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Posts Tagged ‘cinnamon’

MoFO

pear

Afternoon!

For the last few days, Northern Nevada has had quite a chill going. We’ve gotten snow and rain!!! Two things I absolutely love! Fall is here, and I am a happy lady! Fall to me means comfort. Like I’ve mentioned, I love apples, but I am no picky fruit eater. I love anything really. With the exception of a few I am sure.. Can’t think of anything off the top of my head though! So when I had a bunch of pears that were ripening way faster than I thought they would, I had one thing in mind. Pear Sauce. Like it’s mama, which would be apple sauce, it is perfect to use up all that fruit coming in by the bushel. Now I wish I had fruit coming in by the bushel, but the only fruit tree I’ve got is an apricot tree that I have yet to see any actual evidence of it being, in fact, an apricot tree. SO, when I say fruit coming in by the bushel, I am dreamily referring to the fruit tree I will one day have (yes, that means avocado trees too, Nic)! Anyway, so long story short, I had pears that needed to be used. I have never had pear sauce before, but I imagined it would work about the same as applesauce. So I chopped up the Bartlett beauties, threw them in a pot with some water, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon, and nutmeg….

pears Before

If I tell you that the house smelled so good I couldn’t help but smile, would you believe me?!? It was awesome. I didn’t have any extraordinary expectations for this pear sauce, but holy yum. It was so good. After these babies cooked down on medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, I threw them in my vitamix, making sure to remove the cinnamon sticks, and gave it a whirl. What came out was nothing short of a holiday party in my mouth. The texture was buttery. It was the smoothest sauce I’ve ever had, pear or otherwise. Then, after a few little tasters, it hit me. Almond extract. I will say no more. Try it. Love it.

pearsauce

I can’t believe there’s no sugar, PEAR SAUCE

10 ripe pears, I used Bartlett, if you are using a pear with a thicker skin I would advise pealing(eek) or cooking a bit longer

4-5 cinnamon sticks

1/4-1/3 c. water, or any kind of juice you’d want to infuse the sauce with.. blueberry juice??

cinnamon, to taste (I didn’t use as much as I usually would because the sticks took care of that)

nutmeg, to taste (or omit if you’d prefer)

1/2 t Almond extract ( I may have used a bit more, but I didn’t measure so, start here and add to taste)

Throw all ingredients, except almond extract in a heavy bottom pot. Cover, and turn on heat to medium-medium-high. Let the pears hang out for a while, about 30 minutes, and check for doneness. When the pears have lost their “bite” and reduced down to a nice soft consistency, remove from heat. Let the pears cool a bit, then throw them in a blender or food processor. Blend until desired consistency is reached. I liked it super smooth and creamy. Sometimes though, with applesauce, I like to keep it a little chunky, keeps my mouth guessing. After blending for a minute or so, add the almond extract. This added a whole new level to this sauce. Enjoy!

*On a side note, I didn’t add lemon juice, plumb forgot.. So it may be a good idea to add lemon juice if you plan on having the pearsauce in your fridge for a while, or are going to can it. I don’t think mine will be around long enough to warrant lemon juice. But I’m just saying!

Pears and Almonds have a natural affinity for each other, and trust me when I say that it adds to this sauce immensely. I had some hot out of the blender, which is my prefered way to consume it, but I also have a bunch in the fridge for whenever the mood strikes.. I have big plans for this sauce. Fat-free pear muffins here I come!

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MoFOGood Evening!

So, as promised, I am back tonight with something a bit more savory. This stew was inspired by a similar recipe in “The Vegan Table”. I made the actual recipe from the cookbook a few weeks ago and LOVED it.

Last summer, I spent some time in Morocco and fell in love. Morocco had always interested me. It’s blending of Arabic, North African, and European influences converging in a geographically diverse and beautiful location. I wanted to experience everything! I wanted to know all about women in Morocco, food, history, architecture, and the list goes on.

morocco 2

Since this is a food blog, I will stick to food..I loved the cuisine, culture, and philosophy on food. The food memory that sticks out the most to me is the tagine. A tagine is a traditional cooking dish made of clay. The Moroccan tagines look like a cone. They are made for cooking stews and such at low temperatures for a really long time. The first meal I had in Morocco was a tagine of couscous and vegetables. I remember the experience so vividly. I taxi’d to a recommended restaurant in Casablanca, though the name escapes me, it was a plush restaurant, and when I say plush, I mean pillow-y.. Pillows were everywhere, and at that moment I knew I wanted a dining room full of pillows..

