Polenta with Mushroom Ragout

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These first few months of the year have been ones of rest.  A time to live simply and slowly.  The hint of looming deadlines can be seen in the horizon.  But thankfully they are still looming.  Pretty much I have two weeks until everything turns crazy.  I know in a month life will be full once again to the brim.  It amazes me though, how even in those times of busyness, I find time to do things that could be easily omitted for something of a more pressing nature and in times of rest and relaxation, I don’t find the time to do the things I love most.  Maybe it is that I make time to try to balance out everything else that seems to be whirling around me.  In the midst of stress and busyness is when I find the kitchen calling to me the strongest.  I look back at these past few months and realize I have not really cooked.  I have stepped back.  There have been no pressures, disappointments, or deadlines that cause me to hide from the world and do the one thing that is easy and makes sense and that I can control.  Cooking.

The Wynn Resort in Las Vegas recently teamed up chef Tal Ronnen in an effort to include vegan and vegetarian options for all of their restaurants.  Looking over the menus, I could not help but be drawn to their Polenta Mushroom Cake with a Lentil Ragout and Sweet Pea sauce.  My take on their dish (based on what was literally in the fridge at the time), Polenta with Mushroom Ragout and Sautéed Dandelion Greens.

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Polenta with Mushroom Ragout and Sautéed Dandelion Greens

Serves 2-4 (I think 3 is rather perfect)

Ingredients:

Polenta

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs rosemary, chopped
  • salt

Ragout

  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 lb mushrooms, your choice or a combination (shiitake, chanterelle, oyster), trimmed, cleaned and thickly sliced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • salt and pepper

Greens

  • 1 bunch of dandelion greens, lower stems removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Bring a pot of salted water to a gentle boil with a bay leaf.  Whisk in the polenta and stir for one minute.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover and let cook.  Every ten minutes, stir.  Cook for roughly 40-45 minutes or until done.  Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf.  Stir in the butter and chopped rosemary.  Serve immediately when finished cooking.  In the meantime, prepare the mushrooms and the greens.

Begin by bringing another pot of water to boil and blanch the greens.  Drain and rinse them in cold water so they stop cooking, gently squeezing out excess water.  Put aside for now and begin the mushrooms.

Melt the butter over med high and cook the shallots for a couple of minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Then add the mushrooms and cook until golden and beginning to soften, roughly 6 minutes.  Add the wine and thyme and simmer over med low for another 5 minutes or until the wine is cooked.  You don’t want it to over cook and be dry but most all of the liquid should be cooked out.  Season with salt and pepper.

And last heat the oil in another pan.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute.  Then add the dandelion greens and cook until just wilted.  About 4 minutes.

Serve the polenta, add the greens, and top with mushrooms.  Enjoy!

 

Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls

I have a weakness for cinnamon rolls. They are kind of up there with lattes and cake. Not quite there, but awfully darn close. Pretty much if a cinnamon roll comes through the door of our house, you better guard it, or it might disappear.

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I have had cinnamon rolls on my mind for weeks now. So, when I met a friend for coffee earlier this week and she brought a couple for me, I gave in. When it comes to baking, I usually wait until a craving hits and I stave it off for as long as possible before giving in.  But, I couldn’t resist any longer and had to try my hand experimenting.  Let me start by saying, I love butter and milk.  LOVE.  But of late, I have had so many friends with food intolerances that I have been trying to create recipes that avoid cow’s milk.

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These cinnamon rolls are hearty and gooey.  They fill you up but don’t sink you (unless you have more than one).  They are sweet, but not over the top.  (Which if you want them even less sweet, omit or reduce the amount of icing you use.)  One note of complete honesty though, I didn’t have enough powdered sugar on hand.   Had I had more, I definitely would have made the icing more of a cream and less of a glaze.  But, to each his own.  Whatever you prefer.  Add more powdered sugar until you have the consistency you want.  And honestly, if you want it stiffer, you can whip it with a beater rather than by hand and even add some melted coconut oil too.   Experiment. Come up with what you think tastes best; what you think makes the perfect cinnamon roll.

And the nice thing about cinnamon rolls, you can start them at night and have them ready to eat in the morning.

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Coconut Milk Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 packet dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 6 cups spelt flour (you won’t quite use all 6 cups in the dough, reserve the remainder for the work surface)
  • 1/2 cup Teff flour (I love the slightly malty flour that Teff flour gives.  However, you can easily omit this if you don’t have it on hand.  It is not worth going out to just buy this.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tbs honey

filling:

  • 3/4 cup sucanat
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt

icing:

  • 1 can coconut milk*
  • 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Begin by combining the yeast and honey in the warm water to proof.  Set aside for roughly 10 minutes until foamy.  Meanwhile, combine the flour (reserve one cup of the spelt flour) and salt in a large mixing bowl, whisking to combine.  Set aside

In a small saucepan melt the coconut oil over low heat.  Add the coconut milk and warm gently.  Add the honey and continue to heat gentle until warmed.  Remove from heat and add the yeast to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.  Stir into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon.  Work the dough together, kneading in the reserved flour as needed until you have a manageable, soft dough that is no longer sticking.  You should still have about a 1/4 cup remaining.   Cover with a moist towel and let rise in a warm place for two hours.

Once the dough has had time to rise, sprinkle the remaining flour on your clean work surface and form into a rectangle, about a 1/2″ thick.

