Monday, September 30, 2013

Pie Week: Aloo-Palak Pie

Welcome to Pie Week here at SPOON!

This week we'll be sharing our favorite homemade pie recipes. From savory to sweet to unusual to timeless, all of these recipes will help you make sure your pie-making season is filled with the most tasty recipes out there. As always, please share your pie-making adventures with us on Facebook, Twitter, instagram, and via email. We love to see what you're up to. :)

Want to take home your very own copy of Dynise's new book, Pies and Tarts with Heart? We've got you covered. Enter all this week for a chance to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Join us at a new time this week for #spoonchat with Dynise. Bring your pie and tart questions over to Twitter on Wednesday at 7PM EDT. See you there!

Aloo-Palak Pie
Excerpted from Pies and Tarts with Heart by Dynise Balcavage

Aloo palak without ghee is one of the darlings of vegan Indian cuisine lovers. This “reconstructed” version uses all the flavors of aloo palak that you love, in an unexpected pie presentation. It’s loaded with
vitamins and it’s cheaper than takeout.

Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) tart

1 Mashed Potato Pie Crust (recipe follows)

For Spinach Filling:
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
Pinch of nutmeg
1 to 1½ teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ to ½ teaspoon red hot pepper flakes (optional, but I use the full Monty!)
7 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced
¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
12 cups (360 g) roughly chopped, trimmed spinach or baby spinach, preferably organic

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC, or gas mark 4).

Press the crust into the pan. Set aside.

To make the filling: In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the spices, then the garlic and onion, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt if the mixture starts to dry out.

Add one-fourth of the spinach, let it wilt, stir, and repeat until all of the spinach is in the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes. Spread into the crust.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until firm. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

Mashed Potato Pie Crust

We usually think of vegetables as pie filling and not pie bases. But I like to flip things upside down on occasion. Some vegetables, like the potato family, make wonderful savory crust bases. Carbolicious and comforting, mashed potato crusts are economical and an interesting way to transform leftovers into a literal meal base. You can use mashed white potatoes, sweet potatoes, or even mashed turnips or rutabagas. Or mix and match.

Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) crust

About 5 potatoes, peeled and baked
2 to 3 tablespoons (28 to 42 g) margarine
2 to 4 tablespoons (30 to 60 ml) nondairy milk (to bind, if needed)
½ teaspoon salt or more, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Mash with the margarine and milk until creamy. (Use a potato ricer to save time!) Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Place in a lightly greased pan and press into place.


Sweet and Savory Vegan Pies

Take your plant-based pies to another level. In Pies and Tarts with Heart, popular blogger Dynise Balcavage shares her straight-forward wisdom about kitchen fundamentals and the most effective pie-making techniques. From Apple Pie to S’more Pie—and everything in between—these 60+ recipes will make you shine in your pastry pursuits, whether you are a beginner or a veteran pie maker.

Inside you’ll discover:

- Instructions for building your pie, from the basics to baking
- How to roll, stretch, and bake a respectable crust in no time
- Sweet pies: traditional, decadent, nutty, citrusy, and more
- Savory pies: including Tomato Tart, Greek Spinach Pie, and Cornish Pasties
- Stocking a pie-making pantry: the ingredients and equipment you’ll need
- A variety of gluten-free, low-fat, kid-friendly, raw, and no-bake options

This is the third cookbook by Dynise Balcavage. She blogs at and tweets at @theurbanvegan.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Farm Share Friday: Sweet Potato Pie

Next week we're celebrating the beginning of October with PIE WEEK. We'll be sharing pie recipes, stories, photos, and tips and tricks all week long right here. And you'll be able to enter our pie week giveaway for a chance to take home our amazing new pie book, Pies and Tarts with Heart by Dynise Balcavage.

As a teaser for next week, I thought I'd share Dynise's recipe for Sweet Potato Pie. After all, my farm share was mostly sweet potatoes and apples this week so it's a perfect choice.

Sweet Potato Pie
Excerpted from Pies and Tarts with Heart by Dynise Balcavage

Sweet Potato Pie

Y’all need to try this. This pie is a classic that hails from the American South—soul food that feeds your body and soul and screams comfort. You can substitute margarine for the coconut oil, but only in emergencies, please! The rich, nutty coconut essence is a gorgeous, silky backdrop to the creamy sweet potato, and your taste buds will thank you. Never one to leave well enough alone, I like to top this pie with a
healthy dollop of Whipped Nut Topping made with cashews or Coconut Whipped Topping. Or a scoop of vanilla nondairy ice cream. Or both!

To make this gluten-free, use the Gluten-Free Single-Crust Pastry (below).

Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) pie

1 Basic Single-Crust Pastry (below) or Gluten-Free Single-Crust Pastry (below)
2¼ cups (506 g) cooked sweet potatoes (well drained, if boiled)
¾ cup (170 g) packed brown sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon powdered ginger
¼ teaspoon garam masala
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (60 ml) coconut oil, melted, or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon (15 ml) rum (optional)
¾ cup (180 ml) nondairy milk
1/3 cup (35 g) pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5).

Roll out the dough and place in a greased pie pan. Flute the edges as desired. Or if using nut or cookie crust, prepare the crust and press into the pan. Refrigerate until the filling is ready.

Blend the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, spices, salt, oil, vanilla, and rum in a food processor or in a blender until well incorporated. Add the milk a little at a time and blend until the filling is smooth.

Pour the filling into the crust, leaving ¼ inch (6 mm) of space to the crust edge. Decorate with the pecan halves. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 325°F (170°C, or gas mark 3) and bake for 50 to
60 minutes, until the top is golden and slightly cracked, a cake tester comes out clean, and the pie is no longer wobbly. (If using a pastry crust, be sure to check after about 40 minutes and add a crust guard if
the edges are browning too quickly.) Refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours before slicing.

Basic, Single-Crust Pastry

Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) crust

½ cup (60 g) whole-wheat pastry flour
¾ cup (90 g) white flour
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (55 g) margarine
4 tablespoons (55 g) vegetable shortening
3 to 5 tablespoons (45 to 75 ml) ice-cold water

In a large bowl, mix flour and salt.

