on the menu: banana coconut waffles

On June 12, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

The waffle experimentation continues here chez sphinx. Going strong with my All-Clad Belgian waffle iron.

banana coconut waffles

This time I substituted all of the oil for coconut oil and about 1/4 of the flour for coconut flour, then say 1/2 c of moisture for mashed banana. Buttermilk over milk every time. I also added sparkling water, which, in conjunction with the baking soda/vinegar (from the buttermilk) mix, makes the batter bizarrely fluffy, and the waffles deliciously fluffy (want to try it with sparkling wine later…). I adapted the buttermilk waffles recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook, which is often too elaborate for my taste but which is full of good techniques. I didn’t use buttermilk powder, for example, as the recipe suggests, I just used buttermilk.

1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c coconut flour
1 T coconut sugar
3/4 t table salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 c milk (to sit with 2 T cider vinegar for a few minutes*)
1/2 c mashed ripe banana
2 large eggs
1/4 t vanilla extract
1/4 c coconut oil
1 1/4 c unflavored seltzer water

*The standard buttermilk recipe is 1 c milk to 1 T lemon juice or vinegar but I love vinegar, so my ratio is more like 1 c of milk to 4 T vinegar…still doesn’t read as vinegar in the final product.

Whisk dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients excepting seltzer, gently add seltzer to wet ingredients, stir wet into dry being careful not to overmix (batter should be lumpy). Can add berries or chocolate chips at this point, or any other debris. Iron away.

banana coconut waffles

Jars Ceramics plate

It’s increasingly rare that waffles go wrong for me.

banana coconut waffles

Now if I could only work out pancakes, with which I find experimentation a risky proposition.

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on the menu: whole roasted branzino

On May 22, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

I’ve been wanting try new fish, and new methods of cooking fish. Whole roasted branzino is easy with great presentation value.

roasting branzino

Instagrammed

I started roasting some fingerling potatoes about 30 minutes in advance as the fish cooks quickly, especially in a hot oven. There is a range of roasting approaches, ranging from ~20+ minutes at 350° to 10 minutes at 500°. I went for a happy medium, around 16 minutes in a 425° oven. I jumbled together a few recipes, mainly this one and this one.

branzino

Pillivuyt Eden porcelain oval baking dish

I was really pleased with the flavor and texture of this branzino, a.k.a. Greek sea bass. There is the appeal, too, of the fish being fresher and less expensive when purchased whole (I didn’t gut it myself, though this would be pretty badass to be able to do, and I aspire). The cavity can be stuffed with any number of herbs and accents, I used lemon, basil, garlic, thyme, and salt.

branzino

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almond joy

On March 29, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

There is a definite pattern in my bodycare preferences…

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(and in my eating preferences, too)

It is almond and coconut all the way chez Sphinx, with only occasional forays into other bodywashes here and there (though, come to think of it, I have the Dove nourishing almond oil one, and their nourishing almond deodorant as well) or some alternate body lotion (I like Amlactin, and a number from L’Occitane, like…their almond one…and their almond oil body wash…). Even when I stray from the pure stuff, these ingredients are often in there somewhere.

There’s a definite appeal to raw ingredients, their flexibility and malleability. You can start mixing already complex products but I find the results much more hit or miss, have difficulties getting textures to blend the way I hope, and often, if I like the product, it seems unnecessary. [My sense that it doesn’t always work out, then, may be a result of messing around with products I didn’t especially like in the first place. Hm. By that point I’m convinced I can’t make them any worse, however, so I can really have at them. Example: a body scrub from The Body Shop that I didn’t find scrubby enough, added granulated sugar until I was satisfied. Problem solved.*]

*I have ruined some things, too, but it never serves to discourage future experiments.

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1. NOW Sweet Almond oil—there are other brands but some don’t smell very good, this one has the virtue of not smelling like much at all, absorbs nicely into the skin, acts brilliantly as a carrier for essential oils and perfumes, lovely on the hair as well. Mixes readily with other oils to create still more hair/body options. Edible. Really wouldn’t be without this.