In a bowl, combine the sucanat, walnuts, cinnamon, and salt.  Spread the coconut butter evenly across the dough.  Sprinkle the filling mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a slight border around the edges (1/2″ to 1″).  Now, here comes the really only slightly difficult part.  Gently, yet tightly, roll the dough into a log (rolling in from one of the long sides).  The dough will be soft so try to make sure to get as tight a roll as possible.  Now, seal the dough and place the seam side down.  Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1″-1 1/2″ pieces.

Carefully place the rolls into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.  Some of the sucanat is sure to escape.  Don’t worry.  As you transfer the pieces to the baking dish, scoop up any lost sucanat and scatter along the bottom of the baking dish before placing the cinnamon roll.  This only helps the end result. You know the best part of a cinnamon roll?  The cinnamon that gets trapped on the bottom and caramelizes?  Yep…this just makes the bottoms even more gooey and caramelized.  Try to fit the cinnamon rolls as tightly together as possible so to help them maintain their shape while cooking.  You might have some space at the end of the baking dish, but don’t worry.  It will be fine.  If anything, you can cut the rolls at 1″ to try to get 15 instead of 12 and fill up the dish.

Now, cover with the towel and allow to rise for another hour.  At this point, I say put them in the fridge and go to bed and patiently wait until the morning.  Or if you are ready to bake them, go ahead.  If you put them in the fridge, make sure you allow them to come to room temperature before baking.

Heat oven while the rolls are rising or returning to room temperature to 350 degrees.  Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes (checking after 20 minutes).  Bake until they are beginning to brown and color.  To test, tap them and make sure they feel set and cooked through.  But be mindful, they will still have some give and be soft.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

While the cinnamon rolls are cooling, make your icing.  Open the can of coconut milk and pour out the liquid, scraping the solids into a bowl.  So, some of you might be familiar with a little trick to aid in separating the solid from the liquid.  If you put your can of coconut milk in the fridge over night, it helps separate them.  If you don’t, it should not be an issue.  However, if your can is not separated, you are going to have to use cheesecloth and strain the liquid.  Here comes the decision part.  You can whip with a beater until light and fluffy and then slowly adding the sugar or you can simply whisk together the ingredients by hand for a glaze.

Frost the cinnamon rolls and enjoy!

Flower Fever

If you have stopped by the shop of late, you might have noticed the slow transition from Winter to Spring.  As February begins, so does the thoughts of gardening and the starting of seeds.  This year I am dreaming of flowers:  peonies, poppies, roses, some edible flowers for sure, dahlias, oh the list goes on and on.  I am placing an order for seeds this week for the shop (so stay tuned).  With all these thoughts of flowers, I thought I would share photos from last years Flower Crown Workshop that I cohosted with Maggie Pate of Inks+ Thread and Sarah Ervin. It literally was forever ago, but figured it is never too late to share and inspire dreams of spring and summer and all the potentials for this year’s garden.

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Grapefruit + Yogurt Sorbet

Anyone living in Tennessee would agree that even though the calendar is telling us it is the middle of winter, nature is pretending it is spring. As I sit outside writing this, I am being serenaded by the sweet song of birds, with clothes drying on the line under the sun’s gentle gaze. The heat is off and if I didn’t know better I would think it was April. But, it is not. And we had all better take advantage and enjoy it while we can.  So, with that in mind, I made an iced dessert. These winter days can handle it.

I fell in love with grapefruit granita this past summer. However, grapefruit is at its prime in the winter.  But who feels like granita in the winter? Well, with weather like this, I do.  This isn’t a granita. It isn’t a sorbet (even though I have named it thus). Nor is it frozen yogurt truly. But it is the perfect, light after dinner treat.

Chobani has started a campaign encouraging people to share recipes using their yogurt.  I can’t help but appreciate the platform from which they create their yogurt.  They are committed to making yogurt without GMOs.  So committed that they require their suppliers to certify their ingredients are non-GMO.  And then the test them with a third party to make sure there has been no cross contamination.  They make sure to source their milk from cows that have not been treated with rBST.  If you want to read more about their beliefs as a company, you can do so here.  And you’ll be impressed!

So, here is one of the million I experimented with over the last month.  It is super easy, quick, and relatively healthy.  No laboring in the kitchen (even though I don’t mind that idea at all) or feeling bad about what you are eating.  Plus, it is using the winter’s bounty.

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Grapefruit + Yogurt Sorbet

  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cup fresh grapefruit juice (roughly 4-5 grapefruits)
  • 2 cup Chobani Greek plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbs rosemary, chopped finely

Begin by bringing the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and let the simple syrup cool.

Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until combined.  Transfer to a shallow freezer safe container.  After 30-45 minutes remove from freezer and stir.  Return to the freezer.  Continue to do this for 3-4 hours until set.  As you aren’t trying to achieve the silkiness of ice cream, you don’t need to stress about stirring vigorously to break down the ice crystals that are forming.  However, you do want to try to achieve a fine balance between an ice cream and a granita….hence the sorbet reference.  Once set, transfer the sorbet to a proper storage container until ready to serve.  (Just before frozen, otherwise it will be too difficult to transfer containers.)

Now enjoy!

Visit Chobani for other recipes using their yogurt.

The Bridal Theory + Jessica Fryar

Just had to share a few of these gorgeous images from a recent styled shoot by Jessica Fryar.  Love how she set the table with our white Sophie Conran plates and glasses made from recycled beer and wine bottles.  To see more images, visit The Bridal Theory.

Photography:  Joe + Selah Dodd

Heirlooms Vintage Rentals provided the table, chairs and copper vases

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