Dice margarine and shortening and add to the flour, tossing very well so each piece is covered with flour.

Using a pastry blender, blend the flour and fats with the aim of handling the dough as little as possible. When the bits are about pea size, start adding water 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, sprinkling evenly onto the dough.

Use your hands to toss and gently work, again avoiding manipulating the flour as much as possible. (You want to keep the shortening bits intact for a flakier crust.) Repeat until the dough just holds together. If
the dough feels wet, you have added too much water.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight .

Roll out as desired. (If leaving dough overnight, give it about 30 minutes to warm up at room temperature before rolling.)

Gluten-Free Single-Crust Pastry

Yield: Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) crust

1¼ cups (150 g) gluten-free flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons (28 g) margarine
4 tablespoons (55 g) vegetable shortening
3 to 6 tablespoons (45 to 90 ml) ice-cold water

In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, and xanthan gum.

Dice the margarine and shortening and add to the flour, tossing very well so each piece is covered with flour.

Using a pastry blender, blend the flour and fats with the aim of handling the dough as little as possible. When the bits are about pea size, start adding water, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, sprinkling evenly onto the dough. Use your hands to toss and gently work, again avoiding manipulating the flour as much as possible. (You want to keep the fat bits intact for a flakier crust.) Repeat until the dough just holds together. If the dough feels wet, you have added too much water.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Roll out as desired. (If leaving the dough overnight, give it about 30 minutes to warm up at room temperature before rolling.) I find that the
fork-finished edges are easiest and prettiest with gluten-free crusts.


Sweet and Savory Vegan Pies

Take your plant-based pies to another level. In Pies and Tarts with Heart, popular blogger Dynise Balcavage shares her straight-forward wisdom about kitchen fundamentals and the most effective pie-making techniques. From Apple Pie to S’more Pie—and everything in between—these 60+ recipes will make you shine in your pastry pursuits, whether you are a beginner or a veteran pie maker.

Inside you’ll discover:

- Instructions for building your pie, from the basics to baking
- How to roll, stretch, and bake a respectable crust in no time
- Sweet pies: traditional, decadent, nutty, citrusy, and more
- Savory pies: including Tomato Tart, Greek Spinach Pie, and Cornish Pasties
- Stocking a pie-making pantry: the ingredients and equipment you’ll need
- A variety of gluten-free, low-fat, kid-friendly, raw, and no-bake options

This is the third cookbook by Dynise Balcavage. She blogs at and tweets at @theurbanvegan.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

World Class Boston Cream Pie

I wasn't quite ten years old the first time I ever tried Boston Cream Pie. My family and I were on route to Bermuda for one of our first international family trips. It was also my first time flying. I wasn't feeling awesome when we landed for a brief layover in Boston, but I knew I had to try Boston Cream Pie. After all, I was in Boston (technically...) and couldn't miss out on the opportunity.

My father handed me some money and asked me for the fifth time if I was certain I wanted a piece of pie so early in the morning (and when I clearly wasn't feeling my best), but he couldn't sway me. I devoured that airport pie like it was the only food left in the world. I've never loved another pie more since that day.

Now, I'm lucky enough to live in Boston and have a kitchen made for baking such a delicacy. And because I'm all about sharing, here is the best recipe for creating your very own Boston Cream Pie. As always, sharing optional :)

Boston Cream Pie
Excerpted from World Class Cakes by Roger Pizey

Boston Cream Pie

In the mid-1850s in the Parker House Hotel of Boston, the chef -- Monsieur Sanzian -- tinkered with the hotel's long-standing Pudding-Cake Pie to create the Parker House Chocolate Pie, and this is what's known today as Boston Cream Pie. Although cream pie in name, its nature is more custardy cake: the cake (I use Genoise sponge) has a glorious sandwich of custardy filling, which is traditionally custard or creme patissiere. I have used creme legere in my pie as it is lighter than custard or creme patissiere. This indulgent wonder of a cake has become the official cake of Massachusetts.

Serves 8 to 10

For the Genoise Sponge:

6 egg whites
1 cup superfine sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp butter, melted

For the filling:

2 cups Creme Legere

For the topping:

1 1/4 cup Chocolate Glacage


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and grease and line one 8" round cake pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until white and foamy. Slowly add the sugar and beat until tripled in size.

Sift together in a bowl the flour and cornstarch and fold in carefully to the egg batter and lastly fold in the melted butter.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in a preheated oven for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the parchment.

Chill the sponge; it is important to leave the sponge to firm in the refrigerator for at least an hour before creating your pie.

Meanwhile make the creme legere (recipe to follow) and chocolate glacage (recipe to follow) as instructed and chill until needed.

To assemble the cake, cut the Genoise sponge horizontally in half and brush off any excess crumbs. Using a palette knife, spread all of the filling evenly over the bottom sponge, place on the top half, and press down slightly.

Pour the glacage over the top and tip the sponge up and around so that is spills randomly over the sides. Let set and slice for awaiting guests.

Serve with coffee.

Creme Legere

1 lb 2 oz Creme Patissiere (below)
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to a ribbon

Remove the Creme Patissiere from the refrigerator and soften in a mixer with the paddle attachment until smooth and no lumps (or in a bowl with a wooden spoon). Then fold in the whipped cream.

Creme Patissiere

2/3 cup superfine sugar
1 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/4 tbsp cornstarch, sifted

In a pan, put 1/4 cup of the sugar with the milk and vanilla seeds.

In a round-bottomed bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar, followed by the sifted flour and cornstarch.

Bring the milk in the pan to a boil and pour over the mixture in the bowl, whisking to fully combine.

Pour back into the pan, on medium heat, and whisk continuously for 10 minutes (so that the flour is fully cooked out).

Pour into a deep baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, ensuring that it touches the surface to prevent a skin forming. Set in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Store in a bowl in the refrigerator and when you are ready to use it, quickly beat it again until smooth.

Chocolate Glacage

3 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup and 2 tbsp light brown sugar
a pinch of salt
4 tsp light nut oil

Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.

