Thursday, June 24, 2010

Honey Cashew Thumbprint Cookies

We're all thumbs this week, as we search for the best tasting, healthy version of the thumbprint cookie. On Monday, we brought you a flax/spelt/almond recipe that Erin really loves, but left me on the quest for one I like even more. One that I wouldn't have to serve with a disclaimer, "It's really good...for a healthy cookie." Kind of like saying, "But it's got a really good personality!"

As I said on Monday, the thumbprint cookie is one of Erin's faves. As for me, even if loaded with butter and sugar, TP's are like skirts...a last resort. But I have to say, we found a simple recipe that has me eating a bit of crow...and too many cookies.

Honey & Cashew Thumbprint Cookies
slightly adapted from Ashley Skabar/

2 cups whole grain rolled oats
1 heaping cup of cashews
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2/3 cup honey
*1/2 cup Safflower oil (or canola oil)
fruit juice sweetened jam or preserves

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

The original recipe calls for oat flour, but we used rolled oats...

...and pulsed in a food processor until finely ground into flour. You could use a blender as well or just buy oat flour. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Next, finely grind the cashews and add to oats along with salt.

In a small bowl, whisk the oil and honey until combined.

Tart tip: Measure the oil first so the honey doesn't stick to the measuring cup.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until the mixture forms a dough that just holds together.

Form into 2 inch balls...

Press your thumb in the center of the ball...

And fill with preserves...

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cookies are golden brown. We took ours out at 16 minutes and let them sit so they were nice and soft. If you want them crispier, more like a shortbread, leave them in for the whole 20. Cool and enjoy!

They may not be Ina-Garten-Good, but for a 'healthy' cookie, this little baby takes the cake...or is it the cookie?

For a truly vegan twist, we could probably sub 1/3 cup maple syrup and 1/3 cup brown rice syrup. We'll try it and let ya know!

So, have I become a fan of the thumbprint cookie? Well, like kids and country, they're slowly working their magic, but I'll be damned if I'm wearin' a skirt.

Have any similar recipes you'd like to share? We'd love to hear from you:)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

One More Life To Live

We've been away for about a week, but with very good reason. And now, introducing the greatest Tart creation to date, weighing in at 7 lbs & 3 oz, it's...

Tiny Tart!

I can't really take any credit for this cutie was all Erin and Ham, but I sure can't wait to watch the little dude blossom:)

Btw, it's no coincidence that his mouth is always open, ready for food...

...a bonafide Tart indeed.

And speaking of deter Erin from eating too many Swedish Fish (from the secret stash in her purse), we decided to whip up something that would satisfy her sweet tooth while providing the nutrients and fuel to get her through her first few days as a new mom. She LOVES thumbprint cookies. I like them, but in the same way I like a last resort.

But I was game, so we scoured the internet for a healthy version of Erin's fave and found one that used this...

and these...


Monica's Thumbprint Cookies

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup almonds
1 cup spelt flour

1/2 cup corn or safflower oil
1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup brown rice syrup
Fruit-sweetened jam of your choice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the oats and almonds in a blender or food processor and blend until they have the consistency of flour. Pour into a large bowl, and add the spelt flour.

In a small, separate bowl, mix the oil, maple and brown rice syrup together.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well.

Make 1 inch balls with your hands and press flat onto a cookie sheet.
 Make an indentation with your thumb into the center of each cookie.

Fill each cookie with a teaspoon of jam.
(we would add a little more next time)

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes...

Cool and enjoy!

* Tart Tip: Keep an eye on these. If even slightly over baked, they will be dry. You could actually pull them out a minute early.

These cookies are really good and Erin was stoked; they were exactly what she was looking for. They are perfect for a guilt-free snack or a breakfast on-the-go. And I, of course...liked them, but was determined to find one that I love...

...and believe it or not, I found one...stay tuned!

Friday, June 11, 2010

No dice for baby-dilla

We've spent 4 days in dilla-town distracting baby momma from the fact that the lil' Tart has yet to arrive...

They were all delicious, but we each have a fave...

Erin: beet
Danielle: peach
Ham: corn
Rye: gorgonzola

The great thing about quesadillas is that everyone can create their own.