2. Dr. Bronner’s Almond Castile soap—great all-purpose soap. I use it as a body wash and sometimes as a shampoo, and to wash makeup brushes. A touch of marzipan to the scent, which I don’t love but which doesn’t seem to linger. I prefer the peppermint scent (but not the rose one), and have been meaning to try the eucalyptus. Takes ages to finish a bottle. Maybe next year, eucalyptus.

3. Barlean’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil—there are tons of brands of coconut oil around, and most of them seem just fine. This one is especially good to eat, and I use it all over. In my hair as a leave-in or deep treatment, as a skin conditioner, to sautée vegetables, as an oil/butter substitute in various recipes, added to grains to flavor while cooking, just…to eat.

4. Trader Joe’s Coconut Body Butter—I’ve mentioned this before, and I don’t like it any less now. Has a bit of a chocolatey richness to it that makes it especially delicious. Very thick and moisturizing. Such  great value.

5. Sun Bum Coconut lip balm—think will be picking up some of SunBum’s sunscreen come summer. Smart branding, good, skin-friendly ingredients. Nice to find lip balms with a high SPF. This is cocoa butter, mainly, but with coconut scent, so it’s in.

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6. Raw almonds—I cannot begin to tell you how many raw almonds I consume.

7. Coconut flakes—anyone have a good recipe for coconut macarons? They are the kind of indulgence that is just appealing enough and just expensive enough to make me want to take matters into my own hands. I like coconut milk, too, and coconut water, certain brands of, and that So Delicious (that’s the brand, not my emphasis, though it is really good) coconut milk ice cream. The mint/chocolate one.

I really wish I had some of that now.

on the menu: spelt waffles

On October 18, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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These might be my favorite waffles yet. Flavorful, good texture, froze well…good waffles. I’ve been playing around with spelt flour lately with great results. It has a light nutty flavor and substitutes well for all-purpose, so it’s easy to experiment.

I read about six recipes (here’s the closest) and then did this, with the approach of maintaining a 1:1 ratio of dry to liquid ingredients:

1 c spelt flour

1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/2 c wheat flour

1/4 c almond meal

2 T bran flakes

4 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cake spice (nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, clove blend)

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbs sugar

1/2 c yogurt (greek)

1/3 c coconut oil

1 c milk

1 mashed ripe banana

2 eggs

2 Tbs cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat and grease waffle iron (I preheated to a higher temp than I cooked, cooking finally at setting 3 of 7), mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, stir wet into dry and let batter thicken 2 minutes. I like a consistency like quite thick cake batter.

Add heaping 1/2 cup of batter to iron and cook until golden, repeat. Makes about 8 waffles.

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This recipe is receptive to substitutions.

Enjoy!

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on the menu: white beans, chorizo, kale

On October 3, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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White beans, chorizo, and kale. With classic Spanish chorizo this dish is wonderfully flavorful and warming. The peculiar sweetness of kale balances the spicy, smoky chorizo.

Not hard:

2 Tbs olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minimum

chorizo, several inches worth, chopped to whatever size. Medallions are popular/picturesque but I like smaller pieces. Chorizo imported from Spain or in the Spanish style is ideal. Portuguese linguica is an OK substitute, any other substitution will require the addition of herbs and pimentón to supply the flavor.

splash of wine

2 cans cannelini beans, rinsed

8 oz broth, your preference

plenty of shredded kale, probably you will wish you had added more

Saute onions, peppers, garlic in olive oil (a dutch oven is nice for this dish), let them get plenty of color. Add the chorizo, allow fat to render. De-glaze with whatever wine you are drinking (I prefer white with this dish, a Sauvignon Blanc maybe, or Chardonnay, or sherry!). Mix in the beans and add the broth (I like beef broth here). Add the kale (I don’t even bother to mix it in at this point, just leave it on the top) and cover to allow the kale to steam. Once it has wilted, mix in. The longer everything can simmer at this point, the better. Say, 20 minutes. Chorizo is traditionally a dry sausage, and takes time to soften, also the flavors have time to mingle.

You can add more or less broth depending on how soupy you would like the final result, this combination is popular as an actual soup as well. All quantities are flexible.

Serve with toast.

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[This recipe is adapted from one from about.com, which I can’t find anymore.]

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