Put the water in a pan with the cream, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 2 minutes.

Pour the hot liquid over the broken-up chocolate and mix well until smooth.

Let cool for about 30 minutes before mixing in the oil.

World Class Cakes

Every country in the world has a cake that is truly a classic – one that has stood the test of time and continues to be passed down from generation to generation. World Class Cakes is a compilation of these timeless recipes, culled from mothers and grandmothers all the world over. Whether you want to make a moist sponge cake to accompany your afternoon tea or craft a show-stopping layer cake to dazzle at a party, you’ll find the recipe in this book. Includes scrumptious recipes like:

*Japanese green tea pound cake
*French flourless chocolate cake
*Russian lemon and poppy seed cake
*Tres leche cake from Central America
*American red velvet cake and hundreds more

Accompanied by stunning step-by-step photography, a history of each cake and the traditions associated with it, and over 250 recipes, this book is essential for any baking enthusiast. Discover why you shouldn’t speak above a whisper when making a Polish babka, which country believed you should sleep with wedding cake under your pillow to meet your future husband, and loads more in this charming cake companion.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The No Meat Athlete Perfect Smoothie Formula

Do you love a good smoothie? Do you love how good a smoothie is for you? Either way, you are going to love this recipe and helpful suggestions from Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete.

"No Meat Athlete was founded in 2009 by Matt Frazier, at about the same time he went vegetarian. Six months later, Matt qualified for the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:09:59 at the Wineglass Marathon, over 100 minutes faster than his first marathon time seven years prior."

How amazing is that? Matt is a shining example that knowing what you're eating and eating the right things can make a huge difference in your life.

The Perfect Smoothie Formula
Excerpted from No Meat Athlete by Matt Frazier

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
When I first discovered smoothies as the perfect, high-energy, plant-based breakfast, I found a recipe I liked and drank that smoothie every single day. As you can guess, I got tired of that smoothie, and I realized I needed a better way, so I came up with The Perfect Smoothie Formula—just one recipe to remember and a different smoothie every day of your life. In addition to being composed almost entirely of raw fruits and vegetables, smoothies are great for serving as a vehicle for other nutritious ingredients. An example follows this recipe, or you can choose an ingredient from each category listed below (or feel free to use an ingredient
we haven’t listed).

1 soft fruit
2 small handfuls frozen or fresh fruit
2 to 4 tablespoons (16 to 32 g) protein powder
2 tablespoons binder
1 1⁄2 tablespoons (23 ml) oil (optional)
1 1⁄2 cups (355 ml) liquid
1 tablespoon sweetener, to taste
Superfood add-ins
6 ice cubes (omit if soft fruit is frozen)

Select one or more ingredients of each type and add to the blender in specified proportions. Blend until smooth. You may find that you need to use more or less water to get the consistency you like.

Yield: 2 smoothies (16 ounces [475 ml] each)

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 390 Calories; 25 g Fat (53.1% calories from fat); 17 g Protein; 32 g Carbohydrate; 8 g Dietary Fiber; 25 mg Cholesterol; 65 mg Sodium

Recipe Note
If you have a high-speed blender that can purée, say, a whole apple or carrot without leaving any chunks behind, then the purée of almost any fruit or vegetable can act as your soft fruit in this recipe.

Suggestions to Create Your Own Smoothie

For each component of the Perfect Smoothie Formula, choose one or a combination of suggested ingredients below (or try one I haven’t thought of!).

Recommended soft fruits (choose 1)
Recommended fresh or frozen fruits (2 small handfuls)
Strawberries (you can leave the greens on if you have a powerful blender)

Recommended protein powders (2 to 4 tablespoons [16 to 36 g], a blend of all three is recommended)
Sprouted brown rice (it tastes chalkier than hemp,but packs more protein per dollar)

Recommended binders (2 tablespoons)
Ground flaxseed (14 g)
Almond butter or any nut butter (32 g)
Soaked raw almonds (soak for several hours and rinse before using) (18 g pre-soaked)
Rolled oats, whole or ground (10 g)
Udo’s Wholesome Fast Food (16 g)
Raw Walnuts (13 g)

Recommended oils (optional, 1½ tablespoons)
Flaxseed oil (23 ml)
Udo’s Blend or other essential fatty acid blend (23 ml)
Hemp oil (23 ml)
Virgin coconut oil (21 g)
Coconut butter (also called coconut manna, includes coconut flesh so is more a whole food than oil) (21 g)
Recommended liquids (1½ cups [355 ml])
Water (my favorite)
Almond milk or other nut milk
Hemp milk
Brewed tea
Brewed coffee

Recommended sweeteners (optional, 1 tablespoon, or to taste)
Agave nectar (it’s high in fructose, so choose this only before workouts) (20 g)
Stevia (the amount needed will vary by brand)
Lucuma powder (12 g)
Medjool dates, pitted (2 to 3 dates)
Maple syrup (20 g)
Superfood add-ins (optional, amounts vary)
Cacao nibs (1 to 2 tablespoons [8 to 16 g])
Carob chips (1 to 2 tablespoons [11 to 22 g])
Ground organic cinnamon (1 to 2 teaspoons [2.3 to 4.6 g])
Chia seeds, whole or ground (1 to 2 tablespoons [14 to 28 g])
Greens powder (1 to 2 teaspoons [2.6 to 5.3 g])
Whole spinach leaves (1 to 2 handfuls)
Maca powder (1 to 2 teaspoons [2.6 to 5.3 g])
Jalapeno pepper, seeds and stem removed (one small pepper)
Ground cayenne pepper (small pinch)
Sea salt (pinch)
Lemon or lime juice (1 tablespoon [15 ml])
Miso paste (1 teaspoon)
Raw pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, shells removed (1 to 2 tablespoons [9 to 18 g])


Combining the winning elements of proven training approaches, motivational stories, and innovative recipes, No Meat Athlete is a unique guidebook, healthy-living cookbook, and nutrition primer for the beginner, every day, and serious athlete who wants to live a meatless lifestyle. Author and popular blogger, Matt Frazier, will show you that there are many benefits to embracing a meat-free athletic lifestyle, including:

- Weight loss, which often leads to increased speed
- Easier digestion and faster recovery after workouts
- Improved energy levels to help with not just athletic performance but your day-to-day life
- Reduced impact on the planet

Whatever your motivation for choosing a meat-free lifestyle, this book will take you through everything you need to know to apply your lifestyle to your training. Matt Frazier provides practical advice and tips on how to transition to a plant-based diet while getting all the nutrition you need; uses the power of habit to make those changes last; and offers up menu plans for high performance, endurance, and recovery. Once you’ve mastered the basics, Matt delivers a training manual of his own design for runners of all abilities and ambitions. The manual provides training plans for common race distances and shows runners how to create healthy habits, improve performance, and avoid injuries.

