher on April Fool's Day is scary). That day the sun peeped out, the air was uncharacteristically warm, and the peepers blasted us with a cacophany of chirping bliss.  I finally decided I must get out of the rut I had fallen prey to.  So I cooked a real meal that night instead of ordering pizza.  And what better meal to please the masses and soothe the soul, I thought, than beef and broccoli, our all-time favorite take-out fake-out? 
There has been one huge change in the Braley household since I blogged last that I suppose you should know about: Poblano.  Pablo, for short. Our spicy spitfire of a puppy.  My prime distractor.  The ultimate snuggly bug.  My sous chef and dropped-food taste-tester in the kitchen.  And just so you know, the beef and broccoli was Pablo-approved. 
So let's talk beef. And sauce.  This stuff is just the best. Please, please, please, don't buy just any beef for this dish. I have tried to cop out, and it is wildly disappointing.  Buy steak tips or flank steak. Tender and juicy, baby. Also, don't skimp on the marinating.  I will be the first to admit that I sometimes.... gulp.... skip (ugh that was hard to say)... the marinating process.  Because it takes time, and when it's the end of the day and we're hungry, WE'RE HUNGRY! But it's so worth it, and it's only an hour.  And it makes a world of difference when the beef falls to delicious pieces on your tongue. 
A little baking soda, corn starch, sugar, vegetable oil, water, and soy sauce is all it takes to turn this beef into tiny tastes of heaven. 
Marinating the meat is the most time-consuming part of the whole process.  While you're waiting, you can whip up the soy, sherry, and brown sugar sauce, cook the jasmine rice, and chop and saute the broccoli.  And maybe enjoy a glass of wine and clean up the kitchen before dinner. As you can see, this beef and broccoli business ain't no one-pot-wonder.  If you're anything like me, stuff's gonna get messy.  That's part of the fun. 
Pablo sniffing for quality.
Finally, finally, when the meat is marinated and ready, you will cook it briefly on the stove-top with the special sauce and, in that moment, something magical will happen. The beef will be transformed into savory bites of candied-salty tenderness. The brown sugar will hang in delightful little clumps to its edges and the sherry will seep into its crevices.  You will mix the broccoli in with it and add more magic sauce, and then serve the whole lot over fragrant, sticky jasmine rice.  And when you take a bite, you will think you've died and gone to take-out heaven. 
I learned to use chopsticks just so I could enjoy this dish to its full potential.  I love to savor the flavor.  Ethan, on the other hand, prefers to use a fork so he can shovel it into his mouth quicker.  And Pablo? He just eats off the floor. 

No matter how you choose to eat it, I am positive that you will enjoy every single ooey, gooey bite. 