Set up a quesadilla bar...

...thank you, Vanna...and let everyone choose their tort and toppings. This way, everyone gets what they want!

Well, not everyone...

"Danielle, I can't take it anymore."

"Me neither, Erin, me neither."

Time to head to the valley for the pregnancy salad...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Real Peach.

Time to wind up our quesadilla throwdown with version number 4. This little beaute was inspired by the peaches growing right outside my door...

I mean look at those little jerks. Is there anything more satisfying than eating something delicious from your own yard? Okay, maybe there is, but still.

We decided to sauté them with a bit of ginger juice, as the juice packs some serious flavor. Erin couldn't get enough...

"Danielle, Danielle, Danielle!"

When Erin gets excited about something, she says my name about 40 times. Okay, maybe 3.

Peach, Ginger and Mint Quesadillas

1 package flour tortillas
3 medium peaches
1 2-inch piece of ginger
1/2 cup mint, sliced or chopped
1 cup goat cheese crumbles
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
olive oil
sea salt/pepper

Peel and finely grate the ginger. Over a small bowl, squeeze the juice from the ginger bits. It's okay if some of the ginger falls in with the juice; in fact it's a good thing. This is a tedious process but totally worth it.

Pit and slice the peaches. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium sauté pan on medium-low heat. Add peaches. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add ginger juice/bits to the peaches and stir. Cook for another minute, until peaches begin to soften. (If your peaches are too ripe, you may not want to cook as long. You don't want them mushy.) Set aside.

Next, heat lightly oiled griddle on medium heat. Layer half the tortilla with both cheeses, then peaches and mint. Sprinkle with salt/pepper.

Place on griddle, fold empty half over, pressing down with a spatula. (For a cheesier 'dilla', add a little mozz on the other half of the tortilla, let it melt a little, then flip.) Cook a few minutes, or until mozzarella melts, flipping over once or twice. Slice and keep warm while making the rest.

Or if you're a Tart, tear into that sucker immediately.

These quesadillas are crazy good. Only thing we might add next time is some chopped red onion for an extra kick.

We will back tomorrow to wrap quesadilla week up and to find out if the little Tart has indeed arrived. Even this guy is starting to get annoyed...

"Seriously, Erin, you've been pregnant for like, ever."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Children of the Corn

For quesadilla #3...

We decided to go tradicional with a corn tortilla...

...and because they have so much flavor, we decided to keep the
toppings simple with sautéed mushrooms, basil and mozzarella...

...and to inspire the baby Tart to make his grand entrance...

...we added something spicy!

Spicy Corn Quesadillas with Mushrooms and Basil

1 package corn tortillas
8 oz shredded mozzarella
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
2 Serrano peppers, seeded, halved and sliced
olive oil
sea salt/pepper

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook for about 8 minutes. If you have red wine on hand, feel free to add a little bit. Set aside.

Heat griddle over medium heat.

Layer half of one tortilla with cheese, mushrooms, basil and peppers and place on griddle. Fold over and press with a spatula. Cook for a few minutes, until cheese has melted and tortilla is crispy. Remove, slice in half and serve.

"Is the baby here yet? My mouth is on fire."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We Got The Beet!

Quesadilla #2...

Beet, Kale, Spring Onion and Goat Cheese Quesadillas

1 package whole wheat tortillas
3 medium beets
1 bunch Russian Red Kale (or sub any variety Kale)
3 spring onions
1 1/2 cups goat cheese, crumbled
olive oil
sea salt/pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim beet tops. Drizzle beets with olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast in oven for 45 to 60 min, until tender. Let cool. Then peel, halve and slice in 1/4 inch slices. Set aside.

Trim kale, then slice 1/2 inch thick. Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add kale and cover for 1 minute. Remove lid and continue cooking for another 2 min. (You want the kale to be a little crisp.) Sprinkle with sea salt. Set aside.

Slice your spring onions any dern way you want to.

Next, for the "Doy!" part. Heat griddle on medium heat. Spray with oil. On half a whole wheat tortilla, layer goat cheese, sliced beets, kale and onion. Sprinkle with salt/pepper.