No Meat Athlete will take you from the start to finish line, giving you encouraging tips, tricks, and advice along the way.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mile-High Chocolate Cake with Pumpkin Custard

If you're anything like me, you've been counting down the days until you can put pumpkin in virtually everything. From pumpkin coffee to pumpkin pies, cakes, cookies, and much more, I love them all.

Speaking of cake, I thought I'd start the pumpkin craze off with this Mile-High Chocolate Cake from Olivia Dupin's newest book, Gluten-Free Entertaining. Whether you make this cake gluten-free, or give it your own spin, you're sure to love every single bite. Sharing optional :)

Mile-High Chocolate Cake with Pumpkin Custard
Excerpted from Gluten-Free Entertaining by Olivia Dupin

Pumpkin + Chocolate = Heaven

This stunning three-layer cake is made in one bowl and is so simple and delicious you will want to use it for many special occasions, or maybe even no occasion at all.


For Pumpkin Filling:
2 cups (470 ml) milk
1 can (14 ounces, or 392 g) pumpkin puree
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups (250 g) sugar
5 tablespoons (40 g) cornstarch
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (112 g) cold unsalted butter
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vanilla extract

For Cake:
3 cups (600 g) sugar
4 cups (480 g) Liv’s flour blend (page 15), or 2 cups (240 g) cornstarch plus 1 cup (120 g) almond flour plus 1 cup (120 g) oat flour
2 cups (240 g) cocoa powder
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon (14 g) baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
2 cups (470 ml) milk
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) canola oil
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (235 ml) boiling water
3 tablespoons (22 g) powdered sugar, for garnish

To make the pumpkin filling:
In a large saucepan, combine the milk, pumpkin purée, whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture begins to bubble. Lower the heat slightly, switch to a rubber spatula, and stir the mixture constantly until it is very thick and resembles pudding. Remove from heat. Add the cold butter and stir until completely melted. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Pour into a heat-proof container and place plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely cooled and set, at least 3 to 4 hours.

To make the cake:
Preheat your oven to 350˚F (180˚C, or gas mark 4). Grease three 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the cake pans with parchment paper cut to fit, then grease the paper and set aside. (Note: If you do not have three pans, you can bake the cakes in batches.)

In a very large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour blend, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and stir to combine. Stir in the boiling water. Distribute the batter evenly among the 3 prepared pans. Bake the cakes for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each one comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes, then run a sharp knife along the edge of each pan and invert each cake onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.

To assemble the cake, place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Top with half of the pumpkin filling, then top with a second cake layer, and add the remaining filling. Top with the final cake layer. Dust with the powdered sugar before serving.

Yield: 12 servings

Chef’s Tip

This cake recipe makes 36 cupcakes. Just fill a cupcake pan three-quarters of the way and bake for about 18 minutes at 350˚F (180˚C, or gas mark 4). Try using the pumpkin filling to stuff the cupcakes and top with your favorite frosting!


The perfect g-free cookbook for entertaining
If you’re gluten-free, you know that parties and other gatherings can be a food conundrum. What can you prepare for your guests that everyone can enjoy, gluten-free or not? And what can you bring to parties that will please a crowd and bring praise instead of pause?

Take the fear away and fill your plate with sensational (and safe!) eats with Gluten-Free Entertaining. Author Olivia Dupin will teach you how to entertain with ease, whether you're hosting a brunch, going to a holiday bash, or just having a casual couple's dinner at home. And with fourteen separate menus and more than 100 party-pleasing dishes, you'll find something for every taste and occasion.

From Deep-Dish Ham, Artichoke and Brie Quiche to Sesame Chicken Bites and Chocolate Chip Almond Torte, all of these recipes are delicious, first and foremost, and coincidentally gluten-free, so you can make them for your own get-together, or bring them along to any gathering.

Entertain with ease with Gluten-Free Entertaining!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Meatless Monday: Chipotle Lime Hot Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Okay, obviously chocolate fudge cookies are "meatless", but I couldn't resist sharing this delicious recipe from the Cookie Connoisseur herself, Kelly Peloza. The perfect blend of sweet, sour, and spice, these cookies are a great way to impress your co-workers and get endless compliments ;)

Happy Vegan Month of Food everyone! 

Chipotle Lime Hot Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Chipotle adds a deep, rich smoky flavor to standard Mexican hot chocolate. These flavors nestle sweetly into a canvas of fudgy chocolate cookie, complemented with the fresh taste of lime and a little kick.

Yield: 18 to 20 cookies 

½ cup (87.5 g) plus 2/3 cup (117 g) vegan chocolate chips, divided
½ cup (120 ml) non-dairy milk
½ cup (112 g) coconut oil
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups (233 g) sugar
2 tablespoons (16 g) cornstarch
1½ teaspoons (4 g) ground chipotle
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons (4 g) lime zest
2 cups (250 g) flour
2/3 cup (79 g) cocoa
2 teaspoons (9 g) baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4).

Melt the ½ cup of chocolate chips with 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the milk.

Pour the melted chocolate and milk into a large bowl, then add the rest of the milk, coconut oil, vanilla, sugar, cornstarch, chipotle, cinnamon, and lime zest.

Add the flour (not sifted), cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined, then mix in the 2/3 cup chocolate chips.