But I digress, back to the food.. I ordered a traditional tagine and when it arrived at my table, the top was removed and holy yum. The dizzying aroma hit my nose and I was in heaven. Cinnamon, saffron, cumin, stewed raisins, couscous… Heaven. Oh and vegetables.. Potatoes, carrots, tomatoes.. Mouth watering yet?? I know mine is! Anyway, one of my favorite memories was the first bite. I had a cup of sweet mint tea, a loaf of bread, and a vegetable tagine. I set up the perfect bite of couscous and veggies, closed my eyes, and savored the experience. That bite was about the food, but it was also about so much more. I was a single, western female in Morocco. I had arrived solo and was happy for the exciting experience that lay ahead. I was excited for all the things I was going to be doing, but I was also so excited to be eating couscous in Morocco.. And let me tell you, couscous tastes amazing in Morocco.. It is second to none.

So, it was natural that I wanted to recreate this when I got home. I have since made various stews and soups to suit the Moroccan spice blend I love so much. Saffron, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, paprika. So, SO good. Tonight’s dish features those spices, but with a bit of a different take on the ingredients..

My Sweet Potato Stew features carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, green bell peppers, garlic, onions, and of course sweet potatoes.

DSC_0012_3

Michelle’s Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato Stew

2 T water

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Green bell pepper, chopped

3 Carrots, chopped

3 Sweet Potatoes, chopped

1 Zucchini, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes, with juices

3 cups chickpeas

1/2 t cinnamon

pinch saffron threads

salt, pepper, to taste

1/4 t ginger

1/2 t cumin

1/4 t paprika

1 T maple syrup

2-3 c. vegetable broth

Saute onions, garlic, and carrots with 2 T of water in a medium-high heat skillet, until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add bell pepper, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and spices. Stir constantly to coat, then add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, maple syrup, and vegetable broth. Don’t worry if the vegetables aren’t fully covered by the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until sweet potatoes are tender (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. When sweet potatoes are fork-tender, remove cover and keep on heat to reduce liquid. In the picture above, you can see quite a bit of liquid, I didn’t reduce the liquid enough and ended up with a more soupy consistency.. I would’ve preferred less liquid.. Serve stew over couscous, brown rice, or quinoa.

This recipe is pretty quick and easy. I like to add whatever veggies I have lying around. White potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower, or any other veggies that you may like! The flavor of the “sauce” is the best.. the longer you let it reduce, the richer and sweeter the liquid will become. The grain will soak up the flavors and really add another level to the stew.

I also like to cook my grain with a cinnamon stick to infuse the flavor even more!

Happy Travels!

Morocco 3

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I LOVE apples!

MoFo

Hello!

Happy Monday!  I can’t believe it is already Monday. It seems like the weekend just flies by! My weekend was full of homework, work work, and hanging pictures (finally!). The weekend was also full of APPLES! I love Fall. We finally got a chill in the air here in Reno. Snow fell and all was right with the world! In mid-August, I start to really crave the coziness of Fall and Winter. I love bundling up with tea and a good book or movie. Seriously, nothing beats it!

For me, Fall is a time for apples! I absolutely adore the fruits of summer, but I eagerly await the apples that come this time of year. Cinnamon is one of my most favorite spices, and nothing goes better with cinnamon than a nice warm apple. This weekend, I made two dishes that focused on organic honey crisp apples.

Apples!

Personally, I think that apples are amazing anytime. They are full of filling fiber and vitamins. The pectin, a soluble fiber, has been shown to even lower cholesterol! With only about 80 calories in one medium apple, it’s the perfect portable snack. And I haven’t even mentioned their sweet taste, satisfying crunch, and flavor variety. I use apples in everything. From warmed apples atop oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast, a great afternoon snack on the go, sliced on a spinach salad, or baked into desserts. Apples are so versatile; applesauce instead of oil in baking, apple cider, apple pie… I feel like I am starting to sound like Bubba (a la Forest Gump). Anyway, I digress. I had a big bag of honey crisps from TJ’s and wanted to use them up! Breakfast this weekend consisted of pancakes with mounds of warm cinnamon apples.

Apple Pancakes

Sauteed apples

1 honey crisp apple (although any baking apple would do well here)

1 TBSP Real Maple Syrup

Cinnamon, to taste.

Nutmeg, to taste.

A dash of Salt

Heat saute pan, you can add some oil or earth balance, I like mine without. Add chopped apples to hot pan and quick saute for 2 minutes with salt, or until apples start to turn slightly brown. Remove from heat. Add maple syrup and spices; toss to coat. Place back on the heat for a few more minutes to soften apples and warm syrup. Serve.

I like to put my sauteed apples on pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, or just eat them plain. I also like doing an apple saute with a more savory items. On a salad, with cranberries and pepper or a lemon vinaigrette.

Tune in tomorrow to see a delicious and quick apple and berry crisp!

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