Love well and eat well,

Recipe for Beef and Broccoli
Original recipe by Rainy Day Gal

Ingredients (Makes 2-3 huge servings)
  • 1 lb flank steak or steak tips, cut into bite-size pieces 
  • 1 broccoli crown, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 tbsp veggie oil
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (I ALWAYS use low-sodium - trust me, it will be salty enough) 
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp veggie oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (low-sodium)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp sherry (I always just use whatever red wine I have opened)
  1. Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients, then add steak and stir until thoroughly coated.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. When the steak is almost done marinating, heat 2 tbsp of veggie oil in a large frying pan over high heat and sear the broccoli, about 3 minutes, stirring often.  (Cook according to how soft you would like yours - I like it on the crisper side). Transfer to another place.
  3. Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce. 
  4. Heat 1 tbsp veggie oil over medium-high and add the marinated steak, pouring about half of the sauce mixture on top of it and mixing it in.  Cook for about 4 minutes, or until just the insides of the beef are slightly pink. Remove from heat and stir in the broccoli and remainder of the sauce.
  5. Serve hot over jasmine rice. 
<![CDATA[Spanish Tortilla Con Patatas]]>Sat, 23 Jan 2016 20:21:56 GMThttp://thecomingappetite.com/4/post/2016/01/spanish-tortilla-con-patatas.html
I lived in Spain for a semester of college. My roomie Briana and I lived in a small flat in Sevilla with a host family that spoke little English.  We'd originally been excited to escape Maine in January, but when we arrived in Spain, it was blustery with a dampness that chilled you to the bone. Inevitably, that whole month and the one to follow were filled with sickness and shivers, with only small bouts of feeling well in between. Our physical sickness filled us with homesickness. I remember dreaming of being at home in my mother's kitchen, playing with the dog and smelling supper - or better yet, chocolate chip cookies - cooking in the oven.  Afterward, I pictured her gently rubbing my feet and giving me cough syrup, my belly full and warm and my sinuses empty. 
There is no replacement, I have found, for your mother when you are feeling ill.  But I soon discovered that in Spain, if you can't have your mother, a warm slice of tortilla will often do in a pinch.  And there were many nights, around 10 PM when we were eating a modest supper with our mamá,, that I found comfort in the traditional meal of tortilla de patatas con corizo.   
Late night dinners of tortilla became such a part of my ritual in Spain that when we returned back to the United States five months later, I longed for it constantly.  One evening, shortly after Ethan and I got married, I chopped a million potatoes and cracked a thousand eggs in a wild and frenzied craving attack for tortilla.  I mixed it all together and threw it in a frying pan.  Before long that old, familiar smell of eggs and onions and potatoes sizzling together in oil creeped through the kitchen and into the rest of the apartment.  I remember sighing at the nostalgia of it all.  Everything was perfect - my craving was about to be satiated.  When the moment came to flip the tortilla in the frying pan, though, disaster struck.  It didn't move in a solid circle like it was supposed to.  Instead, it crumbled into a million pieces.  It was beyond repair.  I ran into the bathroom and locked the door, sobbing uncontrollably.  Ethan was bewildered; I was hysterical.  When I came out, he was sitting at the table, eating a big plateful of the mush. "It's actually pretty good," he said to bleary-eyed me.  That's when I knew I made the right choice in marrying him. 
That was the first - and last - time I made tortilla de patatas.  Until this week.  I've been rereading through the journal I kept while I was in Spain, and it motivated me to give tortilla another try. So, for supper last night, I pulled out the eggs and potatoes and - quite literally - got crackin'.
I am happy to report that my second attempt at tortilla de patatas was much more successful than that first, fateful time.  Here's what I think make the difference: First of all, I took care to dice the potatoes and onions into nice small bits so that they would get cook all the way through.  It's a lot of peeling and chopping, but it's much better than eating crunchy potatoes. 
Next, I realized that it's super important to use the right pan.  The first time I tried tortilla, I used a regular ole' large frying pan.  The tortilla lost it's shape (that's a nice way of putting it) when I tried to flip it, so I thought that if I used a pan with more side support, it would help the eggs to mold to that shape and stay together for the grand flip. The picture below shows the pan that I used. 
Finally, I made sure that I waited long enough for the egg to cook before flipping the tortilla to cook it on the other side.  I fretted the whole time I waited that the eggs would be burning underneath, but when it was time to turn it over onto a plate and slide it back into the pan, it was perfectly golden - not charred, like I feared.
Here is the tortilla post-flip and ready to go back into the pan.  A little of the middle got stuck to the pan, but compared to the first time, it was an utter success. 
In the final moments when Ethan and I stood in the kitchen together and slid the tortilla from the pan onto a serving platter, we held our breath, wondering if we would have a repeat of the tortilla trauma from our first year.  But it slid onto the platter seamlessly, with only one little potato rolling onto the floor.  We both cheered and I threw my arms around Ethan's neck.

Two and half years later, I have finally gotten my tortilla fix. 

Love well and eat well,

Recipe for Spanish Tortilla de Patatas
Adapted from The Food Network
  • 5 medium potatoes, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 6 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 7 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk

  1. Mix the potatoes, onion, and 1/2 tsp salt in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. 
  2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan and cook potato and onion mixture over low heat, covered, for 5 minutes to soften. After five minutes, remove cover and turn heat up to medium-high and let cook for another 5 minutes until golden brown. Stir occasionally. 
  3. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a medium bowl and add milk and 1/2 tsp salt.  Whisk by hand until frothy.  Stir in the potatoes and onions until well combined.
  4. Clean out the frying pan, and heat up another 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is jumping, pour the egg and potato mixture into the pan.  Turn heat down to medium. Using a rubber spatula, gently move around the mixture in the pan until the egg sets.  Fry until the edges begin to turn golden and can be separated from the side of the pan, about 5 minutes.
  5. Then, take a large dinner plate and place it over the top of the frying pan.  Flip the tortilla onto the plate.  Add another 2 tbsp olive oil to the pan and allow it to heat up again, then slide the tortilla back into the pan to cook the other side.  Cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. 
  6. Serve on a platter and cut into pie-shaped slices.  Goes well with chorizo and a green salad.