Spoon out golf ball-sized portions of dough and flatten them to about ½ inch (1.5 cm), on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the edges are very firm and the centers look chewy and feel soft to the touch. Let rest on the cookie sheet for a minute or so, then carefully transfer to the cooling rack.

Recipe Note

Coconut oil can be pricey, so replace half with canola oil if you’d like.


This innovative vegan baking book features 125 deliciously fun drink-inspired dessert recipes. It’s a cookbook that takes readers on a delicious tour of cafés, cocktail bars, and lemonade stands, where all the drinks come in dessert form. Imagine your morning vanilla hazelnut mocha re-imagined as a muffin, or relax on the beach with a margarita biscotti, or stop by the bar and order your brew in Guinness cake form. Instead of sipping your drink, now you can indulge in it!

Author and vegan baker extraordinaire Kelly Peloza has carefully formulated each recipe to deliciously highlight the flavors of its drink counterpart. From Apple Cider Doughnuts to Chai Spice Baklava to Gingerbread Stout Cake, you’ll be amazed at how deliciously well your sips transform into sweet, satisfied—and vegan!—bites. And with alcoholic- and non-alcoholic recipes, you’re sure to find something perfect for every party and special occasion.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Farm Share Friday: Porketta (Garlic-Fennel Pork Roast)

Happy Farm Share Friday everyone! I decided to share this recipe for Porketta from The Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook for three distinct reasons:

1) Porketta is an awesome name for a recipe. I mean, come on. It's just fun to say.
2) I am really getting into using fennel in dishes and thought this would be another fun one to try.
3) People in Minnesota rock. My friends over at Whole Home News are from Minnesota and they are the coolest bunch of people ever. For real.

So grab your pork, your fennel, and your friends from Minnesota and get ready to cook up something delicious this weekend!

Porketta (Garlic-Fennel Pork Roast)
Excerpted from The Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook by Tim King and Alice Tanghe

Porketta is of Italian origin, but this garlic-studded, fennel flavored, long-cooked roast has been adapted by everyone—Finn, Norwegian, and Cornish alike—who grew up on the Iron Range, the iron-mining area of northern Minnesota. Its very mention will elicit tender declarations from even the most stoic north woodsman.

This recipe was inspired by Margaret Erjavec of Virginia, Minnesota, who contributed it to The Old Country Cookbook. You may want to adjust the seasonings according to your own tastes. The meat must be cooked until it falls apart when touched with a fork. Porketta should not be sliced, but pulled apart. It is wonderful served with roasted potatoes at supper and is even better the next day or the day after, when eaten between
slices of homemade bread.

Serves 8–10

1 boneless pork butt roast (6 lbs or 2700 g)
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons (40 g) freshly ground black pepper
10 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 cup (150 g) chopped fresh parsley
1⁄2 cup (150 g) fennel seeds
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, finely chopped
6 new potatoes cut into large chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
6 carrots, cut into chunks
2 medium onions, peeled and cut into chunks

Cut the roast in half lengthwise and open it like a book. Combine all of the seasoning ingredients with the olive oil and rub it over both sides of the meat, pressing the fennel seeds and garlic into the meat. Spread the chopped fennel bulb over the meat, then fold the meat back together or roll it up and secure with a string.

Place the meat in a roasting pan, cover, and bake in a preheated 325° F (160° C or gas mark 3) oven for 3 to 4 hours. Toward the last 30 minutes of cooking, scatter the vegetables on the bottom of the roasting pan and continue cooking the roast until it falls apart when touched with a fork.

Remove the roast from the pan and allow it to sit about 5 minutes before pulling it apart to serve with the vegetables.


This photography rich book is a love song for local food. Through narrating the stories of 31 Minnesota chefs and restaurants, the Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook offers 100 recipes that celebrate cooking with local, sustainably grown food. The passion of these chefs, and the farmers they work with, sings throughout the pages.

This cookbook combines rich traditions and delightful innovations. The mouth-watering fare of world-class bed-and-breakfasts is here, alongside the saucy mix of cultural cuisines from kitchens at the Twin Cities’ Café Brenda, Spoon River, Lucia’s, Heartland, and the delectable slow cooking of eateries like the New Scenic Café in Two Harbors and Minwanjige Café in Strawberry Lake. Mixing the familiar comfort food of Minnesota’s roots in the culture of Northern Europe with the fine new flavors of world cuisine, these recipes comprise a travel guide through Minnesota, with illustrated profiles of chefs and farmers, of food and farms.

The Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook is the newest release from Renewing the Countryside (RTC), a Minnesota-based non-profit organization that champions the positive stories of rural revitalization. In additional to developing books, RTC produces educational programming around local foods and sustainable agriculture including the Local Food Hero radio show, the Healthy Local Foods exhibit at the State Fair’s EcoExperience and Green Routes, a sustainable tourism initiative.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Different Types of Wine

I recently returned from a trip to California and was amazed at how little I know about wine. I hate admitting that because I really do try to know about wine. I love wine. I drink wine with most meals and have done a number of wine tastings and vineyard tours, yet I really never "get it", you know? I think I might taste vanilla. I can sort of tell you what a merlot should taste like. I know there are dry wines and sweet wines and which ones of those I like, but I've always been a little shaky on the details.

Enter Dan Amatuzzi and his book, A First Course in Wine.

The Different Types of Wine
Excerpted from A First Course in Wine by Dan Amatuzzi

There are six main categories of wine, all produced in slightly different ways.

White Still: Wine made by crushing grapes and separating the juice from the crushed skins.

Red Still: Wine made by crushing grapes and macerating the crushed skins for an extended period of time.

Rose Still: Wine made by crushing grapes and macerating the crushed skins for a brief period of time. Also made by blending white and red wines together.

Sparkling Carbonated: Wine made by trapping carbon dioxide produced during alcoholic fermentation.

Dessert: Wine made by arresting fermentation and keeping some residual sugars, making the wines sweet and fruity.

Fortified: Wine that is higher in alcohol, caused by fortifying the wines with neutral-flavored spirits.

Where should I start?