Place on griddle.

Fold over and press with a spatula. Cook for a few minutes or until cheese looks soft.

Remove from griddle, slice and enjoy!

Then answer the phone and tell them, "No. The baby's not here yet. Yeah, you and me both."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cuckoo for Quesadillas

What's a Tart to do as she waits for the little Tart to arrive? When she's seen every movie, read every book and the baby's room has been finished for months? She cooks. And cooks. And cooks. And nothing simple. Oh no, the bigger the project the better. Anything to distract her from thinking about...the waiting. So this week, we're bring you a carnival of quesadillas made with three different types of tortillas...

...whole wheat, flour and corn. Now, we were of course familiar with the American version, but what we didn't know is the traditional Mexican quesadilla is a corn tortilla cooked in a Comal with a melting cheese like Queso Oaxaca and then folded in half and served like a taco. Sometimes you'll see recipes that use two tortillas, made more like a sandwich and cut into triangles; in Mexico, that is typically called a Sincronizada. We thought we knew, but we had no idea.

So we set up our own little quesadilla bar, with a variety of toppings and tortillas and got down to some serious biz-adilla...

Caramelized Onion, Toasted Walnut and Gorgonzola Quesadillas

1 package flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups Gorgonzola crumbles
1 cup walnuts
1 red onion
1 tsp. agave nectar
olive oil
red wine

Lightly toast walnuts in a sauté pan over low heat.

Let cool and then coarsely chop. Set aside.

Slice your red onion in half moons.

Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook til they begin to soften. Add 1/2 cup red wine and a tsp. of agave nectar and continue to cook until very soft, adding more wine if necessary. (Feel free to sweeten them with brown sugar)
Set aside.

We're pretty confident you know the next step, but humor us...

We don't own a Comal, so we used a cast iron griddle. Heat griddle or pan over medium heat. Spray or lightly oil to keep tortillas from burning. Lay one tortilla flat and on one half, layer with cheese, onions and walnuts...

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then fold over and press down with a spatula. Cook for about five minutes, flipping to keep from burning. (This griddle tends to cook pretty hot; if you're using a regular pan, you may not have to flip.) When cheese has mostly melted, remove from pan and slice.

Serve right away or keep warm in the oven on low heat while you prepare the rest.

Enjoy! These quesadillas are delicious and will surely be the hit of the party. Just pray this guy doesn't show up...

I've said this before and I'll say it again, "Seriously dude. Beat it."

Be back tomorrow with Quesadilla # 2!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Pasta Push

As Erin enters the home stretch of baby-making, we feel the need to ramp up her vitamin intake with lots of fresh veggies. Sure, she'd rather eat the Bon Bons at Sweet Rose Creamery in Brentwood, but the looming possibility of a sugar crash hitting right in the middle of labor has pretty much nailed her sweet tooth to the wall.

We took inspiration from Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic Chips over at Epicurious and created a vegan pasta jam-packed with goodness...

Whole Wheat Spagetti with Fresh Veggies and Garlic Chips
Adapted from Epicurious

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Butter (or sub real butter)
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound green Swiss chard, stems and center ribs finely chopped and leaves coarsely chopped separately
  • 8 large Brussel Sprouts, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped kabocha squash
  • 1/4 cup roasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • Sea Salt

Steam Brussel Sprouts until fork tender, but not too soft. Set aside.

Lightly roast pine nuts in a sauté pan over low heat. Put in a bowl. Set aside.

  • Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 5 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water and drain spaghetti.

Cook onion in oil remaining in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir chard stems into onion mixture with water (they don't specify how much, so we did about an 1/8 cup) and 3/4 tsp. each of salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in chard leaves and Kabocha Squash.

Cook, covered, until stems, leaves and squash are tender, about 5 minutes.

At the same time, melt vegan butter in the pan you used for the pine nuts. After a minute, add Brussel Sprouts, let sizzle for a bit and toss to coat. Set aside.

Toss spaghetti with chard, squash, sprouts and 1/4 cup cooking water, adding more cooking water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts and garlic chips.

Enjoy! We did. Right up until we started dreaming about Bon Bons...