Begin by trying wines from one particular part of the world. Wines that come from the same area often resemble each other in the way of body, flavor, and sometimes price. If you begin in California, try a few different wines made from Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. If you like them all, keep digging and begin to seek out different producers of the grapes that you prefer. Afterwards, explore another part of the world and aim to see if you can find the same grapes grown.

If you dislike all of the wines from one region, perhaps you're better suited to start with another part of the world. It is not that you'll never like wines from California, but you might have to work your way there in time. The more wines you taste, the more your palate develops, and you'll appreciate certain aspects of wine that previously went unnoticed.


Whether you enjoy the occasional glass of wine or you like to have one every night with dinner, Dan Amatuzzi’s A First Course in Wine will provide you with everything you need to know about how to smell, taste, and enjoy fine wines. With stunning imagery and helpful diagrams throughout, you’ll learn:

*the science behind winemaking
*how to interpret wine labels without stress
*how to identify flavors in your wine
*how to pair wines with foods
*what to look for on restaurant wine lists
*glossary of terms and a pronunciation guide
*detailed information about vineyards and more

Life is too short for wine you won’t enjoy. Once you’ve taken this first course, you will read your restaurant’s wine list with confidence and browse through the wine selection at your store with the knowledge that you’re going to walk home with the perfect wine in hand.

Dan Amatuzzi was the wine director at Mario Batali’s OTTO before he became Eataly’s beverage director. He studied wine production in Florence and was chosen to Zagat’s inaugural class of New York’s rising “30 under 30” culinary stars.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spicy Cranberry Cornbread

Well, it was freezing out this morning, so I've changed my focus from ice cream making to baking! As a die-hard baking enthusiast, I'm actually always pretty excited when fall rolls around because it means cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and breads are their way.

I simply fell in love with this recipe because it's sweet and savory and is great for bringing along to potlucks (like Thanksgiving and Christmas!).

If you want to ask the authors some questions about baking, whole grains, vegan recipes, or just come for a chance to win the book... pop on over to Twitter at 1 PM EDT TODAY for our #spoonchat. Tell your friends!

Spicy Cranberry Cornbread
Excerpted from Whole Grain Vegan Baking by Celine Steen and Tami Noyes

A wee bit sweet, a wee bit spicy, and all very savory, this cornbread has the perfect crust thanks to the hot cast-iron skillet. Cornmeal is packed with nutrients, minerals, and amino acids. Plus, it tastes great! Start with this recipe, then tweak it to your taste. Double the scallions, jalapeños, or cranberries to make it your own.

1 1⁄2 cups (355 ml) unsweetened plain vegan milk, more if needed
1 tablespoon (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
60 g (1⁄4 cup) unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) pure maple syrup
18 g (3 tablespoons) minced scallion
18 g (2 tablespoons) minced jalapeño pepper
15 g (2 tablespoons) dried sweetened cranberries, chopped
1 tablespoon (15 ml) neutral-flavored oil
120 g (1 cup) whole wheat pastry flour
60 g (1⁄2 cup) corn flour
88 g (1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) coarsely ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 g (1 tablespoon) baking powder
Nonstick cooking spray

Put an 8-inch (20 cm) cast-iron skillet in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6).

Combine the milk and vinegar in a medium-size bowl: The mixture will curdle and become like buttermilk. Stir in the applesauce, syrup, scallion, jalapeño, cranberries, and oil.

Combine the flours, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and baking powder in a second medium-size bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined, but do not overmix. If the mixture is too dry, add additional milk 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time as needed. The mixture should be pourable.

Carefully take the skillet out of the oven and coat it with cooking spray. Pour the cornbread batter into the skillet and put it back in the oven. Bake for 33 to 38 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly before serving.

Yield: 6 servings


Have Your Cake and Feel Good About It Too!

Do whole grain flours intimidate you? Does amaranth flour sound fascinating but perhaps a little too froufrou? Do you love the chocolate cherry scones at your local coffee shop, but feel way too scared to attempt them on your own?

Fears begone! You are now in the safe (albeit floury) hands of Celine Steen and Tami Noyes, two vegan ladies who know their way around the oven—and barley and buckwheat flour too. Expect to see not an ounce of white flour, refined white sugar, or powdered egg replacer in this book. Instead, indulge in wholesome breads, muffins, pies, pancakes, and other treats that draw on the nutty depth of flavor and enhanced taste of ingredients like whole grain flours and natural sweeteners.

All you need is a bowl, a spoon, and a little “can-do!” attitude to whip up treats like Caramel Nut Barley Squares, Potato and Walnut Wheat Bread, and Chocolate Raspberry Tart. With more than 100 recipes to choose from, the hardest thing you’ll have to do is pick out what to bake first!

Your taste buds will love you, your friends will adore you, your waist will thank you, and the planet will be singing your praises with Whole Grain Vegan Baking. You’re just a whisk away!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How to Sprout Leafy Greens in a Mason Jar

A couple of months back we had our first ever Sprout Week here at the blog. Not knowing anything about sprouts or sprouting, we dove into the process head first and discovered it is just about the most fun thing ever. Not only is it neat to watch your sprouts grow each day, but it was a blast getting to eat fresh sprouts on just about anything (and I mean anything...). Bonus: sprouts are awesome for you!

If you've never even thought of sprouting before, you should pick yourself up a copy of the new book Homegrown Sprouts by Rita Galchus. The book hits the shelves on November 1 and is the perfect holiday gift for gardeners, foodies, and DIY-ers.

Just to show you how easy sprouting can be, I thought I'd share some sneak peek content from the book. Enjoy!

How to Sprout Leafy Greens in a Mason Jar
Excerpted from Homegrown Sprouts by Rita Galchus (Sprout Lady Rita)

1. Follow safe food-handling procedures by washing the jar and screen or lid in warm sudsy water and then rinsing in hot water; use clean water from a reliable source for soaking and sprouting. Wash your hands before touching the seeds or sprouts.

2. Measure your seeds and put them in the jar.

3. Fill the jar with cool water from the tap.

4. Soak the seeds in the jar overnight, about 8 to 10 hours. You can soak them for up to 24 hours with a water change in the middle at 12 hours.

5. If you want to use fertilizer, add it to the soaking water. You can also put some fertilizer in a spray bottle and mist some on the sprouts as they grow.

6. Screw the screen and rim or plastic lid onto the mason jar. Pour out the water so that you are left with only wet seeds in the jar and no standing water.

7. Fill the jar with fresh water. Give the seeds or sprouts a minute or so and let them absorb the water and enjoy their bath. Pour out the water so that you are left with only wet seeds or sprouts in the jar and no
standing water. Water is not only necessary for the sprouting process, but it also rinses away bacteria.

8. Place the jar upside down at an angle with the screen or lid on the bottom to allow the water to fully drain out. This helps cut down on bacteria growing in any standing water.

9. Approximately every 12 hours, at least two times each day, rinse and drain the seeds or sprouts, making certain that there is no standing water left in the jar, only wet seeds or sprouts. Be consistent in your rinsing and draining; the sprouts will grow very nicely if you remember to give them their baths. Inconsistent watering habits can cause changes in growth patterns.

10. Leafy green sprouts are ready to eat in about five to seven days. Start counting the days after the initial soak. Dill and fennel take eight to ten days; garlic and onion can take almost two weeks.

11. Before the harvest, green up the sprouts by exposing them to ordinary daylight for a few hours.

12. Remove the sprouts from the jar and enjoy.


Sprouts are the ultimate in local food—harvested no further away than your kitchen counter, they are fresh, delicious, and versatile. Homegrown Sprouts is the complete guide to growing your own sprouts. Choose the right sprouter for you, be it a jar, a bag, or a tray, and learn the techniques to use it. Grow a wide variety of sprouts, including wheatgrass, leafy greens, mung beans, and alfalfa. Enjoy them on their own, or discover a variety of serving suggestions from salads to soups to juices. There’s even a chapter on sprouting for your pets.

Whatever the season, Homegrown Sprouts will take you on a germinating journey that you won’t soon forget. When you learn how easy it is to grow nutrition-packed sprouts in your own home, you’ll want to use them in every dish you make!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Meatless Monday: Soft Peanut Butter Pretzels

I just got back from San Francisco and consumed an inordinate amount of sourdough bread. As such, I'm dreaming of bread and couldn't pass up the chance of sharing this delicious recipe for peanut butter pretzels from the book Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food. Soft, warm, and always a great choice, these pretzels are a great addition to any home cook's recipe bank.

Happy Meatless Monday everyone!

Soft Peanut Butter Pretzels

Shape these babies whichever way you prefer: It’s fun, exciting, and most important, delicious! Dip them in mustard for added oomph.

1 cup (235 ml) nondairy milk, heated to lukewarm
1 tablespoon (12 g) evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup (128 g) natural creamy peanut butter
1 1⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups (250 g) all-purpose fl our, divided
1 cup (120 g) white whole wheat flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon oil
8 cups (1.9 l) water, for boiling pretzels
1⁄2 cup (110 g) baking soda
Coarse kosher salt, for sprinkling

In a medium-size bowl, combine the milk, sugar, and peanut butter until emulsified. Stir in the yeast and let sit for a few minutes until bubbles appear, to ensure the yeast is active.

Combine 1 3⁄4 cups (219 g) of the all-purpose flour, the 1 cup (120 g) whole wheat flour, and salt in a large bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pliable, adding the remaining 1⁄4 cup (31 g) all-purpose flour as needed until the dough is smooth and pliable. Add even more whole wheat flour, a little at a time, if the dough is too sticky. Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. The kneading time will be the same, until the dough forms a ball.

Lightly coat a large bowl with the oil. Place the dough in the bowl and gently turn to coat. Cover tightly with
plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Gently deflate the dough; divide into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a long rope (about 15 inches, or 46 cm) and twist into a traditional or more creative pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5).

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the baking soda slowly: the mixture will bubble up. Lower the heat to medium. Place 2 pretzels at a time in the saucepan and let boil for 1 minute, using a spoon to gently submerge the pretzels occasionally. Scoop out the pretzels with a slotted spoon. Place on a wire rack to drain. Repeat with the remaining 4 pretzels. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the salt.

Bake for 14 minutes, or until the pretzels are golden brown and sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. Best enjoyed fresh. Toast any leftovers before enjoying.

YIELD: 6 pretzels


[This book was originally published with the title Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites (Fair Winds Press, 2011)]

Calling All Insatiable Appetites!

To anyone who’s ever thought “a meal without meat is a terrible thing to eat,” we’ve got news for you: You’re about to sink your teeth into some of the best food you’ve ever eaten. Food that happens to be vegan but is so full of hearty flavor and taste that even your non-vegan guests—and family members—will be left wondering if they just ate a meatless meal or a Thanksgiving feast.

Inside, you’ll be treated to a vast collection of more than 200 “secret weapon” recipes from authors Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman, two plant-based pros who know what it takes to wow the socks off of anyone with straight-up great food. From Banana Split Waffles to Ultimate Patty Melts, they’ll show you (and your meat-loving guests) that eating vegan doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor, but rather enhancing it using the natural flavors found in fruits, vegetables, grains, spices, herbs, and more.

Recipes include:
- Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes
- Hearty Breakfast Bowl
- Chocolate Stout Chili
- Sweet Potato Po' Boys
- Five-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- Crispy Burritos con Carne
- Garlic Truffle Fries
- Sun Dried Tomato, Garlic, and Basil Flatbread
- Strawberry Cream Pretzel Pie
- White Chocolate Almond Bars
- Peanut Butter Rocky Road Pound Cakes
Whether you’re looking to impress or indulge—or both!—Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food is your ultimate source for mean and mouthwatering eats at every meal.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Slow Cooking Week: A Brief History of the Slow Cooker

The History of the Slow Cooker
Excerpted from The Farmer's Wife Slow Cooker Cookbook by Lela Nargi

The history of the slow cooker is a brief and simple one. Simple, because the origin of today’s spiffy slow cooker is the beanpot. And there’s not much that’s simpler than the lowly bean or the method for cooking it—soak, simmer, and eat.

Beanpots were traditionally squat ceramic vessels that were glazed inside and out. They were designed to do nothing more than hold the beans while they were very slowly cooked for a period of many hours over a fire—often enough over an open fire, out on the range, or suspended in the fireplace. These were the days before canned, precooked beans were readily available on supermarket shelves, and housewives and ranch hands were required to prepare their own. The theory behind slow cooking the beans (as opposed to pressure-cooking them, the exact opposite method in which beans can be made ready to eat in a matter of minutes) is that long, slow simmering in a seasoned liquid will allow their innate bland flavor to take on the flavors of molasses, herbs, onions, garlic, and bacon. Boston Baked Beans are the quintessential example of what the beanpot was capable of producing.

Eventually, some innovator hit upon the idea of designing an electric beanpot. Like its nonelectric counterpart, it was meant to slow-cook the beans, but without the use of fuel, and without the cook having to attend to it. One design, the Beanery, was developed by an ill-fated company called Naxon Utilities. When
the company was purchased by The Rival Company in 1970, the Beanery was absorbed into the new corporate structure and might have been forgotten. However, the president of Rival asked his on-staff home economist to experiment with the humble pot, to see what it would yield in addition to beans. What resulted
was an entire book of “gourmet” slow-cooked recipes, and the remodeling of the Beanery into the Crock-Pot. Its motto: “Cooks all day while the cook’s away.”

For years, throughout most of the 1970s, the Crock-Pot was hailed as the savior of the modern woman who no longer cared to be chained to her stove and a life of kitchen-bound drudgery, or to be referred to or thought of as a “housewife,” for that matter. The Crock-Pot would allow her to attend to the joys and demands of her career outside the home, yet still prepare delicious meals for her family, quickly, effortlessly,
painlessly. A batch of ingredients went into the Crock-Pot in the morning before work and school. By the
time everyone had arrived home at the end of the day, dinner was fully prepared. The only thing left to do was to serve the meal and maybe dish out some ice cream for dessert.


Enter our giveaway for a chance to win 8 amazing slow cooker cookbooks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The early twentieth-century world of The Farmer’s Wife may be vastly different than our own hectic, high-tech times, but some things never change—like a taste for the kind of food that’s cooked all day, the long-simmered stews and chilis, pot roasts and soups and puddings that savor of comfort and care. Culled from the pages of The Farmer’s Wife and adapted for contemporary lifestyles and kitchenware, these recipes help today’s cook recapture the full rich flavor of slow-cooked food steeped in the traditions of America’s heartland. With a modicum of preparation in the morning or even the night before, anyone can come home to the kind of meals that yesterday’s farmer’s wife prepared; the slow-cooked beans and barbeque, casseroles, and hot dishes that could serve a few friends, a big hungry family, or a whole community. For party dishes that let a host focus on guests; for meals that won’t heat up the summer kitchen; for hearty, delicious fare to satisfy gatherings big and small with leftovers to store for later meals, these slow-cooker recipes are the perfect time-wise, money-saving way to dish up a great helping of farmland history.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Slow Cooking Week: Breakfast Apple Crunch

Don't forget to enter our Slow Cooking Week giveaway. You could win eight amazing slow cooker cookbooks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Breakfast Apple Crunch
Excerpted from 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Recipes by Suzanne Bonet

Cooking time: 5 to 6 hours on LOW, 2 to 3 hours on HIGH

Attention: Minimal

Apple Crunch for breakfast is appealing when the weather turns cold. The crunchy topping makes it all the more satisfying.


One 21-ounce (595-g) can cinnamon-and-spice apple pie filling
2 cups (244 g) Basic Granola (recipe below) plus a smidge more for garnish
1/2 cup (60 ml) water
4 tablespoons (56 g) lightly salted butter, cut into pieces

Spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray.

Put the pie filling, granola, water, and butter in the slow cooker and mix well. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or on HIGH for 2 to 3 hours.

To serve, divide the oatmeal among 5 cereal bowls. Sprinkle each serving with extra granola for added crunch.

YIELD: 5 generous servings

ADD IT! Serve Breakfast Apple Crunch with milk or a dollop of whipped cream.

NOTE: The Golden Delicious apple is one of the best apples for cooking and baking. Interestingly enough, it’s not related to the Red Delicious, which is the best apple for snacking. Other common cooking and baking apples are the Jonathan, Granny Smith, and Rome.

NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS: One serving of the basic recipe contains 397 calories; 16 g fat; 5 g protein; 62 g carbohydrate; and 5 g dietary fiber.

Basic Granola

Cooking time: 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours Attention: Stir every 30 minutes

Basic granola—or designer granola! Keep this recipe simple for a plain but delicious granola, or pump it up with antioxidants by tossing in your favorite combination of dried fruits, nuts, and seeds.

4 cups (300 g) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup (113 g) honey or maple syrup
3 tablespoons (45 ml) vegetable oil, enriched with vitamin E, if desired

Spray the inside of the slow cooker with cooking spray.

Put the rolled oats, honey, and vegetable oil in the slow cooker and mix well. Partially cover, propping the lid open with a twist of foil or a wooden skewer to allow the moisture to escape, and cook on LOW for 21/2 to 31/2 hours, or until the oat morsels are roasted dry and golden brown, stirring every 30 minutes.

Allow the granola to cool, then transfer it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator.

YIELD: 5 servings

NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS: One serving of the basic recipe contains 390 calories; 12 g fat; 10 g protein; 62 g carbohydrate; and 7 g dietary fiber.


People love the convenience of their slow cookers. What could be better than walking in the door after a hard day's work to the smell of beef stew, ready and waiting? A beef stew that only requires three ingredients, that's what!

The problem with most slow cooker recipes is that they require lots of ingredients and steps before you actually "fix it and forget it." Not this book-these are truly simple recipes, and best of all, they are memorable, not mushy!

You'll find recipes like:
*Rosemary Lamb Stew
*Chicken Curry
*Three-Alarm Chili
*Spicy Pot Roast with Onions
*Coq au Vin
*Pork Roast with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Plus, you'll find recipes for desserts like cheesecake and custard and appetizers like chicken wings and artichoke dip!